The Eclectic-page notebook

Sometimes it’s the background paper that creates the initial spark in me for making a collage, so I decided that I wanted a notebook of a bunch of random papers for collage art.

A couple of years ago I bought a used Zutter Bind-it-all, which is a tool to cutting holes on the side of a page, and then closes a wire coil to bind the pages together. I decided to use the Zutter for my notebook. The good thing about it is that you can add or move pages around if you really want to.

I made a couple to sell in my Etsy shop, but the dog got a hold of one and started chewing the corner. Since I could no longer sell that one, I used it to begin making collages.

I started with the cover, but after that I chose pages in random order — which ever caught my attention that day. There are around 20+ pages, all approximately 4″ x 6″

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This was great fun! I’ll definitely do another.


A Great haul of vintage papers

Vintage paper haulLast month my kids and I went to Salt Lake City to along with my husband who was attending a conference. The conference provided day care for children of attendees so I essentially had 3 days to entertain myself. Our hotel was in downtown, about 7 blocks away from an antique mall.

Over the course of 2 days I combed every stall, through the contents of every vendor. It took about 3 hours total. I was looking for vintage papers; things with interesting illustrations, color patterns, etchings, photos, hand-written letters with pretty writing, maps, paper currency, etc.

Here are some of the more interesting things I picked up:






And I loved this postcard from 1906. It cost me 50 cents.

cheap post card

In all I spent about $40 and enjoyed myself thoroughly. What am I going to do with all of it? I’ll explain in my next post.

A Few collage cards

Here are the latest finished pieces of collage art. I decided to make a few cards, sized approximately 5 x 8. I was looking to create something a little more elegant.


The first one has a window that frames a gate on the inside. On the top is a piece of a book page torn out of a 1950s mathematics book. For the black card I used a page from a Spanish book from the 1880s. It’s the original page. I didn’t make a copy of it. Also on the inside is a section of a page of an index of classical composers and that page was so old that the paper was falling apart as I was handling it. Now that it has been glued down it will be preserved for much longer.

I don’t see it as destroying originals. I like to have and see authentic pages, and also to use them in my work. Sure, I’ll use some printed images off of the internet, but I prefer having a stash of random old pieces that I can use in a variety of creative ways.


A second vintage-style journal

copper spine journalThis is my second (and last for a while) of these vintage-styled journals. They are officially checked of my “to-make” list, so I’m good for now.

I didn’t want to fuss with having the cross stitching on the spine showing, so did a regular pamphlet stitch and opted to cover it. I covered the outside spine with black card stock on to which I had stamped a copper-inked image. This helped complete the covers since I really wasn’t very pleased with how it looked initially.

I bought a Tim Holtz worn cover on clearance because it was Christmas themed, and then covered it with lots of pieces of torn up pages. On top of that I glued on a piece of tissue paper from a sewing pattern. Once I finished with the inking I thought it looked a little too busy.

collaged journal cover

I added another piece of grungeboard flourish, similar to what’s on my previous journal, and then added the black and copper spine. The black really helped the whole cover come together.

cover with flourish

On the inside it’s more tea-dyed paper mixed with other cardstock. A few of the pages are decorated. I’m not sure what I’m going to use it for just yet.

embellished journal page 1

embellished journal page 2

embellished journal page 3

On the inside covers are pages from a Russian children’s folk poetry book.

inside cover copper spine journal

For a more detailed flip through, see my youtube video:



Making a vintage-style journal

journal with crcover flourioss stitch spineI like making books. My mom says I was making my own tiny books by hand since I was 6 or 7 years old. It seems that I’ve been making them ever since.

I like the idea of gathering my own materials, my own papers, assembling them into the order I want, and then binding them together. I like making my own covers so my creation will complement other books in my bookshelf.

After getting plenty of inspiration from others on youtube, making vintage-styled journals, I wanted to try making my own.

By far, my favorite artist who makes vintage style journals is Michelle Mooney from The Paper Addiction. Her creations are amazing.

What is a vintage-style journal? I don’t think there is a precise definition, but generally it’s a book constructed by hand using vintage or vintage-styled materials.

  • The covers can be made from scratch using heavy paper, or it can be made with an existing book cover that has been altered in some way.
  • The internal pages are arranged and/or assembled into signatures (a bundle of folded pages). Often time the paper is dyed with tea or with coffee.
  • The signatures are attached to the covers by sewing them into the spine. Alternatively, pages can be bound with the cover using a cinch, or using binder rings.
  • The “vintage” part comes in to play with how you decorate the journal. Papers, materials, scraps or other pieces of ephemera that are indeed vintage or aged, or more often embellishments are new but made to look vintage. The book covers themselves can come from an old book without being changed.

