Tag Archives: Crafts – Paper

Reading Material

As a quick look around our home will tell you, I love to read. Books, magazines, old letters, vintage catalogs (!), clipped articles, and yes, even cereal boxes. When I go to the antique mall or a garage sale, rarely do I buy anything that isn’t printed. Occasionally a pretty dish or a doll. Maybe a vintage article of clothing or old sewing supplies.

More often, my treasure sack contains various types of ephemera: old sewing patterns, a pattern catalog from the 1950s, a 16 Magazine from 1965, Needlecraft Magazine from 1932, a very well-worn elementary reader from the 1930s, a slim WWII volume: This is the Navy, a 1960 Montgomery Ward catalog, the little booklet/catalog that came with Barbie dolls in 1962, an old drama script, a handmade wedding album from the Depression, old high school and college yearbooks, cookbooks, paper dolls (!), school room ephemera (the seasonal cardboard cut-outs that teachers used to decorate their door with). Let’s pause and take a breath. (And yes, I know I ended that sentence with a preposition. It just didn’t sound right when I used “with which”.)

I just love the printed word.

However, not all printed words.

A few weeks ago Joe and I went to the Grapevine Public Library to see what offerings were in the Friends of the Library nook. These are items which have been donated to them, which they can’t keep and they will let you take them home for a donation to their funds.

One of the employees was re-stocking the shelves and I asked her if they had any donations which were too tattered to put out and that would go straight to the paper recycler. I explained that I like to do paper crafts and find it very difficult to tear up a book to use for projects (and I can never alter one that I liked). I explained the caveat that the books cannot be prurient, even for crafting. Can you just imagine a collaged piece from a Harold Robbins book?! Yikes!

(As a Fawlty Towers fan, I first typed Harold Robinson, then caught myself and corrected it. I think the Waldorf Salad episode was my favorite one.)

Anyway, she said that they had just received a large donation (I’m guessing several hundred books), most of which wouldn’t sell and that I could go into the office and look at them and see if there was anything I liked.

She showed me the Jalna series of books by Mazo de la Roche. The Jalna books were a popular series, the first of which was written in 1927. The lady told me that they would not sell.

Also there was the World War II collection by Winston Churchill, missing one volume.

On and on it went. I ended up with 41 books in my stack, knowing that only a few would end up as craft material. One slightly unpleasant aspect of all of it was the pricing. These were books without a price tag. Buyers are expected to come up with what they think is reasonable and fair. My general rule of thumb is a garage sale price. Magazines are a dime, children’s books and paperbacks a quarter and hardbacks .50 unless in very bad condition. But she wasn’t happy with my offer of $20.00.

Now, before you hit that comment link about how greedy I was, take a deep breath and remember that she considered all of these books unsaleable. They would get nothing for them when sent to the pulp mill. My choices were 39 hardbacks and 2 paperbacks (39 x .50 = $19.50 + .25 +.25 +$20.00). So, I offered her $25.00 and she accepted.

My plans are to read the Jalna series this summer, then perhaps start on the Churchill books this fall (they are huge – over 700 pages each; the usual goal of 1 book per week will collapse with those).

Many of the others are simply old novels. Maybe I’ll read them and then be willing to tear out the pages. But maybe not.

Three of them were old looking and when I read the titles I thought, “Surely I won’t mind tearing these up.”

Then we got them home and I really looked at them (I didn’t spend the time to look them over carefully while at the library).

One of belongs in a genealogy department because it’s an 1886 list of Illinois Civil War veterans, which includes their dates of service and promotions. Scratch this one from the scrap heap.

The next one is an 1898 volume called “The Lives of the Saints”. Even though we aren’t Catholic, a saint is a saint and my husband is particularly interested in St. Theresa of Avila, who is chapter one. Scratch this one from the scrap heap.

The last really old looking one was called the Illinois Blue Book, 1933-34. It was a state government book published in 1933. Alright! Here was one that I could use! A lot of cool looking photos of state officials and lists of government projects … and then right in the center is this gorgeous section of photos and drawings of the “Century of Progress Exposition 1833 – 1933, Held at Chicago, May 27 to Nov. 12, 1933”.


