Thursday, November 27, 2014

Gobble, gobble, gobble...

 Happy Thanksgiving to You All!

Today officially kicks off the Holiday Season... a time to gather with friends and family, a time to reminisce of those not with us while making new memories to be shared for many years to come.

No matter what each of our personal circumstances may be, I pray that we can all feel the peace and joy in recognizing and giving thanks for all of the gifts that surround us everyday of our lives.

God Bless You...Today & Always!

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

It's a perfect time to sing & dance!

Oh, Come All Ye Faithful... Joyful & Triumphant... Oh Come Ye, Oh Come Ye to Show & Tell...

( Yes, you guessed it!  I love Christmas Carols and it's the one time of the year I can usually get away with breaking out into song anytime I choose!! You are lucky though, I have not figured out a way to add audio to my Blog!!)

But I digress.. our Show & Tell today is a fun way to include some interactive ornaments to your Christmas trees. My "Dancing Elf" is just one example of the characters that you can create to tempt everyone's "inner child" to come out & play!! 

I started by creating a basic puppet style figure of an Elf out of 140# watercolor paper. I  decorated his body with Spectrum Noir markers w/Ink details.  I then attached all of his limbs with small brads, the key here is to not tighten them but to leave them loose enough for the "Dancing" motion as you pull the attached strings down... see below, here is a view of the back side of the Elf. As you can see there are 4 strings that are attached to the very tips of the arms & legs. The strings are then gathered and knotted at the base of body & again about an inch farther down, this keeps strings from getting in the way of the movement... refer to pic, it really is a lot easier than it sounds!  

Back side of "Dancing Elf" - notice the string placement
Below is the finished "Dancing Elf"... all you have to do is tug on the hanging strings in a downward motion & he will jump, as you release the strings he goes back to his standing position... do this repeatedly and he will dance his way into your heart!!

"Dancing Elf" in relaxed hanging position
"Dancing Elf" in jumping position when string is pulled down
Hope you give this idea a try... as previously mentioned you can make a variety of characters, just let your muse run loose and as usual...Have Fun!!

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Joy to the "creative" world... got ideas?

Well, As they say "variety is the spice of life" (whoever "they" are?) but I do completely agree. The Christmas theme that I find myself being drawn to is a perfect chance to show off the kind of creative "variety" that can be used this holiday season! No matter what your artistic interests are, I'm sure you can take your favorite medium and come up with unique & fun ways to share your talents with your family & friends... believe me, they will appreciate the obvious time and effort that your artwork reflects!

So, today I have another little Show & Tell that I hope might spark those creative flames into action! I have a close friend that is a wonderful artist that specializes in print making. Her etchings, woodcuts and block prints leave me speechless each and every time I see her latest works, her talent is definitely an inspiration for me. I recently took part in a Block Print Swap on ATC's for All that reminded me of my own creative limitations in this field. Although I found myself frequently frustrated, I did enjoy the challenge, as well as it reinforcing my "awe" of my friend's considerable talent! After a few discarded "blocks", in the end I did manage to create a very simple design that I felt reflected my very best effort for the swap.

"Vino" Block Print
Since then, I have been inspired to create hand carved stamps using the leftover supplies & tools that I gathered for the swap. I came up with a few simple Christmas designs as well as adding words for an additional element that I could use in making ornaments. The style of the ornament is very simple and lends itself perfectly to showcase the printmaking design used. Sometimes it's true, "less is more!"    

Below is a pic showing the supplies used to make the featured ornaments: hand carved original stamps, Speedball brand water soluble block printing ink, cotton muslin fabric, polyfill stuffing (not pictured) & assorted ribbon. 

Viola! Original Hand Stamped Ornaments... "Little Pillows" can be made in any color or shape of your choice!  They are very light weight so they can be hung on any size tree or decoration and the design is on both sides for added exposure.

Below:  Using the same stamps, I decided to carry the look over to creating more gift tags. On these, I used stamp pads instead of block printing ink but you don't have to switch. I printed the designs on white card stock then attached them to leftover pieces of scrapbooking paper that I had made into tag shapes with a ribbon attached. There's plenty of room to write on and sign your name.

Thanks for stopping by... There's more Holiday Projects and creative surprises on the horizon, I hope you will check back to see ... (I'd better get to work!)

Sunday, November 16, 2014

Tag, you're it!

Just a little Show & Tell for today's post... With the Christmas Season starting to creep it's way upon us, it's inevitable that our art projects begin taking a holiday theme! There's no snow on the ground as yet but the 12 degrees that the thermometer shows and the even colder chill factor from the morning wind definitely has reminded me... 'tis the season to be jolly (bbuuurrrrrrr) !!  So in an effort to stop whining about what I can not change, I decided to just go play & art the day away!!

