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Tag Archives: crafting

  • Craft Gifts For Valentine's Day

    Top Gifts To Craft For Valentine's Day

    This year, show your creativity with your Valentine's Day gifts! Be crafty as you express your feelings for friends, family, and loved ones - take on a big craft project, or just make a little something to add on to a gift or remind them you're thinking of them! There are classic Valentine's Day hearts, flowers, and cute little teddies to make - get started today!

    1. Beautiful Jewelry: Every one is getting fancy jewelry for Valentine's Day, but you can make jewelry even more personal when you craft it by hand! This classic looking pearl necklace and earring set looks beautiful and expensive - even better that it's classic and simple so it can be worn easily any day of the year! Your loved one will be delighted to know you made it by hand! Craft gorgeous jewelry for Valentine's Day this year with Jewelry On A String.Craft Jewelry For Valentines Day

    2. A Fun Wreath - With A Treat: Every This festive heart shaped wreath will be loved decor by whoever you make it for - but it also features homemade heart-shaped cookies for your loved ones to enjoy! A great and unique gift idea this Valentine's Day. Get step-by-step crafting and baking instructions to create this yummy gift in Homemade Gifts From The Heart.

    Valentine's Day Wreath To Craft

    3. Unforgetable Cards: Explore the world of paper crafting to create unique and special cards for all your loved ones - you'll never want to buy a card again! These handmade cards are the perfect way to make someone special smile on Valentine's Day. Get started with making the perfect cards this year with The Ultimate Handbook For Paper Crafters.

    Paper Craft Valentine's Day Cards

    4. A Pretty Mason Jar Vase: Got flowers for your someone special? Make your gift even more personal by hand-painting a beautiful vase for it. They will love this trendy mason jar vase so much they'll want to use it to hold flowers year round! The perfect, crafty addition to your Valentine's Day gift - start now with DIY Mason Jar Crafts.

    Valentine's Day Mason Jar Vase To Craft

    5. A Quirky Bouquet: Put a twist on the classic Valentine's Day flowers and make your own with yarn! This beautiful, colorful bouquet doesn't need water, won't make anyone sneeze, and it will never die! This gift is perfect for sharing a good laugh with a friend and reminding them that you care for them! Make these fun Pom-Pom Flowers with Yarn Crafts.

    Yarn Flowers For Valentines Day

    6. A Lovely Pillow: Reminiscent of traditional redwork, this delicate floral heart is crafted with dimensional fabric paint to create a timeless look, and then transformed into a completely no-sew pillow for a wonderful Valentine's Day gift. Show your loved ones when you make this pillow for them with the Romantic Redwork Pillow ePattern.

    Craft Pillow For Valentine's Day

    7. A Sentimental Glass Jar: Learn easy mosaic art to craft great looking gifts for someone special this Valentine's Day.  These glass jars are perfect to fill with a small treat like candy, or you can leave it up to your loved one's imagination and let them fill it with their own jewelry or trinkets. You can craft these great jars with Beginner's Guide to Mosaics.

    Heart Jars To Craft Valentine's Day

    8. A Tiny Teddy: Soft, fuzzy, and fun! Kids will love this cute little bear - A Valentine's Day classic - or it would look great sitting on Baby's bookshelf. Craft it with pom-poms, then add eyes and a bow for extra fun! Plus, learn how craft this fun pom-pom Valentine gift bag to store it in. What a fun gift! Start your Valentine's crafts now with Learn To Create With Pom Poms.

    Valentine's Day Teddy Bear To Craft

    9. Heart Jewelry: It isn't Valentine's Day without hearts everywhere - make fun, girly jewelry for your loved ones this year! Girls of all ages will love this the pretty hearts and beads on this - they won't be able to quit smiling. Learn to make great jewelry gifts for Valentine's Day with Jewelry Making Basics.

    Valentine's Day Heart Jewelry To Craft

    10. A Beautiful Scrapbook: Special memories deserve to be kept in a special scrapbook. Make one for your loved ones for Valentine's Day. These precious ribbon covers are perfect for holding romantic wedding photos or sweet baby photos.  Celebrate your special memories this Valentine's Day with The Little Book of Big Ribbon Ideas.
    Valentine's Day Scrap Book

  • Light Up Your Fall - National LED Light Day!

    October 7th is National LED Light Day -- so light up your surroundings! Fabulous fall decor from colorful leaves and pumpkins, to flying bats and ghosts, who couldn't use an extra candle or two, or three, to add a little glow to their seasonal surroundings? Leisure Arts has an LED 3-Pack Candle Set just for you - and it's being offered at a reduced price! These candles are fake, or faux, and are a great solution for ease of use and enhanced safety; fake means no candle flames ignited or melted wax! Look at what's included in the LED 3-Pack Candle Set along with some of our decorating ideas for you to incorporate into your seasonal decor!

    LED 3-Pack Candle Set includes a remote that offers 12 different color settings, two timer settings and a flickering-light mode. LED 3-Pack Candle Set includes a remote that offers 12 different color settings, two timer settings and a flickering-light mode.

    This is the first "fake" set of  LED Light candles that has gotten me excited to use. Not only do the faux candles feel like wax, each can be illuminated in a different color using the included remote. The remote control offers so many options, including two timer settings.

    LED Light - Unboxed 3 Set The candle heights are 3.9" (10 cm), 4.9" (12.5 cm) and 5.9" (15 cm); the diameter for each is 3" (7.6 cm). Each candle requires three AAA batteries.

