About Crafts Inspire Me

Arts and Crafts are my passion. Inspiration is everywhere. Each new project is a journey to be shared.

Spring Wreath Making 101

Snow Daffodil
Ah, the first blooms of spring! It’s that time of year again when Old Man Winter steps aside to make way for an abundance of beautiful flowers. Our thoughts turn to backyard barbecues and fabulous days in the sun. Spring is a popular time for cleaning the house and updating our décor. Making a new wreath for the front door is a nice way to celebrate the warmer weather.

Pink & Fuchsia Floral Spring Wreath
Pink Spring Floral Wreath

Periwinkle Blue Floral Spring Wreath
Blue Floral Wreath

Pink & Blue Floral Spring Wreath
Pink Blue Wreath

Pink Berries Wreath
Pink Berry Wreath

Orange & Yellow Floral Wreath
Orange & Yellow Wreath

How To Make A Multi-Color Butterfly Spring Wreath:
Detail Butterfly Wreath
Butterflies are a hot trend this year, and you can easily incorporate their brilliant colors in many ways around your home on tablecloths, napkins, pillows, and floral arrangements. This wreath was not only fun and easy to make, but it was also inexpensive. Similar ready made wreaths sell for $60, and even when there is a sale or discount coupon, it can still cost $24 to $30. The project described below cost approximately $12, and it’s just as pretty as the more expensive versions.

Supplies:
Grapevine Wreath, 18” diameter
Floral Butterfly Garland, 6’ long
Scissors
Brown Twine

Grapevine Wreath
Grapevine Wreath

Choosing a base is the first step in wreath making. There are multiple options, including wreaths made from foam, standard or wispy grapevines, metal wire, and straw.

Butterfly Floral Garland – (sample)
Butterfly Floral Garland
In terms of ornamentation, you can use flowers, berries, seashells, or leaves. A flower garland with attached butterflies makes this project quick and easy to assemble.

Detail of Tying Garland
Detail Tying Garland
This garland has large plastic chain links. Choose a starting point on the front and tie the garland to the grapevine, arranging the flowers and hiding the ties with leaves as you go. Repeat this process until the entire grapevine base is covered. Stand back to look at the wreath, and then make any adjustments by shifting the garland and adding ties.

Back of the Wreath
Back of Wreath
As you can see from the above photo, only the ties are visible from the back, while all the flowers have been placed on the front of the wreath. This makes the most of your garland by creating thick layers of flowers where they will be most appreciated.

Finished Butterfly Spring Wreath
Finished Butterfly Wreath
A piece of twine or ribbon can be used to hang this wreath on the door. Compliments are sure to follow.

Tip: You could use a glue gun, in lieu of twine, but I would advise against it. Glue can be messy and stringy, which can create havoc with the vines. By using twine, there’s no mess, it is easily adjustable, and best of all, if you decide want to make something new, simply cut the ties, remove the garland and reuse the grapevine wreath. You could also reuse the garland for another project.

Even on a cloudy day, this finished wreath is a colorful way to welcome spring with pretty blooms and butterflies.

Welcome Spring & Happy Crafting!

Special Needs Solutions for Jewelry

Hands with Jewelry
Jewelry can be frustrating for people with arthritis or limited mobility in their hands and fingers. As a result, putting on a bracelet, earrings or watch can become very difficult, if not impossible. A few simple changes can make it easier, so that wearing jewelry is enjoyable once again. All the jewelry components pictured below are available online through FireMountainGems.com.

Toggle Clasps
Toggle Clasps
When selecting necklaces or bracelets, look for toggle clasps. A toggle clasp is larger and easier to manipulate than a spring ring or lobster claw clasp. Another advantage of toggle clasps is that they are easy to use and typically can be secured without the help of another person.

Lobster Claw Clasps
Lobster Claw Clasps
Many spring ring and lobster claw clasps are quite small, making them more difficult to secure. If a lobster claw clasp is the only option, ask for a larger size clasp and a larger jump ring on the other end. Regardless of the type of clasp, many people try to secure the clasp behind the neck, which can be very frustrating. You can always secure the clasp of a necklace in the front and then slide the clasp around to the back of your neck.

Extender Chains
Extender Chains
For necklaces, it is helpful to choose a length that you can put on over your head. If you don’t know what size you need, go into any store and try on several until you find the length that works best for you. Make note of that size so that you can be sure to buy that length in the future. Another option is an extender chain. This short length of chain, in gold or silver, can be added to a necklace to give you a few extra inches of length.

Stretch Watch & Stretch Bracelet
Stretch Watch & Bracelet
If a bracelet clasp is too difficult, you may be able to slip it on without opening the clasp. Another option is stretch bracelets and watches, which are easy to slide on and off over your hand.

Memory Wire Bracelets
Memory Wire
Memory wire bracelets are quite easy to wear. Simply wrap it around your wrist and it will resume its shape, which resembles stacked bracelets.

Fishhook Earwire & Leverback Earrings
Earwires & Leverbacks
Earrings come in several types. Pierced earrings are available with earwires, earstuds (also known as posts), and leverbacks. Earwires are available in many shapes, sizes, and vary in thickness. The aptly named leverback earring can be easily opened and closed with the simple flip of a hinged lever. Both the earwires and the leverbacks offer ease of handling and there are no small parts to secure.