Today, I decided to create name tags to put on packages. Yes, I do know that at the local $ store there are plenty of tags to purchase with no effort... to all of my fellow artist's out there, you understand that "the fun is the doing!!"

Below, you'll find pics of one style tag that I really have fun doing... the first pic is of blank tags that I made from the back cover of an empty sketch pad, then  covered in the kraft paper from a lunch sack... repurposed & free!!

Blank "Kraft Paper" Tags - approx. 2"x4"

Next... I created these "little angels dolls" on 140# watercolor paper and painted them with Jacquard Dyes & Gel Pens with Ink detailing.

Angel Doll Figures
Next... I attached the Angels to the tags with glue, added some background details and a ribbon tie! The dolls have been positioned on the tag, leaving a space to write the name of the person that the present is for. ( Notice... bottom right corner) 

Finished Christmas Angel Tags

I guarantee that your family & friends will be thrilled to receive your thoughtful and unique Holiday Gift Tags... Let your imagination soar, anything goes! "Tis the season to be CREATIVE!"

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Whatever your mood... there's a shape for you!

After my last post, I decided to continue making Janoodle Cubes using some of my favorite color combinations. After finishing the last one, I thought about cutting out a few more when I became inspired to change it up a bit and try another shape! I really like triangles so I set out to create a "Pyramid" template. Lucky for me, after all of the brainstorming to create the cube, I was still in that "engineering zone" of thinking and it was much easier to come up with my design!

Below is the template that I came up with... it is 2 1/4" at the base of the pyramid, you might remember that the cube was the same size. I used 140# watercolor paper again, two pyramids fit on a 9"X12" sheet. 

Pyramid Template

Flattened Pyramid for mailing  *
* Refer back to the previous post about the "Cube" for instructions on attaching the side seam which will enable you to send your pyramids in a flat envelope! 

Voila! Janoodle Pyramids - I attached a cord through the center for hanging

Both shapes look great together, mix & match for a fun presentation!

Below are a few more Janoodle Cubes in a variety of color combos!

Happy Creating... most important thing, is to have fun!!

Saturday, November 8, 2014

Does your world feel a little flat lately... see what a Cube can do!?

Recently while following a "thread conversation" on the website ATC's for All, an idea that was being shared caught my attention. The object of my interest was examples for making "paper cubes" that could be used to paint or collage on for a 3-dimensional project.  I tried out a few of the suggested ways to construct the cubes but in the end I decided to design my own. My main objective was to create a one piece template that could be mailed flat in an envelope, something that the recipient would not need any tape or glue to put it together, a design where all they would need to do is tuck in the top & bottom flaps to enjoy their art gift! After a few misses, I came up with a hit! The end result was made on a 9"X12" sheet of 140# watercolor paper, the finished cube measures approx. 2 1/4 inches.

Below: pics showing the creative progression of my Janoodle Cubes!
My one piece template - 140# watercolor paper

 Completed Blank Cube 

I chose to decorate it while flat - Jacquard Dye Wash

Next, I "Janoodled" the details w/Ink

At this point you must attach the side seams together. I use two-sided tape but you can use any method that you choose. In the picture below you will see the front & back seam, I always apply the tape to the back tab then place front tab onto it and press firmly. This is the only attached seam there is.

 Attach front seam to back tab - ( I used a blank for you to see better)

Flattened Cube for mailing - place in envelope as is
Recipient just has to open and fold in top & bottom flaps to form Cube!

Janoodle Cube -  to display, I have included a cord for hanging that tucks under the top flap
Hope you enjoyed this project and that you'll give it a try. With the Holiday Season on the horizon, I think these would make wonderfully creative and unique "cards" that can double as an ornament!! Let your imagination loose & have fun!!

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

A rainy day, cup of tea and a table full of Art Supplies... does it get any better than this?

Just a little rainy day Show & Tell... With all that I've been up to in recent months I have found myself missing the familiarity of my normal everyday routines. It felt really good to just spend the day doing what I do best, Janoodling... for those of you who don't know, a Janoodle is what I have named my own special style of doodles

I have had several inquiries lately about the watercolor paints that I use in my artwork... I actually use "dyes" instead of paints... Jacquard Dyes for Silk Painting, the colors are very concentrated and water soluble. Their intensity can be controlled by using more or less water... the colors are always clear and bright, unlike some paints that can become "muddy" looking when mixed together! As they say, a little goes a long way. I have been using the same bottles for literally years... I had given up painting on silk several years ago. When I started doing ATC's, I  brought them out of retirement and gave them a new "purpose"... I'm hooked, they are perfect for the results I look for in my artwork!  
Here's a picture to show the label, just in case you want to check them out!

Below are some Janoodles that I created today using Jacquard Dyes on 140# watercolor paper... the background colors are bright yet translucent , perfect for ink detailing!

Have a Blessed and Creative Day!