Sunday 14 December 2014

Altered Book for Secret Santa and Giveaway news

We all agreed at AVJ that we would take part in a Secret Santa gift exchange and each of us had one person (drawn from a hat) that we would send a gift to. So if you have a cuppa in hand I will take you through the making of my pressie.

My Secret Santa project went to the lovely Anne at Redanne. She, like all of us at AVJ, loves to get into the vintage, grungy and distressed look that the amazing Tim Holtz creates.
I was delighted to make this and send it to her, however it didn’t end up as I imagined it would, in fact I named it Topsy in the end because the ideas grew and grew, as did the book. So here’s the story.

The concept began with the idea that I would alter one of Tim’s worn covers and add the plastic tag pages for Anne to keep next years Tim tags in …. but as I thought about it more I decided to use one of the old books I had in the cupboard instead.
I started with an old vintage book that didn’t have a publication date in it, but some research on the internet suggests it was probably published in the early 1900s.
I took out the inner section just leaving the cover and reinforced the spine with some builders drywall joint tape which is a very strong paper (forgot to take a photo here). My intention was to add some flaps on the inside covers for the bound pages to slip into. But I next wanted to add a page to go with each month of the year and tag pocket. So the pages were cut to size and punched with the ‘Bind It All’ ready to put together later.  Each page was sprayed both sides with tattered rose, antique linen distress stains plus several glimmer mists to get the distressed background but keeping the colours fairly light. 
I stamped and cut Tim’s calendar months and cut the pocket hinges edging them all with walnut stain, these were later attached to Tim’s tag pockets and put through the ‘Bind It All’ as well.
Next I gathered lots of die-cuts and collage pieces as I wanted to decorate each page and decided that each one would have a tag theme to correspond with the month and I chose one main colour for each one and wrote them down to refer to.
So as you can imagine, by the time I put all my collage pages and the tag holder pages together they wouldn’t fit between the covers of the book the way I imagined. So I cut the covers off and put them through the ‘Bind It All’ but soon realised that even the largest O wire wasn’t big enough to bind it and believe me I tried lol. I knew that Anne was going to need space to add her Tim tag every month so even more room was needed. At this point I was very disappointed that it wasn’t working out and wondered what I could do to remedy the situation.  I remembered back to when I had bought scrapbook kits many, many moons ago and they had spacers which allowed the pages to go in the albums and not get crushed. So I sat and cut 12 spacers that had bee run through the ‘Bind It All’ and adhered them to each page. As you can imagine by now this book had grown enormously in depth and with the covers on was now over 2 inches deep. But I still had to get it bound. Eventually I solved the problem by googling how to bind single pages in a book and found this video.
Eh voila, new learning for me and problem solved.
It took a while to get each page bound to the next page ….
… it’s a slip knot method that I had seen before but never tried ….
… and actually in the end I was rather pleased with the result.
Each page opened fully and there is now room for the additions Anne will hopefully make.
To finish off I also added a tag to suggest to Anne what she could use the book for.
This is soooo typical of me, start with one idea and then change things as I go along.

As for my Secret Santa gift I was very lucky to receive a sketch book / journal from the lovely Jools with the most amazing cover on it. I love these hard backed books with plain paper that you can keep to add journalling, ideas, snippets of work, photographs etc, so this one will come in very handy over the coming year. The textures are gorgeous and it’s kept to a monotone palette which looks stunning.
More photos and information can be found on Jools’ blog.
Before I finish today, I know I said we all agreed to take part in the Secret Santa but dear Terry was unable to commit to it. As a dear friend who I love to see when I go to California we always swap little gifts with each other at this time of year, so I decided to send her something as well. In my haste to get it in the post to the US I forgot to photograph it and this is all I took.
But Terry has received her gift and very kindly sent me some photos.
I won’t show them all now, I will point you over to Terry’s blog for today, but I will probably be using this technique and ideas in a workshop next year.

We are having a Christmas Giveaway and Creative Guide hop over on ‘A Vintage Journey’ We would love you to come and join in the fun and there are some fabulous goodies to be given away.

I think all it needs is for me to say thanks for stopping by today, especially if you got here to the end of such a long post. Please pop over to see all the amazing projects my wonderful teamies have sent around the world and maybe get some ideas for your own hand made gifts, if not for this year then bookmark the pages or add them to Pinterest to come back to next year.

