Last summer I undertook this ambitious endeavor where I read and reviewed a series of books that American Girl (yes, that’s the doll company) had put out about a young girl growing up in the 1970’s. Each Throwback Thursday I would review another book in the series by comparing what Julie and her family and friends went through in the 1970’s with my own memories of what I and many of my friends and relatives went through in the 1970’s.

I kept at it even as American Girl had decided to revamp its historical line into something called “BeForever” (I still think it’s a stupid name but I digress) when I was about nearly done with posting all of my reviews online.  As part of the BeForever makeover all of the dolls had either gotten completely new outfits (like Addy Walker) or had slightly modified ones (like Josefina Montoya, whose outfit changes were more subtle between the original and BeForever versions). Their original companion books went from six slim books to being combined into two thick volumes while a third book was added where each one was basically similar to those Choose Your Own Adventure books that were popular back in the 1980’s and 1990’s. I finally ended my weekly reviews when I reached A Brighter Tomorrow: My Journey With Julie, which was the new Choose You Own Adventure-style book released under the newly unveiled BeForever line. There haven’t been any more reviews since last year because American Girl hasn’t released any new books featuring Julie Albright.

This summer I’m embarking on a summer-long project that’s way different from my review of the Julie books. I’m taking a free online tutorial on how to take a baby book made from thick cardboard and turn it into a book called “Doll Dreams.” I first learned of it through Facebook when I saw this video listing the required materials and I found that I had most of them already on hand so I didn’t have to spend a lot of money.

The only new material I bought for this project before I started was a pack of Crayola glitter glue in a variety of colors. I had a 40% off coupon so I ended up paying only $5 for a pack of 15 colors.

The only real hassle came when I needed to get a baby board book. Ideally one is supposed to use an old board book because it would’ve been an exercise in recycling (since such books tend to eventually get thrown away due to being spat upon and demolished by babies and toddlers). I don’t have any children so I didn’t have any board books around. The nearest thrift store to my home had used baby board books but they were only available in bags of 2-5 for $5 each. While I have to admit that it’s a great price for a financially-struggling parent, I didn’t need that many books and I would’ve had problems with what to do with the unused books because there aren’t too many very young children among my extended circle of friends and relatives at the moment.

Ultimately I ended up going to Target where I paid $5 for a baby board book edition of Dr. Seuss’ classic Hop on Pop. (I remember reading that book as a child. I don’t remember if it was one my family owned or if it was one that my family frequently checked out of the local library.)


I was initially reluctant to start priming the book with gesso because it was a new book and I’ve always had a soft spot for Dr. Seuss. But then I had to convince myself that Hop on Pop is NOT a rare book and if I ever want to buy another copy for myself, I can do so. (But I probably won’t do it because I don’t have any small children living at home.) Once I started the gesso painting process I felt okay because I knew that once I started altering the book in any way, I could never restore it back to the book that it once was because such a process would’ve been impossible.

I’ve been giving this new project a try for a few weeks now and I find that I’m enjoying myself. It’s a nice change of pace from reading and reviewing all those Julie books last summer. I generally tend to work on it a little bit at a time a few nights a week. I find working on it to be so relaxing.

The teacher for this series is a woman named Ady Almanza, who was born and raised in Mexico but now lives in Germany with her husband and children. For the past few weeks I’ve been watching whatever new instructional videos show up on her Facebook feed and I would work on my project based on that lesson. Here’s the first lesson.

The first lesson I focused on the front, spine, and back of the book cover. While Ady Almanza has an optional template for this first lesson on sale in her Etsy shop for only $5, I decided to just do a freehand drawing and come up with something uniquely original. I decided to use my Volks Dollfie Dream doll as my muse mainly because I hadn’t touched her in quite a while. The dress she’s wearing in the painting is loosely based on an Easter outfit I once made for that doll called Easter Bunny Lover.

I did the entire painting in acrylic and I embellished the front button/brooch with glitter glue. I was okay with the result. Here’s the cover of that book.


Subsequent Entries in This Series

Part 2
Part 3
Part 4
Part 5
Part 6
Part 7
Part 8
Part 9
Part 10
Part 11
Part 12