Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Paper Bag Mini Book - Happy Birthday Dear Friend

Greetings friends!!  I've been hard at work creating a paper bag/manila envelope mini book for my dear friend for her birthday tomorrow.  She and her wonderful family joined us for a few days over the Christmas break at our family home in Maine.  It was an amazing time filled with lots of sledding, hot tub swimming, game time, family time and lots and lots of playtime.

Insider look into my creative process here...I ALWAYS tend to bite off a bit more than I can chew, adding more pages and more layers but I LOVE that uber stuffed look that it lends to the final product.  The only drawback for me - at this moment in my daily life with three kids - one of whom is 10 months - is that it is very time consuming to fill every pocket, space and panel the way I want to fill them.  I started this about a month ago and a few times a week I get to my crafty space to work on it.  But honestly, with the amount of pages and pockets I've created within the base of the book I really should have given myself a lot more time to work on it OR I should have made it smaller.  Because what happens to me during the creative process is that I always want to add "just another something" or another layer or more embellishments making it more detailed. But for this book, for now, I've added just what I wanted to add with the amount of time given.  If I left it sitting on my desk for another few weeks I surely would add more.  So it's a good thing that it's coming with me today to my friend's house to deliver for her special day.  I have taken LOTS of photos so be forewarned that this is a photo heavy post.  All of the dies used are from MFT and 90% of the stamped sentiments are also from MFT.  The other non-MFT products are older rubber stamps that I've had in my stash for literally years.
Here is a shot of the entire book.  I must say it is hard to capture a really fabulous picture of the entire book from any angle so I have taken lots of different views so you can get the feel for this project.  If you're a follower, you may recognize the cover of the book from this post HERE.  I took 4 regular paper lunch bags, stitched down the sides of the bottom flap (which creates a shallow pocket) and alternated them - meaning my first paper bag laying flat had the bottom of the bag on the left, the next layer the bottom of the paper bag was on my right, and so on.  In between the layers of paper bags I have layered large manila style office envelopes.  Before layering the envelopes in, I sealed them and sliced 1/8" off of each end making them open pockets for tags and such to be tucked into.  I scored all of the bags and envelopes so that they would all nestle snuggly together and then stitched down the center with my sewing machine.  If you don't have a sewing machine you could use a piercing tool or crop-o-dile to create holes in which to thread twine, ribbon, raffia, etc to create your binding. 
As you can from this picture I have lots of different textures and colors which bring so much visual interest to this project.  The majority of the album is based in blue and white seeing as it's a winter-ish themed album. I must say, it's really fun to hold and flip through.  It's small enough to easily be able to hold in your hands but large enough to encompass many fun goodies!
I have lots of pictures in this album but I do not have my friends permission to post pictures of her children so I will only be showing you (for now) those pieces of the album that I'm able to post.
This is the bottom of one of the paper bags which creates a nice panel area to work with.  As you can see on the right, there's a picture tucked into one of those shallow pockets created by stitching the sides of the bottom of the paper bag.  With each picture that I tucked into a pocket, I took the opportunity with the real estate on the back of the photo to add inspirational quotes or pretty paper to bring this album to life further. The above panel uses MFT's Sunny Day Doodles  -  Celebrate Life set which is so fun and versatile for so many different projects. It's super fun to color, too!  The background is stamped using the new Woodgrain Background stamp.  Can you say AMAZING!?!?  It's a 5.75" x 5.75" cling mounted rubber stamp (not acrylic) and the coverage it provides is TREMENDOUS!!! You MUST own this.  I colored in the sentiment with my Distress Markers and then coated them quickly with my Wink of Stella glitter pen.
Here, on the back of a photo tag, I added a plain office tag stamped with another new MFT Background Stamp - Typewriter Text.  Same awesomeness as the Woodgrain!  I added another sentiment from the same Celebrate Life as above and colored it a bit with my Distress Markers.  
Here is a shot of the book open, the left page is one of the envelopes, you'll see a tag peeking out of the edge with the gold seam binding ribbon.  Here I've used the same Sunny Day Doodles - Celebrate Life set which is super versatile for a project like this and I've added a few different Die-namics dies - Notched Tag, Stacking Stars and Let It Snowflake.  I chose to leave my sentiment blank as I liked the ledger paper showing through which was cut using the Jumbo Fishtail Flag Stax. I think the Fishtail Flag Stax and Layers are some of the most fabulous and versatile dies that MFT has ever come out with.  If you don't own them...you need to!
Here's the back of another photo tag.  I coated a chipboard bracket in Unicorn White Pigment Ink and then heat embossed with white embossing powder.  It came out thick and glossy looking which gives it some great substance for an embellishment.  I love this paper by Amy Tangerine and I added a tiny sentiment from one of MFT's newest sets Picture This.  (talk about swoon!!)  I intentionally left lots of the tags blank so that my friend could, if she wanted to, jot down thoughts and memories about the trip.
On some of the backs of the pictures, which were of course matted with cardstock, I added some sentiments or inspirational thoughts.  This sentiment above is from the new set Picture This.  I LOVE this sentiment...it's just so true!

If you've made it this far, I thank you so much for hanging in with the plethora of photos I've added today.  I wanted to add that my darling IRL bestie Joanne has a wonderful and easy to follow tutorial on the construction of the Paper Bag Mini-Book and it can be found HERE.   

Thanks so much friends for coming by today!!  

Crafty Hugs!