From Fauxdori to Handbound Journal

LTieu fauxdori to journal

Awhile back I jumped on the midori traveler’s sketchbook bandwagon and started making my own fauxdori covers. It’s pretty easy to accumulate way more covers than you can use at once. So why not retire some of them by transforming a fauxdori into a bona fide sewn and handbound journal?

I still love the idea of being able to refill travelers type sketchbooks and keep one in my purse, so when I’m out and about, I have a place to jot notes and keep papers organized. I think of it as a mish mash notebook that I would NOT necessary keep forever.

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However, I like the permanency of bound journals and we can retire some of our extra fauxdori covers into permanent sewn journals pretty easily. For the purposes of art journaling, memory keeping and just creatively play, I like finishing up a journal to add to my shelf. Perhaps because I like binding books, perhaps because I have leather at my disposal – either way, I decided to transform this blue leather fauxdori into a bound journal.
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First thing to do is to cut off all the elastic – my super thick elastic, because that was what I had to work with.  I did decide to keep the wrap around part though, so I could close up my journal, just like the midori.

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After snipping off the elastic, I folded up regular paper to make the pages of my journal. By measuring it up with the holes already in the fauxdori cover, I marked off where I had to punch holes to sew it together.

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I basically eyeball everything and use a pencil to mark up where I have to punch holes. It’s good enough to use just 3 holes as it will be enough to secure the book together. But if you like the look of more holes seen in the spine, you can punch more holes as well.

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I use an awl to punch through all the pages of the paper. The better you punch the holes, the easier it will be to sew things up in the end!

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Also, I usually do not trim the right edge of my papers when they are bound together, because I think it’s a waste of paper. I don’t really mind the fact that the folded pages create a zig zag edge. However, in this case my fauxdori cover doesn’t have a lot of extra space, so I thought it would be better to trim it all off.

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After all the elements are ready – cover, signature of pages, holes punched – I just went on and bound the journal together. It’s super simple since it’s only one signature of papers folded. You can check out my longstitch bookbinding tutorial if you are interested. Super easy!

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Since my fauxdori has extra holes on the edges, I just looped the thread around a few times for decoration. It’s still a super simple longstitch with extra loops, no knots, nothing fancy. Just make sure your thread is tight.LTieu bound9

The fauxdori cover really converts well to be a stitched up journal. I kept the elastic to close it up and it all works quite nicely.

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I’m happy to have converted my cover into a bound journal, which will hold all of my creative experiments from The Creative Life: Documented class with Amy Tan and Jamie Waters.

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Do you have a lot of extra midori or fauxdori covers and thinking of turning them into something more sturdy and permanent for safekeeping? Try transforming it to a sewn bound journal to add to your collection!

A Girl Needs Her Coffee!

Studio Calico has a member design challenge, so I decided to give it a try and offer up my cute girl doodling for a coffee themed stamp set. At least, that’s what I think would be cool.

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The idea is to have these everyday items to use in our daily documentation and planners… because coffee is definitely a part of my every day life! Would really appreciate you liking my design to get it considered – just visit the gallery and heart my image! 

Get to know me in 20 questions

I’m participating in a Getting-to-Know-You game of 20 Questions with Kris (With a K) from the With a K Writing Academy. I’m excited to get to know my own blog-readers better & to find other bloggers to play with too. You know – friends who just get it. If you want to participate, you can too! Just go to check out Kris’s post about it here, & get started.

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1 – What’s a ridiculous nickname you’ve had?

Not sure about ridiculous but my brother Vo, deemed me Linx as my animal name – we all had an animal name, so the thought brings back fond memories from childhood!

2 – Why do you write a blog? Have your reasons changed over time?

I started blogging way back in the livejournal days and have started many different ones focused on my many diverse interests, but here on tortagialla it’s my homebase for all things creative. I’ve consolidated here at this point in life to keep it simple. Blogging is fun brcause I enjoy sharing creative projects and ultimately it’s about feeling alive through creativity!

