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Tag Archives: crafting

  • 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!

  • Tidy Tips with Leisure Arts: Organizing Your Craft

     

     

    Hey craft family! 

    We all wish that we had a super-sonic vacuum that just magically cleaned our homes and arranged everything perfectly (if you haven’t dreamed of this, you’re lying). But the reality is that we make messes every day, and have trouble cleaning up after ourselves. The phrase, “Eh, I’ll do it later” has probably ruined more lives than a natural disaster has. So, let’s be honest, if you’re reading this article, your craft space is probably a natural disaster in and of itself. 

    That’s why this week, we are here to help!

    We’ve compiled a list of tips that help you get in the habit of keeping a tidy and organized workspace, and because we're so nice, we'll give you some neat projects to help you with your newfound mission. Here we go! 

    Compartmentalize… But In A Good Way.

    Salt Water Taffy Collection

    Stashing everything left and right isn’t going to do you any good in the long run. You can lose important items, or even worse, forget you had some items and go out and buy them again (trust me, we’ve all been there). The best thing to do is to categorize your things into sections! By doing this, you know where everything is at all times, and won’t end up with two extra bottles of that fabric glue you needed last week. 

    Boxes, Baskets, and Shelves, Oh My!

    Baskets

    You can’t compartmentalize without having actual compartments. Boxes are the best way to keep things in the right place, but other great storage ideas include shelves, baskets, and hanging storage devices. Here are some great ideas for storage From Leisure Arts that you can make yourself! 

    Baskets - #75496

    screen-shot-2018-06-18-at-9-42-53-am

    screen-shot-2018-06-18-at-9-42-29-am

    Baskets - yellow

    T shirt Yarn Home Décor - #7222

    T-Shirt Yarn Home Decor

     

    Love and Let Go - Get Rid of the Clutter! 

    If your inner hoarder is cringing on the inside at this post so far, don't worry! If you cannot bear to part with the scraps you tend to keep from other projects, then put them good use, and start a scrap project! This way, you get to be creative and tidy at the same time.

    Here is a similar scrap project idea book that will help you with this project:

    More Projects From Your Scrap Bag - #5169

    More Projects From Your Scrap Bag

     

    Clean Up at the End of the Day - You’ll Thank Me Later

    This tip is the most important, because it will help keep your space constantly clean! If you spend just a little bit of time cleaning up at the end of each work day in your craft area, you have less to worry about and more time to work on your projects for the next day! A little goes a long way, especially when it comes to cleaning!

     

    Hopefully, these projects inspire you to keep a clean workspace, because after all, we work at our best when we have a clear mind, and a clean office.

    Happy Crafting!

     

    -Leisure Arts Team

  • 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.

  • Craft Gifts For Valentine's Day

    Top Gifts To Craft For Valentine's Day

    This year, show your creativity with your Valentine's Day gifts! Be crafty as you express your feelings for friends, family, and loved ones - take on a big craft project, or just make a little something to add on to a gift or remind them you're thinking of them! There are classic Valentine's Day hearts, flowers, and cute little teddies to make - get started today!

    1. Beautiful Jewelry: Every one is getting fancy jewelry for Valentine's Day, but you can make jewelry even more personal when you craft it by hand! This classic looking pearl necklace and earring set looks beautiful and expensive - even better that it's classic and simple so it can be worn easily any day of the year! Your loved one will be delighted to know you made it by hand! Craft gorgeous jewelry for Valentine's Day this year with Jewelry On A String.Craft Jewelry For Valentines Day

    2. A Fun Wreath - With A Treat: Every This festive heart shaped wreath will be loved decor by whoever you make it for - but it also features homemade heart-shaped cookies for your loved ones to enjoy! A great and unique gift idea this Valentine's Day. Get step-by-step crafting and baking instructions to create this yummy gift in Homemade Gifts From The Heart.

    Valentine's Day Wreath To Craft

    3. Unforgetable Cards: Explore the world of paper crafting to create unique and special cards for all your loved ones - you'll never want to buy a card again! These handmade cards are the perfect way to make someone special smile on Valentine's Day. Get started with making the perfect cards this year with The Ultimate Handbook For Paper Crafters.

    Paper Craft Valentine's Day Cards

    4. A Pretty Mason Jar Vase: Got flowers for your someone special? Make your gift even more personal by hand-painting a beautiful vase for it. They will love this trendy mason jar vase so much they'll want to use it to hold flowers year round! The perfect, crafty addition to your Valentine's Day gift - start now with DIY Mason Jar Crafts.

