Box to Book – Finished and Given, At Last!

Cover finished 1 a

It took the better part of a year – but I got there and I am so happy and relieved to report to those of you who have so faithfully and patiently waded through posts and photos that it was well received.

These photos were taken late at night on my ED’s birthday after a long and full day of zooming halfway up the Island and back again and a rather scrumptious dinner of mussels and Belgian Beer at The Leuven in Wellington City………. On the phone to her right is YD, partaking long distance in the present opening and without the benefits of mussels and Belgian Beer!



Here once more is the history of the Book of Love to refresh memories.

For Christmas 2012 I received a Spellbinders die cutting machine from my lovely Eldest Daughter.  The box was a biggish, strong, brightly coloured affair that sat in my craft room for a couple of months with me looking at it and wondering what it could be used for.

At some point I had the bright idea it could and should be recycled into a book and given back to the giver of the gift the following Christmas.  I was inspired by a beautiful project I had seen on You Tube and also by thoughts of creating something that looked as if it was really old and well loved from ordinary crafting items.

I wanted to give my daughter something that featured my handwriting and lettering, something that could be opened at random and would hold an uplifting message or thought and something that could reveal, or unveil, more layers every time she looked at it.

I ended up deciding to make all my pages and inserts look like palimpsests and consequently spent many happy hours taking ordinary cream coloured card stock and wrinkling, ripping, stamping, dirtying, writing and shaping it to my requirements.  Whilst not strictly meeting the requirements of old parchment that has been recycled and written over many times, it made me feel happy and added depth and interest to the pages that appeared.

The box was roughly cut up into pieces the same size and covered with papers.  Little pieces of the original box however can be seen here and there so the provenance is not altogether lost. I wonder if you spy any of those odd edges and corners as you go through?

The project took longer to complete than expected – mainly due to me getting back into mixed media painting and opening an Etsy Shop and wasn’t ready for last Christmas – but I was determined to get it completed for ED’s birthday last Saturday.  I made it by the skin of my teeth!

We made a little video of the book before I left to come home with my rattly little camera – it is a bit shaky and ends rather abruptly due to me not knowing how to do fade-outs and such like – but may show some aspects that are harder to see in the photos.  Please forgive the quality.

Here we go – I hope you enjoy  🙂



bday2 bday3 bday4 bday5 bday6 bday7 bday8 bday9 bday10

The eagle eyed amongst you may notice that I’ve somehow lost a photo here – a page is missing.





I had a wonderful week away, we were so busy and so happy and it went by in  flash – and I took almost no photos – completely hopeless!

But here is a photo of Wellington Airport for you Lord of The Rings and Hobbit fans:


Thanks for coming by today – I’m so happy that you did!   🙂

57 thoughts on “Box to Book – Finished and Given, At Last!

  1. Pingback: In Search of Versatility | insearchofitall

  2. I remember ooohhhing and ahhhhing over your beautiful gift one night but must have nodded off before leaving a message ❤
    I can't even believe that 'only' took one year or that you made it from a box. Every page is a work of complete work of art. I can never resist birds and roses and they look so pretty with your lettering. I imagine someone fashioning something like this hundred of years ago. The kind of handmade books you see in museums but are too delicate to handle now. I really love all the quotes in your own lettering, so personal and dear. I can't even imagine how touching it must have been for your ED. Glad you had the time together too. xoK


    • You are very kind Boomdee! Thank you for reflecting back the very things I was attempting to achieve in creating this 🙂 I shall have a look at it in another year and see how it presents itself to me then! Thanks for coming back to leave a message – you are so thoughtful!! xoxo


  3. Wow, this is so amazing that I hardly know what to say. It’s the most exquisitely beautiful work of art, and I bet your daughter will treasure it forever. The words are inspiring, the artwork is so rich and detailed and pretty. I dread to think how many hours it must have taken you, but it’s so obviously a work of deep love.


  4. Oh my, oh my! Pauline, I am speechless! Your talent amazes me – you are truly a gifted human being and I am beyond happy that you choose to share your talent with us. What a beautiful gift. I know that YD will treasure it forever. Each moment you spent creating in was a gift in itself. I don’t know which is more valuable, the tangible or the intangible gift? I confidently say, BOTH.
    Such lovely and valuable quotes.

    About taking a long time to complete this gift…that wasn’t long. I probably would start in my middle age and finish when I am a granny 🙂

    Congrats on this superb accomplishment, Pauline!

