Book Review and Giveaway: Dreaming from the Journal Page

home_dreaming_bookI know I’m late – it’s been busy. I really didn’t want to throw this last giveaway up without a true and proper book review because  Melanie Testa’s book, Dreaming from the Journal Page, is one of the most beautiful things I’ve ever seen. She is a talented artist and a gentle soul with a rock hard core of strength and resilience that inspires me. I first met her several years ago and you can read my series of interviews with her here.

photo 2-1I have two copies of her book or there is no way I’d be giving this pretty thing up. It’s very exciting to me that I have one to share because I hope you will love it as much as I do. Dreaming from the Journal Page is a beautiful blend of technique and inspiration for those of us who explore more than one medium.

Both her work on paper and in cloth is deeply textured and layered but manages to retain a clean simplicity  and purity of focus. I have always loved her deep connection to her subject matter and her love of decorative forms. This book is a look into Ms. Testa’s process and gives one a glimpse of her work that leaves you feeling uplifted.

photo 1-12Melanie guides you through a basic understanding of some of her favorite materials and techniques. She introduces the reader to basic information on paper, brushes, paints, glues, and gives you the instruction, “Your job is to experiment and learn the qualities of each so that you can pair a technique with a planned outcome.” Then she gives you a detailed chart of which techniques might work well with which materials. Chapter 2 guides you through an exploration of color with different media such as collage, watercolors, and dyes. I find her challenges and prompts to be well thought out – giving enough instruction that the reader will not feel lost but leaving room for playfulness.

photo 3-11

The third chapter runs through myriad techniques such as soy wax resist for dye, and frisket resist for watercolors. She talks about solid grounds and gradations, stamps and stencils. There isn’t anything new and earth shattering in this chapter, just good, solid basic information – well written and sumptuously illustrated.

photo 2-1

My favorite chapters are in the back of the book with page after page from her journals, her textile art, and even some more low key projects such as t-shirts and pillows. I can spend hours looking into the layers of her creations and always come away happier and with a desire to create something beautiful myself.


Knowing that she wrote this book throughout her cancer diagnosis, treatment, and recovery process makes it all the more amazing. You can read more about Melanie on her website/blog at


I can’t wait to give this lovely book to one of you! I hope it will be as inspiring to you as it is to me. Please leave a comment for your chance to win. Do you have any stories about art and healing in your own life? What do you think art is for? Why do you create art?

I’ll draw a winner next Sunday June 9th. If you absolutely can’t wait I highly encourage you to go ahead and purchase the book! If you really want to support the artist buy it directly from her (signed) here!




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  1. This looks YUMMY! Beautiful book thanks for the review and both of you for the opportunity!
    😀 eirdre

  2. Suzanne Gwynne says:

    Hi Lyric! I just ordered Melanie’s “Inspired to Quilt” (can’t find underline function) and can’t wait to get it! I follow her and find her art so inspiring and a little frustrating because I don’t know how to do what she does. . . so I decided to learn how.
    A copy of her new book would be marvelous; thank you so much for sharing.

  3. This looks like it is just the book I need to get my sketchbooks started properly. I keep trying but also keep giving up – maybe this will keep me going.

  4. Sheree Schlote says:

    I love Melanie’s work and follow her blog regularly. I’m currently taking a watercolor class and I think Melanie’s book would help a lot in understanding color.

  5. I have been in awe of Melanie’s work for a long time–it makes me swoon! Quilting is my passion and solace; I want to delve further into creating surface design to express myself more in fabric.

  6. Looks like a wonderful book and I would love to win it.

    Sometimes I am able to rouse my creativity when I need to heal. Oftentimes I am most creative after passing through a difficult period.

  7. melissa says:

    I have followed Melanie’s blog for a while and watched her videos as well…she is a very gifted and talented gal! Her explanations are well thought out and well presented. I’m sure her book is wonderful! Thanks for the opportunity to win it!

  8. I love Melanie’s work, and her spirit, and her feisty nature. I covet this book. If I don’t win it, I will buy it! thank you for the chance.

  9. Kat Scott says:

    Have been following Melanie’s blog for a while now… and I find both her art and her attitude inspiring. Making art grounds me in a way nothing else can… it is where I turn when nothing else in my life “fits”.

