Christmas In July – Books And Bookmarks

Easy Book And Bookmarks Making With Kids | Whims And Fancies


Welcome to my spot for the Twelve Days Of Christmas In July.  If you didn’t know this already, I love playing with paper and art supplies.  That obsession started at a very early age.

As a child I learned how to make little booklets in which I saved magazine and newspaper cuttings containing short stories, comic strips and trivia.  I drew and painted in them too.  Making those little art booklets was one of my favourite hobbies as a child.  They were a reflection of how I saw the world around me.



When I learned about the blog hop hosted by Sarah, I asked her if I could do my post on creating art books and bookmarks.  She generously said yes, so now we can include kids in the blog hop as well.

I will show you how to make very simple booklets with two kinds of bindings, and a few bookmarks with very easy watercolour techniques.  Kids can make these easily, with a little help.

You already have most of the things that you need for these projects at home.  You can also use up some of your fabric scraps.


Making a Signature


Books are made of signatures.  These books are going to be made of one signature.  We are going to make the signature first, then bind it.


Easy Book Making With Kids | Whims And Fancies


You will need one piece of card stock for the cover.

Other than that you can use any paper.  Printer paper will be more than fine.  If you wish to paint in your booklet however, you will want thicker stock than printer paper.

Just one thing to remember:  The thicker your paper, less the number of papers you are going to be able to fit into a signature.  I made a multi-purpose book where I want to draw, paint and write.  So I used 1 sheet of watercolour paper, 1 sheet of card stock and 5 sheets of sketchbook paper.  Watercolour and sketchbook papers are larger than card stock paper.  So I trimmed them all to 8.5″ x 11″ to match the card stock.

Fold each paper in the middle. Run the side of a ruler along the fold for a crisp fold.

Insert the folded sheets into each other.

Place one sheet of folded card stock as the outermost sheet to create the cover.

Depending on the size of your signature, you may need to trim the side.

Now that we have a signature made, we are ready to bind.


 Ribbon Binding


Easy Book Making With Kids | Whims And Fancies


Fold a new sheet of card stock to make a template first.   On the folded side, Measure 1.5″ from the top and bottom.  Mark those two points and the centre with a pencil.  Using a hole puncher, punch a semicircular hole on those marks.  If you insert the hole puncher too far past the fold and punch a circular hole, you will end up with two separate holes when you unfold the sheet.

When you open up the page, you should see three circular holes along the fold.  It’s fine if they are not perfect.  They will be folded anyway.

Now place the folded template on top of the folded sheets of the signature so that the folded edges are all facing the same way.  Using the template as a guide, punch holes in the sheets.  Remember to make the holes semicircular.  Depending on the thickness and number of sheets, you may have to do this in a couple of stages.

Tip – Use a paper clip to keep the papers and the template together.

Once the sheets are all punched, and you are happy with the arrangement of the signature, cut a yard of 3/8″ wide ribbon.  Feed the ribbon through the two outer holes toward the inside.

Then grasp the two endings together from the inside and feed them through the middle hole toward the outside.  After that, place one ribbon end on each side of the centre hole.  If you have any twists in the ribbon, fix those at this time as well.


Easy Book Making With Kids | Whims And Fancies


Tie a pretty knot.  Trim if necessary.  You may also want to trim the tips of the ribbon to a V shape to avoid fraying.

That’s it!  The first book is made and ready to be used.

Your kids can start with decorating the cover now.  Doodle, draw, paint, add stickers.  Anything goes!

You can take out some of your fabric scraps too and press Heat-N-Bond on the back.  Let your kid draw his/her own designs on the backing.  Cut them out, arrange them on the cover.  Place another piece of card-stock on top and iron on the cut-outs using a low setting.

That’s how I added the leaves on my book above.  I might go back and add something else to it later on.  Great way to use up those scraps of fabric, don’t you think?!


Stitched Binding


Easy Book Making With Kids | Whims And Fancies


Cut a 9.5″ x 12″ piece of decorative paper.  Use an 8.5″ x 11″ piece of card stock as cover paper.  Apply generous amount of glue all over one side of the cover paper.  Place it in the middle of the decorative paper, positioning it so that there is approximately 0.5″ of decorative paper overhang on all sides.  Press it down.  Then add glue to the overhang on the decorative paper and fold it over the cover page.

