Tuesday, December 4, 2007

Rockin' with Santa at Christmas

The theme for the White House Christmas tree this year is U.S. National Parks. While my latest project did not depict a national park, I used rocks from my park-like property in the state of many national parks (Colorado) to create unique Christmas decorations and gifts.

Santa, Christmas, ornaments, painted rocks
Santa Painted Rock Xmas Tree Ornaments


My hand-painted rocks depicting smiling Santa faces are unique, unconventional ornaments for a tree trimming party as well as a one-of-a-kind addition to a wrapped gift in addition to a festive bow.




painted rocks, Santa, rock painting, Christmas
Painted Rock Sitting Santa 




Sitting Santa is a whimsical, hand-painted holiday decoration. He is also a great Christmas gift and will brighten the winter garden of a favorite gardener on your Christmas list.





To see more of my unique, one-of-a-kind, hand-painted rock Christmas decorations based on Lin Wellford's designs, visit High Plains Critters and He is my Rock.

Monday, November 26, 2007

Traditional Christmas Gift Nativity Set




I wanted to make my own stable to accompany the hand-painted rock nativity sets that I've been painting as Christmas gifts.

On a recent trip to my local craft store, I found an object in the unpainted wood department I used as a stable for my painted rock nativity. 

Here are the steps I followed to create my own nativity stable:
  1. The unpainted, wooden letter/key caddy was rotated so that the arched back now became the stable's floor
  2. Brown acrylic paint mixed with water was applied to the unfinished wood with a rag, followed by a coat of gloss sealer
  3. Thin wood chips were glued along the front sides of the rotated caddy
  4. Thicker wood chips were glued to the top of the rotated caddy to embellish the roof of the stable
  5. A thin layer of glue was painted on the floor of the stable and natural moss was then attached
  6. A large wooden star was painted silver; gold glitter paint was added for highlighting
  7. The star was attached to a slim wooden stick and glued to the back of the stable

The before and after picture shows the finished stable. Note that the rounded back of the unpainted letter/key caddy became the floor for the stable.



For another variation of the DIY stable, I removed the star and used a Mother and Child painted rock.




This DIY stable was made using a small wooden letter/key caddy. The craft store also carried a larger caddy that would be suitable for displaying larger or additional nativity scene figures painted on rocks.

Now my painted nativity rocks have gone from being a traditional Christmas gift to a traditional Christmas nativity scene.

See more nativity set display ideas.

Monday, November 12, 2007

No Room at the Inn

I've had a difficult time finding stables to use with my hand-painted rock nativity sets. Most times, I could only find complete nativity sets which included the figures along with a stable. Hobby Lobby, a wonderful craft store, does sell separate stables but they are quite pricey.

I've often mentioned to friends and family how much I like Wal-Mart because I always find what I'm looking for at a price I'm comfortable paying. Wal-Mart did not let me down in my search for a stable to use with my hand-painted rock art nativity figures. For one-third the cost of Hobby Lobby's version, Wal-Mart came through with a larger yet simpler stable for my needs.

Thanks to Wal-Mart, my hand-painted rock art nativity figures won't be left out in the cold.

painted rocks, nativity set, stable, Cindy Thomas
Painted Rock Nativity Figures in Store-Bought Manger Scene Stable

Monday, November 5, 2007

Rock Candy

When painting (or gifting) small rocks and stones it is important to keep in mind that young children and nursing home residents may mistake the brightly painted rocks as candy and attempt to eat them.

painted rocks, food, realistic
Painted Rock Hamburger & Pickle Look Good Enough to Eat

Some of my nativity sets feature Baby Jesus glued to a piece of bark which makes the piece slightly larger and less appetizing. The bark also becomes a unique, natural manger.

Remember to always consider the possible recipient of rock art paintings; bright or realistic painted rocks can be deceiving.

Monday, October 29, 2007

Holiday Cheer

In anticipation of the Christmas season, my rock art painting has included Santa faces, nativity sets, and snow-covered houses.

The nativity rocks have been so well received, that I now have a website to showcase and purchase them - http://www.uniquenativitysets.com

The most difficult part of painting rock nativity sets is finding rocks with the correct shape and proportion. Animals such as sheep and cows are also rock art paintings that will accompany some nativity scenes.
These rock art paintings are a great religious gift for friends and family and can be used with the recipient's existing stable.

