Monday, February 28, 2011


They're not valid reasons... They feel super important...but they're not- they're excuses.

I had to laugh at myself today as I started thinking about all the excuses I come up with. Nothing like "She can't trust anymore... she was mentally incapacitated... she was one-handed and blind..."

Nope. The first things that came to mind as reasons for not trying or dreaming or pursuing something really go more like....
I don't know what we're having for supper.
I just cleaned up the table
I should really put my time towards a work out or running errands
There's so much laundry to do
You have no more money
There's no trim around your windows
Wasn't it three days ago that you last showered?
The rug has adhered itself onto the floor, might be time to clean that
I can't find my art supplies because my studio is such a mess
I don't actually want to go into the studio now because it'll just overwhelm me
I'll work after I clean it up first
I feel so uninspired
I feel in need of coffee first
Wasn't there a package to mail?
I forgot to send thank you cards and the party was a month ago

Don't get me wrong, I found other more "typical" excuses applied to me as well. Things we tell ourselves like...
You're not pretty enough or thin enough or confident enough
You didn't finish college
You might sound dumb because you don't know something
You get depressed and hide sometimes
There are people who are more qualified
Maybe you're just fooling yourself
No one will understand you
No one will "get" your art
No one will pay for _____
Any day now you'll fall flat and not be able to get up
You're not strong enough....
You probably don't have what it really takes to make it
It's not worth the time and energy it take to put yourself out there
You're taking time away from your family

I know you've probably got your list too and some of your reasons might be far more valid then mine. But they're still excuses. Things we tell ourselves so that we don't have to feel bad about not trying or dreaming or stretching out. They're walls we put up ourselves so we can claim the way is blocked. What are your excuses? Do you listen or do you believe and try anyways? It can feel selfish to spend the afternoon creating instead of planning menus for the week, or washing your kids' bedding. But I know how depleted I get if I don't allow myself that time. It's necessary for me to create and to create is necessary for my soul. So here's to no excuses.....

ps- I was just at a friend's blog and she had a perfect answer to this today. I love it when that happens! Thanks Shelley!

Friday, February 25, 2011

Playtime Supplies

It's 1:30 in the afternoon and I'm eating my lunch as I type this, every moment I have lately I'm trying to cram one more thing into it. Time is time. We all have the same amount of it but how we use it says a lot about us.Time is, I believe, more precious to many of us then money. After all if asked to donate to a cause would rather donate your Saturday afternoon or some cash

Time is precious to me because I have so much to do in such seemingly short days. Usually playing with art supplies, journaling, and reading a good book all get punted to the bottom of my to-do list, but I'm trying to re prioritize them back to the top. At least, kind of near the top of the list. So I made some time to play a bit the other day and snapped a couple of pics to share. I love making these photo holders out of old books. I think because I get to use all my papercrafting stuff, like old paper and fun rub-on's. I just picked up a chipboard set by Basic Grey last week and found all kinds of cute stuff in it.

How do you fill that well? Is it a bit of journaling first thing each morning? Is it grabbing a block of time every once in a while and shutting out the rest of the world and your to-do list? I'd love to know- so please leave a comment!

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

My Journey into Blogland

This pic was inspired by those on the Raining Sheep blog
It's huge, vast, and I felt like an explorer braving the grand unknown. In the last few days I've spent over 8 hours in blogland reading, surfing, jumping from blog to blog. I've never put so much concentrated energy into checking out other people's blogs. The blogs I usually read are blogs that I've come to organically (for lack of a better description), they're written by friends, or found through a link in a friend's post or recommendation. Rarely have I taken the time to really search out other artist's blogs.

