“Beauty exists, even in unlikely places. The key isn’t to open your eyes, but to open your heart.”Richelle E. Goodrich
As a designer, we often live in somewhat of a time warp. We are prone to creating projects weeks, if not months ahead of certain holidays and it is not uncommon for us to skip entire holidays and seasons altogether.
Most designers know that by the time they feel the first warmth of spring or the morning crispness in the early autumn air, it is far beyond the timeframe to be actually developing something for that upcoming season. By that time, one should be looking forward to the next holiday or season, or possibly even further into the future, as by the time it takes to actually create the new project, write the instructions, and market it to their customers for their own painting, it is usually too late. The chain of creating just doesn’t move that quickly.
So for myself, I often miss holidays that I enjoy such as Valentine’s Day, St. Patrick’s Day, Mother’s Day, and Father’s day. It is just too busy to think ahead that far and get my design act together. I just don’t have the time. I do, however, sometimes get caught up in the celebration of it all, and seeing my peers and customers’ work displayed on social media, as well as seeing the many projects being introduced by fellow teachers and online classes make me really want to participate and contribute something of my own to the festivities – even if it is somewhat small and simple.
Such was the case with these little heart ornaments.
I actually came across a fairly large box of pretty glass ornaments in the storage area of my basement when putting away my Christmas decorations and pulling out the decorations that I have for my ‘Winter’ theme.
I had purchased several boxes of these ornaments for next to nothing a few years ago at Michael’s. I think they were getting rid of stock for the season and they were somewhere around $.50 per box or an insanely cheap amount that was similar. How could I resist?
I bought as many boxes as I could get away with (without too much judgment for purchasing ‘more’ supplies.) I think I have about four or five boxes of six.
This was several years ago before I realized that there were two personas living in my body: that of “Fantasy Sheila” and her twin sister, “Realistic Sheila”. (I thank fellow creator Lindsay Weirich – The Frugal Crafter https://www.youtube.com/c/thefrugalcrafter for helping me be aware that I have a Fantasy side and a Real side too! 🙂 )
“Fantasy Sheila” has as much time as she has ideas. She takes on the world without a care in the world, plans literally hundreds of projects, and tries to collect all the supplies needed to create any one of them at any given time. She is quite the optimist, and in her mind, she will live not only long enough to complete all the projects that she can think of but those that she will conceive in the future as well. She is quite a woman.
Then there is “Realistic Sheila.” She tends to be the practical side of me. While she stays hidden for sometimes months at a time, she inevitably makes her appearance – usually when I am feeling overwhelmed or am trying to find a new place to store some new supplies that I recently purchased. She also rears her ugly head when I come across something that I had intended to use, yet has been sitting among my things for many weeks, months, or even years. She is quite judgmental and tends to try to make me feel guilty for allowing Fantasy Sheila to have her way. I do admit that I resent her at times, but when I think about her objectively, I am grateful for her existence, as without her I wouldn’t have a functioning business and would in all probability be living out of a very colorful box that I created with my excess of supplies.
Now usually, I am driven by a little bit of each of these sides of my creative mind. I need both Fantasy Sheila and Realistic Sheila in order to keep moving forward with my business. I just need to find a good balance between them so that I can be both creative and practical in my decisions. Without one or the other, I wouldn’t be able to do what I do and that would be very unfortunate.
So when I came across this box of pretty glass ornaments, Practical Sheila took over and I was determined to make a quick, pretty, project pattern for the upcoming Valentine’s Day holiday using them. It wasn’t very difficult for me to do.
As I may have mentioned in an earlier post, one of my objectives in 2022 was to do more “smalls” and make more project patterns. While 30-page patterns were nice accomplishments, there was nothing to say that I couldn’t do some quicker, simpler things that would be just as nice. Therein lies the challenge for me.
I have always loved glass. Even though my initial ‘claim to crafting fame’ has been through using wood and woodworking, I love the way glass feels and looks. Its’ beauty can be both delicate and everlasting. Its fragility is something to be respected.
