Tuesday, July 31, 2012

A Cabinet Tragedy & Painting the Wall After Much Procrastination

A few weeks ago... okay, like a month and a half ago, I was hanging out in the kitchen, minding my own business, making lunch or something.  Husband was in the laundry room putting his white coat into the dryer from the washing machine (for some reason he always washes his own white coat, I think he thinks I'll mess it up somehow).  When all of a sudden there was a loud crashing sound followed by somewhat panicked yelling from hubby.  So I go running in there to find him holding up the cabinets above his head, which are only partially attached to the wall & hanging down.  These cabinets:

Yes, notice the stuff on top of them... what's up there?  Oh you know, some HAMMERS, my DRILL my SANDER & a hand vacuum, along with some other things, like a box that we use as our "junk drawer" since we don't have an actual one in the kitchen.  Inside the cabinets were laundry stuffs, towels that we use to wipe off Mojo when our back yard becomes a mud pit, the iron, more tools, and some other random things that have no other space in the house.  So yea, walking in to see that all over my husband's poor head was not very fun.

I frantically emptied all of the stuff out of them as he held it up, then we had to figure out what to do.  It was falling in such a way that there was a back board attached to the wall, then the cupboards were attached to that board.  The board was curving away from the wall on the ends, but still securely attached in the middle.  But the cupboards were still straight, so there was a gap between the middle of the board which was still secured to the wall, and the cabinets, which were being pulled out from the ends.

So we couldn't just screw the sides in more securely, and we couldn't just rip the thing down either.  So I got the screwdriver in there & started unscrewing them from the wall, keeping my leg under them to catch them when they fell, as my husband was there holding it too, but I wasn't sure he realized how heavy they were.  Once they were off the wall & squished my leg, we got them down & moved them into the garage.  The wall looked like this:

I cried.  Because I knew what was about to happen...

It stayed like this for over a month.  All of our things that were in them before were scattered around the laundry room and/or around the "guest" room/storage room.  *Sigh*  I hate clutter.

Finally this past weekend I got to painting it.  I really wanted to paint our laundry room a lighter brighter color & paint the ceiling white because this color is really pretty gross & the sloped ceiling being in the same color makes it feel really cave-like.  But, painting behind those washer & drier does not sound like a fun time AT ALL.  Especially when I'm angry about the cabinets in the first place.  So I found the ugly paint color in our garage & slapped it up there this weekend.

Now the goal is to buy some open shelving to stick up there to make it functional again & get all the stuff up off the floor from all over the house.

Sometimes with a rental, you want to make it look really nice.  Sometimes though, you need to settle for good enough.  If this was my own place, I'd have no problem buying paint & getting dirty with this whole thing & finding shelves or cabinets I really liked to put up there & make it look really good.  But, we're renting.  We aren't going to stay here forever or even for a long time really anymore.  Sometimes, I really want things to look good.  But sometimes, it's just a laundry room, and it's just a rental, and some kind of storage on the wall is better than none... as long as it's good enough, I'll be happy.

Monday, July 30, 2012

How Does "Everyone Else" Do It? Jealousy & Me - We Aren't Friends

I had a "blue" day this weekend.  I'm usually pretty happy... probably annoyingly.  I don't really worry too much about things, and my life is pretty awesome, so it's not to hard to stay positive.  But sometimes, all my worries hit me at once & I feel down.  Yesterday was one of those days.

I can't be the only one who wonders like this:  How in the world do other people do it?  I often find myself wondering:

*How much money do they make?
*How the heck did they buy that house?
*How do they have so much cool stuff?
*How do they afford day care?
*or... How do they afford him/her staying home with the kids?
*How do they afford kids in general?
*How did they get that job?
*How is their house always so clean?
*How come their lawn always looks amazing?
*They are younger than me!?  How the.....
*Why does "everyone" have a smart phone but me?
*Didn't they just get a new car 3 years ago?
*What do they make for dinner?  I'm so sick of coming up with things to eat for dinner!
*How do they stay so thin?
*I want beautiful hair like that!!!
*How do they make the time for fill in the blank?
*Why am I 30 & still feel like I'm "just out of college" in life?  Maybe I should start telling everyone I'm 25 instead?  I could pass I think.

