Rag and bone mini notebooks


I folded over a page so that you can see the used backside of my paper. That was really Wednesday’s to do list.

I cannot be without a scrap of paper and a writing instrument. In my brain, ideas have a super-short lifespan. Also, every one of them seems irrefutably brilliant at the moment that they occur to me. If I don’t write it down it will be lost forever (or until my next shower, when I’m truly unable to write) and until I see what I’ve written I don’t know whether it’s the seed of the next great American novel or my ninth self-reminder of the day to update my reading list on Tumblr.

At the thrift store and the bargain grocery store, mini notebooks (the 3″ x 5″ spiral bound kind) are usually $0.50 to $1.00. This was perfectly OK by me. But then I ran across this spiffy idea on a blog called The Creative Place (by way of an equally cute and clever tumblog called Scissors and Thread). Wait, so, using stuff I have laying around the house I can make cute mini notebooks? For free? Ow, ow, my arm! Quit twisting my arm!

Admittedly this may not be a rag and bone* project for everyone. Perhaps just me. I have a half case of used paper that I’ve been toting around since . . . oh, 2000? Every useless fax confirmation sheet and accidental print and copy I found at the office – so long as it didn’t have someone’s personal information on it – went into this box. For over a decade I have been doodling on this stuff, drawing maps on it, sketching out mad ideas and project plans, and cutting it down to fit in my grocery store list pad on the fridge. It’s still 2/3 full. (A half case, for those of you who aren’t fluent in Office Supply-ese, is 2,500 sheets.)

The directions from The Creative Place call for the pads to be 3″ x 4.25″ inches. I’m not sure why. Standard pads are 3″ x 5″. The size I made was 2.75″ x 4.25″ because if you cut one letter size (8.5″ x 11″) sheet of paper into 8 pieces that’s what you get. For the pretty spine paper you could use wrapping paper, plain kraft paper (or grocery or lunch sacks), magazine cutouts, or scrapbooking paper. I used old wallpaper because I have two rolls of the stuff languishing in the back room. I wouldn’t hang wallpaper again except as retribution against mine enemies and the stuff is neither recyclable nor compostable** so I use it up in craft projects (and as drawer liners).

My sewing machine needed a little help to get through fifteen sheets of #20 paper, plus a scrap of tagboard (cut from a cereal box) and the wallpaper, but it managed well enough. I don’t know how the original poster magically kept her thread from unraveling but I backed over mine a few times just like I was sewing fabric.

And there we have it: one more item I don’t have to buy.

— Amanda

*Made out of leftovers or waste.

** I only checked one source, but here it is.


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