Ornamental Plaster Sculpting, Mural Painting, Faux Finishing, and Imaginative Interior Design.

Ornamental Plaster Sculpting, Mural Painting, Faux Finishing, and Imaginative Interior Design.
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Monday, December 19, 2011

From the Heart

Gifts of time have always been a big part of my Christmas tradition.  I remember in first or second grade, baking gingerbread men with my mama to take to the nursing home, when our Brownie Scouts troop went caroling there.  My brothers had befriended an old man who lived at St. Elizabeth's, a few blocks up the street, and our family made a second trip to take him a tiny Christmas tree.  We had made ornaments for it by glittering walnuts (my love of the sparkly stuff started young), and sticking pairs of foil star stickers together with loops of thread between them.  For garland, we did the traditional string of popcorn and cranberries.  It cost almost nothing, but us kids were giddy with excitement, as we carried it into his room. "Oh, that's fine.  Real fine." he said, his blue eyes watery.  I was pretty sure he was happy. (You are still remembered, Harold "Andy" Anderson, you old rascal.)
Helping a child paint her own room, or training my future paint assistant?  She's getting really good at taping.

 Our gifts to each other were usually handmade, as well. Puppets, stuffed animals, little carved and sculpted ornaments, and the ever-popular Love Coupons, which were certificates for gifts of time, and included everything from taking a sibling's turn at dish washing, to darning Dad's wool work socks. Remind me to ask Dad if he actually wore those lumpy things, hiking around the woods all day...ouch!

Every painter must experience the paint catapult first-hand, and it seems most kids do it on the first paint job.  Are we bad grown-ups if we were laughing and snapping photos to post here and on facebook, instead of helping the poor child clean it out of her shoes?
A friend of mine was on facebook a few days ago lamenting the lack of money to buy gifts for all her grand kids, and the overwhelming response was surprise that an artist such as herself would even consider buying something, when she could make something so unique and personal. I admitted that as kids, we were a little disappointed when we didn't get some of the same plastic toys our friends did, but we were so proud to show off the paintings, wooden toys, and polished stone bracelets our grandparents made us. I don't think any of my friends still have their Atari TV tennis game, or their Big Wheel, but I still have almost every hand made gift I ever received. Come to think of it, I probably have some uncashed coupons somewhere, too, and I doubt there's an expiration on Jesse's promise to wash my dishes. Oh, yeah, I'm lookin' for that one!

The Sugarplum did most all the detail jobs, like carefully painting the final edge on the top coat of the grass, and I followed behind with the roller.  She worked right with me all five hours, so she can claim it as her own.
I gave my Artgirl, Faithie, a gift of time this year. She has oodles of toys and plenty of art supplies, but on her Christmas wish list was a room of her own, which has been promised for several months, but wasn't happening quickly. Her parents were inspired to move out the last of her grown up brother's left-behind possessions, strip the wallpaper border, and pull up the worn out carpet. They weren't however, quite getting her vision of walls painted like grass and sky, part daytime with a sun, and part nighttime with a moon, but I knew how to do that, so I offered that as my gift. Spending a day with her was precious enough, but explaining this gift-that-doesn't-come-in-a-box to her little sister, who's eyes lit up at the idea, felt pretty special, too.

Background finished, complete with a day-to-night fade on the sky, which shows up less gradual on camera than it looks in person.  Next week we make the sun and moon, and apply some removable wall graphics.
It matters not a bit whether you take a few minutes to write a personal message in a Christmas card, or have the luxury of taking a day off to make a child's wish come true. As long as you have a heart, you have something to give. What's the rhythm? Arum-pa-pum-pum? Oh, that's fine. Real fine.  

Working on a project and need advice ona technique or product?  Feel free to ask by leaving a comment below, or email me at dawnmariedelara@gmail.com.  Really.  I don't mind sharing what I know, if I know something that might be helpful.
There are lots of other kids' rooms on my website, theartofthehome.com.  Take a peek!


EPDM Liners said...

That little girl done superb job. She is amazing.

Maureen Carlson said...

Makes my heart sing.