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Craft Tutorial Alert!

Well, its the end of the school year.  Time to thank the two ladies that influenced my children in a great direction!  I didn't want to donate to the gift card.  Why?  Because I'm not a joiner?  Because I want to stand out rather than share the spotlight?  Because I want a personalized gift that they can keep and always remember?  Because I want to impress upon them that I can't participate as a classroom volunteer because (loud children scare me) I've been so busy working and being creative?  Because I want to do both gifts for very little money but not look cheap?  Bingo.

I saw an ornament made from a puzzle piece in a magazine and it stuck with me.  'I should do something like that' I always think.  Then the idea came to me and unfortunately would not leave me- like ringworm.  I would make a mobile.

I found the very largest puzzle I could find at my local store.  Turns out the fewer the pieces- the larger they tend to be.  This 4.00 puzzle had twenty four pieces.  That's enough to do 8 of these hanging mobiles. 
I spray painted away the cutesy commercialism of this decade to a creamy white and then touched the corners with a taupe spray paint.  Cost?  0.00  because I have oodles of spray paint waiting to be used up.

Then I took an altered photo of Brooke and placed it on a background of script.  I have a low level photo shop type program that did this task quite well.  Then I played around with other images- the bird you see in the middle piece is drawn by Brooke and I use it a lot.  I keep a lot of the girl's drawings because they have such a mix of innocence, whimsy and fun.  (Like what I am trying to recreate as a personal style but in my bitter and dried up adulthood can not quite seem to do.)   Some texts were more pleasing than others.  I mixed up the fonts a bit and while I just went along with my final result- I was not entirely happy.  Better next time, I tell myself.

The quote is "Touch the life of a child and change the world." I do not know who the author is or I would include that.  After I glued the images on the puzzle pieces with decoupage glue I let them dry for several hours and then sanded the edges with an emery board.  I glittered the back and edges.  For this one I used green and gold glitter mixed with some flowery glitter I've been wanting to use up.  This is a third grade teacher and I feel like this approach reflects Brooke's personality.

The inspiration puzzle piece ornament had a wire hanger and was wrapped in a fine wire with a few beads randomly placed here and there.  Loved it!  Had to do it!  I used those plastic letter beads to spell out thank you.  On Brooke's I tried to spray paint them a little.  The paint did not stick well and the black from the letters ran into the spray paint.  Eventually I decided I liked the grubby look of it and called it 'vintage' at least, vintage enough for this project!

I wasn't in love with the embellishments.  Next time I would stick to perhaps just one or two.  Next time.  I left it alone because I am trying to escape my perfectionist tendencies.  Perfectionism to one extent can drive you to create better work.  Take it too far and you never get anything done.

This one is for Kayla's fourth grade teacher.  Kayla is a wonder child when it comes to art.  The detail and story telling in each of her drawings blows me away. 

I went a different route with the color scheme- again reflecting the personality of the child.  Kayla's drawings are so cool when I alter the line weight in my program to something more like an ink stamp.  Its really all they need besides some cleaning up.

This girl with the big head is walking a teeny tiny cat.  On each mobile I left an open space for the child to sign- Love, Brooke.  I used the glue to draw a heart and when I added glue to the back all that was left unglittered was the heart shaped area that they wrote in.  Cute, if I do say so myself. 
Anyhow- I'm going to make more for my Etsy shop that I keep threatening to open.  You know, the one that Chinamommy is going to help me with.  If she ever stops running....I keep asking her...'Just what the hell is chasing you?  Take a car!'
Have a great week!


  1. Chris, I like that!! Thank you for sharing the process. hugs

  2. Those are amazing, and what a great gift for a teacher. They would look lovely hung up in the classroom, or I imagine them hanging from a beautiful kitchen window. I really, really think you did an amazing job on them, and the vintage look and the creativity of using the girls' actual drawings make them absolutely perfect. The girls have lucky teachers!

  3. Thank you ladies! I like them, too- but its so hard not to be overly critical when its your own work!

  4. boy, oh boy i'm behind!!! it's Great, GREAT, all really great! i'd love to say more but you know i have a uterus to tend to.... and i've got to get back to running, it's the only thing that keeps me sane!

    1. Oh, those pesky female organs! Maybe it will just fall out on your next 25k. Keep running- I say!

  5. Oh, that beautiful compositions, interesting, beautiful photos.


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