Hey there, Y’all! ❤
HAPPY NEW YEAR!!! 😀 ❤
Wow. It’s really 2022.
Thank you Lord for another year ❤
I don’t know about you folks . . . but my December was nuts. (I’m sure your December was nuts-o too 😉 )
It was all of the usual crazy prepping-for-Christmas scramble. And getting sick. (When you are part of a large family, it is inevitable that each person will somehow . . . at some point . . . in some way . . . come down with whatever one person happens to get 😛 ❤ ) And the commencement of my family’s birthday blitz.
Yep. And my youngest sister, Leah, starts us all off!
And . . . aside from the fact that she is an incredibly beautiful, wonderful, Jesus – loving person . . . she loves writing letters to people. A LOT.
And now, somehow, she’s up to her neck in pen-pals!
And . . . despite that the fact that she is, by nature, SUPER organized, she’s been having trouble keeping up with writing all of her friends.
Therefore, the Pen-Pal Binder was birthed ❤
I’d been wanting to do this for my sister for a good long time, and her b-day in December provided me the perfect opportunity to do it. It took a lot of planning and designing and creativity to keep it hidden ( my sisters and I share a room . . . and share clothes . . . and share books . . . and pretty much are in each others’ space 24/7, so I consider that a feat! LOL ❤ .
But she was thrilled with the whole thing and is loving using it, so I wanted to share it with you all! ❤
Aside from simply being inspired by perusing Pinterest & Etsy (and just wanting to do my own thing), I found a similar project put together by Megan over at A Barefoot Gal. (This girl is truly inspiring!! ❤ ) Technically, while it shares some similar features, it’s not exactly the same thing . . . Hers is the original “Pen Pal Binder,” so mine I guess is more like a “Pen Pal Organizer Binder” LOL ❤ Honestly, I wanted to see if anyone else in the crafty world had come up with something like what we each put together, and I was disappointed with the lack of results. Oh well. “Add another dash of creativity or two” was my next thought. ❤
I also used “How to Cover Ugly Ring Binders With Pretty Paper: DIY Notebooks” by Serena over at Thrift Diving for info on transforming an ordinary binder into something beautiful ❤ I found this very useful!
WHAT I DID
Okay. First off, I studied the tutorial on Serena’s blog post at least a gazillion times to make sure I understood the process of adhering paper to a binder.
I was going to buy a pretty floral binder on Amazon or Zazzle . . . but . . . I don’t know; things are just so expensive — (Well, everything is expensive to someone saving for college lol ❤ ) — and quality was hugely important for me. I didn’t want just anything for my sister. I wanted something nice! I went back and forth . . . and back and forth . . . and I finally decided to just DIY.
So. Trip to Walmart. Got a bunch of sturdy, 3-ring binders. Plain-Jane, white, red — I was going to cover them up, so the color didn’t matter. I also got pretty gift-wrapping paper, duct tape, decorating/scrapbook materials and Elmer’s Multi-Purpose Spray Adhesive.
Back home now, I measured & cut out the wrapping paper according to Serena’s tutorial, applied the glue (I advise wearing a mask, holding your breath, doing it outside, or all of the above . . . just to err on the safe side ❤ ) and subsequently the paper to the binder (the inside first and then the outer cover).
Then I went to town decorating, ensured the binder wouldn’t fall apart (by applying duct tape on vulnerable parts in an aesthetically pleasing way), and printed and inserted all of the pages I designed to go in it.
There are ten pages in total ❤
I wanted to give something to my sister that I knew she would actually use & find useful.
So, here’s a breakdown of all of the pages:
It took a TON of time designing these. I had no idea how involved this would be!! But the Lord gave ideas and helped me finish each one, and I’m so glad it turned out like it did.
Here’s a photodump of all the pictures of the pages inside the Binder:
And . . . because my sister LOVES all things Allison from A Farm Girl’s Life (seriously . . . if you have not discovered this gem of a blog I advise you check it out ASAP!), I found and printed out her two blog posts collectively featuring 200 Questions to ask your Pen Pal.
Needless to say, she was thrilled I included those posts ❤
I also designed pocket dividers for Leah’s Binder. On the back of each, I created places for her to keep stickers, notes, letters, stamps, etc. . . . really whatever. Of course, she can always add and subtract dividers and pockets and whatever else she finds she’ll need as she continues to write letters to pen pals, etc. I wanted it to be flexible enough so that she can modify it to suit her individual needs.
Oh yes! I also included notebook paper I designed for multi-purpose ❤ I’ve got it up on Etsy ❤
Also, I made multiple copies of some the pages (E.g. Notes Page, Happy Mail Tracker Page, About My Pen Pal Page, Birthday Page, Address Page, etc.) so she has ample room to put down all of her pen pals’ information into it. She can also print out more pages as she grows her base of pen pals! ❤
Phew! That was a big ol’ post ❤
Anyway, Leah really likes the Pen Pal Binder. She’s already started filling out lots of the spaces in there!
All of these pages I designed I’ve bundled together on Etsy ❤
It was tedious but oh SO fun and rewarding to create!!
I’ve called it the Pen Pal Binder Bundle Printable.
I think I’ll probably be creating another one of these very soon for another very important person’s upcoming birthday in my home . . . with a different theme. Just don’t tell her if you know her ❤
I hope you’ve enjoyed these wacky ramblings of mine! It just seemed fitting to start off 2022 with an explosion of photos and ideas LOL ❤
Here’s a beautiful promise to hang onto today (and everyday, for that matter! ❤ ):
The Lord is a stronghold for the oppressed, a stronghold in times of trouble. And those who know your name put their trust in you, for you, O Lord, have not forsaken those who seek you.”Psalm 9:9-10 ESV
Keep chasing after Christ!! ❤
Until next time y’all . . . 😉 ❤