Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Removable Fabric Journal Cover Tutorial

So here is the tutorial, as promised.
My design for this process is pretty much based on the way a cover is created out of a paper bag for a school text book but is excuted by sewing it together rather than by folding. This will work with any size spiral bound journal.
This is what you will need.
Sewing machine or hand sewing kit.
Fabric and fabric scraps. (how much you need will depend on the size of your journal.
Cutting mat and rotary cutter. (optional)

1. Measure your journal opened, end to end ( this journal is 8" tall and opens to 11")
2. Measure the width of the binding coil. To do this just stand the journal up on end placing the coil over a ruler or cutting mat. Most coils on purchased journals are going to be 1/2" or 1" unless it is a really fat journal. Mine is 1/2".
3. You will add 1 1/4" all the way around your journal plus an additional 1 inch onto the 'length' of the journal. ( that 1" allows room for the coil when the journal is closed.)
As an example; as shared, my journal is 8" tall by 11" long with a 1/2" coil so the journal cover fabric I will need is going to be 10 1/4" tall by 14.1/4" in length. 
This piece of fabric is going to become the part of the cover that will grace the front and the back of the journal when it is closed. You will be cutting 2 more pieces of fabric to create the pockets in which the paper covers of the journal will be put into. (The pockets created will allow this cover to be removed as desired as you work in your journal)
4. Now you will need to take measurements for the pockets your journal cover will slide into. (This is easy.) You will be creating 2 pockets; so you will be using 2 pieces of fabric for the pockets; one for each end. The measurement for the height is going to be the same as the measurement as just taken in the above step. In my case it's going to be 10 1/4" tall. To get the measurement for the length of fabric you will need is done by measuring the length of the front cover of the journal ( it will be the same for both front and back) On my journal they are 5.5"
You need to create a 4" gap between the inner pockets you are creating to allow you to slide the covers of your journal into them.
It will look like this when you are done.

To get the size you need subtract 1" from that measurement.
so I will have a 2 pieces of fabric  that are 10 1/4" tall by 4.5" in length. I allow a 1/2" to create a sewn hem on each end of the pockets.

Fabric and Cutting Prep.
1. Choose the fabric you want to use for the cover portion. I chose plain muslin for my own so I could layer and topstitch fabric scraps on to the front of it but it can be any fabric you want to use.
2. Cut the fabric for the cover. Set aside.
3. Cut 2 pieces of fabric for the pocket flaps. Set aside.
4. Take the fabric that will become the main panel of the cover. (the big piece). Iron it if needed. Flip it so the wrong side is facing you. Take your journal, open it and center it on to this piece of fabric. you should have one 1 1/4" around the top and bottom and an 1 1/4" at each end of the length.
Take a light pencil and carefully trace around the open journal. Add an 1" pencil line to each end of the length from those lines and mark them. 
This will become your sewing guide.
At this point you can choose to add to what will be the front of the cover. You can topstitch layers of fabric which will be sewn onto the right side of the cover, when the cover is sewn and turned, any additional fabric emebellshiments you added will now be on the cover.
I sewed on strips of scrap.
Then I added doodle like stitched lines.
Once you are done topstitching your cover set it aside.
Now you will be creating the pockets. You can choose to topstitch those if you wish. I did on mine.
Take your side pocket fabric with the wrong side facing you and fold over a 1/2" hem. Pin and sew them down.
Once they are sewn, take your cover piece and lay it down with the right side facing you. Lay each pocket onto the top with the right sides facing down so that the ends all meet up and leaves you the gap in the center. It will look like the photo below.

