Elastic Holder For My Journal

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This is the final activity!  I showed you how I covered the journal, then I showed you how I marbled paper for the inside covers and now, I’ll show you how I make the elastic holder which slips over the front and holds necessary pens and for me, glasses. This band is so useful! Not only does it hold things but I can easily slide it off my full journal to put it on a new one. It is simply a strip of stitched up elastic. You need:

  • twice the height of the book you are covering of 5 cm/2″ elastic, plus 11cm/4.5″ extra elastic *
  • scissors
  • pins
  • sewing machine

* I only add a little bit extra overlap as the holder needs to be tight, so that when you sew it together the loop will be snug and firm around the journal.

Overlap and pin. Machine stitch.

Take the extra piece of elastic and working over the join in the elastic, fold the ends as illustrated, pin down and machine stitch.

Divide the piece into three even sections and pin down, then sew. I have sewn two channels between each section in the past but now I just use zigzag stitch and it works well.

I used to make one section wider than the others but three even sized sections are actually more useful.

The finished product. These covered journals make popular gifts, especially if covered in paper to match a pregnancy, a journey, even setting up a blog.

I use my journal every day and include a calendar in the back where I can mark times we’ll be away, when we have house guests and school terms for Western Australia.

Did you know yesterday was Play in the Sand Day? Here it would be Play in the Puddle Day as we’ve had more rain than we’ve had for years! The garden is happy, but the weeds are happier.

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How To Marble With Water-based Inks

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Marbling is a method of decorating paper by floating water-based inks on water, swirling the inks, pressing on the paper and removing it to dry. Traditionally oil based paints were used but I prefer prints which are easy to fold and glue, not rigid and thick like oil based prints.

I use marbled paper for the frontpiece and backpiece of my journals. I use Japanese water-based inks from an art supply shop and  printer paper. I used to use litho paper but prefer printer paper now.

Collect your materials:

  • water-based inks
  • a stirrer
  • rubber gloves
  • paper to fit your journal (I use sheets of A4 printer paper)
  • an appropriate sized sink/bowl of water

Drizzle inks onto the water and stir. I select colours to suit the paper used to cover the journal. You can created a darker pattern by increasing the intensity of the ink.

Smooth the paper over the ink making sure the paper surface is completely touching the water. Print two in similar colours for the front and back.

Remove and lay flat to dry. Usually I leave them outside where the prints dry very quickly but it’s raining today. This print looks streaky as it took a long time to photograph.

The paper needs trimming to fit the pages so I lay it out where it fits on the cover and the press the printed paper over the page edge creating a fold to show where to cut. You can see the fold to the right of the image.


Using the gluestick, put glue all over the surface to be covered and starting from the fold in the middle smooth down the marbled paper until it is flat and smooth. That’s the frontpiece done, now do the back!

Next week I’ll show you how to make the elastic holder which keeps everything I need on the journal, ready to go.

Today is Assistance Dog Day. There are many kinds of assistance  dogs: guide dogs, hearing alert dogs, seizure alert dogs and other medical alert dogs. Very clever dogs.

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How I Cover My Journals

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For more than twenty years I have written in a journal every day. Before that I kept travel journals, house building and decorating journals and a pregnancy journal. too.

My favourite giftwrap is no longer available and I have had to find another pattern. A sheet of giftwrap covers a lot of journals. This pattern is by Anna Chandler, a West Australian designer.

The frontpiece and backpiece are marbled paper. I use water based inks to print these.

I glued in this pop-up card from a hotel in Hanoi. Isn’t it clever?

I glue in mementos such as maps, cards, tickets and menus. Mostly I just write about each day and sometimes I draw, too.

This week I’ll show you how to cover the notebook, next week I’ll show you how to marble the front and back papers and finally, I’ll show you how to make the elastic holder for pens and, for me, my reading glasses.


  • a journal
  • giftwrap ( strong and glossy wears well)
  • scissors
  • gluestick

These red and black notebooks come from the newsagent. I cover them with my chosen paper, glue in the marbled papers and transfer my elastic holder for pens and my glasses. Everything in one place!

I like these journals as I can leave the red spine uncovered, this works best. I lay the journal on the paper then rule a line about 2cm, or 3/4 inch from the edge of the book. Cut a front and a back.

I use a glue stick to attach the paper. I smooth the paper on, pressing out any bubbles and then sometimes using a wooden ruler to remove any remaining bumps. You can hold the covered book in the light to be sure there are no remaining bubbles. Repeat with other cover.

Open the journal and fold the corner to the edge of the journal, fold back and glue the triangle you have created, then glue it down, pressing the folded triangle along the edge of the front. Do this for each of the four corners, two at the front, two at the back. Then glue down the top, side and bottom.

Don’t worry if the paper is not neat because you’ll be gluing marbled paper inside the front and back covers.

The finished product ready to write in.

