Flabbergasted: verb: Surprise (someone) greatly; astonish, mystify.
I suppose to some using the word "flabbergasted" in a holiday greeting would seem odd. In our family though, it makes a lot of sense. I don't normally share many personal photos or stories here, for me this blog is just about the art, but in this case, you need to know the story to understand the art.
Year before last, my youngest daughter Emma (now 6) got a glow-in-the-dark skeleton from her trick-or-treat bucket. She loved that silly little rubbery skeleton and played with it all the time. When we were decorating our Christmas tree that year, you could see she suddenly had a bright idea. She got super excited and ran to her room. She came back with that little skeleton and announced that she wanted to hang it on the tree. We tried telling her no, that you don't put skeletons and Halloween stuff on Christmas trees but she insisted. She said that Santa would be "flabbergasted" when he saw it. She wanted him to have a surprise and wanted to make him laugh and she was sure that seeing that skeleton on our tree would do the trick. Who can argue with that? So we obliged.
That little skeleton hung there and glowed among the lights and ornaments and gave us each a giggle as we walked past. The anticipation of what Santa would think made Emma so excited for Christmas. She kept asking us all what we thought Santa would say and if he would laugh.
When Emma went to check out the tree on Christmas morning she was surprised to find a note from Santa telling her how flabbergasted he was. She was delighted and so proud that she could surprise Santa and make him laugh.
When it was time to pack the tree away, she insisted the skeleton be put away with the ornaments, that Santa would expect to see him on our tree next year. And so last year when it came time to decorate the tree, the little glow-in-the-dark skeleton took his place front and center among the more traditional ornaments and again, we all giggled at the sight of it there.
And so the tradition continues that we hang that skeleton on our tree and anticipate the giggles and surprised responses from all who see it there. I think even more than what it means to Emma to give Santa a good laugh, it means a little something more to us. It is about the magic in a little girl's heart in wanting to give something back to Santa and that we should all take the time to be flabbergasted with the wonder and joy of the season more. Sometimes it takes something simple like a little rubber skeleton to remind you of that.
So now, a few details about the project. . .
The base of the project is a piece of patterned paper (Tim Holtz Vintage Shabby Paper Stash) adhered to a piece of Grungepaper. I stitched around the edges and then inked them with Ranger's Archival Jet Black. This was the ink that I had sitting out on my desk but you could use any. I rubbed on a light layer of Clear Rock Candy Distress Stickles to the background paper to give it a frosty look.
I ran a thin piece of silver metal through my Vagabond (ohhh how I love this machine!) in the Holiday Words Texture Fade. I used an assortment of green alcohol inks to ink over the surface in a couple of layers. I then added a layer of Red Pepper randomly over the top of greens. Once they were dry, I rubbed my Jet Black Archival Ink Pad directly onto the raised surfaces of the metal. I love the effect that creates because it really defines edges on the embossing, removes some alcohol ink, and also deepens some of the existing color. Once the ink was dry I filled the recessed areas with Star Dust Stickles. Once dry, the metal piece was adhered to the paper/Grungepaper piece. I added a few Tiny Attacher staples to each side as embellishments.
I adhered a seasonal Tim Holtz Salvage Sticker to a piece of Grungepaper. I sanded the edges and inked them with the Jet Black ink. For the journaling strip, I typed my phrase on a scrap piece of Basics Manila paper using my typewriter. I adhered it into a Tim Holtz Memo Pin which was tucked into a cluster of flowers (Petaloo) and greenery (snipped off of a wreath in my house). I added a line of Star Dust Stickles along the top edge of the sticker and journaling strip to make it look like ice. I added a few light touches of Stickles to the greenery and flowers for a frosty effect.
The skeleton is plain white cardstock that was embossed with the Halloween Night Texture Fade. I rubbed the surface with a Adirondack Brights Citrus Dye Ink Pad. After cutting out the skeleton I added a second layer of ink to deepen the color and also cover any excess white that showed after cutting him out. I then used a piece of Cut-n-Dry Foam dabbed in the Jet Black Archival to add a few bits of shading to him.
Each element is adhered directly to the base at the bottom and then lifted off of the base up above with adhesive foam squares and strips. I really love using adhesive foam pieces because they create so much dimension in a project.
I hope you have a wonderful and beautiful holiday full of magic, wonder, and even some flabbergasting laughs!
- Paper: Tim Holtz Vintage Shabby Paper Stash; Grungepaper; BasicGrey Manila Basics 6x6 paper pad
- Sticker: Tim Holtz Salvage Seasonal Stickers
- Embossing Folders: Tim Holtz Texture Fades Holiday Words and Halloween Nights
- Metal: Making Memories Slice Thin Metal Sheets for Embossing
- Alcohol Inks: Willow, Lettuce, Meadow, Pesto, and Red Pepper
- Ink: Ranger Jet Black Archival , Adirondack Brights Citrus Dye Ink Pad
- Stickles: Star Dust and Clear Rock Candy Distress Stickles
- Embellishments: Petaloo Velvet Poinsettias; Tim Holtz Idea-ology Memo Pins
- Tools: Tiny Attacher, Alcohol Ink Applicator, Vagabond
- Adhesive: Helmar 450 Quick Dry (embellishments); Super Tape (metal to paper); 3D Foam Squares and Strips