Pin them in place. Now carefully turn your cover over so you can see your sewing guide lines. Sew just around the outside of the lines, not directly on the line. I tend to allow about an 1/8" inch when I sew around a trace line just because I know in the end I will probably be glad I did. You want your cover to be snug but not so snug as to bind up the journal once the cover has been put on, a little wiggle room is good. Don't worry about being super exact. It will be fine.
Start sewing from the gap opening around the outside of the pocket. Stop sewing when you've reached around the top at the gap. Remember NOT to sew over the hemmed edge or you will have sewn your pocket closed. You've just completed one side. Repeat on the other side pocket.
You will see that there is a rough edge on the gap in your cover piece. You can leave this as a raw edge or I chose to use a zig zag stitch as a satin stitch and stitched that gap. I cut a tiny slit at each end of the gap and folded over a tiny tab of fabric and sewed over it.

Once you've done that, trim off any excess fabric all the way around and ta do, you are done. Turn the cover inside out, poke out the corner points with a bone folder or end of a pencil and put it on your journal.

Enjoy the process. If you have any questions do feel free to shoot me an email and I will be happy to help.
If you think others would enjoy this tutorial feel free to pass it along as a link to this post.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Removable Fabric Journal Cover Tutorial Coming Soon!!!!!

Yesterday I picked up a spiral bound journal. I tend to make all of my own journals but time is not on my side right now so I decided to settle for a purchased journal. It was a fast solution and has nice, heavy pages and I got it with a coupon. Score! At first I was going to simply collage or paint the cover. It's not very pretty.

 However, the cover is glossy; really glossy which does not show up in the pic. It needed to be lightly sanded if I wanted anything to stick to it. I am not sure even a coat of gesso would work with out sanding it a bit.  I don't have the time or the inclination to make a mess at this point in time. So I scrapped all of those thoughts and came up with a fun, super easy, and quick fabric cover for it instead. It took me about and hour and a half start to finish. I will be sharing a tutorial for the cover and this can be created for any spiral bound journal or notebook and  in any size and it's even removable, so when you are working with wet media and don't want to get paint or mediums all over the fabric cover, you can just take it off and put it back on when you are ready to.
Here are a couple of shots of the finished cover front and back.


 Stay tuned for the tutorial. I am working out the step by step instructions/pics and
 will post them as soon as I am done. Trust me when I say, this is so easy anyone can do it and even if you don't have a sewing machine. It can be hand sewn just as easily, just going to take a wee bit longer to do.

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Sugar And Spice Itty Bitty Journal

Sugar And Spice Itty Bitty 'HuG' Style Journal.
This teeny, tiny journal is ready to be adopted and looking for a new home. It is availabe in my Etsy shop.
The journal is a wee one but was created with a big heart, ready to capture all those sweet, tiny moments and those things we cherish. It has 60 pages, many pockets and hiding places and plenty of empty pages waiting to be filled. It is 2.5" tall by 2.5" wide and is 4" long with a warp around enclosure that is 30" in length. There are lots of little bits and treasures included inside.
Here are a few page peeks.
You can see even more peeks in my Flickr album.

The Artist's Creed

This is worth watching but more importantly listen to the words, take them to heart, embrace them and share them. I was buzzing around my favorite on-line, late night hang outs when I found this on Ihanna's  blog. I am so glad I did.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Pooh's Favorite Things

For the love of color.
See that pretty blue at the top, it's called 'Pooh's Favorite Things' and then moving clockwise we have 'Kashmir Pink', next in line; 'Blushing Belle' followed by 'Friendly Frog' and 'Make Believe' and in the center; 'Pooh Bear Yellow'. I went to Home Depot to replinish the color 'Kashmir Pink' and came home with all of these too. I LOVE color. I get excited when I even get close to all those paint chips. DD is really responsible for all this paint coming home with me, she spotted the names of the color samples and I had to come look too and next thing I know I am gathering paint chips to be mixed into sweet, little sample pots of color 'gold'. How could I NOT come home with a color called 'Pooh's Favorite Things'? Seriously. I could not walk away.
And then there is all of this.
Fabric bliss. I think this is what drew me into picking up the paint colors I seemed drawn to today. They are all going to be used in  a 'custom' journal from my Etsy shop. The theme; loosely, a bit of sun, sand, and sea. I think the fabrics capture it perfectly.
I have so many 'favorite things' I am working on right now. I am still playing with wood blocks. I have at least a dozen in various stages. I have been sewing papers together to create my newest obsession Thomas Campbell 'pinwheels'. The Amazing Mary Ann Moss is responsible for turning me on to those. This got me to thinking that I have 2 huge boxes of wood scraps, hmmmmmmm, my art fueled brain starts thinking that I could create my own version out of wood. And that leads to further color inspired projects. See this old 'type setters drawer'

