February 2010
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Painted & Embroidered Notebook Cover

Happy Birthday to my impossible-to-buy-gifts-for husband! He hates surprises and tends to buy things for himself before I get around to it. Add in the fact that his birthday comes just over a month after Christmas and a week before Valentine’s Day, and I’m usually scrambling for ideas. But this year, I think I did pretty well. I got him a new sport coat for work, a subscription to “Backyard Poultry” magazine (unless I talk him out of it, he insists we are getting chickens in the spring) and this notebook cover I made at the last second by taking one of my son’s drawings (that’s Daddy and our cat, Sammy), transferring it onto linen and then embroidering and painting it.  I’m sure it would’ve turned out better had I not started it a mere two days before the big day, and had I taken 20 minutes to go buy a better paintbrush instead of using one I swiped from my son’s art kit. And I really do not know how to embroider. But given the design, I think it’s ok that it looks like a 5-year-old made it.

It’s been so exciting to see my son’s first real attempts at drawing, and I’ve been so eager to incorporate his creations into some kind of project. I was inspired by the wonderful bookmarks Amanda Soule made with her children’s artwork, and probably should’ve stopped there, with just outlining the drawings with embroidery. But a few days ago I stumbled upon the painted embroidery by Melissa Crowe at Checkout Girl. Please take a look at her amazing artwork, and you’ll see what a pale, pale imitation my attempt is. I’m envious both of her talent and location (Portland, Maine), where I once lived and probably would’ve stayed had my job not been temporary. (Actually, Amanda lives in Portland, too. There must be something in the water!) To make the notebook cover, I followed this tutorial at Bloom And Blossom, though I ran into a bit of trouble. The directions called for cutting the fabric 1.75 times the width of the opened notebook, but that seemed like way too much, so I just ended up wrapping the fabric around the notebook and figuring out how much I needed to cover it and make the flaps. But I really like the tutorial overall, because unlike a lot of other notebook cover tutorials out there, there aren’t a lot of layers of fabric and bulky seams in this one.

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