Tuesday, November 15, 2011

It's a Small World!

Last night I spent some time on a project for a dear friend. We've been working on her parent's personal histories. It's been a work-in-progress...for a very long time. We are now pulling out the stops and pushing hard in hopes of having a book ready for Christmas. Recently my friend brought over 3 very large family albums with priceless memorabilia that needed preserving. As I was going through one of the books, I came across a picture that had a familiar looking name. The photograph snapped more than 60 years ago and lovingly kept all these years by close friends was my own husband's Uncle K and Aunt Ina.

Not only am I helping to tell my friend's story, but in the process, I found a small family story of my own!

Friday, November 4, 2011

Family History Subway Art

I've been dreaming about this project for months. Back in May, I bought a large piece of canvas (24x48") and painstakingly hand-painted 4 generations of family names onto the canvas. NEVER AGAIN!

In my typical hurried fashion to get the project done, I slathered on what I thought was a clear antiquing gel. Turns out that opaque crackle paste doesn't turn transparent over time.


At first, I thought the sign was ruined. But the good news is that this little faux pas simply forced me to find an easier way to do this project!

My computer is my favorite art tool. I decided to create a poster-sized print and with the aid of my second favorite art medium, Mod Podge, get this project done.

First I created two different layouts for my 24x48" canvas. I really preferred the vertical design as it's more in keeping with Subway Art, but I have the perfect spot to hang the horizontal version so I went with design #2.

Here's a nifty cost-saving trick. Print your poster using only black ink. It'll save you you a TON of money!!

Once the poster is trimmed and checked, you're ready to glue!

Here's another helpful hint... Get a BIG bottle of Mod Podge glue. I used most of a 16oz bottle. Also, go for the matte variety. I think a glossy sheen would have made the end result look too modern.

I wish that I could say that the gluing step was easy, but alas, it was a major pain in the bum...and since I have 'mod-podged' 1000's of projects over the years I'd like to think I'm not a mod podge newbie. You'll wrestle with curling paper and bubbled paper. Don't give up! I spent the better part of a day trying to tame my bubbled beast, but I think the end result was worth the effort (and my kids definitely didn't mind frozen orange chicken for dinner!)

Once the glue is dry and bubbles popped (yes, I ended up popping a few bubbles), you want to beat up your lovely masterpiece. This step might be hard for the perfectionist. I happen to love that my slap-in-on, tear-it-up approach only makes the end result that much more authentic looking.

I distressed...

And sanded...

And painted touch ups.

Once everything was to my liking, I added layer after layer of Mod Podge glue, letting each layer dry and giving it another good sanding before slathering on another layer of glue.

Anyone who has taken a craft class from me knows that my mantra is 'Less is More' when using Mod Podge. This is one of the few times you want to ignore that advice!

Loving my new piece of family artwork!