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Draw, jot, doodle, design. (Your trusty friend the Moleskin always at your side.)

February 21, 2012

You never know when you may find yourself in a drawing emergency. You’re waiting for a bus and there’s a chap with a prize moustache, shiny shoes and fabulous hat – you just have to draw him. Or you’ve been agonizing over a design problem for days, then while sitting in the car waiting for your kid to come out of school, BAM! there it is: the solution you’ve been waiting for, right inside your head. Gotta get it down on paper fast! These moments are why I love Moleskin note books and journals.

Moleskin notebooks

They come in a variety of different paper stocks, from regular notepaper to watercolour paper. You can choose from blank, lined or a grid print. So you can write, doodle, paint or calculate. And they have different sizes too.

Mr.C uses them at work for all his concept work, so I decided to get the kids to personalize a couple for Father’s Day gifts a few years back. They drew and painted with pen & ink on thick watercolour paper, which I then varnished. Then I just sewed the suckers on with my machine, right through the cover.

Pen and ink drawings on Moleskin

Because you have to negotiate the book inside the sewing machine arch, the stitching is not always as perfect as you’d like. But that just adds to the drawing book factor. (I wonder if Mr.C did come up with some monster ideas as hoped…)

Here’s another one N made for his dad. He drew a guitar on tracing paper, then stitched over the paper on the machine. Then he removed the bits of paper with tweezers! I love the way he used the stitching on the inside as part of the design.

guitar moleskin music

embroidered guitar

Then I made some using metal scrapbooking tag rims and some photos.

Making Memories metal tag rims

customized Moleskin

I stitched just inside of the metal rims to attach them. For the fabulous green frame one, I had to use glue and double-sided tape to stick it to the cover. The tree photo book was made for my gardener friend, Rina. The red image I took of a door detail in France. I gave this one to my French painter friend, Sandrine. The funny bead picture is an abacus N made for himself, so this book was for his Pop.

Moleskin jopurnals

My friend Jacquie and I go for dimsum regularly, so for her birthday I scanned the dimsum menu and superimposed a pic I drew of her famous retro glasses.

retro glasses

Then this week I made one for Krista who is flitting off to France soon, lucky canard. I figured she’d take it around with her during the day so I picked the small notebook, that wouldn’t fill up her day bag. I decided on the grid pattern for the pages – perfect for designing quilts while sipping chocolat chaud with a croissant.

Eiffel tower embroidery pattern

Being the stitchy gal that she is I had to embroider it, of course. The space inside the frame was tres petit so I embroidered the weeniest little Eiffel Tower I could. Oo la la!

Oo la la embroidery pattern

Paris city moleskin

Are you all inspired to go and draw, write, scribble and doodle now? If so, mission accomplished!

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14 Comments leave one →
  1. Sandrine Pelissier permalink
    February 21, 2012 11:23 pm

    They all look amazing! I knew I recognized one of them:-). Varnishing the watercolor paper also really worked well, I am all inspired now, thanks for sharing.

    • berene permalink
      February 22, 2012 12:16 am

      Glad you like them. (And yours.) Have you drawn / painted in it yet? I haven’t used the watercolor version before do just wondering what the paper quality is like.

      • Sandrine Pelissier permalink
        February 22, 2012 6:48 am

        Not yet, but will get to it this week:-)

  2. February 22, 2012 1:27 am

    This is SUCH a great idea! Would never have thought of using the scrapbook doodads, so thanks for putting me on to those. (Feeling cranky now as I was just at a craft fair with tons of scrapbooking stuff and did I come home with it? No I did not. Poo)
    What lucky friends you have!

    • berene permalink
      February 22, 2012 12:34 pm

      Thanks, Kirsty. For someone who doesn’t scrapbook I seem to have quite a good stash of scrapbook-ey goodies! I bought these years ago and have tried to find some locally since without any luck. I guess if I need more I’ll have to order them online. You could sew a weeny patchwork border for your photo, and then stitch it on. I think the general idea is not to be scared to stick a book cover, or anything else unusual for that matter, on your machine. (Just don’t sue me if you break a needle trying to stitch drywall!)

  3. Gae Wakabayashi permalink
    February 22, 2012 11:59 am

    Awesome Bereney! Very inspiring. Hope to see you some day soon!

    • berene permalink
      February 22, 2012 12:08 pm

      Ha ha. I thought only my mother was allowed to call me that. (cringe!) Would love to see you sometime too. It’s only a bridge between us you know.

  4. February 22, 2012 12:19 pm

    oo la la indeed! J’aime bien mon livre de Paris! I have no idea if I wrote that properly and all, but I am so thrilled with my take anywhere French quilt designer moleskin. It does make me feel very pro. Merci, mon amie.

    • berene permalink
      February 22, 2012 12:26 pm

      Je t’en prie, mon amie! (Totally looked that up!)

  5. Paula permalink
    February 27, 2012 10:13 pm

    Lucky Krista! These are great inspiration!

  6. March 12, 2012 5:56 pm

    Yup I knew you were brilliant but once again you have blown my mind! My husband LOVES moleskines and since Easter is coming up I think he may get a very special one in his Easter basket…well, that is if he is good ;)…wait is that only for Santa you have to be good to get stuff?

    • berene permalink
      March 12, 2012 11:14 pm

      In our house you have to eat your carrots to get the good stuff from the Easter Bunny. That is of course if our rabbit doesn’t get to the carrots before you do. 🙂

  7. Alisonb permalink
    October 6, 2012 7:02 pm

    While searching for the Skellie tutorial……I am finally making them!! So cute!!!! …………. I came across your book idea. Love it!! My students would especially love them.

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