Tag Archives: Colonial Beach

Handmade Wedding: Wrapping up the details…AWK!

Handmade Wedding: Wrapping up the details…AWK!

Finally….the day all (three) of you have been waiting for…the last of the Handmade wedding posts!  This wedding and the ripple effect that it had was such a huge factor  this year, both physically and mentally, that I felt it had to be thoroughly documented.  And believe me when I say, I am doing everyone a favor by editing it here.  I have hundreds, possibly a thousand, pictures of everything in every stage of production that I have determined are really just for my benefit and will remain in my vaults. So here goes..

Have I mentioned that there was no shortage of creative ideas for this wedding?  And I am not just tooting my own horn. The groom, despite the fact that he was on another continent except for a couple of weeks at Christmas and the two weeks he had at the time of the wedding, was totally “in” for all aspects of the decisions and contributed his graphic design skills via the internet. From the proposal – recreated here as part of the invitation photo shoot…IMG_2063 2 …to the invitations… DSCN7566 and the program (which included the lyrics of a song the bride had written for the groom as a Christmas gift! How creative is that?)…Program Outside4…to the poster for the elevator lobby to let folks know where to go once they arrived at the venue….DSCN4227and the clever photo boards for the ladies’…    DSCN3858 DSCN3861and mens’ rooms…DSCN3860 …so fun, a guest politely took this one home as a souvenir….    DD7_7967  … to the interior of the cigar box for the ring bearer…note the paper flower inside….wounded warrior…the buffet markers and gift donation cards attached to the sparklers for the guests to light as the couple left after the reception…Groomsmen dock1 …to the t-shirts worn by the groomsmen under their tuxes…Groomsmen dock2Hooo-ah!dog tag start (2) …to the oversized dog tag…  DSCN4001…that he made the day before the wedding as a prop for… group Lindsey …the photo booth – That man was busy!!!  Being involved in all of the creative, and manual labor, was something that he not only wanted to do, but insisted that he be involved. We would have easily given him a pass.  Love that about him! Day 77 A few more projects we felt gave the wedding it’s extra special personal feel were the cake plates and cocktail glasses for the new Mr. and Mrs.  Some paint, stencils, stickers along with a little Mod Podge and we were able to customize them for very few dollars. IMG_4578The Mrs seems happy enough!    DSCN2799We had some of the most fun creating moments in some of the most unseen places – like the men’s bathroom.  This “floral” arrangement was a kick to put together.  Some silver sticks and bamboo, accented with little green Army men hot-glued to bamboo skewers….IMG_4308along with cigars, photos and some mini-bar bottles of “Jack Daniels”.DSCN3965 Actually, we filled them with iced tea so as to not cross any ABC license lines but don’t you know, all of them were empty before the reception even started!!!!  That must have been a disappointing surprise! DSCN2686One of my absolutely favorite transformations has to be the very first spot guests saw when they exited the elevator into the venue space. This is the “before” shot. Actually that was a bare  beige Formica topped table with a chrome pedestal base. The basket and tablecloth were added by us just to get an idea of how it would work.  We knew we wanted to have something dramatic to set the tone as the guests entered.   This was not it!DSCN2784That giant round basket got hit with the silver/chrome spray paint that we used on all of the sticks. Then we placed one of our hot pink napkins along with a round mirror in the center of the basket and added a floral arrangement with all of the bride’s colors. raw monogramsThe new couple’s monogram was our choice for the wall where that tropical painting was hanging. We found these paper mache’ letters at the craft store. They were probably 18 – 24 inches tall and a couple of inches thick. They had a presence. This configuration of the letters in their names actually ends up being the groom’s initials. Thankfully, wedding etiquette dictates that the bride’s name is first in the lineup so it wouldn’t come across like it was all about him! A with black paint After priming them with gesso, a coat of silver paint was added mostly to all of the edges and sides.  monogram 2 Then several coats of flat black paint were applied and allowed to dry. Using some fine sandpaper, the edges were made to look worn as the silver underpainting was revealed. A little added silver paint, a little more black, sanding off, then adding some more and they really ended up looking a lot like aged metal. Didn’t they?  We like to think so.DSCN3060So much so, that we went ahead and added the date as the perfect finishing touch.  The only difference was the numbers were wooden but the same technique.  DSCN3152Again, pretty close to looking like aged metal.DSCN2686 Remember this before?final awkAnd here is the after!  The black and silver with the hot pink and the flowers really made a dramatic statement when the elevator doors opened  It looked much more expensive than it was and we had the ceiling spot directed right at it.  It was a focal point. The basket held cards and gifts were placed around the basket on and around the table on the floor. The proper line-up of the couple’s initials, their monogram, spells “AWK”!  which has now become a family term of endearment.DSCN3096 Last but not least, the get-away vehicle (Colonial Beach is a golf cart community) was decorated using repurposed  fringe from a banner at one of Amy’s bridal showers…  DSCN4275 …as well as a poster that read …”We Be Wed” which is a call back to my wedding at which my dear word-challenged husband misunderstood the officiant and repeated “I be Wed” instead of “I Thee Wed” . Now, a family term of endearment, as well.  The poster was created with the words “Kent loves Amy” repeated in the border around the whole sign inside the black and white checkerboard.  Super cute!IMG_4765 Unfortunately, the pro photographer was long gone by the time the couple were ready to leave and we were all pretty excited – maybe it was the excessive bar tab – as the couple left the reception to “get-away” so we didn’t really get any great pictures with the cool effect of the sparklers and their top-hatted driver.  Here’s our best shot.  Sad but true.DSCN4269Oh well, the next day we made them pose for this parting shot.  Their smiles sum up the joy that the whole event brought to everyone involved.  From all of the gluing and the the planning to the dancing and the blogging, it has been an honor to help them celebrate their love for one another.

