be the change…

the other day, my dear friend angela called me with a special request. a beloved friend of hers, ashley, lost her battle with sarcoma cancer in october of 2011. with the help of the community foundation of boone county, they have put together a  scholarship fund in her name. to help raise money for this, there will be a dodgeball tournament and silent auction/cash bar event this saturday evening.

angela asked if i would be willing to donate an art item. of course! at first she suggested just picking something from my stash of items from my craft fair days, that perhaps didn’t sell, or i wouldn’t be heartbroken getting rid of. i was very open to that suggestion, because yes, i have quite a few things that need to be removed from my house! and also because you all know how i am about finishing projects on a deadline, lol.

after looking through my collection, there was really only one thing i thought might be good enough to make the cut. awhile ago, i had a groupon for wine and canvas. i really just wanted to try the experience. we painted “modern monet water lillies.” i love the way it turned out, and hung it for awhile in the craft room, but i don’t think it’s something that will have a permanent place on my wall. i sent angela a picture and asked if it was ok. (you can tell from the pink ribbon in the corner that this was also for a cancer awareness event)


she said she thought it might be something a little more unique…in my usual style.

which is perfectly fine. i was just thinking more from a business aspect than a creative one. i love making cutesy tutesy things, but i don’t know how many other people are necessarily in the market for that, or have the same taste as me. i just wanted to donate something that would actually raise money for the event, because after all, that is the whole purpose right?!

angela told me that one of ashley’s favorite quotes was one from ghandi, “be the change you wish to see in the world.”

“my artistic process” usually starts with a quote, so this was a wonderful inspirational springboard.

next, i try to think of one simple image that can portray the meaning behind the words. i like to use my cricut cutting machine if i can, so i lugged out my cartridges for ideas. one of my favorites is “give a hoot.” it has cute little woodland animals, and a lot of “save the earth” type pictures. there were two options i thought would work…a globe tied up with a bow, or the earth in the shape of a heart.

not gonna lie, sometimes i cheat. i did a google image search and found this precious little guy:


so now i had the quote and the idea…i needed my color scheme. that was easy enough, because i have a whole pinterest board for occasions like this. i was able to quickly scroll through and pick one. (it obviously had to have some shade of green and blue in it, for the globe.)


i usually make these types of things on wooden blocks, that can be hung, put on a bookshelf or mantle, displayed in/on a coffee table or desk, etc. here are a few past examples i LOVE. in fact, i have only sold a few and kept most of the others. don’t tell! lol. i just love how they are so unique and versatile.

you can see some of them here and here (scroll all the way to the bottom for this one)

but this time, i wanted it to be a little bigger, and a little more special. i decided to use this cool cut out i was saving for an IU/hoosier themed wall decor piece. hopefully they still have more, because i loved this project and definitely want to make something for myself now! 🙂 lol


i also wanted to make it a little more chic and less “scrappy.” i remembered a background image i had previously favorited on flickr, and wanted to try. perfect opportunity!


i had everything i needed to get started, and figured i could go ahead and make a tutorial while i was at it!

so, here goes…

first, trace shape on large sheet of paper. cut shape out and fold in half, and then in half again. trim shape down, in order to use as a stencil.

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trace this new, smaller shape on a sheet of paper with text. i used pages from an old book, but you can use newspaper, phone book pages, etc. as you can see, i had to glue two pages together so it would be wide enough.

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mix a little gesso and water. add just a few drops of desired paint color. you don’t want this to be too thick or dark, or the text won’t show through.


after it is completely dry, (i use a heat gun because i’m impatient, and that is why you will always see my paper has curled around the edges), water down a second paint color. either use a stencil, or free hand large circles in a general pattern across the page. this step doesn’t have to be perfect, but you should try to space the polka dots evenly to make it visually pleasing, and also so it fades into the background and doesn’t distract from the foreground.

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while you are waiting for that to dry, paint the wooden shape. do not water this paint down. you want it to be nice and dark. i did three coats. i also did not care about making the front perfect, because i knew that most of it would be covered with the paper. i did make the edges and back pretty though.


you can also cut out your shapes using the cricut, and assemble them. this is where things got tricky. i did not like the owl at all, i thought it looked kind of freaky, so i decided to scrap it altogether.


usually, i freehand the text, to give it a unique handmade touch. however, after writing it out perfectly with a paint pen, i wanted to set it so nothing would happen to it. i sprayed it with a fixative i always use, and it was ruined 😦


therefore, i had to do some quick thinking. i thought the polka dots behind the globe was too overwhelming anyway, so i salvaged the good half of the background i had taken SO LONG creating, and added a plain, solid color for the other half. i also had to rethink my letters. this time i used a stencil for the word CHANGE to give it a pop of the melon color i had planned on using for the owl, and also to emphasis that part of the quote. i then stamped the rest of the quote. (a trick i use for stencils, is to turn it over and trace them on the back of the sheet. this way, when you cut them out, you won’t have any remaining pencil marks that you have to fuss with.)


lay out your letters before glueing them down, to make sure they fit, and you have the placement as you like. during this step, i couldn’t get the letters to fit with the globe any way that was acceptable to me. i finally decided to change the orientation to portrait vs. landscape, and was very happy with that idea.

i glued down my image and my text.

once everything was nice and dry, i glued my background to the cut out. i put glue on both the paper, and the wood. i also used a brayer (roller) to make sure everything was nice and flat, and to ensure that no bubbles will pop up later. i also took a picture at this step, just in case something went horribly wrong again, so i would have proof that i actually did try, lol.


once i was happy with everything, i put a top coat/sealant on, to protect my work, and rolled the heck out of it! after letting it dry for a good long while (i did some laundry, dishes, cleaned the craft room, and a few various other things too) i flipped it over and attached a picture frame hanger. (which was quite the challenge because the nails that came with it were about 1/2 a cm tall.) i also put my signature on the back just ’cause 😀

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so, it didn’t turn out as i had originally planned, but it rarely ever does. plus i think i am more happy with it this way. it’s my own original idea, i didn’t have to end up copying, and i put a lot of time, effort, and energy into it. pretty pleased for the most part. i sure hope someone at the auction will be too and purchase it for bucu bucks bwahahahaha.


this post has been in the works for days. it’s a pain sending all these pics from my ipod to my computer, saving them all individually and then inserting them as i go. i’m exhausted, but it was worth it. i also got to cross the first item off of my ongoing list! 🙂

and the best part is that i finished on time lol. i will be delivering this to ang on my way to work at a bright and early 6:30 am. i will have to ask her how much it goes for and let you all know.

❤ xtina

*dedicated to ashley*