I never go anywhere without a notebook. Being a writer and a journalist (I know those things sound the same, but they're not most of the time) I can't exist without a notebook. I'm constantly scribbling down quotes from a source for a story or jotting down ideas that come to me for my fiction. I think it also goes back to when I read "Harriet the Spy" as a kid. I loved the fact that Harriet never went anywhere without a notebook. I'm not a junior detective, but writers are nosy by nature, so I guess by some definitions, I am a detective. The junior is questionable at this age, though.
Those old-school composition notebooks are the perfect size to fit into a bag or my purse and streamlined so that I'm not unwrapping a mangled metal spiral from everything I own. They are not, however, the most attractive alternative.
Admittedly, they've tried to liven up the original black-and-white design, but the orange-and-black cow print isn't really my favorite either. With a few minutes, some patience during drying time and some extra fabric, you can have a cute notebook to carry around on all of your junior detective adventures.
Here's what I started with:
I found this fabric in the remnant bin at Jo-Ann fabric when I was hunting for grosgrain ribbon for the Dishcloth Beach Bag last week. Fabric stores tend to overwhelm me - too many choices in one spot and antsy kiddos that don't allow for leisurely browsing. But the remnant bin is ALWAYS my friend. I discover colors and patterns that I may never have pulled off the rack myself, but I end up loving them. And with mostly small cuts, I can spend $1.29 (like I did for this floral pattern) and not break the bank for my experiments.
Doesn't it make you think of an Asian woodcut? I love the delicate pink and the bright pops of red. First step was to iron the wrinkles out of the fabric.
With many fabrics, you could apply them directly to the notebook, but my fabric was extremely thin and the orange-and-black cow would be peeking through. So I cut two pieces of plain white bond paper (printer paper) to the exact size of the notebook's covers. I applied a thin layer of ModPodge and waited until it was tacky. This helps reduce bubbles in your paper or fabric. If you lay your paper down while the ModPodge is still very wet, your papers will tend to bubble and pucker. Wait a few extra minutes until the surface is tacky, and you'll save yourself a lot of frustration.
Here you can see the white paper applied to the front cover. I put the notebook on the fabric and trimmed a piece to the approximate size of the notebook.
Then I used the ModPodge again and applied the fabric directly onto the white paper. Work slowly and smooth as you go. Fold the straight edge of the fabric under the tiniest bit and but it up against the black tape on the notebook. This will give you a clean edge. You can always go back and apply a strip of black electrical tape to cover the raw edge if it shows through. In the case of this notebook, folding the extra under worked fine. Wrap the outer edge of the fabric over to the inside of the cover and use ModPodge to seal it down.
After the fabric dries, apply a layer of ModPodge to seal the fabric on the outside of the notebook. To maintain the soft feel of the fabric, you can skip this step, but I like to seal the fabric with a second coat.
Then I found this extra piece of 12"x12" scrapbook paper. Trim to size so that it will cover the raw edges that you wrapped around to the inside. Use ModPodge to attach the paper:
Here's the final product. A simple project that makes me smile everytime I pull it out of my bag to write down my super-secret spy notes! Tee-hee.