How to Make a Vintage Book Planner

2940036194435_p0_v1_s600My final copy of Mollie Makes US Edition arrived in the mail today. Sadly, the US version ends with this December issue. New things to come, but until then I’m keeping busy with workshops in the barn, crafting, collage, and learning new techniques, a sixth contracted year of blogging for SCJohnson’s Family Economics, and scheming some pretty cool projects I hope to share with you soon. Here is my December Mollie Makes project. Enjoy!

Days of Fun: Vintage Book Planner

bookplanner.opener1Even in a time of electronic planners and memo pads, a good paper calendar is still in style and always practical to have. However, a planner with just the right look can often be hard to find. Craft your own unique datebook using a store-bought planner with a fun vintage book cover that can be re-used year after year. But don’t stop there- this project is just right for making one-of-a-kind journals, address books, sketchbooks, and covered note pads. These items also make the perfect gift for the busy ones on your holiday gift list. Each can be crafted to a size depending on your choice book and planner with overall project measurement adjustments as needed.bookplanner.beauty1 My project is based on that of a 5” x 8” vintage classroom text-book.bookplanner.beauty2 Here are some fun book titles I’ve found and used for my upcycled library of planners, guest book, journals, and more.bookplanner.beauty5MATERIALS

  • One spiral-bound calendar planner aprox. 5” x 8” x 5/8”
  • One vintage hard-cover book aprox. 5-1/2” x 8-1/2” x 3/4”
  • One 12” x 12” sheet of heavy scrapbook paper in a coordinating pattern and color (I used WeRMemory Keepers “Farmer’s Market :Urban”)
  • 1 sheet of plain cardstock paper
  • Craft knife and straight edge ruler for cutting
  • Ballpoint pen
  • Clear 2” shipping/packaging tape
  • ¼” Double-sided extra-bond tape

STEP 1  Shop the office supply store for a spiral-bound planner that suits your needs keeping in mind the general size of a book you hope to use for the cover.bookplanner.step1STEP 2  With planner in hand, search antique shops, flea markets, library sales and thrift stores for a vintage the approximate same size (or slightly larger), including the spine area where the spiral wire will tuck.bookplanner.step2STEP 3  Use a craft knife and straight-edge ruler to cut away the book pages, taking great care not to cut through the book spine fabric.bookplanner.step3STEP 4  To make panel pockets for inserting the cover of the planner, measure the end-paper area of the inside book cover, ¼ in from the fold of the cover. Cut the cardstock to those dimensions to create a template.bookplanner.step4STEP 5  Divide the scrapbook paper in half. Position the template onto one half of the scrapbook paper and measure ½” beyond the template on the top, bottom and right or left side, depending on the final placement of the pocket. Repeat to create two pocket panels.bookplanner.step5STEP 6  Turn the scrapbook paper backside up and reposition the template ½” from the top, bottom and one side edge. Use the ballpoint pen and straight-edge ruler to draw heavy lines along the template edge and beyond to the end of the scrapbook paper. Repeat with second paper.bookplanner.step6STEP 7  Trim away two corners of the scrapbook paper panels at 45-degree angles where the pen lines intersect.bookplanner.step7 STEP 8  Press a strip of packaging tape on the backside of the scrapbook panels along the edge with no pen line and trim away excess tape from edges. This will create reinforcement of the paper to avoid tearing with prolonged use.bookplanner.step8STEP 9  Fold back ½” flaps and run a strip of double-sided extra-bond tape along the top of each.bookplanner.step9 STEP 10  Place folded panels on each side of inside book cover, ¼” from the fold of the cover with the openings toward the book spine and press to secure creating pockets for the planner cover to slide into.bookplanner.step10STEP 11  Trim away small sections of the planner cover if necessary to fit into panel pockets.bookplanner.step11STEP 12  With book cover folded backwards, slide the front and back covers of the planner into the panel pockets.bookplanner.step12bookplanner.closer1STEP 13  Optional: Use packaging tape to laminate a front and back section of a page from the original book to make a bookmark.

bookplanner.step13If your vintage book has a library card pocket, carefully remove and re-adhere it to the crafted panel pocket.bookplanner.beauty4Here are more of my upcycled books, crafted as described above, some using contents from the original book, food packaging, even colorful junk mail postcards.vb1 vb2 vb3 vb4 vb5 vb6 vb7 vb8

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DecoArt® Media™ Mixed Media Progam Inspired Barn Workshop

