Wednesday, 19 November 2014

Are you planning to document 'the most wonderful time of the year'? - then how about a *Festive junk journal* & some *Christmassy Bits*?

Hello hello.

2014 has really been the year of the junk journal in my Etsy shop but also in my own crafting:
And if, like me, you like the idea of recording the moments, lists, details, photos, thoughts etc of the season with a relaxed creative project ... then take a look at the 'Festive Junk Journal' packs I've put together and see which one rings your [jingle] bell.

Oh and, if you need any more persuading ... these kits are truly unique as each pack contains a selection of 5 original, unused, Christmas cards from the 70s/80s!! If you're of a certain age [like me] then you're likely to even recognise some of them ... they're an amazing blast from the past!

Over the 10 different designs of pack there's a colour-combination to suit most tastes and there are  'Christmassy Bits' embellishment packs to coordinate with them too: 

[A] Some are bright / modern / pink / purple/ eclectic ...
https://www.etsy.com/uk/shop/JulieKirk?section_id=15279257&ref=shopsection_leftnav_2
 
[B] ... while others are red / blue / green and full of character:
https://www.etsy.com/uk/shop/JulieKirk
Above: 'Rockin Robin'; 'Rockin Around the Christmas Tree'; 'Baby It's Cold Outside', 'Thomas at Christmas';  Blue + Red Christmassy Bits.

[C] ... then there are those in typical traditional deep reds / burgundy / fir green:
https://www.etsy.com/uk/shop/JulieKirk
 Above: 'The Holly & The Ivy'; 'A Partridge in a Pear Tree'; 'Rouge & Turquoise' Christmassy Bits.

[D] And finally ... something soft / vintage / romantic / neutral: 
https://www.etsy.com/uk/shop/JulieKirk
 Above: 'Hark the Herald Angels Sing'; 'God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen'; White Gold + Ice / Gold Christmassy Bits.

And there a few more on the shop shelves too. And here are a few more details on the journals:
 
*FESTIVE JUNK JOURNAL* bits packs contain 25+ items including ...
  1.  5 **unused** ORIGINAL Christmas cards from the 70s/80s in shades which compliment the pack. You can use these as pages in your book [I have in mine!] or else to send to loved ones - it's entirely up to you. [Please note that, as the cards are over approx. 30years old some may be imperfect around the edges].
  2. approx. 25 colour-co-ordinated items including pockets, patterned paper pages, labels, tags etc
  3. something a bit sturdier to use as a cover plus a section of corrugated card to use as a book spine [complete with link to a tutorial].
  4. plus approx. 1 metre of coordinating twine.
Book rings are not included but are available separately here.

-------------------------------------

If you've got any questions about the packs, then ask away [either here or on my Facebook page]. I'm sure I'll get around to sharing photos of my own journal at some point but, until then, if you need inspiration of what to do with a pack like this then just browse back through my other journals of 2014 as the principles exactly the same .... just less festive!

Julie :-)

p.s: I'm planning to offer some more of the original retro Christmas cards for sale singly - not in packs - so if there's any that have caught your eye then hold that thought ....

Friday, 14 November 2014

How to turn an old book into a new home for your collage: 'Fortune & Geese Favour the Bold' Part 3


Hi there.

Thanks for the feedback you've left on the series so far - it means a lot to me to know that the posts are inspiring you to find and old book, choose a theme and start preparing to embark on a collage adventure with me!
 
Seeing as you've, metaphorically and practically speaking, got your creative bags packed and ready to go I thought it was about time I shared the itinerary ...

We've already meandered through:
And if we're here today then this must be :
Then, further down the road, we'll be stopping off at:
  • Part 4: 101 ideas for what to use as collage materials ... and where to find them *COMING SOON* [Well, I say '101 ways' because it sounds good but, if we're being honest it's unlikely to be 101 ...].
  • Part 5: Using abstract designs as well as figures in your collage *COMING A BIT LESS SOON*
  • Part 6: The finishing touches. Including adding wording, gilding and more. *COMING EVEN MORE A BIT LESS SOON* [You'd never guess I had an English degree would you?]
For now though let's look at how you can breathe new life into an old, unloved, neglected, never-to-be-read-again hardback ...
Turning an old book into a new home for your collage:
So, you've raided your bookshelf/loft/charity shop and found a suitable old book to alter .. what now? Well, as is often the way in life, before we can build something better ... we have to tear down the old!
 