Have a wonderful Sunday.

hugs Brenda xxx


Margaret Mifsud said...

My goodness Brenda, this is a stunning project. So much work has gone into it and I know Anne will absolutely adore it (who wouldn't??) Awesome!!! ox

Julia Aston said...

What a wonderful creative and 'lot of work' project you made for Anne! I'm sure she is completely over the moon with it! and your project for Terry looks lovely as well!

Anonymous said...

Wow Brenda your work is just BRILLIANT! What a treasure you have created for Anne. Every page is beautiful! Karen.x said...

Wow I love all the little details in your book, it's beautiful, I am sure the recipient loves it! Jan x

Astrid Maclean said...

STUNNING Brenda, wow, what a labour of love, I think this is my all time favourite project of yours, and I adore how you adapted and found creative solutions at each stage, really incredible. Anne is one lucky lady, each page is a treasure, just wow. Rally love what you sent to Terry too!

Jenny Marples said...

I love how you've developed your ideas for this book and ended up with one of the most amazing 'tag books' I've seen. Your collages are superb as ever and I bet Anne will be thrilled with it. How incredibly thoughtful and kind (and typical) of you to send a beautiful gift to the lovely Terry too. Thank you so much for organising this very special Secret Santa. Jenny x

Maarit at Violets Corner said...

Simply stunning!

Warm hugs

Unknown said...

Wow it is stunning. What a fabulous present. Love it, changed a lot from my original peep at it. It will be a much treasured book I'm sure. Love and Hugs xx

Rupa Swaminathan said...

oh my! There is so much to see and I am at a loss of words! This is just the most thoughtful and beautiful much work of passion and hard work. Truly precocious. Merry Christmas toy you. Hugs, Rupa.

Words and Pictures said...

It's collage heaven, Brenda! What a spectacular gift for Anne - every page is a treat, with its own special atmosphere - absolutely amazing. And the binding looks so cool too.

A gorgeous gift from Jools, and what a fabulous make for Terry too - that background of sprays and embossing is glorious! What an amazing post.

Thank you so much for all your hard work on bringing Secret Santa to life - what a lovley thing!
Alison xx

Jane said...

I'm so thrilled to see this finished Brenda, wow what a gorgoeus book it turned into. I know just how much thought, time and love you put into making it. Anne must be so thrilled to receive such a unique gift but also that it is something she can use to put her Tim tag creations into. You are so thoughtful to think of Terry, how thrilled she must be. You also received a lovely book too....what Vintage treasures are here today. I love it! Hugs xx

Deborah said...

Wow, Brenda, that was a project that just grew and grew! I admire how you stayed flexible and adapted to each challenge that came along. And the result is fantastic.

Pamellia said...

Wow, what a spectacular project! So much TLC and attention to detail on every single page! What an amazing gift! Wonderful gift you sent Terry as well and you received a fabulous gift too! WOW! holiday hugs :)

Theresa said...

wow. Your tag book is amazing!! It is very beautiful. What a gift!!

Redanne said...

Oh Brenda, even though the foggy haze of this cold I have loved seeing how you developed my gorgeous tag book! I love every single detail of it and will treasure it always!! I feel so honoured to have received it! Thank you so much for organising this wonderful Secret Santa exchange.

Jool's gift is stunning and how very thoughtful of you to send a gift to the lovely Terry. You are an amazing lady... Hugs, Anne xx

Vicki Dutcher said...

This book is AMAZING! You spent a lot of time creating it and the recipient is very lucky to have received it!

crafty creations said...

What an amazing book Brenda - I am sure Anne will be delighted with it - beautiful

Terry said...

Each page is as amazing as the next with all the collaged elements and inky layers. Brenda, this altered book for Anne is a treasure for sure! Gorgeous! You know how I feel about the beautiful canvas you made for me. I love it and can't thank you enough. Have a wonderful Sunday, my dear friend! Hugs!

Daniele said...

amazing project Brenda all so different jam packed with so many details
hugs x

Connie Fossenier said...

Brenda your work is stunning...I shall be visiting your blog everything on it..

Mrs.B said...

