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and We'll Carve Our Initials in a Tree...

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I have always been a little conflicted about the whole "carving your initials in a tree" thing. The environmentally conscious side of me hates the potential risk to the tree, but the sappy romantic side of me has always felt that there is something so inherently sweet about the idea of proclaiming your love on something that will most likely last much longer than you will. Declaring, for all the world to see, that you love that person and will continue to do so forever. I know it's usually done by misguided youth, but allow me my silly romantic notions. :-)





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Anyhow, I am working on creating an exterior gallery wall.  The side of our workshop faces the yard, and we have spent years trying to create a beautiful place to spend time. One space we have never really done anything with is this big blank wall. So I am intending to spend the summer making assorted items to place in this eclectic gallery wall. The atmosphere of our yard is heavily influenced by our setting in the woods, so I would like this collection to reflect a somewhat rustic feel.








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Today's project is the first item I have created for this gallery wall, and it goes a little way towards satisfying both of my sentiments regarding tree carving. Obviously a piece of cut wood is not going to survive anywhere near as long as a living tree, but no tress were harmed in the making of this item. :-)










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I started with a piece of wood from our burn pile. Wood carving is usually done on a smooth bark tree, but I absolutely love the texture of a sassafras tree so I tend to choose it for most of my projects.











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With all that texture I could not simply carve initials into the bark, so I started by sanding through the bark with my Dremel Rotory Tool to create a smooth space.


(Side note: I use my Dremel for lots of projects but it is too bulky for my hands so I use this style of Extension . It gives me far more control and dexterity with the tool and I highly recommend it if you like using a Dremel.)






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I wanted the space to be in the shape of a heart but I also didn't want it to be perfect so I just started to roughly shape a heart













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and then tweaked until it felt right. I love the colors exposed by sanding through to the actual wood.













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I decided that I wanted the initials burned in, rather than carved, so I used my Wood Burning Tool to create the letters. Again, I was not going for perfect because that wouldn't have felt authentic. I doubt perfect was really an option given my lack of wood burning skill, but it's easier to tell myself that I didn't want perfect.









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I think it turned out so sweet.













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I haven't hung it yet since it only the first piece,













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but this is the wall it will be sitting on.












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I will keep you posted as the rest of the pieces develop!












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Weekend Retreat- AKA Design



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