Now cut another 8″ x 10.5″ piece of decorative paper and apply glue to its reverse side.  Place that paper in the middle of the cover page, making sure there is a 0.25″ gap to the edge on each side.  Press it down.

Tip – A good quality glue stick works really well for me.  No mess this way.

Fold the cover page back again along the centre.


Easy Book Making With Kids | Whims And Fancies


Use another piece of card stock to make a template for the sewing holes.  Mark 1.25″ from the top, then continue to mark 1.0″ after that until you reach the bottom 1.25″.  Push a push-pin through each of those marks and you have the template.

Now unfold the papers of your signature and place them underneath the template piece.  You may want to hold them together with paper clips.  Then push the pin through each of the holes in your template. You may have to do this in couple of stages, depending on the thickness of the stock you have chosen.

Once you have made holes in all of your sheets, put the signature together again.  Now it’s ready for sewing.

Take a piece of thread that is a little longer than twice the length of your book.  A little thicker thread like DMC Pearl Cotton works best.  Using this thread and a needle, sew through every other hole starting at the top hole, on the inside.  Make sure to leave a few inches of thread behind as a tail.

Once you have reached the bottom, come back up again, sewing through every other hole.  You should now have filled the gaps you left when you sewed your first pass.  Once you reach the second hole from the top, tie a knot with the tail-end of the thread from the first hole.


Easy Book Making With Kids | Whims And Fancies


This is how the book looks, on the inside and outside.  Decorate the cover more or start using it as-is.


Easy Book Making With Kids | Whims And Fancies


They took hardly any time to make.  You and the kids can make a bunch of them together.  Fill them up with artwork or give blank books as Christmas presents.


Watercolour Bookmarks


Now I will show you how to make a few bookmarks using simple watercolour techniques.


Watercolour bookmarks with kids | Whims And Fancies


All you need for the bookmarks are strips of watercolour paper, paint, a flat brush and a round brush.  Don’t worry if you can’t find a cheap flat brush, a bigger round brush will work well enough.

I used 7″ x 2″ strips of watercolour paper for my bookmarks.  I used leftover scraps from bookmaking.


Watercolour bookmarks with kids | Whims And Fancies


Using the flat brush, apply water all over the paper.  Then dab paint on the wet paper, letting the difference paints flow into each other.

Then sprinkle salt on the wet paint.  The salt starts absorbing the paint and creates a fun texture. I used a little too much on the top one and you can see how it lifted a lot more paint than I intended.  I left it as-is to show you the difference.  I will use it as background and paint on top of it later on.

Let the salt dry completely; this takes a while.  Once completely dry, brush the salt off and you’re done!  Use the bookmark as-is, draw on it with markers, stamp a favourite quote, anything you want.


Watercolour bookmarks with kids | Whims And Fancies


For these two, I used the flat brush again to apply water all over the paper.  I went back and forth on them with paint and let the different paints blend into each other.

For the left one, I dipped my brush in clean water.  On the wet paint, I drew a couple of lines with the brush and then splattered a few drops of water by tapping on the brush.  Let this dry and you will see the effect water has on paint.  I will go back and paint on it.

For the right one, I used a cotton swab to lift off paint to create those fuzzy white dots.  I cut a tree out of a scrap of silver fabric and ironed it on to the bookmark using Heat-N-Bond, just like the way I ironed on the leaves on the first book.


Watercolour bookmarks with kids | Whims And Fancies


I love making bookmarks.  They are fast, fun and easy to make.  You can make a whole bunch all together.  Sometimes I even make bookmarks to match the book I am reading.


Easy Book And Bookmarks Making With Kids | Whims And Fancies


I hope this inspired you and your kids to make a few of these as gifts.  Personalize them for the recipient.  Make a few for yourselves.   Fill the books with wonderful art.  Spend time together playing in the book and then swap them with each other at Christmas!


