Aug 292013
 

I received a special request recently for a lined journal, something that I have not yet offered at MisterPenQuin. Because the journal will be used for a sorority celebrating its 100th anniversary, I was asked to use the sorority’s colors, azure blue and white. I accepted the order, never dreaming that azure blue paper for the cover would be so difficult to find. After visiting four stores this past weekend, I finally found solid-colored paper in the desired shade of blue, but it was, to say the least, uninspiring. What could I do to fix that? I browsed through my block stamps and found a few that might be good possibilities for over-stamping the blue paper. My buyer liked this idea, and chose a Stampabilities “Swirls & Curls” design to be stamped in Moonlight White Brilliance pigment ink from Tsukineko®.

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I cut the cover paper and thick chipboard to size, and rounded the corners. Using the right tools for this job makes all the difference. I have discovered that the Zutter Round-it-All cuts through heavy-weight chipboard like butter, but doesn’t do a very neat job on card stock. The Crop-A-Dile Corner Chomper from We R Memory Keepers, on the other hand, does a crisp corner cut on card stock, but can’t slice through thick chipboard. (We’re talking about 1/8 inch thick chipboard here; thinner varieties will probably work.)

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For the first and last pages in the book (the end papers), I decided to add texture to the paper by embossing it with a Fiskars “Dots” plate. Because the Fiskars texture plates have designs that measure six inches by six inches, the same dimensions as the book I was designing, they were particularly appropriate to use. If you are unfamiliar with how to emboss with Fiskars texture plates using a Big Shot, read one of my previous posts, Embossing with Fiskars texture plates and your Sizzix® Big Shot.

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While I waited for the glue to dry after I adhered the blue paper to the chipboard, I made a layered paper flower. I sprayed it with Perfect Pearls Mists from Ranger to give it a little dazzle. The doily on which the flower rests is not part of the book, although I did crochet it.

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Before I bound the book, I punched the inside pages with my Cinch from We R Memory Keepers, which made things very easy. If you have a Zutter Bind-it-All, this works equally well, but the holes will be rectangular instead of round, and there are a few more steps to the punching process because it is a narrower gadget.

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The finished book, I thought, looked tidy and definitely more interesting than the plain azure blue paper with which I started.

Finished Journal

Have you ever had to change directions when the supplies you wanted to use weren’t available?

© 2013 Judy Nolan. All rights reserved.

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Aug 222013
 

In this day of electronic reminders, I still like to keep a few of them in paper format. I guess it’s very similar to the feeling you get about a card someone sends you in the mail versus an electronic greeting. You’re more likely, I think, to store the former as a keepsake over the latter. At any rate, in keeping with my preference for certain reminders to be in paper format, I am introducing a “Save the Date Notebook,” a few of which you’ll find in my Mister PenQuin shop on Etsy. The five-inch by five-inch book is divided into 12 sections for the 12 months of the year, and each month you’ll have 84 opportunities to enter a special date for a birthday, baptism, anniversary, graduation, bar mitzvah or something else.

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I used BoBunny’s Flutter Butter “Breeze” paper for the above book. The papers in this collection are so cheerful that I couldn’t resist combining several of them in one cover. I joined together different sizes and shapes of the paper, patchwork-style, using a combination of straight and zig-zag stitches from my sewing machine. Really fun!

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I also made an aquamarine-colored Save the Date Notebook from the same Flutter Butter collection. There’s something about this color that just makes me happy!

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How do you keep track of important, recurring dates?

© 2013 Judy Nolan. All rights reserved.

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Aug 162013
 

I was browsing through YouTube videos recently, when I ran across a silent video about a Jacob’s ladder. A Jacob’s ladder is a folk toy made of wooden blocks, connected by strings of ribbon. When you hold aloft a stack of the blocks, and then let go of all of them except the first block, the blocks appear to tumble down like a waterfall. For this reason the toy is also known as “tumbling blocks.” The term “Jacob’s ladder” comes from a Biblical allusion in the Book of Genesis that refers to a ladder to heaven. In any event, the toy is a lot of fun for children and adults alike, especially since you can do tricks with it.

For some reason the image of a Jacob’s ladder wouldn’t leave my mind. I began thinking about how I might be able to create a book whose pages tumbled in the same way that the blocks of a Jacob’s ladder do. It wouldn’t be exactly the same, but I was convinced I could make it work.

“What in the world would anyone do with a book like that?” asked my husband. “It would be as thick as a hamburger.”

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My Jacob’s ladder-like book, instead of individual blocks, has three sections for three types of paper: blank, grid (or graph) paper, and lined pages. The three types of paper represent three ways of thinking, since the book is designed to be a “Creative Ideas Accordion Notebook” where you can capture all of your ideas, inklings, or designs—no matter how they occur to you—in words, pictures, symbols or numbers.

3 Types of Paper

Like a Jacob’s ladder toy, you can extend the book vertically, and its components come tumbling down.

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You can also play visual tricks with the sections in the book, just as you do with a real Jacob’s ladder.

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This particular Creative Ideas Accordion Notebook is a prototype, but there will be more to follow in my Etsy shop, Mister PenQuin. It’s odd how ideas get started, don’t you think?

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© 2013 Judy Nolan. All rights reserved.

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