As most of you are going through probably the hottest time of the year, I am here in Nova Scotia humming Christmas carols to myself and working on Christmas ornaments. Things are going just as I planned.
Many of you know that I have been working on a year-long project of creating no less than six sets of Lynne Andrew's "12 Days of Christmas" ornaments (you can purchase the pattern book here: Christmas Blessings Pattern Book – or come and join our Facebook page dedicated to this project here: 12 Days of Christmas Ornaments by Lynne Andrews - We Are Making Them! ) I am also selling the ornament blanks for the style that my pieces are here on my site (SLDPK19 - Elegant Bevel-Cut Frame Ornaments - Sold in sets of three ornaments.) The series has been wildly popular for both Lynne and myself, and I have cut and sold several thousand ornaments to date.
The goal of this project is to paint one "Day" per month, ending up with painting the final and 12th ornament in December, thus completing the set(s) and having them ready for Christmas. Me being me, I decided to make six full sets. Five sets for my children and some very close friends (whom are also considered my 'family') and a set for myself. By only having to worry about one "Day" per month, I thought I would surely get things done on time. To me, it is a way to make something truly special for these people whom I love so much and it keeps "Christmas in my heart" all year long.
The group has done amazingly well. Most of the members are doing one or two sets. Several are doing multiple sets, as I am. The purpose of the group is to encourage and support each other through this very detailed and very fun project. With our cyber-friends cheering us on, we are bound to keep going and finish.
So far, as we are closing out the seventh month of the year, I am extremely impressed with things. This wasn't really anything that I planned out. When I saw a project of Lynne's on one of our painting groups and ordered several patterns from her last November, I also ordered the "Christmas Blessings" pattern book. Upon receiving it, I knew I HAD to make these ornaments! But how could I do so in a timely manner?
Because of the friendships and encouragement from the Facebook group, I decided that the way to go was to create a group project where we can all cheer each other on. There is no time frame there, as we each set our own limits. There is no penalty or chastising if our personal goals are not reached. Only positive encouragement for those who may get caught up in "life" and need some cheering on. It really does make a difference.
Each time I post new photos of my progress, more people join. I encourage people to join our group even if they are not painting the ornaments themselves, but want to see what we are up to and cheer us on. To me, it is like the crowd of people watching a marathon. The cheers from the sidelines often help those participating make it over the finish line. That is what we plan to do. Without the crowd and fellow participants, it would be much harder to complete the race. The same is true for these beautiful, yet extremely detailed ornaments which are sure to become family heirlooms in every household. I like to feel that we are making a difference.
With that said, I am slightly behind my own personal goal of "one ornament per month". Here it is the final days of July – the seventh month – and I am just now completing my "Day 6" group. But as I tell others, it is nothing to worry about.We just need to keep moving ahead and I have no doubt that very soon I will catch up. Life happens and life is important. If I am a little behind or (God forbid!) I don't finish by December, I will finish up in January – or even February. The important thing is that I keep moving forward and enjoying every step of the journey, which I do. My recipients all love me and understand. If they did not, they would not be worthy of a set in the first place. They are patient and grateful and I love the excitement that they express with the arrival of each new piece. It truly DOES keep Christmas in our hearts all year long. Even when the temperatures exceed 100 degrees.
Last night I finished painting Day 6 and put the final coat of JoSonja's Opal Dust on the fronts of the ornaments. I think they came out amazing!
Here is a photo angled so that you can see the effect of the Opal Dust a bit better:
It truly makes them look beautiful. The thing is that the Opal Dust, applied as thickly as I apply it, takes overnight to completely dry. The final steps will be to apply the hot fix rhinestone 'berries' on the pine sprigs and add the hangers and tassels. I will do that today.
Here is a photo of the finished backs prior to me applying their coat of Opal Dust:
I will be doing that as soon as I finish this post, and hoping they are dry by this evening. I will then be able to send them on their way.
I will also take final photographs of the ornaments I finished so far and show them on Friday. I have to head to New Minas tomorrow, so I won't be blogging. Seeing the set 'grow' is encouraging and fun in itself. It makes me want to get to the next ornament as quickly as I can.
I am not always the most patient person in the world. While I have endless patience in some areas, I lack it in others. As time goes on, I realize more and more that it isn't only the destination that is important, but the journey to the destination, for that is where most of the lessons are learned and the memories are created. Learning to enjoy the 'here and now' is something that many of us take for granted. Sometimes we are so busy with figuring out 'what is next' that we allow the present to pass by unnoticed. Then we look back and wonder where the time went.
As I pulled out my previous five ornaments to gaze at as I painted Day 6, I thought back to what I was doing when I painted each one. While in some respects, July has come far too quickly, when thinking back on each "Day" and what I was doing at the time it was created, I realize that the days were full and happy. I am thrilled that I have those memories and even happier that I am going to continue with this project for the remainder of the year (or more!) If anything, it is helping teach me to appreciate each moment that passes. I am grateful for that.
"On the sixth day of Christmas, my true love taught me – appreciate for every moment of every day!"
Have a wonderful Wednesday. I hope you enjoy your 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"