Stories Of Summer : Album On The Road By Jill Kane

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I love summer in Minnesota. . . so much that I prefer to stick around home during these months and enjoy all my state has to offer during this short-lived season. Last year I took myself on a few adventures, all under 100 miles away from my house and loved every minute of each one of them. After watching the movie UP a few weeks ago, I committed to taking myself on some more adventures this summer. Some at no cost and right in my neighborhood, like an easy picnic in a park, and on up to day or overnight trips to quaint towns just outside the hustle and bustle of the Twin Cities. Little adventures that celebrate summer in Minnesota and create great opportunities to document my experiences.

At the end of June, I'll be heading a bit south of the Twin Cities to Northfield, MN, probably one of my most favorite towns in the state. It has a great vibe - home of two colleges, lots of artisans and crafters, a main street with a real deal bakery and many specialty shops. This will be my first time staying at a B&B, an overnight at The Magic Door Bed & Breakfast, which I'm so jazzed about. I'll also be in town during a music festival, a garden tour and a Saturday morning farmer's market along Northfield's River Walk. What could be better?

I looked to Ali's book, Life Artist, for some documenting inspiration and remembered her SCRAPBOOK ON THE ROAD project (download a PDF of her Studio A column from March 2006 that talks about this concept here). Bingo. That's just what I want to do for this Northfield trip. I have a new Fuji Instax Mini camera that I'm learning to use, and want to use it to take some faded, sun-washed summer photos during my stay. The look of the photos became the inspiration for the design of this mini album.

I sorted through my stash and found all I needed to put this little album together. I find small albums like this one are great for using what you already have. My advice: plan a little adventure, create a simple-for-you way to document your experiences along the way and have fun!

Here are the supplies I used. Feel free to raid your stash and come up with your own variation.

  • Maya Road 5x7 tabbed chipboard board book - rotated to open up, rather than to the left

  • Gesso

  • Cheap acrylic paints

  • Cheap paint brushes

  • Scrap scalloped paper strips (the bottom of Sassafras papers work great for this project)

  • Scallop scissors

  • Matte gel medium

  • Plastic gift card

  • Heidi Swapp iron on word "destinations"

  • Sharpie white poster paint pen

  • Basic Grey white chipboard letters

  • Instax Mini Camera + Photos

Like I mentioned, the look of Instax photos inspired my design. I wanted to mimic the faded, soft-edged images produced with an Instax (or, for even more of this effect, an old Polaroid SX-70), so I decided on a mostly white base for the pages. With splashes and spatters of yellow and aqua, and a bit of texture and layering with the paper strips.

Here's my process:

Where we're heading - a look at the completed cover.


First, paint all pages with gesso (or cheap white acrylic). I had gesso on hand, and I think it works better than cheap acrylic as a base coat. Just one coat is enough.

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Next, select 3-4 paper strips to use on each page. Use a scallop scissors to trim non-edged paper or use the bottom edge of papers from a company like Sassafras. Decide on paper placement in the mini and then trim lengths. I varied the paper lengths on each page.


Attach strips to pages with matte medium. Brush a thin layer of medium on the page to glue down the strips, followed by a thin layer over the strips. Let dry. I find applying a top layer of gel medium over the paper aids in painting.


Here's a photo of my album after this step.


Assemble your paints and get ready for some imperfect painting fun.


I put a few squirts of two colors right on the book and brushed away. My goal was to mute the color strips, with a faint amount of color showing through. Think whitewashed or faded by the sun. I mixed a warm white with a metallic pearl for just a hint of gleam.




Once your whitewashed pages are dry, it's time to add a bit of accent color. I learned this technique from Tina Aszmus in a tutorial she created for the Studio Calico blog. Using a plastic gift card, brush paint on the edge of the card. Here I mixed a bit of aqua with more warm white.


Apply accent color by dragging the card along the page, starting at an edge. Light to medium pressure on the card is fine.



Repeat with a second color. I used a mix of light yellow with warm white. I didn't really clean off the card between applying the aqua and then the yellow.


Here are some detail shots of the finished effect and texture produced with the paper strips and paint.




Repeat this papering and painting process on all pages. When finished, you're ready to add a title to the front cover.


