Monthly Archives: July 2014

Altered Notebooks

As a lifelong journaler (yes, that’s a real word in my mind) and diary keeper I have had a fascination with notebooks, paper, pens, diaries, composition books and just about every other type of bound paper that I could write in for as long as I can remember. There are journals and notebooks that have stuck with me throughout my life, either because they were so wonderfully made or textured, or because of what they represented at a particular time in my life.

There was a composition book purchased in Mexico on a Potter’s Clay trip in high school that became a shared prayer journal, and a blue, raw silk covered large journal I bought at Roku, a wonderful store on State Street in Santa Barbara when I was a teen. It felt so luxurious, both because of the silk and because of the size of the pages. I had a small Chinese journal that fit in any purse or bag that I carried with me and pulled out anywhere and everywhere to capture moments. When I was much younger I received a Norman Rockwell diary with a lock for my birthday which I thought was the coolest thing ever!

I have a leather covered journal that notes my thoughts on naming my girls. Before Cassie was born I was focused on names with hard C’s or K’s and S’s – they sounded so clean and crisp and evoked the fresh wind for me. Before Sammie was born I was all about the soft warmth of names with a “th”; The ubiquitous Heather, and Samantha, Beth, Faith. I had forgotten some of that process until I re-read those old entries.

So it’s not surprising that I have been playing with altering notebooks. I love Moleskine books and have used them for years at work and at home. A few months ago I altered a notebook for a journal and one for my family history notes using great thick scrapbook paper, pockets and washi tape. They are both nearly full and pretty battered now.


Right now I am playing with different types of paper, a bit of Modpodge, paper elements, ribbon, pockets and envelopes.

The first attempt with Modpodge is less than wonderful, but it’s been a good learning experience. I promise no one will get this as a gift J I do like the effect of the paper doilies and the french mail washi tape. I don’t like the warping and buckling much though.

My favorite of this batch used a couple of different styles of paper and a couple of different patterns of washi tape.

Altered NotebookAltered Notebook Altered Notebook

I wanted to make something that my Mom could use for her sewing ideas, but I am a bit neutral on this effort so far.

The last in this set falls back on my stash of scrapbook paper. I always need pockets or I stick things between the pages and lose them.

Do you alter notebooks? What techniques, tools or materials have you found to be best?

A Suburban Fairy Door

Fairy doors have been appearing in Ann Arbor, Michigan for many years. Some of the doors even allow a view into the fairy homes or offices (even a dentist’s office!) behind the doors.

While it’s far more simple than most of the Ann Arbor doors (check out Urban Fairies for the original doors) I had a wonderful time installing my own fairy door. While I haven’t actually seen the fairies, there is a bicycle parked outside the door most mornings. I don’t know how safe it is with their key “hidden” on the mantel though…

My Fairy Door

I am not willing to shop at Hobby Lobby and there are no dollhouse stores near my home, so I got all of the parts from Amazon (although I am not really happy with them right now due to the Hachette bullying). I used an exterior doll house door and purchased the knob and other hardware separately. I painted the door using acrylic paint and sprayed an exterior clear sealant after the hardware was attached. I used liquid nails to attach the door to the siding and to attach the bicycle to the step.

It was a very fun weekend project and we get excited comments from everyone from the neighborhood kids to the UPS man. I want to install a Little Free Library next, and maybe a Wish Tree this Fall. You have to read about Andrea Scher’s Wish Tree at her Superhero Life site. She is truly an amazingly inspiring person!

Pallet repurposed

Pallet artRepurposed pallet

I am in love with this discovery which, mounted on the one blank wall in my bedroom, has pulled the whole room together.

An artist at the Farmer’s Market at Southlands this morning had pallets re-purposed as flags (lots and lots of flags), or beef cut guidelines (picture a big black cow painted onto a pallet and turned into a map of rump roast and tri-tip), and this one lone, unique piece.


Jazz in Words


That dance of disparate instruments,

Finding their way into rhythm

And sense

And music.

How unapologetic they are, their loudness

Their peacock beauty.

How they strut forward and say

“Here I am”

And the play begins,

Sometimes raucous, sometimes smooth

As the surface of an old late,

What it means to let yourself show up

Exactly as you are,

Hold you big hands out to the world,

And sing.

-Maya Stein



There is music in your fingers

And I know this because I played the piano for a while

When I was in fourth grand

And when I quit it was because my teacher

Didn’t seem to understand that I could feel it.

I could feel it in my chest like the wings of a hummingbird,

Like the throaty sound of the mocking bird who sat on our roof the other night

Under a storm cloud,

Singing as if his very life depended on it,

Singing every song he’d ever heard.

  • Amy Tingle Williamson