Thursday, July 30, 2009

Customizing a Journal or Sketchbook.

This past Sunday a neighbor dropped by our home to give me a small gift. After cleaning out some things, she decided to give me some beads and old necklaces that she had saved in hopes I could use them in my work. One of the necklaces of small pearls was her mother's.
I thought I would return the favor with a small gift using some of the beads and pearls.
My neighbor is an art teacher at a local college. I thought a sketch book to carry would be the perfect gift. My children and I have made these special books for gifts for Christmas and birthdays.

Sometimes with a Monogram, some just with flowers.

The flowers and insect used in this book also has symbolism attached :
A mature rose for gratitude.
The white lupine for imagination. (They also have her mother's pearls)
Forget-me-nots for remembrance. (White beads that were also her gift)
And a bee is the meaning of my name Debra.

Here is how you can make your own:

Pick out a blank book from your local book store. They have a wide range of colors and sizes.
Fabric and leather. I chose a black leather sketch book.

Trace your template on the foam core and the cotton batting. Cut out both.

Hot glue the batting layers to your foam core.

Lay your embroider piece over the batting. Pin the fabric piece to the edge of the foam core. Don't glue the piece to the front. The glue will change the fabric and make hard lumps under the front. Make sure you only glue on the back of the foam core.

Trim the excess fabric around the oval leaving just enough to turn under and glue.

Hot glue the excess fabric to the back of the foam core oval.

Hot glue the oval to the front of the blank book.

Edge the oval with trim.
(When cutting the trim or ribbon use Fray Block to stop the pieces from unravelling.)

Add a beautiful ribbon as a book mark. This one is velvet, but you could use anything that you would like. Brocade ribbons make beautiful book marks.

The finished sketchbook. The oval was edged with 2 trims, but one is fine.

I would love to see what you create.



  1. Debra, your sketch book turned out beautiful. You do amazing work.
    Your craft/sewing room looks so nice.
    Hope the newlyweds are doing good.

  2. I bet your neighbor couldn't believe her eyes!
    What a stunning journal, Debra!


  3. The embroidery is beautiful and the notebook gorgeous. I bet your neighbour is thrilled.
    Cal x

  4. A wonderful transformation of the sketchbook. How marvellous that you used the pearls and beads given as a gift. I'm sure that it will be a much loved gift. Perhaps to beautiful to use! Ann :)

  5. What a neat idea! I love the idea of using some of the beads she gave you. Your embroidery is gorgeous and for people who don't do the ribbon embroidery, you could use regular embroidery or cross stitch, even a print on fabric and embellish it with a few beads, etc.

  6. What a wonderful sentiment! Lovely book, I'm sure that she'll love it!

  7. That's wonderful Debra! I'm sure your neighbour will love it and the sentiment.

  8. I just love how this turned out! Thank you for the easy step by step!
    What a thoughtful way to personalize the gift.

    Kimberly :)


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