Every year since the retreat started 12 years ago, we have created a book according to that retreat's theme. At first Jeri (the organizer and leader) designed and created the book and made kits for everyone to recreate it. After several years, due to her health issues, she started assigning pages to a few members for a collaborative book. The past three years, we are now creating our own book, still keeping to the retreat theme. Everyone brings way more supplies than they need and there's a whole lot of sharing going on!
As soon as the "Viva Mexico" theme was announced I knew I wanted to make a book within a box, using one side for a Day of the Dead shrine/altar. I found the perfect box at the Target $ Spot - it's about 6" square and was painted pink on top and white on the bottom. I repainted the bottom turquoise and covered the inside with floral paper. I painted the lips of the box with black and white squares and pink, orange and white paint dots. For the outer sides I embossed Ten Seconds black metal in a Cuttlebug border folder and glued on multi-colored flower jewels. (Sorry, didn't get a photo of this.)
The front of the box has a metal heart which I bought in Mexico when we were there last Christmas, layered over a saffron-colored doily. The rolled rose is a metal diecut. The border is a gold Dresden trim from probably 15 years ago and I glued on red sequins. (After uploading the photo I noticed that one is missing so will need to fix that!) I painted 4 wooden balls white with black polka dots for feet.
Here is the box opened without the book which goes in the right side.
And here's the book in place. Originally I was going to use a ring binder mechanism attached inside the box for the book but it was much easier to work on by making it completely separate. It just lifts in and out.
Here is a closeup of the shrine. I painted the inside of the box black and used a heavy turquoise glitter paper and Tim Holtz edge die for the top of the shrine. Turquoise corrugated paper is on the sides. I had made my friend and I Day of the Dead aprons for the retreat and cut out some of the images from the fabric for the center of the shrine. They are layered on chipboard and popped up. The large flowers also came from Mexico as well as some of the little trinkets in front of the shrine. The"rug" at the base is actually a woven belt I'd saved from when we lived in Albuquerque (over 20 years ago!). This was fun to decorate as I used lots of old rick rack and mismatched jewels.
Now on to the book. I used watercolor paper for the pages, 6" x 12" folded over a "hidden spine." Once these were decorated, they are very sturdy pages. On the cover I stitched a square of colorful striped fabric and a heart-shaped printout. I added Stickles over the sticker letters and glued on three fabric flowers. The spine is sticky-back canvas painted orange and then painted hot pink through a diamond stencil. I made the "bead" string with a cut-up straw and plastic beads between.
First spread is a generic Mexico page. I used a map for the background on the right page and a napkin for the left page. The rick rack is very old! Most of the items added to the page are from the "share" table at retreat - the flag, fiber, candy wrapper, little rug, flowers cut from soda can metal, doily, stamped cactus.
Second spread showcases the arts of Mexico. The background pages are painted. Most of the images were printed from the Internet. The yellow cut-paper banner and library card were shared by others and the red striped "rug" in lower left of left page is actually a piece from yet another belt of mine from Albuquerque! I cut it up and shared with everyone so now it's gone...
The third spread might be my favorite. It's theme is "fiesta." I hand-cut all the strips of tissue paper to make the "piñata-like" background. The circular patterns were cut from the packaging of some of the decorations we used. The paper banner (papel picado) is stamped and diecut from a Stamping Up set which I borrowed from one of the gals.
This spread is dedicated to Our Lady of Guadalupe. The left page has a colorful floral paper for a background with a doily and image layered over it. I added tons of micro beads around the image. I made the flowers by punching the Tim Holtz floral punch through several layers of tissue paper and securing the layers with a tiny brad. When fluffed up they look like the giant tissue paper flowers all over Mexico.
The right page is in honor of Mexican milagros. I used just cross charms. The fabric ruffle is from the next page.
I love this spread too. This is dedicated to Frida Kahlo. On the left page is a postcard on a tip-in which opens to reveal another postcard on the back. I also made the tip-in into a pocket to hold more photos and a tag with information about Frida. The bottle caps were given to each of us by one of our members.
The background of the right page is a photocopy of a bright textile. The tin frame is a sample I made for an art lesson I taught my youngest daughter's 3rd grade class (1995). I saved it all these years and it is perfect for this page!
Here is the tip-in opened to reveal the page underneath. I added many photos of Frida and made a pocket from an orange doily to hold a larger black and white photo printed on a book page. The ruffle is added to the bottom.
Here are the tags which go in the tip-in pocket. The image on the right is a photo of a painting that was on display in the Austin airport one time I was there. I love it!
This is the back of the tags.
Last but not least is the Day of the Dead spread. The background on the left page is a piece of fabric and lace cut from a child's dress that was shared. The skulls are from cupcake picks. The black diecut skeletons, playing card and skull bauble were all shared items too.
The right page is another tip-in. It's a printout from the Internet layered with a skull diecut and orange pompom trim on edge.
The back of the tip-in has information about Day of the Dead.
The right page has a strip of fabric under the miniature papel picado (which I also brought back from Mexico). I stamped the shrine on painted watercolor paper and cut out the center to reveal Catrina. It's decorated with a flower, skull, Stickles and jewels. The pocket was a glassine envelope filled with shared goodies and I added several playing cards with DOD images.
For the back cover, I added dark purple card stock, purple rick rack and a large jeweled sticker which I got at the Mercado.
I've spent the last week sorting through all the goodies I came home with and trying to use them in my book before putting everything away. I managed to use almost everything!
I love how my box and book came out and it will be a great souvenir of another fun retreat!