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  • Shading & Blending: Decisions -- Decisions...

    Where to start? I've noticed several members of our Color Art for Everyone Facebook Group are unsure what/why/how to use a particular medium, what shades of colors should be used and what type of coloring books are preferable.

    Various media examples from which to choose. Markers, gel pens, colored pencils, watercolor pencils, petroleum jelly, water and paint brushes. Various media examples from which to choose. Markers, gel pens, colored pencils, watercolor pencils, petroleum jelly, water and paint brushes.

    I can offer suggestions and some practical advice, but being artistic lets you experiment. Everyone can show artistry. Some people's results may be more refined than others, but it is all part of artistic self-expression. It's up to you to be adventurous and have fun! Let loose and try it out; that's the benefit of stress-free coloring.

    Along with your choice of medium, you may want to (re)familiarize yourself with colors. A good example of how colors can work for you is found by viewing a color wheel. Here is a basic example of how to use a color wheel.

    Understanding colors; from inside cover of books in the Color Art for Everyone Series. Understanding colors; from inside cover of books in the Color Art for Everyone Series.

    Don't restrict yourself by using only one medium in your drawing. Coloring is about experimenting, as well as, disconnecting from the logical part of life. Here are some good examples of combining different media.

    Different effects created using various media; from inside cover of books in the Color Art for Everyone Series. Different effects created using various media; from inside cover of books in the Color Art for Everyone Series.

    Should you consider what you desire as your end result? Sure; the look may change your mind in what medium to use. Also, are you planning on giving your page as a gift? Does your answer affect your choice of medium? It may; so here's a page showing result comparisons that may assist you in your decision.

    Compare the different results you may get from using various media; from the inside cover of books in the Art of Coloring series. Compare the different results you may get from using various media; from the inside cover of books in the Art of Coloring series.

    You don't need the most or best in your media choices. You can have rich, colored pages emerge if you practice. As a post-baccalaureate student a few years ago, my Photoshop professor reminded the class of layers and applying layers of color as we see in a painting. It was a great example to think of fine arts as applied to digital art for desired results.

    Start with single colors applied multiple times in each design area. Use this idea to create your colored pages. In the example below, I have made my choices of color and have started to apply the first layer. In some areas, you can see more intense colors emerge as I have applied additional layers.

    Build your color intensity by applying more than one "layer" of color. Can you see the differences? Build your color intensity by applying more than one "layer" of color. Can you see the differences?

    In my project below, the page's repeating design reminded me of wallpaper. Continuing with this idea of applying layers of color, I moved on to the next step by introducing several colors to each design area. I wanted to decide on colors that repeated as did the design, but I also wanted to show dimension within each character of the design.

    Add dimension to your project. Use two or more pencil shades to create depth of light and shadow. Add dimension to your project. Use two or more pencil shades to create depth of light and shadow.

    In the next two examples, I have used markers to create a dimensional effect applying several shades of color in each flower; and, experimented with gel pens and watercolor pencils used with (regular) colored pencils in the page showing the many strands of shells.

    Each flower has at least three marker colors for each petal; from Floral Wonders Color Art for Everyone. Each flower has at least three marker colors for each petal; from Floral Wonders Color Art for Everyone.
    Trying gel pens, watercolor pencils and (regular) colored pencils; from Ocean Wonders Color Art for Everyone. Trying gel pens, watercolor pencils and (regular) colored pencils; from Ocean Wonders Color Art for Everyone.

    Now, I wanted to experiment with new applications creating different blended effects. Using petroleum jelly to assist in blending is new to me but has received a lot of attention recently. First, I decided on a page of waves; a page that could express movement from the book Art of Coloring Coastal.

    A different blending effect created by using petroleum jelly. A different blending effect created by using petroleum jelly.

    I started with a simple, light layer of colored pencils in my waves. I then began applying petroleum jelly. There are different methods to apply the petroleum jelly, so do some research and try them out. After my first layer of colored pencils, I dipped a colored pencil of choice in the petroleum jelly and started coloring. The petroleum jelly is used from the pencil tip very quickly, so reapply often. I then decided to return to the area with petroleum jelly and blend by rubbing with a cotton swab. You can see the progression of my page in the following images.

