Category Archives: Using What You Have

Mini-Scrapbook, Patriotic Style

One of the swap paper projects that my sister (Fran), our friend (Abby) and I did a couple of years ago were altered books/scrapbooks for each other.

This is the one that I made for Fran.

My goal was to make it more than just a graphic collage, as most of my projects have been. I wanted it to be read, not just looked at.

* The black smudges are poorly executed distressing, not mold. ugh.

And once again, my theme involved found (or re-purposed) materials. They included:

church bulletin cover
junk mail
used postage stamps
magazine clippings
old poster board
punched stars
saved string
scraps leftover from a previous 4th of July project

and a few shiny stars and rubber stamps

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Filed under 4th of July, America, Crafts - Paper, Ephemera, History, Mini Scrapbooks, Using What You Have

Upcycled Tablet Case

“Goodwill kid’s shirt + bubble wrap + retired flexy plastic cutting board + duct tape, and a little sewing machine action…viola, custom case/sleeve for my tablet.”

Lance, my husband’s nephew, posted his project on Facebook, and with his permission, I share it with you.

Clever fellow.

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Filed under Crafts - Textile, Making Do, Thrift, Using What You Have

Paper Houses

First the caveat: Please, please do not put a real tea light in these. They’ll catch on fire in a New York minute.

Found the pattern and instructions here on Just Something I Made. These are the easiest ones I’ve made; they go together very quickly, although I didn’t go to as much trouble as Cathe did. No bottoms in mine and I didn’t cut the windows, etc.

Mine aren’t Halloween houses; of course, the pattern can be modified many ways. Instead of using decorative paper, I mostly used stiff magazine pages with large areas of graphics. The gold colored house was a Godiva chocolates ad.


My favorite, I think was the one made from a book page. It looks particularly good with the battery powered tea light because the paper is more translucent and it sort of glows.

To make the chimney, I folded another piece of paper into a square, using a glue stick to affix the edges. Then I folded it in half, opened it back up, cut little slits in the bottom, folded the little cut strips down and glued it onto the roof. The smoke was made by glue-sticking two pieces together, cutting them into a curved shape, then gluing it down into the chimney.

At Just Something I Made, she cut the windows, but since I didn’t want the haunted house look and didn’t want to figure out my own pattern for regular windows, I just cut little squares of paper and glued them onto the sides.

The front door is just snipped up, then across.

Next I think I’ll try enlarging the pattern about 35% and making a little village, altering roof lines, putting on a little gingerbread trim, etc.

These would look great for a Christmas theme. Or with the bottoms glued on and a hole punched in the top for a string they’d be cute tree ornaments, or on a string of fairy lights.

Hutch Studio has some very cute ones for sale if you prefer to buy them in a kit rather than make your own patterns, etc.

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Filed under Book Page Projects, Crafts, Crafts - Cheap, Crafts - Paper, Internet links, Using What You Have

Autumn Altered Book, Part II

Next steps … but still in progress.

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Filed under Altered Books, Autumn, Books, Crafts - Cheap, Crafts - Paper, Ephemera, Thrift, Using What You Have

Autumn Altered Book, Part I

For this project I’m using a Country Living Halloween book. It has lots of fall colors and pumpkins and things.

First I tore out a lot of pages. It was hard for me to do this step when I started making altered books, but the simple fact is that after all the embellishments are added, the book will be too thick and just wont’ close. Sometimes that may be the desired goal, but not this time.

The pages on the inside cover are orange with lighter spots of cats and jack-o-lanterns. Since this isn’t a Halloween book, I covered the pages by stamping a leaf pattern all over it.

The picture below shows the unstamped page (on the left) and then the stamped look (on the right).

Next, I use a glue stick to affix the pumpkins onto a piece of book page, then placed it onto the lower left-hand corner. The piece of book page had been used as a base when I was spraying glimmer mist onto something else. It left an interesting pattern and looked just right for the pumpkins. They were clipped from a Mary Englbreit Home Companion magazine.

This page featured instructions for making a Halloween scrapbook. I covered the felt cut-outs with a stamped image of old-fashioned ink pens. The background paper was from the time my sister (Fran) taught me how to use alcohol inks. The pens just seemed to complement the idea of the scrapbook.

To change the wording, I used a piece of junk mail that had fall leaves on it, and dotted the words “All My Blessings”.

It probably won’t be completed this year because I’ve learned that after putting something away for awhile, fresh ideas will come when I pick it back up at a later time.

Tomorrow I’ll post more photos of it.
Next, I took

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Filed under Altered Books, Autumn, Books, Crafts - Cheap, Crafts - Paper, Ephemera, Thrift, Using What You Have

Floral Altered Book pages

from Fran's Floral Altered Book

These page layouts are from an altered book my sister made; her theme was Flowers.

On this page, she distressed the pages with purple and buff colored stamp pads, used a daisy rubber stamp, magazine clippings for the flowers and heart. The wavy floral paper scrap was from a drapery sample book, which she ran through a crimper. Also she stamped a tulip on a layered tag and used a bit of photocopied ephemera.

From Fran's Floral Altered Book

This is one of my favorite altered book pages of all time. The purple flower is a silk one, and I wouldn’t have thought of using it because it’s so thick and bulky – but it’s perfect.

Besides the silk flower, she used a purple stamp pad for distressing the page, embroidered ribbon, words cut from a magazine (Home Grown and Spring), rubber stamp, and a decorative paper napkin.

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Filed under Altered Books, Cozy, Crafts, Crafts - Cheap, Crafts - Paper, Family, Using What You Have

George Washington Silhouette



Here’s the George Washington silhouette that I promised last February. The above tracing is from the instruction page (last photo in this post) and enlarged to 200%. The nose is not quite right. If you prefer to trace your own, click on the instruction page to enlarge it, then click again on the magnifying glass.

It’s the closest I could find to the ones that we always cut out and used for crafts back in the early 60s when I was in elementary school at Mingo.

Go here for the Lincoln silhouette outline.

One additional note: an optional background is to print off the Declaration of Independence setting the darker/lighter button much lighter than normally for the font. For an antiqued look, use a tan piece of cardstock.

These pictures are all from Holiday Touches for the Country Home, Memories in the Making Series by Leisure Arts.

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Filed under Crafts, Crafts - Cheap, Crafts - Paper, Heros, Holidays, Using What You Have, Washington's Birthday