Last week I signed up online for Heather's "A Beautiful Life" art journaling class. It's taken me a while to find some bits of time to pull together the cover. Thank heavens Heather is leaving up her class for the whole month of October (and is still taking sign-ups), so I can catch up on the pages.
Besides all the beautiful vintage images that Heather is providing to download, this project appealed to me because I still consider myself a vintage newbie. It isn't often that I manage thrift shopping, and it's never thrifty when I do. Not yet for me those huge gorgeous salivating piles of vintage wallpaper, soft faded pearls, endless lace trims, timeworn millinery flowers, and so on. My meager stash did not come as bargains. So I thought it would be a fun challenge to see what I could come up with -- without.
First issue to contend with was finding the book to alter. In true urban style, I stopped by the book-sale corner of my local library to see what surprise might be hiding among all the well-thumbed recent best-sellers for resale. Luckily, off to the side as though nobody knew where to shelve it, was an old book of organ music. It's a little larger than Heather's suggested size, but it came with all those pages of music (even though organ music is a little strange on the page :).
Next challenge was turning the deep green cloth book cover into something a little milder. Lacking the desirable wallpaper stash, I decided to use some of my Carolyne Roehm embossed wrapping paper in this delicious buttermilk color. One advantage: since it isn't crackly old wallpaper, it wraps easily around the edges and corners to give a nice finished look. And I love that deep textural feel, although much of the paper surface is eventually covered. Adding to Heather's blog discussion about which glues to try, my glue of choice for this large scale was Golden's Gel Medium, slathered evenly all over the book cover, followed by smoothing on the paper with a brayer. I used this same gel/brayer process for all the papers.
Since my cover was rather large (10" x 14"), I felt it needed more embellishment than Heather's smaller example. So, using red line tape down the right side, I attached a row of creamy pompoms from Michael's and lace trim from Joann's. Then I collaged my papers, including Heather's terrific cover download framed with some organ music, with gel medium. A little distress inking softened the torn edges.
With no big gorgeous floppy vintage millinery flowers, I tried to match the scale by assembling a bouquet of newly-made ones to arrange across the top of the cover. My layered flowers use creamy Prima paper flowers and white felt flowers cut on my Sizzix machine. In the center of the two silk flowers from Michael's, I inserted some pale blue flower stamens left over from my recent layout class. All the flowers were spritzed with Glimmer Mist in gold and topaz to add some "aged" color and just a little shimmer.
Then I stacked up a "real" vintage collar and a folded doily to drape as a base for the flowers, attaching each layer with red line tape. To help with dimension, I slid some chipboard in between the lace layers. Heather's "A Beautiful Life" title banner is sewn onto a printed stack of old tags. In the leftover tag space, I wrote the word "creating" to augment the title. The banner edges are highlighted with Stickles.
At the bottom of the cover, I added more buttons, part of another white felt flower and, channeling Rebecca Sower, a ribbon gathered with pink pearls. Except that my white twill ribbon is also new from the wrapping of my Williams-Sonoma napkins and the pearls are fake. Actually, I split one pearl in half trying to thread it on my tapestry needle, so I glued it up on the title banner.
Although I was pinch-hitting most of the way, it sure was fun using Heather's guidelines to assemble this vintage-style cover. Now I hope to start on the pages before Christmas. :)
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