  10. This book looks so inspiring, and, going through some challenges myself at the moment, it would be fantastic to win it. Cheers!

  11. Chris in Durango says:

    Wow – this looks like a really interesting book! I can’t wait to see it in person.

    I went through a divorce last year. When I first separated from my husband, I didn’t have the energy to create anything! But the habits formed over years of spending time in my studio every day soon kicked in and I started quilting and working in my journal again. The art I made while wading through all of the emotions I felt is sometimes hard to look at – I can feel the pain again and see all the anger on the page. But without that outlet, I don’t think I could have emerged 10 months later feeling a little optimistic (more so every day) and looking forward to life again.

  12. I love Melanie’s work, and would love to have a copy of this book. Thanks for being willing to give one up.

  13. Jeannie says:

    Lyric, no need to put my name in the hat for the drawing as I have a copy of Melly’s excellent book. I just wanted to echo what you have said about Melly’s book. For those who do not win this generous drawing, please purchase this book for yourself. It will change you life if you follow the exercises in the book. I have never thought of myself as an artist and certainly did not draw or paint. Melly’s book got me to look at myself in a new way. Through this book, I have embraced a part of me that has been hidden since it was suggested in high school that I stick to the home ec. dept and leave the art room to those who were artists. I now use the skills I developed through this book and Melly’s classes to help me through rough patches. It really helps to get you out of your head and into a better mental state to battle whatever curve ball life throws you. So, the punch line it – Don’t talk about “when you have time”, “when life gets back to normal”, or whatever excuse we all use to justify not indulging in ourselves. Tools to increase better mental and physical health are the best investments you can make. This book is one of those tools.

  14. Stephanie says:

    Art helps keep me balanced with work and family commitments.

  15. Betty Wilhelm says:

    I’m always looking for inspiration and new techniques. This book looks beautiful!! Art is one of those thing that I must do – being creative is not an option for me. I don’t understand it & I’m not sure anyone in my family understands my obsession with it. Great art is something wonderful for everyone, but mine is only ordinary art, so I’m not sure it does any good for anyone but me. But probably most great artists felt this same way.

  16. Art is a place to go and meditate. Focus on the task or the process or the design. Something beautiful will result even if it not the project you worked on. Thanks for sharing this beautiful book and your thoughts.

  17. My friend and I made a quilt for another friend who was recovering from breast cancer surgery. She wrapped herself in it as soon as she got home and said that it felt like she was wrapped in hugs. She treasures that quilt.
    I would love to own this book and take my fabric art further. Thanks for the opportunity.


  18. I have her first book and love it and I follow her blog. I’d love to have this book, too. Thanks for the opportunity.

  19. This looks a fabulous book – I’d love to win a copy!
    Creating stuff helped me through a terrible period in my life in 2008

  20. Marilyn says:

    I’m looking for some new ways to get inspired and add new texture to my work. Thank you for the opportunity to have this book. Her work look amazing.

  21. I am a fellow flattie as Melanie is ( I follow her as well) and would love to win her book. I hope I do 🙂

  22. I bet if the two of you teach a class together it is sold out in minutes and people have so much fun and learn so much they do not want to leave. I have followed both of you for some time and am hoping someday I may have dear Melanie’s book. She is an amazing soul. What spirit and talent!

  23. Melanie’s art is so inspiring as is her willingness to share her own journey through illness and recovery. Thank you Lyric for this generous giveaway.

  24. Thank you so much for introducing me to Melanie Testa’s work. I guess art expresses that common ground among all of us. It brings people together. If you can tap into that, it’s a pretty powerful thing. Take care, Byrd

  25. Lissa goldsmith says:

    Books are one of the many things to inspire my creativity!

  26. usairdoll says:

    Looks like an amazing book. I love to create, to start with an idea and to put my feelings, thoughts and vision into action where it all comes together in a visable creation. I love being able to get lost in my own thoughts and to create something with my hands.

    Thank you for a special giveaway and a chance to win.


  27. Silvergran says:

    I can personally testify to the Healing Power of Art. This looks to be a book of Beauty and Healing.

