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  • Diamond Painting: The Dazzling New Craft That Will Be Your New Hobby

    Studies show that only 10 percent of crafters do a single craft. That means that the other 90 percent are always looking to expand their horizons, and try something new! Which is why we're excited to bring you the craft that will become everyone's new hobby: diamond painting! Read on to learn about Leisure Art's new product, Diamond Art by Leisure Arts, Powered by Diamond Dotz.

    Diamond Painting Diamond Art Close Up

    Diamond Art by Leisure Arts? That's New!

    It is! This craft is the perfect stress reliever, with a long-term payoff that gives you a wonderful diamond painting to display afterwards. As a dazzling and more upscale paint by number technique, Diamond Art allows you to crystalize your favorite preprinted canvas with multi-faceted gems to make your artwork sparkle and shine anywhere you place it.

    Diamond Painting Diamond Art Chart

    Our gems specifically have 13 facets to ensure that your canvas will sparkle like the resolution on a 4K HDTV (which is really great quality, if you've never seen Dunkirk in 4K HD, you're missing out).  You use a handy dandy wax caddy and comfort grip stylus to place your gems on the adhesive canvas, letting you dip, dot and dazzle mindlessly. Let the stresses of life melt away as you create glittering masterpieces on your own, or with friends and family!

    Diamond Art Getting Ready To Dazzle A Canvas

    Is Diamond Painting A Difficult Craft?

    Not at all! We use a charting system that is color coded and easy to follow, as you can see above. This allows you to follow along and easily pick up where you left off, making this a craft with no time restrictions. You can finish it on your  time, no stressful deadlines guaranteed! The charting system also takes care of any learning curve, making this an easy craft to jump into. To make the craft even more inviting, we even have three skill levels: beginner, intermediate, and advanced.

    We have a crazy amount of variety with our designs. It's easy to find a kit that fits your personality! You can opt for sophisticated minimalist styles, like our Tribe Diamond Art Kit (below), or you can go for a bold and beautiful kit like our Succulent Diamond Art Kit (below).

    Diamond Painting Diamond Art Tribe Kit Box
    Diamond Painting Tribe Kit, Pre-Printed

     

    So, How Does It Work?

    Good Question! It's really simple to learn. Each kit comes with a wax caddy, gems, and a stylus. You simply roll out the canvas, pick your first color set (by matching the color pack name to the chart on the canvas), dip your stylus in the wax for easy pick up, and place your gems in the designated areas. Dazzle your guests with the finished design, or make it a Diamond Art party! Invite friends and family over to help you dot one. This craft can be a great ice breaker, and a great Friday game night activity. If you're still having trouble with these steps, CLICK HERE to check out our Diamond Art How-To Video. 

     

     

    Imagine a late Saturday night, wrapped up in a blanket with chocolates and a glass of good wine, mindlessly painting with sparkling gems. Or, imagine early morning, after enjoying a warm family breakfast, watching old cartoons and dotting away as a family unit. Life can be stressful, and sometimes you just need a little escape. So, why not spend that time in relaxation, working toward crafting a glittering artwork for everyone to enjoy.

    screen-shot-2018-08-24-at-9-57-32-am Succulent Kit Box
    Diamond Painting Diamond Art Succulent Kit

    Great! Where Can I Find Them?

    Another good question! We've actually just launched our product lines, so you can get these very soon. You can purchase them online here or in a store near you!  From independent craft stores to mass craft retail stores, keep an eye out for Diamond Art on your next shopping trip.

     

     

     

     

    Just to get you excited about our new project, here are some of our favorite kit designs:

     

    Succulent Bowl Kit Succulent Bowl Kit
    White Cat Kit White Cat Kit
    English Roses Kit English Roses Kit
    Rainy Day kit Rainy Day kit
    screen-shot-2018-08-27-at-10-00-25-am Butterfly Kit
    Diamond Painting Lotus Kit
    Diamond Painting Hummingbird kit
    Diamond Painting Lighthouse Kit

     

    We're so excited to share this craft with you! Be sure to like our new social pages for Diamond Art, for updates on new products and projects, and be sure to like and share this post with people you think would love this product.

    Like our Diamond Art Facebook Page: Click for Diamond Art Facebook Page

    Click to follow Diamond Art on Instagram: (@DiamondArt_LA)

    Join our facebook group for inspiration: Click to join Diamond Art Diamond Painting

     

     

    Happy Crafting!

  • Make A DIY Magic Fairy Garden - With Kristi Simpson!

     

    Is there anything more magical for adults and children than an enchanting DIY fairy garden? No. No, there isn’t. If you find yourself mesmerized by tiny worlds filled with itty bitty tire swings, fire pits, hammocks, bridges, mushrooms, and more, then congratulations! We adore you, and we’re unequivocally sure that this DIY Fairy Gardens book will inspire miniature greatness in you. 

    Fairy gardener and all-around crafter Kristi Simpson has designed five unique gardens for you – including the Beach Garden, Rose Hut Garden, and Moss Hut Garden – each guaranteed to make you smile and provide hours of fun and inspiration. So, gather a container (or five), lots of nature, and many things already lying around your home, and voila! Instant magic. Join our guest blogger, Kristi Simpson as we take a walk through the fairy gardens. 

     

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    Hi! I’m Kristi Simpson, designer of DIY Fairy Gardens from Leisure Arts. As much as I love to crochet and knit---I also love getting crafty! I thought of my kids and niece when I was developing this fairy garden book and it just pushed me to make things not only crafty for adults, but kid friendly too. 

    Let me ask you, do your kids run out to craft with you as soon as you grab your craft supplies? Mine do, it never fails. So, with that in mind, I wanted to make this book something to be enjoyed by all ages.… gathering items, rolling clay, painting signs, building, sand layering, and of course, playing with the garden. It's all hands-on fun!

    I could just imagine them playing with these indoor themed gardens and helping me make more features along the way. I can’t wait to walk you through the different gardens and their miniature awesomeness.… let’s get started!

    Moss Hut Garden

    First up, the Moss Hut Garden, the one that's on the beautiful cover!

