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If you remember, I posted last year about how I like to reserve most of my Valentine’s Day energies for celebrating my friendships rather than buying into all of the sugar-crazed, hyper-commercialized craziness.  This year, since I’m long distance with D, I sent him a little package of homemade goodies just to mark the day (I’ll post pictures of it later in the week), but really, we’ve already done our celebrating (he surprised me with a nice lunch at a Thai place while I in CA for a conference last month).  So instead I spent a week or so cooking up stuff for my roommates.  This year, I decided to try and teach myself to use Illustrator, since D gave me a copy of Creative Suite for Christmas.  So I designed a little image of a girl flying a kite and turned into cards and matching sets of matchbook notebooks:

The notebooks. (One set of three per roommate – I threw the monogrammed ones in there on a last minute whim just to give them a touch of something special). The pages are cut from the leftover sheets in a class notebook that I wasn’t able to fill during the course of a quarter.

The cards. I don’t have a color printer so I had my pdf templates printed on ivory cardstock at FedEx/Kinko’s. The front image printed a little smaller than I’d imagined it would be, but I still think it works.

Since I didn’t have any thin red satin ribbon, I bought some kitchen twine to wrap up each little set. I love the homey touch the raveling ends add (and my bank account liked the price of twine vs. ribbon, too!)

The envelopes came in a pack of 10 from Meijer, on sale. I drew the little kite motif onto the corner of each just to tie everything together nicely. (I didn’t smudge the ink on my roommates’ names, by the way; I purposely blurred them out of the photo for privacy reasons).

My roommates will receive their gifts a few days early, as I’ll be in Chicago for the 2009 AWP Conference on the 14th proper. Hopefully they won’t mind. 🙂

And, because I feel a little silly having spent so much time on a design that will only be used for three gifts (I like to do something new each year) – I figure that the random people who read this might as well get some use out of it, too. So here’s a .pdf file with templates and instructions to make some matchbook notebooks of your own (using the Kite Girl image). Print them out on cardstock, cut, fold, and staple. A few tips: 1) score the folds before you make them. the fold lines will print on the side opposite the one you need to score, so what I did was hold each notebook against a lit lampshade, printed side to lamp, and trace little guide notches on the blank side where I needed to score. 2) be careful to cut inside the black lines. i cut outside at first, and had to trim every edge down; it ended up being kind of a pain. 3) staple as close to the base of the notebook as possible (you want the top flap to have a substantial lip to slip into), but not so close to the base that you staple the cover to itself and miss the pages.

Kite Girl Notebook Template (requires Adobe Acrobat Reader).

Each template makes six notebooks. Enjoy!


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