Hello. I’ve been gone for quite a while. Some of you know that my husband was diagnosed with brain cancer a while back. He passed in December. It’s a journey I never dreamed either one of us would experience, me as caregiver or he with such a diagnosis. As he often said, “It just happened. It’s life.” To that end and as per his wishes, I will carry on, right here and right now. You are part of my healing.
Tackle that stash
A few months ago I wondered what it would look like to make a journal using old greeting cards. I had never seen a card journal but the idea was intriguing. My therapy while being a caregiver, journal-making taught me patience and to my surprise, brought great joy.
I have many very old cards, but some were my own. Below is the inside of the featured image card, to me from my great aunt, Hazel.
Therapy yes, but being the packrat I am, I knew that unless these are displayed somehow, they would end up back in the box where I found them and my kids would never see them. I had to do something.
I’m a paperholic. I’ve been collecting since I was quite young (there, I’ve admitted it).
Everything (fit to print) qualifies; I have 50 year old stationary, grade school papers (mine, and those of my children), wallpaper books (mine and my mom’s), my kids’ craft remnants, writing tablets, receipt logs, books galore, magazines, calendars, personal papers, work papers (do you know how much fun it is to surprise people with a periodontal chart in a journal? It gives this hygienist the giggles), envelopes, and the very best: all the genealogy-related papers one could imagine. I have sanitary napkin bags. Anything goes.
One might guess that I have a houseful of paper. I do.
I had the innards but needed a cover. What better than the purple and brown fabric that belonged to either HER MALEVOLENCY or her daughter Lalla, my grandma? That’s when the idea clicked. What a fabulous way to tell a story (OK, and get to play with paper and fabric). Before you break out the checkbook, look around your very own house.
Upcycle and reuse
Use what I have
When I started making journals, since I have a lot of
junk supplies here, I decided that if possible, I would buy nothing new when putting one together. I would use what I have.
For the most part, that is exactly what I’ve done. With few exceptions, the paper I’ve used in my journals has come from my house. I bought one pack of floral printer paper and a couple of rolls of trim at the dollar store. I purchased gel pens and paper clips. I couldn’t resist a couple of new rubber stamps; however, the ink I bought when the kids were little is still good. One needs lots of glue so I stocked up on that. The only other item is cardboard–not corrugated–but the kind you get with boxes of Cheez Its. Better yet: the large boxes of Ritz crackers (think Costco).
I made scrapbooks when the kids were in grade school and kept many of the papers purchased back then. A little imagination and your supplies may suddenly boom.
A theme indeed
My great aunt Bertha, Hazel’s younger sister, saved everything. That
character flaw trait passed directly from her to my father to me, which explains how we have a pile of Bertha’s mail. Were it not for her, however, the LETTERS partially responsible for the creation of this blog were likely something I’d never have seen.
You could say I went postal for this theme. I’ve added a few newer items for color and interest. Otherwise, these are from aunt Bertha’s mail box.
Merle was my father. He had just turned 13 when he wrote this postcard.
This beautiful postcard is from a friend who traveled to Iran.
I taught myself how to assemble a journal from watching videos and posts on the internet. There are many ways to do this, and my methods change as I learn more. When I made this one, I was using spray glue and more duct tape than I care to admit. Now, I use Mod Podge and duct tape only inside, beneath the fabric, to better secure the spine.
Above is the purple and brown fabric that belonged to Orah and/or Lalla. The brown duct tape is stronger than a mule and it matches. I will cover it with lace because it is far from attractive. I’ve learned.
The nice thing about making journals is that anything goes. The cover fabric can be upholstery, denim, very thin, thick, patterned, plain, textured or anything in your stash. A cover can be made of newspaper, tablet paper, wallpaper, Christmas wrap. The choices are endless. The themes are endless. The insides can include anything you wish.
For this journal, I happened to have fabric that belonged to the family. The cards were all of a similar size, the theme is a period in time when Bertha lived, and I had enough fillers, so to speak, to add interest.
My next journal will be the cards and letters sent to me after Bruce passed away. It may take some time, but I can’t think of a better way to collect and display such memorable tributes.
What in your home can you make into a journal as a way to tell a story?
Thank you for reading. ❤