Jul 282012

This month, fellow Blogging Business Artisans team member Janet of Bird in the Hand Art challenged us to create anything summer-related, love-related, or “Grease” (the movie) related. My response was to create a mini pocket album made of envelopes called “The Love We Share.” I previously created an album like this for the January challenge, but not with a theme. I chose Country Boutique papers designed by Jodie Sanford for Fancy Pants Designs because I love the delicate interplay of brown, blue, cream and yellow colors in this line. Two of the papers, Loved and Wallpaper, form the front and back covers of my book.

I decided to add journal tags with writing prompts to the album, which was a lot of fun. I made so many tags, in fact, that I will probably have to make a second album so they can find a home!

As I assembled the pages of the album, all of which include a pocket for a journal tag, photo or some kind of memorabilia, I kept track of the supplies that went into this project. To my surprise, I learned that one of the biggest costs was the adhesive. I used a full roll of tape runner (40 feet) just for the journal tags. One of my goals will be to reduce costs without sacrificing the quality as I make more of these for Mister PenQuin on Etsy. You can find the completed album in my shop.

I think that this type of album could work with different themes. The album shown above would work well as an engagement, wedding or anniversary gift. I can imagine a very colorful one for a child, a friendship book for a student, or a family holiday album. Thanks, Janet, for coming up with this month’s Blogging Business Artisans challenge!

© 2012 Judy Nolan. All rights reserved.

Feb 282012

Each month members of the Blogging Business Artisans team on Etsy are challenged to stretch their creativity. This month’s challenge was conceived by Edi of Memories for Life Scrapbooks:

In February we celebrate Valentine’s Day.  My challenge to you: Create a love-themed item.  You can write a creative love letter, make a valentine, make a love-themed home decor item, etc.  Be Creative and Have Fun!

The way in which I chose to implement this challenge was to craft my first-ever hardcover book, a photo journal whose pages consist of modified envelopes, covered with designer card stock cut and folded to form pockets. The theme for this journal, which is a gift for a family member, is “Cherish,” which suggests the relationship between a couple. My German-born mother (now deceased) used to tell us as we were growing up, “People are for cherishing, not for teasing,” so I’m reminded of her with this single word on the cover of the journal.

I learned the techniques for making a hardcover book, creating pocket pages and binding them by watching several YouTube videos, among them the Envelope Mini Album Series (click on the link for the first video) by Kathy Orta of Paper Phenomenon, Stack the Deck Mini Albums by Laura of The Paper Trail, and Robyn’s Scrapbook Mini Album Binding Technique  by Robyn of Injoy Stampin’. I blended these techniques, made some mistakes along the way, and adjusted.

The most fun part of the project was making the photo-matted cards. I adhered various patterned paper shapes, collage-style, onto textured card stock, forming a patchwork of colors and patterns. Each photo-matted card was unique, as well as a surprise, since I simply moved the pieces around until they pleased me.

Another part of the photo journal project that I thoroughly enjoyed was designing journaling tags with different topics, such as Favorite eats & treats, How we met, Words we live by, Our house rules, Our recipe for love, Our favorite vacation and We’ll never do that again!  Once upon a time I ran a home-based desktop publishing business, developing all of the forms, brochures, newsletters and other designs using Corel® WordPerfect® software. I used the same software to design the journaling tags. You could use Microsoft® Office Word software just as easily; I simply prefer the former program. There were 24 journaling tags by the time I was done, not all of which will fit in the journal. However, I figure that if some of the topics don’t strike a chord with the recipient, others will do the trick . . . or they can simply be used in another journal.

I inserted some of the journaling tags in the book itself, and put the remainder in a gift box I made from patterned card stock. For each half of the box, I decided how big I wanted the box to be and added 2 inches to that, cut a rectangle with those dimensions, and scored each side of the shape at the one-inch mark. I folded along the score lines and cut corner flaps, and glued into place. If you don’t have a scoreboard, you can accomplish the same very easily by following this tutorial by Nancy Fallon of The Life and Times of One Loopy Knitter in How to Make a Card Stock Gift Box.

The book was supposed to have six envelopes for its foundation pages, but I made the mistake of not leaving enough space between the last page and the back cover, and it tore off. The lesson I learned was to create a wider spine. Also, the video tutorial called for library-style pockets on both sides of one page. I really think this makes the page too heavy, and would not do this in the next book. This extra weight probably contributed to the last page tearing off. I salvaged the pockets and adhered them to the front and back inside cover. You can see one of these pockets on the left side in the next photo.

You’ll notice, in the above photo, that the far right pocket (actually, a double pocket) is kind of bulky. The video tutorial suggested you use a smaller envelope to form this pocket. On another page, I decided to use card stock instead. Take a look at the difference below.

You can see the “salvaged” library-style pocket on the back inside cover. In my next book, particularly because there are so many tags, I will add a few more pages, keeping in mind that the spine needs to be wider. I would be interested to see if this book would be less bulky using card stock instead of envelopes, too.

I learned a great deal from this challenge, and look forward to making my next hardcover book.

© 2012 Judy Nolan. All rights reserved.

May 132011

It’s that time of year again, when high school and college seniors walk up the aisle and receive their graduation diploma. Among those making the graduation list this May and June are several family members and a friend. Since this special day doesn’t come around every year, I couldn’t bring myself to buy a commercial card. Instead, I decided to adapt the layout of a spring card I made in a recent Archivers class called Painted Petals. I used graduation-themed dimensional stickers from Jolee’s Boutique, self-adhesive gems from Bazzill Basics, paper art flowers from Hero Arts, and card stock from Best Creation and Boxer Scrapbooks.

After I was finished, I needed an envelope big enough to contain the dimensional card without crushing it. To do the job, I used my Martha Stewart Scoring Board to make one from white letterhead. I have decided that this is one of my favorite tools, since it facilitates the process of custom envelope-making, allowing me to assemble an envelope in just a few minutes. You cut your paper, score it, fold it and adhere the flaps, and ta-da! it’s finished. You can see the finished card below.

The above card accompanied a gift to a graduating friend who is bright and creative. The gift? A journal focused on creativity. The fabric cover owes its style to Sue Bleiweiss, a fiber artist from whom I took an online journal making class some years ago. Inside are three hand-sewn signatures, with the last page of each signature containing a surprise pocket. One pocket contains 10 handmade tags, another contains “Creative Play Cards” from Violette Clark (you can get them if you subscribe to her newsletter, Violette’s Creative Juice), and the third pocket contains “100 Ideas” to exercise your creative muscles from Keri Smith, the author of Wreck This Journal, This is Not a Book, and Mess: The Manual of Accidents and Mistakes. If you’ve ever felt creatively stuck, Keri’s books will get you moving again.

Every time I make one of these journals I like to customize it for the person receiving it as a gift. In fact, I often don’t know what will be inside the pockets until I get to that part of the process!

Fabric cover with satin-stitched edge

1st signature

1st pocket with 10 handmade tags inside

2nd signature

2nd pocket with Violette Clark's Creative Play Cards

3rd signature

3rd pocket with Keri Smith's "100 Ideas"

© 2011 Judy Nolan. All rights reserved.