    I like the fact that I can decorate each LED Light candle individually and use them as a coordinated theme, or display them separately around the house, or on the covered porch, or other area to be determined by my seasonal decor.

    Decorated LED Light for Fall Decorating each candle with a button garland. No need to worry about this decoration melting!

    As your decorating theme or mood changes, so can the color of the LED Light candles so that you can project your feelings or home's ambience as is suited from moment-to-moment!

    A beautiful amber glow setting LED Light for an evening setting. A beautiful amber glow for an evening setting.

    I have started with a simple tabletop decoration. It projects the change of the fall season into early winter by using leaves and ribbons in different colored patterns, along with the additional  button garlands I used as additional candle embellishments.

    A beautiful LED Light trio displaying various embellishments to use with your tabletop decorations! A beautiful trio displaying various embellishments to use with your tabletop decorations!

    Have fun exploring what type of seasonal decorations you can enhance by incorporating this LED Light candle trio into your lifestyle!

    Martha

  • Home Decor: Buttons & Candles for All Seasons

    August is a transition-time of year. Growing up in the northeast, it was the final month of summer vacation. The days were still hot, but the evening air would sometimes be cool. August ended with my birthday and an introduction to a new school year after the final three-day holiday weekend celebrating Labor Day. It was a cue for me to say, "Okay; now I'm ready!" I was anxious for new challenges, seeing familiar faces and getting ready for seasonal changes. This inspired me to create with Buttons and the LED Candle Set.

    I want a change to my summer decor, but I don't want to jump into fall leaves, berries and gourds. I scoured the few magazines readily available at hair salons and doctors' offices, but then turned to Pinterest for some ideas, too. I was inspired by this Vintage Button Garland and the ambience it created in quite a simple way. Plus, it was a perfect embellishment for a "fake" candle. LED candles won't burn so my garland is safe; easy-peasy, nice and easy!

    I gathered the buttons I had previously sorted and started planning. I decided to thread my buttons onto waxed linen in a color similar to the candles in my set. I love my LED Candle Set (item 47363 from Leisure Arts);  they look and feel like real waxed candles, plus they have a remote control to change colors, add flickering flames or set a timer!

    Gather different sizes, shapes and colors of buttons. Use buttons without shanks for this project. Used waxed linen to assist holding your buttons in place. Gather different sizes, shapes and colors of buttons. Use buttons without shanks for this project. Using waxed linen  assists by holding your buttons in place.

    Using the waxed linen allowed me to easily thread my buttons.  Also, I didn't have to place knots on either side of a strung button to prevent its repositioning. The waxed linen has a natural 'tackiness' which assisted in placing the garland on each candle. But, just in case your button garland gets heavy and wants to slide down your candle just a bit, use a little piece of mounting putty behind several buttons to hold the garland in place.

    Close-up of waxed linen removed from its packaging. You may like to use a mounting putty behind a few buttons on your LED candles to help hold your button garland in place. Close-up of waxed linen removed from its packaging. You may like to use a mounting putty behind a few buttons on your LED candles to help hold your button garland in place.

    Since the LED candles don't get hot,  you can safely walk away from your lit candles. I really do love the LED Candle Set (item 47363 from Leisure Arts).

    Here's the LED Candle Set I used. Leisure Arts' item 47363 has three candles of varying height, plus a remote control to set a timer, and options for candles' colors and flickering flames. Here's the LED Candle Set I used. Leisure Arts' item 47363 has three candles of varying heights, plus a remote control to set a timer, and options for candles' colors and flickering flames.

    This transition-time of year includes the colors of deepening yellows, fading greens, and dulling browns to its flashes of remaining bright colors. I decided to replicate those colors on each garland I made. I didn't measure at first. I wanted at least three rows of buttons to wrap around each LED candle. I wrapped the waxed linen six times around a candle to give me the rough estimate of the length I needed. Later, I did measure a piece of waxed linen and it was 6 feet plus; so to be safe, measure a piece that is 7 feet long.

    Experimenting with button placement on the waxed linen garland, and positioning on a candle. Seasonally themed garlands can be made ahead of time and swapped when the time is right! Experimenting with button placement on the waxed linen garland, and positioning on a candle. Seasonally themed garlands can be made ahead of time and swapped when the time is right!

    After making three button garlands, I discovered two unopened plastic containers that had plaid-patterned buttons and leaf-shaped buttons in them. Time to create a seasonally-themed button garland for my candle!

    A fall-themed garland for the short LED candle. A fall-themed garland for the short LED candle.

    I was not going to undo the previous garlands strung, so I decided to further embellish the candles with ribbons and/or their display area. Here are some developing ideas to inspire you for your home decor planning in the upcoming months. If you need some more inspiration, for more ideas using buttons and ribbons, look at Leisure Arts' item 6023 - Crafting with Buttons & Ribbons.

    Buttons galore with a golden yellow ribbon give your LED Candle SET a sense of transition away from summer. Buttons galore with a golden yellow ribbon give your LED Candle SET a sense of transition away from summer.
    Using waxed linen cording prevented the buttons from sliding together. Each end of the waxed linen was then wrapped around several buttons to hold it snuggly in place. Using waxed linen prevented the buttons from sliding together. Each end of the waxed linen cord was then wrapped around several buttons to hold it snuggly in place.

    For a preview of Christmas and winter, I thought of pom-poms. HMM...I tied a seasonal ribbon on one LED candle and the ideas started developing. For a winter theme, the LED candles could be placed on a stand then pom-poms could be stacked at their base -- this idea is just developing! Again there are no worries as these are flameless - I really do like Leisure Arts' LED Candle Set!