    Do you realize that all of your readers have big, bright, beaming smiles on their faces? 🙂 🙂


    • Oh shucks Elaine!! You are way too kind and generous – but I thank you for making me smile and feel so pleased that I got to the finish line! It’s a bit like when you completed your half marathon – sheer relief followed, by exhaustion, followed by a sense of pleasure 🙂 I’m pleased you liked the quotes 🙂


  5. I FINALLY got to “T” again! 🙂 I am pleased as punch and twice as smug 🙂 OOOOO PRETTY! 🙂 (ED = “Eldest Daughter” DUH!). Herein I show my obvious lack of crafting ability and craftspeak and ask “what is a “palimpsest”? Sounds like Lord of the Rings Smeagol’s long lost brother from Idaho who is in sales and who has managed to elevate himself from lowly creature to salesman of the year complete with fedora and tie! I am not entirely sure but I think I might just be out of the ballpark with that guess?

    Shaky videos are personal videos. I know because I “personalise” my camera vids all the time ;). SO glad you are back and that ED loved her book. It is obvious in that glorious smile 🙂

    Hopefully it won’t take me a month of sundays to get around to reading your next post 😉


    • Hooray for T 🙂 How long does it take you to get to Z? And what happens if A,B and C just keep on posting every day? Do you have a penalty system? These are all questions I find myself mulling over from time to time.

      Well, I’m so glad you asked! 🙂 Back in the days when paper was very expensive and everything was handwritten, the monks and learned scholars, who were pretty much the only folk who wrote, would take a discarded letter or manuscript and erase as much of the writing as possible and then write their note, letter or manuscript on top of the old work. The previous layers always showed through to a greater or lesser extent, thus keeping some experts in high paying positions today as they doggedly peer through the layers and unearth gems from the far distant past. A famous discovery in recent history has been the Archimedes Palimpsest Here is the link if you want to see it

      Ergo I spent many happy hours making brand new paper look old, dirty, crumpled and previously written on. 🙂

      I think with Smeagol and his long lost brother – whom I confess I did not know of – how do you find these things out? – you were just a tad out of the ball park, but maybe not too far?

      Thank you for your kind words about my video capacities 🙂


  6. Oh my goodness, I don’t know where to start. When I started looking at this yesterday, I just looked at the pictures and thought to myself, what wonderful talent you possess. Then I watched the video and the tears came. I kept pausing the video to read all the quotes and look harder at the artwork. To accomplish something like this is no small endeavor. I would never apologize for the time it took to completion. To receive such a gift from the heart is what one waits a lifetime for. Your talent is only out-shined by your wonderful heart. The quotes throughout are some I live by but to have them so wonderfully displayed in that book, takes my breath away. Thank you so much for sharing. I’m going to share this with my daughter as she is coming by to do laundry. 🙂


    • Goodness Marlene, I am deeply touched to read your words – how wonderful to think you had that response to this book. I am always happy when I hear someone likes something enough to want to share it too 🙂 I am so grateful for all the many compliments that have been made here and my despair at my short-comings has almost entirely evaporated. This is such a supportive community and I am so grateful for you all! I am glad you are a part of it now 🙂


  7. As with others, I just finished watching your video. Oh my goodness, what a labor of love!! So beautiful and a tremendous gift.
    Sounds like you had a great visit (and your dinner, delicious!).


  8. This book must have been such fun to make–so many ways to be creative and to make connections among ideas and images and words! I liked reading about the thought process behind the making–your daughter is a lucky woman!


    • Welcome KerryCan and thank you for commenting too 🙂 The book became a bit of a love/hate affair in the end and I could no longer tell if it was any good at all. You know when you stare at a word for too long and it just doesn’t make any sense any more? Like that! I had to take advice before daring to wrap it up and pass it on even – I should have just posted it all here and then sat back and glowed with pride at all the lovely comments 🙂


  9. Bravo Pauline, the book is absolutely beautiful and I am sure your daughter will treasure it forever. It may have taken longer than you wanted but the finished product is wonderful. I am full of admiration for you. Big love from me 🙂


    • Hello Jill! Thank you, you are always so kind and generous. I had a wonderful week with my ED, we had many adventures together and the time just flew past. Hope you are having a great weekend and getting to enjoy your Happy Mail and some Spring weather too! xoxo


    • Hello Annie! Thank you so much for coming by today. I am happy to hear you watched the video and enjoyed it too. I only have a rickety old camera which records so noisily the only way to make the video watchable is to play music 🙂
      I just need to lean how to do fade outs and fade ins on You Tube now – getting there!


  10. An absolute treasure! Beautifully crafted and overstuffed with wisdom from all the greatest souls (including Pooh & Piglet!). I loved watching the video and seeing all the secret compartments and ‘accessories’. Well done!


