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paper crafts

  • Playing Paper Dolls with Mary Engelbreit

    It’s quiet at my house on this day after Christmas, so I’m playing paper dolls. When I was a little kid, I remember begging my mother to play paper dolls with me, but we didn’t have anything like the paper dolls I’m playing with today…

    Have you discovered artist Mary Engelbreit’s paper dolls yet? Very fun! Ann Estelle, Gracie, Mikayla, Michael, Audrey Ann, Tommy, Georgia, Sophie, Lilah, and their pets (originally featured as nostalgic paper dolls in Mary Engelbreit’s Home Companion magazine) are back in three paper crafty books from Leisure Arts: Anne Estelle & Friends, Ann Estelle’s Celebrations in Paper Dolls, and Paper Crafts with Ann Estelle & Friends! They’re perfect for play, display, or sharing with others.

    Take a peek at the projects!

    Anne Estelle & Friends includes play, school, kitchen, backyard, art room, Ann Estelle’s house, and four more colorful backgrounds.

    Shadow Box

    Hinged Box

    Pencil Box

    Freestanding Display

    Bell Jar Display

    Ann Estelle’s Celebrations in Paper Dolls includes holiday-themed backgrounds—Easter Egg Hunt, Halloween dress-up, a spring day, a patriotic picnic, Christmas, and more!

    Ribbon-hinged Triptych

    Shadow Box

    Bell Jar Display

    Freestanding Display

    Pencil Box

    Paper Crafts with Ann Estelle & Friends is really cool ’cause it comes with stickers, too! (Stickers are another fascination of mine left over from childhood!) Look at some of the fun stuff you can make:

    All-Occasion Greeting Cards

    Heartfelt Tags

    Card Organizer



    Springtime Shadow Box


    Holiday Cards

    Storage Containers

    And coolest of all, these books are on sale, so you can afford to play paper dolls with me! In fact, all of our Leisure Arts Mary Engelbreit books are on sale at!

  • Free Downloadable Christmas Patterns!

    Procrastination is my middle name (I was that kid that wrote the paper the night before it was due…who bought the gift on the way to the party…who handed out Christmas cards as the family opens presents…) and I’m still all about waiting till the last minute when it comes to creativity! I know I’ve said it before, but downloadable patterns have come to my rescue on more than one occasion, so I thought that this close to Christmas—you (my fellow procrastinators) might appreciate it if I guided you to a few of the free downloadable Christmas-themed patterns that you can find on the Leisure Arts website!

    CraftersThis Beaded Wire Star Sculpture is one of my favorites! (You get to play with fire, so parental discretion is advised!)

    Make the impersonal gift card present a little more special with this Christmas Gift-Card Holder!

    CrochetersIf you’re always dreaming of a White Christmas, you might want to crochet up these four snowflake ornaments or our starry tree topper!

    Cross StitchersI like to work on an easy cross stitch project during my spare time all through the holiday season. It helps keep me in the Christmas spirit! This Winter Sampler is perfect for holiday stitching!

    Paper Crafters!If, despite good intentions, you know you’re going to hand out your Christmas cards on Christmas day (like me), you might get inspired by this great Christmas Card Idea Pack. It includes four card designs, a neat little gift tag, and a Chocolate Addictions cookie recipe as a bonus!

    Do you know about ATC cards—little works of art that artists trade with each other? I designed this Angelic Christmas Artist Trading Card years ago, and it makes a great little handmade Christmas card.

    Do you like a challenge? Give this Scherenschnitte Tree ornament a try! It’s intricate paper cutting at its coolest!

    QuiltersWant to add a special handmade touch to your Christmas tree? Are you on your way to an ornament exchange? These Joy Ornaments courtesy of designer Debbie Mumm are really special!

    Here’s hoping that all of you have as much fun as I do making use of these free patterns for last-minute creativity! Happy Holidays!

  • The Library Journal’s Best Books of 2011: Crafts

    Leisure Arts is pleased to announce that we made the list—The Library Journal’s list of Best Books 2011! Our book, Creating Keepsakes: Scrapbook Tips & Techniques, Book 2 has been recognized as one of the eight best books of 2011 in the Crafts category! Check out our Library Journal review:

    Creating Keepsakes: Scrapbook Tips & Techniques, Bk. 2
    Creating Keepsakes magazine is a leader in the scrapbooking industry, and this is a strong entry in its quality series on scrapbooking. As in other titles in the series, this work features plenty of clever, creative tips for design, most of which do not involve specialized equipment or supplies.”

