paris in july – polaroid fotobar pics

When my husband and I first went to Paris in July, we weren’t entirely sure what to bring.  Camera wise I mean.  Did I really want to lug around my new Canon Rebel that I’m just learning to use? Would I regret it if I didn’t bring it? Probably, yes, even though I wasn’t sure I was brave enough to take it off the auto setting.  So we decided to cover all the bases.  I packed the Canon, he brought his point and shoot and we both brought our iphones.  The result was over 1,200 pictures. Because yes,  Paris is that beautiful.  And it wasn’t like we walked around with a camera stuck to our eyeball, we strolled, we sat outside in the park, we sat and chilled in a cafe.  But still, we ended up with a ton of pictures.  I decided to whittle down those 1200 pictures to a few of my favorites and tried out the Polaroid Fotobar.

I think that overall, mine came out just a tad darker than I intended, but I continually mess with my monitor settings, so that is probably my fault.  I arranged them in the order I wanted and put them up on the wall with double stick re-movable Scotch brand tape.  (It’s thick and gooey and doesn’t damage the wall when you pull it off.)  As a plus, the pictures are printed on stock thick enough that when I pulled one off to realign and straighten it, it didn’t bend.

I love my little photo collage.  And I truly loved Paris.


Paris Travel Journal

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When I go on vacation I can’t help but come home with handfuls of maps, tickets and museum guides. (Oh, and lots of pictures too, but more on that later.) I’m always looking for a way to keep all my vacation stuff together instead of just throwing it in a shoe box. So, I came up with a way to keep my maps, receipts, etc. easily and anywhere I want them in just about any journal. These 4 storage pockets are made from the journal pages themselves and a bit of strategically placed washi tape.

Journal Supplies:

  • Journal – I used a notebook by Cavallini. The pages are thick and it comes with an elastic closure to keep everything from exploding out.
  • Washi tape – 2-3 different styles (I used Tape Works by SandyLion and tapes from Cavallini)
  • Pens  – I use a Pilot Razor Point II
  • Rubber stamps
  • Stamp pad by Archival Ink
  • Scissors, double stick tape
  • Cavallini paper clips and 7 Gypsies spiral clips
  • Cavallini map of France

1.  Map pocket
This is the easiest to make. Hold two adjoining sheets together and attach washi tape along the bottom and side edges.

2.  Folder pocket
You’ll need a sheet from your journal to make the front of the folder pocket. If your journal is spiral bound, just pull out a page. To see if your journal is sewn together – look at the inside of the book, near the binding and lift up the center pages until you can can see the “signatures” (see photo above). The signature are the individual folded sections of a group of papers that together, make up the overall journal or book. Find the center folded seam of a signature – you will know it because you will see the stitching down the center. Cut the paper out along the fold – but DO NOT cut the threads holding the signatures together. (If I think there will be unused sheets in the journal , I’ll pull out more of these pages to allow room for the thicker maps and pockets.)

Fold a page in half then cut off about 3/4″ along one unfolded long side. Hold the pocket so the bottom and outside edges align with the next adjoining sheet. Attach washi tape along the bottom and side edges.

3.  Pleated pocket
You will be cutting out a “t'” shaped piece that will be folded in half, then pleated on the sides.  I think the pictures above illustrate this easier, but I’ve included written instructions as well. Pull out another page from your journal. Trace around the item on you want to make a pleated pocket for.  Add about 1/8″ to the sides and top. Flip your item down, trace around it and add about 1/2″ to the sides for the side tabs. Cut out. Fold in half along bottom. Fold side tabs in toward pocket. Fold this tab in half again aligning edge with fold to make a little pleat. Use the washi tape to attach the back to the pleated sides.

4.  Envelope
Find the two adjoiningg sheets where your want your envelope. Fold the top page back about 1 1/2″. Fold the back page over this fold line. Hold two adjoining sheets together and attach washi tape along the bottom and side – keeping clear of the flap. To make a self stick closure, fold back about 1/2″ of washi tape, leave 1/2″ exposed, then stick the washi tape across the middle of the flap and across the back. Add about 1″ of washi tape under the sticky portion.

Over the course of this vacation, between our iphones, a DSLR and a point and shoot, my husband and i managed to take over 2,500 photos (yes. we did.)  I was thrilled when I discovered little 2 1/8″ x 3 3/8″ photos printed by Social Print Studio. You can send an order in right from your phone and they come to your home all wrapped up in these tidy cute stacks, just like little presents.  Sometimes pictures I want to use in my journals aren’t my best photos, they’re just favorites. And these pics are a cute and inexpensive way to include a bunch of them in my journal.

warm up

Finishing up
After adding the pockets,  I start doodling on a warm-up sheet to test out the colors of the pens, stamp inks and tapes.  This is where I discovered that cutting the washi tape in half looked better with the smaller photo’s.  I also discovered that the stamp pad I was using will bleed through to the other side of the page.  (I still wanted to use it because this ink is a really black, black.  So, I only stamped words where the other side of the page was hidden – like on the pockets.)  The warm-up sheet also helps with writer’s block – which sometimes I get staring at a blank page.  My teachers in grade school called this our “sloppy copy.”

