Archive for the ‘General Crafts’ Category

Here are some lovely pictures of the Camptaylor family’s  work with glass plate painting and candle decorating:







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More images will be added to this post over time.

Matthew’s Moses dividing the red sea.


Palamia’s Serpent from Genesis.


Matthew did St. John the Baptist, Michael did one monk and one St. Anthony (with a little help).


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The kids loved making stepping stones. It was like decorating ‘mud pies.’ We first tried it with concrete, but then learned that Sackcrete sand motar was identical to the hobby store stepping stone mix ($4.95 for a sixty pound bag at Lowe’s verses $6.50 for an 8 pound box at Michael’s). Concrete works, but because it includes gravel, it is much more difficult to press letters in that can be clearly read. It also has a different texture. We also discovered that the aluminum tins were good for only two stones each at most. I have since bought the cheapest cake pans available at Walmart (around $2.50 for two). They are sturdy and we can reuse them as much as we need.

Anyway, here are some pictures of the stones made this week:


Each child made a ladder and a wee folk doll (the younger children had quite a bit of help). Here is Palamia with hers:


And then we experimented with Sculpy clay on river rocks (that I also purchased from Walmart in the same section, floral and vases, where I purchased the small stones and glass gems for the stepping stones). There are more done, but it’s too late to upload those pictures tonight.


I can’t wait until we can begin building our garden trail.

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Building our ladders:

We have found a simple solution to building ladders that won’t require my husband since it still will be sometime before he is home from his latest trip. Honestly, I should have scheduled the last week of August to begin this, starting with learning about the Ladder of Divine Ascent then, and using that time to start our journals, build ladders, etc. As it is, we are using our evening family time to get these extras done. At least the kids are enjoying it when Daddy’s gone!

To build our ladders (each child participating are building their own), I bought 8 36″x1/4″ square dowels at Home Depot. They were $1.45 each. I then bought one package of 150 count Mini Craft Sticks (2 1/2″ x 3/8″) for $1.44 at the Super Walmart. Each child then took two rods and evenly places 30 sticks on it. Either they or I (depending on age) glued the sticks to the rods using wood glue. The ladders were done last night, though the listing of steps still needs to be done. The simplest way to do that, probably will be to write on them directly with permanent pens. I hope to get that done tonight. Then each of the participating children will make a little “Wee Folk” acorn capped doll that will be used to climb the ladder and show where we are in our studies each month.

Building our stepping stones:

If you buy stepping stone materials at a craft store, which is what I did for our first stone, it can become quite expensive, particularly if a number of stones are to be made. My children really like the idea of decorating their own stones. So I have found far less expensive materials to do it. I bought an 80 lb sack of premixed concrete from Home Depot (I will post a picture of it later to show brand name). It was just over $6. It is enough to make many, many stones. It is my intent to come up with a recipe that fits each of our stepping stone moulds, and to post that later. I bought inexpensive 8″ diameter foil cake tins at Walmart. A package of 3 cost $1.17. It will be used as the stone mould. And rather than buying the teeny and very expensive bags of mosaic material used for stepping stones at the craft store, I purchased larger bags of colored glass and rocks used for filling glass vases for flowers at Walmart. Their prices ranged from $1.88 to $2.97 per 2 pound bag. I have also been collecting old colored dishes purchased inexpensively at Garage sales, that will be broken into mosaic pieces for stepping stones and mosaics. If you can find a tile place that will let you have their scraps, that would be a good alternative too. For the lettering, I did purchase the press-in stamps at a craft store for around $6. But you could use a stick and write your own letters if you want to keep costs down. For me though, because my writing isn’t that great, it was a worthwhile investment.

For our virtue journals:

We are using chalk pastels, again available at larger Super Walmarts, to color the background. A 25 color set cost $5.77. The kids draw some lines with one or several colors, then smudge it in with a small bit of tissue. I then spray it with a matte acrylic spray outside to preserve it.

