Okay, not really, but I bet that got your attention!

Hi everyone, Happy New Year from way up North! No, not where Santa reigns, just Northern Wisconsin where I can no longer feel my nose when I go outside. But here at my craft table all is warm and bright. Especially now that I’m on this quest to make the perfect memory book! I should start at the beginning, this might take a bit, so I hope you are ready to settle in for a few more words, and even more pictures. Let’s get started.

How does one go on such a quest you might ask? Well, the quest chooses the crafter, not the other way around. I thought back in October that I’d like to bring in the New Year with a fantastic memory book/junk journal type thingy (yes, that is the technical term). So I do what I always do first: lots and lots of research. I watched a bunch of YouTube videos, talked to my crafty friends, watched Jodie from Tonic on Rewind, you get the gist. Then, I decided that even though I didn’t have the foggiest idea of what exactly I wanted to make, I’d just jump right in.

Since I didn’t get any of the Tonic dies, those were out for the time being, but there were tons of choices left! I could make one from envelopes (so neat, take 4 or 5, and put the flap from one inside another, like this:)

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Or I could make one from empty toilet paper rolls, or paper towel rolls cut in half, you just flatten them, glue the bottom, make a hinge and voila! It can practically make itself:

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Then I asked myself that age-old Crafters question, WWLD (What Would Leonie Do)? Having absolutely no idea, since I don’t know her and therefore couldn’t very well ask, I decided to wing it and follow my motto: I don’t know what I’m doing, but I’m doing it anyway. So where to start? I picked a size and began rummaging through and cutting into my beautiful Graphic 45 paper. This was a mistake, and I should have asked my friends who had already made a few mini books, but carrying on, I began starting with the cover:

Ribbet collage

Pay no attention to the pages between the cover (okay, I did start with the cover but forgot to take pictures until I had pages in it). Did I mention I was winging it? Well, up until this point I was, then I enlisted the help of my friend, Sara-John, who very patiently showed me pictures of her book and gave me some much needed advice to save this project. Thanks again, SJ!! It was too late to go back, and as I had already cut up a bunch of my G45 paper, I did salvage it enough to make it presentable:

Ribbet collage2

All in all, it turned out pretty nice, and my friend who I made for loved it! But I knew I could do better, but this blog deadline was fast approaching, so again without a die set, but with a few more videos watched, and SJ’s advice, I started a new one. But this time, I chose black for my base, cream card for my mats and all the bits of cut up Graphic 45 Christmas Magic would be used to decorate. I chose my size (7”x 5.25”) for the cover, based on the set of rectangle dies I have, and got started by laying out all the paper I chose for this book:

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Here’s a closeup of the black card I chose, and I love it! Definitely the best card stock I’ve ever used:

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I save a great deal of my packaging, so chose a couple pieces that would serve as the covers underneath the black card. Then, I scored, cut the corners and wiped all the score marks down with a damp paper towel to prevent cracking – it worked!! – and folded, burnished then glued the black card onto the cardboard packaging I had already cut down to size:

Ribbet collage3.jpg

Then I glued the inside cover paper into place and put the decorative corners on with a pair of pliers, which I used to squash them into place, and used my Cropodile to punch holes in both covers. I need a lot more practice on making proper hinges, so until then, or until I save up for a proper die set, I will use the easy method:

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Much better!  Here’s a closeup of the front cover:

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Using my rectangle die set, I chose a size I thought would fit with room to layer of 6.5”x 4.75” for my pages. I cut 10 that size out of the same black card stock, then put double-sided adhesive on three sides, leaving the top open to make a pocket:

Ribbet collage4.jpg

Now, those of you with an eye for even the smallest of details (*cough* Nancy *cough*) might notice some have a scalloped detail, while the others have a faux stitched edge. I got lucky, and while rummaging through all my dies, found another rectangle die of the same size, which helped me speed up production. Makes me want to buy another rectangle set, but anyway, although I got lucky with doing the pages that way, for the mats I only had the one die, so opted instead to use my cutting platform to cut the cream card to 6.25”x 4.5”, and cut ten of those so I’d have one for each side of the page:

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By this point, I realised there was no way I was going to meet my deadline if I was to do this right. So, I hope you’ll forgive me for not having a completed project, but one I will refer back to throughout this year. As I learn more and put more together on it, I have in mind to return to this project and since I can’t put my Christmas crafty things away completely, I decided to challenge myself to make one or two Christmas cards a month, so that next Christmas some more of my friends and family will actually get cards from me. I hope some of you will join me, as I’d love to see what you make as well. I did get a little more done by the eleventh hour, including a flip out, take a look:

Ribbet collage5

Thank you for being with me on this fun and creative journey, and I hope through all my rambling you got the message that I was trying to make, which is we don’t have to always have all the information, or even all the “right” tools. Sometimes, all we need is an idea, and a good friend or two, to create something wonderful. Until next time, happy crafting!

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