Sing Your Song – Judi Kauffman

Hello from my Creative Squad! Today we have a project from Judi Kauffman. She’s sharing a fabulous way to personalize notebooks and folders using my Art Deco Summit stencil and my Nightingale, Arts and Craft Motif, and Solid Triangle rubber stamps. This month’s theme is: Sing Your Song – Everybody has their own voice, their own groove, their own one-of-a-kind personality. What is something unique about YOU that you are proud of? Don’t be shy, Sing YOUR Song!

SHE WHO CLIMBS A TREE by Judi Kauffman

I wasn’t sure how to approach this month’s theme because I was taught that ‘kvelling’ (the Yiddish word for publicly celebrating someone’s achievements) was left to others and not the person who had won a prize, graduated from college, or had just purchased their first home. That would have been bragging.

And yet, I was also given a mantra that – in a toned-down form (no hollering!) – served me well during the years that I worked freelance as a graphic artist, copywriter, illustrator, and then in the craft and needlework industry. It goes like this:

She who whispers down a well
About the things she has to sell
Will not make as many dollars
As she who climbs a tree and hollers.

I learned to market myself, to cold-call potential clients and visit with existing ones to drum up more design work, and later to reach editors of publications I wanted to work with and manufacturers whose products I wanted to incorporate into my assignments.

The ‘tear sheets’ with my projects from magazines are proof that I once climbed that tree! (Not literally, of course, I can barely scale a kitchen step ladder…)

My Creative Squad project is a stenciled 3-ring binder with stenciled pocket folders to hold a small number of my favorite tear sheets (what I would like to think my nephew will someday keep as a remembrance).

I up-cycled an old denim-covered notebook and gave some damaged pocket folders a facelift for this project.



1. Paint a denim- or canvas-covered 3-ring binder (inside and out) with white gesso, allowing some of the original color to remain visible.

2. Stencil the Art Deco Summit pattern randomly onto the front, spine and back of the outside of the notebook using acrylic paint a single color as shown. Repeat on the inside. (Alternatively, use two or more colors.)

3. Using permanent ink in a dark contrasting color, stamp the Nightingale bird stamp once on the outside of the front and back cover, and once on the inside of the front and back cover. (The bird is proudly standing alone!) Stamp Solid Triangle stamps along the spine in another dark color to accent that part of the notebook.

4. Use a label maker to spell out SHE WHO CLIMBS A TREE (or whatever words suit you!). Cut the words apart and arrange near the bird on the front cover.


1. Use black gesso and/or a mix of permanent inks to color the edges of the pocket folders. Set aside.

2. Using permanent inks, stencil an 8.5×11 sheet of heavyweight, glossy laser printer paper for each folder using the same Art Deco Summit stencil. Vary the colors as well as the amount of ink (light- or heavy-handed) and placement of the pattern.

3. Using permanent inks, stamp the Nightingale, Arts & Crafts Motif, and Solid Triangle as shown or as you prefer. Vary colors and placement. 

4. Cut stenciled/stamped sheets to fit the curve of the pocket folder. Sponge on a bit of ink to darken the edges of the sheets. Using double-sided tape or adhesive of choice, adhere to folder as shown.


The light color triangles stamped on each bird’s face echo the shape of the beak. I had thought of turning them in the opposite direction so they would look like megaphones, in keeping with the theme of singing my own song, but decided against it. 

This project was created during a time when those who are seniors or have health issues are still quarantined at home due to the coronavirus pandemic and by the time it is published that may still be the case. Therefore, I thought having the bird look like she’s wearing a protective mask made more sense. 

Though you have to listen more closely than usual, you can still hear a person’s voice when she’s wearing a mask; you can see her smile in her eyes. I’d like to think that no mask could ever mute a bird’s song.

Thank you Judi – love the way this turned out but also your thoughts that you share :)

Give it a try: you can find all my Stencils and Rubber Stamps in my Online Shop and here are some of the other supplies Judi used:

Feel inspired? Working on something yourself that you’d like to share?  I love to see how you interpret our monthly themes. Email me how you used my stencils and stamps with the theme and email me an image – I would love to share your projects in my next  “n*Spiration From Around the Globe“.

Comments (3)

  • Jean Marmo


    Oh Judi _ that quote is just amazing! And so is your binder and folders! I love the colors and the wonderful stencils!!


  • Kimberly O.


    WOW! This binder is super cool!! What a great way to keep copies of your articles too!!


  • Sue Clarke


    Theses are terrific Judi!
    The color pallet is neutral and nice to cover a book/notebook.


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