Tuesday, March 10, 2020

Field Notes for March Mini Album Makers Challenge

Warning, this is a long post, as it is the way I track my makes!

Some years ago, I purchased the beautiful Graphic 45 "Nature's Sketchbook" papers, thinking to make a naturalist's diary..... but life and my preference
to avoid fussy cutting intervened.  I did keep the papers when I moved, though.... and so glad I did!

I have always been an avid reader, and once I dipped my toes into the world of mixed media, I knew I wanted to create little books.... even though I'd little idea how to do so.  So as we do, I turned to You Tube, and many different blogs, and slowly my skills advanced.   

Recently, I've ventured into making mini albums with a vintage feel, that usually convey some sort of story (rather than being a photo album).  When I came across the "Nature's Sketchbook" papers last month, I decided I would finally make that Diary of a Naturalist I'd thought of all those years past.  

My brother being an entymologist by training, I knew part of the book would be devoted to that field.  The graphic 45 papers contain some beautiful butterfly images, so that would be another section.  I adore vintage paintings of mushrooms and toadstools, so here would be a third section.  The Graphic 45 papers also feature some gorgeous flowers, hence the fourth and final section.  As it happens, I have quite a diverse selection of digital papers I've purchased from Etsy depicting all of these interests, as well as vintage fabrics, wallpapers and other backgrounds, so I knew I would have plenty of images, in addition to my rather large (ahem) stamp stash.

I also knew I wanted the cover to be embossed faux leather, and then highlighted per Heather of the Graphics Fairy, with a faux leather binding cover.  I dyed my embossed cover with Chipped Sapphire Distress Ink Spray, and used Prima Antique Bronze wax to highlight.  The faux leather binding cover is colored with Vintage Photo Distress Stain spray.

But what of the book's construction?  This stymied me for quite a while, as I knew I wanted a lot of ephemera within the book, but with more than pockets and trifold types of things, having almost learned here that the book can become too thick without a different approach. 

 I happened across one of Nik the Booksmith's video tutorials about a Pen Pal Folio.  (Sorry, I cannot get the link to give you the clean slate!)  Although she used file folders, I used heavy card, which is what I had, and determined that I would mount each folio on a page of the album.

The pages are constructed of black mat board in hopes they would accommodate the weight of the folio and all the enclosed ephemera.  Due to the thickness of the mat board, I ended up using each side as a page, rather than making two separate pages and then adhering them together to a hinge binding.  The side without a folio is a pocket or bellyband, with much less emphemera.  Even so, the book is quite thick; the spine is three inches across.

The first page is the title....

with a small pocket on the reverse side,

containing various dragonfly cards....

The third page is the butterfy folio.  Each folio closes with a tag "latch", on which I've printed the title.  The latch is secured with decorative brads.

The insides of the folios are lined with light vintage damask papers.   The folios contain tags, little books, and pamphlets depicting the subject matter.

Here are the other folios.  I apologize for the formatting - Blogger and I usually have issues with that :-)

The opposite side of the butterfly folio is a belly band with a small pamphlet giving the origin of the word "Mycology" (the study of mushrooms).... and opposite that is the mushroom folio.

inside the folio are tags and a little book about mushrooms

The next folio is devoted to Entymology.... and the back of the mushroom folio has a small pocket with cards of various wasps....

The folio has tags and a small book about insects.....

 The final folio is about flora:

 The back of the Entymology folio is again a pocket with a variety of floral cards.... backed with beautiful digital vintage paper....

This folio has a few simple cards, again backed with digital paper.... 

And a wee booklet about wildflowers....

The final page (on the back of the flora folio) has a small pocket with a pamplet giving credits....

 The inside front cover has a simple bookplate.... and the inside back cover has a magnetic strap containing a map, perhaps depicting the naturalist's travels....

And the book itself has a ribbon closure, secured with eyelets.

Thank you so much for hanging in there with me if you did, and please know I'd love to hear from you below!

I am entering this into the March Mini Album Maker challenge and the current Celebration challenge at A Vintage Journey.  It is something of a collection of several mini albums and hopefully will count  for the mini album challenge, and I am certainly celebrating the completion of this album as well as having figured out an alternate spine for binding!


