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  • Here's Why Everyone Loves Paint Pouring So Much.

    Paint Pouring! One of the most fascinating, yet confusing crafts out there, in my opinion. There are thousands of videos spanning the internet right now, showing endless methods of pouring giant cups of paint onto a canvas. It looks so easy, right? Just throw some colors together, and dump away!

    Not Exactly.

     

    The Art and Science of Paint Pouring

    Paint Pouring Leisurely Letters Paint Pouring
    Paint Pouring Tree Ring Pour Technique

    Paint Pouring should be treated like a birthday cake. If you don't measure correctly, and put a little too much of one ingredient in the batter, the final product can be butchered! But if done correctly and pre-planned out beforehand, you can create some really interesting canvasses that will make people ask "Wow, how did you do that?!"

    How Paint Pouring Works

    This is a common question that we get, and it's a little more complicated than one would think! The paint that you mix in the cups is altered slightly with other mediums like silicone oil, water and pouring medium. These usually thin out the paints in your cup and make the process of pouring more fluid, letting you create those wonderful lines and washes that you see in poured canvases. You also want to watch out for bubbles in your paint, because that can affect how your final result looks. Many stir the pouring medium and paint together beforehand to ensure that all of the air is out of your mix. The thing to note is that your mix should be the consistency of warm honey, before you being mixing different colors of paints together.

     

    Paint Pouring Flip and Drag Technique
    Paint Pouring Calypso Coasters

     

    Meditate and Create!

    It's hard to imagine these amazing canvases all were created with a cup full of paint, right? But they are! This craft is not only effortless, but relaxing too. There are countless compilations all over the net showing pouring videos, and there's a good reason for it. Like soap carving and cake glazing videos, the act of watching the many colors fall in line and mix and match is calming to our stressed out selves.

    The best part about pouring it is that you've done something productive at the end of this little meditation exercise. You've created a beautiful work of art! Compared to soap carving or cake frosting, and there's no contest. At the end of soap carving, you have a pile of shavings, and after you've frosted your cake, it'll be gone in a week. Paint Pouring is a long lasting and fruitful craft that produces beautiful and durable works of art for your home.

    Paint Pouring Sneak Peek
    Paint Pouring Sneak Peek

     

    A Paint Pouring Present, Just for You!

    We have some upcoming projects in Paint Pouring from Leisure Arts, and because you decided to visit our blogosphere, you get a SNEAK PEEK! Check out what's coming up next in the paint pouring universe from the Leisure Arts Team.

    Excited about these sneak peeks? Keep up with our social pages to find out more! In the meantime, you can create all of these fantastic projects you see in this post from Nicky James Burch's Paint Pouring : Easy Techniques, Awesome Ideas, & Inspiration for Absolute Beginners. 

    I mean, just look at this cover. It's beautiful. Pick it up today!

    Paint Pouring Paint Pouring by Nicky James Burch

    Happy Pouring, Makers!

    -Leisure Arts Team

     

     

     

  • Diamond Art is Better Than Jigsaw Puzzles, and We Can Prove it!

    So, we've launched Diamond Art! By now you all have seen our wonderful new products floating around online and in craft stores near you. We've got a wide range of designs that go from simple cherry blossom branches, to full scale succulent gardens, and we love the feedback you guys have been giving us on every single kit. Hopefully you haven't just seen it in stores, but you've gone out and bought one to try for yourself!

    screen-shot-2018-09-14-at-11-12-33-am

    Diamond Art is an extremely relaxing craft, one that you can work on at your own pace, and on your own time. It's often compared to another relaxing craft that's been around a lot longer: jigsaw puzzles! But in our opinion, we're much better. Here's why!

    Diamond Art...Better Than Jigsaw Puzzles? I Don't Believe It.

    screen-shot-2018-09-14-at-11-12-08-am

    Believe it! Diamond Art is a more creative and dazzling alternative to the 'same old, same old' of jigsaw puzzles. Jigsaw puzzles have always proven to be a problem in the long run. If you lose a piece, your project is ruined, the hunt to find the pieces takes forever and a half, and the finished product doesn't preserve well. Diamond painting is a stress relieving craft, with little work and effort for a beautiful result that will last you a lifetime.

     

    Convince Me. Why Is Diamond Art More Relaxing?

    Diamond Art Color Coding System Diamond Art

    Every space on your chart is color coded and charted out with a specific number code. The effort of finding your area to dazzle is so small, you won't even realize that you've finished half of your canvas already! Puzzles can be strenuous and time consuming. You spend hours trying to find the right piece that fits in the undesignated spot, and after that long adventure is finished, you have a really nice picture... broken up by lines from the cut pieces. With Diamond Art, you have an uninterrupted blissful picture that you don't have to break apart or Modge Podge.

    Diamond Painting Diamond Art Succulent Kit
    succulent-adv Dazzled Succulent Canvas

     

    The colors from the uncharted canvas are so The colors from the uncharted canvas are so close to the colors of the gems, that you don't really have to think about what you're dotting. just pick a gem pack and dot away! It can be easily stored for later too, so you can pick it up again on a rainy day. Our gems may be tiny, but if kept well, they are super easy to keep track of. The best part is that we provide you with 20 percent extra gems in your kits, just in case an accident happens!

     

    You Don't Have to Break It Apart? Tell Me More.

