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Tag Archives: paper crafts

  • Coloring a Father's Day Frame

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    Martha

  • Mother's Day Coloring Book Paper Cookie Box

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    Martha

  • Coloring Paper Strips Make Shamrocks

    It is pushing spring with birds nesting, buds forming on trees and daylight lasting longer. Now that the calendar says March, it surely is time for remembering the fields of green soon to flourish all around us. It also means it is time to celebrate St. Patrick's Day!

    Colorful shamrock examples using coloring book pages (from 6704 - Natural Wonders Color Art for Everyone), and scrapbook paper (on left), or construction paper (on right). Colorful shamrock examples using coloring book pages (from 6704 - Natural Wonders Color Art for Everyone), and scrapbook paper (on left), or construction paper (on right).

    The cloverleaf is a simple design that symbolizes St. Patrick's Day better than any other. So deciding on using the shamrock as my symbol of choice was the first step. Next, I wanted an easy design with materials readily available. I turned to Pinterest to get ideas and relied heavily on this post from Sugar Bee Crafts for guidance.

    I wanted my completed project to be a little different than other shamrocks around me so I turned to my stash of coloring books. I chose two pages from Natural Wonders Color Art for Everyone (Leisure Arts' item 6704) and only colored selected portions of each page. My first page had a few shamrocks along with other leaves and blooms;  the second page I chose depicted dragonflies, another example of expected blooming, warmer weather.

    Using a gel pen and colored pencils, I added some color to a page with shamrocks in its design; from 6704 - Natural Wonders Color Art for Everyone. Using a gel pen and colored pencils, I added some color to a page with shamrocks in its design; from 6704 - Natural Wonders Color Art for Everyone.
    Another page that reminded me of spring was that of dragonflies. I used a highlighter to color this page; from 6704 - Natural Wonders Color Art for Everyone. Another page that reminded me of spring was that of dragonflies. I used a highlighter to color this page; from 6704 - Natural Wonders Color Art for Everyone.

    Looking at examples of finished paper shamrocks on various social media sites, I knew that I wanted to use either one or two solid colored paper strips when making each shamrock. I relied on construction paper and scrapbook paper for my choices of solid colors. I always try to make a prototype of a project before its final version. So construction paper and any coloring book page whose coloring was an experiment would be perfect for the draft version!

    The measurements for each paper strip were based on the size of the pages that I chose. The coloring book pages were 8.5"w X 11"h, the construction paper was 9"w X 11"h, and the scrapbook paper was a 12" square.  Now I knew that the longest strip would be from either construction or scrapbook paper. I decided to use three paper strips for each section of my cloverleaf. Each strip would be 1"h with three varying lengths of 8", 9.5" and 12".

    Since I wanted to use coloring book pages, I made the measurements for the two smaller strips fit those dimensions. The largest strip was cut from either construction or scrapbook paper. Since I wanted to use coloring book pages, I made the measurements for the two smaller strips fit those dimensions. The largest strip was cut from either construction or scrapbook paper.

    One strip from each length were gently folded over with the ends held flush and stapled together. The two shorter lengths were my coloring book pages and I turned the design side towards the stapled end which will be the center of the shamrock. I did this on purpose so more of the design would be visible.

    I decided to make a three-leaf shamrock; each of the three leaves were made in two sections of three strips. Staple two three-leaf sections together to make one shamrock leaf. See the image before all pieces are glued for better placement of each section.

    Each clover leaf has been stapled and the stems prepared. Each clover leaf has been stapled and the stems prepared.

    I decided to use my extra strips to make my stem. For extra stability, I used two strips for the stem. The shorter stem strip (inside) was glued to the middle cloverleaf, each end of the longer stem strip (outside) was glued to the underside of each respective outer cloverleaf. See the additional images and close-up to get a better idea of placement.  As you will see in the photos, now is the time to cut four circles, two each in two different sizes; these circles will be the center of the shamrock. Use your judgment as to the size of circles; these will cover the glue that will hold the shamrock leaves and stems together.

