You know how they say ‘a place for everything and everything in its place’? Well, I have a bad habit of putting everything all over the place – I never actually have a place for it in the beginning! So around my house you will find many journals and notebooks that have 2 or 3 pages written in them, the rest is blank or filled with toddler scribbles. I love to write down the funny things my kids say, but you will find these on scraps of paper stashed around the house – and their darling artwork? In piles or tucked into said random notebooks. With my third child entering the world since I last wrote (and baby cards and other memorabilia rapidly stacking up). I decided to take action on an idea I’ve been meaning to execute for quite some time.
Step one was hunting around the house for all those bits of paper, photos, ‘proof of life’ I have been saving for this very project. Step two was making simple journal covers – one for each child. Step three was punching holes in all that stuff (along with some blank pages for the future) and binding it inside the covers with metal book rings. The beauty of this is that I can easily open the rings to add whatever I like into these books getting bigger rings the more stuff I collect. And let me assure you there will be more.
My six year old is constantly drawing the most intricate and adorable scenes at the moment, often just on scrappy bits of paper. She is also beginning to write, and I cannot bear to throw away the back of an old newspaper that she has written ‘special mummy. I love you’ on it in her careful print.
My two year old has been singing some hilarious songs lately and displaying many acts of mischief – preferably in the nude. With my sieve for a brain I need to write these things down so that in 25 years I can remind her of the time she stuck a feather into her bare butt-cheeks and ran around the back lawn pretending to be a horse!
And the new babe…well, instead of having a pregnancy journal here, a baby book there, a pile of welcome cards somewhere else…ALL OF IT can go into the one book! Genius. Genius I tell you! (um, please don’t tell me its not genius because my sleep and creative deprived self is really pleased to have accomplished such a feat of organization and creativity right now).
Here’s how I made the simple journal covers…
Decide on the size of journal you wish to make and cut two pieces of chipboard into this size (you could use old cereal boxes, cardboard etc). Lay the chipboard onto your chosen fabric and cut the fabric out about ½ and inch larger – imperfect edges are fine! You will need 4 pieces of fabric cut, 2 for the outside and 2 for the inside of the journal.
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Sandwich one piece of chipboard between the two fabrics (you can use double sided tape on the chipboard to help hold it in place).
Using a straight stitch on your machine, sew the two pieces of fabric together – sewing just outside of where the chipboard sits in your sandwich (in that extra overhang of fabric). Go around the edge of the fabric one more time, as close to the outside edge as possible. Repeat for the 2nd piece of chipboard.
Line the two covers up and punch holes.
Fill with all blank papers, cardstocks and all your goodies!
Have these journals somewhere you will see them regularly (in your nightstand, on the coffee table etc) so you can keep them updated with milestones, funny things your children say, artwork, regular love-notes/letters written to them from you in their pages. It can be as organized or as random a journal as you like – ‘lost tooth’ record on one page, favorite book list on the next. Have your husband write in it too – or ask the grandparents next time they come to visit.
These sweet and simple journals will surely be cherished by both you and your child for years to come – re-discovering snippets of childhood and precious memories saved within the covers.