    Once you're done with your canvas, there are tons of options to show it off. Why stick with just a boring old picture frame, when you can have it on a pillow? Or, turn it into a wall hanging with extra crafts like yarn! You can even use the extra beads, and put them on your shoes. There are endless possibilities for displaying your new artwork, unlike a puzzle, which I promise you, would not look good glued to a pair of Reeboks.

    So, what are you doing piecing together that puzzle of a generic cottage in the woods, when you could be dazzling one of these great designs?

     

    White Cat Kit White Cat Kit
    Succulent Bowl Kit Succulent Bowl Kit
    Diamond Painting Lotus Kit
    Diamond Painting Hummingbird kit

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    You can pick up our freshly released Diamond Art kits online, or at a craft store near you.

     

    Wanna get inspired? Check out our social!

     

    Diamond Art Diamond Painting Group

    Diamond Art By Leisure Arts Facebook

    @la_diamondart on Instagram

     

     

    Happy Dip, Dot, and Dazzling!

     

    -Leisure Arts Team

     

  • Wall Hangings That Will Bring Out The Interior Decorator In You

    We've all done it. We've seen the fancy fiber art wall hangings that are typically in niche home decor stores, or luxurious art galleries, and take it off the rack, ready to give it a new home. But then you feel the cold stab of betrayal as you flip the price tag and see that the wall art you loved so much, costs a lot more than you would like to spend. Et Tu, department store markups?

    That's why we had Sharon Silverman come in to save the day with her awesome guest blog, and show you that you can teach those department stores who's boss! You can learn to craft beautiful crochet wall hangings that won't break your bank, and will make you look like you vacation in Cabo every third Wednesday.

    Take it away, Sharon!

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    I love browsing in furniture stores, don’t you? It’s so much fun to see the vignettes they have set up for home, office, and outdoors. Being a fiber artist, I always pay particular attention to the accessories. What kinds of rugs and afghans are popular? How about the pillows? What type of art is on the walls?

    There are plenty of furniture stores to explore in and around the newly expanded King of Prussia Mall, just 35 minutes from my home in Pennsylvania: Arhaus, Ballard Designs, Pottery Barn, West Elm, Mitchell Gold + Bob Williams, Crate and Barrel, Restoration Hardware, and more. Recently, I started to notice a common theme in their textiles: lots of fabric and yarn wall-hangings, including some that took me right back to the macramé days of my youth! Seeing those put a smile on my face, but the price tags didn’t. Hundreds of dollars for pieces that I knew I could make myself for a fraction of the cost—and so could you.

    That was the beginning of the idea for Wall Hangings.

    Wall Hangings Wall Hangings

    Once I got the go-ahead from Leisure Arts, I started coming up with designs. I wanted to incorporate flourishes like tassels, pom-poms, and fringe in some of the designs. Exuberant Embellishments uses a variety of yarn weights and textures from Lion Brand Yarn: LB Collection Wool, Romance, Color Clouds, Vanna’s Glamour, and Glitterspun. 

    My Wall Hangings

    Wall Hangings Exuberant Embellishments

    The neutral colors of the piece let the textures and finishes of the yarn stand out. Even though I am usually a fan of lightweight yarn, I really love the chunkiness of the fringe and some of the larger stitches.

    Winding Links also incorporates pom-poms and tassels, but this time in a consistent yarn weight. I used Red Heart Super Saver in brown (Coffee) and Aqua (Aruba Sea), but you could choose any two contrasting colors that complement your décor. 

    Wall Hangings Winding Links

    Winding Links is made in segments and then hung on a dowel. I-cords are used to hang the segments at various heights and to connect them to each other. If you haven’t mastered crocheted I-cord, this is a good chance to practice. After a few tries and misfires, I discovered that I love making it!

    The choice of stitch patterns creates the texture in Fur & Loops. Lion Brand Cotton Bamboo is worked in the loop stitch for the persimmon section, and the fur stitch for the hyacinth section. Looks challenging, right? Don’t tell anyone, but the fur stitch and loop stitch are easy variations on single crochet. They are actually the same stitch, but for fur stitch the loops are cut to make them shaggy.

    Wall Hangings Fur and Loops

     

    The natural world inspired several of my designs. Spiral Stems uses a sturdy twig as the hanger for the individually crocheted spirals in greens and greys from Patons Décor.

    Wall Hangings Spiral Stems

     Some of the spirals are long and skinny, some are shorter and thicker, just like the variations found in plants and trees.

    Wall Hangings Spiral Stems Close Up

    When I worked on a yarn installation at Hagley Museum and Library, the original site of the DuPont powder works in Wilmington, Delaware, I used a lot of crocheted roses to adorn the iron gates.

    Wall Hangings Rose Arbor Detail

    I was reminded of them when I worked on the Wall Hangings designs. They’re fun to make, cheerful to look at, and bring a great pop of color to a room! I used various shades of pink and yellow, as well as green leaves, for Rose Arbor. The flowers are Red Heart Super Saver, and the leaves are Lily Sugar ‘n Cream.

    Wall Hangings Rose Arbor
    Wall Hangings Rose Arbor Close Up

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    The monochromatic panels in Windy Sails gives that project a classic look, updated with coiled I-cord decorations at the bottom. Panels use different stitch patterns to create interest. Dowels at the top and bottom keep things neat.