And ebay? Ebay?? Someone save me from ebay. (However, I just got the bid on the most fantastic bundle of 1965 and 1967 Seventeen magazines. I’ll share the photos with you later.)

*Updated May 26, 2013

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Filed under 1930s, 1940s, 1950s, 1960's, Altered Books, America, Books, Chicago, Cookbooks, Crafts, Crafts - Paper, Ephemera, Faith, Family, Fashion, Fiction, Grapevine, History, Humor, Internet links, Local Shopping, Sewing, Shopping, Texas, Vintage catalogs, Vintage Magazines, Winston Churchill, World War II

House Altered Book, part III



Girls' Bedroom



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

Lincoln Silhouette

Mingo School didn’t provide regular art class for grades Kindergarten – 4th grade. However we did lots of in-class art projects and one of my favorite things were the Lincoln and Washington silhouettes we made every February.

I’ve searched the internet and can’t find the old patterns, but there is one in a craft book that I have. Although it’s not exactly the same pattern, it’s close.

Abraham Lincoln

This one has been traced out of the book, then copied to 200%.

Here are some simple directions.

1. Click on image once to enlarge. Print.
2. Cut outside shape with scissors. Use an exacto knife to cut out inner collar shape.
3. Trace onto black construction paper (or black scrapbook paper if you want it to last ).
4. Using a glue stick or similar product, affix construction paper to thin card stock or the shiny side of a cereal or cracker box (this is free chipboard).
5. Cut out, remembering to use an exacto knife for the collar.
6. Use a black stamp pad, marker or crayon to color edges (so the chipboard doesn’t show).
4. If you want the Gettysburg address for a background, copy and paste it from the previous post, using a script font. Print. Or you can use plain white paper, an old book page or anything else you like for the background.
5. Using a glue stick, affix Gettysburg Address to the shiny side of a cereal box and cut into a 5 1/2″ x 8 1/2″ size (half of a regular sheet of typing paper).
6. Distress edges of script page with black or brown stamp pad.
7. Punch 2 holes at top of scripted shape. Run brown twine or black ribbon or any other type cording you prefer through holes and tie a knot on each side.
8. Glue black silhouette onto front.
9. If you like, you can stamp or print off:

Abraham Lincoln

10. Cut out, glue onto a small piece of black paper, and then glue under silhouette at bottom of page.

I’ll post George Washington’s silhouette on his birthday, February 22.

Sihouette was copied from Holiday Touches for the Country Home, 1990 Leisure Arts.

*Update: Go here for the George Washington silhouette.

This post is linked to Frugal Fridays @ Life as Mom.


Filed under America, Crafts - Cheap, Crafts - Paper, Ephemera, Free, Heros, History, Lincoln's Birthday, Thrift

Vintage Children’s February Magazines

When I was a little girl, there were 2 different magazines that my mother bought for me. One was Humpty Dumpty (I think geared for slightly younger children) and Jack and Jill.

Jack and Jill, February 1958

(It has been snowing like gangbusters here in north Texas today – since before daylight. I wanted to show you that our bird feeder looks like the one on the cover of the Jack and Jill.)

Back then, everyone knew that there was a difference between girls and boys and that each gender was interested in different things.

These 2 issues are ones that I bought at the antique mall. I wish they had scanned in more clearly, but if you click on them, they will enlarge. And if it shows a magnifying glass, it will enlarge even more and I think it will be legible.

The cover on this one is a little more worn, but that’s okay, because it’s still interesting and it only cost $1.00.


Filed under 1950s, Childhood pastimes, Crafts, Crafts - Paper, Ephemera, Valentine's Day, Vintage Magazines

Found Supplies for ATCs

Artist Trading Cards are a fun, quick and inexpensive way to work with paper and loosely based on the old idea of kids swapping baseball cards. You can swap in person or over the internet.

One video I watched on youtube recommended making your own chipboard base from cereal or cracker boxes instead of purchasing cardstock. Now there’s a cheap idea that I like!

Carrying the thrifty bit a little further, I decided to see what I could do with a magazine and some stray bits from my paper stash.

The lavender themed one I call “Paris Flowers”.