    Do you have a copy of Creating Keepsakes: Scrapbook Tips & Techniques, Bk. 2 in your paper crafts library? It features over 1000 inspiring ideas, including:
    • Innovative accents for every scrapbook page
    • DIY projects you can make in a snap
    • Storage solutions for every budget
    • Photography tips for the best photos ever
    • And more!

    Check out some of the inspiration you’ll find in this must-have guide:

    Perfect for this season, a felt-embellished Christmas card!

    A cool album made with seashells!

    Personalized paper crafted necklaces!

    Computer tricks with layering for your layouts!

    Cupcake liner flowers to embellish pages!

    Fun with punches!

    An ornament made with felt!

    And, obviously, more and more and more!

  • The Ultimate Halloween Paper Craft Books

    I took a few minutes (actually a couple of hours) the other day to study the Leisure Arts paper crafts books in search of the best source of Halloween inspiration. My conclusion—depends on what you’re looking for! We’ve got a little bit of everything!

    1. Do you just want to make cards for Halloween, specifically stamped cards? You need The Best of Stamp It Cards! from the editors of Paper Crafts magazine. Besides featuring over 500 all occasion designs, 23 of those cards are Halloween themed. Very spooky cool...

    2. Are you searching for a wider selection of Halloween paper projects? You’re going to want The Big Book of Holiday Paper Crafts from the editors of Paper Crafts magazine. This book includes 288 pages of ideas, and pages 92-165 are all about Halloween—cards, tags, gift bags, treat containers (boxes, jars, mugs, cans, tins), plant pics, party ideas, and more!

    3. Want some new layout ideas for your Halloween photos? You can borrow a few from Scraplifting Inspirations by the editors of Creating Keepsakes magazine! This book offers up 10 Fun Tricks for adding a new look to your layouts plus 10 Timeless (photo-worthy) Halloween Traditions to make your own (and scrapbook).

    What Halloween traditions does your family celebrate? Now that our kids are “too old“ for trick or treating, we eat pizza, make popcorn, and watch vintage scary movies together!

  • World Card Making Day Challenge!

    Hey Paper Crafters! Today is World Card Making Day! Have you got any card creation plans in mind? If not, to celebrate, I’ve got a challenge for you:

    Craft your Christmas cards now, in October, and get it over with! If you‘re a procrastinator like me, taking advantage of this challenge is probably a pretty good idea…that is, unless you like making your handmade cards on Christmas Eve to hand out in person the next day…

    Need some inspiration? If I had to recommend the one perfect book to get you started on your Christmas card making, it would be The Big Book of Holiday Paper Crafts from the editors of Paper Crafts magazine. Pages 176-277 of this 288-page book feature delightful cards for Christmas, Hanukkah, and Kwanzaa, plus adorable gift bags and thoughtful little paper crafty presents that you can make in no time for your favorite folks.

    Take a peek at the cards that inspire me—

    Since the holidays always need a little levity…I think I’ll create some cards something like this one except I’ll probably create the sentiment block on the computer and add stamped (and maybe embossed bells).

    Love the idea of stitching on cards, but I’m not dragging out the sewing machine just to make cards. I really like the hand-stitched tree decorated with buttons (great way to use buttons from my collection!) in this design.

    My final card pick to make this year would be this Sing It Loud Card. Think I‘ll scan and print out some of the vintage sheet music I’ve collected and add the words with alphabet stamps.

    Make some cards today to commemorate World Card Making Day! When you’re done, take a photo and post it on the Leisure Art Facebook page, so we can all see how crafty you are!

  • In Love With Paper Crafts

    Isn’t that title just the truth? Love of our families, friends, our pets, and life in general—isn’t that what, at their essence, all those pages we scrap, those cards we labor over, and those paper crafty creations we assemble are all about?

    Need an inspirational book that’s all about love? You’ll love our new paper crafts book from the editors of PaperCrafts magazine: In Love With Paper Crafts! It’s filled with over 400 easy keepsake designs for pages, cards, gifts, home dec, weddings, anniversaries, Valentine’s, and more! There are even a few recipes for cooking up an occasion filled with love. Check out a few of the section openers—

  • Create Christmas Paper Crafts & Cards in July?

    Why not think cool and paper craft all of your Christmas cards and other goodies now while it’s too hot to be outside doing anything else?

    We’ve got the books you need for inspiration:

    Take a look at the Big Book of Holiday Paper Crafts from the editors of PaperCrafts magazine. This book includes 500+ ideas for cards and other handmade projects and around 50 of them are card designs for Christmas, Hanukkah, and Kwanzaa. You’ll discover great tips for using sheet music prints…

    …creating critter cards…

    …and more!

