The Pop-Up Guest Book

The pop-up guest book I’ve been working on is finally on its way to my cousin. I have to say, all modesty aside, that I was rather impressed with myself only because it was the first time I’d ever made anything like it. Other than the coming together of painting and paper-crafting techniques, it was a gift that I felt privileged to make.

I mentioned in the previous post that I had come up with the pop-up book idea and I was raring to begin. Raring to begin didn’t mean I already had something to begin. In fact, it took me a couple of days before deciding on what pop-up  to make.

test piece

What did I know about pop-ups? Except for Robert Sabuda and my fascination with anything that moved on a page, almost nothing, really. However, I wanted to make that pop-up guest book so I turned to Google and did a search for tutorials and patterns. I found one by KirigamiArt on You Tube, did a test piece, and satisfied with the outcome, proceeded to work on my pop-up wedding cake.

At this point, I hadn’t quite planned the whole project through. I have to confess that I rarely ever do. I just wanted to make the pop-up and I knew I’d have to use paper or card stock that would withstand whatever I might decide to do to it. The thing with paper is that you have to be prepared for how it might react to anything liquid. It shouldn’t buckle or warp or disintegrate. As I was looking around at my stash, the Aquarelle Arches watercolor block caught my eye. Aha!

Watercolor Paper

After transferring the design, making the cuts (this was a bit tricky because of the thickness of the paper), and scoring the fold lines, I did the folding test. Except for a few cuts which had to be lengthened, my pop-up worked and I was thrilled! The watercolor paper had enough stiffness in it for the card to remain open although that wouldn’t have mattered because it was going to be mounted onto the book cover anyway.

Starting to Decorate

I already had the boards for the cover. A few months ago, I had purchased The Cinch during a sale on HSN and it came with a selection of boards for scrapbook covers. Serendipity at its best!

But first, I wanted to decorate the “cake.” That’s the fun part even with real cakes. It was tempting to get ready-made flowers from Michael’s or JoAnn’s but I decided that the only ones I’d get were the white sprays since I knew I wouldn’t be making anything like those anytime soon. Instead, I made flowers from paper clay and the left over pieces of watercolor paper.

Adding Flowers

Making the Flowers

 Then came the discovery that with the decor, the pop-up wouldn’t be able to close as flat as a pop-up normally would. They’re never quite flat but my decorated cake wasn’t going to come close to pop-up flatness. No matter, I thought. I’d make the book look more like a box or like a cake slice! The cake slice idea was quickly discarded, though, because the proportions would have made for a really wonky looking slice.

Making the Box

I ordered book cloth from Oregon Art Supply after once again scouring the internet. Most of the sites I went to had lots of options to choose from and the prices were almost all the same. However, most of them also charged a bit too much for shipping. The Oregon Art Supply had the most reasonable rates and the book cloth arrived pretty quickly.

Now the idea for the guest book is that when it opens to reveal a pop-up wedding cake, it will also have space for the guests to sign their names. The floor of the box and the lid had lots of space but it wasn’t going to have that TA-DA! factor. So instead, I drew and painted flowers and leaves for the guests to sign and then stick on so that the cake will be surrounded by a kind of flower garden. Much more fun and you can think up of metaphors as you look at it.



I was a bit worried about how the whole thing would hold up in the mail but then one night, we had a thunderstorm and a huge gust of wind blew the opened guest book off my table along with some of the flowers that I had begun to cut. I didn’t know right away that they had fallen so it was with quite a bit of trepidation that I picked up the guest book, ready to repair any damage. It survived the fall unscathed! I just had to do a search for some of the flowers that flew away and thankfully found each and every one.

When all the flowers and leaves were painted and cut out, I packed everything in a box, found some packing peanuts I had put aside (serendipity again–my husband gave me a funny look when I said I was keeping them for “just in case”), tucked in a note with instructions for my cousin, and last Monday, went to UPS to get it sent away. I’m not posting the finished piece. I think the bride should have the first look.

What’s next? Well, there’s the Make It In Design Summer School which is taking care of any MATS Bootcamp withdrawals. It’s free and it’s keeping me going. There are competitions and submissions that I’ve tacked onto my cork board as well as projects with Christmas shoppers in mind. Most of these are not paper related and will probably end up on my other  Blog or website if you’d like to take peeks. I’m still flakey about joining the MATS Global Talent Search. I have until tomorrow to decide, so let’s see!

A Swiftly Tilting Planet · Bailey's Cream · chocolate book blog · chocolates · Crow Boy · Each Peach Pear Plum · Ghirardelli · I Spy · Kinder Bueno · Lindor Truffles · m&m peanuts · Madeleine L'Engle · The Velveteen Rabbit

The Chocolate Book Blog

With all the chocolate lovers and book lovers out there, it just had to happen. Someone finally came up with the idea of starting a blog about books AND chocolates! Karen Hall, founder of the Kid Literature Authors site, is responsible for this delightful and yummy endeavor. I first learned about it from Laurie who posted about it on Facebook.