  1. Oh my goodness, Lynn - what an absolute treasure trove. The folio structure is perfect for your individual collections, each with their different focus. (For some reason, blogger isn't showing me the mushroom pictures at the moment - I've refreshed a couple of times, but will return later and hope to find it cooperating.)

    In the meantime, there is more than enough to feast my eyes on... brilliant use of the papers, the wonderful pockets full of tags and tabs, and all those intricate botanical flowers and insects. The textured cover is beautiful, especially with the glowing leather-look spine - and it was definitely a good idea to use the matboard to reinforce the structure - the whole thing is very satisfyingly chunky and substantial. A real labour of love - it's stunning. You'd also be very welcome over at our Vintage Journey challenge this month, where we're celebrating aspects of our crafting journeys - your current obsession would fit in perfectly!
    Alison x

    1. Ah yes - marvellous mushrooms. So glad I popped back to check in. Hope you're doing okay and have a support structure to deal with the current craziness. Stay safe.
      Hugs (infection free virtual ones!),
      Alison x

  2. Fabulous album but my goodness what a lot of work! Love the folio concept, it adds an element of surprise as you open them. BTW, I'm with you on fussy cutting, devil's work methinks!

  3. Wow - what a beautiful work of love here Lynn! I just love all of your pages and the wonderful images - your gorgeous cover. So many wonderful folds, sleeves and tags. Thanks for joining us at A Vintage Journey celebration challenge!

  4. Never apologise for a long post !! especially when we can see all those fabulous pages! Brilliant use of all the wonderful detailed pages and so many interactive pages. An absolute stunner all round! Thank you for joining as at Mini Album Makers for our challenge this month. Jennie x

  5. Oh how utterly gorgeous! The little album is stunning and soooooo right up my street! Gorgeous papers - I have the same set tucked away somewhere but it's 'too lovely to be used' (ridiculous I know - it's a habit I'm trying to break!). Seeing the beauty you've created has inspired me to get using my stash more. Such a lot of beautiful details and such a lot of work, but well worth every minute of time it took - this is an absolute treasure. Your tutorial for the faux leather looks a lot cleaner than the Sheena Douglass one I tried - I had glycerine everywhere!
    I've so enjoyed seeing this,
    Diana xx

  6. Thanks so much for your lovely comments on my blog. Thought I'd pop back and say the tubes you asked about are old clay pipe stems, dug up from the River Thames. Mudlarking, as it's called, is a very popular activity, although you need a licence for it, and all sorts of wonderful items are unearthed and often sold on Ebay!
    I do hope you get your mojo back soon - I have found that self isolation has created a feeling of 'blank paper syndrome' - a huge pressure I've put on myself to sit down and create something as I now have loads of time and loads of equipment! I've started finishing off old projects, hoping that will get me on the right track to create new stuff! Good luck and I hope you are coping OK with the restrictions. Stay safe and well,
    Diana xx

  7. oh Wow ! I want this !!!! You have made a fantastic album, there is so much to look at, each folio section is a work of art in its own right. I love it! Thank you so much for sharing your work with us over at A Vintage Journey. I will be checking out Nik's post too. toni x

  8. Oh Lynn, it is so wonderful to see your creativity again! I hope that everything is going well for you and that you are safe and healthy my friend. I adore the many glorious details of this wonderful album and enjoyed seeing your process and thoughts. Big hugs to you, Autumn

  9. Oh, my goodness, Lynn! I'm so happy I saved this beautiful post for when I had a bit more time to linger over the photos and read every word of your creative journey. This is indeed a fantastic journal, and is right up my alley with the content! I love Nature and all these wonderful gifts God gives so freely for us to enjoy! What a wonderful book to page through! Hope you continue to play and stay in and stay healthy!

  10. Wow, how amazing! I love all the elements that you created and the images that you used - stunning 😁. Thanks so much for joining our birthday celebrations at A Vintage Journey with this amazing make! Hugs, Jo x


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