Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Mod Podge Christmas Ornaments tutorial

These are really simple ornaments to make. They work great for utilizing those beautiful Christmas cards from years past, a favorite Christmas print, or perfect for customizing with a monogram or personal note. Even a wedding invitation, a birth announcement or another significant even can be used as keepsake for the tree.
These were one dollar at Hobby Lobby, but on sale 50% off. Yeah me. Sad thing is they sell out quick, so there were only 4 left. Last year I ordered them from You have to order in a large quantity and I didn't need as many this year. They are just basic paper mache ornaments in the Christmas craft section. 
I Mod Podge the images to the front and back of the ornament. I trim one side before starting the next. It works best when it drys and using an exacto knife with the image face down. If your cuts are perfect sand paper the edges. It gives it a nice clean edge and distresses it too. 
Then I paint the edges. This step can be done first if your painting tends to be a bit messy. 
Next I add a layer of mod podge to both sides to seal it. Then I add a paint and water mixture to both surfaces to give it a tea stain look. If the paint seems to be a bit dark or you don't like the brush strokes take a paper towel and wipe some off.
To complete the ornament I add a ribbon around the edge. I center the ribbon on the bottom with hot glue. Then add hot glue along the sides in one to two steps until I reach the top. Tie the bow and add another drop of glue behind to secure the bow.
I made 80 of these last year (with lots of help) for the ladies in my church. I liked it so much I decided to make them for my neighbors this year.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Glitter Letters for Stockings

When I hand the stockings each year I have a letter with each one. That is actually how I decided on my itty bitty girl's name. I did her letter and then I was like "okay, that name is the right one." But... It was time to change the monograms the stockings. The letters blended into the silver of the stockings. I was looking for a punch of blue for the mantel.

It was really complicated...
 Take plain wooden letters.
 Paint them a base color. The glitter might not cover every nook and cranny, so this step is important. You most certainly don't want the wood to show through. 
 Brush on white glue and cover, and I mean, cover with glitter.
 And there you go. Just a little blue to brighten up the silver mantel. 

Hand Print Art

 Isn't it amazing to see how little hands grow. This gift was inspired by my own little ones. Hands are one of my favorite features on a baby. They are just so tiny. And as they grow they still look tiny, until you compare hand prints from just a few months earlier. On the leaves you record the date and age of the hand print.
I made extra flowers and leaves. And of course plenty for wiggly mess ups too.
So for the baby that has everything... here is an new idea on something as classic as a hand print.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Mrs. Claus and her itty bitty elf

It's that time of year again. We could go to the mountains and cut down our own tree in the time it takes me to fluff my branches on our "faux" tree. Does calling it faux make it more socially exceptable to have a fake tree? I guess I have found my favorite holiday canvas. A tree is like it's own piece of art. And most everyone takes part. I love it. It allows everyone to express themselves without even knowing they are artists too. So I am slightly obsessed with this particular shade of blue. And of course that spilled over onto my tree. And the elf. Notice she matches my tree. My favorite ornaments to buy are angels, stars and snowflakes. But hey, who doesn't love the literal symbols of Christmas mixed with a few secular? 


Oh, my little itty bitty elf. Her expression was adorable upon finding a tree with lights in her den after her nap. There were no ornaments hung... so she got to help. It was priceless. With ball in hand, I asked her to show me where it should go. She pointed to a branch on the lowest part of the tree right at her eye level. I hung it. My little elf inspected it and said "cue." (her cute). Then on to the next ball. I thought this was going to be a wonderful time. Then I hung ball number two and she said "no." I pointed to another branch close to the one that she pointed to. Again "no." We did this with a few more ornaments and sometimes I would get a "no, no, no." Wow, little miss priss! Perfectionist maybe! Cutest Christmas moment ever! I bet Nanny was laughing her head off. I am sure that she didn't miss that one.

Itty bitty ELF!!! I should've waited to post until bed time. She covered the kitchen island and herself with the syrup bottle left out from breakfast while I was on the computer. Bathtime here we come.

Friday, November 18, 2011

Dinning Room Part 5: the finishing touches

 All DONE!!! Napkins and candles from World Market. Candle holders and China from our wedding. Yes people, I did use it and LOVED that I had it. Hurricane candle holders from T J Max. The paintings I did in 2007. It amazed me how the colors matched today. I guess I have a palate and stick with it. Napkin rings and mirror at Old Tyme Pottery. All in all it didn't cost as much as I thought to complete the dinning room. Now our home feels complete. At least down stairs.

