Wait Summer! Don’t Go! {A fun outdoor craft!}

Hello friends! Every month at my local library I have a free craft night for children. I wanted to show the kids how to make something that they could use outside during these last remaining weeks of summer and I decided on this fun fish windsock:

To make this craft you will need:

  • 9″x12″ watercolor paper or poster-board
  • crayons
  • watercolors/brush,water
  • fishing line or string
  • tacky glue or a hot glue gun
  • wiggle eyes
  • Time: This craft will take about 30 minutes

Note: to make this project weatherproof substitute the crepe paper with ribbon or strips of plastic (you could cut strips from a disposable plastic table cloth or plastic bag) and laminate the watercolor paper before gluing it into a cylinder.

Please watch the above video to see how it is made! Happy crafting!

Are your stencils out of control?

Hi Friends! Last weekend I came up with a new and better way to store my stencils and it cost less than $10. Have a look:

It was really just an update of this method but I love how I can grab all of my messy stencils and take them wherever I want to work. My other templates (tracing and cutting ones) live in a binder I can flip through but for the messy ones it does the trick.

Here are the categories I have my stencils sorted in:

  • Small stencils (6″x6″ and smaller in the front of the divider so I can see them from the outside)
  • 12″x12″ background stencils-store bought
  • 12″x12″ background stencils-handmade
  • 8.5″x11″ stencil backgrounds
  • DCWV brand 12″x12″ stencils
  • Oriental Trading 12″x12″ stencils
    *All others are 8.5″x11″
  • Basic Shapes
  • Nature
  • Borders/Designs
  • Occasion

The only ones that do not work in the Darice Spectrafile are my large decor and homemade hot glue stencils. I hope this gives you some ideas to corral your stencil stash. Happy crafting!

Easy Tutorial: Let’s Paint a Tulip in watercolor!

Hi friends! Today, by request, we will paint a simple tulip:

I hope you enjoyed this easy tutorial and til next time happy crafting!

I’m the Queen of Gettin’ Things Done!

Hello friends! After a couple seemingly unproductive days I finally got some stuff done that was causing me a fair bit of anxiety. I got my girls back to school shopping done and a couple hard to find birthday gifts ordered (cross your fingers that they come in the right size!) I was starting to freak out, I was in my studio today spinning my wheels because I could not settle down to get anything done. Worrying about those nagging tasks was worse than actually completing them. Do you get that way? For me it is the overwhelming options out there: Where should I shop, who has the best deals, how many stores do I have to go to, if I order things on line will they fit? My son is easy, I can log on to my favorite clothing store and I know their sizes well, all he has to do is pick and point, we are done in minutes. Girls need to try stuff on, you can not guess or you end up with a closet-full of unworn clothes or dreaded return lines. So tonight the girls and I had a lovely time shopping, no really, we did! I told myself we can go out again if we don’t find everything we need. I usually put so much pressure that we have to do it all in one shot (because I hate to shop) but tonight I changed my attitude, we had a great time and my girls made some really smart choices…I don’t think we bought 1 single t-shirt! They tried on T-shirts but opted for classic or funky blouses. There is hope! The only place I do not feel the overwhelming choice fear is in the art store, or art catalog/website and I think it is because I like to look at art supplies and learn what is out there and I have been using supplies for so long that I can recognize quality on sight regardless of the price and if I make a bad purchase I chalk it up to experience and move on. I came across a display of new paint brushes at ACmoore a couple of weeks ago called Snap! by Princeton. They were very affordable but with my keen art-buying eyes they looked good. I wanted to find an inexpensive brush to recommend my students and I saw a package with a 3/4″ angle wash, a #8 filbert and a #10 round. The set retailed for $7.99 and I had a coupon so I paid about $4.50. In today’s video I will review them:

Here is the item # on the package: #9650set1 They are good brushes. The only downside being that they do not have acrylic scraper handles but heck, we all have out cut up credit cards for that right? What are your favorite brushes? Do you have a great deal to share? Leave a comment, we can all benefit for others experience! Thanks for stopping by and til next time happy crafting!

Guess what I just realized?

Hi Friends! I just realized that my kids start school in less than two weeks and I promised them that they could have a camp-out with their friends this summer! Cue panic attack! Really, where did the summer go, how did i miss it? I hope you like today’s DIY camp out themed party invitations because I will be delighting you with coordinating decorations soon too. All I can say is thank goodness for Papermart because with my stash of craft supply basics from them I will have this party started in no time! Today I will show you how to make the invitations, they are so cute and easy even a child can make them…and they will, because, well panic and all…

You will need:

 

  • Crepe Paper in your choice of color
  • Green corrugated paper
  • Cardstock in white, blue and yellow
  • white felt
  • coffee stirrers/skinny sticks
  • black pen
  • scissors

I suggest using a bubble mailer for mailing this dimensional card.

Directions:

  1. Cut white cardstock 5″x7″, blue cardstock 4 1/4″x5 1/2″ and adhere the blue card on the white. Stamp invitation info on the bottom of blue.
  2. Cut a 1 1/2″ strip of green corrugated paper and fringe one edge, adhere it to the bottom of the card .
  3. Cut crepe paper 5″x6″ and glue a skinny stick to each end. Stretch the crepe paper on the bottom and cut a slit up the middle.
  4. Cut a sun and rays from orange/yellow cardstock and glue to upper left hand corner of card. Cut a cloud from white felt and adhere. Adhere the tent to the cad and glue the tent flaps back if desired. Mail in a bubble mailer or flat envelope.

