Winter Blues….seems like every year; it happens. That time period between New Year's Day in January, and Spring Break in March, is a time when we'd all like to just pull the covers over our heads and hibernate until Spring. I honestly think that's why some Genius thought to put Valentine's Day in there; to lift us up out of those "winter doldrums". Since well back in High School, my Speech and Drama Teacher (who was a fave of mine) took an entire class day to talk to us young teens (16 to 18 yr olds together in an advanced class) about this very subject. It seems that right about this time of year, most of us don't get much sunlight. That can have a huge effect on our bodies, and in turn, on our mental health. Depression is REAL; I know this for a fact, and unfortunately, several diseases also contribute to this depression by messing with the chemicals in our brains, and Rheumatoid Arthritis is one of those. I had my "onset" of RA after major surgery in 2005, and while I have done a type of "chemo therapy" (weekly shots and immunity-killing tablets) to help keep my "moderately severe" RA in check, since that time....lemme tell ya: it SUCKS. Add to that: getting a bad cold, or a disjointed hip- both of which happened this past week- is like living by dying. That kinda set the pace for some bad news that came about one of my Besties...
Cancer. Just the word brings feelings of helplessness and fear that - GOD willing - not everyone will face in their lifetimes. I did. But I was blessed that something else came up and in the process of taking care of that problem, it was caught very early- well before it could even get to a Stage 1. But the complications that came with....Oh. My. LORD. It's sorta funny now when I think of the irony of praying "GOD, please change me in the way you see fit, so I am molded into the person You meant for me to be- more wonderfully and fearfully made!" And, of course, I meant it. Careful whatcha pray for...by the end of the 3rd YEAR after that major surgery, another surgery for complications from the 1st one, RA onset, and dealing with more heart problems. I was 39 when all that piled onto me. I actually begged The Big Guy to please go mold someone ELSE for a bit! But time passes, and we muddle through as best we can. At some point; we look back and see that we made it ok- not 'great'- but we're still here. (HE won't allow more than we can handle- remember?)
And then; this past winter, one of my group of Besties started having a few noticeable problems. She hoped to put it off till the first of the year- after the Holidays. The rest of us (esp the ones having been through this awful journey) hoped she would rethink that. She didn't have much choice, and,....here
we are: she's finished her surgical part of getting rid of the offending cancer pieces, but the news from pathology was not what we all had hoped for; Stage 4.
Now, before you read any further; this is NOT going to be a 'depressing' post. In fact; it's the opposite! And that's where I got my take on this Frilly&Funkie Challenge. I usually get in on uploading my project within those last -literally-seconds of the deadlines. Mostly because of my OCD on perfection. It used to be cleaning house. Oh yeah, I really enjoyed it! Nowadays, I've transferred that OCD to my craft studio and while my home is neat and tidy...if you visit me here; you're on your own with the Dust Bunnies. But, I began this as I was having my own ills, and then meeting up with our Besties; the bomb dropped. And the depression and helpless feelings set in. I know very well- as a deaf person- how it feels like the entire world just keeps spinning as if everything is fine. But it's not 'fine' because my world has stopped cold. And no one notices. So I figured that my Bestie needed to be uplifted with a gift; a gift that has a lot of meaning behind it!
I first made an extra Tag while doing that last Challenge- Vintage Valentines. I sent it to her upon her release to home after the surgery. But I felt like this "Winter Blues" somehow fit better than just a simple Tag. So, let's check it out...
I have no idea what has come over me this year: I DETEST SNOW; normally.
But Tim came out with so many delicious bits of eye candy...what a fun year it's been!
I had just put all of it away- with a huge *sigh* when this Challenge came up.
Joy! Get it all back out again! lol
I have NEVER done this before- this is my first ever canvas project.
Oh, well, yeah...you'll find one up on my shelf of "inspirations" that is gessoed
and then painted a taupe color. Otherwise- it's completely blank.
It's on the same shelf with all my years of photo work and represents a 'work in progress'.
It's for me to imagine what could go onto that canvas.
So the gesso job here was pretty easy. lol!
I did both sides with 2 coats for good measure.
Then came the die cutting. And cutting. And cutting.
I think I actually had over 75 cuts of the TH Alterations Layered Snowflake.
I embossed those and also put a few together in layers for some thickness and difference.