Feel free to use alphabets you have on hand for your title. My design vision for this cover was 1) a bit of dimension, 2) words in white and 3) use two different fonts. If you go with an iron-on word, follow directions carefully. . . I didn't and thought the word wasn't adhering. It was, and I scorched the word a bit, making it off-white vs. true white. My remedy, since I really wanted it white? Paint on the iron-on with my white Sharpie paint pen. Worked great! After attaching the iron-on word, I attached the chipboard letters to complete my title, overlapping the chipboards on the iron-on a bit.


Once all the pages and papered + painted, and the cover title complete, you're set!

Here's my plan for using this mini on my trip:

  • I'll take Instax photos (like the one in the photo below) and adhere to the album while I'm away. I'll likely position the photos as I did in this sample shot - one photo per page.

  • I'm leaning toward jotting down a few quick notes on the trip and when I return home, typing them up on my typewriter, cutting them out in strips, and adhering in the space to the left or right of the photo.


And the Album on the Road is ready for an adventure! Words + photos documented. Memories celebrated.


ABOUT JILL : Jill Kane has been making little creations with her imagination and craft supplies since she was a toddler. Her earliest drawings with non-washable Crayola markers on 1960s paneling are still on view in her parents’ basement. However, the hole she burned in the family room carpet while heat embossing a handmade card is long gone. Yet this product of her creativity has continued to earn annual mention at family holiday gatherings. Jill thinks it’s because her family is truly enchanted with her crafty endeavors.

Today she delights in working with patterned paper, photos and words to pay tribute to her relationships and adventures. She believes the patterns created from living a well-loved life are pretty fabulous and deserve to be celebrated.

Jill lives in West St. Paul, MN, and shares her words and projects on her blog, willingness is the partner of life.


ABOUT ALI : I also came across a great series of posts about creating a travel journal called Come Away With Me from Kimberly Lund via The Daily Digi. Definitely worth checking out.

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12 thoughts

  1. Cynthia H says…

    Totally inspired to make a travel journal for our upcoming trip to Sweden! The idea of pre-planned writing prompts (from the Daily Digi post) totally resonated with me and helped me figure out why I have been resistant to journaling on a trip. Thank you!!!

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  2. Sue P. says…

    Thank You Thank You Jill, I just really dug into your whole concept and found it so amazing an inspiring--and.......Thank you too Ali- as your "Scrapbook on the Road:
    album was such a inspiration. I am so bumed though- I just returned from my first trip to Germany and wish I had done this. I do have my journal to refer to but WOW this would have been awesome to do. Luckily my husband and I have begun to take mini trips so this will definetely be something I will try to do! Thanks again!

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  3. Susan Bowers says…

    Another wonderful share. I love the idea of 'staying near home' and visiting near home. We are doing that also. Visiting Oatland Island, Sea Turtle Center, camping on Jekyl Island, berry picking, farms market, going on a picnic. I am so excited about this project. I worked on my own album again this morning - decorating the outside. The inside will be mostly digital creations. I am having so much fun with it. Thanks Jill - and Ali!

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  4. Immi says…

    This is great! I'm going to start jotting notes as I'm enjoying a couple of weeks with my newborn grandson. This inspires me to get going!

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  5. Tina says…

    Love it! You're a pro at swiping paint! ;)

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  6. dawn says…

    love this it's beautiful..thanks for sharing!

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  7. Monika Wright says…

    I appreciate that you took us step-by-step through your process of creating. I don't do much with paint and layering so this tutorial will be something I refer to for a mini I hope to be as beautiful as yours. I can't wait to see the finished project on your blog!

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  8. MissKim says…

    Oh gosh! Thanks for mentioning my travel journal article at The Daily Digi, Ali! Totally just made my day!

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  9. Dawn says…

    Fantastic book! It will look even better once it is filled with photos and journaling. Thanks so much for taking us through it step by step...I love finding new ways to do things!

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  10. Moira says…
    This was an on the road album I created a few years ago where (inspired by the December Daily project & the idea of scrapping a big trip while we travelled - something I think Ali also did many years ago) I created a freestyle album and, by the time I returned home, had a completed record of our amazing road trip.

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  11. michell says…

    Thank you for the wonderful tutorial. I definitely plan to give this a try.

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  12. LeAnne S says…

    Northfield is my home town! We'll be back for a few days at the end of the month.

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