CREATE2015: The January Edition (An Update on the Mixed Paper Books)

February 5, 2015


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So what happened to my grand visions for creating more in 2015? Where did CREATE2015 go? What have I started? Finished? Did the project disappear into oblivion?

*deep breath*

As I mentioned earlier, I wanted to try my hand at mixed paper books* for my January project.  Some talented bloggers made it look like a breeze and I figured it couldn’t be too complicated to assemble some pretty paper.

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Mistaken, thy name is Emily.

Working on the mixed-paper books was fun at the beginning. I enjoyed selecting the paper and choosing different card stock weights and textures from my supply. But then it spiraled into a nightmare.

Error #1. I’ve yet to invest in a big paper cutter. I don’t have a lot of storage for supplies right now and I haven’t really needed it. So I ended up cutting and measuring All. Of. The. Paper for the first two books (which were supposed to be identical twins) by hand. This meant that the cutting was less precise and definitely more time-consuming than I had planned.

Error #2. Once I had all of the paper assembled and cut for the first two books, I had no idea how to bind them. Originally, I planned to simple use a hole-puncher to create holes and then bind them with three loose-ring hinges. I hadn’t considered how difficult it is to cut through a stack of 20 pieces of paper, most of which are card stock.

I ended up painstakingly hole-punching three individual holes in each piece of paper using my single hole-puncher, lining up the pages to make sure that the holes were place consistently.

Again, this was so much more time-consuming than I would have dreamed. It was also sort of painful on my wrists. Also, my initial attempts at hole-punching left the corners of a few pieces looking messy. I used a pair of scalloped-edge scissors to try to mend the look, but I would have been happier with a cleaner aesthetic.

Error #3. I planned to use a piece of heavier material for the cover of each book. My hole-puncher can’t punch through material that thick. Instead of searching for a solution, I simply abandoned the cover in favor of time.

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The long and the short of this? I’m almost done with the two mixed-paper books. I’m only going to try to complete two for now, instead of the originally four. I need to reassess my methods before I expend a lot more time and materials on a similar project.

However. I do think both books will be done by the end of February. So the project wasn’t an utter failure; it will just be completed later than I had originally planned, with fewer books to show for my efforts.

What did I enjoy most about this project? The paper! I loved playing with all of my favorite papers, digging through my collection and finding paper long forgotten, and organizing it.

I definitely would try to make a mixed-paper book again. I think I just need to plan a little more carefully and design the book in advance (along with addressing logistical issues like binding)

On a related note, I’m planning to give these journals away to two of my subscribers once they are complete. More details to come, but if you are interested in one of them, go ahead and provide your email in the box in the upper-right. I’ll keep you posted about the completion of these.

They would be perfect for storing 4×4 or 2×2 Instagram prints or journaling. I am trying to focus on Project Life albums this year, which is why I am going to give them away.


Meanwhile, I’ll be sharing my February craft project (which, ironically, is complete) on the 16th.

Now it’s your turn. Any craft project disasters that you care to share? Humor me in the comments.


*Pictures in this post detail all of the pages, front and back, of the mixed-paper books.

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How to Create Memorable DIY Invitations // 2.

August 1, 2013


The invitations were one of my favorite aspects of the wedding planning process. I have never enjoyed crafts or DIY projects before this, but making our own invitations changed that. I was so excited about the finished product.

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Creating the invitations was fairly time-and-labor-intensive. At one point, there were 7 of us around the dining room table, tying, stamping, and stuffing. If you are pressed for time, this step is probably worth outsourcing. But if you have the time to create your own invitations, the personalized result will definitely be rewarding!

When we began the invitation planning process, I knew that I wanted the wedding invitations to reflect the textures and colors of the wedding. (I also was pretty certain that we could make the invitations I envisioned for less than purchasing a similar product, since elaborate custom invitations can be a large investment.)

