March 28, 2013

Personalized Notebooks

I wanted to make a personalized gift. I decided to customize a couple of inexpensive composition books that I’d picked up at Wal-Mart. I pretty much cased myself using the design from this set of cards.



Here the initials have been embossed in silver. I was going for a more subtle, professional look.


I received a comment asking to share a bit about my creative process so I thought I would start with how I create backgrounds. First and foremost, I always start figuring out/building my design on scratch paper. I usually will have several different variations and will then combine the elements I like from the variations into the final design. Because I was case’ing myself, I don’t have any scratch designs for this post but will try to include them in a future post.

First up is a grouping of the stamps I used. This isn’t involved in my process but I wanted to give a visual of what stamps I was using from certain sets.


The cross image from Join Us is easy to line up end to end and side to side to create a grid


I noticed the circular shape that was created in the center of each square and I wondered how I could fill it. I knew I wanted an image that was bold and solid. I decided upon the circular design from Vintage Labels 5. It was a bit too small by itself so I searched through my stamps to see if there was another image that would fill the space/gap between the two.


This next step is almost always part of my process. In determining what stamps I want to use and whether or not they will fit, I will peel the stamp from the carrier sheet and use the carrier sheet image to give me a visual of how the stamp will look with the other images. Here the small circle is a perfect fit.


I found it easiest to stamp the double lined circular image first. It gave me a defined circle in which to center the smaller image.


Then I stamped the solid circular image. I matched up the four points in the circle with the four intersections of the cross images to help with centering the image.


To help with lining up my stamps, I hold the stamp with my right hand/fingers and use my left hand/fingers to guide the image to its exact location. My left hand drives the fine tuning.

And honestly, the less I think about perfect placement the better I do. When I focus on the placement too much I start making mistakes. And the key is not perfection, it’s just getting the image(s) close enough so that the eye will naturally gloss over the minor differences.


I really like this design as it is but, well, I can never leave well enough alone and wanted to incorporate some black into the color images to create depth


Using the carrier sheet process mentioned above, I found that this double-dot-fire image was a perfect fit.


I turned the stamp 90 degree and stamped it again. I did not match it up with the center dot (tried to and didn’t have much success) but instead focused on getting a symmetrical flower image


I think this has been the longest post I have ever written. Hopefully, it was interesting and provided you with some insight into my creative process.

Stamps: WMS Vintage Circles-Small, Join Us, Vintage Labels 5: PTI Headline Alphabet
Ink: PTI True Black, New Leaf, Blueberry Sky, Hawaiian Shores, Summer Sunrise, Orange Zest, Berry Sorbet, Plum Pudding; SU! Bordering Blue, Basic gray, Going Gray, River Rock; VersaMark
Paper: Neenah; PTI True Black
Other: Superior Filigree Detail White embossing powder; Silver embossing powder (PSX-it’s that old), Imaginisce silver and white brad-like thingies


  1. Holy Moly, I would NEVER have the patience for all of that lining up, but these are AMAZING!!! Cheers to you for this awesome project!

  2. Thank You, Thank You! Oh Kate that was so nice of you to take the time and show us step by step how you do it!!!!! I loved this and your stamping is amazing! Yes, this was very interesting and loved the insight to your process. I liked the added black but it was also beautiful without. I never know when to stop either. Happy Easter!

  3. Thanks so much for giving us an insight into your creative thought process. I am always amazed at your projects!

  4. Thank you for the step by step process, Kate! It was very interesting and informative. It really encourages me to sit down and play a bit more. I'm usually very structured, i.e. stamping for a specific purpose. I think I need to play a bit more, stretch myself, look at my stamps in a new way. Your finished product, by the way, is fantastic - someone is getting a very cool gift!

  5. Thanks for the tutorial. I seriously thought it was purchased patterned paper at first! Fantastic job!

  6. Thank you Thank you Thank you! I love your creativity and am excited about learning how you go about putting stamps together to get these amazing backgrounds. They are stunning!! Thank you for taking the time to share with us. I liked the paper without the black, but then when I saw the black I liked that better. I love both colors, but I think I LOVE the more professional one. These are going to be a well-loved gift. Look forward to your next tutorial!!

  7. Darn, just lost my post!! Kate, thanks so much for sharing your creative process with us - I've always admired the wonderful backgrounds you create from the small stamps. I really must have a play with my stamps. Love both colourways - but I think the more monochrome look is my favourite. Great work!

  8. Just beautiful. And, I learned so much from reading your post about your process. I am so impressed with your designs, and the fact that you really seem to know what stamps you have in your collection! I think it would be a very useful exercise for me to go through. Who knows what treasures lay in my baskets.

  9. I am impressed by your amazing stamping skills. I have never ever seen someone else who is able to stamp in such a wonderful way. Perfection and stunning. I love this!

  10. Yep, it surely was interesting, love to see how this pattern was build!! So cool!! I love creating background patterns as well, but surely don't do that often enough... All stamping isn't often enough at the moment, guess I've become a sporadic stamper as well, hi hi. But hopefully again soon! You've surely inspired me with this!
    Hugs, Wendy

  11. Hi Kate. This is Marcie (aka; Artistic Hen). You would not know me, but I am a visitor to your blog and have an email feed. You are one of my favorite bloggers.

    Your spectacular sensibilities are sorely missed. It appears as though you have not made an entry for two or three months, and I just wanted you to know that your absence has not gone unnoticed. (I can read that you are a sporadic stamper, and I am certainly one to talk about infrequent posts, but still I can't help but wonder if life might be complicated for you at this time.) I enthusiastically await the time when you are able to share with all of us again, and hope that it is wonderful things that keep you busy. Best Wishes.

  12. Hi Kate! I agree with Marcie--have missed your posts. Hope all is well for you and look forward to your next projects.

  13. Love this Kate! just seeing it now (in Aug) you have such a creative mind in fitting these design elements together! hope to see you post something soon!!

  14. It is this type of interesting thing with this post of yours. I had been interested with all the topic along with the flow in the story. Keep up to date the truly amazing work.

  15. Thanks for the information... I really love your blog posts... specially those on Local Tamil News


  16. An Edwardian lady in full dress was a wonder to behold, and her preparations for viewing were awesome.silks saree

  17. Miss you ! Hope you are doing well.

  18. Hi Kate, I'm missing you too and hope all is well with you. Come back soon!



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