Monday, January 27, 2014

Book of Symbols

Hope everyone had a nice relaxing weekend.  We took a short drive up to San Luis Obispo to have lunch on Saturday at CPK (my favorite Thai Crunch Salad of course) and then walk around the downtown area.  We had a couple nieces with us which always makes for a good day.  I admit I wish I had the energy of the 6 year old!  She's at that stage where it seems her legs have grown so much lately, she's not sure how to control them.  Just walking down the street was an experience.  I think she tested out every walkway, bench, and flowerbed...hopping, jumping, giant steps, baby steps...she tried it all!  Good times.

Today's CHA project is made with one of the new Mini Configurations book.  The new mini is 9 x 6" and the perfect size for so many projects.  Looking forward to using this in classes this year.
This story is about my father which I wanted to share...but not too much.  I know that might sound strange in a world that is all about information overload but this was a personal story I wanted to share in a different way.  The only real way to get all the information enclosed is to talk to me or have the "key" to the project (more on that later).
The project started with the new mini cabinet cards and a photo I found.  I wasn't really sure if it should go on the outside or the inside of the book (both looked good), so I tested different ideas until I decided to put it on the inside to keep it more personal (he would have like it that way).   
On the cover I used the backside of one of the new Wallflower papers (found in the 8 x 8" mini paper stash - Menagerie), a calendar and butterfly from the Ephemera pack - Thrift Shop (I'll be talking about them in a later post) and a few other new trinkets like the new Letterpress and metal Arrows.

Each item was picked for a reason. As symbol of something meaningful to me.  So even though the book is about him, it's more about how I choose to remember him.

The mini numeral 25 is the year of his birth.
The calendar represents time.
The G is his first initial.
The butterfly was used to represent moving on to another world.
The words cut from a vintage book speak of his character.
The arrow is a visual representation of him - he was a straight arrow.  Never deviating from his beliefs or good character.
The Locket book was the perfect vehicle to keep bits of information (like dates) enclosed.  I bet many people saw this project in the booth but never thought to open the locket.
And the small heart - says, "forget me not" which seemed appropriate.
I think the number one product people have been talking about from the show is these letters and numbers.  Wood (yes, real wood) in a variety of fonts and have been stained different colors.  On the cover I painted and sanded the letter G, then wrapped it in paper and string. 

I created a document with small text boxes, the size needed to fit the fold out paper that comes in the Locket Book.  I decided to use a very plain font for the text, as he was very practical and never requiring anything superfluous (words or goods).  In total, there are 8 blocks of information about him.  Amazing how much info I got in that one little space!
I thought I might show you the new Arrows and Mini Corners too.  The arrows come in 2 sizes and the Mini Corners come in 3 colors.  Hopefully the dime helps with scale.

Elastic Loops and Bands are also new.  I used an Elastic Loop to hold the Mini Configurations Book closed.  You can see I punched a hole with an awl at the bottom corner to thread the metal barb into the book.  Once in place, I hammered the metal part so the box inside could fit "snugger" (I hope that is a real word because the more I say it in my head, the more it sounds like I made it up) against the interior box.

Oh, and the ever present dyed love.  What would I ever do without you?  Just makes me happy on so many levels.
When you open the book you will find the picture and mini Cabinet Card that really set off the idea of the project.  Lots of ink and wire, stamping and painting (I'm not going to mention that color again, I promise).
The symbols continue.
He was born on the 22.
He was a carpenter so the bottles are filled with various sizes of nails and screws.  The stamped words all came from the Stampers Anonymous "Mercantile" set.  The numbers from the Remnant Rubs, Botanical set.  Tissue Tape - Elements was chosen because of the measuring tape pattern.  Something he used everyday as a carpenter.

 via Tim Holtz blog

The same Alpha Parts set I used in the last project, just a different word.  This time I used a Elastic Band to hold the vintage leather book in place. 
Again, words cut from a book on the Compass Coin/Game Spinner referencing his passing.  The book itself was made with a vintage leather notebook I had had for sometime.  Not sure how it even came to mind to dig it out.  Lucky that I had one that fit perfectly into the box.

I created a little book using Ranger Manila cardstock.  I stitched the pages together and then folded them in half to create the book.
I just used simple things like stamps and Distress Ink to create the book.  I few pictures my husband helped me print to the right size (I'm not so good at that sort of thing).  The book only had a few pages so I just used a few photographs to represent key things that happened to him.

Birth on a rural farm.
 Leaving home to join the military.
I chose this picture because he signed is name at the bottom.  I thought it was important to record his signature.
 And the wedding photo - the starting of a new life together.
I decided to add a vintage glassine envelope on the last page with his obituary.  I found a copy when I was looking for the right photos and it fit just perfect in the envelope.  I chose to include this because it tells more about where he lived, his work and interests.  Things I did not have space for in the book.
Hopefully today's project will get you thinking about what story you can tell with symbols.  I have always liked this way of story telling because you can weave such an incredible amount of information into a small space.  I will mention that in past projects, be they paper or fabric based stories and especially if they are gifts, I will write down the "symbolic key" and include it with the project.  Preferably including the information in an envelope on the back or in the case of a fabric based project - I write it on fabric in permanent pen and stitch it to the back.  I love going back years later to read what the meaning is because I never remember them all after time has passed.

If you would like to create a project using symbols you might start by asking these questions:
1. main dates or numbers I want to include.  These could include birth, marriage, dates children were born, how many years in a home, home addresses, etc.
2. family
3. children - names and dates (these were included in the locket book in my project)
4. state or country
5. work
6. hobbies
7. vacation spots
8. scripture or poem
9. music - favorite song
10.  favorite food - this might seem like a funny one to list, but many times food has special meaning. In my dads case it was A &W root beer - he loved it all his life and it was the last thing he asked me to get him before he passed away.  I included that information on one of the small text blocks in the Locket book.
11. character traits
12. significant life events

Once you have some or all of these questions answered, you can start thinking about which to include and how you can add them to the story.  And remember, it can even be your own story you might want to tell.

now carry on,