One Sunday afternoon, just before Easter, I spent a very happy couple of hours crafting in Cardiff’s lovely Chapter Arts Centre with Hillary’s Blinds and The Crafty Hen. Using fabric supplied by Hillary’s I made a lovely little spool bird and a fabulous reusable fabric notebook cover. Here is my bird, perched on my book, checking out my beautiful little Suffolk puff!

Handmade Spool Bird and a Fabric Notebook cover.

I loved the pattern on the fabric I chose for the notebook so much, it just cried out to be a garden jotter – somewhere to write down which seeds I’ve planted and where, to make wish lists of plants and to stick in articles or photos torn from magazines. It couldn’t be simpler to make and I have plans to make lots more as gifts for stationery loving friends!

We chose our fabric from a generous heap of loveliness and lay it on the table, pattern side down and folded in the long edges at top and bottom so that the height of the fabric was a little bigger than the book. I ran my nail along the folds to make a sharp crease, placed the notebook in the middle and opened the front cover.

Notebook without its fabric cover, laying on the fabric.

Next I folded the fabric in so that the raw edge touched the edge of the cover, ran my nail along the crease and folded it in again so it overlapped the front cover, popping a pin at top and bottom to hold it in place before repeating the process with the back cover of the book. I closed the book to do the back cover to make sure I had enough fabric and it wouldn’t be stretched and warp the notebook – no one wants a warped jotter!

Fabric folded over the notebook cover and pinned in place, ready for sewing.

A couple of stitches top and bottom on front and back cover and Bob’s your Uncle – one notebook cover! Because we stitched into the fabric not the book the cover can be removed and reused on a new notebook once this one is full – marvellous!

Next I helped myself to ribbons and buttons from the stash brought along by the very lovely ladies from The Crafty Hen – heaven! I glue gunned some ribbon to the front of the book and continued it along inside the cover to make it neat and tidy and then sewed a Suffolk puff using another piece of the fabric I had used for the cover. I could have used a contrasting fabric but I really liked the garden feel to this one which is slightly greener than it appears in my photos! A Suffolk puff is a circle of fabric with a line of running stitch sewn around the edge. The thread is then pulled and the fabric gathered into this puff. I sewed a button in the middle and glued my puff in place.

I’m tempted to make more of these lovely notebooks as gifts for Christmas – we could even make our own fabric designs to cover them with to make them even more personal. Paste resist batik gives some beautiful results and keeps little hands busy to boot! 

Suffolk Puff with a button.

The spool bird was originally created by Michael Fullerton in 2008 and went viral, you can read what happened next here, and you can see the originals in Michael’s etsy shop here. I was very pleased with my first attempt and I’m very tempted to make a mobile like Michael’s to cheer the place up a bit and herald Spring in my office!

Spool Bird perched on a Fabric Notebook.

I hadn’t visited Chapter Arts since my days in Cardiff as a student in the late 80s so it was lovely to be back – even better was scooping up my boy from his halls of residence at the university and bringing him home for the weekend! How life turns full circle!

Happy Crafting!

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