Category Archive: look what i made!


money book!

This is my favorite way to give money as a gift. I’ve been making these forever. Years ago, I posted ones that I made here and here.

This weekend my sister threw her husband Billy a surprise 50th birthday. I thought a money book of 50 singles would be perfect. I took photos of the steps so I could share it with you.



Unless perhaps if you live in Mayberry and know Betty the bankteller personally, you’ll need to try to hit up your bank at a time when they are not busy. Here’s why…you need to ask the bank teller for a stack of nice clean one dollar bills. I think sometimes they get stacks of nice clean new ones but mostly they get stacks of ones that have been circulated. And some of them are disgusting. You just can’t make this project with flimsy ugly dollar bills. It works best with brand spanking new dollars but they can be hard to find…especially if you need 50 to 100 of them. If you are thinking of making this project for a Christmas project, plan ahead and get the money soon. Banks get busy at Christmastime. While you are there,  and especially if the bank teller is nice, you can ask for a money band like the $50 money band shown above. It’s a nice way of telling how much money is in the book.

You can make this book with $25 and up. Less than $25 makes really too flimsy of a book. The bigger the stack, the better!


You’ll need to cut 2 pieces of decorative paper to 4.5″ x 8″.

Also cut 2 pieces of decorative paper to about the size of a dollar bill: 2.5″ x 6″. For the spine you’ll need a piece of paper 1″ x 3.5″ (not shown)


Cut three pieces of chipboard:



two 3.5″ x 7″ (covers)  and one 1″ x 3.5″ (spine)

You’ll also need:


Bookbinding tape (like that found here)


Hot glue gun and wooden sticks


Binder clips (at least 4)



Your favorite dry adhesive. I used the extra strong gluestick from Elmers and Alene’s Tacky double-stick sheets (LOVE!).

Take one of the papers cut to the size of the dollar and put it at the bottom of the stack of bills, right side up.



Use binder clips to secure the stack, making sure that the ends are lined up nicely. The better you do this, the better the money pad you’ll make. It’s easiest to do with crisp new ones.


Add binder clips along the side of the stack.


Slip the binder clips at the end of the stack off and carefully replace the ones on the side to very close to the edge. Essentially, you want to squeeze the stack together as much as you can.


Use your hand to squeeze the inside part between the binder clips…


I couldn’t take the photo of me squeezing the stack and applying the hot glue but that’s what you want to do. Be carefully not to get the hot glue on your fingers!


Working quickly, use a wooden stick to spread out the hot glue before it sets.


It’s a little messy. You can use the side of the hot glue gun like an iron to reheat the glue and then use the stick to spread it out some more. Check for loose bills. You can reglue these to the top of the stack.



Now let’s make the covers. Glue the chipboard covers in the center of decorative paper.



Fold and glue the ends up. See below for how to fold and glue the corners.

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For the front cover, glue the decorative piece of paper in the center to create the inside of the front cover.



Likewise, glue the bottom page of the money stack (the decorative sheet) into place as the inside back cover. I really like using the Alene’s Tacky double-stick sheets for this!


Adhere the decorative paper on one side of the spine chipboard piece.


Use binder’s tape to cover the outside of the spine. Expose the adhesive of the binder’s tape and center the spine piece over it.

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Assemble the book by laying the front and back covers over the exposed binder’s tape and secure.

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And there you have it…a money book!

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I used the money band to wrap the stack. It’s a good way to quickly show how much the stack is worth.


I decided to redo the spine with red binder’s tape that I wrapped around the spine.


Here is the book open. I used the inside cover to add a birthday message.


And I used a sticker to decorate the front.


summer fun passport




I made Summer Fun Passports for all the kids in Alfredo’s class. They were a big hit! I thought I’d share them with you too.



You’ll need a $1 brag book photo album from Walmart (they are designed to hold 24 photos…you can get these at the dollar store too but they have many more pages. More fun, yes…but you’ll need to make your own pages to make up the difference.)