    Stamping is one of my paper craft passions, so I’m really enamored with The Best of Stamp It! Cards from the editors at PaperCrafts magazine. Since it features over 500 cards designs, you’re sure to find the perfect greeting for every occasion, and…

    …38 of the card projects are Christmas-/Hanukkah-themed cards!

    And then there’s Scrapbook Tips & Techniques Book 2 from the talented folks at Creating Keepsakes. As if Book 1 wasn’t wonderful enough, Book 2 showcases 500+ budget-saving tips, computer tricks, tools & techniques, and ideas for a year of paper crafting. It also includes some really Christmasy ideas for using tinsel, mirrors, tags, and beads to make your paper designs sparkle…

    …plus 5 really neat ideas for December scrapping!

    There you go—1500+ inspiring paper crafty ideas from three books. What better resources could you ask for?

    (Oh, and I have to tell you, Paper Crafts is another category here at Leisure that’s near and dear to me. I was managing editor of it, too, once upon a time.)

  • Handmade Father’s Day Card

    I’ve figured out my husband’s Father’s Day gifts. He’s getting crocheted socks and a dvd of a movie he’s been talking about. Now, I’m starting to fidget about his card. My scrapbooking supplies and all those rubber stamps I’ve collected over the years are whispering to me that I should use them...

    Want to make your favorite daddy a Father’s Day card with your own two little hands? Need some ideas? I’ve got a book suggestion that will keep you creating cards year-round—The Best of Stamp It! Cards.

    The Best of Stamp It! Cards features 12 keepsake designs for hand-stamped cards for Father’s Day alone. Including trees and stars, gears and guitars, cowboys, neckties, and even a monkey with wiggle eyes, these fun, masculine designs are sure to inspire a card just perfect for your dad, grandfather, uncle, husband, brother—any guy you want to honor.

    Plus, this book has card inspiration for every occasion imaginable—anniversaries, babies, birthdays, congrats, Easter, friends, get wells, graduation, Halloween, love, Mother’s Day, Christmas, sympathy, Thanksgiving, thank yous, weddings, and more! In fact, over 500 card designs are included! Check out the contents pages for a peek at some of the projects:

    Aren’t your stamps, inks, punches, papers, and embellishments whispering to you, now, too?

  • Rethink & Reuse

    Paper crafters, have you seen the “Rethink and Reuse” column by Judi Kauffman in the Summer 2011 issue of Paper Creations Magazine? Judi altered our Leisure Arts ATC Collection Album and its inside pages as part of a really cool makeover project—and I love it.

    This is what she started out with—

    Here’s a little sneak peek at her end result! (You’ll have to get the magazine to see the entire design!) Isn’t it great?

    I’ve got lots of these albums because they’re what I store my own ATC card collection in, so I’m thinking I’m going to have to try out Judi’s idea. If you like what you see, pick up a copy of Paper Creations and check page 76 for project instructions and the supply list! (And if you haven‘t already got one, you can get our ATC Collection Album at

  • May Challenge: Artist Trading Cards

    To inspire you paper craft people out there, I’ll kick off the May Challenge with a little free instant download project—The Pool Artist Trading Card. Do you know about artist trading cards (ATCs for short)? These little 2-1/2" x 3-1/2" (the same size as a playing card) mini masterpieces are being made and traded around the world.

    I was the managing editor of our paper craft category when Leisure Arts launched its ATC Collection of products, and I fell quickly for our line of paper pads. These little image-packed pads were just what I was looking for to use with my own collage art. (I collect vintage ephemera, but, of course, you can’t cut up the real vintage stuff, so I was thrilled to have an easy alternative.) The paper pads come in such themes as Quotes By Mom, Funny Quotes, Military, Sewing, Wedding, Love, Spring, Christmas & Christmas 2, Botanicals, Travel, Silhouettes, Contemporary, Oriental, Jungle Animals, and more!

    In honor of National Scrapbook Day on May 7, I thought I’d challenge you to create one ATC card during the month of May to trade with me!

    Here are the rules:
    1. Card must measure 2-1/2" x 3-1/2". (A little overhang as far as embellishments is okay…)
    2. Any theme or medium goes…just be creative. (What I like about ATCs is that you don’t have to be a fine artist to make them—just have fun with paper, scissors, glue, needle & thread, fabric, paint, stamps, ink—whatever melts your butter!)
    3. Send your card to me (along with your mailing address), and I’ll send one to you in return. Address your cards to:

    Leisure Arts
    Attn: Merrilee
    5701 Ranch Drive
    Little Rock, AR 72223

    4. Please don’t send your versions of The Pool card. I designed it, and I’ve already got several of my own in my collection.

    What do you think paper crafters? Anybody want to play with paper? I’m looking forward to your cards.

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