Or, in our case tear out the old. Pages that is.
 
[Please note: This is where you might need to blindfold and gag the good child in you who was brought up to have a reverential attitude towards books! Just treat it like it was one of your siblings instead ...]. 
 
You might wonder why we're going to tear out pages to make a book ... when there's already a perfectly good book-shaped book in our hands. But you will need to tear out a certain amount of pages in order to make space for the additional layers of papers you're going to add via your collages.
 
I know that it seems a bit strange, that a sheet of paper is so thin how could it possibly fill up the book? But when you're adding something to every page it soon starts to bulk up.
 
For a rough idea of how much space inside the book your collages will take up try this quick, visual, experiment:
  • Pick up even just a selection of the papers you've set aside to use in this project and tuck them inside your book.
  • Now try to close it.
  • You'll see that already the book has become wedge shaped; with covers that no longer run parallel!
  • And it's only going to get worse the more work you do inside.
Look ...basically what I'm saying is: there's no way around it, you're going to have to get tearing!
 
But before beginning the deconstruction process... you first need to decide how many sections you want/need.
  • If you're following along with something like Ali Edwards' 'December Daily' or Shimelle Laine's 'Journal Your Christmas' or indeed any festive type project of your own or a meme etc you've found on social media you might want to have anywhere between 25 - 35 sections [depending on whether you plan to add something every day of the month or not].
  • If you're just creating a more general project, you might want to judge the number of sections based on how large your book is - how many sections could it comfortably be broken into?
  • Also take into consideration the depth of your chosen supplies: if you're planning to use lots of textures / fabrics / chunky embellishments then remove more pages to allow yourself more room.
  • And do ask yourself if you want the book to close completely - or will you be OK with it heaving open slightly? Take that into account when you decide how many pages to remove.  
I divided my book into approximately 32 sections: one each for the for the days in September [remember mine was to house my daily thoughts throughout September as part of the 'Learn Something New Everyday' project.] plus a couple of extra pages for an introduction.

I also had to make space for 30 mini envelopes, one for each page, plus 30+ sheets of notepaper onto which I wrote the journaling that I then hid inside the envelopes! You won't be surprised to learn that, despite removing over 300 pages ...
.. .with all those additional supplies inside my book no longer closes fully!

**PLEASE NOTE: I'm talking here about the number of SECTIONS you need and not the number of pages!

My book has 32 separate sections but these are made up of several pages glued together! Don't tear out all but 30-odd pages, as that would leave you with a very thin book indeed! 

Where to begin:
Once you've decided roughly how many sections to divide the book into open it up and look at how it has been bound.

Is it broken up into 'signatures'?
  • Those are the segments of a book where larger sheets of paper are stacked on one another, folded over and then stitched through the centre fold with thread.
If so, then you'll need to:
  1. Find the centre fold of each segment.
  2. Decide how many pages from each fold to remove.
  3. Do NOT cut the thread holding them together!!! You don't want the whole signature to drop out!
  4. Carefully tear out the pages but be careful NOT to pull too hard at the thread or it may snap.
  5. TIP: hold a ruler along the centre fold and tear against that rather than pulling against the thread.
  6. Repeat this step for each signature until you've thinned down the book to the size you wanted.
Here's my book at this stage. Notice how I've thinned it our evenly right throughout the book:
Gluing the pages together: 
Gluing 2 or 3 pages together will create nice, sturdy bases on to which you can collage. Even if your paper is thick, it won't hurt to double or triple-up. And if you intend to use paint, ink, wet glue etc on your pages then the stronger they are, the better.
  • Go through the book gluing around 2-3 pages together [or more if your paper is very thin].
  • To do this I used a regular glue stick [I like good old Pritt, but I'm sure you have your own favourites] as it was easier than spreading a wet glue. Remember I had to repeat the process 60 or more times to create 30 sections ... so I was happy with any available short-cut!
You can see here that I kept track of how many sections I'd created using paper clips and sticky-notes:
If any of the threads binding the pages did tear when you tore out your pages [some of mine did - it's an old, brittle book] then simply plaster down the loose ends of the thread with a wet glue.

