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  • Coloring a Father's Day Frame

    Touch Dad's heart when you make a simple wooden frame an extra special remembrance by decorating it with coloring book pages and other embellishments. Dads have special places in our hearts. Kids share special moments with their dads no matter what the age of the child or father. Dads fix things. Through many electrical, mechanical, artistic or scientific projects, creations or experiments, dads are there. If they can't fix 'stuff', they are there standing by your side. Dads are the best support to help mend broken hearts and thwarted dreams. Nothing says, "Thanks Dad, you're great!" better than a handmade gift that is full of memories.

    Begin by thinking of things that you as a family, or individual, have enjoyed doing with your dad. Your special times could be based on a theme or an event like camping fun, or relaxing on a vacation. Once you have an idea in mind, choose the pages you would like to color from one or more of your favorite coloring books.

    For my two themes shown, I imagined family-time spent relaxing at the beach or in the woods. My coloring pages are from two books from the Color Art for Everyone series, 6703 - Ocean Wonders Color Art for Everyone and 6704 - Natural Wonders Color Art for Everyone. The frames I chose to decorate were unfinished wood frames with flat surfaces. I decided to paint my frames first and add the coloring pages to enhance both the frame and the memory of the photograph it would hold as Dad's gift.

    A plain wooden frame painted with acrylic paint, a wooden anchor, and colored pages from 6703 - Ocean Wonders Color Art for Everyone. A plain wooden frame painted with acrylic paint, a wooden anchor, and colored pages from 6703 - Ocean Wonders Color Art for Everyone.

    As I was coloring, it dawned on me to add more than colored pages to give my frame extra dimension, as well as, personality. I added some other embellishments including a wooden anchor and letters, stickers and other shadowbox or scrapbook dimensional embellishments perfect for father's day.

    A detailed close-up of the painted wooden anchor. Silver gel pen ink is applied over the paint in small sections; while wet, the ink is spread using a dry stiff bristle brush. A detailed close-up of the painted wooden anchor. Silver gel pen ink is applied over the paint in small sections; while wet, the ink is spread using a dry stiff bristle brush.

    I needed to finish my prepping and gather the rest of my supplies for father's day: three colors of acrylic paint, a sponge brush, acrylic spray sealant to use on the completed colored pages, Mod Podge® for adhering my colored pages to the frame, and E6000 glue for the wooden pieces. Now it's time to color!

    A close-up showing the colored waves cut out from page; deciding on placement of overlapping layers. A close-up showing the colored waves cut out from page; deciding on placement of overlapping layers.

    For the ocean waves, I used lots of markers in multiple colors. Sometimes I colored sections in solid marker, in other areas I used markers with colored pencils. The use of different media, in addition to the change of colors between blue and green, helps to give the waves movement. I cut the waves out in sections and overlapped the sections when I was adhering them using Mod Podge® to the frame. To give more emphasis to the ocean's depth, I added fish and seashells near the top of the coloring book page's waves and the edge of the frame. The solid blue color of the frame is still the ocean's water, it's just not as defined as the waves seen at the bottom of the frame. The anchor reinforces the idea of the bottom of the sea.

    The silver gel pen ink has been completely applied to the top of the anchor. The silver gel pen ink has been completely applied to the top of the anchor.

    When looking at the leaves, I wasn't sure how I wanted to give some of the leaves more "pop" than others. I wasn't pleased with the brown oak leaf because it seemed too dismal even for fall. I left it alone and started on another area in the picture. It was after I started on my second leaf that I decided to give the effect of the leaves moving in the wind by using highlighters. Why highlighters? Their colors are not as bold or opaque as the other media used. The colors of the highlighters will lend continuity to the theme, but appear secondary to the leaves colored with markers or gel pens.

    I grabbed a green highlighter and quickly drew horizontal lines randomly spaced across the page. Then I used a yellow highlighter to color only the background spaces. I think this added the perfect depth of field for the leaves which I was coloring with markers and gel pens. I found a sleeping bag sticker in my stash which I thought was perfect for a woodsy theme.

    The second plain wooden frame painted with acrylic paint, a wooden letters, stickers and colored pages from 6704 - Natural Wonders Color Art for Everyone. The second plain wooden frame painted with acrylic paint, a wooden letters, stickers and colored pages from 6704 - Natural Wonders Color Art for Everyone.