    Planning for a Christmas -themed holiday setting. You could place your LED Candle(s) on small pillars, add a ribbon to the candle base and have room on your tabletop for other seasonal decorations. Planning for a Christmas-themed holiday setting. You could place your LED Candle(s) on small pillars, add a ribbon to the candle base and have room on your tabletop for other seasonal decorations.

    What's great is that the button garlands can easily be swapped out with another. So let the themes Begin! Although the button garlands can be stored easily, I would recommend a cool storage area since it is waxed linen.

    A colorful glow to show the three heights of candles contained in the LED Candle Set. A colorful glow to show the three heights of candles contained in the LED Candle Set.

    Plan for your transitional decor with changes in color and themes. Do you need to get your creative juices flowing? Start small; try simple changes and see how a few special touches can give a new ambience to your existing home decor!

    Enjoy!

    Martha

  • Tasteful Palette of Gel Pen Colors

    Happy National Coloring Book Day! I am so excited that all of the coloring enthusiasts can share their creativity on a special day dedicated to the art of coloring. I have the large 36 count box of gel pens from Leisure Arts. Many of you want the variety that is found in such a large set, but at the same time, may get overwhelmed by the variety of colors and styles.

    Don't feel stressed about your choices, try to learn the look of the different styles to help with your color decisions. In order to better understand the colors and styles, my suggestion is to break down the box of gel pens by style. See the front of the box; it outlines the number of gel pen colors in each style: 10 Solid, 8 Metallic, 8 Fluorescent, and 10 Glitter.

    In order to demonstrate the different styles of gel pen colors found in the 36 count box, I decided to look for a coloring book page with similar images. I chose a page from 6703 - Ocean Wonders Color Art for Everyone.

    Yeah, gel pens in 36 colors and four styles: Solid, Metallic, Fluorescent and Glitter! Yeah, gel pens in 36 colors and four styles: Solid, Metallic, Fluorescent and Glitter!

    The task before the fun of coloring is to break down the gel pens by style. Some gel pen lids are easier to judge by their appearance that that specific pen belongs to a certain style group. For instance, the Glitter pens have little sparkly specs in their plastic caps. The caps in the Metallic style group have a more muted tone. The best thing for me to do was to make swatches of each color on a blank piece of card stock. Then I could switch out colors if I was unhappy with one or more colors in a style group until I was satisfied with the final group.

    Gel pens are sorted by style (my Neon label should be called, Fluorescent). I also color-coded each style. Gel pens are sorted by style (my Neon label should be called, Fluorescent). I also color-coded each style.

    After I was satisfied with the gel pens I chose for each color style, I went one step further and color-coded each group. I placed a paint swatch of color on the gel pens belonging to each group. For instance, my Metallic style group has a pink paint swatch on the front of the cap, the cap's top and the pen body. This way no matter if the pens were lying down or standing in a container, I could easily grab all of the pens belonging to one group; my coloring life just got easier!

    If you compare the beginning of my coloring below, the fish are colored in the same order as the above-photo showing the gel pens in their color palette styles.

    To demonstrate the different gel pen styles, I chose a drawing with similar images of fish (Leisure Arts' item 6703 - Ocean Wonders Color Art for Everyone). To demonstrate the different gel pen styles, I chose a drawing with similar images of fish (Leisure Arts' item 6703 - Ocean Wonders Color Art for Everyone).

    The top fish showcases the colors from the Solid style. The second from the top fish is smaller and is colored with the Fluorescent gel pens (in the earlier photo, I incorrectly labeled my piece of card stock with the word, Neon).

    Next, you will see the Glitter style used on the fish on the left-hand side that is third from the top. The bottom fish shows the Metallic style and is very pretty is person but tends to be too shiny in my photos to highlight any good contrast. The one thing that I did find a little peculiar about the Metallic [especially the pink color], if I tried to go over a section because all was not properly filled with color, the pink became more grey. It was as if there was too much color build-up.

    I really like looking at the different styles in one project; I can more definitively choose in which color direction I wish to go. Also, it saves me frustration when I think I've chosen one color based on the gel pen's lid, when in fact the ink color is not what I intended at all! I'll finish the fish eyes after I stare at the bodies of the fish for a while. I may not do the background so I can keep the fish as clean examples for each color style.

    Showing their respective gel pen style, the fish are complete except for their eyeballs. Showing their respective gel pen style, the fish are complete except for their eyeballs.

    Consider your first colored page using your 36 count box of gel pens broken out by style as your color swatch. Just like knit and crochet, begin by making a swatch - a palette swatch of colors - for your reference before beginning your project. Spend a little time up front to make your creativity flow more easily. Enjoy!

    Martha

  • Crafters - Make a Yarn Basket from Your Stash!

    I have always used yarn in some sort of craft even before I "learned" the basics of knitting and crocheting as an adult. Two memories encouraged me to crash-the-stash of yarn and get weaving! When I was a Brownie Girl Scout, my troop learned how to craft a God's Eye or Ojo de Dios; a cultural symbol showing a woven motif created by using several colors of yarn wrapped around twigs. That is the first time I recall being amazed how several objects by themselves look and function one way, but used together in a different manner created an entirely new object! It was a magical transformation of sticks and yarn into a beautifully patterned piece of art. When I was an older Girl Scout, I made a woven basket. It took two weeks of soaking and weaving, soaking and weaving, until the basket was completed. It's funny how images from a current book can take you back in time, inviting you to revisit a past passion. Whether you discover the uses of yarn for the first time, or rediscover the transformation of your supplies into new objects, it's time to create a yarn basket project!

