Tuesday, 19 February 2013

Valentine's Day

We enjoyed a very relaxing Valentine's Day this year, in the company of our little niece. We made the decision that we would buy something inexpensive for Valentine's Day, as we have had quite a lot of expenditure getting ready for our new arrival. I, therefore, decided that I would make a couple of presents for my husband.

Embroidered poetry journal

My husband is a keen poet and has a room full of books and journals. I thought it would be a nice idea to make a personalised poetry journal for him to write some poems for our baby. I bought a cheap A5 plain notebook for £3 from paperchase. The paper inside is taupe and cream and surprisingly good quality. I have bought these previously and they hold ink really well. As I am constantly buying material for future projects, I already had some quite thick brown material that I thought I could embroider with cream thread. I have recently been looking at lots of classic artwork using silhouettes, so decided to turn a profile photograph of my husband into a silhouette. I then embroidered this and 'Poems from Daddy' and my husband's name. Once I had embroidered I simply cut this to the size of the book and glued using standard PVA glue.

First dance lyrics picture frame

I found a box picture frame with quite a wide mount and placed two photos from our first dance at our wedding. I then wrote out the lyrics from 'Here, There and Everywhere' which was the song we had our first dance to. I picked a frame that was a bit more modern and masculine than the decor in the rest of my home, but thought my husband would appreciate it for his study.

Sketchy image from a photo

For my husband's Valentine's card I drew a picture using GIMP and the trace facility. GIMP is a wonderful program that is free to download. First I selected a photo from our wedding day.

I cropped the image and then clicked Layer -> New Layer and clicked to create a transparent layer. (You may want to name the layer so you know which you are clicking on later)
To make sure that you are drawing on the transparent layer click Windows -> Dockable dialogues -> Layers and make sure you are clicked on the box that is a grey chequerboard. You can then pick how big you want your brush to be and trace over the image. I think it looks best when you make it look quite sketchy and imperfect. 

Once you have sketched over as much detail as you like then you need to go back onto the Layers box and click on your original image and press delete(the little trash can at the bottom). Then click Layer -> New Layer. This time you want to create a white layer. Then right click on the transparent layer and click Merge down. 

The image is now ready for you to colour in as you please or leave as a sketch. To get a watercolour painted feel, I experimented a bit. To get the paintbrush options open double click on the paintbrush. I used the round brush and made the opacity 39%. I changed the Dynamics to Pressure Opacity. This means that you can layer the colour up as every time you click your paintbrush down your colour becomes darker.

I thought that I would make the front of the card this simple design as then the card could be put into a photoframe later. I will definitely be using this technique again, as I think that with a bit more practice you could create some really stunning designs.

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