And if you find you have any loose pages anywhere in the book simply stick them to the next page along.

NOTE: If your book DOES NOT HAVE REGULAR FOLDED SIGNATURES ...
  • This might be a little trickier ... but with plenty of glue you'll probably get away with it!
  • Tear out the pages carefully 
  • Brush some glue down directly into the spine - along the space left behind from the pages you've removed.
  • Hide the 'gappy' areas by gluing together the pages either side of the gap.
TIP: Hang on to all those pages you've torn out as they'll come in handy for future projects:
  • paint on them / use them with a gelli-plate
  • die-cut from them
  • use them as backgrounds for cards and scrapbook pages 
  • make mini-envelopes
  • and even mini books ... and lots more!
---------------------------------------------
Let the RE-construction commence ...
Once you've finished the destructive elements you should now have a hardback book filled with new double/triple thickness pages ... and it'll probably be feeling a little bit like a shadow of its former self!

So it's your job to start breathing life back into it with whatever creative methods and styles you choose.

As I planned to add wording to my collages I wanted to subdue some of the distracting background print of my pages; so I used a brayer to apply acrylic paint over the text area of each page:
I chose to use the brayer as it was really quick and easy - you can see how the roller is the same width as the text so it was idea to just speedily add the paint over it. If you don't have a brayer a paintbrush or sponge will do!

The NEXT STEP ... is to begin adding in all those lovely papers and images you've set aside to match your theme!

Here's another of my completed pages:
 Once your book is there, ready and waiting to be filled, you'll probably be eager to get started ... so go for it!!

As the itinerary [above] shows, I do have plenty more ideas and inspiration to share regarding sourcing supplies and ways to add interest to your collage pages but if you're all set to begin - don't hold back just make a start ... and see where you go!

From now on I'll be sharing lots more finished pages from my book [I didn't take any 'in progress' shots] so it'll be more of a dose of eye-candy than any strict 'tutorial' or step-by-step.

But, if you do want to hang fire, or you just haven't had chance to prepare your supplies yet, then by all means take it slowly, enjoying the scenery alongside me, before making a start on your own ...
There's plenty of fresh content down the track ... so please bear with me while I get it all written up!

Julie :-)

p.s: if you're finding anything in the series useful then please consider sharing it with like minded creative via whatever method you share things [Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest ... speaking ... semaphore...]. Thank you in advance!

Sunday, 9 November 2014

Memory keeping: 'Fake christmas' the story behind the layout

 
Hello there.
 
I'm taking part in the 'Frosty Festivities' blog event hosted at Jennifer Grace Creates today so, if you've hopped over to here from there, then welcome, welcome!
 
  1. Jennifer is a long time supporter of my blog and Etsy shop ... and in a vast virtual world familiar faces and friendly connections are worth looking after! And ...
  2. Despite it being a frosty themed event ... she hasn't tried to get me to dress up as, or sing like, any character from Frozen. So how could I refuse?
For more of the craft-related details on my layout ... 
... then do drop by my post at Jennifer's place.

But I thought that here I'd share more of the story which the page is based around: the story of 'Fake Christmas'.

Funnily enough I've already had 2 'fake' Christmases so far this year:
  1. when I worked on festive magazine projects in June, July and August, and ...
  2. then when my friends and I had a Christmas-themed crafting weekend in the countryside in October.
And yet this page documents neither of those because there are even more fake Christmasses in my life, in fact, this one in particular is becoming something of a tradition ...

So here's the full story of the 'real' Fake Christmas ...  [complete with typos and mistakes. Apparently there's no 'Delete' on a typewriter keyboard ... who knew?]
I'll write it out here too - in case you can't view the photos:

*FAKE CHRISTMAS: THE RULES & CUSTOMS*

Fake Christmas is held each year at some point in between real Christmas and New Year. It's hosted by Janet who doesn't seem to mind ... or maybe she just doesn't know how to keep us out. (Unless that's what her dodgy doorbell is all about ...)

