Saturday 27 December 2008

Many many mini-books.

There was a time when I just didn't 'get' mini-books...but my-oh-my how times have changed. It was while I was making what has since become one of my favourite projects of 2008 that I began to fall for the charms of the smaller canvas!

I'll share photos of that particular book with you next time, but in the meantime here are some I've made as gifts since contracting mini-book mania!

The first is a gift for James's sister, her husband and their children and contains photos of their first Christmas spent all together as a family.

The starting point was the leather covers [colour swatches from a furniture shop] which I've had in my stash for several years, just waiting for the perfect opportunity to make use of them. As I wanted to make something which co-ordinated with the interior of their living room [which has a brown leather chair] I knew this was the perfect occasion.

I chose papers in shades of pastel pink, plum and blue to fit in with their sort furnishings and to echo the colours of the Christmas decorations in the photos. For the inside I printed 20 or so photos small enough to fit, added some rub-on sentiments and continued the colour theme with a mixture of ribbons and trims to the book ring which was holding it altogether.

Although they knew we took photographs on the day, they don't know that I've turned them into this album and I can't wait to give it to them. I'm hoping that it will bring a little light relief into their lives at the moment and remind them of a happy - if a little hectic - family day.

This next book was a birthday gift for Anna [my extremely talented friend] and marks a different approach to making a mini-book as a gift for non-scrapping friends.

The intention behind creating the leather bound book was to record special memories, for 2 non-scrappers, during a period in which they don't have the time to record them for themselves. For Anna I simply wanted to make her something cute, kitchy and interesting - but something unfinished enough for her to be able to make it her own.
I was inspired by some very simple, yet charming, felt covered envelope books which Elsie Flannagan made in a recent online class. I adapted the idea here using the bright Jack and the Beanstalk fabric [which came with a QTea kit this Summer]as my cover - which I held closed with some tiny bulldog clips.

The pages were simply a mixture of coin envelopes, journaling blocks and tags, all hole-punched and threaded onto a velvet ribbon which was fastened on the outside of the book covers.

I slipped tags inside several of the envelopes using colourful paperclips to keep them closed, and added a hint of woodgrain sticky-back plastic here and there [I'm in love with woodgrain at the moment!].

One of the most fun parts of this for me was embellishing some of the envelopes with some of the cool things she'd sent to me in one of our frequent stash-swaps. Things such as a pink sticking plaster decorated with yellow chipmunks!

Although I used many different elements and oddments in this project, repeating the colours of orange, blue and green throughout, helped me maintain a cohesive feel within a more free, higgledy piggledy style. [Ha! There's a trend for you to watch in 09 'higgledy piggledy' here we come!!]

I was aiming to create a bright, jumbled up but ultimately blank slate for her to personalise in her wonderfully inventive style. So far she has suggested she may either keep precious pieces of paper ephemera in the envelopes ... or use it to store print-outs of the hundreds of [generally nonsensical] messages we've sent one another via UKScrappers!

And finally .... we have the mini-book which I included in my parcel as part of the 'Secret Santa' swap we ran in my 'Ordinary Treasures' social group on UKScrappers.

I knew that my recipient was spending Christmas with her brand new, first, grandchild and I thought it would be nice to put together a 'Baby's First Christmas' book kit for her to record the occasion.

Aware that her scrapping style is very much more elegant, graphic and minimal than my own, I tried to choose cardstock which would suit her rather than impose my own penchant for the 'higgledly piggledy' upon her!!!

I experimented with folding the cardstock to create pouches and flaps, inspired by ideas from a mini-book workshop given by Bev of Banana Frog, as I didn't want to get stuck in a pattern of creating basic tag shaped books. I couldn't resist adding in matching ribbons embellishments and extra papers, so that my recipient could put together a co-ordinating album without the need for any further materials.

So there you have it - a glimpse into my recent mini-book mania. Three gifts which will hopefully bring as much enjoyment to their new owners as they did to me as I was creating them.

Ultimately I'm pretty much convinced that their appeal is one of scale.

They're just so entirely cute and portable; can be easily scooped up from my desk in one hand; carried downstairs and positioned and tended to whilst on my lap while I'm watching TV on a night and ... and.... and by saying that all out loud I realise it sounds more like I'm describing what it must be like to have a cat rather than simply an increasing fondness for small, satisfyingly manageable, scrapping projects!

