My Grandmother just turned 90! Amazing. She is whip smart and the undeniable matriarch of our family. She also wants for nothing, as one can imagine, so there was a strict no gift policy for her party this year. What did make sense, however, was to be sure that she was clear about how everyone felt about her.
As grim as it sounds, it is often wished that the person being mourned at a funeral could hear all of the amazing things said about them. We all know how important it is to shower love on our people. My Mimi would hate speeches at a restaurant, so we wrote her a book. Her people poured out their hearts in this book and if she was unsure at any point about our feelings, she isn’t anymore! The process was straightforward – relatives simply emailed me letters to Mimi. They could have sent them snail mail too – or faxed. I arranged them in a word document and then had the copy shop layout the pages so they were how I wanted them – you could do this on your home printer too.
Making a handmade book is easy and satisfying, and the personal touch seemed important for showcasing the words I had gathered from my relatives.
– Letters, photos, poems, art, etc. – these can be printed out or handwritten
– Book board or cardboard from a cereal box
– pretty paper
– Felt ( I like wool felt – it’s substantial and prettier)
– A hole punch
– A needle with either embroidery floss or waxed linen thread (from art supply store)
– A cutting mat if using the kind of push punch seen here
1. Make the book cover
Cut cardboard so it is slightly larger than the pages of the book. Cut decorative paper so it is 1” larger than the cardboard. Trim corners as shown. Apply craft glue on all of the paper tabs and fold over. Repeat with other side of book – you’ll have 2.
2. Attach felt bridge
Cut a length of felt that is as long as the book. The width can be whatever you like and can be straight or scalloped or whatever strikes your fancy. Mine is 1”. Apply glue along both sides, leaving the center glue free. Align the felt along the edge of the book and press to secure. As shown, the front and back of the book should be spaced about ¼” apart.
Insert needle from the underside of the stack on the second hole and come up through the top. Continue using the blanket stitch for the length of the page – it is easy to find diagrams on google images of the blanket stitch if you don’t know how it’s done (it is very simple!).
4. Attach pages to the cover
Basically, this process is weaving stitches between the pages and the cover.
It is secure and makes a sweet stitch pattern on the bridge. First, align the pages with one cover. Stitch through the felt bridge right where the cover meets the felt and then flip the book over and stitch so the needle comes through right where the felt meets the other side of the cover and up through the first hole. The needle will end up right where it started.
Insert needle down through second hole and through felt where it meets the cover. This will be on the opposite side from where you started. Each hole will alternate sides right and left. At the last hole, knot thread off by tying it to the starting tail or simply around the first hole. Trim tails.