My new little book page pumpkin.

How to turn a paperback novel into a book page pumpkin. This is a highly satisfying DIY: fun, fast, easy, and the results are adorable.

(Warning: if you’re horrified at the idea of ripping a book to shreds in the name of a cutesy DIY project, you should maybe stop reading right about now.)

As a book lover but not a literary purist, I’ve been wanting to try my hand at some kind of book art for ages. I have my sights set on beautiful (and intimidating) Christmas creations, but somehow the stakes seem much lower for fall crafting.

Fall, as a general rule, is forgiving. And pumpkins are round-ish. And with those two encouraging thoughts, I dove in.

I started by picking up a copy of Shopaholic Ties the Knot at my library’s book sale for $0.25. My first choice—based on size, shape, and my visceral reaction to gutting a perfectly decent paperback—was a trashy romance novel. But then I realized that even if you hack a book to pieces and stretch it like a fan, you can still read the words. My little book page pumpkin could very well end up on the kitchen table if it turned out cute enough, and I didn’t want my kids reading sex scenes—even fragmented ones—over breakfast.

(I still haven’t read anything by Sophie Kinsella, but I fully intend to one of these days. Sounds like summer reading to me.)

How to turn a paperback novel into a book page pumpkin. This is a highly satisfying DIY: fun, fast, easy, and the results are adorable.

Once I had my book in hand, I free-handed a pumpkin template, based on that little ceramic pumpkin in the picture above.

Then it was time to get started in earnest.

I splayed the book out wide, right down the middle, and traced my pumpkin template onto the book’s pages. Working 10-15 pages at a time, I used sturdy craft scissors to cut out the pumpkin shape.

(Note: remove the book’s cover first. I didn’t, because I expected the cover to give my pumpkin shape and body. It turns out that the cover just gets in the way.)

How to turn a paperback novel into a book page pumpkin. This is a highly satisfying DIY: fun, fast, easy, and the results are adorable.

It worked just fine, but took longer than I thought it would. If you’re the planning-ahead sort, I highly recommend a little $4 X-acto knife instead of scissors.

(Related: I found you can really manhandle the book and it still won’t fall apart.)

When I was done cutting, I stood the pages on end and fanned them out to form a globed shape, then used a hot glue gun to secure. (Basically, I used the hot glue to attach page 1 to page 300.) Photo squares or glue dots would also work just fine for a book this size.

My newly-formed pumpkin looked a little lopsided at this point. I fluffed it a bit by using my fingers to spread the pages out evenly, then reinforced my work in a dozen or so places with thin lines of carefully applied hot glue.

To tint it gently orange, I gave it a quick spray with Krylon spray paint (in Bauhaus gold, because that’s what I had on hand).

After I finished with the spray paint, I grabbed a twig out of the backyard, snipped it down to size, and attached with hot glue. Then I added a bow for good measure.

This little pumpkin is now happily sitting in my entry, with a velvet pumpkin and a real one from Trader Joe’s, on a little demilune table the Nester inspired me to drag up from the basement. (I am loving her 31 days series on vignettes. This is my favorite post so far, for obvious reasons.)

How to turn a paperback novel into a book page pumpkin. This is a highly satisfying DIY: fun, fast, easy, and the results are adorable.

Now I have Christmas book crafting on the brain. Trees, angels, and ornaments here I come. Wish me luck?

Have you seen any book are projects? I’d love to hear all about them in comments.

Giveaway: win a set of three novels for your autumn reading

A Lady at Willowgrove Hall giveaway

Heads up, readers. Today’s giveaway is for you.

To celebrate the launch of Sarah Ladd’s new novel A Lady at Willowgrove HallHarper Collins Christian Publishing is helping you stock your bookshelves by giving away three sets of novels to three lucky readers.

A Lady at Willowgrove Hall is a brand-new Regency romance from three-time novelist Sarah Ladd. It’s the third novel in Ladd’s Whispers on the Moors series (don’t worry, they needn’t be read in order).

Ladd challenges pre-conceived notions of what a Regency heroine looks like, and her writing is strongly influenced by Austen and Brontë. The novel is thoroughly of its time, but the love story is gentle enough to pass on to your favorite tween girl after you’ve read it yourself.

Winning one book is nice, but more is better when it comes to books, so three lucky winners will each win a set of these three books:

• A Lady at Willowgrove Hall by Sarah Ladd

The Bridge Tender by Marybeth Whalen (part of her Sunset Beach series)

The Butterfly and the Violin, Kristy Cambron’s award-winning debut. (I’m reading this right now; it reminds me of The Girl You Left Behind.)

To enter, just leave a comment. Giveaway ends Sunday, October 19 at midnight Eastern time.

The fine print: Entrants must be 18 or older, U.S. only. (I’m sorry! I’d gladly pay to ship outside the border if you won, but it’s a legal thing.) Three winners will be chosen via, and will have 48 hours to claim their prize. Employees and contractors of Harper Collins Christian Publishing are ineligible. (Sorry!) 

What I’m reading: spiritual memoirs and historical fiction

twitterature October 2014

This month’s twitterature post is sponsored by HarperCollins Christian Publishing.  