    Valentine's Day Mason Jar Vase To Craft

    5. A Quirky Bouquet: Put a twist on the classic Valentine's Day flowers and make your own with yarn! This beautiful, colorful bouquet doesn't need water, won't make anyone sneeze, and it will never die! This gift is perfect for sharing a good laugh with a friend and reminding them that you care for them! Make these fun Pom-Pom Flowers with Yarn Crafts.

    Yarn Flowers For Valentines Day

    6. A Lovely Pillow: Reminiscent of traditional redwork, this delicate floral heart is crafted with dimensional fabric paint to create a timeless look, and then transformed into a completely no-sew pillow for a wonderful Valentine's Day gift. Show your loved ones when you make this pillow for them with the Romantic Redwork Pillow ePattern.

    Craft Pillow For Valentine's Day

    7. A Sentimental Glass Jar: Learn easy mosaic art to craft great looking gifts for someone special this Valentine's Day.  These glass jars are perfect to fill with a small treat like candy, or you can leave it up to your loved one's imagination and let them fill it with their own jewelry or trinkets. You can craft these great jars with Beginner's Guide to Mosaics.

    Heart Jars To Craft Valentine's Day

    8. A Tiny Teddy: Soft, fuzzy, and fun! Kids will love this cute little bear - A Valentine's Day classic - or it would look great sitting on Baby's bookshelf. Craft it with pom-poms, then add eyes and a bow for extra fun! Plus, learn how craft this fun pom-pom Valentine gift bag to store it in. What a fun gift! Start your Valentine's crafts now with Learn To Create With Pom Poms.

    Valentine's Day Teddy Bear To Craft

    9. Heart Jewelry: It isn't Valentine's Day without hearts everywhere - make fun, girly jewelry for your loved ones this year! Girls of all ages will love this the pretty hearts and beads on this - they won't be able to quit smiling. Learn to make great jewelry gifts for Valentine's Day with Jewelry Making Basics.

    Valentine's Day Heart Jewelry To Craft

    10. A Beautiful Scrapbook: Special memories deserve to be kept in a special scrapbook. Make one for your loved ones for Valentine's Day. These precious ribbon covers are perfect for holding romantic wedding photos or sweet baby photos.  Celebrate your special memories this Valentine's Day with The Little Book of Big Ribbon Ideas.
    Valentine's Day Scrap Book

  • Light Up Your Fall - National LED Light Day!

    October 7th is National LED Light Day -- so light up your surroundings! Fabulous fall decor from colorful leaves and pumpkins, to flying bats and ghosts, who couldn't use an extra candle or two, or three, to add a little glow to their seasonal surroundings? Leisure Arts has an LED 3-Pack Candle Set just for you - and it's being offered at a reduced price! These candles are fake, or faux, and are a great solution for ease of use and enhanced safety; fake means no candle flames ignited or melted wax! Look at what's included in the LED 3-Pack Candle Set along with some of our decorating ideas for you to incorporate into your seasonal decor!

    LED 3-Pack Candle Set includes a remote that offers 12 different color settings, two timer settings and a flickering-light mode. LED 3-Pack Candle Set includes a remote that offers 12 different color settings, two timer settings and a flickering-light mode.

    This is the first "fake" set of  LED Light candles that has gotten me excited to use. Not only do the faux candles feel like wax, each can be illuminated in a different color using the included remote. The remote control offers so many options, including two timer settings.

    LED Light - Unboxed 3 Set The candle heights are 3.9" (10 cm), 4.9" (12.5 cm) and 5.9" (15 cm); the diameter for each is 3" (7.6 cm). Each candle requires three AAA batteries.

    I like the fact that I can decorate each LED Light candle individually and use them as a coordinated theme, or display them separately around the house, or on the covered porch, or other area to be determined by my seasonal decor.

    Decorated LED Light for Fall Decorating each candle with a button garland. No need to worry about this decoration melting!

    As your decorating theme or mood changes, so can the color of the LED Light candles so that you can project your feelings or home's ambience as is suited from moment-to-moment!

    A beautiful amber glow setting LED Light for an evening setting. A beautiful amber glow for an evening setting.

