Mar 11, 2014

Make your own scrappy notebooks for FREE!

A few weeks ago I had an idea and wanted to sketch a women's shirt design. When I do sketches like this I use a flat pattern spec template and place it behind some copy paper to draw my design to scale. Sadly, all I had that day was my sketchpad and it's paper was too thick to use this method.

Instead of doing a "woe is me", I just decided to make a notebook using scrap paper in the office.
So I grabbed some scrap paper and got to work.

Feb 13, 2014

Modern handprint art for Kids-Tutorial

A little while back I posted about some canvas I got for making some personalized art. This is what I decided to do with those small pre-stretched canvases.

I bought these at Hobby Lobby for a total of $12. They came in packs of two for about $4. I thought they were the perfect size for a family craft I wanted to make.

I  have three small kids and because of their ages we can't make complex or laborious art together yet. Nevertheless,  I wanted to make something nice with their handprints but have it be more permanent and not too dated. The turkeys, the penguins and the flowers on construction paper are nice but they weren't what I was looking for.

So I started searching and found handprint art I actually liked on Pinterest. Out of all the handprint art I've seen these kid handprint ghosts are my favorite.

I took that idea and to make it more fun by having them add a modern background.

I think they turned out rather nice.

Modern Handprint Art for Kids

I find this project works best spaced between two sessions. One for the background work and one for the hand printing over top. That is unless, you want your handprint to smear into the background (which could look nice, too).


  • 5 x7 or 8 x 10 Pre-stretched canvas - one for each child. (Chose a size that will comfortably fit they handprint you want. If parents or adults want to do one, select a bigger size for bigger hands)
  • Paint brushes- lots in various sizes. (kids don't want to wash out a paintbrush before changing colors if they switch brushes at all!)
  •  Acrylic paints
  • Paper plates- one for each child
  • Drop Cloth
  • Aprons/Messy Clothes
  • Wet rag (for cleaning up messes)


1.     Prepare your painting area. If you are painting on a table be sure to cover it. Cover the chairs, the floor, anything in the area.
      *tip- use a garbage bag or old pillowcase to cover the back of your chairs.*

2.     Prepare your kids. Make sure they have on mess making clothes and aprons.

3.     Put several colors of paint on each paper plate. (If you want variety, give each kid one special  color that is different than the others). 

 4.     Have your children paint their canvas in the various paints and using various paintbrushes.

This is mine in progress.

This is Little Miss's art in progress.

This is Mr. A's progress after the first day. I didn't get an action photo of his because I was afraid of what he would do if both my hands were busy. He did manage to get paint up his nose when I wasn't looking. The whole 3 seconds I wasn't looking.

5.     Let the paintings dry.


6.     Paint your child's hand with paint and help them stamp it onto their canvas. The more paint on the hand, the larger and heavier the imprint will be.

Little Miss's hand was thoroughly coated while I painted lightly and worked my paint into my hand.  You can see how her print is fuller and mine shows more ridges and is fainter.

7.      Let dry. 

*I am currently doing this is shifts. I tested it with myself and Little Miss. I had feared that 5 people at the same time might be too chaotic. I will update this when the whole gang has been ART-ified. 


Here is the whole gang.

 I had hoped to hang these up in the hall this weekend but need to pick up some more hardware first. 

Feb 6, 2014

Family Cookbook Project

 I like to cook. I love finding recipes off the internet and revising them to fit my needs. Because of this I have tons of scrap pieces of paper and notes and no real 'go to' cookbook. All those notes and scraps were held inside a beat up composition notebook and I had to flip through the pages every time to find exactly what I needed.

I had enough. It was too messy. And I also realized I would be the only one to know where to find the recipe and how to make it. So I made my own family cookbook. It's cheap, easy, can make a great gift or a hand me down in your own family.

Family Cookbook Project 


Grab a pile of recipes that you love.

Open up your favorite word processing software. I chose Microsoft Word so all of these instructions will be for that program.

Adjust the page layout and margins you want first. I chose to have mine in landscape format with narrow margins. This allows a nice area for a border and lots of space for recipes.

 Add your own nice border by using this simple trick I learned from a friend at work.
     -Go to Page Layout
     -In the third box over select Page Borders
     -Click the Art line and select the artwork you wish to use as a border.
          In this section you can change which part of the page gets the border, how wide, etc.
     - Select Ok

Then add your text to the first page. This is where I put my title. 
You can add a picture in here as well. I chose to use clipart for my cookbook but you can also use photographs of the food or of your family cooking.

 Since I'm weird, I draw and use text boxes for everything. I like that I can move them all over to change the page's appearance but it won't mess up the whole document's text formatting.

If you use text boxes like me you can remove the outline and the fill color making it invisible. Removing the fill is a good idea if you plan on using colored paper. A white box on a pink page might not be your vision.

* Optional* Add page numbers using the footer option. I chose not to since I plan on adding more later.

 Using text boxes to set up the page the way you want. Looks orderly!
Once you have all the recipes you would like SAVE and review your document. Just to be sure nothing ended up in the wrong spot.

Print out your cookbook.

Print out your cover page on a heavier paper, like card stock for extra strength. I printed the recipe pages on regular old copy paper.

You have many option for finishing off your cookbook. You can use sheet protectors and insert it into a 3 ring binder if you want to save it form spills or you can go get it bound at an office printing store. Most stores can bind it for around $5 or under.

I chose to get mine bound using a plastic comb binding and have a clear cover and vinyl backing put on the back. I chose the plastic comb binding because I can flip it open easily and it will lay flat. I also like that I can add pages later on if I like.

If you make this project please send me a link to share your finished product. I'd love to see it!