Tutorial: Simple Sketchbook Journal Cover

How to personalize a sketchbook or journal cover with recycled artwork or cardboard.I always keep a sketchbook by my side to jot down ideas, draft patterns and outline my blog posts. I am typically working on dozens of projects every week, so this little journal is one of the ways I keep my thoughts and processes organized.

When one sketchbook gets filled, I move on to the next.

Being an artsy-craftsy person, I really enjoy pretty things, so when I recently purchased my newest sketchbook I decided to personalize the cover and brighten it up a bit.

I used an old watercolor painting from my stash that's pretty, but not quite frame-worthy. You could just as easily use a piece of your child's artwork, a scrap of colorful cardstock, an old book cover, a piece of recycled cardboard or anything that is on a piece of heavyweight paper or lightweight chipboard.

Materials




Directions



As I said before, I used a watercolor design that I painted on a heavy watercolor paper, but you can be creative with your cover material. Just about anything is better than the original cover.
Open the sketchpad to the back cover.
You should be able to gently separate the wire binding and slide off both the back and front covers.
Remember how the covers are placed so you can slide them back on to the wire binding later.
Measure the original front cover and trim your new cover to the same size.
Looks good so far.
Turn your new cover face down and use the old cover as a template so you can lightly trace the binding holes with a pencil.
Next, it's time to punch the holes in your new cover.
Carefully use a paper punch to make holes in all the spaces you traced then erase any remaining pencil marks.
Position the new front cover and the original back cover and slide them back onto the binding wires. Gently push the binding wires closed.
The new sketchbook cover is definitely an improvement.

I think the heart shaped holes match the hearts in my artwork nicely. It's just a little detail, round holes would have been just as functional, but the heart shapes make me happy.

How to personalize a sketchbook or journal cover with recycled artwork or cardboard.

And now I'm ready to start sketching and writing all my design notes in my pretty new notebook.

How to personalize a sketchbook or journal cover with recycled artwork or cardboard.

How will you re-cover your sketchbook or journal?


Knitting Pattern: Lifeline Pocket Purse

Free Knitting Pattern: Lifeline Pocket Purse to carry just the essentials (phone, wallet, keys) when you are on the go.I'm a mom and for 17 years my family called my purse the "Big Bag of Everything". I was like Mary Poppins. If you needed a tissue, it was in my purse. Need a pen? In my purse. Bandage, ibuprofen, reusable shopping bag, nail file, eye drops, lip balm. They were all in my purse and there was still ample room to hold everyone else's stuff, too.

Now that the nest is empty, I can finally downsize my "Big Bag of Everything" to a much more convenient "Little Bag of Necessities". It is so nice to carry just what I need instead of what the whole world needs.

With that in mind I designed this pattern to hold just the basics when you are on the go. It's approximately 4 3/8 inches wide x 6 ½ inches deep.

Many thanks to Endless Leather for providing the fantastic silk cord and jewelry findings to complete this purse. Also, thanks to my Facebook followers for helping me name this pattern.

Materials


Abbreviations

CO - cast on
k - knit
p - purl
RS - right side
WS - wrong side
ssk - slip two stitches individually knitwise, then knit the two stitches together through the back loops
k2tog - knit 2 stitches together

Shingle Stitch Chart


Shingle Stitch Knitting Chart

Directions


Bag

The bag is worked in the round with the right side facing.

CO 80 across 4 dpns or short circular needles leaving a long (approx. 24 inch) tail.

Work the Shingle Stitch in rounds, following the chart, until the piece measures 6 ½ inches from the cast on edge, ending after either Rnd 6 or Rnd 12.

Bind off 40 sts.

Flap

The flap of the purse is worked flat over 30 rows following the stitch chart. Make sure to read your work as you decrease the sides of the flap to maintain the pattern.