    Preparing to use a glue gun to hold all the pieces together. I cut four circles that will be placed in the center of the shamrock assisting in hiding the glue. Preparing to use a glue gun to hold all the pieces together. I cut four circles that will be placed in the center of the shamrock assisting in hiding the glue.
    The gluing has begun with a little placed on the stems onto the sides of the clover leaves. The gluing has begun with a little placed on the stems onto the sides of the clover leaves.

    I have included two close-up shots so the placement of the center circles and hot glue can be seen more clearly.

    A better contrast view showing the center before the hot glue is dispensed. A better contrast view showing the center before the hot glue is dispensed.
    This mound of hot glue helps to hold the ends of each cloverleaf, as well as, each leaf to the stems. This mound of hot glue helps to hold the ends of each cloverleaf, as well as, each leaf to the stems.
    Thank goodness the centered circles conceal the glue (two different circle sizes stacked and glued together). Thank goodness the centered circles conceal the glue (two different circle sizes stacked and glued together).
    Both sides have their center circles placed and glued. Both sides have their center circles placed and glued.

    Now that the construction paper prototype shamrock is constructed, I practice hanging it on a door. I suspended the shamrock by only one of the larger loops. It seems to sag a little, but not too badly.

    One option is to hang on a door. One option is to hang on a door.

    Moving forward, my next step is to make my second shamrock using scrapbook paper instead of construction paper for each of the longest strips. Scrapbook paper is sturdier, so I'm wondering what the differences will be in the design of the final product.

    Second shamrock being constructed. The longest strips are cut from scrapbook paper. One drawback to my choice: it wasn't colored on both sides. Second shamrock being constructed. The longest strips are cut from scrapbook paper. One drawback to my choice: it wasn't colored on both sides.

    GREAT BONUS: I took my coloring book pages from being two-dimensional pages and made them into three-dimensional projects. Now that's taking creativity to the next level -- and it was fun, not hard!

    Use 2-4 coloring book pages for your project. I made my shamrocks from 6704 - Natural Wonders Color Art for Everyone. Use 2-4 coloring book pages for your project. I made my shamrocks from 6704 - Natural Wonders Color Art for Everyone.

    TIPS TO REMEMBER WHEN CHOOSING YOUR PAPER: The scrapbook paper was sturdier than the construction paper so it keeps its shape a little better when hanging by a single hook. The construction paper is colored on both sides; the scrapbook paper that I chose was not.  You can see the differences in color visibility when hanging on a wall.

    Two completed shamrocks used coloring book pages and either scrapbook paper (top left image) or construction paper (bottom right); 6704 - Natural Wonders Color Art for Everyone. Two completed shamrocks used coloring book pages and either scrapbook paper (top left image) or construction paper (bottom right); 6704 - Natural Wonders Color Art for Everyone.
    A straight-on front photo of the shamrocks hanging on a wall doesn't show all the colors well-enough. I think I want a shamrock shower and will try suspending them from the ceiling, but I'll need more shamrocks and some assistance with the hanging of each! A straight-on front photo of the shamrocks hanging on a wall doesn't show all the colors well-enough. I think I want a shamrock shower and will try suspending them from the ceiling, but I'll need more shamrocks and some assistance with the hanging of each!

    Both shamrocks are now done -- yeah; what an easy seasonal item to make! I have not tried suspending my shamrocks by string from the ceiling, or making a paper chain link from which to suspend them, so I still have some experimentation to do. I am pleased enough with this project that I would do it again -- maybe I'll make varying sizes of shamrocks using different colors of green? I have lots of future choices that will make the next round of shamrocks result in interesting variations.

    Enjoy your spring; erin go bragh!

    Martha

  • Heart Basket Using a Coloring Book Page

    Love is all around us - but more so this time of year with Valentine's Day fast approaching! You may share your love, appreciation, kindness and friendship with others by giving them a special handmade paper heart basket. An especially personalized feature would be to use one of your favorite coloring book pages to make a heart basket. Here's how to do it...

