I started with a leftover strip of paper from making an Inventor’s Journal for my son. When I had folded it into an accordion, it seemed a bit tall, so I decided to fold it up from the bottom to make pockets. Got to have something to put in the pockets, so I tore another strip of leftover paper (Strathmore 400 drawing paper for all of this) into variously sized panels and put two in each pocket. Then I tore some longer strips and folded them into two 2-sheet signatures.
Using Tea Dye Distress Ink and the ink applicator Tim Holtz likes to use with it, I applied the ink all over the accordion and the panels. I wasn’t sure yet what I wanted to do with the signatures so left them alone.
I used the General’s Classic Sketching & Drawing Kit that I had with me to make three circles on the front cover, using a pale pink, a dusty rose, and a hint of blue. I grabbed a paper napkin (all this so far done in a coffeeshop) and smudged it. Then I used charcoal to draw a house outline on the front. (I did practice on some scrap first.) It looked a bit plain and clearly needed something on the front. As I experimented with adding a door, it was immediately clear that I needed to draw an open door. Very pleased that I could figure out how to do such a thing, I did it and then added some marks to the roof. It ended up looking like a thatched roof. The only way in is through the door, which stands invitingly open.
When I got home, I glued the edges of the accordion pocket shut with a very fine application of Matte Accents (it was easy and to hand). I had thought about sewing them shut but decided that is for another book–I didn’t want to add the stitches on the front cover.
I added some yellow and white with the pastel chalk pencils to the house, then I added some Dried Marigold and Tattered Rose to the inside pages of the accordion. I left the loose panels and the back of the accordion with just the Tea Dye.
Some content was called for–I couldn’t put it off any longer. I decided that this was going to be a book just for me, rather than something on the level of a gift. Reading The Architecture of Happiness, by Alain de Botton, had such an impact on me that before I returned it to the person who’d loaned it to me, I had to go through the whole book and write down the sentences that moved me the most. There were a lot of them! Also this summer one of my goals was to learn to use Photoshop Elements. Combining these things into a book seemed just right, somehow.
So I imported photos, some from royalty-free web sites and others that I or my mom had taken, fiddled around with layers and such in PSE, and then overlaid the image with a quote from the book. I guess this has really turned out as a contemplative or meditative book for me, because I love to pick it up, thumb through the little pages, and read the quotes. My thought for the slips of paper in the pockets is that I can use those to write down notes about things I’d want in my fantasy house. The end result is pretty simple, and if I were going to turn it into a gift book it would need some things added to it, but for myself, I love it.