☆ The 12 Days of Christmas {day one}

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I am so privileged to have the family I do. A family that appreciated and loves a handmade touch for Christmas. Infant these days my girls place a special order for a new painting each christmas. And so far I have managed to do one for them!


A few years ago my then sister-in-law + I were feeling uninspired around Christmas time. I was struggling to find anything in the shops that satisfied my need to give unique and individual gifts + she felt the same way.

So in a moment of… well sheer madness (spurred on by a few wines of course) we agreed that we would only exchange gifts that were hand made. Easy right?? But then we took it one step further.


Thinking back I can’t believe we actually did it. And not only did we make unique and beautiful gifts for each other, I took it another giant leap + decided to make hand made gifts for Bean, Bug, my niece + nephew.

(Needless to say by the time Christmas Eve came around I was a slightly stressed + tired wreck!)

But one of the things I made for my sister-in-law was a really cute notebook that she could write her big ideas in.

It was a super simple project and one you yourself can do over a couple of hours.


The inspiration behind this project began when I kept seeing beautiful hand made journals on flickr but I wasn’t really keen on making my own paper + sewing it all together.

Then one day I was in our local hardware store + saw wooden craft squares (or coasters) that were about 10x10cms + I had the idea for this notebook.

What you’ll need:
2 x wooden squares (or wooden shape)           2 x rings
Notebook paper                                                       Cardboard
Decorative papers                                                   Ephemera
Acrylic Paint                                      Glue (pva or matt medium)

Stamps                                              Chipboard accents
Ribbon etc.                                       Clear Varnish

Notebook iThese days you can easily pick wooden squares up in craft shops, hardware shops, discount store or online. I picked these up from a discount store for about $1 each – you will need two.Notebook iiFrom the same shop I picked up a cheap lined note pad + coloured craft paper. But any kind of paper will do – you could make the inner sheets from computer paper if that is all you have or go totally extravagant with handmade mulberry paper with silver threads! It’s totally up to you.Notebook iiiTracing around the wooden square I cut my paper to size. You can have as many sheets as you want depending on what you end up using to bind it all together.Notebook ivI borrowed hubby Mac’s drill and drilled out two holes in my first square. If you think about the wooden square as a front cover of the notebook – I measured + marked about 2cm down + 1cm in from the left hand edges.

I used this first square as my template + drilled the second square so the holes would line up even if I drilled them a little wonky.

Some times the drilled holes can have slightly rough edges (like mine did) but a little sand paper fixes that.Notebook vThen I grabbed a heap of papers from my ‘Paper’ box. (Hello stationary addict!) This box has old dictionaries, sheet music, scrapbooking papers, pretty shop bags, wrapping, ticket stubs, old diaries, napkins, etc. (Hello paper hoarder!!)
I used stronger glue than a glue stick – a gel medium (matt) to stick my papers down, but pva would work just as well.Notebook viUsing an old paintbrush for the glue I covered both sides of the square in papers. Your fingers work great! I was trying (and failing) to save my nail polish!

Use an old credit/ store card to firmly scrap over the paper once it’s glued down to remove any air bubbles – but don’t press to hard or you can rip the paper.

The best thing about these notebooks is that you can so easily individualise them for the person you are gifting it too. For example square A could be for a baker, B for someone going on a trip or holiday + C for a music lover etc.Notebook viiOnce the glue is dry I lightly covered the papers with acrylic paint. Lightly, because I want my papers to show through the paint layer. But if you happen to apply it too thick you can easily wipe it off while wet with paper towel or a rag.

I used five acrylic colours – white, teal, pink, dark blue + gold. Too many colours and you can end up with a muddy brown mess. In this instance less is more + you can always add more once your first layer dries!Notebook viiiI then pulled out another box labeled ephemera (or as Mac calls it “the box of crap that most people through out!”). Ephemera as per the dictionary is “a class of collectable items not originally intended to last for more than a short time, such as tickets, posters, postcards, or labels” I love the word Ephemera ‘cause it gives me a legitimate excuse to collect my beloved crap!

And there are some really random things in my ephemera box – like the headless mermaid, or the broken fairy wing, the set of old keys and a circuit board from an old camera. I am not sure what I need 6 die for – but I am telling you one day I will reuse them!

Anyway, I was looking for a bit of inspiration to add to my notebook cover, but nothing caught my eye.Notebook ixYou could also personalize it with chipboard accents (from craft shops), magazine cuttings or old card toppers – there really is no limitNotebook xAs I am slightly obsessed with wings + things I went with some butterflies and then because I wanted to ‘name’ my notebook used an alphabet stamp set to stamp “The Little Book with Big Ideas” on it.Little Book of Big Ideas CollageOnce dry this is where you could add a coat of clear varnish to give it a little protection from wear + tear.Notebook xiLast minute I decided to make some dividers from my notebook. So using an old cardboard envelope I cut out some squares and covered them with some pretty papers. (By the way cereal boxes work great for this too!)Notebook xiiBinding your book is again totally up to you – depending on what you have on hand, how many pages are in your notebook + what you can find in the shops. I had these lying around the studio. I find rings work best, but you could use sting or ribbon also.Notebook xiiiUsing my covers as a guide I hole punched my notebook pages + threaded through the rings I had choosen.Notebook xiv

And that’s all there is too it – except for maybe wrapping it up with a gift tag and placing it under the tree…. That is if you can bear to part with beautiful your handmade notebook.Notebook xvBut I can guarantee that if you manage to part with your creation, your recipient will adore its cuteness, totally appreciate the effort + creativity you’ve used + will love the fact that you made it yourself!


There is no limit to the size or even the shape you can make. I have seen stars, circles, placemats, etc. in the shops that would make awesome notebooks. You could also add fasteners (like a diary), ribbon bookmarks or make tabbed dividers just to name a few ideas.


I would love seeing the different + creative interpretations that you will bring to this notebook project.

And I would absolutely love it if you shared your creations with me + everyone else either on social media (use the hashtag #makelillibean, or tag @lillibeandesigns in your photo) or by emailing me your pics + everyone will be able share the gorgeous creations you’ve designed!


Notebook xvGive yourself the gift of handmade this year by entering to win my Little Book with Big Ideas.

To win click {here} and like the LilliBean Designs Facebook page.  For an extra 1 entry follow me on instagram and for an extra 2 entries join the LilliBean Designs Snippets newsletter group. And then leave your name + email address so I can contact you when you win!

Do all three + you can have up to 4 entries in the competition hugely increasing your chances to win!

Click here to enter now:
The Little Book with Big Ideas Christmas Give Away


It’s Day Two + I am talking about a tradition I have loved since I was a little  girl.And one the terrible trio love today!


Use one of the social media buttons to add to your news feeds, add LilliBean Designs to your WordPress reader or receive emails direct to your inbox by clicking {here} or below.
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See you on day two!

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6 thoughts on “☆ The 12 Days of Christmas {day one}

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