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  • 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

  • Fiber Art: Yarn Bombing, a Yarn Doll and Yarn Crafts

    I have been intrigued by yarn bombing for years but put my interest on hold after seeing only knit and crochet pieces used in the "bombing".  Since I had only started to learn how to knit and crochet, I couldn't imagine trying to create something quickly enough to use as self-expression in the greater outdoors. But as Craftsy has noted, the common denominator for this decorative self-expression is yarn. As a result, the artistic talents of many individuals may be creations that include multiple needle craft and fiber art categories.

    Some additional background information suggests that yarn bombing alters the visual landscape usually found in an urban setting. It is taking the craft of knitting and crocheting from the stereotyped image of grandma to the next level of free-form textile artistry that is a non-destructive way of voicing your opinion.

    Earlier this year, the inside of Leisure Arts started showing signs of fiber artistry appearing in open spaces. I gasped in an, "A-Ha!" moment; these office embellishments were versions of indoor yarn bombing. On the first floor, Tina's coat rack was covered with granny squares.

    A coat rack gets a yarn bombing makeover -- love the pom-pom hairdo and craft supply goo-goo eyes! A coat rack gets a yarn bombing makeover -- love the pom-pom hairdo and craft supply goo-goo eyes!

    The lobby furniture had its transformation, too.

    Add a lampshade tassel, tabletop cover and ripple wrap to an end table for a yarn makeover. Add a lampshade tassel, tabletop cover and ripple wrap to an end table for a yarn makeover.
    Complimentary colors are used for the longer table runner. Complimentary colors are used for the longer table runner.

    The use of textiles in artwork and home decor is not limited to crochet, knit, plastic canvas or other traditional skill categories and uses of yarn. Fiber art is alive and growing; it can be done by many as a way to decorate their homes with handmade artwork. Look at one of the pieces done by Jen, a Leisure Arts' friend. This owl dreamcatcher is her interpretation of one of the projects found in Leisure Arts' item 6758 - Yarn Crafts.

    A trio of dreamcatchers connected together with added feathers to form the shape of an owl. A fabulous interpretation of a project found in Leisure Arts' item 6758 - Yarn Crafts. A trio of dreamcatchers connected together with added feathers to form the shape of an owl. A fabulous interpretation of a project found in Leisure Arts' item 6758 - Yarn Crafts.

    I thought a yarn doll needed to be sitting on the lobby's settee; Tina and I started brainstorming! A shopping bag of partial skeins of yarn was collected as Tina thought what to use as the framework to hold the yarn as it was wrapped. The solution: an inverted sofa table.

    A life-sized yarn doll is going to be part of the Leisure Arts' yarn bombing decor. In order to make a life-sized yarn doll, many partial skeins of yarn would be wound around the legs of an inverted table. A life-sized yarn doll is going to be part of the Leisure Arts' yarn bombing decor. In order to make a life-sized yarn doll, many partial skeins of yarn would be wound around the legs of an inverted table.

    As the wrapping continues, watch as the mound of yarn skeins on the couch diminishes as the wound yarn around the sofa table legs increases.

    Around and around; look at all of the yarn gathered for a life-sized yarn doll! The table legs are acting as a frame to hold the yarn before gathering and tying off by sections. Around and around; look at all of the yarn gathered for a life-sized yarn doll! The table legs are acting as a frame to hold the yarn before gathering and tying off by sections.
    Many colors, textures and weights of yarn are wound around the legs of an inverted table in preparation for the life-sized yarn doll. Many colors, textures and weights of yarn are wound around the legs of an inverted table in preparation for the life-sized yarn doll.

    The next step in creating the yarn doll is to separate its form into sections. Since this yarn doll is going to be life-sized, the yarn needs some extra support. To add extra stability to the form's framework, Tina added cut pieces of a pool noodle into the yarn sections. The cut sizes of the pool noodle pieces are based on the proportions of your own life-sized yarn doll creation.

    Deciding the best way to shape this size doll! A pool noodle is cut into sections; one piece is bent in half to use for the head. The body and legs are gathered and tied in sections. Deciding the best way to shape this size doll! A pool noodle is cut into sections; one piece is bent in half to use for the head. The body and legs are gathered and tied in sections.

    The yarn doll sections are tied with a stronger material than yarn; Tina used jute instead. Tina did not care for the look of the legs so she untied them, but the head, arms and body remained. The yarn doll sits comfortably in a recliner; it really is life-sized!

    Reviewing the doll and deciding on the next step. Look at this yarn doll's dimensions as it sits in a recliner! Reviewing the doll and deciding on the next step. Look at this yarn doll's dimensions as it sits in a recliner!

    Hands are created by cutting the looped yarn at the ends of each arm. The legs have been untied, and the yarn doll will appear to be "dressed" and wearing a skirt. The yarn strands of the untied legs are separated and cut at the bottom to give the free-flowing look of fabric.

    The legs of the yarn doll are going to be "hidden" as if hidden underneath a skirt. The yarn loops at the bottom of the skirt and hands are cut. The legs of the yarn doll are going to be "hidden" as if hidden underneath a skirt. The yarn loops at the bottom of the skirt and hands are cut.

    It's time to prepare the head for some extra embellishment. The yarn doll is now a female who is wearing a skirt. She needs some kind of head covering and maybe some hair. Look what was discovered; how to make your own yarn curls for doll hair!

    The yarn doll is female and she can't have the one tied-off section at the top of her head be visible. She at least needs hair and maybe a kerchief. First, start by making curls. The yarn doll is female and she can't have the one tied-off section at the top of her head be visible. She at least needs hair and maybe a kerchief. First, start by making curls.

