Here we have the latest favorite spot to be in my house- the kitchen art table. It's always amazes me how such little things have such a big impact on our family life.
When Michael went to look at that table I found on craigslist, he called me to tell me it had a formica top. I said it obviously wouldn't work for a chess board, but he replied that it was a pretty nice table with two chairs for twenty dollars and we could probably find a use for it. I couldn't think of what we'd do with it but it was one of those times when saying, "Whatever you want to do, Dear," turns out to be a wonderful blessing.
So Michael brought home the table and that same evening as I was emailing back and forth with a dear friend she mentioned she was setting up an 'art table'. Just those two little words and I knew just what to do with the new table.
I put it right by the windows so we can paint by lovely sunlight. I added a 99 cent thrifted lamp for night time use, and Mary Rose said that's like painting by moonlight.
I've kept the supplies simple and uncluttered, just a cup with sharpies, pencils and brushes, watercolors, and a constant fresh supply of pre-cut ATC's ready to use. (artist trading cards are all the rage here right now, but that's a whole 'nother post) We have lots of other art supplies that live elsewhere and occasionally people bring other items to the table, but the basics are always there and ready to use. It's a pleasant, convenient spot to sit a spell and create some artwork, and having such a lovely spot and supplies always available is very inviting. The weather has been very hot here so we've been spending most of our time indoors and our little art table gets used numerous times a day by artists young and old. Thanks for the inspiration, Heather!
In other news, Josiah is hosting a Shakespeare themed ATC swap. We have been hooked on ATC's ever since the Marian swap in May, (and hooked on Shakespeare for a whole year now) and we've been having great fun making and trading cards. You can peek at our cards from our family Shakespeare swap, and leave Josiah a comment or drop him an email to join his swap. (While you're over there check out his post on categories of literary characters - he collaborated with Lydia, Anna and Mary Rose on the post and illustrations and it cracks me up every time I read it.)
I promised my brother, (who loves wood as much as I do - our father was a carpenter), that I would blog our new chess board. Chess is presently quite popular in my house, but having broken the glass set after it was used as a prop in filming, the children were using an ancient set of plastic and cardboard (gasp). Anna Ruth had a birthday coming up, so I suggested a nice chess set would be a most welcome gift. Behold her cake (the handy galloping white knights have been dubbed 'Mr. Pye' in our house):
I was inspired by this post about a DIY chess table, as it used stained squares rather than piecing the wood. I even found a little table and chair set on craigslist, but alas when Michael went to get the set he realized the top was formica and thus not suitable. Running out of time to find a table, the guys set out to make a wooden board.
Michael purchased an inexpensive 1 x 4' pine stair tread from the hardware store, cut it precisely in half, and carefully glued the two pieces together with wood glue to make a 2' square. Jonathan used a metal carpenter's square to draw the squares and then burn them with his wood burning tool. Michael applied the stain to the squares - Minwax golden oak and mahogany- using a small paint brush. This was tricky business, but the burned lines help keep the stain from running into the adjacent squares as it tends to seep along the grain lines. Michael recommends using a small brush with little stain (not dripping wet), starting at the center of each square, and practicing on a scrap piece first.
After Michael completed the nerve wracking squares, Jonathan went to town with the wood burner doing the decorating. He chose Beowulf as the theme.
He took his inspiration from the illustrations in Ian Serraillier's version of Beowulf. We have Grendel with his captive, Beowulf's horn, the swan boat, the stolen cup, the whale, pine trees, the harp (he hated the sound of the harp), the huge hall (with gleaming roof) of Hrothgar King of the Danes, the lake monster, the proud-antlered deer(not drinking from the lake), a vague head of noble Aeschere, the dragon and his cave, the watchman and his hut, and the tower (where Beowulf's father sits).
After he finished all of the illustrations with the wood burner, he added the stain to the outer edges of the board using the same two colors, dark for the land and sea and the light for the 'sky'. Michael then topped it all off with several coats of wipe on poly.
We also followed the cue from the DIY post and ordered the pieces from wholesalechess.com. We were delighted when they arrived to find they matched the board fairly well, and we got the perfect size - 3 3/4" kings for our 2 1/4" squares.
We think it came out awesome. And needless to say our enjoyment of the game is greatly enhanced by this most unique piece of craftsmanship.
Here they enjoyed feasts and high fellowship, Story and song and the pride of armed peace. But away in the treacherous fens, beyond the moor, a hideous monster lurked, fiend from hell...
Remember, O Christian soul, that thou hast this day, and every day of thy life: God to glorify - Jesus to imitate - The Angels and Saints to invoke - A soul to save - A body to mortify - Sins to expiate - Virtues to acquire - Hell to avoid - Heaven to gain - Eternity to prepare for - Time to profit by - Neighbors to edify - The world to despise - Devils to combat - Passions to subdue - Death perhaps to suffer - Judgment to undergo.
Thanks for stopping by! My name is Kimberlee. I am a Catholic homeschooling mother of seven children ages 11 - adult. This is my place to share all these things I treasure, and ponder in my heart.
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