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  • Craft Away Stress

    April is Stress Awareness Month, and it couldn’t have come at a more fitting time! If you are looking for ways to relax and bring those stress levels down, crafting could be your answer. Stepping back and taking these little moments in life to crochet, knit, paint, or do anything creative, does more good for your body than you may realize. When you are crafting, you are taking charge and focusing on your mental and physical health, which is critical in times like these. So craft away your stress with any creative project—here are just a few ideas to help inspire you!

    Jump on the Diamond Art Bandwagon

    Diamond Art by Leisure Arts - Powered by Diamond Dotz - 5D DIY Diamond Painting Kit - Rainy Day Design

    Diamond Art by Leisure Arts - Powered by Diamond Dotz - 5D DIY Diamond Painting Kit - Rainy Day Design #49385

    If you enjoy crafting AND puzzles, it’s time to jump on the Diamond Art bandwagon. Our Rainy Day Diamond Art by Leisure Arts, powered by Diamond Dotz kit has what you need for a stress-free creative activity. The color-coded chart makes it easy for you to complete this abstract modern surrealist beauty, along with the pre-printed adhesive. With high-quality color printed fabric, 13-faceted diamonds, and handy tools like the comfort grip stylus and wax caddy, you’ll be dipping, dotting, and dazzling your way to a colorful masterpiece!

    An Apron a Day Keeps the Stress Away

    Simple to Sew Aprons - 13 Sassy, Sweet & Functional Aprons in a Flash

    Simple to Sew Aprons - 13 Sassy, Sweet & Functional Aprons in a Flash # 7609

    Sooooooo, you want to relax and be productive at the same time? (See what we did there?) Sew your way to calm with functional and adorable Simple to Sew Aprons. Whether you’re into gardening, chicken-raising, crafting, harvesting, or cooking and baking, we’ve got an apron pattern for you. You can never have too many aprons, right? Designer Billie Steward takes you step by step with instructions that will have you sewing these 13 quick projects and calming your nerves before you know it. With styles from bandanna to eggs to summer picnic or retro, these aprons also make amazing gifts.

    Wrap Yourself in Hand-Knitted Warmth

    Knit Cardigans - 12 Luxurious Sweaters will Become Everyday Favorites

    Knit Cardigans - 12 Luxurious Sweaters will Become Everyday Favorites #6999

    Wrap yourself in hand-knitted warmth and comfort with these Knit Cardigans by designer Andi Javori! Choose from 12 gorgeous cardigans, or heck, why not all of them? The hard part will be choosing which to knit first. Most of these aprons are rated Easy, with a couple of Intermediate ones sprinkled in just to keep you on your toes. Grab your knitting needles and make yourself a new sweater today! Each is destined to become a favorite. 

    Double the Creativity, Double the Fun

    Play Mats

    Play Mats #7218C

    You and your kids can double your creativity with Play Mats from Leisure Arts—make your own interactive felt scenes, and then enjoy using them to make up your own fun stories. Seven different sets are all easy to cut and assemble with glue and simple stitching. Designs by Kimberly Layton include a castle complete with princess and unicorn, life under the sea, a sweet cupcake shop, a campsite, a farm, a cottage in the woods, and a neighborhood. Arrange the colorful pieces in endless ways and mix with other toys to expand the settings and characters.

    Let Marvin Mega Boy Come to Your Rescue

    Mini Maker Yarn Crafts - Marvin Mega Boy Crochet Amigurumi Kit #50943

    Mini Maker Yarn Crafts - Marvin Mega Boy Crochet Amigurumi Kit #50943

    Let Marvin Mega Boy save you from your worries! This Mini Maker Yarn Crafts kit is a bite-sized craft experience that will leave you with a cherished and cuddly super hero. The kit has everything you’ll need to create your own adorable 8.5” Marvin Mega Boy amigurumi, including easy-to-follow instructions, yarn, crochet hook and yarn needle. This little guy packs a big punch when it comes to bringing you joy. PS. He also makes a great companion for napping and watching TV.