    As I am making and baking yarn curls, I started to crochet a granny kerchief. It seemed like it took me hours to complete this easy pattern, but I knew I was anxious to see the finished piece with curly hair and a kerchief. Tina made the yarn doll a bodice or vest; Tina created her own pattern and just estimated the garment's dimensions by holding it against the body of the doll as she progressed. As my kerchief neared completion, the yarn doll was taking on a personality and needed a name; LeiAnn Skane was born.

    The yarn doll now has curly hair and a crocheted kerchief. A crocheted bodice or vest was made, too. Her name is LeiAnn Skane. The yarn doll now has curly hair and a crocheted kerchief. A crocheted bodice or vest was made, too. Her name is LeiAnn Skane.

    At about the time LeiAnn was completed, I joked with Tina that LeiAnn needed a friend  -- or at least a dog to be her buddy. I was thinking of a dog similar in construction to this yarn doll. But Tina remembered as a young girl she would make yarn dogs with the use of a hanger as the wire frame. What a fun addition and fabulous creation was this yarn dog!

    A yarn dog is made using a wire hanger as its framework. Start with the same steps for making pom-poms. A yarn dog is made using a wire hanger as its framework. Start with the same steps for making pom-poms.
    After the winding and tying of each pom-pom is done, tie each onto the frame; the loops of each are not cut. The future dog has been named, Pom-Pom! After the winding and tying of each pom-pom is done, tie each onto the frame; the loops of each are not cut. The future dog has been named, Pom-Pom!

    Of course LeiAnn's dog would need a name, too. Look at the final creation. LeiAnn sits casually with her pooch. Can you guess what the dog's name is before reading any further...

    The yarn doll, LeiAnn, sits with her yarn dog, Pom-Pom. They are the perfect yarn bomb additions to the lobby at Leisure Arts! The yarn doll, LeiAnn, sits with her yarn dog, Pom-Pom. They are the perfect yarn bomb additions to the lobby at Leisure Arts!
    LeiAnn and Pom-Pom wear their IDs! LeiAnn and Pom-Pom wear their IDs!

    LeiAnn and Pom-Pom will greet you in the lobby; they proudly wear identification as members of the Leisure Arts' family. We love the added yarn bombing embellishments to our office decor!

    Martha

     

     

  • Summer Yarn: Finger Crochet a Scarf or Necklace in Cotton

    I do love scarves as a great embellishment to most outfits. They can be fun and funky, or sleek and classic; chunky for coats, silky for dresses. Now that summer temperatures and humidity are looming, I don't want anything heavy, bulky or scratchy around my neck.  But I do want to wear a little extra color and pizzazz to more casual outfits. The perfect solution is a light-weight, airy Finger Crochet Scarf or Necklace in cotton yarn!

    After choosing my yarn colors, I was off making chain after chain. I did hold my yarn a little differently than demonstrated in Leisure Arts' Finger Crochet video, (this video is found as an additional video listed with the, "Learn to Arm Knit" video. Scroll down below the initial viewing window and select the Finger Crochet video). Once I got comfortable with how I was finger crocheting, I easily fell into a rythym.

    Make chain stitches one after another creating a long chain for your Finger Crochet Scarf or Necklace. Make crochet chain stitches one after another creating a long chain for your Finger Crochet Scarf or Necklace.

    I knew Leisure Arts had both a video tutorial and pattern associated with finger crocheting, so all I had to do was to rummage through my cotton yarn stash and choose some colors. When I learned how to arm knit, I remember seeing a bonus finger crochet pattern shown in the leaflet, 75517 - Learn How to Arm Knit. If you don't have a stash of yarn but are quite intrigued by arm knitting and finger crocheting, you might consider purchasing a kit that has all needed supplies included! The kit's contents found in 47134 - Learn to Arm Knit includes yarn, an instruction booklet with a finger crochet scarf pattern and tassel/pom-pom making techniques.

    My Finger Crochet Scarf or Necklace is growing. Finger Crochet is described in several Leisure Arts' items: 47134 - Learn to Arm Knit Kit and 75517 - Learn How to Arm Knit. My Finger Crochet Scarf or Necklace is growing. Finger Crochet is described in Leisure Arts' items 47134 - Learn to Arm Knit Kit and 75517 - Learn How to Arm Knit.

    I chose colors that were definitely summery that elicited thoughts of beach breezes, mild winds, shoreline discoveries, porch swings, bare feet...relaxed fun. Trying to look fresh and cool during the summer can sometimes be difficult. In order to remain comfortable while adding some relaxed embellishment to my outfits, I wanted to use cotton yarn. It is light-weight and breathable. Both of these characteristics were necessities for my scarf or necklace that I planned to drape around my neck during the summer!

    Lily Sugar 'n Cream cotton yarn in colors Cornflower Blue and Cool Breeze Ombre. The Learn to Arm Knit booklet that is included in the kit; note the Bonus items listed on the front cover. Lily Sugar 'n Cream cotton yarn in colors Cornflower Blue and Cool Breeze Ombre. The Learn to Arm Knit booklet standing next to the box is included in the KIT; note the Bonus items listed on the front cover.

    I knew I had to have a very long chain to loop multiple times around my head in order to drape properly. I just kept in the zone of chaining; it was much easier to keep going once I started rather than breaking my time up into crocheting segments. I never did measure my final length of chain; I can only guess how long it was if the inside loop measures 27" in diameter when I laid it on the table.