My tip for you today is to make sure you have a craft and party goods stash so you will be prepared for any spontaneous bash and the best place to get it is Papermart, they sure do make ME look better! :D Thanks for stopping by and til next time happy crafting!

 

Are Spectrum Noir Pencils Worth the Money?

Howdy friends! If I had a nickel for every time someone asked me if I would do a tutorial on Spectrum Noir Pencils I’d a millionaire, well, maybe not but at least a hundredaire!  It was enough to make me spring for these pencils when they went on sale for $16 a set of 24 at Consumer Crafts two weeks ago. And because I am a sucker for free shipping I got all 5 sets and a new WeRMemory Keepers album because the Project Life one I previously ordered in a moment of temporary insanity was not cutting the mustard. Anyway, here is a card I colored with the new Spectrum Noirs, it took all of 15 minutes to color.

DCF 1.0

I have a bit of a colored pencil addiction, I love trying out new pencils! Since I have a few of the most popular brands I thought I’d compare them to the new Spectrum Noir pencils and see how they preformed, see my findings in today’s video:

Now, here is where I retract things I said that are wrong. Please refer to the below chart. Koh-i-Noor pencils are available open stock. I have only seen the woodless sets of 12 and 24 so maybe they have another grade of pencils that I am not aware of and maybe there are more colors. Leave a comment if you know.  There was a bit of controversy over the Spectrum Noir pencils being oil based. They preformed most like the Polychromos (the lead in the SNs was thinner and they were a bit less creamy and opaque) but I’d wager they were oil based if I had to guess but there may in fact be an oil/wax blend going on…oh heavens, does anyone care? I do not because they do what they were interned to do extremely well. They layer and blend well. They are translucent enough so I can clearly see my black stamped lines when coloring yet they are opaque enough to stand up on kraft cardstock, a very hip trend might I add. I would not use them on darker cardstocks but on mid-light they preformed very well. Here you can see some swatches and also the retail price for a set of 24 pencils across the brands reviewed (but you can always find them online for much less.)

DCF 1.0

That said, the Spectrum Noir pencils would not be my first choice to create a painting with. I prefer the creamier properties of Prismacolor or Polychromos pencils. The Derwent Coloursoft pencils are nothing to sneeze at either but I have been using Prismacolor pencils since I was 5 and loyalties like that are hard to break. Now that brings me to another bit of controversy, Prismacolor pencils are now made in Mexico and their quality has declined (you can check out the Prismacolor vs. Polychromos review by Lachri Fine Art if you want to know more) and it is really too bad because Prismacolor was my favorite. All but 3 white pencils in my Prismacolor box are stamped USA and the ones stamped Mexico had off-center lead. I have not sharpened them yet so hopefully they are adequate, I find the white Prismas to me the most achy-breaky ones in the bunch. I had an imperfect stamped image on my table (the one I demonstrated in the video) and decided to color 4 of the flowers with 4 brands of pencils so you could see a side by side comparison. I think the Spectrum Noir pencils do what they are intended for. Coloring stamped images, I find I can color quickly with them and layer easily without losing the definition of my stamping. If you do not want to see your stamped lines then you can use lighter ink.

DCF 1.0

Bottom Line, these are fun. If your goal is to easily color stamped images on white to mid value colored paper these pencils are ideal and a bargain. If you are a colored pencil artist I think you would prefer a pencil with more opaque and creamy lead But since they layer really well and cost less than half of Polychromos pencils you might want to give them a whirl and maybe pick up a few light-colored prismas. Honestly the Polychromos are not terribly opaque either so you might want a wax-based white with those as well. I would be impossible for me to test all of the great pencils on the market (I’m a hundredaire remember…) but these are the most accessible to me and hopefully you. If you have any questions please leave a comment and I’d love to know what your favorite brand of colored pencils are. I have had several requests to compare watercolor pencils too so you can let me know if you are interested in that as well. Thanks for taking the time to read through this long post and til next time happy crafting!

DCF 1.0

PS Quick tip! When making a card make the envelope first then use the scrap of leftover paper to embellish your card. Another tip, dig out the old-school deco-scissors and circle punches to cut a cool wavy border on the card. Using a two-tone cardstock like Doublemates makes the look really pop! Happy crafting!

Ruffled Crepe Paper Party Favors!

Hi Friends! These cute boxes are a snap to make and will hold a lot of goodies during your next party plus they are affordable to make using supplies from Papermart!

Supplies:
Macaroon boxes
Tulle
Organza ribbon
baker’s twine
crepe paper
6″ paper doilies

Directions:
Assemble macaroon boxes. Cut 18″ of crepe paper in the colors of your choice, trim to desired width. Glue to macaroon box and pleat the paper as you go to make ruffles. Pleat a doily as shown in the video, add it to the box and wrap with baker’s twine. Top with a label and buttons.

You can make a drawer pull with ribbon and tulle on the slider portion of the box if desired. I hope you enjoyed this simple party favor tutorial and til next time happy crafting!

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