Butterfly Clutch & Earnut with Comfort Clutch
Earnuts
Most post style pierced earrings come with butterfly clutches like the one shown above on the left. These are quite small and difficult to secure. How often have you dropped one and they’re impossible to find on thick carpet! A nice alternative is an earnut with a comfort clutch, which is a plastic disc that provides support from the back to prevent the earring from drooping and also gives you a larger piece to hold onto when securing the earring.

Flat Pad Clip-on Earrings & Slip-on Comfort Pads
Clip on Earrings
Clip-on earrings can be uncomfortable to wear. Choose flat pad clip earrings or add slip-on comfort pads to make clips more comfortable. If you have allergies, be sure to ask if nickel free earring posts or clips are available.

Ring Guards
Ring Guards
Do you have rings that you can no longer wear? If they are too large, a ring guard can be added to make it a smaller size. A jeweler can resize precious gold and sterling silver rings.

Rings on a Necklace
Rings on Necklace
Another option is to wear the ring on a chain or necklace. A custom beaded necklace can incorporate your favorite rings into the design. As a side note, if you lose a dangle earring, don’t throw away its mate. Many dangle earrings can become pendants on new necklaces.

Jewelry is such a wonderful expression of our personalities and everyone should be able to wear it. With a few simple adjustments, jewelry can be given new life in your wardrobe and more importantly, restore a little piece of your independence. If you lack the skills to make these changes, you probably know someone who makes beaded jewelry. I’m sure they would be glad to help.

Wear your jewelry in good health!  Happy Crafting!

Everything’s Better with Chocolate

Chocolate Strawberries
It’s that time of year again when stores are filled with mouth watering chocolate treats. With a few simple ingredients, you can make chocolate candy at home, including many of your favorites. Let’s take a look at the process and some of the options to get us started. Ready? Set. Let’s go!

Cacao
Cacao – Well, they don’t look like much in their raw form, but these cacao seeds are transformed into the mouth watering chocolate treats we have come to adore.

Chocolate Melts
Candy making is easy to do at home using small chocolate wafers called candy melts, which are available in milk chocolate, dark chocolate, white chocolate, and assorted flavors, such as peppermint and strawberry.

Melted Chocolate
When melted, they begin to resemble the chocolate we’ve been consuming since childhood, and the possibilities are endless.

Chocolate Molds
Chocolate molds are available in an extraordinary variety, including those for making solid chocolates, truffles, candy bars, and 2-piece chocolate boxes. Simply pour the liquefied chocolate into the mold and refrigerate per the manufacturer’s instructions.

Solid Chocolates
Most beginners start by making solid chocolates.

Marbled Chocolates
A marbleized effect is achieved by swirling two different kinds of chocolate together during the melting process.

Chocolate Egg Box
This chocolate egg box, perfect for any Easter basket, looks impressive and is easy to make with a two-piece mold. Be careful removing it from the mold to prevent breakage.

Chocolate Bonbons
Bon Bons, also known as truffles, are easy to make. Click here for instructions.

Chocolate Fillings
These truffles have a chocolate hazelnut filling.

Chocolate Cherry Filling
Cherry crème filling with a maraschino cherry is cloaked in chocolate and crushed nuts.

Peanut Butter Cups
Peanut butter and chocolate are a great combination. Coat the bottom and sides of the mold with chocolate. Add the peanut butter filling and top off with a layer of chocolate. Refrigerate and in a short time you will be enjoying homemade peanut butter cups.

Chocolate Krispy Caramel Bar
Have you ever eaten a 100Grand candy bar? It’s a delicious combination of crispy chocolate with a gooey caramel center. Click here for instructions.

Hand Dipped Chocolate
Chocolate dipping is fun for the whole family.

Kit Kat Bars
Are Kit Kat bars your favorite? Make your own version at home by chocolate covering vanilla sugar wafer cookies.

Chocolate Covered Cookies
Chocolate covered Oreos are a yummy treat. As an alternative, you could combine chocolate covered graham crackers with marshmallows to make S’mores.

Chocolate Covered Pretzels
Have you noticed how expensive chocolate covered pretzels can be? Make your own and finish with jimmies, crushed nuts, or rainbow sprinkles.

Chocolate Covered Bananas
Bananas and strawberries taste great dipped in chocolate.

Chocolate Covered Apples
Gourmet apples are very expensive. Melt some chocolate, place apples on sticks, and drizzle with icing or another type of chocolate. Set on a tray, and if desired add chocolate chips or shavings, or sprinkles.

Chocolate Salted Caramel
Chocolate covered caramels are sure to please. Melt caramels in a pan, and allow cooling time. When the caramel has hardened, cut into bars and dip in chocolate.

Chocolate Coconut
Chocolate covered coconut is a popular combo. Make coconut filling in a pan, cut into bars and dip in chocolate.