For my own, I wanted my book cover to have a leathery look, something in a brown or red-ish brown. I also wanted it to be gender neutral and relatively plain. Honestly, I really dislike flowers, lace, rhine stones, charms or whatever gets piled on and adhered to a cover. I wanted my book to be able to easily slide into a bookshelf.

cover flourish

I used 4 sheets of cardstock that I painted brown and sprayed with a red dylusions ink. I used more acrylic browns around the edges to get the colors I wanted. I glued on a grunge board flourish piece and painted it brown. Then I inked it with a copper color stamp pad. I painted a varnish on everything once it was done. For the inside cover I took some pages from an old book in German of stories and glued them in. After they were dry I coated the pages with an acrylic varnish to keep them from peeling.

prepping the internals

My internal pages were tea dyed to take away the whiteness and make them look slightly aged. I took 5 pages for making a single signature. I also added a couple of other paper sources, such as envelopes and 6 x 6 card stock, so that each signature had 7 pieces total. My book contains 3 signatures.

I wanted to sew my pages into the spine with a cross stitch. I did all kinds of planning and testing to get it just right. I decided on 7 rows of stitches and punched them into the spine using a template I made along with an awl.

cross stitch spine

I decorated the inside with pieces of collage art I made, with pockets made from old book pages and envelopes, and other kinds of papers that worked with my overall theme. Sometimes I sewed them in directly onto the page. Of course, I sewed them in before I attached the signatures into the spine.

page pocket

My title is “A Book of Little Treasures”. I want to use this book for keeping finds I’ve come across at flea markets, used book sales, and antique shops.

A book of little treasures


On some pages I covered them entirely with collages made from different old book pages and ink stamping.

collage of vintage papers


Here are some other pages:

vintage journal 1


The envelope is in the middle of the signature. I stitched it in with the rest of the signature while the envelope was unglued. After it was in, I closed up the base and it hides the stitching inside.


vintage journal 2

vintage journal 3


Here’s another envelope though this one is not attached the same.

vintage journal envelope


I like to use stencils.

vintage journal 4


This is a square-shaped doily. I tea-dyed it and then sewed it on to the page.

vintage journal 5


I’m very happy with the journal overall. I made a video that goes into more detail about how I assembled it as well as a page-by -page flip through.


Time Flies – wall art

time flies wall art

Here’s a piece of wall art I made, using a 3 x 3 mini canvas.

On the plain canvas I stamped black text using a rubber stamp. Then I covered it with a very thin piece of textured tissue paper.

text and tissue paper

I have a nice collection of watch faces that I knew one would work here.

watch faces

For other embellishments I used silver wings made from paper, and some illustrated vintage roses. I got both of these items from the D Blumchen Company. They have really pretty cut outs of animals, insects and flowers.

wings and flowers

I wanted something hanging off the bottom and I thought of the lovely spoon-handle charms I picked up at a craft fair a few years ago.

spoon handle charms

It was a gift for my sister-in-law. My mom helped me find something to fill in the hole in the middle of the watch face (not shown). We ended up using the head of a pearl-covered stick pin. We cut off the pin base with pliers and then glued the pearl in the hole with some hot glue.

We were all satisfied with it.

time flies wall art

New keys

I have a saved search on eBay for a Helason key. I have one that I bought at the flohmarkt in Vienna when I lived there and wanted to have at least one more of them. Helason key

They are very unique keys. They are also hard to find. I don’t know the story of Helason keys and locks, and even if they are still being manufactured, but I do know they have an Austrian patent (it says so right on the key. You can’t miss it).

I never get eBay notifications of one listed on auction, but then one day I did. And it was for three keys. Wow! There were already a few bids on them but we were at $5. I had no idea how much they’d go for but I was willing to pay a little bit.

three keys

I won them at a little above $8, and with shipping from Canada it came to about $13. So worth it.

They arrived in their natural state of tarnished brass. Many would say I should leave them as is, keep them authentic. I say shine ’em up, baby. I want them to sparkle. So I polished them with a concoction made up of vinegar, baking soda, and salt. Aren’t they beautiful?

shiny Helasons

They’ll tarnish again over time anyway. What am I going to do with them? I don’t know. I’ll do something with them, but right now I don’t care. They’re in my possession and that’s all that matters.

A few trinkets

vintage finds

Today the family and I went to Goat Hill Farm outside of Los Gatos, off of Highway 17. They were having a small antique festival. I picked up a few antique charms I want to use for a little craft project. I wasn’t going to get anything but then I saw a groschen coin as a charm and knew I had to have it for a piece of wall art I’m making with a Vienna theme.

spoon charms

Best of all, they had a guest speaker who is an amazing lady and a huge inspiration to me. Cathe Holden has been combining antiques and vintage ephemera with crafting for many years and she came to show us a few of her items as well as talk about how she uses vintage finds to make things. Check out her website and you will be amazed at the work she does and the amazing amount of materials she shares with everyone.

Next Saturday I’m off to Petaluma for the Art Is You workshop. Incidentally, Cathe will be teaching a class there too. I’m not attending that one because it’s on Friday and IM is working, but I will be taking a class that demonstrates collaging and how to use bees wax as a glaze.

I can’t wait!