May 302014

It’s been a while since I did anything new in Vue.  I’ve recently been inspired by my friend, Gill Rogers who has been creating some beautiful Vue images AND some amazing photographs using techniques from the book “Art Beyond The Lens” by Sarah Gardner.  I’ve done a few still life images over the years but I’ve tended more towards landscapes etc.  I loved doing this one so much I may do a few more 🙂

still life

May 282014

I’m probably in over my head.  I’ve probably lost my marbles.  BUT I’m willing to have a go.   Yes, I’m going to make my own organiser binder from scratch.  This post will document the start of the journey.  Future posts will be linked.

I’d been looking at the ring mechanisms available to buy for a while, thinking it would be great to take on the challenge of making my own.  I took the plunge and ordered a set from Norwood Sevenk who have a store on Ebay.  I also ordered a leather offcut, again from Ebay.

ring mechanism

ring mechanism

Nice ring closure – no gaps

blue green leather

This is the swatch photo from Ebay – as I write, I’m still waiting on delivery

While I’m waiting, I’m getting some ideas in my head of how I’m going to build it.  For starters, it’s going to be a fold over journal type outer cover with a leather lace to hold it together.   After doing some research into sewing leather I have totally abandoned that idea as I don’t have the equipment needed and I have no intention of ruining my fragile Toyota sewing machine.   I’m going to have the leather outer, cut to size and then have a secondary inner binder part that will have the workings attached and any pockets.

I’ve made some preliminary drafts in Photoshop.  I’ve done that rather than several sketches on bits of paper as I’m a digital artist by nature so it’s perfectly natural to do it this way 🙂

Here are my first couple of digisketches….


outer cover

Idea for the outer leather cover

I’ve also had the idea to jazz it up with some metal corners….also “on order”.

Whilst photographing the innards of a vintage Day Runner organiser today, I remembered that the ring mechanism on this isn’t fixed to the binder, but it’s on a piece of semi hard plastic that slots into a sleeve on the binder inner.  This gave me the idea to possibly do this on mine – “Plan A”, or if not, it will be attached in the normal way, to the part that will be the spine – “Plan B”.  The lines I’ve added to the below image represent where the fold lines will be but the image is not to scale.

inner cover

I’ve also marked where I may put a full length slot and 3 card slots on the left hand side.  For the inner material, I have some faux leather that is in a dark green colour.  Very malleable and also sewable (if sewable is a word) 🙂

Update May 29th – my leather offcut has arrived.


I’ve had a rethink on the fastening.  I was going with a lace wraparound tie, but have now decided on a snap tab fastener.  Have gone with a gold colour to match the metal corners and I may sneak in some green diamante rivets somewhere too.



May 242014

Primarily for the main part of insert creation, I use Photoshop.  I first create a master template of lines, grids and boxes, etc. and then add all the pretty parts.

Here’s a brief look at how I do it.  If you don’t have Photoshop, Paint Shop Pro will do the job adequately, or if you don’t have either, try the free Gimp programme.  I’m told it’s very similar to Photoshop but I’ve never used it.

Firstly you need to create a new image.  This MUST be the correct size for printing.  The example below shows  my template for Personal size inserts (UK size is 95 x 171 mm) and make sure the resolution  is set to 300 ppi which is print quality.

Create image


There are a LOT of layers in my templates so I make sure they’re properly grouped and named otherwise I’d never find anything!

layer setup


I created the boxes and grids by using the line tool in various thicknesses.  The spacing was set up by using the grid (making sure you have “snap to grid” activated).  Yes, this IS fiddly and very time consuming, but once they’re done it’s just a case of selecting the template I want.  You need to make separate ones for “front” and “back”, or “left” and “right”, however you want to name them as the front or right page has a larger left hand margin, and the back or left page has a larger right hand margin.  This, obviously is where the rings go.

In the example below, to make the date box at the top, I created a new layer and used the selection tool to make a rectangle shape then filled it with a dark grey colour.  I used the size manipulator to get the width and height right, then went to Select >Modify >Contract and contracted the selection by 1 pixel then hit the delete key, leaving the 1 pixel edge that forms the box.  Then it’s simply a case of using the text tool to create the labels.  Always create each label on a separate text layer so that you can get the spacing just right.

templates view


For precise placement set the snapping tool to snap to everything.



I have my image layers set into 2 groups – Patterns and Art.  The art group is mainly floral images or landscapes/fantasyscapes that I’ve created in my 3D software.

image layers


Below, I’ve selected the “Rock” scene which is a group of rocks and grass reflected in still water.  I don’t want the image to dominate the page, and if it did you’d have trouble reading your entries no matter what colour pen you use.  I’ve set the layer opacity on the image to 26%.  This is about right for this one but I do vary the opacity depending on the image.  Note that the image layers are below the template layers in the list – this means that the lines and grids will always be on top and won’t be obscured by anything.

adding a background image


I also have pre-made print templates which are marked up a/ for lining up the pages and b/ as a guide for cutting after printing.  Personal sizes fit 3 pages on A4 paper, pocket will fit 4.  On A5 sized inserts I provide 2 printing options – a single to print onto A5 paper or 2-up to print out on A4 paper.   When making up these print pages, as they’re designed to be printed on both sides you must make sure that the images are completely central to the page.   I created an action for PS that aligns the layer centrally both horizontally and vertically so that I can quickly do this in one click.
When the first side has printed off, I turn the paper over, put it back in the printer feed tray and print off the opposite side.  Some printers will do double sided printing automatically.  Mine doesn’t.

Here’s a shot of my print template with the above example in position

print template


The design above has the same image on both left and right pages, but some collections have one image that spreads across both pages.  For that, I create a new image that’s the same height as a single page and double the width, so for Personal size you’d need 190mm wide and 171mm high @ 300 ppi.  I then create the design and copy it to the clipboard.  I then paste it twice into the template, moving one layer all the way to the left, the other all the way to the right.  I then crop off the excess (select all >Image >Crop).  The result as shown below

2 page spread 2 page spread


Hope this is helpful 🙂

May 202014

Do you occasionally feel that some organisers are a little TOO precious to be thrown in your bag every day?   There are a lot of protective covers around in many different styles and materials.

This is my take on it, taking inspirations from bound journals etc.  This was my first attempt (with the help of my wonderful hubby who punched out the holes for me) 🙂  made with a leather offcut found on Ebay.

leather cover
leather cover

I’ll probably make some more and definitely find some little ornaments to put on the leather ties 🙂

leather cover