  28. Bev Langby says:

    Lyric great interview and so much inspiration to be had,I imagine the book to be full of wonderful things from what I can see ,u to are a inspiration and very generous…Art is something that helps me to manage my battle with depression and I’m so grateful for it..
    Hugs bev

  29. Leanne H. says:

    It sounds like a book produced through a trial by fire. I’ve been through several of those and would love to see and have this book!

  30. I feel like you two artists are almost “soul sisters”, as I have followed both of you and felt some kind of connection I cannot quite describe. You are both so inspirational! And your works are a joy to behold!

    My various art forms (sewing, quilting and art quilting, painting, etc.) have helped me through some very tough times – major depression, during which I sewed so much my shoulders almost “froze”; the loss of my husband of 42 years to an accident (what a shock, to lose him in an instant); the times my husband spent overseas in wars while in the military leaving me with 3 young children; the tough times others have had, where donations of homemade quilts and clothing are called for (when you can’t be there to hug someone, cry with them, help them clean up – you send comfort in this little way). I could add so much more, but for me the arts are so healing – whether doing something in some form myself, or viewing the heartfelt works of others during or after their difficult moments in life. The arts are a little touch of heaven on earth when done with a heart full of pain, or love, or joy, etc. This particular blog and your question really touched me. Thank you.

  31. Amy O'Toole says:

    I have been wanting this book for quite some time! It is absolutely gorgeous, I’d love to win! Thank you for the entry!

  32. This book is on my Amazon wishlist. I’m really looking forward to reading it.
    I make art to create meaning in my life. Making art helps me to see and celebrate all the beauty in the world. A great elixir for healing myself and hopefully my art also lifts a heart here and there.

  33. I took a dye class with Melanie some years ago, her work is inspirational. Creating art heals lots of life’s pain.

  34. What a lovely book. I’d be honored to receive it.

  35. Fabric and mixed media art has been a healing outlet through the years and the losses they bring. The book will be well loved!

  36. Tess Duval says:

    Wow, as I was reading your comments and looking at the pure beauty on the pages of Melanie’s book my eye’s became wet with tears and my hand on the mouse kept scrolling faster to take it all in. Wow! A book about creativity, technique and spirit. A book that teaches and soothes the soul.

  37. Colleen says:

    I was never allowed to take art classes when young and even through college! I began “playing” a few years ago and am trying madly to make up for lost time! Colors are always calling to me…

  38. Melanie’s journey has been an inspiration for my own. Love that she’s shared herself and her art and techniques through this book.

  39. It looks divine! I love Melanie’s use of color to create texture.

  40. What a beautiful book. I started doing projects with my kids lately (after an art break of 15 years or so). I’m feeling the pull back toward making art of my own, and a copy of this book would be such a spark of inspiration.

  41. Margaret Price says:

    We all need inspiration and this book would be so inspiring. Just reading your Blog is inspiring too Lyric. Thank you, Margaret

  42. I find reading both your and Melanie’s blogs so incredibly inspiring. I love her gentle way of writing and her amazing approach to art. If I should be so lucky as to win this book I would be happy to pay the postage to Australia.

  43. I started with quilting with a crafty state of mind – I wanted to make cute stuff for myself or to be given as gifts. What has happened since I started treating it as an art is that I have been released from the anxieties of trying to decide who I am. It has become a sanctuary when the real pressures of life start to bear down.

    What better healing is there than that? To have a happy place to go to and find a rush of ideas flowing through to my work –

    For a while I thought I might try to make a living out of art, but I’ve decided to release that as well. The pressure of trying to perform under pressure left me feeling stale and spent – not the “high” I get from having things magically come together, as they do sometimes in my work area.

    I would love Melly’s book. And I love your work too – and I’m blessed to have found you and the other fiber artists that press through to make a life of it.

  44. Jackie Wenner says:

    Make all my dreams come true.

  45. Art has gotten me through many hard times and even when times are good, but demanding and hectic, time in the studio is time apart from the hurry and pressure of everyday life. Melanie is an inspiration in so many ways. I would love to win the book. Of course, if I don’t win, I will certainly buy it for myself!

  46. My textile art helped me through the tough weeks and months after my dear Mum passed away back in 2010. I can’t imagine not creating in some way.

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