Here's a short video of rocks being transformed into a nativity set.

Monday, October 22, 2007

High Plains Critters

In addition to painting animals, pets, houses, and flowers on rocks, I've put together a website to feature and sell my creations.

The name of the site is, High Plains Critters, (http://www.high-plains-critters.com).

On the site, you'll see rocks painted as birds, cats, gnome homes, snakes, fruit, Halloween ghosts & pumpkins, and Christmas nativity sets.

Stop by for a visit and see the creative things that can be done by painting on rocks and stones.

garden, decor, buildings, gnome homes, painted rocks
Painted Rock Gnome Homes used as Garden Art Decor

Monday, October 15, 2007

Healing Art

The cute critters that I’ve created from painting rocks and simple stones bring smiles to everyone who sees them, especially my mother and her visitors at the nursing home.

My Mom looks forward to receiving a small package in the mail containing a new critter. Whenever I paint a large piece (which is too heavy for my frail mother), I also paint a smaller one weighing a few ounces which can fit in Mom’s hand. She adds each animal, flower, pet, or house to her collection which is kept safe in her bedside drawer. She brings out her rock art gifts of animals, flowers, pets, and houses for visitors; they know to ask her about any new pieces she’s received.

The routine and boredom of nursing home life is broken by a simple rock that has been enlivened using artful painting techniques. Hopefully, the painted rocks and stones bring smiles to everyone who sees them and assures my mother of how much I care for her even though I live thousands of miles away.

Friday, October 12, 2007

Stone Cold

It was very hot in southeastern Colorado this summer but I kept cool with my rock painting craft.

One day I was absorbed looking for rocks and picked one up that felt so hot I could have fried an egg on it. OUCH! However, rock art painting turned the stone into a decorative winter house featuring snow on the roof, windows lit with warm light, and a festive wreath on the front door.

My shelves also filled up with ghosts and pumpkins in anticipation of Halloween and the crisp Fall weather.

ghosts, pumpkins, candy corn, painted rocks, Halloween, rock painting
Halloween Ghosts, Pumpkins, & Candy Corn Painted Rocks
Once the rocks were painted and sealed, I rubbed my hands over the cool, smooth finish. It’s hard to imagine what was once a simple, cold, hard stone, is now a cute, decorative object begging to be touched and displayed.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Little Critters

rock painting, painted rocks, critters, animals

Here's a sample of my early rock animal painting projects - a collection of little stone critters.



Practice Makes Perfect

It’s been several months since I picked up the hobby of rock art painting. True to the saying, “practice makes perfect,” my skill level has increased with each cute animal, flower, house, and pet that I’ve painted.

I’ve also gotten better at picking out rocks and stones that are suitable to become rock art paintings. Simple, smooth stones are definitely easier to paint than pitted rocks. Smaller stones are more difficult because more precision is required.

Going to the arts & crafts store is more meaningful because I now have a purpose for being there - discovering creative ideas to support my specific hobby of rock painting.

Friday, March 2, 2007

The Joy of Giving

I've very recently discovered the hobby of rock painting and my home is now filled with rocks painted as butterflies, ladybugs, cats, kittens, penguins, frogs and snakes. As each rock is transformed into a critter with its own personality, I am tempted to keep it all to myself. But then I remember, "It is more blessed to give than receive."

My mother, who resides in a nursing home in Ohio, has received a butterfly and ladybug accompanied by the sentiment, "let's fly away from here." A frog is on the way to her and she's requested more butterflies.

My neighbor, who oohs and aahs over each new piece, has received a cat that she proudly displays on her entertainment center. We are walking buddies and she has helped me choose rocks for future projects.

My sister-in-law, who recently shared that she collects emperor penguins, has received a hand-painted penguin rock and was surprised and thrilled.

Thanks to Lin Wellford, who has shared the art of rock painting in her well-written and illustrated "how to" books, I am able to transform lowly Colorado river rocks into artwork that brightens the day of my family and friends.

What do I get out of sharing my High Plains Critters? The joy of being a blessing and brightening someone's day.