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Letters to Isabella


The Literary Inspiration for this Challenge came from Letters to Juliet. From the very first moment that I heard of this theme, I knew what I wanted to do…a follow up to a layout I did two years ago when my first granddaughter was born. (you can see Love Notes to My Granddaughter HERE)That layout contained little notes with thoughts that were going through my head as a first time granny, and what I thought were important things for her to know some day. Things I might not remember later, or may not even be around to tell her in person. Now that we've gotten to know her a bit, see her personality develop and watch her grow, there are more things I want her to remember about this time in her life. So that's where we will go on this journey. 


I had tons of ideas, many of which just weren't working out the way I wanted them to for this double page layout but, let me take you through some of the things that did work (I think!)  After gathering photos on Pinterest that related to the book/movie and Verona, Italy where the story originates there were colors and textures that really grabbed my attention. I loved the stonework, the rustic colors, the greenery, the balconies and ironwork. I gathered several products to help me attain my vision.

I began with two 12"x 12" Ginger Mosaic Moments Grid Paper, Spice and Sand Paper Tiles, FREE download MM Pocket Template, a 6"x 6" Mini Bricks Stencil from the Crafter's Workshop, several chalks and inks in greens and browns from Dew Drop and Distress Ink, gunmetal wire, chipboard scroll with filigree edge from FabScraps, Dreamweaver Embossing Paste, Adirondack re-inker in Rust and Red Pepper, Darice ribbed embossing folder,  Impression Obsession Dies Hollyhocks and Leafy Branch, Little B "Antique Postmark" Washi Tape, Little B "Postmark" Washi Tape, Bamboo Cording, Crystal Lacquer, Anna Griffin’s Lace Stamps Set-square medallion, and a variety of cardstock for flowers, branches and stonework.

Last year we had a challenge where using a series of photos was our focus. I have found that with a toddler, this is the best way to capture several delightful moments, just set the camera on a sports setting and keep snapping! Thank goodness for digital!! I have chosen only six of my favorite photos of Isabella taken over the Easter holidays to include here.

There are 5 pockets hidden in my stone ‘wall’ on page one, and 3 under the ‘window awnings’ on page two, these pockets are where I have stored my latest love notes to our Izzy. In the movie “Letters to Juliet,” the letter that became the ‘story worth telling’, was tucked in behind a loose brick. That gave rise to my pockets behind my wall. I used the FREE download pattern available at snap-n-crop to make the pockets and recycled paper that I’d previously printed on and had no more need for and didn't want to waste. Then to the face of each pocket I attached a 2-1/8” brick paper tile.  

To see how to make using the pockets inside your page protectors interactive and easy to access see my layout from May of 2012 called Changed Forever.  I've used the technique several times and I think you'll master it in no time!

In this layout I have included a bit more on the embellishment side than I usually do, and some of the details with embossing individual leaves in the branches will likely be flattened in no time…but for now, it achieves the look I was hoping to get.   To get them to curve and lift I used an embossing tool and stamp mat surface to gently shape them from the backside.  Adding portions of the Hollyhocks in varying shades amidst the greenery helps to bring the look of all the colorful bowers of flowers draping from Verona’s balconies.


Additionally, I have created ‘wall’ paper using the stencil, chalks and inks. I cut it into various sizes and on page two where I had planned on using wooden shutters but didn't like how they looked I cut the ‘wall’ paper into 1x3 tiles and put them alongside the windows for shutter-like feel.  


My window awnings were made with the ribbed embossing folder and the raised portions were chalked with Versa Magic Dew Drop Jumbo Java. Cut to the sizes I wanted the bottom edges of each section were trimmed with scalloped scissors. The pockets underneath give some lift and add to the look of an awning bowed over the window. Of course in this case my “windows” are my photos!


On the bottom of both pages I used a Washi tape that I thought was perfect due to the postal theme. It is 7/8” wide just shy of an inch needed for proper tile size, also a plus! Used on the bottom edge the 1/8” difference is unnoticeable. I decided to use the narrower postal Washi tape on the notes inside the pockets to continue the postal look of the tiny ‘letters’ peeking from their hidden pocket. Each one also has a wire heart as a tag pull, attached with Bamboo cording. The cream color cord was a bit stiffer than the variegated camo color so I spritzed it with some water to allow it to relax and reshaped it to lay flat and then allowed it to dry. I used a dot of crystal lacquer to form a hold between the two. The hearts are a nod to a gate full of locks in Verona, Italy, that represents ‘locks of love’ conveying secret, hidden messages of love.

One page one, I used a pair of chipboard scrolls to imitate the wonderful architectural focal points on some of the walls on the old buildings of ‘fair Verona.’ I inked them in several colors to age them and give visual interest.

My title sign “Letters to Isabella” includes portions of the medallion image from Anna Griffin’s Lace Stamps inked in Metallic Honeydew.  Wire scrolls were added to the sign because I so loved all the ironwork in the images we collected on Pinterest. The font is Vivaldi.

The photos of Verona and all the roofs with their bright color brought so much warmth and I wanted to bring that to the layout too. On page one I have a row of terracotta roof tiles that I made with just a bit of a bowing with some inking to age and give definition to the shape.


Finally, in the way of embellishments, I used something new to my scrapbooking tools, embossing paste. I’ve worked with this medium in my card making, but never in my scrapping. Usually cautious of material that might not be photo safe; I have thrown caution to the wind, and used the white embossing paste combined with ink to tint to the color of stucco and plastered some on a few key areas on both pages.



To use this medium, you must work quickly. I used an old CD and a small amount of paste, a drop of liquid ink from a re-inker, and a palette knife to mix and apply. It will take time to dry. The surface can be chalked or inked to highlight the texture if you like. Once you complete the process, wash your tools off or this will become very difficult to clean. Using an old disk, you could also just toss it out, but do take care of your tools!

Embossing Paste, re-inkers, palette knife, CD for mixing

Now we come to the actual letters for each of the pockets.

Letters to Isabella

1.       Love God. You love to attend BSF and Sunday School. We see how much you are learning and understanding about God. You teach Emmi that “this is God’s Word, it is true.”  May you always Love God and serve Him gladly.

2.       Always Be Thankful. This winter, you planted yourself and your new boots on the floor in the kitchen and prayed on your own, without prompting, thanking God for your new boots.

3.       Tenderhearted. Observant to all that’s going on around you, you are quick to spot others in need of comforting, kind words and a pat on the back.

4.       Books. Your excitement at each new book and the well-loved favorites that you have, may you always LOVE to read!

5.       You are still the Story Girl. Telling and retelling the ones you’ve read and the ones you make up..  

6.       Funny. You keep us laughing. Your perspective on everything keeps us all entertained.

7.       Sense of wonder. At each new sound or bird that honks over us, you are always amazed. 

8.       Expressions. You have the greatest looks that reveal so much of what is going on inside of your head! 


Thanks so much for stopping in to the Story Board and taking a moment or two to see what I found to be inspiring from this month’s literary inspiration and how I incorporated it into my layout. Now, go and do likewise! And don’t forget, we want to see what you've done!!



Shared by Andrea Fisher on May 8, 2014 | Memory Date: May 7, 2014
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