    I cut out a few leaves and placed them over other leaves as if blowing or falling around a campsite. I am glad I didn't throw away that brown oak leaf with orangey highlights; it became the perfect counter-balance to the orange sleeping bag in the frame's adjacent corner. A lightly colored leaf was a great backdrop for the dark blue painted wooden letters; they are glued using E6000 and Mod Podge® painted over all.

    Here is the Mod Podge® used for this project. Please ensure that you choose the correct sealant for your individual projects. E6000 is an industrial strength clue used to adhere the wooden anchor and letters in each of the projects. Here is the Mod Podge® used for this project. Please ensure that you choose the correct sealant for your individual projects. E6000 is an industrial strength clue used to adhere the wooden anchor and letters in each of the projects.

    What fun I had coloring and building my themed frames! There are multiple steps, but many individuals of different ages and abilities can participate. Experiment with using the Mod Podge® over markers. I did NOT use permanent markers.  Because I used both markers and pencils, I did lightly spray my page with an acrylic sealant (NOT pictured) before using Mod Podge®. I did notice some of the markers colors smeared a bit [I think I forgot to spray my fish with sealant!], but the blue of the waves did not appear to bleed or blend like water color paints. But be cautious if you used markers to color your picture using light and dark colors.  TIP: Always read the instructions for your products carefully; a well-ventilated area is a must!

    All done with the frame's embellishments -- now to choose the picture. All done with the frame's embellishments -- now to choose the picture.
    Frame ready for its photograph! Frame ready for its photograph!

    Here they are; photographs inserted into finished frames. What fun the steps were as I created the backdrop for images of fun times; the frames only enhance such great memories!

    Cooling off; even a beautiful day at the beach needs some out-of-the-sun time! Cooling off; even a beautiful day at the beach needs some out-of-the-sun time!
    The fresh air is great; relaxing by spending time outdoors with family! The fresh air is great; relaxing by spending time outdoors with family!

    I hope to do more mixed-media projects like this one in the future. Share some of your ideas on our Facebook page. Don't forget to join our Color Art for Everyone  Facebook group; great ideas and encouragement are found there. Enjoy your days and memories spent with Dad; Happy Father's Day!

    Martha

  • Mother's Day Coloring Book Paper Cookie Box

    Mother's Day is fast approaching and many of us want to remember, honor, and give thanks to our mothers, other family members, friends and neighbors. You may want to express a special 'thank you' for their shared love, care, or mentoring.  A small gift from the heart is like sharing a piece of you; it is the perfect remembrance. The love of coloring can be shared by both artists and non-crafters alike by making this box out of coloring book paper as part of your Mother's Day gifts to give.  So please share your love of coloring and say thank you to those special people in your life. Here's to passing on some extra motherly love!

    To make this simplified version of a paper box, only a few supplies are necessary. I got my inspiration from posts on Pinterest. I liked the visuals found in Design Mom's post, Paper Plate Berry Basket. To construct your box, you will need:

    1. Coloring book paper (8.5" wide), one page per box
    2. Pencil
    3. 8" Plate (to use as your circle template)
    4. Scissors
    5. Cellophane tape

    To decorate the box and make it look like a gift, you will need:

    1. Coloring instruments (colored pencils, gel pens, markers, etc.)
    2. Tissue paper
    3. Ribbon or bow
    4. Gift tag (or make one out of leftover paper scraps)

    Remove your coloring book page from its book. Color page if desired using your favorite media; see some of our newest coloring supplies! When finished coloring, turn the page face down. Using the plate as your guide, trace a circle shape onto the paper; then, cut out the shape.

    Using an 8-inch plate as my template, I traced circle shapes onto the back side of various coloring book pages. Using an 8-inch plate as my template, I traced circle shapes onto the back side of various coloring book pages.

    Working with the circle cut-out, gently fold the edges from side to side and unfold, and, from top to bottom and unfold, to create crease marks as your guides.