Timing is everything. I was recently organizing a tour-craft-lunch event at the barn for a group of women attending the West Coast Art Is You Mixed Media Retreat when along came a press release from DecoArt about their new line of mixed media products. I responded immediately and was sent some very exciting product to use in the craft project. I dabble in so many different types of crafts and art, and there are so many different types of materials and products to learn about, I was lucky that DecoArt not only makes excellent product, but also share lots of instructional videos and tutorials on using them.Cathe_Holden_Deco_Art_01 The project I designed was a Vintage Book House Luminary. We cut and assembled a modified version of my paper house template, and the craft included a battery-operated tealight, a vintage book cover and book pages, reproduced vintage ephemera, floral velvet cut from an antique drapery panel, vintage millinary flora, and several products from the DecoArt® Media™ Progam line which includes:

  • Highly pigmented Fluid Acrylics in over 40 colors, plus metallics and interference colors
  • Antiquing Creams that are ideal for non-porous surfaces, opaque, matte, and non-permanent, for unlimited working time prior to sealing
  • A selection of texture products, each with its own special attributes, for creating texture and dimension
  • Gesso and other mediums that allow for even more ways to mix and match products to create unique designs
  • A variety of crackle products to add crackled finishes and texture to your art
  • A selection of varnishes to fit any finishing needs, perfect for finishing art journal pages to keep them from sticking together

Cathe_Holden_Deco_Art_03My favorite products from the new line include the Media Interference Fluid Acrylics that shifts in color and appearance depending upon the light, viewing angle and color of the surface on which they are applied. I used the turquoise over a vintage tobacco tax stamp that would represent a pond. The color, opalescence and sparkle was just so beautiful for water feature.Cathe_Holden_Deco_Art_02But the DecoArt® Media™ Liquid Glass added the perfect final, shiny touch. It goes on milky, but dries crystal clear.Cathe_Holden_Deco_Art_04And I now have a new, favorite product for decopaging- the DecoArt® Media™ Matte Medium. It’s not runny like the product I typically use, it’s creamy like my morning face lotion with a very nice satin finish when dry. And the big bonus is that coated pieces don’t stick to one another when dry, (such as a decopaged lidded box sticking closed.)Cathe_Holden_Deco_Art_05 There are several other uses for the Matte Media as well:

  • Use as a topcoat or mix with Media Fluid Acrylics to increase their color transparency.
  • Create image and photo transfers.
  • Use as a barrier between solvent-based products.
  • Use as a clear ground.
  • Use as a spray fixative when thinned with water to prevent smudging.

The yellow shimmer mister added a really nice effect to the too-blue velvet we were using. The white fluid acrylic was used a lot during the workshop to enhance collaged pieces, even giving one little house a white-paint pickled effect.Cathe_Holden_Deco_Art_08There were all levels of creativity and skill represented at the workshop and all attendees had success with the DecoArt Media products.Cathe_Holden_Deco_Art_06 Cathe_Holden_Deco_Art_09Cathe_Holden_Deco_Art_07All the pieces the women created turned out just fabulous thanks to the new DecoArt media products. It’s the most fun for me to watch attendees put their own style and creativity into their pieces. Here are some of the final mixed media assemblages.Cathe_Holden_Deco_Art_20Cathe_Holden_Deco_Art_10Cathe_Holden_Deco_Art_11Cathe_Holden_Deco_Art_12Cathe_Holden_Deco_Art_13Cathe_Holden_Deco_Art_14Cathe_Holden_Deco_Art_15Cathe_Holden_Deco_Art_16Cathe_Holden_Deco_Art_17Cathe_Holden_Deco_Art_18Cathe_Holden_Deco_Art_19Follow the DecoArt Mixed Media blog for inspiration, and like them on Facebook for up-to-date promotions, news and creativity. I look forward to learning more about and creating many new crafts and art pieces with this wonderful new line of mixed media products.

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Tartlet Tins Needles & Pins: Mollie Makes Pincushions

Cathe-Holden-Pin-Cushion-05 Issue 6 of Mollie Makes US Edition has arrived featuring another of my simple and fun projects. But this latest issue also features several of my very dear friends!Cathe-Holden-Pin-Cushion-09 My local art buddy, weekly coffee pal, creative motivator, and extremely talented illustrator and designer, Nicky Ovitt, opens up her inspiring vintage Petaluma home and studio for a tour you’re going to love. She also shares a full page pattern design from her latest fabric collection for you to gift wrap with!Nicky-Ovitt-MM My New Orleans pal, contributor and designer of craft projects for major family, home & garden magazines, craft book author, lifestyle blogger, and a very special friend I’ve had the privilege of beach-weekending and CHA conferencing with, Suzonne Stirling, shares her adorable felt pinecone project. And Kerry Goulder, a beautiful soul I always look forward to visiting with at creative functions, also known as Kid Giddy, has a wonderful feature of her book in this issue, Sewing Tales to Stitch and Love: 18 Toy Patterns for the Storytelling Sewist. This is one magazine I’ll especially cherish.