    The small project that caught my eye was the woven basket on the outside front cover of Leisure Arts' item 6758 - Yarn Crafts. Not only was it cute (small, compact, and uncomplicated), I could fit this project in to my schedule of other items on my to-do list. Plus, I had [minimal] weaving experience -- come on, decades' old hands-on knowledge still counts, right? Right - I immediately jumped on to making this project!

    This cute woven basket on the front cover (Leisure Arts' sku 6758 - Yarn Crafts), looks perfect for some discontinued yarn I gathered from our yarn stash! This cute woven basket on the front cover of Leisure Arts' item 6758 - Yarn Crafts, looks perfect for some discontinued yarn I gathered from my yarn stash!

    Reviewing the directions in the leaflet, I decided to add some coloring to the cardboard base of my basket. After reviewing my various coloring book choices, I chose a page from Leisure Arts' item 6704 - Natural Wonders Color Art for Everyone.

    I have chosen the page I want to color for the cardboard base of my basket. The page is from Leisure Arts' item 6704 - Natural Wonders Color Art for Everyone. I have chosen the page I want to color for the cardboard base of my basket. The page is from Leisure Arts' item 6704 - Natural Wonders Color Art for Everyone.

    This added step of coloring a page to add to the basket's cardboard base was not the hardest step, but it did take the most time!

    After reviewing the steps on how to weave the Yarn Basket, I decided that my piece of cardboard used for the basket's base would be covered by a coloring book page. After reviewing the steps on how to weave the Yarn Basket, I decided that my piece of cardboard used for the basket's base would be covered by a coloring book page.

    Of course I wanted both the inside and the outside of the basket's base to have a colorful design, so I colored the whole page. I used markers for this part of project, then sprayed acrylic sealer on the page after it was colored.

    Oh, yes; adding my colored sections from a coloring book page will be the perfect addition to the cardboard base (two circles, one for the inside and the other for the outside of the basket). Oh, yes; adding my colored sections from a coloring book page will be the perfect addition to the cardboard base (two circles, one for the inside and the other for the outside of the basket).

    Once my colored pages were cut into circles the same size as my cardboard base, I glued them to each side of the cardboard using a spray adhesive. Next, I used a sharp needle to puncture holes through the paper (that would be the inside of the basket) into the cardboard. Remember my earlier picture showed the cardboard already had the punctured holes; this was done before I made a final decision to add some coloring to my project. After the colored circle was glued to the cardboard, it was easy to puncture a new "layer" of holes going through just the coloring book page into the prepunched cardboard.

    Following the directions outlined in the Yarn Basket project found in Leisure Arts' item 6758 - Yarn Crafts, I inserted toothpicks into each hole and used hot glue to hold them in place. Some toothpicks would not stand straight up so I amended the directions by placing a pony bead around each toothpick. Then I added a different glue that would remain flexible after drying; I used E6000.

    Following the Yarn Basket's directions, 37 toothpicks have been glued into holes into the cardboard. I chose to add pony beads thinking these might add extra stability. (My cardboard example has been covered with a coloring book page). Following the Yarn Basket's directions, 37 toothpicks have been glued into holes into the cardboard. I chose to add pony beads thinking these might add extra stability. (My cardboard example has been covered with a coloring book page).
    Here's a side view of the toothpicks glued into the base cardboard. Most stood straight in place. Here's a side view of the toothpicks glued into the base cardboard. Most stood straight in place.

    I gathered three different bulky or super bulky weight yarn skeins. All three colors used were from partial skeins of discontinued colors. I began weaving - it was so easy and the pattern developed so quickly I wished I had more 'reeds' as my toothpick frame was quickly becoming a recognizable basket. I decided to quit for the night and had no worries regarding "where to start" in the morning.

    The first stage of weaving. A third color has just been added to the basket's body or frame. The first stage of weaving. A third color has just been added to the basket's body or frame.

    I changed colors as often as I liked; I didn't have a master plan. TIP: It was very easy to unweave rows when I decided to change colors at a different location. That's a great bonus - especially if you run short on a yarn color since you might be using up your stash of partial skeins! HINT: As you are weaving, gently push the yarn down each toothpick sliding it as close as possible to the woven row below it. This was a technique taught during my Girl Scout basket weaving experience and I started doing this automatically when weaving my current project! Following this technique gives the yarn basket a compact and tightly woven look.

    After the weaving is completed, a finger crocheted chain was added to the top of the basket. I placed the back ridge of each chain around the tip of each toothpick. Use some glue to hold in place as necessary. Here's a close-up showing both the top and base of the basket. The top shows the crocheted chain in place and the cardboard base with some toothpicks and pony beads still visible.

    A sideview close-up of the basket almost finished. I decided to add E6000 glue (over the hot glue); E6000 remains flexible. A sideview close-up of the basket almost finished. I decided to add E6000 glue (over the hot glue); E6000 remains flexible.

    I made another finger crocheted chain and glued it to the base's ridge. I wanted to conceal the pony beads as much as possible; these were used as structural support rather than as embellishments. A piece of single strand yarn was used to wrap around the basket near its top. As shown in 6758 - Yarn Crafts, I filled my basket with a variety of whole nuts.

    Woven yarn basket is finished and sitting on my countertop! Woven yarn basket is finished and sitting on my countertop!

