Monday, June 16, 2008

Canvas of Happiness

If you can believe it, I've actually been getting to a handful of creative projects around the house. Nothing big, nothing much new, but I'm sharing them with you anyway. Grin.

The raw materials (we're starting with the canvas today):

The canvas on the left was used a few years ago in Levi's room. It has since been abused by children with various pens. It was crying out to be rescued. I thought maybe I could help with a coat of green paint. I tried craft paint first. The pen leaked through, so I resorted to spray paint. Luckily I had some on hand. Infinitely improved.

Now that I had a solid base coat, I returned to the craft paints, choosing various greens and a few accent colors:
I wanted the colors to go on somewhat streaky for artistic effect.
Once the greens had dried, I added the tiniest bit of red, brown, and black for a distressed look.


This is what I ended up with:

Years ago I sat through a creative writing class which was almost entirely a waste of time. Sadly, but not entirely surprising considering the fact that I am list-obsessive, my favorite assignment was to make a random list of things that make me happy. No writers block there. My list was constantly being added to, I kept it after graduating, and it has continued to grow.

In the master bedroom at our previous house, I took the list to a new level and painted a selection on a wall. The whole wall. It was fabulous.

I wanted to use a list of happy words in our new home, but thought I would make it a little less obtrusive. A canvas would be perfect. I grabbed a piece of paper and jotted down a few ideas.

A ruler and pencil helped mark the canvas and keep my lines relatively straight and even. I winged it, choosing words and phrases as I went along. I've used black paint before, but I wanted something easier. A big black felt pen worked very nicely.


The finished product is far from perfect. It is personal.

A large canvas painted in this way holds many possibilities. A happy list can be vague and universal or specific and personal. You can choose to be artistic or sincere (though one doesn't preclude the other). You could paint a favorite quote or themed words such as foreign cities, favorite foods (great kitchen decor), 'welcome' in numerous languages, names of family members, or favorite books or authors (great library decor).

Remember that canvases can be repainted when you tire of them, making an affordable decorating or craft project! An oversized canvas is a handy way to adorn a large wall on a not-so-large budget.

31 comments:

Abiding said...

I love this! It is very creative and special. Now I am trying to remember where I put a canvas that one of the kids painted on years ago. I hope I didn't throw it away! ~Leslie

KatolinFamily said...

Heidi,
I discovered your blog through a friend and I've been checking it out from time to time. I just wanted to let you know I LOVE this idea and I think I'll be running out the craft store as soon as my baby wakes up from her nap. Your creativity is inspiring!

Carole said...

This is really great. Nice work! And I love the titles of the lectures that you got to hear this weekend - there was one about 'teaching to students who would rather be building forts'...

Jennifer said...

I *love* this idea!!! I have several canvases that I have been planning to play with this summer...I already had some ideas, but this gives me more! :) We are getting ready to redo our children's rooms, and I am thinking it would be neat to twist this a bit to do a canvas for each child with their special personality traits, the things I love about them, and things they love.

I love the way I so often come away from your blog with the wheels in my brain spinning madly! :)

Mrs. Querido said...

What a cool idea! Inexpensive too :) Thanks for the inspiration.

Blessings!

Mrs. Q

Dreams of a Country Girl said...

yeah..yours looks great...but I write like a cross between a third grader and a prison guard. Maybe i can type mine or cut out letters from a magazine like a ransom note...you think it would have the same effect?

Jaala said...

Great idea! Cannot wait to try it!!!

Barb said...

Fantastic idea. I have a wall in need of something special. Thanks for sharing.

Jenny said...

What a great idea! My husband and I were just talking last night about what to hang above our fireplace mantel. We've recently repainted the den and need something striking above the fireplace. A personalized canvas would be so much fun! The only problem is that your handwriting is SO much better than mine! :)

I love it! Great job!

I Was Just Thinking.... said...

Wonderful. I love this. I love calligraphy and using it to decorate. But I have to ask...it doesn't look like a big marker was used - your script is so fine. Would any other type of pen/marker/ink work on painted canvas?

Relyn said...

I love this wonderful idea. The finished product looks great, too. You have amazing handwriting. If I did this project, nobody would be able to read the list because my handwriting is so bad. I do have a Happy Thoughts list I have kept for about 17 years. It fills several binders. I'm an elementary school teacher and I keep a happy book for my students to write in, too. They love it and so do I. I think it would be great fun to do a canvas like this each year with my students. They could do the writing, etc. OH!! I really love this idea. Thanks so much for the inspiration.