Finishing Touches
Presentation is everything. For a more professional look, use a cake-decorating bag, filled with chocolate or icing, to pipe on details, such as polka dots or stripes. You might also consider sprinkling the moist chocolate with coconut, cinnamon, or crushed nuts. A nice box or basket showcases your candy and is ready for gift giving.

For more chocolaty goodness, please read: “Chocolate – How Sweet It Is!”

Happy Candy Making and Happy Crafting!

At the Crossroads – Wall Art

Many people think the symbolic cross originated in Christianity, but the cross has been used for centuries by many ancient cultures, including the Egyptians and Babylonians.

Ancient Egyptian Ankh
Ancient Egyptian Ankh
In ancient Egypt, the ankh represented “Life.”

Compass on Ancient Maps
Compass
Crosses have been found in prehistoric cave paintings, most likely indicating astronomical events as well as the cardinal directions, much like the compass shown on the map above.

Crosses can be found in very diverse places, such as cemeteries, churches, clothing, and even jewelry. Before designing a cross, let’s take a look at a few more examples:

Greek Cross
Greek Cross
The ancient Greek cross had equal length arms and resembled the letter “X,” while the more modern version has the typical upright design and the addition of three lobes at each end.

Celtic Cross
Celtic Cross
The cross tombstone in the photo above illustrates the intricately woven knots, which are an integral part of every Celtic design.

Ornate Sterling Silver & Turquoise Cross
Silver Turquoise Cross
Silver or gold, jewel encrusted crosses reflect light and dazzle the eye with ornate patterns and precious gemstones of all kinds.

Contemporary Stained Glass Cross
Stained Glass Contemporary Cross
Brilliant stained glass in a kaleidoscope pattern twinkles in the sunlight in this very contemporary window.

Maltese Cross
Maltese Cross
The Maltese cross has four V-shaped arms. It has a more subtle cross design, which in this case could be easily mistaken for a flower.

How to Design Painted Wood Crosses:
Three Painted Crosses
Instructions for 3) designs are presented below: Celtic, Jeweled Gold, and Jeweled Silver.

Raw Wood Cross
Raw Wood Cross
Each raw wood cross is sanded lightly, as needed. The supplies needed vary according to the design chosen. If you happen to have colored pencils or markers on hand, you might want to trace the cross onto sheets of paper and color a few samples to help narrow down your design choices.

Supplies
Supplies
Supplies:
Wooden Cross (8-1/4” high x 5-3/4” wide x 1/4” thick)
Acrylic Paints – black, metallic gold, metallic silver
5) Bottles Fabric Paint – dark green, medium green, blue, purple, & metallic gold
1) Package – 12mm round Jewel Tone Rhinestones
1) Package – 12mm round Pastel Rhinestones
1) Package – Clear Diamond-shaped Rhinestones
Paintbrushes
Sandpaper

Cross Painted Black
Cross with 2 Coats Black Paint
Each cross design in this project starts the same way, by applying 2 coats of acrylic black paint as a basecoat.

The Celtic Cross:
Celtic Knots & Infinity Symbols
Paint the perimeter details using medium green fabric paint for a 3-dimensional effect. Single lines and infinity symbols make up this pattern.

Celtic Cross Inner Details
Using the same fabric paint, paint the inner details including woven chains, and a large Celtic knot design in the center. Create pairs of large round “beads” of paint at each end (top, bottom, left and right).

Celtic Gold Accents Finished Cross
For a more 3-dimensional effect, carefully apply a second coat of fabric paint. After it has dried, add the gold details using metallic gold fabric paint.  This completes the Celtic Cross design.

Gold Jeweled Cross:
Painted Gold Accents
Your first decision is how much gold versus black you want to have in the design. Using metallic gold acrylic paint and a brush, I created a starburst at the center, which radiates outward to the ends. A studded detail was created using metallic gold fabric paint.

Gold Cross Jewel Layout
Experiment with different colors and placement of the rhinestones. Do not glue them down until a later step. After seeing this, I decided to increase the gold areas for a more opulent appearance and because the blue “sapphires” look better against the gold.

Gold Cross Enhanced Accents
Here you can see how the gold has been enhanced, leaving only a few key areas black. All the inside and outside edges have also been painted gold.

Gold Cross Jeweled Option 1
In this version, three colors of rhinestones, blue, green, and yellow, have been used.

Gold Cross Jeweled Option 2
Here the rhinestone colors were limited to blue and green.

Gold Cross Jeweled Option 3
This is the finished version with blue and yellow rhinestones. The deep yellow coordinates well with the rich metallic gold. Use Elmer’s glue to affix the gems. This completes the Gold Jeweled Cross Design.

Silver Jeweled Cross:
Silver Pastel Jeweled Cross
I had pastels in mind for this cross. I started out by testing different combinations of pastel colored rhinestones. I liked the light blue and purple with the green center.

Pastel Silver Accents
Metallic silver and black make a powerful combination with maximum contrast and reflectance. The rhinestone colors were carried into an alternating painted “gem” pattern created using dark green, blue and purple fabric paint in gemstone shapes.

