I was excited for this week's challenge for several reasons. The first of which is that Tri-Bee is the sort of pattern I am intrinsically drawn to, so I was eager to try it.
Here are my two tiles, both drawn on 3x5 cards in brown micron and shaded with on of the kids' colored pencils.
OK, they're a little busy. :) I didn't bother with a string, and I rarely know when to stop, so I just went with it!
Other tangles include stipple, sand swirl and diva dance. I guess I was going for something of a sea-shore feel for the second one. It was also here that I realized that Tri-Bee reminded me quite a bit of ALAURA, 'though I found Tri-Bee much easier to draw. If you zoom in you can see I did some of the hollow leaf thing that I really like in ALAURA.
PS: I think one of the reasons I immediately liked Tri-Bee is because thethe central bit reminded me immediately of the Klingon Symbol from Star Trek. See what I mean?
So, here's the second reason I was looking forward to the challenge this week:
We tangled a shelf this week!
It all started when I randomly chose a slightly different route home last Tuesday which took us past a neighbor giving away this bright yellow particleboard shelf.
Since it was just around the corner, the kids and I went back on foot to pick it up. Of course it weighed something like 35 pounds and was awkward to boot, so I had reason to regret not using the van before we had it home, but we made it in the end!
James (6) immediately had it claimed for his semi-covered outdoor "fort," and before long had me convinced that it ought to be painted. Yellow isn't really my color and we had 6 gallons of leftover house paint in the garage, so I let him talk me into it. Although even now I am asking myself "How crazy was I to let three kids ages 6 and under use latex paint on a large project?!" Sure enough, Lucy (2) spilled a bowl-full on her (thankfully bare!) legs, and everyone else was liberally splotched. But again, we made it in the end.
Somehow we waited a couple of hours for it to dry before we pulled out the oil-based paint pens. (I picked up a set of 8 store-branded ones in white, black, silver and gold at Michael's last Christmas for about $8 with my coupon, and boy have I had my use out of them!)
My plan was to make a "string" of sorts on each shelf and then assign it to one of the older two kids. And this was indeed how we started out: a series of 4 linked inch squares for James and a giant flower for Grace (4 1/2). I claimed the top of the shelf for my own. James' interest lasted a lot longer then Grace's: he put in several 10 to 45 minute sessions over several days and ended up claiming the bottom shelf as well, whereas Grace was done after 30 or 40 minutes the first day.
Both allowed me to add to their designs (in James' case, actually demanded that I draw certain designs for him to color in), and I was actually quite pleased with how Grace's free-form gold flowers turned out after I added some black highlights.
We're having a fantastic early autumn, weather-wise, so we were able to work on the project outside on the porch every day. There was one side-panel left for "Tri-Bee" this afternoon, and then I sealed the whole thing up with some polyurethane - since we are planning to keep it in a semi-exposed location outside.
Here's the project as a whole, followed by a collage of highlights
I'm really excited about the whole project. It turned out looking really quite good considering the age of the artists, and I am sure we'll all have happy memories whenever we see it over the years.
Here are a few things that I learned, however
1) Your surface needs to be Really clean and you will probably need several coats of latex paint to truly cover an item like this. We certainly scrubbed before painting, but could have done more. And when tangling, there were any number of places where the blue paint started to peel off when we drew on it. With some caution I was able to stop these from getting worse, but it was tricky.
2) Oil-based paint pens are Fun! There's no way in the world that Sharpies or anything else water or alcohol based would have worked on this project. The surface was too rough and the texture was just wrong. Still, they take some care and feeding especially on a surface like this. I'm afraid my tips were getting pretty shredded by the end, and the kids regularly needed me to help them get the paint flowing again. I used the smooth inside of the case I stored them in to get them going when they'd start to fade or scratch.
This was a great project, and I highly encourage others to grab the bull by the horns and pick a low-risk piece of furniture for a test bed and just go crazy. I'm already looking at a few of our other pieces around here with an acquisitive eye - I think the cheap black Ikea Lack table may be next! :-D