Thursday, October 8, 2009

The Enchanted Hollow Book Tutorial

Want a perfect project to go with your Holiday Decorating. Why not repurpose some old books lying around. Or if you haven’t anything to fit the bill – try the local second hand book store. From Drab to One-Of-A-Kind Enchanted Decorations direct from your Fairy Godmother or Wicked Witch (Depending on your preference).

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If your a book purist and can’t handle the thought of repurposing them – This Post Is Not For You! Turn away while you can.

Okay then, Let’s get started.

Supplies needed:

Exacto Knife, Ruler, Mod Podge, Paintbrush, Decorative paint (I used acrylic), and some old Hard covered books. I also used some ribbon, Mulberry Paper, and an old cracker (food) box. Say What? It will make sense later.

Most of these I found at my local Second Hand Bookstore. And I paid no more than $10 for the lot of them. I wanted the old beat up look as you can tell.

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One of the books had it’s front cover completely ripped off. So I repaired it with black duck tape. Yes, I was going for functional and not archival. Plus if you use little strips of the tape it kind of blends in. I used way more of it on the inside (non-visible side) of the book.

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Then using a fine paint brush and some acrylic paint I changed the names on the books. Sometimes by only replacing a couple of letters in the books Title.

World Famous Paintings became World Famous Potions.

The Practical Reference Library became The Magical Reference Library.

The Joy of Words became The Joy of Wands.

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And a Study in poems became ‘A Pocketbook of Spells’.

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The Book titled the Joy or Words already contained some wonderful poems so I just added a few sketches and more handwritten poems or quotes, to the more blank pages in keeping with the books title.

The World Famous Potions book I ended up adding a glitter finish to the cover. Did you know they made Mod Podge with a glitter finish, and a glow-in-the-dark effect. Can I say I Love Mod Podge.

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But it’s what I put inside the two larger books that made them magical.

I’ve made these Hollow Books or Book Safes before - years ago. So when I found this Wiki How tutorial online I had to give it another go and add a few of my own touches to boot. Check it out for some wonderful tips.

First you need to decide on the depth of your hollow book.

Then generously apply Mod Podge to those outside pages of your chosen book, that you want to be stuck together.

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Then I put page protectors in between the glued pages and non-glued pages to keep them separate and weighted the whole book down, using what I could find around the house, until the Mod Podge dried.

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Once that was done. I used a ruler to mark where I was going to be making my cuts. They say to leave at least a 1/2 to 3/4 inch border. Then go to it with your exacto knife and carve away. After every go around with the knife, you can withdraw a few more pages.

No your pages are not going to have a super clean cut and polished look. But they will add to the effect if you are going for a rustic look. Once you have reached the desired depth then, once again, apply the Mod Podge. Inside and out of those pages. Why on the outside? Because sometimes they become a little loose when your cutting the inside of the books pages. Lay one dry page on top of all the wet ones, add a sheet protector and weigh your book down again. Wait until dry. Once dry, cut through the final page to reveal your secret compartment.

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I happened to end this books cut on a picture. If you don’t like the raw edge look then line the edges with ripped pieces of some of the pages you’ve cut out using Mod Podge. Or try this.

Add compartments or shelves to your secret book. Just use a cut up cereal or food box; while making sure the width of each is the same as the depth of the hollow in your book, and…

Mod Podge comes to the rescue again when you adhere the shelves to the sides.

I added a couple of ribbons using, can you guess…

Mod Podge - Who’d have thunk? Why ribbons? I used them on the outside of the larger compartment to help hold the magical ingredients in place.

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Now it’s functional but rather ugly so go ahead and add something eye pleasing. Rip some Mulberry Paper into thin strips with that magical stuff I keep mentioning start layering it all over the inside of the book.

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Layer it thick to cover the words on the shelves or dividers. The bonus is that it adds to the stability of the compartments. I loved using the Mulberry paper because once you are finished you don’t see the seams they blend together and seem made for the space. Once you have it where you want it all one last layer of Mod Podge and let dry.

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Then add your magical ingredients. In this case it was Glitter Fairy Dust and Potions. Now how’s this for magical?

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I helped my brother make one of these babies a few years ago and he used it to propose to his sweetheart. We hollowed out the book. I believe he then lined it with velvet and secreted an engagement ring into it. The title of the book? ‘Go Forward With Faith.’

Then he recruited the local librarian to give the book a reference number and quietly snuck it onto the library shelf. When his sweetheart met him at the library for a supposed study session he had her help him look up some books he supposedly needed for class.

The rest is history.

Don’t want to bother with the tedious exacto knife method. Then use your scroll saw. Click HERE to see Rolling Hitch and a How To ‘Make a Book Safe’ Tutorial. I think I definitely want to give his method a try. But instead of hiding a revolver I think I’d hide the remote control and not tell the boys about it. Maybe I could find a book called, ‘Turn off the TV and Get A LIFE!’

