Something brand new - Mini Album Makers Challenge Blog . . .

The blogging world has a brand new blog:

Mini Album Makers Challenge Blog

and I get to be part of this exciting team.


If you're into mini books, this is the blog to follow!


all instructional


all sharing


all free

with prizes each month from your favorite manufacturers.

Our sponsor this month:

Seth Apter

Since this is my first blog post for the

Mini Album Makers Challenge Blog

I thought I would share the very first mini-book stitch I ever learned.

It's called a pamphlet stitch.

Want to learn how to add a pamphlet stitch to the portfolio above?


I began with a ready made portfolio similar to this one:


I like to add pages to the folios.

To do so, I use:

Ruler & Pencil

Craft Pick or Awl

Wax Linen Thread

Large Eyed Needle

Bulldog Clips

  •  Choose the paper/papers you want to add to what will become the spine of the portfolio. I chose to use some craft heavy wrapping paper I had on hand. You can also use file folders as your inserts.
  • Cut the paper so that you have the height you want and the width can be folded in half. You will be stitching on the fold line. The height and width of each paper can be different as long as it can be folded. In some portfolios I've added folded tags, scrapbook papers, envelopes etc.
  • Cut a piece of cardstock that is 2" wide and the same height as your papers. This will become your stitching pattern. Fold the cardstock in half - measuring 1" wide X the height of your paper.
  • Using a pencil and ruler, find the center of the cardstock and make a pencil mark. Next make a pencil mark in even increments up and down that center fold line. This folio is quite tall so I used many pencil marks. You can use as many as you like but no fewer than 3 marks.
  • Take the portfolio and fold on the score marks as shown in the photo below. Do this on both the right and left side of the folio. Mba
  • Using bulldog clips, carefully match the center/folded line of your stitching pattern to the center folds of your pages. Make sure the folded lines of your papers are lined up one on top of the other with your pattern on top of that.  The bulldog clips are used to keep everything lined up so that nothing shifts.
  • Attach the bulldog clips to the center line on the portfolio, matching folded lines of the papers to the folded lines of the folio.
  • Mb1
  • Use an awl or craft pick and insert the sharp end into the pencil marks through the pattern the papers and the center line of the folio. You are creating a stitching pattern on all.
  •  Once the holes are made, take away the stitching pattern but keep the bulldog clips in place so as not to have the papers move from the center line of the folio.
  • Take a piece of waxed linen thread that's approximately 2.5 times the height of the book. Thread a needle without tying a knot. Do not double the waxed linen thread.
  • Mb2
  • Begin at the center hole and in the center page. Take the needle and thread and poke it from the inside center hole all the way through to the outside of the portfolio's center hole. Leave a tail of about 2" to 3". You will use this to tie later.
  • Using an in-and-out type of stitch, follow up along the holes, one to another, in and out of the stitching holes.
  • Mb3
  • Once you get to the top hole, continue the same stitch all the way to the bottom of the pattern. Then back up again to the middle. You will end your stitching on the inside center page, at the same hole you started with.
  • Mb4
  • Make sure all the stitching lines are taut and once you have, tie a knot at the center. Cut off any leftover thread, leaving about a 1/2" of the thread.


Your stitched pages are now secure in the portfolio

and you're ready to decorate.

Meet my team mates and see what they're creating:

Mini Album Makers Challenge Blog

and see what

Seth is giving away!



You've asked and now I can deliver . . .

Many of you have seen my mini-books. Some I teach in stores. Many I'm not able to because of class time restraints.  Those types of minis are always interactive with popular items like flips, pockets, folds, waterfalls and inserts. 

Introducing Book #1: Fairies


I've found a way to bring new mini-book designs to you with a very reasonable price tag.

You may know Gina Hubbard, owner of Gypsy Soul Laser Cuts.

We've partnered up to bring you some fascinating mini-books that are super interactive.

Book #1: Fairies is 8.5" tall X 6.75" wide with a 3.5" spine.

It has 6 pages, all interactive and all include a top pocket to add cardstock mats.

Use your own stash of paper and embellishments to decorate the cover and pages.


You may purchase these in one of two ways:

  • As a PDF pattern only
  • As a PDF pattern with pre-cut cardstock base pages and pre-cut pockets, flips and waterfalls. The pre-cut pages are available in black or kraft.