I had an assignment you see, find 14 links to specific blog posts that fit your theme. I chose inspiration because it's an endless fascination to me and I figured I wouldn't mind putting in some time reading about what inspires people most. Then I split it up into smaller subthemes like "finding inspiration at home", or "being brave and acting on your inspirations" or " about blogging your inspirations". But I found it really hard to just type in something like "inspired by art materials blog" into Google and find something like I wanted. So I took another tack and tried picking artists who I thought really really love their art supplies and then reading their blog until I find something that fit. Really NOT the most efficient way to search out an unknown post on a specific topic. Finally, feeling completely loopy I would end up just blog hopping and forgetting completely what it was I had been searching for.

Photo from Raining Sheep
Here are a few things that I figured out from all that time blog hopping:
1) Pictures matter- a lot. One of the things that would keep me on a blog were the pictures. Was the color nice, were they crisp, did they appeal to me aesthetically or emotionally? Did the photographer shoot from unexpected angles? Some of the pics that appealed to me least were people's trip photo's. Many that appealed to me were photo's of someone's living room, or a vignette in a window. Nothing special as it's focus but so so pretty to look at when done right. One blog I really enjoyed because of the photo's was Raining Sheep.
2) I like the post written in a friendly "just stopped to chat" sort of tone. That might just be because that's how I like to write so that's a personal preference. I also like it when a blogger really comes across with a voice that's authentic. They really share who they are and aren't just hyping their art or niche interest. Ranting occasionally is ok- if it's something your passionate about, but if you do it every post it gets annoying and I want to move on.
3) I like good content and I like it when others are sharing something I find interesting or valuable. For instance, I really enjoyed this post by Tanner Christensen at his Creative Something blog. Which really turned out to be a great find. Many of the tools or ideas he expresses in his blog are things I spoke on in my book but from a slightly different perspective.
4) I really like tutorials. I love seeing people's ideas and projects brought to life. I'm a craft book junkie though and a good tutorial is just like a fix for me. It makes me want to see more. So blogs that either had their own tutorials or linked to tutorials by others were super fun.
5) I like a blog that's not overwhelming to look at. Too many colors and textures and fonts and it makes me want to hop along to the next blog. That being said, I do like colors and textures and pretty fonts but feel like there has to be a balance and something that's over the top in this area (or has too much information in it's sidebars, or has too many flashy things going on, or plays music...) just overstimulates me. Making use of the pages option is a very good alternative to putting it all on the front page. Here's a blog that I feel does it just right. I want to spend time here.

So the best part about my time spent blog hopping was that it gave me a clearer vision of what I'd like this blog to be. Some things I think I'm doing fairly well, some things I'd like to improve, and some things are just really really good ideas that I think you'd enjoy too. Like video tutorials and digital art. I'd like to learn more about these as well as just how to take better photos in general so I could create really cool visuals for the blog. I really do love how blogs are organic and are constantly changing and evolving by their very nature. So how about you? Anything you can think of to add that you really feel draws you to a certain blog? Is there something you feel you're doing well on your own blog? I'd love to hear your thoughts on this. As always, thank you for your comments!!!

Monday, February 21, 2011

An Unexpected Detour

Clipboard by The Old Shop Teacher on Etsy
Detours are often a blessing in disguise. We'll be sailing along following the map marked out for us but suddenly the way is blocked. The blessing is that when the way is clear before us we often don't pay attention to the way. We don't feel we need to but when our way becomes blocked we suddenly check in again and pay attention. This happened last week. I had a to-do list I was working from when suddenly a friend went into labor and I was called in to help with her kids. I do the mama thing in my sleep now with my little boy but watching my friend's children had me on my toes again. But it was SO rewarding too. She has a little girl and a little boy who reminds me so much of my son when he was that age. I got to cuddle before nap time with the little boy like I used to with Jasper when he was two, and read some of Jasper's favorite stories. I got to introduce the little girl to Sleeping Beauty, and monkey bear sandwiches, and taught her how to draw princess dresses. I think I had more fun then they did. Although they seemed to be pretty pleased when I would show up again the next day. Being there when my friend brought home her little baby was a super special moment as was telling the kids that their new little sissie had arrived.