    Garden Moss Garden Hut - Finished

    It has so many cute and fun features, like a tire swing, trellis, wooden steps, fun decor and of course, a cute hut!

    DIY Magic Garden Detail - Moss Garden Hut
    DIY Magic Garden Detail - Steps
    DIY Magic Garden Detail - Roof

    I really tried to use things you could find naturally, be it around the house, walking through the park or at the craft store, I wanted you to craft without too much hassle. 

    In the book, I step you through what you'll need for each garden, and how to make each and every item--and they're all easy!

    DIY Magic Garden Detail - Moss Hut Garden
    DIY Magic Garden Detail - Wood Steps

    You can use any type of container, just like I did. My options were a vintage white bowl, a painted bowl, wooden round crate, glass lantern and a cute rectangle box. I loved looking in thrift stores, yard sales, and going through my own crafty stock--and I even drafted family to help me find unique things that didn't look 'brand new’. I wanted a natural look, something I would normally have in my home. Since I chose to use artificial flowers, I used floral foam as the base and topped it with potting soil.… so, needless to say, the container doesn't have to be waterproof. 

    Garden Base - Roof
    Garden Greenery - Roof

    OH! Quick note for all of the non-green-thumb people out there. Don’t tell, but all of the beautiful succulents you see are not real.... shhhh! There are so many real-looking plants at your local craft store that you can use and not worry about watering. Your fairies will thank you for the year-round green garden!

    Beach Garden

    Next up, the Beach Garden.

    Fairy Beach Garden Fairy Beach Garden

    I used a glass candle lantern for this project. I wanted to be able to see the layering of the sand and all of the accessories through it instead of them being ‘on top’ of the bowl or container. I thought about using different color sand to make the garden even more inviting for fairies--but I’ll leave those extra special touches to you when you try it out! 

    Garden Beach Garden - Before
    Garden Beach Garden - Aerial View

    This project was special to me because my family loves the beach. We had most of the supplies on hand: shells, extra sand, drift wood and sticks. Plus, you can always look for things from your home to decorate your garden with, too. Make it personal, and fun!

    Rose Hut Garden

    One of my favorite gardens is the Rose Hut Garden.

    DIY Magic Gardens Beautiful Rose Hut Garden

    It has a sweet swing made with sticks and cotton rope, a painted sign and a clay hut. In the book I teach you how to make the hut--it’s super easy! You just roll and twist the clay, lay it out in the shape you want, bake it, and paint. I have photo guides included, so have fun!

    DIY Magic Garden Detail of Rose Hut Garden

    The rose is SO EASY when you follow the steps--it’s made in layers so don’t overthink it.… just get creative!

    Pinecone Hut Garden

    The next hut, the Pinecone Hut Garden, was so neat to make! It’s made with hot glue, pine cones, sticks and popsicle sticks. Seriously creative! The base is a toilet paper roll and birch bark! Fairy gardens are cute and homey, and these designs really bring the outdoors in. 

    Garden Pinecone Hut
    Garden Pinecone Hut Close Up
    Garden Pinecone Hut- Fence Detail

    Do you see the fence? Flower accents? I love adding color with florals! The house looked tall for the container, so I matched it with a tall fence and made it look great with extra tall flowers. You can’t go wrong when you’re making fairy gardens.

    Cord House Garden

    Last, but not least is the Cord House Garden.

    Garden Cord House Garden

    The fairies love this garden with the Cord House, bridge, mushrooms pebble creek and banner!

    Garden Detail - Cord House
    Garden Floor of Cord House Garden
    Garden Detail- Mushrooms in Garden

    So much can be added in small spaces when you think like a fairy. Use your imagination and add tiny details along the way to make it special.

    Thank you for joining me as we walked through the different gardens. I hope you and your kids, or your friends and family are inspired to grab your supplies, and buy this book to make your own fairy garden (or two, or three!). 

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    Isn't she awesome? Which garden is your favorite? We certainly can't wait to make our own favorite fairy gardens! Go out and buy DIY Fairy Gardens now, and bring your own little wonderland home for the family.

    Happy Crafting!

    -Leisure Arts Team

  • Bountiful Pencils

    My favorite time of year is here -- sort of; fall is having a difficult time arriving with above-average temperatures and little rain! So to encourage all things autumnal to surround me, I pulled out my Bountiful Wonders Color Art for Everyone coloring book (one of my favorites) to decide which page would be my next to color.

    Blank page of pumpkins and gourds to be colored using Premium Colored Pencils (48581) and Watercolor Colored Pencils (48582) by Leisure Arts. Blank page of pumpkins and gourds to be colored using Premium Colored Pencils (48581) and Watercolor Colored Pencils (48582) by Leisure Arts.

    Coloring is so much fun especially when the design is themed around something you love. So coloring a fall-themed design was easy for me. I've been using and loving the new pencils Leisure Arts has to offer. There are two choices; they are the 30-Pack Premium Colored Pencils and the 30-Pack Watercolor Colored Pencils. Both of these new sets of pencils give an extra "wow" factor to a picture!

    As with most pictures I color using colored pencils, it is the layering and blending of colors that bring an image to life.

    Close-up of the colors and blending started on a section of the page from Bountiful Wonders (6993). Close-up of the colors and blending started on a section of the page from Bountiful Wonders (6993).

    Think outside-the-box when it comes to your color palette; don't think you should only use the "traditional" or "natural" colors for the pumpkins and gourds.

    Larger section showing traditional and non-traditional colors chosen for the leaves, pumpkins and gourds (from 6993 - Bountiful Wonders by Leisure Arts). Larger section showing traditional and non-traditional colors chosen for the leaves, pumpkins and gourds (from 6993 - Bountiful Wonders by Leisure Arts).

    Another step to my creation of a 3-D look to a 2-D drawing is the use of a second medium. To aid in this dimensional effect, I introduced some watercolor pencils to my coloring.

    Adding the watercolor colored pencils over certain sections of the premium colored pencils already rendered on page. Adding the Watercolor Colored Pencils over certain sections of the Premium Color Colored Pencils already rendered on a page.

