DIY Crazy Quilt Covered Blog Planner-Part 1

So today I’m going to be starting a short series on how to make your own blog planner.  This project is a little involved, and definitely not for younger children (there is pretty heavy use of sharp implements and a sewing machine), but for those who are willing to attempt it, they’ll be shocked at how easy it is to make your own books!

First though, a supply list:

  • paper to use as book pages
  • heavy cardboard for the book cover
  • embroidery floss (you’ll see it inside the book so pick a color you like/matches your pages)
  • a curved needle
  • an awl
  • a ruler
  • a cutting mat
  • an xacto knife

Day 1 of DIY Blog Planner:  Book binding!

For this project I used a free printable blog planner that can be found here:  blog planner.  I really love her stuff it’s super cute and clean and efficient, but there are TONS of free printables to be found on the internet, and there are even tutorials to teach you how to make your own lined paper (or alternatively you can just use fancy scrapbooking paper!).  So this project can easily be adapted to just be a regular journal, or a day planner or whatever you want.

Step one of this project is to print whatever you are going to use as the pages (if they need to be printed).

To make this easy to bind as a book using coptic stitch you have to manipulate your printer settings a little bit.  First of all, you cannot just hit print and print the whole thing.  Because you’re going to be folding these pages into signatures (a section of pages in a book that are bound together) in order to bind them into a more traditional looking book you have to print just a few pages at a time.  The most common size for signature is 4 pieces of paper that are then folded in half to make 8 pages (16 if you’re counting front and back area).  To print Ruth’s blog planner in a way that will allow you to fold it into signatures of 4 pages at a time you need to set your printer to look like this:

how to print signaturesOnce you finish printing pages 1-16 you can then print pages 17-32, 33-48, 49-64, 65-80, 81-96, 97-112, 113-128, 129-136.    As each set of pages prints, it a good idea to fold it while the next set of pages is printing.  The way you fold it is down the middle in the order they come out of the printer.  That way when you hold that one little section of pages like a book the pages flow in the right order.  Once that set of pages is folded set it aside, and fold the next set-being sure to stack the folded signatures in the right order.  It’s SUPER DUPER SERIOUSLY I CANNOT STRESS THIS ENOUGH IMPORTANT that you DO NOT GET THE PAGES MIXED UP!!  That is a nightmare, or at least it was for me, and so i literally had to start over. Fold as you go, don’t wait to fold everything at once.

Also, it’s really ok that the last set of pages isn’t going to make a 4 sheet signature.  That’s ok, to have the last signature be “short”.  But if it really bothers you, you can print 132-135 just like you did the other signature pages and then insert it in the middle of the last signature set.  Doing it that way won’t disrupt the page order, and all it does is give you extra “notes and ideas” pages.  And who couldn’t use more of those?

Once you have all your signatures folded and stacked appropriately, take the top signature and measure it.  Use those measurements to cut two covers for yourself from heavy cardboard.  I bought a 3 pack of cheap canvas covered boards for painting and cut them up to be the size I needed. But if you want to do this on a serious budget-RECYCLE!  Grab yourself a box and cut the covers from that.  Don’t worry if it doesn’t look pretty-it doesn’t have to look pretty, because in part 2 of this tutorial we’re going to cover the outside covers with some fun, funky, quilting!  (Trust me, not as hard as it sounds.)

Step two is to actually begin binding the signatures together into a book.

I could put the pictures of me doing this part up here for you to look at and try to figure out what’s going on, but honestly it’s much easier for everyone to understand how to actually bind their book if I send you to view a free video on the subject and then come back for part 2 of the DIY Blog Planner.  A few tips I’ve learned through experience though, before you go watch the video:

  1. It really is MUCH EASIER to bind using a curved needle.  You can get them in the craft section of walmart for literally $2 for a 4 pack.  They might be labeled as upholstery or quilting needles, but whatever the brand you buy calls them they should be seriously curved.  Like “C” shaped.
  2. Waxed thread isn’t really important.  I’ve used both waxed and unwaxed thread, and I’ve never had problems either way.  If you want to make your own waxed thread so you don’t have to order some off the internet, just take a small tea lite candle and run the thread of choice over the candle to wax it.  Zoila!  Waxed thread.
  3. The thread I’ve found to be easiest to use is embroidery floss.  It’s nice and heavy, doesn’t tangle much, and comes in a million colors to match any project.  Also it’s cheap.  You can do this whole book on a single skein of embroidery floss with floss left over, and at my local Walmart a skein of embroidery floss is literally $0.33.