If it hadn't been for this detour my days would have been spent working off my to-do list. Cleaning the house, running errands, listing stuff on etsy, and writing some articles. I would have spent the days alone and they would've been no big deal. So the detour in my days made something memorable of the time instead. There are so many things in our lives that are detours. The unexpected diagnosis, the allergies you now have to cook around, the job opportunity, the call to action, or the volunteer position you didn't see coming; these are all detours that we might see as trouble and delay but hold blessings as well. If you stop and think about the hard things I bet you too will see blessings that have come from them.

This week it'll be back to things as usual.. to art as usual. But I'm better for having had an expected detour. So are you. :)Thanks for reading!!!!

Monday, February 14, 2011

Clay and Wire Flying Heart Pendant Tutorial

Just to spread a little extra love today I put together this little clay and wire pendant tutorial for you. I hope you enjoy it and Happy Valentine's Day!!!

 Heart with Wings Pendant Tutorial

Tools and Materials:
For Wire Wrap:
-16-gauge steel wire
- Heavy duty wire cutters
-Needle nose pliers (optional)
For Clay steps:
-Polymer clay in two contrasting colors: I used Studio by Sculpey in a peacock blue and a red
- Little flying heart stamp or mini wings stamped.
-White acrylic glaze: you can use fluid acrylics or acrylic with a little glaze mixed in. I used Studio by Sculpey antiquing medium since I had some on hand.
- Acrylic clay roller: You can sub anything round and non stick here. I've used the glass tube my vanilla beans came in for years.
- Stylus: Again, anything sort of sharp can be subbed here. I've started using this because it has the sharp end and I can use the handle to roll the clay smooth.
- Rubber paintbrush (optional) for smoothing clay
- Silicon baking mat (only used for clay) or a teflon craft mat and bakingpan
- Oven: ideally a little oven just for baking clay but your kitchen one will do.
- Paper towels

 Step One: About 3" from end of wire make a small loop. Then make a quick bend down and form wire into a square-ish shape. Wrap wire around twice and then cut wire.

Step Two: Break off 3-4 squares of the blue and "condition" the clay by rolling it, smooshing it over, kneading it a bit, then rolling and smooshing it again. Continue until clay is soft and malleable.

Step Three: Form clay into a squareish shape a little bit bigger than your wire form. Press your wire form into the clay.

 Step Four: Firmly press stamp into clay. Use rubber paintbrush to smooth out marks you don't want.

Step Five: Tear off a small piece of red clay and condition as above. Form into a tiny little heart. Press into place and then use stylus to write "love" into cay and then add any scratches or marks you'd like to see.

Step Six: Bake as directed by manufacturer. I do bake mine for a little less time then recommended and then turn off the oven. I leave the tray in the oven as they cool, keeping the oven door shut.

Step Seven: Using a rag or paper towel rub paint into recessed areas and stamped areas. Then using a clean part of the rag wipe across the top surface of your pendant cleaning off the paint. If desired seal with a clear acrylic medium. Add a jump ring, and a bit of ribbon and you've got your own little flying heart necklace. You can see the finished pendant at the top of this page. Have a wonderful day, and I'm wishing you all love today!!!

I Love....

Image Courtesy of Single Stone Studios
It's All About LOVE today and I thought I'd share a few of mine with you.

Friends Whose Art I Love:
-Shelley, from Single Stone Studios (art top left) is one of my very best friends and a wonderful artist/designer. I love her vinyl decals- they're gorgeous designer art for your walls. I have her "fly".
-Cristi, from 2 if by Sea (art top right) is another one of those love to talk to you friends of mine, and I truly think she's one of the most talented jewelry designers out there. She puts beads, trinkets, pendants and wire together in ways that are always just right and just perfect. I have a few of her necklaces and a bracelet that makes me feel amazing whenever I wear it.
-Catina of Catina Jane Arts (art bottom left) is a new friend of mine but I am lovin' getting to know her and her art a bit more. She's truly truly amazing and I need to make one of her collages mine. Soon. :)

Supplies I Love:
Just tonight I was cleaning off my craft mat and rejoicing in it's ability to look completely grimy and yet clean up so spectacularly. It's an amazing bit of technology I've gotten really really attached to.