    Wall Hangings Windy Sails

    Leisure Arts holds onto the finished projects, but I liked Curves & Lines so much that I made one for my dining room and another one for my son’s apartment. (I did his in blues with some black and white thrown in, and made the fringe in an arc shape to mimic the trajectory of a rocket after launch. When you’re the mother of a rocket scientist, you get some unusual requests!) All of the projects use Patons Lace. I picked a straight dowel to go across and extend beyond a quilting hoop because that arrangement kind of reminds me of Saturn.

    Wall Hangings Curves and Lines
    Wall Hangings Curves and Lines Alternative

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    I try never to miss an opportunity to add beads to my work, and this leaflet was no exception. Beaded Tapestry uses a variety of beads in earth tones on a background of blue Lily Sugar ‘n Cream to create a pattern that’s just abstract enough to make you wonder what it is. A bird? A fox? Just shapes? You decide.

    Wall Hangings Beaded Tapestry
    Wall Hangings Beaded Tapestry Close Up

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    The fringe below is adorned with beads of various colors at different heights to finish off this long, graceful hanging in style.

    Wall Hangings Beaded Tapestry Detail

    It was a pleasure working with Leisure Arts on Wall Hangings. Along with doing the editing and photography, they staged the pieces in a variety of attractive settings.

    I encourage crocheters to make wall art using these patterns, rather than paying inflated prices for finished products. The projects are rated Easy, but even experienced crocheters will find them interesting to make—and may even learn some new techniques and stitch patterns along the way. Wall hangings make great gifts, too: one size fits all! 

    As for my professional background, I am the author of 16 crochet books and a private line of patterns. I’m a professional member of the Crochet Guild of America and a design member of The National NeedleArts Association. I was a featured guest on HGTV’s fiber arts program, “Uncommon Threads,” and have been interviewed on numerous radio podcasts. My crochet work includes large-scale museum installations, indoors and out. I am a crochet instructor for Annie’s Online Classes.

    I’m inspired by everything from the beauty of nature to the stunning creations of architects and furniture-makers. And, of course, by yarn! 

    Please join me on Facebook and Pinterest at Sharon Silverman Crochet; on Ravelry, YouTube, Etsy, and Instagram at CrochetSharon; and on my website, www.SharonSilverman.com.

    Happy crocheting!

    Sharon Silverman Sharon Silverman

     

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    Are you ready to make your own Wall Hanging? What are you waiting for! Go get Sharon's book, and show off your newly learned crochet skills.

    Happy Crafting!

    -Leisure Arts Team

  • Diamond Painting: The Dazzling New Craft That Will Be Your New Hobby

    Studies show that only 10 percent of crafters do a single craft. That means that the other 90 percent are always looking to expand their horizons, and try something new! Which is why we're excited to bring you the craft that will become everyone's new hobby: diamond painting! Read on to learn about Leisure Art's new product, Diamond Art by Leisure Arts, Powered by Diamond Dotz.

    Diamond Painting Diamond Art Close Up

    Diamond Art by Leisure Arts? That's New!

    It is! This craft is the perfect stress reliever, with a long-term payoff that gives you a wonderful diamond painting to display afterwards. As a dazzling and more upscale paint by number technique, Diamond Art allows you to crystalize your favorite preprinted canvas with multi-faceted gems to make your artwork sparkle and shine anywhere you place it.

    Diamond Painting Diamond Art Chart

    Our gems specifically have 13 facets to ensure that your canvas will sparkle like the resolution on a 4K HDTV (which is really great quality, if you've never seen Dunkirk in 4K HD, you're missing out).  You use a handy dandy wax caddy and comfort grip stylus to place your gems on the adhesive canvas, letting you dip, dot and dazzle mindlessly. Let the stresses of life melt away as you create glittering masterpieces on your own, or with friends and family!

    Diamond Art Getting Ready To Dazzle A Canvas

    Is Diamond Painting A Difficult Craft?

    Not at all! We use a charting system that is color coded and easy to follow, as you can see above. This allows you to follow along and easily pick up where you left off, making this a craft with no time restrictions. You can finish it on your  time, no stressful deadlines guaranteed! The charting system also takes care of any learning curve, making this an easy craft to jump into. To make the craft even more inviting, we even have three skill levels: beginner, intermediate, and advanced.

    We have a crazy amount of variety with our designs. It's easy to find a kit that fits your personality! You can opt for sophisticated minimalist styles, like our Tribe Diamond Art Kit (below), or you can go for a bold and beautiful kit like our Succulent Diamond Art Kit (below).

    Diamond Painting Diamond Art Tribe Kit Box
    Diamond Painting Tribe Kit, Pre-Printed

     

    So, How Does It Work?

    Good Question! It's really simple to learn. Each kit comes with a wax caddy, gems, and a stylus. You simply roll out the canvas, pick your first color set (by matching the color pack name to the chart on the canvas), dip your stylus in the wax for easy pick up, and place your gems in the designated areas. Dazzle your guests with the finished design, or make it a Diamond Art party! Invite friends and family over to help you dot one. This craft can be a great ice breaker, and a great Friday game night activity. If you're still having trouble with these steps, CLICK HERE to check out our Diamond Art How-To Video. 