I am sharing my day with my dear friend Lara at Buzzing Bumble. You want to visit her for sure!

Sarah is not only hosting the blog hop, she is also a doing fabulous QAL as part of the blog hop.  Visit her for the instructions and for other blog hop participants.  This blog hop is full of great ideas!  Thank you Sarah, for hosting such a lovely event!!

Happy Crafting,



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Starlight Starbright

Sunburst Star Quilt Pattern | Whims And Fancies


Stars make everything bright and beautiful.  That’s probably why we keep using stars in our quilts.  Sunburst Star was a specially-requested pattern.  Since the day I made it and sent it off, I wanted to make this block for myself.  I had a pretty clear idea about the colours, and I was very happy to find all the right fabrics in my stash.  Although I am not very fond of batik prints, I bought the outer fabric because it makes me think of nebulas and stars.

I made the pattern for a 14″ piece to make it easier to sew.  As I was drafting the pattern, quite by serendipity, the little tips got added to the inner star.  The person I made it for was happy with the changes, but they can be completely ignored for simpler piecing.


This block was my One Monthly Goal link-up for July.  During this busy summer I am glad to have finished it early.  Now I can link up at the end of the month!


Sunburst Star Quilt Pattern | Whims And Fancies

Sunburst Star on Etsy and Craftsy


Of course, I had to play with the colours a little.  I changed the inner and outer stars to have one or two colour combinations.  Add the tips to them and you get even more variety!  The Sunburst Star quilt pattern is available on my Etsy and Craftsy stores.  I currently have only one handmade bag that fits my iPad, so I will be making another bag with this star block.


Starlight Diverging Star Quilt Pattern | Whims And Fancies

Starlight Diverging on Etsy and Craftsy


The second star is courtesy of Sara Lynn.  She made this block using my Starlight Diverging pattern.  The fabrics she used are satin, taffeta, brocade and raw silk.


Starlight Diverging Star Quilt Pattern | Whims And Fancies


Sarah Lynn is an exquisite quilter, I just had to include this close-up photo of the quilting.  You can see the finished project here at her website, Sarah Lynn Quilting.  Make sure to browse a little to admire her lovely applique and quilting work.


Lego Harry Potter Quilt Along | Whims And Fancies


I also have a giveaway winner from the Harry Potter QAL introductory post.  Lori Smanski is the winner of this little bundle.  Congratulations!!!  I will email you shortly.

I decided not to pursue any outside sponsors for this event and fully sponsor it myself.  I will do a couple more giveaways along the way, so there will be other chances to win.  Make sure to follow and play along.



I will see you on July 18th for the 12 Days Of Christmas in July Blog Hop!  Check out Sarah’s page for the list of participants.  The blog hop started today.  There are lots of wonderful ideas there that you will not want to miss.

Have a crafty week,


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Wandering Camera – July Linky Party

Camera And Photo Linky Party | Whims And Fancies


Welcome to July’s Wandering Camera linky party. Thank you so much for sharing your photos, and also for leaving such lovely comments.

The month of May ended with me caring for my post-surgery kitty Taffy, and that continued into June. The first couple of weeks I was home with him the whole time. We cuddled together;  he purred, while I worked or read. He healed exceptionally well and fast. Thank you so much for your well wishes!

We had some spectacular cloud formation in the early part of the month. It was wonderful to be outside working in the yard under the canopy of passing clouds. I also visited my beloved park to be a bit closer to the trees and plants. At first glance it looks like the summer dryness is all-consuming, but I keep on finding new plant life every time I look closer.

It was also a busy month for me, designing custom patterns and working on the events happening here. I mentioned them on my earlier Summer Events And Finishes post.

