Back to School DIY, Return of the Trapperkeeper

I remember the excitement of new school supplies. The fresh notebooks, the perfect folders and does anyone have a soft spot for Lisa Frank TrapperKeepers?

My oldest began first grade today, proud as pie of her new backpack (nobody in a school of a few hundred girls has one like hers), super stocked about her pencil case and the only caveat is that all her notebooks, folders, pencils must be standard blah blah blah.

Seriously, blah. 

She goes to a school that has asked parents to buy brown paper notebooks, clear covers, yellow #2 pencils and white erasers. No distracting stickers, please! I've never encountered a list that killed the joy of school supplies so thoroughly.

I stuck to the letter of the law when buying her supplies, somehow knowing in the back of my mind that she will come home today and ask why she was the only girl in the entire school with blank and joyless supplies.  No way my motherly cohorts will resist the temptation of colorful store-bought vigor for back to school. I feel it in my bones that no other mother fears pissing off the teacher in the way that I do, but I also know that I have a few tricks up my sleeve.

Of all of the many directions given for supply purchases, the ringed binder did not come with a list of instructions, here's your instructions crazy rigid school supply list!

Tutorial for the best damn homemade fabric covered binder in this school.

1 cheap ringed binder
1 fat quarter
felt scrap
fabric flower pattern
random trimming scraps
needle and thread

Before sewing anything, try to iron out the the fat quarter or fabric scrap you choose as a base, it probably won't help a ton but it may lessen the folds. I didn't prewash because I live on the edge, and because this is fabric for a trapper keeper, not a wearable work of art. 

Measure out the size of your binder when it lays folded and begin folding the edges of your fabric over the top, just as you would if covering a book with a paper-bag. I used packing tape to hold the edges before securing with embroidery thread.

Here's some not too fancy needle work securing the corners of the fabric. If I had stopped here with this step, the cover would have been a pretty weakly secured case as the fabric didn't provide for deep pockets to tuck the edges in.

Enter the rick-a-rack and brick-a-brack for jazzing things up.

I went with my favorite go-to felt peony template for decorations and added some somewhat coordinating ribbon. To secure the ribbon flower strip, I actually used the embroidery needle to sew through the cardboard of the binder in a few strategic places which also reinforce the weak design of the light fabric.

Simple enough right? I might try a larger cut of fabric next time which would be sturdier and interchangeable or more details with embroidery, but for now I'm pretty sure it's cool enough for a first grader. 

update: Hebrew readers will quickly notice what my neighbors all did, the binder opens backwards and turning it makes the butterflies upside down. My bad. 

la vie du cirque abandonné

For some, the circus holds magical memories of childhood captivation and entrancement. For anyone who knows me well, they would probably guess that the razzle dazzle of the circus was simply not for me. The noise, the people, the enourmous tent and large animals are overwhelming to my sensibilities.

But this magical place- Peru Indiana- for me, has the makings of a circus I could wrap my mind around. The home of the circus hall of fame and the winter home of many of America's greats of the big-top, Peru is like a scene from some strange and slightly cautionary children's tale, a mesmerizing and curious world in a bygone time.

Some of my photos from the visit explain better than I ever could.


Odd, mysterious, slightly surreal and almost impossibly existent; this is my kind of circus.