     

     

    Imagine a late Saturday night, wrapped up in a blanket with chocolates and a glass of good wine, mindlessly painting with sparkling gems. Or, imagine early morning, after enjoying a warm family breakfast, watching old cartoons and dotting away as a family unit. Life can be stressful, and sometimes you just need a little escape. So, why not spend that time in relaxation, working toward crafting a glittering artwork for everyone to enjoy.

    screen-shot-2018-08-24-at-9-57-32-am Succulent Kit Box
    Diamond Painting Diamond Art Succulent Kit

    Great! Where Can I Find Them?

    Another good question! We've actually just launched our product lines, so you can get these very soon. You can purchase them online here or in a store near you!  From independent craft stores to mass craft retail stores, keep an eye out for Diamond Art on your next shopping trip.

     

     

     

     

    Just to get you excited about our new project, here are some of our favorite kit designs:

     

    Succulent Bowl Kit Succulent Bowl Kit
    White Cat Kit White Cat Kit
    English Roses Kit English Roses Kit
    Rainy Day kit Rainy Day kit
    screen-shot-2018-08-27-at-10-00-25-am Butterfly Kit
    Diamond Painting Lotus Kit
    Diamond Painting Hummingbird kit
    Diamond Painting Lighthouse Kit

     

    We're so excited to share this craft with you! Be sure to like our new social pages for Diamond Art, for updates on new products and projects, and be sure to like and share this post with people you think would love this product.

    Like our Diamond Art Facebook Page: Click for Diamond Art Facebook Page

    Click to follow Diamond Art on Instagram: (@DiamondArt_LA)

    Join our facebook group for inspiration: Click to join Diamond Art Diamond Painting

     

     

    Happy Crafting!

  • Make A DIY Magic Fairy Garden - With Kristi Simpson!

     

    Is there anything more magical for adults and children than an enchanting DIY fairy garden? No. No, there isn’t. If you find yourself mesmerized by tiny worlds filled with itty bitty tire swings, fire pits, hammocks, bridges, mushrooms, and more, then congratulations! We adore you, and we’re unequivocally sure that this DIY Fairy Gardens book will inspire miniature greatness in you. 

    Fairy gardener and all-around crafter Kristi Simpson has designed five unique gardens for you – including the Beach Garden, Rose Hut Garden, and Moss Hut Garden – each guaranteed to make you smile and provide hours of fun and inspiration. So, gather a container (or five), lots of nature, and many things already lying around your home, and voila! Instant magic. Join our guest blogger, Kristi Simpson as we take a walk through the fairy gardens. 

     

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    Hi! I’m Kristi Simpson, designer of DIY Fairy Gardens from Leisure Arts. As much as I love to crochet and knit---I also love getting crafty! I thought of my kids and niece when I was developing this fairy garden book and it just pushed me to make things not only crafty for adults, but kid friendly too. 

    Let me ask you, do your kids run out to craft with you as soon as you grab your craft supplies? Mine do, it never fails. So, with that in mind, I wanted to make this book something to be enjoyed by all ages.… gathering items, rolling clay, painting signs, building, sand layering, and of course, playing with the garden. It's all hands-on fun!

    I could just imagine them playing with these indoor themed gardens and helping me make more features along the way. I can’t wait to walk you through the different gardens and their miniature awesomeness.… let’s get started!

    Moss Hut Garden

    First up, the Moss Hut Garden, the one that's on the beautiful cover!

    Garden Moss Garden Hut - Finished

    It has so many cute and fun features, like a tire swing, trellis, wooden steps, fun decor and of course, a cute hut!

    DIY Magic Garden Detail - Moss Garden Hut
    DIY Magic Garden Detail - Steps
    DIY Magic Garden Detail - Roof

    I really tried to use things you could find naturally, be it around the house, walking through the park or at the craft store, I wanted you to craft without too much hassle. 

    In the book, I step you through what you'll need for each garden, and how to make each and every item--and they're all easy!

    DIY Magic Garden Detail - Moss Hut Garden
    DIY Magic Garden Detail - Wood Steps

    You can use any type of container, just like I did. My options were a vintage white bowl, a painted bowl, wooden round crate, glass lantern and a cute rectangle box. I loved looking in thrift stores, yard sales, and going through my own crafty stock--and I even drafted family to help me find unique things that didn't look 'brand new’. I wanted a natural look, something I would normally have in my home. Since I chose to use artificial flowers, I used floral foam as the base and topped it with potting soil.… so, needless to say, the container doesn't have to be waterproof. 

    Garden Base - Roof
    Garden Greenery - Roof

    OH! Quick note for all of the non-green-thumb people out there. Don’t tell, but all of the beautiful succulents you see are not real.... shhhh! There are so many real-looking plants at your local craft store that you can use and not worry about watering. Your fairies will thank you for the year-round green garden!

    Beach Garden

    Next up, the Beach Garden.

    Fairy Beach Garden Fairy Beach Garden

    I used a glass candle lantern for this project. I wanted to be able to see the layering of the sand and all of the accessories through it instead of them being ‘on top’ of the bowl or container. I thought about using different color sand to make the garden even more inviting for fairies--but I’ll leave those extra special touches to you when you try it out! 

