Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Hearts All Buttoned Up


Hearts and love. 

Who can live without these? One is necessary to keep our bodies alive and the other is our life's purpose. 

Wanting to pay homage to these attributes, especially with Valentine's day as a prompt, I had my craft class create projects just in time to celebrate the holiday and the sentiment.

I set out 8"x10" picture frames, various colored buttons, paper doilies, and strings of beads. My students chose colored paper to use as the background for their artwork which we inserted under the glass and closed the back of the frame in place. 

The students then got busy choosing the ornaments that they wanted to use. Using glue guns, they adhered the beads and buttons to the glass top. It was so fun to see the concentration and creative passion that these ladies used to make their works of art! Here are their results:

Nicole and Sophia show the love!

Nicole and Sophia's framed hearts

Rosa, Cindy, and Sarah with their "heartwork"
Detailed work of Cindy and Sarah's projects
I'm so proud of these ladies' projects! There's nothing like good friends gathering over a table covered with pretty baubles, their heads full of ideas, ending with a stronger bond and wonderful artwork.

To make my project, here's what I did:


I cut red cardstock paper to fit inside the frame using the glass as a template in order to cut the correct size. 


I dabbed a dot of gluestick on to a paper heart doily and placed it onto the center of the cardstock to use as a guide when I began laying down my button pattern. I closed the paper inside the frame and started picking out white and ivory colored buttons to use on my project. 

I cut off the shanks from the buttons that didn't have a flat back. After my glue gun was heated I got busy laying down the buttons on the glass top over the paper doily. It was like a puzzle trying to fill in the shape using the various sized buttons! Once the first layer was in place, I glued a second layer of buttons over the first in order to hide open spaces and to add more texture. 

After finishing the button heart creation, I decided that the project needed a little more pizazz. I removed the red cardstock from the inside of the frame, took the paper doily off of the cardstock and used a ruler and white ink pen to write rows of the word "love" down the entire page. I placed the cardstock back inside the frame and admired my finished handiwork. So cute!


Head on over to a dollar store or look through your stash of on-hand frames, gather your box of various buttons and beads, and see where love takes you!

Wednesday, February 8, 2017

Cooking With Words


The kitchen is the one room in my house that I tend to avoid except when I make coffee, cocktail, or a sandwich, none of which need cooking skills. It's not that I can't cook but rather that I prefer someone else do it for me. I like to eat, I just don't like the making of it part. 

Recipe books, yes I have a few, with their tantalizing photos and "just 5 easy steps" type directions. When a recipe indicates that there is a 30 minute preparation time, I know I must add an additional 45 minutes in order to find the various tools and ingredients that are buried in dark cabinets and drawers filled with mysterious kitchen devices. Then there's the measuring, searing, blanching... WTH!  I'm sweating over the details and hoping that the stove and oven know what they're doing. 

My favorite thing to make for a meal, besides a bowl of cereal, is a reservation. Let experts do the job right - everyone's a winner!

By now you may be wondering why I waxed on about cooking. My writing class prompt was an assortment of kitchen tools, many of which I knew the name of but had never dared to operate. Here's my take on the said prompt.
______________________________________________

Smashing, gnashing,
Whipping and rolling.
Mixing, measuring,
Separating, spreading, and spooning.

"Half baked", "cheesy", "toasted",
"Lips like honey", "finger licking good",
"Butter soft skin", "dream whip", "shaken not stirred".

How interesting that kitchen tools and rules
can mimic life so well.

If only my cooking capabilities matched 
my appreciation for fine food.
Perhaps then I could shout 
"reamer" with confidence.
_______________________________________________

With that said, I'm heading to the kitchen. I am very good about using the ice maker and a cocktail sounds like the perfect recipe about now!


Monday, January 23, 2017

Bottled Art



At a local craft store, I found a package of itsy bitsy glass bottles and couldn't resist buying them. I went wild thinking of how these little vessels could be filled with all sorts of treasures. 

