From the North Country: Beeper Bebe

February 2nd, 2011

I’m with Rae (see previous post).  I too get a little crazy this time of year when I am cooped up inside for too many days with my kid.  When I find my son is doing dismounts from the back of the sofa, the living room looks like  the aftermath of small cyclone, and I am contemplating a glass of scotch even though it is barely noon, well, I know it is time to put on our boots and find some distraction outside the house.

This is where living in a city comes in handy .  Aside from the library, one of our favorite places to visit is the Minneapolis Institute of Art.  My boy has been really, really into drawing lately and has been interested in the work of other artists, so on our most recent visit we took along a sketch book and some colored pencils.  I told him that when he saw something he really liked, we could grab a seat and he could do some drawings of that piece of art.  Now, I admit, I thought he might balk at the notion of slowing our pace through the gallery (because when you are 6 and a boy, it is all about moving at roughly the speed of sound–and maybe throwing a couple of karate kicks in there), but he was actually really excited by this idea.  So off we went and you can see some of the resulting sketches.

Which brings us to this little tutorial I have for you–it is a scenic patchwork sketch book.  And what the heck is that, you ask?  Well, just a Moleskine cahier notebook (I used the x-large plain version–they come 3 to a pack)  customized with a nice little patchwork of fabrics that together form a scenic sort of design.  So the world is your oyster in terms of what you work out for your design here–you can see I did woodland and city themed notebooks below–but it could be anything from outer space to the circus to school…or whatever.

Oh, and I also thought I would share the photos of these sketchbooks I made last Christmas as gifts for a few of the kiddies in my life–just because having some options is always nice.  They use the same essential technique but are monogrammed with the first letter of the child’s name.  Simple.

Want to make some for yourself?  You can download the instructions for the scenic patchwork sketch books here:


And just remember, if the sketchbook fails to provide enough distraction when you start to get cabin fever and your kids are bouncing off the furniture, there is always scotch (no further commentary necessary, Meg–or Rae).


Outfitted with sketchy knowledge of toy design at best and a hand-me-down sewing machine, I began designing plushies back in 2005, naming my little company Beeper Bébé.  Today, I design all manner of toys and other things, usually incorporating recycled stuff, and love to share tutorials on my blog.  I live in Minneapolis.  Future goals of mine include moving to France with my family, becoming a cowgirl, finishing that novel I started writing 15 years ago, learning to quilt, redesigning Little People for Fisher Price so that can be as cool again as they once were, and drinking scotch on my back step—not necessarily in that order though. You can find more of me at: and buy the stuff I make at  Hope to see you around some time.

13 Responses to From the North Country: Beeper Bebe

  1. Angela says:

    What a great activity to do with your son! I love it, and the sketch book cover, too.

  2. Jessica says:

    Those look great! I’ll have to try it out for a few gifts, soon.

  3. Rae says:

    SCOTCH, heee!! But yes, truly. says the woman who let her child watch toy story for the third time this week today.

    I love the side-by-sides of the art…those are SO cool! Beeper is quite the artist! Love the notebooks too, so lovely. I just saw those moleskines for sale the other day and now I have to go back and get some. Sweeeeet!

    Thank you boozy Toy Lady for this most excellent tutorial! ;)

  4. Louise says:

    Very cute! I love the sketchbooks. I just finished a sketchbook, full of fabric ‘drawings.’ (All the images are on my blog if your interested!) So I got excited when I saw your post! This is a great gift idea or idea for my son when he’s old enough to have one. Thanks!!

  5. Sally says:

    So fun!

    I found an exhibition that encouraged this in Edinburgh, check it out!


  6. Ann says:

    Great idea! I have several notebooks that my daughters use for homeschooling. This would be such a wonderful way to embellish and customize each of them. They’re going to have so much fun making them!

  7. Erika says:

    Those drawings are amazing!

  8. Katie says:

    I love those patchwork journals.

  9. love your sons work, i want to try this too – my 4 year old home educated twins are already trying to copy my art :-) thanks xxxx

  10. Hi there! Just wanted to let you know that I’ve shared your image today and linked back to your blog from mine: If you would prefer that I not share your image, please let me know and I’ll take it down immediately. Lovely meeting you!

  11. Holly says:

    For anyone interested, you can find an image of the painting featured in the first photo here, at the MIA website:

    The piece is entitled Tahkt-I-Sulayman Variation II and is by Frank Stella.