    The final incorporation of both the Premium Color Colored Pencils and Watercolor Color Colored Pencils comes after the water-dipped paint brush blends those layers together. After the pumpkins and gourds are colored, I move on to coloring the falling leaves. I will first use the watercolor pencils on a few of the leaves and highlights on some pumpkins and gourds.

    After the water was added to blend the layer of watercolor pencils over the already existing colored pencil colors. After the water was added to blend the layer of watercolor pencils over the already existing colored pencil colors.

    Working on my page for a little while every day was very convenient for me; morning coffee and coloring. I always enjoy seeing an image come to life with each added color!

    The combined effects of using both the Premium Colored Pencils and the Watercolor Pencils to the page from Bountiful Wonders (6993 by Leisure Arts). The combined effects of using both the Premium Colored Pencils and the Watercolor Pencils to the page from Bountiful Wonders (6993 by Leisure Arts).

    Here are some of the selected pencils that I used on this page. In the below image, the silver pencil shafts are the Premium Colored Pencils on the left, and the gold shafted pencils are the Watercolor Colored Pencils on the right.

    I am very pleased that I used both the 30-Pack Premium Colored Pencils (48581) and the 30-Pack Watercolor Colored Pencils (48582)! I am very pleased that I used both the 30-Pack Premium Colored Pencils (48581) and the 30-Pack Watercolor Colored Pencils (48582)!

    All I have to do is find a nice frame in which to place my completed page. I very much want to keep this page protected, yet share its bounty with my guests.

    Page of pumpkins and gourds from 6993 - Bountiful Wonders Color Art for Everyone by Leisure Arts. Page of pumpkins and gourds from 6993 - Bountiful Wonders Color Art for Everyone by Leisure Arts.

    Happy fall decorating using Bountiful Wonders Color Art for Everyone!

    Martha

     

  • Pom-Pom Halloween

     

    The uses and appearances of pom-poms have expanded from winter gear and sports’ embellishments to include year-round home decor. See how simple pom-poms can become part of your Halloween-themed decorations.

    Pom-poms were frequently only seen on winter accessories, or worn by a team’s cheer squad. It's wonderful that the uses for and appearances of these puffy mounds of yarn have been greatly expanded! Beautiful household items are crafted with pom-poms such as wall hangings and wreaths!

    Halloween is coming in a few weeks and I wanted to get ready with some pom-pom décor. Getting a lot of ideas from Pinterest was easy. Look at this cute mantle garland and another version for one's vertical porch decor; both are awesome! Using these two Pins as my guidelines, I began making pom-poms with an end result in mind.

    Since I had many pom-poms to make in varying sizes, I took the advice of one of our designers and purchased Clover Pom-Pom Makers. To reinsure that you're using your pom-pom maker correctly, watch a video in less than five minutes.  I gathered several yarn weights with different textures. One of my favorites for this project was Red Heart's Reflective yarn. The reflective yarn has a thin gray strip that reflects the light; reflective does not mean glow-in-the-dark.

    Before: Parts to make Halloween characters. Small pom-poms (1.625") and pipe cleaners cut in half. Before: Parts to make Halloween characters. Small pom-poms (1.625") and pipe cleaners cut in half.

    Of course, my Halloween pom-poms were going to include a pumpkin, a spider, and a ghost. First would be the pumpkin. This would be fairly easy to accomplish: one pom-pom with a curled pipe cleaner as its stem.

    My second figure was the spider. Again the main part was the pom-pom as the spider body. Then, I added six pipe cleaner legs. I even challenged myself to make a red spot to indicate a Black Widow spider. I followed color pattern suggestions as found on the back of the Clover Extra Large Pom-Pom Maker's packaging.

    Added a little more drama to the spider character; here's a Black Widow! Added a little more drama to the spider character; here's a Black Widow!

    The last Halloween figure I needed to make was a ghost. This appeared more challenging than I thought. My final decision was to make a pom-pom for the ghost's head and attach it to the loose yarn strands to represent its body. I made three ghosts; each received an added yarn embellishment giving each one its own personality.

    After: Halloween characters include a spider, ghost and pumpkin. After: Halloween characters include a spider, ghost and pumpkin.

    I was ready to display my characters at home and office so I needed both a wall/door decoration, as well as, tabletop decor ideas. I wanted to incorporate extra color into my display and the perfect complement was Leisure Arts' Jute Twine (item 48526)I chose to use three of the six colors.

    Planning my display; love the colored jute! Planning my display; love the colored jute!

    My colleague found the perfect fallen branch from his hickory tree. Upon its arrival in the office, it quickly became a character itself and given the name, "Old Hickory". The branch had so much character with its craggy texture, knuckled sections and lichen patterns, I didn't want to cover all of it.

    Halloween pom-pom characters suspended from "Old Hickory" as door decor. Halloween pom-pom characters suspended from "Old Hickory" as door decor.

    Here are my extra pom-poms used for some added character for one of the most-anticipated days to celebrate around the office.

    Other Halloween decor using pom-poms in two sizes. Other Halloween decor using pom-poms in two sizes.

    I hope you enjoy making pom-poms and  decorating for Halloween; happy haunting!

    Martha

  • LED Candles for Every Season

    We've all seen color changing LED Candles by now.  But if you're like me, you might be wondering how to fit them into your home decor and if you'd want to use them outside of the holiday season.  I challenged myself to use the Leisure Arts LED Candle Set in my own home for every season of the year.

    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.

    Here are the results of my experiment incorporating the LED Candle Set into my home for a year.  I hope you'll find some inspiration!

    First up is Valentine's Day. I incorporated the LED Candle Set  into my tablescape with red tulips and a wooden sign.  Color-wise, I found red and white worked well for the candles.

    LED Candles at Valentine's Day LED Candles at Valentine's Day

    For Easter, I went in a more fun direction using hydrangeas and Peep Easter Eggs into a flower arrangement.  I used pink, green and yellow for the LED candles and brightly colored Easter eggs in jars to finish off the decor.

    blog2 Easter Decor with LED Candles

    For early summer I opted for a simple flower arrangement and green, blue and white candles.

    blog3 LED Candles in Summer Decor

    For the Fourth of July, I went with the classic red, white and blue candles and used a fun Patriotic planter to highlight the season.