    You will make your heart basket from two folded pieces of paper. So your initial step is to choose two pieces of paper. My suggestion is to choose one page from a coloring book and the other from solid colored papers such as construction, writing or printer paper. Papers have different weights, so you may have to decide which works best for you. My coloring book page came from the Art of Coloring Patterns. I then used red construction paper purchased from a craft store chain as my solid color.

    6808 - Art of Coloring Patterns 6808 - Art of Coloring Patterns

    Make a decision whether or not you want your coloring book page to remain as a black and white patterned page, or colored with some portion of the page colored. I chose to put a little color randomly on the page.

    Add a pop of color here and there to the page, from 6808 - Art of Coloring Patterns. Add a pop of color here and there to the page, from 6808 - Art of Coloring Patterns.

    Next, I chose two solid colors: red and black are perfect complementary colors!

    Experiment with solid colors to be used with coloring book page from 6808 - Art of Coloring Patterns. Experiment with solid colors to be used with a coloring book page; this page from 6808 - Art of Coloring Patterns.

    After choosing your papers, fold each page in half lengthwise. Each half of the basket measures 2.25" wide, each with three strips for weaving. Each strip measures 0.75" wide x 2.5" high (not the entire height of the folded piece of paper).  Measure along the folded crease and make very light pencil marks to assist you when cutting.

    All pages have been measured and marked; let the cutting begin! (Hint: see how the coloring book page was temporarily turned inside out for measuring, etc.) All pages have been measured and marked; let the cutting begin! (Hint: Temporarily turn the coloring book page inside out for measuring, etc.)

    Now is a good time to erase any pencil markings. Turn your coloring book page right side out with the printed side visible.

    Cut all the halves and each strip for every basket; erase any pencil marks. Turn the coloring book page so the right side is facing out (from 6808 - Art of Coloring Patterns). Cut all the halves and each strip for every basket; erase any pencil marks. Turn the coloring book page so the right side is facing out (from 6808 - Art of Coloring Patterns).

    Select the two halves you have chosen, and turn the folded edges away from you. Work with each half at an angle as you begin weaving.

    Choose two halves, face the folded edges away from you and start weaving. Choose two halves, face the folded edges away from you and start weaving.

    I learned how to make Norwegian Baskets like this one as a young girl sitting next to my Grandmother. Since we can't sit next to each other, watching this YouTube video will be most helpful since the written instructions can get cumbersome.

    Each folded strip is woven this way: Looking at the example, start by weaving the inner most strips first; you will always work with two strips simultaneously. Because you are weaving, each strip of one color/side will pass through the inside, or around the outside of those strips of the opposite color.

    For instance, weave the first red strip and the first coloring book strip: the slightly 'opened' red strip is on the outside going around the outside of the first coloring book strip; then the first red strip goes through the inside middle coloring book strip; and finally, the first red strip goes around the outside of the third coloring book strip.

    As you are working, slide the woven strips towards the top of the cut strips making more room for the next strip to be woven.

    Start weaving the second red strip in an alternate pattern from the first red strip. For instance, weave the second red strip through the inside of the first coloring book strip; then, around the middle coloring book strip; and, finally, through the third coloring book strip.

    The weaving alternates with each strip; you will see the pattern develop as you progress. The weaving alternates with each strip; you will see the pattern develop as you progress.

    After all of the strips are woven, you will be able to open your basket. If you can't, then an error has been made in the weaving. Try undoing carefully and start over. Now get a sharp pair of scissors.

    When your weaving in complete, turn the heart basket around with the point facing towards you. When your weaving is complete, turn the heart basket around with the point facing towards you.

    Round the square edges by gently holding the two halves together while cutting; this will create the heart shape. From your saved 'extra' pieces of paper, cut a folded strip to use as the basket's handle. Remember, a handle is optional.

