A Simple Guest Book

Guestbook 21We’re having a bit of a shindig in a couple weeks to celebrate my parents’ 40th wedding anniversary and Atlas recommended that we set up a guest book for attendees to reminisce in written form. The problem is that most guest books you find in stores are like fifty bucks and they also contain about four hundred more pages than you really need. Then the people who receive the book don’t know what to do with this half-empty journal they have. Guestbook 2

So I thought I’d make a smaller version by hand for the occasion, just a couple dozen large pages for people to scrawl their congratulations, and then it will be a slim little volume that can be tucked away with the wedding album once the day is over.

I started with some basic supplies: coloured cardstock for the interior pages and patterned cardstock for the exterior, a paper cutter, hole punch, ribbon, washi tape, and a decorative punch for the corners. Obligatory corgi butt in photo as well.

Guestbook 1The pastel cardstock I had was already 8″ x 8″ so I left that as is. Guestbook 3

After I’d gotten everything sorted the way I wanted it, Gren came over to take a closer look.

Guestbook 4Then he got tired so he had to lie down. Guestbook 5

Then I told him to move because he was lying on my stuff.

Guestbook 6So he flattened out further. Because he’s kind of a jerk. Guestbook 7

In the end, *I* moved and started punching holes in the pastel cardstock.

Guestbook 8Then I decided on a cover (conveniently this paper is double-sided so the opposite page has a complementary pattern as well). Guestbook 9

I wove the interior pages together with a piece of ribbon and tied it off in the centre.

Guestbook 10Added my cover pages, which were cut slightly larger than the interior, and a spine made of the opposite page of the cover. Guestbook 11

Then I started taping everything together with the washi tape. I chose the tape because it was partly transparent, but with enough colour so you’d notice it.

Guestbook 13I folded back the pages of the interior just to get them more flexible for use. Guestbook 14

And then shoved the interior pages into the exterior cover. I made a hole in the spine for the ends of my ribbon, which I tied in a bow on the outside.

Guestbook 15Then I continued my taping. Guestbook 16

It looks a little messier on the inside but it did the trick.

Guestbook 17Guestbook 18

Guestbook 19I punched the corners of all the pages to make them pretty. Guestbook 22

And added a few rubber stamped flowers to match the theme of the party.

Guestbook 23Tada. Guestbook 20


Lemon Balm Tea

Fall Folly 4

Lemon balm (Melissa oficinalis) is one of those magic herbs with many medicinal properties. Among other things, lemon balm tea can settle upset stomachs, calm colic, and help you sleep better. So I’ve been drying the lemon balm that comes out of my garden, and I stole my mother’s as well when she cut her garden down for the winter.

Lemon Balm Tea 5

For several days my house was full of minty-smelling bundles. It doesn’t take very long to dry, which is awesome.

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Then I pulled the leaves and flowers off all the stems. A handful of the loose leaves makes a delightful pot of tea.

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You can sweeten it with honey if you like, or even chill it for a refreshing beverage in the summer.

Lemon Balm Tea 14

Loose leaves aren’t all that practical for me, though, because I wanted to give some of this marvelous tea to people as gifts.  I ordered 200 tea bags off Amazon. They took forever to get here from Hong Kong but were so cheap I didn’t have to pay tax or shipping to get them.

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I got the large size as with dried larger leaves like this you tend to need to use quite a few to make a whole pot of tea.

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Lemon Balm Tea 18

Then I stuffed all the bags and tied them off.

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I ended up with 96 bags of tea. That’s a lot of tea.

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I made little tea tags for my tea. I used a circle punch and a hole punch to create the tag itself from cardstock.

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Then I carved a giant T out of a rubber stamp blank.

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Stampy stampy stampy.

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I tied the tags to the bags and stuffed them into wooden boxes I picked up from Dollarama for three bucks, together with a little blurb about the tea itself.

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Fun gift, eh?

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Cork Stamps 12

My mother, if you didn’t know, is an artist.  So when I was a kid, instead of playing around with construction paper and crayons (well, I still did that), I also got to experiment with India ink, French curves, and etching plates.  Let’s just say that for someone with little artistic skill I know my way around an arts supply store.

My mum and I tend to go off on artistic tangents when we’re together, and on a recent Skype conversation we got stuck onto stamps.  I have been collecting champagne corks for a few years now with the intention of turning them into nice little rubber stamps, so I figured, what better occasion than my mother’s birthday to try them out?

Cork Stamps 1

Generally when you make your own rubber stamps you use a special set of wee chisels that make your life so much easier.  Since I am incapable of doing anything that logical, I have a specialty set of craft blades instead. You also tend to use rubber, which has a more uniform consistency and is easier to cut. But what the hey.

Cork Stamps 2

So first you draw a design on your cork. I’m going with an A (for my name, natch). The bonus is it’s a symmetrical letter so I don’t have to worry about putting it on backwards or anything. Conveniently the Pie’s name also starts with an A so I’m killing two birds with one stone here. I will consider doing our last initials, B and F … some other time …

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After I finalized the design I sent it to management for approval. Fortunately management was sitting on the arm of the couch while I was doing this so it didn’t take long for the paperwork to go through.

Cork Stamps 3

Then I set to with my wee knife, carving away at the negative space. Just remember, if you are using cork, that it’s a conglomeration of natural fibres, so things tend to come off in chunks. Also, please don’t cut off any of your fingers or stab yourselves. Blood does not make for a happy crafting occasion.

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The finished A.

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Testing it out. The uneven and pocked surface of the cork makes for that texture. If you use rubber (say, a Pink Pearl eraser), then you’ll have a much more solid fill on your stamp. Also now that I have three As in a row it looks like the sound someone makes when they fall off a high surface.

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I tried to carve out a corgi. But then I accidentally cut off one of the eyes. The Pie said it just means that this corgi is winking.

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So because this made me sad I made another stamp. I wish I’d had this one around when I was teaching and marking the papers of students who had not been paying attention. I like the deep disappointment that this stamp conveys.

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I’m going to try this out with real rubber and tools eventually, but this is a good start, and I still have some blank corks left to try!

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Crafty Recycled Notebooks

I spent way too much time on MarthaStewart.com the other day and became rather over-stimulated with ideas.  This meant that while I was watching Glee (and I’m not afraid to admit it), I needed something to do.

I work part time as a law librarian at a large firm downtown.  Boy oh boy do lawyers waste a lot of paper.  I save as much of it as I can that can be re-used (at least, the non-confidential stuff).  I have been bringing it home with the intention of turning it into notebooks at the earliest opportunity.  Most of it sits in a pile next to the Pie’s desk, where it gets messed around, rearranged, and buried daily.  The letter-sized stuff I use in my printer, but the smaller stuff, from legal texts and what have you, needed a bit of extra help to get itself organized into something usable.

With some leftover cardstock and fragments of kitchen string from a failed pre-wedding experiment, a stapler, a paper cutter, and some glue and rubber stamps (yes, I have a stamp with my name on it, I’m cool like that), I quickly fashioned my scraps into kitschy little note pads to be chucked in a purse or on a table for use whenever I need them.  Blank usable sheets on one side, legalese on the other.  I think I’ll send some to the grandmas …

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