    Emphasize movement by layering multiple shades of dark colors before using your choice of main colors; from Art of Coloring Coastal. Emphasize movement by layering multiple shades of dark colors before using your choice of main colors; from Art of Coloring Coastal.
    This larger wave shows pencils shaded then the beginning use of petroleum jelly. The colors become brighter but perhaps less intense at same time. Decide what effect you want for each particular project; from Art of Coloring Coastal. This larger wave shows pencils shaded then the beginning use of petroleum jelly. The colors become brighter but perhaps less intense at same time. Decide what effect you want for each particular project; from Art of Coloring Coastal.
    Whole page showing both the smaller waves with darker shades of colored pencils only, and one large wave with beginning use of petroleum jelly over colored pencils; from Art of Coloring Coastal. Whole page showing both the smaller waves with darker shades of colored pencils only, and one large wave with beginning use of petroleum jelly over colored pencils; from Art of Coloring Coastal.
    Close-up: larger wave with colored pencil application, then pencil tips dipped in petroleum jelly and finally blended using a cotton swab. Close-up: larger wave with colored pencil application, then pencil tips dipped in petroleum jelly and finally blended using a cotton swab.

    In the two images below I show a close-up, then a summary of steps used to create different looks. First, I show waves using colored pencils as my 'base' layer, with the next layer being watercolor pencils applied on top. Next for your review, I outlined some of the steps by placing notes on my page.

    Depth of space intensifies with larger waves behind the smaller rolling waves. Waves will probably have more color contrasts to suggest their movement. Watercolor pencils have been used with (regular) colored pencils; from Art of Coloring Coastal. Depth of space intensifies with larger waves behind the smaller rolling waves. The taller waves will probably have more color contrasts to suggest surges in their movement. Watercolor pencils have been used with (regular) colored pencils; from Art of Coloring Coastal.
    Notes show some different steps and effects created; from Art of Coloring Coastal. Notes show some different steps and effects created; from Art of Coloring Coastal.

    Another reason why I love our coloring books is their paper. Look how well this page has held up with all of my experimentation using multiple layers of colored pencils, petroleum jelly, and watercolor pencils.

    Back of my coloring page after use of watercolor pencils and colored pencils with petroleum jelly. Back of my coloring page after use of watercolor pencils and colored pencils with petroleum jelly.

    Some tips I have learned: Don't dip too deeply into the petroleum jelly because you'll only get a clump on your entire pencil point -- and it will get too messy on your paper. Re-dipping and applying often is best. Wipe your pencil clean, gently blot the paper with a clean paper towel, and leave your page open to set.

    This post holds a lot of information - and it's incomplete; there's always more! Use your judgment after you try things out. I offer these ideas as suggestions - learn by doing and sharing your experiences with us; join our Color Art for Everyone Facebook Group for the easiest way to share.  If you're looking for new coloring books, visit Leisure Arts today.

    Another thought on the construction of coloring books. Before the resurgence in their popularity, whenever I found a grown-up coloring book, I thought those with spines were better -- until I tried to open up to the page I wanted to color. The spine needed to be broken in order to lay flat; not great for a book's life. For me, saddle-stitched (stapled) books with perforated pages are key! The perforated pages give me the option to remove my pages when done. Oh, yes; I keep my pages intact in their respective coloring book while I'm coloring. I have no difficulty in coloring the entire page because they open to lay flat on any hard surface. My pages in their books travel safely with me -- great transportable entertainment!

    Have fun --

    Martha

     

  • A Medley of Colors in a Mandala

    I've been doing some coloring lately, and looking through Art of Coloring Mandalas Adult Coloring Book has been a great way to enjoy the end of the day. I started coloring this page a little while ago:

    003I wasn't quite sure how I wanted to color this at first. I'm fine with things that look like plants or animals, but I wasn't sure what colors would look good on something like this Adult Coloring Book Page.

     

    So I went with all of them!

     

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    I started with the outer areas, and I'm not sure why.  I'm also not sure why I tend to color in a counter-clockwise circular pattern, either, but here we are.  I had time to notice these things about myself while I was working on this big floral-looking mandala.  That's about as meditative as I got.  I feel like I should be a little more meditative whenever I work in an adult coloring book, especially one with mandala patterns, but sometimes just focusing on coloring in the spaces and choosing the next color brings me plenty of tranquility.   I pulled my colored pencils out of the box in color groupings--the greens, the blues, and so on--and moved from dark tones to light ones as I colored my way to the center.

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    I've moved on to this sheet since finishing my rainbow mandala.

    009

    The colors are a little more haphazardly placed, and I thought some of the designs looked like bees so I colored them that way.  I'm using crayons on this page, and it's a more relaxed and silly approach.  Whichever method I use, I know I'm going to have a good time coloring these beautiful mandalas.

     

  • 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

     

     

     

  • Mandala

    Stuck at home today due to snow storm. I think it will melt by tomorrow so I will not go stir crazy. To help the day move along faster I covered up under my favorite fleece blanket, pulled out my stack of Leisure Arts coloring books, and colors. I chose the new Mandala coloring books that Leisure Arts just released. I used my florescent color pencils, metallic color pencils, and glittery gel pens that I found at Barnes and Noble.

