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Tag Archives: Crafts

Leisure Arts is the leader in all things crafts. Visit our blog for the latest in crafting ideas, techniques, products and ideas. Paracord, adult coloring, children's crafts, these are just a sprinkling of crafts you'll find.

  • Dress Up Your Sweet Treats This Valentine's Day!

    Hearts, flowers, and candy galore usually define Valentine's Day. Make your celebration even more heartfelt by including thoughtful special gift wraps or decorative embellishments as additions to your gifts and sweets.

    My idea was simple enough; I wanted to make some animal cut-outs using pages from my coloring book stash. Then I got serious when I saw these super-cute animal shapes by Lia Griffith and just had to do them for Valentine's Day.

    These animal templates for DIY Candy Huggers by Lia Griffith found on Pinterest served as my inspiration. These animal templates for DIY Candy Huggers by Lia Griffith found on Pinterest served as my inspiration.

    My first step was to choose one book from my coloring book collection. I chose Leisure Arts' item #6903 - Art of Coloring Nature after I saw several pages with heart-shapes incorporated into the designs. Plus, I wanted nature-themed pages for my animals.

    A wonderful collection of imaginary and realistic flora can be found in Leisure Arts #6903 - Art of Coloring Nature. A wonderful collection of imaginary and realistic flora can be found in Leisure Arts #6903 - Art of Coloring Nature.

    Here's an example of one page whose heart shapes were very well incorporated into its design.

    The heart shape can be found peeking out among the flowers and birds on this page from Leisure Arts #6903 - Art of Coloring Nature. I've lightly colored some for you to see more easily. The heart shape can be found peeking out among the flowers and birds on this page from Leisure Arts #6903 - Art of Coloring Nature. I've lightly colored some for you to see more easily.

    After enlarging and printing the original templates by Lia Griffith, I modified one so that my three animal shapes included a cat along with the bunny and bear shapes. Once I had a master set of my own templates, I set out arranging them on a coloring book page; I could trace and cut three animal shapes from one coloring book page!

    I arranged my animal templates to ensure all three shapes could be cut from one coloring book page. The red construction paper had already been glued to the back of the coloring book page. I arranged my animal templates to ensure all three shapes could be cut from one coloring book page. The red construction paper had already been glued to the back of the coloring book page.

    I found some heart-shaped candy that I thought would fit under the animals' arms once crossed into a hug; I was anxious to see this project come together!

    Each animal had a foam sticker placed on its body. Then a non-edible treat like a Valentine's-themed eraser, or a piece of heart-shaped candy was place over the heart. Every animal had a foam sticker placed on its body. Then a piece of heart-shaped candy, or a non-edible treat like a Valentine's-themed eraser, was placed over each animal's heart. 

    Now I wanted to place a decorative tie around the arms instead of permanently gluing them together. Because the arms could be uncrossed, and the candy eaten, I always wanted a heart shape to be seen while the paper animal was being used. I adhered heart-shaped foam stickers to each of my paper animal huggers.

    Next, each animal's arms were crossed and held together in a hug by a removable silk cord. Next, each animal's arms were crossed and held together in a hug by a removable silk cord.

    I knew I had to find another type of treat instead of candy. Not every treat has to be edible; sometimes there are dietary restrictions that must be followed for children and adults alike. Don't take the celebration out of the party, just find a suitable fun treat that can be used instead of candy. You can see my solution was a fun mini-eraser!

    Instead of a heart-shaped candy, try using a different treat like this eraser for your "animal hugger". Instead of a heart-shaped candy, try using a different treat for your "animal hugger" like this eraser.

    Here are my animal huggers all in a row atop some festive Valentine's Day paper doilies.

    Here are four of the six "animal candy huggers" made by using two coloring book pages from Leisure Arts #6903 - Art of Coloring Nature. Here are four of the six "animal candy huggers" made by using two coloring book pages from Leisure Arts #6903 - Art of Coloring Nature.

    If you prefer not to make animal shapes, consider dressing up a rectangular-shaped chocolate bar. Look what you can do with some Paper Shaper Craft Scissors and paper flowers (like the ones I made in my earlier post Birthday Coloring Cards & Tea Light Cake).

