Thursday 14 October 2021

2021 Topic 12 : Sustainable Crafting with JoFY {by Jo Firth-Young}

   2021 Topic 12: Sustainable Crafting

Jo has always been a resourceful cookie, and today she has a gorgeous Journal cover idea for you using fabric from an old leather sofa. Plus, a cute storage tray, so read on.... oh and did you know that Frescos are wonderful on leather ?! Search the blog for leather, you will find other projects too!
~ Leandra

Hi everyone, it's Jo ( with you today, and I'm here to share with you my take on sustainable crafting and the project(s) I created for this topic.

I'm a big fan on using 'discarded' items to create projects - the phrase 'reduce, reuse, recycle' is a favourite of mine.  I don't like to see things go to waste (or landfill) - if I can reuse it or repurpose it then I will (perhaps I was a Womble in a past life! lol). In the past I have made pencil/journal bags using the legs of my husband's old jeans, created triptychs from surplus building supplies, created many many journals from junk mail and found papers, upcycled decorative glass wine bottles in to table decorations, and I could wax lyrical about corrugated cardboard until the cows came home! lol  And don't get me started on the versatility of bubble wrap!

Its really satisfying to take something that would otherwise be discarded and turn it into something useful or lovely - hopefully both!

A couple of years ago we replaced our two big boxy leather sofas. We arranged for them to be collected by the council for disposal - but I couldn't bear to think of all that lovely leather going into the big crusher machine - so I cut off all the leather panels that could be salvaged and reused. I also saved the feather cushions, which I've since recovered and are on our new sofas!... recycling to the max!

The project that I'm sharing with you in this blog post is made from the leather salvaged from those sofas.

I've made several of these midori style journals - in all sorts of sizes - from the very small (4cm) to this one that will cover A6 size journals (10x15cm, 6x4inches). This is the size I like to use for 'junk journals' - a nice size to pop into a bag to take on a trip, or to hold in your hand while journaling.
The leather is thick but its also soft so it works really well for the wrap-around cover style I've used here.

The leather panel has been cleaned, dried and cut to size (16x32cm, roughly allowing to wrap 2.5 times around the width of the chosen journals). 

We all know that Fresco Finish paints can be used on any surface - and leather is no exception.  Pale OPAQUE colours were best suited to this project - I chose Spring & Mermaid and they look great against the dark brown leather.

I looked through my stencils for one that would fit the height of the journal cover.  PS164 is a lovely stencil that can be used as flowers or leaves and I thought it would suit being repeated across the leather panel, slightly varying the height of each repeat.

Once the Spring and Mermaid painted stems were dry I created shading to the 'leaves' by adding a fade of Beach Hut, easy to achieve with this translucent paint.


Additional details were added with Snowflake.
This leather and style of cover is very soft and supple and, because it wraps around the journals, I like to have a closure that also wraps around the journal - keeping all the pages (and the ever increasing thickness of the journal) nice and secure.

Two slits were cut in the leather with a scalpel, slightly smaller than the chosen ribbon, ready for the ribbon to be threaded through.

Of course a journal cover needs journals and carrying on the 'sustainable' topic I created 2 signatures/journals using junk mail envelopes, found papers, stash papers in colours coordinating with the cover, gel-prints, packaging paper, ledgers - anything that could be written or painted on!

Journals, to me, are something you work on little by little - they're very organic and personal...  but I wanted to give you a couple of simple ideas how to use stamps to decorate pages. I grabbed a couple of sets of JOFY stamps - one with a scalloped border (use it to shape or decorate the edge of a page) and one with flowers to stamp at the side of the page (write journaling around the stamped image).


Here are the two signatures/journals inside the cover.  The signatures are bound by tying together with a length of covered elastic. The leather cover can then be fed through these loops of elastic which will hold the signatures in place, but allow them to be easily removed to work when needed.


Sometimes I see an object (ok, lots of objects) headed for the recycling bin and think 'that is a useful/ interesting/ sturdy container, I could do something with that'... and that's how I feel about the wooden containers a particular brand of ready meals come in.  I like that the company is not packaging their food in plastic and also that I get to save the containers and turn them into something useful for my desk.

I gave this one a nice floral edge pattern with JM49.

They make nice, lightweight containers for holding bits and pieces on my desk that I want to keep close while working on a project.

and they stack inside each other... win win!

I like to upcycle pieces like this - it hasn't cost me anything, it serves a purpose and when I don't need it any more I can return it to the recycling bag!

I hope all the projects you've seen during the run of this topic make you look at items in a new way. Do they need to go to recycling? - could they be repurposed, even for just a short while, temporarily... give something a new purpose. 

There are so many ways to be a sustainable crafter. I'm trying to be better - recycling, and donating items/supplies to charities and groups. My next step is to use less baby wipes and paper towels in my studio.  

Every little bit helps doesn't it? 

Happy (sustainable) crafting!

Take care


Facebook:  JoFY Jamboree!! Facebook group
Twitter: @jofyjo
Instagram:  @jofyjo
Pinterest:  @jofyjo

Teaching: In my JoFY Jamboree!! Facebook group I will be sharing a free demo/class each Sunday at 17.00 (uk time).  These 'Seasonal Sunday' events are free and each week I focus on a christmas stamp set from my back catalogue of over 30 seasonal sets.

16 October 2021  'Start with a Stencil' Facebook live workshop hosted by Stampers Grove. (
23 October 2021  'Light in the Dark' FB Live workshop hosted by me, detail in the JoFY Jamboree!! and PaperArtsy People Facebook groups.


1 comment:

Helen said...

What gorgeous journals! they look gorgeous with that blue paint.