Me-Made-May 2017 Handmade Journals


In today’s Me-Made-May 2017 post, I’m switching things up a bit. Let’s talk about handmade journals. I think of journals as an essential accessory. I carry one wherever I go. It’s part of my ensemble, if you will. Nothing like knowing that it is at my beck and call.  It is tucked safely inside my tote,  along with an assortment of pens, pencils and other fun and necessary journalling tools, like washi tape, glue stick and double-sided tape.

This Spring into Summer has seen a great deal of journal making. I am gifting most of them as workshop treats for my students, end of the school year/welcome summer gifts of gratitude to my fellow educators and to new friends and cabin mates at an upcoming art retreat. For my paper-covered types, I painted with acrylic paint, sponges and bubble wrap onto 140 lb weight Canson watercolor paper. My color story was based on Spring in the City. I mixed colors to look like urban concrete neutrals with touches of warm sunny yellows and earthy browns. The assortment of papers inside come from my collection of new and vintage pages as well as from my handpainted paper stash. I machine stitch the signature using a Jeans needle 90/14, a heavier weight cotton thread and a long straight stitch.

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These cloth covered journals are a classic fave of mine. They are sewn like a book cover, so that the writer may replace the journal when necessary. I used both 7oz and 12oz unprimed canvas from Jerry’s Artarama. The serger is my friend for this style. I love the look of the overlocker’s exposed chain stitch of ivory beige thread against the canvas. Covers are hand stamped with Jacquard Textile Paint. I have a wonderful selection of bias tape and it is often a mainstay in my journals, whether tying around the machine stitched binding , as above in the paper journals or threaded through the spiral bound notebook inside these cloth journals.



I wish all my creative friends many days full of opportunities to sit, muse, write and create in these “me-made” journals.

For more on Me-Made-May 2017, click here.





Me-Made-May 2016 Post #7



I have been participating in a global sewing challenge this month called,                  “Me-Made-May 2016”.  My previous posts have featured garments I made for this spring and summer. Today’s post features something different: make up bags!

Our daughter is graduating college this month and to celebrate her and her BFFs, I designed these bags. Back when she was in high school I also made cosmetic bags for her friends and they were such a hit!  I received thank you cards and emails from them saying how they loved their bags and had them perched on desks and dressers in their dorms. They said their bags which were a sweet reminder of home and their friendship. SO, naturally I wanted to create a fresh, new look for this limited edition, college version!

I decided to Shibori dye three yards of snowy white, canvas fabric a dark navy/indigo color, T’s school colors!  Wooden blocks, clamps and hemp were used to bind the cloth. All the bags have a zipper closure with a bit of vintage ribbon as a zipper stop. I lined the bags with a purchased indigo, paisley gradated printed quilting weight cotton (Joann’s). For embellishment, my very dear, talented friend Lisa spent the greater part of a day helping me design a zipper pull. We used pewter “2016” and “Handmade” charms (Oriental Trading) and an assortment of glass beads including Lampwork “Wise Ol’ Owl” Beads (from Michaels), adorable! I tied a Sashiko inspired printed ribbon (from Joann’s) through the wire loop. For the finishing touch, I hand stamped “2016” and a mini Peace sign, using a blend of Gold and Brass Jacquard Fabric paints.



Looks like we are ready for the commencement festivities to begin!

Congrats and best wishes to all this year’s Grads!

For  more info on #Me-Made-May2016, click here.


25 Days of Make & Give- Day 24

Dedicated Service

Merry Christmas Eve, everyone!

There are some M & G’s that most definitely deserve a repeat each year: this is one of them. Up the street we have a family where Mr. is a firefighter (originally an EMT), Mrs. is a nurse (also originally an EMT) and one of their children is a Marine on what must be his fourth tour in the infantry division overseas. Last year I decorated a tree for them in a patriotic red, white and blue. This year I did the same. And we secretly delivered it this morning.


Thank you my dear friends for your dedicated service and patriotism.



25 Days of Make & Give- Day 21

“Paris, The City of Lights”

My parents have a friend, a native Parisian, who is also a dear friend of mine.  Ida will be turning 90 years old on 12/23. What incredibly strong and brave woman she is!  She attended a convent school in Paris and was taught there by French Nuns. Ida, also a cancer survivor, is an amazing needle artist, making lace and doilies. Her intricate handwork is beautiful and I am very fortunate that she has gifted many pieces to me over the years.

Ida met her husband, an American soldier, in Paris, they fell in love and have been married 69 years!


I saw these lovely Eiffel Tower die cuts on Etsy and thought they would remind Ida of her many sweet memories there. To add brilliance, I spray painted, added glitter and then tied a organza ribbon to make a Christmas ornament for her. She told me how upset she has been by the recent terrorist attacks on her beloved city. Hopefully, this ornie will slowly replace her sadness with a nostalgic smile!

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It’s that wonderful time of the year when we all try to do a little extra giving of ourselves to those who need and deserve some TLC! This is my second year of “25 Days of Make & Give”, a time that I look forward to all year long!


Today’s M & G is going out to a dear friend who is having surgery today. Although she won’t be home for several days it will be waiting for her. There’s a sweet Alex n Ani bracelet inside, I hope she will enjoy . It’s the paper I wrapped it in that I wanted to point out to my crafty followers! My clever and arty friend Betti Zucker taught a workshop last year on learning to use encaustics and this is one of the waxed papers I made in her class. BTW check out Betti’s Beehive (her blog) for more on this fascinating medium, click here

See you’ll tomorrow! Remember to do a little M & G of yourself this holiday season!

