Well, we went from over a foot of snow two days ago to pouring rain today. Everything is a melting mess. I suppose that is part of spring.
I spent the day working on my two word art projects. After some consideration, I decided to re-cut the America! project because I just wasn’t confident about the strength of the piece. As I stated yesterday, there was one area of weakness that I missed when drawing it up on the computer and I didn’t realize it until I cut it out. The piece didn’t break, but it was held together precariously by some material that was about 1/8 inch thick. This was near the center, so there would be stress from both sides any time it was moved and I just didn’t feel right about using it, even for the picture. (I had changed the pattern so that the problem was fixed, and probably could have gotten away with sending my version and no one would have noticed in the photograph, but I just didn’t feel right doing so.)
So it was back to the saw for me.
It was a minor setback, and it only took a couple of hours to have the piece cut and sanded. However, I needed to allow the oil to penetrate the piece before applying the spray lacquer and continuing on. I didn’t want to wait all day, so I decided to forge onward and use the first piece as somewhat of a practice piece. (I also wanted to mention that I figured out what I did use was indeed pine, and not poplar. Once it was oiled, it looked a lot more like pine. It was quite even and tight grain though so it would still do well for this project.)
I spent the afternoon and early evening finishing the two pieces. For the “America” project, I decided to use a red and blue base for the letters and use the crackle medium and off-white paint on top. I then float shaded the base colors (red or blue) to bring out the original colors. The stars were done in metallic gold and then I added some sparkles to them. I really liked the results:
I had ‘discovered’ a new (to me, anyway) method to paint the tops of the letters without going over the edge at all, which left the letters looking wonderfully clean and crisp. I did have a little setback when I did a practice sample on a scrap of wood (as I ALWAYS suggest in my instructions) and much to my chagrin, the paint didn’t crackle at all! In looking into things further, I realized that I mistakenly grabbed the bottle of Staining and Antiquing Medium instead of Weathered Wood and used it instead. (Doh!) I tell you this because it just goes to show that you should ALWAYS test stuff like this on a scrap first. I would have been pretty upset if I would have applied the other to the real piece and would have had to start over again (not to mention sanding everything off or re-cutting the piece a third time!!) So please heed my warnings and when instructions tell you to try on a sample first – do so! :)
After that things went pretty smoothly. Here is a close up of the America! piece:
You can see that I cut an additional star overlay and placed it over the weak part of the piece, so now it is as strong as ever and there is no danger of it breaking. I think I will give that piece away, as it came out rather nice.
The O Canada! plaque came out just as nice:
Since it was all done with red undercoating, it went pretty quickly. I did find however that the shading around the letters using the red paint over the white turned out to have a rather pinkish cast to them. I think this is the nature of the beast, as the shading is semi-transparent in order to make a nice transition. After finishing it up, I decided to use a deeper red with a brownish cast to it and went over the shading once more. This seemed to solve the problem nicely.
I think I may do a video on this process, because as I said, I learned some valuable techniques that make it really super-easy to paint this. This is a great project for those who are just starting to play with color and painting.
After I was all finished and things were cleaned up, Keith looked at the pieces and informed me that he thought that it should have been written “Oh Canada!.”
My heart just about stopped. After working on these pieces for the last couple of days, the LAST think I wanted to do was to have to re-do the Canada piece! I though “How could I be so stupid?” (Big DOH!)
I looked it up on Google and on the official Canada site and it is indeed “O Canada!” (Score one for the American!)
I chided Kieth because he was born here and lived here all his life and he really thought that it was “Oh Canada!” Shame on him! ;)
So for today I will be re-painting the “good” America! project and writing the instructions for the magazine. I still want to add some rhinestones on them – maybe in the stars – to give them that extra twinkle, but I wanted to make sure that the paint was absolutely completely dry before I proceeded. I think just a couple maybe on the stars and the maple leaves will give it that extra little punch.
Of course, some will prefer to leave it plain. Some may do the painting and leave it as I have them now. And still others will like it full blown decorated as it will be. The nice part about it is that I offer the options that each can take to whatever level they wish.
Did I mention I love my job?
I wish you all a great Wednesday!
-- Contributing Editor, Creative Woodworks and Crafts, Sheila Landry Designs http://www.sheilalandrydesigns.com "Knowledge is Power"