    Close-up of the length of chain looped around and around trying to determine the final appearance of the scarf or necklace. Close-up of the length of chain looped around and around trying to determine the final appearance of the Finger Crochet Scarf or Necklace.
    Finger crochet chain - chain - chain to whatever length you desire! The inside circle loop measures 27". Finger crochet: chain - chain - chain to whatever length you desire! The inside circle loop measures 27" inches in diameter.

    As I was crocheting, I thought of adding a little something more to finish the scarf a little differently than the examples that I had seen showing bulky yarns. I did not want to add weight to my project because that would defeat the purpose of the scarf or necklace being light-weight. I returned to my stash and found a solution!

    Other supplies used: 7-9mm Freshwater Pearls, Stretch Magic bead and jewelry cord (0.7 mm / 0.28 in), and a wooden button (1.5" in diameter). Other supplies used: 7-9mm Freshwater Pearls, Stretch Magic Bead and Jewelry Cord (0.7 mm / 0.28 in), and a wooden button (1.5" in diameter).

    I strung some Freshwater Pearls onto Stretch Magic Bead and Jewelry Cord before weaving into one section of my project.

    Fresh water pearls strung on the Stretch Magic cord to add a little glimmer to the chain. Freshwater Pearls strung on the Stretch Magic Bead and Jewelry Cord to add a little glimmer to the chain.

    I attached the scarf or necklace together as described in leaflet 75517 - Learn to Arm Knit or instruction booklet contained in the 47134 - Learn to Arm Knit KIT. Then, I added a wooden button as my signature - I love buttons, too!

    The final Finger Crochet Scarf / Necklace has seven loops, not six as pictured when the innermost loop measured 27" inches in diameter. The final Finger Crochet Scarf or Necklace has seven loops, not six as pictured when the innermost loop measured 27" inches in diameter.

    The Finger Crochet Scarf or Necklace is in summer colors and is a free-flowing pattern of loops. it is light-weight even with its added Freshwater Pearls and wooden button, and will feel cool hanging around my neck since it is made using cotton yarn.

    A snapshot at the end of the day; the necklace is a good length. A snapshot at the end of the day; the necklace is a good length.

    This is a great way to end a few long, hot days -- and summer hasn't officially begun! Until next time, stay cool!

    Martha

  • The All-New Ultimate Oval Loom Knitting Set

    Our Innovative Ultimate Oval Loom Knitting Set  breaks the mold of a traditional knitting loom. At first glance, you might ask a simple question:

    Why Oval?

    Oval Loom Kit Large Oval Loom, Small Oval Loom & Stitching Tool

    Easy Handling

    If you've ever held a traditional straight loom, you know spacing in the center of the loom can be tight.  The all-new oval shape is easy to hold and use, since it is just deep enough to allow plenty of room in the center to work.

    Oval vs. Straight and Round Looms

    Traditional Loom Assortment of Round and Straight Looms

    When compared to the straight loom, the oval loom is easier to use due to the room in the center to work.

    When comparing an oval loom and a round loom with the same number of pegs, it's easier to hold the oval loom.

    Yarn

    The peg spacing is ½” making it a small gauge loom perfect for lighter weight yarns.   A single strand of #3 light weight yarn and #4 medium weight yarns can be used.

    Ultimate Oval Loom Kit

    Ultimate Oval Loom Knitting Set Ultimate Loom Knitting Set Packaging

    Inside the Ultimate Oval Loom Knitting Set  you'll find the following:

    • Small Loom ~ 11 3/4" x 5 1/2" with 54 Pegs
    • Large Loom ~ 15 1/2" x 9 3/8" with 70 Pegs
    • Stitching Tool
    • 48-page Beginner's Guide to Oval Loom Knitting with 7 Projects
    54 Peg Loom, 70 Peg Loom & Stitching Tool from Oval Loom 54 Peg Loom, 70 Peg Loom & Stitching Tool
    Beginner's Guide Oval Loom Knitting Beginner's Guide to Oval Loom Knitting

    Projects

    This is ideal loom for lighter weight projects including baby blankets, mitts, hats, scarves, cowls, bags, afghans, and more.   The 48-page Beginner's Guide has clear photos and friendly step-by-step instructions.  Here are the projects you can make with the guide included with the Ultimate Oval Loom Knitting Set: Basic Beanie, Striped Beanie, Fingerless Mitts, Family Tube Socks, Twisted Garter Hat, Twisted Garter Scarf, and Lace Cowl.

    Oval Loom Basic Beanie Basic Beanie
    Oval Loom Striped Beanie Striped Beanie
    Fingerless Mitts made with the Oval Loom Fingerless Mitts
    Family Tube Socks made with the Oval Loom Family Tube Socks
    Twisted Garter Hat made with the Oval Loom Twisted Garter Hat
    Oval Loom Scarf Twisted Garter Scarf
    Oval Loom Lace Cowl Lace Cowl

    Each of the seven projects in the Beginner's Guide to Oval Loom Knitting has easy, step-by-step photo directions.

    Who Can Use this Loom?

    Loom Knitting is popular for a reason.  A loom lessens the need for repetitive movements making it a great alternative for someone with arthritis, carpel tunnel, fibromyalgia, or any other condition that might result in hand or wrist pain.  Loom knitting is also a great choice for beginners, including kids!  This set is a great way to introduce kids to knitting; we recommend the Leisure Arts Ultimate Oval Loom Knitting Set  for ages 8 and up.