    Wrap a candy bar, color a few shapes, secure with a band made from construction paper and add some paper flowers. Now that's fancy chocolate! Wrap a candy bar, color a few shapes, secure with a band made from construction paper and add some paper flowers. Now that's fancy chocolate!

    If you have a photo taken every year on Valentine's Day, or have a favorite one in mind to give in a personalized frame, try combining a few decorative ideas into one gift. Because I found a modestly-priced wooden frame it had no glass in its frame's opening to cover a photograph, nor did it have a wooden back to more securely hold an image in place.

    So now I needed to use a coloring book page that could act as the frame's back, as well as, to serve as a nice-looking image place holder until a new photograph was inserted. The page I planned on cutting was from Leisure Arts' item #6905 - Art of Coloring Designs.

    I call this page "Hearts Aplenty" and I used it with my painted frame. This design can be found in Leisure Arts #6905 - Art of Coloring Designs. I call this page "Hearts Aplenty" and I used it with my painted frame. This design can be found in Leisure Arts #6905 - Art of Coloring Designs.

    I painted my inexpensive wooden frame red. Then I glued a wooden ampersand symbol painted black, with a white outline, onto the frame to help signify the unifying feeling of love on this day. As part of the frame's presentation, I placed one of my animal huggers on top of it.

    I painted two inexpensive wooden items and combined them to make a very nice Valentine's gift. The frame with heart-shaped opening along with the ampersand were painted with acrylic paint and then sprayed with an acrylic sealer. A photo can be added later but until then, I chose to use a coloring book page as a placeholder. The bunny is not attached to the frame. I painted two inexpensive wooden items and combined them to make a very nice Valentine's gift. The frame with heart-shaped opening along with the ampersand were painted with acrylic paint and then sprayed with an acrylic sealer. A photo can be added later but until then, I chose to use a coloring book page as a placeholder. The bunny is not attached to the frame.

    Wonderful ideas come together with a little inspiration - and coloring book pages! How do you try to incorporate your coloring into other gifts, stationery, and/or decorations?

    Happy Valentine's Day to all!

    Martha

  • After the holidays, thank you notes!

    Now it is time to write some handwritten thank you notes. New Year's Day is behind us and most seasonal celebratory activities and get-togethers are over. Show your appreciativeness for those few individuals who made your holiday experience extra special by coloring them a handwritten thank you card!

    I do take advantage of using electronic means to write notes; messages, invites, updates, and notes of appreciation. But there are times when even a brief handwritten message means so much more to the recipient than an "e" message. Now add another special feature to your holiday thank you cards by coloring! The perfect solution is Leisure Arts' Thank You Coloring Note Cards (item #48231).

    Each package of Thank You Coloring Note Cards (#48232) contains six cards with envelopes; two each of three designs. Each package of Thank You Coloring Note Cards (#48231) contains six cards with envelopes; two each of three designs.

    There are three designs, two cards per design, and six envelopes contained in each package. This set offers a nice variety of designs so that you can vary the use of each depending on the age of the recipient, or your artistic mood at the time of coloring.

    The package of Thank You cards has three designs, two cards per design (Leisure Arts #48231). The package of Thank You cards has three designs, two cards per design (Leisure Arts #48231).

    Spend a little extra time by adding some coloring pizzazz to your note -- wow, what a pop your handwritten message will have!

    Color your own Thank You cards! Colored pencils and markers used on one of three pattern designs (Leisure Arts #48232 - Thank You Coloring Note Cards). Color your own Thank You cards! Colored pencils and markers used on one of three pattern designs (Leisure Arts #48231 - Thank You Coloring Note Cards).

    Now I can't wait until later this month for my friend's January birthday -- yes, Leisure Arts carries Birthday Coloring Note Cards, too!

    The package of Birthday cards (#48231) is also available! The package of Birthday cards (#48232) is also available!

    We'd love to see some of your colored cards. Share your finished coloring note cards on Leisure Arts' Color Art for Everyone Facebook page; we'd love to see them!

    Happy 2017...

