Paper Bag Art: Smile. You Are Unique.

Do brown paper bags inspire you?

I love the message on the paper bag at Chop Chop, my favorite “new” restaurant to get a chopped salad [They only sell salads, so don’t go there looking for chops]. ūüėČ

In short, simple sentences, the bag offers “feel good” advice for living the good life.

There’s too much positivity on the bag to toss or use till it falls apart, so I decided to upcycle it into something that would last “just a little longer.” ¬†With paper and glue, I transformed the bag into art for my inspiration wall.

This was simple to make–I used two pieces of 12 x 12 scrapbook paper, trimmed one to about 11 x 11 and then recycled the chipboard from a package of pocket pages. The bottom layer is a about 12.5 x 13. ¬†After trimming the excess from the bag, I layered everything and applied three coats of Sparkle Mod Podge. I, then, added some embellishments from my stash. All done! [Eventually, I’ll get it framed].

Just in case you have difficulty seeing all the words, it reads:

Smile.You are unique. Discover and pursue your passions. Support your community. Listen and be heard. Be the change you desire. Your time is now. Take a moment and just breathe. Enjoy simplicity. Learn and practice every day. Question the status quo. Climb higher. Leave a gentle footprint. Live free. Eat well. Make amazing friends. Challenge yourself. Live in the moment. Dance when everyone is watching. Be strong. Be loud. Be unafraid. Be relentless. Share your passions. Elevate your tastes. Keep it real. Keep it fresh.

As you can see from the first picture, I have another bag ready to go. I plan to take a completely different approach with that one. For now, I’m eyeing a Chipotle bag for my next “craftsterpiece.”

Have you created anything with a paper bag lately?

Cup and Chaucer: Mini Pocket Flipbook

One of the most enjoyable snail mail projects I worked on this year was a mini pocket flipbook for a swap in the Cup and Chaucer group on swap-bot.  Cup and Chaucer, as you might have guessed, is a group of swap-bots who love mulling over a great literature with piping hot cup of tea.

I’d never done a flipbook before, but my interest was piqued by the theme–books!¬† How could I resist?¬† Besides sticking to the theme, the only other requirement was that we incorporate a pocket.

My “receive from” partner, AnnaM, created a beautiful flipbook–lots of purple and gold, pretty embellishments, and many thoughtful handmade items.¬† Overall, it was an elegant flipbook, nicely presented.

This is how the flipbook came out of the envelope:

Flipbook Packaging

Flipbook Packaging

Here’s the front cover:

Flipbook Front Cover

Flipbook Front Cover

And the back cover:

Back Cover

“There is no scent so pleasant to my nostrils as the faint subtle reek which comes from an ancient book.” –Arthur Conan Doyle

And everything in between [click an image for a closer look]:

Here’s a closer look at some of the tuck-ins [click an image for a closer look]:

There was just so much “eye candy.” I remember doing the happy mail dance when I opened the package.

The swap came at a crazy time for me–April.¬† The cruelest month. Remember?¬† I didn’t even see an opportunity to work on it until the mail deadline date.¬† I ended up¬†grabbing a bunch of supplies on my way out the door one morning, working on it, and completing it in record time in my office (between classes, of course).¬† I posted it on my way home.

I chose a color pallet and crafted without a plan:

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It was early spring and I was happy to see and play with color again.

True to my “English professor” word, I finished the front cover last (I tell my students to write their essay introductions last).

Bookish Flipbook Front Cover

“Books are the quietest and most constant of friends; they are the most accessible and wisest of counselors, and the most patient of teachers.” ¬†–Charles Williams Eliot

Here’s the back cover and everything in-between [click an image for a closer look]:

My favorite part is Dickens’ Dream by Victorian artist Robert William Buss.¬† I scavenged it from a mailer from one of the textbook publishers. The curly haired lady was also salvaged from an envelope or the back of a postcard.

The¬†flipbook was 5 x 7 inches, a manageable size.¬† It was bound with washi tape. I tucked in Jane Austen postcards, Project Life cards, star-shaped Post-it notes, washi tape, and paperclip bookmarks–something else I learned to do this year.

Making the flipbook was an easy and fun activity;¬†I’m looking forward to crafting another one.¬†If you’d like to make your own flipbook and need to see more of the process, here’s the YouTube video I reviewed before making my own:

Doesn’t this look like fun for a rainy day?

Happy Thanksgiving!

Pinecone Turkey by one of the Theall Triplets

“Pinecone Turkey” by one of the Theall Triplets, 2011

Take a moment each day to count your blessings.