    LED Candles for Independence Day LED Candles for Independence Day

    At the onset of fall, I incorporated a wooden carved owl and a real leaf themed candle into my decor and went with a classic white look for the candles.

    blog7 Fall Decor using LED Candles

    For Thanksgiving, I moved the candles into a cornucopia display and kept the classic white candles.

    blog8 Thanksgiving with LED Candles

    I used my candles a couple of different ways for the Christmas season.  One, on the dining room table in a classic white surrounded by oversized ornaments.

    blog9 Christmas and LED Candles

    I also used them in the living room surrounded by all the classic symbols of Christmas including  Angels, Santa, and more.

    blog10 Classic Christmas with LED Candles

    Finally, for New Year's Eve I went with a fun pink, blue and green color combination, and surrounded the candles with beads, hats, noisemakers and, of course, Chex Mix™!

    blog11 Ringing in the New Year with LED Candles!

    During the year, we also redecorated my 13 year old daughter's bedroom and got her a set of the candles.  The LED Candle Set is great for teenagers.  The candles present no fire hazard and teens can change the colors whenever they please!

    blog6 LED Candles Make a Great Accent for a Teenager's Bedroom

    I hope you've been inspired to play with decorating your own house with LED candles.  Show me what you've done in the comments, or tag Leisure Arts in your Instagram posts!

    Happy decorating!

    Veronica

     

  • Letter Magnet Boards: DIY from Oil Drip Pans

    I was so inspired by two pins on Pinterest creating magnet boards from an automotive oil drip pan or other sheet metal, and two craft leaflets using letters (or initials) to decorate as part of a craft project, that I combined my ideas into one blog post. I hope you enjoy my latest creative adventure!

    I had the new Leisure Arts book Initial It! (item #7077), a papier-mache letter, and my clothespin magnets that I recently made for younger kids and older kids/adults. Now I needed to incorporate them all together. I wanted to display my letter and clothespin magnets, but what would be new and exciting to do?

    7077 - Initial It! Leisure Arts presents simple techniques to embellish letters, symbols and accents. 7077 - Initial It! Leisure Arts presents simple techniques to embellish letters, symbols and accents.

    I had seen smaller versions of creating a magnet board from metal pizza pans but this pin from Smart School House nudged me towards trying it as my next DIY. Since I wasn't going to use my oil drip pan like Smart School House (as a teaching tool in conjunction with learning the alphabet for a toddler), I thought I'd like to decorate it similarly to the edged cookie sheet magnet board seen in a pin from Sadie Seasongoods. Okay; I had my idea(s) collected -- off to the stores for my supplies!

    I found an oil drip pan very easily in the automotive section of my general merchandise store. It seemed a bit narrower than the one shown in the pin mentioned-above, but I was thrilled to snag it.

    This large oil drip pan measures 47" x 25". This large oil drip pan measures 47" x 25".

    I inadvertently threw away the empty spray paint can of Blue Ocean Breeze, the Krylon color used for my FIRST magnet board. Here are some of the other supplies I used.

    Supplies used for the oil drip pan magnet boards. Two colors of spray paint were used: Vintage Blush [satin] and Blue Ocean Breeze by Krylon [not shown]. Supplies used for the oil drip pan magnet boards. Two colors of spray paint were used: Vintage Blush [satin] and Blue Ocean Breeze by Krylon [not shown].
    I cleaned the oil drip pan, then applied Rust-oleum's Clean Metal Primer under the spray paint. I applied two coats of spray paint to get an even layer. I wanted to decorate my magnet board with some fabric swatches, so I cut out different sized circles from a cute bicycle print.

    Working outside on a beautiful day, I'm trying to decide where to place the different sized fabric circles before using Mod Podge®. Working outside on a beautiful day, I'm trying to decide where to place the different sized fabric circles before using Mod Podge®.

    I adhered all my fabric swatches with Mod Podge® - the fabric acted like a sponge so make sure you have plenty on-hand! I discovered the difference in magnets and discussed in my two clothespin posts (linked above); see the photo below as a reminder.

    Close-up: the difference in magnet buttons clearly shows the difference in thickness. Close-up: the difference in magnet buttons clearly shows the difference in thickness.

    If you are making your own magnets, because there are several layers of Primer, paint, fabric, etc., I encourage you to use the magnets without the adhesive backing and just glue them on yourself.

    Bicycle Magnet Board is done and hanging up vertically in a narrow space in my office. Bicycle Magnet Board is done and hanging up vertically in a narrow space in my office.

    Here's a close-up showing more details of the final project...

    Here's a close-up of the Bicycle Magnet Board hanging up! Here's a close-up of the Bicycle Magnet Board hanging up!

    For my second magnet board, I focused on using my papier-mache initial, the letter M. I decided to try using wrapping paper over the spray paint color, Vintage Blush by Rust-oleum. While the Vintage Blush was drying, I also spray painted the letter a deep turquoise.

    Papier-mache letter sprayed painted a deep turquoise color. Papier-mache letter sprayed painted a deep turquoise color.

    I checked the oil drip pan and the second layer of spray paint was dry; I could start to adhere the wrapping paper. It was a little cumbersome to work with such a large piece of paper and Mod Podge®. You might want to try using smaller pieces to create a collage effect. I think I got lucky; the paper didn't rip while I was manipulating between paper and "glue". I used a brayer to assist removing most air pockets and wrinkles, but again, the task became more difficult because of the size of the project.

    Applying Mod Podge® to adhere the wrapping paper to the spray painted oil drip pan. Applying Mod Podge® to adhere the wrapping paper to the spray painted oil drip pan.

    I thought of the projects in Initial It! and decided how to decorate my papier-mache letter without weighing it down. I used some of the wrapping paper at the bottom of the letter, and mimicked the polka dot pattern by painting some dots from the base upward. Here's a close-up of the finished letter on the magnet board.