DRIVES ME CRAZY!  (Am I driving you crazy too right now?  Likely.)

I know the answer to all of these questions.  I know I do.  It's about priorities.  What one person thinks is very important another person doesn't.  But even though I might be concentrating on things that we think are the most important for us at this particular time, that doesn't mean I don't wish I could have those other things too.  My concentrating on the most important right now can lead to other things I "want" to have to be pushed aside for "later" or "someday" or maybe not ever at all.

It's not that I don't want them, because I obviously do.  I want a smartphone, yes I do.  But, they are expensive, and at this point, I don't NEED a smartphone, thus that money is better used for other things or for hanging out in our savings account waiting for the house we'll eventually buy & the baby(s) we'll eventually have.  A smartphone is not a priority at the moment for me.  Darn I still want one though *pout face*.

I don't work out as much as I used to.  It's not as much of a priority.  Yea, I could be more super-buff & in shape... I would love that... but I've been concentrating on my 3 jobs lately, which doesn't leave a whole lot of room for that.  So am I super jealous of all the super buff gals, yep.  But I have to remind myself, totally my choice here.

From here

Technically, I could have all of those things.  I could.  Well, maybe except the figuring out what to make for dinner part... although, if I wanted to spend tons of money on groceries & tons of time in the kitchen I could come up with a lot more options, so I guess I could have that too.  There just isn't enough time in a day for everything.  There isn't enough money in the world for everything.  We are not the Jones' & we don't have to keep up with them either...

From here

And I'm jealous.  Ugh, I hate that.  I hate feeling jealous.  This happens to everyone though.  I know I'm not alone.  Maybe people I'm jealous of are jealous of me for something else.  Likely.  (Darn Facebook & your making everyone's life look amazing!)  I don't think I have problem being happy for others who have things that I want, which I'm thankful for.  But that stinkin' green eyed monster always makes me wonder...

Ba.  What does the Bible have to say about this.  Um... a lot.  And it's not pretty.

"You desire and do not have, so you murder. You covet and cannot obtain, so you fight and quarrel. You do not have, because you do not ask. You ask and do not receive, because you ask wrongly, to spend it on your passions" James 4:2-3

"For you are still of the flesh. For while there is jealousy and strife among you, are you not of the flesh and behaving only in a human way?" 1 Corinthians 3:3

“You shall not covet your neighbor's house; you shall not covet your neighbor's wife, or his male servant, or his female servant, or his ox, or his donkey, or anything that is your neighbor's.” Exodis 20:17

True story.  Really, I have a lot.  I'm very blessed.  Especially compared to so many needy others in this country & others.  So many orphaned children.  So many hungry.  So silly of me to want MORE of what others have when I have so much.  And yet it's there.  He is enough.  He will not let me fall.  I know I have & will always have everything that I need, but not everything I want, because I am human, & I will never have everything the world can offer, but I will always have everything He offers.

It is something I'm working on.  Something I think will always be a battle.  Some days are better than others.  Some days I'm crazy thankful.  Some days I'm crazy jealous.

I pray my thanks.  I pray my needs & wants if He wishes them for me.  I pray for strength.  I pray for contentment & patience.  I pray for love to give & receive.  Life's too short for anything less :)

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

The Best Way to Get Your Books for College & Help Operation Smile

Everyone is getting ready for the "back to school" season!  It's only July!  It seems like these things happen earlier & earlier every year.  We aren't in school anymore, and we don't have kids, so we're pretty much out of the loop on that stuff now.  But, as you may know, my husband recently graduated from Medical School.  He bought a lot of books while he was there.  Like, a TON... you have no idea.  I had to buy an obscene amount of books when I got my undergrad & grad degrees as well.  And then when I tried to sell them back, I'd get like $1 back for every $6 I originally spent, which was not cool.

Maybe you're about to go back to your college campus in the next month or so or maybe your kids are on their way to college.  You NEED to know about this company called CampusBookRentals.com.  If they were around back when I was in school I would have used them for sure.  It's one of those ideas that makes you feel like, "why didn't I think of that?"  CampusBookRentals.com rents out college texts.

