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Gift a Hub for Christmas: How to Create a Hub Book, Blog Book or Tweet Box

Updated on December 10, 2012

If you’re like me and don’t have much cash to devote to a Christmas budget, it might be a good idea to create one-of-a-kind gifts that cost little or no money. While store-bought gifts are surely special and fun to receive, I am especially touched when someone gives me a personal gift that they’ve made themselves.

I began writing for the Hubpages a few months ago, focusing on family and genealogy. I love writing about my ancestors and elders, but many of them are not computer savvy and don’t have access to my stories. So, I thought, why not create a Hub Book or Blog Book, in which I could put copies of my stories for them to enjoy. I would create a patchwork cover for a notebook that I would use to hold the pages. This would also be a nice gift for someone who likes keepsakes and coffee table books, or a youth who could benefit by learning more about family, current events or writing styles.

I decided to create two types of books: one with a vintage, down-home look and the other a nostalgic style. I used an old thread binder than I bought in a closeout sale, the other was an old photo album. Both books have a three-ring metal holder for paper. I avoided using plastic-covered notebooks and notebooks with crimped edges, so as not to face problems with fabric fit or adhesiveness.

Freestyle crafting

I gathered some scenery fabric scraps that I had in the attic and began to consider ways to put them together. I decided the easiest way to cover the notebook was to cut out some fabric patterns and glue them on. I am a freestyle crafter, so I measured the fabric by laying it out on top of the notebook and cutting it out, leaving about a 1-inch margin all the way around. I chose a kitchen scene for the front cover of the first binder. It was reminiscent of my Big Mama’s kitchen, so I thought it would work well because my stories are about my grandmother and family. For the back cover I used a country village scene and a piece of rose fabric for the spine.

I decided to create a customized front by scanning a piece of the front cover fabric to Photoshop. Then I created the lettering and made it a mirror image to print out on T-Shirt transfer paper that you can buy at a hobby shop or fabric store. I ironed it onto some white cotton fabric, trimmed the name to a small rectangle and glued it onto the front piece, matching the pattern as closely as possible.

Stitch Witchery

I wanted the front and back to be quilted, so I cut 2 pieces of batting. I attached the batting to the fabric pieces by hand sewing separate knots into the fabric. I used Stitch Witchery iron-on tape to stick the front to the spine to the back.

Then my daughter and I used a glue gun to make sure that the fabric adhered to the book covers. I trimmed the corners in order to fold them at an angle and glue them down. Then we glued a panel of fabric into the front and back of the book. I used fabric glue to attach a ribbon trim over the seam to give the inside a finished look.

I decided to put the title on the spine of the book so that it could be easily located on a bookshelf. I found some printed fabric that complimented the covered spine. I ironed the fabric onto some Heat Bond No-Sew Adhesive (which you can find at a fabric store) to give the fabric some durability and keep it from fraying. Then I cut out the letters and used fabric glue and a hot iron to adhere the lettering to the spine.

Designer Label

I printed a copy of my logo onto the T-Shirt transfer paper and ironed it onto some cotton fabric. I used fabric glue to stick the logo on the right side corner of the inside back cover.

I printed a copy of my Hubs and placed them into non-glare page protectors. I decided to use large binders because I could send the receiver copies of new hubs (as I complete them) to be added to the book.

Video: Hub Book & Blog Book

Tweet Box

I found a new, unused cardboard trinket box at Goodwill for $2.25. I decided to make a box of my tweets that I could gift to someone special. I had a small piece of elephant-print cotton fabric that I decided to use to cover it. I laid the fabric down on the box and cut out the shape, leaving a little overage on each side. I used fabric glue and trimmed each side as I glued it down. I cut angles in order to create tight corners. Since I didn’t have quite enough fabric to cover the box, I used a piece of bright yellow fabric to create an accented bottom and inside cover. I glued in a thin burgundy ribbon to create a neat border around the accented piece.

In order to create a custom cover, I cut out a piece of Heat Bond adhesive the size of a sheet of paper and ironed it onto a piece of white cotton fabric trimmed to the paper size. I found a picture of a small bird and a conversation bubble and I personalized the bubble. I printed it, cut it out, put a little fabric glue on it and then ironed it onto the box. I also printed out a copy of my logo and glued it to the bottom of the box. I found a small metal latch on an old box and decided to use it on my Tweet box.

Sweet Tweets from Your Cousins

I always send uplifting Tweets on my Twitter account and thought this would be a good keepsake to present as a gift to someone special. I logged onto my Twitter account and hit the Print Screen (prt sc) button on my computer. I pasted the copy into my paint program and printed the Tweets out. I didn’t want to pay for the cost of lamination, so I covered each Tweet with packing tape on the front and back and trimmed them. This sealed the Tweets to help make them more durable and to prevent them from getting soiled.

Tweet Box Video

CREATIVITY is the Perfect Gift

This is a great gift that you can build upon by giving additional Tweets on a future occasion.

Do you have some no-cost, low-cost Christmas gift ideas to share?

Copyright©2012 YourCousins All Rights Reserved

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    • Your Cousins profile image

      Your Cousins 9 months ago from Atlanta, GA

      You have a great collection of stories to choose from. Any family member or friend would no doubt love to get a blog book frm you! I made one for myself just to store my stories.

    • billybuc profile image

      Bill Holland 9 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Oddly I have never thought of this idea, but this really is a great idea for those of us not gifted with millions of dollars at Christmastime. Thanks for the idea. I'll definitely give this some thought this holiday season.

    • Your Cousins profile image

      Your Cousins 2 years ago from Atlanta, GA

      Thanks Millionaire Tips for your comments. I really enjoy leafing through the Blog Book, reviewing stories that I have written. Maybe when I have collected enough of them, I will gift the book to someone special.

    • Millionaire Tips profile image

      Shasta Matova 2 years ago from USA

      These are very clever gifts, and so economical too! I know there are services that you can use to print your blog, but hadn't thought about doing it myself like that.

    • Your Cousins profile image

      Your Cousins 3 years ago from Atlanta, GA

      Thanks Crafty, I had fun making them and the ideas are great for low-cost, no-cost gift ideas. It'll be Christmas before we know it - Wow!

    • CraftytotheCore profile image

      CraftytotheCore 3 years ago

      I just love these ideas! Especially the sweet tweets! Very crafty indeed!

    • Your Cousins profile image

      Your Cousins 4 years ago from Atlanta, GA

      Thanks Rajan Jolly, It's always great to be able to give a gift that is personal, yet didn't break the bank!

    • rajan jolly profile image

      Rajan Singh Jolly 4 years ago from From Mumbai, presently in Jalandhar,INDIA.

      Your Cousins, these gifts are just awesome and you indeed are very creative. These gifts look so attractive and surely will be treasured for a long, long time.Voted up and awesome.

    • kidscrafts profile image

      kidscrafts 4 years ago from Ottawa, Canada

      You are totally right! It gives also quality time with a parent if it's done together:-)

    • Your Cousins profile image

      Your Cousins 4 years ago from Atlanta, GA

      Plus these are great projects to make with kids who are out of school for the holidays. I think I'll go tweet that!

    • kidscrafts profile image

      kidscrafts 4 years ago from Ottawa, Canada

      I like to create gifts myself because it gives a special touch to the gift! Your projects are just fantastic!