It’s been a while since I made these but I sold quite a few at the craft fair last week so need to replenish stocks. These were the first notebooks I made, They are the easiest of the spiral notebooks to make as they only have 6 binding holes, which is the default size of my binding machine. Larger books with more than 6 holes require a bit more planning & thought. 10 holes or more can be done fairly easily using the machine’s extension feature but 8 holes (as in my lego books & 5.25″ floppy disk books) can’t be done this way, but I managed to work out a template, which was a bit of a hassle to do but was well worth it as it makes an 8-hole binding really quick to do.
Batch of Lego notebooks ready for the craft fair. I had forgotten how much fun it is to make these. I have a huge stash of ‘random paper’ ( plain, lined, graph, music, account book etc). Mostly from charity shops, although nowadays (ie post-covid) there is much less of this type of thing in charity shops so it is harder to find. Although I did mention I had a huge stash. The Lego bases are also harder to come by. I use the old (original) thin bases which are flat on the back, & are thin enough to fit in my binding machine. The newer ones are thicker (so you can build onto both sides), but are too thick for the binding machine. They do come in more jazzy colours though, so will probably get some & just drill holes & do a sewn binding rather than spiral. The other problem is that you used to be able to get the old ones fairly cheaply but now they are ‘collectable’ & people are selling them for ridiculous prices, especially any colours other than the more common grey or green.
Really I have been here all the time, still making things but ‘proper work’ got in the way more & more. Now I have retired I can get back into just making stuff. I did love my job but it was becoming less enjoyable due to endless paperwork, bureaucracy, & internal ‘politics’.
I am hoping to get back into the craft fair circuit & also start an online shop. So, to break myself back in gently I did a small local fair a couple of months ago & am doing this one (above) this Sunday, 5th November. There will be a pop-up cafe with all preceeds going to the food bank. There will also be a food bank drop-off point. Any money left from table hire, after paying for the hall hire will also go to the food bank. There will be lots of craft stalls all selling beautiful, locally-made goods.
Also hoping to update this website as it’s not that user-friendly & I don’t really like the layout so am preparing myself to trawl through some other themes to see what suits. Also badly need to update the gallery pics as they are so old & look very basic compared to what I am making nowadays.
Most of the cards I make are one-offs, as what I make usually depends on what idea pops into my head, what papers I have to hand, what my favoutite colour is at the moment & what mood I am in. There are however a few recurring themes that prove to be popular & fortunately I seem to be able to produce again & again. Here are my favourite cards to make at the moment. They will still always be slightly different depending on what paper I have – that’s what makes them unique.
Recently I have been asked to make several retirement cards. The brief for this latest one that it had to have ‘tartan’ & that the recipient was ‘outdoorsy’.I came across this quote a couple of years ago & it really appealled to me, so I felt I had to include it. I recently ordered the Tim Holtz ‘honeycomb frameworks’ die & couldn’t wait to use it. Another old favourite is the Quickutz ‘hiking boot’ die. This always looks good when cut out of leather-look paper. The addition of tiny eyelets & laces makes it look very realistic. The tiny eyelets are a bit fiddly to set, but make all the difference. The letters for the quote are all cut individually. I have used some of the negatives to add interest. To finish off I added the recipient’s name at the bottom.
I’d seen cards on Pinterest with cats made from fishtail banners turned upside down, which make very good cats. I spottted these ones using SugarPea designs ‘stitched banners’ dies. These banners are much slimmer than the regular ones, which makes for cuter cats. I managed to find the dies on Ebay, & set about making my own version. Another advantage of them being so slim is that you can use up little scraps of paper that you just can’t bear to throw out. The whiskers are thin strips of silver foil ribbon or stalks from paper flowers (stiffened thread). The eyes & nose are brads.
I know I have been a bit quiet lately as far as posting here goes, but I have definitely not been idle. I have posted a lot more recently on my Facebook page (see link under ‘useful‘).
A few months ago I came across an advert for some classes to make a series of long-stitch leather notebooks. I did do some bookbinding classes a few years ago, but it was mostly hard-back binding. I have always loved the look of the decorative stitched spines & wanted to learn more about how to do them. The classes were away across town & a bit awkward to get to after work so I almost didn’t go. In the end I did & I’m so glad I went as I learned a lot of new skills & also met a bunch of people who were just as passionate as me about making books. The books were made using scraps of leather which could easily be folded to make a wrap around cover. I knew I had a stash of leather scraps which I could use, & was delighted to find a huge faux leather tablecloth in a charity shop for a couple of pounds. This worked well, as did some astroturf which I rescued from a neighbour who was throwing it in the bin. The class tutor said that she had even used leather from an old charity shop handbag & also even an old leather sofa. So if you see me in a charity shop eyeing up leather trousers, don’t worry as I am probably wondering if I could use them to make books.