Rows 1-4: Work piece even maintaining the charted stitch pattern. (40 sts)
Row 5: Ssk, work pattern as charted to last 2 sts, k2tog. (38 sts)
Rows 6-9: Work piece even maintaining the charted stitch pattern. (38 sts)
Row 10: Ssk, work pattern as charted to last 2 sts, k2tog. (36 sts)
Rows 11-13: Work piece even maintaining the charted stitch pattern. (36 sts)
Row 14: Ssk, work pattern as charted to last 2 sts, k2tog. (34 sts)
Rows 15-17: Work piece even maintaining the charted stitch pattern. (34 sts)
Row 18 (Button Hole Row): Ssk, work pattern as charted for 13 sts, bind off 4 sts, work pattern as charted to last 2 sts, k2tog. (14 sts, buttonhole gap, 14 sts)
Row 19: Work piece even maintaining the charted stitch pattern for 14 sts, co 4 sts, continue maintaining the charted stitch pattern for 14 sts. (32 sts)
Row 20: Work piece even maintaining the charted stitch pattern. (32 sts)
Row 21: Ssk, work pattern as charted to last 2 sts, k2tog. (30 sts)
Rows 22-23: Work piece even maintaining the charted stitch pattern. (30 sts)
Row 24: Ssk, work pattern as charted to last 2 sts, k2tog. (28 sts)
Row 25: Work piece even maintaining the charted stitch pattern. (28 sts)
Row 26: Ssk, work pattern as charted to last 2 sts, k2tog. (26 sts)
Row 27: Work piece even maintaining the charted stitch pattern. (26 sts)
Rows 28-30: Ssk, work pattern as charted to last 2 sts, k2tog. (Rnd 28: 24 sts, Rnd 29: 22 sts, Rnd 30: 20 sts)

Bind off.

Join the bottom of the cast on edge with the yarn tail using a tapestry needle.
Position the button and stitch it on using a needle and thread.
Assembling the Strap


Attach the circle clasps to either side of the bag about 6 rows down from the cast on edge.
Cut the silk cord to the desired strap length minus ¾-inch. (If you plan to carry your purse over one shoulder, you will need 28-36 inches of cord. For a cross-body strap, plan on using 48-54 inches of cord. As shown, the silk cord was cut to 28 inches.) Be careful so the cord does not fray after it's cut.

Place a generous dot of G-S Hypo Cement into one end cup. You can even add a little glue around the tip of the silk cord.

Tip: If you don't use enough glue, the cord will slide out of the end cup the first time you use your purse.
Insert one end of the cord into the end cup. It is helpful to slightly twist the cord in the direction that it tightens as you push it into the end cup.

It's ok if some glue oozes out. Simply use a damp cloth to clean the outside of the end cup and the silk cord before the glue starts to dry.
Attach the second end cup to the other end of the cord in the same way.

LET THE GLUE DRY COMPLETELY FOR 24 HOURS.

Use pliers to open the jump rings and attach them to the looped sides of the end cups.
Open the circle clasps and slide them through the jump rings.
Fill your bag with a small wallet, phone and maybe some lip gloss and you are ready to go.

Free Knitting Pattern: Lifeline Pocket Purse to carry just the essentials (phone, wallet, keys) when you are on the go.

Happy Knitting!


5 Ways to be a Great Handmade Customer

5 ways to support and promote artists, crafters and small handmade businesses

If you have ever purchased a handmade item at a craft fair or online, on behalf of all artists and crafters, I would like to say, THANK YOU!!

It is very difficult to build a profitable business selling handmade goods. Artists put a lot of time, money, energy and soul into their creations and trust me, every customer is appreciated.

But did you know there are a few quick and easy ways to be a great customer and support crafters and artists both before and after your purchase?

1. Ask Questions

If you have questions about the size, color, materials, shipping, etc., ask the artist BEFORE making your purchase. They can give you information that will help you decide if their creation is right for you.

2. Celebrate Opening Day

When your handmade creation arrives, let the artist know.

If there are any problems with your purchase, let the artist know. Most crafters take great pride in their creations, want you to be 100% satisfied, and will work to make things right if you are not pleased with their product. However, some problems can be difficult to resolve if you don't contact the artist in a timely manner.

3. Leave a Thoughtful Review

Marketplaces like Etsy, Amazon Handmade, Zibbet, and Storenvy may use reviews as part of the algorithm that decides where an artist's items rank in searches so it is very valuable when customers leave a positive review.

