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Artwork  I painted this “Prairie Storms” picture over the weekend.  My daughter enjoyed drawing and painting, too, but requested I not share her artwork.  We both see beauty in just about every aspect of nature.  I have been particularly interested in clouds and fog lately.  I am (obviously) not a professional artist.  But I enjoy it.  It relaxes me, relieves stress, and allows me to contemplate the beauty of God’s creation through the process.  If you enjoy something, especially the arts, make time to engage in these activities at least weekly.

For this painting I used Liquitex Acrylic Paints with a variety of brushes, on canvas.  I did not take photos at different stages for this painting, like I did for the mountain sunset picture further down the page.  I found that blending colors for the clouds was trickier than I anticipated.  If you would like to learn more about acrylic painting, check out Chuck Black Art on You Tube.  He’s a professional and give you much better guidance than I ever could!

Prarie Storm painting
“Prairie Storm” by Robin O., Acrylic on Canvas; 2018

 

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If you are interested in learning acrylic painting techniques, I highly recommend checking out the Chuck Black Art channel on YouTube.  I WISH I could paint as well as this guy, but a lot of his videos are very step-by-step, so it’s a good starting point or a great place to learn some new tips or freshen up some old skills.

This painting below was inspired by my own experiences in the mountains, as well as watching his sunset tutorials.  I have some sequencing pictures here to show how the color blocking started and then progressed to the finished product.  Like most any creative project I do, there are parts to this one that I love and parts I don’t like at all.  This was a painting that I can’t decide if I did too much or not enough for the finished product, but I enjoyed the process, nonetheless.  That’s what it’s all about friends, enjoy the process!

I am obviously not a professional artist and do this mostly for my own enjoyment.  I know how to stretch and prep canvas, but to be honest I just go buy cheap, prep-free canvas and mid-grade paints.  I would like to invest in some better quality paints and brushes in the near future.  For this painting I used a wide-range of brushes, ranging from a 1-inch flat brush to a tiny round brush.  The colors I used included titanium white, raw umber, burnt sienna, cadmium yellow light, cadmium orange, naphthol red, cadmium red deep, and phthalo blue.

 

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Craft Projects

 

First, I have a new door hanger for our front door.  At my favorite local craft store, I found a wood heart for only $7.  I found a burlap bow in the gift wrapping department, and a stencil for the word “welcome” that was the perfect size for my sign.  I already had tons of acrylic craft paints and brushes.  I did not use any stencils or patterns for my flowers or watering can.

Are you looking for a cute and EASY way to customize some letters to add to your home decor?  This project is perfect for that.  The letters are great for kids’ rooms, reading nooks, family picture galleries, or, in my case, an arts and crafts room.  These are chipboard letters that I purchased from Hobby Lobby for less than $2 per letter.

For the striped letters I used craft tape, like Washi tape.  I made some letters with this fuschia, yellow, blue combo.  I also had some with yellow, blue, and yellow floral pattern.  Once you get the tape started, it comes off nice and even.  Just be sure to use enough.  You really need to wrap the tape all the way around the letter because if you have a jagged edge, it will try to peel and creep off the sides.  I found this to be an extremely easy material to work with to produce the effect I was looking for.

For my solid color letters, I used a basic acrylic craft paint in soft colors that compliment the colors in the tape and also the room I plan on using these letters.  The paint goes on the chipboard smoothly if you use a good quality brush.  I used three light coats of paint per letter.  Why dry, they are ready to hang.  I used Command from 3M medium strips.  Each letter only needs one strip because the chipboard is so light.  By using these strips, I was able to rehang my letters when they didn’t fit the original way I had planned them.

