Saturday, December 15, 2012

On The Third Day of Christmas ...

The Third Day of Christmas was the day I was assigned.  I found it interesting that not only did I get the third day of Christmas with this art group, but also with another swap I started on Steepster.  I probably should have done something very French Hen-ish with my art group, but, somehow, I just couldn't draw inspiration for that.

Anyway, I tossed around a few different ideas with the announcement of this swap this year ... at first, I thought this would be a great time for me to explore something I've been wanting to get in to for a long time now:  candle making.  But, the investment was a bit too much at this time, and I also worried that I might need a bit more time than I was counting on to get the hang of the candle making, and I didn't have a lot of time for those creative learning mistakes that were bound to happen.

I had a couple of other ideas, and the truth is, each one required some new technique or skill learning on my part, and I worried that I would end up too short on time before I got the hang of it.  So, I decided to go with something that I already knew how to do ... and something that I have been wanting to do for myself for some time now.

Smash Books!  I have been completely enthralled by Smash Books for the better part of this year ... since the first time I noticed them in whatever store I happened to discover them.  Since that time, I've seen them everywhere:  In Target, in Fred Meyer, and now my local Michaels seems to have restructured their floor plan to make room (and quite a bit of space has been dedicated to it!) for Smash Books.

I have been wanting to buy myself a Smash Book, but every time I'd look at the price tag, I'd think "Sheesh!  OK, so, it's not a ton of money, but, really, I could make one of these myself!  Why should I invest 20 bucks or so on a blank journal that I could easily make at home since I've all the tools and materials I need to do it?"  But the truth is, I never DID make myself a journal, I just kept coveting the pre-made ones... that is... until now.

I finally decided to make my own version of a Smash Book for everyone in my group.  For the covers, I was originally going to cover some book board with some fancy paper, but, I decided to instead get some contact paper because a) it's self-adhesive; b) it is easy to clean!; c) did I mention it's self-adhesive?  Since the adhesion of the fancy paper to the book board would be the biggest time consumer of the production of these books, I figured by using contact paper, it would cut the time I needed to make each book drastically.  And it did.
Then I just went through my huge collection of paper (I think I was hoarding all these papers, and I've come to realize that it's crazy to do that, especially since they keep coming out with awesome new papers.  This was a very freeing exercise for me, to be able to let go of some of the papers that I've been holding on to for a couple of years now!) and gathered up patterned scrapbook papers, various colors of cardstock, envelopes, and other papers and cut them to size, and started assembling the books using my rubi-coil to cut the holes in the papers.  Sadly, the rubi-coil isn't able to cut the holes in the thicker book board, so I needed to count on my Japanese screw punch for that job ... and about 2/3 of the way through it, my Japanese Screw Punch broke... so ... I had to rush out and buy an Imaginisce punching tool - it's the only thing I could find that was adequate enough to punch through the book board.  However, it is far less effective at doing the job neatly, and some of the books are not quite as well done as the others.  :(  Hopefully, though, everyone will still be able to enjoy their books, even if the holes punched in the covers are not as well aligned as the holes in the papers.

I added envelopes to the front and back covers, so that the recipients of the books can stash ephemera or whatnot in the book easily.

I debated with myself about whether or not I should embellish the cover of each of the books, but, I ultimately decided that since these are going to be journals that each artist can use in whatever way they see fit, I thought it was appropriate that they could embellish or decorate the covers in whatever way they see fit (or not embellish at all, if they choose not to).  I figured that way, they could truly make it their own, and that's what I wanted ... as it seems to me that is what a Smash Book is all about.  Right?

I do hope that the other artists in my swap group enjoy the Smash Books.  They were a lot more work than I bargained for, especially after my Screw Punch broke (going to have to get another one!) but, they really were fun to do.

And I even got a bit more creative with the wrapping this year!  I seem to remember lamenting about not putting as much effort in the wrapping last year as some of the other swappers, and I felt bad about it.  This year, this is what my wrapping looked like ...

I even made the tag.  LOL

Anyway ... I hope that the ladies enjoy their Smash Books!  What do you think?  Was this a good gift to give in this swap?


Azzrian Visions said...

These are SO SO COOL! Love all the "gadgets" inside! So useful and beautiful GOOD JOB!

Nancy B said...

I love my new smash book, Anne! I have made smaller versions of these for the girls in our SC altered book club but never made one for me. Now I have my very own and hope to fill it with happening from the new year. I'll share when I finish the front.