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Fabric Album by Davinie Fiero 04/27/2009

The Donna Downey Fabric Album for Prima has 5 page protector pages, and 5 canvas pages. The first thing you need to do in preparing your album is arrange the pages as you’d like them in the album. I mixed my pages and did a canvas page first, then a page protector, etc.

After doing that, I took post-it notes to organize how I wanted the layouts to be done in my album. This way you can essentially create pages out of order. My album is about my girls and their first year, so I numbered my post-it's 1-12 and created some additional, special pages to go in between, like their birth, their halfday (6 month birthday), and their first birthdays.

After getting my pages sorted out, it was time to start on the cover. This album is canvas and because of that, I decided to get creative and go outside my comfort zone by getting up close and personal with my Claudine Hellmuth paint and paintbrushes, both of which are available in the Studio Calico shop.

I also got a little impressionistic and very Monet. Because of the birds in this project kit, I wanted to do my cover like the sky and the grass, so I broke out my landscape green paint and a thin brush, and randomly painted grass blades. After I was finished painting the whole exterior this way, I filled it in with sky blue paint. Claudine’s paints are wonderful on canvas so I’m not worried about paint flaking off with this project.


The result was this:


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After the base of my “layout’ was finished, it was time to go green. As you may have noticed, the project kit doesn’t come with any patterned paper. But you don’t need any. All of the embellishments are housed in typical and classy Studio Calico style with brown paper packaging which is begging to be altered and added to your projects. I made flowers with mine.


To do so, I simply trimmed circles in three different sizes. For the medium sized circle, I traced the circle shape on the back, and on the front I stamped an image in pink. I used the now retired rattan stamp, but I think the houndstooth stamp from the shop would look really cute. The reason I stamped the image before trimming the circle rather than after was because it prevented the image from being smeared, and the paper curls a bit when it’s “wet” so it makes it harder to work with if the image is small. I traced my image because I didn’t have a medium sized circle punch. If you do have a punch, simply stamp your image on the paper and when it is dry, punch out your circle.


I layered my three circles and then added a button in the middle. I later removed the button and added a punched flower, but both ideas add some fun detail to your project.


After finishing my flowers, I layered them on my album, and used ribbon for flower stems. I had also painted part of my brown bag with the green paint and trimmed some leaves for additional detail. I finished the cover with a photo and the canvas alpha stickers from Making Memories.




As I mentioned on the Studio Calico blog, the canvas pages of this album are really easy to take apart. I wanted to do so because I really wanted to take advantage of the fact that I was working with fabric, and use my sewing machine. To take apart each page, I simply ripped out the stitches with a seam ripper.



As you can see, there is felt in between the canvas pages. I left mine alone, but I was very tempted to cut it out and use it as an additional embellishment for my project.


To add color and a bit of texture to the base of my canvas pages, I used pink thread and stitched a random grid pattern. I didn’t worry about how far apart each line was, and I liked the look of uneven ends so made some lines shorter than others. I did this on each pieces of canvas, so both the first and second pages of my album would have a fun grid.


For the flowers on this page, I used the paper flowers I had made in bulk earlier, but I didn’t use ribbon for the stems on these. I wanted to make sure there was plenty of ribbon to add color and dimension to the rest of the album, so I used the brown paper packaging for flower stems as well. I painted a large section of packaging green, trimmed a strip of paper, and folded the side edges in for a clean look.



You'll notice I had painted pink cardstock as well. This was used for the flower centers on some of my flowers. I used Claudine Hellmuth's Painterly Pink for some of the girly touches on this project.

When my flowers were ready, I machine stitched the stems onto my project. Before stitching them I did make a pencil mark on the canvas so that when I was stitching I didn't get carried away and stitch them crookedly. I used this method espcially when creating shaped stems, such as that one on the second page of my album here.

The final result was this:

Note this:
I adhered photos, flowers, and my journaling strips on both page 1 and page 2 BEFORE stitching the pages back together. I did this because I wanted to put the little cardstock strips on the edges, but I wanted them stitched on. I used Fiskars Scallop Sentiment punch on the Vanilla cardstock and trimmed thin strips. I then trimmed those strips in little sections and used them in the design on my pages. I tacked them down with glue.

After I was finished it was really easy to sew the pages back together. I used turquoise blue thread, making sure to also change the thread in my bobbin to the same blue, so that it would look nice on both sides of my project.

After the sewing was complete, I adhered buttons. I didn't do this initially becuase they would have interfered with the foot on my sewing machine and I wanted my stitches to be straight.

Page 3 of my album was a page protector page and I decided to treat it as a transparency and do my layout on the outside. I brushed a coat of paint at the top where my journaling strips would go so that they could stand out more. After the paint was dry, I sprayed the page protector with Super Seal to coat it and project it from flaking off the page. After that was dry I stamped my page title using some Hero Arts alphas and some green Stazon ink.

Because this layout was on the page protector, I decided not to stitch through it. Instead, I stitched my flower stem on it's own and then adhered it to the page protector. You'll also notice that I layered one of my photos on fabric. This was a fun textural detail to the page, but otherwise, it follows the same theme as the previous two with the flower for embellishment.

You might also notice that on each page of my album I used photos that were the same orientation, ie., horizontal or vertical. I just like the way the design looks for photos to be facing the same way, so when I was searching for photos to use, I either chose the two photos that went in the same direction, or manipulated a photo to change it's orientation.

Because of the number of pages I needed in this album, there was a blank space the page before the 6 month celebration, so I decided to make it simple and paint the whole page protector blue and added the title alphas. I might later add the second canvas bird or one of the canvas tags to this page, but for right now, it is simply blue.

The last two pages I am going to share with you are my daughter's "halfday" pages. At our house, when my babies were 6 months old, we did something fun to celebrate their halfday. Because it was a special moment, and there were several photos to choose from, I alotted a whole page to each girl to document the celebration. I used three photos instead of two, and was able to add more journaling to these pages.



I hope you'll take a chance with art and one of these fun canvas albums. They are a great way to explore your creativity and offer a different and fun treat to share with your loved ones when you look through it.