3 – Where do you like to be when you are writing?

Usually just at my desk on my computer on a nice bright day because the light is so pretty here in my studio and it’s just a happy situation for me.

4 – Peanut butter & __________.

Jelly. Classic all the way!

5. What does your Writing Process look like?

It’s a run-on sentence as usually I have so much chitter chatter that just pours out. I type away and attempt to edit afterwards. I really want to get better at expressing myself articulately and succinctly though.


6 – What keeps you up at night?

Dreaming about so many projects I want to work on. Worries about work and moving forward towards my goals. Missing family in the USA and every little thing regarding my kids. Just so many thoughts on my mind… it can be very unsettling and overwhelming.

7 – What was your last online purchase? Did you hide it from anyone? (I see you, impulse buyers & shame shoppers)

A gumball machine for my son and a creative ecourse for me. I love to get fun trinkets for my kids and I’m a total learning online junkie!

8 – What do you honestly think of elastic waistbands?

Why not?!

9 – What blogs or magazines do you love to read? Why?

I love anything creative, designy and pretty. I don’t discount anything really because any subject can be inspirational and educational.

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10 – What is your favourite way to express your creativity?

I draw and design… and pretty much explore in many different ways. I think creativity can be expressed in all parts of our lives, from organizing the pantry to creating a beautiful piece of artwork to hang on the wall (or wear). There is no limit. I’m very much a paper and pixels nerdy mix – the old and the new – the traditional and the techy. I contradict the norms! Hah!

11 – DSLR or iPhone?

I lost my iPhone and went android way back, but I’m really for everything. Whatever floats your boat, dear! Currently I actually use my mirrorless camera the most – yeah, I’m sort of nerdy techy like that… it’s the future!!!

12 – How do you feel about the semicolon? Do you have any feelings about punctuation marks, in general? (it’s ok if you don’t)

I suppose I don’t have any strong emotions either way for the semicolon – but I do use dashes and ellipses way to much… and probably incorrectly – hmm…

13 – What is a skill you really want to learn?

To drive stick shift? But sort of afraid because I don’t want to put people’s lives in danger if I freak out while trying to drive… so… one day!

14 – Do you use a planner or journal to keep your life from derailing? What kind?

Both planner and art journaling are necessary. I make my own since I also love bookbinding and customizations… not to mention it’s just crafty fun. I also love spreadsheets…

15 – What does your dream Sunday look like?

To wake up late and the kids waking up late as well?!?! (I know, dream on!) and have the whole day to do absolutely nothing but chill with family. Good food and fun times with family… good weather… really that is the ultimate.

16 – Do you have a full-time business or a side hustle?

Full-time freelancing graphic and web design for clients, full-time mom to two young kids and full-time creative entrepreneur here in tortagialla land and

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17 – Coffee or tea?

Coffee first, but sometimes a spot of tea as well!

18 – What is your favourite outfit?

Jeggings with my favorite black boots and a maxi type shirt/sweater depending on the temperature. Comfort!

19 – What scares you?

A whole lot of things, but definitely worries of what could be bad for my kids – so many mom-related worries… eek!

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20 – Cats or Dogs?

Definitely dogs because my first baby is a furbaby Westie named Vash, but I still love you Kris with a K, even if your branding is all kitties 😛


Free Printable Greeting Cards

Do you want to keep in touch with your friends and family in a more personal way rather than just phone texts and emails?


Well, you’ve got to get back to old fashioned snail mail. A handwritten note means so much more, even if I’m all for the advances of technology these days. Nothing can replace the excitement of seeing the postman arrive with a stack of pretty letters just for you.

That’s why I created Happy Print Club, it’s like a stationery store at your fingertips. You get access to the entire library of printables as a club member, so you’ll always have the right card to send to a friend, for all occasions, even if it’s just because you wanted to say hi and reconnect.

