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Tags | Monthly Tag Album

Many of my readers will remember the Family Tag Feud project that my husband and I did on Scrapbook Update for the holidays last year. We really enjoyed making the tags, and that shared creative project was some of the most special time that Mike and I spent together before he went into custody on January 4th to begin serving what should end up being a 34 month sentence in his DUI case.

I wanted to come up with a crafty way to “check off” the time that passed while Mike was gone, bringing us closer to the day that he comes back home. Because of our shared love of making tags, it seemed obvious to do it through tags. I finally settled on creating an album that would be filled with tags, creating one for each month that passed. When he comes home, he can help me create the one for the last month. As it worked out, because Mike was sentenced on the 4th and had 3 days of credit time, his tentative release date is scheduled for Oct. 30th, 2013. So, each calendar month that rolls by is also exactly one month closer to his release date. That’s perfect for a theme album – I can both number the tags and also name the tags by month! That pretty much sealed my plans for the album.

Through a little measuring, I discovered that if you sew an 8×8 American Crafts page protector up the middle, it creates two vertical pockets that nicely hold a #8 tag, the size that is cut by Tim Holtz’s Alterations for Sizzix Tag & Bookplates die. Many thanks to my wonderful friend Stephanie Vetne for helping me out with the sewing since my sewing machine died an inglorious death several years ago.

The album I chose to hold the 8×8 protectors is the American Crafts 8×8 Cloth D-Ring Album in Chestnut. I chose the brown because it is basically neutral, goes with my vintage style tendency, and is rather subdued (after all, this isn’t exactly an album of ecstatic celebration, but more of survival).

The window on the cover gave me a chance to start setting the theme of the album. I’m usually terrible about actually completing those sorts of parts on albums, but this time I actually got it done right at the start of the project.

Supply List:

Tim Holtz idea-ology Patterned paper (Lost & Found)
Ranger Tim Holtz Distress Ink (Tattered Rose & Black Soot)
Stamper’s Anonymous Tim Holtz Unmounted Rubber Stamps (Odds & Ends)
Tim Holtz Alterations for Sizzix (Ticket Strip)
Tim Holtz ideology (Keyholes)
7 Gypsies Rub-Ons (Elements Fragments)
Making Memories Vintage Findings (Mini Travel)

Some of the cover’s elements have meaning, while others do not. The meaning of the lock and key are pretty obvious. The bee represents freedom, the ability to go anywhere you want. The stamp represents all of the hundreds of letters we’ve been writing each other. When Mike is back home and the album is complete, the date ticket on the cover will be used to record his release date. The day and date will be circled and the year will go in the “No.” space. (I haven’t put it in now because that date is not set in stone until it actually happens.)

I have left the title and dedication pages to be completed when the album is full and Mike is home, so that they can kind of sum up our entire journey in their design and contents.

And now…onto the inside…

Since it is May and I am actually up-to-date on this project (a minor miracle), the first four tags are now complete and in the album. In a few days it will be time to make #5! It’s nice to see the album filling up!

Supplies – Tag #1 (January 2011):

Tim Holtz idea-ology Patterned paper (Lost & Found)
Ranger Tim Holtz Distress Ink (Antique Linen, Vintage Photo, & Old Paper)
Basic Grey Chipboard (Number Pile)
Ranger Enamel Accents
Stamper’s Anonymous Tim Holtz Unmounted Rubber Stamps (Artful Flight)
Tim Holtz Alterations for Sizzix (Tag & Bookplates)
Tim Holtz ideology (Keyholes)
Elle’s Studio Tags (2011 Vintage Calendar)
Papertrey Ink Twill Tape (Vintage Cream)
Tim Holtz idea-ology (Tiny Attacher)

Supplies – Tag #2 (February 2011):

Bazzill Cardstock (Kraft)
Tim Holtz Alterations for Sizzix (Tag & Bookplates)
Ranger Tim Holtz Distress Ink (Aged Mahogany)
Stamper’s Anonymous Tim Holtz Clear Stamps (French Market)
Ranger Tim Holtz Distress Embossing Ink
Ranger Tim Holtz Distress Embossing Powder (Weathered Wood)
Ranger Crackle Accents
Basic Grey Chipboard (Number Pile)
Maya Mist (Antique Bronze Metallic)
Basic Grey Curio patterned paper (Victoria)
Elle’s Studio tags (Vintage Love Flash Cards)
Elle’s Studio Tags (2011 Vintage Calendar)
Ribbon (unknown)
Tim Holtz idea-ology (Tiny Attacher)

