Creating a Mixed Media Book of Letters

This summer has been a busy one!  I’m so excited to share my latest project with you.  It’s taken me months to complete this mixed media book!  But it has turned out so beautifully that I can’t help but share some of my excitement and talk about my process a bit.

Completely DIY Mixed Media Book

This book is a gift for my husband, so I wanted to make it more masculine.  But, I also knew it was going to be a long process to finish it, and I had a tight deadline.  Originally I was going to alter a book and I began creating pages, but I fell into the trap of trying to make each page unique and very different from the next.  It was taking way too long and wasn’t coming together the way I hoped, so I scrapped the entire thing and started fresh.

This time I began with kraft colored cardstock.  I decided I was going to use fabric and stitch on each page to create the backgrounds.  I ripped white muslin into different sizes of squares and rectangles, and used Tim Holtz’ distress stain to color the fabric.  Once I glued the fabric down, I ran each page through my sewing machine several times.  I used several different types of stitches to add interest.

Does this book look cool enough for an online workshop?  Click here for a one question survey that will help me as I develop my online courses.  I need your help to make great content!

After the first round of stitching, each page got several strips of neutral colored washi tape.   Of course, then I realized they also needed another round of stitching to secure the tape in place.

These steps sound pretty simple, but they took a looooong time to complete.  Mostly because the bobbin threader on my sewing machine is broken and I had to thread my bobbins by hand every time they ran out of thread.  Man, that got old fast, let me tell ya.  But, the end result was worth the headache.

Once each of my pages was sewn the way I wanted, I glued two pages at a time together back to back.  This created one page, with stitching on both sides.  That’s when I began creating paper collages as beds for my notes (written on vellum).  The notes were attached to the paper groups with more stitching.

Japanese Book Binding

Next up, the binding!  I knew from the beginning I was going to use Japanese binding because of the single pages I was creating.  I used this tutorial to create the covers, and then cut strips of chipboard to place between each page in the spine.  This was important because each page needed extra space because of all the paper and embellishments I had added to each side.  I used a glue stick to glue the pages and chipboard strips together, bound the covers to the pages with binder clips, then drilled holes for the thread.  If you look closely in the video, you’ll see how crooked the holes are on the back.  Drilling holes straight through 1 1/2 inches of paper is pretty tough.  Oh well… it’s still holding together, and as long as you don’t look at the back, it looks perfect!

So, that’s my book!  My first one completely finished and created by me, cover to cover.  Yay!

Don’t forget to respond to my question about making this project an online workshop.  I really need your feedback!

Ring-Bound Wedding Card Book

I hope everyone had a wonderful holiday.  I know mine was great.  I got to see my sister and her family from Florida, and we all did a lot of stuff together over the weekend, including some shopping.  Thanksgiving is surrounded by birthdays in my family, as well- both mine and two of my sisters have birthdays in November and early December, so we celebrate a lot when we’re together.  I suppose it’s this constant celebrating that always makes me think of past times and memories at this time of year, and so when my husband and I had finished our 6 hour drive home, I went through a few of my things, remembering some of my past happy moments.

wedding card book with ribbons

Wedding Card Book

wedding card book with inserts

Of course, my wedding wasn’t that long ago, but I went through all of our cards and decided I needed to keep them together.  So I sat down over the last couple days and made a ring bound wedding card book.

I added pages of vellum in between the cards at certain points so I could record notes and memories about the people who celebrated with us and sent us gifts as well as warm wishes and prayers.

Once my husband takes the time to record memories from his family and friends who remembered us during our engagement, it should be a wonderful collection of memories, wishes, encouragement, and gratitude that we can look back on whenever we need to.  This will be perfect for our children to look at, too, and they won’t have to sort through a dusty box somewhere in order to find these.  Hopefully the notes we added will be a great insight and a helpful resource for questions about our younger days.  🙂ring-bound wedding card book

I added the ribbon last- purple and red, our wedding colors.  It adds a nice pop to the whole look.

I had to be careful with the ring size, too, because if they were too small, it would be difficult- in some cases impossible- to open the cards and read them.  I had to make sure the rings were big enough for the space I needed.  These particular rings are Seven Gypsies brand, and I love the bronze color.  It adds a vintage element.

I hope you’ll take the time to think of some of your past happy moments, and if you haven’t already, find a good way to not only preserve them, but annotate them and display them.  I think it would be a wonderful thing to have tid-bits of your life scattered throughout your home.  Treasures everywhere, just waiting to be discovered.

Wedding Pages

My husband and I have a deal- on the nights I head to scrapbook crops, he goes to gaming shops and hangs out with the guys playing Magic, The Gathering.  So far, it has worked out rather well, especially now that I’m finding friends who will come with me.

wedding scrapbook page

My friend Carly and I had a lot of fun in the back room at Archiver’s last night, and I finished a few wedding pages in the process.  Though it wasn’t clean fun (I got ink all over myself), it was nevertheless good fun, and one out of two isn’t bad for a night spent scrapbooking, especially since getting ink all over yourself is pretty much a scrapbooking requirement.

 wedding scrapbook page

As you can see, I’m working on my wedding album.  I’ve found that I do work better when I’m working on several projects at once, and switch off working on one or the other.  If I work on one thing for too long, my brain starts to lock up creatively and I get bored and frustrated.  So coming back to things has been working well for me so far.

One element I love on my first page is all the tiny pictures I added underneath the larger, more abstract one above it.  They were free- I simply cut out the tiny recap shots shutterfly sends with your order.  Walmart and Target might put those in too… I don’t remember.  Of course, I used a lot of my stand-by elements, like rub-ons, paper flowers, brads, ink, and my new found love, Tim Holtz’ tissue tape.  I have a vision of me in the not too distant future, with an entire box filled with this stuff, from every brand imaginable.  I find myself giggling at the idea.  🙂

wedding scrapbook page

A few layouts down, many more to go.  It is definitely a process!