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How to Make Fabric Covered Notebooks

How to Make your Own Faric Notebook

Beautiful, fabric-covered notebooks are perfect gifts because they can be used as address books, diaries, scrapbooks, or places to write down favourite poems or quotations. Covered notebooks are expensive to buy but you can make them for next to nothing using plain notebooks and scraps of fabric. Old wallpaper could also be used instead of fabric. However, if the original notebook cover is dark or heavily patterned, make sure your fabric is thick enough that the original cover won’t show through. Envelopes glued inside will hold receipts or mementos, while ribbons, tape, or leather strings can be used to tie the notebooks closed.

What You Will Need

  • Iron and spray starch
  • Fabric such as linen
  • Notebook
  • Pencil and ruler
  • Scissors
  • 1in- (2.5cm-) wide double-sided tape
  • Needle and sewing thread
  • Button, ribbon, and large round sticker (all optional)
  • Twill tape or leather string (optional)
  • Craft glue (optional)
  • Fabric scraps, ribbons, or other decoration
  • Envelopes no larger than notebook
  • Paper (optional)
  1. Iron the fabric with spray starch to stiffen it. Place the fabric wrong side up on your work surface and lay the notebook open on top. With a pencil and a ruler, mark out a rectangle on the fabric at least 1 1/4in (3cm) larger than the notebook all around. Using scissors, cut out the fabric.
  2. Stick double-sided tape to the outside edges of the notebook, but not to the spine area as this needs to be free to move. Remove the backing paper from the tape. With the notebook closed, stick the fabric to the outside, leaving an equal amount of fabric projecting all around.
  3. At each side of the spine at the top and bottom, snip into the fabric that projects beyond the notebook. Stick double-sided tape to the edge of the projecting fabric, but only as far as the snips—leave the fabric above and below the spine free of tape.
  4. Remove the backing paper from the tape. Fold the taped fabric onto the inside of the book and stick down. Snip off the excess fabric at the top and bottom of the spine. Miter the corners
  5. If you are using a button and ribbon, sew the button to the front, sewing through only the fabric by inserting the needle at an angle.
  6. Cut the ribbon so it is long enough to be wrapped around the notebook at least once and then around the button (if used). If you have sewn on a button, stick the ribbon in place on the inside, just under the button, using a large round sticker. If you are not using a button, the ribbon doesn’t need to be stuck on. If you are using a leather string or twill tape instead of ribbon, cut them so they are long enough to be wrapped around the notebook and tied. (If desired, you could make a tying loop at the end of the leather string, gluing the end in place.)

Decorate Your Notebook

Stick on your chosen decoration. I used strips of colored polka dots and squares from a piece of fabric for one notebook, sticking them to the spine and front with double-sided tape. Ribbon looks pretty, too.

Stick envelopes to one or more of the pages with double-sided tape, leaving the flaps open to create pockets. To cover the fabric edges on the inside of the covers, stick on either an envelope that is the exact size of the cover or a rectangle of paper or fabric cut to size. If you wish, make a bookmark from a strip of patterned fabric and place it inside.

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Tie the ribbon, leather string, or twill tape around the book.



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House Feeling Bare After Christmas?… Decorate for Winter!

Un-Deck the Halls in Style

You’ve just finished taking down the tree and folded away the Christmas stockings. Most of us will spend the weekend packing away all the beautiful baubles and gorgeous garlands that have dressed our homes since December, feeling sad to see all our little Christmas treasures being tucked away for another year… I sat and wondered today, what kind of decorations could be used in our homes for winter? Nothing that screams Christmas, but something but cozy enough to fill the house with warmth to get you through the chill of the winter. Here are a few ideas to try…

Decorate a Mantlepiece

The mantlepiece is often the focal point of our living room, and I love decorating mine for Christmas, but once we take down the stockings and the garlands, it can look completely bare and just a little bit depressing. Here, antique style books in neutral tones add warmth, while the iron birdcages (which can be found at shops such as the Range or Dunhelm) can be filled with candles. Fill ceramic jugs of different sizes with greenery from the garden to freshen your room and bring the outside in. The addition of a mirror captures the extra light on winter days. Proving wreaths are for life and just for Christmas, this one inn natural tones works beautifully positioned in the centre of the mirror.


