Wednesday, October 12, 2011


This week I am not writing about a book per se, but about the pages in the book.  And I am not writing about the pages so much as I am writing about what can be done with those pages (once the book is no longer a viable reading option, says the librarian in me..)

I was wracking my brain for a different Fall wreath idea this year, thumbing through all those magazines and pre-holiday catalogues that had begun to pour, in when I noticed a recurrent theme:  leaves made from book pages, book pages with leaf shapes cut out of them and inserted into vases as table decor, pumpkins decoupaged with old book pages (hmmmm). 

I studied the pile of catalogues and magazines in my recycling bin.  I studied my book shelves and recognized several paperbacks that really were falling apart and waiting for me to accept their fate.  And an idea was born:   I decided to put them all to good use and created a Literary Fall Leaf Wreath!

Isn't is pretty?

To begin, I went through my catalogues and magazines looking mainly at the colors and tones, searching for areas that would make good Fall leaves.

Crafty Tip:  I used an old quilting trick taught to me by my sister who makes gorgeous quilts in her spare time.  When she is trying to visualize whether a fabric (or section of a fabric) will work for her finished piece she puts her right and left thumb tips together and her right and left index finger tips together to form an open triangular space in front of her.  If a smaller opening is required, she slides her hands closer together to make a smaller triangle.  She then holds this opening above the fabric so she can isolate the small section she might use while the her hands block out the rest of the image that may be visually distracting.  If she sees what she likes and feels it will "fit" the theme of her quilt, she buys it.  Easy-peasy!!

The photo above is an ad in one of my catalogues.

I use my hand triangle to block out visual distractions
 and determine that I like that section of color.
(Please excuse the visual distraction of the butterfly stamp on my hand ...
I went to a butterfly conservancy recently which was incredible!)

Ta da ... it is a beautiful Fall leaf!

I looked at everything on each page, the backgrounds as well as the image the photographer was trying to capture, isolating sections with my "hand triangle".

An ad for a blouse ...


... becomes a leaf!

Here's what I mean about looking beyond the picture itself.
If you look carefully you can see that I have traced my
 leaf template onto a section of the page
that might make an interesting leaf.

I do not own a leaf punch or a die-cutter so I made templates in the shapes of an oak leaf  and a maple leaf .  I cut two sizes of oak leaves from the magazines and catalogues and cut one size of maple leaves from the old paperbacks.  My fingers did get a little "scissor-sore" after a while.

Crafty Cutting Tip:   Make a rough cut first to separate the section you want from the larger piece of paper to reduce "drag" from weight of the sheet.  Next, when cutting around the shape, turn the paper rather than the scissors for a smooth, even cut.

I spread my leaves out in front of me, roughly sorted by color and tones and pinned a foundation layer of leaves around a foam wreath that I wrapped with burlap strips. 

I used leaves that were not my favorites for this foundation layer
 because I figured they would be mostly covered up anyway (as would the pins.)

I continued placing and pinning leaves randomly distributing the colors until the burlap was no longer visible and I was satisfied with the look.  I finished by placing the paperback book leaves around the entire wreath in a random fashion.

Crafty Tip:  I used some double-sided tape to keep some of the
leaves in place and to hide some of the pin heads.

Since I had some the paperback maple leaves left over I continued my literary holiday decor by using them to adorn a small pumpkin.  I had noticed some pumpkins in the magazines I was "leafing" through (bad pun but appropriate here!) that had been completely covered with dictionary pages and others that had tissue paper leaves decoupaged on them.  I combined the two ideas for my little pumpkin. 

I mixed some white all-purpose glue with a little water and decoupaged (fancy word for adding cutout adornments with layers of glue) them on using a small foam brush.   The spider is from one of my posts last year called: Fall Is Here - And With It Comes Halloween.   

Happy Fall crafting everyone!!

1 comment:

  1. What an absolutely fantastic idea for all of us who just can't throw away magazines and books no matter how out of date or ragged they've become. This is repurposing at it's finest for very little money .... and a great gift for the non-crafty reader in your life!!
    Kudos Crafty Librarian .... you continue to amaze me.
    Marie P.