Virtually all of the elements on these tags have symbolism of some kind: the numbers, the birdcage, the keyhole, and the postmark all represent emotions or elements of dealing with an incarcerated family member. The “together” flashcard on February’s tag represents both something intangible – our commitment to each other, in the month of Valentine’s Day – and the fact that in February we got our first in-person visit since Mike went into custody (two previous visits in early January at the county jail immediately after he went in had been via video).

Supplies – Tag #3 (March 2011):

Tim Holtz Alterations for Sizzix (Tag & Bookplates)
BasicGrey Curio patterned paper (General Store & Cabriole)
Ranger Tim Holtz Distress Ink (Mustard Seed & Wild Honey)
BasicGrey Element Stickers (Curio)
Month Tickets (unknown)
American Crafts Precision Pen (Black 03)
Tim Holtz idea-ology (Reinforcers)
Webster’s Pages Chipboard Buttons (Country Estate)
BasicGrey Chipboard (Number Pile)
Delta Ceramcoat Paint (Hydrangea Pink)
Buttons – unknown
Ranger Tim Holtz Distress Stain (Spun Sugar)
Papertrey Ink Twill Tape (Vintage Cream)
Tim Holtz idea-ology (Tiny Attacher)

The main elements on this tag are less symbolic than the first two tags were. The design is simple and most of the major design elements are from BasicGrey’s fabulous vintage Curio collection. The ribbon is actually cream colored twill that has been colored with Distress ink. I hauled out the hot glue gun (yet another recent addition to my tool belt inspired by Tim Holtz that I am finding more and more indispensible) to attach these buttons after removing the stems from the back of them.

Supplies – Tag #4 (April 2011):

My Mind’s Eye Stella Rose patterned paper (You & Me Numbers)
Hero Arts Cling mounted Rubber Stamp (Big Clock)
Ranger Tim Holtz Distress Embossing Ink
Ranger Tim Holtz Distress Embossing Powder (Weathered Wood & Worn Lipstick)
Maya Road Clear Stamps (Keep Calm)
Ranger Tim Holtz Distress Ink (Worn Lipstick & Black Soot)
Ranger Super Fine Detail Embossing Powder
Hobby Lobby Jute Twine
October Afternoon Label Stickers (Road Map)
American Crafts Precision Pen (Black 03)
Tim Holtz idea-ology (Reinforcers)
Lily Bee Design ABC Stickers (Picket Fence)
Tim Holtz idea-ology Grungeboard (Mixed Minis Alphas)
Studio AE for Technique Tuesday (December Daily & Adored)
Tim Holtz idea-ology (Tiny Attacher)
Papertrey Ink Twill Tape (Vintage Cream)

My April tag features the “Keep Calm” stamp from Maya Road that was my pick last week on Paperclipping Roundtable. The jute was actually a desperation measure to cover some stamping underneath it that didn’t turn out how I wanted, but I ended up liking the effect of the jute so it worked out. I carefully placed the clock stamp to only show the numbers 1-2-3-4, showing the passage of time. When I embossed it, I first sprinkled the pink embossing powder very carefully on the area of the number 4 to highlight it. Then I sprinkled the weathered wood powder over the rest of the design and heated the whole thing.

I’m really loving this project…it is a great way to record the passage of time, and the end result will be a concrete record of the challenging journey we survived together. Mike has been able to share in this process because I’ve been color copying the tags to send to him so he can see them. (Apparently this has sparked some amusing conversations in there as he’s tried to explain the tags and what I do with my scrapbooking both personally and professionally to some of his inmate buddies.)

On Wednesday, it will be time to make tag #5! I can’t wait!


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  1. Monthly Tags | Tag #12 – December 2011 - August 7, 2012

    [...] with my monthly tag series, you can learn the story behind this album of tags by reading the intro article to the tag  series. You can also see the previous tags in the series by clicking on the Monthly Tag [...]

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