About Crafts Inspire Me

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

Fun with Photo Editing II

Jungle in the City

When it comes to photo editing, creativity truly has no limits.  You can make it rain, perform death-defying stunts, or build a civilization on the rings of Saturn.  That is a powerful tool!  With the right software, such as Corel Paint Shop Pro or Adobe Photoshop, you can turn the ordinary into the extraordinary.  Here are some fun photo-editing ideas to explore: 

Playful Wildlife

Spider & Bird

If you can find two animals or insects with similar coloring, combining the two will be more successful.  Placing the new creatures against a natural background enhances the believability of the illusion. 

Child’s Play

Kids with Butterfly & Giraffe

Kids do the most adorable things.  Photo editing makes the impossible possible.  All you need to do is find a cool background image and insert your family members for some entertaining results.

Guess What I did on Vacation?

Sea Cave

We all take vacation pictures, and of course sometimes they don’t quite come out the way we planned.  With software, you can straighten images and you might as well add a few embellishments just for fun. 

Sweet Dreams

Baby Napping on Swan

Babies are probably the most popular subjects for photography.  Have some fun with your child’s photos on cards, invitations, and to share with family and friends. 

A Great Read

Girl Reading with Wolf

Surprise the book lover in your family with a one-of-a-kind portrait, celebrating their favorite pastime.  The key to this illusion is the light and shadow throughout the composition.

A Trick of the Light

Lighting Irish Tree Tunnel

Lighting makes all the difference for this Irish tree tunnel.  The photo on the left has a fanciful, playful atmosphere, where you might expect to spot unicorns or leprechauns.  The image on the right looks and feels dark, desolate, and ominous – a perfect haunt for banshees. 

Project Runway

Airplane Fashions

Everyone is familiar with runway fashions, but this bride takes us above and beyond our wildest expectations.

By the Light of the Moon

Moonlit Prom

Going to a prom or a formal event is a milestone event.  Commemorate that special evening with an equally memorable keepsake.

Sleeping Beauty?

Sleeping Beauty

This photo looks so real that it gives me shivers! 

He Said She Said

Hiker & Velociraptor

She says: “If I remain very still, he won’t see me!”  He says: “Hey!  This must be my lucky day!  Breakfast is served!”

What is so Funny?

Lion & Girl Laughing

Instead of fear, this image is amusing.  The tilt of their heads, the sunlight upon fur and hair, and the clever way the weeds frame the subjects makes you wonder if they know something we don’t. 

Fairytales with Attitude

Fairytales

The neutral color palette unifies this otherworldly image.  The tiniest details, from the individual strands of her hair to the sunlight streaming through the leaves of a tree, have been meticulously rendered.  The light in her eyes and the special effects surrounding the apple imply fierce confidence and power.  In this version of the fairy-tale, Snow-White kicks the evil Queen’s butt. 

T-Rex Attack

T-Rex Attack

I realize high-definition technology is constantly evolving, but this is way over the top!  The woman looks terrified, and the T-Rex is equally menacing.  The stark walls keep your attention focused upon the action without distractions.  I think it would be interesting to shine light upon the T-Rex to cast a larger-than-life shadow upon the fireplace, which would tower over the woman. 

Motocross Racing

Motorcross Dirt Race Track

Tires grind the track surface in search of traction, sending dirt flying, as this motocross competitor races to the finish line in the palm of your hand!  Wow! Very realistic!

Motocross on Steroids

Motocross Ocean Race

In an alternate reality, why race upon a fixed dirt track when you can blaze a new trail across the waves, with nothing but white foam and sea spray in your wake?   

The Desert Meets the Ocean

Tortoise & Dolphins

Bringing water to the desert is no easy task, especially if you have to carry this heavy burden upon your back.  The well-defined tortoise shell, the bubbles in the water, and the swimmer with dolphins combine to create this amazing three-dimensional image.  The light penetrates the water, as if the sun is shining upon the ocean’s surface.  The stark contrast of the blues and browns draws the viewer into this fascinating image. 

I hope you enjoyed this exploration of photo editing software and feel inspired to give it a try.  You probably have lots of photos on your phone, tablet, or laptop right now, just waiting to be transformed into a treasured memory, a humorous gift, or a unique work of art.  What will it be?  You decide! 