    Gently fold the circle shape in half from side-to-side - no hard crease is necessary at this step - unfold. Next, gently fold the circle shape in half from top-to-bottom creating an intersection made from the two creases. Gently fold the circle shape in half from side-to-side - no hard crease is necessary at this step - unfold. Next, gently fold the circle shape in half from top-to-bottom creating an intersection made from the two creases.

    If you like, you may lightly mark the center intersection with pencil.

    To assist you, make light pencil marks at center intersection. This will act as your center point mark when folding the edges. To assist you, make light pencil marks at center intersection. This will act as your center point mark when folding the edges.

    Next, fold each side's edge towards the center mark and crease firmly. Unfold for now.

    Close-up of two sides folded towards the center point. Hard creases are now made on each straight edge. Close-up of two sides folded towards the center point. Hard creases are now made on each straight edge.

    Repeat with the opposite side; unfold. These hard creases have created a square shape that will be the bottom of your paper box. You can see folded intersections from these hard creases. Starting with the bottom right-hand creased intersection, lightly mark with pencil a vertical line up to the adjacent horizontal line.

    You can also make pencil marks on each edge's bottom right-hand crease. Cut from the circle's edge only up to intersection of adjacent crease. You can also make pencil marks on each edge's bottom right-hand crease. Cut from the circle's edge only up to intersection of adjacent crease.

    Cut along this vertical crease up to its adjacent horizontal crease. Turn your circle shape one-quarter turn and repeat. Do two more times so that you have four cut lines/creases. Fold each towards the inside of the circle creating four flaps.

    Four creases have been cut. Fold each flap towards the inside center of the circle. Four creases have been cut. Fold each flap towards the inside center of the circle.

    Each flap will be folded and taped onto its adjacent side's interior wall. It's easier to line up the straight edge of each flap against its adjacent crease if you hold the box on its side. See next image.

    Align the straight edge of the flap against the bottom crease and tape on the inside; the box is on its side for this picture. Notice how the two rounded edges meet creating a neat corner. Align the straight edge of the flap against the bottom crease and tape on the inside; the box is on its side for this picture. Notice how the two rounded edges meet creating a neat corner.

    Repeat with all four corners. A nice box will be created even if some creases are not quite straight, or if some rounded edges do not meet perfectly.

    All sides are taped together -- nice box! All sides are taped together -- nice box!

    Insert some tissue paper for pretty stuffing or as a little cushion, before adding your goodies. I used fold-top plastic bags instead of plastic zippered bags to hold my cookies. Don't be shy about presenting favorite store brand cookies in your box(es).  I used Archway's Frosty Lemon and Oatmeal Raisin cookies and they sat perfectly in a neat stack!  Think of other goodies to include in your box(es) such as a small book, special notes or remembrances from the kids, something for personal use like a new scarf or a hobby-related item .

    Fill the boxes with tissue paper, wrapped cookies, notes to Mom, or other special treats and items of interest. Make a gift tag from remaining scrap paper. [Prototype boxes in the background.] Fill the boxes with tissue paper, wrapped cookies, notes to Mom, or other special treats and items of interest. Make a gift tag from remaining scrap paper. [Prototype boxes in the background.]

    This box is dressing up your gift, so now add some ribbon or a bow, and a gift tag or card, and ta-dah; your gift box is ready to be given!

    Close-up of completed box filled with cookies and wrapped with bakers twine. Handmade gift tag made from scrap coloring book page. Close-up of completed box filled with cookies and wrapped with bakers twine. Handmade gift tag made from scrap coloring book page.

    You can present your gift box in many ways: at Mom's place at the table, presented at the playground with the kids, or at a restaurant from the grandchildren.

    Presentation tray -- a special way to give a simple gift with extra thought and handmade flair. Presentation tray -- a special way to give a simple gift with extra thought and handmade flair.

    Whatever the final presentation is, enjoy your planning, preparation and honoring this special day for mothering!

    Martha

  • New Year, New Project Goals!

    Happy New Year!

    I don't have many resolutions for 2016, but there is one that I've been thinking about a lot lately: I need to have a better handmade gift stash this year.