Welcome to twitterature, where we share short and sweet reviews of what we’ve been reading lately on the 15th of every month.

I’ve been consciously choosing to read something other than Outlander this month (or this would be a very boring installment of twitterature). I’ve been breaking up my binge reading with modern fiction and spiritual memoirs—because hey, why not?


by Jennifer Fulwiler

something other than GodI love Jen’s blog, and enjoyed finally reading the book I’d heard so much about over there. (Important: this is not regurgitated blog content!) Jen is well-spoken, insightful, and really, really funny, and this memoir treats the heavy and the light with wit and grace. If you love a good conversion story, don’t miss this one.


by Diana Gabaldon

VoyagerThis is the 3rd book of the Outlander series, and it’s impossible to say much of anything about it without dishing spoilers left and right. Just know that I am very much still enjoying this series.


by Gillian Marchenko

sun shine downAfter meeting Gillian in person last week, I bumped her slim memoir to the top of my list. Marchenko and her husband were living in Ukraine when she gave birth to baby #3; to their surprise, she had Downs Syndrome. This is her story of coming to terms with their family’s new life. Gripping story, excellent writing. Marchenko has a second book in the works about depression, faith, and motherhood, and I’m looking forward to reading it when it comes out.


by Sarah Ladd

the lady at willowgrove hallA new release: this just hit the shelves October 7. Ladd’s third Regency romance tells a sweet story, and she does a good job impressing the era’s moral code—and its implications—on her readers. This was easy-reading chick lit; I polished it off in two days. Try as I might, I cannot convince my daughters that the woman on the cover isn’t Emma.


by Carolyn Weber

Holy is the dayI absolutely loved the excerpt Carolyn read from this at the Festival of Faith and Writing, and I ordered the book soon after. I liked the flow of this one better than her conversion story Surprised by Oxford, but I’m wondering if that’s because her second book is better written (as second books usually are), or because now that I’ve met her in person I can hear Caro reading the book in her own voice. Best read a few pages at a time.

What have you been reading lately?

Classic cult: 5 favorite Jane Austen-inspired romantic comedies

5 favorite Jane Austen romantic coms

Jane Austen is a classic, no doubt about it, but she’s gathered quite the cult following: normal fans don’t don Regency bonnets at a themed festival, bumper sticker their cars, or buy action figures.

But perhaps the greatest proof is the never-ending stream of Jane Austen remakes and romantic comedies. Here are five favorites.

5 favorite Jane Austen-inspired romantic comedies



In this 1995 movie, Jane Austen’s Emma is re-imagined for 1990s Beverly Hills, with high schooler Cher (Alicia Silverstone) standing in for Emma Woodhouse. The movie sticks awfully close to Austen’s plot: Cher is a devoted matchmaker (she sets up her teachers, she sets up her friends, she sets up new girl Harriet Smith, dubbed Tai in this Valley Girl setting). She’s also obsessed with fashion and dotes on her daddy.

And of course, Emma–er, Cher– finds love of her own, it doesn’t go according to plan. (Watch it free on Amazon Prime. If you’re not a member, start a free trial here.)

you've got mail

You’ve Got Mail

Nora Ephron’s 1998 remake of the 1940s classic Shop Around the Corner also incorporates major themes from Pride and Prejudice. Hanks and Ryan are quippy (and barbed) enough to make Elizabeth and Darcy proud, and the book itself makes it into several email messages and strategically appears in a key scene. The remake is better than the Jimmy Stewart/Margaret Sullavan original.

bridget jones

Bridget Jones’s Diary

Elizabeth Darcy is re-imagined as a thirtysomething single Brit in this 2001 hit, based on Helen Fielding’s book of the same name. This film is loosely based on Pride and Prejudice, though the love triangle (that pulls in Hugh Grant) hews awfully close to Austen’s story. Renée Zellweger stars as Bridget, and Colin Firth was asked to play Mark Darcy solely based on his appearance in the 1995 BBS edition of Pride and Prejudice (and specifically, for the lake scene).

Serious Bridget Jones fans know Fielding’s much-anticipated new installment, Bridget Jones: Mad About the Boy, just came out on October 15.


Bride and Prejudice

Pride and Prejudice becomes a Bollywood musical in this 2004 adaptation. Lizzie Bennett becomes Lalita Bakshirich, the second of four daughters in a country town in India, who falls–though not at first, of course–for the rich American hotel heir William Darcy.

I put off watching this one for years because I thought it sounded silly. I’m sorry I did: it’s so much fun.

lizzie bennet diaries

The Lizzie Bennet Diaries

Hank Green turned Pride and Prejudice into a web series in this most recent adaptation. The story is completely updated for the 21st century, maintaining the emotional strength of the original while making it believable for today. (I couldn’t imagine how they’d handle Lydia’s elopement. I was shocked at what they came up with, but I gotta admit–it worked.)

The story unfolds four-ish minutes at a time, in one hundred YouTube installments. Proof of its success: its recent Kickstarter campaign raised nearly 800% of its stated goal. 

What’s your favorite Jane Austen-inspired rom com? Are there any good ones I didn’t include here?