Fabric-covered journals:: a tutorial

Originally, this tutorial was planned for the Restore Workshop only. After unraveling the time and stitching together one more journal cover, I've decided that I love it so much I wanted to share it on here with everyone. As this series of my Restore Workshop comes to an end, I am happy to announce that we are working on future workshops from my dining room. My big hope and prayer is to ultimately prepare a homeschooling workshop, packed with tutorials for homeschooling, as well as create a year 'round community for Restore. Please enjoy this tutorial and share it as you'd like. Create one for yourself, your very best friend, and all someones special. And as soon as the details are in order, I hope you can join me for more Restore and we can make more beautiful things together. 

I’ve made at least a dozen of these fabric covers, designed to make a composition notebook beautiful, but I never stopped to write it all down so I could pass the instructions along. This is a wonderful place for scrap fabric (perhaps leftover from another Restore project) to become something truly beautiful.  It will fit a standard 9.75 X 7.5 inch composition book


When I set about to make this cover in order to jot notes as I went, I picked up a log cabin square with embroidery that I had begun for my friend Nicole’s January birthday.  My intent back then was to finish the embroidery in the middle of the square and then to use the piece as the center of a journal cover. For the purposes of this tutorial, I figured I’d finish the cover so that you could see and then I’d take the embroidery along with me to the waiting room while Patrick has surgery.  It seemed like a good plan.


As you can see when you look carefully at the pictures, I forgot temporarily that the embroidery pattern had been drawn in disappearing ink. That ink disappeared when the iron met the fabric in the construction process. Further, I grew unsure of my calculations and called Nicole to come doublecheck my numbers before I published this tutorial. So, the gift has perhaps lost a bit of its charm. I will redraw and she will have a journal, just not quite in the way I imagined.



You want to have a piece of fabric that measures 30 inches by 12 inches when you begin to actually make the journal cover. It can be all one piece or you can create patchwork. You can see several examples in the blog post. For this one, I created a log cabin square and then I added more strips to fill out the height and the width. As you create, you might need to consider where  your “front and center” will be. Aim for it to fall about 8 inches from the edge.


With the wrong side up, turn the short end under half an inch on both sides (wrong sides together) and press each carefully. Then, turn it under another half inch and edgestitch to close the fold. This will give you finished edges on both the pockets where the journal slips in.


Now position your cover over your notebook. Place it where you want that center to fall and put a pin somewhere to mark it for you.


Then, with the fabric wrong side down, fold the fabric in from either short end towards the middle. Watch where the front of the journal is going to be and adjust accordingly. Pin in place.


You are going to sew four different seams, one on each side. Sew an inch wide seam along each edge, backtacking or knotting at the beginning and end of each seam.


Cut the corners so that they’ll be crisp when you turn them.


Turn the whole piece so the right sides are out and use a chopstick or knitting knitting to sharpen the corners.

Slide the composition book into the pockets.


Now, to finish that embroidery. I promise to do it this week. Come back next Friday for the reprise of needle & thREAD and see if I can make good on that promise. 

Are you burned out, boxed in, and beat up?


I have something for you!

If you are feeling weary, frayed around the edges, or even falling apart at the seams, let's make something beautiful together. If you go to bed exhausted and wake up tired and it all seems like to much to do, let's journey together to a place of rest and peace. If you are willing to dig deep, do some soul-work, and seize the abundant joy that is Easter, let's begin the restoration. First, let me share some thoughts from last year, when Restore was first introduced.

This year, the time together has been expanded to include all of Lent and Easter week. When we begin, it will be mid-winter February. We'll stay together throughout march and emerge victorious in early April. We've added new written content and new podcasts (in addition to all the wildly popular original podcasts). There will be some beautiful new printables joining the ones we offered last year. The price will remain the same as last year and those of you who subscribed then and have told me you really can't wait to do it again can come back at a reduced price. (Check your email on Saturday for a discount code!)

