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Sunday, 1 March 2015

#NotJustAnotherNotebook - FEBRUARY ROUND-UP

Hey there, fellow Stationery Fans. 

February is behind us now, spring is in the air (I hope!), and so it's time for another round-up on the #NotJustAnotherNotebook project.

Ready for the notebooks? Here goes...

Number 25 was a present for Sarah's niece. She choose the wording - I'll admit now that it was a little tight fitting it all in - and said that Cath Kidston prints would be a hit.

Numbers 26 and 27 were a repeat order, from a lady who had liked her own notebook and decided to order a couple for her friends. She gave me the wording, and a sense of colours for Kerry and a hint at a love of woodland thing for April.

My good friend Imogen ordered the next two. One for her mate, and one for herself.

As with other orders where I have known the person well, and they happen to sew, the pressure was on for Imogen's book, as she gave me an open brief for a recipe book. Eek. She's a girl who loves chocolate cake (don't we all?) and is a brilliant baker. I enjoyed embellising this book with vintage lace and little pearls.

The next four orders (#30-33) came from Shelley - she'd seen Imogen's books, and wanted some stationery of her own.

As Shelley was in no rush, and clearly had specific styles in mind to suit the people the notebooks were going to, I asked her if she'd like to browse FabricRehab and let me know if she spotted any prints she'd like me to buy and use on her notebooks. Er, yes! 

I love the prints she came up with, don't you?

This is something I am happy to do with any multiple orders, or, if you have no mad rush for your notebook and can wait for me to put my regular order in (about every fortnight or so).

Also, if you have other online fabric suppliers you love and want me to consider, then I am all ears to that! The Village Haberdashery is another favourite I will be making an order from soon, should you happen to see anything you'd like a notebook in...

Number 34 was made for my friend Kris to give to her friend Karen. She wanted a swan on a blue background, with the words you see on her notebook. This was perhaps one of the trickiest makes of the month to get going on. How on earth do I produce something so specific without it looking like my five year old had made it, I wondered. Google images was my friend - I traced a photo of a swan and then freehanded the machine stitching to match the tracing I had at the side of my machine, before using Bondaweb to attach it to the background and adding a bit more stitching.

Number 35 was another very specific request - for a little girl called Lucy who loves looking at the stars, and has recently been given a telescope. Her Mum wanted the notebook for her, because she kept on finding little bits of paper where Lucy had sketched what she'd seen in the sky that night. How lovely is that?! (And, wouldn't you love to see what Lucy draws in her book?)

The next couple of books were ones I bought on a day when my Middle Girl was invited to a birthday party at short notice. I'd initially thought I would just pop into town and get each of the twins a book token. Then the day didn't quite work out as planned, and with Charlotte in bed at lunchtime, it seemed just as easy to come up with two very simple and quick to make designs. Luckily, my `young children like seeing their name on stuff' gamble was spot on this time. Hurrah.

 If #39 looks familiar, it is - my step dad spotted the one I had made for my friend Anwyn Rowberry, and wanted one of his own. Naturally, I changed the colours a bit, along with the name...

The final two are both gifts. One for someone's sporty husband, and another for a Mother's Day present, for a mum who loves bright colours and knitting. Do you recognise the fabric in #40? Yes, a certain coat had a remnant just about big enough to lavish on one notebook. Not to be left out, I raided my current crochet blanket project for a little wool to applique on to #41 for the balls of wool (in case you were wondering what the blobs were!).

That makes a total 17 notebooks made for charity in February. After a crazy first half, the second half of February was really quiet on the orders front - not sure why that was. The total to date is at £447.50 (£548.75 including Gift Aid), and this will be split between WaterAid and The Salvation Army's projects with the homeless.

With the numbers of orders tailing a bit, I found myself having a few doubts. Maybe the interest in the project is tailing off already. My ego started to feel slightly wounded, if I am brutally honest! Whilst the quiet couple of weeks coincided with half term (helpful), and, gave me time in the evenings to focus my sewing energy on finishing my coat (hurrah!), I had to kick myself and give myself a reminder of why I decided to make notebooks in the first place. 

A perfectly timed WaterAid advert on TV, while watching episodes of Mr. Bean with the girls, one grey day in half term - with footage I think we'd seen before, with a six year old boy carting a big container on his head. As the camera panned down to some murky looking water, and the little boy taking a drink from it, the front room fell silent. `He's the same age as me,' said the Middle Girl. `Oh, it's WaterAid. That's why you're making the notebooks, isn't it, Mummy,' said the Biggest Girl.