Antique glass holds a special place in my heart. I love both Mercury Glass, and old-fashioned glass ornaments. They bring back memories of some of my grandmother’s pieces and those that I have seen and coveted from estate sales and antique shops when I used to live in the Chicago area. I haven’t collected many pieces of my own, as I had small children around and didn’t have the means to buy pieces that I liked. But I do have a few things that I like and will keep close to my heart for the rest of my days.
I had tried making “Faux Mercury Glass” in the past, which is probably around the time when I purchased these ornaments. However, you needed a product called “Looking Glass Spray” that was a mirror-finished spray and was smelly and caustic. (PS – I still have the can of it on my shelf. I never tried it. NAUGHTY Fantasy Sheila!)
I also tried to make a design similar to a Mercury Glass finish on some wood ornaments I cut out last year. I was quite ‘underwhelmed’ though (everything doesn’t ALWAYS work out for me when I design – contrary to what some may think!) and the design wound up in the bin. It just didn’t look good.
But when I came across these glass ornaments, I thought that I would try again. After all, I had told myself that I was going to try harder to listen to Realistic Sheila and use some of these things that Fantasy Sheila has collected over the years and tap into some of these ideas instead of spending my time browsing and accumulating more. While I won’t go so far as to call it a “resolution”, I will be kind to myself and call it a “goal.”
So here we are.
After the success of “Steampunking” my KitchenAid Mixer (see previous blog post) using DecoArt Multi-Surface Satin paint, I felt that I would give it a go on the glass. It stuck so well to the mixer – which I have used for the past four months and have not had any paint chipping or scraping off at all. I am – to put it mildly – “impressed” with the result. The performance of this paint has exceeded my highest hopes. So maybe – just maybe – it would work for this.
The Multi-Surface Satins come in a limited number of metallic colors. But they have a beautiful Rose Gold as well as a red shade that would suffice for the upcoming Valentine holiday. For good measure, I also tried one in straight-up gold.
I applied the base coat on the prepared glass ornament:
Followed the instructions on the bottle (kind of!) and baked the pieces in the oven to really set the paint. This is something I haven’t done before and I couldn’t do with the mixer for obvious reasons. The label suggests you allow the paint to cure for a while prior to baking, but I had nothing to lose by trying to bake them right out of the gate when they were dry to the touch and I was pleasantly surprised. The process seemed to really set the base coat of the paint well and it was quite durable.
Now, this didn’t mean that I would go scratching at the surface. After all – it is a delicate ornament. However, for my purposes, I think it worked pretty well.
I then tried a couple of things to try to achieve an antique-looking surface. This required a couple of layers applied in some non-conventional ways.
Once the base was set, the paint had something to grab hang on to. So I only had to really worry about the first layer.
The final result came out beautiful:
I painted the ornaments up in three colors (Rose Gold, Red, and Gold) and in two different versions. In the first version, I added dip dots using the regular metallic (Extreme Sheen) paint from DecoArt.
Which brings me to say . . .
There IS a pattern available that takes you through the process of creating this beautiful finish on just about any glass shape you wish. You can purchase it here as a PDF download on my website or have it mailed to you: Key to My Heart Ornament painting pattern.
As with all of my patterns, there are lots of step-by-step photos and detailed instructions. I am really thrilled with how this process made the glass ornaments look almost like they are foiled.
They really came out beautiful.
You can get the glass hearts on Amazon at both their USA and Canadian sites, as well as the key charms. I hope you don’t let my samples think that you are limited to decorating them like I show them. You can use pretty paper roses, beads, charms in the shape of hearts, flowers, or anything you like. If you wish to use gold charms, you can brush the end caps with the gold Multi-Surface Satin paint and it will look lovely. The possibilities are really endless.
DecoArt products are available at most craft suppliers or on their website at http://www.decoart.com.
I am going to try this process using some non-metallic colors for the base of the ornaments and see if I can get the same effect. I think that would be awesome for other holidays such as Independence Day, Easter, Halloween, and Christmas. I am really excited about this and I am sure I will be showing more in the near future.
It just goes to show, Fantasy Sheila and Realistic Sheila don’t always have to be at odds. Sometimes the two can come together and help me create something really nice using materials I already have. And that makes it all the better, doesn’t it?
I hope you all agree.
Until next time . . .