Thanks for the kind words...I forgot to mention that I learned how to make this book structure from Alisa Golden's "Creating Handmade Books." This same structure is on the back-cover of her book, incidentally. I wanted to give credit where credit is due, since any effort I would make to create a tutorial would just be plagarizing, which would not be cool.
I have been homeless/living in my car/couch-surfing for quite a few months and now I am staying with some family for an indefinite period of time to get healthy and back on my feet over time. The experience of these months has taught me many things (and I'm sure I will figure more things out about it as time goes by), one of which is craft-related, so that's all I will talk about here.
Simply put, When you don't have a place to live, you can't haul your arts and crafts supplies along with you.
I have been doing a lot of needlepoint, because all my thread and fabrics can fit into a small bag. Portability, neatness (no liquids and chemicals), and inexpensiveness are key. I left my paper crafts in storage, fortunately, and now I can finally get back into bookmaking and collage, and as I do this I find my mental state improving at an alarming rate. It is surprising to me to see how greatly my actual health relies on creativity, via crafting.
Personal creative expression is SO important to one's well-being, and for folks like you (presumably) and me it takes the form of making things by hand. The finished product can be a source of pride, a gift to offer in gratitude to someone who has helped us, or maybe even a source of income. The process of creating the item is therapeutic and a healthy distraction from overwhelmingly discouraging circumstances. It provides a goal to work towards.
Creative expression should be a right, but for many it is a luxury. It isn't necessarily a financial luxury, since so much can be done with recycled goods. I now recognize that it is a luxury of time, storage, energy, safe space, and personal awareness.
Imagine having all of your craft stash, tools, supplies, and even inspiration removed from your life, with nothing to compensate for the void. It's different for everyone, but even the very casual dabbler might be affected more than would be expected. Sure, it's easy to be busy with other things and fill the time and mental space but what lacks is the sense of personal satisfaction and work[wo]manship. If crafting is your thing, that is.
I can't speak for them or for anyone, but my experience has shown me that we have a level of privilege when we are able to create objects for the sheer fun of it. And there's even more privilege in being able to take part in an online community of people. Not all crafty people in the First World have the resources they need to create, and not even handing out free art supplies is a solution. I see the political in everything, even crafting, and I don't want to bother anyone, I just hope to raise some consciousness.
I would love to hear anyone's experiences of maintaining craftiness while homeless. I have no idea how many people have both gone through this kind of situation AND are members of Craftster and it wouldn't be right for me to make assumptions. Thanks for reading.
I gutted a large--but not thick--book and glued the accordian spine down, one end on each of the inside covers of the book, then glued end-sheets over these to complete the spine. Then I glued papers to the spine which would be used for writing on later, but for your case you would probably need to print everything first and glue it into the book last.
Finally, getting around to putting photos online and posting them here.
I made this book for my [half-Egyptian] ex's first trip to Egypt, and it was my first time doing pockets and adding signatures in an accordian. Then I liked it so much I made a duplicate copy for myself, which is the one in these pictures.
One side has signatures of blank paper sewn in for journaling. Making it a hardcover book also helped because it created a sturdy writing surface while riding in bumpy trains and buses, I'm told.
The other side has pockets for holding ticket stubs and such--this is done by folding up the bottom edge of the paper and gluing the side edges after folding the accordian.
This last one is the cover and closure; the paper is metallic and came from a local craft shop, I love the paper dearly. The rope is glued on the back, inside between the bookboard and the paper. The wood beads came from a deconstructed swap meet necklace, and I use a few on every project I can.
I've never received the red envelopes , but I've bought them at the Asian Market periodically for projects. Some of the things I've tried with them:
- If it has an interesting image on the front, cut it out and put it on a homemade greeting card, or use it for other collaging purposes.
- Use them for a scavenger hunt, with clues to the next location written inside.
- Write messages on them and give one to your sweetie periodically throughout the day of your anniversary...I put a quotation on one side of a sheet about love and sappy stuff, and on the other side wrote out a coupon for something free and desirable that i could offer, from washing the dishes to back massage to...et cetera. Be sure to include any stipulations and conditions on the favor coupons!
- Glue it into a book/journal/album to hold items.
- Store individual stamps and small ephemera in them.
- Put them in clear page protectors and put those into a binder- you could see both sides of the papers this way, and they're all easy to access for when you want to do something more artsy with them.
- Get a cheap but acid-free ready-made photo album that has 4x6" slots and put in anything that fits, like the ticket stubs. (This is what I did for a trip I took to South America without a camera in my posession or any special highlights to inspire me to do something more with the stuff. I don't want to get rid of any of it, but I haven't looked at it in ages). Anything that doesn't could be fit into a pocket or manila envelope inside.