    I have started with a simple tabletop decoration. It projects the change of the fall season into early winter by using leaves and ribbons in different colored patterns, along with the additional  button garlands I used as additional candle embellishments.

    A beautiful LED Light trio displaying various embellishments to use with your tabletop decorations! A beautiful trio displaying various embellishments to use with your tabletop decorations!

    Have fun exploring what type of seasonal decorations you can enhance by incorporating this LED Light candle trio into your lifestyle!

    Martha

  • Home Decor: Buttons & Candles for All Seasons

    August is a transition-time of year. Growing up in the northeast, it was the final month of summer vacation. The days were still hot, but the evening air would sometimes be cool. August ended with my birthday and an introduction to a new school year after the final three-day holiday weekend celebrating Labor Day. It was a cue for me to say, "Okay; now I'm ready!" I was anxious for new challenges, seeing familiar faces and getting ready for seasonal changes. This inspired me to create with Buttons and the LED Candle Set.

    I want a change to my summer decor, but I don't want to jump into fall leaves, berries and gourds. I scoured the few magazines readily available at hair salons and doctors' offices, but then turned to Pinterest for some ideas, too. I was inspired by this Vintage Button Garland and the ambience it created in quite a simple way. Plus, it was a perfect embellishment for a "fake" candle. LED candles won't burn so my garland is safe; easy-peasy, nice and easy!

    I gathered the buttons I had previously sorted and started planning. I decided to thread my buttons onto waxed linen in a color similar to the candles in my set. I love my LED Candle Set (item 47363 from Leisure Arts);  they look and feel like real waxed candles, plus they have a remote control to change colors, add flickering flames or set a timer!

    Gather different sizes, shapes and colors of buttons. Use buttons without shanks for this project. Used waxed linen to assist holding your buttons in place. Gather different sizes, shapes and colors of buttons. Use buttons without shanks for this project. Using waxed linen  assists by holding your buttons in place.

    Using the waxed linen allowed me to easily thread my buttons.  Also, I didn't have to place knots on either side of a strung button to prevent its repositioning. The waxed linen has a natural 'tackiness' which assisted in placing the garland on each candle. But, just in case your button garland gets heavy and wants to slide down your candle just a bit, use a little piece of mounting putty behind several buttons to hold the garland in place.

    Close-up of waxed linen removed from its packaging. You may like to use a mounting putty behind a few buttons on your LED candles to help hold your button garland in place. Close-up of waxed linen removed from its packaging. You may like to use a mounting putty behind a few buttons on your LED candles to help hold your button garland in place.

    Since the LED candles don't get hot,  you can safely walk away from your lit candles. I really do love the LED Candle Set (item 47363 from Leisure Arts).

    Here's the LED Candle Set I used. Leisure Arts' item 47363 has three candles of varying height, plus a remote control to set a timer, and options for candles' colors and flickering flames. Here's the LED Candle Set I used. Leisure Arts' item 47363 has three candles of varying heights, plus a remote control to set a timer, and options for candles' colors and flickering flames.

    This transition-time of year includes the colors of deepening yellows, fading greens, and dulling browns to its flashes of remaining bright colors. I decided to replicate those colors on each garland I made. I didn't measure at first. I wanted at least three rows of buttons to wrap around each LED candle. I wrapped the waxed linen six times around a candle to give me the rough estimate of the length I needed. Later, I did measure a piece of waxed linen and it was 6 feet plus; so to be safe, measure a piece that is 7 feet long.

    Experimenting with button placement on the waxed linen garland, and positioning on a candle. Seasonally themed garlands can be made ahead of time and swapped when the time is right! Experimenting with button placement on the waxed linen garland, and positioning on a candle. Seasonally themed garlands can be made ahead of time and swapped when the time is right!

    After making three button garlands, I discovered two unopened plastic containers that had plaid-patterned buttons and leaf-shaped buttons in them. Time to create a seasonally-themed button garland for my candle!

    A fall-themed garland for the short LED candle. A fall-themed garland for the short LED candle.

    I was not going to undo the previous garlands strung, so I decided to further embellish the candles with ribbons and/or their display area. Here are some developing ideas to inspire you for your home decor planning in the upcoming months. If you need some more inspiration, for more ideas using buttons and ribbons, look at Leisure Arts' item 6023 - Crafting with Buttons & Ribbons.