    IMG_8825

    The Mandala is very therapeutic. According to the Merriam-Webster Dictionary (and this is abbreviated), the Mandala is a Hindu or Buddhist graphic symbol and it is often a symbolic pattern usually in the form of a circle. When coloring a Mandala, I like to pick 7 colors and repeat them in order. I find that when I color it relaxes me.

    The hardest part in coloring is picking colors and deciding what materials I want to use to color: color pencils, color pens, crayons, and color gel-pens. I will tell you this, I used a violet shade color pencil to color a part of this Mandala and I had difficulty keeping it sharpened. My lead kept breaking because I had dropped the pencil and it broke the lead into several pieces inside. So try not to drop your colored pencils. One more thing, when coloring a Mandala work inside out so nothing smears. So go bring out your inner child and color. Ask your friends over for a coloring party. Put on your favorite music and get your coloring on. Have fun playing with your box of crayons!

  • Stash-busting and Stash-building with Dishcloths

    This week I crocheted four dishcloths from the pattern booklet Dishcloths by Candi Jensen.

    095

    FOUR dishcloths for my gift stash!  Excellent.  These are all patterns I've made before, but when I like a pattern I tend to come back to it over and over.  And I'm a big fan of some of the patterns in this book.

    The first dishcloth I made was the Variegated pattern.

    091

    My little gift-making adventure got started with this yarn:

    002

    It was on sale, it had colors I liked, and it didn't work in any pattern I tried or with any stitch. Seriously, I was a little spooked.  I didn't like it in garter stitch (what variegated yarn looks bad in garter stitch?!).  Or seed stitch.  Or single crochet stitches.  I reached a point where I just wanted this out of my stash so I could stop wondering what to do with it.  I flipped through Dishcloths, realized there was a pattern called 'Variegated' written for variegated yarn, and went to town!

    The Variegated pattern uses about 45ish yards, so I had about half of a skein left.  So I made the Granny Border dishcloth because that's probably my favorite dishcloth pattern of all time.  I found some white scrap yarn and used that for the border.

    092

    While I was looking through some of my cotton yarn scraps, I realized I probably had enough pink and green bits to make a dishcloth and I'd recently seen the Striped Hexagon pattern on Ravelry.  Seeing it had made me want to try it again, so I made this with one less stripe (because I ran out of yarn.  It's about 7" across as is, so I think it's fine. These things happen).

    093

    I loved putting scraps to good use, so I figured I had enough of them for one more dishcloth.  So I made the Diagonal Stripe pattern!

    094

    The Diagonal Stripe pattern calls for just two colors, but why stop there?  You can use all kinds of colors!  This is a little crazy -looking, but I think it's cheerful and the colors look good together.  I'm sure it will fit right in at someone's kitchen.

    All of these patterns call for worsted weight cotton yarn and an I hook, and that's what I used. I know some of the stitch patterns look a bit open, but I've used dishcloths like this at home and also know that repeated uses and washings (and dryings) can shrink the crocheted fabric so that it's denser and better at soaking up spills and scrubbing away messes.  I'm pretty pumped to get these yarn scraps out of my stash and I'm even more excited about having these pretty dishcloths in my gift stash.

    095

  • New Year, New Project Goals!

    Happy New Year!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    012

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

    014

    I feel so good right now!

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

    015

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

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

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

     

    I'd better get back to that cowl!

  • There's Always Something More to Color!

    Sometimes when I'm coloring, I get into a rush to hurry up so I can see the finished page.

    But other times, I catch myself wishing the project would last a little longer.

    Flower coloring page

    This was a lovely colored page!  I will miss it!

    flower color page

    But wait!  What are those little circles in the background?

    Orange color flower - Adult Coloring BookI don't know what they are, but I know I'm going to color them and I'm glad this page has a few more details for me to enjoy.

    When you're having such a good time, it's nice when there's always another detail to enjoy.  I'm going to have a lovely time taking a little more time to add a little more color.

  • Coloring Decor for Christmas

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

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

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

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

    Kaleidoscope Wonders     Kaleidoscope Wonders  (Click photos to enlarge.)

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

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

    Kaleidoscope Wonders Coloring Crafts  (Click photo to enlarge.)

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

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

      (Click photo to enlarge.)Kaleidoscope Coloring Christmas Tree

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

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

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

    Kaleidoscope Wonders Christmas Tree  (Click photo to enlarge.)

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

    Martha

  • Make Coloring Book Pages into More

    As I have said over the years, I love to color! It is a natural outlet of creativity for me. A new box of crayons, pencils or markers always made me smile.  Coloring was never a phase for me; it was something that made me, me!