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Our wedding colors were navy and tangerine. The invitations were primarily navy, white, and brown, with a few touches of bright orange. The completed invitations included 9 pieces:

  • The navy back-piece
  • The white front-piece with the invitation text
  • The white tag that listed our wedding website
  • An orange decorative stamp on the white tap
  • The white RSVP card
  • The brown Kraft-paper RSVP self-addressed, stamped envelope
  • The brown Kraft-paper inner envelope
  • The brown Kraft-paper outer envelope
  • Tangerine-and-white striped string and burlap string (which we interchanged) tying all of the pieces together

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To create the set, we used the following supplies:

  • Back-piece – Heavy navy cardstock, 8.5″ x 11″
  • Front-piece with text – White slightly-heavier-than-regular-paper, 8.5″ x 11″
  • RSVP card – White cardstock, 8.5″ x 11″, pre-cut into quarters
  • Pre-perforated printable price tags
  • 3 different sizes of brown Kraft-paper envelopes  – one slightly larger than the RSVP card, one slightly larger than the 8.5″ x 11″ back-piece, and one large envelope to contain all of the pieces.
  • Orange and White string
  • A bright orange stamp of a small flower

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Most of the paper products we found at either Hobby Lobby or Office Max. The envelopes were ordered from bulk suppliers. Figuring out the sizing for the envelopes was a little bit of a nightmare. When ordering envelopes, remember that the envelopes need to be minutely larger than the paper itself so that the paper can fit comfortably inside.

The Kraft-paper and rough texture of the card-stock and burlap string reflected the rustic simplicity of our wedding theme, while the delicacy and bright color of the string and flower-stamp along with the white-on-navy color contrast and the formal font and wording of the invitations added elegant touches. The beautiful layout was designed by my creative mother.


We used a large paper-cutter to do all of our trimming. If you plan to make your own invitations, I highly recommend buying one. It’ll be worth the small investment! To construct the invitations, we followed these steps:

  • Cut the navy card-stock in half
  • Print the invitations (2 invitations per 8.5″ x 11″ white front-piece), RSVP cards, and wedding-website tags
  • Cut the slightly-heavier-than-regular white paper in half and then trimmed another 1/8″ off each side of it. (Making sure the text was centered after the trimming was tricky, but if you follow these steps, simply leave an extra 1/8″ margin on either side of the text when you are centering it in your word processor program.)
  • Attach the front-piece to the back-piece using double-sided scrapbook tape, which is thinner and lighter than glue.
  • Using the perforated hole on the website tag as an attachment point, tie the pieces together.


Once the inner and outer envelopes were addressed (we opted to print ours rather than hand-writing the addresses), we tucked each set into an inner envelope. Finally, we tucked the stuffed inner envelope into the large envelope and sealed it.

Need more inspiration? This book provided me with so many wonderful ideas during our planning process.

Want some more wedding insight? Check out the entire series below!

Part 1 – an overview of our day.

Part 3 – our wedding parties.

Part 4 – the rehearsal dinner.

Part 5 – the fun DIY burlap banners we created.

Part 6 – some tips on venues.

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Barely Crafty: Quote Jar

May 17, 2012

Some of us are artistic, gifted to use things like paper and ribbon and wood with skill and ease. Those lucky individuals live in a happy world of adorable crafts. The rest of us just wish we were like that.

The Barely Crafty posts are for those of us who like pretty things, who are long on inspiration and aspiration, but who are a bit short on talent and time.

A friend of mine gave me a Quote Jar the other day. It was an inside joke, filled with lines we used on each other. But the gift itself is no joke. It is a beautiful jar with diamond-shaped etchings, reminiscent of another era and wrapped in a yellow ribbon and a dear reminder of our friendship.

Really, though, anyone could make one of these and turn it into a beautiful gift or keepsake. Even someone who is Barely Crafty.

Barely Crafty Piece: Quote Jar

Supplies: Jar with lid, construction paper, ribbon

1. Buy a beautiful antique or antique-looking jar from a thrift store, antique store, Hobby Lobby, or Target.
2. Cut two or three pieces of construction or crafting paper into 3/4" x 4" (or thereabouts) slips.
3. Write inspiring or funny quotes or Bible verses on the slips.
4. Places the slips into the jar.
5. Tie a ribbon that coordinates in color with the paper around the jar.
6. Give the jar as a memorable gift or place it somewhere where you can reach in anytime that you need some inspiration or encouragement!

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