Anything Books

What Is An Anything Book?

An Anything Book is a handmade journal that you can use as journal or a scrapbook and anything in between. It's a blank book that makes the perfect canvas for you to record your thoughts, your dreams, your art, your life, and your adventures.

An example page from an Anything Book by Charlene Kingston of Laughing Crow Studio.
Your Anything Book is a blank canvas ready for you to record what matters to you.

What Goes Into An Anything Book?

Your Anything Book starts with a cover made from recycled materials. I have a huge stash of product packaging that I use for the covers, everything from cereal boxes to frozen snack boxes to cleaning product boxes. They are colorful and beautiful, and they get a second life as a book cover.

An example cover of an Anything Book by Charlene Kingston of Laughing Crow Studio.
I use recycled materials like soft drink cartons for Anything Book covers.
Inside your Anything Book is a mix of recycled and upcycled materials from my life. I collect things that most people ignore:
  • return mail envelopes
  • airline luggage tags
  • reciepts
  • coasters
  • postage stamps
  • paint chips
  • business cards
  • playing cards
  • and other small pieces of life 
An example page from an Anything Book by Charlene Kingston of Laughing Crow Studio.
Here's a page from a textbook embellished with a paper scrap.
I use brochures, menus, magazines, and other paper items that reach my home. I also recycle used books that include old textbooks, outdated travel guides, and picture books.

As I assemble your book pages, I add embellishments from my mixed media studio that include washi tape, tags, clips, and scraps from my art journal and other products. I add decoration using stamps, chalk, inks and paint pens.

Anything Book Binding

Ring binding makes your Anything Book flexible to meet your needs.
Ring binding leaves room for you to glue photos, ticket stubs and other things to your pages.
Your Anything Book has book ring binding. This type of binding has many advantages over other types of binding.
  • Your book adjusts as you glue items inside.
  • You can remove any page to work on it, and return it to the book when you are done.
  • You can add new pages simply by using a paper punch to add holes and insert it into your book.
  • You can insert found items from your own life to personalize your book.
If your book starts to get bulky, you can replace the book rings with larger ones (larger than 1 inch). You can find silver and colored book rings at most office supply stores.

An Anything Book with a book belt to hold it closed and keep everything inside.
This Anything Book has a green file bank for a book belt. It keeps the book closed and everything inside.
Some books come with a book belt you can use to hold the pages together and keep loose things from sliding out. If you need a book belt, you can find large rubber bands called file bands at many office supply stores. Or, you can tie a beautiful ribbon around your book.

Your Anything Book comes with a glue stick (archival quality) and an ultra fine permanent marker. You can start filling in your book as soon as you open the box!

Your Anything Book Name

Your Anything Book has a name. I choose your book's name based on what is inside it. In fact, you can always find your book name as a word that already exists in your book. I write the book name on the back cover along with the book ID code and my signature. Your Anything Book is a work of art that you complete by adding your life story.

Every Anything Book gets a unique name that appears on the back cover.
I give your Anything Book a unique name and sign each book on the back cover.

Anything Book Inspiration

Your Anything Book isn't completely blank. I've started creating a beautiful background to inspire you to fill it up with pieces of your own life. Use the decorations as a backdrop for you own thoughts and materials, or incorporate them into your design. It's all up to you.

Here are some ideas for how to use your Anything Book:
  • Personal Journal. Use the blank pages to write your most private thoughts. Use the decorated pages to write quotes or glue in pictures that inspire you, along with motivational words.
  • Art Journal. Pull out your paints, pencils, and chalks and use each page as a canvas to record your experiences.
  • Travel Journal. Use the blank pages to record the stories that you always want to remember. Use the decorated pages to glue in photos, reciepts, tickets, and other travel ephemera you want to save from your trip.
  • Vision Board Book. When you set goals for your life and keep them in front of you, magic happens. Add pictures to remind you of your goals and glue them in. Write about how it feels to reach your goals, and they will happen even faster.
  • Weekly Scrapbook. Life flies by fast! Use each two-page spread to record a week of your life. Glue in bits of paper like ticket stubs and reciepts, add photos, and small things like shopping lists or to-do lists. Now it's easy to relive your life and remember the details.
  • Weight Loss Scrapbook. Use the blank pages to record your thoughts as you transition your food choices, your lifestyle changes, and purchase smaller clothes. Glue in photos of you along the way, tags from new clothes, shopping trips, and the rewards you give yourself.
  • Workout Scrapbook. Are you preparing for a marathon or working to improve your physical condition? Record your workouts, take photos of yourself, and write encouraging messages. Also include your race tag or other event materials.
  • Child's Year Book. Use your Anything Book to record your child's year from beginning to end. Include photos, cards from family and friends, artwork, and other pieces of daily living. You can create a record of the year with little fuss this way.
  • Wedding Planner. Use your Anything Book to record your plans and the events from engagement through your honeymoon. Use one page to record your attendants, another for wedding participants, another for gifts, and one just for your dress.
Your Anything Book can be anything you want! You are only limited by your imagination!!

Example Pages

Here are some pictures I've taken from inside my personal Anything Book to inspire you, along with some guidelines to get you started.
  • Don't start at the beginning. Pick any page on the inside and start there.
  • Randomly pick pages and fill them in. This takes the pressure off to force your book to "make sense" or tell a story from start to end. Real life isn't about straight lines!
I added a photo gallery from a shopping trip at IKEA into an IKEA brochure I glued to a page.
Here's an example where I wanted to keep a few pictures together. I took them while shopping at an IKEA store. So I used an IKEA brochure to hold them. I trimmed it to fit the page, and glued it to a page. Then I plastered it with the photos and other decorative items. The tab helps to open up the brochure.

The pictures inside the IKEA brochure. 
When you pull the tab, you see the rest of the pictures inside the brochure. Learn more about adding pictures as a mini gallery in my blog post.
  • Choose a general theme for your Anything Book. It might be about a big project in your life (weight loss, going to school, a big vacation, my move to a new city, etc.) or it might be about a period of time (my senior year, my first year of marriage, my summer vacation, etc.). Having a general theme helps you to think of things that should be included. 
  • Take your time. There is no rush to finish your book. When I think of a topic/event I want to add to my own book, I write the idea on a sticky note and put it on the page where I think I might talk about that topic.
  • It's okay to have half finished pages. Often, I think of something to start a page, and it's days or weeks later before I think of other things to go on the same page. Life is like that. Leave yourself some space for new ideas.
An example page from my personal Anything Book showing small pictures and inserted items.
  • Make your book personal by inserting items from places you visit. Here's a Starbucks cup holder inserted between pages with a note added. Use a regular hole punch you can get at any office supply store to insert your own materials.
  • When possible, make your photos smaller. I really like small photos so I use photo editing software to create 2 inch square photos and wallet size (2 inch by 3 inch). If you don't have the tools or skills to do this yourself, there are lots of places that will print smaller images for you. I use Walgreens and they will turn any photo into 4 wallets for a small price. 
  • Look for small items to add to your page. I like postage stamps, so you will see many of them in my pages. But you can add labels from clothes, purses, tea bags tags, and you can cut out pieces of larger packaging to use.
  • Use the computer to add words. I think having handwritten text makes your Anything Book special. But if you don't like your handwriting, or if you don't feel confidence doing page headings, use your computer! Measure the size of the space on your page, and make sure you create your words the correct size for that space. You can even use fancy fonts!
Your book will never be perfect. But it will capture your real life and give you an amazing record that you will keep and enjoy for the rest of your life. Get started today!