Today is World Hepatitis Day. Hepatitis affects the liver. There are five main types: A, B, C, D, E. Hepatitis Day is one of only four official disease specific days declared by the World Health Organisation. Take care!

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Some Cooking, Some Reading, Some Decluttering and what to do if your Wallet is Stolen

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EATING Fish Curry. I spent so long preparing the curry I had to cook the rice using my no-fuss method. This involves putting the rice and water (one part rice to three parts water) in a pot and bringing it to the boil for about three minutes. I put a steamer on top with a handful of snow peas. After boiling for three minutes I stirred the rice, put the lid back on then when it was boiling again, turned off the gas.

Thirty minutes later I removed the steamer, re-lit the gas burner and cooked the rice for two more minutes then fluffed it up with a fork.

Easy rice and snow peas, delicious dinner.

READING a very old copy of Balzac and the Little Chinese Seamstress for my bookclub. It is about two youths sent to the countryside for re-education during Mao’s Cultural Revolution. They were forced to carry human excreta down the mountain to fertilize the crops, but slowly new worlds open to them. Not a happy book, but partly an historical account and partly a love story.

PAINTING. Enrolled in a water colour course and went shopping for some paints and paper as some of mine are very, very old. After hand surgery and seven weeks of therapy I am able to use scissors, write for longer and longer every day and, I’m sure, paint! Very exciting.

DE-CLUTTERING the top shelf of my Walk-In-Robe as it was too full and I don’t need so many work clothes. Looking at the pile I have made to send to the church shop, I realised they have one thing in common: they all need ironing. I’m keen on things that don’t need ironing!

What to do if your Wallet is Stolen. On Monday my wallet was stolen from my bag at the supermarket. I didn’t realise until I got to the checkout and reached into my bag to pay. It was a really horrible feeling but it was only the beginning of a dreadful week. If your wallet is stolen you need to

    1. Contact the police and get a report number.
    2. Notify your banks to freeze your accounts and get replacement cards.
    3. Notify other credit card providers and arrange replacement cards.
    4. Notify Medicare if you are in Australia or your social security provider. Also contact your health benefit provider.
    5. Notify stores where you have store cards or loyalty cards and arrange replacements.
    6. Notify any airlines you have loyalty cards with to get new ones.
    7. Notify your car breakdown service to get a new card.
    8. Download your drivers licence replacement form, complete it and get a  paper licence until a new one is processed.
    9. Get a new wallet and try to return to normal as soon as possible.
    10. Always zip your bag.                                                                                     This has been a really awful experience. Before I could contact them, one of my banks notified me about unusual activity on one of my credit cards at liquor shops, a jewellery shop twice (first purchase, a thin gold chain, second purchase, a gold crucifix)  and a jeans shop for clothing and K-Mart for more clothing. She was very busy in the hour and a half before the cards were frozen.

On a more cheerful subject note, today is Lamington Day. This is an Australian cake made from a small block of sponge dipped into a chocolate sauce and then rolled in coconut. Enjoy a lamington, or two, today!


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Fremantle is Western Australia’s largest port city. It is on the coast where the Swan River meets the Indian Ocean. British settlement began here in 1829. This photo was taken from Monument Hill east of the city looking over the town centre. A war memorial was built here in 1928 to commemorate the losses in World War 1.

Also from Monument Hill overlooking the port.

The Inner Harbour looking towards the Indian Ocean. To the left is the Maritime Museum.

The Maritime Museum from the other side, showing the Ovens Class Submarine. This photo was taken during school holidays and the submarine tours were very popular.

The Inner Harbour meets the Indian Ocean.

This statue of a man holding a suitcase in one hand and a ship in the other represents the journey taken by immigrants to Western Australia. There is also a dingo, an Australian wild dog, looking back at him. (not shown) This is one of several sculptures around Victoria Quay.

Streetscape of old buildings. Many house Notre Dame University.

Fremantle has a vibrant art community including the Japingka Gallery where you can see, learn about and buy ethically sourced Aboriginal Art. More information http//www.japingka.com.au

Fishing Boat Harbour was built in 1919 to provide sheltered mooring for the fishing fleet. Now it’s a thriving restaurant area. It is adjacent to the more recently constructed Challenger Harbour built for the 1987 America’s Cup challenge.

Bathers Beach and sculpture of a Bathing Belle.

And finally, to East Fremantle where we had lunch in a cafe on the beach overlooking the Swan River.

Today is Bastille Day. I have eaten aromatic sheeps’ cheese with a baguette to celebrate and also bought some Chanel 5. What have you done?

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Big Pot Cooking

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Picked up these fresh mussels at the fish monger and steamed them in a big pot. I made a traditional liquor of garlic, onion, tomato, a little olive oil plus butter and white wine. Wonderful.

Fresh and full of flavour. Mopped up the remaining liquid with bread!