Pastel Silver Enhanced Accents
The remaining inner portions, including the edges, are painted with acrylic metallic silver paint. Layout the rhinestones, but do not glue them down until a later step. Clear “diamond” rhinestones are glued in the center along with one round blue stone.

Pastel Silver Stripes Part 1
It felt like a little more silver was needed. I painted stripes at each end of the cross and then added more stripes along the outer edges.

Pastel Silver Stripes Part 2
Feeling good about the design, more stripes were added throughout the design. I have never been a big fan of stripes, so I’m not sure why I did this. The nice thing about paint is that you can easily change your mind and simply repaint.

Silver Pastel Jeweled Cross Finished
It took 2 coats of black to cover the stripes. Metallic silver was painted at the ends, and only those edges were painted silver, while the remainder was black. This completes the Silver Jeweled Cross design.

Finished Cross Designs:
Finished Crosses
Each of these crosses has its own unique style, but they barely touch the surface of design possibilities. Take a trip to the craft store to see what kinds of decorations appeal to you as well as the different styles of wood crosses available. In fact, you might have so much fun making the first one that you’ll have to go back to buy more.

Happy Easter & Happy Crafting!

The Bunny Hop – Painted Wooden Rabbit

Before we begin this Easter-themed project, we’ll need a little inspiration. Let’s take a look at a few of Mother Nature’s color scheme choices in the adorable bunny photos below:

Tan Baby Bunny
Baby bunnies are just so cute! That’s a lot of love wrapped in a soft tan and cream coat.

Gray & White Bunny
This stylish rabbit is modeling the very popular gray and white color combo.

Tan & Brown Bunny
Wild rabbits often have a blended fur coat of brown, tan and black to help camouflage them from predators. The one pictured above looks perfectly content to nap where he is without a care in the world.

Black & White Bunny
Last but not least is this precious black and white baby. His delicate features, including his button nose, inner ears and the outline of his eyes, are a soft pink.

Now that we’ve seen a few ideas, let’s get started painting!

How to Paint a Wooden Rabbit:

Raw Wood Bunny
Thick wood has been cut out in the shape of a rabbit and has the advantage of strong, rectangular base. Both sides and all the edges will need to be painted. Due to the raw nature of the wood, it may require a little sanding, especially along the edges.

Bunny Supplies
Supplies:
Wooden Rabbit (17” high x 8” wide x 1/4” thick) (Base is 5-3/4” wide x 4”deep)
Acrylic Paints – brown, black, gray, tan, green & white
Fan paintbrush, small detail paintbrush and thicker brush for base coats
Sandpaper
Optional: Fabric paints – black, brown, white (Refer to Advanced section below)

Painted White Bunny
Step 1 – Paint the rabbit with 2) coats of white acrylic paint, including both sides and all edges.

Painted Back Bunny
Step 2 – Start painting the fur on the back. Experiment with colors and brush techniques. I poured black, brown and gray paint onto an artist’s palette. Dip a fan brush into each color and then apply to wood surface to create a fur-like effect. Because the paints have not been mixed, each new brush stroke will have a slightly different combination of colors, just like real fur. Repeat thus process until the back is completed. The white tail will be added later.

Layout Details Front Bunny
Step 3 – On the front, draw the face (eyes, eyelids, eyelashes, muzzle with nose, mouth, whiskers), ears and feet with a pencil. Paint the inside of the ears and eyelids tan.

Painted Front Bunny
Step 4 – Create the fur by repeating the procedures in Step 2. Be sure to make long brush strokes along the edges of the ears to resemble thick fur. You can leave the eyes, muzzle, and feet white for now. These areas will be detailed in the next step.

Bunny Closeup1
Step 5 – Paint the facial details. I painted the eyes, eyelashes, nose, mouth and whiskers black.

Bunny Closeup 2
Step 5A – This is an alternate version for the eyes and nose. A brown iris has been added to each eye, the eyelashes have been extended, and brown nostrils define the nose. For a more lively expression, don’t forget to put a dot of white in the pupil of each eye.

Finished Bunny
Step 6 – The finished rabbit has white feet with black lines to define the toes. The base was painted with two coats of green.

Finished Bunny Tail
Step 7 – Paint a big, white fluffy tail on the back.

At this point your project is finished and ready to display. If you would like to take this design to the next level, please follow the steps below.

Advanced Rabbit in 3D
Followers of this blog know how much I love creating 3D details on wood projects using fabric paints. If you appreciate three-dimensional effects, this section is for you! Unless otherwise noted, all paints listed below are dimensional fabric paints.

3D Bunny Face
Start by painting 2 thick coats of white fabric paint on the muzzle, and brown paint for the eyes.

3D Bunny Feet
Next paint the feet with 2 thick coats of white paint.

3D Face Details
To complete the face, use black paint for the nose, mouth, whiskers, eyelashes, and the outline around the eyes. Add a black pupil in each eye. Paint a white dot in the center of each pupil, and use brown paint in each nostril.

3D Body Details
Add long brown fur along the inner edges of both ears and define the two front legs using the same paint. Add the black lines to define the toes on each foot.

Detail Facial Fur
Using short strokes, bring the black and brown fur mixture up into the face.