The creative energy was fueled by our love for the couple and their sweet dedication to not only one another but to our country. They continue to make sacrifices and delay the usual pleasures a newly wed couple enjoy building their new life together in order to serve and protect our freedoms.

For that, I am eternally grateful.

Love you guys!


Sweet dreams…

Sweet dreams…

One of our big plans for the wedding venue is to have icicle lights hanging over the dance floor for some extra pizzazz during the “dance party” portion of the event.  Being the frugal designers that we are, we – well my cohort – tt, I am known as LL in this capacity – purchased 15 boxes of them at an after Christmas sale knowing this was coming.  Great!

icicle lights box

However, have you ever wrangled 15 boxes of icicle lights?  To start they are twist-tied in maybe 6 little individual bundles of 50 lights per bundle for a set of 300 lights, with a precision that is really kind of stunning.

tight lightsOnce you have all of the twist ties off, the lights have a remarkable ability to retain their twist-tied zig-zagged non-icicle shape without even the slightest hint of relaxing..  We tugged and stretched them out but they sprung right back to their pre-boxed state.  (SO glad we decided to try this a good 5 – 6 weeks before the wedding.) We even Googled “how do you get icicle lights to look like icicles?”  Not a whole lot of help there but there was actually a suggestion to hangthem in the steamy bathroom after you showered like a wrinkled shirt!  That would have been interesting… but most said just let them hang.  Easier said than done since we didn’t need to put them up for another month or so.

barbed wire bed

Our solution? We strectched them across a bed frame from headboard to footboard, twist-tied them on with their own little twist ties and let them have some rest.  It has now been two weeks since we devised this medevil torturous looking set up and guess what.? STILL not so relaxed!  Our next move is to stretch them out across the garage.  We had our handy helpers nail some nails up for us but we decided to hold off hanging them until we finish spray paint

Can you imagine?  Who knew that this would be such a huge part of our little “hang some icicle lights” project!  This was not on our list!!  Sweet dreaming on our part thinking it would be that easy…

The Power of a Flower….

The Power of a Flower….

Wedding design involves many, many, MANY decisions.  Add into the mix the fact that the main parties involved are on two different continents and you have decision overload   Thanks to technology, however, we have been able to keep things moving with Google Drive documents and tons of emails.  With exactly one month left to the day, we are pretty much on schedule.

google drive

The bride does not have a specific “theme” in mind for the wedding except that the location lends itself to some beachy kind of elements although  it’s not really a “beach” wedding. Her colors are black (bridesmaids dresses) and white (bride, of course) with flower colors providing the punch – hot pink, bright orange, and deep yellow.