It was nice to take a break here and there with the camera in my hand.  So here they are – photos for the month of June in chronological order –


Photo Linky Party | Whims And Fancies


1. First flower of the season on my mini-rose plant

2. Glass lights on my neighbour’s patio, lit up by the afternoon sun

3. New mittens, I have been wearing them regularly

4. Eve’s Pudding – our new favourite!


Photo Linky Party | Whims And Fancies


5. Wonder what story the cloud-quill will write

6. My new paintbox, a gift from my husband

7. Taffy sticking his tongue out at the world (or at me) after his stitches were removed.

8. Blooming teasel. I have yet to find one that is completely covered with the white blossoms.


Photo Linky Party | Whims And Fancies


9. Even on overcast mornings, these flowers are bright blue

10. It’s always a pleasure to see Montague relaxing. He had a hard life before he joined our family.

11. Iridescent clouds

12. Found a new park with beautiful big trees


Photo Linky Party | Whims And Fancies


13. Moon and a jet

14. Violin watercolour sketch

15. Dry straw, new flowers

16. Dew-covered buds warming up in the early morning sun


Photo Linky Party | Whims And Fancies


17. My husband is off to go racing for the weekend

18. Bowl of cloud

19. A touch of cloud-softened sunlight on the rose

20. Charlie! ( I have no words to describe this )


Photo Linky Party | Whims And Fancies


21. Floating At Dawn, a June finish

22. Coming around the dark corner for some sunlight

23. Backlit grass ( I’m still playing with grass photo composition )

24. Yarrow everywhere


Photo Linky Party | Whims And Fancies


25. Afternoon walk

26. Growing roots on a cut Basil

27. Twin Suns of Tatooine

28. Charlie trying to cause trouble!


Photo Linky Party | Whims And Fancies


29. Above the clouds

30. Gently waving in the morning light


July Craft Events | Whims And Fancies


Since this is my first post in July, I thought I’d mention the two events that are coming up this month.  Sarah from Confessions of a fabric addict is hosting a Christmas in July Blog Hop.  It will be running from the 14th – 24th with lots of fun projects, big and small.  My day is on the 18th.

Then the Lego Harry Potter quilt along starts on July 28th.


Exposure Compensation

A lot of times I find myself taking photos when light isn’t perfect. That typically results in over-exposed or under-exposed photos. I am not very fond of being sloppy on the field and then covering up my mistakes during post-processing. I would rather at least try to take a good photo to begin with. For that reason I use the Exposure Compensation feature of the camera all the time.


I talked about ISO, Aperture and Shutter Speed being the three pillars of a well-exposed photo. Your camera picks a combination of these three that should theoretically result in a good photo. That is often not the case.


It may pick a high ISO resulting in photos with too much grain/noise. Aperture may be too low, so parts of the image may be out of focus. If the shutter speed is too low, you get a blurry photo of moving objects or even a blurry photo of stationary objects, if you find yourself without a stand.


Sometimes, the camera simply gets it wrong and picks settings that result in either over- or under-exposed photos.


So I pick my own settings by using the exposure compensation as a guide.



This is a picture of exposure compensation on your camera.

Although the mark at 0 works most of the time, it is not always right.

If your photos are overexposed, then you probably want to take photos 1 or 2 notches under 0 to avoid that.  I find that to be true in broad daylight.

In low light, you would want to go a little over 0 to get all the detail.


Cameras with full manual setting

You will see something similar to the exposure compensation picture above, either through your viewfinder, or on your LCD screen. You can move the notch by changing your ISO, aperture and shutter speed.

If I am doing landscape photography where I don’t really care about the shutter speed, I typically set a low ISO value to avoid grain, a high aperture value to get a fully focused photo and then I set the shutter speed. Of course if that value is too low, I use a stand.

For moving objects such as wildflowers, I start with a high shutter speed, then set the aperture and lastly move the ISO to get a well-exposed and focused photo.

The order of settings changes depending on your subject matter.


Point and shoot cameras

Most cameras nowadays have a setting for exposure compensation. On Canon cameras it is typically denoted by a +/- switch.  Check the manual of your camera to find the specific setting.  Use that to change the exposure.  That will make a huge difference, believe me!


Couple of extra tips

If you are not getting enough shutter speed even after setting high ISO and low aperture values, you can set the exposure compensation to 1 or 2 notches under 0. That will increase the shutter speed.  Although you will get a slightly under-exposed photo, you can increase the brightness and contrast using a basic photo-editing software.