Detail Legs and Feet
Layer additional black and brown fur to define the body, and add the two back feet.

Finished 3D Bunny Front
Because the rear legs are in the background, keep the paint lighter by using tiny strokes with just the brown paint in an upward direction. If you want additional fur texture, you could use acrylic paints and a brush to thicken the fur coat with highlights and lowlights.

Finished 3D Bunny Back
The last step is painting the tail with 3 coats of white fabric paint.

Mission accomplished! This cute little guy is ready to be displayed in your home, bringing joy to your life for years to come.

Happy Easter and Happy Crafting!

Yarn Crafts 101

Yarn Skeins
From pastels to neutrals to the most vibrant colors under the sun, yarn has it all. Natural or manmade fibers and blends are available as thin as thread, and as thick as cord. Whatever your preferences or skill level, there are many amazing opportunities for creating with yarn.

Needlepoint:
Needlepoint Pillow
Needlepoint kits include a preprinted canvas, all the colorful yarns required, and detailed instructions. You will need good lighting, and depending upon the complexity, a certain degree of concentration to ensure the various stitch types are placed correctly upon the canvas. The finished needlepoint can be incorporated into home furnishings, such as pillows, ornaments and wall art.

Needlepoint Deer
While working on your project, the canvas backing will become softer and more pliable. If you plan to have it framed, be sure to have the finished needlepoint blocked to straighten the stitches and restore the design to the intended shape. A good framing shop will be happy to help.

Knitting
Knitting Fabric
There are so many cozy yarn choices, suitable for knitting the plushest scarves or sweaters, and even the blankets for our most precious family members, babies! A skein of yarn and two knitting needles are all you will need, to get started. There are many instructional videos online.

Knitting Snail
Knitting isn’t just limited to wearable items. This adorable snail will be a constant companion for your little ones, and joyfully, for busy mothers, he’s washable too!

Macramé:
Macrame Bracelets
Macramé seemed to be a lost art for a while, but it’s making a comeback. Thick yarns, called cords or ropes, are knotted into interesting patterns. Wearing multiple macramé bracelets, in bold colors and patterns, has become a popular trend.

Macrame Dream Catcher
These dream catchers are perfect examples of this artful craft. Macramé can be used to create wall art, plant hangers, jewelry, and handbags.

Hand Hooked:
Hand Hooked Rug
Hand hooked rugs are made by pulling thick wool yarn or wool strips through a backing fabric such as burlap or linen. The stitches create the surface texture, while a liner fabric covers the back. Each hand hooked creation is a treasured one of a kind. Sizes vary, but a room size rug is a real labor of love.

Hand Hooked Pillow
Due to the bulkiness of the wool and backing fabrics, hand hooked items tend to be larger scale items, such as pillows, rugs, and tote bags. The level of detail is quite impressive. Stitches are made using special hooks, and can be made in a linear fashion or in more random fashion, whichever you prefer.

Latch Hooked:
Latch Hooks
Latch hook kits consist of an open weave canvas, and short lengths of yarn in multiple colors. A tool, called a latch hook, is used to pull individual pieces of yarn through to the front, creating a plush surface similar to cut-pile carpeting. Both of these latch hook kits are available at Michael’s Arts & Crafts.

Embroidery:
Embroidery Jewelry
Clothing and accessories are often embroidered with intricate patterns in bold, colorful designs. Fine, lustrous yarns, called floss, are stitched through fabric by hand or by machine. Today, embroidery can be found on sneakers, tote bags and monogrammed towels and linens.

Embroidery Hand Beaded1
A combination of embroidery and hand-applied beading adorns designer evening gowns, clutch evening bags, and accessories. Many sewing machines include some basic embroidery designs. For optimal selection, there software programs for embroidery machines that will dazzle your fashion sense.

Cross Stitch:
Cross Stitch
If learning multiple stitch types seems too daunting, cross-stitch may be the needlecraft of your dreams. There’s only one stitch to learn, in the shape of an “X,” and it is applied to cotton fabric.

Cross Stitch
Another advantage of cross stitch is that it can be applied as an accent, and does not need to cover then entire surface, nor does it require blocking like needlepoint.

Crocheting:
Crochet Squares
With a crochet needle and a few skeins of yarn, you’ll be completing projects in no time. It’s easy to learn and the repetitive stitches make it an ideal craft to do while watching television. Granny squares are made one at a time and set aside until you have enough for an afghan, making this a very portable past time. Matching yarn is used to sew the squares together in rows and fringe is typically added to the ends.

Crochet Violet
Crocheted garments, accessories, toys and home décor are just a few of the possibilities for this creative and flexible craft. There are a multitude of patterns, and in time you may come up with a few stitches of your own. Once learned, you never forget how to crochet.

Fabric Weaving:
Weaving Fabric
Fabric and rugs have been woven for centuries upon freestanding looms. The vertical yarns, called the warp, are loaded onto the loom, and the horizontal yarns, called the weft, are added one at a time through the use of foot pedals and a shuttle, which is the boat shaped item shown in the lower right corner.

