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Tag Archives: DIY

How to Put Stationery Leftovers to Good Use

12 Apr

It never fails: You near the end of a box of your favorite stationery only to discover that you’re left with several pages but no envelopes. Or a stack of extra envelopes and no notecards. Throwing out the extras seems wasteful, especially if you love the stationery. So what can you do with your stationery leftovers?

Vision Board

Combine those leftover pieces of stationery with inspiring images torn out of magazines and catalogs. Gather up all your favorite scraps, a big sheet of craft paper, some glue, and markers. Collaging is a great creative outlet and can be done just for fun or with a theme in mind. Identifying a focus for your vision board and putting it down on paper will literally help you envision achieving a specific goal or what you hope for the future.

Kids’ Crafts

Collect all your stationery leftovers in a folder for your kids to use in their arts and crafts. To avoid itty bitty pieces of scrap paper everywhere, challenge them to make something specific. For example, folding envelopes into a bouquet of flowers, create a mail art letter to Grandma, or allow their imaginations to run wild with sculpting a new toy out of paper.

Donate to Schools

Did you know many teachers spend their own money to stock their classrooms with art supplies? Help a teacher while helping local kids be creative. Take your scrap stash or pile of envelopes to an appreciative teacher. If you don’t personally know a teacher, call the elementary school near you and ask for the name of their art teacher. He or she will know exactly how to put those scraps to use!

Journal Makeover

Spice up your Moleskine by taping colorful or printed stationery scraps onto the border of your journal or calendar pages. If you have a large amount of scraps to use, grab a blank journal and start an art-specific journal to house your inspirations and make it your ideal creative outlet. Don’t stop there – use stamps, fun tape, and anything else you’ve got to jazz it up.

Easy DIY Wall Art

If you love the design of your stationery, upcycle it into easy wall art. Simply frame the notecard or page and hang. Depending on the design, you can also cut out portions to frame. Or, trim a single design into thirds, frame each third separately, and hang them together as a group. If you don’t want to shell out for a new frame, use spray mount to adhere the scraps to a piece of posterboard or even construction paper. For the super eco-crafty, super glue scraps of wood or PVC to make your own reclaimed frame.

Mix-and-match

If you have leftover envelopes from one set and stationery from another, try to fold the stationery in a clever way to fit the envelopes. For instance, instead of folding stationery in thirds by width, fold it in thirds lengthwise to fit a narrower envelope. Or if you want to get really creative, try out some basic origami shapes.

Messages

Trim leftovers down to the size of a standard sticky note, or roughly 3 by 3 inches. Place the stack near the telephone, and use them for taking and delivering messages – so much prettier than a dry erase board! Use the same scraps as idea scratch paper or to scrawl a love note that you can slip into your partner’s coat pocket or in between the pages of a book he or she is reading. Adjust the trim size to long and thin, and write inspirational quotes to put on your fridge or bulletin board.

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 Meet the Writer:Maggie Marton is a freelance writer who lives in Bloomington, Indiana, with her husband and their three darling dogs. View more of Maggie’s work at MaggieMarton.com

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The Birth of the Book Letter

16 Feb

Two of my favorite things on the planet are books and letters. About two years ago, I created a way to combine them—a Book Letter. It sounds simple enough, and it can be as elaborate or straightforward as you’d like to make it, but I promise it will be something treasured forever by the recipient of your choice.

What is a Book Letter?

I love writing letters and far prefer the long missive that goes on for some pages, like a long, in-depth conversation with someone you enjoy spending time with. Short notes have their place, of course, but long letters are definitely more of a treasure to hold onto and re-read. However, long letters take time and thought, and in this busy age of quick text messages and emails, it is quite rare for people to write extremely long letters, especially in one sitting.