The Sketchbook Project 2015


Every year since its inception, I have submitted to a global program out of Brooklyn, NY called    The Sketchbook Project.  It is truly a challenge for me as I am not a fine artist, illustrator or painter. Fortunately the very good folks there support all forms and mediums and are open to the multi media, collage style of my books.

Not giving anything away here as the deadline date is March 31st.      But if you look closely, you can see the title on my handstamped paper book cover.  Having done a couple years of dress themed books (my fave!), I felt the need to try something new.  As in all of my previous submissions, all the pages are hand painted, collaged, hand lettered and often stitched. I also simply hand bind my books using colorful (bright yellow this year!) hemp binding thread. I don’t usually use the Moleskin type sketchbook that comes with when you sign up for the project. TSP also offers to digitally photograph your book for an extra fee, totally worth it, they do a great job.

Stay tuned for more pics and do check out their site! Off she goes!


February 2015….Getting back in the swing!


Yes it has been one cold, snowy and WINDY winter…here there and everywhere!  And add to that my recovering from a damaged tendon in my left thumb and it has seemed like an even longer winter! But the good news is that the thumb is turning the corner and I am able to start to use it, albeit with the brace.

And Yankees Pitchers and Catchers start on Friday…so…there’s that to look forward to as well.

I have used my hiatus to watch several sewing tutorials, journal and dream of projects to finish and to start!  Fortunately I was able to do a little background paper painting (which always makes me happy!).

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These sweeties were used as Valentines for my CARE packages to distant friends and former sewing students!

So what’s on my table now…I am working on a couple muslins adapted from international sewing patterns. I am so loving my “Coco” dress/tunic pattern from Tilly and The Buttons from the UK! Battling with fit issues on my muslins made from a Japanese pattern book…hopefully I will resolve the fit issues soon or abort the mission!  And then there’s my annual Sketchbook Project submission and my college graduate son’s quilt that needs finishing!  So boredom is not a word to describe my studio life!

I wish everyone a productive weekend and let me know what you are doing lately to beat cabin fever!

Day 25 Make & Give: JOY!

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It’s Day 25 of Make & Give. We made it! Merry Christmas to you one and all!

It has been both fun and challenging experience to create, write, blog and deliver my Makes and Gives during this holiday season. The actual idea of M & G came about on the morning of Day 1/ December 1st. I was having my morning coffee, watching all the tragic and sad news interspersed with commercials advertising big time, lavish holiday gifts. I started to think about how some of the loveliest moments and gifts I have received have not always been the ‘big’ ones, and that what’s really important is the gift of one’s time and effort. Sometimes, I feel that it’s the little things that really count. 25 Days of Make & Give was born!  I have tried to make and give as creatively as I could these last 25 days. I’ve learned so much during this time and a looking forward to doing the same next holiday!


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Today’s M & G is all about the JOY of the day and is dedicated to all those who have spent time, effort and TLC preparing the foods of the season and of meals to be consumed. I hand painted dish towels with the word JOY on them and will gift them to my dear family and friends who have cooked, baked and shared their yummies with me and my family!

I wish you all a beautiful day today, filled with Peace, Love and JOY!

Thank you for joining me these past 25 Days! I so appreciate your following and your thoughtful comments! For the New Year, I am looking forward to making and sharing lots of cool, fun and interesting projects, ideas and resources.

B-Inspired my friends!!

Day 23 Make & Give: Love Those RedBirds

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Today is the twenty-third day of my special holiday season of giving. From now until December 25th, I plan to make and or do something special for someone I may or may not know.I’m hoping that these little acts of kindness will inspire my readers and their friends to do the same!

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Every year I make an annual Christmas ornament. This year’s addition is a sweet little red Love Bird! It’s to commemorate hubby and my 30th wedding anniversary (October). It’s also a tradition that I make 2 extra ornies, one for each of my children. Over the years, I’ve amassed quite a collection for them to hopefully trim their own Christmas Tree someday!


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I drew my own LB stencil from mylar and cut then them out from red felt. Using free motion machine stitching I stitched the word “Love” in the bird’s feather and also a little sleepy eye. There’s a beaded dangle with glass lampwork, red bird bead on the bottom and I used gold thread as a string tie on the top.

Happy 30th and Merry Christmas, John and Children!


Day 20 Make & Give: Write It Down, Here!!

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Today is the twentieth day of my special holiday season of giving. From now until December 25th, I plan to make and or do something special for someone I may or may not know.I’m hoping that these little acts of kindness will inspire my readers and their friends to do the same!

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Although I have writers all around me, today’s Make & Give goes to one in particular. For this person I have made and will gift one of my very special cloth journals. This version is sewn using the leg from a pair of denim jeans!                How I love to recycle!


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The denim serves as the cover , it is appliqued with a stamped label that says “Imagine” and has a colorful fringe made from fabric scraps.  Inside it is lined with a piece of my hand dyed cloth and has a pocket in both front and back. I have tucked stationary and a mini yellow legal pad inside as extra treats! I hope this journal will house the writer’s ideas and dreams for the New Year, 2015.


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