I love taking the Christmas decorations out of the boxes and decorating the house for the season. As the years have gone by, more and more of those decorations have meaning to them, whether it's an ornament that signifies an important date or place, or the increasing amount of handmade decorations I've made through the years.
The mantel and shelves of my family room are overflowing with handmade love. More than ever before, I appreciate this aspect of warmth and love in my home. That hodge podge of colors and textures means so much more to me than some perfectly decorated, magazine-ready collection of store-bought schtuff.
In between the little Christmas Tree shadow-box the kids bought at the second-hand sale at the elementary school and the pottery that looks like a tiny egyptian sarcophagus that Brianna made in art class, a couple of random pine cones, a glass angel that I bought for my sister, Carole, a little wooden giraffe from our trip to South Africa…this whole scene including the handmade pieces signify LOVE. Love of family, love of art, love of my life. Pretty nice to look around and feel that here in the family room.
Even that painting of the colorful dogs is ok. Neil bought it at a fundraiser for the local dog pound. At least they aren't playing poker. It's his contribution to the mantel.
Finally, the stockings that my Mom embroidered with the kids' names hang below the scene to complete it.
The feeling that this scene gives me makes this little addition to the mantel all the more meaningful – and I kid you not – it just hit me now as I was typing this…but the title of my new creation is JOY. Wow, could it be more fitting?
This piece came together really quickly. So I'll go through those steps with you now.
First, I die cut a scalloped edge onto a piece of metal embossing foil and roughly painted it with gesso and a bit of Titan Buff. They are actually Christmas Lights – but I just wanted the rough scallop shape to frame my piece. The paint goes on unevenly, as expected on a metal surface. But it adds to the shabby chic, weathered look.
Next, I die-cut some rectangle shapes out of a pretty, patterned cardstock. This is something I found in my stash. I think it's Fleuriste by Cosmo Cricket. I attached it to the canvas with a matte gel medium, and then put a layer of gel medium over the top to seal it and protect its surface from the process that's coming next.
Once this is dry, I drew a star shape onto the surface with some willow charcoal. This is the area that I'm going to paint with a contrasting color – and because I'm using transparent fluid acrylics, I want to avoid coloring in this area with my background colors.
Now I took two colors of fluid acrylic paints, Da Vinci's Green Gold and Golden's Iridescent Gold Deep, and run over them with my small brayer, covering it completely with the two color on either side.
I put just a smidgeon of Acrylic Glazing liquid onto the craft sheet as well, and give it a quick roll through. The glaze will allow me to remove layers of paint easily with a baby wipe, allowing me to reveal bits of the paper underneath. Note, this is why I seal the cardstock with gel medium – it needs to withstand the manipulation of these WET mediums on its surface.
I carefully avoided getting the green/gold paint in the area of the star. I painted in this area with a 50/50 mix of Da Vinci's Quinacridone Crimson / Quinacridone Gold. Here and then I dabbed on some Titan Buff with a wet baby wipe, to add more contrast to the background.
I drew a scallop design around the star with a small, detail paintbrush and Titanium White paint. Once it was dry, I outlined it with my medium FC Pitt Pen in black.
I used some Beacon's 3-in-1 adhesive to attach the metal foil and bent it in around the edges of the painted collage. A few letter stickers, metal footings and a knob are the final touches.
I'm not 100% about the edges of the piece. I used some cardstock to cover up where I had attached the gold foil on the sides — and I'm pretty sure some pretty embossed metal is going to go there instead. In fact, I was itching to do that now — but, let's face it, it is after 2 a.m. I've got better things to do right now, namely SLEEP.
So good night, loves! Here's to dreams filled with dancing canvases and lots of painty fingers in your futures.