I do have a collection of nature stamps that they used and ink pads. Those are not cheap however, though you could always use nature printing instead to cut costs (find interesting leaves outside, or cut vegetables, ink them and stamp with them). They did a background layer and then stamped some leaves and natural objects on top of that. I did pick up some nice stickers at the craft store a while back that they used on their front covers. But Walmart did have some less expensive nature-theme stickers that the children may use for the inside pages. 

I will post pictures later of some of these items and our finished projects as they are completed.

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I intend to upload a number of pictures today of dishes members of our family have painted. We are using a combination of Delta iridescent and opaque PermEnamel paint. The effect is really beautiful, with colors shimmering and shifting as the light changes. Unfortunately, it is difficult to catch in pictures. We purchase the platter ($4.50), dinner ($1.50) and salad/dessert ($1.00) size clear glass dishes at Walmart. We draw the outlines with black Glaze Jelly Roll Pens on the back of the plate (the side that does not come in contact with food). We paint highlights with the transparent iridescent paint first, and then once it dries, we paint over it with opaque colors (paint the more intricate details first and then the broader colors afterward, remembering that the first painted layers will show up over what is painted behind it when looking from the front/unpainted side of the dish). We are also using Krylon Metallic gold leaf and copper leaf pens for details in the cross. The Delta paint set provides a clear protective glaze to paint on after we are finished with the colors. We are also spraying the backside (painted) part of the dishes with Krylon Triple Thick Crystal Glaze (available at Walmart and elsewhere) to further protect it. To learn about what we are doing, look at the post below: Biblical Fruit Dish.

Large biblical fruit platter (olives, almonds, wheat, figs, dates, pomegranates, grapes):



Small salad/dessert plate done by 11 year old son:


Dinner plate size dish done by 13 year old daughter:


Dinner size paschal dish (we use this same design for our stenciled Pascha basket covers)


More pictures will be added as dishes are completed.

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A while ago, we visit an Ancient Treasures exhibit in Plano, Texas. In the gift store, there were some beautiful pieces of contemporary Jewish art. One of the items available was a painted glass dish for the Jewish feast of Pesach (Passover). It had images of biblical fruit around the perimeter and the Hebrew letters spelling Pesach in the center. Why not make something similar for our Pascha? It is a dish that also could be used for the blessing of fruit during the Feast of the Holy Transfiguration.

This week our family is taking it easy with school and we are doing some crafts. One craft we have been doing is painting on clear dishes from Walmart. Here is an example using a Walmart platter (between $3-4) and Plaid sampler stained glass paint (available in any craft store):


Each of the fruit are found in the Bible: pomogranates, dates, figs, wheat, almonds, olives, and grapes. Unfortunately, the Plaid glass paint is not dishwasher safe. The painted surface is at the bottom of the dish so food won’t come in direct contact with it. But it would be best used as a decoration or for dry food like fruit. In order to protect it further, I am spraying the back of the plate with Krylon Triple-Thick Crystal Clear Glaze (also available at Walmart).

We are working on a second dish that will hopefully be more usable using Glaze Gellyroll Pens for outlining (which forms a durable embossed line) and Delta PermEnamel glass paint (which is dishwasher safe). With the Delta glass paint, if you want a translucent effect similar to the Plaid stained glass paint, you need to use the transparent and iridescent color sets.

Here is a pdf of an image that can be printed and sandwiched between two standard sized glass dishes found for $1.50 at Walmart (you outline on the bottom of the upper dish and paint it while the lower dish holds the printed image close to the curved surface of the upper dish): cross02.pdf

Be sure to “scale the image to fit the media” when printing so that it fits the entire page.

To see more painted dishes, click here.

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There is a family in our parish who soon will be baptized into the Church. The mom and children were here today making their baptismal candles in preparation. Some of our own children worked on making Paschal candles at the same time. We had a lot of fun.

For the baptism candles, they rolled white honeycomb beeswax and then glued on an icon of their patron saint using a glue stick. Afterward, each child cut pieces of candle Stockmar Decorating Wax to decorate.

For the Paschal candles, an icon image of the Resurrection was glued onto a beeswax dipped candle and then they were decorated.

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