Every January, I suffer tremendous guilt when throwing away the cute photo cards we received from friends and family in December. The thing is, I'm not really sentimental, and I'm not a "saver". So I usually recycle what I can and throw the rest out.
A few years ago, I noticed my friend Jenn add the photos into her scrapbook pages. Brilliant, but I couldn't figure out what I would do since I'm not (yet) a scrapbooker.
This year, I saw a link to this cute idea to stick them on standard binder rings from an office supply store. Hooray! But I wanted to do more.
For Christmas, I bought myself the Zutter Bind-It-All tool (thank you TJ!). It allows you to create little mini albums or notebooks. The tool punches the holes for the binding, you thread the pages onto metal wires made for this purpose, and the tool squishes the wires closed, giving you a cute little bound book. You don't have to make just standard little notebooks or albums with pages all the same size. You can literally bind *anything*, as long as it's not too thick/heavy for the machine to punch.
THAT is what I wanted to use for saving my Christmas 2011 photo cards. I wanted to create cute little covers and make an album out of it. I toyed with the idea of making an actual Christmas mini-album and interspersing the cards with our own pictures and text, but knew I'd never actually finish it, so I decided to stick with binding just the cards.
Here it is (click to see a larger version):
It took me a little while to figure out the binding tool, but thanks to Zutter's instructional videos on YouTube, it was a lot easier than the manual made it seem.
This was a surprisingly easy project. It even has an eco-friendly angle, because the cardboard I used for the covers was the backing that USPS sends me for their "Stamps by Mail" shipments. Every sheet of stamps has its own huge piece of cardboard and is then shrink-wrapped. Great if you're a collector, I guess, but it just seems really wasteful. So I'm happy I could reuse some of that cardboard.
My Xyron XRN900 was perfect for covering the cardboard with cute cardstock. It covers paper with a really strong adhesive all the way to the ends, so for applications where you need some durability and don't want edges lifting, it's really great. I scored mine for $20 on Craigslist and it has been *awesome*.
After making the front and back cover - cute patterned paper on the front and a nice acid green cardstock inside - I punched holes in all of the cards. Since they were different sizes, it was a more difficult project than I probably should have started with, but I like a challenge. Well, I mostly like it when it's done and I've kicked its butt, but I digress.
Then I threaded the covers and pages onto the O-wires. I found that I needed to punch some additional holes in some of the cards to get them to fit well. Squinching the O-wire (my technical term) was more difficult than I expected. The first one got mangled and the pages wouldn't turn. I tried again, after watching some more YouTube, and got a better (though not perfectly round) result the second time. I need practice, especially for longer projects that are wider than the tool itself.
I tied some little scrap bits of red ribbon to the binding to make it look more festive. At first I thought it just looked messy, but it's growing on me. Especially if I line up all the little ribbon bits in a row. Yeah, I'm weird like that. I added a quick "2011" title on the front with some stickers and scrap cardstock, and wrote a little note on the inside front cover about what was inside.
Once I get better at using the Zutter tool, I think I could complete this in under an hour. So easy!