    To give a heart-shaped appearance to the basket, round the tops by cutting away square edges. An optional handle is cut from the extra solid paper; secure it with tape or glue. To give a heart-shaped appearance to the basket, round the tops by cutting away the square edges. An optional handle is cut from the extra solid paper; secure it with tape or glue.

    Secure your basket's handle with tape or glue. As a young girl during Christmas, I would make these Norwegian Baskets annually from the opened presents'  wrapping paper. As I got older, these baskets were fun to make for college friends, then I taught Girl Scout troops how to make them and my women's group to make as part of a service project. Now I am sharing both my heritage and love for coloring with you. Relax, enjoy, color and create!

    Happy Valentine's Day --

    Martha

     

     

  • Birthday and Mother's Day Cards

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

    Birthday Cupcake Birthday Cupcake

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

    Mother's Day Mother's Day
  • Valentine DIY Inspiration and Instruction

    I really love Valentine's Day.  It's a celebration of love and friendship and there's a big sale on all kinds of chocolate in the middle of the month!  There's so much to love about this time of year! There are years when I decorate my home, and get as serious about mailing out my Valentines as I do my Christmas cards.

    But this is not one of those years.  I began to accept this reality last night after I failed to crochet or knit a fifth or sixth heart (different patterns yielded different disasters), and completely embraced it after I tried to take adorable pictures of my daughter for photo cards and got this:

    I got a nice in-focus picture of her sock before she completely scurried away.

    As festive as I feel, I don't know how much holiday crafting I'll be doing for this particular holiday.  I do know I probably won't be making something awesome (or something that seems awesome to me), and writing all about it on here.  But that's okay!  You probably didn't want to copy my ideas anyway!  But this won't be a tiny and unhelpful post.  No sir/ma'am!

    This post is a roundup of all the helpful posts this blog already has!  I did the searching for you, and now I have a head full of ideas for projects I may just have to make time for anyway.  Ready?  Okay!

    First off, we have to talk about decorating.  Valentine decorations are my favorite part of Valentine's Day, right after the actual Valentines.

    Here's a guest post from a designer on how to decorate your home for Valentine's Day.  There are nice ideas for how to brighten up your home, and I think it looks festive without being too over-the-top.  You could follow some of her tips and leave your decorations out for the whole rest of the month.  Speaking as someone who has a pumpkin on a ledge and a plug-in Santa in my living room, this appeals to me.

    If you do want to get a little more overt with your decorating, these posts may help.  The post "Paper Crafted Party Ensembles" shows some of the Valentiney ideas in the book Party Ensembles.  And this post has some wonderful banner inspiration pictures.  I love banners, and who wouldn't after seeing this?

    If you want to sew or crochet some Valentine's gifts, then you're in lucky.  Pink and red and button-covered luck.   The post "Crochet for Valentine's Day" has project ideas and links to Leisure Arts ebooks and pattern books.  Super, super cute.

    And here's a free pattern for a pin cushion jar topper. This would be a perfect gift to make your crafty loved one smile. Or, you could just decorate your craft area for the season.

    I love this idea.  You could fill the jar with pink buttons or purple or red ones.  Or small bobbins of thread.  Or small balls of scrap yarn.  This is a really pretty way to dress up something practical without getting crazy with the whimsy.

    Another sweet gift (or decoration) is the felt heart ornament.  I know I already said I won't be doing any big crafts for Valentine's Day this year, but this doesn't seem so big.  A couple of these would look nice hanging on a door, or over an entryway.  Who wouldn't love to have more love around the house?

    I know, you probably love this as much as I do!  Especially with the embellishments. So sweet.  Click here to read the post.

