Monday, September 19, 2011

Starry, Starry Night

 For my part  I know nothing with any certainty, but the sight of the stars makes me dream.  
Vincent Van Gogh

What makes you dream?  What fills you with wonder?  What takes your breath away?  For me, it is the night sky filled with uncountable stars and planets twinkling in the inky blackness of nighttime.  When did I fall in love with the night sky?  In 1960 while traveling to Arizona with my family - I was not quite 12 years old.  We traveled all night and my dad was driving.  My mom and sister slept in the back seat while I stayed awake to keep my dad company.  We were traveling route 66 in my dad's first brand new car, his red and white 1960 Chevrolet Impala.  We had the windows down and the cool night air stirred something in me as I raptly gazed at the glory of the night sky.  If you have never been in the desert or far away from the city without all the lights interfering with the wonder of the night sky, you have not lived.   You have not experienced the night sky.  As long as I live, I will never forget that night as I gazed intently at the innumerable lights twinkling and flashing in the sky.  I started to count the shooting stars which flashed across the sky with regularity leaving glowing trails behind them.  Some were short bursts of light while others seemed to cross the entire sky.  I watched the changing positions of the constellations as we traveled, knowing this was a night I would never forget.  As dawn approached and the sky lightened, I was thankful that I had gotten to experience a most unforgettable night.

For those of you who know me or have been in our home, you know my love of stars, or the shapes we use to represent the heavenly bodies.  My home is filled with stars.  My son-in-love teases me about all my stars, but they represent wonder and awe to me and what inspires me.  To me, the mystery of the universe is just a reminder of where we came from and the place we will return to some day, becoming one with the divine.

The first picture shows a project I just finished for our guest bedroom and I chose a quote from Vincent Van Gogh about the stars.  We are all familiar with his painting Starry Night which is my most favorite painting.  Van Gogh understood the glory of the night sky and was able to express it in his painting in a truly inspiring way.  The wall hanging is from an inspiration I found on a blog site called The Lettered Cottage.   She took her inspiration from a picture in a Pottery Barn catalog and that hanging cost hundreds of dollars.  This one can be made for waaaaaaaaay less.  Check out her blog for some great inspiration.  As soon as I saw the picture of her hanging, I knew it was exactly what I wanted for the guest bedroom.  The wall had been empty since we moved here.  I just hadn't found the "right" thing to put there.

We made a trip to Home Depot to purchase the materials we needed for the hanging which is a take off of an antique drying rack.  We purchased two 1x2's and a package of lattice strips that are used for replacements when they break.  The lattice strips were 72 inches long and there were 10 in the package.   The 1 x 2's were 8 feet long which is enough to make the frame and he cut the lattice strips in half.  The materials were less than $15.00.

Dan built the frame which he made 25x36 with a reinforcement strip down the middle.  It looks like this.
Next, he cut the strips to the length needed to fit the frame (36 inches) and attached them with small finishing nails.  He pre-drilled the holes before hammering the nails in so the thin lattice strips would not split.

 We laid the strips out so we knew how many it would take to cover the frame and then he worked from the top and bottom edges to the middle so there would not be a gap at the bottom if the spacing was off just a bit.  We used a "shim" to measure between the strips so they would be evenly spaced.
 This is how the finished hanging looked before painting.  I chose a dark red paint for the color since red is the accent color I use throughout the little yellow cottage.  And, red just makes me happy.  It took one can of spray paint to spray the front and back plus the frame.  I did not spray it heavily as I wanted a rustic look.

After the paint  dried, I went over the entire surface with fine sandpaper because I did not want any shine to the paint and to give it an aged look.  The strips are 1.5 inches wide, so I used a 1 inch stencil to place my quote on the boards.  After deciding how I wanted the words to be placed so they would fill the space,  I went to work with my small stencil brush and white acrylic paint.
The first picture shows the guest room with it's fabulous new "headboard" of stars and a truly easy and inexpensive hanging that is very personal to me.  I am hoping our guests will enjoy the quote from Vincent Van Gogh and that they will dream beautiful dreams, finding inspiration in his words.

What makes you dream?  What inspires you?   What takes your breath away?  For me, it is the stars.

Everyday Donna

Things to Remember:

You may not be a Picasso or Mozart but you don’t have to be. Just create to create. Create to remind yourself you’re still alive. Make stuff to inspire others to make something too. Create to learn a bit more about yourself.” Frederick Terral

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