Alternative Christmas Tree

Who says we can’t enjoy a tree after Christmas? Cut smaller branches from the garden, pop them into a pretty glass vase and dress your twig tree with items that say “winter” – instead of “Christmas”. Pretty jewelled glass Christmas tree trinkets can be re-purposed rather beautifully. A gold mirror adds a touch of metallic magic, as do the little silver voties, also left over from Christmas.

Twig branch decorated with jewelled decorations

Christmas Lights

The twinkle of Christmas tree lights and their soft glow on a cold winter night is one of the things I hate saying goodbye to most… I love this lovely, large heart made from reclaimed pallet wood which adds texture. String it with fairly lights to prolong that festive twinkle during the winter months…

Fairy Lights should fill our homes all year round…

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Add a different type of Greenery

We are all familiar with Christmas pointsettas, pine cones and garlands to liven up pur homes during the festive season… After the greenery of Christmas is removed, try adding other living plants. A personal favorite of mine at this time of year are bulbs. Beautiful, vibrant, and a different shade of green! Here, tulip bulbs are planted in a rustic, wooden bowl filled with moss, providing a stunning centre piece for a winter dining table

And, if you can’t bear to say goodbye to your pine branches and pine cones, use greenery in an alternative way, in an entrance hall, to echo a festive welcome. Here reindeer ornaments used at Christmas time, create the perfect console display…


There is something about candles that can change the mood of a room. They are such an inexpensive way to transform the feel of any part of your home and can help you go from Christmas lights to winter twilight in no time at all. Here, a silver drinks tray and a variety of glasses filled with tea lights creates a magical winter display…

Candlelight Cocktail anyone?

Cosy Throws

And finally, if the post-Christmas decor blues become too much – cosy up by the fire with a snug throw, a glass of wine and a good book. Remember, spring is just around the corner…

The weather outside is frightful,but snuggling on the sofa with a soft throw is truly delightful…

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How to Make Your Rented Home Stylish…

Stepping onto the property ladder can seem like an impossible dream to most of us. As a result, renting has become routine, with millions of us are living in someone else’s property, with all the limitations that imposes.Tenants have to cope with decorative choices that aren’t theirs, as well as the landlord’s rules on what they can and cannot do to rooms. But, not being in your “forever home” needn’t be a nightmare – all that’s needed is a little creative thinking. Here, I show you how you can you transform your temporary dwelling into your home, without breaking the bank or your tenancy agreement:

“Our home should be a place where we can truly feel ourselves and show off out style and taste. “If you don’t love the space you come home to, life can feel miserable.”

2 in 1 – Display Artwork and Change the Lighting

Most landlords don’t allow you to hang pictures on the wall, but there is an easy solution. 3mm Command Strips from Staples can be used. These simple self adhesive strips don’t leave marks on the wall. However, although artwork and family photos on the wall can look great, why not do something more stylish? I love the large picture of Mick Jagger propped up in the corner or this bedroom. It’s a cover from Time Magazine which has been blown up on to canvas. Genius!

Old, tired and worn lampshades can also date a space and make it look drab. If you can’t upgrade overhead light fittings due to budget or technical issues (some may require an electrician), focus instead on growing your collection of stylish floor and table lamps. – The red, retro lampshade overhead provides a fabulous focal point in this room.

Add Wallpaper Panels

Not able to wallpaper your home? Get around the problem. Add wallpaper to plywood panels and lean them against walls. Not only is it a cheap way of adding colour and pattern to a room, but you can also change your colour scheme as often as you want, or use it to create zones – within a bedroom for rest, or in a study.

Storage Solutions

Clever storage solutions are a must in a rented space. Don’t invest in permanent storage. Instead use freestanding cupboards which can be used to hide-away all the day-to-day clutter. Modular storage is also great for rented properties, not only will it fit any size or shape room, it’s also easy to remove at the end of a tenancy. An open design will allow you to display all your prized possessions, giving your home even more personality. Modular storage such as cubes which can be also stacked or configured in different ways – as a TV bench, a workstation etc etc.

LEFT -An old crate that you can perch on a worktop or on top of your fridge creates lots of extra, useful storage. You can organise the space with extra cup hooks inside.

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Right: In this room a leather suitcase creates a a temporary DJ station, with space to store records inside. You making do with what you can get your hands on is all part of the fun.

