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Wednesday 1 November 2017

Love This Life

Happy November everybody!  It's been all Encores and sample replays round here lately, but finally I have something brand new for you.

It's the first of the month, so it's time for a new Mini Album Makers Challenge to begin.

As always, any handmade book is welcome, and there's some gorgeous inspiration from my team-mates.

Before you head over to check it out, though, here's my creation to get your book-making juices flowing... and it's not what you might expect at the beginning of November (unless you live in Australia, that is).

I found myself having a final fling with summer for this gentle handmade book.  The colour palette, the flowers, and the delicate filigree frame are all doing their best to fight off the idea that winter is almost here!

This is one of my recycled albums... it had a very lowly start as an Amazon envelope - not the elaborate sort, just one of the standard cardboard envelopes in which things like DVDs and books usually arrive.

I cut it open...

... and then trimmed to the internal raised border to create my book cover.

I painted the spine in DecoArt Warm White, and covered the front and back panels with some papers from the Tim Holtz Wallflower Paper Stash, over which I then brayered some watered down paint for a shabbier look.

To reinforce the spine, but also to make it look a little more attractive, I used some wide fine-mesh burlap ribbon in cream, which happened to be a good width.  It left enough spare to create a decorative fringe down the edges of the covers.

From the start, I'd been thinking that this fabulous frame by one of our sponsors, Gypsy Soul Laser Cuts, would make a great feature for the front cover - but that was as far as the thinking went at this point.

For the signatures to form the pages of my book, I used watercolour papers from a cheap pad.  The 10.5 x 7.5 inch pages turned out to be just the right size for the Amazon book cover.

I tore them out, folded them in half, and used a simple pamphlet stitch to bind them.  (There are plenty of tutorials out there on youtube, but I have this very straightforward one saved as my "reminder" tutorial when I need it.)

Time to get that front cover moving again.  I reached for the crackle paints - of course!  First I gave the frame of the DecoArt Warm White and then over that I added some of the DecoArt Media Crackle Paint.

Once it had done its crackling thing, I squidged on some Bundled Sage Distress Stain to give it a hint of green.

Finally, I used the DecoArt Antiquing Cream in Medium Grey to accentuate the crackles.  As I was wiping it away, a few flakes of crackle came away.  Given the shabby chic style, I don't mind this distressed look, but to make sure it didn't happen to much, I sealed the whole thing with some DecoArt Ultra Matte Varnish.  

Finally, I glued the frame down over some ivory sari ribbon, which I'd chosen to use as the book closure.

From there it was just a question of enjoying playing with the decorations - including all these summery flowers, both paper blooms and dried sprays, and some moss.

I picked out one of the Quote Chips to provide the words on my front cover.  I inked the edges with Bundled Sage Distress Ink, and added some tangled thread behind it for additional movement.

The Idea-ology Paper Doll dancer was, I admit, something of a late addition - but I really love her now she's there.

I stuck one of the inbetween-bits of chipboard to the back of her legs so that they wouldn't be floating vulnerably in mid-air...

... and I added some extra Bundled Sage shadow under her feet, to ground her visually.

I love her evident joie-de-vivre - perfect for the chosen Quote Chip, I thought!

Oh - almost forgot to show the binding of the signatures into the book cover - sorry!  I quite like having the workings of things on show, so this is very simple.

I cut some cotton ribbon in a pale cream into three lengths and quite simply looped each one around its signature and then around the length of the spine.

The knots are tied on the inside of the signatures.  Again, I like seeing the "makings".  And you have some fabric as well as the book-binding thread to play with on those pages when you get to them.  If you decide it's too much, you can always trim it down later.

A little bit of sliding and adjusting to make them nice and straight, and the external ribbons make, I think, a very nice decorative feature against the cream burlap spine.

Another late addition was the spritzing of Bundled Sage Distress Spray over the internal pages.

It's not on all of them, and it's more on some than others, but it gives a nice starting point - the blank-page-syndrome is already dealt with, so you might as well just start writing or creating.

I don't play with paper flowers that often - but I always enjoy them when I do, especially in combination with these sprays of dried flowers. 

