The last few handcrafted books I’ve made have been for joyous occasions: celebrations of friendship, presents for mothers-to-be, a token of love for my boyfriend (now husband)… But this gift was truly a bittersweet undertaking.
I spent today volunteering at Asan animal shelter (where I adopted my first dog, Webby). I just got LASEK surgery done last month, so I wasn’t planning to volunteer at the shelter for at least a few more weeks–but I simply couldn’t miss today’s trip. It was the last shelter trip for my friend Allison, one of the most amazing animal rescue advocates in Korea. She’ll be heading back to Canada tomorrow to begin the next chapter of her life, but there are so many here in Korea (human and canine alike) who will miss her dearly!
Thankfully, another amazing shelter volunteer, Clare, organized a special “Thank You” event to honor Allison’s passion and devotion to animal welfare through generous donations. For my part, I created a “Thank You” book which included inspirational animal quotes, funny cartoons, donor names, and personal messages from fellow Animal Rescue Korea members.
This book is a great example of creative recycling: instead of making a book from scratch, I used a small holiday planner book as a frame (I bought a bunch of these at a great clearance sale). I then re-covered the book* with this beautiful red and black floral fabric. The fabric was also a great find: I like to visit F&S Fabric in west Los Angeles because they’ll have a box of old fabric samples for sale for just a quarter each. The fabric samples are PERFECT for handmade books! They are small rectangles of fabric cut with pinking shears to prevent fraying. For the spine, I used a red ribbon that I had–I’m the ultimate pack rat, so yes, I’m the person who saves ribbons and wrapping paper from gifts for crafting purposes later! For the inside cover, I used these beautiful sheets of very thin wood that I saved from an art exhibit. The event was sponsored by Nike, and they printed the artist info on the awesome sheets of wood (yeah, there is totally a difference when you have a rich sponsor!)
From there, the rest of the book was easy: I inserted new card stock pages, and added a cute little “thanks” jelly sticker to the spine. Unfortunately, I was a little too generous with the superglue, so it spread out, and it dried dark–oops! I definitely need to be more careful about that in the future.
The last page I glued an envelope to the last page for the cash contributions that people made (there were additional funds which were wired as well, and we’ll be sure to get that to Allison).
*Bookmaking Tip: I’m a big fan of YES! paste for making my book covers. It’s a great water-based, acid-free glue that never warps or wrinkles materials. It’s super thick, so I like to use a nice big stencil brush to apply it. My stencil brush is one of my fave tools, and yes, I also got it at a clearance sale! I love bargains!
With the completed book in hand, I made my way to the shelter. Volunteers who hadn’t had a chance to send me their messages ahead of time were able to write their messages at the shelter. Then we finally presented the book to Allison, and all the work was worth it to see her reaction. Hugs were dispensed, tears were shed, and we all celebrated the wonderful work of Allison (and her boyfriend, Matt–who also tirelessly works together with Allison in animal rescue).
I will miss her terribly, but I know the animals of Canada will be lucky to have this amazing animal-rescuing duo on their side! Good luck in Canada, Allison and Matt!