Sunday, December 9, 2012

Christmas Decor - or what Goes UP must come DOWN


I enjoy reading the blogs and seeing all the lovely holiday decorations
 so carefully arranged, photographed, and presented.  
I live vicariously through all of you
who have time, talent and energy to do these wonderful things.    
I don't do a lot of decorating, mostly because we travel at the holiday time,
and leaving the cats alone with anything new (to them) invites disaster. 
Ask me about the time we returned to find the Christmas tree dismantled. 

But this year I must be feeling particularly nostalgic or brave,
because I decided to decorate a little bit.

With my Dearly Beloved wrestling a nasty case of stomach flu,
I distanced myself from him,
 dug into the storage boxes and pulled out a few things to put us in a holiday mood,
 thinking that at least I would decorate the mantle.

First out of the box was a collection of Christmas books
 we read to our daughter when she was young
followed by a ceramic angel made by ten-year-old hands,
a gingerbread man from Grandma, a tin sodier and toys from long ago.
I'm sure you have a box like this too.
A box of memories.
It didn't take long to made a small tableau --
The ice skate was a gift from Sherry who makes all things lovely.


But something else was needed....
something hanging on the wall that would bring it all together.
A sign would be nice. 
With a happy message...
  JOY to the WORLD!

 So off to the workshop where I found a scrap of wood
for a quick holiday sign.
It didn't have to be fancy or perfect, just fun.

I've shared my sign making process with you before -
but this time I added some crackle to the slip-slap of paint.

One quick coat of Olive Green paint.
"What?" you say, "No primer!"
Nope, I told you this was a quick project.

Randomly brush on the Crackle Medium,
and let it dry according to the instructions on the can.
The heavier areas will create bigger cracks.

Then brush on Antique White and wait for the magic!
You'll see crackling begin in moments.

While the white paint dries, 
I printed my phrase using Curlz font,
and traced it onto the paper.

Paint your words, but don't fuss about being precise.
After all, this is a rustic, whimiscal sign.
Yes, I'm a LEFTY,  so I paint backwards 
to keep from smearing the paint as I work.

A shadow on the left side of the letters gives the words dimension.
And lightly brushing across the letters with the white paint,
settles the letters into the background and makes them look faded and old.

I decided to add a green border and some squiggles just for fun.
If you'd like, sand and scuff the board to give it more age.
At this point, I apply a clear coat of poly-acrylic.
When it dries, I rub brown glaze onto the sign.
Why put on a coat of clear before the stain?
It allows me to wipe off any areas I don't like
without any damage to the design.
Finish with a final coat of clear.  
And hang!

I love how it looks at night!
A sign might even make a nice little gift for someone......

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