For snow photos, over-expose a little.  That will result in photos with dazzling white snow.

On cloudy days, over-expose a little to avoid dull photos.

In bright sunlight during midday outside, under-expose a little to avoid bright spots.

Take multiple exposures if needed.  You can always delete the extra photos.


I hope you find this helpful.  As I have been saying, play with the settings to see the difference.  Once you get used to it, you are going to love it!!


Now it’s your turn to share your photo posts. I always look forward to seeing them.


Badge to share on your post and website

Camera And Photography Linky Party | Whims And Fancies


You can add any number of links to your posts from the previous month. The posts should have photos in them, with a story or anecdote. Your project photos (quilting, sewing, painting, knitting, etc.) are most welcome. You can also write a new post to link up. Please do not link up posts that are older than the previous month, they will be removed.

Please make sure to include the badge or a text link back to this site on each post that you link up. You can also add the badge to your blog. I am happy either way as long as you link back :-)

Spread a little encouragement amongst each other.

I will leave the link-up open for two weeks.

Wandering Camera is a monthly event that will run on the first Thursday of every month. The next post and link-up will be on the 4th of August. If you follow me via email, bloglovin or facebook, you will get a reminder.

Have fun!!

I am also linking up on Photo Friday, Life Thur Lens, Through My Lens, Our World Tuesday and Friday Photo Journal along with with other linky parties on my sidebar.


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Lego Harry Potter Quilt Along

Lego Harry Potter Quilt Patterns | Whims And Fancies


Welcome to the Lego Harry Potter Quilt Along.  I love Lego!  I have bins and bins full of them along with the ones I have on display.  I usually set up my Lego Hogsmeade Village alongside the Hogwarts Castle every September.


A big part of me lives within the pages of my books and I love the friends I make there.  That’s how I came across Harry Potter.  I am not a die-hard Harry Potter fan, so you won’t catch me jumping on any of the new Potter bandwagons.  I didn’t even try to acquire tickets for the new play, even though I will be in England this year.  However, I like the stories told within the seven books very much.  As I finish reading the words “All was well”, I imagine a happy future for all my friends.


Lego Harry Potter | Whims And Fancies


Then, a few years ago, my husband got me the Lego Harry Potter video game to cheer me up.  Since then the game has become a form of “Patronus” for me.  I didn’t quilt at the time, but I wanted to make a Lego Harry Potter quilt ever since I learnt how to make patterns.  As I was playing this game during the holidays last December, the idea came flooding back.  As I make my quilt, I would love for you to join me on this quilt along.




Since this quilt is going to be the embodiment of happiness, there will be no dark magic blocks.

The patterns are paper pieced.

I will release 2 patterns per month, a total of 12 blocks. 

I added breaks in between for us to catch up.  It allows me a little breathing room as well.


Pattern Download Information


Unfortunately I will have to put some restrictions around the pattern downloads.  After the Doctor Who QAL, I had to chase down people who were selling products made from our patterns, convince them of their wrongdoing and try to get them to unlist their products from their Etsy shops.  That was extremely unsavoury.

I still really want to share these patterns with you while trying to minimize the chance of that happening again.  Therefore:

  • I will publish the patterns on the last Thursday of every month and you will have 2 days to download the patterns.
  • The download link will be removed permanently on Saturday morning.

I am extremely sorry about this.  Pattern writing takes a tremendous amount of time and this is the only way I can share the patterns while minimizing others exploiting them.  I hope you understand.

The patterns are for personal use only.


Schedule For Patterns And Breaks


July 28th, 2016 – 2 blocks

August 25th, 2016 – 2 blocks

September – Break

October 27th, 2016 – 2 blocks

November 24th, 2016 – 2 blocks

December – Break

January 26th, 2017 – 2 blocks

February 23rd – 2 blocks

March – Quilt Top Layout

April – Quilt Top Linky Party


Sharing your work


If you are on Facebook, you can join the group Pictures With Paper Piecing and share your blocks there.

You can also share them on this Flickr group.

Additionally, I will be hosting linky parties here for you to show off your finished blocks.




