A Unique Take On Rememberance
Christmas has been particularly hard for me the past few years. My brother has been gone for the past six Christmases, Grandma for the past ten, and my Mom for the last 3. Our family was always very close and always did Christmas in a big way. The first year was excruciating after my Mom passed, but each year has gotten a little better. This year, thanks to some inspiration from my friend Michelle from 4th Street Design Co., I was able to come up with a very unique way to remember my loved ones.
There is a poem that circulates the web and social media called “Christmas In Heaven” that goes:
Christmas In Heaven
Christmas in heaven, what do they do?
They come down to earth to spend it with you.
So save them a seat, just one empty chair.
You may not see them, but they will be there.
A Twist on the Original
So there are little figurines out there with the poem on blocks and a little chair sitting next to the tree. But Michelle had the idea to paint an actual chair and decoupage the poem on the seat. I asked Michelle if it was cool if I did my own little remix on it, and she said yes. So off I went!
So truth time. I have a little bit of a chair obsession. I mean if there were a support group for it, I think I need it. They fill the rafters of my barn. I have all kinds. But for this project, I picked a throne height ladder backed chair I knew would be special one day when I bought her. She is an older piece from Mexico. The ladders have a really cool curve to them and the seat is a really rugged cut piece of wood.
I need to apologize, yet again, I am the world’s worst about taking before pictures of furniture. I think it is because I get so freaking excited to create that I just hit the gas and go go go! I did however, do a LIVE on Facebook when I began the project. You can check that out here.
So I saw my “Christmas In Heaven” chair as a remembrance piece. I wanted to put pictures of Mom, my baby brother, and Grandma in the spaces between the ladder rungs. I knew I wanted some ribbon, silver bells, and some vignette shots for the silver frames.
I started by cleaning my entire piece with White Lightening by Dixie Belle, then sanding the chair with 220 grit sandpaper by hand because the wood was really soft. Normally, I use a detail sander, but I wasn’t sure about the wood because of the seat so it was better to be safe than sorry. Any time you aren’t sure, sand by hand. It may take longer, but it really is a better call in the long run.
On a side note, I had someone ask recently why clean and then sand. The answer is, if you sand first you sand all the grime, oils, and dirt down into the wood and then your paint doesn’t bond well. While it isn’t “required” to sand before using Dixie Belle products or other chalk paints, I always do because I have been at this for a while, and I would rather do it every time and only do the job once, versus skipping a step and then having an adhesion problem and having to start over. Always err on the side of caution when prepping to paint a piece of furniture.
Back to the chair. I chose Dixie Belle in Barn Red for my chair. I chose this for two reasons, the first is that this is the underlying color in all of my decor, the second is that I had it on hand and didn’t have to head out to buy anything…lol. It covered in one coat with just a few touch ups. Because the chair started black, initially I didn’t think it would, but once it was dry the coverage was better than it looked when it was wet.
Gussying it UP!
Does anyone say that anymore? I’m a southern girl, so we say it all the time here. Anyway! When the paint was dried I sealed it with wax after distressing it just the littlest bit. Yes I seal before I stencil or hand letter, and I will explain why in a moment. I couldn’t decide if I wanted to stencil, or hand letter the names on the rungs and the poem on the seat. The stencil decided that for me. You will notice in the photo below there are 2 different styles, I got the title line of the poem down with the stencil, but could not for the life of me get the other lines to come out right. So I just lettered them by hand. I actually think I did a pretty good job. It is in no way perfect, but I love that about it.
I used just white acrylic paint for the lettering. I personally have a heavy hand with hand lettering, meaning my paint is always thick. I use acrylic so that any huge flaws I can usually correct by just scraping the paint onto the letter. Another way to blend in little mishaps is to lightly distress your lettering. You cannot do this, however, if you did not seal between paint and lettering because the lettering paint will shadow your piece paint color or vice versa. This is not an easy thing to clean up or fix, so please please please seal your project before you letter or stencil it. Ok? Ok. Once you are done with your lettering and the paint is dry, I always seal with a Varathane Ultimate Polyurethane Crystal Clear, for this instance the matte finish. You can find it here. In my town I sometimes have to go through a radius of the same store working my way out until I find what I need in stock, so I have found it is easier to order ahead and just pick it up at the store for the same price as I pay if I go into the store.
The ribbon I had in a box, because I have more than one obsession….lol. Hobby Lobby is my happy place and I see stuff and cylinders start firing and before I know it, my crafting has taken over another part of my closet. Please don’t judge me…lol. So I have a ton of it, so I just went through my box. The frames and bells I got from Dollar Tree. I just picked my favorite shots of Mom, Howard, and Grandma. I had to edit them a bit in GIMP and then I printed them out and hot glued the ribbons to the top of the frames before I hung them. I just tacked them down to the ladder backs on the chair with a stapler. The very last touch was this vintage angel ornament I found at an antique store, Market on Central, in Belton, Texas for a buck! I attached it with E6000. The chair will probably be stored inside the house after the holidays because I don’t want it damaged.
I am in love with this chair. My daughter cried when she saw it, and my nephew proudly placed it right outside of his door. He wants to keep it out year round. We will see. I have a soft spot for these guys so he just might get his way!
That is how I chose to honor and remember my loved ones this holiday season. How do you honor those who aren’t with you anymore? If you have any questions or comments just leave them below and I will respond as soon as I can.
I do want to wish you all a Happy Holiday from my family to yours. I hope this New Year brings you all of the happiness and joy your heart and spirit can hold.
Until next time,
Olde Made New