Today I went to a birthday party for my old college roommate, Alyssa. The invitation was for a craft party. I was like, yay, party, but um, crafts? I was scared because, contrary to popular belief, I am crap at crafts. My friend Brianne and I drove up together and we tried to figure out what we’d be crafting. Considering the closest Brianne and I ever get to crafting is picking out our nail polish at the salon, we were stumped.

We shouldn’t have worried, though, because Alyssa and her husband Rian are two of the most creative people I know. They went to estate sales and thrift shops, and bought old hardcover novels, picture books, and children’s books. They took everything apart, cut the picture & children’s books pages down to the same size as the novel covers, and bought lined, plain, and decorated paper. The purpose of all of this? To make our own journals. Who thinks of this stuff? I see a bunch of books and paper and I think, “Ugh, homework,” but they see the opportunity to create. I just don’t think outside the box.

I knew I wanted to make a journal for Maddie, so I set about very carefully picking out my sheets of paper, the colors I wanted to use, and my graphics. I was somewhat inspired by the colors in her nursery.

Once the paper goods were selected, we had to go about folding them and putting them in order, as demonstrated by Brianne and Danielle.

Once you had all your pages in order, you had to hold the pages and hardcover firmly to glue the binding.

Once everything was secure, it was glue time:

While we waited for the glue to dry, we ate. YUM. I like food.

Once the glue was dry, Alyssa’s husband Rian came around and used tape to bind the books. As usual, I forgot to get a picture of this step. But it was, you know, bind-y. Then I forgot to get a picture of me agonizing over what to put on the front. I did remember to get a picture of the finished product:

I was so happy with how it turned out. I was like, oh, this is the bookmark, so I can make sure to remember where I left off writing down all my hopes and dreams for Maddie. It’s going to be so great. And then I carefully opened the book to paste my little note to Maddie on the inside, and I saw it.

I’d decorated the book backwards. And upside down. The picture of Joan Collins I’d carefully picked out? On its head. The dancing penguins? Falling off the stage. The passage about traveling to exotic islands? Sliding down the page.

I’m still going to use the book, of course! I do love how it turned out. Maddie is just going to get some real insight into her mom’s mind. It’s like when I wanted to tell my brother I was pregnant, so I went out and bought him all the stuff to make him a t-shirt that said, “Uncle Kyle.” I literally spent an hour in the store picking out the iron-on letters (I wanted the perfect font!) and then spent another 90 minutes carefully placing the letters so they looked perfect. I ironed them on with care, and then when I held the shirt up, I realized I’d spelled out, “UNLCE KYLE.”

Unlce Kyle

Nope, definitely not crafty.