Saturday was the first anniversary of my father’s death. It seems appropriate that I completed the album that celebrates his life on that very day.
I have two photos to end the book. The first is of my dad with his newborn granddaughter, who will be the recipient of this book. The other is the very last photo that was ever taken of him, on his 90th birthday at the residential home. They put a candle on his pudding, and you can see how happy he looks. I am so glad that despite his confusion with the dementia at the end of his life, he spent his last days content and at peace, in a beautiful care home, with his family visiting when we could.
Here is the page spread with the background and borders. To create the background I stamped with a Stamp Barn swirl stamp (FLR 0211), using Versamark, and then brushing on randomly three different Perfect Pearls, in Turquoise, Forever Green and Forever Violet. You can see the semi-circular hole for the tag on the left.
The page complete. You can see the tag in place on the left, with its tag puller with the embossed flower. The reverse of this tag is the clocks tag on the previous page.
The last few pages of the book are taken up with details of its construction and embellishment, and some blank pages for my niece to add her own reminiscences and photos.
After completing the second page, I realised I’d left out several of the materials, for instance alcohol inks and inked kitchen paper. Ah well. No room for any more!
For the final “Notes” pages I cut sheets of plain white paper to shape, and distressed the edges with Black Soot distress ink, and stuck them down onto each page using soft matt gel medium. I was careful to apply this only to the back of the sheets and the surface of the actual page, and around the edges of the top surface of the sheets only, and not over the whole top surface, so that there would be a plain paper surface for my niece to write on with any pen or pencil of her choice.
The next step was to work on the borders, and I created a different one for each of the three pages, using white acrylic paint, and tidying up the edges with a waterproof black pen once the paint was dry.
The final step was to add the little cartoon that one of my dad’s medical student friends drew of him – I also used this picture in his funeral service sheet. My sister has the original.
I stuck the picture down onto the end paper at the back of the book and added some embellishment with a sepia archival pen, along with my blog address at the bottom of the page.
The end of the book! A good brush up to get rid of any traces of gel medium that had got embedded in the binding, and a final coat of acrylic wax, well buffed up, to give a nice vintage leather effect. I am particularly pleased that despite getting a bit carried away with lots of texture which added a huge amount of thickness to many of the pages, when closed, the book covers are exactly parallel – just as they should be!
Just a reminder of what the front looks like.
This has been an amazing project to work on. Every page was full of special memories of me, and I am sure that getting them all down on paper has helped my grieving process in the year following my wonderful dad’s death. Also, I have been thinking constantly about my niece who is to receive the book, and hoping that it will be a real treasure for her to keep for her lifetime, a little memorial of her grandfather. This has truly been a labour of love. Finally, it has been an adventure and exploration into the world of mixed media, and throughout, I have been learning new techniques, and stretching my skills and thinking outside the box, using all kinds of different materials. This adventure has been so much fun!
The final step will be to make a video slideshow of all the photos I took on Saturday night, of each completed page, with perhaps the addition of some work-in-progress pages. I want to keep as comprehensive a record as possible for my own benefit, as I shall feel another bereavement once this book goes to my niece – it has been such an important part of my life for the last eight months!
Before starting this book, I was working on a larger album about Dad, for my hubby and me to keep, based on the “Tattered Time” paper stack from DCWV, which had to be set aside in favour of this album. This is another project to be taken up again in the New Year and worked on as time permits – no deadline on this, and it will be fun to work on.
I hope you have enjoyed the journey.