It's pretty amazing.  You can search their web page for the book you need to see if they have it available.  Then you mark the length of the term that you need it for, and it will tell you the price you would pay to rent that book from them.  When you're done, just return it!  They even give you a link to that title on Amazon so that you can see how much you would pay for the book if you were to buy it.  You'll usually save 40-90%.  Genius I'm telling you.  This would have saved me so much money back when I was a student.  Books are expensive!!  Renting them is not as much.

Here's an example of an introductory accounting book.   This one allows you to rent it for a semester for $26.16.  You can also rent it for a quarter or a summer if you like or you can pick your own return date & your fee will be calculated according to how long you'll have the book for.  There's also the link to Amazon, where you will find that the book is selling there for $166.  That's a savings of over 80%.

There are a ton of other great benefits to using their service as well.  Like, they pay for the shipping of your books (both ways)!  They also have a 30 day risk-free return policy.  So that book that you're not sure if you're really gonna actually need... when you get your syllabus & find out your really don't need it, you can return it.  Or if you decide to drop the class, just return the book within 30 days for a full refund.  They have been around since 2007 & have really flexible rental periods.  Since different colleges have different length semesters, this can be very helpful.

Check out this video from their web page with more information!

Another great benefit of using this service is that they partner with Operation Smile.  If you haven't heard of Operation Smile, they are a non-profit that heals children's smiles, forever changing their lives.  Many children are born throughout the world with what is called a cleft lip.  Operation Smile sends doctors into the field to give surgery to these children so that they can do something they've never been able to do before, smile, bringing joy to both them & their families.  CampusBookRentals.com has donated over 1,000 of these life-changing surgeries to Operation Smile over the past year, and they look forward to continuing that partnership.

From Operation Smile - Francisco Before

From Operation Smile - Francisco After

So if you are in college, or know someone who is, check out CampusBookRentals.com for your books this year.  It could literally save you hundreds of dollars!

And if you want to donate to Operation Smile, head to their web page.  They make it really easy to figure out the best way for you to help according to what you can give!

*Disclaimer* CampusBookRentals.com is compensating me for this review, but my opinions of their service & that of Operation Smile are my own.*

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Embroidery & Tie Dye - a Great Project!

Is awesomeness a real word?  Spell check is telling me is so I'm going with it.  I want to share with you a project I did over the weekend that I think is really awesome sauce.  You know I love embroidery, and I told you last week how I have TONS of tie dye product still from Tulip, so I decided to combine these two great crafts into one!

Yea!  I love it!  I used the pink tie dye I had left over in my Tulip Tie Dye kit.  This time, I did a bulls eye effect on a square piece of white fabric I had laying around.

Just start in one spot, and wrap your fabric in rubber bands every couple of inches all of the way down the fabric.  You'll have a little fabric snake.  Then lightly dye the fabric with your tie dye!

I left this one overnight to sink in properly, then removed the rubber bands & rinsed it out in the morning.  It's so exciting opening it up to see what it looks like!!  Once rinsed, I stuck it in the wash by itself.  (Wash it in hot water, small load, little soap.)

I trimmed my large piece of fabric down when it was done drying to fit better in my embroidery hoop.  Then, I wrote what I wanted to embroider directly onto the fabric.  I used a red tracing pencil, but you can use a regular pencil too if you don't have one.  You can only barely see my print in the picture above.  I used this as a guide to my embroidery.

Then stitch away!  I used the same back-stitch that I used for my monogram pillows.  That post has a pretty detailed explanation on how to do this stitch.  I love embroidering words, they are so easy :)  This embroidery project took me probably a little over an hour & a half.

Tutorial for the frame on the left here

And it was done!  I really like how this turned out!  I used just two different embroidery colors to make the type I wanted to stand out.  When I was finished & put it up my husband asked what it says.  I told him, and he said "oh ok, I thought it was like a to-do list of chores for me every morning".  Haha!  Yes, I so wanted you to do these chores that I embroidered them.  He's so silly :)

Again, you can check out Tulip Tie-Dye's web page, Twitter, Facebook here & here, and Pinterest for tons & tons of great ideas of other projects you can do with their tie dye products!

Have you done any fun embroidery projects lately?

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I will be linking this post up to these awesome sites.

Monday, July 23, 2012

Make a Pretty Yarn-Wrapped Basket - Tutorial

I've been trying to do some projects lately using things that I already have in the house.  My "leftover" supplies have been getting to be many, so I want to use at least some of them in new projects so that I can feel good about buying new ones :)  So with only leftover crafting materials, I made this.

