I prayed for this child, and the Lord has granted me what I asked of him." These are the words of Hannah, mother of Samuel. Samuel was one of the High Priests, but he was also a prophet and the last judge of Israel. At God's command, he anointed Saul and later David as king. Prior to the conception of Samuel, Hannah suffered with infertility. You can read about her struggles in 1 Samuel 1:1-20. She was so distraught she refused to eat during her family's yearly sacrifice at Shiloh. Instead of feasting she fervently prayed, asking the Lord for a son and promising to devote him to God all the days of his life. When the child was weaned, Hannah presented him to High Priest Eli so Samuel could serve the Lord in the temple. You can read about that in 1 Samuel 1:21-2:11. Why do I tell you all this? Hannah asked God to give her a child. Toby and I asked God for both of our children. We struggled with a season of infertility before the birth of Phoenix. I can relate to Hannah when she said "I prayed for this child, and the Lord has granted me what I asked of him." Since I so desired these two beautiful children, you'd think all my days mothering them would be like a dream come true. NOT!
Some days are difficult. Some days they do nothing but bicker. Some days one of them throws screaming tantrums in public places. Some days they refuse to pick up after themselves. Some days they completely overlook all the cool activities I plan and focus instead on one or two things that they cannot do. Some days I wake up cranky and exhausted because one (or both) woke me up a couple of times in the night. It's not always a walk in the park. On those days, I need a reminder. Something to help me shift my focus from the annoyance to the blessing. Something to remind me that I did indeed ask for this and I really enjoy being Mom. So I painted my canvas to serve as this reminder.
Here's how I made my painting. I must warn you, I am not an artist. I'm probably using some very poor techniques. But if you want to make your own little 'reminder painting', you might be able to follow these steps and get similar results.
1) Cover the crafting area with newspapers. You'll thank me for this later. Whatever color you want to use for the letters, paint the entire canvas that color. Even paint the sides of the canvas, but don't paint the back. The class I recently attended by Paint the Towne instructed us to paint using criss-cross brush strokes.
2) Allow this layer of paint to dry completely. The brush I was using continually shed bristles into my work, so I threw it away and got a new one to use. Using a ruler to create a straight line, arrange letter stickers on the canvas to create the desired message. I didn't draw a line on the canvas. I just laid the ruler across the canvas while I placed the letters on top.
3) In theory, when you paint over the stickers they resist the new layer of paint. This keeps the canvas concealed by the letters the original shade of paint. It doesn't work perfectly, but it does work. I painted a purple-blue over the entire canvas, letters and all. Again, I used those criss-cross brush strokes.
4) When the top layer of paint dries, you pull of the letter stickers to reveal the underlying paint. I peeked before the blue paint was completely dry. From my experiences, the stickers came off easier when the paint was slightly damp. The stickers that I left until the paint was completely dry were more difficult to remove. I also painted a little red heart.
5) I peeled off all the little stickers and put a second layer of red paint on the heart. As you can see, the stickers do not repell the top coat of paint perfectly.
6) I decided to touch up the yellow paint on the letters. I used a very tiny paint brush with a very fine point. Some places I had to go over twice. It was tedious, but worth it. Kind of like raising kids sometimes!