Sunday, January 15, 2017

IC580 Altered Diary Challenge

Audrie came up with an outstanding inspiration challenge for this week. It's The Altered Diaries, an Etsy shop full of handmade books and such. I made two projects based on inspiration from the site. Here they are.

First up, a bookmark based on the alphabet on these tags, for which I have the perfect stamp set. Yay!

Hampton Arts stamps, StampinUp black cardstock,
Papertrey white cardstock, Archival black ink,
eyelet, ribbon, square punch

Pretty straightforward inspiration. I went black and white instead of distressed and brown because, well, I'm me. Here's where the eyelet I dug out of the bead box storage went.

Next up, a card made like a Japanese-stab-binding book. This allowed me to use some bark paper that's been languishing in my stash for years. I'm sure you don't have any special papers lying around unused for years, right? Right. Anyway, it's a fun paper that gives tons of texture to a card inspired by this book.

Bark and inclusion papers, embroidery thread, VersaMagic Aegean sea ink,
star punches, awl, beeswax, 

If you've never done a Japanese stab binding, know that they are really pretty easy, but there are some supplies you need to get the job done most efficiently.

My book/card is made from three sheets of paper...bark, inclusion (text-weight paper with bits of plant in it), bark. Each is 4.25" x 5.5". With thicker books, you usually clamp the whole block of paper together, but with just three sheets, I held them together with no problems. Just make sure they don't slip.

Stack all three sheets, and place the quilting ruler 1/2" in from the left edge of the card. Poke holes with the awl at 5/8", 1 5/8", 2 5/8", and 3 5/8" down the side of the card. I do this on a self-healing cutting mat, so the awl doesn't go far through the paper. Lift the card and push the awl through each of the four holes to create a big enough hole for the needle and thread to go through without tearing the paper.

Measure out embroidery thread that is four times as long as the width of the binding. This will give you long enough tails to tie off at the end. If you're really dextrous, you can make do with three times the width of the binding, but I never take that chance.

Run the cut embroidery thread through the beeswax a few times to coat it thoroughly. This will keep it from slipping and make tying the knot at the end really easy.

Thread a needle with a large enough eye to manage the embroidery thread. It need not be too sharp because you've already poked the holes.

Start sewing by going in the back of the top hole, loop around the top edge of the card, and go in through the front. Repeat around the edge of the top hole, then go in through the top side of the second hole. Keep sewing in this pattern until you've looped twice through to bottom hole (once to the side and once around the bottom of the card). Then head back up. It's harder to explain than to do. Keep your stitches tight, but not so tight you tear the paper. With the beeswax, stitches rarely slip loose once you put them in place.

After heading back up and going through the second hole from the top toward the back, pull the needle off the thread and tie a simple square knot with the two tails so that the knot rests right over the top hole. Trim the loose ends, and you're finished!

I highly recommend stamping the inside BEFORE binding, which I did. Just make sure you take account of the 1/2" of binding when you center your sentiment.

And that's all there is to it. Takes longer to explain than to do, actually.

This challenge was so much fun! Thanks, Audrie, especially for getting me so far out of my comfort zone with the bark paper card!

Click over to the IC580 challenge and play along!


  1. Your projects are beautiful, Susan. The second is a real work of art.

  2. I love that bookmark Susan and what a great idea for the Japanese stab binding inspiration.

  3. Your bark book style card is so cool; it looks like a historical artefact!

  4. Dang! You inspire me every time!


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