    Paper pumpkin from coloring book pages. Paper pumpkin from coloring book pages.

    The mass appeal of coloring has reignited! You know you can color by yourself as a means of entertainment or meditation. But don't forget coloring can be done in a group as a play date or coloring party. Whatever your preference, just relax, be imaginative and have fun!

    Holiday crunch time is here with Thanksgiving right around the corner! Families and friends will gather. They may need an outlet for their pent-up energy and excitement, especially if the weather is uncooperative for outdoor play. Coloring fits the bill. It is an activity that is not too demanding, does not require an organizer, and is not food-related.  Added bonus -- it can be done in a group setting! What a great way to offer your group gathering a stress-free, decorative and interactive activity!

    I saw similar projects to my finished paper pumpkin posted on Pinterest. I kept playfulness in mind, as I experimented with pages from my adult coloring books to make decorative paper pumpkins. After I had fun coloring, I found what worked best for me and now I'll share my steps with you.

    I used two pages from Jungle Wonders Color Art for Everyone; one page had areas colored with markers, the second page was uncolored. I'll show you how I made my paper pumpkins.

    Colored page using markers. Colored page using markers.

    I knew that I would be cutting my two pages into strips so even the colored page did not have every part of its design filled with marker. I used colors that were more fall-like to match my other seasonal decor.

    Uncolored page. Uncolored page.

    Getting my pages ready...

    Pages cut into strips - see other image for dimensions. Pages cut into strips - see other image for dimensions.

    Each coloring book page would yield five 2-inch strips, measuring the page when it was turned horizontally (landscape mode). I used two pages to make one paper pumpkin.

    Two-inch wide strips. Each with two centered punched holes, one at top and bottom respectively, one-half inch from edge. Two-inch wide strips. Each with two centered punched holes, one at top and bottom respectively, one-half inch from edge.

    With the cutting done, I marked where my punched holes would be on either end of each strip. Next, I stacked my strips and got a 12-inch long pipe cleaner ready.

    Two stacks of coloring book pages; uncolored on left, colored on right. Plus, a 12 inch long pipe cleaner. Two stacks of coloring book pages; uncolored on left, colored on right. Plus, a 12 inch long pipe cleaner.

    Making a spiral at one end of the pipe cleaner helps to secure it as the base of the pumpkin. All strips will then be placed on the pipe cleaner.

    Make a spiral base at one end of the pipe cleaner. Make a spiral base at one end of the pipe cleaner.

    Decide how you would like to order your strips. In a random order or in a sequence to create a particular design pattern. I alternated between uncolored and colored strips.

    Slide each strip onto pipe cleaner - right side down. Alternate uncolored page with colored page, starting with the bottom hole. Slide each strip onto pipe cleaner - right side down. Alternate uncolored page with colored page, starting with the bottom hole.

    After all the strips are stacked by their bottom holes onto the pipe cleaner, feed the pipe cleaner through their top holes.

    Now weave the pipe cleaner through the top hole of each strip. Now weave the pipe cleaner through the top hole of each strip.

    You might have to bend your pipe cleaner above the spiral base in order for it to stand up straight. Repeat as necessary while you are fanning out each pumpkin strip, as described in the next step.

    From the side, slide your strips down until a nice arch forms. This angle will become your rounded pumpkin shape. From the side, slide your strips down until a nice arch forms. This angle will become your rounded pumpkin shape.

    Rework the pipe cleaner as necessary so it stands up on a tabletop as you are fanning out the strips making your pumpkin shape.

    Fan out each strip from the stack starting with the innermost strip. Fan out each strip from the stack starting with the innermost strip.

    After all the strips are fanned out, and you are satisfied with the pumpkin's look, curl the top of your pipe cleaner so it looks like a stem. Wrap your pipe cleaner around a pencil to get a great curlicue shape!

    After all the strips are fanned out, curl your pipe cleaner into a stem. After all the strips are fanned out, curl your pipe cleaner into a stem.

    Yeah, all done; transformation complete. Just think how much fun making paper pumpkins would be during your Thanksgiving celebration! Young and old(er) friends and family could be coloring pages and constructing paper pumpkins at the same time.

    Finished paper pumpkin! Adult coloring books can be used to make seasonal decor! Finished paper pumpkin! Adult coloring books can be used to make seasonal decor!

    Everyone's participation creates seasonal remembrances, tabletop decor, or make-and-take gifts to be carried home. Relax during the holidays, have fun and color!

    What other fun art projects will you do with your coloring book pages?

     

  • Jack-O-Lantern Dishcloth

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

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

     

     

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