    The oval loom steps up the benefits to the next level with the oval shape allowing for even easier handling and manipulation.  The extra room in the center of the loom makes loom knitting an even easier task.

    Get Started

    Oval Loom Back Cover Leisure Arts

    Now is the time to learn the basics of loom knitting while creating fabulous fashions and other small-gauge projects! In the Ultimate Oval Loom Knitting Set , you’ll receive looms in two sizes (with 54 and 70 pegs), a stitching tool, and the Beginner's Guide to Oval Loom Knitting.  Just add yarn and you'll be loom knitting beautiful creations before you know it!

  • Coloring a Father's Day Frame

    Touch Dad's heart when you make a simple wooden frame an extra special remembrance by decorating it with coloring book pages and other embellishments. Dads have special places in our hearts. Kids share special moments with their dads no matter what the age of the child or father. Dads fix things. Through many electrical, mechanical, artistic or scientific projects, creations or experiments, dads are there. If they can't fix 'stuff', they are there standing by your side. Dads are the best support to help mend broken hearts and thwarted dreams. Nothing says, "Thanks Dad, you're great!" better than a handmade gift that is full of memories.

    Begin by thinking of things that you as a family, or individual, have enjoyed doing with your dad. Your special times could be based on a theme or an event like camping fun, or relaxing on a vacation. Once you have an idea in mind, choose the pages you would like to color from one or more of your favorite coloring books.

    For my two themes shown, I imagined family-time spent relaxing at the beach or in the woods. My coloring pages are from two books from the Color Art for Everyone series, 6703 - Ocean Wonders Color Art for Everyone and 6704 - Natural Wonders Color Art for Everyone. The frames I chose to decorate were unfinished wood frames with flat surfaces. I decided to paint my frames first and add the coloring pages to enhance both the frame and the memory of the photograph it would hold as Dad's gift.

    A plain wooden frame painted with acrylic paint, a wooden anchor, and colored pages from 6703 - Ocean Wonders Color Art for Everyone. A plain wooden frame painted with acrylic paint, a wooden anchor, and colored pages from 6703 - Ocean Wonders Color Art for Everyone.

    As I was coloring, it dawned on me to add more than colored pages to give my frame extra dimension, as well as, personality. I added some other embellishments including a wooden anchor and letters, stickers and other shadowbox or scrapbook dimensional embellishments perfect for father's day.

    A detailed close-up of the painted wooden anchor. Silver gel pen ink is applied over the paint in small sections; while wet, the ink is spread using a dry stiff bristle brush. A detailed close-up of the painted wooden anchor. Silver gel pen ink is applied over the paint in small sections; while wet, the ink is spread using a dry stiff bristle brush.

    I needed to finish my prepping and gather the rest of my supplies for father's day: three colors of acrylic paint, a sponge brush, acrylic spray sealant to use on the completed colored pages, Mod Podge® for adhering my colored pages to the frame, and E6000 glue for the wooden pieces. Now it's time to color!

    A close-up showing the colored waves cut out from page; deciding on placement of overlapping layers. A close-up showing the colored waves cut out from page; deciding on placement of overlapping layers.

    For the ocean waves, I used lots of markers in multiple colors. Sometimes I colored sections in solid marker, in other areas I used markers with colored pencils. The use of different media, in addition to the change of colors between blue and green, helps to give the waves movement. I cut the waves out in sections and overlapped the sections when I was adhering them using Mod Podge® to the frame. To give more emphasis to the ocean's depth, I added fish and seashells near the top of the coloring book page's waves and the edge of the frame. The solid blue color of the frame is still the ocean's water, it's just not as defined as the waves seen at the bottom of the frame. The anchor reinforces the idea of the bottom of the sea.

    The silver gel pen ink has been completely applied to the top of the anchor. The silver gel pen ink has been completely applied to the top of the anchor.

    When looking at the leaves, I wasn't sure how I wanted to give some of the leaves more "pop" than others. I wasn't pleased with the brown oak leaf because it seemed too dismal even for fall. I left it alone and started on another area in the picture. It was after I started on my second leaf that I decided to give the effect of the leaves moving in the wind by using highlighters. Why highlighters? Their colors are not as bold or opaque as the other media used. The colors of the highlighters will lend continuity to the theme, but appear secondary to the leaves colored with markers or gel pens.

    I grabbed a green highlighter and quickly drew horizontal lines randomly spaced across the page. Then I used a yellow highlighter to color only the background spaces. I think this added the perfect depth of field for the leaves which I was coloring with markers and gel pens. I found a sleeping bag sticker in my stash which I thought was perfect for a woodsy theme.

    The second plain wooden frame painted with acrylic paint, a wooden letters, stickers and colored pages from 6704 - Natural Wonders Color Art for Everyone. The second plain wooden frame painted with acrylic paint, a wooden letters, stickers and colored pages from 6704 - Natural Wonders Color Art for Everyone.

    I cut out a few leaves and placed them over other leaves as if blowing or falling around a campsite. I am glad I didn't throw away that brown oak leaf with orangey highlights; it became the perfect counter-balance to the orange sleeping bag in the frame's adjacent corner. A lightly colored leaf was a great backdrop for the dark blue painted wooden letters; they are glued using E6000 and Mod Podge® painted over all.

    Here is the Mod Podge® used for this project. Please ensure that you choose the correct sealant for your individual projects. E6000 is an industrial strength clue used to adhere the wooden anchor and letters in each of the projects. Here is the Mod Podge® used for this project. Please ensure that you choose the correct sealant for your individual projects. E6000 is an industrial strength clue used to adhere the wooden anchor and letters in each of the projects.