    Floral Polka Dot close-up of papier-mâché embellished letter and metal 'happy' sign on magnet board. Floral Polka Dot close-up of papier-mâché embellished letter and metal 'happy' sign on magnet board.

    I found the saying, 'happy' in a decorative metal script. It was a stroke of luck that I had purchased this weeks before I knew I was going to make magnet boards! Here's the final Floral Polka Dot magnet board; I am very pleased with the end-result!

    Floral Polka Dot - Wrapping paper adhered over spray paint. It's my second finished magnet board made from an oil drip pan. Floral Polka Dot - Wrapping paper adhered over spray paint. It's my second finished magnet board made from an oil drip pan.

    In the opposite corner from my initial, is a coffee filter flower (a project from an earlier post), and other clothespin magnets.

    Floral Polka Dot close-up of some clothespin magnets on the magnet board. Floral Polka Dot close-up of some clothespin magnets on the magnet board.

    Both magnets boards were hung in my office using Command™ strips; I used several not because of the weight of the oil drip pans, but because of their size. I wanted them to remain steady and secure to the wall on all sides.

    I look to be ready to remind myself of upcoming events, showcase special memories, or assign myself tasks both electronically and now in-person. I hope you can be inspired by this and share with us your projects!

    Have a great time exploring new ways to express yourself; enjoy!

    Martha

     

     

     

  • More-to-Explore Clothespin Magnets to Paint, Color & Glue

    Enjoying craft time is fun for older kids and adults when making clothespin magnets. Decorating can be easy to more complicated by using mixed media such as painting, coloring and gluing paper, fiber or other embellishments. This is one of those "more to explore" projects that can grow from simple to more advanced -- enjoy!

    I loved using large, wide wooden clothespins so much for the younger kids' project (see the egg carton flower clothespin magnet in the second image), as described in my blog post on May 18th, I wanted to expand my decorative uses for the clothespins while still making them into magnets.

    Remember, here is what the large clothespins look like before decorating them:

    Large, natural wood clothespins measure approximately 2.875" long x 0.625" wide; four per pack. Leisure Arts item #48165. Large, natural wood clothespins measure approximately 2.875" long x 0.625" wide; four per pack. Leisure Arts item #48165.

    And here are some of my finished, decorated clothespin magnets (I even included the younger kids' version of the egg carton flower clothespin magnet -- pictured in the upper left-hand corner of the image]).

    A variety of clothespin magnets painted and decorated with embellishments. A variety of clothespin magnets painted and decorated with embellishments.

    Now, grab your paint -- I used either spray paint or acrylic -- and start by placing at least two layers of paint on your clothespins. While you let the paint dry in between each layer, start gathering your embellishments: wrapping paper, coloring book pages, mini paint canvases, buttons, beads, artificial floral items and markers.

    These uses of other embellishments can be as simple as gluing an artificial flower to the end of your painted clothespin, to the more complicated use of mixed media with multiple steps as seen by adding a mini canvas to a clothespin.

    Paint and other embellishments are added to clothespins that older "kids" and adults can make; magnets can be added to the backs. Paint and other embellishments are added to clothespins that older "kids" and adults can make; magnets can be added to the backs.

    If you decide to use mini canvases to attach to your clothespin(s), determine the size clothespin you need. My mini canvases were so small, that I actually used a smaller 1.5" clothespin as its backing. I used a coloring book page from the Art of Coloring Vintage as part of my canvases' decor; read about it here from an earlier blog post.

    The daisy page was cut into 2" sections. The design was placed "en pointe". Glued onto the backside of each canvas panel, was a painted clothespin and magnet. The daisy page from the Art of Coloring Vintage was cut into 2" sections. The design was placed "en pointe". Glued onto the backside of each canvas panel, was a painted clothespin and magnet.

    I also learned that there are BIG differences in round magnets sometimes called 'button magnets'. I didn't remember that my first purchase of magnets had no felt backing. I quickly grabbed a package of adhesive-backed magnets that were in the same area as the acrylic paint; I thought this would save me the step of gluing.

    The difference in magnet buttons: thickness and adhesive backing! The difference in magnet buttons: thickness and adhesive backing!

    But I didn't like the weaker strength of these adhesive-backed magnets and ended up using two per clothespin. I much prefer the strength of the plain magnets that needed to be glued onto my clothespins. See the image below for a visual comparison.

    Close-up: the difference in magnet buttons clearly shows the difference in thickness. Close-up: the difference in magnet buttons clearly shows the difference in thickness.

    I thoroughly enjoyed using these larger wooden clothespins as part of another art project -- it was fun to do while I was making them, and upon completion the clothespin magnets are useful to me at home and office!

    Have fun exploring; let me know what embellishments you used when making your clothespin magnets!

    Martha

  • Clothespin Crafts from Kids to Adults: Egg Carton Flowers & Scented Caterpillars

    I was amazed at how many clothespin crafts for kids to adults there were available when researching on Pinterest. But, as always, Pinterest searches open a treasure trove of information. How to cull it down is the key. What really caught my eye were some creative uses of fairly common materials in kids' crafts: egg cartons and pom-poms. Include some clothespins, and an additional magnet, and many hours of crafting can result!

    The wide, wooden clothespins carried by Leisure Arts are fabulous for painting, gluing and decorating. The smoother and larger surface area make it easy for younger and older crafters to create.

    Large, natural wood clothespins measure approximately 2.875" long x 0.625" wide; four per pack. Leisure Arts item #48165. Large, natural wood clothespins measure approximately 2.875" long x 0.625" wide; four per pack. Leisure Arts item #48165.

    The younger crowd, with some assistance, can make egg carton flowers. I loved these cherry blossom flowers because of the incorporation of make-believe egg carton flowers with the real branches. Since I wanted to use the materials I had, I decided to make the flowers with the egg cartons and then glue them onto my clothespins.

    If assistance is needed, it may come with the formation of the flowers' petals. The flowers do not have to be exact or perfect; the petals are formed by tearing the shapes. However, depending on the age of the child, your youngster may need assistance with this step.