There's tea, chocolate and cake involved and sometimes we take crafty things and act like it's not all about the cake and presents. But mainly it's all about the cake and presents. Speaking of which ... when it's time to open presents this has its own strict code which must be adhered to:

1. Only one person may unwrap a gift at any one time.
2. Then the person next to them takes their turn.
3. If gifts are wrapped individually, only 1 gift may be opened per turn. [I think I've actually got this wrong ... but, like I say ... no 'Delete' on a typewriter! And no way was I going to type it all out again!!!]
4. This continues until all the gifts are opened.
5. There will then be an assessment of which scraps of wrapping paper, which tags, which ribbons, twine etc. must be salvaged by one or other of the group.
6. Any interesting tags and cards will be analysed for creative ingenuity and filed away for 'future reference' (i.e. to copy later).
7. There may, at any given point, be a zebra making an appearance. Or a sheep, bird etc. Whatever your chosen 'thing' is. We're on part friendship group and one part menagerie.
8. If there's anything that will even vaguely fit on you head, it should be put on your head. (Although, to be fair, this custom is not just for Christmas).

With all this in mind I'd like to wish you a very merry - fake - Christmas and a Happy New Year! (That's just called 'New Year'. We don't have a special name for that. Yet ...
So, there you have it, if you've been thinking about setting up your own Fake Christmas for some time now but haven't known how to go about it ... well, now you do.

Feel free to use our rules and customs to create your own opportunity to milk the festive season - and your friends - for all they're worth [but leave out the zebras. They're mine.] 

-----------------------------------------

Don't forget to hop over to Jennifer Grace Creates to catch up with all the other 'Frosty Festivities' and my post ...

... and I'll see you back here soon. [We're altering a book next week don't forget!]

Julie :-)

Friday, 7 November 2014

Variations on a *theme*: introducing a focus to your collage adventure. 'Fortune & Geese Favour the Bold' Part 2

 Hello again.

In the first post in this series I shared a list of some of the practical supplies you might need if, like I've done, you were planning to alter an old book and fill its pages with collages. Now today I'd like to add to that by suggesting there's something else you might also need to find before you begin; only this time it's not something as concrete as those items on the list ...
http://www.pinterest.com/notesonpaper/altered-book-adventure-fortune-geese-favour-the-bo/
This supply might take a little more pondering, a little more philosophical musing, a little more creative energy than it took to reach out for the glue-stick or scissors. But I would argue that this element is going to be just as useful to your project in the long run:

**You're going to need a theme... and a purpose.**

The PURPOSE...
  • This aspect of the project is all in your mind!
  • It's is the thing that's going to persuade you to get out those supplies, to make the effort, to see the project through.
  • It'll be what will keep at bay the guilt of "why am I sitting here cutting up paper when there's an ironing pile in danger of creating a landslide in the corner?"
  • It's the thing that can give a shape to how you think about the project.
  • For example "I'm making this to ... have a beautiful place to use up my favourite supplies" / "I'm making this to ... document this time in my life" / "I'm making this to ... store all my favourite song lyrics" etc etc - whatever it is that means something to you right now.
  • My own purpose was to create a book to be home to 30 collages documenting my Learn Something New Everyday lessons during September 2014. This was ideal for me as it had both a clear purpose ... and a clear end date [it helps to know the project is going to be completed!]. 
Naturally, like any of the creative tips I offer here, this one's born from my own experience. It's what works for me when I set out to make a very focussed project such as this one. But I'm well aware that this style of working may not work for you. And that's fine! It's not a deal breaker. We can still be friends.

In fact, I only tend to apply such clear boundaries when I 'm working on such a narrow project like this one. It's not how I approach my general messy art-journal and collage fun, the stuff I dip in and out of whenever the mood strikes.

And maybe if you're just going to try out making an altered book, or a collage, for the first time, you might prefer to have no expectations and simply play and experiment at first. But equally ... a bit of structure and purpose might help there too!

And so ...

 The THEME ...
  • This is what will inform the style of papers you choose, your colour-scheme, your imagery etc
  • It's what will help to narrow down your choices from all the papers in the world!  
  • It can be linked to your purpose ... eg. if you're making a book about travel then your papers / ephemera might be travel themed too / maps / tickets etc.
  • Or  .. it might have nothing whatsoever to with your purpose ... it can just be a colour-scheme you choose, a set of papers you want to work with, a method you want to try out.
Does that make sense? The 'purpose' is kind of the 'why bother making this?' ... while the 'theme' is kind of the 'what am I going to make it with? / how am I going to get these ideas out of my head and onto a page?'

