I've been putting off this project forever (okay, about 8 months). Ever since coming back from Mexico, I'd been dying to try out something I'd seen down there in the kiosks. Since my husband is able to create steel dies that cut wood, I asked for his help in putting into wood what I'd envisioned in my head. He obliged.
I finally got around to painting it tonight. Can you guess what (or who) it is?
Since this was only a test piece, scrap wood was used. However, even being scrap wood, the puzzle pieces came out just as I wanted them to! Each piece is 3/4" thick, so they're super durable. Vince has already chucked pieces across the room for kicks and nothing split or cracked (aside from the slight crack that was there to begin with). I though that was a good sign, especially since we'd only used scrap wood!!!
For reference, this is what 3/4" of an inch looks like:
Anyhow, the naked pieces have been sitting on my counter just waiting for me to pick out the perfect colors. I finally did so tonight because with the oncoming snow, I figured a crafty activity would keep me occupied. Here I am about halfway through the process:
To get some of the colors juuuuuust right, I got to try my hand at mixing. I wanted a subtle rosy pink for the cheeks, but the red I had was too dark and the white didn't help, so I added yellow and got precisely what I wanted. I felt all sorts of artsy!
I must've painted each piece about five or six times. Wood absorbs paint like you wouldn't believe, and I wanted certain colors to REALLY stand out (like that gorgeous cobalt blue).
Besides, I don't mind if things take longer to do if they come out looking nice in the end.
The halo might've been one of the more time consuming parts of the project because wanted to use special metallic paint to highlight some of the rays. To ensure I didn't make a total mess of things, I taped off lines for myself:
It definitely looked a bit silly at the time, but I was so happy with the way it turned out.
Definitely worth the agita of fighting the tape.
All in all, it took me about an hour and a half to paint everything. I used a hair dryer at some points to help the paint dry faster (so I could paint facial features, for example). Otherwise, I just spent my time sanding, painting, painting some more, and taping off things here or there.
I used a different brush for each color because I didn't want anything getting mixed that I wasn't mixing on purpose, ya know? The sponge tipped brushes worked best on the wood to give it a smooth, even coat. The fine-tipped brushes were perfect for the details. I'm really happy with how the final project turned out. Have you guessed who I was painting?
I haven't sealed it yet, but that's because I want to wait overnight to let everything really dry thoroughly.
Now that I know I can actually paint these pieces and have them look like a cute facsimile of Our Lady of Guadalupe, I'm going to have John make me a few more using non-scrap wood. He'd know the best kind of wood for a project like this, so I'll defer to him, but I wanted to share with you folks because I'm just so pleased with how she turned out.
I'm contemplating painting other versions since this is such a basic design. Suggestions? Thoughts?
I'm also thinking about coming up with other designs - specifically ones that involve the Holy Family. I've always liked those Holy Family images with St. Joseph basically encompassing Our Lady as she cradles the Infant Jesus in her arms... something like that.
So, that was my craft tonight. Any ideas on which version of Our Lady I should try next? I'm very open to suggestions!
Vince had a rough day at school yesterday. As a result, he was punished by not getting a story before bed. That's the deal. That's always been the deal. He's always known this was the deal.
That doesn't stop him from complaining and whining and trying to weasel his way into getting a story before bed, though.
So after his bath, the whining started. "But Mommy, I'm really sorry. I've been really good tonight, right? I'll be good tomorrow, too!"
"Vincent, you didn't listen at school. If you don't listen in school, you don't get a bedtime story. You know that."
"But I've been good all night!"
I started getting annoyed, but as usual, a quick tap on the shoulder reminded me I sometimes sound an awful lot like that.
How many times have I pushed off prayer or good deeds or something because I could "get it all in" later? Heck, all throughout college, I figured I didn't even need to go to Mass or anything because I'd eventually become one of those little old ladies stooped over in Church after the "good part of life" was behind me.
I need to be CONSISTENTLY GOOD. I can't just rack up points "at the end" because, in truth, no one knows when the end is. God doesn't ask us to listen to him "at the end." He asks us to listen to Him always.
Just some food for thought I ended up chewing on.
About a week ago, I watched a documentary about the Vatican. Originally, I thought I was sitting down to watch a special on art at the Vatican. I didn't realize I was about to embark on a much different special.
As it turns out...
So instead of enjoying an eyeful of incredible Renaissance art, iconography and history, I was doused with the cold reality of the underbelly of the Vatican's dealings with pedophilia, homosexuality, and politics.