For it I used:
card cut from cereal box
lavender printed bedsheet from a magazine advertisement
pansies cut from a stationery box
clipping from a restaurant review
stamped image of a flower
alphabet rubber stamps
black ink pad
tacky glue
small sanding block – this is to take the shine off the magazine page

Perhaps because I have such a fondness for literature, I generally like something to read on my projects. The restaurant review seemed to fit.

Apparently there are just a couple of basic rules concerning ATCs:
1. They must be 2 1/2″ x 3 1/2″ in size.

2. Sign, date and name your card on the back. I also add my address.

3. They are to be traded – not sold.

That’s about it. The rest is up to the individual artist/crafter.

Some are original paintings. Others are stamped or collaged. The background can be paint, fabric, paper, metal or woven Johnson grass.

Last week I had fun working with some sewing supplies that were passed along to me.

Here are a few links with more information:

This one tells a little history and a little how-to.


Go here if you’re interested in connecting with people to trade with.


Filed under ATCs, Crafts, Crafts - Cheap, Crafts - Paper, Ephemera, Free, Fun, Internet links, Thrift, Using What You Have

Made inĀ America – Tacky Glue

Real Deal Tacky Glue

This week’s Made in America feature product is tacky glue from JoAnn’s Fabrics. I think it’s probably equivalent to Alene’s Tacky Glue (also made in the U.S.A.) and Twice as Tacky, which is what I’ve been using in paper crafts lately.

Yes, I use tacky glue on paper. I’m too cheap to buy the fancy adhesive stuff. There’s no way I’m going to buy one of those roller things that dispense the double sided tape. Not even pop dots.

And even though I do have a bona fide roll of the double sided tape, I used to use glue sticks – sadly with disappointing results. If the page had much flexing (like a greeting card), the glue from sticks tended to come loose.

My next glue product to try on paper was Aqua glue. Better than glue sticks but still a little too wet; makes the paper wavy sometimes. Kind of like Elmer’s glue does. Speaking of which, good old American Elmer’s Glue is not American anymore. Made in China.

So then I tried Twice as Tacky and I’m very happy with it. It adheres paper to paper very well, is not too wet and is versatile. I use it to glue on buttons and embellishments and I like having out only one type of adhesive. The table gets pretty messy when I’m working and using only one kind of glue helps. When I went to buy a replacement bottle, Jo-Anns didn’t have it, so I bought their store brand. I’ll use it tomorrow and give an update on how it works.

And the last great thing about it was the price: $1.29. It should last me 6 months – 1 year. (If you clink on the link and go to their site, you can register for email updates and coupons, often 40% off of most things not on sale (read the fine print – I think some of the fancy cutting machines are not included).

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Filed under Crafts, Crafts - Paper, Made in the U.S.A., Shopping, Using What You Have

Rubber Stamping Convention


Beth taught the Belts and Buckles class. I think the cards I made mistakenly got in with my sister’s stuff and have travelled to Oklahoma with her. But you can see examples of her other cards here and here.

A note on the classes my sister and I took: I recommend Beth’s class because not only were the cards interesting, but we learned to use new tools (at least new to me) and I was able to see the difference in well-made stamps and cheap ones (hers are so good you don’t have to press down hard, in fact if you do, it smears the image. Most of the stamps I’ve bought in the last few years have been cheap ones and I have trouble stamping a clear, even image).

But the main reason I would take one of her classes again is that she was kind. When we made a mistake, she’d say “it’s just paper” and would repeat instructions if needed. That may sound elementary, but having talked with people who take classes often, that’s not always the case. I made stupid mistakes but she made me feel not stupid.

Her class was very fast paced; we made 4 cards in two hours, actually a little less than two.

She and her sister design their own rubber stamps and sell them both at the convention at their booth and online.


Zia taught the fossil class. She was also friendly and helpful.

I plan to make broaches from mine. These are not finished yet. They need more color brushed on. This is what they look like after drying.

