This is certainly a post I had no plan to write. The past week has been an incredibly difficult time for my husband and I as we suffered our third miscarriage in a row. I will write more about our losses later in this post, but for now I thought I'd kick off the instructions on how to make a koselig journal as it has served me well during our time of loss.
Decorative Cardstock Paper
Embellishments - optional
1. Place one sheet of decorative paper inside your composition book cover so the backside of the paper is facing up. Make sure you place the paper inside in such a way so that once you take it out and flip it right side up, the image is facing the correct way! I have mistakenly done this step wrong many times and ended up with upside down flowers once I go to tape the paper on the cover. Also if you line the paper up along one of the edges you are certain to have one straight edge and save yourself some cutting time too!
2. Trace around the outside of the journal cover with the pencil.
3. Cut along the traced line on the paper then repeat steps 2 and 3 until you have two decorative papers and two white pages cut to size.
4. Set the paper on the journal in desired location to ensure sizing is accurate. Depending on how tightly you wedged the paper inside the cover when you were tracing you may need to trim the straight edge slightly so that it doesn't hang over the spine too far. I used the white paper on the inside of the journal to cover up any branding from the manufacturer.
5. Once all the paper is cut as desired, apply double-sided adhesive to the backside of the papers along edges and in center then apply to journal. Apply some pressure when putting the paper on so that you can get the adhesive to stick well.
6. Once all the paper is applied, cut ribbon to desired length and apply with double-sided adhesive. Depending on what ribbon you use, you may need to use a glue, super glue or a roll on tape may suffice. I recommend testing this prior so you do not get too much glue on your journal or make a mess if it isn't sticking well to the book.
7. Apply any additional embellishments to your journal.
8. Gift or enjoy for yourself then write, write, write!
1. I was having a hard time finding Scandinavian designed paper in traditional stores and online until I stumbled across printable downloads on Etsy! I found my paper from various shops on Etsy. Just search Nordic or Scandinavian Digital Paper and enjoy! Once you pay and download the files, you can print as many copies as you like.
2. If you find your edges are difficult to get perfect, you can also tape/glue down the paper (let it dry if you are using glue) then use a sanding block to sand along the edges at an angle. This will allow you to get your edges perfectly smooth and you can add a distressed look too!
3. If you want to ensure you don't have any ripples along the edge of the journal, place your paper on a scrap piece when applying the adhesive and allow the adhesive to run over the edge so that it is applied along the entire edge perfectly.
4. Less is more on embellishments because if you pack your journal to write in later, you may find your journal getting caught on other things in your backpack.
The supply set list! Hardly anything to it really.
Lining up the paper getting ready to trace. This is an easy step to get mixed up on so double/triple check that when you flip that paper back over it will face the way you want!
Cut, cut, cut and cut some more! You can skip the inside covers if you like. Some composition journals have some fun things inside the cover that may be useful to you.
Getting ready to tape! I should point out that this journal is bi-color because I was running out of blue ink in my printer. Since I was making this for a baby journal I thought it was a happy mistake by me and kept it as is. I just covered where the ink got sketchy in the middle with the ribbon.
A close up shot of the embellishments I used. I found these at a garage sale about six years ago so unfortunately I cannot point you where to find more. I had saved them for something special all these years and certainly found a good place to use them on this special journal.
So for those of you interested, I would like to say a few things about our loss. As I had stated earlier, we have now had three miscarriages. This journey to parenthood has left us on the brink of motherhood and fatherhood over and over, but one essential element to my grieving has been my journaling. I have created a special journal for each baby as soon as I learned we were pregnant that is unique to each pregnancy and had written nearly every day.
I wrote about our upcoming doctor appointments, my symptoms, our feelings, plans, and conversation as we have prepared to have a little one enter our lives. Once the losses have occurred, the journals have been helpful to document the overflow of emotions that come along after. If my experience is like anyone else's, you know that the thought of a miscarriage is a very difficult conversation to have with others. Any kind of grieving is difficult really, but losing something that you have cherished and most everyone else didn't even know about means there really isn't anything for those around you to grieve alongside with you. My advice to those going through this is to think of your support team as a boardroom. Sometimes you have certain people at the table discussing the matters at hand and sometimes you have other people leave. Not everyone is going to say or do the right thing to help you through this tragic time, but hopefully everyone can find a few people to have at the table helping them make it through... even if it is a skilled professional such as a counselor or medical team. This advice actually came from a dear friend of mine named Dawn.
We have taken the time to do many things to honor our lost babies, this blog post being one of them. We also named each of them so that when journaling and conversing with each other we have a much simpler way to refer to each loss. It also allows us to recognize each loss as an individual event, unique to that pregnancy. The names we picked were Ingram Liv (Ing represents a Norse goddess of fertility and Liv means "life" in Norwegian), Gaven Magni (Gaven is "the gift" in Norwegian and Magni is the son of Thor, Tor is my husband, in Norse mythology representing strength), and Freya Lin (Freya is the most beautiful of Norse goddesses and also represents fertility while Lin is similar to my middle name Lynn and represents waterfalls which we find a beautiful symbol of life). We love each of our babies with all of our hearts and they will be with us always.
The journaling started out as a koselig way to enjoy the adventure of pregnancy and a way to share those memories with our children as they age. Even after the losses however, they have allowed me to reflect on the good times, recall information for the doctor, and also find some closure for each baby. Although we will never be able to meet them, these journals are a way to physically see something that represents that part of our life together. As we grieve such a recent loss, these journals represent sadness more than happiness by far, but my hope is one day we will be more at peace with this part of our journey to parenthood and will be able to share these experiences to help others in need. We also hope we will be able to fill up a journal with many more weeks of memories past the journey of pregnancy, into childhood and beyond.
Thank you for taking the time to read this post in full if you made it this far. It is certainly a hard thing to discuss with others. Please send us an email to share your stories or if you have any questions about our experiences. We have learned a lot through this and I am more than willing to help others in any way I can.