With life being incredibly busy, and possibly by necessity as a result of my advancing years, I love notebooks. I have a small notebook on the fridge so we can add things to the shopping list as soon as we realise we need it. I have one in the car to keep track of my mileage and vehicle expenses, and one in my bag. My craft studio is also home to several notebooks, each with a specific purpose.
I know I’m not the only person who is attracted to pretty notebooks and pads, but I’m not keen on some of the prices! So I prefer to buy cheaper boring or unattractive ones and decorate them myself. This is what I did this morning, with a 5″ x 7″ stitched notebook purchased recently from Dollarama.
IN THE TREETOPS
I decided that my focal image would come from the Free As A Bird Stamp Set and began my project by looking for a complimentary background.
I found exactly what I needed in the Perennial Essence Designer Series Paper (DSP) pack. There were two primarily green designs, but I went with the more leafy one. It reminded me of a weeping willow, so I made sure to pay attention to the direction when I cut it.
My 5″ x 7″ notebook has stitched pages and a rounded spine and this determined how I decided to cover it.
First I cut the DSP 7″ x 12″ and attached it to just the front cover using Multipurpose Liquid Glue (Tombow). Then I wrapped the paper around to the back and used a pencil to mark where I needed to trim it. Once I’d cut along the line, I set the book aside to work on my pencil loop.
From the off-cut of DSP I cut a 3-1/2″ piece and wrapped it around the mechanical pencil. Next I glued the two ends of the DSP together and then fixed the loop to the back cover. Then I could use more liquid glue to attach the DSP to the back of the notebook, covering ends of the loop.
I love the image of the birds lined up on the branch from the Free As A Bird Stamp Set. So having chosen that I stamped it onto Whisper White Card using Tuxedo Black ink.
Then I used Paper Snips to fussy cut along the top edge of the image. I could have done my colouring first, but felt that if something was going to go wrong this was the point at which it was going to happen.
With the bulk of the fussy cutting complete I then slid the image inside the #7 die from the Stitched Nested Label Dies (counting from the smallest up). I wanted to die-cut just the bottom section of the image with the die, so I placed it with the cutting pad only covering the area to be cut.
Then once that was done I could spend time colouring in the image using Stampin’ Blends alcohol markers.
The colours I chose were the light and dark combos in Balmy Blue, Old Olive and Crumb Cake. Then there was Ivory (used as a base colour for the branch) and dark Petal Pink. Finally I chose light Pool Party, Flirty Flamingo and Mango Melody.
During this process I noticed that I still had a little fussy cutting to do around the top of the third bird. I also decided to stamp the ends of the branch onto some scraps of Whisper White Card and colour these too. Then the two sets of flowers and leaves were cut out.
Finally, using Tuxedo Black ink, I stamped the “We’re the best of friends” sentiment in the area beneath the birds.
A STICKY NOTEBOOK SITUATION
If fussy cutting was fiddly, gluing the piece to the front of the notebook could be a problem. But I had a solution.
I placed my fussy-cut pieces onto a Silicone Craft Sheet and squeezed a small pool of liquid glue in the corner. Then I used a piece of Stampin’ Sponge to pick up some of the glue and lightly tap it onto the card.
Then it was a simple process of fixing the main image to the front cover of the notebook. With that done I added a small flower with two leaves to the left end of the branch. To the right end I added just a single leaf. This allowed me to hide the raw edges of the join between the die-cutting and the fussy-cutting.
And that was it, my useful but unattractive notebook was covered and decorated.
OK it was fiddly, but I love the process of creating something pretty and useful. What about you?
UPDATE 2020: Sadly the Perennial Essence Designer Series Paper has retired and is no longer available from Stampin’ Up!