I love to make these little journal covers for gifts and for myself! They hold a 5 x 8 junior-sized legal pad which you can find at Wal-Mart, Staples, Office Depot, etc. The pattern is from Quilting Arts Gifts Holiday 2009/2010.
I use heavyweight fusible interfacing to make them crisp and sturdy. I use a ponytail holder instead of elastic because it comes in so many different colors. There is a pocket on the left side which is great for coupons. I use mine daily for my shopping list. I also like to make them in Christmas prints for holiday shopping lists. If the brand name on the top of the notepad really annoys you, you can cut a strip of fabric and fuse to the top header of the pad.
This is one of my favorite prints to use for this project. I bought this fabric years ago knowing that the right project would come along to use it for. I used a pearl button for the closure.
A quilting friend gave me this cute print with yarn balls. I use this journal for my knitting notes.
A sewing friend let me dig through her button jar to find the perfect button for this bright journal cover.
There are lots of other great patterns and tutorials for journal covers. What is your favorite?