Sunday, 8 November 2009

Fabric Keepsake Finished

At last the fabric keepsake I was making for the birthday of one of our grand-daughters is finished. I was fortunate to be able to spend a whole week on its construction. It didn't turn out as expected, for I decided to adapt what I had started making after K. said she would like something connected with swimming for her birthday. So the lacy little book I was making shifted into something quite different - a loose-leaf book with spaces to add details of the races she wins and medals she is awarded, with the story of why she learned to swim included.

The various pages and pockets are show below, and because I like to know how the artefacts I look at on other people's blogs have been constructed, I have added a few notes on materials and construction. Click on any of the photos if you want to see any page at larger size.
Textile pages were made from some fabric I bought at least 30 years ago, using the reverse side which had almost a watery feel to it. I also scanned a dictionary definition of the word 'swim', and tiled them on the computer to give a sheet of text. This was printed on 'Cool Peel' transfer paper, ironed onto muslin and backed with bondaweb (wunder-under). Whenever I wanted to use some text, I cut out a portion, ironed it in place on the page, stamped letters where needed, and stitched around the shape.
The right hand page is one of my hand-made paper-bag pocket pages, with little hand-made journal inserted into which K. can record her races.
Definition of swim on left hand page, printed on 'Cool Peel', mounted on muslin and then stitched to the paper page. Right hand page featured in my lastpost - the hand-stitched page with bead embellishment (before I realised I could no longer manage to hold a needle easily to hand-stitch). At that point, my machine took over.
More part hand stitching (the hearts are cut from the text panel sheet I prepared); the flowers are taken from a spray of artificial flowers obtained from the garden centre, with beads sewn into the flower centres. The right hand page tells the story of why K. learned to swim - typed on computer, printed on cool-peel, ironed onto muslin and stitched onto the fabric page; click on the photo to read what happened.
Adapting one of the original panels - the keepsake was to have been a collection of verse specially written for K. with embellishments. This is again associated with swimming. The little fish 'racing' on the right were purchased in a craft shop whilst we were on holiday in Wales.
I discovered how to lay words over a text scan using Photoshop, and then printed it onto Cool Peel - more ironing onto muslin and then stitching onto the background of dyed muslin which had a lovely sea colour. Right hand pocket-page holds a collection of tags for K's swimming notes.
The right hand page - and the left that follows, were one of the original hand-stitched pages - if I'd continued hand-stitching I would never have finished.

Right hand page is furnishing fabric overlaid with an angel cut from printed net curtain, attached using bondaweb.
Left hand page incorporates some gorgeous velvety flowers that came from my friend, Kristin Steiner (South Carolina), as does the little cream flower; all stitched on with buttons and beads. Right hand page shows K. racing.
Finally, my last poem written for this sweet child, kingfisher blue ribbon (also from Kristin), a silk flower from the garden centre fixed to the page with a large blue brad. K. right is truly a bronze, silver and gold girl.

And here she is on her eleventh birthday looking at the little book which I hope will remind her of her swimming journey to date. Maybe I now need to think of a football keepsake for her brother's birthday next Spring. 


  1. It's such a lovely journal for her. You can tell by the look on her face that she is so pleased. I'm sure she will cherish this. To put a smile like that on a child's face is knowing you have done something really special. Well done!:)

  2. What a truly inspirational gift for your granddaughter and for us readers. She will always treasure it. And thanks also for a great blog list-treasures I haven't come across before.

  3. Definitely a treasure - her brother looks like he definitely wants one of his own!!!!

  4. How beautiful! Lots of love put into that project...

  5. What a fabulous journal your Miss K will love it. Great colour and so much detail and thought.

  6. What an absolutely beautiful gift!! I am sure it will be tresured always!

  7. Oh, this is so amazing and lovely. I can look at it over and over again, and that's just the photos! I just know she will always have this with her and cherish it. Very cool.

  8. OHHH this is so beautiful !
    love Rini the Netherlands

  9. This is terrific and I know you will come up with something fantastic for the boy. I love the expressions on both their faces as they are looking at your creation.

    Have a wonderful start to the week,

  10. This is just wonderful. I love the blue color... and all the stitching, the pockets, the tags, and all! What a gift to be treasured.

  11. a lovely blog. just found you. somehow. by a lateral arabesque from another. will visit often. for sure.

  12. This is just beautiful and extremely special - your granddaughter is a very lucky young lady. I'm inspired by your creativity and love for life and I'm very much looking forward to following you on your adventures. Happy blogging!