    Martha

  • DIY Holiday Lights: Easy Gifting and Decorating Creatively

    Expand the use of tea lights and LED candles to craft easy holiday ornaments and table decor. This can be a most enjoyable time of year with all of the holiday crafting and baking, along with its celebrations, gatherings, and functions. But it can be a stressful time, too; especially when it comes to gifting and decorating creativity. Relax and review some of these craft ideas I've gathered for you!

    I saw the first project below last Christmas season but never got around to making any. So this year it was the first craft project on my list to do and share. A benefit to having been delayed a year, there are multiple variations now! This project's main component are a set of tea lights like the ones Leisure Arts sells (#47150). 

    Use tea lights to make ornaments and luminaries for holiday decor! Use tea lights to make ornaments and luminaries for holiday decor!

    The goal is to make Christmas tree ornaments that look like snowmen using the tea lights. Last year when I started gathering supplies I never could find a stove pipe hat so I moved on and chose a felt stocking cap. Luckily I found one misplaced pack of six and bought them. Fast-forward to this year, I followed a Pinterest pin to this post on Tea Light Snowman Ornaments and followed its directions very closely.

    I tried to purchase another set of the felt stocking caps [in the same size] as I found last year, but they couldn't be found in a local brick-and-mortar store. After not feeling positive about my manipulating ribbon and glue to replicate a scarf, I just experimented with pipe cleaners and really liked the result. Here is a picture of most of my supplies; some supplies were added as modifications to the original tea light snowman were made.

    Most supplies needed for Snowman Santa and Snow Lady tea light ornaments. Most supplies needed for Snowman Santa and Snow Lady tea light ornaments.

    Oh, I'm beginning to have a holiday smile on my face!

    Positioning the felt hat on tea light with eyes and mouth already marked! Positioning the felt hat on tea light with eyes and mouth already marked!

    I added a little more personality to each of the light's characters. The Snow Lady has long eyelashes with a warm chenille pipe cleaner scarf. She's wearing ear muffs crafted out of a smaller piece of pipe cleaner and mini poms-poms. Snowman Santa has a gift with him!

    Snow Lady tea light wears ear muffs with her chenille scarf. The battery compartment is still accessible from the back. Snow Lady tea light wears ear muffs with her chenille scarf. The battery compartment is still accessible from the back.

    My next project was also inspired by a Pin I saw last year using toilet paper cardboard tubes to fashion owl ornaments.

    Molding the cardboard tubes to have owl ears. Molding the cardboard tubes to have owl ears.

    I painted my owl a fairly true-to-life color and added details using my black Sharpie marker. As I was looking at the owl's detailed face and feathers, and thinking about its placement on a tree or wreath, it dawned on me to make it a luminary IF a tea light would fit inside the cardboard tube. I had not planned on the owl decoration to be a luminary, so I had to carefully cut slits through the layers of painted cardboard. Next, I used Loctite® Fun-Tak® to hold the tea light in place.

    Angled feather-slits made with a craft knife through painted cardboard tube. Angled feather-slits made with a craft knife through painted cardboard tube.

    Guess what; a tea light from Leisure Arts was the PERFECT FIT!

    A tea light fits perfectly inside the cardboard tube; it is held in place with some Loctite® Fun-Tak®. A tea light fits perfectly inside the cardboard tube; it is held in place with some Loctite® Fun-Tak®.

    I hot glued a wooden clothespin (Leisure Arts #48158) to the back of the owl so I could perch it anywhere on a tree or wreath. I think the angle of my feather slits need to changed, and the feathers need to be opened more to enhance more illumination.

    A little illumination is visible. Perhaps a different angle or wider slits are needed for more light to be seen. A little illumination is visible. Perhaps a different angle or wider slits are needed for more light to be seen.

    I think I'll experiment with another owl and circular holes.

    A two-tone red owl with pin-pricked holes for better tea light visibility. A two-tone red owl with pin-pricked holes for better tea light visibility.
    The owl's features are done and the tea light is in place! The owl's features are done and the tea light is in place!

    I checked the "better" illumination by sitting my owl in the office's semi-darkened mail room. I think the red owl will look great on a tree with the tea light snow people!

