Thursday, January 17, 2013

Gratitude Journals for Littles

Well, thank you for all of those lovely and encouraging comments last Thursday on the mini chalkboards and beginning a stash of gifts for a homemade Christmas. I am reminded of a free video I got at the library one time {they were clearing out all the VHS tapes} of a Christmas with Tasha Tudor ~ she talked about making gifts beginning in the summer and stashing them away for the coming holiday! Since she was in her 90's and did not have small children at home anymore - I knew I needed to start earlier!

I was sort of scoping out what I had in the house and came across a six pack of spiral notebooks probably gotten for pennies during the Back-to-School sales at some point. A couple of the notebooks were out - but there were still four or so. I remembered seeing fabric covers that could be made to fit over these and then changed out and put on new notebooks once these were full and thought this would make a fun gift.

Then, I thought how fun it would be to make Gratitude Journals for my girls to begin this practice of thankfulness with them. And, then I remembered another idea {it's been years, have no idea who to credit for this!} where daughters used journals to trade back and forth with mom and write notes, draw pictures. I wonder if maybe a combination of these two ideas would not be best.

At any rate, here is what I came up with. As is my tradition - I remember seeing an idea somewhere but do not usually study how to do it and then when I'm ready I just sort of figure it out as I go along. So, I am sure there is another similar tutorial out there and cannot take original credit for this idea!

Start with a spiral notebook opened up and laid flat on a piece of fabric that is larger than the notebook. The top and bottom edges should only be about 1 1/2 - 2 inches larger - but the side edges should be five or six inches larger at least.

Using a roll hem, fold top and bottom edges up and then up again to create a nice seam that has no raw edges showing. Make your cover a little larger than your notebook so you can get the sleeves into the pockets easily!

Hem the side edges using the same method to conceal any raw edges.

Fold over the side edges and pin to create your pockets for the covers to slide into. Please take care to try your cover with the notebook open and closed to insure you have them placed correctly. It takes more fabric when the notebook is closed!

Stitch pinned edges as close to the edge as is appropriate, you will want to leave allowance to place the covers of the notebook into the sleeve.

Now - the fun part! Embellish as desired. I had found these little felt pennants already stitched together at Michael's on clearance at some point for 0.99 for about 50 of them. I bought it a couple of years ago and have never used it for anything - but pulled them out this day and love the fun and whimsy they add! You could make your own felt triangles to accomplish the same look. I used less than half of the package for two notebooks so that was certainly a good find!

I stitched one letter on each triangle to spell gratitude and then pinned them in place to the front cover while I stitched them on by hand. I later also put a tiny dot of hot glue under the very pointy tip so they won't get all raggy looking. Make sure you don't sew through both layers of fabric when stitching this on!

At this point, you can decide if that is enough or if you want to keep going - I bet you know what I did?! Yep - I kept going! I pulled out some scrap trim and ribbon and my embroidery machine and went a little crazy - but I love how they turned out so much that I wish one of them said, "Monica!"

Make sure to write a very special note of gratitude on the first page to kick off the journal and I've even pondered adding little stickers and beauty to the inside to dress it up a little.

Total Cost: FREE
Yes, I had these supplies on hand, but I did not go out and buy anything for this project - it was all stuff I already had and have had for at least several months. I'm on a mission to use my resources and spend as little as possible!

Aren't these adorable?! I was giddy over them and how will I wait over eleven months to gift them? I guess that will make the giving all the more fun :)


Julie said...

These journals are beautiful!

Christy Stanton said...

These are so adorable! What a blessing for your girls to have such a creative and skilled mama!: )

Wendi said...

Adorable! I'm going through my fabric stash soon. I can see these making wonderful birthday gift for just about anyone!

Crystal said...

These are beautiful. You are so inspiring!

harknessangels said...

Love them! Great gift idea!

Lauren (in Savannah) said...

Adorable! You could make more and sell them I am sure!

Mom said...

So cute and what a great way to encourage them to be aware of how much we have to be thankful for! :)
Love you, Mom

MH in OH said...

I wouldn't wait to give them - for Valentine's Day or just because.
It looks like you could sew the ribbon trim to hold a pen or pencil.
These are beutiful.

angie said...

What a treasure for your girls to keep for the future. If Samuel wants to keep his own gratitude journal, perhaps he could draw his list. I like the idea of this notebook also serving as a two-way communication between you and your daughters. Hanna and I are currently doing that with an old typewriter she has in her room.
Since I am not a sewer, I'm thinking that I could personalize notebooks with scrapbook paper and modpodge or contact paper on the cover.

Amy said...

Those are so cute! You could sell them. I'm glad you shared that project because I bought some school themed fabric at Walmart on clearance for $1 a yard and I was wondering what in the world to do with it. Now I know!

Brandy said...

Those are so awesome! I LOVE the banner! My kids do a gratitude journal every morning before school. The 2 little one draw a picture everyday. My older daughter has a list. She's on #300 this week.

*carrie* said...

ADORABLE! Don't you love using things you have on hand? I actually have a crafty post coming up soon, and I didn't buy a thing!

~katie~ said...

What a beautiful, thoughtful, meaningful gift for your littles. Love what it will cultivate in their hearts. ♥

Great job!!

Have a great weekend.

Countrywoman said...

That was really neat

Jennifer said...

These are so sweet! I love that you enjoy beauty so much, that beauty and creativity just flow out of you into all the projects you make. You are such an inspiration to me, and reading your blog is one of my favorite parts of the day : ) I especially enjoy when you write about things you have done for Samuel because I have 2 boys and no girls, so I need ideas for things that aren't too feminine, but are still creative and beautiful.