Monday Mini Book: 3+1=4


It's been awhile since I last put a minibook together. I figured with the addition of Anna to our family it was about time to make a little 3+1=4 book to celebrate our family of 4.

Most supplies for this minibook came from Cocoa Daisy's kits (the main kit + the add-ons) this month that included many of my favorite number and alphabet products. Additional supplies include Claudine Hellmuth's Studio Paint in Sable Brown and Hambly's Little Circles Metallic Silver Overlay

Here's a look into my process:

After letting the brown paint dry on the inside and outside of the Maya Road mini album I attached the K&Company fabric number brads to the cover and rubbed-on the ruler lines from Maya Road.

This Maya Road mini album used here comes with four tabbed chipboard pages and four envelope pages. 


I covered the four chipboard pages with a patterned paper on one side and photos on the other.


I looked for photos that had at least three or all four of us together. It ended up working out just right to have two with all of us and one each of me and Chris with the kids. For covering these pages with pattern paper and photos I use a glue stick and a xacto knife to cut off the excess around the chipboard.


For a little something different I cut each of the envelopes and stuck
a piece of Hambly transparency inside to create a new page.


In addition to the transparency I slipped one of the journaling cards that came with the kit into the pocket.


On the back I cut a domino from the Graphic 45 pattern paper (each one had 4 dots) and adhered it to the seam.

As a finishing touch, before adding a quote by hand on the back, I did a zig zag stitch with my machine in red across the seam. For more simple stitching ideas check out my article with ten layout examples in the October issue of Creating Keepsakes magazine.


I did the same thing for the vertical envelopes using the journaling cards and dominoes. After getting all those base pages set up I was ready to add some more 4's to the album as accents.

To each of the patterned paper chipboard pages I added a circle and a number 4.


Here's a look at the completed book with hand-written quotes about life and family:


Each of the tabbed pages ended up with a word on the tab: Mother, Father, child, and baby.







I also added a bit of paint around each of the chipboard pages to finish them off. 

88 thoughts

  1. tiff

    2009-09-07 17:39:20 -0400

    Man ohh MAN I would love to play in your work space!! Now THAT would a great contest!

  2. kim

    2009-09-07 18:04:18 -0400

    this mini is just fantabulous!!! Love it! Now I am inspired to do a 3+3=4album for my family!

  3. kim

    2009-09-07 18:04:44 -0400

    Sorry typed too quickly....3+1 I mean!

  4. salogris

    2009-09-07 19:02:34 -0400

    thanks for the wonderful tutorial. I'm a HUGE fan of mini albums, it's like a little treasure all completely done, lol! LOVED Renee's new site too. She's the ShiZnAm :-)

  5. Judith

    2009-09-07 19:23:25 -0400

    Dear Ali,
    It amazes me that you have time to do such great work with two kids and all that you fit into your days. I really must make more of an effort. Thank for sharing your ideas. Can I ask about photos printed to size - I am trying to create a mini album from the Heidi Swapp album (like the one you did for Anna), but I want to write a lot (its going to be a travel album). My question (in a long winded way!)is can you make your pages any size or is it best to stick to standard photo sizes (ie 5X7). I want to include full page size photos when I get back. Any suggestions?

  6. fifine51

    2009-09-07 19:54:54 -0400

    a new tims, your mini book is so great ! I love alle your ideas !!!

  7. Jo

    2009-09-07 20:47:15 -0400

    Always adorable, always inspiring! Jo x

  8. Melissa Oliveira

    2009-09-08 01:38:13 -0400

    the mini is AMAZINGLY INSPIRING to me right now as we are adding a "four" to our "three" in just a few weeks!! thank you so much for sharing!!

  9. Denise

    2009-09-08 03:56:21 -0400

    loving the ali inspiration this morning. and just in time too. i need to design a mini-album for a class this afternoon. thanks for the mojo boost.

  10. Angie F

    2009-09-08 04:37:56 -0400

    LOVE your mini book! Thanks for all the explanations in the comments! I just picked up the October CK mag last night and read your article about stitching before I went to bed last night! LOVE your ideas! Thanks so much for sharing!

  11. marg

    2009-09-08 06:23:13 -0400

    Hi Ali --
    This new mini is so cute. your work is so pretty and inspiring! I have a question about the painting of the albums. Are there certain kinds of paint you should (or shouldn't) use? I see that you often use scrapbooking specific paint, but i can never find that at michaels (my local craft store) and it is nice to see the paint in color to pick it out, you know? thanks.

  12. cedwards

    2009-09-08 06:26:49 -0400

    Thanks so much for sharing your mini book! So inspiring!

  13. heather mc

    2009-09-08 08:19:05 -0400

    Love this. LOVE it.
    be well.

  14. Tiffany Heilman

    2009-09-08 08:24:59 -0400

    I just love this mini album. Love your work and thank you for sharing and providing inspiration.

  15. Leslie

    2009-09-08 09:14:42 -0400

    Not only does your daughter have THE MOST PRECIOUS smile,
    this is an absolutely lovely mini book (love the title too)!

  16. jamie

    2009-09-08 10:10:12 -0400

    just awesome.
    inspiring yet again.

  17. moline

    2009-09-09 07:37:17 -0400

    I really want to sit in your head for a day! I so love all your mini-albums (the ones from your book and the ones from your blog.) The cocoa daisy kit was ordered last week already and now I know what to do with it!

  18. Callie Swank

    2009-09-10 07:03:23 -0400

    I find myself inspired by your creativity and ambition often, but I have to say, Ali, the 3+1=4 mini book is my favorite piece I've seen you do (besides your stamps)! I am continually reminded by the creations you post to stop and enjoy every moment with my family which I hold so dear. Thank you for the gentle reminders, and I will take extra time today to enjoy my babies.

  19. Robyn

    2009-09-11 06:41:45 -0400

    So, I'm writing this comment almost a week after you posted this. And I'm 82 comments down. It makes my voice feel small. But, I wanted to say that this book is really beautiful. And that you are really talented. I think you must know this about yourself...but in case you are still wondering and this one voice can convince you, you are. Very, very talented.
    Thank you so much for sharing these ideas. I love them!

  20. Samara Link

    2009-09-12 07:14:28 -0400

    Ali, this is amazing. What a very cool album and special keepsake for your family -- and Anna -- to have forever. I love your style -- all the little details are perfect. And the cover is adorable! So clever.

  21. Maria Urban Fulkerson

    2009-09-12 15:27:31 -0400

    Love the mini book. I just have a question for you. What size did you print the photos? I know the book is "5 x 5", but does that include the tab? I wanted to order prints to make a book of my own and was wondering if 5 x 7 would be large enough to cover the whole page of the maya road album.

  22. Maria Urban Fulkerson

    2009-09-12 15:37:19 -0400

    Nevermind. =) I saw that you said they were printed as 5 x 5 in an earlier comment.

  23. Michelle Polizzi

    2009-09-13 14:38:46 -0400

    You and I were featured on's Mini Book - and just HAD to check out your Mini - you so totally rock! Great book, so very clever! Thanks for sharing - stop by my blog and say hi,, Take care! :)

  24. Online Pharmacy

    2009-09-22 23:34:30 -0400

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  25. Jill

    2011-10-18 11:34:25 -0400

    Really hoping I can find this book at Archiver's tonight. I just downloaded your Halloween mini class and I'd like to use this book instead ;) Love the idea of cutting down the envelope pages. We'll see if good luck is in my favor later today!

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