    Buttons galore with a golden yellow ribbon give your LED Candle SET a sense of transition away from summer. Buttons galore with a golden yellow ribbon give your LED Candle SET a sense of transition away from summer.
    Using waxed linen cording prevented the buttons from sliding together. Each end of the waxed linen was then wrapped around several buttons to hold it snuggly in place. Using waxed linen prevented the buttons from sliding together. Each end of the waxed linen cord was then wrapped around several buttons to hold it snuggly in place.

    For a preview of Christmas and winter, I thought of pom-poms. HMM...I tied a seasonal ribbon on one LED candle and the ideas started developing. For a winter theme, the LED candles could be placed on a stand then pom-poms could be stacked at their base -- this idea is just developing! Again there are no worries as these are flameless - I really do like Leisure Arts' LED Candle Set!

    Planning for a Christmas -themed holiday setting. You could place your LED Candle(s) on small pillars, add a ribbon to the candle base and have room on your tabletop for other seasonal decorations. Planning for a Christmas-themed holiday setting. You could place your LED Candle(s) on small pillars, add a ribbon to the candle base and have room on your tabletop for other seasonal decorations.

    What's great is that the button garlands can easily be swapped out with another. So let the themes Begin! Although the button garlands can be stored easily, I would recommend a cool storage area since it is waxed linen.

    A colorful glow to show the three heights of candles contained in the LED Candle Set. A colorful glow to show the three heights of candles contained in the LED Candle Set.

    Plan for your transitional decor with changes in color and themes. Do you need to get your creative juices flowing? Start small; try simple changes and see how a few special touches can give a new ambience to your existing home decor!

    Enjoy!

    Martha

  • Tasteful Palette of Gel Pen Colors

    Happy National Coloring Book Day! I am so excited that all of the coloring enthusiasts can share their creativity on a special day dedicated to the art of coloring. I have the large 36 count box of gel pens from Leisure Arts. Many of you want the variety that is found in such a large set, but at the same time, may get overwhelmed by the variety of colors and styles.

    Don't feel stressed about your choices, try to learn the look of the different styles to help with your color decisions. In order to better understand the colors and styles, my suggestion is to break down the box of gel pens by style. See the front of the box; it outlines the number of gel pen colors in each style: 10 Solid, 8 Metallic, 8 Fluorescent, and 10 Glitter.

    In order to demonstrate the different styles of gel pen colors found in the 36 count box, I decided to look for a coloring book page with similar images. I chose a page from 6703 - Ocean Wonders Color Art for Everyone.

    Yeah, gel pens in 36 colors and four styles: Solid, Metallic, Fluorescent and Glitter! Yeah, gel pens in 36 colors and four styles: Solid, Metallic, Fluorescent and Glitter!

    The task before the fun of coloring is to break down the gel pens by style. Some gel pen lids are easier to judge by their appearance that that specific pen belongs to a certain style group. For instance, the Glitter pens have little sparkly specs in their plastic caps. The caps in the Metallic style group have a more muted tone. The best thing for me to do was to make swatches of each color on a blank piece of card stock. Then I could switch out colors if I was unhappy with one or more colors in a style group until I was satisfied with the final group.

    Gel pens are sorted by style (my Neon label should be called, Fluorescent). I also color-coded each style. Gel pens are sorted by style (my Neon label should be called, Fluorescent). I also color-coded each style.

    After I was satisfied with the gel pens I chose for each color style, I went one step further and color-coded each group. I placed a paint swatch of color on the gel pens belonging to each group. For instance, my Metallic style group has a pink paint swatch on the front of the cap, the cap's top and the pen body. This way no matter if the pens were lying down or standing in a container, I could easily grab all of the pens belonging to one group; my coloring life just got easier!

    If you compare the beginning of my coloring below, the fish are colored in the same order as the above-photo showing the gel pens in their color palette styles.

    To demonstrate the different gel pen styles, I chose a drawing with similar images of fish (Leisure Arts' item 6703 - Ocean Wonders Color Art for Everyone). To demonstrate the different gel pen styles, I chose a drawing with similar images of fish (Leisure Arts' item 6703 - Ocean Wonders Color Art for Everyone).

    The top fish showcases the colors from the Solid style. The second from the top fish is smaller and is colored with the Fluorescent gel pens (in the earlier photo, I incorrectly labeled my piece of card stock with the word, Neon).

