Thursday, November 09, 2006

a gazillion Christmas gifts

I picked up this shadow box shelf at a thrift store. I am not sure how I came up with the inspiration to put it together as I did but I am quite pleased. My FIL likes John Deere's (at least according to my MIL who decorates the entire house as she sees fit). Anyhow, I decided it would be fun to paint the box using 'John Deere' and dirt colors and use it as a display case for die casts (my FIL has a thing for die cast toys and anything 'collectable'). So I sponge painted it - I went through some really hideous stages when I painted it however the result was worth it once I decoupaged on the images and looks great with the models sitting in it. I like it so well, I wish it were for my bro.

Last time my MIL was here she was obsessed by the sponge painting I did on a mirror in the kitchen. I love sponge painting If you mix a good blend of a variety of colors the effect is quite nice. You will probably notice that a lot of the tissue boxes were sponge painted. So when I conceived the notion to do a Victorian box for her (and then found the picture frame shelf at a thrift store and decided to make a matching set) I decided to paint in the colors of her guest bathroom. I was very unsure of how the colors would work - I threw in the silver to make it a bit 'glossy' as I like metallics in sponge painting. I think it works okay if you don't mind the colors. My mother loves it.

These are switchplate and outlet covers as a gift to hubby. He seemed genuinely pleased with the sailing ones I did for our bedroom last Christmas so I decided to do these for the living area. He is very fond of paintings from the Hudson School so last year we had a calendar of Hudson School artwork. These year I used it to make these. I should mention I read once in a book about Christian homemaking that it is important that a house not just reflect the home-maker but also the man of the house. To not decorate to please him is disrespectful. I remember a woman who was apalled that I let him hang is sword collection in the living room. I know it matters to him and so I work with it. Perhaps, someday, when the girls toys and accoutrements are more adult and we don't have Fischer Price Little People, and Rody, and stuffed animals all over the place I can draw it together into a more cohesive look. But right now, they live here too.

This is a tray for my Mom's bathroom. She has a sea-life theme. When I conceived this I thought there would be room on their sink for it but the basin is not as large as I thought so I am not sure what she will do with it. Hide the cuttle-fish probably. I picked up a Taschen Folder of Albertus Seba and became obsessed with this cuttle fish (and a really frightening possum). I had fun painting the various colors on this before I sanded it down as I love shades of blue and green. BTW you will discover a theme in all the following projects "natural history drawings" I am fascinated by the artwork of natural historians. I think the idea of carrying a journal/sketchbook with one to note and sketch is a wonderful way to enhance the powers of observation. I try to carry one when the girls and I go on nature walks and we jot notes about what we see.

Clipboards to be given as stocking stuffers to the guys in the family. The images are from the dictionary and from an Audubon book of Mammals of the Americas. You might think that these are too big for a stocking stuffer, they are. Our family decided a few years ago that buying big gifts for everyone was too spendy but there was still the desire to give gifts to everyone so we decided that we would have a rotating schedule by which we could give big gifts to one member of the family and small inexpensive gifts for everyone else - we call those small inexpensive gifts 'stocking stuffers.' Only the lynx clipboard is a thrift store buy - unfortunately, clipboards are hard to come by. Fortunately, they are cheap even when new (although new ones lack character).

The images on these tissue boxes are from a Hammond's Natural History book. The brown box is for my Dad and the green one is for my SIL.

This is a tissue box cover for my Mom. When I saw this box at the thrift store and it was only 99 cents, well...I knew it would have to be a special box so I decided to do it for my Mom. I cut the flowers and butterflies from a Hammond's Natural History book. I gave myself a headache cutting the flowers that is about as much fine detail cutting as I have ever done. I gave myself a second headache when I clear-coated it. For some reason, I decided to go with the super-thick glossy clear-coat on it and so more propellant and more fumes. But if I do say so myself, it is lovely.


  1. Wow!!These are some great looking gifts.The sponge painting looks amazing. For some more gift ideas you can jus peep into my Holiday Blog and check out!!

  2. Lucky family!! I love what you've done with all of these.

  3. Oh my goodness. You are so inspiring! I love everything. You are so talented...words, photos, painting...amazing.