Heidi said...

Jennifer~ What a creative way to use your canvases, and a treasure for your kids!

Country Girl~ I thought about experimenting with sticker letters. They have them fairly inexpensively at Staples or Office Depot with the sign-making stuff. Rub-on letters, stencils... Why not glue on random letters cut from a magazine? Couldn't hurt to try. :)

I Was Just Thinking~ I really did use a black felt marker. It was a new one and I used the tip rather than the edge. I imagine Sharpies would work well, or craft paint with a paint brush. I don't think a calligraphy pen would work well only because the surface is textured and I don't know that it would go on smoothly, but you could always try!

Heidi said...

Relyn~ I think the idea of doing one with students with a collage of all their handwriting would be an incredible project!! I'll have to do that with my boys in a few years. Love it!!

the good, the bad & the ugly said...

This project turned out great! I'll have to think of how I could tweak it for my house. Thanks for the great ideas!

Kellan said...

I love this - what a great idea and it is so pretty to look at!!

I'm Kellan - nice to meet you. SEe you soon.

Jen Rouse said...

Neat idea! Though I'm with Country Girl and don't think my writing would look quite as pretty as yours.

I notice "camping at House Rock" is on your happy list. Is that the favorite camping spot you've blogged about in the past? Looking at the pictures, I wondered if that was it. I camped and hiked there as a kid too. Love it!

E and T said...

Hi Heidi

Your canvas is perfect. Every home needs a happy canvas, it is a wonderful idea. I think it is beautiful that you display so creatively what makes you happy.

Love
Elise

Embejo said...

I love this idea! Once again I am inspired, but feel slightly guilty stealing your idea....wish I'd thought of it first!! Thanks for sharing.
My husband and I like the idea of snatches of poetry around the house....just phrases.

Laurel said...

You are awesome woman. This is a fantabulous idea! And you have really nice handwriting. Want to come over and do mine?:)

Heidi said...

Jen~ Yes, I camped there every year of my childhood (through highschool). At least as young as I can remember. :) It is one of my favorite spots on earth! I try to get up at least for the day every summer. My hubby has started taking the older boys camping each summer (this will be the third year) and eventually we'll get around to a family camp trip there also. Great memories!!

Embejo~ Oooh. Poetry would be fun! (And very few of my ideas are original, if that makes you feel any better. :))

Lynn said...

What a great idea. It's really beautiful, I love the style too. I will have to keep this in mind when I get a house. I just found your blog, and love all the artsy stuff! Thanks for sharing!
-Lynn

The Stamper Story said...

I love that Dr. Pepper is first on the list! he he he. This is such a great idea- once again. I picked up some old canvas's at a yard sale. I've sanded them and they're waiting to be played with. I'm no artist, but I can write. Thanks for the inspiration!

Simply Me... said...

I hope you don't mined but I think I'm going to do this too! I love it... you have great idea's if I post about I will give you the praise! have a great day!

Lanny:)

jamieBEE said...

This is awesome! I have had a blank canvas for over a year hanging on my wall in my bedroom....waiting to find the perfect thing to paint on it. I am going to DO THIS! thanks for the great idea!

Angela said...

This is adorable~ Very cute idea

Embejo said...

Well, I did it....I'm a bit disappointed with the colour, and my writing is a bit wonky, but it was fun and I'm not so scared to play with paint now! thanks for the idea.

Katie said...

This is an AMAZING idea. I'm going to do it this weekend! And I didn't think about the fact that canvas projects can be painted over again and again...it sure worked when my daughter moved her hand when making a handprint and gave herself 9 fingers!!!

Michie said...

I love this idea - I want to make one but I know that I won't like how my writing looks! Yours looks beautiful! What a fun idea.

princessofsomething said...

I discovered this post through Michie's blog, which I discoverd through someone else's blog LOL. Anyway, can I just say what a fabulous idea this is? I think we all can use a daily reminder of what makes us happy. :) Lovely work.

mommax3 said...

I just found this post and I LOVE this Canvas Idea. I bought a few at a yard sale awhile back that were brand new with no specific plans for them. This is great, maybe this weekend I could start on it. You have so many great simple ideas :)

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