Thank-You For’s, Art Journal Page and Prompt

God gave you a gift of 86,400 seconds today.  Have you used on to say “Thank you?”

~ William A Ward

Years ago, when the oldest was a wee one, he liked to do a nightly prayer.  We would gather around the bed and he would go through obligatory “Bless my Mom, Bless my Dad” kind of prayers.  After a while, it turned into a chore, with the same thing being recited night after night and no thought or heart going into it.

Child number two was ready to join in about that time, so we changed it up a bit.  We started Thank-You For’s.

Neocolors, Acrylic paint, Martha Stewart Faux Glaze, home made stamps, Sakura Pigma Sensei 1.0 mm pen

The idea was that no matter how great or how tough the day was, we could come up with one thing to be grateful for at the end of the day.  We put no rules on it.  Just that we’d each come up with something to be thankful for, and we would each take a turn thanking God for it.  And each night, someone different would go first.

When kids number 3 and 4 came along, they would snuggle up with us on the bed and hear the whole thing.  Then when they were able to start expressing their own gratitude, they joined us.

We have had everything from Thank You For cartoons, cars and trucks, cookies, Mom and Dad, their siblings, clouds, and Santa Clause (the dogs get mentioned fairly often, too).  The thing that is constant is that we end each day on a positive, we make sure each day is ended with rejoice and gratitude.  The children are learning how to be gracious, no matter the current circumstance.  They are learning about prayer in community and being close to God as a family.

And we all go to sleep each night enveloped in the warmth and glow of family and love and gratitude.

Prompt: Work up a journal page, or even something larger, all dedicated to how you like to express gratitude, whether to God, or the Universe, or however you see things.  Showing gratitude regularly will help you keep your vision focused…and, think of it this way, don’t you prefer to continue helping those that show sincere gratitude?  

A bit of technique and medium love notes for you:

One fun technique I used on this page that you might like to try…I used Martha Stewart Faux Glaze (which I got from a paint store listed on craigslist that was closing, we got a whole bunch of stuff for FREEEEEE) and colored it with acrylic paint.  Both the bright green and the pink swirls on this page are colored glaze.  On a side note, the Martha Stewart glaze is only around 20 bucks for a gallon, sale price.  I think it’s around 30 not on sale.

For the green, I brushed some onto the page, and then stamped into it with a texture stamp.

 

The pink, I brushed it onto the stamp and then stamped onto the page.  After it dried, I used the heart stamp with acrylic paint stamped in the center of the uzumaki.  You get a different look from the direct stamping of the glaze compared to the relief stamping into the glaze.

DIY Stamps

I love using stamps!  I love them for adding little bits of interest.  I love them for texturing in art journal pages and on larger works.  I love using stamps on cards and on love notes for the kidlets’ lunches.

I used to use purchased stamps, but I always had a feeling of cheating.  I felt like I wasn’t really making my own art; I was just using someone else’s elements to play.  Not quite the same thing as making my own art, huh.  Then I saw somewhere on the interwebs a mention of using craft foam to make stamps.  My whole world changed.

It’s funny the things that become game-changers in your arting.  Sometimes I need to hear the idea before the possibility even occurs to me.  So I mentioned to the hubby that I would sure like to have some sticky-backed craft foam.  The next time he was out, he picked me up a huge stash of the stuff!  He is the most awesome enabler…

While I do make some more long-lasting stamps out of carving linoleum, today I’m sharing with you how I make quick and cheap and easy stamps.

Understand that pretty much nothing in the house is sacred if I’m needing a new texture stamp.  I’ll raid the kids toy box, I’ll raid the kitchen, I’ll raid the tool box in the garage.  I’ll use CD cases or lids from just about anything to be the base of the stamps.  I’ll heat up the foam and use jewelry or textured boxes for making texture stamps.  I have the kids draw me doodles to use for drawing out stamps.  Anything can be fodder for stamps.

The brilliant thing about craft foam (besides it’s cheap!) is that it’s smooth and easy to cut. You can use scissors or a craft knife to cut it.  You can make one whole piece or a bunch of little pieces, and then you can stick it onto just about anything to hold it together.  

Hint: I put my image onto another piece of craft foam, and then stick that whole thing onto my lid or whatever.  That gives it more stability and a better coverage when you stamp.

Heated foam with jewelry pressed into the foam, stuck on kids wooden blocks

Here’s a couple of stamps that my hubby made for me.  I was working on cleaning out several boxes of stashed stuff, and in the bottom was some loose jewelry pieces from long-ago broken jewelry.  Christopher used the heat gun to heat up the foam and then used the very textured pendant to impress the texture into the warm foam.  Worked awesome!

A stamp my 13-year old drew for me

Another fun thing to try is once you have your shape cut out of the foam, you can carve into the foam itself.  You can use a ball point pen, a nail, a craft knife, a piece of metal with an edge to it.  The cool thing is that it doesn’t take much at all, but when you add that to the foam, wherever you use ink (or a light app of paint), the texture won’t take the color and it leaves a texture in the stamp.

Here’s another example of a stamp that has a bunch of different pieces cut out and then used together as one big stamp.

Now I don’t have the whole cheating feeling.  I can look at any of my art and know that the whole thing is my work.  I realize that maybe nothing I make myself is really that original, but it’s still all me.  I take the time to make these stamps and I use them with paint or ink or embossing powders.  I use them in my backgrounds in my art journals and in my art pieces.  I use them as images in the art papers I make for my collage.  I use them as focal points on all kinds of stuff.

Hint: They do eventually deteriorate.  Enjoy them while you have them, but they won’t last forever!