Saturday, September 17, 2011

Paper Clay Leaves

I just LOVE it! It is easy to work with clay... softer than Sculpey and retains the texture of the leaves very well creating all the small detail the watercolor will highlight. It does dry out, but reconstitutes well with a dab of water. It also sticks to itself like a dream!

DickBlick had a project on their website to make these clay leaves. I just had to do it with my art students. It allows me to teach about God's amazing design of leaves, the Elements of Design: Shape, Positive/Negative Space, and Texture, use watercolor paints, and to make something practical (a must in my book at least once/twice a semester!) These are very light and become beautiful necklaces (as you can see!) I suggested that they would be lovely and inexpensive gifts for their family this Christmas. 
  • Start with a roll and place on bottom side of the leaf... cut the roll to the length of the leaf.   
  • Roll it out gently to between 1/8" and 1/4" depending on how you will use it (how sturdy you need it to be -- thicker for more durability) 
  • Keep the leaf on the clay until the VERY END! 
  • Cut away the extra around the edges.
  • Now smooth the edges with wet fingers.
  • Finally, add any serrated edges the leaf may have by "denting" the clay with a straight edge tool at the same angle as the leaf veins. 
  • Make one final pressing of the leaf and shape the leaf in a natural way.
  • Remove the leaf -- add a hole with a toothpick if you want to hang it.  Vwallah!

I twisted and curved this leaf for a more natural look.
Before gloss varnish...

I can't wait to see all the student's creations... I will try to post pics for you to see how wonderfully they did!

Saturday, September 3, 2011

Table 'Redo'ed Again and New Sewing Room

When we first moved to KY we bought a lightly stained wood table in "damaged" state from a furniture store. It was solid wood and nice and wide. I wanted it to teach school at... It was perfect until the girls got too big to all sit together at a table, so we moved on to individual desks. The table was refinished in a dark crackle (not too successfully I might add) and left in the basement for stuff to sit on. Poor table... 
When my oldest daughter moved into her sister's room to share her high school years, we agreed to make  a nice sewing and craft room for all of us to use. With all our space, we really didn't have a spot to leave projects out, hence it all began.

Trying to use as many items I already had, I planned to refinish the table yet again. As I would tease - re-doed again! The girls helped me sand down the crackle and we primed and painted the top a nice lavender. We painted the legs white. The lavender is a shade darker than the walls in the room which I made by adding high pigment artist's acrylic paint -- black & purple -- which makes a nice contrast.

 I found this cute saying and wrote it on the table using the lavender wall paint to keep it subtle. I painted some large scroll type designs ending with a little birdie just to make sure it was girlie enough!

Here is a picture of the mostly complete sewing room from the doorway. It is a very nice size room and I was able to angle both the ironing board and the sewing table. There is a nice view out the window while you sit and sew!

 View from the closet doors...Striped white silk curtains add softness and we will make a nice heavy shade to replace the roller shades. I think they may need to be hand painted with matching scrolls? The room must have something to keep the sun/heat out in the morning hours and the cold of  the winter nights.
The project included several other pieces of furniture which needed refinishing - several chairs, a  shelf unit, and my sewing table (which has yet to be tackled as we keep using it!)
This shelf piece was hunter green and wood finish. I think it came out so beautifully! We found my Madam Alexander dolls and have put the on the shelf at least temporarily.

 The girls picked out Proverbs 31:13 for our wall:
 This is a nice cane back chair that I will be re upholstering. I haven't found the right fabric yet and am considering a simple white...

We can't wait to fully use this beautiful room this year with my girls! Ironing is already so much nicer. I will post pictures as I finish the re-do on the three chairs. 

Easter Eggs

(I found this draft forgive it's lateness!)  
I have always wanted to make a ton of dyed eggs to display each year -- which means of course they must be blown out. One year I purchased a Ukrainian Egg Dying Kit like this one . It was incredibly hard to make the eggs, but even my pitiful attempt was pretty. The dyes are especially pretty and 
rich in color. 
This year I decided I'd invite just a few friends and try out a wide array of dying techniques:

and we dyed over 20 dozen eggs in a wide array of styles.