    Cardboard egg cartons; each section separated and "petals" are formed by tearing. Cardboard egg cartons; each section separated and "petals" are formed by tearing.

    The fun comes with the painting! Most kids can do this on their own with some guidelines regarding usage and cleanliness -- what they may/may not paint! Use your judgment when it comes to your choice of medium and make adjustments as needed. I used acrylic paints to paint my egg carton flowers.

    Acrylic paint applied to cardboard flowers. Some flowers will be glued onto large, natural wood clothespins. Leisure Arts item #48165. Acrylic paint applied to cardboard flowers. Some flowers will be glued onto large, natural wood clothespins. Leisure Arts item #48165.

    I started preparing for my next craft: pom-pom caterpillars. Why was I excited about these so much? I was blown away with the ingenious use of essential oils and pom-poms to scent the air in a car; I just had to try -- especially since I only recently purchased three essential oils to make shower melts and hand scrub, I was looking for more uses!

    The large wooden clothespins by Leisure Arts are 0.625" wide - that's like a mini palette! Kids can paint, glue and decorate more easily using these! So, I gathered my paints, pom-poms in various sizes and textures, bought some wiggly eyes and was set to go!

    Collection of supplies for clothespin crafts for the younger kids to make. Egg carton flowers and pom-pom caterpillars will be glued to clothespins. Collection of supplies for clothespin crafts for the younger kids to make. Egg carton flowers and pom-pom caterpillars will be glued to clothespins.

    I don't have white School Glue so I substituted E6000 glue; again, use your judgment according to the age of the group of kids or other individuals with whom you are working!

    Egg carton flowers can have one or two layers of "petals". Add a pom-pom or other embellishment(s) to center. Glue some to clothespins backed with magnets. Egg carton flowers can have one or two layers of "petals". Add a pom-pom or other embellishment(s) to center. Glue some to clothespins backed with magnets.

    As adults, we can over-think too much, even when it comes to fun crafts. I almost fell into this trap regarding the pom-pom caterpillars and their looks; then, I laughed out loud! Most little kids won't be self-criticizing. Let them have fun with different colors and sizes of pom-poms. I even had some pom-poms with a few extra-long shimmery fibers which added a nice touch (literally and figuratively) to the caterpillar.

    Caterpillars get wiggly eyes added either to the clothespin, or to the first pom-pom. Magnets can be added to the back of the clothespin. Caterpillars get wiggly eyes added either to the clothespin, or to the first pom-pom. Magnets can be added to the back of the clothespin.

    Leave room at the end of the clothespin for the wiggly eyes if you decide to glue them there. After the glue is set, place one or more drops of essential oils onto one or more of your caterpillar pom-poms.

    Extra versatility to these caterpillars: add a few drops of an essential oil to one or more pom-poms. Attach caterpillar clothespin to a fan for soothing aroma-therapy! Extra versatility to these caterpillars: add a few drops of an essential oil to one or more pom-poms. Attach caterpillar clothespin to a fan for soothing aroma-therapy!

    You may prefer less of a scent if planning on using your aromatic caterpillar in a car attached to the air conditioning vent, rather than attached to a room fan.

    A fan gently distributes Lavender's essential oil's scent from the pom-poms throughout the air! A fan gently distributes the scent of Lavender essential oil throughout the air; one drop of Lavender was placed on each pom-pom.

    Older kids and adults can be creative with these large natural clothespins, too. Extra detailing using paint, buttons, brads, coloring book art, artificial floral and fauna all are great to add a special theme to the clothespins.

    Paint and other embellishments are added to clothespins that older "kids" and adults can make; magnets can be added to the backs. Paint and other embellishments are added to clothespins that older "kids" and adults can make; magnets can be added to the backs.

    Gathering my clothespin crafts and other items that I want to make into magnets; this adds versatility for my clothespins.

    Younger kids can make egg carton flower clothespin magnets and pom-pom caterpillar clothespin magnets (*adults can add a few drops of an essential oil to one or more pom-poms and attach to a fan). Younger kids can make egg carton flower clothespin magnets and pom-pom caterpillar clothespin magnets (*adults can add a few drops of an essential oil to one or more pom-poms and attach to a fan).

    All magnets are not created equal; even when they are the same diameter. Here are packaging examples of three magnetic "buttons". The magnet strength nor thickness/height are list; only the diameter as 0.75 inches. I chose to use the ProMAG Ceramic Magnets (the yellow packaging pictured in the upper right-hand corner of the image).

    The difference in magnet buttons: thickness and adhesive backing! The difference in magnet buttons: thickness and adhesive backing!

    Here's a close-up of the magnets themselves.

    Close-up: the difference in magnet buttons clearly shows the difference in thickness. Close-up: the difference in magnet buttons clearly shows the difference in thickness.

    Now to decorate! But I think I'll need more room than one portion of my refrigerator's side. I don't have anything else that is readily available; do you? If not, stay tuned for my next installment and what you can do to create a board for your new clothespin magnets!

    Bye for now,

    Martha

  • Coffee Filter Flower Baskets

    I enjoyed making my coffee filter flowers so much, I was positively anxious to try making coffee filter flower baskets! This project sounded perfect for some seasonally-appropriate fun now that Spring has sprung and Easter is just around the corner.

    There are a few supplies needed, and none are expensive. You may already have the supplies on hand. What a deal! I was inspired by this flower basket pin by Urban Comfort.  I wanted to try using water based markers as a second coloring technique on the coffee filters. I already had flower stem wire  and food coloring left over from my earlier project and coffee filter flower post, my craft collection included water based markers, and my party supplies had some plastic nut cups. Okay, my supplies seemed to be in order.

    I was quickly reminded that sometimes you just have to figure things out or use your best judgment when creating. The plastic nut cups I had on-hand were too small and would have been devoured by the flower petals. I quickly went on-line and had to "guesstimate" on the size I would need for this project. Many nut cups are also called candy cups - so read descriptions carefully. To assist you, here is a link to the specific nut/candy cups from Outside the Box Papers that I used for this project.

