“If you’re waiting until you feel talented enough to make it, you’ll never make it.” Criss Jami.

     A simple, and yet delightfully personal, way to make a gift for someone is to make a scrap book for them.  For example, I am making a gift which is of a small scrap book that will be filled with a selection of themed photos that will, I know, have a lovely meaning for the person I am gifting them to.

     All you need are the following items, which can easily be sourced from a craft store either online or in a nearby town:

  • A scrapbook.
  • A glue stick.
  • Some patterned paper to form a background on each page.
  • Photo quality printing paper, to fit the scrap book.
  • Some simple items to personalise the pages; in this case I have bought some thin wooden ‘Scrabble’-style letters.  I will form some words with these, on each page.
  • You may want to have either pens, pencils or paints to decorate around the edges of some of the pages?

Here is the scrapbook that I have chosen for the person concerned:

Here is an example of some of the patterned papers that I have used for the page backgrounds:

Here are the ‘Scrabble’-style wooden letters that I will be using to add significant or funny wording onto each page:

     The patterned paper sheets that will form the backdrop to each photo, are all from a pad of these papers.  These pads come in many sizes and styles, as do the scrapbooks, themselves.  You can easily find the ideal patterns to suit the photos that you will then add on top of them.

      In this case, I will be printing 6″ x 4″ photos directly from albums on my computer, onto photographic paper.  I am choosing a theme for the photos that I select, so that they have a specific meaning for the person that I will be giving this gift to.

     To complete this craft:

  • Open your scrapbook and take one sheet of the patterned paper from it’s pad.
  • Using the glue stick, carefully glue around the edges of the reverse of the patterned paper and perhaps a cross going across the page so that the glue is not only around the edges.
  • Carefully position the sheet of patterned paper over the scrapbook page and then gently stick it in; making sure not to allow bubbles to form.

  • It doesn’t matter if the sheet of patterned paper is not perfectly alligned to the edge of the scrapbook page.  It looks more authentically hand made, in fact, when there are small imperfections.  You may even want to make specific effort to paste your patterned paper into position at varying angles, throughout the scrapbook.  Simply do whatever you like the most.

  • Print off your photo and then, once the ink has dried, glue the reverse of the photo paper and stick the photo in position, on top of the patterned paper.  Be sure to position the photo at any type of angle that will leave a good amount of the patterned background paper on display,  There is no value in covering the patterned background paper; it is part of the artwork.
  • Using any materials you wish, decorate the page further.  You may want to draw or paint around the edges of the page, you may want to stick on stickers or, like me, you may want to use stick on letters of stick on words to add a personal message onto each page.  The beauty is that you are completely free to personalise the page in  any way that you enjoy.
  • Once done, you will have a beautiful hand made, themed and personalised photo album to give as a gift for a special occasion or simply to brighten someone’s day.

I’m afraid I won’t be showing a photo of these parts of the process, for that mist remain private to the person receiving this gift.

I believe that creativity is great therapy and, if like me you have Parkinson’s, the act of using your hands helps to maintain dexterity. Don’t be afraid to make crafts even if you tremor. That simply will make your art unique and even more personal.

     If you have experience of scrapbooks; whether you have made them for someone else or whether you have received one as a gift, I would love to hear from you about that.  Please fell free to share your story in the comments, below.

(C) Dean G. Parsons. 2019.

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