 

I pretty much turn everything into a crafty or creative project, right down to trying to date my husband more.  For my Feb. 27 post Why Won’t My Husband Date Me, I made this cute little date jar.  Here are the SO-SO easy instructions:

date jar
#marriedlife #neverstopdatingyourspouse #crafting #neverstopcreating #datejar

To make this easy project, I used the pen to handwrite “The Date Jar” on the side.  This pen works so well with a smooth flow and no drips.  Of course I needed to add a few little hearts too.  The flower was a peel-and-stick gift topper, but it’s a heavy-duty adhesive block, so it’s not coming off that lid!  My package of yellow cards had 25, so I wrote out 25 different ideas on the cards, keeping in mind things we both enjoy doing, inexpensive options, and things we don’t do often.  The whole idea is to stretch and grow our minds in how we go about dating our spouses.  Here are a few ideas to get you started:

The Book Store Date-explore a local book store finding books the other may enjoy

The $5 date–each of you gets five dollars to spend on the date–get creative!

The Coin-Flip Date–Designate a number of coin flips.  Flip the coin and turn right for heads and left for tails until you have reached your designated number of coin flips.  Make a date out of the destination you have reached.  Be sure to have some cash on hand and a sense of adventure.

The Play Date–Go to an amusement park, arcade, toy store, park, etc.  Act like kids again.

Chopped-Married Couple Edition–Give each other a basket of four ingredients and challenge each other to make a dish for your meal together.  Make sure your both cooking in the kitchen together.

Movie Marathon Weekend–have a variety of movies that both of you enjoy and plenty of yummy snacks

Video Game Challenge–each of you challenge the other to a video game you think you can beat them at and see if the outcome is as you predicted

The Creative Date–make something together

 

 

 

“Sole Mates” photo frame for hiking picture of my husband and me. Detailed directions and supplies can be found here.

I converted a flea-market armoire into a craft cabinet.  Sorting bins from Dollar General encouraged me to get my arts and crafts supplies organized and labeled for easy finding.  I’ll spare you the “before” pictures!

This is my rock art creation!  It’s supposed to represent my husband and I hiking up a mountain.  I like it, but was deeply disappointed that my husband didn’t know what the picture was when I showed him!  Pinterest has some great ideas for creating these rock and pebble pictures.  You can always collect smooth pebbles if you have that kind of time or you can get packages of polished stones at craft stores.  They usually come in 2-3 pound bags ranging from $3-5 and in presorted color schemes.  I used craft paint for the tree in the corner because the picture was “out of balance” when I finished.  I’m not sure if that was the best option.  I used straw pieces for the poles that the hikers are using.  Everything else is rock on wood.  The best adhesive for gluing rock to wood is mosaic tile glue.  Not one single piece has come loose!

Faith can move mountains wall sign

This wood sign is displaying our Word of the Year-Faith and a paraphrase of our family’s verse of the year, Matthew 17:20.  I found the wood “faith” pre-cut at Hobby Lobby, but I painted it white with acrylic craft paint.  I like how it adds dimension and prominence to the sign.  I used stencils to add the other words.  I used CeramiCoat Select multipurpose craft paints in Dark Roast, Charcoal, Shadow Gray, and Fog Gray for the mountains.  I discovered a week later that this color scheme matched our photographs from the Blue Ridge mountains perfectly!  If you don’t think mountains can have this color scheme, I highly recommend a trip along the Blue Ridge Parkway in North Carolina and Virginia.

It’s January 3 and the Christmas decorations have come down at our house.  So how do I transition my home décor?  Well this year I made some DIY letters for S-N-O-W!  I will use a combination of silver, black, white and some greenery to decorate for January.  Here’s what I did:

DIY letters for SNOW
I bought papier-mâché letters and snowflake at Hobby Lobby, at 50% off, for a total of $15 for all 5 pieces.
Glitter paint snow letters
I used Krylon silver glitter spray paint for the letters and snowflake, followed by Krylon Glitter Blast sealer. One can of paint was barely enough, but the sealer will last for several uses. They were $7.99 per can.
snow letters for the mantel
I let my letters dry for 72 hours. Then placed on our fireplace mantel with lanterns, candles, pinecones, and greenery.
January mantel decor
Our January mantel décor.
January centerpiece
I repurposed some old Christmas décor and made this centerpiece for January.