Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Hold onto your Dreams

Over the past few weekends I have been working on a special gift for my son's girlfriend. They have been boyfriend and girlfriend for one year on the 5th of May this also happens to be her birthday.

I knew exactly what I wanted to paint for her as I had previously designed and painted a much smaller version some weeks earlier as a trial from my sketch. I was happy with my previous colour choices I just needed to decide on what changes if any that I wanted to make.

With a deadline in sight I was off to my computer to scan my original piece which I cropped and enlarged to fit my new journal surface. I then took a sheet of tracing paper and traced off the basic details.

I also printed off another image but in mirror image. I have a selection of scrap booking papers which I purchased as a download that I enjoy printing off as I can increase and decrease the design elements as I please. I selected a black and white design which took my fancy and printed out one sheet on the laser printer. I then took a pair of scissors and neatly cut of the design of the mirror image girl and bear. I placed this where I intended to paint (face down so the two printed area's touched) as I wanted the white surface to be visible and I then scanned the image back into my computer and printed out a front piece.

The reason I printed it out with the white section is so I did not have a lot of blocking to do, as I did not want any of the design elements to be seen through her face but wanted them to remain visible in the background. Blocking the design out would have taken extra time, of which I did not have a lot to spare.

I then measured out the exact size of the front and back covers and lightly misted the printed pages with water before taking a designed edge ruler and placing the ruler slightly inside the rectangle and taring off the excess paper.

I use matt medium as my preferred glue. I covered the mdf covers with a slightly watered down matt medium and lay the water misted papers in place and then adding another layer of matt medium over the top of the printed paper, pushing out any excess matt medium along with any air bubbles from between the mdf cover and the printed sheet as I applied the top layer of matt medium with a large brush.

The sheets don't bleed as I used a laser printer and not a bubble jet. A laser printer user toner and not ink. You could do the same thing with a photocopy. I then set them aside until dry.

Using transfer paper I trace on the basic designs making sure I am happy with the images, if not I erase them and free hand lightly with a 2B pencil.

I start with painting the background area. I use acrylic paints in thin layers building them up and blocking out only some of the underneath pattern. If my paint is not transparent enough I will add some of the matt medium to help thin it out. Next I add my first layer of shading around my images before again using thin transparent layers to build up the girl and the bear. I like to have at least one shade around the images for any of the overlaying bear fur and hair as this will eliminate me having to cut in around fine strands.

Once the basic painting is complete I take it back to my computer and scan in the image into my Corel Draw. From here I decide on what verse I wish to add. By scanning the image into my computer at 100% enables me to roughly position where I want the text and this in turn helps me decide what and
what size font to print it at. There are so many available out there but one of my favourite fonts that I frequently use is "Pink". A font can really change the look of your design so try different one's until your happy with the look.

I then delete the background image and print only the text and cut it up. I punch several flowers and swirls using my stash of punches from a light coloured scrap booking paper. I prefer to paint each flower and swirl separately using colours that compliment my design. Yes it is fiddly but I can decide to add a little light to one side or add an extra bit of depth to another. Again I use washes of colour and let the design of the scrap booking paper peep through.

First I position the text and adhere it with matt medium, when dry I put a wash of the background colour on top so it does not stand out. I wanted the text to blend with the background and not to be the main feature. After I apply the wash sometimes I will go over the top of the text with a fine point pen to intensive the black as it is lost under a layer of paint and no longer remains vibrant.

Next I position all the other elements before using the matt medium to once again glue them down.
I like to add some additional stamping to background. I will use paint colour that I have already used instead of ink as it tones nicely, I used the white waterproof pen for any additional fine detail such as some fine hairs in the bears fur and dots around the collar. You must use waterproof pens otherwise they will smear when you seal the artwork with final coats matt medium.

Even though I finish off with a couple of layers of matt medium for protection I also cut a clear binding cover to the exact size and use as an additional  cover on front and back as this helps protect the images from any scratching and mishaps that may occur in its life time of being used as a journal.


With the outside finished I like to spend some time finishing off the inside. I love to use coloured pellon. I just adore the texture and look of it. It comes in various colours and can be picked up from your craft store. I believe it is used in card making alot.

I just applied one coat of a similar purple and then applied the pellon by adding a coat of matt medium to the painted surface and while still wet place the pellon on top and applied another coat of matt medium pushing hard with the brush to ensure the medium soaked through. When dry I trim the edges with a sharp craft knife.

I continued the theme by printing 100 pages with the same verse and a butterfly from the front cover.

On the back cover I print a bar code and painted a matching butterfly.

To complete the journal ready for use I attached matching ribbons and small gel pens that thread through the rings, this way you will always have a pen ready for when you need it. 

Finally I had to wrap it.  Over the Easter break I had made some fabric rolled roses that I had seen on a tutorial at  Alisa Burke's blog spot, I had an old white sheet. In addition to the roses I added some mint green leaves to add a little colour and then I cut a square and stitched them to one corner along with two strips to tie the parcel together.

I hope she likes her gift as much as I enjoyed creating it for her and I hope I have inspired one of you to begin crafting a gift for someone special.


  1. WOW! What a tremendous gift!
    You are amazing. xox

  2. what a beautiful, thoughtful gift....how could one not love it.....i also want to thank you for stopping by and commenting on my blog....i love to meet new people.... hugs

  3. Oh My Goodness, this is such a unique personal gift, I love your step by step comments too, you have created a beautiful piece and a gift to treasure, she will LOVE it (I do)!!!

  4. PS The wrapping is inspired too! Gorgeous :)

  5. WOW! What a lovely gift!! Thank you for your comment, too.

  6. Such a wonderful creation! Thanks for showing us how you did. And I love the title "Hold on to your dreams"... My dream is to start painting some day... Hope you are enjoying your
    weekend! Hugs Susan :)

  7. Annie,
    Merci beaucoup for visiting my blog again. Your son's girlfriend is very lucky to be getting such a unique gift! Is she the same one from several posts back that you did the makeover on the bracelet doll for? Orange is a funny color for me -- it would never be my color of choice, but when I see it, I love it and it's such a 'happy' color:)

  8. What a wonderful gift! SHe will love it! Thank you so much for your comment!

  9. Hi Annie! Thank you for stopping by my blog and leaving your sweet comment! Your journal here is fabulous! I love your girlie and bear and was amazed at your process. Your son's girlfriend is truly one lucky gal to be receiving such a wonderful gift. I loved the wraping and roses you did on it too! Hugs, Jessi xox

  10. oh my gosh, what a wonderful gift for your son's girfriend! It's beautiful! Thanks for your comment on our kitty, Baby. I'll bet your ragdolls are gorgeous!!! Have a great day!... Donna

  11. Such a precious journal!...just wonderful =) Kathryn

  12. I love the lips on this girl! Wouldn't it be great to have lips like that?


Thank you for your comments! I always appreciate hearing from visitors to my blog.
Hugs Annie.