For more photo editing, please read the first part of this series: “Fun with Photo Editing.”

Thanks for Reading & Happy Crafting!

A Change of Seasons – Autumn Wreaths

Colorful Leaves
It’s hard to believe the summer is over. Where did the time go? We pack away our beach toys and the kids go back to school. Autumn’s arrival signals the coming changes in nature. It’s time to change your décor and update your home with a few of your own handmade creations. Below are a few photos to inspire your next fall wreath project:

Fall Leaves Wreath
Silk leaves can be easily arranged from lightest to darkest. This decoration can be hung upon a door or used as a centerpiece on your dining table. Additional leaves can be sprinkled upon the table to enhance the autumn ambiance.

Leafy Wreath
This wreath has a red, green and yellow color scheme.  Coleus plants have the most beautiful leaves in blended shades of purple, burgundy, green, pink and red.

Berries & Peppers Wreath
Orange peppers and berries bring bursts of color to this lush green leaf wreath. In cooler climates, genuine fruits and veggies will last from several days to several weeks depending upon the type. Warm locations will require the use of faux produce, which will last for years to come.

Wreath with Heart
A straw or grapevine ring serves as a base for this festive wreath made from dried grasses and berries. Raffia ribbon and a simple wooden heart and nautilus seashell complete the look.

Wreath Pinecones
If you happen to have pine trees on your property, collect the pinecones to make this lovely wreath, with the addition of seedpods, and faux cherries and berries for pops of color.

Wreath Ribbon
This is a great beginner’s wreath and it’s easy to change for every season. Simply wrap a straw wreath with overlapping ribbon. The large bow also serves as a hanger.

Wreath Twigs
Whether you live near the beach or near a forest, driftwood or twigs are available in abundance. A little Spanish moss finishes this decoration in a style suitable for Mother Nature herself.

Wreath Wheat Flowers
This wreath is all about the abundant harvest, made with dried grasses, wheat, and a few silk flowers. If you have a wheat allergy, substitute corncobs or dried flowers.

Orange Floral Wreath
Celebrate Autumn’s favorite color with orange flowers and berries, accented with touches of maroon and green.

Gourds Pumpkins Wreath
Greet your guests at the door with a lovely fall wreath. To make one, start with a grapevine wreath base. Tie or glue on pumpkins, gourds, pinecones and berries. As an added burst of color, glue red and orange silk leaves on poster board and secure it to the back.

Mickey Mouse Wreath
Mickey Mouse fans will love this festive decoration, which will adorn your home with a bit of whimsy from fall through Halloween.

Floral Veggie Wreath
Hydrangeas, berries, and dried fruit adorn an English ivy wreath. As Thanksgiving approaches, replace purple and blue flowers with more seasonal reds and oranges.

Wreath Whimsical
While you are gathering your wreath making supplies, consider including something unexpected, such as this mushroom.

Hedgehog Wreath
How about this adorable little hedgehog? You could also use a squirrel, a baby fox or fawn, or any little woodland creature you can find at craft stores or online. In a place of honor, centered upon your front door, it’s sure to make your guests smile.

Purple Blue & Green Wreath
Who says fall wreaths must be particular colors?  This gorgeous purple, blue, and green wreath would look amazing all year long.  What is your favorite color?  There are no rules, so go for it!

So many fall decorations can be made with found objects, such as pinecones, acorns, leaves, etc.  It’s a nice time of year to take a walk and admire Nature’s changing colors.  Why not get the whole family together to enjoy the fresh air and collect a few twigs or ornamental leaves along the way?  Time spent with family is a precious gift, and the crafts you make will remind you of these shared adventures.

Thanks for Reading & Happy Crafting!

What is for Dessert?

Dessert Collage

Dessert is a wonderful thing.  Do you ever find yourself checking out the dessert menu before looking at the entrees?  I do.  In fact, I had a craving for something sweet while working on this post.  You have been warned!  Proceed if you dare!  Below, you will find lots of desserts to tempt your willpower. 

Baked Alaska

Baked Alaska

Wondering what Baked Alaska is?  Start with a slice of angel or sponge cake, add ice cream, cover it with a thick layer of meringue and bake until it lightly browns. 