You can also use your review to help address concerns that other buyers may have. For example, when I purchased a large art print I was worried that it may be bent or crumpled during shipping. When I reviewed the item, I was happy to say that my product was beautifully made and also carefully packaged in a plastic sleeve between pieces of thick foam board. That is much more helpful to other buyers than just saying the item was nice.

4. Share a Picture on Facebook

Snap a picture of your purchase being used in its new home and share it on the artist's Facebook page. Not only does this let the artist know that their work is appreciated, it also helps them reach new customers.

5. Tag the Artist

When you share a picture of the item on Facebook or any other social media, if possible, tag the artist. That way they will be automatically notified of your post. Also many artists are proud to share posts showing that their customers are happy customers.

Money can't buy happiness, but it can buy handmade and that's almost the same thing. Thank you so much for supporting small handmade businesses.


Tutorial: Laced Hearts Cork Bracelet

DIY Jewelry Tutorial: Lace together leather and cork cord to create a heart filled bracelet that you're sure to love.
I really like combining different materials and techniques in my crafting. These bracelets incorporate three beautiful textures (leather, cork and metal) in an unconventional way.

The bracelet is made by lacing metallic leather cord through a strip of cork, almost like an embroidery stitch. Don't be intimidated, though. The stitch is deceptively simple once you get the hang of it.

Many thanks to Endless Leather for providing the round leather cord, cork cord and jewelry findings for this tutorial.

Materials


Directions


Use a scissors to cut the cork cord to 6 inches long. The toggle will add about 2 inches to the bracelet so the finished piece is about 8 inches around. (If you have very narrow or wide wrists you can subtract or add 1/2 inch to the length of the cork strip.)

Next you are going to draw a line of dots down the center of the cork on the WRONG side.

Start 1/4 inch from either end of the cork and mark your dots 1/2 inch apart, finishing 1/4 inch from the other end of the cork.
Punch holes down the center of the cork where you drew your marks.
The punch may not completely remove the holes since it is designed to punch paper, not 2 mm thick cork, so you may have little tabs left on the cork. Use a sharp scissors to snip off the tabs.
On to the lacing part. You need 1 meter of the round leather cord for the first part.

I taped one end of my cork and cord to the table so it wouldn't wiggle around while I took pictures. You probably won't need to tape your work down.

Pull the cord up through the first hole leaving about a 3 inch tail underneath.
Push the cord down through the next hole loosely. Make a half-heart shape on the side of your work.
Pull the cord up through the side of the heart. You should pull the cord so the half-heart is secure, but doesn't lose its shape.
Pull the cord up through the same hole at the top of the heart.

Let's go through that one more time.
Push the cord down through the next hole loosely. Make a half-heart shape on the side of your work.
Pull the cord up through the side of the heart.
Pull the cord up through the same hole at the top of the heart.
Continue lacing the same way until you reach the last hole.
Now you are going to do the same thing with a second piece of cord.

Pull the cord up through the first hole leaving about a 3 inch tail underneath.
Push the cord down through the next hole loosely. Make a half-heart shape on the side of your work.
Pull the cord up through the side of the heart.
Pull the cord up through the same hole at the top of the heart.
Continue working to the last hole.
Trim the cord ends so they are slightly longer than the cork strip.
Finally, you will glue the toggles onto each end of the bracelet.

Squirt the glue into each toggle. Don't be skimpy, but don't over do it, either.
Slide both the cork and the leather laces completely into the toggles.

And the hardest part? Let the glue dry for 24 hours.
Your bracelet is ready to wear!

DIY Jewelry Tutorial: Lace together leather and cork cord to create a heart filled bracelet that you're sure to love.


If you really want to get fancy, instead of using a single color of leather cord, you can alternate two different colors.


DIY Jewelry Tutorial: Lace together leather and cork cord to create a heart filled bracelet that you're sure to love.


DIY Jewelry Tutorial: Lace together leather and cork cord to create a heart filled bracelet that you're sure to love.

Happy crafting!

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