When I received an email from Laurie asking if I’d like to take part, I had no second thoughts! I hinted as much when I posted a comment on her post, after all. While I’m no longer able to indulge, chocolate remains my tried and true happy food. As for books, well, that one need not be explained.
The idea for the Chocolate Book Blog is to write about 6 favorite children’s books and then pair each one with a kind of chocolate. Isn’t that scrumptious? 
Go Dog Go.jpgThe first one I’m listing is Go Dog, Go! by P.D. Eastman. I didn’t read this one as a child. I read it to my children. I have to admit that at some point, I may have memorized the book considering the number of rereads that were requested almost every night. As Dr. Seuss books go, this one has all kinds of dogs driving all kinds of cars. While children are entertained by the sight and sound of all that wackiness, they also learn about colors and sizes, in or out, and up or down. In the end, the dogs all meet up a tree to enjoy a huge dog party.
Hands down, I’d say M&M’s are the best partner for this book because of all the primary colors used in the illustrations. My favorite M&M’s are the ones that come in dark chocolate with peanuts!
Dark Chocolate Peanut MMs
Like Laurie, I have a favorite Madeleine L’Engle book too. After reading A Wrinkle in Time, I quickly looked for more because I fell in love with the Murrays and the O’Keefes and the coming together of magic and science. I found, though, that the one I kept going back to was A Swiftly Tilting Planet

In this book, the youngest child, Charles Wallace has reached adolescence. With the help of the usually taciturn Mrs. O’Keefe (his sister Meg’s mother-in-law), a unicorn named Gaudior, and a rune, he sets out to save the world from a dictator by traveling to the past. 

I’m pretty sure Patrick’s Rune was a major factor in roping me in. Each chapter was titled with a line from the rune and reading it always made me feel that there really was some kind of power to it.

I just had to pair this book with chocolate filled with Bailey’s Irish Cream in honor of Patrick and his rune. Liquer-filled chocolates aren’t really my thing but these are perfect after dinner treats.

The Velveteen Rabbit by Margery Williams is another favorite. I think it’s one of those books that can be read over and over again through adulthood and the concept of “real” still rings true. Here, a stuffed rabbit learns that it’s possible to become Real if one is loved and cherished. The rabbit eventually becomes the little boy’s favorite and gives much comfort specially when the little boy is stricken with scarlet fever. However, when the fever passes, the doctor orders the velveteen rabbit burned along with other toys now deemed to be germ-carriers. All ends well for the velveteen rabbit when the Nursery Fairy comes to turn him into a real rabbit.

I do remember wishing, though, that the little boy realizes that the rabbit he sees one day in the garden not only looks like his old toy but that it really was the rabbit he once loved.

The Velveteen Rabbit pg 1.jpg
The chocolate that came to mind right away when The Velveteen Rabbit made it to my list was Kinder Bueno! Maybe it’s the “kinder” or maybe it’s because of the eggs. I first saw these German chocolates in their egg form during a visit to HongKong years ago. My oldest son was about 10 and he loved going over to the vending machines that had all the Kinder Bueno eggs. The hazelnut cream filling was yummy but he really got them for the little plastic toys that were inside the eggs.

I’m not sure if the eggs are still available since I read that the plastic toys were deemed hazardous here in the US. So to make sure, just get the bars!

These next books were under the vintage category. That means I must be vintage as well!  I just had to include them not only because I’ve always considered nursery rhymes and stories like Jack and the Beanstalk to be childhood staples but also because as a child, I really adored these illustrations by Anne Sellers Leaf. When I was working for a preschool, I painted Jack on one of the support posts in the receiving area. He was one of my favorites as well as the cow with the crumpled horn in The House That Jack Built.

I wish I had larger images but these were all I could find.


Speaking of vintage, here’s something from my childhood that remains a favorite: ChocNut! The Filipino store in the Danbury area carries them so hooray! Some people find it dry and it’s certainly not anything like the chocolates I’ve been posting. It’s definitely peanut-y, though, which appeals to a peanut butter lover like me. When we were little, my sisters and I would open them up to see if we’d find a “get one free” coupon that’s usually in between the paper sleeve and the aluminum wrapper. Most of them had those coupons too so it was almost like having an endless supply. Then someone wisened up and that was that!

Crow Boy by Taro Yashima is an item in my must-have list. It’s also something I’d gladly share and will have no trouble with getting another copy if it never got around to being returned. When I think of this book, the first word that comes to mind is quiet.

Set in Japan, it is the story of a boy who lives in a very remote area and has to walk quite a distance to get to school. His classmates make fun of him until a very wise teacher turns things around by showing the class what this seemingly strange classmate can do. It turns out, he can imitate all sorts of crow calls. This not only impresses the class, it also allows them a glimpse into what kind of life Crow Boy (the name they give him) must have. The story touches on bullying, on loneliness, on understanding, and compassion.

This book was once challenged by a school board member but the challenge was outvoted, thank goodness.

I’m pairing this book with a dark chocolate because of the crows. It should be something not only dark but a bit “deadly” in a yummy kind of way.  Ghirardelli has several dark chocolate varieties but I chose this one mostly because of the name. This is the Intense Dark Twilight Delight bar. It begins with Intense and Dark and while Crow Boy may not have that dark of a beginning to its readers, it’s possible that having to travel very far to a school where he knows he’s not liked creates that kind of emotion for him. Twilight to me is the transition because twilight is the time of day when the sun’s almost gone but it’s not quite dark yet. This time, though, the transition moves not into darkness but to one of Delight.


And now, my choice for the final book is Each Peach Pear Plum by Janet and Allan Ahlberg. I enjoyed reading this to my sons. The I Spy format is especially fun because of the illustrations that are magical and delightful. Each page, blown up a bit larger and framed would do very nicely in a nursery.

Lindor Truffles are hard to resist and whenever there’s an assortment around, I do a bit of the I Spy game. Is that a black wrapper peeking under all the golds and reds? It’ll probably be a bit much for me to figure out a rhyme to go with each flavor, but look at how nicely the book and chocolate images go together!

And that’s it for this Chocolate Book Blog! I really enjoyed sharing my choices. The challenge was not going out to look for chocolates to eat while writing this post. Maybe I’ll grab some peanut butter instead.

Thank you again to Laurie J. Edwards for tagging me! Make sure to check out her Chocolate Blog Post and while you’re there, take a look at the books she’s penned too. Be transported by clicking here!