In our recent craft class we had fun filling the bottles with beads, pearls, layers of glitter, sand, and bits of shiny confetti. Once filled, we glued the lids on tight then tied pretty ribbons around the tops so that they could be slipped over our heads and worn as necklaces. 

We also wrapped wire around some of the lids creating loops to attach chain for a more classy necklace look. Here's how to wrap the wire:

Materials

  • Wire
  • Round nosed pliers
  • Jump rings
  • Chain
  • Clasp (optional)


About 2 inches from the end of the wire, wrap the wire around the pliers to create a loop. Wind the short end of the wire around the loop a few times and cut off any excess. Place the loop on one side of the bottle and wind the long end of the wire around the bottle top a couple of times. Use the pliers to make the second loop on the other side of the bottle. Wrap the bottle top one more time to secure the second loop ending with a final wrap around the that loop to anchor it. Cut off the excess wire. 


Add jump rings onto the loops. Measure the chain for the length at which you want the necklace to hang. For a longer necklace, say 20 inches or more, you can simply attach the chain ends to the jump rings and slip the necklace over your head to wear it. For shorter jewelry, measure two pieces of chain equal in length, attach one end of each of the chains to the jump rings and the other end of the chains to a clasp. Instant style!



More ideas for your bottle craft: 

  • wrap wire with a few beads around the entire bottle
  • add a bit of sand in the bottle and place a small love note inside
  • fill the bottle with colored water and a few pearls or sand and shells
  • add charms to dangle from the wire loops
  • make a mini terrarium by adding a little sand and tiny plastic plants
  • dap glue to the top and sides of the lid and roll it in glitter (once dried, dab a bit more glue to the glitter to seal it)
  • put a small label on the outside of the bottle - "fairy dust", "love potion", "wishes", etc
  • fill with feathers, shells, or sea glass
  • glue a silk flower to the lid top

Of course, you don't have to wear the bottles as jewelry. These tiny art pieces look pretty lined up in a window, as decoration in a natural plant terrarium, or nestled in book where you've cut out a hole in the pages. 

Have fun with this craft - don't keep your ideas "bottled up"!



Monday, January 16, 2017

A Whole New Light On Lampshades


Some time ago, I bought a dozen small paper lampshades at a local reuse/recycle shop. So many ideas floated through my head as to how to decorate them! 

I knew this would be a perfect project for my art class students to toy with so I set out various items to spark the imagination and we got busy. With buttons, paints, ribbons, faux flowers, and more, we got to work. Time flies when you're having fun and in a couple of hours we celebrated our creativity!


We stationed the lampshades on tall wine glasses (sans wine!) and placed tealights and inside the glasses for a soft glow. How pretty these would be as table decorations at a wedding or other party. Sweet and simple with just the right amount of pizzazz!

I have a few bare lampshades left over and am anxious to hear how they tell me they would like to be "dressed". A favorite poem in a fancy script? A feathered shade? Paper punched designs? A beaded fringe? The possibilities are endless!

Friday, January 13, 2017

Holiday Art - Never Too Late Or Too Early To Create These Projects!


While the holiday season has just ended, I thought it would be nice to showcase the fall and winter projects that my clever art students created. Not only are they the wonderful results of artistic minds but serve as inspiration for projects you might like to try. 

The fall projects included wreath making using the rich, warm colors of seasonal leaves, acorns, gourds, and found objects. A pretty welcome to guests coming to the front door or when used as a tabletop centerpiece.


Lin's wreath in-progress

 We had big fun making Halloween dioramas out of hollow foam pumpkins!

Alicia and Nicole's fright-tastic pumpkins

Carol's witchy creation

Sandy's pretty pumpkin

Kim's sugar skull diorama and kitty card

We painted wood slices for home decor or table top display.

Gold lettered quote

Stenciled molding paste design

Nicole's handpainted fantasy








Stacked trays made from stovetop burner covers and wine glasses or candlesticks make lovely towers for serving holiday sweets and treats.


