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June 2006

Joseph came for a two week summer visit in June of 2005, wanting to do a project. Jenna had already said she wanted to come over and do a project, too, so naturally Nana was thrilled! I had several possibilities for them to choose from, and they decided on little shadow box houses.

Their first efforts were in sanding. I gave them large emery boards - rougher grit on one side, smooth on the other, and they went out to the back yard to get busy with stage one.

Although fairly early in the morning, it was already pretty warm and they moved over into the shade. The heat didn't seem to deter them too much, because they just sanded ...

and sanded ...

and sanded some more. They spent far more time than I would have and had their houses with almost satin-smooth finishes. In fact, they found sanding so exhilarating that they sanded houses for me, Joel and Laura, who would be coming for a visit later in the summer!

"You know, Nana," Jenna said, "Someday you could sell these when you're old and make some money."

"Yeah," Joseph added, "For food!"

Trying out the can to make sure it would still spray. Just don't get it on that rock wall, okay?

Papaw came out to give a little lesson on using a spray can. Too bad he was standing in the shade so we couldn't see his handsome face up close.

Now we're getting there. Joseph has finished with the back and is about to get the inside sections covered. Not bad, but, "It makes our fingers sore, all this spraying, " they say.

Just need to get that last little spot. Jenna painted hers pink ....

Well, that was the end of the shadowboxes for the summer, however, as we all got busy doing other things during the visit. Joseph took his home, with the idea that he would fill it eventually. For some reason, Jenna's wound up staying here with me - until she came for a visit recently when my husband was adding some new sections to our side fence.

After helping him paint some boards, she came inside and said, "Nana, I sure would like to paint something."
"Well, what sort of something?" I asked.
"I don't know, just something."

As I searched through my stash, my eye fell on the pink shadowbox she had painted the previous summer. "How about this?"
"Great! I'll fill it with clouds and put summer stuff in it, maybe."

She used two shades of blue for her background, then dry-brushed white on top for the clouds. Frankly, it didn't look too hot to me initially, but she was supremely confident. I asked her, "Would you like to paint the bottom green for grass, or maybe brown for dirt, and then add your summer stuff?"

"Nope, I want it all clouds."

Well, okay. I pondered how in the world she was going to fill the boxes if there was no "ground" to set things on, but I have learned not to push. "How about using some stickers?" I asked.

"Aha! Stickers! Perfect!" she said.

"You know, I sure like these angels," she said.

"Look; here are some more you might be able to use," I said.

And at that point, we looked at each other and she cried, "Clouds! Angels! I'll make an angel house! Yes, it will be a Heavenly House."

Searching my stash revealed several little items that might be possibilities.

"How about musical instruments?" I asked.
"Sure," she agreed. "Think about all those angels up there playing flutes and harps!" Counting the sections of the box, she chose what she wanted to use from among the items. I recommended that she test fit until she was satisfied before gluing anything in place. "Good idea, Nana."

We test-fitted several of these small Christmas ornament angels that I have had for many years. The only place big enough was the peaked section at the top. She wanted to use one playing a harp, but it was just too big. Since the angel she decided upon looked a bit tarnished, Jenna said, "Maybe we could paint it and then throw some glitter on."

We decided on a gold leafing pen, foregoing the glitter for this time.

This worked very well; really perked up that rather tired angel.

No need to paint the back, I commented, since it wouldn't show.

For the dimensional clouds, we used quilt batting. This was the first time she had realized how strong batting is if you try to tear it the wrong way. I showed her how to manipulate it to pull it into filmy wisps.

Let's see how this is going to work as dimensional clouds. Great, we agreed.

Here she has added a star in one section, and is adjusting clouds in the next one. She filled all the sections except the very top, then we quit for the day.

This is the first row. The little musical instruments were either mini tree ornaments or tie-ons for Christmas packages; I forget which. That's a French horn on the left. The shooting star was among glue-ons from the scrapbooking section.

The center angel is a sticker. Rather than have the stickers go directly on the wall, I suggested she use dimensional mounting tape behind them, which gave more of a 3-d effect. Although it's difficult to see here, there is a small sticker angel face with wings in the far right section above the horn.

The middle row.

And this is the bottom row.

"You know, I really don't like this pink," Jenna said the next morning. "It doesn't look right for an angel house." I agreed, and got out the glossy white paint and a sponge brush.

Almost there!

Oh, that is looking much better, I agreed.

I had also waked up that morning thinking about a collection of bangle bracelets that I have been keeping as part of my Cheap Thrills stash. And what better than a halo to top off a Heavenly House!

Not long ago, my good friend Pat said that Jenna reminded her of a Botticelli angel; I agree. How appropriate that she made this Heavenly House!

And here is our Botticelli angel, just before she left for home with her newest project.


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