    What a perfect container for a small space -  but this one little extra container will add definition to any side table, countertop or shelf. I hope to have this basket for years to come. Oh, by the way; I still have that Girl Scout basket I made all those years (decades) ago in summer camp! Fiber art lives on to tell us stories and create memories. Make some art today - enjoy!

    Martha

  • Summer Fun with Gnomes and Fairies

    Have you made a gnome and fairy garden yet? Gardens can be as intricate, whimsical or expansive as you like. I decided to make my first gnome and fairy garden as a tabletop display; it seemed like a tabletop display would be a bit more manageable and accessible for me. It is now mid-July and the gnomes and fairies are having quite a get-together in the forest!

     My first decision was to choose a container for my gnomes and fairies. Since the theme was summer fun, I could get creative with a forest setting using some supplies I had to make different scenes in an imaginary world! My oval basket is quite large measuring approximately 25 inches wide x 18 inches deep giving me a lot of space as my forest backdrop. I filled the basket with styrofoam and plastic bags. I covered this basket stuffing with brown paper to conceal and secure the styrofoam pieces and bags in place.

    Gathering materials for a basket to become a tabletop gnome and fairy display. Basket stuffing includes hard styrofoam, plastic bags for spaces, and brown paper to cover. Gathering materials for a basket to become a tabletop gnome and fairy garden display. Basket stuffing includes hard styrofoam, plastic bags for any spaces between styrofoam pieces, and brown paper to cover.  

    The first part of the scenery to be put into place was the largest item to be used as part of the forest floor's backdrop. It was a  birch metal planter. This planter would be the hedgehog's home; the hedgehog is just one of the pieces found in Leisure Arts' Woodland Garden Kit (47858). I nestled the planter in between the basket's side and the edge of one piece of styrofoam. I added some extra filler to the birch metal planter that consisted of more brown paper, a peat planter and coconut fiber (taken from the lining of a hanging basket).

    Garden Gnome planter filler. A peat planter is inserted into a birch metal planter. This is the future home of the hedgehog.

    Here are some of the other supplies that I used to create the Summer Fun theme for my gnome and fairy basket garden. The coconut fiber was used throughout the basket as the forest floor and buttons were used as flowers. For my first gnome and fairy garden, I did not want to attempt to use live plants and flowers. And, quite honestly, individual plantings might not survive the intense summer heat of Arkansas even if placed in the shade and watered twice daily.

    Some other supplies used to make the Summer Fun Gnome & Fairy Basket include: coconut fiber, glass beads (Size 10), floral tape, dried beans, dried rice, a bottle cap, buttons, dowels, a cotton swab & non-tarnishing silver wire (28 gauge). Some other supplies used to make the Summer Fun Gnome & Fairy Basket include: coconut fiber, glass beads (Size 10), floral tape, dried beans, dried rice, a bottle cap, buttons, dowels, a cotton swab & non-tarnishing silver wire (28 gauge).

    I stacked buttons to make flowers and connected them together using 28 gauge wire. Then I attached the wired button flowers to dowels using floral tape. As the garden grew, a button flower garland was added to outdoor decor. See a later image showing the garland draped over the trellis!

    Tending the flowers in the Fairy Garden, this gnome is assisting with the watering. Tending the flowers in the Fairy Garden, this gnome is assisting with the watering.

    The gnomes and fairies are having fun together! They help each other and check on the woodland creatures, too.

    One fairy packed her day-bag to visit her friend the hedgehog. A welcome sign is held by a gnome greeting visitors to the forest summer activities including a campfire meal of stew and s'mores! One fairy packed her day-bag to visit her friend the hedgehog. A welcome sign is held by a gnome greeting visitors to the forest summer activities including a campfire meal of stew and toasted marshmallows!

    The trees were made by wrapping dowels with floral tape and then adding a small section of a leafy trim.

    One gnome is trimming some overgrown trees. He's being very careful not to remove too much greenery. One fairy is overlooking his trimming efforts. One gnome is trimming some overgrown trees. He's being very careful not to remove too much greenery. One fairy is overlooking his trimming efforts.

    The wading pool is an inverted plastic lid holding glass floral marbles and gravel covered with a lightly painted piece of plastic wrap.

    Gnome and Fairy crafts Just like hummingbirds, fairies love the water! These two fairies are enjoying the wading pool before getting ready for summer nighttime activities.

    The gnomes have cooked their favorite stew; they are very ingenious by using a discarded bottle cap as their pot!  I depicted the stew by using dried rice and beans; I covered all of the stew ingredients with clear nail polish. The gnomes also like toasted marshmallows. The marshmallows are cotton swabs glued to the ends of wire. The charcoal briquettes of the campfire were made by painting some dried black beans grey. Can you see the marshmallows getting toasted for dessert over the hot charcoal?

    Gnome and fairy craft basket. One gnome checked on the campfire before lighting the way across the bridge using a tea light for illumination. He'll travel along the Snail Trail to the wading pool for a quick cool-down before his evening of fun.

    The button flowers are blooming nicely and the garden has been well-tended! There was such an abundance of flowers, a garland was made and hung as outside party decor for the gnome and fairy get-together. It was simply made by weaving the 28 gauge wire through the buttonholes; including glass beads was optional.

    The flower garden has been weeded, mulched and decorated. I love the button garland decorating the garden's grounds! The flower garden has been weeded, mulched and decorated. I love the button garland decorating the garden's grounds!

