Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Memory Books

Recently, my husband's grandmother approached me to ask for help with an interesting project.  Over the years, she'd saved every letter, drawing, and card that her grandchildren had ever given her.  Included in the pile were some first-time whittling sticks and a harmonica.  She told me that when she was a girl, she had written her own grandmother a letter.  Years later, her grandmother had given it back to her, and she'd been so touched that her grandmother had kept it all those years, that she decided she wanted to do the same for her grandchildren.

She had kept all these treasures in file folders over the years, to be given to her grandchildren when she died.  But then she realized that she wasn't sure she wanted to wait that long, and that there had to be something nicer than a plain file folder to put them in.

This is where I came in.  She wanted me to come up with a couple of ideas of how to... return the letters in a nice way.  I came up with a few, from decorative boxes, to scrapbooks, to display boards.  We eventually settled on a more economic option:  a handmade memory book.

Each grandchild would receive a book.  I made all of them using an inexpensive, white one-inch binder and covered them in fabric.  Then we put all the work from that grandchild--and some pictures--into sheet protectors and put them in the book.

Did I mention she has twelve grandchildren?

A few are missing, but here's most of them finished:

 I'll focus on my husband's book to show you how I did it.
The covers were fabric that I already had, his grandmother picked out which ones she wanted to use.  The names are made with fabric markers.  At first I was printing out the names in the size and font I wanted to use, then cutting them out and tracing around them.  But finally we switched to stencils and it was a whole lot faster.

To hide the edges of the fabric, I glued some decorative paper on the inside covers.  (I hot glued the whole cover).  Here is also where I glued the odds and ends, like the whittling sticks (my husband's) and the harmonica and a button.

His grandmother wrote a personalized note to each grandchild, that we included in the beginning of each book as the first page.

We included pictures, and had fun stickers on most of the pages (not many on this one though...)

Artwork and letters that were one-sided we mounted on decorative paper (unless it took up the whole sleeve, then we didn't bother).  I made to sure mount any envelopes used (they included the child's handwriting, and the date sent on the postmark) and any cards I mounted on top of the sheet protector instead of inside, so you could still open it.  Forgot to include a picture of that.  I mounted everything using double-sided tape.

The nice thing about the sheet protectors is that artwork and letters that use both sides of the paper is easy to display.  Also, it's easy to add to the book, because all you have to do is put in another sheet protector.

For my husband we had to make an "Unfold Me" page.  He was the only one we had to do this for, because he sent his grandmother some huge drawings that we couldn't show in the book, except to keep them folded up and in a sheet protector.

Back inside cover.

His grandmother was very happy with how the whole project turned out.  And so am I.

But, there was one grandchild who had only sent two letters to her grandmother.  That's not really enough to make a book from.  Next week I'll show you what we did for her.

Thursday, February 5, 2015

Pocket Kitchen Organizer

So I saw a picture of this somewhere, and thought, "That's what I need!"  I have a pile of lists, coupons, pens, etc. always cluttering my counter, so I found this to be the perfect solution.

I used a piece of cardboard and some fabric that I already had, and hot glued the whole thing together.  Four strips of fabric and a line of glue down the center made a total of six pockets.

New Quilt

This is a quilt that I finished last summer as a 30-year wedding anniversary gift for my parents.  It probably took me a year to finish (it was originally a housewarming gift when they got their new house...).  And it still isn't as large as I intended--I just got burned out and couldn't make any more squares, even though I had cut out all the pieces.  I'll keep them though, and maybe I'll use the same pattern for something small later.

Sunday, February 1, 2015

Quiet Book, Part 2

Here are the last five pages of the Quiet Book I made for my son to keep him busy during a long flight.

I took this idea directly from a Pintrest post I saw.  The bees move back and forth, and the flowers move up and down (like they're growing! Isn't it cute?).  The bees and the flowers are made out of felt.  How did I never realize before how easy felt is to work with?  It's amazing!

Ok, the phone handle is a little small and wonky, but I love that it's velcroed down so he can pick it up and play phone.  The numbers are foam.  And on every page of the phone book I have a picture of someone in his life (mom, dad, grandpa, grandma) along with their phone numbers.

This page was my favorite, and the one I'm most proud of.  My son loves trucks (what little boy doesn't?), so I made this page especially for him.  The clouds are velcro, the tires held on by buttons, and the guy and the dog are finger puppets that you can take out of the truck!  I felt so clever.  Speaking of felt, all the elements of this page are felt.

Except for the last page, I'm not taking any credit for the page ideas I've made.