Weaving Fabric
The pattern is determined by the way the yarns are attached to the loom, which is a time consuming process. The beauty of the finished work is well worth all the effort. Commercial textile mills utilize large mechanized looms to produce large quantities of woven goods, but many textile designers continue to create beautiful hand woven textiles as their ancestors did.

Woven Art:
Woven Art
Woven artwork is made using a round or rectangular hand or tabletop loom. The size of the piece is limited to the frame size and wall hangings are the most common type of woven art.

Woven Art
The yarns can be tightly woven together to form a solid surface, as shown in the previous photo. Alternatively, fancy yarns can be randomly added in a loose open-weave to produce a light and airy landscape, similar to a painting.

With the coming of spring in the northern hemisphere, silky yarns are great choices for cardigans on those breezy evenings, and crocheted swimsuit cover-ups for days at the beach. For our friends in the southern hemisphere, fall is the perfect time to curl up under a handmade afghan and dream about your next crafting project. Let your imagination soar.

Thanks for reading!  Happy Crafting!

Luck of the Irish

St Patrick's Day BannerLeprechauns and a pot of gold are certainly hallmarks of St. Patrick’s Day. Below are a few crafting ideas to help you get ready for this upcoming celebration of all things Irish.

Shamrocks
Ireland, known as the Emerald Isle, is famous for its shamrocks. If you are lucky enough, you may even find a four-leaf clover. Notice the almost woven effect created by the natural layering of these leaves. Irish knot work patterns, such as the one illustrated below, are inspired by the natural world.

Carved Marble Knots
Eternity knots can be found on everything in Ireland. The pattern shown here has been carved into marble. It could also be carved or burnt into wood, stenciled onto a wall, or drawn and/or painted onto t-shirts, handbags, or even a comforter. Jewelry makers include knot designs for their beauty as well as the symbolism of eternal love.

Cookies & Irish Coffee
A great way to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day is with a few shamrock cookies and a creamy mug of Irish coffee. In case you didn’t know, this coffee gets its high-octane kick from a shot of Irish whiskey.

Irish Soda Bread
Store bought Irish soda bread is usually made ahead of time and may be too dry. It’s best enjoyed straight out of the oven.

Jewelry Charms
The four-leaf clover is a very popular good luck talisman. A leather cord is a very inexpensive way to make a necklace. The cord can be cut to the desired length, and special cord tips are attached to the ends along with a spring ring or lobster claw clasp. Any charms with a large enough bail can be slid onto the cord and easily changed for a new look. Prefer ready-made jewelry? Ready to wear cords can be purchased with the charms of your choice.

St. Paddy's Day Parade
Of course you’ll need to wear something green to really get into the spirit of the holiday. A little green fabric is all you need – a hat, scarf, socks – anything will do.

Irish Icons
These icons are often found on everything from mugs and T-shirts to bumper stickers. Iron-ons are inexpensive and easy to apply. Craft stores also have stickers, as well as temporary tattoos, which have all the cool designs without any of the commitment.

Irish Embroidery
Embroidery is a great way to dress up any garment with lively, eye-catching graphics and funny sayings.

Shamrocks Crochet
If crocheting were your specialty, these three leaf clovers would make a very unique scarf or hat. They could also be used as decorative accents on a pillow or afghan.

Beer & Shamrocks
There are plenty of colorful holiday-themed sheets in the papercrafting aisle, or you might want to design your own. If there’s a subliminal message in this design, I suppose it would be: “I love shamrocks and beer!” Who doesn’t? (lol)

Art Clay
Working with art clay can be a fun activity for the whole family. Figures like these pictured above could be used as jewelry pendants, or attached to hair accessories or refrigerator magnets, just to name a few.

Irish Angel Stained Glass
Stained glass is a beautiful way to incorporate holiday themes and of course the color green and requisite shamrock for luck.

Ceramic Irish Bear
Belleek, is a well-known brand of Irish pottery, recognized by its neutral cream color, which often includes hand painted shamrocks. You can achieve the same look, at a fraction of the price, by visiting a ceramics studio to paint your own using a similar color scheme.

Lucky Horseshoe
An up-turned horseshoe has always been considered good luck. The addition of a four-leaf clover may be all that’s needed to amplify good fortune to the next level. well, it’s certainly worth a try.

On St. Patrick’s Day, everybody is Irish! So wear something green, enjoy a pint, and keep an eye out for a rainbow – there might just be a pot of gold under it waiting to be discovered!

Happy St. Patrick’s Day and Happy Crafting!

Celebrating Carnival & Mardi Gras

Venice Purple & Gold Mask
Several countries around the world celebrate the pre-Lenten festival of Carnival/Mardi Gras. In fact, many people travel internationally every year to participate in the festivities. One thing all these festivals have in common is a very colorful assortment of costumes and masks. Forget about the office or that seemingly endless “To-Do” list. Toss aside any worries or concerns and enjoy living in the moment. As the musical artist, Prince, said, “Tonight I’m gonna party like it’s nineteen ninety-nine!”

Carnival Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
Carnival Rio Dancer
The crowd goes wild during this high energy, tropical themed extravaganza led by sexy samba dancers, stepping to the beat, arrayed in flamboyantly colored feathers, beads and sequins.