The Birth of the Book Letter by Tamra Orr on EuropeanPaper.com

Enter the Book Letter. Basically, you take a small notebook (2 by 4 inches, or pocket-sized, which is 3.5 by 5.5 inches), dedicate it to one person, and start writing letters in it whenever you get a chance. They can be long or short, and once the book is filled up, it’s time to send it off to the lucky person. This is the first iteration of the Book Letter—simple, efficient, and practical.

If you’d like to develop a more complex Book Letter, give it some depth. Keep an eye out during your daily routine for items the recipient would like. Perhaps such items like a newspaper clipping of a review for a play they like; snippets of a friendship poem you came across online; a quote that reminded you of the person, some funny cartoons and other small paper “tuck-ins.” These can be glued into the small notebook, taped onto a page, or just tucked in.

Once you get the hang of it, each Book Letter will be easier and quicker to create. Start deciding ahead of time what else will go in your Book Letter other than just your handwritten letters. Keep a small collection of items to tuck in the next Book Letter, as well as some small notebooks whenever the feeling grabs you to start a new one.

My Book Letter Process

Personally, when I start a new Book Letter to someone, the first thing I do is decorate the inside page with the name of the person I am sending the letter to. I typically use calligraphy pens and stickers to do this and often add the date.

Next, I choose a theme for the book letter—anything from Victorian elegance or going “green” to highlighting a specific season or holiday.  (I use scrapbooking supplies for much of this.) Once I’ve chosen the theme, I go through the notebook, page by page, and add stickers and borders. If I was remotely artistic, I would add sketches and drawings. So if you are artistic, this is a great place to show off your talent.

Now it’s time to decide what “tuck ins” will go with this letter. Maybe it’s pictures of my kids opening their Christmas presents or watering the plants in the garden. Maybe it’s a newspaper article or a magazine column of interest. It might be a funny cartoon that made you laugh or a copy of a quote from a book that had an impact on you. Truly, there are no limits. Just choose something that reflects who you are and who you are writing to.

Finally, I start writing the letter itself, skipping around the tuck-ins and filling up the pages.  I write a few pages and then put the letter away for a day or two before adding more words. Eventually the Book Letter is ready—a true gift for whomever it is sent to.

Ready to try your own book letter? Start by choosing a small notebook. Some great examples include Apica’s CD-10, 11 and 15 Series, Moleskine’s Volant Notebooks, and Rhodia’s Pocket Unlimited Notebooks. These notebooks come in all sizes, with as few as 10-12 pages or as many as 150. They can be lined or unlined. What kind you choose is up to you, but remember that filling up much more than 30 pages or so can be challenging. I recommend starting small.

Book Letter Tips

Next, add stickers, pictures, drawings/illustrations, whatever you would like to decorate your pages. Finally, start writing. You might write two pages today, put it away for a week and then add a few more. I’ve been known to complete a book letter in one sitting—and take almost a month.

Remember that a book letter is like an art project – there is no right or wrong way to do it. There is simply YOUR way of doing it. It will reflect your thoughts and your time and there are few gifts as worthwhile as that.

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 Meet the Writer: Tamra Orr is a full time writer and has written more than 300 books for readers of all ages. She is also mom to four and writes an average of 50 letters or more a month.

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Happy Valentine’s Day! Love, EPC

14 Feb

Top:
Meadowbrook Farm Blog’s ”Manual is a Must
Dottie Angel’s “Have a Heart” How-To

Middle:
MyPipSqueak’s “I’m so in love with you journal”
EPC’s Moleskine Love Stack

Bottom:
Design Sponge’s “DIY Heart-Shaped Paper Clips”

10 Fun and Quirky Upcycling Ideas for Last Year’s Planner

3 Jan

Most people stick their old planner on a shelf, wait a couple of years, and then toss it out. If that works for you, go for it! But if you want to try something different with last year’s planner, consider one of these 10 suggestions – all with minimal DIY know-how required.