    Sitting in the office mailroom. Sitting in the office mail room.

    Now to show you all three tea light ornaments clustered together: Snowman Santa, Snow Lady and Owl. I like the brighter color used to paint the owl red. I think I'll lean towards making more owls in a variety of folk art colors and add whimsical details around the eyes, feathers and wings.

    On the office tree! Snowman Santa and the Snow Lady both have their lights on. The owl's light is on, too, but the angle doesn't show it very well. On the office tree! Snowman Santa and the Snow Lady both have their lights on. The owl's light is on, too, but the angle doesn't show it very well.
    See the difference in the tea light noses with the light turned on or off. Remember: color the flame orange with a permanent marker. See the difference in the tea light noses with the light turned on or off. Remember: color the flame orange with a permanent marker.

    Next up, more holiday lights on my dining room table at home. I have my LED 3-Pack Candle Set  in a row  atop a table runner.

    The very popular LED 3-pack candle set can be part of a holiday tablescape, too! The very popular LED 3-pack candle set can be part of a holiday tablescape, too!

    I wanted to add to my tabletop candles and decided on making a paper village using my coloring book paper from Art of Coloring  Festive (Leisure Arts #6945) and Art of Coloring Holiday (Leisure Arts #7094). I've just gotten started but am very pleased with the simple, clean paper house design found here.

    The tea lights make paper house luminaries as part of the table decor. The tea lights make paper house luminaries as part of the table decor.

    I looked at many paper house, paper box and paper folded ornament designs but this design by Hello Bee was the best for this project: a house structure to be a luminary and to show off a coloring book design. The paper house on the right has red and green tissue paper taped to the inside of the structure as a line. With the tea light turned on, the tissue paper-lined house was supposed  to give a warm holiday glow. However, it was the heaviest tissue paper I've ever felt and was displeased with the effect; that house will get a renovation! I like the intent of the added tissue paper, but I will need to buy some new (traditionally lighter-weight) yellow tissue paper. When the tea light is turned off, the tissue paper liner masks the appearance of the tea light if you don't like it being seen inside the house.

    In the early Fall, I showed different ways to use and decorate the LED 3-Pack Candle Set for National LED Day. Along with button garlands wrapped around the pillar candles, other embellishments were incorporated to the tablescape that included leaves, more buttons, baskets, etc. Not shown in my earlier post, was the below image of a wintry decorated candle; it is perfect for Christmas and beyond. I made snowball pom-poms (watch how here) and used them along with another button garland to decorate around the largest LED candle in the set.

    These snowball pom-poms look great in holiday colors complementing the ribbon and button garland. These snowball pom-poms look great in holiday colors complementing the ribbon and button garland.

    Candy canes are quite popular to use as part of your holiday decorations this time of year. This home decor candy cane candle project is so festive you could use it in any room for some extra holiday glitz. I wanted to try making a ring of candy canes surrounding a large candle, that I first saw here. It was a great decorative tip or trick, but I wanted to use the largest pillar candle from my LED 3-Pack Candle Set so I would not have to worry about the candle burning down.

    Simple idea - festive look! I'll use my LED pillar candles and won't worry about any flame! Simple idea - festive look! I'll use my LED pillar candles and won't worry about any flame!

    Since I was going to use a hot glue gun to secure the candy canes to each other and I didn't want any hot glue seepage onto my LED candle, I first made a poster board sleeve, or ring, to fit around my candle. Then I glued each candy cane to the poster board and made the candy cane ring. By using the largest pillar candle from my LED 3-Pack Candle Set I don't have to worry about wax getting a bit too warm for plastic wrapped peppermint candy!

    Peppermint candy canes are hot glued to a poster board sleeve [a 3"-4" ring] wrapped around the tallest LED pillar candle. Peppermint candy canes are hot glued to a poster board sleeve [a 3"-4" ring] wrapped around the tallest LED pillar candle.

    I bought inexpensive candy canes, white poster board and wide ribbon. Since I wanted a long section of each candy cane to be glued down, I cut a 3"-4" wide strip of poster board to act as a protective sleeve around the LED candle. I tied on a ribbon for extra security to assist holding the candy canes in place. Now I have an extra pop of color that can be added to any room -- and this is before the LED candle is lit!

