Tuesday, February 19, 2008

the princessiest princess castle books in the world, EVER!

hooray! they are done!!!

and if i do say so myself...they look goooooooooood! :)

but let's look closer, shall we?

here's riley's book...from the front...

(materials list and basic method are below)

...from the side...

and, standing, castle-ish-ly:

btw, the amazing photographs in riley's & lindsay' books were taken by my sister-in-law, sandy, and her sister, cindy. when i found these neat "bare essentials" minibooks last fall, i requested princess pics (without saying why) and my brother was kind enough to make me a cd from their trip to disneyworld last august.

probably the hardest part of the entire project was narrowing down from hundreds of adorable choices to eight 2.5x3" pics; two 3.5" squares and a 3.5x5" cover photo. truly, it was almost impossible--there were SO MANY good ones!

here's lindsay's book:

i went back and forth about whether the two sisters' books should be exactly the same or totally different...eventually i compromised by using all the same photographs and patterned papers...but placing them different combinations, so they would be equal... (an important consideration when your recipients are 4 and 6!) ...yet unique!

my youngest niece, madeline, hasn't been to disneyworld yet, but she loooooooves all things princessy and i wanted her to have a book like her cousins. so instead of capturing one trip, for maddie, i combined photos from a number of different occasions: dressed as cinderella last halloween, going to "princesses on ice" last xmas, at her birthday party, playing dress up, and so forth. (many of these pics are courtesy of maddie's father, john; my relatives are very nice about sharing...especially when they know there is a project in the offing!) ;)

one thing i did not have for this book was a correctly shaped portrait for the cover, so maddie's name page is the front; but i used the same papers and basic format as for riley and lindsay; again, so it would be obvious that the books were THE SAME...but personalized!

finally, a shot of the books IN ACTION

here are the girls opening them, as snapped by jeff at riley's birthday party the other night. i am pleased and proud to say they were a big hit!

maybe my favorite compliment of the evening (aside from the little girls' obvious excitement and huge hugs and shouts of "THANK YOU, AUNT LAUREN!", obviously!) came from sandy's elder sister, who is quite an elegant and sophisticated professional woman...

debbie (sighing): lauren, i wish you were MY aunt, so you could make ME one of these!
me (thinking she meant for her daughters): for megan and leah?
debbie: nonono, for ME!!!
lauren (laughing): do you have pictures of yourself dressed as a princess?
debbie (immediately): no, but if that's what it takes, i'll get some!

just in case these weren't quite enough princess castle book pictures for you, i've made a webshots album with gi-huge-ic photos of every page of all three books. you know, in case you're suffering from a pink-n-sparkly deficiency or insomnia or something!

supplies used: plain white castle-shaped cardboard "bare essentials" minibook by creative imaginations; patterned paper: sassafras lass, doodlebug, reminisce, paper fever, scenic route, autumn leaves, creative imaginations, making memories; stickers: sei, ki mambi, pebbles,; photocorners: heidi swapp; flowers: prima, doodlebug; brads & sequins: doodlebug; decorative heart pins: joann essentials; rhinestones: jewelcraft; bling crowns: mambi; other: foam tape, stickles, zigwriter

basic method: i made a template by tracing each panel of the blank book and used it to trace and cut multiple panels of patterned paper just slightly smaller so that each face has pattern on it...with a little border of white around the edge. before adhering the paper, i outlined each piece with a fine point zig writer. the idea was to make the white of the book work WITH the design, and also to make the outlining interntionally imperfect, so that anything that got put on slighlty wonkily would look ON PURPOSE! after each panel was papered i added photos printed at home on kodak premium paper, and then i embellished...being careful to keep things fairly flat, particularly on the interior seams to allow the books to fold relatively flat. the flags are patterned paper adhered around decorative pins. LHJ used a teeny tiny hand drill to make small holes in the top of the books and i used diamond glaze to cement the pins in the chipboard.

i am *always* happy to answer specific questions or provide additional info about projects, techniques or supplies...
just leave a comment or email me! :)

ps to my paper adventure pals: i got a bit side-tracked with this project last week, but not to worry, i will be making--and posting--operations 7 & 8 later this week (and coming to see yours)!


