My older son has been taking private oboe lessons for about four years, the last three of those years with a wonderful young woman, Rachel, who is now a Ph.D. candidate at the university near us. Rachel has taught Brandon soooo much in the time that she's been teaching him, including music theory. Because of her influence, he started not merely playing music, but composing it as well. At the end of this month, Brandon will have his very last lesson with Rachel, as she will be getting her Ph.D. and moving out of state. Sad for us, but life marches on, doesn't it?
I've been thinking for awhile about a gift for her. I really wanted it to be something special, to show our appreciation for all that she's done for Brandon and all that she's taught him. After a lot of searching, I finally found a wonderful print of a snippet of a Mozart musical score, very minimialist but very cool-looking. Very Rachel. So I had it framed, and right now, we're waiting for that to be finished. Along with the print, which is of course the primary "thank you and congratulations" gift, I decided to make Rachel a little chipboard album to sort of remember Brandon by. Last year, I had taken a bunch of photos at one of Brandon's lessons, so I thought I'd use a few of those to make the album. Since Rachel has devoted her life to music, I wanted to combine the photos with a few meaningful quotes about music. I easily located dozens of suitable quotes with a quick online search.
I used an inexpensive chipboard tag book I found at Michael's, and covered the pages with some Autumn Leaves papers from my stash. The soft blues, greens and tans in the papers somehow reminded me of Rachel's gentle yet forceful personality. I kept the page layouts very simple, with one quote and a couple of photographs on each page spread. I managed to find a couple of great quotes from actual famous composers, and one of those is featured on the page shown above.
For embellishments, I used a package of glitzy, glittery 3-D flowers from K & Company. They added just the right note to the quotes and photos. I searched through my stash and found some word stickers in shades of blue and green (also, coincidentally, from K & Company) and I added a few appropriate words to each page, as well. Here's another page layout:
Because I kept the pages and embellishments so simple, this little book didn't really take much time to make at all. Tracing the tag shapes onto the back of the patterned paper and cutting the shapes out probably took more time than any other step! In any case, you can make a book like this as simple or as elaborate as you'd like. I've done a few small books for gifts where I really went all out on embellishments and used lots of fun techniques. But this was just supposed to be a little "extra," a kind of "side dish" to the main gift, so I didn't want to make it into to a super complex project. Also, because this little chipboard book is the kind of thing that Rachel might keep on her desk in a basket, it could potentially be handled a lot, so I wanted to make sure there weren't too many things that could fall off or wouldn't withstand repeated handling.
The photo above shows the very back page of the book, which includes a sweet photo of Brandon and Rachel posing together. (Yep, at 16, he's a good foot or so taller than she is!) I finished off the book by tying a few ribbons from my scrap basket onto the binding ring.
I try not to become obsessed with things like finding the "perfect" ribbons or embellishments -- for small projects like this, I like to "shop my stash," as they say. I like to make use of odds and ends of things that otherwise might never get used up. I think the project came out very nicely, and I'm really looking forward to giving Rachel both the framed print and the book next week.