Here’s my contribution:Cathe-Holden-Pin-Cushion-10Tartlet Tins Needles & PinsHolden_pincushion.closer1

Custom tartlet pincushions are not only down-right adorable, but really quite practical. Organize your sewing nook’s pins and needles neatly by use, or craft sweet, personalized gifts for your favorite sewists.


  • Fluted tin tartlet size 2.5 – 3.5 inches
  • Colorful small-print cotton fabric
  • 8.5” x 11” Inkjet printable cotton fabric sheet
  • White craft felt
  • Beacon 527 Multi-Use Glue
  • Pillow stuffing, new or recycled
  • Washers or pennies for weights
  • Embroidery thread and needle
  • Buttons or other embellishments

Step 1: Using your computer, type desired word(s) using a display font sized to fit within the diameter of tartlet’s wide opening, allowing a 3/8-1/2-inch margin all around. Color the text to coordinate with your small-print fabric, and print centered in one half of a sheet of printable cotton. If making more than one pincushion, print a second text area centered in the other half of the sheet. To download a PDF file of the words I used in my project, click HERE.Holden_pincushion.step1Step 2: To create the decorative trim, cut or tear a one-inch strip of small-print fabric the length of the circumference of the tartlet opening, plus two inches. With an iron, press the strip in half lengthwise.Holden_pincushion.step2Step 3: Apply a light coating of glue around the upper inside wall of the tartlet. Use a cotton swab to spread the glue into the fluted areas. Press the folded trim into the upper portion of the tartlet keeping 3/16” of the folded area above the edge.Holden_pincushion.step3Step 4: Place trimmed tartlet upside down and centered over the text-printed fabric. Use a ruler and pencil to measure several one-inch marks around the circumference of the tart opening. Connect the marks by drawing one continuous line freehand, creating a cutting template. Use fabric scissors to trim out printed fabric along cut line.Holden_pincushion.step4Step 5: Similar to step 4, draw and trim out a shape of craft felt ¼-3/8” larger than tartlet opening.Holden_pincushion.step6Step 6: Place the text-printed shape centered over the felt round and embellish the surface with embroidery stitching, buttons or other embellishments, careful to keep all within ¾” of outer edge of felt shape.Holden_pincushion.step5Step 7: Use remaining embroidery thread or standard sewing thread to hand-stitch around the text-printed fabric, 3/8”-1/2” from outer edge, leaving long pulling thread sections at beginning and end of stitching. Tie ends loosely and cinch stitching to create a pocket and place pillow stuffing inside to desired denseness. Tighten stitching to desired shape, securely knot thread and tuck remaining lengths up and into the stuffing.Holden_pincushion.step7Step 8: Glue washers or pennies to the bottom of the tartlet tin to add additional weight to the final pincushion.Holden_pincushion.step8Step 9: Spread a generous amount of glue in the bottom and along the walls of the tartlet tin, and up onto the lower half of the fabric trim.Holden_pincushion.step9Step 10: Place stuffed cushion into the tartlet and press into shape. Allow to dry overnight before loading with pins or needles.Holden_pincushion.step10Holden_pincushion.opener3Cathe-Holden-Pin-Cushion-04TIPS

  • Stitch through or around printed text to add dimension to the word(s).Cathe-Holden-Pin-Cushion-06
  • Glue color-coordinating narrow ribbon around the tartlet, just below the top edge.Holden_pincushion.closer9
  • When attaching embellishments be careful to allow room on the surface of the cushion for pins and needles to come and go with ease.Cathe-Holden-Pin-Cushion-03
  • Attach small purchased embellishments, jewelry charms, or buttons to your cushion, or craft your own like a tiny stack of safety-pinned fabric swatches, hand-stitched and tangled thread-nests with glued-in miniature plastic eggs, and tiny leaves cut from velvet ribbon.Cathe-Holden-Pin-Cushion-02
  • Use additional empty tartlet tins to store safety-pins and loose buttons.Cathe-Holden-Pin-Cushion-08

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