Jul 22, 2011

A passion for paper...

by Natalie Anderson.

Photo from

Every writer I know has a stationery addiction. Actually, many people I know who aren't 'writers' as such, have a stationery addiction. And there are all those gorgeous shops there to meet those addictions - with a range for all budgets - from those 5 cent notebooks, to the $50 dollar or more notebooks that are hand-bound. And of course, some shops exist purely to get us hooked early (my kids all adore Smiggle). There's nothing better than the start of the school year and all the stationery ships with their massive sales. I always buy far too many notebooks and not enough highlighters.

Anyway, it's the school holidays at the moment and yesterday the kids and I went to a place called 'creative junk' - you pay a few dollars, get given a bag and then go round this giant warehouse filled with recycled/reusable stuff - cardboard, bottles, fabric, foam - just so much stuff that you can reuse to create something new - with a touch of glue and some imagination. Two of the kids did picture frames, one made a diorama from an old suitcase and then there was the eldest who couldn't decide what to do...

Now, this was out of my comfort zone because I am not a crafty kind of person. I can't knit, can't sew, can't even iron... yes, I'm the only mother who superglued her fingers together and her rings on when making an asteroid costume for the school operetta the other week. I am a total fail on the crafts front!

So, desperate for help, the eldest and I talked to one of the people who worked there and she showed us a gorgeous handmade notebook - WELL, talk about excitement! You didn't even need superglue - just an ordinary gluestick that even I can handle!!!

Photo from
I had forgotten, that several moons ago when I was about eleven (okay, so it's MANY moons ago) I went to a young authors conference (I had the passion early) and a guy there showed us how to bind our own books - using any old cardboard and any old paper and some string. You can then cover the book with whatever you want - a few yards of pretty ribbon, old fabric scraps, glitter - whatever is to hand.

So we had a blissful afternoon making pretty notebooks with recycled card and textured paper. I think it's the one craft thing I can actually manage! We're working on tweaking the design, making smaller ones, concertina ones... I tell you, I think the notebook buying days might be over!!! And then there's the fun of filling them with cute poems or stories or messages - oh yes, that's the best bit... happy days!!!!

Since our initial attempts I looked up several how-tos on the internet - from the simple 'just a bit of glue' numbers like ours, to the full on 'bind separate folios with impossible patterns on the spine' notebooks - something for everyone then!

So, do you love notebooks? Ever tried making one yourself? If you want to know how to make the world's easiest, let me know!!!


  1. Hi Natalie,

    Wow! You make your own notebooks, awesome! By the way, what is with stationary and us? I'm always buying even if I don't have need of it!

    Entering a supermarket or a bookshop, after checking the latest release racks, I have to browse in the stationary section!


  2. Natalie

    I so love note books etc LOL but have never tried to make my own I think I will leave that to everyone else I am not crafty at all although i can knit and used to do a lot of that but not anymore.
    Love the homemade ones though i have seen a few and they realy are special

    Have Fun

  3. Hi Natalie
    I remember the smell of brand new stationery at the beginning of school term. I loved it. That new paper without a mark, yes.
    I did go off it a bit when I married my husband as he had a printing business and truckloads of it.
    The notebook looks great.
    Sue MacKay

  4. Self-confessed notebook lover sticking her hand up.

    I make notebooks all the time for my to do lists. It is really easy (promise). I cut my A4 pages into 4, but works for any size. You clip the pile of paper together with bulldog clips and smear craft glue along the top end. Let it dry, and then you have a note book with easy to detach pages :)

  5. Wow, Natalie - you've inspired me! I usually just hold all the scrap paper together with a bulldog clip, but these all sound really fun and easy.

    And yes, I'm another stationery junkie. :)

  6. Creative Junk sounds fabulous, Natalie!! I've never made notebooks from scratch, but I've decorated them as gifts of journal-keeping friends. I love mucking around making things -- don't do it often enough! Must make a trip down to Chch and check out Creative Junk....

  7. Hi Natalie,
    my station addiction is a beautiful diary (I'm lost without one!!) and plain old exercise books (for like 5c each when they're on sale at start of school year) to jot ideas, write chunks on story into etc.
    But I LOVE the idea of making my own little book, so clever!