My 4 biggest kids went back to school this morning after their long summer holiday (although actually it wasn't nearly long enough). We spent the weekend covering their books and labelling what felt like hundreds of pencils. I have an aversion to contact (sticky backed book covering) - my perfectionist side struggles with the air bubbles and creases which you always seem to get - and my kids have inherited my dislike for it. Every year they like to have something different to cover their books in and so we have done old maps, stencilled brown paper and sheet music. This year the boys have gone for foreign newspapers - the Arabic papers look particularly cool. My 9 year old daughter was very keen to try fabric, and when we were chatting to Joy about it on the phone, Joy jokingly suggested patchwork. Talk about making life harder for me!!! After raiding my stash of fabric, my Hannah sewed lots of strips together and we cut them into big rectangles and wrapped the books up like you normally would with paper. We then tucked them into the plastic covers you can buy to protect them from the rough and tumble of a school bag. They do look very pretty and I love the way that the lines aren't quite stright so they have a really quirky feel. But the best bit is seeing how proud she is of herself for sewing all day and making them with very little help. Well worth the mess!