Everywhere I look online this new year, I see pictures of people Kondo-ing their homes. Getting joy from ridding themselves of joyless items. (Have you read THE book yet?)
I read the life-changing book last year and accordingly purged a truckload from our home. I admit, though, I wasn’t as enthusiastic or as diligent as I could have been. Marie would be disappointed in me and my t-shirt drawer would make her cry. Unthanked items in my house may soon revolt.
Among the things still taking up space in our home are stacks of notebooks filled with my kids’ doodles and sketches. My boys, now five and almost four, have always preferred a pen and simple spiral notebook to crayons and coloring books. Their drawings vary only slightly. On most pages you are likely to find sea animals with sharp teeth, dinosaurs with sharp teeth, imagined creatures with sharp teeth, and maybe a few gemstones or Transformers.
Seeing the progression of their drawings is fun. Watching them stay occupied with a pen and paper for hours is great. Hearing the stories and captions they share is entertaining, to say the least.
Hunting for where they last hid their favorite pen (THE ONLY ONE I CAN DRAW WITH), is not a lot of fun. We’ve gone through a lot of black pens.
Being the problem solver that I am, I decided to make them a gift for Christmas that would serve us both well. They can find their pens when they need them, and I won’t lose years of my life looking under seats in the car or in between couch cushions.
Now I can use all that extra time looking for their shoes!!!!
Along with these sketchbook pals, I made the kids a few more handmade gifts. We had a good balance between handmade gifts and store-bought gifts this year. Puzzles, LEGO sets, and record players rounded out much of their holiday acquisitions.
My boys’ big gifts were Star Wars backpacks. I was so excited. They were so excited. Burning the midnight oil several nights in a row was worth the surprise. (Pattern by Made By Rae).
All in all the gifts this year were a hit. We had a good balance between useful and joy-inspiring, which is about the best you can hope for when giving gifts.
How about you? How was your Christmas?
Do your kids prefer plain paper or coloring books?
Keep reading for the easy tutorial to make a sketchbook pal. They make great gifts for friends too!
Think it’s useful but you don’t sew (or are just learning to sew), pin it or share it with sewing friends!
Sketchbook Pal Tutorial
- mid to heavy-weight fabric
- bias tape
1.Cut the main body pieces.
Cut from main fabric:
- (2) : 14″ x 7″ pieces
- (1) : 10″ x 7″ piece
Cut from piping:
- (1) : 7″ piece
2. Make and attach pocket to interior piece.
Fold the 10″ x 7″ piece in half to form a piece 5″ x 7″. Press. Fold down both unfinished edges along the top side (opposite the folded edge) 3/8″ and press.
Sandwich the piping in between the two pressed edges. Pin in place. Sew along the top edge, securing the piping in place.
Place the pocket with the piping edge towards the middle and the folded edge in line with the bottom edge of one of the long main body pieces. Pin in place. Find the middle of the pocket and place two pins there to mark where you will sew. Place more pins on either side, 1 1/2″ from the middle pin. Sew along those lines, backstitching a few times on the top edge, creating smaller pockets for pencils/pens.
(See pictures below)
3. Sew the main body piece.
Place the two long body pieces with right sides together and all the edges lined up. Start at the top edge of the body pieces, leaving a 2″ opening in the middle, sew around all four sides with a 1/2″ seam.
Clip the corners and turn it right-side out though the opening you left on the top edge. Press all the seams flat.
4. Attach the strap and velcro.
Cut a piece of bias tape 24″ long*.
Tuck one end of the bias tape in the opening on the top edge of the sketchbook pal. Pin in place and topstitch around the perimeter of the sketchbook pal 1/4″ from the outer edge.
Cut both sides of the velcro 6″ long. Pin the “loop” piece (the softer strip) down the middle of the front of the sketchbook pal. Sew in place with a coordinating thread.
Take the “hook” piece of the velcro and pin it on the end of the bias tape strap so that it will attach to the loop side when wrapped around a sketchbook. Sew down all sides of the bias tape, securing the velcro in place and closing the open side of the bias tape.
And it’s done!
*A 24″ strap with 6″ of velcro will fit around most sketchbooks. If you know that the sketchbook pal will be used with larger books, then simply increase the length of the strap.
The dimensions of the main body pieces could also be altered to make a pal for holding crayons.