This was our starting pont.  We found a few ideas on Pinterest, did some test runs, shopped a LOT, made some decisions and took off. I can only give sneak peeks but trust me when I say we have done some pretty ingenious things with a few simple ingredients.  The absolute profusion of a simple material used repeatedly will give us all the muscle we need to make a stunning impact. using nothing but her colors and one simple flower design.

tearing paper

Let’s just say, there is an awful lot of ripping and  tearing going on !

petal close

Petals in all different sizes…

glue flower tile

Hot glue….

close flower fingers

…more hot glue….

flower fingers

…and a few of  these moments led to….

Als Bar Gluegun

… this!

Cam cat

and THIS!

glue flower

Some little flowers…..

pool table flower

some bigger.

All have a special place in the design.  Fun to make and lots of impact.  More later….

Pickle Jars and Rooftop AC Units

Pickle Jars and Rooftop AC Units

Wedding Update:  Windows

We spent five hours today in the wedding space  measuring, re-measuring, standing on chairs trying to reach the ceiling, taking pictures, counting ceiling tiles, trying out decorations and planning.  Lots and lots of planning….tomorrow lots and lots of creating.

River window ceremony space

The 270 degree view of the Potomac River through the windows in our second floor ceremony space ….oh my!                                      It was a cloudy grey day when I took this but believe me, the view is pretty awesome since the river is about 7 miles wide right here.

Wide AC ugly

What’s not so awesome? These roof top mounted AC units so BIG and BOLD right outside the windows….oh NO!

Ugly AC

Those jars….oh yeah!  They just may hold the answer to our “camouflage” of those BIG BOLD AC units….Stay tuned.

We have so many “moments” that we are working on for this wedding….but we can’t reveal most of them until the big day -six short weeks from yesterday!   It has to be, for the most part, a surprise for the bride and groom.

So until then… stay tuned!




There’s going to be a Wedding, Y’all!

There’s going to be a Wedding, Y’all!

Check out my 365 Project page.  I know I have been a slacker with blog posts but I have been posting a photo every day in 2013 as part of a project to capture the essence of each day for the year.  It’s been a challenge but a great exercise.  Kind of like sit-ups!  Hard to do but love the results. (That’s what I hear, anyway.)  You will get a sneak peek at a few things that I have been working on…as well as lots of shots of my cats and my daughter.  I need a  life….

My creative journey has totally been directed toward a big event coming up…my nephew’s wedding!!!  Wooooo!!!       OK, technically, he’s my BFF’s son but she and I are truly sisters from different mothers and have known one another close to half a century….WHAT?!  It’s true. So, my nephew he is for sure.  I love him as much as I do my nieces and nephews that are related more traditionally.  And I love them A LOT!  They are such a really cool bunch of people.

Anyway, he and I shared a room at one time.  He would wake up in his crib and start singing “Beat It” by Michael Jackson while beating on the side of his crib to let everyone know he was awake!  Worked!

engagement photo

So, now, he’s getting married!  His mom and I have been busy helping the bride (who is finishing up her graduate internship with the State Police the day before the wedding!) and groom (who is currently serving in the Army in Germany!) put together a unique and special day for them.  The wedding and reception will be held in Colonial Beach at the Riverboat on the Potomac – a casino where you park your car in the parking lot in Virginia but as soon as you come in the door there is a sign that says “Welcome to Maryland”  The river itself is actually in Maryland and the gambling laws are different there.  Therefor, a casino you go to in Virginia but is actually in Maryland. Kind of crazy….

Riverboat exterior

It’s not a decked out casino like in Vegas or Atlantic City.  It’s really a bit more of an airplane hanger style building.  It was wiped off the map by Isabel several years ago and has been rebuilt to be a little more storm proof.

ceremony space b4

The good news is that upstairs is pretty much a big open blank space with a 270 degree view of the water.  That’s our “blank canvas”.  We have been planning,creating, shopping and experimenting for the last few weeks with everything our minds have been cooking up.  OK, everything that we’ve seen on Pinterest!   We are trying not to make it a total Pinterest wedding but we are definitely using some the ideas for inspiration. Being the crafty chicks we are, we do have a few interesting original ideas up our sleeves as well. ( BTW, did you know that not everything on Pinterest actually works! Yeah, I know, hard to believe, but it’s true!)


We really have some cool ideas that I think will make the couple very happy.  I know they are making us squeal a little bit.  We are really excited and honored to be able to transform this rather bland and not so grand environment into a beautiful, romantic, fun space that will have that WOW factor that will make the bride and groom glad that they put things in our hands.  We shall see….

