Handmade Christmas

Since we don’t have a lot of disposable cash this Christmas, I’ve been trying to think of more “creative” ways to approach gift giving. One of the things that I’ve been playing with are handmade journals for writing, art, scrapbooking, etc.

Originally I’d thought of doing these to sell, but after doing the first one it was completely obvious that the time and expense involved in creating them would mean that it would be impossible to price them anywhere near what someone might actually pay – which I would imagine is a problem with most handmade crafts. So, the completed ones became gifts. The images below are a steampunk-themed journal, and I have one for my daughter which is mermaid-themed. My neice and nephew on this side of the pond are going to get Harry Potter-esque spellbooks.

I purchased art sketchbooks with good heavy paper, took them apart, stained all the pages wither either coffee or tea (tea is lighter and smells nicer, coffee is darker and has an odd smell). After they were completely dry and flattened out again, I printed each page with either borders or artwork, and gilded the edges with gold paint. Marbled paper is glued to the inside cover, and then it is all laced up with black cord or velvet ribbon (the velvet doesn’t work as well, as opening and closing the books becomes a bit fiddly). Glue the main artwork on the covers, decorate as needed. I’d taken apart a lot of old costume jewellery for the velvet bookmarks and cover decorations.

The mermaid book that I made for my daughter has a painted clay seaweed frame on the cover, but that is relatively fragile and I also discovered that I have no talent at all for sculpture. *sad face*

And there you have it! I’ll have to post pictures of the spellbooks after I get them done, as those should be a lot of fun.


7 thoughts on “Handmade Christmas”

  1. Brilliant! I love that kind of stuff for Christmas. It means so much more to peeps, it’s a wonder ‘we’ don’t make such things more often. I gave my mother a book of poetry once with parchment pages, my poetry printed or handwritten in different fonts, sewed up the spine and made a velvet cover with a celtic triskel on the front in gold beads. She was over the moon. It took longer to put it together than going out and buying something, but, on the other hand, it involved a lot less stress and the process was rewarding in a Zen kind of way and meditated the whole time on what she meant to me.

    I’m a complete nutter for Harry, particularly the Hogwarts idea. One of my alter-egos is a Hogwarts-simulation attendee on an amazing UK sight called HOL (Hogwarts Online), so I look forward to seeing the Harry Potter themed scrap books.

  2. I love the poetry book idea – it sounds lovely! I need to finish the Harry Potter ones – Christmas really isn’t that far away, and they take so much work. Yikes!

  3. Hi there.. just wanted to say; don’t give up on your sculptures. There are lots of molds out there to make it easy.. just use alil talc powder to make it release.

    Would you email me? with my name in the subject?? I would like to ask you a question. Lizzy Lee

    p.s. this octolady is one of my fav pix. I have another octopus lady and a squid lady to share with you!

  4. I am OBSESSED with mermaids!!! I LOVE this beyond words!
    If you ever want to make another mermaid one I WILL BUY IT!!!
    I am a talentless hack when it comes to crafting unfortunately!
    This is so stunning! I would use it as a show piece, I couldn’t bear to write in it!!
    Seriously, if you make another one I would buy it in a heartbeat!!!
    You have an amazing talent!

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