Thought I’d share a project I worked on for a couple of weeks this past month. Michael’s craft store had a contest called Springtime in Paris, in which you could win just that – a trip to Paris in the springtime! The categories were jewelry, papercraft, art, baking and floral arrangement. After weeks of nail-biting and hoping and nervous excitement on the part of many, many contestants (there were over 11,000!), they just announced the grand prize winner last evening, and it was this beautiful watercolor painting:
Such lovely, soft Spring-like colors!
The contest was open for an entire month, so I spent a few days deciding what to make. At first I thought perhaps a pretty music box? Naw, too “ordinary.” Okay, what about a decorated suitcase? My husband pointed out there are already decorated suitcases in the store! (He had a good point.) Then it occurred to me – what about a sketch book? The contest was sponsored by Canson, who make sketch paper, among many other things, so it seemed like a good fit, and I knew I had the technical skills to put a book together. Further, I could make it a sketch-slash-travel book designed specifically for a trip to Paris in the springtime. Perfect!
I started with 8″ square black covers from 7 Gypsies and used a simple, inexpensive crackle technique and French Vanilla paint for the background. (Of course it was FRENCH vanilla!) On this I layered wonderful images from The Graphics Fairy, including a beautiful Parisian lady (the photo features the trademark of a photography studio in Paris), a map of France, a French greeting card, which I sewed onto manila cardstock, and French sheet music for a piece called “Sending Flowers.”
The flourish and crown piece are laser-cut wood that I painted and crackled. I added lace, dyed cheesecloth, crumpled tissue paper, gold ribbon and beads for the binding, and a button that I painted with alcohol ink to match the beads. Dyed seam binding threaded through the back cover is wrapped around the button to act as a closure. This was the first time I ever tried a beaded binding, and I just love the look! (Honestly, it’s bad enough I have a problem with hoarding paper, lace, flowers and ribbons – I now foresee a serious bead addiction in my future!)
Of course, I knew a simple journal wouldn’t be unique/original enough to compete against all the sure-to-be-amazing entries in a national contest, so I decided to add something special: pop-ups! I’d never tried them before, but have always loved them, ever since I was a child and had this book:
I found instructions for making a simple pop-up by attaching tabs to a page and to a flat image, and used this method to attach six Eiffel Tower die cuts to a folded piece of pink harlequin patterned cardstock. I then added colorful cherry blossom patterned paper to the edges and adhered the piece into the book.
I remembered from my high school French classes that “printemps” means “springtime,” but had to Google the exact phrase “springtime in Paris.” The letters are die cuts by Sizzix in a font called “Endless Love,” cut from magenta cardstock.
But somehow even this wasn’t enough! I had recently read that there are over 50 carousels in Paris, and Michaels’ gorgeous video promoting the contest even had a carousel in it. Amazingly, I was able to find a pattern for creating a pop-up carousel! I decided to create it from burnished gold specialty paper instead of plain cardstock, as I love the idea of a golden carousel. This part took quite a long time, as each of the many pieces used in its creation had to be intricately cut with an Exacto blade. The engineering necessary to put it together and adhere it exactly at the right spot so that it would fold neatly into the book was its own challenge! But I am so glad I tackled this, because the finished book is such a treasure. Maybe I’ll start saving up to go to Paris on my own so I can actually use it! :)