DIY Mini Book Press

001 Samples

Left to Right Top: Soft cover monastery stitch, Hardcover monastery stitch, French stitch. Left to Right Bottom: Hardcover Coptic stitch, soft cover long stitch, soft cover Japanese stitch

Some time ago (about a year I think) I took an art class that taught me how to bind books. It was one of the most amazingly fun classes I’ve ever taken! I learned 6 different binding styles and made 9 sample books – 3 7/16in. x 5in. For an avid reader like myself, learning how books can be constructed increased my appreciation for the books themselves (even though it’s rare for books to be bound by hand these days).

One of the things that makes a book look nice is flat pages. If you’ve ever tried folding multiple pages at once, you might notice that they tend to pop up at the spine. In class we used a paper-wrapped brick to combat this. While browsing YouTube, I found a diy alternative! Sea Lemon’s video How to Make a Book Press tutorial HERE . The materials were cheap and pretty easy to find (with a couple modifications).


Left to Right: Dollar Tree furniture sliders, 2 hex bolts (6in.), 2 washers, wing nuts, 7in. x 9in. wooden plaques

The trickiest part of the whole project was making holes in the wood without a drill… Gave myself at least 4 hand bruises trying to press down while turning a + screwdriver. It took me over an hour to get most of the way through the first of 2 holes. Then my husband took over and finished both of them in a matter of minutes … Not sure if I should be annoyed or pleased … ^_^

004I taped both pieces of wood together – so the hex bolts would pass through both pieces correctly – but the hole I made was angled – ugh. Also it was a bit of a tight fit which was fine for one underneath. To get the top one to slide up and down – somewhat – smoothly, I used a – screwdriver that was slightly wider to enlarge the holes on top. Even so, because of my inability to drill straight down I have to pull the two hex bolts slightly apart as I slide the top up and down.

Once the hex bolts were through, I threaded each with a washer and a wing nut. The final touch was the felt sliders on the bottom … and All Done!

finishedBoth wooden pieces are unfinished so I plan to paint/decorate them eventually. Also, the boards I used aren’t long enough for making larger books (like folding regular letter sized paper in half hamburger-wise), but I am excited to make mini books (cutting regular paper in half and then folding in half again, both hamburger-wise). Look forward to updates of that nature ^_~ !


Laundry Bag 1 – Pattern

Again I missed my Efficacious Friday post… BUT my Hubby whisked me away to Newport all weekend for our 5th Anniversary ^_^

My laundry bag has seen better days… I think it’s time for a new one.

Too much over-stuffing... >.<

Too much over-stuffing… >.<

Since my bag still has a few panels intact (more or less) I can use those measurements.

Measuring & cutting piecesFor something like this (I don’t plan on making a million of these) I’m just using regular brown wrapping paper I got at the Dollar Tree for my pattern pieces. Luckily my bag is all rectangles ^_^ which makes my job a little easier!

folded piecesTo use my pattern in the future, I’d like to put it in an envelope. I lined up the bottom right corner of all my pieces and CAREFULLY folded them. 1st in half hamburger and then in half again hotdog. Now they’re all the same size when folded.

labeling piecesDO NOT FORGET TO LABEL!!!! Label each piece with what the pattern is for, how many times to cut that piece, other notes (like seam allowance), and it’s handy to include total number of pieces so you don’t lose any.

sp label piecesIt helps to add little bits of info directly onto the pattern pieces – I don’t know if I’ll actually write out sewing instructions for this so I want to make sure the pattern itself is clear.

laundry bag patternAnd there you have it! A pattern for a laundry bag. Stay tuned for instructions on making the actual bag ^_^!

Homemade Calzones

My 1st calzone ^_^

My 1st calzone ^_^

We’re cooking today! For an easy – and potentially travel friendly – snack, try homemade calzones! For those of you who don’t know, a calzone is basically a wrapped pizza. All you need for the most basic type – cheesy pizza *my favorite ^_^* – is a simple pizza dough recipe, pasta sauce, and sliced or grated cheese. Of course, you can add Italian spices and all your favorite pizza toppings to create personalized calzones!

Make your dough according to whatever recipe you find (there are plenty out there). Depending on how wide/long you want your calzones, you’ll adjust the size of dough balls you form. Keep in mind, the smaller the ball – the fewer ingredients you’ll be able to add. Flatten each ball into a circular shape (if you can get it thin without it ripping when you move it… good!).

I like to cook the sauce while I’m shaping the dough. Basic pasta sauce with a little Italian seasoning, or even specialty pizza seasoning, tastes great! You don’t need to make a whole lot – unless you’re making a whole lot of calzones. Once the dough is flattened into circles, add your special ingredients – secret sauce, specialty cheeses, meat, whatever – to one 1/2 of the dough circle.

I added pasta sauce, cheddar cheese slices, and spinach powder.

I added pasta sauce, cheddar cheese slices, and spinach powder.

*Be sure to leave a 1/4″ – 1/2″ lip around the dough to lessen the chances of making a mess when you close it! Writing of which, we’re at that point! I tend to over-stuff mine which makes closing tricky. You want to fold the unfilled half over the ingredients in such a way that dough meets dough around the edges, but doesn’t rip. Once that’s successfully accomplished – it may take removing a little from the specialty filling – I like to seal my edges with fork prongs (like pie edges). Poke a few holes in the top so steam can escape and they’re ready to bake! Consult your pizza dough recipe for baking times and temperatures, but keep an eye on them anyway. Ingredients spilling out the ventilation holes is common for me so be warned.

Ready to eat!

Ready to eat!

And enjoy! Or … pack in your lunch box (if you made mini’s) and take a few to go! I’ve found calzones stay warm for a while and even when they’ve been refrigerated … basically cold pizza, which I kinda like. WARNING!!!! These calzones contain cheese (and meat if you like) so do not keep them room temperature for long or you might get sick! That said, I’ve had no problems making them in the morning and leaving them in my lunch box ’till … lunch. ^_^