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Butterflies

  • After-School Kids' Crafts: Make Crafts & Memories

    Craft projects for kids have never been so adorable. In our newest kids' craft book, After-School Kids' Crafts, you'll find 12 playful projects to make memories with your favorite children! Today's Guest Blogger, Rachel Nipper, is here to share her inspiration for her colorful crafts. Welcome Rachael!

    Hi there, I’m Rachel Nipper, designer of the projects and patterns in Leisure Arts’ recent publication Afterschool Kids’ Crafts. I have a passion for encouraging parents to share arts and crafts time with their children so seeing some of my projects in print for the first time gives me so much joy! Many thanks to Leisure Arts for helping bring this dream of mine to life.

    screen-shot-2018-05-03-at-4-15-34-pm After-School Kids' Crafts by Rachel Nipper

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    My love for creating started at a very young age. Every year the night before Easter morning my Mom would set out brown paper lunch bags, markers, stickers and other craft materials on the kitchen table and would give my siblings and I the assignment to create our own Easter baskets. At the time it never occurred to me that we did this every year because of a lack of finances. Rather, it became a tradition that I looked forward to every year. My Easter basket started out as a simple paper bag decorated with stickers and markers but as I got older my creativity blossomed into cutting paper bag strips and literally weaving them into a beautiful paper basket.

    It was opportunities like this as a child that created a passion in me for the art of creating and it is something I have tried to pass along to my own children. The joy I felt while creating when I was a child is the inspiration behind the projects you’ll find in Afterschool Kids’ Crafts. I’m excited to share a few of my favorites from the book with you today.

    Flower Headband in After-School Kids' Crafts by Rachel Nipper Flower Headband in After-School Kids' Crafts by Rachel Nipper

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    My favorite project in the book was inspired by my beautiful daughter. She plays dress up any chance she gets so I wanted to design a project she could make with me that could be added to her dress up wardrobe and worn over and over again. I layered the felt flowers with different colors and added a contrasting colored button to make the felt headband pop with color.

    Movable Head Turtle in After-School Kids' Crafts by Rachel Nipper Movable Head Turtle in After-School Kids' Crafts by Rachel Nipper

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    If you follow my kids’ crafts blog you know how much I adore making puppets. Not only do kids get a creative experience with making the puppet but it becomes something they can play with afterwards. This cute turtle puppet is a fabulous way for kids to practice sewing stitches and it also doubles as the cutest little toy, pushing the little turtle head in and out of his shell.

    Butterfly Finger Puppets in After-School Kids' Crafts by Rachel Nipper Butterfly Finger Puppets in After-School Kids' Crafts by Rachel Nipper
    Jellyfish Finger Puppets in After-School Kids' Crafts by Rachel Nipper Jellyfish Finger Puppets in After-School Kids' Crafts by Rachel Nipper.

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    You’ll also find these adorable butterfly finger puppets and colorful jellyfish puppets inside the book.

    https://www.leisurearts.com/afterschool-kids-crafts-1.html Unicorn in After-School Kids' Crafts by Rachel Nipper

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    Growing up I loved having a creative space in my bedroom for me to hang up artwork and pictures. This beautiful unicorn hoop art project was designed with that in mind. Kids can practice their sewing skills and then have a finished, beautiful project to display on their wall.

    screen-shot-2018-05-04-at-9-37-47-am

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    Another one of my favorites from the book is this simple felt owl purse. Once children have the hang of making a simple running stitch, this darling purse is a perfect beginning sewing project. With so many different color options of felt available, kids will love getting to choose a unique look for their owl purse.

    Key Chain in After-School Kids' Crafts by Rachel Nipper Key Chain in After-School Kids' Crafts by Rachel Nipper

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    There’s something extra special about receiving a gift that someone spent time creating don’t you think? This was the inspiration behind these darling wooden bead tassel keychains. My daughter loves making gifts for her best friends and these keychains are a simple and affordable homemade gift that children can enjoy making for friends, teachers and family members.

    Now that you’ve had a chance to see some of the fun projects in the book, it’s time to get crafty with your kids afterschool! I hope you and your children create fond memories with the patterns and activities in After-School Kids' Crafts.

  • Wood Decor: Plates, Birds & Paint

    Aren't we ready for spring? Let's make a new wood decor project for our homes using paint and birds as we clean out our nests from the winter blues!  Since March is National Craft Month, I am also trying something new with my wood piece: decoupage with a crackling effect!

    When I think of spring, I think of birds building their nests as one reminder that longer days and warmer sunshine are closer than we think. I put my hands on the book I was ready to use, Birds and Butterflies Decorator Collection (Leisure Arts #7066).

    Beautiful vintage prints are included in this book with nature as its subject matter (Leisure Arts #7066 - Birds and Butterflies Decorator Collection). Beautiful vintage prints are included in this book with nature as its subject matter (Leisure Arts #7066 - Birds and Butterflies Decorator Collection).

    In addition to using spring as my theme for my new project, I also wanted to incorporate the use of wood. Haven't you noticed how popular the use of wood has become again? Just search for ideas or walk through craft stores to find wood pallet projects, wood signs, wood initials, and wood tree crafts.

    I already had a 14" unfinished wooden plate that I could use, but I also wanted something a bit more non-traditional. I found the slight difference I was looking for with this natural-looking piece of wood from Amazon; it was advertised as a tree bark footed server. It was an authentic slice of tree repurposed as a kitchen item. Well, it seemed to be the perfect solution for me; I purchased it for this project!