In truth, it only took me a few minutes to realize I'd made a mistake, but I figured I may as well take what I could from it since the other documentary wasn't on Netflix.
This Frontline documentary was a narrative of those in our Church hierarchy who have actively worked to cover abuse, grab political power, or utilize their prominence for activities that would shame Nancy Pelosi.
Anyway, this was basically one long description of the worst of the worst in our hierarchy.
Heaven help us, we certainly have our fair share of sinners. This piece certainly highlights that. However, the documentary also highlighted a bit of dogma I suspect its editors would blush to admit shines through the filth.
You see, even though the interviews, video clips, presented documents and other evidence stack squarely against the virtue of the Church (for good reason in some cases), the documentary acknowledges that the last few popes (in truth, all of them) have not come from the same mold as those railed against in the film.
In fact, it almost seems as if our pontiffs have been antithetical to those who hide in the shadows of our Church looking to grab power that doesn't belong to them.
Of course, that is how it should be. Christ promised that He would not abandon His Church. He would not allow the gates of Hell to prevail against Her. He would not allow His cornerstone to fail. Thus, He sent His Spirit to protect and guide the Chair of Peter, and there the Spirit has remained, actively frustrating those who would see the corruption and fall of the Church.
Over and over this became apparent as the documentary led deeper and deeper into the embarrassing shame some of priests harbor. I took this as a reminder of how necessary it is for us to pray for our priests. Oh, pray for them! They need our prayers!
So, too, do the victims of our Church. While it's true we have helped so many, we can't let ourselves think that somehow makes up for the souls we've hurt through our own sin.
I ended up getting so upset by the end of the documentary that the only solace I had was the fact that Christ had so obviously not abandoned us to ourselves. The Holy Spirit was and is still very active in our Church, and no matter how hard this documentary tried to hide that, the Light of Christ shone through. I imagine the editors would blush to realize that was the end result of their video. So yes, while they acknowledged the sinfulness and vulnerability of some of our hierarchy, they also upheld dogma and highlighted the support of Christ through His Spirit and the special protection the Chair of St. Peter has. They don't chant "Come, Holy Spirit, Come" for nothing during those Papal conclaves, folks!
When I explained to John why I was so emotional at the end of the video, even he reflected for a minute with a "Hmmm... interesting."
Happy New Year, folks!
On Monday, I went to my 12 week appointment. It was the first time I was able to hear my baby's heartbeat. I'd seen it flickering on the ultrasound monitor, but Monday was the first time I heard that blessed noise. In truth, the fear of miscarriage has always been something I struggled with, but with this pregnancy, I truly believe everything will be okay. With the amount of Divine Providence I've seen at work, I have faith that He has every intention of seeing this child in my arms.
I tremble at the thought sometimes, because I can't help but feel I'm not worthy of such a gift. But again, gifts are not given because one deserves them. Gifts are given because the giver (in this case, THE Giver) wills that they be given. So I am trying my best to accept every aspect of this gift (nausea and back-pain included).
However, there is always that moment as the doctor presses the doppler to my tummy that all the universe seems to hold its breath with me. I try so hard to block out the buzz of florescent lights, the thunder of my bated heart, and the frigid gel that causes a shock of goosebumps to scream along my arms and neck. I try to block out those sensations because I vainly want to hear the whir of life within me. As she presses the doppler further into my abdomen, fear inevitably tries to smother my anticipatory joy.
There will be no heartbeat. God realized His mistake and took this one to Heaven, too.
Shut up, fear. Shut up.
She's pressing further because she can't hear anything. There is nothing to hear. You'll have to tell everyone what a terrible mistake you made in sharing the news. You've failed again.
Shut up, fear! SHUT UP!
She's moving the doppler side to side. Nothing. Nothing, nothing, nothing. You --
*Heartbeat - glorious heartbeat*
And the fear flees as fear always does in the face of Truth.
My abdomen pulsed as I tried not to cry out my emotion. My doctor kindly pretended not to notice, as I'm sure she does every time a new mother reclaims her breath.
That 15 seconds was the first of many, many more. There will always be fear. Vince is 5 years old, and not a day goes by where I don't struggle against the fear that I'm not doing enough, educating him enough, BEING enough for him. I have no doubt that will extend forever and always until - together - we all enjoy Heaven.
Myla is the only one I do not fear for as I know she has beaten us there.
And that's okay. As a parent, it's part of the deal. :)
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