'Seasons' Notebook

This is the second notebook I’ve made, and I’ve used my own photos taken over the years, which cover the different seasons.

‘Seasons’ notebook
Back cover

Like the previous one I made, the cover is, again, a cereal box cut to size and covered with gesso and then painted.

Cover prep
Painted cover

The paper I use is 200gsm, which is sturdier than standard copy paper. For extra pockets, I used 3 A5 envelopes with the ends sliced open and popped in 4 mini notebooks which I made up with index cards as pages.

Mini notebooks
Inside of mini notebook
Inside pages

After my last gaffe with the misaligned signatures, I decided to go with just the one signature. The only problem was, with the number of pages I had – 18 sheets of 200gsm and 3 envelopes – it was a bit of a struggle getting the needle through all the pages. Having said that, I quite like the one-signature look.

In total, there are 42 pages (including the 3 envelopes). The overall notebook measures 7.4” x 5.3” (about 18.8cm x 13.5cm), and the mini notebooks are 3.1” x 2.4” (about 7.7cm x 6cm).

Making Notebooks

I’ve decided to add another day to my blogging week, mainly for things like craft, music and fun stuff, kicking things off with notebooks.

Handmade notebook

Handmade notebook

Back cover

Back cover

There’s a huge plethora of notebooks and journals, especially junk journals, on places like ebay and Etsy, not to mention the countless number of videos on Youtube on how to make them.

It’s no secret that I am obsessed with notebooks. It used to be stationary in general. One of my earliest memories as a toddler is being mesmerised by a tin of brand-new colour pencils! My sister still occasionally reminds me of my constant refusal to let her use my colour pencils. And we’re talking well past toddler age here!

Nowadays, I can take or leave most stationery, but show me notebooks, and I am likely to cave and buy at least one. The boys have given up asking me if maybe I have too many. I think they’re tired of hearing me intone, “One can never have too many notebooks.”

A very small selection of my bought notebooks except the small one on the top of the pile, which is an earlier handmade attempt.

A very small selection of my bought notebooks except the small one on the top of the pile, which is an earlier handmade attempt.

The many talented people out there who make journals and notebooks, they either keep for themselves or sell, and they are gorgeous, filled with so many elements. I love those and would buy a shedload, but – and ain’t there always a ‘but’ – I know myself well enough to know I will not use them. Yes, I know I have notebooks from way back which I have yet to use, but I am getting better at, slowly but surely, using them.

I can think of at least two reasons why I wouldn’t use the handmade ones. Apart from the obvious use of paper, many have cloth elements including ribbons and lace, and the page sizes vary. Because of that, I know I, personally, would find them too distracting to write in. And because some are almost like works of art, I wouldn’t want to ‘mess’ them up by writing in them, if that makes sense.

So, as a writer with a notebook-obsession, I’ve decided to make my own notebooks, taking inspiration from what’s out there, but without the many diverse elements. Apart from being easier to write in, I know I won’t find them distracting and I won’t have any hang-ups about making a ‘mess’.

I bought the design elements for this notebook from a wonderful online shop called Creative Market. This particular design is called ‘Born to Be Wild’ by Veris Studio.

The cover is a cereal box, cut to size. I covered it with a couple of coats of gesso and left it to dry overnight, then dry painted over that.

Cereal box for notebook cover
 
Inside cereal box cover

I do not know how I managed to mess up sewing the signatures to the cover! I measured, checked at least twice, marked up the cover, checked again, but still managed to get it wrong. I must be growing up – instead of getting in a tizz, I had to laugh. It’s so ‘me’, it’s unbelievable!

Despite the wonky signatures, I’m pleased with my notebook. And I’m about to make another one, this time using my own photos covering the 4 seasons. I’ll post pictures of that one in a later post.

Fantastic Friday: Craft - 'Raven'

This is the craft project that ‘distracted’ me from writing ;) After the last bit of crafting that I’d done, I was eager to continue; I’d forgotten how much I enjoy it. And I think it’s a good thing to get back into this instead of spending all my free time writing.

This idea came to me pretty quickly – make a book around the short story I’d written based on Edgar Allan Poe’s ‘The Raven’.

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It was a little out of my comfort zone in that I wasn’t going to be using ‘pretty’ papers and embellishments, and I wanted to keep the whole look understated.

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Getting the papers ready...

I was going for a ‘used’ look and thought the packing paper that usually comes with an Amazon order would work; I used that to cover the brown cardstock that formed the cover of the book.

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Wrapping cardstock with brown paper; I used PVA glue

I wrote the title onto vellum and attached it onto the paper before gluing that on the cover as can be seen on the first picture. Typically of me, I managed to smudge the writing but consoled myself that it goes with the whole ‘used’ theme. On the inside of the cover, I collaged torn pages from an old dictionary, vintage images and added a black feather.

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The stamp on the picture of the house, which is attached with 3D foam, is from a collection I have of vintage ephemera – I couldn’t believe that it’s of Mr Poe himself!

I printed two patterned papers from a digital collection, and glued them together – DIY double-sided paper! I printed another two pages, glued them together, and printed the story directly onto the papers. The images I found on good old Pinterest.

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I matted the image on torn mulberry paper; the lace is part of the paper's design

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The stained effect is the 'pattern' on the paper. I tore the edges and inked them in keeping with the 'used' theme

I covered the image with vellum to hint that maybe there was something secret and unusual about her transformation

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The last page and inside back cover. The blue clock faces are cut from another design; the smaller one is mounted on 3D foam. I cut the image of the green clock face in half and attached each half to either side of the covers

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The back of the book

To finish off, I attached the pages to the cover with ribbon. Personally, I’m really pleased with how this turned out.

Fantastic Friday: Craft - 18th Century Fashion

Apart from Christmas cards, I haven’t done any craft for… I don’t know how long. Lately, I find myself wanting to get back into it. I couldn’t decide what I wanted to do. Going through my craft stuff for inspiration didn’t get me far. It’s been so long, I’m embarrassed to say, I had trouble remembering what I had.

In the end, I thought the best thing to do was to start ‘small’ and decided to make a little book out of 3 cards. I chose the theme of ‘18th century fashion’. I’d collected images to do with fashion from that era as inspiration for one of my writing works-in-progress. Because it was to do with fashion, I used, not only paper but also fabric, ribbons and fabric flowers.

I found it strangely difficult to get started. It took me ages just to do the cover. But once I got past the first layout, it got easier. I just kept reminding myself to have fun with it… and I did.

The covers, front and back... The red 'jewel' is from a bracelet I'd taken apart.

In the layout below, I used pearls for the centre of the flowers...

I wanted to include men's clothing, especially the image on the right, which was the wedding suit of King Christian VII of Denmark.

The lady in the following double layout is Madame de Pompadour... The piece with the horn on the left is fabric. I placed part of a chain over the ribbon on the right.