Tag Archives: Altered Books

Autumn Altered Book, update

autumn altered book cover scaled

autumn altered book chicken page scaled

autumn altered book front door scaled

autumn altered book living room scaled

autumn altered book spine scaled

I wanted to show a few of the updated pages from the Autumn altered book I began last year.

Go here for the original post.

Part II, here.

Not a huge amount of progress, but some.

Maybe next year…

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Floral Altered Book pages

from Fran's Floral Altered Book

These page layouts are from an altered book my sister made; her theme was Flowers.

On this page, she distressed the pages with purple and buff colored stamp pads, used a daisy rubber stamp, magazine clippings for the flowers and heart. The wavy floral paper scrap was from a drapery sample book, which she ran through a crimper. Also she stamped a tulip on a layered tag and used a bit of photocopied ephemera.

From Fran's Floral Altered Book

This is one of my favorite altered book pages of all time. The purple flower is a silk one, and I wouldn’t have thought of using it because it’s so thick and bulky – but it’s perfect.

Besides the silk flower, she used a purple stamp pad for distressing the page, embroidered ribbon, words cut from a magazine (Home Grown and Spring), rubber stamp, and a decorative paper napkin.

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House Altered Book, part III


Kitchen


Bedroom

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Girls' Bedroom


Pantry


Patio

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House Altered Book, part II

Some of these pages are finished and some are almost are. And there are about 4 more sets of pages left to go.


The cover


First page provides the background for the house on the cover page, and also is complete itself.


Porch

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House Altered Book, Using What I Have on Hand

My activities are still very limited – mostly to what I can do sitting or lying down. Lying down means reading, watching a video or working crossword puzzles.

Sitting activities are a bit less confining. My ability to concentrate has improved; so I decided to try making an altered book this week.

The theme is a house. I love the look of kitchens from the 1930s – 1950s. Especially with that soft green color. I’m sure there’s a name for it, but I don’t know what it is. If you do, please tell me in the comment section.

To get inspiration and some ideas, I did a search on youtube for altered books and I watched a lot of them. All of them had merit, because there really aren’t any rules concerning altered books; they are as individual as the people who create them. Click here and here to watch a couple of my favorites. (Each of these has more than 1 part. After watching, look in the sidebar for the subsequent parts.)

And, as always, I wasn’t exactly sure of how to start, so I simply started anyway.

Usually, it’s difficult for me to begin a new project because I’m not working from a kit, with directions. I think it must be kind of like a writer sitting down to begin a new work and they face the blank page. Knowing that once I get into the project, it will become apparent what works and what doesn’t. But by then, the first ones may not fit in with the rest as much as I like.

The fear of dissatisfaction has kept me from doing many, many things. And now I know
that perfection won’t be obtained this side of heaven, so I feel freer to start.

Hooray! It won’t be perfect!

So after watching the youtube videos for a couple of days, I started gathering my tools (small scissors, decorative edge scissors, gel pen, heat gun, stapler, crimper, glue stick, Tacky Glue, etc.) and my supplies (magazines, decorative scrap paper, ribbon, paint, stamp pad, Ultra Thick, etc.) and an old phone book to use as my base (it works great; when the top page gets too messy or gluey to work on, I simply tear it off and use the next one).

If you’ve been around scrapbook stores or have been to a “party” like Stampin’ Up, my supplies will look totally out of place. Not professional at all, because I like to use what I have instead of spending money that I can’t afford to do it their way. For instance, bone folders are considered a basic necessity. I use an old Kinko’s account card (looks like a credit card) and it works just fine.

The book that I altered for this project is a mathematics magazine (it has regular typing paper-type pages — not the slick kind that most magazines have and it’s bound by staples rather than a glued edge). Since our son has his B.S. in math, we have a ton of these magazines that he no longer wants. Ordinarily, we would recycle them. Instead I use them. I think the current term is re-purpose.

The first step was to prepare the base. Red acrylic paint was thinned down to a very watery consistency on a Corelle saucer (not a store bought paint palette) and painted around the edges of the two pages. After drying, a salvaged gray junk mail envelope was affixed with a glue stick on the left side, and pink construction paper was glued down on the right.

When making altered books I don’t try to use acid-free materials. Since I’m 55 years of age, they won’t have to last forever. I really don’t have anyone to inherit these projects, so it doesn’t matter if they don’t last a hundred years. For things with family photos I’m very strict about using only acid free materials.

Instead of buying packages of that wonderful ephemera for embellishments, I photocopy all kinds of things, enlarging or reducing them, as needed. Magazines, catalogs, junk mail, packaging material are wonderful resources.