- If you have them in ziploc bags, you could also hole-punch the opening edge and put those into a binder or something similar.
- An accordian-style binder
- Clear trading card holders for the littler things (9 slots per sheet, usually? I've never had any)
- An over-the-door shoe holder with multiple pockets (if you really have a lot of them and want to have them out and available)
- Incorporate them into any relevant journal, book, album, etc you already have, by sewing, gluing, or taping in the inner edge of the brochure, or making pockets for them out of fabric or thick paper.
I think we have them covered. One off-the-wall source is the Online Archive's collection of 78s from the 1890s-1940s. The old sentimental tunes your grandma hummed around the house because she never knew the words! (At least, that's how it was in my family.) Free to download songs; it took me several days to go through them.
But since the topic IS cheesy music, I have to say that "I can't fight this feeling anymore" is close to the top of the list because of the chorus. Seriously, "And if I have to crawl upon the floor, come crashing through the door, baby I can't fight this feeling anymore." I will also add "Suddenly" by Billy Ocean. (Girl, you're everything that a man could want. And more!)
The 80s were full of songs with too much brutally honest emotion to be taken seriously. Some songs can pull that off, like Joe Cocker's "You Are So Beautiful" (I used to think it was cheeseball until I fell in love that hard and my sweetie put it on a cd for me), and Phil Collins' "Against All Odds." However, it boggles my mind that this song reached the airwaves and continues to get airplay: "Sometimes when we touch / The honesty's too much....I want to hold you til I die / Til we both break down and cry..."
Duets where there's a guy and a girl singing to each other in dialog are the most cringe-worthy. Most notably, "Can't We Try" (I love you so much baby / that it tears me up inside).
Anything on the "Monster Ballads" compilation cd belongs here, as does Michael Bolton. The songs probably wouldn't be as cheesy if it were someone else singing them.
A tragically overlooked song is "Now and Forever" by Richard Marx. Simple, sweet, not too much orchestration, I refuse to call it cheesy but you definitely have the right to do so, and feel free to consider the rest of his music for the cheese list.
And rolling over into the fun cheese-love, not the dramatic cheese-love, I agree with "Don't Go Breaking My Heart," and let's not forget Exile's "Super Love."
Can I just mention a few BAD 80s love songs that might not be cheesy? "Steady Rockin (All Night Long)", "Rub You the Right Way," "I Just Died in Your Arms Tonight"
Then there were the songs that threw the word "sex" in just because they could now get away with it, or dealt with intimate relations in a really tacky manner..."Let's Get Physical," "Wild Wild West," "I Want Your Sex," etc
I'm a sucker for sad music and I have a playlist called "beauty amidst sorrow" which most of these are on, but I've tried to keep it on the "build self-empowerment/esteem," "seek out your friends," and "value your alone time and Self" themes. Yet, there has to be some strand of sadness to strike a resonant chord (no pun intended) with your friend's current reality. Acknowledging the significance of the loss, and moving forward from it. Browsing thru 7 gigs of my musical mayhem, here are some things that stand out...
"I Am the Highway" - Audioslave "Haunted" - Poe "Good Enough" -- Sarah McLachlan "One" - U2 "Yes I Will" - Michael Franti "Soulshine" -- Michael Franti and Spearhead "Love and Hope" -- Ozomatli "Maybe" -- Allison Krauss (painful and bittersweet but hopeful, and its a free download on amazon.com) "You've Got a Friend" -- Carole King or James Taylor "God Put a Smile On Your Face" -- Coldplay "Float On" -- Modest Mouse "Beautiful Day" -- U2 "Isobel" -- Bjork "Least Complicated" -- Indigo Girls "Don't Look Back in Anger" -- Oasis "It's Alright" - Indigo Girls "Blue Flower" -- Mazzy Star "Free" -- Donovan Frankenreiter and Jack Johnson "My Favorite Mistake" -- Sheryl Crow "Anything But Down" -- Sheryl Crow "My Lovin' (Never Gonna Get It!) -- En Vogue "Promiscuity" -- Manu Chao "Otha Fish" -- Pharcyde
I laughed. I cried. I laughed until I cried. And then I shuddered. Looking on the positive side, it was very nice of her to offer her knowhow. And to make a cloth model, rather than convince a human male to model those things. The "China" design was kind of cute, if it were intended for a girl.
I am completely inspired now! (I was inspired to do embroidery and gardening earlier, but now I want to make books!) Was this a high school or a college project? I wish my teachers had assigned projects like this.