    What fun I had coloring and building my themed frames! There are multiple steps, but many individuals of different ages and abilities can participate. Experiment with using the Mod Podge® over markers. I did NOT use permanent markers.  Because I used both markers and pencils, I did lightly spray my page with an acrylic sealant (NOT pictured) before using Mod Podge®. I did notice some of the markers colors smeared a bit [I think I forgot to spray my fish with sealant!], but the blue of the waves did not appear to bleed or blend like water color paints. But be cautious if you used markers to color your picture using light and dark colors.  TIP: Always read the instructions for your products carefully; a well-ventilated area is a must!

    All done with the frame's embellishments -- now to choose the picture. All done with the frame's embellishments -- now to choose the picture.
    Frame ready for its photograph! Frame ready for its photograph!

    Here they are; photographs inserted into finished frames. What fun the steps were as I created the backdrop for images of fun times; the frames only enhance such great memories!

    Cooling off; even a beautiful day at the beach needs some out-of-the-sun time! Cooling off; even a beautiful day at the beach needs some out-of-the-sun time!
    The fresh air is great; relaxing by spending time outdoors with family! The fresh air is great; relaxing by spending time outdoors with family!

    I hope to do more mixed-media projects like this one in the future. Share some of your ideas on our Facebook page. Don't forget to join our Color Art for Everyone  Facebook group; great ideas and encouragement are found there. Enjoy your days and memories spent with Dad; Happy Father's Day!

    Martha

  • Mother's Day Coloring Book Paper Cookie Box

    Mother's Day is fast approaching and many of us want to remember, honor, and give thanks to our mothers, other family members, friends and neighbors. You may want to express a special 'thank you' for their shared love, care, or mentoring.  A small gift from the heart is like sharing a piece of you; it is the perfect remembrance. The love of coloring can be shared by both artists and non-crafters alike by making this box out of coloring book paper as part of your Mother's Day gifts to give.  So please share your love of coloring and say thank you to those special people in your life. Here's to passing on some extra motherly love!

    To make this simplified version of a paper box, only a few supplies are necessary. I got my inspiration from posts on Pinterest. I liked the visuals found in Design Mom's post, Paper Plate Berry Basket. To construct your box, you will need:

    1. Coloring book paper (8.5" wide), one page per box
    2. Pencil
    3. 8" Plate (to use as your circle template)
    4. Scissors
    5. Cellophane tape

    To decorate the box and make it look like a gift, you will need:

    1. Coloring instruments (colored pencils, gel pens, markers, etc.)
    2. Tissue paper
    3. Ribbon or bow
    4. Gift tag (or make one out of leftover paper scraps)

    Remove your coloring book page from its book. Color page if desired using your favorite media; see some of our newest coloring supplies! When finished coloring, turn the page face down. Using the plate as your guide, trace a circle shape onto the paper; then, cut out the shape.

    Using an 8-inch plate as my template, I traced circle shapes onto the back side of various coloring book pages. Using an 8-inch plate as my template, I traced circle shapes onto the back side of various coloring book pages.

    Working with the circle cut-out, gently fold the edges from side to side and unfold, and, from top to bottom and unfold, to create crease marks as your guides.

    Gently fold the circle shape in half from side-to-side - no hard crease is necessary at this step - unfold. Next, gently fold the circle shape in half from top-to-bottom creating an intersection made from the two creases. Gently fold the circle shape in half from side-to-side - no hard crease is necessary at this step - unfold. Next, gently fold the circle shape in half from top-to-bottom creating an intersection made from the two creases.

    If you like, you may lightly mark the center intersection with pencil.

    To assist you, make light pencil marks at center intersection. This will act as your center point mark when folding the edges. To assist you, make light pencil marks at center intersection. This will act as your center point mark when folding the edges.

    Next, fold each side's edge towards the center mark and crease firmly. Unfold for now.

    Close-up of two sides folded towards the center point. Hard creases are now made on each straight edge. Close-up of two sides folded towards the center point. Hard creases are now made on each straight edge.

    Repeat with the opposite side; unfold. These hard creases have created a square shape that will be the bottom of your paper box. You can see folded intersections from these hard creases. Starting with the bottom right-hand creased intersection, lightly mark with pencil a vertical line up to the adjacent horizontal line.

    You can also make pencil marks on each edge's bottom right-hand crease. Cut from the circle's edge only up to intersection of adjacent crease. You can also make pencil marks on each edge's bottom right-hand crease. Cut from the circle's edge only up to intersection of adjacent crease.

    Cut along this vertical crease up to its adjacent horizontal crease. Turn your circle shape one-quarter turn and repeat. Do two more times so that you have four cut lines/creases. Fold each towards the inside of the circle creating four flaps.

    Four creases have been cut. Fold each flap towards the inside center of the circle. Four creases have been cut. Fold each flap towards the inside center of the circle.

    Each flap will be folded and taped onto its adjacent side's interior wall. It's easier to line up the straight edge of each flap against its adjacent crease if you hold the box on its side. See next image.

    Align the straight edge of the flap against the bottom crease and tape on the inside; the box is on its side for this picture. Notice how the two rounded edges meet creating a neat corner. Align the straight edge of the flap against the bottom crease and tape on the inside; the box is on its side for this picture. Notice how the two rounded edges meet creating a neat corner.

    Repeat with all four corners. A nice box will be created even if some creases are not quite straight, or if some rounded edges do not meet perfectly.