My Sakura glaze pens and souffle pens are my go to's for making marks on paper, canvas, and metal. It's the writing on metal part that really hooked me.

My wire. It's oily and grimy but comes in big ol' spools that just make me happy to see them.

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Sign Me Up

I don't know if I've actually mentioned it but I've been taking the Soul Restorations online class taught by Melody Ross. I registered for it just a day before registration actually closed, it was a total last minute decision that was the result of a dream I had (in the dream I'd missed registration and really really regretted it). I knew I wouldn't be able to start until it was already a couple of weeks in, but I decided I needed a reason to take some time to refuel. So I purchased the class as a tool to motivate me to refocus my attention inward for a while. It's worked great. There are fabulous videos, a super fun curriculum, and I love the projects I've done as a part of the class. It's also focused my journaling which has really helped me get in touch with how I feel about life right now, my art, my goals, and has helped me figure out what I'm really willing to put my energy into.
I would highly recommend it. People I know will just randomly come to mind as I work through a lesson and I'll think "if only they knew this", or "if only they could experience this". It just really hits home in a lot of ways.

Soul Restorations is the second online course I've taken. The first was Kelly Rae Roberts' Flying Lessons which is another I really enjoyed and felt was well worth my time and money. I know many of you are constantly taking online courses but it's something I just didn't know much about and felt pretty trepiditious about. But after these two experiences I'm excited to keep going. Then a friend mentioned a class that begins at the end of the month that she and another friend had signed up for. It's called The She Art Workshop by Christy Tomlinson. I had never heard of her or the class but jumped onto her website to take a look and fell in love- hard- with Christy's art. So whereas the first class I took was fabulous for it's information about the business of art, the second class is great because of how it's refocused me, this third one just looks like fun. So I think I'll do this too.

I was hoping that a few of you had some killer courses you'd like to recommend as well. It's fun to find out what's out there. I also know of something super cool that's just debuting that will act as a clearing house of sorts for all the fun e-courses out there.
To quote , "The FEEL GOOD DEAL OF THE DAY arrives in your inbox each weekday morning, alerting you to sweet savings on creative, artistic, soul-stirring, spirit-lifting products and programs. Created and delivered with love by [Liv Lane of]" So check it out, and if you have anything to cue us in on, please leave a comment!

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Artist's Giveaway on Create Mixed Media- A Creative Bloom Prize Package!!!

I am SO excited because today on the new Create Mixed Media website they posted their very first giveaway- of my book! Because this is a very special giveaway they're not just giving away the book; it's the book, plus wire, plus needles and floss, plus fabric scraps, plus a heavy duty wire cutter, plus a needle nose pliers, PLUS a scribble heart I made for your wall and a wee little one to put in your pocket. It's EVERYTHING you need to get started creating wire and fabric sculptures with a bit of art to boot.
So run, hop, or jump on over to this site and register to win this amazing, fabulous, crazy cool prize package!!!
(Oh and spread the word too- Yay! Thanks!)

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

On Hitting Thirty...

Right away I want you to know this is not a post about how I turned thirty or the soul searching I did as it happened. No, this is a quick little "hurrah" post because I just counted and I've now 30 original tutorials here on the blog for you all to enjoy. I'm excited because a tutorial isn't an easy thing to write and takes time but I really love to do it, and I believe they add value to a blog.

