Happy Accidents: Note Pad Cover

I almost didn’t post this project, it wasn’t at all what I had in mind for a final project, but instead of throwing out what looked like a complete failure, I kept going with it and watched my project take a completely different look and actually, really like it!

I wanted to experiment with printing on leather. I have some scraps that my blogger/designer/etsy friend, Desirai in Florida, sent me in a crafty care package months ago. This leather was too thick to feed through my desktop printer (I’ve really pushed my luck cramming stuff into my poor Epson,) so I thought I would try fabric iron-on transfer sheets.

If you knew me, you’d know I have a terrible memory, especially as the tasks build up. And I had a stack of little yellow note pads that I picked up cheap when they were being discontinued at the grocery store a while back. I wanted to sew a beautiful leather note pad cover with a beautiful crisp image to tuck into my purse. Successfully iron on a cool graphic, stitch along the edges, line with cool fabric, you get the picture. So, with images off a CD-ROM from the book Label Art, by Dover-Pictura, I chose a beautiful root beer label and modified it in Photoshop and Illustrator.

I printed a transfer sheet, and usual, I always forget to flop the image before printing, so that takes care of the first sheet of every new package. But the second turned out perfect. I knew the image would loose it’s color brilliance when transferring to the taupe leather, figuring that would give a weathered look. So on to ironing…

Even with the steam turned off, there was quite a bit of moisture when ironing as the leather isn’t porous, and the transfer got pretty funky. So instead of tossing it, I trimmed it out like a patch, roughed it up by rubbing it on my jeans and other textured surfaces, and sewed it to some scrap denim cut from the leg of my husband’s old Levi’s. (He’ll never know.)

A fold here, seam there, a strap inside, then some fraying of the edges (because I wasn’t in the mood for more seams,) and I created a sort of Bohemian-Cowgirl-notepad-thingy.

I’m including a JPG of the modified image, you can click on it then drag it to your computer. Whether or not you make a note pad or use the image, hopefully you’ll be not only inspired to create outside the box, but to hang onto your mistakes until you think of a wonderful alternative.

Next I’ll try transfer sheets for dark fabric, they are more of an applied decal, I’ll keep you updated!

And while on the subject of taking notes, I wanted to share this fun neckace I made with darling little dance-card pencils I found on Etsy, that I attached to an old and broken rosary chain. You never know when you’ll need to write something down!

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27 Responses to Happy Accidents: Note Pad Cover

  1. #1 - StudioCherie says:

    Here’s to many more happy accidents! Thank you for sharing your fun project.

  2. #2 - Heather - CROQZine.com - Dollarstorecrafts.com says:

    It turned out great! I like the iron on on leather look! Thanks for sharing another great idea!

  3. #3 - daisy says:

    Luv how you adapt these labels & this one is such a fab idea.

  4. #4 - Geralyn Gray says:

    I love all of your great ideas……I do that all the time with paper….It never fails when I am using something really expensive too.

  5. #5 - Katy says:

    You are so creative! I just love your ideas and am really enjoying your blog! Thanks for sharing :0) ~ kt

  6. #6 - Splendid Little Stars says:

    You just make the coolest things! Thanks for sharing your talent!

  7. #7 - Anna Lemons says:

    Absolutely Adorable! Now I wish I had a sewing machine….oh no, not another hobby….!

  8. #8 - tidymom says:

    Wow if that’s how your accidents turn out………….

    This is such a great idea!!


  9. #9 - LeelaBijou says:

    Wow, very creative!!

  10. #10 - SueLovesCherries says:

    Oh, this is fab! How clever of you to come up with this idea!

  11. #11 - *The Beautiful Life* says:

    Your blog and your creativity are truly something! How do you do it?
    I so enjoy your blog and now just wish I had more time to try my hand at some of your ideas! 🙂

    Thanks so much!!


  12. #12 - momof3girls says:

    I thought your notebooks were cute, but I also enjoyed hearing that what you started didn’t turn out like you thought it would and you had to improvise! (that happens to me all the time)

  13. #13 - xashee's corner says:

    Thank you so much for sharing this Happy ‘accident’! 🙂 LOVE the necklace too!! You are soo CLEVER! 🙂 Have a FANTASTIC day!

  14. #14 - flatwoodsfolkart says:

    I love this necklace! Another beautiful creation Cathe! I am thrilled that you enjoyed the post I did on your blog. You are truly an inspiration!


  15. #15 - PJ says:

    I’m the girl who loves the ideas but doesn’t want to do it herself because I always muck it up. Why don’t you sell some of these. If you decide to, let me know. I want one! 🙂

  16. #16 - drooz studio says:

    BRILLIANT! as always! love the pocket note pad- and the necklace -OMG! to die for! I just can’t wait each day to pop over and see what you’ve been up to!

  17. #17 - TAPESTRIESOFNATURE says:


  18. #18 - CAROLINE. says:

    Genius necklace!

  19. #19 - gloria says:

    You are so creative. I love this project. Thank you for sharing. I´ll try it.

  20. #20 - Janet says:

    Hi Cathy,
    I love your “notes & ideas” design! I have been searching for this look for my new company brand/logo, can I talk to you about designing something for me? Let me know & thank you for your wonderful art.

  21. #21 - Lisbet / Denmark says:

    Love your blog! ♥

    Just had a close-up-look at the photos of this necklace (it’s beautiful and it’s such a cool idea!), and much to my surprise, the language on the paper-sheets is DANISH… Did you know that?

    Danish is my language! Wondering how this old item ever got to the USA… Quite funny actually! 🙂

    F.Y.I.: “Forelæsninger” means “Lectures” (Unfortunately that’s the only entire word I can read from the photos…)

    Greetings from Denmark,

    Lisbet 🙂

  22. #22 - Hellen Edwards says:

    How absolutely lovely!! Just happened on your site by way of Ephemera`s Vintage Garden site–Debbie-Anne Parent. Thankyou very much for such beautiful “freebies”.
    Kind regards Hellen Edwards–from Australia.

  23. #23 - RenatevanRooijen64 says:

    Thanx for this lovely image. Im gonna use it for an ATC backside.

  24. #24 - Kelly says:

    You are just way too creative!! (Even if it is by accident) Thanks for the wonderful ideas!

  25. #25 - Carrie Trant says:

    Would you please explain how you changed the text. I am trying a similar project and have been fussing with Illustrator for a couple of days.
    Never used Illustrator or Photoshop before, but I have them both.

    Thanks for your help.


  26. #26 - C. Socrates says:


    I’m a designer and was wondering how cool a transfer would look when applied to leather as well. I researched and asked my transfer manufacturer and everywhere else for advise, then I find this!

    I’m very familiar with Transfer, its my thing. So because you have tried this idea with success, May I know what type of Leather you used??
    I’m going to test Lamb Leather but before I buy the hide, I’d like to know what leather you used…


  27. #27 - Unique! says:

    Thank you so much for the great Note Book cover.