** BTW: if you need any help sourcing imagery or text to fit your chosen theme - drop me a line either by email [link in sidebar] or via an Etsy convo - and together we can curate a bespoke pack of Plundered Pages and/or Ephemera bits to suit! [Whatever the theme is ... I like a challenge ... ]

OK, enough explanations ... let me illustrate. My purpose was to create a cohesive book in which to keep my daily lessons meanwhile my theme was inspired by the Wes Anderson film 'The Grand Budapest Hotel'.

Why? Well initially it was because my base book was bright red with gilded lettering ...
... and while the size was ideal, and the pages were nice and thick, the colours and style of the book were not at all the ones I automatically think of when starting a project. Until ...

... until I remembered how much I loved the look of 'The Grand Budapest Hotel' which features the same gold and lipstick red that I was struggling with but in a most perfectly striking combination with icing sugar pinks, Imperial purple and snowy white:
[BTW: it's an absolute delight of a film too ... even if you don't want to mine it for artistic inspiration!]

And suddenly, by 'borrowing' from Anderson's greatness I had myself a colour-palette to work from!
And, believe it or not, rather than making extra work for yourself finding things to match ...

... selecting supplies with a clear theme and/or colour-palette from the start can actually save you time later on:
  • Once you have a particular colour combination in mind you can sift and sort through your collection of pages and decorative papers looking purely for colours that matched and even images that fit in.
  • You give yourself a clear guide on what to select and - equally importantly - what to leave out.
  • It removes all the pressure of decision making / paper shuffling that can slow a project down.
  • It releases you from the tyranny of choice! Too much freedom can be harder to deal with than too many restrictions!
  • When you get stuck for what to do, or are tempted to just stop, having some clear parameters in place means you can turn to them for inspiration. [You just make another page using the same colours / imagery / theme ... and your creativity gets flowing again.]
Here's how it worked for me:
  • In basing my scheme on The Grand Budapest Hotel I collected together papers in shades of purple, pink, white, red and neutral.  
  • I painted my pages with a base layer of acrylic paint in various shades of 'icing sugar' pink and cream.
  • I also used envelopes [to store my hidden journaling] in matching shades.
My pages from Day 1 demonstrates this perfectly:
Here I combined all the colours of the palette while illustrating my lesson for that day which was 'A Run Can Be Lovely'. [Who knew? But that's the word that came into my head after a morning run. It was a short run ... hence feeling 'lovely' and not 'close to passing out'].

As well as taking inspiration from the colours of the film I was also drawn to using imagery of impressive buildings too as seen here on Day 3:
That's a very Grand Budapest style building isn't it? How could I not use it?! 

The lesson from this page notes that: 'There are people who will sell you a rainbow' after I passed an Estate Agent's window and noticed they were selling one house using a photo - not of the house itself - but of the view from its windows: the view of a beautiful rainbow over the beach!! As if the rainbow was part of the deal!
Day 5 saw more imposing buildings and more candy pink:
 
While Day 15 borrows dusty whites and pale pink [with a mountainside chalet thrown in!]:
But despite being guided by a large over-arching scheme ... I did manage to make my pages personal and relevant to each day's lesson too as this one all about my Facebook page sale illustrates:
And my final example for today is another which gives a nod to the soft pastel shades and vintage European style of the film:
Day 10 'I'm not quite the full clematis':
That day I'd been inspired by the tenacity of the plant as I tried to prune it.

Now then ... I'm not trying to suggest that anyone who didn't know that I'd based my book on the Grand Budapest scheme could have guessed at the fact simply by looking at the finished pieces ... but that wasn't the point.

Having my theme / colour-scheme:
  • set me up at the start
  • helped me select my supplies
  • inspired my page designs
  • and kept me on track while I made 30 of them!
And it's given the finished book a nicely cohesive style too with each page remaining individual yet contributing to a harmonious whole.

So, once you've collected together those practical supplies take a little time to pull together the creative essentials too.
  • decide your purpose for making the book ['to enjoy the process' / 'to cut up nice paper' is reason enough!]
  • then set about curating your supplies based around a theme or colour-scheme
... and see where it leads you. Remember the mantra of this series ... fortune, and geese, favour the bold!

[For the record: I've got no idea if geese actually do appreciate your inner confidence; it would be nice to think they do appreciate creative boldness... but let's not take any chances people. I won't be held responsible ... ].