There are lots of charities I could have chosen to support. WaterAid struck a particular chord because it tries to address a need that is so obviously basic to us all. And yes, if I am honest, of course those adverts tug at my heart strings. I would hate to watch my children drinking polluted water, not to mention the amount of freedom they would have to sacrifice to spend all that time walking to get water each day (how would the Middle Girl fit in time for all the many faffing around time wasting things she considers important and likes to play at doing each day..?). Not being an expert in world politics, or really understanding how to solve most of the problems that I see on the news, I am grateful that truly heroic individuals exist who have chosen to set up charities and to devote themselves to actually getting on and trying to change things on the ground for other human beings in the world. 

When I spoke to one of the bods at WaterAid, they were unable to tell me exactly how much a well costs - it varies according to the geography of a place, and other factors, too, I guess. That's a bit annoying, as, selfishly, it would be nice to reach a point of - aha! and now I have sewn my way to providing a little community with fresh water. Cue warm glow, etc. But, still. In my head, I am visualising another bunch of people somewhere in the world who will at some point this year or next get nice cold fresh water supplied to where they live, thanks to WaterAid and your willingness to hand over cash for a notebook with my wonky stitching all over it. 

So, thank you if you've already become part of the #NotJustAnotherNotebook gang. If you've liked your notebook enough to Tweet about it or mention it on Facebook, or, recommend to an actual real friend to contact me to make them one (you know who you are - thanks for sending people my way), then double thanks go to you. 

Right. Enough waffle. I have a little competition for you.

This month, I made two of my favourite notebook - the chocolate cake design. I left the top blank, ready to have a purple spotty label sewn on with another name.

As it's Mother's Day in two weeks, I thought it would be nice to say `hurrah' for all mums. Be it our own mums, the mummy mates who prop us up on the school runs, the grannies, the aunties...

To enter, simply comment below and give the name of the person you'd like the notebook to be for - either yourself or someone else AND your favourite kind of cake (this is just because I am nosy like that).

This competition closes on Thursday 5th March. Good luck!

Last orders for Mother's Day are the same date as the competition deadline. Follow the links on the right hand side (when viewing full web version of the blog) to order. Ta!


  1. Ooh can I enter please? I'd like the notebook to be for my Mum and my favourite cake is coffee and walnut. Or carrot. I can't decide, actually!

  2. If I am the lucky I would give the notebook to my great friend Christine. When ever we have catch ups it always includes lots of catch. Our next cake date is Charlie and the Chocolate Factory themed afternoon tea. X

  3. Love this! I'd like this for my lovely friend Rebekah who is a fab baker of cakes and saviour of many a birthday party... My favourite cake... Not sure lemon meringue counts as cake? So a really yum Victoria sponge... :)

  4. I'd love one for my mum , she's always baking and keeps me propped up! My favourite cake is her Terry's chocolate orange cake! It's amazing!

  5. I'm not sure I should enter, having already won one of your competitions! But, if I did win, I would give the book to Lucy, to record her 'Mrs Bishop' bakes in :-)

  6. Well done! When you first announced this project, I remember thinking it was a lovely idea, but I'm blown away by the amount of money you've raised so far. I'd love to give this notebook to my mum - she loves chocolate cake! The Michael Rosen poem about chocolate cake always reminds me of her!

  7. My fabulous friend Jo would love this, it would definitely make her day! She's a busy mum who organises herself and everyone around her with lists upon lists! My favourite cake looks pretty much like the one on the notebook, a good old chocolate cake.

  8. i would give the notebook to my mum, Alyson, for mother's day. my favourite kind of cake has got to be chocolate, with carrot cake a close second :)

  9. Emma Johnstone1 March 2015 at 16:11

    Simply lovely, I would love to give the note book to my gorgeous step daughter who adores all cake and has just started teaching. my favourite cake ..... homemade strawberry and white chocolate cheesecake :)

  10. What a lovely selection. I'd love one to give to my Mum. My favourite cake is homemade Jamaican gingerbread, yummy x

  11. I'd like to give this to my daughter - her favourite cake is lemon drizzle!

  12. I'd give the beautiful note book to a lovely friend of mine, who is having a tough time at the moment. She would love it. My favourite cake is lemon drizzle!

  13. I would also give the lovely notebook to a friend of mine who is having a tough time of it lately, she is totally into baking and has even joined a baking club so it would be the perfect place to write notes / recipes etc.
    You having been sewing up a storm in February - such lovely designs and every one is unique! Hopefully you will sew enough notebooks for a well. Over Easter I will have a look through my fabrics again and see if there is something I can send for the next batch of notebooks x

  14. I love your notebooks and would give it to my mum if I won. She is my best friend and I am grateful for her every day. She would love a notebook to chart her knitting projects. My favourite cake is carrot cake. Wishing you every success in your notebook project xx

  15. What a lovely notebook! If I won him I would give it to my sister who loves all such things. Gill

  16. I would give this to my mum. I have suffered from depression for the last 12 years but had a particularly bad time 4 years ago. My mum supported me through my long journey unconditionally and never judged me, simply supported me. Fav cake is daughter Georgina's gingerbread flavour cupcakes. Debbie C