I also come from a strong family background of teachers. My mom and dad, my grandma, my aunt and uncle, my great aunts, all teachers. I have a lot of respect for teachers and although I said I never EVER wanted to be one, I do find myself teaching in all sorts of other roles. I've taught children art in schools, I've taught moms art through my moms group, I've had the pleasure of introducing my son to art and now I've had the pleasure of sharing my interests, experiments, and fun stuff I've tried with you. I secretly always wanted a place I could share the latest cool thing I discovered with others. Others who care and are interested. I also love the open sharing that tutorials represent. I enjoy being generous with my time and artistic discoveries, just as I appreciate it when others do the same. It really does foster an environment of friendliness and discourages the me vs. you attitude artists can sometimes feel.
So please, if you haven't yet, take a couple of minutes and check out my tutorials tab at the top of the page. And I think this momentous occasion calls for a new goal. Maybe hitting 60 within the next year? That would be SO COOL. I'm going to start doing some of them as video's too. So stay tuned!!!

Monday, February 7, 2011

What Makes Your Heart Go Pitter Pat?

Monoprint w/pastel
I had a conversation via e-mail a week or so ago with a friend who asked if I'd ever fallen in love with a medium of art or technique before my obsession with fabric and wire began. She's searching for something she can go head over heels for and while I couldn't suggest anything to her, I could answer her question.
Yes. When I was in college I discovered pastels and while it wasn't necessarily love, we did date exclusively for quite a while. Then I met oil bars and felt an immediate connection. What I loved about both of these was the vibrant colors, the ability to draw with them, the painterly quality of each. I also LOVE the smell of oils. But then one night an instructor saw the linoleum print I was carving and walked me into the printmaking room. She introduced me to the press, and when I pulled that first print it was magic. I loved everything about it. I felt I'd found my calling, the love of my life,and the feeling only intensified the next few months as I took a printmaking class. Etchings, solar plates, the deep dark sensuous black of the graphic ink. The gorgeous lines, the way the wet paper molded itself to the plates and created a texture. It was all glorious magic. And true to my obsessive personality I spent as much time as possible in the printmaking room. I was there till close each night, my other classes suffered, but all I could think of was the next discovery. When there were other classes using the classroom I went to the library and spent hours in the stacks reading up on printmakers and printmaking techniques. Then at night when I got kicked out of the studio arts building I would go back to my room and read or sketch or play with ideas I had. Alas, the year soon ended and I had to leave school and my love and I had to part ways. I tried to bring it home with me but it was never quite the same.
Lino Block Print
Then, 12 years ago I got the inspiration somehow to stitch paper to paper. I have no idea where the spark came from (a gift from God maybe?) but I played with it a little until life interfered and I gave up on my art. Then, a few years ago when I first felt inspired to combine my art quilting and wire play I felt it again. That super heady, falling in love, can't think about anything else, can't sleep for all the ideas kind of obsession. It was when I first started to realize the possibilities of the combination. I could take my art quilts 3d, I could add color to my sculptures, I could add stitching and depth. I was awake all night one night and the one image I couldn't get out of my head was a heart with wings. The idea of a wire and fabric sculpture was just overwhelming me and I had had had to try it- just to get it out of my head.
So yes, I have fallen in love before. I've also come to realize what these two mediums have in common. First, I love color and line. I also like to create spontaneously from an internal source. I like to give in to my emotions and just create. I don't want to over analyze, I don't want to have to worry too much about perfect execution, I just want to let go and create intuitively. I loved that about drawing, the letting go with charcoal on a huge pad of paper and making big wide sweeping arm movements across the paper. BUT what both printmaking and the wire and fabric combo have in common is that after that initial intuitive creation, you take what you did, whether a sketch or a wire creation and you sit down and pour time and detail into it. The stitching I add is meditative and very non-emotional. It refuels me through the patience and quietness it takes. It switches my brain over from a purely intuitive state and brings me back down to earth. It allows me to step back and critique my work, to really see the colors, lines, and movements I'd made with an objectivity that's completely absent in the initial state of creation.
Solar Plate Etching
I'm sure I'll fall in love again, but I'm also fairly sure that whatever form it takes, it will involve that two part process. I'll also need to be willing to move out of the comfort and safety of the relationship I'm currently in to try something new. To be brave and be willing to be a beginner again. To bring it back to a dating analogy, you've got to be willing to get out there and date. Meet new people, don't be too serious, and really have fun. Eventually the right medium or technique will come at the right time and you too will fall head over heels in love. Interestingly enough, although I had it in mind to write about this today, over at the Create Mixed Media site Rice Freeman-Zachary wrote about how to find that love match in her latest post, "What's Your Medium?" It seems like an example of synchronicity at it's best so if this post spoke to you, please head on over and check out her's as well.
If you have a comment about this post I would LOVE to hear your thought's so please leave your comment and have a super marvelous day. :)