Still not sure this is for you? Perhaps it would help to hear from women who traveled the path last year.

I'm so glad I invested in the workshop. I initially found it hard to justify spending money on myself, and questioning whether I was really experiencing burnout. From the very first essay, I was in tears realising this was exactly what I was experiencing and I wasn't alone. Every aspect of the workshop ministered to my soul and I'm so glad I now have all the resources available to revisit when I recognise the triggers of burnout resurfacing. I can't thank you all enough for your faithfulness in putting all this together - and I have a friend in mind that I will be recommending the workshop to. --Annette

Restore changed my life. I did not realize that there were other women out there with the same struggles of keeping God in the forefront. During this retreat, I found myself more calm and focused on what really mattered. I am so looking forward to getting back to that place as the accountability with the group really keeps me on track --Ashlee

Restore was such a gift for me. Coming off of the holidays and major changes in my life, I didn't realize how weary and spiritually parched I had become. Restore did exactly what it's name says, it helped to restore my joy, re-set my priorities, and renew my relationship with the Lord. Knowing a new devotion, video, and focus was in my inbox actually gave me courage to face the day and the community of women that formed was precious and sweet. Elizabeth and Joy are one of us--moms that have been in the trenches for quite a few years, who have weathered storms of motherhood, and who fight for their own joy daily. They put together a workshop that truly reached my heart and blessed. Can't wait for the next one! --Betty

Because I already felt like I was drowning, adding Restore to my packed schedule felt impractical and pointless. In fact, during the entire workshop, I was unable to implement any of Elizabeth's wise advice beyond the first few days. Nevertheless, just reading her gentle words daily was like a healing balm to my soul, and over the next several months following the workshop, I began to find balance in caring for my family and myself. Elizabeth has blessed me with a new understanding of my own dignity and worth and countless practical strategies to live out my vocation as a wife and mother with peace and joy. --Jenny

Although I'm not a wife or mother (yet), I have benefitted so much from Restore. After becoming broken in every aspect of my life (right down to broken bones), I needed help to put even the most basic parts of my life back into perspective. This retreat gave me the daily guidance and traction that I needed to begin to care for myself physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually. The lessons from Restore continue to inspire me and remind me that I glorify God when I make time for things that bring me life and joy. --Kate

Click here to take the first step.

Questions and Answers about Restore


I've gotten a few questions about the Restore Workshop that you might be wondering yourself, so I thought I'd do a quick post to answer those questions.

I watched the video and think this sounds great! Do you know if there is a necessity to be available at certain times? Or is it at your own leisure?

The workshop will go live on March 16 and then new content will be added daily. All the content will remain on the site until a month after the last post goes up on April 26th. You can pace yourself all during that time. Also, you can download the content and save it until later.

Will Facebook be needed for the Restore workshop? I'd like to go off Facebook for Lent but I NEED this workshop.

Absolutely, positively NOT. No way.


No social media will be required for this workshop. 

Can you describe the content?

Each week is full to the brim with helps and tools. In Week 5, which falls during Holy Week, there will only be quiet time meditations each day.  There is a daily quiet time encouragement each day of the workshop, seven days a week. On Mondays I will share a pre-recorded podcast with women who have experience that overwhelmed, exhausted feeling and who have some helpful insight on restoration. Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday bring in-depth essay on a specific dimension of restoration, exploring the tools we can use to bring us back to the life God intended we live. On Fridays, I'll offer a tutorial for creating something related to the topic of the week, something to lift your spirits and invite beauty into your lives. Most Friday creative pursuits have at least two options: one that takes a while and one that is fully do-able during a baby's short nap. Along the way, we hope you will be delighted by special gifts from our hearts to yours, like a place to journal and beautiful quote and verse printables to print out and hang. If you choose, you will also have a chance to engage in community in a private, encouraging, and restful place, learning from and sharing your journey with others. 

Will it require we go to the website each day or will it be delivered to our inbox daily? I'm trying to understand how this might fit into an internet lenten fast. 