I painted the back of this with the 'Kashmir Pink' which is what led to my trip to Home Depot. I am going to create a painting on the back which I already have ideas for and the front will become a mixed media painted feast. All those tiny cubbys just waiting for a transformation; inspired even more by Thomas Campbell.
And not to be forgotten, journals. I am nearly finished with the tiny 'HuG' I have been working on, the cottage journal is coming along and just for fun, going crazy painting scraps of canvas which I will be using in journals. The scraps can be written and collaged on just like paper pages. There is nothing quite like feeling constantly inspired. When the seed from one idea, blooms into many, many more. I think I have too many. VBG.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Bliss. Love. Passion. PAPER!!!!!

I adore paper. What can I say? I have a shameless love affiar with papers. I don't often plug products here but I needed some plain cardstock last night for several journals under construction which led me to a take what was supposed to be a brief trip to Archiver's (small scrapbook chain) and instead of coming home with not only a stack of cardstock which I had completely run out of, a few others found their way into my hands. There is the new Basic Grey line 'Hello Luscious'. Bliss! Then I came across Mind's Eye; 'Stella Rose'. Love! And the icing on the cake came when I saw the new line called 'Social Club' by Cosmo Cricket. Passion! I had fallen into paper heaven. I had to force myself to walk up to the sales desk to pay for my handful of papers. I wanted to buy at least a dozen sheets of all of them. I held myself in check and purchased one sheet of each. I was a good girl. I so didn't want to be. VBG.

All of these papers will be finding their way into several journals I have been working on over the week end. Here are a few peeks.
The Cottage Journal. A sweetly magical place  waiting to be entered.

This little cottage will hold many suprises. The house box itself is still a work in progress.
Sugar and Spice Teeny Tiny 'HuG' Journal

Page Peeks.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

General Chaos

Life has been crazy busy in our household, preperations for spring dance competitions which begin in 2 weeks, photo shoots at the studio and lots and lots of minor costume alterations so everything fits right and stays where it is supposed to during a performance. We try very hard NOT to have costume malfunctions on stage. It does happen from time to time.
And even tho my art time has been limited the last few weeks, I am still coming up with new ideas for journals and many, many rescued wood block creations. The top photo is the back cover of the 'daily grind' journal which is starting to fatten up nicely.

 Today, I designed another house shaped journal which will have it's very own home to reside in when it is finished.
The little house is still in progress and the journal is under construction. The journal itself will be 6" tall by 3.5" wide with 2 spines and 4 sets of pages in all.
And then there is the 'chaos' journal which will have 5 spines that will vary in size between 4" and 8" tall by 4.5" wide and will allow for several different sized pages within each signature. It will all fold together and be held snug with a removable wrap around tie closure.
And then there are all the wood blocks I have been painting and collaging; which I have stacked on every surface within arms reach, all part of the general chaos that defines my life as it has been the past couple of weeks or so. 

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

This Day

This day is all I have, right now, this moment is mine. I think there are times when just focusing on what is right in front of me is what matters, putting all the worries and stress on the side burner; at least for just a few hours.
I have been working on lots of stuff, journals for Etsy, collaging and painting various wood blocks just because it is fun and I need to play, and then there is the big canvas that has changed directions more times than I can count.
Wood block collages in my favorite colors right now; hints of spring with a little ice cream on the side for good measure.