And now without further delay!  Go watch this video from SeaLemon on how to coptic stitch bind books so you can finish part 1 of the DIY Blog Planner and be ready for Part 2 (Decorating!!!) next week!  When you’re all done it should look like this:

blog planner collage

Hope you guys like this new tutorial!  I’m excited to show you my “cheater” method for crazy quilting using a sewing machine!

Much Love!

Lizz

Make your own journal or photo album!

So I don’t know about you guys but for me part of healing is writing.  It’s natural for me to want to put down what I think and feel during times of stress but I’m terrible at consistently journaling, like every day.  I like to use more smaller journals instead of less bigger ones, that way I actually fill up the journal I’m using instead of having dozens of half empty journals laying around.  That’s why I love little journals like this, they’re cute and easy to fill up.  And bonus!  This journal could also be used as a cute, portable, photo album to slip in your purse or pocket to take your pictures with you places.  (Or maybe that’s just an idea that appeals to me because I’m old/old-fashioned.)  Want to make a photo journal?

accordian photo album

This project is super easy and super cheap.  To complete this project you will need the following:

  • a set of note cards about 4×6.  (I think 3×5 might be a little small, and 5×7 isn’t exactly pocket sized.)
  • a roll of clear cello-tape
  • an x-acto knife
  • ribbon of your choosing (really you just need a scrap)

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I picked up some cute printed note cards in the scrapbooking aisle at my local Walmart for approximately $3.  The rest of the supplies I already had at home, but in total this project shouldn’t cost more than $10-$12. The first step is to remove the notecards from the packaging they came in, mine were glued into a temporary booklet, so I carefully tore them out one at a time.  Then I stacked them neatly in the order I wanted them to be in in the accordion.

accordian folder step 1

Then all you have to do is tape the cards together on alternating ends to create the accordion.  I put a piece of tape on both the front and back of the seam to make it nice and secure.  Here’s a picture of how I tape them together:

accordian photo step 2

And here’s a picture to show the accordion effect and where exactly to tape the cards:

accordion photo step 3

Continue taping until you’re out of of cards, or you are happy with the size of your photo album.  Once you’re done taping, as a finishing touch, tie the ribbon around the journal to keep it from flopping about.

finished accordion album

If you want you can glue the ribbon to the back cover so that it won’t slide off or get lost when you open the journal.  I chose not to do that to this journal because I am still deciding if I like the black ribbon with these colors or not. And that’s it.  Now all you have to do is journal, decorate with stickers or stamps, and/or add the pictures you’d like in there.  These are also really fun to give as personalized gifts, especially to older relatives.  Print off pictures you think they’d like and put them in the photo album as a gift.  These are also a great project for teens to make to record their high school memories in. One photo album could be made for every year of high school to keep pictures and special notes and memories.

Love Always,

Lizz

P.S.  Isn’t the sentiment on the cover card just perfect?

Tiny crochet hats

When I first came home from the hospital I couldn’t do much without help.  And I got tired really easily.  The pain medicine I was on didn’t help much either, it made me so dizzy and out of it I could hardly focus on a movie, let alone do sewing projects like I wanted to.  But I still needed something to keep my hands somewhat busy, so I decided to pull out some crocheting to do.

