A Crafty Take On Nancy Drew

My New Spiral Journal
This past weekend was the Puces Pop, an annual DIY arts and craft fair held at the St-Enfant Jesus Church. This year, I was taken by a certain wire bound recycled journal that I just had to have. Julie Epp takes vintage hardcover books, removes the front and back covers and uses them to make a new hardcover journal. Then she adds sixty sheets of paper and wire binding. Voila, you have a recycled one-of-a-kind journal. I opted for the journal with the 1961 hardcover of the Nancy Drew Mystery: The Secret of the Red Gate Farm. As some of you may recall, Nancy Drew novels came with three sketches of our heroine inside in some precarious situation. Epp actually takes these pages out and adds them to the journals too. You can see more of Epp's journals on her Etsy page here.

Nancy Among Cult Members
I had a lot of fond memories of reading Nancy Drew as a child, but I didn't necessarily want to have the hardcover book. I was more than pleased to have the cover and a few sketches as a keepsake. I later discovered that I was not the only Nancy Drew fan. Two of my friends are too. One friend is ten years older, while the other is 10 years younger. All three generations of us had read a fair bit of Nancy Drew in our youth. What was the appeal? Well, for starters there were very few role models for girls in pop culture, but we all had slightly different reasons for liking the stylish sleuth.
Nancy was completely taken by surprise. She knew that she had never seen the man before, for she would not have forgotten such a cruel face. His steel-gray eyes bore straight into her. Nancy was so bewildered she could think of nothing to say. (Reverse side of a sketch page included in my new journal.)

I was addicted to the suspense, and I liked our heroine's freedom and the fact that she always followed up on clues. My friend Lucie said that she liked that Nancy was both resourceful and proactive, never waiting around for permission. My friend Renata said that she liked our role model's independence, fearlessness and style. She also liked her close friendships with George and Bess, and how they could always depend on each other.

1931 Version
We all believed that Nancy Drew was written by Carolyn Keene, but as I discovered, this was just a pseudonym. Mildred Wirt Benson penned the first 23 of the original 30 Nancy Drew books. Benson was the first woman and student to graduate with a Master's of Journalism from the University of Iowa in 1927. She opted for a feisty independent girl character instead of the traditional finishing-school style heroine of Harriet Adams, who also wrote Nancy Drew under the pseudonym Carolyn Keene. A believer in equal opportunity for girls, Benson wrote her first Nancy Drew book at age 24 and was paid $125. There were a whole slew of ghost writers who followed Mildred Benson, but she was the one who established Nancy's resilient character.

The original 1931 cover of The Secret of Red Gate Farm was the work of RH Tandy, while the 1961 cover was done by Bill Gillies (I can still see his name on the cover of my journal). Apparently, the story was revised slightly in 1961, but since then, this version was still being published in 2009.

For more info on Nancy Drew, I found this great website: www.nancydrewsleuth.com

Other DIY and crafty posts
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The Joy of Crafts
DIY: Home Spa Salt Scrub
DIY: Shower Gel
Smart Design Mart: Cara Carmina and Jackie Bassett
Not So Crafty Undertaking
Cara Carmina's Magical Dolls



John-WArd Leighton | December 24, 2010 at 1:42 AM

WOW! What a great idea.

Heather | December 24, 2010 at 5:47 AM

It was a great idea, and it's a good way to recycle old hardcover books. H

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