Secret December Craft: Christmas Cards!

I have hinted a few times about my secret December craft, and while that was probably obnoxious, I really wanted this to be a surprise. This seems surprising even to me, but for all of my crafting, I have never made my own Christmas cards, and this year I wanted to change that.

And then I saw a post on Apartment Therapy all about linoleum printing and I couldn’t stop thinking about it.

See, back in 7th grade, one of our art class projects was linoleum printing, and I had so much fun with it that I kept my carved linoleum block and still have it sixteen years later. For real. Why I kept it for all these years, I’m still not really sure, especially since I was ruthless when it came to childhood mementos when I moved last summer.

gathering supplies

Anyway, the AT post told me what tools to buy, and I found most of them at a local art store, and bought the rest online. The cards and envelopes came from Paper Source, and the stamp on the inside was from AC Moore, after I had bought a more expensive one at PS; I couldn’t resist a snow theme.

in process

I stamped about 30 cards in an hour or two one weeknight, and the only issue was that I came veeeery close to running out of space to lay each card out to dry overnight.


I stamped the insides of the cards and the envelopes another night, and was really disappointed in the white stamp pad, as well as the cheap white gel pens that I bought and didn’t end up using. Oh well.

december daily book

And of course I had to washi tape the envelopes closed.

All in all, I am so, so happy with how these turned out, and I would do it again. (And I will definitely be linoleum printing again; perhaps here is where my future internet fortune lies!)

December Daily Week Four

This project continues, although I have to admit two things: 1. While working on it in short bursts is surprisingly easy (as long as you leave your craft crap out so you don’t have to set up/clean up every time, making these books without having photos printed is tough. It’s hard to imagine what I want the finished book to look like, or figure out leaving space or blank pages for photos without having them in my hands. 2. I totally messed up because I was rushing, and now Tuesday and Wednesday of this week are totally out of order, and it’s bumming me out. Oh well; there’s nothing to do to fix it so I might as well just live with it. (Last week’s update)

december daily book

december daily book

december daily book

december daily book

december daily book

december daily book

(Almost) December Daily

I bought a holiday minibook kit last year from Elise Blaha’s shop and never used it. I’ve seen a lot across the crafting interwebosphere about December Daily albums, and frankly at first I thought the idea of trying to work on any sort of minibook every day would be way too much. But then I finished my summer minibook, and it felt like doing a daily book for a short period of time would be an interesting challenge. It’s more journaling and less photos (although maybe I’ll add a few photos at the end, it wouldn’t seem right without them somehow), and here’s what I have so far. (Keep in mind that for me, the holiday season pretty much starts with Thanksgiving Eve, I mean, why wait until December?)

december daily book

december daily book

december daily book

december daily book

december daily book

december daily book

Completed: Summer 2010 Minibook

Summer may be long over, but I finally finished putting my summer 2010 minibook together! After having so much fun with the kit I bought last year, I decided to buy another of Elise Blaha’s summer mini book kits. I worked on it a bit during the summer while I had the supplies out for my 28 to do list book, especially because some of the events appear in both books. I was really inspired after taking Elise’s Big Mini online workshop in September, and found myself incorporating some of her most helpful ideas as I was putting this book together.

I tried to limit my supplies to help focus, including Paper Source paper, transparencies, my brand new washi tape, and of course the date stamp. The book is really photo-heavy, and that’s one of the reasons summer (or seasonal) books are fun to put together – this became a diary of the noteworthy events from this summer, so the straightforward nature made putting it together feel quicker. Some of the pages are very simple, but I like that. And I’m hooked on using the transparencies to include ticket stubs in the book. (Jodi and Cynthia, I’ll totally share mine with you!)

So here are some of my favorite pages. As for my next project? I think I might try a December daily book for the holidays this year, because I have a kit that I bought last year and didn’t use. We’ll see. Daily pages are a whole different can of worms, an entirely different minibook style… but it might be a lot of fun.













Completed: 28 Things Minibook

At last! The minibook documenting the 28 Things To Do While I’m 28 list is finally done. Last year, I felt a very, very strong need to finish the book and post the completed photos on my actual birthday. This year, I was still completing list items in the last days of being 28 so that just didn’t happen. Maybe it took me two years of doing these lists and books, but I finally found my sweet set-up, namely a card table in the living room that can stay as messy as I want for as long as I want, meaning that the creation process is much more fluid. Either way, creating these books is at least half of why writing these lists are so much fun… some of it is arbitrary, but after living with these 28 things in the back of my mind for a year, it’s cool to give them the documentation they deserve.

Here are some of my favorite pages. And trust me, these little scrapbooks are totally the way to go. And not just because I love the excuse to buy lots of paper, permanent markers, and labels. (I still need to get some of that Japanese masking tape though!)

August 24, 2010

28 minibook: finished!

the list, and #1: take pictures in a photobooth

#2: visit local breweries and #3: complete the couch to 5k program for real this time

#4: learn how to knit

#15: go to as many baseball games as possible

#16: make my new apartment feel like home without spending too much money

#23: love the people who matter to me and #24: go on interesting photo-taking excursions

#24: go on interesting photo-taking excursions

#27: lie in the grass, look at the sky, and feel the wind and #28: no really, age is just a number. grow up. stay young. be silly. talk a lot. take pictures. hug more. be happy.