  1. File it. Okay, so some people do need to file their old planners. Before you do, though, make it useful. Label the spine with the year. Mark pages that had important events or critical phone numbers. Make it navigable before you stick it on that shelf, and it’s more likely you’ll actually reference it in 2012.
  2. Make a secret box.Love the pretty cover of your 2011 planner? Use it! Flip open the front cover. With a straightedge and a pen, measure out a square on the first page of your 2011 planner leaving at least a half-inch margin the whole way around. Use a razor or X-Acto knife to cut out the square (through all the pages).
    Planner party decor.

    #3: Planner party decor.

    You now have a secret trinket box that will look pretty on your desk or nightstand.

  3. Planner party decor. Coat the pages with colorful or glittery paint. Once dry, shred and use as confetti.
  4. Gaze at your year as a decorative paper wreath. Follow this simple Book Page Wreath Tutorial with your planner pages to create chic decor out of 2011.
  5. Day planner to art journal conversion.Without having to rip, cut, or shred the pages, your planner can be the base for a fabulous art journal. Create works of art on each page using images from magazines, stamps, paint, decoupage, or whatever your preferred medium.

    The easiest DIY project ever: Turn your 2011 planner into a coloring book.

    The easiest DIY project ever: Turn your 2011 planner into a coloring book.

  6. The easiest DIY project ever: Turn your 2011 planner into a coloring book. Hand it to a young child along with a box of markers, chalk, or Crayons. They’ll know what to do.
  7. Hardcover hack. Convert a hardcover into a PDA/eReader cover. You’ll need a knife, scrap fabric, a few inches of elastic, and glue. Remove the pages with a knife, but don’t damage the spine. Cut an old t-shirt or scrap of fabric to the fit the inside cover. Set your device on top of one piece of fabric. Stretch a piece of elastic over the device’s corner to the back of the fabric. Secure the elastic in place with hot glue, a couple of stitches, or even a staple. Repeat for all four corners. Adhere the fabric to the planner cover, and you’re done! Just make sure everything is totally dry before you insert your device.
  8. Shred the pages of your 2011 planner and use them as package stuffing.
  9. Great year? Turn your planner into a “Yay, me!” file. Mark all the highlights from your year with colorful sticky tabs. Landed a huge account? Tab the day you scored the client. Received a promotion? Flag that day. When you hit a rough spot in 2012, flip through your tabbed planner and remember all your wins from the previous year.
  10. Bad year? Build an effigy to a horrible 2011. Tear out the pages and toss them into a bonfire or fireplace. Say goodbye to each bad day so you can face 2012 with a clean slate!

I maintain an organized shelf of past planners, all labeled and flagged. Yet, as I compiled this list, I realized that I rarely (never?) reference them. In January, I’m going to create a paper wreath with my 2011 planner, and I converted my 2010 into an art journal. Now that I have this list, I will start finding fun uses for all my past planners that have been collecting dust.

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 Meet the Writer:Maggie Marton is a freelance writer who lives in Bloomington, Indiana, with her husband and their three darling dogs. View more of Maggie’s work at MaggieMarton.com

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Friday Blogger Tuck-ins

4 Nov

 

1 –> Courtesy of Inkophile not long ago, we came across Leigh Reyes’ spectacular video creation combining the lyrics of ”I Have Never Loved Someone” by My Brightest Diamond with fountain pen, water, and paper. Prepare to swoon when you watch the video, and check out Leigh’s blog to pay tribute.


2 –> We’re incredibly fond of papercuts, and Discover Paper frequently features artists of all types of papercut creations. Yesterday on Discover Paper, Donaville (the blog owner) featured the amazing fingerprint papercut work of Lori Danelle. They’re incredibly intricate, and what a great idea for a very special occasion!

3 –> PetaPixel.com, a photog blog, shares some incredibly neat DIY projects, like this DIY Wooden Picture we thought y’all would enjoy.  Grab a block of wood,  a gel medium, mod podge, and print out a picture on regular copy paper (via a laser printer or copier rather than an ink printer), and you’re good to go!