For instance, the vases of flowers that border the left and right sides came from a clothing catalog. The pages are nice and thick, which made it easy to tear. Two of the phrases (‘This house is peaceful” and “make your house a home”) were clipped from magazines. The brown dotted paper ribbon at the top and bottom were cut from the cover of a Christmas paper pad.

As I said, I mostly use glue sticks (instead of those proper costly products like the double stick tape). For things needing a stronger fixative (like buttons), I use Tacky glue.

The green medallion was made from part of a green magazine page, which was stamped, glued to chipboard from a cereal box and cut out. Then I dabbed it with a watermark stamp pad, coated it with Ultra Thick, and melted it with the heat gun to make it shiny. It should’ve had a second coat. That was something that I learned by experience.

I had a lot of fun making this book and it didn’t cost me a dime. As I worked on it, I thought about how there are so many different kinds of altered books, using many different types of materials. One of the youtube videos that I listed above used solely commercial materials. They make a great looking book.

And I thought about why I get such fun out of cutting up the magazines and thinking up ways of getting a particular look without having to buy a lot of things.

I think it’s because when I was a girl, my sister and I cut furniture and paper dolls out of the discarded Sears and Montgomery Ward catalogs, and this is very reminiscent of those long ago days.

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1920s fashions, Altered Book Page

This is part II in a series of altered book fashion pages. These sketches were photocopied from some John Peacock books that I have:

Twentieth-Century Fashion : The Complete Sourcebook, 1993

Fashion Accessories: The Complete 20th Century, 2000

The 1920s (Fashion Sourcebooks), 1997

Mr. Peacock was the senior costume designer for BBC London.

Click here to go to the previous post.

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Christmas Altered/Mini Scrapbook

Fran's Christmas book, cover

Two years ago I made an altered Christmas book for my sister. It was like a mini-scrapbook and personalized with family photos and memories.


This was a gift that couldn’t have been bought in a store because it was geared to my sister. The cost was absolutely $0.00 because my supplies were items and embellishments that I already had, including photocopies of old pictures. (If the pictures hadn’t already been photocopied, it would’ve cost about $1.00 at Kinko’s to do so.)

Space was left for her to add notes of her own remembrances. I included the Nativity story from Luke and words to Christmas songs. Part of the personalizing was including the lyrics to Frosty the Snowman. We never could remember all of them and that in itself was kind of a family tradition.


Looking back at it now, it’s obvious where some of the pages could be improved and maybe she’ll let me borrow it back to work on it some more, but I’ve found that with altered books, at some point it’s just time to quit.


This post linked to:
Frugal Fridays @ Life as Mom

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A Few Christmas Paper Dolls, Altered

The following are additional pages from my sister’s paper doll altered book from the Round Robin she participated in. More Betsey McCall paper dolls will be posted soon.

Betsey McCall paper dolls, from McCall's December 1951

from Fran's Round Robin paper doll altered book

Fran's book, 2nd Santa Claus page

Lilah paper doll from Mary Englebreit's Home Companion

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Thrift: Postage Stamps – Both New & Used

There is a little drawer in my desk in which I keep stamps. Along with the new ones, I also toss in ones torn off of envelopes that were never sent. For those really organized and efficient people, it will remain a mystery why anyone would go to the trouble to write out a card or letter and then not send it. But as an imperfect, very imperfect, human, I can tell you that after a couple of years, I have a little collection of these torn off corners of envelopes.


Now the slightly less efficient may simply toss the whole unsent letter into the trash; the slightly less efficient but conscientious would recycle the whole thing.

As a member of the above mentioned imperfect group, I set out a saucer of water and soak the stamps off of the paper, then place them on a piece of waxed paper to dry (if they were placed onto the countertop while wet, then I’d have to soak them off of that.)

5 minutes of work netted me just a little less than $4.00. With stamps at .44 now, I’m glad to save those expensive little bits of colorful paper. I would no more put an unused postage stamp in the trash than I would throw away .44 in coin. Or, in this case, four $1 bills.

Not just at Christmas, but all through the year I ask the Postal clerk what kind of commemorative stamps they have. These are the ones other than the Flags or Liberty Bells, featuring historical and/or popular illustrations; some of my favorites have been Ronald Reagan, Jimmy Stewart, the state of Oklahoma, Desi and Lucy, Elvis and Henry Fonda. Commemorative don’t cost any more than the others and give a certain oomph to the envelope. Of course, one has to actually mail the letter or card for it to have the final polish of that cancellation mark.