I do use the tiny dried flower stems more often.  They're usually a creamy ivory colour, but these had yellowed slightly with age...

...meaning they match the pale yellow stamens of some of the flowers beautifully... 

... giving the whole thing a sunshiny warmth, so I'm not complaining!

I like the touch of deeper colour which the moss brings.

The sari ribbon really makes me happy - a romantic shabby chic closure.

I also really like the combination of the three different fabrics visible on the spine.

And, of course, the delicious weathered crackle.

So that's pretty much that... it's a more floral, shabby chic look than is common around here, though I do indulge my "pretty" side occasionally, but I had a lovely time putting it all together. 

Making it coincided with those wonderful warm sunny days which turned up so strangely in the middle of October - so it was probably partly that which influenced the summery feel.  

And I'm heading off to slightly sunnier climes shortly - it'll probably be even quieter around here for a while, but I'm very much looking forward to a proper break.

It's nice to hold off winter for that little bit longer - I hope you agree!

Do hop over to the Mini Album Makers Challenge to see the inspirational books made by my fabulous team-mates and, if you need another nudge to get creating, how about this?

Our sponsors this month are the amazing Lindy's Stamp Gang, who are offering a generous $25 prize voucher to our winner, and we'll also be highlighting some top picks from the entries.  We hope you'll be inspired to create a handmade book this month, so do come and play along at Mini Album Makers.

Thanks so much for stopping by today.  I've been away for a week or so and, as I just mentioned, I'm about to be away again, but I hope to do a bit of catching up in the couple of days in between!  So here's hoping to see you again soon.

A flower cannot blossom without sunshine, and man cannot live without love.
Max Muller

I'd like to share this at the That's Crafty Challenge Blog where the theme is Forever Floral


Tracey@Hotchpotchcreations said...

What a wonderful read this morning, your theme is one welcomed all year round bringing warmth to us Brits as it gets colder by the day. I love how you have crackled the laser cut, it forms a great bookplate and how you have delicately concealed your ribbon. This would be a wonderful keepsake to hold dear memories Alison, it's utterly charming. Thank you for sharing.
Hugs & Wishes Tracey

Helen said...

What a beautiful book to look at on this still dark and very cold morning (heating going on any day now!). The cover is fabulous and I love the fringed burlap.

Valerie-Jael said...

Your little book is totally gorgeous. Hugs, Valerie

Redanne said...

An absolute delight from start to finish Alison and recycling too, what could be better. The frame on the cover is gorgeous, the crackle is so beautiful and the little girl was such a great choice. I really love the contrast of fabric/ribbon, it must feel wonderful! I hope you have a wonderful time in warmer climes... Anne xx

Jennie Atkinson said...

Absolutely stunning Alison - such gorgeous colours and a wonderful collection of embellishments which sets of the altered Amazon envelope book just perfectly. I love the hessian on the spine - such a great idea. Best wishes for your break. Jennie x

Astrid Maclean said...

Oh Alison I totally LOVE the cover of this delightful album/book!! Such clever recycling! The wonderful flowery embellishments around the crackled fame and delicate colourways are stunning and I adore the way you did the spine! The paperdoll is the perfect finishing touch!

Annie said...

what a feast to the eyes Alison !!! Your album is a real delight and such a wonderful piece of recycling. Amazing details....love it!!!!

Hugs Annie xx

Nancy Wethington said...

Love this book and how it's bound. Never thought to use ribbons to hold the signatures. Going to have to try this. Beautifully done!

Hazel Agnew said...

This is delightful Alison. Loving your pretty side. I only made my first ever book last month so am always thankful for a reminder. Looking forward to the delights inside and grateful for your welcome injection of sunshine. Crackleicious! Xx

Patty O'Malley said...

Fantastic creation, Alison! Love it!

Shilpa Nagaonkar said...

Awesome it is!! Love your new book , thanks for sharing steps.

SewPaperPaint said...

