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A unique gift for someone special in your life

During my partner's overseas deployment, there were times, albeit few and far between, when he found it harder to be away from home than others. After one of our Skype conversations at around the half way mark of his trip, time seemed to have ground to a halt and we were both feeling as though this experience had completely enveloped our lives. I thought about what I could do to brighten the light at the end of the tunnel and highlight the wonderful future that awaited us when he returned home. And so I decided to make a scrapbook to display all of our dreams for the future and send it to my partner so he could look at it any time he felt he needed a reminder that his time away would pass and give way to better things.

First I purchased a black, A5 sized, hard cover book (from Kikki K) which had about thirty thick, blank pages. It also tied up with a ribbon attached to the front and back covers which was a nice touch although not essential. I really liked this book for this project but you could use any book with blank pages as long as it has enough pages for all of your dreams!

I then made a list of our dreams. Obviously, like many people, we have hundreds of dreams we hope to achieve in our lifetime but for the purposes of this project I stuck to about six major dreams that we took pleasure in discussing, such as 'dream job', travel and owning a house. I then allocated a number of pages in the book for each 'dream'. Some dreams had more pages than others, depending on what was important to us. I then wrote on the pages with a grey lead pencil so I would remember which pages were for which dreams.

I then went online and looked up images related to our dreams and printed out any that were relevant to us. I also purchased related magazines (such as fitness, travel and bridal) and looked for fitting images in these also. I proceeded to cut out any appropriate images from the magazines and printouts. When searching, I also ensured that the images I cut out were all different shapes and sizes. I wanted the book to be about the two of us so where possible I looked for pictures that either did not contain faces or ones that could be discreetly cropped. This is just a tip for when you're searching for images, in some cases it was unavoidable.
Once I had collected approximately fifty images on each 'dream' I separated them into groups by 'dream' and began to look at layout. I worked in the order I had previously allocated the dreams in the book as detailed in step one. On each page I laid out certain pictures and collaged them together. I mixed and matched images until I had a good combination of shapes and sizes and had most of the black page underneath covered.

For some of the 'dreams' I also wanted to add something extra. In order to do this, I made a list of some of our favourite quotes and incorporated them into the book. When formatting the images throughout the book, I left portions of varied sizes of the black page exposed at irregular intervals. In these spaces, I hand wrote the quotes appropriate to the 'dream' featured at that particular section.

Once I had formatted the page, I trimmed the images to fit the edges and corners of the page and then glued down all of the pictures in the layout I had decided on. I worked through every page in this manner, planning and then trimming and gluing as I went. For a few 'dreams' I realised during this stage that I required more images and therefore had to go back and find more in the magazines or online.

Finally, I purchased a few small packets of stickers (love hearts, birds, noughts and crosses and more short quotes) and stuck them randomly throughout the book in spaces still showing black page. This step is completely optional however I think it added a nice touch to the final look of the scrapbook.

The great thing about this project is that not only did it completely hit the mark as a unique and personal gift for my partner that achieved its goal of lifting his spirits by highlighting our amazing future, but it was also heaps of fun for me to make and showed me of all those things too. And now we have a lovely keepsake to refer to each time we need a reminder of how lucky we are not only to have such wonderful dreams but also to achieve them.

Happy scrapbooking everyone!!!