    What a whimsical time I had creating my first gnome and fairy garden! I can see why gardening is such an enjoyable creative use of time and energy. Even if the location for your gnome and fairy garden is a tree stump or other container, make some whimsical fun by incorporating the gnomes, fairies, forest creatures and accent pieces with your craft and gardening supplies for some Summer Fun!

    Martha

  • Chalk Coloring Added to Birdhouse with Mod Podge®

    I simply love my Leisure Arts' coloring books with their different themes! The latest one I used is also a new book from Leisure Arts; it is 6903 - Art of Coloring Nature. Having several wooden birdhouses at home, I wanted to incorporate using my coloring with a birdhouse. I got the perfect inspiration from another leaflet carried by Leisure Arts, 6569 - Family Activities using Mod Podge® products by Plaid. For anyone who used to decoupage, using Mod Podge® will be a breeze by comparison! Next, I explored using chalk pastels as my new coloring medium!

    For this birdhouse project, I used two books from Leisure Arts: 6903 - Art of Coloring Nature and 6569 - Family Activities showing the versatility of the Mod Podge® products by Plaid. For this birdhouse project, I used two books from Leisure Arts: 6903 - Art of Coloring Nature and 6569 - Family Activities showing the versatility of the Mod Podge® products by Plaid.

    I chose a page from 6903 - Art of Coloring Nature that had various designs with enough white space to easily add color using my chalk pastels. I was most excited about using a color for the vast amount of background space that seems to grow (ha, ha) as you near completion of your coloring in the main design area. I reviewed the Book Birdhouse project that is included in 6569 - Family Activities; I modified its steps and the products used to fit my current project.

    Chalk Pastels are a great medium to add a softer, yet intense amount of color to your coloring book designs. Chalk Pastels are a great medium to add a softer, yet intense amount of color to your coloring book designs.

    Chalk pastels give a softer, looser, or more impressionistic look to your coloring. Some artists would say it gives a more organic feel to a design. I love the way the colors remain intense and rich, with excellent coverage. I colored the background of my page first.

    Using Chalk Pastels, a neutral background color is added "loosely" without too much concern if it crossed over any black lines [see the upper left portion]. Then, use a cotton swab to spread the color evenly [see the bottom right portion of the page]. Using Chalk Pastels, a neutral background color is added "loosely" without too much concern if it crossed over any black lines [see the upper left portion]. Then, use a cotton swab to spread the color evenly [see the bottom right portion of the page].

    After blending the background brown color, I freely placed my colored chalk pastels in the remaining design spaces of the flowers, butterflies and ladybugs. I was not concerned if the chalk did not cover the entire white space because my next step would be to blend using a cotton swab.

    Loosely add some bright colors to the main pattern; flowers, butterflies and ladybugs are featured in this page from Leisure Arts' item 6903 - Art of Coloring Nature. Loosely add some bright colors to the main pattern; flowers, butterflies and ladybugs are featured in this page from Leisure Arts' item 6903 - Art of Coloring Nature.
    The after-effect of blending all of the bright colors. Be gentle as you loosely wipe over the Chalk Pastels with cotton swabs. The after-effect of blending all of the bright colors. Be gentle as you loosely wipe over the Chalk Pastels with cotton swabs.

    Now that my chalk coloring is done, I did not want the colors to smear. I sprayed my page with Mod Podge® Clear Acrylic Sealer; I chose the gloss finish. My next preparation was to spray paint my wooden birdhouse. I chose Krylon® Colormaster™  for indoor/outdoor use in a khaki color. As my spray painted birdhouse was drying, I considered what portion of it I would use to add my chalk pastel coloring book page.

    My advice is to read and then re-read the application process using the Mod Podge® product outlined. Easy steps and tips are outlined in the easy-to-follow instructions.

    Follow the Mod Podge® application directions specific to the product you are using. Leisure Arts' item 6569 - Family Activities outlines the Mod Podge® products with user-friendly tips and helpful hints. Follow the Mod Podge® application directions specific to the product you are using. Leisure Arts' item 6569 - Family Activities outlines the Mod Podge® products with user-friendly tips and helpful hints.

    To my amazement and delight, as the khaki spray paint was drying I realized that it was a very close match to the chalk pastel color I chose as my neutral background color. I could place my design almost anywhere on the birdhouse! I chose the left side of the roof and house, with cut out portions used as embellishments on the back side of the birdhouse.

    Following the Mod Podge® Classic Gloss application instructions, I added my coloring book page cut to fit the left portion of the rooftop and side panel of the birdhouse. After the colored designs were added, I applied Mod Podge® Gloss Sealer over all. Following the Mod Podge® Classic Gloss application instructions, I added my coloring book page cut to fit the left portion of the rooftop and side panel of the birdhouse. After the colored designs were added, I applied Mod Podge® Gloss Sealer over all.

    I couldn't resist adding some more cut designs onto the back panel of the birdhouse, too!

    I cut a free-form piece of my coloring book page and applied it using Mod Podge® Classic Gloss onto the back panel of the birdhouse. I like the visual effect of having some of the cut design area on the backside of the birdhouse; it assists to move your eye around the birdhouse project to view its different sides. I cut a free-form piece of my coloring book page and applied it using Mod Podge® Classic Gloss onto the back panel of the birdhouse. I like the visual effect of having some of the cut design area on the backside of the birdhouse; it assists to move your eye around the birdhouse project to view its different sides.

    I'm still playing with ideas regarding a final set-up inside my house where my birdhouse will live. My kitchen has great windows to view an open area with water and pine trees in the distance, or close-up viewing of a hummingbird feeder and patio flowers. Currently, I have a wooden bar stool near a window. Perhaps I could stack reference books on gardening and birds on it with the birdhouse on top of this stack?