    All sides are taped together -- nice box! All sides are taped together -- nice box!

    Insert some tissue paper for pretty stuffing or as a little cushion, before adding your goodies. I used fold-top plastic bags instead of plastic zippered bags to hold my cookies. Don't be shy about presenting favorite store brand cookies in your box(es).  I used Archway's Frosty Lemon and Oatmeal Raisin cookies and they sat perfectly in a neat stack!  Think of other goodies to include in your box(es) such as a small book, special notes or remembrances from the kids, something for personal use like a new scarf or a hobby-related item .

    Fill the boxes with tissue paper, wrapped cookies, notes to Mom, or other special treats and items of interest. Make a gift tag from remaining scrap paper. [Prototype boxes in the background.] Fill the boxes with tissue paper, wrapped cookies, notes to Mom, or other special treats and items of interest. Make a gift tag from remaining scrap paper. [Prototype boxes in the background.]
    This box is dressing up your gift, so now add some ribbon or a bow, and a gift tag or card, and ta-dah; your gift box is ready to be given!

    Close-up of completed box filled with cookies and wrapped with bakers twine. Handmade gift tag made from scrap coloring book page. Close-up of completed box filled with cookies and wrapped with bakers twine. Handmade gift tag made from scrap coloring book page.

    You can present your gift box in many ways: at Mom's place at the table, presented at the playground with the kids, or at a restaurant from the grandchildren.

    Presentation tray -- a special way to give a simple gift with extra thought and handmade flair. Presentation tray -- a special way to give a simple gift with extra thought and handmade flair.

    Whatever the final presentation is, enjoy your planning, preparation and honoring this special day for mothering!

    Martha

     

  • Shading and Blending Techniques Using Colored Pencils and Markers

    There are many shading techniques, tips and tricks when it comes to coloring -- and the list grows depending on the medium used to color! If you are a beginner, or want to get reintroduced to coloring as an adult, here are some at-a-glance bullet points and quick-read highlights of things to note as you start your coloring.

    I chose a page from the immensely popular Kaleidoscope Wonders by Leisure Arts. This book has a variety of designs ranging from projects with more open spaces and layers of overlapping objects, to more intricate designs whose patterns repeat themselves in a tightly formatted sequence.

    Shading techniques demonstrated using a page from Leisure Arts' 6707 - Kaleidoscope Wonders Color Art for Everyone. Shading techniques demonstrated using a page from Leisure Arts' 6707 - Kaleidoscope Wonders Color Art for Everyone.

    In a nutshell, here are some general rules of thumb:

      • Use finely sharpened pencils
      • Color lightly, repeat to achieve desired hue
      • When using more than one color for shading, choose a more simplified design area
      • If using both pencils and markers, use markers to accentuate your area(s)
      • Secure paper

    You can watch the shading video showing the following steps I took to create the two colored areas using different shading techniques:

    Here's a close-up of the teal shading I did on my page from 6707 - Kaleidoscope Wonders Color Art for Everyone:

    A close-up of the blended sections using three hues of colored pencils; from Leisure Arts' 6707 - Kaleidoscope Wonders Color Art for Everyone. A close-up of the blended sections using three hues of colored pencils; from Leisure Arts' 6707 - Kaleidoscope Wonders Color Art for Everyone.

    The teal circular shape has moderate shading. There is not a dramatic change in the colors used, but gentle shading is required for the effect. Out of five possible colors, three pencils were used to create this subtle shading.

        1. The medium hue was applied first. For each section, I started from the central circle (that remains uncolored) and colored outward. Next, the light shade was applied from the outer edge of each section moving towards the middle and vanishing.
        2. Another layer of the medium color was applied.
        3. I added more dimension to each section by using the dark color in each at the base closest to the central circle. More dark was used in those sections that appear to be under an overlapping shape.
        4. Final touches of the light color were added over the initial light color’s application.
        5. These sections appear to be on the same plane; I didn’t make dramatic color hue changes.
        6. Since this shape’s central circle (which is not yet colored) reminded me of a globe with its longitudinal and latitudinal lines, my coloring in this area will have more drastic changes from light to dark. In order to exemplify the circle’s spherical shape, the central sections will be colored in light hues with darker hues moving towards the edges, thus promoting a three-dimensional effect.
        7.  Adding an imaginary light source is another way to achieve dimension but may take more practice when coloring an entire page of objects! I’ll save that challenge for later…

    Here's a close-up of the second shape that I colored using marker over my pencil coloring. From the same page found in 6707 - Kaleidoscope Wonders Color Art for Everyone.

    A close-up of the blended sections that were colored by first applying two hues of orange colored pencils. Then, more intense shading was made by using a marker; from Leisure Arts' 6707 - Kaleidoscope Wonders Color Art for Everyone. A close-up of the blended sections that were colored by first applying two hues of orange colored pencils. Then, more intense shading was made by using a marker; from Leisure Arts' 6707 - Kaleidoscope Wonders Color Art for Everyone.

    You can watch the blending video showing the following steps I took to create the orange circular shape. 

    When coloring the mango-orange circular shape, I wanted to accentuate the idea of motion in each section. I used two shades of orange colored pencils and one marker color. I added the marker lines in each section over the colored pencils to create this spinning effect.

        1. I first applied the lighter orange colored pencil to each section. I repeated the application as necessary to gain the desired coverage.
        2. The darker orange colored pencil was then added to the corner points in both the inner-most and outer-most edges of each section.
        3. To further accentuate the spiral spin of this shape, I used marker over the colored pencil in the corner points. I tried to vary both the thickness and height of each marker line to make the movement of this shape convincing!