    My second coloring technique: use water based markers. The Easter coffee filter flowers are made by using 4-cup size coffee filters. Color each flower with water based markers. The polka dotted paper cup will be the basket; it measures approximately 2"W x 1.375" H. My second coloring technique: use water based markers. The Easter coffee filter flowers are made by using 4-cup size coffee filters. Color each flower with water based markers. The polka dotted paper cup will be the basket; it measures approximately 2"W x 1.375" H.

    Dying the individual coffee filters with water based markers took longer on the front end because each filter got colored by markers. As opposed to dying the coffee filters by placing them in food coloring dyed water to soak for 30 minutes to several hours. Just think of the preparations this way: the time you spend coloring the individual filters is your creation of individual palettes of color; just like each flower is different from another.

    The second coffee filter coloring technique I am trying: water based markers used to color individual coffee filters, draped over inverted glasses, prepped for water! The second coffee filter coloring technique I am trying: water based markers used to color individual coffee filters, draped over inverted glasses, prepped for water!

    Have fun with your patterns - but remember, every mark will bleed once water is applied.

    The marker colors show an immediate watercolor effect. See the colors spreading and dripping once water is spritzed onto them. The marker colors show an immediate watercolor effect. See the colors spreading and dripping once water is spritzed onto them.

    Although some of the demarcations were indistinguishable, I really liked the color intensity the markers produced!

    Some of the finished results reveal that these colors are vibrant. My earlier method let the coffee filters sit in water dyed with food coloring; that earlier method produced lovely pastel colors. Some of the finished results reveal that these colors are vibrant. My earlier method let the coffee filters sit in water dyed with food coloring; that earlier method produced lovely pastel colors.

    The third method of coloring coffee filters is created by applying food coloring in specific dots or short lines directly onto two or three folded coffee filters. A quick dunk in-and-out of some water, with a gentle squeeze to drain the excess water, is all you need to do to successfully dye your coffee filters. As before, unfold the coffee filters and drape them over inverted glasses to dry. Remember, I sped up the drying time by placing my coffee filters under a ceiling fan.

    All the flowers colored by placing dots of food coloring onto folded coffee filters before dipping into water. All the flowers colored by placing dots of food coloring onto folded coffee filters before dipping into water.
    Different floral effects can be made by the pattern cut into the coffee filters, as well as, by the coloring method. The coloring technique here: food coloring placed directly onto the coffee filters before water was applied. Different floral effects can be made by the pattern cut into the coffee filters, as well as, by the coloring method. The coloring technique here: food coloring placed directly onto the coffee filters before water was applied.
    Intense colors were achieved when drops of food coloring were applied directly onto coffee filters before a quick dip into water! Intense colors were achieved when drops of food coloring were applied directly onto coffee filters before a quick dip into water!

    I referred to the original pin by Urban Comfort to read about their construction of the coffee filter flower baskets. I did not have any glue dots as outlined in their description, so I used hot glue to attach the floral wire to the paper nut/candy cups. I also used hot glue to attach the nut/candy cups to the first coffee filter layer, and in between each layer thereafter.

    Floral Stem Wire (20 Gauge) hot glued to paper nut/candy cups to make coffee filter flower baskets. Floral Stem Wire (20 Gauge) hot glued to paper nut/candy cups to make coffee filter flower baskets.
    Coffee filter flower baskets get transformed into Easter baskets once filled with candy goodies! Coffee filter flower baskets get transformed into Easter baskets once filled with candy goodies!

    Preparing the coffee filter flower baskets to be used as centerpieces, or with tablescapes and serving pieces for display, helps to generate the mood for springtime frolics and Easter Sunday gatherings. I used artificial shrubbery to help show off some candy, as well as, a platter to display all of the baskets.

    Here is one close-up of the completed Easter coffee filter flower baskets colored using water based markers and sprayed with water. Here is one close-up of the completed Easter coffee filter flower baskets colored using water based markers and sprayed with water.

    One whimsical idea is to incorporate your coffee filter flower baskets with other fantasy-themed items such a woodland creatures and fairies.

    I am starting to create an imaginative Easter garden centerpiece. In addition to my coffee filter flower baskets are pieces from the Woodland Garden Kit (#47858) and the 4 Pack Resin Fairies (#47962)! I am starting to create an imaginative Easter garden centerpiece. In addition to my coffee filter flower baskets are pieces from the Woodland Garden Kit (#47858) and the 4 Pack Resin Fairies (#47962)!

    As you set the table, you may decide to decorate everyone's place with an individual coffee filter flower basket and a garden fairy.

    A single fairy with a coffee filter flower basket filled with treats become Easter baskets ready to be placed at every place setting as part of your table decor! A single fairy with a coffee filter flower basket filled with treats become Easter baskets ready to be placed at every place setting as part of your table decor!

    Another option is to use a platter for easy distribution of the coffee filter flower baskets as your guests' take-home gifts.

    So pretty--So pretty! Coffee filter flower baskets adorn a spring platter; keep it simple, or add more... So pretty--So pretty! Coffee filter flower baskets adorn a spring platter; keep it simple, or add more...

    See all of the components to each of Leisure Arts' Fairy and Gnome Garden Sets to help you plan your themed decor.

    Help keep the youngsters entertained during the day. Here are the fairies coming out to play with your guests as part of your Easter activities. Help keep the youngsters entertained during the day. Here are the fairies coming out to play with your guests as part of your Easter activities.
    Nestle some fairies among the candy goodies in and around the Easter coffee filter flower baskets! Nestle some fairies among the candy goodies in and around the Easter coffee filter flower baskets!

    Have fun with these dying techniques; they each produce wonderfully vivid results! I think these coffee filter flower baskets are great for many uses: use with name cards and other place setting decor or place ordinary salt and pepper shakers in them (maybe omit the handle) for your dining table; or, for play time use as an accessory with a doll's outfit, or plan a garden party with a raffle drawing and each basket could hold a secret number under some nuts!

    Even if you don't drink coffee, and however you decide to use these flower baskets, you just might want to invest in some coffee filters - there are so many crafting possibilities!

    Until next time - have fun!