Hi Brenda, This is an amazing book, love all the layering and details on each page, a real keepsake.
Love the canvas for Terry, gorgeous colours.
Avril xx

Jools Robertson said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Jools Robertson said...

Amazing tag book, love the up cycling of the old book
Each page is a work of art, all so beautiful if I had to choose favourites it would be January, June and December
An amazing treasure to behold, Anne must be over the moon

Terry's canvas is beautiful, gorgeous colours and embossed details

I'm so pleased that you like you snowflake journal

Jools x

Nikki said...

This is just amazing love all the details in your book :)

Margreet said...

Your long post is all worthwhile....what a marvellous every page of it!
xxx Margreet

Laura Turner said...

You created such a wonderful altered book! Truly inspirational. Thank you for the pictures and detail!

Laura from Sunday View

Nikki Acton said...

An amazing gift and a masterclass in collage all in one go! Nx

Deb said...

What a beautiful and thoughtful gift Brenda, it is amazing! And your journal from Jools is gorgeous! Thanks for sharing and wishing you and yours a very Merry Christmas!

jasann said...

Hi Brenda, This is a beautiful book, what a lot of work it took and I love the binding too, I am going to try to learn it!! and what an amazing gift you received from Jools, it is so lovely too!!!!

Craft Addicts - Tracy Evans said...

Gorgeous Brenda, so many wonderful details and the binding is wonderful. This is a beautiful keepsake and so useful too. Gorgeous . Tracy x

Dagmar said...

What a fantastic work - it´s such a fantastic great artwork and a beautiful gift!!!
Hugs Dagmar

beth b said...

Please let me know how I can be your Secret Santa recipient next year!! This book is absolutely beautiful!! Such detail!! Wow! A true masterpiece!! Thanks for sharing!

Meggymay said...

Wow, a stunning project, I can imagine how you must have enjoyed making it. Loved the other projects as well.

Sue Kosec said...

Just beautiful work. If it were a gift to me, I don't know if I would change or add anything. It's perfect as is. Lucky recipient.

Merry Christmas!

Pam said...

What a stunning project! Love all the pages. The book cover is fabulous! Amazing work!

Unknown said...


What a wonderful treasure. I love how you told us of all your issues and how you over came them. I enjoyed reading that you are just so down to earth and explained to us how things did not go quite as planned and overcame them with a beautiful result. Besides, it tells me that I'm not alone when things do not turn out or go as planned in the creative world. So often when I read different blogs and they show us how to make them, we never see the parts that never go quite right. Thanks for sharing. Happy Holidays

sarascloset said...

Oh, my Goodness! what a wonderful book you have made for Anne! Each page is a masterpiece, and the cover and your stitching is superb! I love to hear how this project evolved! Sounds so much like how I work! But I am speechless, as I am sure Anne was when she receive her awesome gift. Truly heartfelt! And lovely to think of Terry, and will have to pop over there to get a closer look. Very pretty journal from Jools--I'm sure it will get plenty of use! Thank you for sharing your gifts with us!

sue said...

The book you made is absolutely stunning! I had to comment - it took my breath away! I think it is a masterpiece!!!! I don't even know how you were able to give it away! Just exquisite!!!!!!!!!!

mamablitger said...

LOVE LOVE LOVE your fab book. Oh gosh. Each page is exquisite. A lot of master-pieces. You did put so much work into this. But guess you think it was worth the efforts ? !!!!!!
And the journal page you made for Terri is awesome. Love the calm colors, the embossing and the overall design.b
You are so creative and talented.cwe are fortunate that you'll share this with us. Thank you for sharing inspirational art !!!!
Hugs from Monica ... Spain

Maggie said...

WOW WOW WOW Brenda a fabulous project a great idea to keep Tims Tags in Love Love it.....want one want one lol!, Anne is going to love it too I'm sure.


Gerrina said...

Wow, your book looks stunning! So much details, a beautiful binding and super front!
Hope you were happy with the gift you recieved aswell... Inky greetings, Gerrina

Gina said...

Well we Crazy creatives just never give in do we lol....absolutely amazing journal/book(the thicker the better as far as I'm concerned), and great binding skills. I hadn't seen that method before :D XXX

Anita Houston The Artful Maven said...

