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Front & Center Travel Activities...


 Summer is fast approaching, and for us that means more time spent on the road for baseball games, quick weekend trips, and whatever else pops up!  My girls are always wanting to take games or coloring books along for the ride, and it seems like I'm always scrambling to get them together as we're ready to leave the house!  So, I thought I'd take a little time to put together some fun take-along books.  With its built in handle, the Front & Center die turned out to be the perfect solution!  

I used the Front & Center #1 die to create the front and back covers for my books.  I cut them from chipboard to make them a bit more sturdy, then covered both sides with patterned paper.  

I kept the front covers fairly simple because, let's face it, kids are hard on stuff.  And if they're going to be dragging these along here, there, and everywhere, they're just going to get beat up.  So, I just embellished the front with a strip of patterned paper topped off with the Heart Border die.  I made a monogram using the Outline Alphabet for each of the girls so they can easily see who's is who's.  I colored it in using several different Copic colors for a rainbow effect.  I added a little fabric flower sticker to each (from the Amy Tangerine Sketchbook collection).  The cute little pencil and scribble image are from the Happy Trails set.  
Inside each book is a set of Twistables and some coloring pages that I printed.  There are tons of free coloring pages out on the net that you can download and print if you just do a Google search.  Or, if you want a cute coordinating set and don't want to spend the time searching, there are several cute sets on Etsy.  I purchased THIS set of cute foodie images to use.  As for printing, these came in pdf format and were full-page images.  I just adjusted my printer to print four images on an 8 1/2" x 11" sheet of paper and that was the perfect size to fit in my Front & Center cover without getting in the way of the handles.  The pages are narrower than the covers, so you can see from the image below that they aren't bound in the last two binding rings.
The crayons are held in place with elastic that I stitched in place.
I wasn't too fussy with measuring the elastic.  I drew a guideline with a pencil to keep myself from going all crooked as I was stitching, but then I just started at one end with the whole spool of elastic and stitched every 1/2" or so, leaving a little bit of slack in the elastic between each row of stitching so the crayon would fit.  I kept going until I had enough loops to hold 8 crayons, then cut off the excess elastic.  It needs to be snug enough to hold the crayon, but not too snug that little hands have trouble getting them in and out.  It's pretty forgiving though, so don't sweat it too much.  When I stitched it, I adhered the patterned paper to my chipboard piece and stitched through both layers.  I felt like stitching through the chipboard would make it a bit sturdier.  So make sure you do this first before adhering the patterned paper on the front cover, otherwise your stitching will show through to the front.
Here's a shot of the binding.  They're almost like little flip-open art desks.  Great for travel...and the elastic bands keep the crayons from flying all over in the back seat...yay!  I'm also excited about the fact that I can refill them once they've used up all of the pages.  I can easily pull out the wires, put in new coloring pages and re-bind them.
Oh, and I added a ribbon closure that loops through the handles as well.  I just took a length of Saddle Stitch ribbon and stitched a bit of velrco to the ends, looped it through the handles and fastened the velcro.  It will keep them from flipping open when they're not being used.  

One last little bonus project today!  When I finished with the coloring books, I decided it would be fun to make a tic tac toe game using the same principle.  
This one flips open to reveal two magnetic sheets (I re-purposed some magnetic promotional calendars).  The one side is blank to hold the game pieces during play, and on the other I created a tic tac toe board with strips of patterned paper.  The game pieces are just diecut flowers layered over punched circles and topped with some cute pearls.  I glued a bit of magnet to the back of each piece.  It was a quick and easy project and the girls already put it to good use on the way to church last night!  

Well, that wraps up my project for today!  
Also, just a note that I updated my Etsy shop this morning (FINALLY!) with a few new things, so be sure to check it out!  As always, if you see something here on my blog that you'd like to purchase, but don't see it in my shop, just convo me and I'll be happy to create a listing for you!  
Thanks so much for stopping by and I hope you have a great weekend!