I used Glossy Accents to dot glue them down as I layered them all around the canvas INSIDE.
You'll note here that I also did several of the Sizzix Snowflake as well- doing a bit of
the same layering of the cuts and then layering those onto the canvas.
And then another good coat of gesso...
layering more flakes...
until I had the look I was satisfied with.
It took awhile, but the effect is WORTH IT!!
The "FRONT" so far...
then it was time to do all the same steps for the BACKSIDE.
Oh my!! LOOK at that texture!!!
Tip: this took 'circles' in both directions (clockwise and counter) in order
for the gesso to get all around inside those dips as the last layer dried and then
I did one final coat to make sure it was all covered.
Then I put it on the fireplace mantel in the Family Room- the dry air from the gas logs
helped dry the entire canvas completely... while I did other things... like hibernated. :0
I really like using TH products almost exclusively, but Picket Fence was 'too white"
and Antique Linen was "too tan", so I dug through my 'other paint' drawer and
found a brand new bottle of this: "Magnolia White"...perfect!
Strangely, I figured out that this step needed to be done AFTER that coat of paint.
You'll see why in a couple more steps.
The "Wint3er BLUES" blew in!
TH Distress Inks: Chipped Sapphire, Faded Blue Jeans, and Salty Ocean.
I thought it best to stick to just a FEW blues. And added some other shades of...
TH Distress Oxides in Iced Spruce and Antique Linen for some dept.
Picket Fence and Antique Linen DID come in handy for highlighting!
I blended, layered, scrubbed, and generally LOVED-TALKED those inks into that canvas!!
I'll admit to also letting out a bucket of tears during this stage.
The frustration of having both our Daughters going through some ills and
Winter Blues added to my tears over my Bestie's situation.
Here's also where all that stuff in the previous sentence was covered in PRAYERS!!
Which is what I got here: snowflake highlights.
And here's where I added a layer of Ranger Texture Paste onto the lower half of the
canvas to make the 'ground'. After it dried, I repainted over it with more of the same craft paint.
I will also say that while I hate glitter- and the glitter everywhere like sand coming back with you from vacation- I actually added a good sprinkling of TH Distress Glitter in Rock Candy (the only glitter I own!!) … oh dear...in EVERY COLOR LAYER.
Since I wanted my Bestie to see BOTH sides- or choose her side according to how
she's feeling that day... I needed a base for it to stand up.
That good old sturdy matboard came in handy again. I cut one sheet in half and stacked it.
I used an un-favorite paper for a covering- this is just the FIRST layer of covering;
it smooths out the sanded down sides to match as 'one piece' better.
I closed this backing entirely.
Got the ChiefHubby to pick me up some small flathead screws...
… and marked a line that was about one third of the way across.
I knew I'd have extra weight on one side, BUT at the same time, the canvas is
heavier on it's normal "front" (my BACKSIDE).
I'm pretty good at eye-balling this kind of thing. Probably due to sailing a sailboat;
it's all about balance and pull. The line just helped me make sure the bottom of the canvas
was smack in the middle, so no screws would pop out of the wood.
Here; you see the FIRST layer of papering with a SECOND covering that.
I made sure I chose the right GOOD paper for that outer covering.
And then, some inking of the same Distress Chipped Sapphire
(remember to heat all these inks in between)
then a sealing coat of TH Collage Medium.
Last touch- sanding down a few of those TH IdeaOlogy Alpha Parts Snowflakes
and Icicles which then got pasted onto the BACKSIDE with TH Ranger Stickles
in Rock Candy. And another little tracing of it on the top of these!
Before we hit the Final Photos and Closeups...
Check out this AWESOME EFFECT on the TH Alterations Die Winter Wonder!!
I trimmed him down after sending him through on a sandwhich with matboard- twice.
Then, I also die cut some TH Frosted and trimmed it up against the other two.
Sanded that all down and cut some 'arms' that looked like old branches grabbed from
a pine tree nearby. Then I was thinking "Hmm...how do I adhere all three layers together??
*shrug* I practically own stock in Glossy Accents since I buy it so much, so..."
I stuck the arms in between the two matboard layers, then squished that
TH Frosted onto the top, and the COOLEST EFFECT happened: it looked like
the 'snow' had melted from warmer hands that smoothed and smoothed until
the snow was so packed, it became a glistening icey covering.