Heirloom Pro has information on each show if you go to the website and click on the city you’re interested in, but apparently they aren’t linking the city to it’s classes until closer to the date, so keep checking. As of this posting, information is available for Lawrencville and Vallejo.
Cancelled Riverside, CA ~ January 16 & 17
Lawrenceville, GA ~ February 6 & 7
Vallejo, CA ~ February 20 & 21
Indianapolis, IN ~ March 6 & 7
St Charles, IL ~ March 13 & 14
Portland, OR ~ March 20 & 21
Allentown, PA ~ April 10 & 11
Puyallup, WA ~ May 15 & 16
West Springfield, MA ~ June 5 & 6
Grapevine, TX ~ July 17 & 18
Novi, MI ~ August 7 & 8
Costa Mesa, CA ~ Sept TBA
Anderson, SC ~ September 25 & 26
Fort Wayne, IN ~ October 2 & 3
York, PA ~ October 9 & 10

The last time I attended one I promised myself that I would save up to have spending money, which alas, I didn’t. But that’s okay, there’s always the next one in July and I collected business cards from my favorite booths and can order online from them.

Here are the things I bought for my sister with the money she gave me.

This is a better photo of the fiber packets. They’re very interesting. The vendor made the butterfly brooch as a demonstration and gave it to me. She doesn’t have a website but if you click on the photo you can see her email address to get more information about colors available, prices and shipping information.

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Filed under Crafts, Crafts - Paper, Fun, Shopping

Updates, January 2010

Things have been pretty quiet around my blog for a few days, but not quiet around our lives. My sister came down from the way below freezing temperatures of Oklahoma to the way below freezing temperatures of north Texas so we could go to the rubber stamp convention in Grapevine. Ouch. We moved here 27 years ago and I don’t ever remember it being this cold. Out here in the country it’s been down to 10 degrees F, maybe lower. NE Oklahoma still has a lot of snow from before Christmas.

We had reservations for a couple of classes on Friday, one on Belts and Buckles in card making and the other was making fossil type objects from a crafting compound. There was also going to be an ATC (artist trading cards) contest and swap. So on Thursday night we worked on ATCs, and again on Friday morning before we left for the classes.

The classes were fun. Fran graciously paid for both of us. She’s taken lots of different paper crafting classes over the years. I’m the cheap sister and I’ve only gone to one other, so it was nice.

When our phone rang early on Saturday morning and Joe saw on the caller i.d. that it was my brother, I knew it wouldn’t be good news. Our mother had fallen a couple of hours earlier and broken her right hip and had been taken to the hospital from the nursing home. In March 2008, she had fallen and broken her left hip and collar-bone and had healed amazing well for a woman over 90 years old.

So Frances packed up earlier than planned and went back to Oklahoma to be with our mother (they live in the same small town). She asked me to take her ATC cards and submit them to the contest and swap. We did but not one single other person showed up for the swap. I gave a couple of cards to some women who were interested, and bought some stuff for Frances (she had given me an envelope of money to buy “interesting stuff” for her).

Joe helped me shop for her, which was fun. Maybe I can post photos of the items later.

Fran made it back to Oklahoma okay (it was snowing there again).

My brother told me that Mama came through the surgery just fine, but that the break was worse than the previous one.

When it rains, it pours. One thing I forgot to mention was that 3rd and 4th gears had gone out of the transmission on our second car and it was in the shop, so I’ve been afoot. And Isuzu has a really bad design key design on their ’91 pickups, a very narrow place which tends to break off in the ignition; our older son was using the truck and it broke off on him this week. This is the second time in 4 years.

Our son got the key out of the ignition without damaging it (Hallelujah – last time it ended up costing a bundle to replace the tumbler).

Today we’ll pick up the car and then go get a couple of loads of wood. Our wood stove has been consuming mass quantities of oak and whatever else we’ve had available.

But first Joe needs to sharpen the chain saw and put the chain back on.

And we’re having computer woes again, so this afternoon I’ll have to try to upload photos onto the laptop until the pc is up and running again. I took pictures of all the ATCs we made. **Update on the update: I posted them above.

I’m ready for a quiet Monday.

Thanks be to our Father in heaven who sustains us!

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Filed under Aging, Crafts, Crafts - Paper, Events & Museums, Family, Fun, Internet links, Shopping, Texas

Altered Books, A Sister Project

Sandra, over at Add Humor and Faith was asking about altered books. I’ll bet they’ve been around a long, long time on an individual basis (when people wouldn’t have access to a blank book or fresh paper, etc…) but I’ve only known about them for the past 4 or 5 years. It’s a particular niche in the crafting/art world. Actually, the scrapbook/craft type are more to my liking because the art ones get weird really fast.

