my new notebook

Covered Notebook by Natalie ParkerCovered Notebook by Natalie Parker

Inspired by Elise’s action book, I purchased a new notebook to keep track of my creative ideas and tasks.  I used to keep ideas for this blog scattered in a bunch of documents and notepads.  My scrapbook sketches were usually done on scratch paper and post-it notes.  Then I would lose things.

I bought a Blueline Business Notebook, which has dividers so I can keep sections on my blog, scrapbook, and other items.  The book has grid paper inside, which is great for making lists and drawings.  As you know, I can’t draw a straight line so I passed on blank page books. I’ve been using it off and on for a few weeks.

Realizing that I’m more likely to use it if it’s pretty-looking, I covered it with some fuzzy paper from Paper Source (no longer in stock) that I had in my stash. I used the same notebook covering method described in this post.

Sort of.  I took a detour.

Since I had been talking about how great Avery glue sticks are, I thought shouldn’t I be able to save time and just use a glue stick for this project?  Wrong.  Just for you, dear readers, I took one for the team and tested it using a glue stick.  It just didn’t do a great job of holding the paper firmly around the sides.  No matter, I was able to fix it by adding Mod Podge (like I was supposed to!) and all is well.

Results so far?  The book is holding up very well and I love having all of my notes in one place!

Covered Notebook by Natalie Parker


New Spring Color Palettes

Spring color palette based on bouquet of greens, pinks and purples.Spring color pallette based on pinks, oranges and yellows.Happy Spring!  Yes, I’m going to say that spring has sprung even though some of the country is still sitting under snow.  Positive thinking, people!

Besides the calendar telling me it’s spring, I know for sure it is because the asparagus has started showing up at my local farmer’s market.  For us, it means the end of winter cooking and moving on to springier dishes.

I dug through my files looking for some spring inspiration.  I put together two new color palettes for you!

The first one is from a bouquet of flowers we saw on our trip to Seattle.  The second is from my trip to Sydney – those flowers drop on my coworker’s car in the morning!

I hope these inspire you!

Minibook: Everything We Ate in China

China Food Travel MinibookI’ve never made a mini-book before.  Funny, right?

I wanted to do some sort of fun project about all the food we ate on our trip to China.  I started by taking a picture of everything we ate, beginning on the plane ride.  Mr. P and our friends were gracious in not touching anything on the table until I got a shot of it – they even reminded me to take photos!

Shopping in Beijing, I found this awesome little book.

China Food Travel MinibookI printed the food pictures as 2-inch squares when I got home, and then left a 1/8-inch white border when I cut them out.

China Food Travel MinibookI was a little concerned that the thickness of all the photos was going to mess with the binding of the book, but the finished product is actually pretty cool!

China Food Travel MinibookI sat in front of the TV with these supplies and went to work.

China Food Travel MinibookI used a date stamp to stamp each page with the date the meal corresponded to.

China Food Travel MinibookThen I taped in each picture and wrote a few words.

I also wrote divider pages for each city we were in.

China Food Travel MinibookNot bad for a first attempt?  I like how minibooks have an effortless look, so I hope I succeeded.

I’ve included a bunch of pages below so you can look at them.  I used over 80 photos, so this is just a sample!

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Craft Tutorial: Gift Card Storage Envelope

Gift Card Storage EnvelopeI love gift cards.  I love using gift cards.  I never remember I have gift cards.

Gift cards always end up rolling around in my desk.  I created this pretty envelope to hold all of our gift cards and certificates.  Now I won’t have to go digging in our desk for buried treasure!


  • Envelope template from Paper Source, size A7If you don’t have envelope templates, you can easily search for and print out one to use.
  • Pretty paperI used this yellow blossom print from Paper Source but I don’t see it on their site anymore.
  • Cardstock
  • Glue/TapeNeeds to be strong stuff so the envelope will be durable.
  • Scissors

Gift Card Storage EnvelopeHow to Make a Gift Card Storage Envelope

First, glue your paper to the cardstock, then trace and cut out the envelope template.  The cardstock will give the envelope some heft and durability.

Gift Card Storage EnvelopeCut a piece of cardstock as wide as the envelope and a couple inches tall.  Glue it toward the top inside the envelope.  This adds an extra level of storage inside the envelope.

Gift Card Storage EnvelopeCut a slit in the envelope to tuck the top flap.  This makes for neat storage.