    Color Your Life with Paper Flowers

    Paper Flowers #7241C

    Paper Flowers #7241

    Not only are Paper Flowers easier to create than you’d expect, they bring out your creativity and wash away stress. With each turning page of this book, designer Jennifer Maker inspires you to create fabulous florals full of texture and color. And you’ll craft it all using tissue paper, cardstock, floral tape, and other readily available craft materials. You’ll uncover 10 projects in all that include a daisy, dandelion, orchid, and rose — one is sure to be your favorite. The best part — you’ll soon be diving into your very own blossoming projects. We’re sure of it.

    Be Homebound in Comfort With This Cozy Quilt

    Homebound - Featuring Two Fabric Colorways for a Modern or Traditional Quilt Pattern Pack #37556

    Homebound - Featuring Two Fabric Colorways for a Modern or Traditional Quilt Pattern Pack #37556

    Picture this: Lounging on your couch binge-watching your latest show, covered in a cozy blanket you quilted yourself! Our Homebound: Quilt with Leisure Arts pattern pack has a classic look, but never goes out of style. By adding a twist here or a fabric substitution there, you can go modern or traditional, or both! The finished lap quilt measures 49' x 65' with optional crib, twin, full, and king/queen sizes. The possibilities are endless-ish! And that makes us (and you!) very content.

    A Bike Ride That Will Soothe Your Soul

    Mini Maker Bicycle Embroidery Stitch Kit - 9 Pieces - Includes Hoop, Pre-Stamped Felt, Needle, Floss and Instructions #49814

    Mini Maker Bicycle Embroidery Stitch Kit - 9 Pieces - Includes Hoop, Pre-Stamped Felt, Needle, Floss and Instructions #49814

    Any Cycologist will tell you that this Bicycle Ride is good for your soul. You’ll have the sudden urge to jump on your own bike, gather flowers, and frolic your heart out, but not until you finish this charming embroidery project. If you find this Bicycle Ride embroidery project as charming as we do, then might we mention that your kit will contain everything you’ll need to embroider it into existence? Plus, the pattern itself is pre-printed on the enclosed fabric, so it’s ideal for beginners and experts alike. Yields one hoop of bicycle bliss. So go ahead – frolic away!

    Yes, We Do Believe in Unicorns

    Mini Maker Unicorn Dreamcatcher Book Plus Kit - Includes 32 page book and everything you need to create 1 dreamcatcher and 1 embroidered hanging #50389

    Mini Maker Unicorn Dreamcatcher Book Plus Kit - Includes 32 page book and everything you need to create 1 dreamcatcher and 1 embroidered hanging #50389

    Do you believes in unicorns? We do! Let this Unicorn Dreamcatcher protect you from your worries. The kit has everything you need to craft yourself to relaxation and create this unique dreamcatcher. But wait, there’s more! A bonus 32-page project book comes with your kit so you can create more great projects. You’ll be creating an organizer, doily dreamcatcher, ribbon chandelier, wreaths and more! Using the easy to follow instructions that come with our Mini Maker kits, you can easily bring creativity into your everyday life.

    Pamper Yourself With Cotton

    All About Cotton #7055C

    All About Cotton #7055

    Pamper yourself and your family with the soft cotton creations featured in All About Cotton. This book guides you easily through 10 projects like making baskets, bottle carrier, tote, plant hanger, bath set, coasters, dishcloth and hanging dishtowel, potholder, napkin ring, and a rug. You’ll use soft and cool, yet sturdy and durable, cotton medium-weight yarn, perfect for quick crochet projects. Not only will you relieve stress by crocheting, you will be beautifying your home as well!

    Choose one, two, three of these projects to bring some calm into your days, and come out of it with memories and cherished items. All of these projects are easy to accomplish and are perfect for you to do by yourself or include your children or other family members. Once you finish one or many of these stress relieving projects, be sure to share it with us @leisureartsinc or using the hashtag #LeisureArts on your social channels. We love to see what's going on in the craft universe. In addition, most of the items we’ve written about in this blog post are included in our April Giveaway on our website. Enter to win all of these great projects and craft your way to calm.

    -Leisure Arts Team

    Craft Away Stress. April is Stress Awareness Month. Start Crafting your stress away!

  • 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

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