    Fluff out that ribbon -- when you're using an LED pillar candle as part of your table decor! Fluff out that ribbon -- when you're using an LED pillar candle as part of your table decor!

    What a fun and busy couple of weeks I've had preparing and gathering these project ideas for you. I hope they will come in handy and lead you in using your tea lights and LED candles as home decor in different ways than you might have expected - craft on!

    Martha

     

     

  • 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

  • Pumpkin Craft Dioramas for Gnomes & Fairies

    Can you tell it's coming? Or, have you already felt it, smelled it, seen it?  The changes are happening. Whatever you call it, autumn or fall, for the Northern Hemisphere September brings the autumnal equinox. For many, it is a much-awaited time of year bringing in crisp weather, football, school activities and....pumpkins! If you love pumpkins, you will want to incorporate them in your seasonal decorations with gnomes and fairies by updating your fall home decor with a pumpkin craft diorama!

    In recent years, I have admired the creative displays showing different methods to decorate pumpkins. I have wanted to make a pumpkin craft diorama but was always tentative with the planning, carving and decorating. This year, I have my gnomes, fairies and accessories, so it was time to take the plunge and make a pumpkin craft diorama!

    First, I needed to purchase a pumpkin; a fake pumpkin. I opted to get a pre-carved artificial pumpkin ready for diorama creativity. One is good, two is better. I bought two pumpkins; a 13 inch tall orange pumpkin, and a round 9 inch white pumpkin. I also purchased mosses as my artificial terrain for inside the pumpkins.

    Inside view of the empty, pre-carved 9 inch white pumpkin. Inside view of the empty, pre-carved 9 inch white pumpkin.

    The next decision I made was not to permanently adhere anything to the pumpkins. I did not use glue or pins or tacks. I also did not carve any other architectural designs in the frame of the pumpkins; I did not add any windows or other doorways. I used mounting putty to help place the mosses and accent pieces from my kits.

    Sheet moss to fill fake pumpkin while creating your pumpkin craft. Diorama terrain will be created using preserved Spanish Moss, preserved Sheet Moss, mounting putty, battery operated tea lights, and polyester fill.

    Hmmm--what else might I try to include in my pumpkin craft dioramas? I used a brand new book as my guide; I relied on Leisure Arts' item 6870 - Pumpkins Pumpkins Pumpkins! as my go-to resource for both the dioramas and other decorative ideas. In addition to my new Pumpkins Pumpkins Pumpkins! book, I chose various accent pieces from my kits by Leisure Arts that include  #47858 - Woodland Garden Kit, #47870 - Fairy Garden Kit, #47961 - 4 Pack Resin Gnomes, #47962 - 4 Pack Resin Fairies:

    Leisure Arts' item 6870 - Pumpkins Pumpkins Pumpkins! offers great decorative ideas for faux pumpkin craft by adding bling, paint & lace, or creating a fairy & gnome home or glittery surface! Leisure Arts' item 6870 - Pumpkins Pumpkins Pumpkins! offers great decorative ideas for faux pumpkins by adding bling, paint & lace, or creating a fairy & gnome home or glittery surface!
    47858 Pieces included in item 47858 - Woodland Garden Kit.
    47870 Pieces included in item 47870 - Fairy Garden Kit.
    47961 Gnome figurines included in item 47961 - 4 Pack Resin Gnomes.
    47962 Fairy figurines included in item 47962 - 4 Pack Resin Fairies.

    Now to begin! Review the size of your pumpkins, including their height, the height and width of your carved opening, the diorama pieces and then start arranging. TIP: Make a few sketches of your design arrangements. Just in case one idea doesn't work, a back-up plan has already been formulated! Start by placing some polyester fill into the bottom of your pumpkins, add your artificial turf of choice and move on to your decorative pieces.

    Some polyester fill was placed inside on the bottom, then covered with some Sheet Moss. Hanging from above is some Spanish Moss. Some polyester fill was placed inside on the bottom, then covered with some Sheet Moss. Hanging from above is some Spanish Moss.