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What to do once you've chosen your supplies:

  • Keep them all together in a bag or box of their own. 
  • Then, each time you come to work on the project, you know you're only going to be using what's inside.
  • This cuts down on your pondering and new supply-seeking time ... which can totally distract you from simply getting on with the 'doing'! [Ask me how I know ...]
  • A simple thing like restricting your supplies to those you set out at the start both gives you more time to create but also more focus on using them creatively.
[For lots more examples / tips on how to organise yourself for a self-contained project, similar to this one, then visit this 'behind-the-scenes post of mine].

And to keep track of all the posts in the 'Fortune & Geese Favour the Bold' series then you can follow [or simply visit] the Pinterest board I've made for the series here.

-----------------------------------------------------
 
In the next post of the series we'll start the making part and you can start getting your hands dirty / painty / gluey. We'll be dismantling/altering that book to make a home for all those scrappy collages but, before then ...

... you need to find a purpose, a theme/colour-scheme and a bag to throw them all into! So I'll leave you to it.

See you soon.

Julie :-)

Tuesday, 4 November 2014

Supplies list + prep notes for an altered book + collage adventure: 'Fortune & Geese Favour the Bold' Part 1

Hello you.

As I mentioned in last week's sneak peek over the coming weeks I'm going to share my latest collage / mixed-media / altered book project here and I decided that - rather than simply share my photos of the end results - I'd try to offer something a bit more useful.

Ideally I'd like you to feel you could follow along with the project picking up whatever it is you fancy while making it your own.
I'm calling it an 'adventure' because it's not exactly going to be a traditional full blown 'class' or 'workshop' as such ... but it is going to be a series of:
  • tutorials / 'How To's
  • information posts and ponderings
  • practical tips
  • and lots of photos ...
... all based around the topics of ...
  • altering a book to use as a journal
  • the style of collage I used inside
  • the kinds of supplies you might use to make something similar
  • ways to add additional details
  • and more!
And I hope that, somewhere amongst all that there'll be something to inspire you to pick n' mix from the information and see where it takes you.
  • maybe you'd like some general arty/collagey inspiration and ideas [there'll be plenty of that as I share each page]
  • maybe you'd like some practical tips [I'll be explaining my process as we go along]
  • or maybe you'd be happy to hear some confidence boosting positive encouragement so you feel like you could start something similar or try out a new style or technique [there'll be lots of that ... I've got your back, creatively speaking. In fact I'll dust off my crafty cheerleading pompoms ASAP].
And if you've never altered a book before now don't let a small fact like that that prevent you from joining in ... 
... until I worked on this project I'd never altered a book before either.

Well ... I had altered one or two in so far as cutting them up and using their pages and covers for other things ... but I'd never actually created an 'altered book' from one! But now I have ... and you're welcome to take the plunge with me.

Let me tell you a little bit about my own project first before I move on to a suggested checklist of supplies you may need if you're planning to follow along.

The reason behind the project in the first place was to have somewhere to house my daily 'lessons' from joining in with the idea of 'Learn Something New Everyday' [a class hosted annually at shimelle.com]. It was my 4th year taking part and I was looking for a new method of recording my thoughts ... which is when the idea of collaging the pages of an old book popped into my head.

So ... if you too feel a concrete reason / a specific focus to get you to pick up a new project ... then start thinking of one now! It could be to document something specific, [we've got Christmas coming ... maybe it could be related to that??] or to explore a themed series of pages ... it's up to you!

And, while you're at it, here are some other practicalities to take a note of ...

What You'll Need**: [practically, creatively ... and maybe even philosophically ...]

**This list contains the things I used ... you can adapt and omit any of it to suit your self and your style. Just use it as a guide if you want to prepare a kit for yourself before you begin.