Isn't it cute!?  I used the piping I had leftover from my scrap fabric window treatment, and yarn leftover from the afghan I crocheted for our friends' new baby Aubrey & hat's & things I crocheted for my cousin's new baby Kate.  That's it!

Here's how to make one for yourself.  It's pretty easy to do, but somewhat time consuming.  Start at one end of your tubing.  Wrap one color of yarn around the end, and start rolling it around itself.  You're making the bottom of the bowl.

As you go around each time, you'll want to wrap the yarn around the previous row of tubing every once in a while.  I wrapped my yarn around the tubing 10x between connecting it to the previous row.  You can see what I mean in the photo above.  You may want to use a large needle to help with this, or you can just push it through with your finger.

I used the design of 1 row yellow, 2 rows peach, 3 rows white.  When you want to change colors, just cut your yarn & add your new yarn, wrapping the ends under your new color as you go.

Once the bottom of the bowl is the size you want, you can start working up the sides.  To do this, just start stacking your rows.  The first row that you start to do this on may seem like it's not really working, but it is, it just takes a couple of rows for you to be able to see it.  You'll stack your rows one upon another, still doing the wrap 10x followed by connecting to the previous row.

What do you think of my bowl?  A good use of random materials right?  I love how it turned out & it's the perfect size for me to throw things in from around the room that need to be put away... I love having a spot for that!

Let me know if you make one of these!  I'd love to hear how it goes!

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Friday, July 20, 2012

Dollar Store Craft - Summer Seashell Wreath

Hello!  I'm Sarah & I blog over at Renewed Upon a Dream.  I'm so excited to be here at Romance on a Dime to share a simple summer wreath I made for $2 total with supplies I got at the Dollar Store.  It's super simple but very summer-y!

Here are my supplies.  A wreath & a basket full of seashells. The seashell basket actually had a lot more shells than I was expecting.  I kinda figured since this was a dollar store purchase, that the top layer would be the shells & then underneath those top shells would be stuffing.  But that was not the case.  The whole thing was filled with shells & there was a TON of them.

That's a lot don't you think?  I organized my shells & got my hot glue gun ready.  I started with the large shells, then added in smaller ones to fill in the spaces on the wreath.  Hot gluing shells on a wreath can be difficult.  I glued a few on that later when I went to glue another one into the area, I found they weren't well attached & had to re-glue them.  I found that it was helpful to test out the shell in the area I wanted to place it to see where the shell was hitting the surface.  Then I put glue on the actual wreath, and pressed the shell into the glue.

Done!  I tied on a piece of red ribbon I had laying around, and put her up inside the house on our bedroom door. I didn't want to put it outside because I'm not sure it would hold up to the elements too well, but indoors it'll be fine.

I was totally impressed with the dollar store seashells.  I think my wreath turned out pretty well.  I love doing little crafty projects that are cute but don't take up a lot of cash.

We don't have a beachy themed house at all, but this seashell wreath is just a touch of beach & reminds me of Lake Michigan.

Have you made a summer wreath yet this season?  What's your latest project made entirely from supplies found at the dollar store?

Thank you so much Betsy for having me here as a guest poster!

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Kitchen Towel Tie-Dye with Tulip 5-Color Tie-Dye Kit

I was pretty excited when I heard I was going to get to work with Tulip Tie-Dye on a project.  I was even more excited when I got the products in the mail!  I haven't tie-dyed anything since probably middle school art class.  I have been seeing more tie-dyed products around lately though, and was curious about giving it a try again.

I feel like tie-dye has changed quite a bit since the 80s.  The kit I received from Tulip contained 5 different colors of die in 5 squeeze bottles.  It also came with 5 refill packets & rubber gloves.  Yea for not dying my hands!  The box says it contains enough dye for 20 shirts!  That's a lot of dye.

It also had directions for how to do multiple tie-dye techniques.  Perfect, since I had totally forgotten how tie-dye works.  I needed those directions!  I wanted to do something more interesting & different than a t-shirt, so I chose kitchen towels.   I got my white towels from the dollar store.  My first try with tie-dye, I didn't want to ruin something I already owned, just in case it didn't work out very well.

