Thursday, December 16, 2010

We Believe!!!

Man do I have a story for you!  First, here is my big Christmas project for this year.  I have 11, soon to be 12 pictures of my kids with Santa.  I only had about 5 of them in frames.  I got the idea to do this wall collage (my husband would call it a shrine :0) when I saw the "We Believe" sign and I was off on a mission to display! 

OK, the when my husband and I were dating (and planning to marry) I had to work right up until Christmas.  Scott's mom insisted that I take the shuttle from college down to where they lived (4 hour trip) to spend Christmas with them.  Somehow I managed it.  Little did I know that I would be dragged to the mall and forced to sit on Santa's lap !!!!  At 19 it was a little more than a little embarrassing.  I was appalled!  But like the good little girlfriend, I did it (it still makes me blush thinking about it :0)

The next Christmas, having been married for 6 months, 4 months pregnant, I was once again dragged to the mall!!!  I SWORE, First, I would never sit on Santa's lap once I had a child to go in my place, and Second, would NEVER make my children do this when they are clearly too old!  The first 4-5 years of standing in that ridiculous line at the mall with my tired and often crying children went by painfully.  After that, we kind of just did it because we didn't want to be missing a year.  
I will tell you, this year-year 11, it has finally clicked! 

I don't know if it is because my babies featured in many of these pictures are getting so old I don't even remember them at kid age, or if I am so old that sensible parts of my brain are rotting at alarming rates, but I LOVE my Santa pictures!  To see all those chubby cheeks and smiling faces beaming with hope and excitement warms my heart and brings tears to my eyes.

I decided it was time to finally display them proudly.
First thing, I needed more frames!

I ran to Goodwill Tuesday and found a few.  I only bought frames that were interesting and less than $2.  I figured I could buy new ones at Walmart for $3 so why spend more, right?  

I took them out back, spray painted them black (you can do that in Arizona in December :0), then painted them red, green and blue with acrylic paint.  When they were dry I sanded them a bit and brushed on some varnish.  There!  I LOVE IT!!!

I saw some vinyl signs like this "We Believe" sign last week and was instantly inspired.  I called my darling friend Bobbie, who happens to be moving this week -I know, WORST FRIEND EVER (me), BEST FRIEND EVER (her)- and begged her to cut the vinyl for me. I told her if she would just cut it out, I would do all the picking and transferring. It was SO WORTH IT!!!

I cut a 1x10 to size, poked it with my ale, banged it up with a hammer, and sprayed it black.  When that was dry I painted it red, waited to dry and sanded roughly on edges and spots on the face of the board.  I wiped the dust off, let it dry again and applied the vinyl.  The board looked too ordinary so, you'll never believe, I grabbed my distressing ink-yep, the kind for cards and scrapbooking-and rubbed it all over the edges and over the vinyl.  I wanted that worn, old look.  That did the trick!  I took a kleenex and rubbed the ink off the middles of the letters.  It really looked old and antiqued.  The only problem was that when I brushed the varnish on ink was spread across the vinyl.  It didn't look bad, but it did undo the whole inking process I had just gone through.  My recommendation, brush the varnish on, then apply the vinyl, then maybe spray with spray varnish-but only lightly and with the sign laying down.  Once you have done a light coat or two of the spray varnish, you can apply a heavier coat to really seal it in. 
This frame was my very favorite!  I LOVE IT!!!  I think it is also my favorite picture.  It was last year.  I don't know if it is because all three of my kids are in it or what, but I just can't get enough :0)

So, maybe I will be that mother-in-law that makes her married children go to see Santa :0)  I swore I would never put my kids (or their significant others) through that...but who is keeping track anyway.  I just love to look at these pictures and remember that moment in their lives when all was magical and exciting, back when they loved everything and every moment...when they were so completely full of hope.  I love it.

Favorite Christmas Project Ever 

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