A book to alter:
  • If you haven't got one on the shelf already, nip out to your nearest charity shop and have a look there. [Trust me, you'll feel better cutting into a book when you balance it with donating to charity!]
  • Ideally it would be: hardback, something you're not going to get too attached to and refuse to dismantle, something that isn't a relic and nothing especially beautiful!  
  • It should have: decent weight pages to make sturdy bases for your collage. However, you can always stick several thinner pages together, so don't worry if you can't find heavy paper. 
  • In fact something like one of those ubiquitous Reader's Digest compilations would be ideal.
This is the tome I converted:
I chose this one because:
  • the colours matched my theme exactly [more on this in the next post]
  • it was the 4th year I'd created something for Learn Something New Everyday so I thought it was going to be an appropriate part of a tradition of my own! 
  • the pages are quite thick
  • the subject matter was innocuous and I didn't need to worry about what kinds of words or phrases would be poking out behind my collage! [The same can't be said for another book on my shelf which I later discovered was part of an obscenity trial in the 1950s!! So, I'm just saying: choose your book carefully ...]

A ruler:
  • Not to do anything as drastic as measuring with [why would I want to inflict anything as accurate as that on myself?]
  • No ... it's just to use as a straight edge when tearing out the unwanted pages of the book. [I'll explain more on this when we get to the destructive ripping and tearing stage!].
A colour scheme and / or an overarching theme:
As I mentioned above, I'm going to chat more about the whys and wherefores of this aspect in its own post, as the next instalment of the series. 

For me this aspect comes under the category of 'philosophical' things you might need for the project ... and while I believe you'll find it useful ... you may disagree. But, I'm going to fight its corner for now!

And, while we're on the topic of 'themes' here's the page from which the name of this series came from ...
Maybe I'll explain it to you properly sometime ... or maybe that'll just spoil the mystery ...

Adhesives:
  • A wet glue: I used a matte finish glaze medium [by Daler Rowney] because I like how it isn't overly tacky [when I inevitably get my fingers all 'clarty' with it!]. Plus, as it's matte, when it dries on top of the paper it doesn't leave a shine.
  • However, if you're not clarty-prone, or you don't mind shine, then PVA or any other paper glue would work just as well.
  • A glue stick - to stick your pages together [quicker and easier than spreading glue / cheaper than double-sided tape].
  • I also used staples to hold some of my elements in place. But that's purely because I like staples! They're not an integral part of the project. [Unless you too are addicted to office supplies].
Collage materials / paper supplies:
Packs of lucky-dip 'Collage Scraps' are now on sale in my Etsy shop and are made up from a broad range of off-cuts from both this particular project plus lots of other bits and pieces I've made. They're just £2.50 and would make a fun inspiration kick-start to any scrappy style project.

Alternatively ... you can prepare by collecting together a variety of papers which inspire you ...
  • Things such as old book pages, music paper [all of which I can also help out with in my shop if you don't want to go trawling junk shops! OK ... end of hard sell ...]
  • Handmade papers, patterned papers
  • Hand painted papers
  • I feel I've been saying 'papers' a lot
  • Papers papers papers
  • A selection of pictures / figures / images [and yes, they're also papers ...]
If you need a little help to work out where you can source some unusual / affordable papery items to use [rather than reaching directly for the new pre-packed patterned papers - as lovely as they are!] then hold on for a post later in the series where I'll be listing 100 places to find / types of supplies you could use in collage.

[Well ... when I say 100 ... that seemed like a good number to aim for ... whether I'll reach it or not is yet to be determined!! Try not to think less of me if I only make it to 50 ...].

Finishing touches
  • If you plan to add wording to your pages, you might want to think of how you'll do this; I typed mine but you could print it out, hand write, stamp, cut words from pages.
  • Also .. if you plan to add additional but HIDDEN journaling to your pages, you'll need some small envelopes/pouches too [I have a selection of those here and will happily take custom orders].
  • I gilded areas of some of my pages using a couple of methods including a Write N Rub pen and Tonertex foil. But, seriously ... that's not an essential! Just a fun added extra.
  • And, finally, I edged my finished pages with strips of washi tape.
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How does that all sound? There's nothing too extravagant [blingy gilding aside!] to hunt down is there?? And hopefully you'll be able to set some of that aside ready and waiting for the adventure to begin. And, as all successful adventures and expeditions begin with packing a kit ...

**I suggest you put all your supplies together in a bag or box with a pair of scissors so that, whenever you're ready to snip and stick ... everything will be right there on hand.**

OK, I'll leave you to sort out what you need and I'll be back soon with that look at why choosing to work to a theme can help you from the very start ... and right throughout the project.

Any questions, suggestions or nice things to say ... then do drop me a comment. I really appreciate the feedback and support!

Julie x