Crafty Monday: Painting Curtains

Last week I wanted to blog about my adventure in expanding my overly small bedroom closet. My closet is in the smallest bedroom of the house. Inside the closet, is a fireplace. No, not the front of it, but the entire back of it. It is actually a faux fireplace which faces my craft room. Made of marble, concrete, and plaster, it’s not something that can be removed to make closet space without contractor! So I needed another solution.

Total Closet Size

Total Closet Size

It didn’t work out as planned, but I DID get a few things done to it. The big plan was to move the closet rod to the outside of the closet and hang the clothes in front of it. I didn’t really want a big metal rod hanging there with all of the clothes out in the open. The serenity of my bedroom is something I thoroughly enjoy, but this was not conducive to that serenity. So I was also going to put a curtain in front of the clothes. Simple, right? Well, as I explained in the previous post, it wasn’t all that simple because I didn’t allot enough time, nor did I have all the proper materials ready. *Sigh* This is the bane of many DIY projects.

But I DID have a plan, and I wanted to finish it. First of all, I needed curtains. So what does a crafty sewist do? Ah, yes, I’ll make them. And I did. I measured top to bottom and used a 60″ wide piece of off-white cotton lining I had bought to reupholster a couch. (Couch left, meaning I had 10 yards of this stuff available.) I cut and sewed them, making a simple header style curtain that could have grommets.

Then I started looking at all of these beautiful curtain panels online. You know, the ones that cost well over $100 each? They were embroidered and woven with beautiful scenes. My plain white curtains just didn’t measure up. I decided to paint my curtains. I played it smart this time, though, and made a sampler to try out some techniques.

Cherry Blossom Test Panel

Cherry Blossom Test Panel

Using the “make cherry blossoms with a soda bottle” pin as inspiration, I tried using the method they had. Ok, soda bottle didn’t work out so good. The ones I had, made flowers with spaces way too wide between the petals. So I took out my paint brushes and made little circles with them. Then I added some other colors to the branches and flowers, to see what I like best. Getting a little input from the husband, we went with the pink blossoms lined with a dark pink shade. Now I also had a painted panel I could frame and use to decorate the room! Yay, me!

A couple of days later I laid out my curtain panels and began to decorate them like I had the test sample. Not only was it fun, but I felt really good with paint on my hands and the smell in the air. I used acrylics with a little bit of water. The paint did seep through the fabric a bit, but I had covered the table with some craft paper beforehand. Once it had dried, I pulled it up. It stuck just a little bit, but no big deal.

Here are some progression pictures for you:

Creating the branches

Creating the branches

Branches done, ready for blossoms

Branches done, ready for blossoms

 

Painting on blossoms

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More blossoms

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Shading the blossoms

I love how they turned out! I put one across the bed to let it continue to dry, and instantly decided I needed a quilt that matched. One thing leads to another, and I have plans for my first painted, whole cloth art quilt. I love DIY.

Saturday Musings: Fostering Creativity

My home is a plethora of papers, writing utensils, paints, and all manner of art mediums. We have sculpted clay pots sitting on mantels, hand drawn cards on the walls and refrigerators, and various paintings and drawings just about anywhere you look. We’re not art collectors, though. We’re parents.

Our kitchen table was purchased used and fairly unmarred two years ago. Now it has permanent marker, pen, paint, and scratches all over it. It very nearly matches the table in the play room that is MEANT for art work.

We have a keyboard, drums, electric and acoustic guitars, and violins. At some point during the evening you’ll hear someone singing and playing one or more of these instruments. And they are playing very well (unless it’s me on the violin).

One twin working macrame

Another twin working on a song mashup

On any given weekend you’ll look around and someone is knitting. Or sewing. Or listening to music and pursuing some form of art. Sound like a mad house? Yes and no.
We encourage our kids to be creative. If they express an interest in some form of art we let them follow it with everything they’ve got. Yes, there’s usually some mess and we have to clean it up, but it’s so worth it. Clay stuck in the carpets or in the cracks of the rolling pin is not unusual.

So why doesn’t this bother me? Other than the fact that my husband and I both love and participate in many different art forms, we’re also preparing our kids for a future with much success. I’m not talking about grades (even though they’re all A students) or a singing career. I’m talking about an ability few will have and which many high-level employers look for: Creativity.

Schools in general have put less and less emphasis on being creative and more and more on passing the tests. Sure, math is important. But what about the ability to think outside the box? The desire to do and create what no one has done before?

In a society that values intelligence and ingenuity, we’re stifling natural curiosity and free-thinking with prescribed roles and standards. I wonder what would’ve happened if someone had told the first caveman that fire was a stupid idea and he (or she) had listened to them. If that same cave person had instead taken a test on the origin of his most recent meal, would we all still be living in caves, eating raw meat, and freezing?

Google offices are set up like playrooms, solely with the intent of inspiring creativity and thought. Why should my house be any different? Did I mention my kids are ‘A’ students? During their toddler years and for 4 years of school, we home educated them. My twins went to pre-k and my son went from kindergarten to second grade in public school. During a parent teacher conference for my girls, the teacher expressed her awe and amazement over the scissor cutting exercise my girls had done. “How did you teach them to do this?” She asked. My response, “They’ve been cutting paper and using safety scissors since they were big enough to hold them. We’ve always encouraged creativity.”

In kindergarten, my son’s teacher told me AND him that he “would NEVER be able to do math well.” Yes. Kindergarten. Einstein’s dad was also told his son would need remediation.

Now I’m not saying my kids are going to be recognized as the smartest people on earth. Or that clay will help you mold your child’s mind to that of a great architect. But people that are not afraid to go after their ideas or think creatively are the ones that will bring us alternative fuel sources and solutions to make life better. They’re the ones that can end wars without bloodshed and incite movement and will in the hearts of others. Let your kids paint. Let them create. Let them make a mess and clean it up.  Let them become the hope for the future.

Encouraging and fostering creativity is just as important as winning the next little league game or passing the big test. Perhaps more so.

Check out these links for further information and study.

http://www.parents.com/kids/development/thrive-in-2025/inspire-creativity/?page=1
http://www.babyzone.com/kids/preparing-for-preschool/inspiring-creativity_73550?page=3
http://eric.ed.gov/?id=ED312835 

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