I also received a surface cover from Tulip.  This thing is amazing!  If you're going to try tie-dye, get one of these!  I did all of my tie-dying in my house & the HUGE surface cover was more than enough to cover the area around my project.  Actually, it covered the floor of the whole room... but we have small rooms, so it probably wont cover all of yours... but still, plenty!

I decided I was going to use the scrunching technique for my towels.  I didn't want it to be too "done".  I know, it's tie-dye & you really don't have much control of how it turns out, but I wanted it to look really sporadic.  So I wet my towels & scrunched them up.

Then I prepared my dye.  Since this was the first time I was using this package, all I had to do was put on  my gloves, and add water to the bottles that had caps on them in the colors I was looking for.  The dye was already in the bottles, so once filled with water, I just had to shake them up & they were ready to go!  I applied my dye in two colors & in two sections.  Yellow on top & blue on bottom.  I was pretty liberal with my dye.  I think I could have been less so & they still would have turned out great, so I totally believe that out of this kit one could get 20 shirts dyed, maybe even more!

Once I was done dying, I wrapped up each piece in plastic wrap.  This helped keep the dye in place & dying the fabric.  I left it overnight, and the next day while I was at work, so my dye had a lot of time to sink in. The instructions say you only need to keep them there for about 8 hours, so overnight would probably be plenty.

Once I was ready, I carefully unwrapped them in the sink & rinsed the leftover dye from the towels.  Once the towels weren't turning the water such bright colors, into the washing machine they went!  (Hot water, nothing else in the machine with them.)  Wash & dry & they're done!

I had a ton of fun with this project!  I still have lots & lots of dye left in different colors, and I can't wait to do more projects with it.  I feel like there are so many possibilities!  I've got my eye on an old pair of white shorts... maybe a table runner too!  Hum...

This project was so fun.  If you're interested in tie-dye at all, be sure to check out Tulip Tie-Dye's web page, Twitter, Facebook here & here, and Pinterest for tons & tons of great ideas!

This product was provided by me for review by I Love to Create, who is the manufacture of Tulip Tie-Dye products.  All opinions contained in this post are mine.

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Monday, July 16, 2012

Take Better Pictures By Making a Homemade Photobox

I feel that my product photography has improved a lot lately.  The reason?  A few weeks ago, I made myself a light box.  It was so easy & inexpensive, I had to tell  you about it!  This light box cost me about $2 to make, and I have supplies left over!

Have you ever wondered how other people on Etsy or on Pinterest get photos of their products or completed crafts with a perfectly white background?  This is likely how they do it, with a light box.  I made mine with just a box I had at my house, some white tissue paper, and a piece of white poster board.  Tissue paper & poster board are both available at the dollar store.

Let me show you how to make one for yourself!  I started with this box, which is 14X12X10.

Cut off the flaps, and cut square holes in the top & sides.  I used my razor blade to do so, & it was pretty easy.  You could use scissors as well, although that seems harder to me.  Whichever you do, please be careful with this step!!

Then cover each of your openings with some white tissue paper.  You can also use white fabric or light white paper.  Just make sure if you use something else that you can see light through it, so it can't be very thick.

Then cut your poster board to fit inside the box.  The poster board is going to wrap up the back wall, to give you that infinity look.  So it'll go from the top back corner of the box, down the back, and along the floor of the box to the opening at the end.

My poster board is a little small, but I'll fix that eventually.  This box has worked quite well for me thus-far.  I do want to create one that's a little bigger so that when I start making some bigger handbound books for my shop I'll have a box to photograph them in as well.  (You can see the link to my shop up in the upper right corner of my blog page there.)

To use the box, set it up next to a light source, like I have up in the picture above.  The light comes in through the window, hits my box, and bounces around inside, to give the object light that is more even than if I just had it set next to the window with light coming directly in onto it from the window.  These pictures below were all taken in my light box.

I do think they turn out much better.  Have you ever made a light box?  How do you take your best pictures?

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Wednesday, July 11, 2012

What I Wore Wednesday - Fun New YELLOW Skirt!

This past weekend, I went to Old Navy for some shorts.  I haven't really worn shorts in like 10 years, but with the weather as hot as it was for as long as it was last week plus the fact that we have no air conditioning, I was at my wits end & decided that I needed some friggin' shorts already.  So off I went to find some inexpensive shorts.

