I love decorating for Christmas. Every year I love to pull out all of my previously used decorations and try to either use them in the same way I did before or move them around the house to different areas or mix them with different things. I do have a lot in storage bins and so I restrain myself from buying a lot of new decor every year by limiting myself to one new thing per year and getting rid of at least one thing per year.
This year I realized what I wanted to add to my decor when my mama asked me if I wanted her to bring me something from Portugal. Unfortunately, my grandmama passed away recently at the delicate age of 96 and as she was living in Portugal, my mama and papa went back to attend her funeral and be with family. While they are there, they are noticing that being there during this Christmas season is very different than being there in the summer and so I realized that they would maybe see different kinds of decor that we don’t have here, especially in a different language. I thought of maybe a banner or a type of sign that would have holiday greetings on it in Portuguese. Little did I realize how difficult that would be.
My mama reported back that she was having trouble finding anything that wasn’t in English. Most of the decor she was finding was mass produced and all with such sayings as “Home Sweet Home”, “Merry Christmas” and “Happy Holidays”. Not exactly different from here!
Don’t get me wrong… I love my birth country of Canada and feel so lucky that my parents chose this country to come to and to start a new life in. I never take that for granted and there is a reason (many reasons!) why I continue to live here. However, the longing for the lifestyle, the charm, the wine and food (definitely the wine and food!), and the culture of Portugal is always in my heart. This is what we call saudade.
And so, feeling frustrated and wanting to have at least one piece of Christmas decor in my native language, I headed out to Michaels determined to just make my own.
I found this lovely unfinished hanging wood star in the Christmas crafts section, and because it was Black Friday weekend, it was 50% off. So for a mere $7.49 I picked it up with the intention of painting it and then adding some festive words to it somehow. While I wandered around the store I found a pack of adhesive foil letters for $8.99 in the appropriate size for the star so I bought those as well with a 60% off coupon.
I knew I already had a collection of colours of acrylic paint at home that I had picked up at Dollarama before. However, I couldn’t remember if I had a nice glittery gold paint so I picked up this Craft Smart metallic paint in Bright Gold while at Michaels for only $1.79. I also had a pack of foam craft brushes at home that I knew I could use to paint the star.
First I gave the star a light sanding just to make sure there were no rough spots or edges. After cleaning the dust off with a cloth, I gave it 3 good coats of the Craft Smart metallic gold paint, letting it dry in-between each coat.
At this point I could have scuffed up the paint a bit with some more sanding if I wanted an even more rustic look. But looking around my home, I knew it was rustic enough just with the fact that you could still see the wood grain through the paint. We tend to prefer more clean lines and looks and so I thought that just some nice gold paint and white letters would go nicely with our decor.
With the star painted, it was time to figure out how to put a nice holiday message on it. I lined up the adhesive foil letters on the star and realized that although it was a simple solution, it really made the star decoration look cheap. I succumbed to the fact that I would have to do some hand painting.
Thinking back to tricks I used wayyyyyy back in elementary school, I first looked up some fonts on my laptop and printed them out the right size I would need. (I used Zapfino in 100pt) I then cut each word out a little smaller so that I could figure out the placement of it on the star.
I then used a pencil to shade or colour in the back of the letters so that I could use those pencil marks to transfer the image onto the wood star. Once I was done colouring with the pencil, I flipped the page back over right-side up and used two little pieces of tape to keep it in the right spot on the star.
Then I carefully traced and coloured in with my sharp pencil the whole word that I had printed. This made the image transfer through and onto the star.
I proceeded to do the same with the second word.
Once the words were both transferred, I used a very thin brush and the white Crafter’s Acrylic paint to paint in the lettering. This took much patience and a steady hand, and it’s not exactly perfect, but it looks pretty good from afar! Just don’t get too close! LOL
The wooden star comes already with a hanging twine at the top, so you could hang it on the wall easily. But for now, I like the look of it on my mantel.
And by the way, “Feliz Natal” is Portuguese for “Merry Christmas”!
I love how simple this was yet so meaningful! Have you made any homemade crafts for your Christmas decor? Share your ideas in the comments below… I’d love to hear about them!