Art Lessons: Newspaper weaving

The kids were ready to craft. I guess every artist needs to let loose and do something fun rather then fundamentals. So we tried basket weaving. They had a good time and loved working with their hands. Added bonus, the materials were free.

Here is the link to the craft project. 

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Dinning Room 4: Filigree Ceiling

 Finally the paint it complete. I am really ecstatic about the way the ceiling has turned out. It is by far my favorite thing that I have ever painted. And I have been painting for a while now. In ever category. There are things that have sentimental meaning, which this has none. But other then that..... 

Oh, is it bad to love something that you did so much? I guess it is something that I have dreamed of doing for over 7 years now. Long before I even owned this house. I always wanted to do a filigree/flourish in a trey ceiling. I even did it in my brother's house for free just because I wanted to do it. Now, this was before kids and time to paint was only limited to a work schedule. Then we moved in this house with this beautiful architecture I was really excited to do it. And low and behold, what couple in a new house with an ever expanding family has the money for a dinning room suite. And I refused to do the ceiling until I got my furniture. I wanted to make sure that it fit perfectly together. If you see the almond shapes echoed in the design, I pulled that shape from the back of the chair's wood work. So having this ceiling I guess is a dream come true. 

Friday, November 4, 2011

shhh sneak peak...(Dinning Room part 3.5: the filigree ceiling?)

Okay, so I am horrible at secrets, surprises, Christmas presents whatever. If it is good news, don't tell me because I am going to tell everyone! I couldn't wait to show off my ceiling. There is more to do in the corners of the trey. Which are designed and ready to go. I haven't even cleaned up the drop cloth and I had to post this. I am SOOOO EXCITED with the way this is turning out. Sometimes putting in the extra effort in the design really pays off. And thank goodness my hand wasn't too shaky and that I was able to paint almost smooth lines. I might add highlights in a metallic or maybe just cream. It isn't quite done... But too happy not to share. I plan on doing a tutorial with this one too. It is really simple to transfer a design and create your own custom mural... Now on the ceiling, that isn't for the feather weights. OUCH!

Art Lesson 2: Shading and Value

It is time for gray-scales. Yeah. Fundamentals of drawing. I always tell my students that I did these even when I was in college. You go from the darkest value to white with even steps in between. I was impressed with how well they did.

A trick I told them was to squint your eyes. This will help you see if the steps are gradually getting darker. It is also helpful when you are drawing. The values are easier to see when things are out of focus and you aren't paying attention to the details of the object.

We drew an egg first then a white ceramic bird. It is much easier to see gradating values in white objects. Overall they did really well. We will still need work on applying the gray-scales to actual objects. 

Next lesson they have asked for a craft. Anyone have a favorite? I don't think hairbows will fly.

Big girl's room. Forever Spring; Trees and animals

My big girl's room.
When I found out I was pregnant with my second child we had to consolidate my guest room and my "studio" into one room. And then when we found out that our third was coming we had to do some major shifting. The studio and guest room were no more. My paints and other art paraphernalia went to my sons closet and the guest room was now going to be my oldest's new home. 

I felt kinda bad about kicking her out of her room to make a spot for baby sister. I made sure the first room on my makeover list was her's. I wanted her to feel like she was getting something better then what she had. I wanted it to be magical. And unlike the dinning room, it was a spiritual experience. When I was painting I was able to tell my daughter I loved her in a way that I hadn't before. Unlike painting a nursery (which I love, don't get me wrong), I knew my daughter. I knew what she liked and what made her happy. For this moment in her life, I knew her better then anyone else on this entire earth (well, her daddy might argue that one). She loved animals and recognized the beauty in her surroundings, like an old soul. So beautiful and innocent. I knew that she would love her room. I was right... She still says, "Mommy you are the best painter ever." and I return the complement "and so are you sweetie, so are you."

It did feel a bit weird, it was winter and snowing when I painted this room. Forever springtime. 
This is her view looking up into the tree as she lays on her bed. As if she is laying under a tree. 

And who can forget popcorn popping on the apricot tree.