january makes

Rhea-papercut-before-after

It’s been more than a year since my last papercut portrait. They are somewhat time-consuming and hard on the hand, but I absolutely love the result. I swiped a favourite pic off Rhea’s instagram feed and made this as a birthday gift for her. The one I made for the Guy was three colours (not including the background); this one is four. I like the extra detail that the fourth tone allows.

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The Guy and I leave notes to each other daily, as we keep very different circadian cycles. We’ve nearly filled an 80 page sketchbook, so I made another to have ready. Unlike the Christmas journals which were case bound, this one employs coptic stitch. I really enjoy book binding; it combines my loves of paper and sewing, and the finished product is tactile, useful, and beautiful. Can’t wait to start using this.

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And of course, there was sewing. Inspired by this tutorial, I made a chess set for a favourite soon-to-be-9 yr old. I bought the bottle caps on ebay, and drew the icons with an ultra fine sharpie before sealing them with polymer medium. I made small and medium-sized drawstring bags; one for the bottle caps, another to hold the whole shebang, folded up.

There was a lot more gift-making in January, but reveals will have to wait until the recipients open them. And there was a big fat shirt-making fail, but I’ll post those pictures another day, hopefully when I actually have success with garment-fitting.

blank story books: free download

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The blank story books I made for Miss Six back in July were so well-received, I thought I’d whip up some more for the other smallish people in my life. This time, I created a PDF that you guys can download and use. Just print whichever you pages you fancy, double sided. I reckon eight pages (two sheets, double sided, folded) is about right for a little kid’s story, but you can bundle them up however you like. Mix and match.

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My covers are cut from manila file folders, and hand stitched with dental floss. Easy peasy. I’m sure you can do something prettier or fancier. Give a handful of ’em with a pack of pencils, crayons or markers, then sit back and enjoy the stories they create.

These PDFs are for your personal use, or for giving as gifts. You do not have permission to sell any materials created from these files.

Download for 8.5″ x 11″ paper here.
Download for A4 paper here.

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cute little covered notebooks

Something weird happens to me in December. After the big push to get gifts made, wrapped, and in the mail to Australia early in the month, you’d think I’d breathe a big sigh of relief and step away from the sewing machine and paints. Maybe read a big book, or spend my weekends outdoors.

But no, I always feel like I’m all fired up for makin’ and just getting started. I look at the birthday list for next year, stalk Pinterest, and start plotting. I’ve got ten days off work, and I suspect most will be spent right here in my treehouse.

Soon I’ll show the gifts I sent to loved ones, but today I want to share yesterday’s project: covered mini composition books.

Mini composition book covers

I used the template found here. Before you start, be warned: not all mini composition books are exactly the same size. I bought some from both CVS (square corners) and Staples (round corners).

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The Staples versions, while claiming to be 4-1/2″ x 3-1/4″, vary in size. Some are clearly a full sixteenth of an inch wider, and do not fit the template. To make these work, you’d need to draw a revised template adding 1/16th inch to both the front and back panels. (Me, I’m just going to give my 10 Staples books to one of the many friendly printers I know, and get them trimmed down to size on an industrial guillotine before proceeding.)

Mini composition book covers

For the light blue covers, I wasn’t fond of the color of my card stock, so I gave them a wash with dark blue watercolor before assembly. These are now my favourites.

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For the string, I made a twisted cord with doubled Coats Button and Carpet thread. For the off-white nameplates, I printed a pale beige tint over a sheet of address labels, and hand cut them to size before drawing on the border. Imperfect? Yep, and that’s how I like it.

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I’m not one to get all squealy over little cute things, but I do think these are freaking adorable while being useful. The perfect little gift for workmates, methinks.

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