It will be posted daily to the site. I think it would break an absolute fast, but I think it would work to just visit the site and download the PDFs and go about your day. I guess if you really wanted to stay away from the the web altogether, you could ask a big kid or your husband to download the PDFs for you. You wouldn't participate in conversation and you'd have the essence of the workshop on a paper copy. The essays and tutorials are all PDFs. The daily meditations are only available on the site throughout the workshop.

It's the workshop written from a Catholic perspective?

I'm Catholic, so I suspect everything about me is influenced by my tradition. That said, this workshop is written for women of all faiths and denominations. My contributors come from across the communities of faith, joined together in grace and sisterhood. In conversations within the community, we ask that love, grace, and charity guide our speech with one another, and find our grounding in faith within the guidance of the Nicene Creed. 

Are there any hardware or software requirements to be able to participate?

As long as you can access and see the website, there are no other requirements. 

Are the podcasts with Ann, Sarah, Aimee, Ginny, and Colleen at a specific time? Do we have to be available that day?

The podcasts are pre-recorded; the content is loaded at 8 am EST, so you’ll have access to each podcast in the morning on Mondays. It will then stay on the site for the duration of the workshop, so there is plenty of time to listen!

Are we reading essays written by you? Or are those 3 a week essay prompts for us?

I have written all the essays and all the Quiet Time prompts. The only writing left for you is your private journaling.

Ok, so you said we can print this right? I'm on the computer so little and Iphones don't work for me when I'm trying to *restore*. I need paper.

We have plenty for your paper! All the essays are lovely PDFs just waiting for a pretty binder. They had some awesome ones at Target for under $5, by the way.

This sounds wonderful. Is it directed to mothers? I, sadly, am not a mother, but a working wife and I would love to participate in something like this.

While I am writing to mothers from a mother’s perspective, the workshop content is surely helpful even if you are not a mom…there are a few places where I focus on how to balance children’s needs and serve them wisely, but I’m sure you can pull out what is applicable to you and your life. Most of the content is not focused specifically on motherhood, but on how to nurture ourselves in different areas. We’d love to have you join us!

How long will registration remain open? 

Registration will close just before Holy Week (April 12). The only thing you’ll miss if you join us late is the daily conversations with other participants and the slow progression of the daily quiet time meditations throughout the course, but the content will all be there for you to use and you’ll be able to read the previous conversations as well.

I would also like to gift a friend with this workshop- how can I do that ?

What a lucky friend! You would go through the purchase as normal- just mark in the notes in paypal that it is for a friend and their name and email address, and I’ll take care of the rest! I’ll send you a separate email with a note you can share with your friend to let her know. We've had a lot of fun bearing these gifts in the last week and we've found they're very much appreciated!


For more information and to watch the video invitation, click here. 

Are you burned out, boxed in, and beat up?


I have something for you!

If you are feeling weary, frayed around the edges, or even falling apart at the seams, let's make something beautiful together. If you go to bed exhausted and wake up tired and it all seems like to much to do, let's journey together to a place of rest and peace. If you are willing to dig deep, do some soul-work, and seize the abundant joy that is Easter, let's begin the restoration.


Click here to take the first step.

A very small peek at RESTORE






I've got a real quick needle & thREAD this week. Most of my reading has been related to a burnout recovery workshop I'm writing called RESTORE. I'll have lots more to share with you on that next week (God willing). This morning found me deep in the book of Job and C. S. Lewis' The Problem of Pain.

Katie and I played with beribboning towels yesterday, in advance of receiving some brand new unbleached diapers destined to become very pretty burp cloths. Let the baby sewing begin! A tutorial for those and for the embellished, quilted towels will be part of the RESTORE workshop. 

That's all for today here. We've got a busy weekend ahead and my front door will be revolving with comings and goings of a half dozen people or more. Off to prepare!
needle and thREAD

What are you sewing and reading this week? I really do want to hear all about it!

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