Gift Card Storage EnvelopeFinally, glue the envelope together.  Trick: if you have a lot of gift cards, glue the envelope with the gift cards already inside.  If you glue the envelope by itself completely flat, there won’t be much “give” in the envelope.  If you glue it with some stuff already inside, it’ll give the envelope a little puffy shape and more room.

Gift Card Storage EnvelopeThat’s it!  This whole process took me less than 30 minutes (not including glue drying time).

Gift Card Storage Envelope

Mail Art Exchange: Words

Mail Art ExchangeI was excited to participate in another volume of Ginger’s Mail Art Exchange!  If you are interested in participating, read more about it on Ginger’s blog here.

The theme was Words.  Below is the awesome piece I received.  Scroll further down for pictures of what I sent.

Alexa’s Mail to Me

Alexa sent a lovely piece of mail to me – very exciting to receive when I got home from China.

Mail Art ExchangeShe used pages from a copy of Modern Manners to create the piece (the tag made me smile).

Mail Art ExchangeI love how she stitched everything!

Mail Art ExchangeInside was a lovely card and other goodies!

Mail Art ExchangeThanks for the nice surprise Alexa!

My Mail to Jemma

I couldn’t believe my luck with the “words” theme.  I still have a ton of leftover book pages from the Book Project/Wall Art.

Mail Art ExchangeI had a lot of fun making the envelope.  I used strips from several different books for a neat effect.  I glued them to a piece of cardstock, then Mod Podged the top.

Mail Art ExchangeAfter it dried, I cut out the envelope.

Mail Art ExchangeInside I included a card with book page butterflies on it.

Mail Art ExchangeJemma blogged about the finished product here.  Thanks again Ginger for hosting the exchange!

Patterned Paper US Map for my Niece & Nephew

Patterned Paper US MapThis map was a Christmas gift to my little niece and nephew.  A combination of canvas, patterned paper and mod podge, it was a little painstaking to put together!  I say painstaking because I like to make things difficult and perfect.

Patterned Paper US MapThis project was inspired by Kate’s Fabric Map over at See Kate Sew.  Kate cut states out of fabric by hand, ironed them onto muslin and then top-stitched them.  I prefer paper and thought it would help me give the project more definition.

Patterned Paper Map Supplies

I cut the states out using my Silhouette SD, but you can do it by hand.  I thought the Silhouette would make it easier, but it was more work than I thought it was and I think both methods are a tie.


  • Patterned paper of your choice
  • Large canvas
  • Scissors or a Silhouette machine
  • A printable map of the US or a map file for the Silhouette
  • Scotch tape
  • Mod Podge and brush

I used a couple different paper pads with sort of patriotic paper.

Patterned Paper US MapPatterned Paper Map Tutorial

First, decide what paper is going to go with each state on the map.  For this process, I printed a small map and used scraps from my papers.  Each paper repeats a few times, but I did not want like papers touching each other.

Patterned Paper US MapSecond, cut out your states.  This is the tedious part and you can do it one of two ways.

If you are doing this by hand, download a US map and print it really big to fit the size of your canvas.  Then, cut out each state and use it as a pattern for your patterned paper.  Kate has really good instructions on how to print and use this method with fabric.  It’s generally applicable to paper, except you will use regular paper and not iron-on.

I used the Silhouette SD and downloaded a US Map and painstakingly split it into 50 separate cut files.*  Why didn’t I just buy each state individually?  One, I’m cheap.  Two, I needed to make sure the proportions and of each state to one another were correct.

Next step, tape sections of states together.  I used plain scotch tape.  Tape big chunks of states together – not the entire map.

Patterned Paper US MapThen, carefully Mod Podge the sections to the canvas.  That’s Mr. P placing all the islands.

Patterned Paper US MapLet it completely dry, then cover the entire canvas with a light coat of Mod Podge.  Warning – the paper may curl or bubble.  Leave it alone.  Usually the bubbles go away when it dries.  Fiddling with it will only mess it up.

Patterned Paper US MapI added a title to the bottom right corner before I Mod Podged the whole canvas.  The font is Lobster.

Patterned Paper US MapLet it dry and touch up if needed.

I really thought I was going to screw this up at some point, but it turned out so cool!

Patterned Paper US Map*Normally, I would make these files available to you for download but my computer crashed right after I finished this project.

Any questions?  Please leave questions in the comments and I’m happy to answer them!

Patterned Paper US Map

Two New Wedding Cards

Wedding Cards from Wedding PicturesIt’s wedding season.  I’m working on my wedding scrapbook.  Are you tired of hearing about weddings already?