    Next, you will see the Glitter style used on the fish on the left-hand side that is third from the top. The bottom fish shows the Metallic style and is very pretty is person but tends to be too shiny in my photos to highlight any good contrast. The one thing that I did find a little peculiar about the Metallic [especially the pink color], if I tried to go over a section because all was not properly filled with color, the pink became more grey. It was as if there was too much color build-up.

    I really like looking at the different styles in one project; I can more definitively choose in which color direction I wish to go. Also, it saves me frustration when I think I've chosen one color based on the gel pen's lid, when in fact the ink color is not what I intended at all! I'll finish the fish eyes after I stare at the bodies of the fish for a while. I may not do the background so I can keep the fish as clean examples for each color style.

    Showing their respective gel pen style, the fish are complete except for their eyeballs. Showing their respective gel pen style, the fish are complete except for their eyeballs.

    Consider your first colored page using your 36 count box of gel pens broken out by style as your color swatch. Just like knit and crochet, begin by making a swatch - a palette swatch of colors - for your reference before beginning your project. Spend a little time up front to make your creativity flow more easily. Enjoy!

    Martha

  • Crafters - Make a Yarn Basket from Your Stash!

    I have always used yarn in some sort of craft even before I "learned" the basics of knitting and crocheting as an adult. Two memories encouraged me to crash-the-stash of yarn and get weaving! When I was a Brownie Girl Scout, my troop learned how to craft a God's Eye or Ojo de Dios; a cultural symbol showing a woven motif created by using several colors of yarn wrapped around twigs. That is the first time I recall being amazed how several objects by themselves look and function one way, but used together in a different manner created an entirely new object! It was a magical transformation of sticks and yarn into a beautifully patterned piece of art. When I was an older Girl Scout, I made a woven basket. It took two weeks of soaking and weaving, soaking and weaving, until the basket was completed. It's funny how images from a current book can take you back in time, inviting you to revisit a past passion. Whether you discover the uses of yarn for the first time, or rediscover the transformation of your supplies into new objects, it's time to create a yarn basket project!

    The small project that caught my eye was the woven basket on the outside front cover of Leisure Arts' item 6758 - Yarn Crafts. Not only was it cute (small, compact, and uncomplicated), I could fit this project in to my schedule of other items on my to-do list. Plus, I had [minimal] weaving experience -- come on, decades' old hands-on knowledge still counts, right? Right - I immediately jumped on to making this project!

    This cute woven basket on the front cover (Leisure Arts' sku 6758 - Yarn Crafts), looks perfect for some discontinued yarn I gathered from our yarn stash! This cute woven basket on the front cover of Leisure Arts' item 6758 - Yarn Crafts, looks perfect for some discontinued yarn I gathered from my yarn stash!

    Reviewing the directions in the leaflet, I decided to add some coloring to the cardboard base of my basket. After reviewing my various coloring book choices, I chose a page from Leisure Arts' item 6704 - Natural Wonders Color Art for Everyone.

    I have chosen the page I want to color for the cardboard base of my basket. The page is from Leisure Arts' item 6704 - Natural Wonders Color Art for Everyone. I have chosen the page I want to color for the cardboard base of my basket. The page is from Leisure Arts' item 6704 - Natural Wonders Color Art for Everyone.

    This added step of coloring a page to add to the basket's cardboard base was not the hardest step, but it did take the most time!

    After reviewing the steps on how to weave the Yarn Basket, I decided that my piece of cardboard used for the basket's base would be covered by a coloring book page. After reviewing the steps on how to weave the Yarn Basket, I decided that my piece of cardboard used for the basket's base would be covered by a coloring book page.

    Of course I wanted both the inside and the outside of the basket's base to have a colorful design, so I colored the whole page. I used markers for this part of project, then sprayed acrylic sealer on the page after it was colored.

    Oh, yes; adding my colored sections from a coloring book page will be the perfect addition to the cardboard base (two circles, one for the inside and the other for the outside of the basket). Oh, yes; adding my colored sections from a coloring book page will be the perfect addition to the cardboard base (two circles, one for the inside and the other for the outside of the basket).

    Once my colored pages were cut into circles the same size as my cardboard base, I glued them to each side of the cardboard using a spray adhesive. Next, I used a sharp needle to puncture holes through the paper (that would be the inside of the basket) into the cardboard. Remember my earlier picture showed the cardboard already had the punctured holes; this was done before I made a final decision to add some coloring to my project. After the colored circle was glued to the cardboard, it was easy to puncture a new "layer" of holes going through just the coloring book page into the prepunched cardboard.

