A Gift of Inspiration

cover for inspirational minibook

What do you give someone who is going through bad times? I made this inspirational mini-book for my sister who was just diagnosed with breast cancer. Her prognosis is pretty good since she was diagnosed very early, but still, this is a hard thing to go through. It is hard for me because I live in a different state and I am not able to be there to help and support her. Thank goodness she has a wonderful, supportive husband who has been keeping her spirits up.

I searched the internet for ideas on what to do for someone who has breast cancer. Most of the suggestions were for things that you actually need to be in the area: such as doing the grocery shopping, cooking, housecleaning, laundry, and taking them for their appointments and treatments. Some wonderful ideas also included compiling music either via downloading to a playlist or CDs. One thing that I saw a lot of was pink. Pink everywhere! While I have no objection to the color pink, it is a bit too much for my sister who said “after a while it gets a little too much Pepto Bismol.”  Another idea was to give them a journal that they could use to write their thoughts and feelings, appointments, doctor’s instructions and treatment information, and anything that they would be likely to forget due to side-effects from medication and treatments.

I decided to make my sister an inspirational mini-book. I wanted to find words and sayings that would inspire and cheer her up while she was going through some very tough days.  I wanted to give her something that she could add her own inspirational messages and photos.  The mini-book needed to have color, texture and beautiful images.  And I asked her to let me know if this was something that would be worth sharing on my blog as something to make for anyone going through breast cancer or who is having a particularly difficult time.  My sister thought that this was a very good idea and her words were “this is a good thing to look at and try to cheer yourself up and be more inspired.”

soul sister minibook pageIf you are a crafty person like me, this might be the kind of project that you could do for someone you know who is going through a serious illness or just a really hard time. This is a project that can be personalized, with phrases and song lyrics that have a special meaning for both of you. You could also make a mini-scrapbook with some special photographs.

write your own story minibook page

I went through my stash of cardstock and paper and then bought more things to create a six-by-six inch mini-book. Well, the cover is actually a little bit bigger, it is a 6 ½ by 6 ¼ inches, so it is slightly larger than the 6×6 inch pages. If you read some of my previous blogs about multi-media techniques, I wanted to use these techniques for some of the pages in this mini-book. I punched holes in the paper and used two small binder rings to keep the pages together.

feathers minibook page

minibook page

Materials Used in Construction

  • Heavyweight cardstock for the cover and main pages: I used 110 lb. cardstock from Michaels Craft Store and Adorable Scorable from Hunkydory Crafts.
  • Inspirational quotes: I used stamps, and printed out saying from Hot Off the Press’s CD of Card Quotes.
  • Decorative Scrapbook paper: I used 6×6 sheets of various papers from various manufacturers and I purchased a pack of 12×12 Artful Watercolor paper from Hot Off the Press.
  • Paper Tole from Hot Off the Press
  • Specialty papers: foiled, suede and parchment
  • Dazzle Stickers from Hot Off the Press: Feathers and birds
  • Die-cuts from Hunkydory Crafts and Hot Off the Press
  • Embossing Paste and Clear Glass Bead gel and feather and swirls stencils

pocket minibook page


Favorite Craft Supplies and Tools


What craft supply or tool is the one that you just can’t live without?  I would have to say that mine has to be my sewing machine because I have been sewing a lot longer than I have been paper crafting. I have tried various different crafts during my lifetime:  including making my own clothes, knitting, crochet, cross-stitch embroidery, paper mache, decoupage, wreath making, scrapbooking and card making.  I have to say that the paper mache bit was short-lived; I don’t like the feel of wet paper and it was also during my childhood.

Knitting and crochet were my traveling hobbies.  I managed to knit myself a sweater once when I was on vacation in England.  I bought the pattern, yarn and knitting needles in a shop in England and knitted when the weather was too bad to go sightseeing. This does not mean that I am afraid of a little rain. I’m from Arizona and rain is a rarity and the rain was usually very light and it would take a long time before I actually felt like I had gotten wet. I did prepare myself and brought extra socks with me, just in case of puddles.

I started quilting as a side line to my sewing my own clothes. I started out with baby quilts. I had one pattern of a sleeping bear that was frequently requested. They were perfect starting projects for my leftover fabric scraps.  When quality fabric for making my clothes started to become scarce, I bought fabric from quilt shops and eventually just started to make quilts. I still make quilts, but they are small quilted projects like wall hangings and table runners.

During the 1990s I got some software for making my own greeting cards.  After about a year or two I started to embellish my cards with additional bits of ribbon and stickers. Scrapbooking was really taking off as a hobby and I went to quite a few home parties for scrapbook products. I tried my hand at it, but found myself using my scrapbook paper and stickers for making cards. I started looking at scrapbook paper the way I did with fabric; admiring the color, pattern and texture. I also discovered that commercially printed paper appealed more to me than anything I could print out from my printer.

So, while I still manage to make one or two quilted projects a year, most of my creative effort is with card making.  It gives me instant gratification and I can try all kinds of new techniques on my cards.

So, next to my sewing machine my favorite supplies and tools are:

  • Rotary cutter, acrylic rulers and self-healing mat
  • Designer scrapbook paper and cardstock
  • Printed die-cuts
  • Computer (for printing out text and patterns)
  • Adobe Illustrator software program for creating my own digital designs
  • Stamps, inks and embossing powder
  • My Sizzix BigKick, embossing folders and cutting dies

What are your favorites?