Harry Potter Quilt Along Fabric Giveaway | Whims And Fancies


I decided not to pursue any outside sponsors for this event and fully sponsor it myself.  I will do a couple more giveaways along the way, so there will be other chances to win.  Make sure to follow and play along.

As a thank you for reading my blog, I want to do a little celebratory giveaway.  My giveaways are for my readers only.  If you are a subscriber, leave a comment here to be entered in the giveaway.  For additional chances, spread the word about this QAL on any social media or your blog and leave one comment per share.  I will choose a winner on July 14th.


Badge And Link


Here is a little badge for you to share on your page.  You can either save the image or copy and paste the text in the box below to share on your website –


Lego Harry Potter Quilt Along | Whims And Fancies


With everything that is happening around us, I think we can use a bit of laughter and happiness.  Lets do this quilt along together!

Happy Quilting,


Comments (54)

TGIFF – Floating At Dawn

Hot Air Balloons Napa California | Whims And Fancies


Welcome to TGIFF!  I have been linking up and following TGIFF for months, and it feels wonderful to host the event here.

I live in the heart of wine country in Northern California where balloon rides are quite common.  In the early morning, when we go out running at one of our local parks, we can see them rising up one by one.

Of course, I had my trusty camera with me to take a few photos of the balloons dotting the sky.


Hot Air Balloons Napa California | Whims And Fancies


Floating toward the rising sun


Hot Air Balloons Napa California | Whims And Fancies


Pretty much all of my quilt patterns are inspired by life around me, and photography is a huge part of that.  As you know, I love it enough to be taking one photo for every day of the year.  I am hosting the monthly Wandering Camera event around that.  I also love to paint those pictures with paper piecing.  Once I had taken these photos, I just had to make a hot air balloon quilt pattern.


Hot Air Balloons Quilt Pattern | Whims And Fancies


I started off with one large balloon above the mountains for a vertical  wall hanging.  Then I decided to add another, smaller balloon in the distance.


Hot Air Balloons Quilt Pattern | Whims And Fancies


I played with a few colourways after drawing the initial design.


Hot Air Balloons Quilt Pattern | Whims And Fancies

  Pattern on Etsy and Craftsy

I am outside around dawn so I can run in the cool morning air.  That’s why I chose an early morning theme in the end.

After picking out a pale pink fabric for the sky, I got a bright red fabric for the up-close balloon and a faded blue for the one further away.


  Hot Air Balloons Quilt Pattern With Wavy Quilting | Whims And Fancies


At that time the distant mountains in the east are still in the shades of greys and blues.  We call them “Misty Mountains” and we hope never to encounter any nasty creatures.  I randomly quilted zigzag lines around them.

For the sky, the quilting had to be a wavy air stream.  ( I have gotten a little addicted to wavy quilting ever since I quilted The Dancing Wind that way. )

I was a little stumped about the binding.  Finally I ended up using a starry sky fabric, as if the dawn is spreading out into the surrounding dark sky.


Hot Air Balloons Quilt Pattern | Whims And Fancies

Pattern on Etsy and Craftsy

The two balloons and the mountains are standalone pieces in the pattern.  They can therefore be made individually for different projects, or together.  I drew the mountains in a way that I could make multiple copies and join them together to get one continuous piece.  The whole piece was very easy and quick to sew.  The pattern is on my Etsy and Craftsy shops if you would like to get a copy for yourself.


Floating At Dawn finishes at 24″ x 20″.  The design was completely inspired by photography.  I am not a morning person, so this will serve as a good reminder to get up and enjoy the morning hours.


Lego Harry Potter Quilt Along


A quick reminder –  Please make sure to stop by next Thursday for the Lego Harry Potter Quilt Along introductory post.  I have finished working on the details and the giveaways.


That’s it for me today!  I am excited to see what wonderful finishes you have for us to ooh and aah over!!

Please link up your finishes and make sure to link back to TGIFF so others can come and enjoy the lovely finishes.  Also visit each other and spread some comment love and enjoy the show!


I am also linking up on Photo Friday, Life Thru The Lens, Through My Lens along with with other linky parties on my sidebar.

Comments (28)