I found some, and got them... but this isn't really about those.  This is about the lovely yellow skirt that I found as well!  Oh I have a new dress & skirt obsession.  They are so cool like shorts but so breazy & so much easier to find them that fit.  This skirt is a perfect example.

Oh I love it I love it I love it!  It's happy yellow & it's lined so you can't see through it.  I hate when I find perfect skirts or dresses & they aren't lined at all & are so see-through.  Ugh. But this one is lined.  It's amazingly breazy & fun.

Skirt: Old Navy
Shirt: about 4 years old from The Limited
Necklace: Renewed Upon a Dream
Flip flops: AMAZING Nike squishy flip flops that I bought at Kohl's a couple of years ago... but I know they have them again this year... I kinda want another pair.

Can we talk about how it's apparently impossible for me to take some photos of something I'm wearing outside without my dog lifting his leg in the background of at least one of them?  What the....

These skirts are at Old Navy NOW.  I got mine on sale too!  So if you like it run out & get one!  They come in a few different colors if you don't dig yellow too!

I'm linking this post to the Pleated Poppy's What I Wore Wednesday

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Handbound Journals, Photo Albums, Guestbooks, and Notebooks

Are you a journaler?  Maybe you keep a blog & consider yourself a journal writer?  Or maybe you like to have a real journal in front of you so you can put your pen to paper with your thoughts.  Or maybe you have a creative business & need to carry around a notebook so that you can jot down your ideas as you think of them.  I do this all the time.  Does anyone else come up with the best ideas at the weirdest moments?  I have found it's so important to have a small notebook with me so that I don't forget these ideas when they come to me.

Green Clover Journal

As you may have seen, I've made a few handbound books lately as gifts to my mom & to my husband.  It had been a while since I had made any hand bound books before then.  I used to make journals quite often.  What started my love of them?  Haha, actually, I used to make books when I was just a kid.  It started as just a few pieces of paper stapled together.  I would write stories in them & draw pictures & say I wanted to write books.  Maybe everyone did this?  We had a whole stack of these "books" on our bookshelf when I was growing up.  It was one of my favorite things to play as a child, make books & write stories in them.

Red book with colored section holders
My love of book making progressed to where it is now.  I love the feel of the paper & sewing them together.  It's a lot like embroidery actually.  Stitching the pages onto one another with my needle & thread to make a pretty design in the binding.  I love choosing the size of each journal & what pretty paper I should use for the cover.  I love tearing each page by hand.  You see, making books is so fun!

Hearts Blank Book

I decided to add some handbound books to my Etsy shop.  (Insert squealing & jumping around in excitement!)  Right now, there are only a few, and they are all done in the same coptic stitch, but I am also hoping to add some other kinds of stitched books to the collection as time goes on.  These books actually take a pretty large amount of time to complete.  Depending on the size & number of pages, each one can take multiple hours from start to finish.  I tear each page by hand from large sheets, which takes a good amount of the time.  But it's fun & relaxing & I love making them.

Long Yellow & Blue Flower Ledger Book

I also purchase all of my supplies for the books locally.  Very locally.  I literally walk to the shop where I get my supplies, which is great!  No shipping involved means I don't have to pay for shipping, and it saves energy too!  I love shopping local & it's great that I have these supplies in my area ready for me to use & so easily accessible.  Obviously, I'll ship my products anywhere, but I'm proud that I'm able to support my local community by purchasing my supplies locally.

Cutest Owl Journal

The pictures I'm using in this post are all of books that I have available NOW in my shop.  Keep an eye on it, because many new designs will be upcoming in the near future!  I just wanted to get the ones I have ready up in the shop for all to see!  I'm soooo excited about this addition.  I love these books & I have a great time making them.  Each one contains my heart :)  I hope you all like them!

Red & Blue Blank Book

By the way, if you have any special requests for a handbound book or journal please let me know!  I have access to a crazy amount of paper designs, so any colors you are looking for I can send you various options to choose from so that you have have the perfectly designed book, journal, photo album, guest book, baby book, or whatever you're looking for.  I can do tiny books or really large ones too, if you need a specific size, let me know!

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