    This cross-section is a beautiful slice of a tree found on Amazon for my project. It is described as a footed tree bark server. This cross-section is a beautiful slice of a tree found on Amazon for my project. It is described as a footed tree bark server.

    With my Birds and Butterflies leaflet in hand, I made a list of effect(s) I wanted my projects to have along with the required supplies. There's a great chart within the book that outlines what you'll need for each of the photographed projects shown in the leaflet.

    For both my wood plate and bark server, the first step was to sand each using both medium-grit and fine-grit sandpaper.

    A 14" wooden plate sanded twice and wiped clean with a dry tack cloth. A 14" wooden plate sanded twice and wiped clean with a dry tack cloth.

    For wooden surfaces, a primer was needed to be applied before anything else, followed by another round of sanding. After wiping away the dust once again, I applied a base coat.

    I masked the outer edge with plastic so that the tree bark would not get Primer on it when applied. Then, a first coat of base coat acrylic paint was applied. I masked the outer edge with plastic so when Primer was applied, it would not get on the tree bark. Then, a first coat of base coat acrylic paint was applied.

    After the turquoise paint was applied near the center of the bark server, I painted the surface with a spring green color. I didn't know if the darker turquoise area would be noticeable underneath the green, or, through how many layers the crackling effect would appear. Here's a close-up of the crackling effect.

    Green acrylic paint was applied over the dark turquoise as my base coat(s). You can see the green between the cracks. Green acrylic paint was applied over the dark turquoise as my base coat(s). You can see the green between the cracks.
    To create the cracked effect, crackle medium was applied over the base coat(s). Paint was applied over the crackle medium rendering the cracks. Finally a glazing mixture was applied over the crackle medium. To create the cracked effect, crackle medium was applied over the base coat(s). Paint was applied over the crackle medium rendering the cracks. Finally a glazing mixture was applied over the crackle medium.

    The wooden plate had its rim painted yellow with its center an antique white. Then a darker green was used in preparation for the future inset bird nest image to be decoupaged in the plate's center.

    The 14" wooden plate had the same procedures done to it as described for the server. Except, to add an additional masked look to the paint on the plate's rim, I used a dry brush to apply a very light layer of paint over the cracked paint. The 14" wooden plate had the same procedures done to it as described for the bark server with one exception.. I added an additional masked look to the paint on the plate's rim, by using a dry brush to apply a very light layer of paint over the cracked paint.

    Okay, so far so good but how to make this plate's crackling effect and use of the print images different from the bark server project? Below you'll see the completed steps that I had so far; I needed to pause with this project to consider my next step.

    One image for the wooden plate. What else can I do to give it even more dimension that just the crackling effect? One image for the wooden plate. What else can I do to give it even more dimension than just the crackling effect?

    Moving right along with the bark server, I needed to decide on the print images to use and their placement. I cut out many images from the book and started positioning them on the bark server without gluing until I decided on a final composition. I think the below placement looked like a winner!

    Deciding what print images to use on which wood pieces. I'm glad I've cut several from the leaflet; now I can reposition to my heart's content! Deciding what print images to use and their placement on the bark server. I'm glad I've cut several from the leaflet; now I can reposition to my heart's content!

    As I reread the crackling steps in the Birds and Butterflies leaflet, I noticed a sentence outlining how to create a "stained" topcoat effect. Maybe I would try that along with gluing reeds and sprigs of shrubbery around the plate's rim; that would create the effect of peering in on the nest and its inhabitants while in its natural environment!

    Maybe I'll try the "stained"topcoat effect as described in the leaflet 7066 - Birds and Butterflies Decorator Collection. Then I'll start experimenting with placing reeds and springs of shrubbery to the plate's rim for an additional dimensional effect. Maybe I'll try the "stained" topcoat effect as described in the leaflet 7066 - Birds and Butterflies Decorator Collection. Then I'll start experimenting with placing reeds and sprigs of shrubbery to the plate's rim for an additional dimensional effect.

    Here are my final two wood projects... I am pleased with the results. There are multiple steps to be coordinated with the effects and/or paint techniques you plan on trying. So be careful that you've outlined the steps you need to take and supplies you need to have on hand!

    Here's the finished wooden server that won't be used for food any longer. It is now a display piece, and I will happily display it in honor of spring! Here's the finished wooden bark server. It won't be used for food in my household; it is now a display piece! I will happily display the bark server in honor of spring!
    The final plate decorated to give the viewer the effect of peering through the reeds only to discover a warbler's nest. What a great present this would make for any bird lover! The final wooden plate decorated to give the viewer the effect of peering through the reeds only to discover a warbler's nest. What a great present this would make for any bird lover!

    There are multiple steps with each of these projects, but they are not difficult. You must make sure you follow the manufacturers' directions on each of the supplies that you purchase for the effect you desire to create on your project(s).

    Enjoy your new discoveries both in nature and in art; happy National Craft Month!

    Martha

     

     

  • Chalk Coloring Added to Birdhouse with Mod Podge®

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

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

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

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

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

    Using Chalk Pastels, a neutral background color is added "loosely" without too much concern if it crossed over any black lines [see the upper left portion]. Then, use a cotton swab to spread the color evenly [see the bottom right portion of the page]. Using Chalk Pastels, a neutral background color is added "loosely" without too much concern if it crossed over any black lines [see the upper left portion]. Then, use a cotton swab to spread the color evenly [see the bottom right portion of the page].
    After blending the background brown color, I freely placed my colored chalk pastels in the remaining design spaces of the flowers, butterflies and ladybugs. I was not concerned if the chalk did not cover the entire white space because my next step would be to blend using a cotton swab.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    Martha

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