Updated: Feb 3
As you flip through your #monthlybiblequiltjournal and get excited about the year ahead, there are some things you can do now to prepare it for our exploration of monthly themes in 2021. Ready to "move in" to it??
I intentionally had the BQ journals printed white so that you have a "blank canvas" to personalize with your own color scheme. I'll share with you how I set mine up and you can tweak the process however it suits YOU!
I used some number stickers to put the year on the front cover. You can add your name, a motivational sticker, etc.
Since this year's binding coil is blue, I chose some blue washi tape to outline the edges. I used a standard-width washi so it would fold over the edge, essentially framing both sides of the cover. You can use contrasting colors or even mix and match. The front has a protective plastic cover, which helps its durability throughout the year. You can add a washi tape border on the back cover to reinforce those edges, too.
Then I tied a couple ribbons on the spiral for a little bonus texture. You can tie on a tag with the year, your name, or an inspirational sticker. (You don't have to all of this at one time...mine tends to "collect personality" as the year unfolds.)
At the back of the journal is a set of monthly tabs that you can tear out, color and attach.
Tip: When you tear out the tab page, hold the spiral firmly so the coil doesn't get stretched out of shape.
I think it's easier to color all of the tabs before cutting them. I use a mix of colored pencils and markers. You can add stickers or washi tape also.
Next I cut out all of the tabs. You can use a paper trimmer or scissors...or a combo of both.
A set of blank tabs is also included in the Monthly BQJ. You can use these for the blank pages throughout the journal for whatever topics you'd like. I decided to use them for my monthly topic tabs because they're the same size and shape to easily glue them back-to-back to the month tabs.
These tabs are designed in such a way that you can cut them all square, all circle, or half-square and half-circle.
At this point I'm cutting all of mine square so they'll match up with my Monthly Tabs.
Ok, now you've got two colorful sets of tabs cut roughly the same size. You're ready to attach them to your BQ journal!
You'll see in the videoclip that I had already prepped some of my calendar pages. As I went through the process of attaching my tabs I realized that I had written references or used cute stickers in the areas that I needed to put my tabs to keep them sequenced in alignment. So, learn from me: attach your tabs first, then you can work around them as you start to fill in your journal pages!
I made a printable of the 2021 Monthly Topics that can be used to make a sticker sheet. I used a set of these for my topic tabs, placing the stickers at the top half of the tab so they're visible over the edge of the page when the journal is closed. (Extra topic labels can be used on the BQ Calendar.)
If you don't want to make stickers, you can write the topics with a marker or sharpie on the tabs.
Recap: Basically I glued my monthly tabs and my topic tabs back to back, sandwiching the calendar page between them. Tip: I lined up the monthly tabs into the position I wanted them, holding them in place temporarily with little strips of washi tape. Then I glued the monthly tab onto one side of the page and glued the topic tab onto the other side.
Want to protect your journal tabs? Try this trick I call "fake" laminating:
Once you've got all of your monthly tabs in, you're probably ready to start filling in the calendar pages. Each month will need the dates filled in. You can do these all at once or month by month as the year progresses. Tip: Some of this "busy work" can be done while you're watching a holiday movie or sports with your family.
You can use the list of topics inserted into the book pocket on the back cover of your journal as a cut-and-paste label or use another set from your monthly topic sticker sheet. I designed an empty banner on each calendar page for the monthly themes.
February - Love
March - Renewal
April - Redemption
May - Godly Attributes
June - Grace
July - Freedom
August - Steadfast
September - Belief
October - Provision
November - Mercy
December - Peace
Here's a sneak peek of my January page via a time-lapse video that gives you an idea re: my process:
Other information I add:
**daily references for the monthly theme (I'm working on those lists for you & will be releasing them quarterly)
**letter-of-the-week for my ABC Bible Quilt Journal (we cover the alphabet twice in a year by doing one letter each week)
**holidays and family birthdays
**scheduled BQ Zoom chats, Bible study meetings
**an anchor verse for the month (usually there are a few blank squares to give you room)
You can use seasonal stickers and washi tape as an embellishment for your calendar pages.
Another step of preparation you can do in advance is to print, cut, and hole-punch your BQ Flip Card sets. I slide the cards onto a small binder ring, often tying a colorful ribbon on the ring as a finishing touch. You can even use one of the topic lists from your sticker page on the front cover of each set.
The first set of monthly flip cards is in the back of your Monthly BQJ. Once this set is carefully removed, you'll have plenty of "growing room" in your journal as you add templates or other embellishments to your pages throughout the year.
Local friends, I've got a bundle of 11 pre-cut & hole-punched Monthly Flip Card sets available in my home shop. I decided it was worth the printing cost to have these made up for us as labor/time-saver. Let me know if you're interested and I'll get you set up!
I hope you enjoy "moving in" to your Monthly Bible Quilt journal as a way to begin preparing your heart for the journey we have ahead exploring a wide variety of topics in 2021. I'll be releasing the topic lists quarterly to help us all pace together. You'll have plenty of flexibility re: how you approach using your journal, establishing your own rhythm. You have two blank pages each month to create your own freestyle pages or to add in some seasonal templates.
If you're itching to get creative in your BQJ, you could be praying about your word/phrase that you intentionally want to focus on in the new year and start collecting verses for it.
I'm looking forward to our BQ journey together in 2021 and hope it blesses you, too!