He who fears the Lord has a secure fortress and for his children it will be a refuge.
Proverbs 14:26

Friday, November 7, 2014

New wall art- pictures that tell a story

I will be the first to tell you that I am NOT a crafty person.  I do love to create things if someone else will come up with the plan of exactly how to do it and give me step my step instructions- like counted cross stitch for example.  On the flip side, I can come up with ideas of what I would love to see happen, but have absolutely no idea how to carry it out myself.

I love decorating with things that are meaningful and tell the story of who we are for the season that we are living in.  I'm sure when my kids are out of the house, i won't have their framed pictures above our kitchen table (or maybe I will...) or pictures stuck by little hands in random places all over the fridge, or (for this particular season), pumpkins and construction paper leaves stuck all over the walls as "fall decoration".  But that's who we are right now and I love it.

We've had several home decor projects going over the last several months.  Here are some of the end results and the stories behind the crafting madness.

We moved into our current apartment almost 2 years ago, and for that time, I have had a very big, very blank living room wall.  I wasn't sure what I wanted to do there and since holes in walls over here is a lot more complicated than just hammering in a nail, I wanted to make good and sure it was something that I wanted to stay for a while.  One of my favorite verses for our family is Proverbs 14:26  "He who fears the Lord has a secure fortress, and for his children it will be a refuge."  I started thinking about how to make that into some sort of art piece.  I even put a plea out to the FB world to see if anyone knew of artists who might could create something out of a favorite scripture verse.  I quickly realize that anything that would be big enough to go on my big blank wall would be next to impossible to bring back from the US (where all my FB suggestions were coming from).  Then my awesomely amazing friend KJ, reminded me that she would be staying in our house a few weeks this summer, and she would be happy to create some wall art for me- I just needed to let her know what I had in mind.  SCORE!   See, KJ is all things that I am not when it comes to crafting.  My sweet Maddie used to go spend time at her home when we lived in the same city just for the purpose of crafting.  We still have a paper mache snowman that she and Maddie created out of a water bottle.

Anyway, I told her that I was envisioning 3 long panels with the verse somehow on them.  I also wanted to somehow incorporate family pictures from over the years at various places we'd visited- specifically castles or fortresses.  That's pretty much all I told her- I sent her tons of old pictures including pictures of past homes, told her where my old magazines and scrapbook paper were as we'd talked about it being some sort of decoupage thing, and told her to have at it.

Y'all.  I am beyond thrilled with the end result.  She totally knocked it out of the park and created something that I never would have even begin to come up with.  

 Didn't she do good!  She used wall paint that we had leftover, magazine pictures, scrapbook paper and best of all our old family photos.   

Here's the whole look:

Here are some close-ups:

This one has a wedding picture, pictures of the castle ruins at Byblos (one of our favorite places in Lebanon), walking along the corniche (walking by the Med) in Lebanon, a shot of Jason and I with Abbey and Maddie at the Eiffel Tower in 2003 just to name a few.

Included here is our first "fortress" in Lebanon (where we actually did huddle down in the hallway one night when H'zbollah militants took over our neighborhood), Jason and I at Petra in Jordan and a family picture in Greece last summer.

This one has our first home in Clinton, MS, my parents home in Memphis and a few other family shots.

There are many other fun memories including visits to the Cedars in Lebanon, Jason and I at a castle we visited with his parents before we were married, several of our other homes over the years and numerous family pics.  Guess you'll have to come visit if you want to see the rest!  Thank you KJ!  I am beyond thrilled- such a treasure!

Naomi and Anabelle were in need of a mirror to go above their dresser.  We recycled the bathroom mirror from our old apartment and used purple and red buttons and ribbon and turned it in to something fun to match their room.

Things like buttons and ribbons can be a wee bit challenging to find here- or at least there is not a huge selection.  I think it turned out pretty good all things considered, and Naomi was thrilled so that was what mattered!

We've also had a big blank wall above the bed in the master bedroom that I've been wanting to do something with, but not spend an arm and a leg.  Our bedroom always seems to be the last place to get decorated as it also is home to Jason's workspace and is usually my laundry center as well.  Anyway, I enlisted the help of our in-home artist (that would be Maddie).  

I bought 3 canvases with the idea of painting flowers on each to match the flowers in our bedspread.  First we drew the flowers on the canvases with pencil to make sure we got them right...  
(I say "we" because poor Maddie had me breathing over her shoulder the whole time demanding that it look a certain way...)

(she didn't seem to mind...)

(AB had to have her own paints too so she at least thought she was in on the action...)

After penciling the flowers, we outlined them in sharpie so that the lines would show through the background colors and we could trace the flowers once the background was painted.  

I tackled the job of mixing the paints to come up with the right colors.  We had some wall paint that worked for the lightish beige, but it took several false starts to get the darker mocha color and the burgundy just right.  I was super thankful that Maddie always saves glass jars- much easier to work with.  We finally got the paint colors right, and Maddie set out to paint the canvases.  I think I did the background (as part of figuring out if the colors were right) but I left the detail work to Maddie.  The sharpie outlines worked pretty well but she did have to do some freehand work.   She's looking at the bed pillow to try and match the flowers

Didn't she do a great job?  I love the end result!

Finally, these last pics aren't exactly craft projects but they are very special and tell the story of our girls.  When Abbey was a year old, we had her first year picture taken by the same photographer in Vicksburg, MS who took Jason and his siblings one year photographs.  I had it matted and framed with the verse we had chosen for her as a baby.  The timing worked out to where we were able to take both Maddie and Naomi to the same photographer.  By the time Anabelle came along, Vicksburg was not really on our radar and I'm pretty sure the guy closed up shop soon after Naomi was born- his more traditional photography business had kind of come to an end in the digital day and age.  With our 3 older girls, I had to actually wait for the proofs to be mailed to me before I could get an idea of how the pictures turned out!  

Anyway, we had a family friend take Anabelle's picture.  I showed him what the other 3 looked like and he was able to do a similar shot.  I love all of them.  Amazingly, I was able to match the matte of the four pictures despite using different shops over the years.  The frames are slightly different and the writing for the verses differs a bit but I love the end result so much.  

The verses for each girl correspond so perfectly to that season of our lives as parents and as a family.  I love to see them all together as they tell the amazing story of God's faithfulness to our family in the precious girls He has blessed us with.  Because of the size of the plaque on each frame, I just included a portion for some of them.  I highlighted what is on the frame if not the whole verse...

Abigail: "Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows."  James 1:17 

Madelyn: "Thanks be to God for his indescribable gift." 2 Corinthians 9:15

Naomi:  "I prayed for this child, and the Lord has granted (my request) me what I asked of him."  1 Samuel 1:27

Anabelle:  "Your hands made me and formed me; give me understanding to learn your commands."  Psalm 119:73

Naomi and Anabelle:

 Maddie and Abbey:

Next on our crafting "to-do" list is the little toddler table that is AB's favorite place for tea parties.  We'll see if we ever get to that!

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