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A few weeks ago I had three of my beautiful nieces have birthdays.

They are all several years apart but born on the 22nd, 23rd and 24th of August.

This year I have made a lot of my birthday presents for our nearest and dearest. Yes it takes a lot more time and effort, but I am really enjoying making each gift and seeing the children’s faces when they open something that is just for them.

Each of the girls received different presents. Lucy turned 1 and so she received an appliqued t-shirt and a doll that I had made with her name on it’s bottom. I will post a “how to” on this shortly as I have made 3 sets similar to this and am to make one for Maggie’s first birthday coming up.Lucys 1st birthday

Michaela’s birthday is in the middle and she was four this year. For our Miss 4 I decided to make a little bag that she could carry all her trinkets in. I then decorated the fully lined bag with some puff paint and made a necklace to put inside the bag.Michaelas birthday

The final birthday in our list of three, was for my eldest niece who was turning 13. Sweet 13.

There was no hope of me choosing something for her that was cool, trendy or fashionable. I am well out of the loop in that regard and so I tried to think of something meaningful.

I came up with a journal. Let’s face it, the teenage years in a girls life are very unpredictable but if they can write things down, even just for themselves, it might help.

The journal that I made (covered) had her initials hand embroidered on the front and included little ties to keep it closed.Covered Journal

Today I thought I would share my few simple steps on how to make one for yourself or as a gift.

You will need:

  • A journal of some description. I found mine at Lincraft that had simple but decorative pages.
  • Some fabric to cover. This denim is actually from a pair of my old jeans. You could use patterned, plain, corduroy anything really. I just chose denim because it was a bit younger looking and heavy duty.
  • Embroidery thread and needle.
  • Ribbon for the ties.
  • Paper for the inside front and back covers.
  • Hot glue gun.
  • A nice pen to go with the present.

Step 1: Open out your book and cut your fabric just over an inch wider all the way around.

Step 2: Work out where you would like to embroider your initials and mark on the fabric with some fabric chalk. I drew the letters free hand but you could use tracing paper to mark some letters on.

Step 3: Embroider the initial. Please don’t be daunted by this. I have only ever been taught to do cross stitch and using a stitch book I was able to work out how to do Satin stitch for the fat parts of the letters and Chain stitch for the remaining lines. You could use any stitches that you like for this though. When you have finished, iron the fabric (wrong side) to make sure everything is neat.Embroidered Initial

Step 4: Lay the fabric face side down on the table. Place the book exactly in the centre and make sure your letters are going to appear in the right spot when it is glued down. Close the book and place hot glue on the front cover. Working quickly, place the fabric over the glue and smooth out with your hands. Please note: You will still have the edge of the fabric flapping all the way around.

Step 5: Place the front side (which is now attached to the fabric) face down on the table and repeat the gluing process for the spine and back cover. Making sure to keep the book closed so the fabric is stretched enough.

Step 6: Open the front cover and trim the corners and centre spine angles like you would if you were covering a book. Run hot glue along the inside cover around the edge and then stretch the fabric over the glue and smooth. You can see below how it looks once glued. Repeat for the back cover.

Step 7: Using a ruler to find just above the centre point. Glue your ties in place.


  • Make sure your ribbons are up the same way front and back.
  • Make sure your ribbons are long enough to tie into a bow comfortably.
  • Make sure your ties are even front and back.

Placing the ribbon

Step 8: Cut your paper to size for the front and back covers. Using the hot glue gun again, glue the paper in place, covering all of the raw edges of the fabric and the ribbon end.Inside Front Cover

Step 9: Tie the ribbon and wrap your beautiful present up with the pen.

I have to say when I finished this project, I really wanted to make one for myself I was so happy with how it turned out. I was even more pleased when my niece opened her present and truly liked it.

Please let me know if you decide to make one I would love to see how it turns out.