I will keep posting our projects as we go. If I am going to post on my blog, it’s going to have to be about this wedding since that’s all we are doing.  Did I mention the wedding is in 6 WEEKS!?

Walking Art part 2….

Walking Art part 2….

medium display

Tah-dah!  There you go…sticks and stones….that funky twig-covered plaster and brick-filled Goodwill box doing its thing supporting the fused plastic bag that I entered in the CBAG (he-he) All Member Recycled Art show…  Think about what the bag would have looked like without that display!   No question the bag benefited by its elevated status. My sleep benefited knowing that the bag wasn’t sagging over or wondering if the handle was posing in an awkward position or if the whole thing may have just flopped right off the pedestal somehow.

amber view

There were some interesting pieces in this show and I was curious to know more about the artist and the pieces – what they were made of, why did they choose those items, is there a story behind it?  Some were kind of obvious but others begged for more information. Instead, gallery protocol called for a piece of paper with a list of the following information –

  • a number (which corresponded to a sticker on the piece)
  • the artist’s name
  • name of piece
  • price.

fish art

Now, I must admit, I have never been much of a gallery girl. This is really the “why” of  Art in Real Life.  Don’t get me wrong. I love looking at art and definitely appreciate fine art but I have found the whole gallery experience, sometimes, to be a little dry.  Sterile. OK,  boring.  Maybe even pretentious. Nothing wrong with solitude and quiet contemplation especially in the presence of awe-worthy masterpieces of historical significance or sensitive subject matter.

However, for the everyday person who enjoys the expressive nature and creative talents of real people, not unlike themselves, who have managed to find a way to channel that nature, the gallery environment can tend to come across as detached and disconnected.  There can be, in my experience, a separation of the viewer from the art in that environment. Of course, I am not suggesting that every art show should be a keg party and I totally get that not everyone feels the same way or that every gallery is the same, obviously. I am talking about the customary gallery experience.

I am just letting you know, Art in Real Life is all about good art, for sure, but it’s more about fun art not necessarily fine art. Breaking down the stiffness of the gallery experience by taking art off of the “pedestal” so to speak (ha! – that’s ironic!) and inspiring a spark in those who may be thinking “I could never do that!’  For me,  It’s just art – it should be fun!  There.  I said it.

closeup tag

I fudged the non-info rule a little by incorporating a tag on the piece to share something about the materials and my website.  The show is up for the month of December so I am curious how anyone who wanders in would know anything at all about these pieces.

closeup bag

Therefore, allow me to share some of the Art in Real Life experience about my bag here (see Part 1 about the stand here) – turquoise, yellow, red and black.  Those colors just jumped out at me from my hoarded stash of plastic bags. Richmond Times Dispatch newspaper sleeves as well as my favorite turquoise bags from a surf shop in Virginia Beach and red Target Christmas bags make up the exterior body.  The black is recycled curtain material from my fabric stash I’ve had since I was sewed curtains for a living back in the day.  It was turned inside-out so that the printed pattern doesn’t show.  The fabric has a nice heavy hand and gave the bag the weight it needed to elevate the feel of the plastic. The feathers are all hand embroidered with thread that I have kept  for well over 20 years when I was doing embroidered samplers and cross stitch. Mounted at a slight diagonal, one feather has a buttonhole and acts as a closure along with a recycled button from one of my mom’s classic trench coats.art handle

This is the only photo of the bird on the strap, so I am including it, because the feathers on the bag relate back to my brown foil coffee bag bird and his turquoise wing. Unfortunately,there are a few pictures shot in a “soft focus” effect because I got a new camera (yea!) but I am still clumsily learning how to not change the settings accidentally(boo!!) or film unintentional videos!!    We’ll move on now…handle inThe text that is on the handle was created using a technique printing on muslin fused to freezer paper.. Inside, where you can’t see here, is a pocket with a sepia version of the photo on my “About” page peeking out.handle real lifePersonally, there is something about the mix of the fabric, thread and plastic that just makes me happy. Mixed media, baby!.  Just like the black painted wood, the natural look of the twigs and the shiny black glass rocks.  Love the combinations.  Come to think of it, a good casserole gets me going as well!

wide bag displaySee that cool framed piece on the far wall? That is the fabulous work of my sister artist Tresa from Art Junkie @ Rockstockonline.com. Check out her custom stamped stone trivets and coasters there, as well.  They suck! (moisture, that is, from your glass….like a coaster is supposed to!)


