Welcome to the Imagine/Precious Remembrance Blog Hop!

In The Studio

It’s so much fun when Imagine teams up with other companies–sometimes it’s brands I know and other times it’s brands new to me, like today and the Precious Remembrance Shop!

They were kind enough to send each of the Imagine AIRs the same two stamp sets, so get ready to see how the same sets can be used in different ways over the next two days!

For today’s project I upcycled a drink container–carrier? holder? pack? I’m really not sure what you call the box they came in–into a fun gift box with built-in handle. Thanks to the School Days stamp set, it’s perfect for end of year gifts to teachers or congratulatory gifts to your grads.

Direct link for the feed readers: https://youtu.be/P4eIFgLt_mE

Of course, swap out a different stamp set and you’ll be good to go with any other theme or occasion you can dream up!

Imagine Supplies:

StazOn Opaque – Cotton White
Memento Luxe – Nautical Blue, Dandelion, Love Letter, Olive Grove
Memento Marker – Rich Cocoa, Rhubarb Stalk
Tear It! Tape

Other Supplies:

Empty drink carrier
Cardstock – White, Blue, Red, Yellow, Green
Fiskars – Paper trimmer, Scissors
Precious Remembrance Shop – Totally, School Days stamp sets
Acrylic Blocks
Helmar – Zap Dots

Since this is a blog hop, you know there’s gonna be a giveaway at the end, right? Here’s what you need to know to have a chance to win:

Giveaway Details:

– Hop Along and leave us some comments on each blog. 
– Show us some love!:) Like & Follow both companies on Facebook & Instagram
– Have fun & Good luck!

Precious Remembrance Shop: Facebook , Instagram
Imagine Crafts: Facebook , Instagram

1 Winner : School Days & Totally stamp sets (Precious Remembrance Shop)
1 Winner : $30 Gift Certificate from Imagine Crafts

Today’s Links:

Precious Remembrance Shop Blog
Lisa Elton
Kelly Lunceford
Greta Hes
Helen Gullett
Rosemary Dennis
Steph Ackerman
Melissa Andrew
Nadine Carlier
Martha Lucia Gomez
Roni Johnson
Jowilna Nolte
Kyriakos Pachadiroglou
Iris Rodriquez
Elina Stromberg
Kassy Tousignant
Jennifer Vanderbeek <– You Are Here
Imagine Blog

Raising the Literary Roof

Third Time Wife, Wedding Planning

Or wine bottle, as the case may be.

After deciding I needed something to raise one part of our centerpieces, I searched for a stand-in to get the right dimensions and found a small box about 4″ x 3 1/2″ x 2″ in size. This nestled perfectly among the bottles, now I just needed to replicate it. At first I figured I’d ask Mr. Road Trip to cut down some 2x4s and I’d paint them but then I had a better idea: why go out and buy more materials when I have plenty of options just laying around?!

Enter the masses of corrugated cardboard clogging our garage, not the least bit enhanced by the onslaught of recent wedding purchases!

Building the "page blocks" for the mini-books.

Building the “page blocks” for the mini-books.

Starting with 2″ strips of cardboard, I used a straight edge to “score” my folds for each side, leaving a 2″ tab to secure the “book page block” together. Here’s a tip about building with cardboard: if your item will be supporting ANYTHING, make sure the “load-bearing walls” have the little corrugated channels running vertical instead of horizontal as they are stronger this way. You could use hot glue to secure your walls, but I opted for the less-prone-to-burn-me Helmar Quick Dry 450 (aka hot glue in a tube). The cardboard was a bit on the stubborn side, though, so quick use of a clothespin was employed to help things set up the way they were supposed to.

A subtle but effective color change.

A subtle but effective color change.

To give the faux books the look of gilded pages, I painted the page blocks a metallic gold. It doesn’t look like much until you look at one of the unpainted ones next to the painted, and then you can tell that oh, yeah, it’s totally working.


