Even though I was born and raised in the Midwest, I always loved the sea. From the time I was very young and took field trips with my class to the Shedd Aquarium in Chicago, to when I was a teen reading romance novels that were set in small seaside towns or villages, I dreamed of someday living near the ocean.
After many years and what seems like several lifetimes, I have come to realize my dream. I now live in a small town on the Eastern coast of Nova Scotia, and the ocean is only about a mile away. How fortunate I feel!
The other day we were driving along the ocean to get some ice cream and you could smell the fresh salt air as we drove. It wasn't at all unpleasant, but rather a crisp and clean smell that immediately brought forth feelings of calm contentment. Even though I have lived here in Coastal Nova Scotia for ten years now, I never take for granted the beautiful surroundings that are part of my life every day. I feel as if I live on a constant holiday, and between my beautiful surroundings and my love of my work, I don't think I could have a better life. I truly am fortunate.
Living in such an environment has had a great effect on my work. I am continually inspired by my surroundings, whether it is by a walk in the woods behind my house or a drive along the ocean. Not only am I inspired by what I see, but also by the quiet, reflective time that I spend thinking. I do feel that peaceful and pleasant surroundings are a wonderful catalyst for being creative. At least for me they are.
We have all heard the saying "necessity is the mother of invention.'' I find myself wanting this or that for my own use and enjoyment and over the years I have become somewhat of a master at tying it into my work and designing. This is great for me, as it justifies my own whims and ideas and it is also good for my customers as because I am excited at the prospect of creating something that I deem as fun, I pour my heart and soul into what I am doing and in the end it perhaps brings my designs up to another level. A personal level.
For several years now I have shown you all my little "All Season Tree" that sits in the corner of my living room. I've told the story of it before – how I kept a small artificial tree up all year so that my children could create new decorations for it for each season. I really wanted to share my creativity with them when they were growing up, and while my son proved to be a bit more 'technical' than 'artistic', they both did spend some time creating and I do believe they enjoyed the exposure and opportunity.
As the kids grew up, I found that the little tree became something of a reminder to me of those wonderful times spent one on one with each of my children. As I look at it today, it still brings back those memories to me and makes me feel good. So I keep it and I enjoy it and it has become a part of my life. I can't imagine not having it.
But as the years pass and the decorations that the children made are safely packed away or given to them, I use the tree as my own springboard for creativity. It is fun to change the theme throughout the year and it is always nice to have something new adorn it. While I have plenty of themes for the autumn and winter seasons, I find that I am sorely lacking for the spring and summer. Especially the summertime. It seems I am always so caught up in creating my autumn and winter projects in the summer and I just skip summer altogether. As I look at the tree today, it still has the pretty decoupage bunnies on it from a couple of months ago. While I love how they look, I feel that it is time I give the tree another face lift and change it to something that is truly summer. I have intended to do that the past several years, but this year my intentions changed into determination and I vowed to myself to take the time to make a summer theme. I decided to combine my love for the beach with that determination and I came up with an idea that is simple, but fun and cute.
I designed some Chalky Paint Sea Life Ornaments!
Even though they are a bit simple, I absolutely love them! I used DecoArt's Chalky Paint as well as some DecoArt Weathered Wood to give them a crackled, old finish. I then sanded them so they looked old and I think they came out looking just how I envisioned them!
The Chalky Paint gives them a beautiful, matte finish and they look old and worn. I think this is a great project for any level of painting and I even think it is a wonderful one to do with kids. They would also look good if you used regular acrylic and finished them with a matte varnish, but the Chalky Paint gives such a . . . well . . . CHALKY look to them that they look great! I have some wonderful hemp cord that will work beautifully as hangers and I plan to finish them up today.
I plan on offering both the PATTERN and the PRE-CUT WOOD KITS for these pieces as well. I think that even if you don't choose to paint them in this manner, there is SO MUCH you can do with these basic shapes!
Me being me – I didn't want to stop with this look. Today I am working on a second version of painting for these pieces – this time I am using Margot Clark's MUD Texture Paste.
If you go to Margot's page, you can see her using the MUD paste. It is fast, easy and I love it because it dries as hard as a rock. Yesterday I tried my hand at decorating the shapes with some of the past and I just loved the results!
I still have some details to work out, and I will be doing so today.
How much FUN are these? I love times like this when I just get to have fun and 'play'. I think both types of ornaments are fun and easy and I can see so many uses for them!
So it is back to "work" for me. I hope to have some more pictures for you tomorrow. I am already thinking of my next designs that I will be creating (which will be related to Halloween!) but for today, I will still enjoy my sea life project. More to come tomorrow on that . . .
Happy Thursday to you all! I hope you all have a fabulous day! :)
-- Designer/Artist/Teacher. Owner of Sheila Landry Designs (http://www.sheilalandrydesigns.com) Scroll saw, wood working and painting patterns and surfaces. "Knowledge is Power"