    Garden Beach Garden - Before
    Garden Beach Garden - Aerial View

    This project was special to me because my family loves the beach. We had most of the supplies on hand: shells, extra sand, drift wood and sticks. Plus, you can always look for things from your home to decorate your garden with, too. Make it personal, and fun!

    Rose Hut Garden

    One of my favorite gardens is the Rose Hut Garden.

    DIY Magic Gardens Beautiful Rose Hut Garden

    It has a sweet swing made with sticks and cotton rope, a painted sign and a clay hut. In the book I teach you how to make the hut--it’s super easy! You just roll and twist the clay, lay it out in the shape you want, bake it, and paint. I have photo guides included, so have fun!

    DIY Magic Garden Detail of Rose Hut Garden

    The rose is SO EASY when you follow the steps--it’s made in layers so don’t overthink it.… just get creative!

    Pinecone Hut Garden

    The next hut, the Pinecone Hut Garden, was so neat to make! It’s made with hot glue, pine cones, sticks and popsicle sticks. Seriously creative! The base is a toilet paper roll and birch bark! Fairy gardens are cute and homey, and these designs really bring the outdoors in. 

    Garden Pinecone Hut
    Garden Pinecone Hut Close Up
    Garden Pinecone Hut- Fence Detail

    Do you see the fence? Flower accents? I love adding color with florals! The house looked tall for the container, so I matched it with a tall fence and made it look great with extra tall flowers. You can’t go wrong when you’re making fairy gardens.

    Cord House Garden

    Last, but not least is the Cord House Garden.

    Garden Cord House Garden

    The fairies love this garden with the Cord House, bridge, mushrooms pebble creek and banner!

    Garden Detail - Cord House
    Garden Floor of Cord House Garden
    Garden Detail- Mushrooms in Garden

    So much can be added in small spaces when you think like a fairy. Use your imagination and add tiny details along the way to make it special.

    Thank you for joining me as we walked through the different gardens. I hope you and your kids, or your friends and family are inspired to grab your supplies, and buy this book to make your own fairy garden (or two, or three!). 

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    Isn't she awesome? Which garden is your favorite? We certainly can't wait to make our own favorite fairy gardens! Go out and buy DIY Fairy Gardens now, and bring your own little wonderland home for the family.

    Happy Crafting!

    -Leisure Arts Team

  • Bountiful Pencils

    My favorite time of year is here -- sort of; fall is having a difficult time arriving with above-average temperatures and little rain! So to encourage all things autumnal to surround me, I pulled out my Bountiful Wonders Color Art for Everyone coloring book (one of my favorites) to decide which page would be my next to color.

    Blank page of pumpkins and gourds to be colored using Premium Colored Pencils (48581) and Watercolor Colored Pencils (48582) by Leisure Arts. Blank page of pumpkins and gourds to be colored using Premium Colored Pencils (48581) and Watercolor Colored Pencils (48582) by Leisure Arts.

    Coloring is so much fun especially when the design is themed around something you love. So coloring a fall-themed design was easy for me. I've been using and loving the new pencils Leisure Arts has to offer. There are two choices; they are the 30-Pack Premium Colored Pencils and the 30-Pack Watercolor Colored Pencils. Both of these new sets of pencils give an extra "wow" factor to a picture!

    As with most pictures I color using colored pencils, it is the layering and blending of colors that bring an image to life.

    Close-up of the colors and blending started on a section of the page from Bountiful Wonders (6993). Close-up of the colors and blending started on a section of the page from Bountiful Wonders (6993).

    Think outside-the-box when it comes to your color palette; don't think you should only use the "traditional" or "natural" colors for the pumpkins and gourds.

    Larger section showing traditional and non-traditional colors chosen for the leaves, pumpkins and gourds (from 6993 - Bountiful Wonders by Leisure Arts). Larger section showing traditional and non-traditional colors chosen for the leaves, pumpkins and gourds (from 6993 - Bountiful Wonders by Leisure Arts).

    Another step to my creation of a 3-D look to a 2-D drawing is the use of a second medium. To aid in this dimensional effect, I introduced some watercolor pencils to my coloring.

    Adding the watercolor colored pencils over certain sections of the premium colored pencils already rendered on page. Adding the Watercolor Colored Pencils over certain sections of the Premium Color Colored Pencils already rendered on a page.

    The final incorporation of both the Premium Color Colored Pencils and Watercolor Color Colored Pencils comes after the water-dipped paint brush blends those layers together. After the pumpkins and gourds are colored, I move on to coloring the falling leaves. I will first use the watercolor pencils on a few of the leaves and highlights on some pumpkins and gourds.

    After the water was added to blend the layer of watercolor pencils over the already existing colored pencil colors. After the water was added to blend the layer of watercolor pencils over the already existing colored pencil colors.

    Working on my page for a little while every day was very convenient for me; morning coffee and coloring. I always enjoy seeing an image come to life with each added color!

    The combined effects of using both the Premium Colored Pencils and the Watercolor Pencils to the page from Bountiful Wonders (6993 by Leisure Arts). The combined effects of using both the Premium Colored Pencils and the Watercolor Pencils to the page from Bountiful Wonders (6993 by Leisure Arts).

    Here are some of the selected pencils that I used on this page. In the below image, the silver pencil shafts are the Premium Colored Pencils on the left, and the gold shafted pencils are the Watercolor Colored Pencils on the right.