    To incorporate the look of outside terrain being part of my pumpkins, I used two different kinds of mosses to give different textures to the terrain. I tacked up some artificial leaves on the inside back wall of each pumpkin, and some on the outside, too. Thinking of a tabletop display, I also placed a fairy and a gnome outside of the pumpkin craft diorama standing among the fallen leaves as if they were visitors.

    Colorful leaves nestle the fairies and gnome in their wooded pumpkin setting as they gather mushrooms and flowers for fall's festivities. Colorful leaves nestle the fairies and gnome in their wooded pumpkin setting as they gather mushrooms and flowers for fall's festivities.

    Remember, I am not permanently gluing anything to the pumpkins. This can be tricky when it comes to placing the figurines, especially since I am also trying to create the effect of a hilly meadow! I didn't want the gnomes and fairies to fall face down into the moss. I purposely placed a mushroom in front of this fairy to help steady her stance on the hillside. The mushrooms are on long wire stems. (They easily pierced through the sheet moss into the polyester fill underneath.)

    The Fairy Garden has been weeded and prepped for the cooler night air. One of the gnomes assists the fairy while the hedgehog watches. The Fairy Garden has been weeded and prepped for the cooler night air. One of the gnomes assists the fairy while the hedgehog watches.

    I incorporated artificial lighting in my diorama by hanging some tea lights using mounting putty for a very low-light effect; these images do not reflect a low-light setting.

    More leaves are changing colors everyday. An illuminated tea light marks the forest's path while bats fly overhead in the nighttime air. More leaves are changing colors everyday. An illuminated tea light marks the forest's path while bats fly overhead in the nighttime air.

    The pattern templates for the bats and black leaves are included in Leisure Arts' item 6870 - Pumpkins Pumpkins Pumpkins! It's a great additional effect to remind us of the changing seasons - or even to precede the Halloween festivities coming in October!

    I am pleased with my first attempt at pumpkin craft dioramas. Since none of my decorations are permanently adhered to the pumpkins, I can change everything from the backdrops and terrain, to the accent pieces and surrounding thematic settings. Another wonderful positive about the dioramas having changeable pieces is the invitation for interactive play. How awesome it would be for youngsters to play with these figurines in a setting like this!

    A changeable setting currently showing the autumnal leaves surrounding two pumpkins used to house all mystical woodland creatures, fairies and gnomes! A changeable setting currently showing the autumnal leaves surrounding two pumpkin craft dioramas housing mystical woodland creatures, fairies and gnomes!

    Now I have plenty of time to plan for Thanksgiving and Christmas, too. I wonder what the gnomes and fairies will be up to during November and December? I bet they'll have something fun in store for us!

    Until next time, have some creative fun!

    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

  • Celebrate National Coloring Book Day with Us!

    Let’s Celebrate National Coloring Book Day together!

    In honor of National Coloring Book Day on August 2nd, we are hosting The Ultimate Coloring Giveaway.  You can win 10 Coloring Books, Colored Pencils, Markers & Gel Pens.  That's a $100 Retail Value!   Show us what you’ve colored and enter our Ultimate Coloring Giveaway.

    coloringbook-page2

    There are four ways to enter:

    1) Post a Colored Page (We’d love to see pages from Leisure Arts Books, but it’s not required) on Facebook using the hashtags #NationalColoringBookDay #LeisureArts.

    2) Post a Colored Page (We’d love to see pages from Leisure Arts Books, but it’s not required) on Instagram using the hashtags #NationalColoringBookDay #LeisureArts.

    3) Re-Pin our Happy National Coloring Book Day Graphic on Pinterest

    Happy National Coloring Book Day 2016

    4) Answer the Poll Question on Rafflecopter below.

    Choose one method or do all four! So start coloring and let’s see those pages!

    Winner will be picked on August 2nd, National Coloring Book Day!

    Enter and you will have a chance to win:

    The Ultimate Art of Coloring Value Pack (10 books)

    72 Pack Leisure Arts Colored Pencils

    60 Pack Leisure Arts Double-Ended Markers

    36 Pack Leisure Arts Gel Pens

    Enter here:

    a Rafflecopter giveaway

  • 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

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