    Following the directions outlined in the Yarn Basket project found in Leisure Arts' item 6758 - Yarn Crafts, I inserted toothpicks into each hole and used hot glue to hold them in place. Some toothpicks would not stand straight up so I amended the directions by placing a pony bead around each toothpick. Then I added a different glue that would remain flexible after drying; I used E6000.

    Following the Yarn Basket's directions, 37 toothpicks have been glued into holes into the cardboard. I chose to add pony beads thinking these might add extra stability. (My cardboard example has been covered with a coloring book page). Following the Yarn Basket's directions, 37 toothpicks have been glued into holes into the cardboard. I chose to add pony beads thinking these might add extra stability. (My cardboard example has been covered with a coloring book page).
    Here's a side view of the toothpicks glued into the base cardboard. Most stood straight in place. Here's a side view of the toothpicks glued into the base cardboard. Most stood straight in place.

    I gathered three different bulky or super bulky weight yarn skeins. All three colors used were from partial skeins of discontinued colors. I began weaving - it was so easy and the pattern developed so quickly I wished I had more 'reeds' as my toothpick frame was quickly becoming a recognizable basket. I decided to quit for the night and had no worries regarding "where to start" in the morning.

    The first stage of weaving. A third color has just been added to the basket's body or frame. The first stage of weaving. A third color has just been added to the basket's body or frame.

    I changed colors as often as I liked; I didn't have a master plan. TIP: It was very easy to unweave rows when I decided to change colors at a different location. That's a great bonus - especially if you run short on a yarn color since you might be using up your stash of partial skeins! HINT: As you are weaving, gently push the yarn down each toothpick sliding it as close as possible to the woven row below it. This was a technique taught during my Girl Scout basket weaving experience and I started doing this automatically when weaving my current project! Following this technique gives the yarn basket a compact and tightly woven look.

    After the weaving is completed, a finger crocheted chain was added to the top of the basket. I placed the back ridge of each chain around the tip of each toothpick. Use some glue to hold in place as necessary. Here's a close-up showing both the top and base of the basket. The top shows the crocheted chain in place and the cardboard base with some toothpicks and pony beads still visible.

    A sideview close-up of the basket almost finished. I decided to add E6000 glue (over the hot glue); E6000 remains flexible. A sideview close-up of the basket almost finished. I decided to add E6000 glue (over the hot glue); E6000 remains flexible.

    I made another finger crocheted chain and glued it to the base's ridge. I wanted to conceal the pony beads as much as possible; these were used as structural support rather than as embellishments. A piece of single strand yarn was used to wrap around the basket near its top. As shown in 6758 - Yarn Crafts, I filled my basket with a variety of whole nuts.

    Woven yarn basket is finished and sitting on my countertop! Woven yarn basket is finished and sitting on my countertop!

    What a perfect container for a small space -  but this one little extra container will add definition to any side table, countertop or shelf. I hope to have this basket for years to come. Oh, by the way; I still have that Girl Scout basket I made all those years (decades) ago in summer camp! Fiber art lives on to tell us stories and create memories. Make some art today - enjoy!

    Martha

  • Summer Fun with Gnomes and Fairies

    Have you made a gnome and fairy garden yet? Gardens can be as intricate, whimsical or expansive as you like. I decided to make my first gnome and fairy garden as a tabletop display; it seemed like a tabletop display would be a bit more manageable and accessible for me. It is now mid-July and the gnomes and fairies are having quite a get-together in the forest!

     My first decision was to choose a container for my gnomes and fairies. Since the theme was summer fun, I could get creative with a forest setting using some supplies I had to make different scenes in an imaginary world! My oval basket is quite large measuring approximately 25 inches wide x 18 inches deep giving me a lot of space as my forest backdrop. I filled the basket with styrofoam and plastic bags. I covered this basket stuffing with brown paper to conceal and secure the styrofoam pieces and bags in place.

    Gathering materials for a basket to become a tabletop gnome and fairy display. Basket stuffing includes hard styrofoam, plastic bags for spaces, and brown paper to cover. Gathering materials for a basket to become a tabletop gnome and fairy garden display. Basket stuffing includes hard styrofoam, plastic bags for any spaces between styrofoam pieces, and brown paper to cover.  