    If you're one of those people who makes candy or cookies as gifts, God bless you.  (You're probably getting the 'not a cook' vibe from me right now.  You're reading me right.)  I don't cook much, but I do love eating.  Homemade treats are such a nice way to let someone know you love them.  I mean, you're giving them nourishment!  Or at least a sugar rush!  People tend to be appreciative either way.  Here's a post with a recipe for sugar cookies (sugar!) and here's a recipe for some very fancy-looking chocolate candies.

    Raspberries are involved.  You KNOW things are getting fancy now!

     If you want to go the extra mile and present these presents (ha) in handcrafted style, here's a post for Valentine's Day gift bags.  I don't know why I'm getting to be more and more of a sucker for buttons as embellishments, but I am.  It really may have had something to do with writing this post.  I seem to have converted my own self my own self just by uploading a few photos.  It's not too hard to see why, though!

    I linked to this project in a Christmas post (and now that I've gone back and read it, I'm really sad that I've already made the 'present your presents' joke once before), but it was originally written for this time of year, and I think it's just precious.

    I know I didn't include any links or pictures about making your own Valentines, but I think that's best left to your imagination.  My only advice would be to do the first thing that pops into your head.  And also maybe find out how much someone hates glitter (so sad!) before you put any on his or her card.  I think any card, but especially a Valentine, is most beautiful and meaningful when you come up with the idea yourself.  Even people who don't consider themselves big crafters tend to go for more handmade and personal gifts for Valentine's Day.

    I think it's just the nature of the holiday.  You may buy a small Christmas gift for everyone in your office, but you probably don't do that when February rolls around.  (Unless you're one of those people who does the classroom Valentines with suckers.  Trust me, you're everyone's favorite person. Those make my day!)  You don't send Valentines out of a sense of social obligation, or because someone sent you one.  You send them to your dear friends and your close family.  You're telling people you love them, and it only makes sense to make your card or gift more personal by making it yourself.

    Also, I once sent a Valentine to a teenage boy that just was a stamp of a black raven sitting in a leafless tree and I wrote "You are all alone." across the top.  It disqualified me from giving card-making advice to anyone ever.

    I hope these links helped, or at least got you more in the mood for the holiday.  And I especially hope you have fun trying some of these ideas out!  I might be getting more into the spirit myself now!

  • Patriotic Craft Digital Download Patterns

    With a digital download pattern, you’ve still got time to get crafty on these fun little paint, plastic canvas, no-sew, and paper craft projects for the 4th of July!
    For a fun and inexpensive holiday decor accessory or gift, try out our digital download to paint Uncle Sam for Independence Day or any other patriotic occasion. Our design calls for Delta PermEnamel and Ceramcoat paints to be used on a readily available glass ivy bowl. Pattern and full instructions are included.
    Hurray for the red, white, and blue! And for our patriotic tissue box cover, too! Designed with Smyrna Cross Stitch stars and lots of stripes, this digital download is a spirited way to salute the Fourth of July or to honor friends and family in the military. The design is stitched using worsted weight yarn and 7 mesh plastic canvas.
    These little creations are easy to make and versatile to use. Try working the digital download designs on 7 or 10 mesh plastic canvas to decorate baskets, jars, wreaths, bags, and other items. They also can be made into package ties, plant pokes, magnets, coasters, and more.
    Show your pride in the red, white, and blue with our patriotic table runner! Created using a no-sew strip piecing method, it can also be draped across the table to serve as two place mats. Digital download includes patterns and full instructions.
    Pledge your allegiance to the land that you love with a stirring collage. Fashion a landscape with bits of paper torn from out-of-date magazines or advertising circulars, then add a sprinkling of words that express what America means to you. We placed ours in a store-bought mat and frame. Digital download includes pattern and full instructions.
    Affordable and portable, our instant digital download patterns are perfect for last minute patriotic crafts!
  • Wedding Paper Crafts—Free Projects