    I like to make things, and I do make a lot of things throughout the year, but it doesn't take much to make you realize that you're woefully understocked when you have more gift events than you do time and you want to give a gift that's handmade and lovely.  Like....say, when three women in your close friends and family decide to have babies in the same month.  Or when your bank balance reveals that you won't be buying Starbucks gift cards for people at your kid's school and you'd best haul yourself to the yarn stash.  Can I knit three cowls and four mittens in the span of a month?  Why yes, it turns out I can! But should I?

    Uh, the muscle at the top of my forearm is telling me I should not.

    I know I'll get caught shorthanded at some point this year, but I'd like for it to happen less often.  My goals for the 2016 Gift Stash include:

    -some baby stuff.  Any ol' baby stuff.  It's all cute, it's all small, and as long as it's machine washable it's all going to be appreciated.

    -some cowls.  Cowls are great, and even noncrafters appreciate them.  I'm working on buying my yarn in a few more neutral colors so I can have some handknits on hand that aren't....generic, but just more readily welcomed by a larger audience.  I might love some handpainted variegated yarn, but not everyone will.  And I want something that just about everyone will love.  Just two cowls all knitted or crocheted up and rearing to go could shave actual metric tons of stress off of my life.

    -a prayer shawl.  I've never made one, and I hope I don't need to give one away.  But I'd like have one ready so that I can quickly wrap it up and give it to someone rather than look for yarns and a pattern while feeling concerned about a grieving loved one.

    -hats!  You can make them big, small, slouchy, cabled, plain, tight, long, short--it doesn't matter.  I feel like there's no wrong way to go with hats.  I've been in an earflap mood, and I've discovered to my unending delight that people who wear hats to keep warm really don't seem to mind if their hats look goofy.  You can't go wrong with hats!  (Unless you give them to someone who's either unappreciative or just not a hat person.  But that's a different set of problems entirely.)

    So!  Here's what I've got to get me started.  This is a baby blanket that I finished earlier this week:

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    It's Square #49 from 99 Granny Squares to Crochet.  I've made three blankets with this pattern and I don't know when I'll get tired of the way front post crochet stitches add some texture to these simple squares.  I love this.  I made thirty squares and stitched them together in five rows of six squares.  I crocheted a couple of rows around the edge and now I have a pretty big baby blanket in my arsenal and I don't even know anyone who's pregnant!

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    I feel so good right now!

    Next up is the Martha Cowl from Crochet Scarves and Cowls:

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    Forget what I said about more neutral colors.  This is a pattern I've wanted to try for several months that looks really great with a mix of colors and I really liked this yarn.  It's the Folklore colorway from Loops & Threads Impeccable Ombre, and it's really lovely in addition to being trusty ol' acrylic yarn that's ready for some hard living and careless washing habits.

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    The pattern is pretty easy to keep up with once you get the hang of it.  It did take me a while to get the hang of it, though, which is fine.  This looks like it was fine, right?  It was fine!

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    Since I wasn't crocheting on a deadline, I wasn't too perturbed at having problems following a pattern while being interrupted every 15 seconds by my daughter asking questions or saying "Hey, look!" because 1) like I said, I was in no rush and 2) it is impossible to do much of anything when you're being interrupted every 15 seconds by someone saying "hey look!" and then you actually have to look and come up with fresh and inventive compliments for that someone's Lego-building skills.  That's the biggest reason I want to be more intentional with the TV and crafting time I enjoy so much after my little girl goes to bed (although that sore forearm thing is a close second): I have Lego creations to compliment and games of Candy Land to lose.  I've decided that 2016 is going to be the year I enjoy myself and I'm just not the kind of person who enjoys that rush of adrenaline you get from weaving in your ends ten minutes before you give your project to someone.  What I do enjoy is going about my regular mom life while I think about my fabulous gift stash like I'm a dragon with a cave full of treasure.

     

    I'd better get back to that cowl!

  • Coloring Decor for Christmas

    Many of us here at Leisure Arts have been coloring because we truly enjoy it. In preparation for our annual Christmas Celebration Luncheon, we talked about tabletop decorations. As part of our discussions, I'm sharing with you a great idea that combines coloring with the spirit of the holiday season!

    Christmas trees are part of many traditional household Christmas decorations. Many stand-alone trees in yards and inside homes are shining brightly with illuminated lights and ornaments. Smaller ferns, trees and other greenery are incorporated in the seasonal decor that adorn tabletops during family meals and other social gatherings.