Mardi Gras New Orleans, U.S.A.
Mardi Gras New Orleans Float
Collecting the signature purple, green and gold beads becomes an almost obsessive mission for revelers at Mardi Gras as they enjoy the parades, sample spicy Cajun food, indulge in a cocktail or two, and dance until dawn.

Carnival Germany
Carnival Germany Wooden Masks
Wooden masks scare away the ghosts and darkness of winter, while bright colors welcome the coming of spring. And of course it wouldn’t be a German celebration without plenty of beer.

Carnival Venice, Italy
Venice Purple Gold Mask
The Carnival in Venice is one of the oldest celebrations, featuring elaborate costumes made from lavish fabrics, porcelain masks, and gold leaf accents. This beautiful purple and gold costume has an air of royalty about it. It’s incredibly detailed and is a feast for the eyes.

Venice Black White Gold
A great mask is the key to these celebrations. As with Halloween, masks invite the wearers to step out of their comfort zones. When the parties are over, masks become beautiful wall art, decorated with feathers, rhinestones, braided trim, and hand applied designs.

Purple Green Feathered Mask
The bold feathers and black trim on this half mask focus the viewer’s attention upon the eyes of the wearer, drawing you in to discover more.

Venice Taupe Gold
The sheer volume of taupe feathers creates an impressive headdress, accented by the delicate gold lace and embossed details. From a distance this appears to be a half mask, but upon closer inspection, it’s actually a full-face porcelain mask, and the lips have been painted a complementary shade of gold.

Venice Purple Red Masks
Venetian masks are among the most ornate. While meant to be worn, many have become prized collector’s items in the world of art.

Venice Red Black Gold Costume
If you’re going to wear a mask, why not make a costume to go with it? And don’t forget to accessorize! As an extravagant touch of luxury, many Venetian masks are decorated with genuine gold leaf.

Venetian Skeleton Masks
This bride & groom have gone above and beyond in honoring their wedding vows –“Til death do us part…” (lol)

Venice Purple Gold Mask
Wearing a full-face mask can get a little uncomfortable. Having a coordinating half mask, as a back up, is a great idea.

Venice Red Gold Jester
This beautiful jester mask is a crafter’s dream, incorporating beading, painting, fabric, braided trim, glitter, and decoupage.

Venice Mask Display
Half masks are readily available and comfortable to wear without the need for special makeup or accessories. They also happen to be very easy to decorate yourself. For step-by-step instructions, please read a previous post, “Who’s Behind the Mask?”

Blue Gold Mask
Carnival just might be the adult equivalent of recess on the playground – Come outside and play! Make new friends. Have the time of your life and let’s do it all again next year!

Happy Carnival, Happy Mardi Gras and Happy Crafting!

From Trash to Treasure – Mosaic Tile

Mosaic Wall Tile
Recycling continues to be a buzzword in the news. Mankind is finally waking up to the idea that we not only need to protect our planet, but we also need to clean up the damage already done, if not for ourselves, at least for the sake of our children and all the generations to come.

Broken Tiles
Broken pieces of tile are often the building blocks of mosaic masterpieces. What a great way to recycle something that would normally be considered trash! Mosaic art is similar to Impressionism, which uses little dots of paint instead of tile to create a unified scene when viewed from a distance. Everyday items, such as furniture, jewelry, and backsplashes come alive with the beauty of mosaic tile.

Broken Pottery
Grout & mortar choices may recede into the background or become a defining part of the mosaic design. In the photo above, notice how the abstract pattern of the broken ceramic pieces is dominated by the grout instead of the tile. The colors and smooth, irregular shapes contrast with the rough gray background.

Glass Tile Backsplash
Glass tile is a very popular choice for kitchen backsplashes and bathroom accent walls. Here is one extremely important installation tip for glass tile installation: Ensure the mortar is white. DO NOT use the standard gray because it will change the color of the glass. Keep in mind the grout color may also affect the color of the glass; therefore you might want to make a sample board first, before committing to the final selection.

Basketweave Glass Mosaic
With this glass tile, the basket weave pattern provides instant texture with minimal effort. The blue grout perfectly coordinates with the tile, making it barely noticeable.

Mosaic Building Facade
Our ancestors had to position one piece of tile at a time. Today, modern technology has simplified the mosaic tiling process by producing sheets of tile, eliminating the need to place individual pieces, and ensuring the finished product is evenly spaced and level.

Cardinal Mosaic Mural
The subtle shading and vibrant colors of this cardinal looks more like a watercolor painting than a mosaic tile mural. The grout has been tinted gold to reflect the light and add an extra lavish element to this outstanding artwork.

Mosaic Dragon Sculpture
On old maps, unexplored regions typically included a warning, which read: “Beyond here there be dragons!” Poised in mid-dive, I suppose this mosaic dragon is nothing to fear. It must have taken the artist a very long time to complete this large-scale project.

Mosaic Fish
The soft colors and delicate details create a soothing, peaceful atmosphere in this aquatic garden.

Mosaic Frog Figurines
Decorative figurines, such as these frogs, are perfect for showcasing the artist’s playful use of color, and the textured surface begs to be touched.

