I know that there are book loyalists out there that cringe at the thought of dissecting a book - any book. But I cringe at the thought of the millions of books that end up in dumps and landfills around the world each year. That also helps to explain why I'm particularly partial to projects that give books a second chance.
This time around I made my own adorable notebooks from vintage books inspired by these I saw on Pinterest. Some of the books were actually left with our house when we bought it and others were picked up from from thrift stores.
What do you need to make your own vintage notebooks? Start with a few of these. Mine are Swedish (which makes sense given that I live in Sweden).
I choose my books based on the covers and sometimes even the subject, like these above that translate to "Proper Swedish", "Carnival in Alvnas", and "Story and Truths". I'm also quite partial to vintage kid's books - they have the best covers, and sometimes the best titles.
Grab your handy exacto knife and splice along the seam where the inside covers meet the book spine.
And don't forget to stop and enjoy the hidden goodness you'll find every now and then when you cut away the body of the book.
I also love to think about the occassion when the original recipients received these books - this one was given for Christmas in 1942 to Rolf in Sweden (the previous owner of our house).
Take the exacto knife and slice directly down the center of the spine (not pictured) and then take a good all-purpose glue (I used Tacky glue) and glue the half spine around to the inside cover. This one was linen, so you'll see it looks pretty beat up - but as long as it covers the very edge and goes inside somewhat, it will all work out fine.
While going through the same process on another book, I stop again to think about the original owners. This one is from Buster to Britt-Mari for Christmas in 1945. And it had a special little bookmark still left inside.
Grab some book rings and grommets. With smaller books, I actually preferred using 2 book rings. I tried one with 3 rings, but it seemed a bit extreme compared to the book size.
I also used some scrap wallpaper.
I used some recycled cardboard to make a template to cut out the wallpaper scraps that would then be glued to the inside cover of the books. Just make sure cover the edges where the spine wraps around and is glued.
I also like to pay homage to the story of the book by incuding a page as part of the new book creation.
This one is finished. After using a drill to drill holes in the book for the book rings (be careful for the glued wallpaper on the opposite side. Sometimes the drilling created a little extra tear on the backside where the drill exited). Just be slow and steady. We added some recycled notebook paper on the inside, cut with a paper guillotine and had measured the 2 holes drilled in the book covers to match a 2-hole paper punch. My friend is a doctor and she's going to use it at her office.
I liked the colors in these vintage Swedish children's books.
My friend M made one with me and she's using some of the pages from the book that have limited text on them as the notebook pages. Love!
I'm already planning on making more of these little cuties. Just think of all the possibilities. Vintage notepads that quietly make a statment, a brag book of photos to send to Grandma, gifts for friends, and more! Gotta get ready for Christmas!
I've said it before, I'll say it again. I'm a sewing hacker - so if you can sew...really sew...you may want to divert your eyes here. Or at the very least be forgiving of my experiments.
This time it involved taking a button-down shirt no longer wanted in my husband's closet and a glittery little Hello Kitty tshirt with a hole in the bottom - but was still loved by my little one. So I decided the two pieces were perfect for a little summer lovin' dress experiment for my divine little miss M.
And with a little switcheroo, we ended up with three different ways to wear the same dress.
1. Wide white belt
2. A thrift store silk scarf and hot pink leggings
3. A cardigan casually tied around the waist
I think the pics might be a little self explanatory, so let's get on with the show.
This is where I sewed two straight seams around the to join the Tshirt to the shirt (skirt). I didn't worry too much about them since I knew they wouldn't show once we added the accessories.
Mia does her best Mad Men impersonation.
Nice part was there was no need to hem a seam at the bottom because it's the bottom of daddy's button-down shirt. I'm quite happy with it. And more importantly, my client is happy!
We even had a bonus experiment by adding a thrift store crocheted kitchen dishcloth (after a nice high temp sanitizing wash) to another one of my divine little miss M's summer dresses. Darn pleased with the extra little pop it gives. It was a good reminder for me that recycled fashion experimentation can also include little steps and additions and doesn't always have to be so intimidating - although nearly everything that involves a sewing machine or even a needle and thread becomes instantly intimidating for me. But I keep pushing past it and I really do get a kick out of the try.
We left the top side open so she has a sweet little pocket to put her found treasures in.
Next up? We're taking our recycled sewing experiments on a jet plane for summer vacation! See you again in a few days when we land and get our wits about us again.
Seeing a completed DIY project is always fun, but doesn't your level of appreciation skyrocket when you see that 'before' pic? That's why I thought it would be fun to give you a day's worth of inspiration that features not only the after, but also the before.
Interested to see more of these before & after posts?