    I am very pleased that I used both the 30-Pack Premium Colored Pencils (48581) and the 30-Pack Watercolor Colored Pencils (48582)! I am very pleased that I used both the 30-Pack Premium Colored Pencils (48581) and the 30-Pack Watercolor Colored Pencils (48582)!

    All I have to do is find a nice frame in which to place my completed page. I very much want to keep this page protected, yet share its bounty with my guests.

    Page of pumpkins and gourds from 6993 - Bountiful Wonders Color Art for Everyone by Leisure Arts. Page of pumpkins and gourds from 6993 - Bountiful Wonders Color Art for Everyone by Leisure Arts.

    Happy fall decorating using Bountiful Wonders Color Art for Everyone!

    Martha

     

  • Pom-Pom Halloween

     

    The uses and appearances of pom-poms have expanded from winter gear and sports’ embellishments to include year-round home decor. See how simple pom-poms can become part of your Halloween-themed decorations.

    Pom-poms were frequently only seen on winter accessories, or worn by a team’s cheer squad. It's wonderful that the uses for and appearances of these puffy mounds of yarn have been greatly expanded! Beautiful household items are crafted with pom-poms such as wall hangings and wreaths!

    Halloween is coming in a few weeks and I wanted to get ready with some pom-pom décor. Getting a lot of ideas from Pinterest was easy. Look at this cute mantle garland and another version for one's vertical porch decor; both are awesome! Using these two Pins as my guidelines, I began making pom-poms with an end result in mind.

    Since I had many pom-poms to make in varying sizes, I took the advice of one of our designers and purchased Clover Pom-Pom Makers. To reinsure that you're using your pom-pom maker correctly, watch a video in less than five minutes.  I gathered several yarn weights with different textures. One of my favorites for this project was Red Heart's Reflective yarn. The reflective yarn has a thin gray strip that reflects the light; reflective does not mean glow-in-the-dark.

    Before: Parts to make Halloween characters. Small pom-poms (1.625") and pipe cleaners cut in half. Before: Parts to make Halloween characters. Small pom-poms (1.625") and pipe cleaners cut in half.

    Of course, my Halloween pom-poms were going to include a pumpkin, a spider, and a ghost. First would be the pumpkin. This would be fairly easy to accomplish: one pom-pom with a curled pipe cleaner as its stem.

    My second figure was the spider. Again the main part was the pom-pom as the spider body. Then, I added six pipe cleaner legs. I even challenged myself to make a red spot to indicate a Black Widow spider. I followed color pattern suggestions as found on the back of the Clover Extra Large Pom-Pom Maker's packaging.

    Added a little more drama to the spider character; here's a Black Widow! Added a little more drama to the spider character; here's a Black Widow!

    The last Halloween figure I needed to make was a ghost. This appeared more challenging than I thought. My final decision was to make a pom-pom for the ghost's head and attach it to the loose yarn strands to represent its body. I made three ghosts; each received an added yarn embellishment giving each one its own personality.

    After: Halloween characters include a spider, ghost and pumpkin. After: Halloween characters include a spider, ghost and pumpkin.

    I was ready to display my characters at home and office so I needed both a wall/door decoration, as well as, tabletop decor ideas. I wanted to incorporate extra color into my display and the perfect complement was Leisure Arts' Jute Twine (item 48526)I chose to use three of the six colors.

    Planning my display; love the colored jute! Planning my display; love the colored jute!

    My colleague found the perfect fallen branch from his hickory tree. Upon its arrival in the office, it quickly became a character itself and given the name, "Old Hickory". The branch had so much character with its craggy texture, knuckled sections and lichen patterns, I didn't want to cover all of it.

    Halloween pom-pom characters suspended from "Old Hickory" as door decor. Halloween pom-pom characters suspended from "Old Hickory" as door decor.

    Here are my extra pom-poms used for some added character for one of the most-anticipated days to celebrate around the office.

    Other Halloween decor using pom-poms in two sizes. Other Halloween decor using pom-poms in two sizes.

    I hope you enjoy making pom-poms and  decorating for Halloween; happy haunting!

    Martha

  • LED Candles for Every Season

    We've all seen color changing LED Candles by now.  But if you're like me, you might be wondering how to fit them into your home decor and if you'd want to use them outside of the holiday season.  I challenged myself to use the Leisure Arts LED Candle Set in my own home for every season of the year.

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

    Here are the results of my experiment incorporating the LED Candle Set into my home for a year.  I hope you'll find some inspiration!

    First up is Valentine's Day. I incorporated the LED Candle Set  into my tablescape with red tulips and a wooden sign.  Color-wise, I found red and white worked well for the candles.

    LED Candles at Valentine's Day LED Candles at Valentine's Day

    For Easter, I went in a more fun direction using hydrangeas and Peep Easter Eggs into a flower arrangement.  I used pink, green and yellow for the LED candles and brightly colored Easter eggs in jars to finish off the decor.

    blog2 Easter Decor with LED Candles

    For early summer I opted for a simple flower arrangement and green, blue and white candles.

    blog3 LED Candles in Summer Decor

    For the Fourth of July, I went with the classic red, white and blue candles and used a fun Patriotic planter to highlight the season.

