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Archive for the ‘specialty books’ Category

jack + rita, a love story

Monday, August 23rd, 2010

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Jack + Rita

I had so much fun working with Ricca to make this book. It’s about her grandparents, Jack + Rita. Or Popoo and Bubbie, to family. Bubbie is still alive, so she contributed lots of her stories through interviews with Ricca. And more importantly, she got to enjoy this lovely tribute to their lives and their love.

There were a couple of stories that just resonated with me in this book. I think they appeal to my old-fashioned family self. Ricca’s family is Sephardic Jewish, from the island of Rhodes. They immigrated to Seattle where they lived among extended family and a tight-knit community of fellow Sephardic Jews. The kind of tight-knit we don’t know today.

Every Sunday during the summer, the family would drive to a mountain lake and picnic together. There were lots of them. It was an all-day adventure, with the drive being as important as the eating. I am sure the ladies spent hours preparing the food. And their menus were Greek gourmet. Here’s an excerpt:

“We joined together, spreading out a cornucopia of Sephardic food on a blanket: spinach frittata, meat-filled pastilicos, potato/cheese borekas, eggplant quajado, artichoke salad, rosca with feta cheese, yaprakis, leek prassa, green and black olives, and even fish roe tarama.”

I cannot claim to know all these dishes, but my mouth is watering anyways.

I also loved the story about how people were invited to weddings. Since everyone lived in the same neighborhood, they just hired a man to go up and down the street like a town crier and announce the wedding date and invite everyone to attend. So much for letterpress invitations!

Anyway, you can tell this was a fun one for me. Here are some more photos to enjoy.

Jack + Rita

Jack + Rita

Jack + Rita

Jack + Rita

Jack + Rita

Jack + Rita

Jack + Rita

Jack + Rita

Jack + Rita

Jack + Rita

Jack + Rita

Jack + Rita

Jack + Rita
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alaskan gold rush book

Monday, September 21st, 2009

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This was quite a project. Cousins Judie and Maureen decided to write a story about their Swedish grandparents who became successful gold miners in the Alaskan Gold Rush.

There were so many amazing photos and stories, and these ladies did a beautiful job pulling it all together. Here are just a few of the pages…so hard to represent in photos what this year plus long project encompassed. Suffice it to say, we are all very proud of the end result.

They named their book “Nuggets from the Sluice Box” – a sluice box is a gold mining apparatus. And the nuggets, in this case, are the incredible stories of their grandparent’s lives in the remote Alaskan wilderness.

the poppy papers

Wednesday, October 1st, 2008

I’ve been meaning to share this book for a while now. It is a memoir. And a wonderfully honest and interesting one at that. It is the story of Chris Black, otherwise known and loved as Poppy.

So naturally, these are The Poppy Papers.

poppy papers - stamping 

poppy papers - cover 

poppy papers - spine 

For the cover we played off the “papers” title and used part of the text for the spine detail.

What I love most about this story is how real it is. There is no sugar coating and making life seem like it was 100% perfect, or that no bad thing was Poppy’s fault. Instead, it is engaging because it is so real. Poppy talks about hopping from job to job (it is possible he had 25+ jobs in his life, I lost count…), relationship struggles, and reinventing himself. He also recounts incredible adventures – living in France making money as a juggler, living out of a jeep all summer in Alaska (with his wife and daughter!) selling necklaces at craft fairs. And he offers his philosophy on life and views of the world (“If it sounds like I am not a big fan of government, I’m not.”) It is truly a great read.

poppy papers 

poppy papers 

poppy papers 

If you have a parent or grandparent who has yet to write their own story down, perhaps now is the time to suggest it. They might not think there’s much to say, but there always is!

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pocket books!

Thursday, May 1st, 2008

black & chamberlain - pocket 

Here, at long last are the pocket books! These are Janda’s latest volumes of her family ancestry – The Chamberlains and The Blacks. I love the way they turned out!

In the photo above, we used a collage of census records and documents to make a full page diagonal pocket for storing family information.

For the book cover below, we matched the look and feel of her Janda book but selected new fabric colors – rust and light grey.

black & chamberlain - book spines 

chamberlain - cover stamping 

We used pockets of varying sizes throughout the book, depending how much storage was needed for that section. Here’s one for Artifacts & Letters.

black & chamberlain - pocket 

And another pocket for Famous Family Connections. I already know the first thing that will go in this one, too. Right after going to press Janda discovered she is related to Anne Boleyn! Exactly why we made pockets.

chamberlain - famous family connections 

And here are some of the page layouts.

blacks - table of contents 

black & chamberlain - map 

chamberlain - photo layout 

black & chamberlain - timeline 

black & chamberlain - newspaper 

As always, it was such a fun, rewarding collaboration creating these books! Thank you thank you, Janda…enjoy them!

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sneak peek: pocket books, coming soon!

Friday, March 28th, 2008

I can’t wait to share these next books with you. They won’t be ready for a few weeks, so today is just a sneak peek.

Volumes 2 and 3 of Janda’s family history (this is Volume 1) will contain pockets. Many many pockets.

Here’s why. Janda discovers new branches of her family at an astonishing rate (is there a cure for addiction?) So there will naturally be new family charts, documents, photos, etc. And that’s where the pockets come in. She’ll just insert them as she finds them, and the books will be her ongoing family archives.

