A Book Valentine’s Craft (It’s Not Mushy. Really.)

I had to tell you about this splendiferous idea I found for Valentine’s Day now, so that you can have it ready for your Valentine next week! And it’s not mushy. Really. Well, okay it’s kinda mushy.

First, credit where credit is due. I found the idea in the USA Weekend Magazine (it comes in my Sunday paper). And here’s what it looks like when you finish:

See how the ring makes a heart shadow in the book? Okay, that’s a little mushy. But in a cool way, right?

Since I’ve actually worked on this little idea, I’ll give you tips that the article left out.

1. Find a book (or a poem, story, song or journal entry within the book) that has special meaning to you and your beloved. I used The Moral Compass, edited by William Bennet. It’s a gem of a book, packed with so many wonderful words, it was hard to choose something special. But I also chose that book because the Beneficent Mr. Hall gave it to me a long time ago. Can you tell that I have the book opened to the Pronouncement of Marriage (from the wedding vows)?

2. Find a ring, preferably a simple, banded ring. I used my wedding band. Notice how small that ring is? Honestly, I never noticed that myself till today. My fingers are like skinny, little carrot sticks.

3. Open the book to the page you like and fit the ring in the binding. It won’t (despite cramming with all your might and harassing it) stay put. You will need to use a dab of glue to hold it in place. Now, work fast here, because you don’t want the glue to harden and dry, lest you’ll need to rip the page to get your ring out. I used craft glue, which is very sticky and washes off easily (from your ring). And please, put the stopper in the sink while washing off your ring. A ripped page is one thing. A lost ring is quite another thing altogether.

4. Place the book under a strong light and you will notice how a heart shadow forms in the crease of the opened book. Lovely! You might want to play with it a few moments to get the right angle for the heart. I traipsed from room to room, looking for the right light.

5. Get your camera, quick! Snap a picture! This step sounds easy, but here is where you might run into a bit of a bother. When I used my everyday, cheapo camera, the flash kept coming on and wiping out the shadow. But I was able to get the words (I used a folk tale about marriage) in sharper focus. What to do? I covered the flash with my finger and snapped the picture. It looked like this:

Hmmm…you can’t see the shadow as well, and of course, there’s that pink glow. But in a way, that pink glow adds to the whole Valentine feel, doesn’t it? So I ran like the wind (if the wind were middle-aged and sluggish) to find my super expensive camera and try again. That’s when I got the better shadow, but the blurred words. I’m still not sure which picture I’ll use.

If I were a better photographer, this Valentine idea might come out better. But I’m still going to print one of the pictures and frame it for the Beneficent Mr. Hall. I have a feeling he’ll like it just fine. He’s kinda mushy like that.

Finding Something Friday Feeling Crafty

I just read in my local paper about the Yellow Daisy Festival here at Stone Mountain, Georgia. It’s HUGE. And full of crafty stuff. Some of the handmade items are truly works of art. Others leave you thinking about going home and trying to make that item yourself.

Which is why I remembered Alison Morris’ post on Shelftalker. Alison is leaving Shelftalker, but she left a ton of artsy links on book crafts before going. And honestly, a few of the DIY projects look simple enough that even I could do them. (Trust me when I say they must be VERY simple. Because a. I’m kinda lazy and b. I’m not that crafty.)

Like making bookmarks from paint chips that you can find here at How About Orange’s blog. Aren’t you always looking for a bookmark? I usually end up sticking a piece of trash in the book. Um, not like a banana peel. But, you know, like that receipt for paying my book fines. Maybe the next time you give someone a book as a gift, you can throw in a handmade bookmark. There’s nothing like a handmade gift to say, “I care about you. And I’m kinda cheap. But really, I do care.”

And you have to check out this totally cool vase made from a book. That’s right-a book vase! The directions are here at lillyella’s. Now, I’m not saying you should cut up your favorite book. But maybe that book that your sis-in-law gave you on the wonders of a macrobiotic diet that was really just an excuse to bring up the fact that you’re eating too much junk food? You could cut that book up and expend a few calories.

So, with that little, tiny nip in the air, maybe this is the weekend for you to try a little crafting yourself. You’ll find plenty in Alison’s post. You might even find yourself following some of these interesting, artsy blogs. And when Cathy C. Hall has another contest, you may find yourself winning a bunch of cool, handmade bookmarks.

Because I care about you. I mean, I may be cheap. But really, I do care.

Tooting My Horn for Sally Dog (and the Artsy Ruth!)


Sally the Crazy Dog is as much a Hall as anyone else around here…and in an ironic twist, Sally may be the only Hall NOT in the dog house at the moment. But that’s not why I’m tooting the horn for Sally (though it is worth a da-da!).

Sally sat still for a moment so I could take a photo of her. Yeah, I know what you’re thinking. Sally’s a professional sleeping dog. BUT, whenever I get the camera out, she goes into action. Hence, the apt moniker: Sally the CRAZY dog.

And the reason I needed a nice, curled up photo of Sally was that my writer buddy and rock artist, Ruth, was making a rock. Not just any rock-a painted rock that looked just like Sally. I wanted Juniorest Hall to have this keepsake to take off to school.

Okay, I know it’s April. But considering my track record with Juniorest Hall (the third in line), he’s lucky to be getting the rock before he graduates (he’s a college freshman).

And P.S., Ruth will paint just about any critter on a rock. And I think these keepsakes are perfect for seniors graduating and leaving beloved pets behind at home. So, here’s a horn-toot for Ruthie’s Rocks, too. Da-da-da-dada!

Oh, and P.P.S. Ann over at Ann’s Rants won the Chicken Soup for the Soul’s Thanks, Dad! And thank you for all those lovely comments. I wish I could send a copy to each and every one of you. But I can’t. I’m too busy buying rocks. (Send me your address, Ann!)