OK then ... how does: 'My Pet Mini-books' sound as the topic for my next mini-book???? Mmmmm?

Wednesday 24 December 2008

I'll show you mine ...[RAK Draw]

From notes on paper
Hello and a very Merry Christmas to you.

These brown paper packages tied up with string are my presents for tomorrow from James.

Under the influence of my use of kraft paper to wrap many of my gifts this year, he spotted some brown paper [which had actually been the packing material inside a box of my BoB prizes which where delivered this week] and claimed it for his gift-wrap-of choice.

Then, in his search for a ribbon substitute he found some green garden string in the greenhouse and voila the 'rustic Sound of Music' [as he's named his creation] was born!!!

So, now I've shown you mine...I'll give you yours... Seeing as how he's already in 'Santa' mode I got James to draw the winner of my mini-book RAK. As promised all the names went into my hat and as you can see above he drew out {Emma} as the winner.

ETA: James put it in the post to you on Saturday Emma. I hope you enjoy filling it and you know you MUST show me what you do, when you do. :)

Wednesday 17 December 2008

Now we are one.

I've realised this week that it's just over a year [one year and twelve days to be precise] since I was approached by Shimelle Laine with the question 'Would you contribute a layout to Scrapbook Inspirations Magazine?'.

To which, half a second later, I replied 'Like, err totally, that's like a no brainer ... like, yeah I'll do it'.

[Well actually no - that may well be how Shimelle and I sometimes exchange ideas now - but not back then!] Rather, my exact reply was:'Yes please! I would love to give it a go .I'm actually lost for words and will leave it here before I get gushy and over-excited, and terrified and......thanks for making my week!'.

I know that this was my reply, verbatim, because I'm an obsessive correspondence hoarder or, as I prefer to think of it: I'm my own personal archivist! If we've ever had an interesting email / messaging conversation then chances are I've got it on record somewhere. For example, I have a total of 263 MS Word pages purely holding this year's email exchanges between myself and Brass and I haven't even finished copying over November and December's yet... and I've digressed haven't I? Where was I?

Oh yes ... I was courteously accepting Shimelle's invitation to take part in the £5 Challenge feature in Issue 38 of Scrapbook Inspirations magazine [pictured here].

I was ridiculously satisfied to have been asked, out of the blue, after being spotted in the gallery over on the UKScrappers forum. But as there was only a seven day turnaround on the project there then followed a manic weekend of shopping for new stash and a full blown photo session especially for the layout. This involved the no small undertaking of me emptying out every T-Shirt I own and arranging all of them alongside myself on the bed with James climbing up a ladder to get the best shot!

Anyway, I put a lot of effort into my layout and my 100 words for this first piece and SI must have recognised something they liked as I've worked for them regularly ever since. I've had numerous layouts published and am nowpart of the 'Ask the Experts' Q&A team. The layout 'Today I' [one of my BoB entries] captured my feelings after sending in the first item which was really 'mine'. It was the article 'Have You Tried Ribbon Effects' where I provided all of the text and visuals.

It's a timely coincidence that published in this month's issue - my 1st Anniversay month - is the first article I've been commissioned to do which is based entirely on an original idea I put forward, one which Shimelle and Rosie [Waddicor] took a sizeable leap of faith in allowing me to carry out. I am hugely grateful for their support :) and LOVE how it all looks in print, despite it never feeling quite 'real' that that's me and my work, right there, out there!

There's also a glimpse of my favourite mini-book in there [in the Q&A section] which I intend to share with you properly, in more detail, very soon, for several reasons:
(a) because it contains some of the most wonderful quotations ever.
(b) it's made from clothes tags for goodness sake - what's not to like?
(c) it makes my heart sing every time I look at it! and
(d) it's evidence that despite my previous form ... I CAN actually complete mini-book projects!!!! :D

And, as it's our first year anniversary I think that it's only right and proper that there's some sort of gift buying to commemorate such a momentous occasion. And you know what the traditional 1st Anniversary gift is don't you?

Believe it or not it's .... PAPER!!!!!!!!!! Yes, PAPER!!!! PAPER!!!!! How stupendously appropriate!!! Now whatever should I treat myself to .... mmm let me see .....

Thanks for a great 1st year Scrapbook Inspirations. Here's to our 'cotton' anniversary in December 2009!