I never get tired of weddings no matter whose they are.  Truth.  I DVR-ed all of the Will & Kate anniversary specials and am watching them one by one while I scrapbook.

We attended two weddings in May!  I made wedding cards for both of them using my own wedding pictures.  For a complete tutorial, visit my wedding card post.

Wedding card using wedding picturesThe first was for a friend of mine.  I usually make the card match their wedding colors, but I didn’t have the right paper.  Instead, I made it her favorite color!

Wedding card using wedding picturesSecond was my little sister’s wedding.  Her wedding colors were black, red and white.  I did have those – some sparkly black and shiny red to boot!

Wedding card using wedding picturesI made envelopes this time using my Paper Source envelope templates and envelope liner templates.

Wedding card using wedding picturesTwo lovely weddings, two beautiful beautiful brides.

Two weddings.

My New Travel Journal

Homemade Travel JournalSomebody has a vacation coming up.  *Wink wink*

Last year I posted about how and why I keep a travel journal.  It is a very simple low-impact way of keeping a record.  I haven’t scrapbooked that vacation yet but I’ve consulted the journal more than once to remember what we ate.

For a complete tutorial on how to make your own travel journal, visit my travel journal tutorial.

This year I was super pressed for time and cut corners by getting heavy patterned cardstock.  This means I skipped the step of gluing the patterned paper to plain cardstock.

Homemade Travel JournalThe cardstock is Perfect Posies from the 29th Street Market Line from My Mind’s Eye.  I picked it up at Michaels on Sunday.  I’m not much for distressing and cut the journal cover from an un-distressed area.

Homemade Travel JournalUsing patterned stock made this super quick.  I was running out of time to make this and threw it together.  It only took 15 minutes!  Okay, it was probably around 20 because Mr. P made me a margarita and I was enjoying that while finishing it.

Homemade Travel JournalDon’t forget to visit my travel journal tutorial for complete instructions on how to make a travel journal!

Making a Custom House Letter

Make a custom door letterDo you live in a multi-unit residence?  I do and the units aren’t labeled.  The mailman and UPS guy have to guess.

I checked my home improvement store and all the letters they had were ugly.  Ug-ly.

I guess I just gave myself a new project.  Hmmph.

Create a Custom Inexpensive Door Letter

Supplies I used:

  • Leftover photo mat from framing a piece of art.  You can get remnants cheap from your local framing place.  You can also use a heavy duty chipboard.
  • X-acto knife
  • Computer/printer
  • Tape
  • Spray paint – whichever color you prefer
  • Clear spray paint/sealer – same stuff I used to make the coasters
  • Rubber cement – see the Book Project post for a picture

It sounds complicated but it really wasn’t!  I had everything except the gold spray paint already on hand.

I printed out a big letter “A.”  The font is Andalus (pretty sure it came with Microsoft Word), size 385, making it about 3.5 inches tall.

Make a custom door letterI cut a square around the letter and taped it to a small leftover piece of photo mat. I used a mat instead of cardstock or chipboard because it’s very heavy and I thought it would be the most durable.

Make a custom door letterIf you are cutting photo mat, use a very sharp x-acto knife.  The thickness is difficult to cut through and using a dull knife actually makes you more likely to cut yourself.

Make a custom door letterI cut through the paper and the mat, then spray painted it gold.  I saved by buying this itty bitty can of spray paint.

Make a custom door letterThen I used my can of Rust-oleum Satin Clear to seal it (same stuff I use for making coasters).

Make a custom door letterI used rubber cement to stick it to our door.

Make a custom door letterI actually completed this project close to a year ago and was too lazy to take pictures wanted to see how durable it was.  It still looks good as new!

Make a custom door letterYes, I know – looks very Nathaniel Hawthorne, doesn’t it?  Just kidding.

Spring Color Palettes

Spring Color PaletteHappy Spring!  I hope the sun is starting to peek out wherever you are.

Here are some fun new color palettes I made to celebrate the season.  I hope they inspire you!

Dahlias at the Market

These are from the flower seller at our farmer’s market.  I love how stunning the colors are!

Spring Color PalettePansies from Home

From our backyard last year:

Spring Color PaletteTulips in Chicago

From a business trip I took last year.  I love when cities have tulips planted on busy thoroughfares.

Spring Color PaletteWildflowers on the Prairie

I snapped these walking through a prairie with my niece and nephew.  It was a very windy day but luckily the flowers cooperated for a picture!

Spring Color PaletteSee my first set of color palettes here and a second set I did for the holidays here.