Cover UP Old-Fashioned Tiles

Updating a rented kitchen or bathroom can be one of the trickiest jobs, but they can still be re-vamped. Unattractive bathroom and kitchen tiles can be covered up with gorgeous waterproof stickers, which can be removed when you leave. In an instant, you’ve added colour, pattern and style! Try these Tile Tattoos available from for £12.50

Work those Windows

This is another area where rented homes always seem to be sorely lacking. Whether it’s dirty old curtains or depressing vertical blinds, lacklustre window treatments just scream “temporary home”. Sort it out by hanging fresh curtains (even cheap no-hem IKEA ones can look great) or simple roller blinds. Ugly windows with an ugly view? Cover them up with window film. Simply sponge off with warm water when you’re ready to leave.

Buy Rugs & Add Cushions

Whether it’s cold laminate flooring or seen-better-days carpet you’re trying to cover up, a good area rug will cover a multitude of sins. Rugs bring color and texture into a space and they’re yours forever, so find some you really like. The colourful cushions also add interest to a leather sofa here.

Layered rugs and pops of vibrant colour create a stunning rented space…

A rented space, may not be forever, but in the meantime, it can be fabulous! 🙂

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How to Transform a Shabby Chic Bureau

Many of us need a place to sit and work and often end up taking over the kitchen table. If you don’t have space for a big desk, consider revamping an old writing bureau.

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These units are compact and slim-line, so fit neatly in a hallway or corner of a room.

They cost between £20 and £40 from charity shops or can be picked up cheaply on Ebay. Ours took a weekend to transform. Ideally, take the furniture outside to work, and always cover the area with dust sheets to protect your surroundings as you work.

Choose a bureau with pretty detailing and give it a make-over.

You will need
solid wood bureau (£20 from local charity shop)
bucket of water
sugar soap
pan scourer sponge
old soft cloths
fine & medium sandpaper
Dulux Trade quick drying wood primer undercoat in white, £11.48 per litre, B&Q
Acrylic Eggshell paint in chosen colour, £15 per litre, the Little Greene Paint Company
4 hinges (if old ones are damaged) £2.90 each, eBay

Ideally, take the furniture outside to work, and always cover the area with dust sheets to protect your surroundings as you work.Old furniture is often very dirty, and it needs to be clean before you start work. Use warm water and sugar soap or a household cleaner to get the surface clean, then rinse and dry with a soft cloth.

Take off the doors, remove the hinges, any other catches, and the stays on the flap down piece, and put to one side. If the top section behind the flap has a partition, gently remove it too – it is likely to be held in by small nails so can be carefully levered out. If there are any loose pieces, now is the time to glue them back in place. Allow the glue time to dry before proceeding. If there are any large dents, cracks or holes you can fill them with wood filler, though if you’re happy with an aged finish these imperfections can add to the charm.

Use fine sandpaper to ‘key’ the surface, which will smooth any imperfections, as well as help the paint adhere. Wipe away all dust with a cloth, then paint the whole piece with a primer/undercoat and leave to dry thoroughly. Follow with two coats of cream eggshell paint allowing each to dry thoroughly before applying the next.

Once the paint is completely dry, rub the painted surface with medium grade sandpaper to expose the wood beneath giving a distressed finish. The places to work are those that would naturally get wear and tear over the years – notably corners, edges and handles.

Clear the dust away with a clean cloth, then stand back to see if you want to distress more. Do a little at a time until you get the finish you like – there is no right or wrong – it’s personal choice. Just a few edges gives a softer look, or for a more dramatic finish, you can do the panels and sides too.

Replace the stays that hold the flap down panel, as well as any other catches removed earlier. Sticky drawers can be made to run better by rubbing a white candle on the edges and runners

Add the Final Flourishes

Personalise your piece with a pretty stencil and apply to the front of the bureau – check out The Graphics Fairy website for free transfers. You can line the interior with a pretty floral paper too if you wish..

Useful Tips
This bureau had broken hinges, so we removed them and replaced with some in the same size and style, which meant we were able to use the original holes. If you’re unsure, take the old hinge to a DIY store to compare it. Replace the screws too if the original ones are a different coloured metal, or if the heads are damaged.