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Have fun making your magical books. Now I'm off to find out how many more magical things Mod Podge can do.

Monday, September 28, 2009

Potion Bottle Labels Tutorial

Just in time for Halloween – We’ve raided the Fairy Godmothers Potion Cabinet. Pull up your magic wand or broom and enjoy a fun How To Make Your Own Potion’s Bottle Labels Post.

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We even got some more sinister ingredients from our Fairy Godmother’s less than trustworthy sister, the Wicked Witch, and borrowed a bit from the Hogwarts Potion Store as well.

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You can spend a pretty penny buying potion bottle decorations this time of year – or for a fraction of the cost make your own.

I used leftover food and oil bottles that I’ve accumulated over the past couple of months with this craft in mind. Also I treated myself to a few odd shaped bottles found at the local thrift store and paid around $1 each.

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Supplies needed: Bottles, Paper (from printer to decorative depending on your budget), tea bags (for antiquing the paper), Mod Podge & Paint Brush, Ultra-fine Sharpies (colored ones too). Extra’s: Cheese Cloth or Burlap, Ribbons, charms, and cork tops, from the craft store, for your lidless bottles.

Potion Ingredients: Anything you want – I used everything from glitter, fireplace ash, oil, water, food coloring and candy to fun colored shampoo’s and conditioner’s from the local $1 store. What I liked about using the shampoo’s is the fact after Halloween I can still use the hair products, wash the bottles and store them for next year and not worry about a liquid growing extra mold or fungus. However, a moldy bottle would lend itself to the whole haunted atmosphere of the decoration.

The first thing I did was antiqued the printer paper. I also had some left over Christmas paper from last year with a bluish tint that I wanted to try. First you crumple up the paper. I did this a couple of times.

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Then I let the flattened the paper and let it sit in a cake pan seeping with a strong tea. I think I used 8 tea bags in 3-4 cups of water.

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After around 5 minutes I removed the paper, one-by-one from the tea mixture and laid on an old towel, or paper towels to dry. Hint: Don’t dump out the tea and then take the papers out because they will stick together and often tear as you try to pull them apart.

I liked designing my own labels to fit the individual bottles I had. I did this by grabbing scissors and paper and cutting away. Folding the paper in half or fourths makes the sides match.

Once I had the basic shape of the labels I played around with different hand lettering styles. I also found some wonderful fonts on my Microsoft Word Program and experimented with size and style. Some of my favorite fonts were called: Milano LET, Blackadder ITC, Blackletter686 BT, Kunstler Script, and Viner Hand ITC.

Can’t come up with some potions names of your own. Borrow some from Harry Potter Here.

If once your antiqued paper is dry and you can lie it flat enough for the printer you can print the lettering on directly to your paper. If however, your printer is as temperamental as mine then you can trace the lettering onto the antique paper using a light box or window. I used Ultra-fine Sharpies because I didn’t want the lettering to bleed.

Then add some fun borders to your labels. From spooky…

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To simple but enchanting…

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Once you add the borders – throw in a little color – once again I used Ultra-fine Sharpies.

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Next you’re going to want to smoother the back of the labels with Mod Podge using a paintbrush.

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I say smoother because if your label is being affixed to a curved or rounded surface your going to want the paper to have a little give. Then carefully place the label on your desired bottle.

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Used the edge of your sharpie pen, paint brush similar object to burnish out the creases. You’ll see them but the cracks will add to the aged character of the bottle.

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You’ll also want to remove any and all air bubbles from under the label.

Let it dry. Once dry add one last layer of Mod Podge to the top of the label and overlap the mixture about 1/4 of an inch over the bottle. If you want you can even add a little glitter to the label at this point.

Once again let completely dry.

The kids will love this part. Then fill the bottles up with potions (see above recommendations).

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One of our favorite potions was our draught of living death potion. Yes we stole many potion names from the Harry Potter Books. To this bottle we added 2/3rd mixture of vegetable oil, 1/3rd mixture of water, and food coloring (Dark Purple was sinister enough). Once this mixture has had a while to sit and separate in the bottle – throw in a couple tablets of Alka-Seltzers or the generic equivalent and watch your potion turn into a bubbly, molten lava lamp (The kids really dig this one.)

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Add all these bottles to your Halloween Decor and sit back and wait for the fun comments.

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So go hunt up some fun bottles and make some magic happen. Oh, I should have used these. They are perfectly eerie.

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Don’t have time to make your own labels. Then here are some ready-made’s that you can print or buy to affix to your favorite bottles. has some potion label printable’s that look so real they are a bit spooky. Check them all out HERE.

