A Way With Words Shimmer Sheetz

Book of the Month Club 2 – Do-It-Yourself Story Books

August 25, 2018

By Judi Kauffman

When the office supply store had composition books for only fifty cents as a back-to-school doorbuster deal, I bought thirty to give to a friend who teaches in a school that serves children from low-income families. As part of her curriculum, she has the students make up stories I thought that the words ‘Once Upon A Time’ (Suzanne Cannon’s A Way With Words die) would be the perfect fit!


If working with a group or class, decorate a couple of books to give students an idea of how to start, but then encourage them to customize their book as they choose. They will each need a rectangle to cover the printing on the front cover. Older children can cut their own. It’s a good idea to have the die cut words ready ahead of time with a few extras in case someone tears theirs. (I am donating die cuts, patterned papers, stickers, gems, glue, embossed and lightly sanded pieces of Shimmer Sheetz, and washi tape, along with the composition books.)


Turn it into a family affair. Make books so you and the kids can “interview” aunts and uncles, cousins and grandparents, siblings and each other, and can pretend that pets can talk. Write down their stories. Paste in photos and drawings! Write questions on the top line of each page and be sure to add the date of the interview and the name of the person giving the answers, along with the name of the person asking them… For example, “What were your favorite games as a child?” “When did you know you wanted to be a ______________?” (teacher, fireman, dancer, farmer, doctor…) “What were your favorite movies, who were your favorite singers, when you were my age?” Instead of taking notes, videotape the interview and write in the books later!


Step 1 – Die cut ‘Once Upon A Time’ from Velvet Adhesive Sheet or any heavy patterned or plain paper that has been backed with Clear Double Sided Adhesive Sheet prior to cutting.

Step 2 – Cut a 4.25” x 5.5” rectangle from Shimmer Sheetz, paper or cardstock that coordinates with the die cut words. If using Shimmer Sheetz or solid color cardstock, emboss with a folder of choice. For Shimmer Sheetz rectangles, lightly sand the side with pattern de-bossed to bring out the design and tone down the sparkle. Wipe with a damp cloth to remove the ‘dust’ created by sanding.

Step 3 – Add a narrow white cardstock border to the rectangle to tie in the white part of the background pattern printed on the composition book. Adhere to the front of the composition book. Position ‘Once Upon A Time’ straight across or at an upward angle.

Step 4 – Decorate the spine of the book with wide washi tape. Important: Back the washi tape with strips of Clear Double Sided Adhesive Tape so it won’t loosen or tear off!

Step 5 – Add gems or other low-relief embellishments to the rectangle.


Elizabeth Craft Designs:


Composition books

White cardstock

Patterned papers and additional cardstock

Embossing folders of choice

Sanding block

Wide washi tape

Adhesive-backed gems, stickers, or other low-relief embellishments



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  • Kimberly O. August 28, 2018 at 7:01 am

    Great ideas! I’ve always been kind of scared of using these notebooks because it isn’t as easy to tear out a page if I make a mistake. 🙂

  • Judi kauffman August 26, 2018 at 8:15 am

    Thank you all for the kind and enthusiastic comments! I hoped this project would become a useful and inspiring one. After all, everybody has stories to tell (real ones and those that are purely flights of imagination…).

  • Kathleen Adams August 25, 2018 at 11:37 pm

    What an adorable idea and fantastic projects to donate that who know will inspire others to create! Love this.

  • Quietfire August 25, 2018 at 4:26 pm

    Wow, Judi! What a fabulous project and a beautiful thought! You’re amazing!

  • Nancy Yoder August 25, 2018 at 2:45 pm

    Such a great idea! And such a fun gift, especially if u give to your grands!
    Thank you!

  • Nancy Yoder August 25, 2018 at 2:43 pm

    Oh thank you for the idea! I love my studio being filled with the grands, all creating!
    Perfect idea, even for friends too!

  • arlene August 25, 2018 at 12:21 pm

    Fantastic idea and obviously a labor of love.

  • Marjorie August 25, 2018 at 8:18 am

    What a wonderful idea. Kudos!

  • Jean marmo August 25, 2018 at 6:57 am

    Such a lovely project!

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