    One idea: stack your themed items together: print books on birds, flowers, gardening, nature, and coloring! I'm still working on my setting: a wooden stool, a basket or a hanging shelf; the ideas keep coming to me! One idea: stack your themed items together: print books on birds, flowers, gardening, nature, and coloring! I'm still working on my setting: a wooden stool, a basket or a hanging shelf; the ideas keep coming to me!

    But, I might just make a more eclectic resting place for my birdhouse by suspending it from a ceiling, or near my Mac perched on a shelf with books on graphic art, impressionist painting and marimekko.

    Doesn't that extra bit of coloring onto the back panel of the birdhouse add so much more interest? It is a 3-D object so it really should have an interesting design element on more than one side. Doesn't that extra bit of coloring onto the back panel of the birdhouse add so much more interest? It is a 3-D object so it really should have an interesting design element on more than one side.

    Yes, I embrace both the digital and print worlds of life; it's part of my dimensional design. Whatever it is that you enjoy, incorporate some coloring into your world!

    Martha

  • Fiber Art: Yarn Bombing, a Yarn Doll and Yarn Crafts

    I have been intrigued by yarn bombing for years but put my interest on hold after seeing only knit and crochet pieces used in the "bombing".  Since I had only started to learn how to knit and crochet, I couldn't imagine trying to create something quickly enough to use as self-expression in the greater outdoors. But as Craftsy has noted, the common denominator for this decorative self-expression is yarn. As a result, the artistic talents of many individuals may be creations that include multiple needle craft and fiber art categories.

    Some additional background information suggests that yarn bombing alters the visual landscape usually found in an urban setting. It is taking the craft of knitting and crocheting from the stereotyped image of grandma to the next level of free-form textile artistry that is a non-destructive way of voicing your opinion.

    Earlier this year, the inside of Leisure Arts started showing signs of fiber artistry appearing in open spaces. I gasped in an, "A-Ha!" moment; these office embellishments were versions of indoor yarn bombing. On the first floor, Tina's coat rack was covered with granny squares.

    A coat rack gets a yarn bombing makeover -- love the pom-pom hairdo and craft supply goo-goo eyes! A coat rack gets a yarn bombing makeover -- love the pom-pom hairdo and craft supply goo-goo eyes!

    The lobby furniture had its transformation, too.

    Add a lampshade tassel, tabletop cover and ripple wrap to an end table for a yarn makeover. Add a lampshade tassel, tabletop cover and ripple wrap to an end table for a yarn makeover.
    Complimentary colors are used for the longer table runner. Complimentary colors are used for the longer table runner.

    The use of textiles in artwork and home decor is not limited to crochet, knit, plastic canvas or other traditional skill categories and uses of yarn. Fiber art is alive and growing; it can be done by many as a way to decorate their homes with handmade artwork. Look at one of the pieces done by Jen, a Leisure Arts' friend. This owl dreamcatcher is her interpretation of one of the projects found in Leisure Arts' item 6758 - Yarn Crafts.

    A trio of dreamcatchers connected together with added feathers to form the shape of an owl. A fabulous interpretation of a project found in Leisure Arts' item 6758 - Yarn Crafts. A trio of dreamcatchers connected together with added feathers to form the shape of an owl. A fabulous interpretation of a project found in Leisure Arts' item 6758 - Yarn Crafts.

    I thought a yarn doll needed to be sitting on the lobby's settee; Tina and I started brainstorming! A shopping bag of partial skeins of yarn was collected as Tina thought what to use as the framework to hold the yarn as it was wrapped. The solution: an inverted sofa table.

    A life-sized yarn doll is going to be part of the Leisure Arts' yarn bombing decor. In order to make a life-sized yarn doll, many partial skeins of yarn would be wound around the legs of an inverted table. A life-sized yarn doll is going to be part of the Leisure Arts' yarn bombing decor. In order to make a life-sized yarn doll, many partial skeins of yarn would be wound around the legs of an inverted table.

    As the wrapping continues, watch as the mound of yarn skeins on the couch diminishes as the wound yarn around the sofa table legs increases.

    Around and around; look at all of the yarn gathered for a life-sized yarn doll! The table legs are acting as a frame to hold the yarn before gathering and tying off by sections. Around and around; look at all of the yarn gathered for a life-sized yarn doll! The table legs are acting as a frame to hold the yarn before gathering and tying off by sections.
    Many colors, textures and weights of yarn are wound around the legs of an inverted table in preparation for the life-sized yarn doll. Many colors, textures and weights of yarn are wound around the legs of an inverted table in preparation for the life-sized yarn doll.

    The next step in creating the yarn doll is to separate its form into sections. Since this yarn doll is going to be life-sized, the yarn needs some extra support. To add extra stability to the form's framework, Tina added cut pieces of a pool noodle into the yarn sections. The cut sizes of the pool noodle pieces are based on the proportions of your own life-sized yarn doll creation.

    Deciding the best way to shape this size doll! A pool noodle is cut into sections; one piece is bent in half to use for the head. The body and legs are gathered and tied in sections. Deciding the best way to shape this size doll! A pool noodle is cut into sections; one piece is bent in half to use for the head. The body and legs are gathered and tied in sections.

    The yarn doll sections are tied with a stronger material than yarn; Tina used jute instead. Tina did not care for the look of the legs so she untied them, but the head, arms and body remained. The yarn doll sits comfortably in a recliner; it really is life-sized!