    The first part of the scenery to be put into place was the largest item to be used as part of the forest floor's backdrop. It was a  birch metal planter. This planter would be the hedgehog's home; the hedgehog is just one of the pieces found in Leisure Arts' Woodland Garden Kit (47858). I nestled the planter in between the basket's side and the edge of one piece of styrofoam. I added some extra filler to the birch metal planter that consisted of more brown paper, a peat planter and coconut fiber (taken from the lining of a hanging basket).

    Garden Gnome planter filler. A peat planter is inserted into a birch metal planter. This is the future home of the hedgehog.

    Here are some of the other supplies that I used to create the Summer Fun theme for my gnome and fairy basket garden. The coconut fiber was used throughout the basket as the forest floor and buttons were used as flowers. For my first gnome and fairy garden, I did not want to attempt to use live plants and flowers. And, quite honestly, individual plantings might not survive the intense summer heat of Arkansas even if placed in the shade and watered twice daily.

    Some other supplies used to make the Summer Fun Gnome & Fairy Basket include: coconut fiber, glass beads (Size 10), floral tape, dried beans, dried rice, a bottle cap, buttons, dowels, a cotton swab & non-tarnishing silver wire (28 gauge). Some other supplies used to make the Summer Fun Gnome & Fairy Basket include: coconut fiber, glass beads (Size 10), floral tape, dried beans, dried rice, a bottle cap, buttons, dowels, a cotton swab & non-tarnishing silver wire (28 gauge).

    I stacked buttons to make flowers and connected them together using 28 gauge wire. Then I attached the wired button flowers to dowels using floral tape. As the garden grew, a button flower garland was added to outdoor decor. See a later image showing the garland draped over the trellis!

    Tending the flowers in the Fairy Garden, this gnome is assisting with the watering. Tending the flowers in the Fairy Garden, this gnome is assisting with the watering.

    The gnomes and fairies are having fun together! They help each other and check on the woodland creatures, too.

    One fairy packed her day-bag to visit her friend the hedgehog. A welcome sign is held by a gnome greeting visitors to the forest summer activities including a campfire meal of stew and s'mores! One fairy packed her day-bag to visit her friend the hedgehog. A welcome sign is held by a gnome greeting visitors to the forest summer activities including a campfire meal of stew and toasted marshmallows!

    The trees were made by wrapping dowels with floral tape and then adding a small section of a leafy trim.

    One gnome is trimming some overgrown trees. He's being very careful not to remove too much greenery. One fairy is overlooking his trimming efforts. One gnome is trimming some overgrown trees. He's being very careful not to remove too much greenery. One fairy is overlooking his trimming efforts.

    The wading pool is an inverted plastic lid holding glass floral marbles and gravel covered with a lightly painted piece of plastic wrap.

    Gnome and Fairy crafts Just like hummingbirds, fairies love the water! These two fairies are enjoying the wading pool before getting ready for summer nighttime activities.

    The gnomes have cooked their favorite stew; they are very ingenious by using a discarded bottle cap as their pot!  I depicted the stew by using dried rice and beans; I covered all of the stew ingredients with clear nail polish. The gnomes also like toasted marshmallows. The marshmallows are cotton swabs glued to the ends of wire. The charcoal briquettes of the campfire were made by painting some dried black beans grey. Can you see the marshmallows getting toasted for dessert over the hot charcoal?

    Gnome and fairy craft basket. One gnome checked on the campfire before lighting the way across the bridge using a tea light for illumination. He'll travel along the Snail Trail to the wading pool for a quick cool-down before his evening of fun.

    The button flowers are blooming nicely and the garden has been well-tended! There was such an abundance of flowers, a garland was made and hung as outside party decor for the gnome and fairy get-together. It was simply made by weaving the 28 gauge wire through the buttonholes; including glass beads was optional.

    The flower garden has been weeded, mulched and decorated. I love the button garland decorating the garden's grounds! The flower garden has been weeded, mulched and decorated. I love the button garland decorating the garden's grounds!

    What a whimsical time I had creating my first gnome and fairy garden! I can see why gardening is such an enjoyable creative use of time and energy. Even if the location for your gnome and fairy garden is a tree stump or other container, make some whimsical fun by incorporating the gnomes, fairies, forest creatures and accent pieces with your craft and gardening supplies for some Summer Fun!

    Martha

  • 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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