    If you are looking for the exact design that I was coloring, here is a photo of the whole page with coloring in progress.

    Both images as they appear next to each other on the whole page from Leisure Arts' 6707 - Kaleidoscope Wonders Color Art for Everyone. Both images as they appear next to each other on the whole page from Leisure Arts' 6707 - Kaleidoscope Wonders Color Art for Everyone.

    There are wonderful guidelines to coloring, shading and using a color wheel found on the inside front and back covers of the coloring book series, Color Art for Everyone.

    More ideas for shading and blending using different techniques and media. More ideas for shading and blending using different techniques and media.
    A handy color wheel with both a written description, as well as, a visual guide showing the various combinations of colors. A handy color wheel with both a written description, as well as, a visual guide showing the various combinations of colors.

    Here is a general coloring summary of HINTS -

        1. Apply multiple layers of color.  Whether the colored pencil layers are in the same hue or you choose to introduce a second or third color, several lighter applications of pencil appear richer and smoother than one heavily applied layer of color.
        2. Changing your hand motions when coloring ensures that the pencils’ colors do not cling onto the paper fibers in the same direction; this may cause white spots or streaky waves of color.
        3. So my hand movements range from circular clockwise and counter-clockwise motions, as well as, straight or arched back-and-forth sweeps. Be gentle; you don’t want heavy streaks to appear!
        4. If using marker "lines" or cross-hatching to accentuate your design area(s), consider varying the width and height of the lines.
        5. Step back. Even your finely detailed areas should be viewed from a distance. You may need a POP of color to add that final dimension to your project!
        6. Relax, enjoy and experiment!

    Enjoy the world and see all of the colors around you!

    Martha

  • Very Hungry Caterpillar Pencil

    Today's guest blogger is Cindy deRosier.  She has tweaked one of the projects from our Easy Foam Crafts book to create a custom creation kids will love.

    Screen Shot 2016-04-14 at 2.19.14 PM Easy Foam Crafts Book from Leisure Arts

    Hi! I'm Cindy deRosier from My Creative Life, here to share my version of a project from Easy Foam Crafts. When I saw the  Inch Worm Pencil, I was inspired to make a few tweaks to the directions to turn it into Eric Carle's beloved Very Hungry Caterpillar. Enjoy!

    Foam Pencil - Very Hungry Caterpillar

    The Very Hungry Caterpillar Pencil Materials: pencil, craft foam (green, yellow and purple), red pom pom, scissors, hole punch, glue gun

    Begin by cutting the green foam into a long, narrow strip, approximately 9" x 1". Round the corners, then use the hole punch to make a series of holes. (No need to measure anything - just eyeball it!) Cut the green foam scraps to make two oval inner eyes and a roughly gumdrop-shaped nose. Cut two oval outer eyes from the yellow foam, making them just larger than the green inner eyes. Next, cut two antenna from purple foam.

    Foam very hungry caterpillar pieces

    Thread the green body foam piece onto the pencil. Leave the writing end free.

    Green Foam Very Hungry Caterpillar Pencil

    Fold over the end of the body and glue it to the top of the pencil. (If you want the eraser to be accessible, skip this step. I used a color pencil without an eraser.) Glue the pom pom head in place. Finally, add the eyes, nose and antenna.

    Very Hungry Caterpillar Foam Craft Pencil

    -------

    Cindy has written hundreds of creative kids' crafts tutorials, which you can find at My Creative Life. She blogs about many other aspects of her creative life, including scrapbooking, recipes and cooking competitions, birthday challenges, themed parties and much more. If you make your own Very Hungry Caterpillar Pencil, please contact Cindy to let her know!

  • Wildflower Seed Bombs, Gnomes & Fairies!

    Spring is here with warmer sunshine, nature awakening and the calendar countdown to school graduation parties and Mother's Day celebrations. Let's get dirty and prepare for some pop-up  color with seed bombs. Dig in and connect with the dirt; yes, it's another way to relieve stress! Dirt, seeds, color, gnomes, and fairies add up to relaxing, whimsical fun!

    So cute! Gnomes walking around wildflower seed bombs ready to plant. So cute! Gnomes walking around wildflower seed bombs ready to plant.

    Homemade seed bombs, or pods full of seeds, are perfect for sharing and planting; what a fun concept! I was so excited to read about this and was gung ho to try it out. First thought: I wanted some fairly carefree flowers; easy to plant and easy to grow. If I plant seeds in a pot or planter, I could include some magical, woodsy features including gnomes and fairies.

    What a fun gift for sharing with my friends who have springtime birthdays, preplanning outdoor decor for graduation parties, or coordinating garden celebrations on Mother's Day. While researching on Pinterest, I found instructions on how to make wildflower seed bombs. They were inexpensive to make, easy to do for a wide age range of crafters with helpers, and do-able to make at home. All of these qualities equaled a perfect solution!

    Since all types of gardening is not easily maintained, I didn't want me or my friends to fuss over another outdoor task to maintain during the summer. A variety packet of wildflower seeds to mix into the paper used to make the seed bombs seemed like a good match. My supplies included:

    1. wildflower seeds
    2. newsprint paper
    3. food coloring (if desired)
    4. metal cupcake tin or silicone ice cube trays
    5. plastic wrap
    6. old kitchen towel
    7. cookie cooling rack
    8. tabletop tray or other object as centerpiece
    9. coloring book pages to make paper cones for gift packaging
    10. planter(s) of choice
    11. imaginative outdoor setting including gnomes, fairies, mini garden decor, and forest critters
    12. maybe some gardening supplies

    TIP: Consider buying several packets of wildflower seeds as some packets may contain a very small amount (< 1/2 tsp) of seed. HINT: Your finished 'bombs' or pods of seeds will be planted randomly so look for seed packets that state your seeds may be planted with 'scattered' spacing.

