New Year’s Resolution: Turning 40 Mini Album
The start of a new year brings a close to a wonderful, but often harried, season of celebrations with friends and loved ones. Through these celebrations we eat lots of good food, generously give gifts, and trade schedules of our every-day routines for schedules filled with school recitals, trips to the mall, and parties. When it's all said and done, we are grateful for the reminders that it is our relationships that make life full and rewarding. But we're also looking forward to a new beginning, to the chance to reflect on how we're living our lives and setting goals for things we can do to be better. Some of us set goals tied to our health, some to our finances, some to the spending of the precious commodity of time. We can set goals to be more giving, to be more involved, to learn a new skill. The challenge is not in finding ways to transform into an improved version of ourselves. The challenge is in the follow through. Even the most ambitious of us can find ourselves giving up after a few short weeks.
The past few weeks, as I've reflected on the things I'd like to improve on in my own life, I've found some extra motivation. This year is the year I will turn 40. I'm approaching the crest of that hill that is marked by silly black party decorations emblazoned with jabs of reaching a state of decrepitude. I'll admit that there are marked differences between me at 20 and me at 40. While I expect the physical decline will continue, you won't find me proclaiming a decline in the joy of life from this point. I'm looking at this hill like a roller coaster. The best part is reaching the crest of that big hill, raising your hands above your head, and loving every second of the trip down the other side.
Since this coming year is a milestone year for me, I've decided to tie it to my New Year's resolutions and chronicle my journey through the year in a mini book. I've set up a loose foundation for the book, including some sections that repeat from month to month. These sections are there to provide some organization to the project and keep me focused on goals I've set. But I've also left a blank page for each month to provide space for recording the variety in my experiences throughout the year. One month I may want to journal more than others, another month I may have more photos to include, and another I may have more memorabilia to preserve.
Fiskars offers many products useful for creating mini books. Paper trimmers and a variety of cutting knives are available for cutting book covers and interior pages should you want to make the entire book yourself. I began my book with a 7-Gypsies Naked Book that I've had stashed away for a few years. I embellished the cover using patterned papers, the Fiskars Apron Lace Border Punch, and the Extra Large My Funny Valentine Squeeze Punch.
Using packing material with texture to it makes the punched heart more interesting.
If you look closely, you can see that I also used the Apron Lace Border Punch on the top edge of the small transparency printed with the vintage image of the little girl.
Since the purpose of the book is to preserve my journey through a milestone, I added an envelope to the inside front cover in which I plan to tuck away some journaling about my feelings on turning 40. At the end of the year, I may also include journaling about my feelings on the completion of the year.
Each month begins with a page that looks like this.
Using the Extra Large Tag, You're It Squeeze Punch, the Patterned Alpha Stamp Set, and Fiskars High Density Ink pads, I've labeled each page with the month. The compilation of 3 tags for each month peeking out of the side of the album adds some texture, color, and fun to the outside of the finished project.
Punched shapes, stamped images, and small scraps of fabric, buttons, and other odds-and-ends fill empty spaces that need something in them to balance out the page.
The second page for each month includes a section for recording inspiring and encouraging words to help me keep focused on my goals. I plan to use bible verses to guide me and I've included a small shipping tag for each week's verse. Any quotations you find inspiring can be used as weekly motivation in a book like this.
The last 2 pages for each month are blank pages which will look different from month-to-month, depending on what gets preserved on them.
To create a separation between the end of one month and the beginning of a new month, I've included a section of patterned transparency. I've used the Extra Large Postage Stamp Squeeze Punch to create an embellishment that, while small and simple, makes a big impact when using contrasting patterns and a number representative of the approaching month.
On the inside back cover I've included a pocket (made from the title page torn from an old Reader's Digest Condensed Stories book) that holds a small booklet of tags. I'll use this to keep a record of the books I read throughout the year. Originally I planned to include this as one of my monthly sections but I felt, considering my time constraints, that this could end up becoming something that added an element of stress. Some months I don't read any books and other months I might read 2 or 3. Keeping a booklet for the entire year still allows me to keep track of them yet eliminates the need to place a time limit on something that is supposed to be enjoyable and relaxing.
To help me get through the book more quickly when I don't have a lot of time to spend creating, I've put together a small booklet with stamped images that will work for a variety of themes or as generic images to fill space.
The booklet also includes some of my favorite punched shapes.
You may not be turning 40 this year but this concept can be used for other milestones. Certainly the theme can be other "big" birthdays such as turning 30 or 50. But it's not limited to birthdays! Maybe it's the year you will give birth to your first child. Maybe you'll get married, graduate college, or send a child off to college. Whatever milestone it is you're spending much time reflecting on, consider preserving your journey through it in a mini book.
For further fun craft projects like Kendra has created here you can go to