Friday, February 4, 2011

My Etsy Shop ReOpens!!

So I've always struggled with time management. I always think I can get way more done then I actually can. I also don't figure on the little time sinks, or attention grabbers that come each day. You know, an e-mail to be answered here, a bathroom that NEEDS cleaning, the birthday present you forgot to buy and have to get before tomorrow. That sort of stuff. Not that all of those things are bad- in fact a lot are really great and exciting, but still, take time. So when I was sitting here the other night, trying to prioritize the blog, my etsy shop, and my online course- I picked etsy because I'd promised Feb. 3rd would be the reopening. But I'd promised handmade book tutorials here too. AND oops- there's the overnight trip to Wisconsin that I knew about but hadn't really considered when making my schedule. So last night, after we got back from Wisconsin, I sat down and reopened my etsy shop. I have to say it feels really good. I listed just a few new things but I have a ton more in the works. Including a scribble heart lamp that's pretty adorable. I'm also going to be taking the step to list some of my original art from the book. It's super hard to part with some of these pieces, but I know it's the right thing to do too.One of the things I've learned through the process of owning a shop is that if I sell my work, I tend to make more because I want to replace it. I've also learned that not every piece of art I make was intended for me. It may be by me, it may have come out of my heart and soul, but it was not intended by God for me to keep. I know I'm getting a little mystifying here, but I think you'll know what I mean. I've talked to people who get so much more out of my work then I originally intended because it speaks to them about different things. Like the bird nest I created because I loved the lines and beauty of it- but a friend saw as an empty nest that spoke to her about her life right then.

So although I've said in the past that I just won't part with some of my pieces, I'm going to. I want to open them up to others so that the one person it was really intended for can find it. I do love that I was given the privilege of creating it. I also feel good because 10% of what I make I do donate to the kids in India and I'm hoping to be able to write them a nice fat check this spring after I get my first royalty check. Anything I sell through the shop between now and then is just going to be gravy.(whoo-hoo!)

I'll be back soon with more handmade books, as promised. I'm just going to stretch that into next week a bit. I bet you won't mind. :) But I'm wondering how you feel about parting with your art. I know making prints is a great solution that many people take, but if you sell original art, how do you do it? I'd love to have you all share! thank you!

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Work in Progress...

Close up of the cover

One of my all time favorite things about blogging is that I'll try new things so I can share them with you. There are a ton of tutorials that I've done just for the blog. Often though I'm working on something and will use that as material here as well. That's what I've been doing with the books this week. I'm taking the Soul Restorations online class by Melody Ross and her sister Kathy. I got a late start to the class because of the vacation and a few deadlines but I sat down this week determined to catch up. So I made the journal I showed you yesterday and today I was going to show you the canvas book I'm putting together as a class project. I was hoping I could show you a somewhat finished looking book but I'm no where near that stage yet (I've got the cover and a couple pages done). SO I'll give you a peek but hold off on the actual tutorial. It is a pretty cool experience to go through this class. I'm really enjoyed the few days I've worked on it. I'm also bending a bit of wire today so that I'll have a few new things for my etsy shop's reopening. I did a fairy in wire- that was pretty cool. So I will leave you with these few pics and go get to work so that in a couple of days I'll have something REALLY cool to share. Happy Wednesday!