I don't know about YOU and what YOU did with YOUR KIDS...
But MINE got the whole snowman deal: sprayed colors and all!
We made Barney and a scary regular dinosaur one year when they were first old
enough to go out for a long period of time. ChiefHubby got home and said
"I think the neighbors are gonna complain about the MONSTERS out there you guys built!"
Hey... go get ur own snow, and play in ur own yard, bud.
Here's a bit closer...
In all- I didn't 'grunge' much on this project. Not much shading on cut pieces so they
look 'fresh'. Some shading on the TH Paper Dolls- of course!
Here's the Final Results:
The BACKSIDE comes first;
it represents the "storm" of a winter snowstorm.
If you've ever driven in what is called a "whiteout", then you'll understand this storm.
The dark clouds darken out the sun so it seems as if daylight is suddenly evening.
Then the snow comes; flurries that are light and pretty. But soon they start coming
down in almost 'chunks' of huge flakes made of both ice and snow.
Now, you're driving much slower because you're following the sideline.
Suddenly; you can't see ANYTHING but blinding snow that looks as if it's both
white AND black- because the snowfall is so thick that all light is blocked out.
you're frightened. And terribly so.
And then the morning comes.
School gets canceled from a foot- or more- of snow.
What happens then?
The GOOD TIMES are made from that very same awful, cold, rotten, scary snow.
You wake up to a picture out of Norman Rockwell!
In this project, I put TH Paper Dolls in that would 'match' my Bestie's 3 Sons- the oldest is married, has one little girl holding the pink scarf for the unfinished snowman (she's just a bit older than our Grandson, Cole) and ANOTHER on the way (holding the name of their creation) !
(No, it's a rarity: they're not giving away gender till birth.)
The middle Son is currently a College Boy- same Alma Mater to be as his older Brother.
The youngest will graduate HS this Spring and head off for the Fall Semester to his
Mom and Dad's old Alma Mater.
I chose TWO washi tape borders (non- TH) because used in tandem, they
hold the last part of my message:
While I rest in the fact that I believe The LORD is in control of everything,
I also know that sometimes he allows things to happen that are for HIS Glory
and our good. Even when it feels otherwise. So I am just going to keep
lifting her up to HIM in prayers, hope, and love.
Because if there is one thing I learned in those 5 long, painful years. it's that
LIVING is a heck of a LOT harder than dying.
It's what we have to go through in order to keep on living that is the tough part.
But, I see GOOD in her future! I hold out that BLESSED HOPE
that she will have many, many more photos to take of the coming years!
That's why that blank filmstrip washi tape was perfect.
And the blue hearts on the side fill the other frames of the filmstrip: always in our hearts,
even when she feels like the entire world has passed her by.
The snowman is like many here that happen, in that the fun of snow itself ends up
in an abandoned snowman who still needs clothes items. This is usually where Mom/Grandma always comes in... we gather what is needed and hand it out to them, unless...
unless the rest of the family who built the guy are all having too much fun
in other snow activities. Then Mom/Grandma feel sorry for the poor chilly guy and
go out and finish making him look respectable enough for her yard.
Here's for many more years of finishing work still left to do!!!
TH Crinkle Ribbon in same Inks cover the entire outside edges.
Please forgive those hated glue gun strings. I'll be sure to swipe those next time.
TH Decorative Deer...with glue gun strings... *sigh*
If you didn't get here via The Frilly and Funkie Challenge Blog
please head on over to the page and see all the other projects.
I guarantee you'll get a smile out of these if you even remotely like crafts!
If you're inclined to join us; you are WELCOME TO!
The Funkie Junkie Boutique sponsors each Challenge with prizes,
and you'll find lots of great deals on there-
in fact, I was recently able to refill all my ink pads (which is why the
colors are so bright once again) at a fraction of the cost I would normally pay online!
Here's a SHOUTOUT to all who took the time to check out my last project-
FFChallenge #3. While I was happy- and VERY HONORED- to be chosen into
the Top 3 Picks (earning another Badge), the weather and my own ills have
not allowed me to get them out in time for Valentine's Day to our
younger set of kids up in Red Wing, MN. I hope to rectify that before the weekend arrives.
I am in constant AWE of all the Crafters out there who possess such GENIUS !!
It really humbles me to think of all the things we learn from one another.
And now... back to hibernation. : )
Stay Safe &