Au revoir, and have fun journaling!


Design/Build Headboard – finding a new use for some old wood shelves

Would it have been easier to just go to IKEA? Maybe, but when the nearest IKEA is 9 hours away, you’re sometimes forced to be a little more creative. This is what happened when the need for a decent looking headboard met up with a pile of used shelves.

It all began when my husband and I attempted to clean out the garage. We don’t toss out lumber of any kind, not even scraps, so the pile tends to accumulate. This certain pile included a number of beat up plywood shelves from my store. I was pondering where to re-locate the pile when it occurred to me we might be able to use some of it for the headboard needed in our guest room. A headboard for a double bed needs to be 54” wide plus a little extra for the sides. The shelves were only 46″ long, so that would have to be the determining measurement for the design. The shelves were a little scratched, had shelving grooves cut in the bottom and water damage from sitting on the floor of our garage. So, knowing the damaged areas would need to be cut off, I came up with a slat design using boards of varying width and an off-center detail maximizing the 46″ length of the shelves.

After finding a Saturday afternoon free on both of our schedules, we got started. First, we cross-cut the short boards and then ripped all the boards to width. We followed the layout of the boards from the design sketch, but ended up having to fudge a little towards the bottom because my measurements were slightly off. (Hey, it happens.)

Once the cutting was finished, we roughed up the old lacquer finish on the shelves to provide a better adhesive surface for the primer. We used an alcohol base primer to prime the wood. Next, I applied a light coating of the finish paint. In our case, we wanted a soft white, not a shiny, high gloss paint, so we chose an acrylic latex enamel.

After drying completely, we used a drill-press to drill countersink holes into the front slat boards. Countersinking the holes allow the screw heads to lie flush with the surface of the boards. The drilled ends were then attached to a center back vertical support board. We laid out the boards according to the sketch and set nails between the slats to keep the spacing consistent. To prevent stripping the screws, my husband hand screwed in each one. This is where we discovered the boards were slightly different sizes, which exposed more of the screw head than we would have liked on a few of the boards. Such is the nature of re-purposing.

We then flipped the headboard over to attach two outer back vertical support boards in alignment with the attachment points of the metal bed frame. We also added 2 horizontal boards across the back of the 3 vertical boards for added structural support. We hauled the headboard upstairs and aligned it with the slotted holes in the metal bed frame and bolted it all together.

The supplies we needed to purchase cost less than $50.00. Here’s what we used:

  •  from our pile of lumber, we used about 6 – 12” x 46” x 3/4″ Baltic birch used wood shelves
  • for the 2 horizontal supports, we had to dig further into our pile to find boards the width of the headboard. We found a couple 1 x 3’s and cut them down to the width of the headboard
  • for the 3 verticals we used the same wood shelves
  • we finished off a box of 1 1 /4 x 12 wood screws – much larger than what the job called for, but we wanted to express the screws in the design
  • we switched to 1 1 /4″ drywall screws for the back boards- because they go in easier than wood screws and aren’t as easy to strip out. (My husbands hands were pretty sore by this point. So for the back boards, he used a screw gun and the drywall screws.)
  • paint brushes, primer and a quart of acrylic paint

So, a big thanks to my hubby for giving up his afternoon to help make a headboard. And another big thanks to M of the blog Redesigned by M – a blog that inspires me to redesign, reorganize and repurpose. A trip to IKEA will just have to wait.

finished headboard


a better mousetrap

a better mouse trap

As a knitter I continually ponder, “Hmmm, how do I want to store my needles?”  How do I want to carry them?  Organize them?  Especially my circular needles.  Right now, they’re in a tangled mess in a shoe box.  The rest of my straights and hooks are stored in a couple mason jars and vases.

I know you can buy cases with carrying handles that zip close or fabric ones with little descending pockets for each individual needle size that tie closed with a bow.  It seems like the knitters happiest with their storage devices are the ones that make their own.  Here’s a darling knitting needle roll case my friend Cortney posted on her “Cornflower Blue” blog. 

corts knittingneedlecase3

 When I get around to making my own needle case this is the one I’m aiming for.  But for now, my mason jars will have to do!