Speaking of which, canceled stamps are a great embellishment for handmade cards, scrapbooking, altered books or any papercrafting project. There is an almost infinite variety of ones available and one begins to look at mail, even the junk mail with a whole new perspective.

This post linked to Frugal Fridays @ Life as Mom.

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Thanksgiving Altered Books

Fran's book

(All the pictures in this post are of Fran’s book. Right now, we’re having computer problems, so I can’t download photos from our camera, but I can scan things in. Hopefully soon I can post the photos and will update this post when I do.)

My sister, our friend Abby (The Paper Engineer) and I made altered Thanksgiving books. The ones I made were for Fran and Abby; Fran’s were for Abby and me, and of course, Abby’s were for Fran and me.

(Click on the photos for a bigger view. I’ve found that posting them as thumbnails takes a fraction of the time to upload.)


The only rule was that they were to be books about giving thanks. Fran’s book for me is completely different from the ones I made and I really like it. (We weren’t able to get together to exchange with Abby yet so I can’t describe hers now – I haven’t seen it.) She made her cover out of cardboard and covered it with brown toile fabric. She used orange rings for binding it together and tied pieces of ribbon onto the rings.

Stella Edens Thanksgiving poem, circa 1956


The story behind the poem is that when my sister was waiting for the bus to come, she told my mother that she was supposed to take a Thanksgiving poem to school – that day.  So, my mother the poet wrote one just like that.

Two of the pages in this book were from orange file folders that she cut in half.  These will really come in handy for tucking in Thanksgiving recipes, clippings,  memories, etc.


Then she took fall leaves and laminated them, punched holes for the binding and attached topaz (my birthstone) rhinestones on the pages.  There are several pages of the laminated leaves and she placed the rhinestones so they could all be viewed at once when looking at the first page.

For Abby’s book,  I used an Altoids tin and sponged gold paint all over it, then lined the edges with dictionary pages, cut with a deckle-edged pair of scissors.  For the message, I accordion folded brown paper, glued it to the bottom inside and listed on each fold something for which I am thankful for. /p>  On the top side I glued a piece of autumn looking alcohol inked paper and stamped ears of corn and the words:  Give Thanks.  The bottom of the tin has another piece of the dictionary page glued on.  The embellishments were cutouts of leaves, pumpkins and rubber stampings.

For my sister’s book,  I wanted to do something different.  Fran and I both like Dick and Jane books – very pleasant memories there. My theme for her book was the child’s prayer “Thank You for the Food We Eat”.

I photocopied illustrations that I could use for each line of the prayer from a Dick and Jane reader (alas, not an original. They are $90.00 at the antique mall. This was a reproduction I bought at Wall-Mart). It’s too difficult to cut them out exactly, so I left a border of white as I cut them out and distressed them with a yellow chalk pad. Then I enlarged the wording from the reader on the copier, and printed off a couple of pages, distressed them with the yellow chalk and a blue ink pad. Using a glue stick, I attached them to cardboard squares cut from a Coke carton to duplicate chipboard, then punched 3 holes along the side of each one for to lace the ribbon for binding.  Then using the glue stick, I attached the illustrating pictures to the enlarged wording.

Remember the old tablets we used when learning to print – the ones with the solid and blue dashed lines? I had a piece of that from a scrapbook store that my sister had given me, but I’ve never seen any in a store and didn’t want to use it as an original. In my stash I had some regular copy paper that I had tea-dyed. So I photocopied the penmanship paper onto the tea-dyed. It may be hard to see the blue lines on the photos, but they are there. I cut squares of this paper and used the glue stick to attach it to the cardboard for pages to face the illustration.

It would’ve been better to have had my grandson write the prayer out for me, but I didn’t plan far enough ahead. Somewhere I had read that you can duplicate a young child’s printing by using your left hand, so that’s what I did using a pencil.

For binding I used blue gingham ribbon.  The colors of this book were not the autumn earth tones, but I think it’ll be more versatile this way, and the blue was one of the main colors in both the illustrations and the penmanship paper.

I really like making the chipboard pages, it gives the book a nice heft and feel.  Also, just a few pages are thick enough for it to stand alone.  A few weeks ago on a craft blog (I’ll insert link when I can remember where I first saw it), the author had made a Christmas book using scraps of paper and embellishments on one of those black and white speckled notebooks.

Building upon her idea, I decided to make myself one.  But since I really liked the chipboard feel, I’ve used that concept.  I’ll keep recipes,  card lists,  a gift list and all sorts of Christmasy things in it.  When we get our photos to load, I’ll post them.

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