  1. Lauren, these books are GLOOOOORIOUS! I have seen the castle books (though I admit I thought they were more like cards) and wanted to get one, but had no idea what I would do with it. But I will save it and make a point to dress up my daughter as a princess every so often just so I can take pictures, LOL! Then I, too, will make a beautiful princess book!! You have inspired me (and I'm sure my LSS will be thankful that now, yet again, I have one more thing I *HAVE* to get from there, LOL!) and I can't wait to get one! Oh - and thanks for showing me that they could be set up as a little castle... I had no idea!!

  2. Those are utterly delicious books. Those girls will probably keep them for their entire lives. I've said it before and I'll say it again ... you are soooooo talented. x

  3. Ooh ooh - I have LOADS of pictures of me dressed up as a princess ..... please will you make me one too???

    Doh - ok, so I've already had loads from you, but these are just gorgeous! The girls will treasure them, I'm sure, but I did find myself saying at the picture .... "arghhh - be careful with them!" .... but then I remembered they're not my girls and are therefore probably MUCH MORE CAREFUL WITH LOVELY STUFF!!

    I think after all that work you deserve to go and have a lie down in a darkened room. With a big glass of wine. And a cake. And some chocolates. And maybe another glass of wine .....


  4. Outstanding, truely amazing work, very creative and I agree that they will be treasured for ever. A beautiful gift that will hold close to their hearts.

    Great talent, very inspiring, enjoy a rest but I bet your head is buzzing onto the next project!

    Kim :)

  5. Wow Lauren...I wish you were my Aunty!!!!lol ...too,,,,,
    These are absolutly beautiful..somethig they can treasure..your creations are amazing:)xxx

  6. They look absolutely GORGEOUS! Anybody would crave to have you for an aunt, Lauren :).

  7. Lauren, your little princess books are just darling!!! i know the girls just loved them:) and they will treasure them forever!!!

  8. I agree with dear Debbie ... I too would dress in princess clothes to have one of these ... reminds me of the strangest question anyone ever asked me in a job interview ... if we told you that you had to come to work tomorrow dressed as your favorite Disney character, who would you be? I said I would be one of the princesses because if I had to wear a costume, at least it would have a crown ... I didn't get that job, but I still think a princess crown is an essential costume accessory. Absolutely fabulous my dear!

  9. Oh, you did not dissapoint! There are not enough positive adjectives to describe how lovely these books are. I can't imagine the labor that went into making these and you finished so quickly! Truly a labor of love. They are splendid :)

  10. Wow, amazing, sat here in Northumberland UK feeling very inspired. A question...what did u use to make the actual panels? was it stiff cardboard or wood and how did you get the fold?
    kate ardron

  11. I am not above donning a tiara to get one of these! Stunning work as usual. I have one of these books for photos of my boys at a Renaissance Faire. While mine will have decidedly less pink and bling, I will totally steal your idea for the pins and flags!! xo

  12. wow... i'm gonna have to get some princess pics taken too! :-)
    seriously - amazing. i love every little bit & piece of these. adore the covers... love the choices of papers and i really love the drawn outlines... love that! and btw - lhj is such a great guy - drilling holes - holy moly..
    these are so precious and yes - i wish i had an aunt lauren too (and throw in a uncle lhj too!) - lucky girls!!!!!!!!!!!

  13. They are STUNNING Lauren!!!!
    absolutely perfect for the little princesses! I LOVE all the embellishing and the photos are gorgeous too!!!
    Nicola xx

  14. Hi L, WOW - your books are absolutely fabulous! I haven't seen anything like them before - I bet they will be treasured! bx

  15. I stumbled upon your blog and love your work with the Creative Imaginations BE castle books.
    Please post your work on their site.
    Your work is beautiful!

  16. Extraordinary. I don't know what else to say. Wow.


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