How cool is this!?  Her whole piece was a collection of samples of the many wonderful leather cuffs she makes from recycled leather belts.  She can customize the color, the width, the metal, the words, any of it for you.  She’s got great stories about how she uses her talent to help raise money for charities. Pretty awesome! The frames are from Goodwill and the hangers are more belts, obviously, connecting the two frames together.close tbpiece

She was able to sneak a little information in her piece, too.  We never were good at following the crowd.

quilt descriptionThis art quilt did have an explanation of her piece pinned to it.  It was awesome to read why she chose the images she did and how they all came to be put together in this piece. (Rule breaker!)

glass fiber fisheriesThe bag on the table was by the same artist.  I think she may want to talk to someone about her display.  Just saying….

lee sunset


fisheries jewelryThere were paintings with driftwood, shells and nylon line embedded in them, jewelry made from pieces parts of collected items cleverly displayed hanging on a painting…

magazine boat

…yachts made from rolled magazine pages incorporated into paintings….  Lots of creativity and I am sure some very interesting stories.alan galleryWalking on with the art…. the next gallery  was a bit more lively probably because there was wine!  The gallery was showcasing the work of students from  the workshops that had been taught there over the past year.  Nice idea.portrait sittingThis lady was drawing pastel portraits in exchange for a $5. donation to the Colonial Beach High School Art program.  She had a presence and stories.  She told us great little tid bits about her husband and her drawing circle that meets on Thursdays at this gallery to figure draw with a model….clothed, of course!  She wanted us to know…(note the return of the “soft focus” effect. Dang it!)portrait finishedNext we hung out at a pottery studio down the street. There are all different kinds of artists and crafters who rent spaces there – jewelers, stained glass artists, painters, potters.dulcimer trioThe live music set a Christmasy mood and there were lots of things for sale -jewelry, stained glass, wood, pottery and…duct tape bags…duct tape purses.  My niece’s favorite! They were really cute – the purses and my niece!  riverviewentranceAs we headed out to the next venue, an Art Deco style motel, probably from the 60’s, we heard music in the air.  We had heard it earlier and couldn’t tell exactly where it was coming from.  Not the spots in town where bands usually play but somewhere totally new.  It sounded like some place we might want to be.riverview windowThe motel front office was a tiny space and it was cram packed with art and people.  The manager happened to be the artist.  She was a lively fun person you could tell. Her art was encaustics and paintings.  That’s her in the hat.motel room galleryThen there was art hanging in a room of the motel behind the office that you accessed by walking through a store room of sorts.  OK, interesting if not awkward…definitely not pretentious and stiff. riverview roomGood way to show the rooms in the motel, I suppose…santas workshopBack outside, that music was still playing and the wine decorations were making us feel a little more festive as we art walked on.visions exteriorThere were a couple of more stops on the tour including this shop and a gallery next door.visions interiorTons of food and candy with a lot of people packed in this tiny space. Almost too crowded to enjoy but it was nice. The owner is an artist of some local acclaim and a member of the Guild. One cool feature of Colonial Beach is that it is a golf cart community, so we climbed back on our ride and headed out. That music was still playing and really calling us by now so we headed in that direction to see what it was.populuxe exteriorAnd look what we found!  A full out blues band – Big Money – playing in the parking lot of a new venue that was not on the CBAG (he-he) list!  Populuxe! Who knew?  It was a kitschy, lively, crazy stylish, FUN venue that was holding court on this side of town.sock monkey

Cool curated vignettes everywhere…populuxe interiorOkay, I really have to apologize. These photos are pretty bad because they were taken with my phone. Of course, my camera battery died and I was freaking out at how cool this place was.  I needed pictures! Great mood lighting, but not for cell-phone-tography!  One advantage of bright overhead fluorescent lighting in a government meeting room, right?dominic populuxeThat’s Dominic, a DC attorney, tending bar and Charlene, his wife, who opened in this location recently. They were both very welcoming and they obviously had their own unique style and point of view.   An artist friend of theirs was taking pictures and she had work hanging in their shop. (That’s a piece on the wall beside Dominic) She and her partner stage the photograph with models, clothing, hair, etc. and then create these unique wooden pieces.  I could not photograph it at all with my phone but they were cool.  Again, it was nice to hear the story about how they conceived the idea and what went into them.