Alison, I feel certain that you could transform just about anything into a shabby chic wonder! I have to say how much I love the flowers here. They really do bring this to life and give it such a springy glow that is very welcomed on this cool day! I love how you used the GSLC chippie frame. That crackle is incredible! Thanks so much for sharing all of the details along the way. Big hugs, Autumn

Mrs.B said...

A beautiful little album from such a humble beginning. Love the addition of the chipboard to decorate the cover with the pretty flowers, a real ray of sunshine.
Avril xx

froebelsternchen said...

What a delightful make Alsion! This book is unique - absolutely adorable from start to finish!

Princess Judy Palmer said...

I had to question if I were in the right place with these delicate soft summery covers. But of course it was crackle and lots of textures so of course I'm in the right place. A wonderful creation to be sure!!

Kate Yetter said...

Haha! I just had to chuckle at the lowly start of the envelope. You have certainly worked wonders and one could never tell about its humble beginnings. It is absolutely stunning all the way down to that crackle finish on the frame. Beautiful as always!

Mac Mable said...

Yes I'm all for holding on to Summer for as long as possible! Such a delicate filigree frame, love the sage colour, the binding, the moss and the ribbon closure. Your attention to detail is amazing and I so love this project. Thank you for the inspiration and have a lovely time away x

Meggymay said...

Your little journal book is stunning.It was good the see the photos and how it all came together. The covers you made are beautiful, it would be good if we could hang on to summer.
Yvonne xx

rachel said...

what a stunning journal alison - I adore what you have done -that piece on the front is stunning - and with the crackles looks even more amazing - and those flowers set it off so beautifully! Gorgeous journal! Hugs rachel x

Fliss said...

This is so pretty Alison. Love the soft colour palette and the frame detail looks gorgeous.
Fliss xx

My name is Erika. said...

What a gorgeous book cover Alison. I think it's nice to see a little bit of summer still. Hugs-Erika

Anita Houston The Artful Maven said...

An Amazon envelope?!! WOW!!! My husband will be so mad if I start hoarding those too...lol! I can't believe it was even possible to make a gorgeous album like this, from that. Awesome! LOVE the little girl...wonderful make!

Margaret Mifsud said...

Cannot believe that this gorgeous book started out as an Amazon envelope!! A brilliant make-over Alison! Love the soft palette and the cover is stunning! I love that you sprayed the pages on the inside as well! Thank you for sharing the process!! x

Dortesjs said...

cute and beautiful awsome that you used a amazon envelope. just fab

Inky and Quirky Designs said...

Totally gorgeous Alison and I love the fact you recycled material too which makes it even more fab!
Donna xx

Gloria Stengel said...

This is an amazing shabby chic journal. I love how you used the GSL Cuts frame for the front. And that ribbon and the flowers...so pretty!!! Great job this month!!

pearshapedcrafting said...

This really is absolutely wonderful! I am feeling the need to make a booklet! Chrisxx

Kirsten said...

Such a beautiful journal.

A Pink said...

oh this is wonderful, Alison. A mini album with elegance and charm . Hard ot believe it was once a plain amazon envelope .
hugs x

Mary Elizabeth said...

Really?!? Amazon never looked so good. My university is all about sustainability and you literally have taken sustainability to an art form. Love the binding. Wow! And that cover with the burlap fringe ...stunning. The color palette and theme makes me think of Tim Holtz's wallflower paper stash come to life in 3D. Even though the joyful dancer made a late appearance, it looks like she has lived there forever. I love it. I've never tried a mini album from scratch. I may just have to do so at some point. -- ME

Nora said...

Gorgeous creation and amazing tutorial!!!
Hugs, Nora.

Jackie PN said...

Absolutely Gorgeous!!!
I so want to play art next to you Alison!
Each piece looks like it took weeks to make and yet you make it sound so simple and easy in your tutorials! This is stunning!What a wonderful gift this would make!
Jackie xo

maj. said...

Magnifique !!!

Maggie said...

As always I enjoyed reading your steps to create this stunning album Alison, love the delicate colours and using a wooden element to the front with soft flowers comes together beautifully. I have several of these envelopes waiting to be used now you have inspired me to get them out and try one. Thank you for sharing