Glass Mosaic Table
Impressive geometric patterns, similar to those found in kaleidoscopes and mandalas, are beautifully expressed with mosaic tile.

Mosaic Animal Mural
This animal menagerie has been created using an interesting technique. The mosaics have been individually adhered to a stucco wall, and the space in between, which would normally be filled with grout, has been left open. The three dimensional result is quite beautiful, and the placement of the animals conveys a sense of motion and activity.

Mosaic Mythology Mural
Many ancient cultures created vast mosaic murals to not only decorate but to teach their people historical and mythological lessons.

Mural Religious
Worldwide religions have also made use of mosaics, especially those with metallic finishes, to illuminate interiors with an otherworldly glow, and to depict important concepts and teachings.

Mural Tiger Hunting
As human beings developed their skills throughout history, fine arts paintings, murals and mosaics replaced cave paintings and drawings for recording their observations of the natural world.

Stone Mosaic
Weather can be very hard on exterior mosaic installations, which require periodic maintenance to maintain its beauty and integrity. Grout and mortar can crack, loosening stones and/or tile, which is not only unattractive but can also become a tripping hazard.

Mosaic Swimming Pool
Swimming pools often incorporate mosaic tile coping along the waterline, which can also extend across the entire bottom of the pool in fascinating colors and patterns.

Mosaic Turkish Lanterns
Home accessories, such as picture frames, mirrors, and lamps, present many opportunities for mosaic artwork. Lit from behind, these glass mosaic lanterns brighten rooms and moods with the flick of a switch.

Volkswagon
This Volkswagen is interesting and attractive, but not very practical. Every time you hit a bump or pothole, more tiles are lost. Of course if you ever get lost, there will be a trail of “bread crumbs” to find your way back home. (lol)

River Rock Mosaic
Countertops with thickset mortar beds can accommodate large smooth river rocks and require thicker grout lines. Use a leveling tool as you go to ensure the finished counter will be level.

Starry Sky Mosaic
As in all art forms, there’s always room for whimsy, and an occasional wish or two. If you have been wishing for a beautiful and unique piece of art, give mosaic art a try.  Please click here to read an earlier post on the mosaic tiling process.

Looking for a challenge? If you’ve been saving chipped or broken glass, dishes, ceramic tiles, or pebbles, then you already have the raw materials for your next mosaic project. In fact, you might need to break them into smaller pieces, which is a great way to work out the stresses of the day.   Fit the pieces together like a jigsaw puzzle. It all starts with that first piece of tile. What will you create?

Happy Crafting!

Countdown – Top Six Posts of 2019

Clock
Where does the time go? There’s always another post to be written, another project to develop, and another inspiration to explore. I thought it would be interesting to take a look at the 2019 Top Six posts, in ascending order, based upon Likes. Without further ado, here are your favorites:

Number 6: Daily Dose of Color
Beautiful Sunset
Color plays an integral role in our daily lives. It affects our moods, decisions and actions. Let’s take a look at our activities on a typical day to observe how influential color can be. To read more, please click here.

Number 5: Walk on the Wild Side
Stegosaurus
We love dinosaurs. Want proof? Look at all the books, movies, television shows, and merchandise. At some point, every kid draws and colors his or her favorite dinosaur. Here’s your chance to feel like a kid again. Grab some paints and brushes and let’s go! To read more, please click here.

Number 4: The Beauty of Yarn Crafts
Yarn Crafts
Yarn has come a long way over the years, from single color wool skeins to multicolored, textured fibers, made from manmade and natural sources, suitable for clothing, home décor and accessories. Let’s look at a few of the types of crafts made with yarn. To read more, please click here.

Number 3: Baking for the Holidays
Holiday Baking
Santa Claus isn’t the only one hoping for some holiday goodies. We all love dessert. If you get a head start on your baking, you’ll have plenty to share with your family and friends throughout the long holiday season. Baked goods make great gifts too. To read more, please click here.

Number 2: Birds of a Feather
Flamingo
For some reason, I often find myself drawn to the wood crafts aisle at my local hobby store. Maybe it’s the quick reward for very little effort at an inexpensive cost. Who doesn’t enjoy a little instant gratification? There’s always something new to discover. Learn how to make this adorable flamingo. He may not take flight, but the bright colors and cheerful expression are sure to make you smile. To read more, please click here.

Number 1: Creative Stress Relief
Computer Stress
With such fast-paced lives, we all need a break from our daily stresses. These demands have physical, mental, emotional and spiritual effects. The best solution is a vacation, but that may not be possible. Instead, indulge in a hobby or two to take your mind and body to a happy place. Every day you do things for everyone else. It’s time to put yourself first! You’ll be so glad you did, and you’ll have a lot of fun while doing it. To read more, please click here.

Word Press Blogging
Upcoming posts will include new projects and crafting inspirations. I’ll be sure to include additional articles based upon the above interests, as voted by you, the readers. Your opinions are greatly appreciated, and I look forward to so much more this year. If you have any suggestions for future posts, please let me know? Thanks for reading!

All the best in 2020 and Happy Crafting!