Every month I also add new releases, so that can serve as a reminder to pull out your favorite pen and write those heartfelt notes to send out. With digital designs you can print out as many copies as you need at any time!

There are many freebies to try out as well, so check ’em out here:


Never Alone, Thank You!

Working from home often results in feeling isolated and downright lonely at times – and I mean lonely in my business work life which is completely different from the fact that I have a wonderful family around me 24/7. I’m grateful for the love and unconditional support I receive from my close ones…

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But I’m talking about online business and social media – geeking over things that my family doesn’t totally “get.” We all need community and peers when it comes to career and worklife. My problem was finding the right people to connect with. I can be really shy at first… but when I connect with cool, like-minded people, I turn into a chatter box!

Recently I joined Tara Swiger‘s starship program and besides using all the tools and courses for my business, I’m looking forward to the community aspect as well. Connecting with people who will “get” what I do. I suppose it’s all about acceptance and the feeling of belonging. I listened to a talk from Tara and Kim Werker and totally connected to their thoughts about finding our right people.

Clarity in our frame of mind can do wonders… because I’m feeling good about what I do and looking forward optimistically more than ever. Isn’t that the point of all that we do? To be happy and wake up feeling great every day of our lives?!

Finally, I realized that my blog readers and past customers have always been there for me as well. Perhaps, I haven’t been paying enough attention to y’all – just in realizing that I already have a lot of supporters and I’m not alone. Have I taken you for granted?!

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So this post is for all of you out there, cheering me onward by reading posts, commenting, responding to my newsletter and using your purchasing power to invest in my work. That is so darn wonderful and I totally appreciate it from the bottom of my heart. I’m going to keep at it and just wanted to send out acknowledgement and love today.


Marketing That Makes Sense

I must admit that I have never really understood marketing. Because I didn’t know how to approach it, I simply avoided it altogether. I often fell into the trap of thinking, hey, if I create great stuff, people will just find me naturally, right? I never want to be a pushy sleezy salesman and marketing seemed to just be about advertising your life away.

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Boy, was I wrong! What a mistake and incorrect perspective on marketing.

Turns out, marketing is not about tactics to trick people into spending money. It’s not about manipulation. It’s really about getting your offering in front of the people who actually want it!

Marketing is the conversation and relationship between you and your right people.

So ultimately, you can make it what fits for your personality. That sounds nice and non-slimey, right? In fact, it sound pretty cool and something I definitely want to cultivate.

After the first week of April Bowles-Olin’s class on CreativeLive: Double Your Followers with Creative Marketing my entire perspective on marketing has shifted dramatically.

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I’m learning what it really means to market yourself and clear steps on how to approach it. I have a feeling that marketing will be a part of my everyday creative life and I’m not dreading it! Amazingness!

I purchased April’s course after seeing a coupon code elisejoycreativelive to save 35% from Elise Joy’s podcast. Amazing discount and either way the course is an great value and totally worth the price. It’s 5 weeks of marketing bootcamp that is easy to understand and to take action on. That aspect is really important to me, because we can intake all we want, but if action is not taken, the results don’t come!

I wanted to share my excitement regarding my shift in thinking about marketing and this super affordable opportunity for all of us to learn from April. Yay! You can purchase Double Your Followers with Creative Marketing via this link which gives me a slight commission kick-back, but of course I only talk about things I love, so it’s a win-win! You can also watch the course for free during the live broadcast, so definitely tune in and listen up.

I hope you enjoy, learn and change your perspective on marketing as well, because now, finally, marketing totally makes sense to me.

Happy Print Club October 2015 Releases

Do you love pretty paper? Does instant gratification sound good? Check out, my online stationery club with new monthly printable designs. There are matching envelopes and club members have access to the entire library of past releases (over 20 cards now). All for only $8


This month I’ve released a cute set for the Fall to celebrate cozy coffee season, offer some encouragement and celebrate Halloween in cute style.

Club members can download and print immediately, so come join us!