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

True Confession

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So I went back and re-read my original post and while what I said there about the topics this blog will cover still stands, I would like to add something to the “why I started a blog in the first place” category.  After re-reading that I got to thinking and if I want this blog to help even just one person I need to be totally brutally honest about why I’m here in the first place.  I mean, if I just wanted to shout into the void I could easily journal-and I do.   (And if you want to make a journal similar to the one pictured above stay tuned and I’ll do a tutorial in the near future).  But I have a purpose for shouting into the void known as the internet:  accountability.

Here’s the deal:  my life has not been perfect, or easy, or simple.  A good percentage of my quarter century on this earth has been consumed by grief, stress, sadness, and complications.  Things always seem to work out for me in the end, I’m not really sure why, but things often seem to take the long, bumpy, stressful, crazy road to working out.  And in the past my methods of dealing with grief, stress, sadness, and mess haven’t exactly been the most healthy for me.  I’ve chronically over-eaten for most of my life, was a heavy drinker as a teenager, actively injured myself (yes on purpose),  and as an adult struggled with serious crazy over spending.

But this time has to be different.  This time I can’t half a chocolate cake for dinner every night, or drink like I don’t care about my liver (or if I wake up), or hurt myself.  This time I can’t go out and just buy things for the sake of buying things.  To be honest my husband and I have too many things as we stand now.  Every day I put more things up for sale on the internet in hopes of simplifying my life some.  This time I have to face grief, and sorrow, and stress head on and not crumble under the strain.  And so that is where the blog comes in.  Of my various means of dealing with stress in the past, over-eating and over-spending are the two I still struggle with to this day.  And those are the two things I hope this blog will distract me from doing.  I’m hoping that by being accountable to my readers (however few they may be) I will be able to come through my grief without racking up the biggest credit card bill ever.  In fact, I’ve even been applying for jobs around my town to help keep me busy.  My thought was that if I had a job to go to every day, even if just for a couple of hours, that would be a couple of hours I’m not at home stuffing my face and thinking up things I “need” (like the treadle sewing machine I got my heart set on yesterday…).

So there’s your dose of honesty for today.  Hope it wasn’t too shocking.  :p

Love always,

Lizz

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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