Yeah. I had to do it. My mantel wouldn't have been complete without it. At least that's what I kept telling myself.
And then, when it was done, I was justified. Even hubs likes it. My sister-in-law embarrassed me with her fawning over it. I still stand in front of it and sigh over a craft that actually turned out exactly how I saw it in my head. I also patted myself on the back for not trying to add more to it. Less is more, Carrie, I kept telling myself. Less is MORE.
Oh, how I love you, Mr. Less. You now live on my mantel. In the form of this:
So, here's my thought process towards this...'cause I know it's been your heart's desire to get into my head. *Ahem.*
I have loved all the "Believe" signs, blocks, Christmas frames, etc. But I always wondered...believe in what? Santa? The spirit of the season? And what is the spirit of the season for you? Giving? Getting?
And then, I saw somewhere that the "Believe" signs actually originated as an effort for people to "Believe" in God, His Son, the Savior of the world. Now that was a wagon I could hop on, peeps!
So, I have to be different and specific...so I made it say "Believe in Bethlehem." And then drove the point home with putting my favorite nativity set on my mantel. My mom pain-stakenly painted that nativity set when I was about 6 or 7 and I remember watching her, fascinated by the meticulous care she was giving it. Joseph has black hair-like my dad. Mary has blond hair-like my mom (except when she dyes it) and the baby Jesus has brunette hair, just like all us kids. It was always at a place of honor in our home during Christmastide (I did that just for you, B). When my sister was old enough, she set the figures out and I always secretly would move them where I thought they should go. When my sister moved out, I received the honor of setting it up and would still move the figures when I was bored of where they were, or played out the story in my mind that the wise men maybe were sharing the position closest to Jesus. They were taking turns giving their gifts, see???
Yeah...I told you that you'd be inside my head. Do you like it here? Kind of scary, huh? I know.
So, here's how I did it. Took a $3 picture from Goodwill. Painted the frame black, took the picture out and spray painted it red. Yup. I did. Right over that picture. Sorry artist...whoever you are. Then, I printed out the saying on the computer in my favorite font and made sure I liked how it fit on the, now red, picture. By the way, it took three coats.
I used a number 4B pencil (did you know pencil numbers mean something? The higher the number, the softer the lead...the better and darker the shading when you're drawing). Anyway, I rubbed the pencil over the backside of the writing and then flipped it over to where I wanted it on the red and used a #2 pencil (harder lead, lighter color) to trace over the letters. When I was done, I had "Believe in Bethlehem" in dark gray pencil on the red. Then, I took white paint and a decrepit paint brush (I really need to invest in new ones) and very carefully, painted over the writing. Once. It did not come out very white.
But that's okay because I knew I had a secret weapon (glitter) and that the first time tracing something is the hardest. Once that paint was dry, I took to doing a second, thicker, coat. After each letter, I sprinkled my secret weapon on it and then tapped it onto a paper. Then, I moved on to the next letter. I had to do one letter at a time because I didn't want the acrylic paint to dry before I had the chance to glitter it. The big "B's" I had to do in three steps because of all the swirls.
Then, I put that red picture with "Believe in Bethlehem" back in the now dry frame...and WAH-LAH!
I love it. LUUUUUUUUUUUUUVE it. It's the perfect symbol of our faith during Christmas and a good witness to all that walk into our house that we believe in Bethlehem and that Christ is truly the reason for the season.
I only wish I had about five of those beautiful mercury glass candle holders so I could put some on each side that are taller than what I have there now. I think they'd reflect the lights on the mantel so perfectly and add some height to the sides. But, I'll probably wait until the day after Thanksgiving or after Christmas to get some. They'll be cheaper then, you know.
Oh, yes...remember these balls?
Well, now three of them are snow balls. They look good enough to eat!
And just so you don't think I've completely forgotten about Thanksgiving, I made these cookies for Noah's teacher:
Brooke and I actually made more than these, obviously, but we were doing it for four teachers. See??? I haven't forgotten about Thanksgiving! Completely.