    Sprucing up the tables for Leisure Arts' Christmas Celebration Luncheon was discussed as part of the preparation -- and using some coloring book pages to help with the decor seemed like a natural thing to do, too. 

    To start, choose a page from the stash of coloring books, and color it. You would be surprised at how many pages come to life after they are colored. Look at the difference coloring made in the before and after pictures below. I like the design "before", but wait until "after" it's colored... 

    Kaleidoscope Wonders     Kaleidoscope Wonders  (Click photos to enlarge.)

    The page has come to life! This page comes from Kaleidoscope Wonders; it was colored by my co-worker, Marsha. It looked like Christmas ornaments to my other co-worker, Tina, so she decided to try out a decorating idea that she had.

    A tabletop Christmas tree could be created by using layers or rows of strips of paper; it was an idea similar to the Ribbon Tree project found in the leaflet Crafting with Buttons and Ribbons. Tina experimented with a selection of materials. Once Tina decided on her material choices, she then got everything prepared.

    Kaleidoscope Wonders Coloring Crafts  (Click photo to enlarge.)

    The supplies included a floral foam tree shape (7" tall), strips of paper (a page from Kaleidoscope Wonders) plus solid and patterned paper (all strips were 0.5" w x 6" long [or shorter, as needed for design]), straight pins, Snow Writer by DecoArt (for the decorative snow at the top of the tree), and a star ornament (with its hanging bell removed).

    After all of her strips of paper were cut, Tina started by securing each row of paper to the foam tree with straight pins; Tina started with the bottom layer first and worked her way up to the top of the tree.

      (Click photo to enlarge.)Kaleidoscope Coloring Christmas Tree

    The beauty about using straight pins to hold your strips of paper into a foam shape is that you can reposition the strips if necessary. Or, you can swap out an entire row changing from one color to another all together!

    Tina worked quickly once she decided on the placement of her colors. Near the top of the tree, she cut her strips of paper in half to 3" long -- use your judgment to decide what length is right for your size tree. Then, the star ornament that had its bell removed, was jabbed into the top of the foam shape. Once the star was in place, Tina added Snow Writer by DecoArt (the dimensional snow) and let it dry for at least 24 hours -- please read the label for full instructions.

    I've never seen a tabletop tree quite like this one; it's beautiful! Coloring can be incorporated into your home as part of a 3D project. Now my coloring book pages take on a whole new future -- glass plates, book covers, furniture... What will you do?

    Kaleidoscope Wonders Christmas Tree  (Click photo to enlarge.)

    Special thanks go out to Tina and Marsha for this piece of holiday decor. Merry Christmas!

    Martha

  • Using Coloring Pages for Another Craft

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    What do you do when you finish a page in a coloring book for adults?  I was going to be flippant and say "You're an adult. You do whatever you want with it.", but now I'm curious about what you do with your own coloring books at home.  Do you stick pages on the fridge you own because you're an adult?  Use a page as a bookmark in a coffee table book on your grown-up coffee table? I decided to turn one of my coloring pages into a craft.  Here's a page I colored a while back.  It's a nice leafy-looking page from Natural Wonders.

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    And here's my gratitude tree.

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    I n case Pinterest hasn't told you, a gratitude tree is a fun Thanksgiving craft where you write down what you're thankful for on scraps of paper and then affix them to a branch.  I found this branch on the sidewalk while on a walk last week and brought it home just for this.  It's a little bit too large for our table, but my little girl thinks the seed pods look like bats and she loves it just as it is.  I cut out some vaguely leaf-shaped pieces of paper with some scrapbooking paper and she's been practicing her handwriting while we think of all the things we're thankful for.  Last year, we did 3 or 4 leaves a day and it was a lot of fun.  I also really like emphasizing all the people we love and all the good things we have before the season of Christmas advertising and the subsequent begging for every toy in sight begins.  Look closely! There's a leaf on the right that says "Mom"!  She's thankful for me and I have it in writing now!

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    So back to my coloring page.  It has leaves.  I have a tree. So  I cut out a few pieces of leaves.

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    And wrote down a few things I am thankful for.