  11. Wow Pauline, that is an incredible labour of love! How beautiful – I hope it gets passed down for many generations to come. I love that you included wisdom of the Grand Pooh-bear!! So glad you were so happily engaged for your ‘away’ time. Have a beautiful weekend. : )))xox


  12. Aw, this just about made me cry Pauline, what a beautiful labour of love she will treasure forever. This is so beautiful. Out of one of the pockets you took the cutest wee bird picture I just loved. What a lovely video 🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂


    • Now I have to go and see which pocket you are referring to – how’s that for a [bad] memory!! I am delighted to hear that it almost made you cry though – that is high praise indeed! Thank you for being so kind about the video 🙂


  13. Great post and i enjoyed the video so much. Strong wisdom with delicate beauty. So very lovely Pauline. All the pages were my favorite but I particular enjoyed the Goethe one and the Pauline one. ❤


    • Thank you so much Sharon – and for leaving a note on You Tube too – that was so lovely to see 🙂 I love the Goethe verse – I have lived with it for over 25 years now and it is still valuable to me!


          • The one that has the Goethe quote on one side and the angel on the other. Only for my own private use of course so as not to breach your copy right.
            I said to my friend “since i launched gentlestitches as a small business enterprise the universe, God, call it what you may has just thrown out a red carpet adorned with flowers and blessed me at every turn. Plus I have worked 25 hours a day. That helps. LOL!


            • I do not concern myself too much with copyright Sharon – in this day and age people will do what people do and I like to surround myself with good people 🙂 I just love that you like something enough to put it on your desktop!

              Funny isn’t it how ‘good luck’ comes to those who work hard and put their hearts into what they are doing! 🙂


  14. Amazing – and that’s just from cruising through the photos. Tomorrow, the video! Thanks for the Middle of Middle Earth pic, too; I love it and have saved it! That’s the most incredible art project and, as Robbie says, it’s not just ‘art’; it has ‘love’ . . . a wonderful creation! ~ Linne


    • Hello Linne 🙂 Thank you!

      I’m pleased you enjoyed the little pic of the airport. The whole place is littered with models from LOTR as Wellington is Peter Jackson’s hometown and Weta Workshop is just down the road from the airport. The Hobbit houses are however a long way further north and the homes of the dwarves and dragons are a long way further south…..which is probably why Wellington Airport calls itself the Middle of Middle Earth……..


  15. I love the music and book together for it felt like a choreographed dance! What a beautiful gift for your daughter:-) I admire all the detail + the writing…so special. She will have that book for many years to pass on to her children…you sure have a talent for putting all of it together and making it a piece of “loving art”…to me it was made with “love” and not just “art” for it was done from the heart….really beautiful!


    • Thank you so much for saying all that Robbie 🙂 I was quite impressed with how the music and movements matched up too – entirely good fortune I assure you. I chose that piece of music as it was the only good music piece I found of the right length – now I must learn how to fade out at the end rather than have the abrupt cut-off………


  16. I’ve just returned from your video. What a detailed, loving and masterful bit of work. This book made me think of Harry Potter. It’s reminiscent of something ancient and valued and full of energy. I love the starting point: re-using the box that came with the gift,then turning into something loving for your daughter. You’ve created an art treasure. I would love to take on a project like this, but would hardly no wear to start.

    Thanks for sharing all the details, along with photos of your lovely ED.

    I’m so glad you had a good time together.

    Hopefully tonight, Orlando will let you get a good night’s sleep. xox


    • Thank you Alys – I am very grateful for your thoughts! Have you had this experience of spending so long working on something that you no longer know if it is any good or not? All I can still see are all the things I wish I had done differently. I’m hoping that given time this feeling may abate 🙂

      Orlando has been very clingy – with me constantly, wanting to be picked up, wanting to cuddle, wanting me to sit down so he can sit on me or beside me and hold onto my arm – He has never behaved like this before and he seemed quite happy at the cattery. The people certainly loved him and wanted to keep him and he was very reluctant to get into his carry cage to come home.

      I am exhausted from all his attentions and want to get on with other things… though the upside has been I caught up with all my piles of blog posts and comments and even wrote this one 🙂


      • Oh yes…all the time. I thinks it’s nearly impossible, too, to have any objectivity with a personal creation that you’ve poured heart and soul into.

        I often want to start over, but I’ve learned that it is best to let it be, and apply what you’ve learned the next time around. We are our own worst critic. I’ll bet that when you see your beautiful box book in a year, you’ll rediscover things you love about it. It was a beautiful gift and a lovely reflection of you.

        I’m glad Orlando has relaxed now that you’ve been home for a few days. That must be a relief.


        • 🙂 Yes it is! I am once more freed of an adoring cats constant presence – though I did pop out for a bit yesterday evening with a friend and when I came back she completely cracked up seeing the uber affectionate, hold-me-down-and-never-let-me-go greeting I received It was just a wee panic attack that he was going to lose sight of me for a long while again – so funny!!

          And you are quite right. When this post is gone and I can forget about the book – it will be interesting to see how I view it when I see it again.


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