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likes: clever tools, snazzy colors, working for justice, kid wrangling, Meyer lemons

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Entries in tutorial (2)


It's a stitch! binding tutorial

Calendar © 2009 Cameron Blazer / Cottage IndustrialistWhen I posted the school-year calendar pages at the end of August, I said I'd post a binding tutorial later that week. Yes, well. Real life sort of inserted itself, and it's taken me until today to take photos and write it up. The good news is that this binding works for more than just calendars, so if you've already printed yours out and put it together, you can still try this out.

The premise is quite simple: when you sew paper together, it puts little holes in the paper. So, as you sew, you create perforations. This is perfect for a calendar, no? Well, for the tutorial I'm demonstrating it on a little notepad.*

Sewing Machine
Heavy-duty thread
Glue stick (or Xyron)

  1. Line up your pages (I've done as many as 16 pieces of text-weight paper with no problem) and use a binder clip or two to hold them in place. If you are using scrap paper, turn all the already-used pages in the same direction first. And if you have odd-sized pages, don't worry. Just line up one straight edge. If you want a sturdier notebook, use a piece of card stock for the last page.

  2. Using your binder clips to hold things in place, trim your pages to whatever size you want your notebook to be. If you have a rotary cutter with snazzy blades, you could trim the bottom edge with a deckle or scallop blade for a little extra pizazz.

  3. See? These are scraps from my patternmaking obsession. I am happy to finally be putting them to use. But you could use any kind of spent or plain paper, really, so long as it didn't have weird personal data on it.

  4. Now, with the binder clip still holding the pages together, you're ready to sew! My best results have been with a ver sharp needle and heavy-duty upholstery thread. You want to make sure that you start the sewing as close to the edge of your notebook as possible—this makes the perforation part work better. And until you know how your sewing maching will handle the pages, it's probably easiest to use your wheel to manually move the needle. There's no need to backstitch at the beginning or end--you're going to take care of that later. I used a 1/2" seam allowance, but you could do a larger one—whatever floats your boat.

  5. The bound notebook ready for embellishing.

  6. Now, trim a piece of pretty paper to the width of your notebook. It doesn't really matter how long it is unless you want to get all perfection-y. You just need it to be long enough to wrap from the edge of the seam over the top of the notebook over the seam on the back.

    I used my Xyron machine to put a thin layer of adhesive all over the back of my piece of paper, but you could do this with a glue stick or sticky dots, too.

  7. Here, I have already pasted the paper to the front of my notebook.

    Before folding the paper over to the back, gather the loose ends of your threads with one hand and hold them in place as you smooth the paper over them—see, no loose ends!

  8. Voilà! Admire your finished notebook.
  9. Write yourself a little note, tear it off, and go!

Seriously, putting one of these together takes all of 10 minutes. And there is something soooo satisfying about perforation, n'est-ce pas? And if you take a stab at these, how's about join the new cottage industrialist flickr group, and upload some pictures?! Yes? Swell.

*As an insomniac, I lie awake night after night making mental lists of all the things I need to do, but I'm thinking that if I can jot them on a little scrap of paper, and tear it off in the morning to take with me, it might help me chill out.


Something Shy of a Tutorial

Well, I really, really wanna show you, the Internet, what I did this weekend. Not the part where my entire diet on Sunday consisted of chocolate chip cookies. The other part. Where I made something really, really cool. I want to, but I have to wait because, of the six people who read this, four are likely to receive said nifty thing or a variant as a gift this year.

Instead, I have decided to show you a couple of other things. These are not so much tutorials as suggestions for things you may have forgotten you already knew or something, right? What I mean is that if you already have the tools for these things, you should be good to go; if you do not already have these tools, I don't anticipate a run on the craft stores at the end of this post. You follow?

So. I believe I have mentioned here before the awesomeness that is the Xyron laminating machine. I have a big one (a 900?), which, aside from laminating 8 1/2 x 11 sheets of paper can make stickers and magnets from all sorts of things you find around the house. I think most people who have these are really into scrapbooking. Me, not so much. I have never so much as "scrapped" a page. Just not my thing.

I digress.

Nifty Thing #1: Snowflake Magnets

Among the myriad cool things about the Xyron is that you are not limited to using it with paper. I've used fabric, cork sheets, lace, and even tinfoil! Yes, tinfoil. So the first wee thing I thought I would show you is that you can make cute little snowflake magnets with your Xyron.

  1. Rip off some tinfoil.
  2. Run it through the Xyron with a magnet cartridge
  3. Use cute snowflake punches to make snowflake-shaped magnets. Push hard. Those suckers take elbow grease!
I made a bunch of these, and they look sweet scattered on the fridge or dishwasher. I also made a colorforms-esqe christmas tree with tiny hole-punched red magnets for my little boy to decorate--it's cute-ish but not ready for primetime.

Nifty Thing #2: Patterned Tape

Over the last year or so, I have seen cute patterned tape promoted in lots of places. People in whose taste I put a fair amount of stock positively swoon over it. It's cute as an idea, but I just don't use that much tape. Am I doing something wrong?

Anyway, my minimalist tape habits notwithstanding, I do think there are some cute applications for this stuff, but I wanted more flexibility. And to not pay like $10 for a roll of tape. Enter: tissue paper. I have been known to stockpile swell printed tissue paper. Like all things flat, I have run it through my Xyron. And I have discovered that if you cut it into strips, you get neato patterned tape!

  1. Cut off some tissue paper.
  2. Run it through the Xyron using an adhesive cartridge, being careful, if you are neurotic like me, to keep it from wrinkling on the way in.
  3. Slice your sticky tissue paper into strips (I used a rotary cutter with a pinking blade. Because, why not?)
Et voilĂ ! I have only done this with the permanent adhesive, but it might work just as well or better with the repositionable flavor. Although the adhesive does give the tissue paper a little more strength, it is still fragile stuff, so don't use it to secure packages in the mail. I used it today to seal boxes of cookies I took to the sherrif's deputies at the courthouse. Because, you know, they are really at the center of the patterned tape demographic.

The Thing Where You Start to Feel Better About Yourself

It is the holiday season, a stressful time for many. A time when people can feel frazzled and inadequate. Well, consider the feeling of superiority about to wash over you a Christmas gift from me to you. I took some pictures tonight of my workstation. Which is to say my dining room. I am an itenerant crafter--I have to pack up all this junk every few days to let real life happen around our house, so clear plastic bins are what pass for organization. And because I have the attention span of a drunk mosquito there are always somewhere between three and ten projects in various stages of completion strewn around the room and lots of empty plastic storage bins. Also, in the shot where you can see into my kitchen, you can see that I have conceded the battle to keep crap off of the refrigerator, a battle which I waged successfully until my son started bringing home drawings from school (thus my embrace of seasonal magnets in this post).

I keep thinking that if I just had a space where all my stuff could be spread out it wouldn't be such a mess, but my husband says that there is no such thing as a room to contain my projects. I guess he is leaving out the padded alternatives. He must really love me.