    Martha

  • Spring Blooms Coffee Filter Flowers

    Dying and making coffee filter flowers was so much fun as an indoor activity when the weather outside was a bit uncooperative. But it is spring, right? That means a lot of changeable forecasts that may alter family play time. So gather a few supplies and have fun indoors as this activity spaces out over a few hours to a couple of days depending on the volume of flowers you want to cultivate!

    I was reminiscing about my coloring from 6806 - Art of Coloring Flowers, when I decided to jump onto Pinterest to see what was popular using such search words as "flower" and "color".

    Spring inspiration, item 6806 - Art of Coloring Flowers by Leisure Arts. Spring inspiration, item 6806 - Art of Coloring Flowers by Leisure Arts.

    My Pinterest search lead me to the "coloring [or dying] of coffee filter flowers".  Making coffee filter flowers has remained very popular so I started to investigate further. When I saw a post on Poppies by Reality Daydream, I knew I had found my jumping off point into the wonderful world of dying and making coffee filter flowers!

    Close-up of a Poppy; a coffee filter flower. Close-up of a Poppy; a coffee filter flower.

    There are many methods and supplies for dying and making coffee filter flowers. I gathered my basket coffee filters and food coloring to dye them. To add variety to my flowers, I wanted to cut shapes from some of the coffee filters. I again relied on Pinterest to assist me;  this Pin shows simple shapes.

    Fold several basket coffee filters and cut shapes before dying. Cut different shapes to make a varied floral arrangement. Fold several basket coffee filters and cut shapes before dying. Cut different shapes to make a varied floral arrangement.

    With shapes in mind, next I needed to get my dyes ready. I relied on food coloring from the pantry. As seen here, my technique was simple; line up plastic containers of water with various dye colors. The number of drops of dye, the size container and amount of water, and the length of time the coffee filters sat in the dye are all contributing factors into the resulting color. One important note to make: the dye colors appear darker in the water, so as your coffee filters dry the shades appear lighter.

    Food coloring was the dye of my choice. I used assorted "traditional" and neon colors. Food coloring was the dye of my choice. I used assorted "traditional" and neon colors.

    I folded and cut three coffee filters at a time. I let each folded bunch sit in dye from 30 minutes to 8 hours. After removing each bunch from dye, I opened and placed each bunch on cookie racks placed inside an inverted box lid lined with waxed paper. I did not try separating each wet layer at this time. Coffee filters take forever to dry on their own! So my preferred method of drying was to place the inverted box lid (with wet flowers on cookie racks) under a ceiling fan! TIP: You may have to place another cookie rack over the inverted box lid to prevent any coffee filter flowers from flying around the room as each wet flower layer dries!

    Two different shapes just removed from food coloring dye. I opened each folded stack of three and placed on cookie racks. Two different shapes just removed from food coloring dye. I opened each folded stack of three and placed on cookie racks.

    I kept experimenting with multiple colors and shapes. Here's my finished variety of dyed coffee filters at the end of the weekend.

    Many shapes and colors later - voila! Now I have choices from which to begin. Many shapes and colors later - voila! Now I have choices from which to begin.

    I reviewed my Pinterest pin which led me to the post on Poppies to prepare both the center and the stem for each flower.  Since I am not a seamstress, I had no exciting fabric to use as the Poppies' centers, so I relied on felt. I glued the felt to some cardstock to give the center a bit more strength.

    Felt glued onto cardstock to be used as the center of some flowers. Felt glued onto cardstock to be used as the center of some flowers.

    To create the Poppies as described in the Pin, several layers of coffee filters would be stacked and glued one on top of another. But I wanted to insert a stem through the bottom coffee filter layer, not glue the wire to the outside of all of the coffee filters. I decided to insert floral wire through the bottom coffee filter layer and added an extra piece of plain cardstock for support. This bottom layer also hides the wire and glue as you stack the other layers on top of it.

    Floral Stem Wire (20 gauge) inserted through coffee filter and cardstock circle; hot glue melted over both. Floral Stem Wire (20 gauge) inserted through coffee filter and cardstock circle; hot glue melted over both.

    I noticed that I was drawn to the look of flowers that resemble both Peonies and Roses. This gathering of pale colored flowers was so inspiring, I wanted to try her technique. One drawback for me at this time was that I didn't want to use my flowers as a centerpiece, or glued to a wreath or for the underneath of each flower to be seen. Let me know if you think of a good technique to use to finish the back of these flowers so that the pinched masking taped center is hidden.

    With all of the above in mind, I decided to insert wire for stems into my other floral creations, too. I held a pipe cleaner with the 20 gauge floral stem wire to give my stem extra thickness before wrapping with floral tape.

    Day Lily-like flower. Curled pipe cleaner connected to 20 gauge floral stem wire; lighter-weight 26 gauge floral wire wrapped around base of flower. Day Lily-like flower. Curled pipe cleaner connected to 20 gauge floral stem wire; lighter-weight 26 gauge floral wire wrapped around base of flower.

    In addition to the Poppies I made, the other varieties of coffee filter flowers included a Day Lily, a Peony and a Shasta Daisy.

    Day Lily and Peony look perky in a decorative glass milk bottle (item #47918 by Leisure Arts). Day Lily and Peony look perky in a decorative glass milk bottle (item #47918 by Leisure Arts).
    Pretty yellow Shasta Daisy shows off its beauty simply placed in a decorative glass milk bottle (item #47918 by Leisure Arts). Pretty yellow Shasta Daisy shows off its beauty simply placed in a decorative glass milk bottle (item #47918 by Leisure Arts).

    I gathered all of my coffee filter flowers into a larger vase and placed on my desk. I wanted to enjoy the colors of spring everyday in the office; pollen-free and no watering necessary!

    A purple glass vase is perfect for spring and showcasing my floral bouquet; from left to right, see a Day Lily, Poppy, Shasta Daisy and Peony. A purple glass vase is perfect for spring and showcasing my floral bouquet; from left to right, see a Day Lily, Poppy, Shasta Daisy and Peony.

    Spring into something fun and share your love of color!

    Martha

     

     

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