When applying paint, finish off with light strokes in the direction of the grain as this eliminates heavy brush marks on the finish OR use a small gloss roller for a really smooth finish

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New Year Resolutions… For Your Home

Happy 2015! The Christmas decorations are down and it’s time to make our New Year Resolutions. Every year when January rolls around you vow to lose weight, save money or spend more time with family and friends. But what goals do you set for your home? Here are 5 simple things to try this year…

Brighten Your Home With Fresh Flowers

Don’t let the winter blues get you down. Lift your spirits with fresh flowers . Nothing brightens up a room quicker than adding a colourful bouquet of flowers and real flowers willfill your home with beautiful scents, acting as a natural air freshener.  Think it costs to much? There’s no need to splurge when your local grocery store offers plenty of lovely options. Pot hyacinth bulbs in pots to remind you that spring is just around the corner.

Fresh flowers will lift your spirits at this time of year…

2. Clear out the Clutter!

One of the best and least expensive ways to feel better about your home is to clear it of clutter.Each year most of us acquire a mountain of stuff. Without some regular purging, cabinets and drawers get jam-packed and it becomes hard to find the things you use and enjoy the most. (All that clutter also makes your house look dated.)

This year resolve to go room-by-room periodically clearing anything that you don’t use, wear or love and donate it to charity. After that, think twice about what you bring in.Fill your home with the things that raise your energy level and make you feel good, and get rid of the things that drain your energy or are broken.

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I feel calmer and save time when I have a good clear out at home. Sometimes, though, it can be a little difficult to decide what stays and what goes. Here is list of 10 questions to ask yourself when trying to decide whether to keep an item or toss it. And by “toss it”, I mean you are either going to donate it, give it away to a friend or throw it out.

10 Questions to Help You De-clutter

  • Do I love it?
  • Does it have sentimental value?
  • Do I use it?
  • How often do I use it?
  • When was the last time I used it?
  • Why don’t I use it?
  • If I keep it, where will I put it?
  • How many of these things do I really need?
  • If I throw it away, will I be able to get another one someday?
  • What is the worst possible thing that could happen if I got rid of it?

These questions could apply to clothes, too. Substitute “wear” for “use”. If you don’t like thinking about what you’re throwing out, think of it in terms of what you’re keeping instead. Plus if you get rid of things you’re not using or that are unimportant, you can make room for new things that you need or bring you joy!

3. Transform a room using what you already have…

When you live in a space day in and day out, you get used to the way things are. The vase and books that have always been arranged just so on top of the mantlepiece. The wall of frames with pictures that haven’t been updated in five years. Those floating shelves you meant to put up last year that sit unassembled in the hall cupboard. Every few months I try to walk around my house and scoop up decorative items and find new homes for them. Re-evaluating your existing decor and accessories is a simple and affordable way to freshen up your home. Here, pretty plates are mounted on picture frames to provide a pretty display. You can pick pretty plates up in charity shops for a few pence.

Create a stylish display by using plates which costs a few pence..

You could also try experimenting with the arrangement of your furniture. You may find that a new layout  improves not only the look of your room, but gives it a better circulation pattern and flow. If you’re having a hard time re-envisioning a space, ask a friend to come over and help. Someone who isn’t attached to your possessions and the current layout will help you see other possibilities.

4. Create a Cosy Corner

Every house needs a little spot where you can kick your feet up and allow yourself some time to curl up with a new book, listen to music, or browse your favourite blogs. This space doesn’t need to be fancy and can be put together using what you already have. Some items I like to use in a reading corner include a big over stuffed chair, a lamp with adequate light, and a side table. You can personalize the space by adding art, books, and other special objects. I also love using candles in these cozy spaces to add a comforting warmth to the area.

Create a space in which to relax – a key area is under-used space on a landing…

5. Banish Technology& Relax…

Our home should be our sanctuary – a space where we retreat from the world outside and re-charge our batteries. Here a few final resolutions which can make a big difference:

  • Reduce screen time – frequent emailing, texting, browsing and late night ol-line shopping can make us feel less connected and stressed. The same goes for the TV. Try switching it off an hour before bed.
  • Set your alarm for 10 minutes earlier than usual tomorrow. Don’t spend the extra time working, planning, looking at your phone or watching the news. Instead, just sit there.  Breathe. Maybe stretch a little or sip some water. You’ll feel much more ready to greet the day?
  • Make your bed each morning – returning  home after a long day to a neat nest beats climbing into crumpled sheets.
  • Light a candle to add a comforting touch, then relax and rejuvinate.
Our home should be our sanctuary…