We're both so excited to be offering this to you.

PDF Pattern includes 25 pages of instructions with photos e-mailed directly to you:



Want to take a closer look at what I've done with Gina's design?  Take a look at this You Tube:

To purchase your very own pattern click this "buy it now" button:


PDF pattern (as described above) with pre-cut pages, pockets, flips and waterfalls.

Your choice of black or kraft cardstock pages:


These will ship priorty mail in a flat rate envelope.

Orders taken on a first available and will begin shipping Wednesday, August 2, 2017

Choose from black or kraft on the pull down menu below.





NOTE: This mini was decorated using 49&Market papers with some added vintage prints. Chipboard Laser Cuts available thru Gypsy Soul Laser Cuts: butterflies; flowers; leaves; vines; swirls; borders.




Happy day after turkey day . . .

FG Book 1

A couple of weeks ago, the girls and I took a trip to Ankeny IA and visited Memory Bound where we took classes from the talented Frank Garcia. Frank designs for Prima Marketing and has several gorgeous lines with them including Memory Hardware. I love his style!

We took several classes from Frank over the weekend including this beautiful book you see above. It's using one of Frank's Memory Hardware albums along with many other Frank designed products. The paper and embellishments are from Frank's Sweet Peppermint line.

FG Book 2

I love all the layers and detail he puts into every project. And did I tell you what a good teacher he is? He definitely *knows his stuff* and has patience like no other. 

FG Book 3

Loved every minute of the weekend creating beautiful projects. In the next few days, I'll share more of what we made with the talented Frank Garcia. Details to be shared soon!

FG Tags 1

Christmas at Checkered Cottage . . .

Prima Christmas 2016

Thank you to those who've signed up sight-unseen for my

Prima Christmas Book.

Saturday, December 10

10:30 am to 4:30 pm

Here's a look at the cover.

We'll be using Frank Garcia's products including

Memory Journal 

Sweet Peppermint 6x6 Collection Kit

Sweet Peppermint Chipboard & More

Sweet Peppermint Flowers

Vintage style chenille candy cane

Sweet Peppermint ATC Cards


specialties by Gypsy Soul Laser Cuts

We'll use Gesso and Snowflakes and Paints and more

to decorate this year's Christmas book.

Sign up by calling

Checkered Cottage ~ Kirkwood MO


So very honored . . .

to be featured on Graphic 45's blog as an Alumni Team Member. My term with Graphic was one of the best experiences ever! Here's one of my projects with Graphic's Halloween in Wonderland.

Alice 1

This book was made from scratch using chipboard as the base.

I covered the spine with Graphic 45 fabric I found online.

Then added a hidden hinge binding system from Kathy Orta King.

Once the hinge was in place, I added Graphic 45 Square Black Envelopes for the pages.

Policy Envelopes-Square Black

To attach the envelopes to the hinge, turn the envelope sideways

and cut about an 1/8" from the bottom of the envelope.

Add score tape to the both sides of the hinge.

Reveal the tape and open the bottom of the envelope

placing one side of the envelope on each side of the hinge.

Alice 2

You'll be covering the hinge with the bottom of the envelope.

By using the envelopes, you'll have space for decorating and photos

both in and out of the envelopes.

TIPS: These are just a couple of things I always do with my projects.

  • Ink white core edges. Almost all scrapbook paper is printed on white cardstock. So when you look at the side of the paper, you will see the white core. I always ink this. It just seems to make the paper look a bit more finished. Use an ink that closely matches the paper and run an ink applicator along the white edge. It’s quick and easy. Don’t forget to ink the white core of any fussy cutting you’re doing.
  • Sand down those little nibs from chipboard. Many manufacturers print chipboard on one large sheet so that you pop-out the individual pieces from the main sheet. Once popped out, you’ll see that the chipboard was *attached* with little nibs. (not sure what the proper name of those things are) Sand those down to create a more professional look. To finish the chipboard, ink the edges with a complimentary ink.
  • Paint the backs of chipboard pieces. When using pre-manufactured chipboard pieces that you are not adhering directly to paper, paint the backs a pretty color to give them a finished look.

Thanks for visiting my blog today.