Then I found out that this technique is called the "Finnabair" technique, and there are oodles and oodles of videos on that.
Kinda pretty, huh? Here is a brief description of how I made this artwork:
First of all, I made the outside frame exactly like Einat Kessler, so you're going to have to watch her video to find out how I did that (easy peasy). Now, Einat was using a pre-cut diecut for her central image, and I didn't own that diecut. And I couldn't possibly order it and then wait for it to arrive, because I had to do this technique as soon as I could. It was calling to me.
Instead of using the die cut, I cut seven strips of chipboard and attached them to the back of the frame, three going vertically and four going horizontally.
I took some spackle and a swirly flourish stencil and put some texture on the frame. Now I was ready to embelish further.
This is where the fun began!
You know all those little bits and pieces that we all have collected over time? I had keys, flowers, buttons, brads, numbers, jewelry findings, pen nibs, washers, metal corners, tiny door knockers, etc., etc. I got out my hot glue and started gluing them down in the lower left-hand corner and the upper right-hand corner. No rhyme or reason, just gluing stuff down. Then I filled in the blank spaces with paper flowers.
The hot glue works incredibly well for this, BUT I had a lot of plastic "cobwebs." It's probably just me. I'm kind of messy when I create.
After everything was glued in place like I wanted it, I painted the entire thing with gesso. It was so white and pretty, I almost stopped there. But I didn't.
In addition to collecting bits and pieces and odds and ends, I seem to have accumulated various sprays, such as Glimmer Mists from Tattered Angels. I selected some colors, sprayed until I liked the look, and then stopped. I could have gone further and gotten a darker piece, but I really liked the look of the pastel colors on this one. My next one will probably be darker.
Oh yes, there will definitely be a next one.
This might be the biggest thing like this I've ever made. It's 12" x 12" - way bigger than a card. I usually just stick with the cards.
And now, for a story . . .
No, I'm not a hoarder. Not strictly speaking. I only keep those things which I absolutely, truly love. Unfortunately, I have many loves.
I didn't notice my collecting had gotten so bad until it was pointed out to me by a particular 15-year-old girl from the youth group of the church located near my home. In order to raise funds for their summer mission trip, the young people were canvasing the neighborhood looking for people to pay them for doing chores, either inside or outside the home. Mostly, they were looking for easy tasks that would yield a great deal of money from kindly people who admired their work ethic.
This particular 15-year-old (we'll call her "Emma") along with her friend "Polly" knocked on my door one Saturday morning. They were clearly apprehensive about approaching adult strangers, but they were quite polite and well rehearsed.
"Excuse me, ma'am" Polly began. "We're from the youth group at First Presbyterian Church just down the street. We're trying to raise money for our summer mission trip. Do you have any chores you would like for us to do for you? We can do weeding or housework, and we also have some guys in our group who can move things for you."
I hate housework so much. And I hadn't done any spring cleaning in more than a few springs. "Well," I began, "I would be happy to pay each of you $20 an hour for window washing and deep housecleaning." As I opened the door a bit wider to let the girls in, Emma's eyes got bigger. She leaned toward Polly and whispered, in a voice that was louder than she intended, "Hoarder."
"Hoarder?" I spoke aloud. I was shocked. I knew my home was a bit cluttered, but I couldn't imagine anyone mistaking it for a hoarder house. "Let me tell you something, young lady." But I couldn't really tell her anything. My throat was suddenly parched, and my next inhalation resulted in a dry, raspy cough instead of the barage of correction that I wanted to utter. I quickly backed into the house, closed the door, and went in search of water.
* * *
I didn't open that door again for days. I walked through my home again and again, back and forth, taking stock of all the stuff. There was no trash lying around like in some of the hoarder houses you see on TV, but there was too much stuff on every conceivable surface. And there were unopened boxes stacked almost everywhere, the tops of which created surfaces for even more clutter to be displayed.
I needed to do something - to get rid of some of this . . . stuff! But I couldn't bring myself to part with any of it.
* * *
About two weeks later I visited First Presbyterian Church and asked to speak to the Associate Pastor, who also served as the Youth Minister. She was a lovely young woman with an open face and friendly eyes. I knew instantly that she must be very popular with the kids.
"What can I help you with today?" she asked.
When I told her my name, where I lived, and the fact that I had been visited by two of her youth group members, she turned white.
"I am so sorry," she began. "The girls came back to the church and were very upset that they had said . . . what they said. They truly didn't mean to hurt your feelings."
"Well, they did hurt my feelings. But they also spoke the truth . . . somewhat," I couched. "I'm here today because I would like to hire your youth group."
"Oh," said the Associate Pastor. "To help you clean up?"
"No . . . I would like to hire your youth group to systematically rob me."
* * *
So there you have it, every Sunday afternoon for the past eight week, at precisely 4:00, I leave my home and am gone for at least a couple hours. While I am gone the First Presbyterian Church Youth Group breaks into my home (okay, they have a key to the back door), and steals from me.
At first it was quite painful to know that some of my stuff was gone (although I couldn't really pinpoint any specific missing stuff for a couple of weeks). Then I was numb for a while. I guess you could call it despair. I couldn't bring myself to call the church and bring a stop to this insanity. I mean, I was hiring churched teenagers to break a commandment - and I was paying them for it! This was too crazy.
And it was also too sad. By hiring the kids, I avoided taking responsibility. I avoided having to make hard choices. This was not something a truly mature adult would do. Plus I started really missing my stuff.
* * *
But now, several months later . . . now I have a ray of hope. The sunshine is beginning to come back and shine on my life. I see a light at the end of this very weird tunnel.
Oh, you think it's because I'm cured of hoarding don't you? Because I've learned to treasure people more than things, and I've learned to "Let go and let God" or some sort of vapid Facebook-esque life lesson? You are so smug.
No. I have seen a sign - a true sign! I am sensing hope and salvation because of the sign I saw in front of that beautiful church today. "Yard Sale - Saturday, 9:00 to Noon - All proceeds to benefit FPC Youth Group."
I'm going to buy my stuff back!
This is a work of fiction. Any resemblance to people living or dead is complete coincidental.