So this week was Pocket Making Week. Armed with straight edges, exactos, and plenty of adhesive, Maggie and I whipped up 54 (dare I say) stunning pockets.

Here’s a before/after of one of the map pockets (apologies for terrible lighting – the paper is not really yellow).

maps - for making into pockets 

finished map pockets - closeups 

It’s a diagonal pocket all the way across the page, one of several pocket styles we used. I’ll post lots more photos when the books are all finished!

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a green book for st patty’s day

Monday, March 17th, 2008

memoir - cover I have been meaning to share this book for a while, and St Patrick’s Day is the perfect excuse. At least if you’re color-oriented like me. (And Irish!)

This book contains the memoirs of Jaime’s grandfather, Paul, whom she hardly remembers and wouldn’t really know were it not for this memoir.

In 1971, inspired by reading his uncle’s memoirs, Paul typed his own story. In his own words, “I began to realize that many of these tales of over 100 years ago might be of interest to coming generations.” Indeed.

Jaime collected photographs, family tree information, and a timeline of her grandfather’s life to accompany his writings, and gave a copy of the book to each family member for Christmas. What a treasure.

memoir - intro 

memoir - spine + interior 

memoir - fold out family tree 

memoir - timeline 

(images top to bottom, l to r: book dedication as written by jaime’s grandfather in 1971, alongside his photo; book spine; mother’s family chapter page; fold-out family tree; closeup of family tree chapter page; closeup of timeline showing key events of paul’s life, like his son’s graduation in 1964)

Thank you, Jaime. This was a beautiful project!

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memories of a childhood

Wednesday, January 23rd, 2008


Yes, that is a photo of a little girl with a lot of turkeys. Welcome to the childhood memories of Ellie Yordy.

For Ellie, childhood meant grandparents with a dairy farm, parents with a turkey farm (still in operation today), and an entire family with a Mennonite faith central to daily life.

Needless to say, when Liz called me to put together her mother’s – Ellie’s – memoir as a Christmas gift, I knew it would be a fun project.

book dedication

The most inspiring part for me was the way Liz dove into this project! She visited family members throughout the country – including the farm – and compiled information on her Mennonite heritage and history to include in the book, learning much about her mother and family along the way.

what it means to be mennonite

I absolutely adore all the great old photos of turkeys and the farm. We also had amazing memorabilia to work with – from napkins to business cards to news clippings.

chapter page  - many turkeys

turkey farm

The chapter on Ellie’s mom focused on her passion for nature and gardening. I especially love her ID card for being a flower competition judge.

nature and gardening

flower judge id card

And I’ll close with this really fun cheerleading photo of Ellie, and a big “rah” to Liz for letting me work on this amazing project! I love what we created!

rah rah cheerleading photo

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janda family book, volume 1

Tuesday, November 6th, 2007

hot foil stamped title I’m so excited to finally be sharing this book with you!

When Janda and I first met over coffee last February, we looked at a book she had just made through a photobook service. Unfortunately, it didn’t quite capture her maternal grandparent’s story the way she hoped. Now she wanted to do it right.

Not only that, Janda really wanted to create a look/feel that could be translated into future books about other branches of her family. So, here is what we created – a volume one about her maternal grandparents. Next up is a book about her dad’s family.

I’m quite proud of our work together on this book. Thank you, Janda…we did it!

(book details: 100 page, 11×17 family history book, foil stamped title, ribbon bookmarks)

book cover

ribbon bookmarks for the 3 family trees

We included 3 bookmarks, one for each family tree. Many of Janda’s ancestors shared the same names (even in the same generation!) so being able to refer back to the trees is very helpful.

old map of germany

the lahner kids

A few spreads showing the page styles we used – a chapter beginning, and a “kids” page.

book spread with glassine envelopes for artifacts

glassine envelopes for artifacts

In her research, Janda uncovered some wonderful old documents she wanted to include. We added these archival glassine envelopes to hold them, so you can actually touch and feel bits of her family history.

I look forward to volume 2!
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always, james

Tuesday, August 7th, 2007

Always, James Thank you to Anna and Maggie, the mother-daughter team who entrusted me with the story of James, their recently deceased father and grandfather.

This book tells the story of a quite remarkable man named James. It’s his life story as told through his wartime letters from 1942-1945. Whether telling of his quest to become a pilot (which was ultimately unsuccessful) to falling in love (which was ultimately quite successful!) he liked to sign off his letters, Always, James.

Most of the letters were written to his beloved, Anna, who he met right before enlisting and finally married while on furlough in 1944. Trust me, he writes her some of the sweetest darn letters you’ve ever seen – I shed more than a few tears reading them!

(a note about the book details: this is a 115 page, 13×11 personal history book, with custom artwork on the spine, foil stamping on the fabric cover, and a hand-stitched CD pocket on the back inside cover.)

Now for a peak at the book. On the cover we used James’ signature for the book title and a collage of his envelopes for the spine.



We started the book with a timeline to give context for the story. The top of the timeline shows the events in James’ life, while the bottom features the events of World War II.


From there, we started taking excerpts from the letters and featuring them in different chapters. This is the “Sense of Duty” chapter.



Here are a few of the main chapter pages.




And a few more of my favorite pages. We tried to use a few of the actual letters because the handwriting is so beautiful, even if it is hard to read!



And now to await Anna and Maggie’s report. They’re currently at their family reunion where they are presenting copies of the book to an unsuspecting but sure-to-be-blown away family!

What a gift.

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