Made stock in a big pot from four chicken carcasses to leave soup for our son while we were away down south at Margaret River. He doesn’t get home from work until late and it’s dark and the dog needs a walk, so I left soup to heat quickly. The stock was very concentrated and rich and made lovely soup with vegetables, pasta and a tiny touch of curry.

Using another big pot, our son cooked up this delicious pepper steak pie. When the potato is added it goes in the oven for about 30 minutes and is so great! ( Sorry vegetarians ) This pie makes four dinners for three people served with extra vegetables. It’s a family favourite.

My Aunty Marty gave me some orchids when she divided hers years ago and I’ve divided them a few times since. This is the first pot to bloom this year and I have put it on the table where I see it all the time. It is so lovely and a precious memento of her.

Tomorrow is International Chocolate Day. That’s pretty exciting and very easy to celebrate.

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Down South 3. Prevelly

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Prevelly is where the Margaret River meets the ocean. This little church, St John the Theologian, sits alone on the hillside. In 1941 when Geoff Edwards, a West Australian soldier, was evacuated from Crete, he vowed he would honour the Cretans and the Monks of the Holy Monastery of Preveli for saving him and so many other Allied Troops.

He owned this beautiful area on the coastline, which he subdivided. He built the chapel in 1978 as a token of gratitude, helped financially by other returned servicemen and the West Australian Greek Community.

Stark and beautiful, the chapel remembers the Greeks who sheltered, hid and helped the servicemen escape to freedom.

Rugged and pristine coastline with good surf. Lovely swimming beaches and limestone cliffs. This is where Margaret River meets the coast.

Home and cooking with fresh lemons. We have lemons on fish, in dressings, in slices and biscuits. No scurvy here!

Good crop of chilies, too.

Today is Canada Day. Better put some maple syrup on something! I’m thinking waffles.

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Down South 2. Yallingup

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This parrot enjoyed relaxing on the balcony of our apartment in Yallingup, too, and regularly came to visit.

Gorgeous small garden below our apartment.

Yallingup is known for great surf. There are also lots of very good restaurants at the many vineyards, breweries and galleries and a fabulous coastline. The hillside overlooking the beach features some innovative architecture tucked into the natural environment.

Known for its surf, this area has developed a world class, vibrant wine industry since the 1970s. There’s several breweries, too.

Lots of opportunities to buy local produce including baked goods, nougat, chocolate, locally roasted coffee and venison. We ate well!

We bought some venison at the deer farm and our son made this cottage pie. Looking forward to enjoying the other venison we bought and froze. Venison is not common in Western Australia but we really enjoyed it in Norway last year and were keen to try the locally grown meat. Ate some for dinner in Margaret River, too, and it was very, very good. It was char grilled, served on Brussels sprouts and cranberry salad with a pumpkin mousse. Venison is low in cholesterol and high in vitamins and minerals.

Interestingly, deer roaming towns in the UK have become a problem. According to the Daily Mail 26th June, the rising deer population is due to the absence of natural predators and a reduction in hunting and shooting. They are highly fertile and have benefited from changes in agricultural practices resulting in more winter crops and more woodland for cover.

Tomorrow is Meteor Watch Day. Meteors, also known as shooting stars, are the visible streak of light from the heated and glowing meteor falling through the Earth’s atmosphere. If you see one, make a wish!

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Down South 1. Dunsborough

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Lunch in Busselton on our way down south. This is the Busselton Jetty, the longest timber piled jetty in the southern hemisphere. It was built in 1864 and is 1.841 kilometres (1.1 miles) long. Once popular with American whalers, it was also used to export grain and timber. It is only used for tourism and recreation now.

To Dunsborough on Geographe Bay late in the afternoon. This is a beautiful stretch of coastline popular for  swimming and boating.

Dinner at a cafe with a range of beers. Ordered a share plate which included venison shepherd pies, mandarin and beet salad, spring rolls and a great pizza. We couldn’t eat it all! Really tasty, well prepared food, but the venison pies were wonderful. Spelling on the menu not so wonderful!

Really like to relax with a decorator magazine or two. We had a balcony over looking treetops with lots of birds and the sounds of the ocean. It was lovely!

Today is Take Your Dog To Work day. Wish I could, hope you can!

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Growing Microgreens

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Microgreens are edible, immature germinated seeds and usually less than 5cm/2″ tall. These little nutrient powerhouses are simple to grow, packed with flavour and beneficial enzymes and they look pretty, too.

Within a few weeks of planting they’ll be at the cotyledon, or true leaf stage. Snip and enjoy scattered on your food! Some will regrow, otherwise tip the soil onto the compost heap and start again.

Common microgreens are lettuce, kale, spinach, beetroot and  land/watercress. I’m growing lettuce, coriander (cilantro), spinach and beetroot. I grow mine outside, but they will grow well on a sunny window ledge indoors.

To add a little balance to all this healthy eating here’s the coffee cake, with coffee icing and chocolate dipped coffee beans, we devoured later!

Did you know today is Fresh Veggie Day? Get crunchy now!

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