The challenge? Take two paper shopping bags and make a useable notebook from them by using as much of the two bags as possible.
I started with bags from two of my favorite stores – an Anthropologie bag and a Terrain bag. I dissected the bags and laid out the usable paper, handles, and cardboard inserts. The Terrain bag had string handles so I unwound the individual strands of string in order to get usable cord to bind the book. The Anthropologie bag had a soft grey woven handle that was perfect for the tie closure to the book.
While dissecting the Terrain bag I discovered a botanical definition for sweet pea (lathyrus odoratus) on the base of the bag which was a complete surprise and never would have been found if I hadn’t been pulling the bag to pieces. This obviously tied in with the decoration on the bag, but I wonder whether all Terrain bags have these definitions on them? I don’t shop there enough to know – I wish I did! Anyway, the definition was cut out, as was the little request to ‘PLEASE REUSE ME’. Done.
I made 3 signatures from assorted pieces of the bags and bound them using a pamphlet stitch into a card enclosure made from the cardboard base to one of the bags. A little stenciling with gesso decorated the front cover and some of the inner pages. I had recently been playing around with how to make origami pocket envelopes based on instructions by Alisa Golden, so I incorporated a few of those, as well as the sweet pea definition and some little turn-up pockets sealed with washi tape.
The result is a really pleasingly tactile and chunky little notebook, about 5 inches by 5.5 inches and about an inch thick.
And I really did manage to use nearly all of the two bags.