    LED Candles for Independence Day LED Candles for Independence Day

    At the onset of fall, I incorporated a wooden carved owl and a real leaf themed candle into my decor and went with a classic white look for the candles.

    blog7 Fall Decor using LED Candles

    For Thanksgiving, I moved the candles into a cornucopia display and kept the classic white candles.

    blog8 Thanksgiving with LED Candles

    I used my candles a couple of different ways for the Christmas season.  One, on the dining room table in a classic white surrounded by oversized ornaments.

    blog9 Christmas and LED Candles

    I also used them in the living room surrounded by all the classic symbols of Christmas including  Angels, Santa, and more.

    blog10 Classic Christmas with LED Candles

    Finally, for New Year's Eve I went with a fun pink, blue and green color combination, and surrounded the candles with beads, hats, noisemakers and, of course, Chex Mix™!

    blog11 Ringing in the New Year with LED Candles!

    During the year, we also redecorated my 13 year old daughter's bedroom and got her a set of the candles.  The LED Candle Set is great for teenagers.  The candles present no fire hazard and teens can change the colors whenever they please!

    blog6 LED Candles Make a Great Accent for a Teenager's Bedroom

    I hope you've been inspired to play with decorating your own house with LED candles.  Show me what you've done in the comments, or tag Leisure Arts in your Instagram posts!

    Happy decorating!

    Veronica

     

  • Letter Magnet Boards: DIY from Oil Drip Pans

    I was so inspired by two pins on Pinterest creating magnet boards from an automotive oil drip pan or other sheet metal, and two craft leaflets using letters (or initials) to decorate as part of a craft project, that I combined my ideas into one blog post. I hope you enjoy my latest creative adventure!

    I had the new Leisure Arts book Initial It! (item #7077), a papier-mache letter, and my clothespin magnets that I recently made for younger kids and older kids/adults. Now I needed to incorporate them all together. I wanted to display my letter and clothespin magnets, but what would be new and exciting to do?

    7077 - Initial It! Leisure Arts presents simple techniques to embellish letters, symbols and accents. 7077 - Initial It! Leisure Arts presents simple techniques to embellish letters, symbols and accents.

    I had seen smaller versions of creating a magnet board from metal pizza pans but this pin from Smart School House nudged me towards trying it as my next DIY. Since I wasn't going to use my oil drip pan like Smart School House (as a teaching tool in conjunction with learning the alphabet for a toddler), I thought I'd like to decorate it similarly to the edged cookie sheet magnet board seen in a pin from Sadie Seasongoods. Okay; I had my idea(s) collected -- off to the stores for my supplies!

    I found an oil drip pan very easily in the automotive section of my general merchandise store. It seemed a bit narrower than the one shown in the pin mentioned-above, but I was thrilled to snag it.

    This large oil drip pan measures 47" x 25". This large oil drip pan measures 47" x 25".

    I inadvertently threw away the empty spray paint can of Blue Ocean Breeze, the Krylon color used for my FIRST magnet board. Here are some of the other supplies I used.

    Supplies used for the oil drip pan magnet boards. Two colors of spray paint were used: Vintage Blush [satin] and Blue Ocean Breeze by Krylon [not shown]. Supplies used for the oil drip pan magnet boards. Two colors of spray paint were used: Vintage Blush [satin] and Blue Ocean Breeze by Krylon [not shown].
    I cleaned the oil drip pan, then applied Rust-oleum's Clean Metal Primer under the spray paint. I applied two coats of spray paint to get an even layer. I wanted to decorate my magnet board with some fabric swatches, so I cut out different sized circles from a cute bicycle print.

    Working outside on a beautiful day, I'm trying to decide where to place the different sized fabric circles before using Mod Podge®. Working outside on a beautiful day, I'm trying to decide where to place the different sized fabric circles before using Mod Podge®.

    I adhered all my fabric swatches with Mod Podge® - the fabric acted like a sponge so make sure you have plenty on-hand! I discovered the difference in magnets and discussed in my two clothespin posts (linked above); see the photo below as a reminder.

    Close-up: the difference in magnet buttons clearly shows the difference in thickness. Close-up: the difference in magnet buttons clearly shows the difference in thickness.

    If you are making your own magnets, because there are several layers of Primer, paint, fabric, etc., I encourage you to use the magnets without the adhesive backing and just glue them on yourself.

    Bicycle Magnet Board is done and hanging up vertically in a narrow space in my office. Bicycle Magnet Board is done and hanging up vertically in a narrow space in my office.

    Here's a close-up showing more details of the final project...

    Here's a close-up of the Bicycle Magnet Board hanging up! Here's a close-up of the Bicycle Magnet Board hanging up!

    For my second magnet board, I focused on using my papier-mache initial, the letter M. I decided to try using wrapping paper over the spray paint color, Vintage Blush by Rust-oleum. While the Vintage Blush was drying, I also spray painted the letter a deep turquoise.

    Papier-mache letter sprayed painted a deep turquoise color. Papier-mache letter sprayed painted a deep turquoise color.

    I checked the oil drip pan and the second layer of spray paint was dry; I could start to adhere the wrapping paper. It was a little cumbersome to work with such a large piece of paper and Mod Podge®. You might want to try using smaller pieces to create a collage effect. I think I got lucky; the paper didn't rip while I was manipulating between paper and "glue". I used a brayer to assist removing most air pockets and wrinkles, but again, the task became more difficult because of the size of the project.