Discard the covers and use this file to print passport covers (you’ll trim to fit in the front and back pockets).

One of the easy things about this project is that you can print directly onto 4″ x 6″ unruled index cards! Here is the pdf of the inside pages. Print them out onto index cards and insert one paper per page, front and back. Easy peezy.




Each page includes a fun Summery thing to do. The idea is that this summer after you do the fun thing, you’ll put a little star sticker over the box. Do everything in the book and have a super fun summer, guaranteed!



I tucked the stars in the front pocket for easy access.

Have fun making these for your kiddos or grands!


Congratulations, Nancy!

Nancy Wyatt won the little doll I made. Thank you so much, Nancy, for your generous winning bid.

I spent the morning preparing her for the journey to Nancy…

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I boxed her up in a pretty perfume box. I cut down the back of the insert and used that to arrange the doll and all her little things.

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I used tiny bits of washi tape, little pins, and a clothespin to hold the bits and pieces down.

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And I added some bright yellow batting to the top of the box for extra cushioning.

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She’s ready to go. I just need to find a shipping box and then I’ll send her on her way!

for Catherine



I don’t know why I’ve never really made a doll before now. You’d think since my father made dolls and had a little doll hospital going all through my childhood that I would naturally want to use my inherited craftiness to make dolls, too. Afterall, my father taught my sisters and me how to make dolls when we were little. (I’m fairly certain my brother Shawn never made a doll). One summer we were set up at picnic tables on the back porch, following along the many steps in making a porcelain doll. All of the parts were kept neatly organized in the shallow cardboard boxes sodas come in. Once I even made a little doll dressed like Alice in Wonderland which landed me a blue ribbon in that year’s state fair.

So when I heard about the auction for sweet Catherine who has cancer, I thought I might try to make a little doll. With red shoes, of course. To my delight, every step of the process went exactly as I hoped. Don’t you love it when that happens?

I thought of Catherine as I made the doll and the making became a sort of prayer. It was a prayer both for healing for Catherine and for guidance in the making.

So here she is, the little doll that I made.



She has sweet little things tucked into her apron pocket


And she has her sewing bag all packed with a tiny project


She’s just about 7″ tall with primitively jointed arms and legs. She doesn’t quite stand on her own so she’ll need to lean on something or use a doll stand. I made all of her clothes, including the tiny sweater.


My little doll, plus many other fabulous works of art by artist friends of Catherine’s, will be included in the auction which will happen on April 26 on Instagram. Be sure to follow @auctionforcatherine on Instagram.


There is also a donation page set up here. The money donated goes directly into Catherine’s Paypal account.




spring birdie

Here’s a sweet little bluebird of happiness to usher in spring. Made of paper clay over a styrofoam base, this project is super fun and easy for all ages. Get the family together and make a whole flock of these happy little birds!


1.5” styrofoam ball
2.5” styrofoam egg
Paper clay
Paint brushes
Sharpie pen (for eyes)
Alene’s Tacky Glue
Super fine clear glitter (optional)

1. Attach the styrofoam ball to the egg shape using a toothpick. Press on the styrofoam to shape, flattening the bottom and pressing in the sides where the wings will be.

2. Cover the styrofoam with paper clay, working with small amounts of clay at a time. If the paper clay you are using is particularly sticky, applying it with wet hands will work best.

3. Pinch the clay to form a beak. Smooth the sides to create wings. Be sure to flatten the bottom so that your bird will sit on its own.
Allow to dry overnight.

4. Paint your little bird with whatever colors you like. Adding pink cheeks gives your bird character. Dot on eyes with a black Sharpie. To make your birdie glittery, paint on a thick coat of clear-drying glue (I like Alene’s tacky, in the gold bottle) and cover with clear glitter. Add a paper party hat if you’d like!

Excerpted from Inspired Ideas, Spring 2012.