Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Tuesday Tutorial: Jotter Journal

I was putting my son to bed the other night and was thinking about a fun way to have a jotter type journal that I could switch the cover at any time (I have no idea why I started thinking about this, lol... can you tell I love journals!?). At first I thought about using plastic cover material you can get at a fabric store (like the kind I used for this journal cover here), but decided to use something that I already had on hand and that is a common office supply (I might try the plastic cover material later on :)) and I thought of a sheet protector!

After many attempts, I came up with this cute little journal- the front and back covers are "pockets" so you can switch out the cover any time, or store pictures, receipts, findings, etc. :) I thought about using it as a grocery list holder, notes jotter, and also as a recipe holder. When I'm trying to find a last minute recipe at meal time, I'm always scrambling for a piece of scrap paper (hard to believe I have so much paper in my studio and never can find a small scrap piece of paper ;)) to write the recipe on that I find on the internet. I feel like this will be perfect for that! We'll see how it goes :)

First, gather your supplies. You will need a sewing machine.
+ 8.5"x11" sheet protector
+ various papers, or use blank computer paper
+ 2 paper clips
+ ruler, rotary cutter and cutting mat

 Sew a straight stitch with 1/4" seam allowance to close up the sheet protector.
It will look something like this. Hopefully your stitch will be straighter than mine ;)
Stack all of your papers so that they are centered (not flushed to one side- see picture below). Lay the stitched sheet protector over the stack of papers with the stitched side on the left, facing down (the stitched side will be on the bottom of your journal and any wonky stitches will not be in sight ;)). Attach two paper clips to hold it all together as pictured below.
Fold in half (see picture below) to make a book.
Stitch a straight stitch down the middle of the book.
Now it will look something like this:
Close up of the stitch:
Now, cut the top part of the book off- the edge of the sheet protector that has the holes. You can trim off excess paper at the same time so it will all be flush.
I also chose to pull back the covers and trim the inside pages (NOT the cover) so they would be flush.
I cut up some old magazines to make a cover for one of the journals- the picture had to do with home things- and I loved that it was so colorful. For the other one, I sewed some scrap paper pieces together.

Measure each cover section and cut your cover piece down to that size. Mine ended up being approximately 5.5"x8", but I had to shave off a little bit at a time to make it fit perfectly. Better to keep making small cuts than to make a too big one and have the cover be too small. :)

The insides:
For the back cover, I stuck some pictures in, a grocery list for my shopping trip tomorrow, etc.
The fun thing about having the pockets is you can collect fun things while you're out and about and have them visible.
You can also experiment with different sizes: I made a small 5.5" x 5.5" one by simply cutting off more from the top.


  1. Oh I love this idea. What a great alteration. I am trying this without a doubt - so thank you for inspiring us.

  2. WOW, I like this. These are going to make great summer vacation journals for my family to keep note, postcards, secrets find as we scurry about on our summer jaunt.

  3. a GREAT tutorial!!!
    i am always collecting snippets of things that are too pretty to throw out... this is a fun way to showcase them and make a useful item at the same time! :-)

  4. WOW! I LOVE IT! Thanks for sharing!

  5. Very clever idea. How fun to switch out the cover pages. Happy creating...

  6. Just a quick note to let you know that a link to this post will be placed on CraftCrave today [18 May 02:00pm GMT]. Thanks, Maria

  7. Oh how cute! This would be another reason I need to get myself a sewing machine!!

  8. You make this look so easy! I bet if I tried this it would come out a hot mess! ha:)


  9. this is such an amazing idea! you are so creative!! :)

  10. OMG, this is a fantastic idea! i love it! can't wait to do one for myself (or maybe i'll do two or three or four...)

  11. LOVE LOVE LOVE LOVE IT. You are so amazing! You need to sell these!

  12. Very nice tutorial!!!
    Simple but stunning...
    I've linked you in my blog, I hope you appreciate it!!!

  13. hey! i have been working on one of these but i was curious of one thing...how many pieces of paper do you dare using with the sewing machine????

  14. SO i finally attempted to make this! I would love for you to check it out and let me know what you think!!

  15. Hello, Ashley!
    I´m going through your blog and found this idea. It´s genius! I really love it and will do it, perhaps with my kids!
    Thank you for sharing!
    Susana, from the cold Berlin, Germany

  16. Hi!
    I made it and posted on my blog!
    Thank you!