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(And mini tutorial making WANNA BOOKS)

March, 2007

Spring Break, 2007, and Laura and Joseph have come to town for a visit. Jenna and Joel are spending the week here, too. While the boys are out doing manly things like making rockets with foil and matches, four-wheeling, and mountain bike trail building with their grandfather, the girls stay home with me.

"Let's do a project, Nana," they say.

Well, since I had just completed a new theme, Cats, for my WANNA BOOKS, we decided to make Cats books and ... hmm; ah, yes, Nana had lots of cats to choose from.

They spend a bit of time matching the cats up with the book titles they want to use.

These will be cute, Nana! What shall we put them in?

Well, what else? Another Michaels hutch should do.

This was the one I photographed, but we wound up using another style that was slightly taller with a flat top allowing space to make what was on top more visible.

We need to seal the wood first, or else it just soaks up too much paint.

Actually, the sealed hutch is not bad; sealing brings out the wood grain.

But they decide they want to paint; bright red for Jenna ....

and dark teal for Laura. They have learned to paint from the inside out.

Get it in all the corners, too.

Phase One is over, so time to clean up. They have learned that taking care of their brushes is important.

And be sure no paint is left near the top, either.

After a little break and a treat, we get started making our books. We gather tools and supplies.

Sometimes cutters are helpful; sometimes just small sharp scissors.

Jenna already knew about using a bone folder, but this is the first time Laura has seen one.

They try it, but decide it's a bit hard for them to do, so while they do other things, I use the bone folder to score along the spines of all the covers, pressing it against the ruler. You can find these in card-making and scrapbooking areas. The blunt end of a stylus or an old ballpoint pen that's out of ink work fine, too.

It is much easier to do this before cutting the books from the sheet. I have also discovered since then an alternative method: cut the cover out, then fold it along the edge of a metal ruler for a nice sharp crease, too. Whichever works best for the individual making the books, is my philosophy.

Jenna cuts hers out, but Laura still has a hard time cutting straight lines so I do hers and crease the covers on the scored lines on all the books.

At first I think we will use glue pens, but in our dry climate, those glue sticks don't last as long as I would wish. The glue pen is better for scrapbooking or when something just needs to be attached lightly. So, we decide to use good old Tacky glue instead.

Recogize this? It is what's left when all the pages are torn from an old yellow legal pad.

It makes excellent pages for old books.

And here's the other side. I use a large paper cutter to cut the sections to size.

I am a compulsive note taker, so in my stash are all kinds of notepads, some YEARS old. I look through them periodically to see what can be used for book inserts. Since the older ones are not acid-free, their colors are all shades of interesting tans, creams and whites, ideal for old books. If you are concerned about long-term damage (frankly, with these books I am not), then you might consider painting the edges instead of using these.

Here is a book from my early days (I just copied this one; it is not my design) where I used a piece of wood as the pages. Notice I didn't even bother to paint the edges. Shame on me! I know better now. lol

I have also used inexpensive readymade books as inserts for my own designs, too, especially if I want to show the book lying opened, facing down. I just open the book the way I want it, THEN glue the cover on top, which makes it a bit easier. I weight it with something heavy until it dries because I don't like seeing a book standing up on its own pages, as would probably happen otherwise.

Here is an album, designed to be seen page by page. Rather than have its real pages fan out, as they are wont to do, there is a latch to keep it closed. I am not sure if I made this or if it was a gift. I've had it for a long time. I notice the pages are a wee bit uneven, but then so are pages in certain real albums, too!

For the books in this project, we used a large white foam sheet that only cost $.99; enough to make many, many books.

I cut the out the inserts for each book while they worked with the covers. Since we were going to be making multiples of the same titles, I test-fitted and made a pattern for each size book, labeling it with a marker for future use, before cutting the foam. (For thicker ones, they glued two layers together.)

Since book pages do not come all the way to the edge of the cover (well, they aren't SUPPOSED to), Laura is painting the cover eges in a matching color, which gives a much more professional appearance.

Did you notice that Laura doesn't have a Write People work shirt on? She said her mom sent this yellow shirt and some dark sweat pants as work clothes. Looks like Mom knew what Laura would be doing at Nana's. lol

This is the first finished book. They each made several books and then we left everything to dry thoroughly until the next day.

We get an early start the next morning. We are all still in our nighties, but what the heck.

Here Laura is trial fitting, too, before we start gluing things in place.

I suggest they glue the biggest cat, the one peering into the fishbowl, on the bottom shelf. They both want to use The Curious Cat and Other Animal Mysteries with that one, so they apply glue to the back of the finished book.

And to the bottom, as well; anywhere the book will be touching the surface. Hey, isn't Laura's nightie appropriate? I hadn't even noticed this until I started uploading these photos!

And here is Jenna's finished hutch.

Top shelf left. This is one of the books in the Inspector Mouser Mystery series featuring my new cat detective. It's hard to tell here, but Inspector Mouser's logo is a paw holding a magnifying glass; the back of each book features a paw holding a derby hat.

(Glue hasn't quite dried yet under the cat, I see. And he does have rather strange eyes, doesn't he? lol)

Top shelf middle. That's the Cat Tales book at the back.

Responsible Cat Ownership and the twin cats on top shelf right.

Bottom shelf left. Hmm; wonder how curious that fish is?

Bottom shelf right.

And here's more books on top of the hutch.


Looks like somebody's climbing up to see what's there.

Another curious cat ....

And here's Laura's, with a couple more curious cats.

Looks like this one likes to read.

This is the top shelf, left side, of Laura's hutch.


And here's a little black cat standing on a book about Cats and Magic! I notice the book pages come out a wee bit too far, but decide not to say anything, of course.

And here's two more books, Making Fabric Cats and Water Color Cats, tucked away in the corner.

And here's Laura's curious cat on the bottom shelf.


It was great fun having our grandchildren with us for a week, and I was very pleased that the girls wanted to do a project. It's especially nice so that we can demonstrate how easy it is to do WANNA BOOKS!

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