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Surfers for Autism Mini Album

Some projects just take time to marinate. This mini book was started probably five? years ago…I fell in love with this album and the Mudd Puddles sand textured medium and knew I wanted to make an album out of them together, but didn’t know what I wanted to do with it!

I applied the sand texture, did all the backgrounds on the chipboard pages – and hit a wall. The album was so beautiful and I didn’t have a purpose for it. None of my pictures seemed worthy of this beautiful piece of art – until our family found Surfers for Autism.

Surfers for Autism mini albumI don’t often turn this site into a platform for my personal causes but April is Autism Awareness Month. Many of my readers are already familiar with my daughter Bridget, who is almost 11 years old. Bridget was diagnosed with autism at 2.5 years old.

Autism has made Bridget’s world very small, due to her functional limitations and physical challenges. But she loves the water, and to swim, and finds it very calming. (Many autistic kids are highly attracted to water, which is why drowning is sadly a very common cause of death in the autism community.)

Enter Surfers for Autism. This non-profit group travels around the United States hosting free surfing days for children and young adults with autism. Hundreds of local volunteers come together at each event to form teams to take each of as many as 200 children into the water to learn how to surf in 30 minute rotating sessions. There are also family activities to enjoy between surfing sessions, and a free catered lunch.

The magic that happens at these events cannot be understated – big grins on the faces of kids that rarely smile, words spilling out of quiet children, normally timid kids experiencing new textures and people. And it’s not just special for the kids. For the rest of the family, it’s a chance to spend a day surrounded by people who understand, who share your experience, and who meet your child’s odd behavior with a knowing smile instead of a stare. It’s a chance to blend and be a normal family.

Two years ago we were lucky enough that Surfers for Autism began hosting an event at the beach where we live. Our little mermaid had a wonderful time surfing and was thrilled to go back in the water again last summer for the second local event. One day recently I came across this mini book tucked carefully away and realized that it finally had a purpose: surfing pictures. It now holds a record of Bridget’s second surfing adventure, last August.

I’ve had this album stashed for so long (along with a few supplies I had set aside with it) that most of the supplies are not only discontinued but many of the brands no longer exist as well. The cover is an Autumn Leaves paper, the stripe paper is by Daisy D’s, and the blue text stickers are by Making Memories. Inside the back cover is a paisley print paper by My Mind’s Eye, from the Wild Asparagus collection.

When I started embellishing the album, the first thing I did was put in all of the elements that are visible through the “windows” in the letters. Once I created the front appearance with these elements, then I built around them.

This page was designed really simply – just a few text strips and a word stamp.

IMG_5807The next page was designed with a paint background. I got a bit experimental on it. I wanted to create some ocean foam with crackle paint but a traditional crackle look covers too much of the underneath color. So, I diluted my crackle paint with water before applying it. The result was that I got this whitewash effect and in areas where the white is a bit thicker I got a bit of teeny crazing like on a painting that is really old. I got just the result I wanted!

IMG_5811IMG_5810 IMG_5808I used the technique again on the next page of diluting the crackle paint to create a whitewash. You can see that I started edging the photos with my Midnight Blue Staz-On so they would stand out from the background a bit.

IMG_5791 IMG_5792 IMG_5793Every page didn’t need journaling but I did make sure to put some in the album to tell the story. The bigger pages near the back of the album were a good place for that. (I used the crackle whitewash on this page again.)IMG_5794 IMG_5795 IMG_5798I used a whitewash effect again on this page. This time, it was because I wanted to tone down the pattern on the paper, which was a bit too bright for the rest of the palette. I covered it over with Tim Holtz Distress Stain in Picket Fence. It toned down the boldness of the pattern, so that it worked perfectly with the rest of the album! IMG_5800 IMG_5801 IMG_5803Supplies | Album: Heart of Texas. Patterned Paper: Daisy D’s, Autumn Leaves, My Mind’s Eye. Font: American Typewriter. Stamp: Technique Tuesday (Incredible by Ali Edwards). Ink: Tsukineko Staz-On (Midnight Blue). Paint: Delta CeramCoat (Bobby Blue Pearl, Carribean Blue, Village Green), Ranger Tim Holtz Distress Crackle (Picket Fence). Sticker: Tim Holtz idea-ology (Chit Chat), Making Memories Velvet Sayings (beach/travel), DCWV (Vintage Collector Acetate Overlay Hearts).

Living with autism is a challenge 24/7/365. One day a year, Surfers with Autism provides these kids a magical experience that is therapeutic for the whole family. Please do consider taking part and supporting the event if the organization comes to a community near you!

12 Responses to Surfers for Autism Mini Album

  1. Dana April 22, 2014 at 8:38 pm #

    That’s a beautiful album for a wonderful cause. I love how you used the crackle medium and the colors couldn’t be more perfect.

  2. Kathy Kampka April 22, 2014 at 9:07 pm #

    What an awesome album Nancy – and a very good cause! God bless your daughter! She looks like she had a fantastic time.

  3. LindaBabe April 23, 2014 at 6:21 am #

    LOVE that album, Nancy! I’ve done several of that style and must say you did a fabulous job with the photos that showthrough. I love the crackle pages – it looks just like the sea. Your daughter is adorable! So glad she had such a great day.

  4. Theresa Grdina April 23, 2014 at 7:02 am #

    Your album is beautiful. I have never heard of this cause and think it’s wonderful!!

  5. gabmcann April 23, 2014 at 7:42 am #

    What a fantastic album Nancy. And I love that “Surfers for Autism” exists – what a great thing to do for kids

  6. sharon April 23, 2014 at 10:39 am #

    The album is a work of your heart, as is the work of the young men who support Bridget’s surfing.
    Thank you for sharing this wonderful experience with us, including the development of your album!

  7. Pam Sivage April 23, 2014 at 11:10 am #

    Nancy, as the owner of Heart of Texas Studio, I could not be more proud to see this album done so beautifully for such a worthy cause. Your daughter is beautiful inside and out! Thank you! Pam Sivage

  8. Gela April 23, 2014 at 1:07 pm #

    Awesome project and organization. Thanks for sharing.

  9. Marianne Brinkley April 23, 2014 at 10:23 pm #

    I’m glad you shared your album. It is strange how you keep something like that and suddenly you have the perfect reason to use it. What a difference these surfing instructors make in so many lives during that one special day a year. I wish another happy day for your family this coming August.

  10. Michelle t April 24, 2014 at 9:25 am #

    Beautiful album, even more beautiful cause. Michelle t

  11. Patty McGovern-Pugh April 25, 2014 at 1:18 am #

    Your album was stunning! Thanks so much for letting us know about this
    Important cause!

  12. Alison DJ April 25, 2014 at 7:27 am #

    Every thing comes into its own, in the right time. Beautiful album, wonderful cause – fabulous day for your daughter. Very precious memories.

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