    Reviewing the doll and deciding on the next step. Look at this yarn doll's dimensions as it sits in a recliner! Reviewing the doll and deciding on the next step. Look at this yarn doll's dimensions as it sits in a recliner!

    Hands are created by cutting the looped yarn at the ends of each arm. The legs have been untied, and the yarn doll will appear to be "dressed" and wearing a skirt. The yarn strands of the untied legs are separated and cut at the bottom to give the free-flowing look of fabric.

    The legs of the yarn doll are going to be "hidden" as if hidden underneath a skirt. The yarn loops at the bottom of the skirt and hands are cut. The legs of the yarn doll are going to be "hidden" as if hidden underneath a skirt. The yarn loops at the bottom of the skirt and hands are cut.

    It's time to prepare the head for some extra embellishment. The yarn doll is now a female who is wearing a skirt. She needs some kind of head covering and maybe some hair. Look what was discovered; how to make your own yarn curls for doll hair!

    The yarn doll is female and she can't have the one tied-off section at the top of her head be visible. She at least needs hair and maybe a kerchief. First, start by making curls. The yarn doll is female and she can't have the one tied-off section at the top of her head be visible. She at least needs hair and maybe a kerchief. First, start by making curls.

    As I am making and baking yarn curls, I started to crochet a granny kerchief. It seemed like it took me hours to complete this easy pattern, but I knew I was anxious to see the finished piece with curly hair and a kerchief. Tina made the yarn doll a bodice or vest; Tina created her own pattern and just estimated the garment's dimensions by holding it against the body of the doll as she progressed. As my kerchief neared completion, the yarn doll was taking on a personality and needed a name; LeiAnn Skane was born.

    The yarn doll now has curly hair and a crocheted kerchief. A crocheted bodice or vest was made, too. Her name is LeiAnn Skane. The yarn doll now has curly hair and a crocheted kerchief. A crocheted bodice or vest was made, too. Her name is LeiAnn Skane.

    At about the time LeiAnn was completed, I joked with Tina that LeiAnn needed a friend  -- or at least a dog to be her buddy. I was thinking of a dog similar in construction to this yarn doll. But Tina remembered as a young girl she would make yarn dogs with the use of a hanger as the wire frame. What a fun addition and fabulous creation was this yarn dog!

    A yarn dog is made using a wire hanger as its framework. Start with the same steps for making pom-poms. A yarn dog is made using a wire hanger as its framework. Start with the same steps for making pom-poms.
    After the winding and tying of each pom-pom is done, tie each onto the frame; the loops of each are not cut. The future dog has been named, Pom-Pom! After the winding and tying of each pom-pom is done, tie each onto the frame; the loops of each are not cut. The future dog has been named, Pom-Pom!

    Of course LeiAnn's dog would need a name, too. Look at the final creation. LeiAnn sits casually with her pooch. Can you guess what the dog's name is before reading any further...

    The yarn doll, LeiAnn, sits with her yarn dog, Pom-Pom. They are the perfect yarn bomb additions to the lobby at Leisure Arts! The yarn doll, LeiAnn, sits with her yarn dog, Pom-Pom. They are the perfect yarn bomb additions to the lobby at Leisure Arts!
    LeiAnn and Pom-Pom wear their IDs! LeiAnn and Pom-Pom wear their IDs!

    LeiAnn and Pom-Pom will greet you in the lobby; they proudly wear identification as members of the Leisure Arts' family. We love the added yarn bombing embellishments to our office decor!

    Martha

     

  • 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

  • Very Hungry Caterpillar Pencil

    Today's guest blogger is Cindy deRosier.  She has tweaked one of the projects from our Easy Foam Crafts book to create a custom creation kids will love.

    Screen Shot 2016-04-14 at 2.19.14 PM Easy Foam Crafts Book from Leisure Arts

    Hi! I'm Cindy deRosier from My Creative Life, here to share my version of a project from Easy Foam Crafts. When I saw the  Inch Worm Pencil, I was inspired to make a few tweaks to the directions to turn it into Eric Carle's beloved Very Hungry Caterpillar. Enjoy!

    Foam Pencil - Very Hungry Caterpillar

    The Very Hungry Caterpillar Pencil Materials: pencil, craft foam (green, yellow and purple), red pom pom, scissors, hole punch, glue gun

    Begin by cutting the green foam into a long, narrow strip, approximately 9" x 1". Round the corners, then use the hole punch to make a series of holes. (No need to measure anything - just eyeball it!) Cut the green foam scraps to make two oval inner eyes and a roughly gumdrop-shaped nose. Cut two oval outer eyes from the yellow foam, making them just larger than the green inner eyes. Next, cut two antenna from purple foam.

    Foam very hungry caterpillar pieces

    Thread the green body foam piece onto the pencil. Leave the writing end free.

    Green Foam Very Hungry Caterpillar Pencil

    Fold over the end of the body and glue it to the top of the pencil. (If you want the eraser to be accessible, skip this step. I used a color pencil without an eraser.) Glue the pom pom head in place. Finally, add the eyes, nose and antenna.

    Very Hungry Caterpillar Foam Craft Pencil

    -------

    Cindy has written hundreds of creative kids' crafts tutorials, which you can find at My Creative Life. She blogs about many other aspects of her creative life, including scrapbooking, recipes and cooking competitions, birthday challenges, themed parties and much more. If you make your own Very Hungry Caterpillar Pencil, please contact Cindy to let her know!

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