    Applying Mod Podge® to adhere the wrapping paper to the spray painted oil drip pan. Applying Mod Podge® to adhere the wrapping paper to the spray painted oil drip pan.

    I thought of the projects in Initial It! and decided how to decorate my papier-mache letter without weighing it down. I used some of the wrapping paper at the bottom of the letter, and mimicked the polka dot pattern by painting some dots from the base upward. Here's a close-up of the finished letter on the magnet board.

    Floral Polka Dot close-up of papier-mâché embellished letter and metal 'happy' sign on magnet board. Floral Polka Dot close-up of papier-mâché embellished letter and metal 'happy' sign on magnet board.

    I found the saying, 'happy' in a decorative metal script. It was a stroke of luck that I had purchased this weeks before I knew I was going to make magnet boards! Here's the final Floral Polka Dot magnet board; I am very pleased with the end-result!

    Floral Polka Dot - Wrapping paper adhered over spray paint. It's my second finished magnet board made from an oil drip pan. Floral Polka Dot - Wrapping paper adhered over spray paint. It's my second finished magnet board made from an oil drip pan.

    In the opposite corner from my initial, is a coffee filter flower (a project from an earlier post), and other clothespin magnets.

    Floral Polka Dot close-up of some clothespin magnets on the magnet board. Floral Polka Dot close-up of some clothespin magnets on the magnet board.

    Both magnets boards were hung in my office using Command™ strips; I used several not because of the weight of the oil drip pans, but because of their size. I wanted them to remain steady and secure to the wall on all sides.

    I look to be ready to remind myself of upcoming events, showcase special memories, or assign myself tasks both electronically and now in-person. I hope you can be inspired by this and share with us your projects!

    Have a great time exploring new ways to express yourself; enjoy!

    Martha

     

     

     

  • More-to-Explore Clothespin Magnets to Paint, Color & Glue

    Enjoying craft time is fun for older kids and adults when making clothespin magnets. Decorating can be easy to more complicated by using mixed media such as painting, coloring and gluing paper, fiber or other embellishments. This is one of those "more to explore" projects that can grow from simple to more advanced -- enjoy!

    I loved using large, wide wooden clothespins so much for the younger kids' project (see the egg carton flower clothespin magnet in the second image), as described in my blog post on May 18th, I wanted to expand my decorative uses for the clothespins while still making them into magnets.

    Remember, here is what the large clothespins look like before decorating them:

    Large, natural wood clothespins measure approximately 2.875" long x 0.625" wide; four per pack. Leisure Arts item #48165. Large, natural wood clothespins measure approximately 2.875" long x 0.625" wide; four per pack. Leisure Arts item #48165.

    And here are some of my finished, decorated clothespin magnets (I even included the younger kids' version of the egg carton flower clothespin magnet -- pictured in the upper left-hand corner of the image]).

    A variety of clothespin magnets painted and decorated with embellishments. A variety of clothespin magnets painted and decorated with embellishments.

    Now, grab your paint -- I used either spray paint or acrylic -- and start by placing at least two layers of paint on your clothespins. While you let the paint dry in between each layer, start gathering your embellishments: wrapping paper, coloring book pages, mini paint canvases, buttons, beads, artificial floral items and markers.

    These uses of other embellishments can be as simple as gluing an artificial flower to the end of your painted clothespin, to the more complicated use of mixed media with multiple steps as seen by adding a mini canvas to a clothespin.

    Paint and other embellishments are added to clothespins that older "kids" and adults can make; magnets can be added to the backs. Paint and other embellishments are added to clothespins that older "kids" and adults can make; magnets can be added to the backs.

    If you decide to use mini canvases to attach to your clothespin(s), determine the size clothespin you need. My mini canvases were so small, that I actually used a smaller 1.5" clothespin as its backing. I used a coloring book page from the Art of Coloring Vintage as part of my canvases' decor; read about it here from an earlier blog post.

    The daisy page was cut into 2" sections. The design was placed "en pointe". Glued onto the backside of each canvas panel, was a painted clothespin and magnet. The daisy page from the Art of Coloring Vintage was cut into 2" sections. The design was placed "en pointe". Glued onto the backside of each canvas panel, was a painted clothespin and magnet.

    I also learned that there are BIG differences in round magnets sometimes called 'button magnets'. I didn't remember that my first purchase of magnets had no felt backing. I quickly grabbed a package of adhesive-backed magnets that were in the same area as the acrylic paint; I thought this would save me the step of gluing.

    The difference in magnet buttons: thickness and adhesive backing! The difference in magnet buttons: thickness and adhesive backing!

    But I didn't like the weaker strength of these adhesive-backed magnets and ended up using two per clothespin. I much prefer the strength of the plain magnets that needed to be glued onto my clothespins. See the image below for a visual comparison.

    Close-up: the difference in magnet buttons clearly shows the difference in thickness. Close-up: the difference in magnet buttons clearly shows the difference in thickness.

    I thoroughly enjoyed using these larger wooden clothespins as part of another art project -- it was fun to do while I was making them, and upon completion the clothespin magnets are useful to me at home and office!

    Have fun exploring; let me know what embellishments you used when making your clothespin magnets!

    Martha

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