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Take note….

May 31, 2013

I don’t know about you, but I have at least 3 seperate notebooks, that I carry around with me-one for random ideas about blog post, and to-do lists; one for my role as pre-school Committee Chair, and more to-do lists; and I am not really sure what the other one is for, but you can never have too many to-do lists….

And horror of horrors, my main one, where I scribble down anything that may at some point in the future be vaguely useful, as well as daily/hourly to-do lists (get up, get dressed, have breakfast, dress the Smalls-all the big important stuff…) has run out of space-arrrgghhhh!
Now, in the ‘normal world’ I would hot-foot it to the supermarket or local shop and buy a new one. In the ‘Pre-Small, Pre-My Make Do and Mend Year’ world,  I might even have hot footed it the nearest Paperchase, and spend about an hour browsing the lovely stationery and stroking the notebooks before making a purchase (am I the only one who finds stationery a little bit addictive..?) In the sensible ‘Buy Nothing New’ world, I would scout around the car boots and charity shops until I found one. BUT this is me. And I am more than a little bit impatient. And despite knowing that my notebook has been about to run out for some time, I have failed to start scouting said second-hand retail outlets, so now I need a new notebook and I need one NOW.

So I made one. From an old cereal box and some scrap paper 🙂 Check it out… (if you are a professional book-binder, you may want to look away now..)

This is what you need:

Take Note1

  • an old cereal box (or some A4 card)
  • a magazine/fabric/something nice to cover it with, that will bring joy to your heart…
  • glue-PVA will do the job very nicely, and a brush/spreader
  • A4 paper-I used some stuff that I had printed out before realising it was wrong (v.frustrating) so my notebook will only be one-sided
  • ruler
  • pencil
  • a drawing pin
  • needle and thread

This is what you do:

  • Cut out a nice neat rectangle from your cereal box-I cut it out roughly with scissors and then neatened it off with a guillotine
  • Glue your chosen decoration on to the front-smoothing it down to get rid of any creases and air bubbles. Leave to dry.
  • Assume that your cereal box is A4 and fold your A4 pages in half, then realise that annoyingly, your cereal box is slightly smaller than A4, so discard this paper to use another time, and trim some more paper to size (actually, make it a little bit less wide than your cover, if you want to avoid some Wonk)
  • Fold your paper in half, and use your ruler as one of those fancy bone folder things, and on it’s edge run it down your fold to squash it down well. I did 5 sheets at a time
  • Line up your wodges of sheets (5 sheets per wodge) and use your ruler and pencil to make three marks on the fold line, at some regular-ish intervals

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  • Then take your drawing pin and punch a hole through the fold at each of the marked points

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  • By now, your cover should be dry-ish. Fold it in half, and use your ruler to (carefully) squidge down the fold. Then mark in the same place as your paper was marked and punch holes with your pin
  • Thread your needle with some reasonably robust thread (I think mine was that thicker thread you use for hemming jeans) and line up your sheet ‘wodges’ and your cover
  • Then sew through the holes-I did a kind of figure of eight, so ended up with it sewn around twice, but I probably over-complicated matters by making 3 holes-it would be easier with just 2
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Do you like the fact that this piece of scrap paper says “Quality Issues”?! The Gods of Wonk are clearly trying to tell me something…

  • Tie your thread ends together neatly and you are done!

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  • I then squished mine under a weighty tome (Nigella Feast) for an hour, as it refused to stay shut

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Hurray! One new notebook, and in less time than it would have taken me to negotiate the Smalls into the car and hot-foot it to the Supermarket. AND I got to re-use some paper 🙂

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  • Reply Global Sharing Day | My Make Do and Mend Year June 2, 2013 at 6:00 pm

    […] of silver polish, it works just as well! 3. Turn old jeans into a skirt, short, a bag… 4. Make a stylish and unique notebook from scrap paper 5.  Visible mending is all the rage-embrace it! 6. Turn an old tank top into a shopping bag by […]

  • Reply Jayne Mosedale June 1, 2013 at 9:54 am

    I really like this notebook!!! I too like stationery, and my notebooks start off neat and then deteriorate into my scribbling and doodling, illogical sort of lists that keep getting superseded by better lists.

    On 31 May 2013 19:01, My Make Do and Mend Year

    • Reply Jen June 1, 2013 at 3:15 pm

      List making is very theraputic. Crossing things off lists even more so!

  • Reply Jo aka Kiwijo June 1, 2013 at 7:49 am

    Wow, well done you clever girl! We have loads of notebooks (as we grab them when they are on special in Lidl – especially the 250pg quare ruled ones), so are currently fully stocked, but this wee tutorial has given me some great ideas – thanks :o)

    • Reply Jen June 1, 2013 at 3:14 pm

      It’s fab isn’t it? And so easy! If I ever get time, I will make a stash 🙂

  • Reply Hazel June 1, 2013 at 7:27 am

    My name is Hazel and I am a stationary addict. We’ve just booked a camping trip to France for the summer and I think I may need help to stay away from the stationary isles in the French supermarkets…

    I love those recycled map notebooks and writing paper you can buy- I have just been thinking about how to make a couple for Father’s Day, so thanks for the prompt! I love the cover on yours. I was just sorting through my (rather large. Ahem.) Ladybird book collection and I have a couple of duplicates so tatty they’re earmarked for card making. I think they’d make nice notebook covers too.

    I was also wondering whether I could make notebooks as a Rainbow activity and I reckon I could with enough helpers for the sewing part. That would completely blow the mind of all the parents who think craft activities have to come from the Baker Ross catalogue…

    • Reply Jen June 1, 2013 at 3:14 pm

      Ladybird books would make fab notebooks. I have seen some on a stall once that were ring bound, and also had some made from old board game boards! Looked brilliant 🙂
      For the Rainbows-you could use a hole punch and then tie wool/ribbon through the holes. More achievable to the little ones?

  • Reply Vivienne Downes (@VivienneDownes) May 31, 2013 at 7:34 pm

    I <3 good note books & was lucky to be given a "Moleskine" diary last year (google it for info). It has a neat gusseted pocket inside the back cover for … well bits & pieces you may want to keep safe till you get home. Its a brill invention I've put all kinds in there to keep safe till I got home. A drake Mallard's curly tail feather my grandson found is my pride & joy !

    • Reply Jen May 31, 2013 at 9:26 pm

      Moleskine notebooks etc are lovely aren’t they? May try and incorporate a pocket in my mark 2 version..!

  • Reply Hilary May 31, 2013 at 6:45 pm

    Well done you. Another way to sew with three holes is

    Come up from inside of middle hole, go back down one of other holes. Then go straight across inside and up the third hole. You are now on the outside. Go back down middle hole. Tie your two ends together over the long thread and you’re finished.

    You can do a version with more holes too but I’ll spare you that especially as this is just a quick notebook! Also I’m not sure I quite remember how to do it!!

    I’m afraid I make lists on my iPhone as it never runs out of paper!

    • Reply Jen May 31, 2013 at 9:25 pm

      Thanks Hilary-will give this a try next time 🙂
      You are right-i-phone/smart phone would be much more logical but I still don’t find it quite the same!

      • Reply Hilary May 31, 2013 at 10:43 pm

        I quite agree its not the same, it’s like the difference between a real book and one on a reader. I love real books!

        • Reply Jen June 1, 2013 at 3:12 pm

          I don’t want to like e-readers but I can see the benefits. Not got one yet though!

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