Wednesday, November 7, 2012


As any quilter can attest, there is never just ONE "future quilt" floating around in your head, but zillions of designs and color combinations...all vying for the prominent place in your brain so as to be the next quilt started!  I decided that what I really needed was a "Design Notebook" in which to draw up all of my quilt dreams for future reference and completion.  Goodness knows, I wouldn't want to have one of my creations fall into the deep dark holes in my brain and never come to the light of day!

After a thorough search through all of the nooks and crannies of our storage closet for a suitable tablet of graph paper, and finding NONE (I would have sworn there were at least two or three in there!), I was forced to head to the store to purchase a spiral bound notebook.  Since I figured the notebook would be permanently out on my cutting table, I chose a blue cover to match my sewing room. 

As soon as I got home from the store I rushed right up to my sewing room, opened my new book, grabbed a pencil and waited for inspiration to strike.  Nothing!  Not even a split second flash of colors entered my brain.  Where had all of my beautiful ideas gone?  Had I lost them all?  Or, worse yet, had I suddenly lost all vestiges of creativity?  I closed my book and stared.  What was the problem that had blocked my Picasso moment?  As the blue cover of the notebook filled my vision a light bulb slowly took shape above my head.  That was notebook was BORING!  How could I expect to create within the pages of such a bland book?  Creativity inspired creativity!

Thinking back to the pre-"book sox" days when my school books were covered in brown paper bags, I did a few quick measurements and decided on the amount of material I would need to make a jacket for my notebook.  I needed it to be sturdy, of a dark enough color so as not to get "grungy" from frequent use, but "fun" all the same.  A quick scrounge through my fabric stash brought forth a "happy" and colorful material that reminded me of Scandinavian design.  A remnant of a long ago Ikea pattern?  Since I get most of my materials from fellow Freecyclers, I was unsure of the source (or fabric content)...but I was absolutely certain that I wanted this material for my notebook.  Now I just needed a dark material that would hold up well to constant use and abuse.  A brown "suiting"? type fabric fit the bill and would pick up the brown stems of the flowers nicely.  A light bluish/aqua linen look material matched perfectly and would be ideal for the lining and a small pencil holder on the front.

Now for the trim.  Although the patterned material sported both red and a "watermelon" pink color, I decided to accentuate the pink with a thin grosgrain ribbon and thread.  The pink thread would look nice against the brown cover.  I had always been a sucker for brown and pink.

The book jacket itself was surprisingly simple to construct and within an hour I had my notebook covered and ready to use.  Even better, it was now a self contained designing tool that I could take on vacation with me...ready to call upon the ocean view off of my balcony for inspiration. 

But, how was I going to carry a large selection of colored pencils with me?  I could store them in a zippered pouch, but then I would be juggling numerous pencils on my lap as I searched for the specific one I needed.  Not good when you are sitting on a balcony 11 stories up!

My dilemma was solved by a freebie I received yesterday.  I had placed an order for ink from Office Depot.  Because of my timing (I never order unless there is a "promotion" I am interested in) and the order amount, I was able to receive a set of 10 colored highlighters...FREE.  These highlighters came in a plastic pouch...all self contained and all visible at a glance.  While the highlighters didn't provide a very wide selection of colors, I could probably use them to illustrate a general coloration in my blocks.  AND, if I had a specific quilting pattern in mind, the dotted quilting lines in my design would be visible through the highlight color.  Eureka!

I had left the inside flaps on my jacket large enough to accommodate various thicknesses of notebooks.  The back flap would be more than sufficient to hold the pack of highlighters, but how would I secure them inside the flap?  I decided on a button attached to the inside of the jacket, a sufficiently sized hole cut into the back of the cardboard notebook for the button to fit through and a hair tie to attach the flap to the button.  My ideas worked well and I look forward to carrying my designing notebook with me so that I can draw out my ideas whenever and wherever I'm inspired!

Now I just need to find the lead for my mechanical pencil!  I'm sure it is here someplace........

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