An Envelope Book for Claire & Michael

>> Sunday, October 5, 2008

My friends Claire and Michael are getting married at the end of October, and they will be getting their gifts in shifts. The first part, an envelope book, was inspired by several envelope books I saw in crafty boutiques this summer. What is an envelope book, you may wonder? At the most basic level it's several envelopes bound together into book form. Usually the envelopes are about 5 x 7 or 9 x 11, but I suppose you could make one with standard mailing envelopes. An envelope books provides a designated place to keep photos and mementos together that can be taken out and savored when you want. In this way, it allows one to tell multiple versions or layers of stories -- one of its best qualities says the historian-in-training.

I've made a few books before (i.e., community books) and even took a book-making class once. Which is all to say, I know how to use binder clips and a bookbinder's awl to poke holes in a stack of pages, thread a needle, and use that threaded needle to create a very basic binding. Yep, bookbinder's awls are fun to use.

Back to the book at hand, I found 5 dark grey, linen envelopes at the Zen Buddhist Temple's annual sale in August. Thus 5 envelopes plus front and back covers would comprise the book. I chose to embellish each envelope with three alliterative words that I hope reflect their upcoming nuptials and the partnership they will build together. Putting my decorative paper collection to work, I created different designs for each envelope that, I think, make it more fun to flip through. Here it is, page-by-page:

Front Cover:
I made the cover in Illustrator, my first (and very fun) foray into this Adobe product. It's so nice to use a program that (unlike Word, ahem) gives you control over spacing of text and images by the millimeter (or less). Their wedding invitation uses purple and green which is why I used those colors here. On the left side you can see my modified Japanese bookbinding technique. I used regular purple thread taken from my assortment of quilting spools.

Front Inside Cover:
My note to Claire & Michael. Claire and I became roommates soon after she met Michael and, as a result, I had the privilege of watching their cross-country relationship grow and eventually turn into a same-city relationship. The note also explains the purpose of the book -- whether private or public, I hope that the items collected in this book spark conversation, memories, and reminiscing for years to come.

Rejoice, Relish, Remember

Laugh, Love, Listen

Share, Savor, Strengthen

Collaborate, Cultivate, Celebrate

Trust, Treasure, Transmit

Back Inside Cover:
There was something about this color that reminded me of Claire, even though all the greens she wears are a much deeper hue of this shade of green.

Back Cover:
This is "Bronte" paper from American Crafts Bookshelf Collection. At one point I thought about designing the whole book around this paper, but I didn't have enough other paper that coordinated with it that I really liked, so I abandoned that plan but still used it as the back cover, as it picks up on the light purple I used on the front cover.


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