Wednesday, September 19, 2012

What I learned: A travel themed mini book

Hello everyone!
I've been holding this project back for over 3 months but I decided it was time to share it and get your feedback.

I've made mini books before- my December Daily project from 2011 is an all time favorite of mine.
But this mini about our family road trip from New York to Salt Lake City was a challenge.

Here's a look:
I found you CAN spray Hambly transparencies!
Just let them dry out over night.
Materials: Hambly Screen print cover, Maya Road Tangerine mist, washi tape from Target,
American Crafts layered embellishments and Ormolu journaling spots.
I wanted try out two things with this new book:
1. A transparent Hambly Screenprints cover with a machine stitched spine
2. Border sewn and gessoed interior pages for an art journal look.
I used brittle vintage travel magazine pages for the inside of my book so
I covered most of them with gesso to guard against breaking.
The resulting pages are a joy to turn!  
The sewn spine became a challenge when I tried to run the finished pages through my sewing machine.
As I quickly found out, hand sewing a couple of stitches to keep the pages together BEFORE you run the whole thing through your machine is a very good idea- especially when working with slippery transparency material.

The mini quickly became an art journal project. Here I'm using a chipboard stencil from Retro Cafe Art.
 I also tried to make a confetti page with a glassine envelope but the resulting look was down right ugly so I ripped half the envelope off and just left one side. 
I made three false starts and punched holes all over the place before I got anything resembling a straight line.
Washi tape now covers the holes.
Unlike fabric, paper does not recover from a missed seam.

The gesso also provided plenty of journaling space for my travel memories. I really wish Hambly hadn't gone out of business- I love their products so much! A left over piece of their "Uncharted" design holds two of my favorite photos from our family vacation.
Stitching the gessoed page edges together made them sturdy and gave them the flexibility of fabric.
I no longer worried they would crumble apart and HUGE bonus- it feels great to touch and turn the pages.

Also, Hambly transparencies don't bend very well.
I used my Martha Stewart Score Board to make the spine but the material is so thick it resists permanent bending and doesn't close properly.
I used a piece of washi tape to hold the book shut this time but next time I plan to make a little fabric button hook for the closure.
Jenni Bowlin Studio kraft tags and Studio Calico car veneers-some of my favorite CHA summer 2012 items. The quote snippets from from a Glitz print from 2011- I wish I had gotten an extra sheet because the quotes are amazing.
Photographing the book was a dilemma as well. 
Since it doesn't lie flat I had to hold it while shooting.
Next time, I will use a knife to score a line on the transparency which should get it to lie flat for photos (and reading!)
The mini has very few actual embellishments. I used a pack of October Afternoon die cuts, Hambly camera rub-ons and  an arrow from A Flair for Buttons. The compass stencil on the right-hand page is from Prima. Stamps are from Studio Calico, Studio AE and Viva Last Vegas Stamps (which is awesome- check out their website)
Here is the back cover- I loved the texture from the stenciled gesso so much I left it mostly blank.
The Greek coffee cup was such a New York City corner deli thing!
It's not really available anymore so this stamp from Viva Las Vegas has major nostalgia factor.
The bubbles stencil from Studio Calico is AMAZING- I just reminded myself I wanted to try it again on another vintage paper project- the writing shows through the borders and looks really beautiful.
So what do you think?
Any tips?
Lots of tape used in this mini. Most of it came from Target and the Recollection's
brand sold in Michael's but I also used American Crafts Amy Tangerine tape and
Tim Holtz NYC subway tape (FAVE!!!!)

I'm very glad I pushed my technical limits with this project. 
I loved working with gesso even if I had to wait 48 hours for it to dry evenly.
And the final take away? Never be afraid to make mistakes while making what is essentially a "memory" project.
You can always go back and fix those mistakes.
Or you can decide- like I did- that the mistakes are part of your process.
The next book will be better but only because I took so many "risks" with this one.

Halloween cards made with Paper Source die cuts and stamps.
(Someone's been having fun at work!)

MuChoS SmOoChEs!


  1. Love this mini and I never knew that you could spray on hambley either - I would've thought that it would rub off!

  2. Any advice she says! This is gorgeous I can almost feel all that texture and crinkliness. Beautiful, really, really REALLY beautiful Michelle! Thank you for sharing - I love all the little touches like the window with the heart pins and the white sunburst and just... everything!

    How dare you hold out on us for so long! :D

  3. Just wonderful!!! So full of yuminess and memories :) I am glad you decided to share it is a credit to you!!

  4. Are you kidding me?!?!? You don't need advice! You should be giving it! This ROCKS!!!!! I love EVERYTHING about it! The gesso stenciling, that painted sun ray... the list goes on. LOVE!

  5. Just gorgeous, Michelle! I love all of it, the stitching edges are divine, and your description makes me mad that I can't touch it! I wanna FEEL!! Lol! Also, I especially love all the journaling you did. Lola will love looking through that when she is older!

  6. Like you need any help! I love this book! Its so full of texture and fun embellishments. I love the burnt orange color on the cover and that coffee cup page looks so cool!

  7. Gosh there is sooo much to love here!!! Love the starburst and circular elements you have created - awesome. The cards are soooo funky!!! Love all your creations... you rock!!!

  8. I so agree. All of the mediums are scary at first, but once you try, it's great! I love how using them gets me to push me to accept the imperfections and roll with the punches! Love how this turned out.

  9. I love seeing minis like this. Having it so packed full it probably wouldn't fold flat whatever you did with the spine, but that is part of the charm.

  10. wow..awesome job!!! found your blog through soaphousemama!

  11. Yep - totally still in love with this!!!! Thanks for linking up at purple mailbox :)

  12. Pretty darn awesome if you ask me! It's so artsy, full of memories, and OMG the texture! You know I'm a fool for that :)


Ok peeps lets CHAT! You tell me what you REALLY think and I PROMISE to keep it open minded here.