28 minibook: finished!

GOventure day three: Coincidence

GOventure day three was a little harder. I confess I spent most of the day walking around waiting for a coincidence to hit me square in the face. That didn’t exactly happen. So when I got home from work, I was thinking about coincidences. Does it count as a coincidence if I can’t think of any when I’m trying to? Not really. Murphy’s Law, more like it.

So I got out my paper and my stamps and set to cutting and gluing my most boring, geometric, office supply type papers on a piece of 4×6 cardstock, pondering as I went. I’m not sure how I feel about coincidences in the end, because it’d be so easy to go back and think of some random thing, some tiny bit of chance, and start plotting out how much it changed the course of your life. And I do believe it happens, more than we realize. It’s a crazy thought, thinking about how much of our lives is based in random chance encounters or discoveries.

coincidence part one

But I think in the end I personally am a little more fond of the idea that we make our own chances. Our actions, decisions, and choices, how we REACT to these coincidences that are all around us, THAT is what it’s all about.

coincidence part two

GOventure day one: Wander

I’ve been inspired by crafty blogs like Elise‘s for a while, in my quest to add more craftiness to my life this past year. So when she and Kal invited anyone interested to join them in a week of GOventures, I thought it was a pretty cool idea. The plan was that Elise and Kal would come up with prompts every day for a week, and we’d use the prompts to do something (anything) creative. I was a little intimidated by the prospect, because I tend to craft in spurts (other than the whole photography thing), so weekday craft plans don’t always pan out. But Jodi and I emailed about it, and our conclusion was that at the very least, it’ll be fun. Even if we can’t keep up, getting your brain thinking in a creative kind of way is the whole POINT.

Anyway, day one’s prompt is wander, and I couldn’t help but go right to one of my constant battles: a wandering mind. Sometimes it can be pretty awesome, but sometimes the endless internal analysis and debate just makes my head spin. It’s something I wish I could reign in a little, but am hesitant (not to mention UNABLE) to really curb entirely. My brain is always, always wandering. And it sure can be an adventure. (Don’t even get me started about how I’ve been bitten by the “I want short hair” bug again!)


Ribbon-Bound Blank Books

ribbon-bound blank books: almost done!

I really like the idea of making small gifts to give people around the holidays. Putting them together is something that makes me really happy, and it’s also nice to have a reason to craft other than for yourself. I mean, there are only so many little books one person needs. Or can ever fill. So this year I thought it would be fun to make little blank notebooks for a few people. And since I was in the getting things done spirit (see also: the beer bottle cap wreath), I actually did it. And they turned out so cute, if you ask me. Here’s how I did it.

ribbon-bound blank books: the covers

I used patterned file folders and an old card holder/envelope that came in a Piperlime box for the covers, mostly because they were heavier paper and they already had creases that I could work around.

ribbon-bound blank books: the inside pages

I wanted the finished books to be 4.5 inches high and 3.5 inches wide, so I cut the pages 4.5 by 7 inches. I used a variety of paper that sort of coordinated – loose-leaf paper, graph paper, old planner pages, solid colored cardstock, and some patterned scrapbook paper. (I didn’t use the kind with gridlines on the back, because once the pages were in the books, both sides of the paper would be visible.)

ribbon-bound blank books: the ribbon

I have been collecting spools of ribbon like this from the dollar aisle at Target for a long time, and it was perfect, because each spool had about 12 inches of ribbon, which ended up being exactly the amount I needed for each book.

ribbon-bound blank books: assembly part one

Once I had all the pages cut, I arranged them in four piles and put them in the order I wanted them to appear in the books. (Haphazardly on purpose, you know, so they wouldn’t look so organized. I am organized even when I try to make it look like I’m NOT being organized!) Then I folded them in half in batches. That part was kind of annoying, because to make nice folds you’re supposed to use a tool called a bone folder, which until now I’ve brushed off as completely frivolous. Who knew?

ribbon-bound blank books: assembly part two

I found a book binding tutorial online that explained the method I wanted to use. Their instructions said to punch tiny holes in the pages of the book using an awl, which I don’t have, and then to sew the binding with embroidery floss or thread. I wanted to use ribbon because it seemed like it would be a bit sturdier, not to mention prettier. So I punched three holes, in several pages at a time, with my boring old hole puncher. That tutorial does a better job of explaining how I threaded the ribbon through.

ribbon-bound blank books: threading the ribbon

It was a little fussy, making sure that the ends were even and the ribbon lay flat, but totally worth it.

ribbon-bound blank books: assembly part three

If you’ve threaded the ribbon correctly (or, the way I did it), both ends should exit the center hole and hang on the outside of the spine of your book. Then tie them in a bow, and you’re good to go. After I finished all four books, I left them under a pile of heavy books for a few days so they could flatten out a little more. I think that if I’d used a bone folder to make better creases, this part would have been unnecessary.

ribbon-bound blank books: finished!

I decorated them (or if you want to use a fancier term, I embellished them) using a sharpie, a shipping label and stamps, and some alphabet letters. But really, that’s the fun part and that’s where anything goes.

It was a lot of fun to put these together, and I could see doing this again and trying out different sizes, different varieties of paper… the possibilities are endless!