    After making Father’s Day cards the other day, I realized that there also always seem to be wedding bells ringing this time of the year, and every time I turn around, I seem to need another wedding card. Consequently, since I really like making and giving handmade cards, June can be a challenging month for me, but I think I’ve found a solution—the In Love with Paper Crafts inspiration book from Leisure Arts and Paper Crafts magazine!
    “Because everyone needs ways to express love all year long, the editors of Paper Crafts magazine have compiled this dynamic anthology with 443 of their most lovable cards and valentines, plus gift bags, boxes, albums, home accents, sweet treats, and party d'cor. It’s an irresistible go-to resource for design guidance in all the categories of love. Themes include wedding, anniversaries, romance, family devotion, passion for life, and other heartwarming experiences. There is even a “Love and Learn” section featuring clever ways to use basic paper crafting tools and products and a variety of stamping techniques. Try out some advanced techniques, or keep it simple with quick and easy 5-step designs. It's always the perfect time to let someone know you care!”

    To inspire you during wedding season, I’m sharing two free projects (two of my favorite cards to make and give), from In Love with Paper Crafts—the Happily Ever After Card and the With This Ring Card.

    Here’s how I made these two free projects for wedding cards:

    Happily Ever After Card
    Designer: Sonja Skarbo
    1. Make card from cardstock.
    2. Stamp flowers and border.
    3. Adhere border strip.
    4. Stamp sentiment.
    5. Attach brad.
    Finished size: 6-1/2" x 5".


    With This Ring Card
    Designer: Janette Olen
    1. Make card from cardstock; punch top corners.
    2. Cut cardstock slightly smaller than card; punch top corners. Adhere.
    3. Cut Cardstock strip; punch border and adhere.
    4. Tie ribbon around front flap.
    5. Stamp bride and groom on cardstock. Trim and apply ink around image. Mat with cardstock. Adhere rhinestones. Adhere with foam tape.
    6. Stamp sentiment.
    Finished size: 5-1/2" x 4-1/4".

    I’m sure all you paper craft fans out there will enjoy these free projects so much that you’ll need your own copy of In Love With Paper Crafts. It’s not just about weddings! This book’s got project inspiration for love in general and for all kinds of paper craft projects—not just cards!
  • Happy Father’s Day & Last Minute Card Making!

    Hope you’re all having a fabulous Father’s Day! The Daddy at our house is still asleep, and The Cat and I are trying to decide on a last minute handmade card design to make for him. I’ve pulled out one of my favorite paper craft source books—The Best of Stamp It! Cards for inspiration…
    Which one would you make?


    Gears for Dad & Daddy’s Little Monkey

    Special Dad & Father’s Day Tree

    You Rock! & I Heart My Dad

    With Gratitude & Howdy Daddy

    Keep Your Chin Up & Tie Rack

    Making a Difference & Super Dad

    I’m leaning toward You Rock! ’cause The-Love-Of-My-Life plays guitar, but I’m also really liking Howdy Daddy just for the fun shape…
    Guess I’d better get started paper crafting before he wakes up. Then I’ve got cooking to do ’cause he’s all about home cooking on special days. (I think he’s getting chicken and dumplings for supper this year, but first I’ve got to figure out breakfast...What do you feed a man who’s allergic to eggs?)
    Wishing you and yours a special Father’s Day, too!
    (Oh, and if you like these cards as much as I do, get yourself a copy of The Best of Stamp It! Cards, so you can wait till the last minute for card making—just like me!
  • BOGO Download Event


    Here’s that update I was babbling about in my last post!
    It’s Buy 1 Get 1 Free Weekend at LeisureArts.com—June 15-17 only! Buy one of our select digital download ePatterns or eBooks and get a second of equal or lesser value free!
    We’ve got something for everybody in this BOGO Event: plastic canvas, embroidery, crafts, cross stitch, paper crafts, knit, crochet and quilt. It’s a great opportunity for a good deal on affordable, portable ePatterns and eBooks from Leisure Arts! Don’t miss it!
    Happy downloading!
    Wanna know more about digital downloads from Leisure Arts? Click on over and read, “What do I need to read a digital download and how?” for all the details!

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