Potion Ingredients Label

Don’t want too spooky then try the lighter, cartoonish free printable labels Over at Phee McFaddell'’s place. Click HERE to see them.

And from one of my favorite artists… You must visit Vanessa from AFanciful Twist, for she has some darling labels vying for honored positions in your potions cabinet.

Vanessa of AFanciful Twists Esty Labels Can be Found HERE. And you can see how she put her potions together and what she used for the magic ingredients by clicking on her enchanted post HERE.

Miss Martha Stewart also has some Witchy Labels that I spied at my local Target Store.

Or you can buy them HERE.

Want more ideas on making your own labels then check out these fine sites.

You will find an excellent tutorial and extra hints on glowing Potions from the most wonderful AranaMureta’s Witches Kitchen. Check out her tutorial HERE.

Or fly on over to: Making Canned Halloween Monstrosities by I Make Projects dot com.

So go have some fun and make some inexpensive conversation grabbing Halloween decoration of your own.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Organize the Holidays!


Okay, I’m reposting this blog post from last year with a few extra goodies…  Here is my Holiday Brain. Why's it the best? Because I tailored it to fit my family and style. It might not be the best for you but hopefully you can get a few ideas on how to make your own Hassel-Free Holiday Planner.

Without this little number I’d have to call Santa and tell him to skip us. Last year (year before that) was stressful because I didn’t use it. The year before when I did devour its pages, I did much better at surviving the holiday chaos. And this year, well this year will be our best Christmas ever since I’m starting earlier than ever. Of course it’s not stressful working on Christmas stuff right now, it’s stressful when I leave it all until the last minute.

Can I just add that I’m excited as all get-up right now just envisioning my little (because I’ll be at goal by then) self relaxing over the holidays – For Once. Kicking up the fuzzy slippers, sipping Low-sugar, Raspberry flavored Hot Chocolate as I curl up on the sofa with my kids watching the good Old Holiday movies. Sipping just a little because I’ll be trying to maintain my weight loss, not gain it back.

So here is my Holiday Planner. I’ve gotten great ideas from several different websites which I’ll link you too, and some of the pages are my own. I started my planner years ago after getting the idea from a Family Fun Article in 2002.

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Over the years I’ve added my own twist, gotten new ideas and found new resources. This simple planner had even been given out to family and friends for an Early Christmas Gift and extra easy copies can be pulled together quickly for school fundraisers, church craft days etc. Hope you have as much fun with it as I have.

Beware you can get super carried away especially if you’re a scrap booker fanatic. Before you know it this planner can start to get all elaborate. Maybe if you’re doing it for your self and you have the extra time then go ahead and make this a little marvel worth all the drooling admiration of your friends. But for me, well, the simpler the better. Especially if you’re giving them as gifts, then your friends can embellish the pages and sections to fit their own tastes.

Basic Supplies Needed

1. One - 1 in. wide three ring binder. Wider if you love paper.
2. Six dividers that can either be tabbed pockets or 8 ½ X 11 photo page protector sleeves. (Of course you may choose to have more or less than 6 sections depending on what you wanted to get from your planner. I like sticking with a simple six. –
~Mailing Lists
~Gift Lists
~Memories & Traditions
~Crafts & Decorations
~Holiday Recipes, Menu’s & Party Planners
3. Heavy weight paper. Some of the pages in your binder you will use year after year so the thicker the better.
4. Three Rings holed or strapped pencil pouches, pockets that can be sealed or zippered shut to hold memorabilia or recipes, coupons or shopping lists.
5. Decorating Supplies – festive pens and stickers, stamps and what-not’s.
6. Decorative Holiday Scrapbook Pages (that you can get from most craft stores) that you can use for your binder Cover-art or even your divider pages.

So here are some pages to get you started. Click on the picture to find it’s PDF form ready for Printing.

Just click on the page and if I got my computer set up right (cross your fingers) you'll be able to link to the page to print it out.

Then gather your supplies.  And Start throwing them in your new planner.

Keep all your favorite holiday recipes in one place.

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Favorite poems, stories, Christmas Card or ideas gleaned from your favorite magazines.

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I love my little pencil pouch that I bought in the back-to-school clearance aisle.  I keep current gift lists, coupons, receits, and gift cards in it, along with a good old pencil and pen.

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You can find even more amazing pages over at Organized Christmas  as well.     They have everything from Household Holiday Cleaning plans, countdowns, clubs and too many great ideas to mention.

organized_christmas_logo Check them out!

and don’t forget to go to their specialized Christmas Planner Site too.

YOU may find exactly what it is you’ve been looking for.  There really are some great ideas and food for thought never hurts.  Plus the Christmas Planner site links you to all the other impressive homemade planners  you can find out there in blog land.

Happy Holiday Organizing.