    Reading several boards on Pinterest, newsprint paper was used to make the paper pulp; read an example here from Dabbles & Babbles. Other examples showing methods used varied slightly; here is another example using colored shredded paper from Apartment Therapy  who based their post on Made Everyday's Hello Spring! DIY Shredded Paper Seed Starters. Below you can read my summary of the steps I took to create my wildflower seed bombs.

    The basic steps are:

    1. shred
    2. soak
    3. blend/chop
    4. combine
    5. shape
    6. dry
    7. package/plant

    First, I shredded between 18-24 letter sized pages of newsprint paper. Newsprint is inexpensive and a good resource as a scribble pad for toddlers; easy come, easy go, so scribble on Little Ones! After shredding, I placed the newsprint paper in a pot, covered the shred with water and let sit overnight.

    Soak shredded newsprint paper in water overnight. Soak shredded newsprint paper in water overnight.

    In the morning, your newsprint will be soft. Leave in pot and remove about 2-3 handfuls of shred at a time, pull apart to make even smaller pieces and place in a blender. Add more water to cover the shred. BE CAREFUL not to stress your blender motor! Use a pulse option or low/medium speed; turn on/off frequently to check on the paper's consistency. After getting a mushy paper pulp consistency, carefully remove the pulp from blender, place mush in a colander to start draining and continue with the remaining shred.

    The paper mush will still be very wet after draining, so slightly push down on it while in the colander to remove more water. Then 'fluff' a little before you add your wildflower seeds.

    After draining and squeezing excess water out of the paper mush, it looks more like wet paper pulp. After draining and squeezing excess water out of the paper mush, it looks more like wet paper pulp.

    Combine your wildflower seed mix of choice. I purchased two different seed packets; here is the first mix as I begin to add the seeds into the pulp.

    Wildflower seed "Mix 1" is added to the khaki-colored paper pulp. Wildflower seed "Mix 1" is added to the khaki-colored paper pulp.

    For some variety, I purchased two different wildflower mixes. For an easy, recognizable distinction between the seed bombs from my two wildflower mixes, I used food coloring to dye my second batch of paper shred. Here is my second batch of paper mush as it is draining.

    For my second round of seed bombs, I added enough food coloring to create fuschia-colored paper mush. For my second round of seed bombs, I added enough food coloring to create fuschia-colored paper mush.

    After removing most of the water from the mush, I will fluff up the paper pulp and add my second variety of wildflower seeds to it.

    The fuschia-colored paper mush is "Mix 2". It is a different wildflower seed mixture than the khaki-colored seed bombs. The fuschia-colored paper mush is "Mix 2". It is a different wildflower seed mixture than the khaki-colored seed bombs.

    While researching the steps for making these wildflower seed bombs, many posts recommended using silicone trays for filling and removing the seed bombs. I do not own silicone molds so I created a different solution. I lined my mini cupcake tin with plastic wrap!

    Line a mini cupcake tin with plastic wrap, place seeded paper mush into each, then flip out onto towel-lined cookie sheet to dry. Line a mini cupcake tin with plastic wrap, place seeded paper mush into each, then flip out onto towel-lined cookie sheet to dry.

    After filling each section, I placed a kitchen towel over the tin, followed by an inverted cookie cooling rack, and finally flipped all over facing right-side up. Then I removed the tin and plastic wrap to reveal my mini seed bombs on the kitchen towel ready to dry. HINT: Food coloring is a dye and will transfer onto the towel while the seed bombs are drying. TIP: Drying can take up to 48 hours so be prepared to wait; start planning your tabletop diorama or gift packaging now!

    In addition to making a centerpiece for my patio table, I want to share my fun project as a springtime birthday present so I prepared a gift package. As part of my gift package, I included two small flowering plants so there was immediate color to enjoy. In order to demonstrate how the seed bombs should be planted in the dirt, I left a few unwrapped on top of the soil.

    The remaining seed bombs were packaged in a plastic bag and placed in paper cones made from coloring book pages (from 6808 - Art of Coloring Patterns). I placed these cones, along with gardening gloves, and one of the flowering plants in an empty pot. Another pot included some dirt, seed bombs, gnomes, and fairies, with select fairy garden items demonstrating a magical garden. You can see that the hedgehog woodland creature from my kit is about to visit the Fairy Garden over the bridge and through the arbor! Your imagination will run away with itself by using these kits in your garden or tabletop decor! See below my use of the kits and birch metal planters to make a whimsical garden display or tabletop diorama.

    Diorama complete with wildflower seed bombs, paper cones made from coloring book pages, gnomes, fairies, and birch planters! Diorama complete with wildflower seed bombs, paper cones made from coloring book pages, gnomes, fairies, and birch planters!
    Close-up of birch metal pot spilling over with seed bombs, gnomes, fairies and other woodland creatures ready for your garden or tabletop decor. Close-up of birch metal pot spilling over with seed bombs, gnomes, fairies and other woodland creatures ready for your garden or tabletop decor.

    Welcome spring; bring on your color!

    Martha

     

     

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