Rosa's intricate trays

9-year-old Sophia's showstopper
Nicole's handpainted designwork 


The Christmas season gave us lots of opportunities to make ornaments, wreaths, and gift items.

Mini winter hat ornaments made from yarn knotted over toilet paper rolls




Who knew empty wine bottles could look so good! We used ropes of glittery pipe cleaners and hot glued them around the bottles for a festive design.

Nicole, Sophia, and Rosa show their talents




A quick and easy ornament idea is to fill clear acrylic bulbs with anything!

Bulbs filled with snowflakes and greenery

Red Dollar Store bulbs on a wire wreath

Silver and gold bulbs and garland from the Dollar Store 

We made reversible garlands to hang during the fall and winter holidays.

Burlap leaves and tiny bags decorated with glitter paint and felt leaves and acorns

Turn the fall garland over to show the Christmas decor - the tiny bags perfect for hiding small treats in

A clear plastic bulb filled with foam dots and and a child's sock fashioned as a hat


Oh what fun we had! It's never too early to begin a winter project and present someone special with a handmade gift. Christmas is only 49 weeks away!


Tuesday, January 3, 2017

2017: A Creative Year Ahead with New Classes and Inspiration


According to the Chinese calendar, 2017 is the Year of the Rooster - the rooster being the sign of dawn and awakening, when triumph and success can be achieved through hard work and patience.

With the dawn of a new year comes new and wonder filled possibilities. I will be continuing to teach my art class series, introducing exciting projects for both art journalists and crafters.

Beginning Thursday, January 5th and Saturday, January 7th, learn weekly projects in "Art Journaling" and "Exploring Crafts". (Thursday projects are repeated on Saturdays). We'll create new projects each week, none that we've done in previous sessions!

The cost is $20 for each 2 hour class and may include some supplies.

Art Journaling classes on Thursdays run from 5:30pm - 7:30pm with projects repeated on Saturdays from 9:30am - 11:30am.

Exploring Crafts classes on Thursdays go from 7:30pm - 9:30pm with projects repeated on Saturdays from 11:30am - 1:30pm.

Future Art Journaling classes will include dream board designing, journal cover decorating, zentangles, magazine collage fantasies, adding color over black and white photos, using puzzle pieces, 3D image making, print making, and more.

Donna's Doodle

In Exploring Crafts we'll do 
canvas painting, 
jewelry making, fun with mason jars, fabric painting, mini book designing, garden art, light switch fabric covers, and other great projects!

Decorative bird house
All classes will be held at my in-home Concord studio - message me for location details and to be added to my weekly "create it" email list.

I'm looking forward to seeing you and getting our art on!

Monday, November 21, 2016

Line Dancing


Staff meetings, waiting rooms, airplane rides, talking on the phone - all perfect opportunities to doodle and play with line drawing. I love pressing my brain to create fun patterns, using my journal as my playbook. 

Some may call this Zentangle but I don't conform to any particular rules, just allowing my mind to envision pattens and willing my hand to follow through. 


One of my students stared at the blank pages of her journal saying that she didn't know where to start. I told her not to think about it too hard - just put the pen to paper and begin drawing random shapes. Once you get going with nothing particular in mind, magic happens! These shapes are then sectioned out, filled in with staight lines, circles, zig-zags, and other patterns resulting in wonderful designwork.

Alicia's doodle page

I've created several pages of patterns that I reference when doing new work. It's addictive!


Pinterest or searching the internet for doodle patterns are excellent places to get ideas from. 

Having several sizes of pen tips is a plus. This allows you to make very detailed patterns and designs. I like using Pigma micron pens because of the variety of pen tips, they are permanent ink (which is great if you want to watercolor over your images), and they last a long time. Look for these qualities in the pens you use.

 
 


Here are more of my students' artwork - 

Donna goes wild!

Donna's creation

Sandra's lines

Marla's mandala





Open your journal, let loose your mind, and see what exciting art comes flowing out!