Monday, February 10, 2014


The first ornaments I made when I had my own tree after my move to Oregon were small painted wooden ones. My painting wasn't perfect and the ornaments were rough. But, there are a lot of them! And they are varied and cute small additions to the tree. They are always the last ones I put on, filling in any open spaces.

 In 1988, my mother in law Jane Cunningham painted a set of ceramic ornaments for us. She was a patient and precise painter. They are beautifully painted, smooth and finished with a nice shiny glaze. They are some of my favorites; I'm very protective of them.

I finally got to my painting this week. I had a kit with a dozen wooden cat ornaments. I chose my favorites - I really don't need 12 on the tree - and set off to paint them. First step sandpaper - a step I left off on my earlier ones. I sanded the edges quite a bit and the face lightly, so as to not sand off the design lines. I think I could have been more aggressive on the surface.

One thing I learned from the directions on this set was to take a piece of brown paper bag and rub the painted surface after one coat dries. The first coat seems to look rough until this is done. My last step was to put a coat of varnish on them. This makes them look much more finished than my early ones did. My biggest problem: eyes!

As I went through my ornament kits (which I have NOT put a dent into yet) I found a ceramic santa. I thought it would be a quick and easy extra. The three dimensional ceramic shapes are much easier to paint - instead of lines there are defined indentations for different colors. And they are smoother and look less "rustic."

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