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    And as for the rest of the paper?  I cut out some vaguely leaf-shaped pieces.

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    It's good to have a stash of leaves.  I've even gotten ahead of the game this year and added some yarn loops by threading a tapestry needle, pulling it through the paper, and tying the ends together in a knot.  You can use Christmas ornament hooks or a hot glue gun and it will work just as well.  Because we're all adults here, and (at least when it comes to crafting) we can do whatever we want.

    But for real, let me know what you do with your finished coloring sheets if you feel like sharing!

  • Jack-O-Lantern Dishcloth

    I love Halloween. It is my favorite holiday. I love all the decorations. I like to drive around and look at everyone else’s decorated yards. I leave my decorations up until the day after Day of the Dead. I was looking for something quick and easy project to do. Something that I can work on in and out of the car this week while waiting in the carpool line at school or while waiting on after school activities. I went through all of my Leisure Art Books and found this cute Jack-O-Lantern Pumpkin dishcloth in a book called A Dishcloth a Month.

    I was just finishing tucking in all my ends when my friend asked me if it was a new coaster for our table at the new knit shop. I said I had not planned on it but why not. It is slightly big for a coaster but it is really cute idea for decorating a table. So I am in the process of making a few more for our knit/crochet table. I am even going to crochet some without the Jack-O-Lantern face. You just follow the pattern and as if you had changed your color from orange to black. My favorite part I will only have four ends to run in or tuck in. Whichever way you want say it. You can even use brown for the stem instead of the green. Since it is fall I can keep the ones without faces through Thanksgiving. It’s a win! Win! I hope that you have had as much fun with this Jack-O-Lantern pattern as I have. I used 100% cotton. I am going to check and see if Sugar n Cream has a variegated fall colored yarn for some of my solid pumpkins. I think that would be really cute.

     

  • Birthday and Mother's Day Cards

    I have been so busy with making birthdays gifts in April that I completely forgot about Mother’s Day. So please don’t tell my mother!!! Even with all the TV and radio ads I guess in my head I thought I still had plenty of time. I like making my own gifts for my friends and family. I know in a previous blog post that I said my new favorite book is Crafting with Buttons and Ribbons by Leisure Arts. In this book I think my gift cards are called Gift Tags I thought they would look really cute cutout and glued onto blank cards that I found at Michael’s craft store.

    Birthday Cupcake Birthday Cupcake

    They have the templates in the book to help you make cards or tags. All you have to do is make a copy of it or trace it. I used tracing paper to trace the cupcake and the bird. You could probably even use white tissue paper if you don’t have any tracing paper. For the birthday cupcakes cards I used felt for the icing and the inside of a sleeve that they use for hot cups at Starbucks for the bottom. On my next cupcake that I plan on using tiny buttons for my sprinkles instead of tiny colorful bits of felt. But for my mother’s day card I used a piece of scrapbook paper for the bird, a piece of felt for the wing and a button for the eye. I just used good old fashioned Elmore’s glue to glue all the pieces onto the cards. Good Luck! Happy Mother’s Day to all of you Mamma’s from two legged babies to four legged fur babies!!

    Mother's Day Mother's Day
  • Doodles Easter Frock

    You might be wondering what is a Doodle and why does it need an Easter frock. Well Doodle is my almost two year old Schnoodle named Doodle Ninja. I have a seven year old boy Connor that I nanny for and he has been wanting to make a paracord bracelet. So since I wanted to get Doodle a new collar for Easter. I decided to make her a collar out of paracord. Continue reading

  • Easter Egg Dishcloth

    Wow! Easter is a day away. I have finished crocheting a cute little Easter egg dishcloth just in time. I found the pattern for this in a Leisure Arts book called Crochet book called A Dishcloth a month. So if you are looking for a last minute project it didn't take much time at all. Continue reading

  • Ribbon Canvas

    Flipping through Decorate with Ribbon by Leisure Arts I found a quick project. I took out a 9x12 canvas and painted it gray because gray is a neutral color. As I waited for it to dry I played with what ribbons that I wanted to use. April is Autism Awareness month and April 2 is Worldwide Autism Awareness month. So I chose a project that is called Ribbon Canvas. Continue reading

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