While they dried, it was time to cut the front and back covers for the books (aka the top and bottom of the stands). I cut each 1/2″ larger than the “page block” dimensions so that it really would look like a hardbound book, if slightly exaggerated. I had enough cardboard from a single box’s oversized flaps to make 12 mini-books, so up until this part this DIY cost me nothing but an evening’s time.

In fact, the only thing I bought special for these books was the patterned paper for the covers. You could certainly go with giftwrap, but I found a pretty print by Paper Studio and paid a whopping .59 a sheet, so the 6 sheets that it took to finish the books cost all of $3.54 (less, actually, as I think the paper was on sale that day). Yay for cost-effective crafts, right?


Anyway! To figure out how much of each sheet I needed I laid out a set of covers and a page block on the back of a sheet (and used my scoring board as a ruler). Leave a little space between the covers and the page blog to account for the thickness of the cardboard and set the outer corners at least 1/2″ in from the outside edges of the paper. From this I could see needing strips 5 1/2″ x 11″, so I trimmed 1″ off each sheet and then split it in half. I could have left the extra inch, but snugger was better when I was eyeballing cover placement.

To keep things from wiggling around or gaping in the final construction (and save on adhesive), I attached each cover only along the edge closest to the spine of the book (and use a double-sided tape for this and future steps–less bulk and no warping or wrinkling of your paper). Then, to reduce bulk, I trimmed all four corners close to but not right at the cover corners. Ideally this creates the perfect mitered corner fold. Ideally. Save the cut-off corners, though, just in case.


After that, it just took adhesive along the outer edges, folding in the short sides and then finishing with the long sides, matching those corners as best you can, and pressing down the center of the “spine” edges to make a nice edge. If you have gaps in your corners (almost inevitable unless you carefully measure each and every corner cut–and who has time for that?!) use the triangular scraps to cover them up. And if someone is looking closely enough to notice the pattern doesn’t match, you’ve got bigger problems than DIY!


Final assembly! Position the “page block” on the inside of one of the covers, making sure only the pretty patterned paper shows around the edges, then fold over the other cover to make sure it’s going to wrap around easily. Jiggle it around until everything fits right, glue down one side (now the bottom) with the liquid adhesive of your choice, then add your glue to the top and press the top cover into place. Before the glue completely sets, even out your covers by placing the book on each side, just so everything comes out evenly.



Since both Mr. Road Trip and I are avid readers, we each chose 6 of our favorite books and I wrote them in white paint pen on some scraps of purple card stock left over from matting the table names, etc. You could create the little spines on the computer and print them for a more polished/fool-the-eyes look, but I didn’t mind writing them out. This was just another way we chose to insert a little of ourselves into the decor.

And here’s my at-home mock-up of what I think our tables will look like:

Pooh and the Star Trek bears approve...

Pooh and the Star Trek bears approve that there’s ample room for eye-contact and conversation amid the decorations

I am SO happy to be able to check this very large project off the to-do list!

Did you trash-to-treasure anything for your wedding decor? How did it turn out?

74 Bottles of Wine on the Wall…

Third Time Wife, Wedding Planning

And on the tables and on the floor and anywhere else I can think to put them!

Like I said, after our planning meeting I felt way more confident about proceeding with our DIY decoration list (that is rather long and involved, I must say). Since most of my centerpiece and decoration ideas involve wine bottles, I first needed to sit down and figure out just how many we were going to need to get everything done.

Grand total: 74 bottles.

After I tallied everything up it occurred to me that there will be more wine bottles than guests at this wedding. And that’s not counting the ones we’ll be bringing to serve during the reception. For whatever reason this fact still makes me giggle. Perhaps these wedding plans have me a bit punch drunk?!

Now, I’d been stock-piling empty wine bottles for a while and they were hanging out in my home studio for years (making a few moves with me and everything) but even I wasn’t sure if I had enough saved up or if we’d need to get to the boozing pqd! Never fear, I had plenty of all sizes, shapes, and colors, the only thing they needed before we could start to cut (about 25 of them are going to be used in parts) and decorate them was to get all those labels off!