Our hosts were pretty busy and there was so much going on that we only had a few moments to talk but they used to be down on “gallery row”, I’ll call it,  where we just were – but found they felt more at home in this location.  There is a story there, I feel sure.  They also have founded a blues society in Colonial Beach and are planning events for that!

Another artist, unrelated to Populuxe, as far as I know, has a studio in the same building, but his gallery was not open this night. There is definitely some art mojo happening on this side of town.  A different vibe…intriguing..

Little Colonial Beach, VA with a rocking Art Walk!  Who knew?   I have been a visitor there for the last decade but this was my first Walking Art experience. The scope of venues and art was wide-reaching.  The people all interesting and unique.

2013 holds lots of promise!

Thanks for coming along…






Walking Art Part 1…

Walking Art Part 1…

Colonial Beach, VA is a lovely small town on the Potomac River on the Northern Neck of Virginia. Back in October, I joined over 85 artists as a member of the Colonial Beach Artist Guild – fondly known as CBAG (maybe should have thought that name through just a little more, ya’ think?)  The second Friday of every month, they host the Colonial Beach Art Walk.

For December this year, as part of the Art Walk, CBAG (he-he!) hosted an all-member show featuring recycled art at the Department of Wildlife and Fisheries in town. A large empty meeting room with lots of wall space graciously serves as a gallery. Being that I am all about creating art and basically making something from close to nothing, I committed to putting a piece in the show.  There’s a first time for everything!

artwalk cbag img

Making a bag out of recycled fused plastic bags was the perfect choice for this show so I got busy designing and creating something to represent Art in Real Life in a public way. (More about that process can be found here.) Information about exactly how was it going to be displayed, however, was scarce.  Sitting on a table?  On a pedestal? Should I hang it on the wall? Because I wanted some control over the way it ended up being viewed – I decided to build a custom table-top display from which it could hang. Seemed simple enough…

After searching all over Pinterest and Google, I found virtually nothing except for one craft show blogger who had made a multi-purse display using a clay pot as the base with PVC pipes, configured like tree branches, coming up out of it. I knew I didn’t want that look although the basic structure seemed like a good place to start. My idea was more of a wooden box with some sort of a metal or wooden arm coming up out of it to hang the bag on. I headed to Goodwill, my go-to place for anything quirky, and started looking for some kind of an open wooden box . Within 10 minutes,  there it was, almost exactly what I was imagining.  It was weird.  Like someone knew what I was going to need and put it on the shelf. I wanted an open wooden box and I got an open wooden box. It was not quite as big as I originally was thinking but I decided that I could compensate for that in the design by beefing it up with an applied treatment of some kind.

box elements

After a little trial and error with some different materials, I determined to make the display “nature inspired” to contrast with the “plastic nature” of the bag itself. Cut branches had the potential to be too country rustic looking but I was hoping that by painting them all black and using some linear cues in the design, it would come across more modern rustic. The woods behind my house provided a perfect supply of enough small diameter branches to cover the box and one pretty sturdy “arm” with a perfectly shaped “crotch” to hold the bag.  I ended up cutting all 83 branches by hand with a miter saw in equal lengths about 5 1/2 inches long.  The more I looked at the inconsistency of the bark on the branches and thinking about painting them black, I decided I needed to go that extra step to peel off the bark and sand each one. Criminy!

sandpaper stix

So much fun! Sanding each and every twig both by hand and with a power sander was a precious 3-4 hours of my life I will never get back.  Worth it, for sure, had to be done, but as always, much more work than you can possibly anticipate.

cutting legs

Using some scrap wood that was hanging out in the shed from an old project, Mr. Man cut a few square blocks for the legs.  He’s helpful that way. He holds his tongue just right!

attaching feet

Wanting to expand the visual space that the base took up, I needed to mount the legs so that a part of them extended beyond the box bottom and lined up with the twigs surrounding the sides.  The only way to accomplish that was to add   some cardboard filler underneath in the recess of the box’s bottom to support the legs.  E6000 is my friend. If it is possible to love an adhesive…I do.

weighted box

Once that was done, I used more E6000 to glue the blocks on to the box bottom, added masking tape to hold them in place, flipped the box over, added a brick and a 4 lb. box of plaster to weigh the box down onto the legs while the glue dried overnight.

prepainted box

Next day, we double secured the legs to the box by drilling holes from the inside and screwing them on. After a good sanding it was on to painting.

gluing sticks

I spray painted the exterior black before attaching the twigs so that any gaps between them would be less likely to stand out.

