Project Thankful[nest]: Denim and Pearl[y-white] Thank You Album

Dear Friends,
I am starting another project. I know, craziness. But actually craziness is why I’m starting the project. It seems like life gets busier and busier and I find myself allotting less and less time to being creative. I need that time… it fulfills something in me and settles my psyche. With the craziness of being stuck indoors with three children and minimal sunlight I am needing to get my artsy juices flowing even more these days.

Another thing I’ve noticed lately is that I’m taking less and less time to say thank you to the people I love and appreciate. I don’t like that and I don’t want it to become a habit around here. I think it’s pretty safe to say that society as a whole is brushing aside many of the formalities and mannerisms of times past. This includes good penmanship, thank you notes and many other customs that used to be common practice.

But what’s a girl to do if she isn’t ready to let some of those things go? I feel it’s important to show gratitude and to teach that behavior to my children. After all, nothing warms my heart quite like when my turkey’s remember to thank me for the everyday services I provide as their mother. I’m pretty much walking on clouds if I get a handwritten thank you note in the mail. There’s a warmth I can’t explain in a real, tangible expression of thanks.

Note: This is not a hint. This is not about you. Amen.

So what is the point of Project: Thankful[nest] exactly?
1. To be creative in expressing my thanks to those to whom I owe a debt of gratitude.
2. To, on occasion, engage my children in the process.
3. To be better at expressing my thanks by next Thanksgiving.
4. To hopefully encourage others to do the same. (If you do feel inspired and want to try your hand at any of my projects, I’d love to see your results! You can e-mail a picture to theprairiehen(at)yahoo(dot)com or leave me a link in the comments section, I’ll be sure to check it out.)

Project I --
Denim and Pearly White Thank You Album

Darcie is my denim and pearls kinda friend. Do you have one of those? She’s comfy like my favorite jean skirt and yet classy in a way that always makes me feel just a tad under-dressed. Her personal brand of home-girl elegance makes me want to step it up a notch and get out of my yoga pants. She’s a real pearl. I wanted my thank you gift for her as the hostess of our 2010 Thanksgiving weekend to say all that.

Here’s what to do...

Have you ever thrown one of these boxes away? I have and it was always with a little bit of regret as I just knew there had to be something I could use it for. Thank goodness for rainy November afternoons when the ideas start flowing out of idle desperation.

Step 1: Use tracing paper to trace all the areas you plan to cover with paper-- for me this was the front, back and flat parts around the outside edge.

Step 2: Flip the tracing paper over so that the penciled side is against the cardstock you are using to cover the outside of the box. Use your pencil to rub over the line on the top-side of the tracing. When you remove the paper you should see a faint outline of your tracing on the cardstock.

Step 3: Cut out the paper pieces and erase any remaining pencil markings.

Step 4: Paint the box with a basic acrylic craft paint. Let dry completely according to manufacturers instructions.

Step 5: Cover the painted surfaces with a good, smooth coat of MODPODGE (Matte-Mat: The waterbase sealer, glue and finish for all surfaces). This keeps the paint from peeling off the plastic.

Step 6: Create a “Louis Vuitton-esque” look using letter stamps in the recipient’s initials.
Step 7: Add sparkles, flowers or other motifs to finish the look.

Step 8: Cover the back side of each paper piece thoroughly with a good strong adhesive. Attach to corresponding surfaces on the box. Press firmly. Note: I wanted a beveled look on the cover so I created two panels-- one slightly smaller than the other and affixed them one on top of the other. You can also add stick-on jewels if you want to dress things up.

Step 9: Punch two holes on the top side of the box. Use a stiff length of wire and varying sizes of crafting pearls to create the effect of a beaded handle. Poke the ends through the holes and attach to each other tightly. Add a ribbon strip over the box’s hinged top and a button “latch” for additional pomp.

Step 10: Adhere a large monogram sticker or cut-out of the recipient’s first initial. Accent with a flower and a quote or word of your choice.

Step 11: Tie a gift tag to the handle. 

Step 12: Adhere a picture of your choice to the back of the gift tag.

Step 13: Cut out a large square around the pocket of a child size pair of denim jeans. I used some my daughter had worn the knees out of. Spread MODPODGE all over the inside of the bottom half of the box. Press the denim into the box, centering the pocket and paying special attention to the corners. Work it until it is fitted as best as possible. If you have to make a fold at the corners just coat the folds with MODPODGE to glue it in place and hold it stiff. Let this dry while you move on to the next step.

Step 14: Cut out the second pocket and use it as a pattern to create a long string of connected pocket-shaped paper. Think of the little girl paper-chains you cut out long ago. Adhere two sheets of cardstock to together and fold in an accordion manner (be sure to fold the panels the same width as the denim pocket). Cut the top off to the correct height and cut the bottom to match the pocket’s shape.

Step 15: Use pictures and scrapbooking supplies to create a mini pocket shaped accordion-style album on the paper strip you just made. Mine featured things I wanted to thank my friend Darcie for. I used pictures I liked from her blog and since I was giving her the album this could hardly count as copyright infringement. If in doubt, though, ASK first.

Step 16: Once the MODPODGE covering the denim is dry, use a strong adhesive to attach the back panel of the mini album to the pocket inside the box. Attach the other pocket to the front panel to make the cover. Use a ribbon and stickers to accent the pocket. A ribbon is a great way to tie the album closed and add decoration too.

Step 17: Using the same pattern you used for the front cover, create a paper piece to fit on the top-side of the box’s interior. Add a quote and or picture.

Step 18: Let out a contented sigh and go get your self a cup of coffee.


A Token Of Thanks in NE


  1. WAY awesome, girl! I love your creativity!

  2. Oh my word....had I know that you were doing this today, I would have put up another link on today's post. I can't even begin to tell you how much I LOVE my little box. It sits on my shelf right above my computer(you can picture it there now, right), and I see it every day. I just opened it again last night and read through it...for the hundredth time. I L.O.V.E. it!!!!

  3. lovely, lovely, I love juicy creativity. I'm just now putting a skirt on a pillow, which is cheap creativity. I'm going to break my no blogging until after the first of the year, next week, since my typing hand is feeling better.

  4. WOW! I am so glad i found your blog! Your creativity ASTOUNDS me - i do not have a creative bone in my body! Thank you for sharing!

  5. SOOO cute!
    If I wasn't so busy with cakes, kids, photography and everything I'm SUPPOSED to be doing, I'd be tempted to try it!

  6. WOW! LOVE it! I'm in to "create" right now--it feels SO good again after way too long a break!

  7. dear Creative Daughter,

    It turned out just beautiful. Just like it's creator AND it's owner!

    We all need to do SUMPIN' creative now and then


Thank you for stopping by. Your comments make me smile.