I have an inordinate amount of yarn just lying around and I wanted a project that I could finish quickly and easily that didn’t need a lot of keeping track of what stitch I was on in the pattern (grief seems to completely destroy your attention span).  And while looking for something easy like that to work on, it hit me: I should make baby hats!  When the nurse brought Enoch to my room after my c-section she had him all wrapped up in a tiny blanket and under that he was wearing tiny clothes.  It didn’t matter that he was 4 months early and was 10 inches long and weighed no more than 15 ounces, she had somehow found him clothes.  Mind you they were nothing fancy, but the gesture touched my heart deeply. She knew that he was a person, and that he mattered, and that people wear clothes (they even let us keep the little outfit).  The clothes in question were a tiny hat and something akin to an oversized sock that I refer to as a “preemie sleeping bag”.  They were knitted in matching yarn, and had been donated by a local woman for use in situations like mine.  And so in thinking about how touched I was to have my son brought to me in clothes I set about to make hats and preemie sleeping bags to donate to the local hospital.

I ended up finding a pattern in crochet that was perfect, and you can get it for free from here: baby hats. The pattern can be easily scaled up or down based on gauge, weight of yarn, or size desired, by doing little more than adding or subtracting the number of increase rows you crochet and using an appropriate size hook for the yarn you have available to you.  And if you want to make a preemie sleeping bag, all you have to do is make it slightly wider than your average hat (add an extra increase row or two) and keep adding rows until it’s the length you need.  I make mine about 12 inches long-I figure they can fold over any extra at the top if needed.

Last week I brought a gallon size ziplock bag of them (probably about 2 dozen hats) to the maternity ward where Enoch was born.  They really appreciated it, and they hardly recognized me: they said I was looking a lot better and healthier.  It was really good to do something nice for others and the repetition of doing the same crochet stitch over and over again was very therapeutic!

Love always,

Lizz

P.S. Here are a couple pictures of hat number 27-ish (honestly I’ve stopped counting).  For this particular hat I used a skein of Bernat Softee Baby in the color “Pyjama Party” and I used a US size G crochet hook because this yarn is a #3 “light” weight yarn.

easy crochet baby hat  baby crochet hat 3  

My first post.

“Enoch’s Mom:  A journey of healing through crafts, cooking, and love.”

So after reading that you might be wondering what this blog is really about.

Crafts?

Cooking?

Healing?  (…from what you wonder.)

Well to be totally honest, I’m not sure I’m entirely satisfied with that tagline for this blog.  I’m not sure it really encompasses the full scope of what I’m trying to accomplish with blogging.  So instead of trying to rely on a one-liner to explain myself I’m going to write my first post about it and hopefully lay out the direction this blog is going to be headed also.

In January of this year (2015) I gave birth to my first born child-a son.  Unfortunately for my wife and I our son was stillborn 4 months to the day too early in a bout of extreme pre-eclampsia that almost killed me.  We named our son Enoch, a name I love and cherish as much as the biblical story behind it.  As I began to heal from the emergency c-section my doctor used to deliver Enoch, I found that aside from the love and tenderness my wife and I share for each other, one thing that kept me from falling apart into a blithering ball of tears every day was crafting.  I’ve always been a crafter, but after Enoch died I found that my crafting had also morphed into a kind of therapy.  I found solace in the repetition of a crochet stitch, or hand quilting the small quilt I had begun for him while I was pregnant, or stitching a small cross stitch project.  (All projects I’ll discuss further in their own posts.)  In short it’s been crafting, cooking, and love that have, and continue to, help me through this hard time in my life.  And that’s what this blog will be about:  crafting, cooking, vitamins, good books I read, whatever helps me feel less crazy.  And maybe, just maybe, this blog will become one of the things that helps me heal too, maybe it will even help someone else through a rough patch.  But we’ll have to wait and see about that.  Until then, I hope you like quilting and cookies.

Love Always,

Lizz (Enoch’s Mom)

P.S.  Since I understand how crazy busy life is and how hard it can be to carve out time to do anything, (let alone read blogs on the internet) I’m going to try to keep my posts to under 500 words.  You’re welcome.  🙂

P.P.S.  Here is a picture of me, you know, so you have a face to the name.

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