Handmade Gift Exchange – Mixed Media Memory Art

Okay, So I’m playing catch up to the travels we had earlier in the week. Man, this mama needs a laptop so I can create when I’m out and about. Here’s hoping the laptop faerie is listening…along with the camera faerie ;-)

Anywho, so I posted on my FB page (you like me , don’t you?) back in November that I was joining the Craftaholics Anonymous Holiday Gift Exchange. I thought it would be good to break out of my bubble and see what I could come up with as a gift idea for someone I didn’t know. And who doesn’t like a pen pal?

Long story short I ended up with two wonderful craft buddies to make goodies for. The first chica I didn’t hear from right off the bat, but I had already had an idea for a gift. That I will spare you the tute for because it is a photo transfer and I’ve already covered those here and here. Pics for her completed project will follow later in the post…

When I heard from my second partner I decided to let her send me some photos that were her favorites. She delighted me with a great outdoor shot that I knew would be great for a transfer, but she also a couple of old family photos. I haven’t experimented much with multi-media type projects but thought this would one a good place to start!

One of the photos was of her with her mother when she was a wee baby. She lost her mother when she was in her 20′s to breast cancer. I thought it would be great to make a memory piece of sorts for her.

In this project I use..

Iron on transfer paper (for white/light fabric) for use with the black and white image

Pink linen fabric, enough for a 3×5 image

Needle and pink embroidery thread

8×8 canvas

Mod Podge and sponge brushes

Scrapbook paper and paper flower embellishments

I started by trying to clean up the image in Photoshop. It was pretty deteriorated, so I tried to bring back as much of the image as I could. I printed it onto a sheet of iron on t-shirt paper. (If the orientation of the image is important when you’re doing something like this (or if there is text) you need to make sure to flip the image so that it will be oriented correctly once ironed on.)

I had a piece of light pink linen that I thought would work well – light and feminine – for the iron on. I made sure my iron was super hot and just followed the directions for the iron on transfers on the package. I placed the image face down and began running the iron over the image slowly, top to bottom and left to right.

The image was of course rectangular in shape, but I had cut it to have rounded edges before I mounted it to the fabric (you can see above). Once it was cool I trimmed the excess fabric and left about 1/4 in. border around the picture because I planned on stitching the image to the canvas and I wanted a bit of a border to help frame it a bit.

I centered the fabric onto the canvas. and brought the thread up from the back of the canvas and at a slight angle started stitching the fabric to the canvas. Something of a whip stitch I guess…someone school me if I’m wrong, please and thank you!

Now I will say I had initially chosen a smaller canvas to work with, but did not take into account the size of the stretcher bars on the back of the canvas. There was no room for me to stitch on a smaller canvas, and I just barely made it on this one! You can see that in the third image below…

I roughed up the edges of the linen a bit too, just pulling a few threads around the sides to fluff it a bit.

Okay, now I have the transfer on the canvas it’s time to pretty it up!

Out comes the Mod Podge and scrappy stuff…

I picked out a piece of scrapbook paper I had that I thought went well with the project. It had sweet phrases like “remember” and “love always” that I thought were perfect. I tore the phrases off the sheet then played around with the placement until I got it like I wanted. I used other bits of the paper for filler to cover the canvas too. I used the Mod Podge to glue all the paper scraps down (make sure to smooth them down good), then added a couple coats on top of just the paper to secure it. I tried my darnedest to not get MP on the fabric and just work around it.

So here it is with the canvas covered, sides too…

I wanted to add a little sumthin’ sumthin’ to it and found these sweet little paper flowers.

And now I don’t know about you, but if my 10 year old is still putting things in her mouth…I’m worried…see below…

What?!? ;-)

So I grabbed a few of the lovelies and figured out good spots for them. I again used the MP on the back to glue them down. When they were some what dry I applied a couple more coats of MP to the tops of the flowers and the rest of the canvas (but not the fabric!).



I hope my HMG buddy enjoys the art! I had lot of fun making it and trying something new.

Here are the other two projects I sent to them…

This one went along with the memory art. I think it lent it self well to a distressed canvas image.

This went to my other buddy. I love this floral image and had wanted to do something with it for a while…I think I may have to make one for myself ;-)

So I hope the girls enjoy there gifts as much as I enjoyed making them!

If you’ re feeling frisky head on over the Craftaholics Anonymous Linky Party and check out some of the other fun things folks have made. You might just be inspired to give handmade this year!

;-) Anna-Leigh


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One Response to Handmade Gift Exchange – Mixed Media Memory Art

  1. Fantastic! I think I need to do something with modpodge. You make it look like fun and everything always turns out so wonderful! Can’t wait to hear what you get in return.

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