I was very busy toward the end of last term, making up some notebook covers for Eloise and Louis’ fabulous teachers to say thank you for helping them settle into their new school this year and for being fantastic teachers and really welcoming and generally making our move from the big school in the town to the little school in the village a very happy one. I am certain now that we did the right thing, the children are thriving and seem really happy, and the more I look at the entry criteria for secondary school – which I am going to have to jump through the hoops of in September, the more I realise that if we had left my daughter where she was, whilst living outside of the town, then she would have been right at the bottom of the pile for school choices. (long story, very boring…won’t go into now…)
So, I wanted to do something a bit special to say thank you to Eloise’s two teachers who job share half a week each, she loves them both and has done so much better this year with them than last year. Their special topic this year was France and Spain. Mrs Murdoch taught them about Spain and Mrs Martin France – so I thought it would be sweet to have them holding the appropriate flag.
Also I wanted to do something special for Louis’ teacher and his teaching assistant, as they are both lovely and he has had a great time with them this year. He adores the teaching assistant Mrs Bradshaw so much and I know she was getting a new puppy on the last day of term so I thought it might be fun to include the puppy on her book cover.
I feel slightly bad about these ones because Miss Barker’s was the first one I did and Mrs Bradshaw’s ended up being the last one I did. And I learnt a lot along the way and I have to say that Mrs Bradshaw’s is now my favourite! I do hope Miss Barker is not disappointed with her slightly more snug cover and wobbly lettering!
And I wanted to do something nice for the headteacher who did so much to help us get into the school in the first place and also to smooth the transition, and the amazing and wonderful Mrs Erswell who runs the school from the front desk and is the most kind and friendly and welcoming person ever. Such a stark contrast to the fireball you would receive from the dragon at the old school’s front of house if you were so much as 5 mins late… Nothing is too much trouble for Mrs Erswell, everything is laid back and easy and no problem, it is so refreshing!
So I asked the children what words came to mind when they thought about Mrs Erswell and I built them into her book cover.
And for Mrs Stockley the headteacher I made something that included the name of the school. It was going to just say ‘Teamwork’ which Eloise informs me is her favourite word (although she also commented that it probably wasn’t really her favourite word and certainly wouldn’t be if she was not a teacher – after all it is not a patch on my favourite word, which is ‘wobble’) but after I began putting it together I thought it would be fun to have the bunting go right across the back cover as well, and then I noticed that there was just about enough space to fit in the name of the school instead, which might seem a little less random than simply ‘teamwork’.
It does look a little odd falling off the bottom like that I admit and also when you close the book, it looks very random indeed saying E HAM MARY… but hey…
Ok so would you like a little more background on how these lovely covers came about?
Of course you would… well, firstly I have to say another big thank you to Josie Day over at Sew for Soul (again!) for her brilliant book cover tutorial and I have to say that I did terribly plagiarise your teacher sitting at a desk idea Josie – I hope you don’t mind!
I love the way that the inside flaps that hold the notebook in are in such nice contrasting fabrics, they look lovely lined up together too from spine or inside cover side.
Miss Barker’s apple idea was pretty much my own from a bit of googling and pinteresting, it’s your typical teacher themed motif really isn’t it? Although after doing Miss Barker, Mrs Martin’s and Mrs Murdoch’s, I quickly learned that cutting out the pieces for the lettering and then free machining around the lettering was not really my favourite bit of the process… so I moved away from putting the names on in the others.
Instead I found this lovely tree and flower idea on this gorgeous blog from super cute tilly. Big thank you to Tilly for inspiring me with this, I absolutely loved creating the flowers and the tree for these covers.
I love the horizontal split with the patterned fabric along the bottom, and free machining the flowers and the tree was really fun, especially the tree, as I even did that in one go, and didn’t have to keep knotting off the ends of the thread and moving to a new place to start and then ending up with lots of draping threads to snip at the end. It also meant the back of the tree was as neat at the front, shame no-one will see it!
It was also a lot of fun adding the little dog at the bottom digging for his bone, just to make it a bit more personal. And the little ‘thank you’ ribbon at the back. I love the way the tree just folds slightly over the spine and onto the back cover too.
This was definitely my favourite cover, it was the most fun to make and I think it turned out the best.
Mrs Erswell’s flowers came from Tilly’s website too, and I wasn’t going to attempt the lettering in the stems to begin with as I thought that was a bit outside my skill level at the moment, but then when the children gave me such nice words to describe her, I thought it was such a nice idea that I would have a go, and just go very very slowly with my machine and keep my fingers crossed.
I also had a bit of a boob-up on this one too, as I picked out a nice bit of linen for the background from my linen scraps box and ironed interlining on the back and then sewed the patterned fabric to what I thought was the front… but it was the interlining side… doh. It was late and the light was not the best… I ummed and ahhhed about it for a day and wondered if it was worth unpicking and putting on the correct side. I had stuck all the flower heads on with bondaweb too… so I would have to peel them off and restick somehow, or cut out more.
I decided in the end the texture of the linen was too good to lose, so I unpicked and unstuck and used my trusty can of 505 sticky stuff to stick the flower heads back down again and all ended up well.
Mrs Stockley’s was very fiddly… I got the idea from something I saw on Pinterest with a bird holding some bunting, although I can’t find that image now. I like adding mini bunting to things with applique and free machining – so it was fun to do, but very fiddly and was time-consuming to embroider the lettering. I was hoping I could get away with empty block letters but sadly for me, they looked much better filled in!
Here it is in progress, from cutting out stage, to ironed on with bondaweb, to stitched before the letters were added.
My final touch was to get the children to write a note in the front covers saying thank you and how happily they had settled in. I hope they liked them. It was a bit nerve-wracking after all that work sending the children in with them all wrapped in tissue paper on the last day of term. I never saw that they got them ok, but the children assured me that they did. And the brilliant thing about these covers is that you don’t have to keep the notebook for best. It is just a cheapo notebook from the supermarket, you can remove the jacket and put it on a new one when you fill up the first one with cunning plans and fantastic notes.
Hopefully they will last that long…