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Vintage Book >Notebook Tutorial

Yay! I'm excited to share this tutorial with you. It was going to be the second of a two part post about handmade books but so many of you were interested in how to make different types of books I thought I'd turn this into book week on the blog and do a few different tutorials. So I have a sweet stitched canvas book in the works, an elegant exposed binding book, and today's lovely; a spiral bound notebook made from an old book. The book was my grandmother's and had seen better days so for a while now I've been tearing out the pages to use as collage material. I was left with a cover and the fly leafs. Hating the thought of throwing anything away, I used it to make this vintage-y recycled notebook. SO I hope you like what you see, and I hope it gives you some ideas. I promise too that tomorrow's book tutorial will NOT use the Cinch machine. I'm a little in love with it myself, but thought that demonstrating some bookbinding methods that don't use my handy dandy new machine would be good. :) Enjoy!

Reusing Old Books to Make New- Vintage Book Notebooks Tutorial
Tools and Materials
old book
paper cutter
tissue tape or some other decorative tape
Cinch machine with wire binding
Wire Cutter
Matte Medium or Modge Podge w/ applicator brush(optional)**
Ruler (optional)

Step One: Tear the cover off your book and then separate the front and back cover from the spine. You'll be left with three pieces. For this project we're only using the covers, not the spine.

Step Two: With a scissors, carefully trim the torn edge of the cover.

Step Three: Use your decorative tape to tape over the torn edge of each cover piece. Run the tape along the cut edge, folding it over so that half of the tape's width is on either side of your piece. Fold edges down and under. Then, take the tape and run it all the way around the book, overlapping the tape you did first. Run your fingers along the tape, smoothing and sealing the bond.**

Step Four: Using a page from your book as a template, or a ruler, cut your cardstock into half and trim to length. I used approx. 10 sheets of cardstock for a total of 20 pages.

Step Five: With your Cinch machine, punch holes along the side of one of your book's two cover pieces. This will be the front cover of your notebook. Pull out your sliding rule at the left of the machine, and note the length of the piece. Then, using the written guide on your cinch, pull out the knob it tells you to. My book was slightly irregular so to be sure I got the right number of holes, I punched a sheet of scrap paper first. Make any adjustments, and punch the front of your cardstock again. Repeat with second cover board, but flip this one before you punch so that the inside of the cover board is facing up. The first hole at the top of my notebook's cover is a slighty further in from the top edge then the bottom hole is from the bottom of the notebook. By flipping the bottom piece over, and punching it wrong side up I'm making sure it will line up with the top cover of the notebook.
Step Six: Repeat punching process with cardstock to create interior pages of book. I made the design choice to include the vintage inside fly leaf of the vintage book, and punched that also. The book plate is one my grandmother had in all her books. I love it. :)

Step Seven: Count the number of holes punched and count out that many hooks on your wire binding. Then cut wire at that point. I have 15 holes punched, I counted up 15 hooks, and then cut my wire between the 15th and 16th hooks.

Step Eight: Hang wire on side of Cinch and assemble the book. I did the two covers, right sides facing first, and then added the punched cardstock.

Step Nine: With the book assembled, all you have left to do is to bend the wire tines flush to the wire edging of your spiral binding. To do this, adjust the knob on the back left side of your Cinch to the appropriate wire size (3.4" on mine) and then placing the notebook flush against the back of your Cinch, and under the pressing bar, push down on the handle. This will crimp your wire perfectly.

Step Ten: To protect your skin during use, use a needle nose pliers to curl the sharp ends of your wire so that the cut edge is flush against the rest of the wire. Decorate the cover of your book, and you're done!

**At this time you may opt to use a gel medium to seal the tape's edges. Just brush over the tape, and along the edges of the tape.