Making Stuff: A (Pop Up) Sketchbook

Who doesn’t love a pop up book?  Crazy people, that’s who (or bibliophobics, I guess).

Enter: the Sketchbook Project.  A few years ago my mamma participated in this little experiment run by the Brooklyn Art Library in, you guessed it, Brooklyn NY.

no sleep…

She entered a little sketchbook that she spent a few months working on.  The little book traveled the country in a little truck with many other little books submitted by people all over this fine planet of ours.  At the conclusion of its long and winding road, the little book retired to a little cottage in the woods overlooking a still lake whose shores were gently kissed by a canoe being pushed around in the waves, coming to shore.

Kinda like this

Oh no, wait.

No.  That’s not what happened at all.

The little book ended up back at the Brooklyn Art Library where you can check it out to this very day.  Like, right now!  Go; go and see it!

This year she and I went to my beloved American Visionary Art Museum to peruse through the 2013 editions of the Sketchbook Project while they were in town.  They were simply lovely.  My favorite was a collection of artifacts from a mother’s life, assembled by her daughter.  The mother has Alzheimer’s and does not often remember much at all of her interesting life.  The little scrapbook serves as both a tribute and a record of things easily lost to the hands of time, even before one departs this realm.  It was beautiful.

I was inspired to make my own little book for the traveling show.  And this is what I came up with.  It’s a little Pop Up Sketchbook about paper planes.  It’s threeeeeee deeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee!



It’s full of fun facts about paper planes.



He’s nervous



I think the plane can outrun me.



Pandas can do a surprising amount of origami, considering they have no opposable thumbs.

It's called the ninja.

It’s called the ninja.

Book7 Book15 Book8 Book9

Rosanna's famousa!

Rosanna’s famousa!


The end!

Look for it at your local stop on the 2014 tour!

Making stuff: A Zipper Rug

We have this dog.

He likes his antlers.

He likes his antlers.

His name is Kepler. And he likes us.



A lot. I mean, a lot a lot.  He’s kind of creeper in that he’s always staring at us.  This is wonderful.  Really.  Except for one thing; the dreaded separation anxiety.  These days this manifests itself as puddles in some of our favorite rugs.

After 2 incidents on our beloved brown shag that was gifted to us by my cousin Ryan (along with a brown robe and sunglasses- it really ties the room together), we had to give up on any cleaning efforts.  Nothing was sufficiently removing the smell.  Yes, I tried Nature’s Miracle.  Yes, I tried baking soda. Yup, Resolve as well.  I guess my little boobah just has potent fluids.

But never thee fear!  For I am an engineer. I surveyed the market (my brain) and discovered that what we need is a rug that easily comes apart into small sections that are easily washed.  Enter moment of brilliance. A zipper rug.  Yes, a rug made of 3 sections connected via zippers. It totals 4 ft x 6 ft.

And here is how it went.


  • Two 48 in zippers
  • 1 yard of a 54 in wide bolt of the lesser color, mine was white
  • 1.5 yards of a 54 in wide bolt of the greater color, mine was a velvety grey
  • 1 canvas drop cloth, or 1 old canvas Ikea curtain
  • Black thread
The supplies.

The supplies.

From your white and grey cloth, cut your pieces to the size that you need for the rug, leaving 0.5 in on all sides for seam allowance.  I split mine into 3 sections, each 48 in x 25 in.  You’ll want to cut matching pieces of the drop cloth for the bottom layer.  I found it easiest to place the cut rug pieces face down onto the drop cloth and cut these pieces to match.  This way they fit exactly. Pin the two pieces together, inside out (meaning the sides that will eventually show are together and you see the undersides).

Sew three of the sides of each grey piece, keeping one of the long sides open.  Keep the stitching 1/2 in from the edge.  Sew together the short sides of the white piece, leaving both long sides open.

Now, flip the pieces right side out and iron those edges down.  Also fold back the fabric along the un-sewn edges about 1/2 in and iron that down.

A little bit of the ol' press-er-oo

A little bit of the ol’ press-er-oo

Look at that crease!  Delic.

Look at that crease! Delic.

Here comes the potentially tricky part- aligning the zippers.  Pin in just one side of the zipper, between the drop cloth and top fabric.  Pin in the other side of the zipper to the next section.  Unzip the zipper and sew each side.  Repeat for all edges.

Nearly there.

Nearly there.

You can also finish with a top stitch all the way around all non-zipper edges to really add a clean look.  That’s it!  You’re done!

Dude's totally stoked.

Dude’s totally stoked.