Here’s a little gluing tip I learned somewhere – E-6000 is a super strong adhesive but it takes awhile to set up. I used a bead of hot glue, which hardens pretty quickly but doesn’t really have the best long term binding abilities, along side the bead of E-6000, which will virtually last forever, to hold the twig in place while it dried. Two glues, serving two different purposes, working together.  Kum-ba-ya….

post glued stix

I lined all of the twigs up at the base in a straight line even with the top of the legs then allowed the top edge to be more naturally free form. The blunt sanded flat tops are organic but with a modern edge. I like it.

painted stix

Using the brick to hold it up, the arm got spray painted black but I just couldn’t bring myself to paint the smaller twigs on the box! I loved the look of the wood and the black together.  I decided to reserve my option to paint them if I didn’t like the way the whole thing looked once it was together.

brick box2

Final use of the brick, and its permanent home, was inside the plastic lined box.  I lined the center hole of the brick with a cardboard paper towel tube cut down the side and taped so that it would fit around the arm to give it some support.  I also wanted to make sure that the stick/arm could be switched out to another size or shape to accommodate a different hanging piece. The plastic lining is in there so that #1) the plaster didn’t unexpectedly start leaking out of the sides/bottom of the box and #2) I actually have a secret hope that the whole inner block will be able to be lifted out and the box used for something totally different in the future, if needed.  Way too much sweat and love for a one time display!

pouring plaster

Next, my girl and I had a science lesson all about plaster.  Who knew?  It is a fascinating material that I am sure I am going to use more and more.  Especially in encaustics,  when I get a chance, as well as painting.  We learned all about air bubbles, heat, setting time, gypsum, different types of plaster for different uses, molds, etc.  Ours was just a box from the local craft store.  Have no idea what kind it was or special properties it might have and there are many cool types that serve different needs, but it worked!  We naively thought at first that we would only have to use one of the four 1 lb. bags to fill the inside since there was that big brick in there.  Ha!  We used all four bags and were thinking we would have to run out and get more!  Actually, in the end, it turned out to be the perfect amount to leave room for the  final embellishment. – black floral marbles.  Again, funny how it all works out like that!

black marbles

All along, I was thinking shiny black aquarium gravel or fire pit glass or smooth black rocks to cover the surface of the plaster base to the top edge of the wood box. Of course, I would have had to make another trip out to buy that. Then I started searching around the house and found the perfect solution.  I had two bags of these black floral marbles, still in the bags, from some past project that never happened, in a basket in my laundry room!  Honestly, it’s like they were made for this piece!  After looking at the contrast with the natural wood and the shiny black glass, I was convinced not to paint the sticks.  What do you think?

finished box

Here is the almost final result….still needing touch-up paint on the all of the black and the cardboard tube.There’s also a little sneak peek of the bag. Total cost of materials to make the display: $3.25 for the box, about $6 for the plaster, $3.00 for the tube of E-6000, brick, sticks and marbles $0.  For around $12, and a solid 9 – 10 hours of work, exactly what I needed came to be. (Total cost of the bag? Almost $0 in materials but easily 12 hours of work – check that out in Part 2)

I am convinced I could never have found something ready-made that I like as well or is as perfectly suited to my project for any amount of love or money.  If I had hired someone to make it, I could never have afforded to pay them what their time would have been worth. I had to put a price on it for the show. That was a hard one.  I picked $210. but that’s not nearly what the time I put in is worth. It was very much a labor of love just to get what I wanted not to mention  incredibly satisfying and magical to see an idea come to life as you find creative solutions all around you along the way.  Truly Art in Real Life…the pieces were all there, they just needed to come together with some creative help.

Coming up –  Walking Art Part 2 -the finished piece all together with the bag on display….let’s go on the CBAG Art Walk and see what the Beach art scene has to offer. It was a whole lot of fun!

Until then, got ideas? Start somewhere and see what happens -Peace and love –