Last week I was mentioning that I was stuck. I had looming homework deadlines and I was trying to create a valentine piece for “Valentine for Aids” hosted for the last 18 years by a funky, artsy coffee house downtown. I’ve been invited the last 4 years to submit. I should have said no, passed on this opportunity. But I feel that I have given up a lot of things I really love in order to juggle my family, job, and school.
Here is my final piece:
I had this collection of things sitting on my work table for nearly a week, moving them, stacking them, unable to break my need to use them!
The photo is one of my great uncle and his wife and is part of a stash of photos I found in the box that my grandma had given me before she died. What’s remarkable is the obvious affection there is between these two people, these are no staged, grim looking poses. These are candids of two people who loved each other. The story of them was a bit of a scandal and a mystery in the family I was told. I only have pieces of the story but she was nearly 20 years older than him and he was barely over 20. As I worked on this piece I thought about making a book about them and creating my own “memories” of them. This is an idea that I’m working on even now.
The coin purse is from a collection my father in law gave me when he was helping to clean out the house of an elderly neighbor who had no children.
Found items: memories made, and so memories found kept coming to my mind, these things were telling me the story of a couple on a special day and I could imagine the woman saving the leaves she found and pressing them in a book, saving his letters.
I could imagine it sitting on her dresser slowly aging as she remembered the time of this picture. I scratched in the wet top layers of the paint imagined memories she might have had of him, of their time together.
Overall, I really loved this piece. It’s a love story. As I went to the artist reception this week I had butterflies in my stomach, worried that my piece would be less art and more “craft”, or that it would stand out as so obviously bad compared to all of the other pieces.
But I went, alone as my husband had to take the girl to ballet and do something with the boy.
Even though I felt isolated and lonely, I wandered the shop to see all of the art displayed. And there, on the main wall at eye level was my piece, it looked lovely, and I got the same little thrill when I’ve seen something I’ve created on walls other than my own house.
It was unique, the colors were soft, and no other piece had a coin purse on it.
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I am creating a little valentine for each day until Valentines Day.
This last year was the year that my husband and I were able to mend some of the broken fences in our relationship. Some of these were just the overwhelming reality of being married for 11 years and then BAM! we were the happy parents of new born twins! Don’t mistake me here: I am so incredibly blessed and I can get so emotional when I look at my nearly 5 year old babies and think that I really didn’t think we would ever have children.
But there is a price and as our babies consumed our lives, it became easier and easier to let the distance between us grow. Add in the fact that my husband was in severe pain because of hip, a hip that would give out from time to time which made it hard for him to carry a baby for any length of time. I wasn’t the nicest person about this, and I have felt horrible guilt about this. But I have learned to let go of this and forgive myself. I was trying to take care of everything in the and around the home, care for two babies, and not having a lot of help. After the babies turned two, he had a partial hip replacement and it was hard. It was another baby who needed more help.
Now, two years later we are getting back to really being in love and have talked about our struggles and forgiven each other. This reconciliation is such a blessing. We are different people than we were before we had kids and this is okay, as long as we still come back to center.
And I want to remind him daily how much I love him and what he means to me.
Here’s the first few days of valentines.
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Traditional photo cubes are a fun way to display family photos outside of a picture frame. Here’s a new version I created as a Valentine/spring decoration. You start with 2 in wooden cube.
Wooden children’s building blocks would work and it would be fun to use the letters on the blocks for your project. But if you’d like a smooth surface you have a couple of different options. You can buy wood cubes at your local craft store for a 2-3$. But this can get a little expensive once you decide how many you need if spelling a word such as “love” or “family”. The second option is going to your local hardware/home improvement store and buying a 2 in log. These hardwood logs are under 10$ and come in varying lengths and cut your own 2 in cubes. Many stores will make the cuts for you for a small fee, this varies by store.
1) Cover the cubes with paper using either a liquid adhesive such as Tombow or Modge Podge. You can also use acrylic paint just keep it mind it may take 2-3 coats to get full coverage.
2) Determine the top of the cube, and make a hole in the top of the cube to hold your wire. I used an awl and hammer to make a hole that went 1/4th of the way through the top.
3) Take a 7 in piece of stiff wire, wrap one end three times around a pencil to make a swirl. You can also add other bends or loops along the wire just make sure you have a straight piece coming up from the bottom.
4) Place a drop of glue in the hole in your cube, then press the straight end of the wire into the hole. I used the same liquid adhesive as I used for the paper instead of wood glue because it wouldn’t swell much and would dry clear.
5) For the front of the cubes I used embossed chipboard letters with Chocolate Chip craft ink and embossing powder to spell “love”. These were adhered with the liquid Tombow and punched hearts were added.
6) Next create the photo frame layers using paper punches. Punch a hole in the top of the scallop, thread with thread, string, or ribbon. Hang these from the swirls.
You can also add pictures to the sides of the cubes as well.
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Posted in tutorials, valentine, tagged altoid, cardstock, crafts, kid, minibooks, recycle, tin, tutorial, upcycle, valentine on February 7, 2009|
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This is a great project because it’s an easy way to recycle a candy tin, fairly quick, uses scraps and other little bits, and is adaptable to just about any theme you’d like.
Supplies: Altoids tin (or similar)
10 photos, corner rounder, paper punches, card stock, patterned paper scraps, paper trimmer w/scoring blade
ribbon, stamps, Crystal Effects, liquid Tombow, stapler
Note: nearly any liquid glue will work for this such as Modge Podge which also works great to seal your project if you’d like!
Lots of options for altering the tin. Spray paint the entire album in desired color. Make sure to do this in a well ventilated area and follow the safety instructions on the can. (end disclaimer). For other projects I’ve covered the tin in gesso, let dry completely, paint with acrylic paints, then seal coat either with a spray clear coat or a gel medium.
On this project I covered parts of the tin in patterned paper (pp), adhered with liquid Tombow. To keep it easy I only covered the large rectangular areas with paper and left the original tin colors.
For the tin:
1) For the top, cut a 3 x 2.5 piece of pp, round the corners adhere with liquid Tomobow, repeat for the back of the tin.
2) Embellish with buttons, flowers, or punched shapes
3) For the inside of the tin, cut a 2.25 x 3.5 in piece of pp, round the corners adhere with liquid Tomobow, repeat for the back of the tin. Add a photo to the front inside of the tin if desired.
For the mini album
1) Use a sheet of 12×12 card stock for the base of your album.
Cut a 3 inch wide strip, then score every 2 inches along the strip. Accordion fold along the score lines using a bone folder or pen lid to press the folds.
2) use a corner rounder on all the square edges of the book, this helps it fit into the tin better and looks cute!
3) Stamp with the same color ink hearts on the front and back of the folded book and along the edges of both sides of the book unfolded.
4) Trim down photos into squares(1.5 in) or rectangles (1.5 x 2 in) focusing on faces. Round the corners. Arrange photos in the order you’d like then adhere to the center of each page.
5) Add a small title/journaling for each page as desired.
6) Cut a 5 in piece of ribbon, wrap around mini book for size, staple ribbon together. Add a button or punched shape on top of staple using liquid Tombow. On my project I covered a punched heart in Crystal Effects (a clear drying glue) to make my own “epoxy” type embellishment.
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