I cannot imagine how much time this took! WOW OH WOW!!! Each page is amazing and so much to see and love!

Kathy G. said...

This is so gorgeous. What a fantastic gift. I can see the amount of time this took for you to create. Just wonderful.

massofhair said...

AMAZING work of love Brenda, it will surely be treasure by Anne :-) xxx

Paper Profusion said...

Wowsers Brenda!!! What a fantastic and beautiful labour of love. The entire project is stunning! Anne sure is very lucky indeed. All your pages are beautifully you and then all the trouble with the binding but you pulled it together (sorry!!) masterfully. Brilliantly done. I just love Terry's pressie too - it looks fabulous and I bet she loves it too. Nicola x

Unknown said...

Absolutely Amazing, Brenda! This is truly a one of a kind treasure, made with lots of love! Anne is going to love this!! Merry Christmas and thanks for the fun Christmas Giveaway, too!!

Pawsitively Creative said...

Jaw dropping-okay now I have my jaw back in place. The time and effort you put into this piece is wonderful! Amazeballs!!!! TFS!!!! ~Niki

Annie said...

Such a thoughtful and beautiful gift/keepsake Brenda x
Stunning details made with love on each page. Your gift from Jools is also beautiful and I know you will treasure it.
Love your gift to Terry too

TFS and Best Wishes for a wonderful Christmas and New Year

Hugs Annie xx

Jerrie said...

What a fab idea for storing the tags. I just love this and my favorite month is August!!142

Unknown said...

What an amazing project, loved all the pages, such a great altered book!

Maarit at Violets Corner said...

I'm joining your give away too :)


Maarit at Violets Corner said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
pearshapedcrafting said...

This is not just an amazing project with so many fabulous details it's such a fabulous idea - I just know that Anne will love it. Hugs, Chrisx

S@ndy Diller said...

I loved seeing all the gifts. Your book is amazing. So sweet of you to think of Terry and include her. Thank you so much for your work in organizing this event. Loved it.

S@ndy xx

Marjie Kemper said...

Anne must have been beside herself when she opened this package (and Terry, too!) The attention to detail on each and every page is outstanding... truly gorgeous collages... LOVELY!!

Juliz Design Post said...

Brenda, what a stunning tag book, your collage elements are jaw dropping. It was lovely to see how your creativeness evolved in building this whole project. I'm sure Anne can't stop looking at this treasure from you. Loved Jools gift to you and how thoughtful to send Terry a beautiful gift.
I have absolutely loved the whole magical experience of our Secret Santa, thanks so much for your time in putting this altogether for us.
Merry Christmas, Julie x

Kathy/NorthCarolina said...

Brenda, I found you via Sara Emily's guest post (Sara's Closet) and I am so glad I did! I'm adding your blog to my reader! I love your vintage style...and this book is just drool-worthy. How clever to use an authentically OLD book cover. You have caused my creative wheels to start turning! I'm so glad I found you! Merry Christmas!
kathy clement/kathy by

Jaya Raghuvanshi said...

Oh my! This is absolutely stunning!

Unknown said...

hello's amazing! your book make me shock,,,that's a wonderful gift..: )I'm sure Anne will be deligthed with it....thank you for sharing page by page....
Merry Christmas to you :)

Unknown said...

hello's amazing! your book make me shock,,,that's a wonderful gift..: )I'm sure Anne will be deligthed with it....thank you for sharing page by page....
Merry Christmas to you :)

Evelyn Walter said...

Wooow, what a stunning tag book! So many beautiful details, really made with love. Anne will be very happy!

4Ucards said...

Brenda this is my first time stopping and was very surprised. This booklet is amazing and it will be a treasured gift for years to come. Thank you for sharing.

Ellie Knol said...

Brenda, what a beautiful book! You must have enjoyed making this, I can see it!

Kim said...

Brenda, Your tag book is a treasure. Each month's page more beautiful than the one before. Thank you for not only sharing your ideas and talent, but also for walking us through how you problem solved the binding issue.

Christine Kiehl said...

Time very well spent! Amazing book! So many wonderful pages to look at loaded with great ideas and goodies! You are very talented! May 2015 be YOUR year! Thank you and Happy Holidays to you and yours!

Juls said...

Wow wow wow this is amazing :-) xx