It was not easy for me to start making them because I’m such a book lover; rarely have I even written in my own books (the big exception is my Bible where I make lots of notes) and the horror of painting or gluing in one was hard to overcome. But I did.

And still, I’m pretty selective about the ones I’ll use for a project. It has to be one that I don’t think I’ll ever read, one that I really disliked or one that no one else would want – for instance, even if I donated it to the library, they would probably end up sending it to the paper recycler because it wouldn’t sell. The sources are almost unlimited. Our younger son had a huge stack of mathematics magazines that he didn’t want; instead of regular slick pages these have the book type pages and are just right for this craft.

The project from my previous post is in one of these magazines, and I also used one for a round robin that was just between my sister and me. I use cardboard from a cereal box to stiffen the soft covers, then decorate them with fabric or something else.

Sometimes crafters will buy a buy a book (hopefully a secondhand one – I can hardly stand the thought of a new book going straight to altering!) that’s in the same theme as their subject. For instance, using a gardening one when their subject is flowers, or an old cookbook for recipes, etc… That looks pretty clever when finished, and I’ve gathered a few to do that sort of thing, but haven’t started them, yet. Also, really unconventional materials are used and are nearly limitless, like paper sacks, or sewing fabric pages; children’s board books are good but not as versatile.

In a Round Robin, each person chooses their own theme and sets the rules for working in their book. They do their own cover and two pages, then pass it on to the next person (who passes theirs on, etc.). Normally each contributor would only do 2 pages in another person’s book (like my sister’s paper doll book), but since she and I were the only ones involved we passed ours back and forth several times.

She allowed me to set up the overall rule that this project was to be unconventional in the sense that nothing could be used that was bought specifically for paper crafting and we should use as much stuff as we could that had cost nothing at all- or at least had not been bought new. I wanted to see just how creative we could be. There are incredibly wonderful products on the market (and my sister has lots of them) but I wanted to see what we could do with our imaginations. She talked me into altering the rule to include one new product per page. Yes, I know I’m cheap thrifty.

It was a lot of fun.

Her theme was Tranquility; mine was Cats and Cups. All the photos in this post are of her book. Mine will be in a future post.

She used old file folders cut down to make her pages and key rings to bind it. Her cover (seen at the top of this post) was fabric from a drapery sample book (Thank you, Pat Fischer. Pat is my friend who gave me those wonderful, out-of-date books from her shop Ruffles and Things and I shared with Fran. Also, the background floral on the page below is one I got from a sample book). We used magazine pictures, church bulletin covers, used postage stamps, scraps of fabric, hand painting, journaling, ribbon, buttons, counted cross-stitch, embroidery, both watercolors and acrylic paint, the interior of security envelopes, old trumpet music (from the library sale), a few rubber stamps; and even more. Most of the stuff we used would make a traditional scrapbooker head to the fainting couch – almost none of it was acid free. We aren’t worrying about that. This is for us, not posterity; our inheritors are probably not interested.

For these 2 pages, I started by gluing down (I use glue sticks) pages from an old novel, then painting them yellow and green to match the cut-outs I was going to use. Then I painted a border around both pages to repeat the border in the cut-out. Using a pair of decorative scissors and a hole punch, I made the paper lace to go under the fireplace picture (which I had glued in). Using watercolors, I painted a little house, a bunch of flowers and little yellow hearts. For added dimension I wanted them to be a little thicker, so I made my own chipboard pieces by gluing them onto the cereal boxes, then cut them out and sanded the edges. The little house had a hole punched in the top and threaded with pearl embroidery cotton to hang on the binder ring.

I love books and it’s fun making my own. It can be about anything I want it to be. My efforts won’t ever be featured in Cloth, Paper, Scissors or a Stampington magazine, but I really enjoy it, it costs almost nothing and as they say, it’s cheaper than therapy.

Linked to:
Frugal Friday on Life as Mom.


Filed under Altered Books, Crafts - Paper, Family, Free, Thrift, Using What You Have