A smarter Road Trip would have been removing labels as each bottle was emptied, but I kept putting this task off thinking that I wanted to save all of them for craft projects. Save, schmave, it was time to clear these bottles and we were going to get them all done in one fell swoop!

jwalker_ttb_winebottles_tubbed copy

Step 1: Commandeer a couple of extra-deep storage totes from the garage and bring them out to the back deck. A bit of regular dish-washing liquid in the bottom and then I loaded in as many bottles as would stand up comfortably in the space.

jwalker_ttb_bottles_soaking copy

Step 2: Just add water! If I were doing this for only a few bottles I could have used a smaller container and hot water, but for the sake of time and volume, I just went with whatever temperature came out of the hose. Which was cold. I know this because filling up the tubs wasn’t enough–to keep the contents from playing bumper bottles (and, therefore, not keeping the labels submerged) you have to also partially fill said bottles and that tends to cause some blow-back. I was just shy of drenched after this step.

jwalker_ttb_bottles_secondbatch copy

Step 3: Now here’s the fun part. Once the bottles have had a chance to soak a bit, choose one and try to lift off the label. Sometimes the angels will sing and it will come off easily. Most of the time, no matter how long you let them soak, that’s not gonna happen. After a few reluctant labels I went and hunted up a putty knife and that helped quite a bit. I also had some steel wool handy as even the easy labels tended to leave a bit of residue that the steel wool made quick work of. After a quick rinse I put them into the recycle bins (emptied the day before, how convenient!) to dry off a bit.

jwalker_ttb_winebottles_cleaning copy

Step 4: Repeat as necessary, starting with fresh soap and water for each batch. I ended up doing 2 1/2 batches of bottles over the course of 4.5 hours. I also found myself incredibly sore for the next few days from the odd positions I found myself in trying to get those Bacchus-forsaken bottles cleaned. Once they dried outside for a while I dragged them inside and (eventually) boxed them all up by size and shape.

All in all I ended up cleaning 96 bottles and only sorta broke one of them while cleaning because one bottle slipped out of my hands and landed on the neck of another. But even then I was able to salvage the chipped one–I need a few that will be cut down to the bottom half only with the tops unaccounted for (as yet).

Some labels (Jones soda, this side-eye is for you) were incredible pains in the ass as they used a heavy-duty adhesive that just seemed to spread like the blob when scrubbed. Those will require Goo Gone or something similar to really get clean (and, yes, I have some smaller bottles in the mix for use in certain decoration configurations). The winner for easiest labels to soak off, though, goes to Perrier–they were an absolute dream to lift off in one piece.

A couple of other things I learned while fighting the upcycled decoration battle:

  • Champagne/Sparkling wine-style labels will fight you. Why? The bottlers know you’re going to likely set them into an ice bucket, etc. and don’t want the labels to be a peeling mess in the middle of your evening. Most of these labels have a water-resistant coating on them, therefore, and will take more work to remove. Consider yourself warned. White wine bottles come in second-hardest for many of the same reasons. (I don’t remember buying so many bottle of Oak Leaf Chardonnay in my life but I know I cleaned about a half dozen of them!)
  • Any labels with metallic foil (common on liquor bottles, but some wine labels used them, too) will be less prone to peel and more prone to disintegrate into a mealy, pulpy mess but only once due force has been applied.
  • It might be a good idea to remove any foil wraps left on the neck of the bottles before they get all wet and soapy, otherwise you’ll need to let them dry before you can cut them off. They usually aren’t glued, just heat-shrunk into place.

Mama Leadfoot asked why I insisted on doing them all at once and, honestly? If I’d planned on only doing half of them that day I don’t think I would have done the rest of them. It was better to get them over with!

Did you tackle any projects at one go that you knew you’d never finish if you parceled them out?