Black Forest Cake

Black Forest Cake

Chocolate, whipped cream and cherries – does anyone have a fork?

Boston Cream Pie

Boston Cream Pie

Boston Cream Pie is actually a cake, made with two layers of vanilla sponge cake, a custard filling, and topped with chocolate icing. 

Cake Pops

Cake Pops

Undecided whether to have chocolate or cake?  Have both with chocolate cake pops. 

Carrot Cake

Carrot Cake

Shredded carrots, raisins, and crushed pineapple are the secrets to making this moist and delicious cake, topped with cream cheese frosting. 

Cherry Cheese Tarts

Cherry Cheese Tarts

Most people love cheesecake.  These tarts have the delicious flavor, and they’re finger foods as well.  You could purchase ready-made mini piecrusts and make your own filling.  They can also be made in a cupcake pan.  Line the pan with paper cupcake wrappers.  Drop a vanilla wafer in the bottom of each cupcake.  Pour in your filling and bake.  After they cool, top with cherries or strawberries and enjoy!

Chocolate Mousse

Chocolate Mousse

Who could resist the rich, creamy taste of chocolate mousse? 

Chocolate Tarts

Chocolate Tarts

Most people love chocolate, and this dessert does not disappoint.  Chocolate whipped cream is sandwiched between layers of cake and piped on top, garnished with chocolate shavings and raspberries. 

Crème Brulee

Creme Brulee

Creamy egg custard topped with a crunchy, caramelized sugar crust is the perfect combination for this mouthwatering dessert. 

Croissants

Croissants

Butter croissants are finger licking good, but they also come with delicious fillings, such as chocolate, almond, or raspberry. 

Fresh Fruit

Fresh Fruit

As the seasons change, fresh fruits appear in abundance, courtesy of Mother Nature. 

Ice Cream

Ice Cream Sundae

Ice cream is an easy dessert to keep on hand for unexpected guests.  Whether it is served in dishes, cones, or sundaes, you can’t go wrong with ice cream. 

Lemon Bars

Lemon Bars

Lemon bars are a popular treat for “kids” of all ages. 

Lemon Meringue Pie

Lemon Meringue Pie

Sweet and tart are perfectly balanced in lemon meringue pie. 

Napoleons

Napoleon

Napoleons consist of alternating layers of light as air puff pastry crust and vanilla cream, topped with powdered sugar icing swirled with chocolate. 

Pecan Pie

Pecan Pie

If you like sweet and salty, this is the dessert for you.  The filling is made with eggs, butter, brown sugar, and pecans.  For a rich caramel flavor, use dark brown sugar. 

Petits Fours

Petits Fours

Petits Fours are the perfect marriage of cake and candy. Fondant icing covers bite-size cubes of yellow, sponge or pound cake. While the fondant is still wet, decorations can be applied using piped icing, or a sprinkling of either candy or nuts. As an added burst of flavor, jelly or butter cream can be spread over the cake prior to applying the fondant.

Popsicles

Popsicles

Fruit juice and popsicle molds are all you need to make whip up this cool treat. 

Pumpkin Pie with Homemade Crust

Pumpkin Pie

Pumpkin pie has a delicious flaky crust.  There are some great baking tools, such as fluted piecrust cutters for edging, and spring-loaded piecrust cutters to create cutouts like the leaf shown in the photo above. 

Spiced Pumpkin Roll with Orange Cream Cheese Icing

A spiral design is the hallmark of this impressive dessert.  Bake the cake in a jellyroll pan lined with parchment paper.  After baking, lay the cake face down on a towel.  If necessary, trim any ragged edges.  Starting with a long side, roll the cake in the towel and cool completely on a wire rack.  Unroll and remove the towel and lay cake flat.  Spread the filling over the top within 1/2” of the edges.  Suggested fillings include whipped cream, pie filling, and pudding.  Carefully roll the cake and place it with the seam side down on a platter.  Garnish as desired. 

Rice Pudding

Rice pudding, fresh from the oven, is one of life’s great comfort foods. 

Strawberry Shortcake

Fresh fruit garnishes and a little powdered sugar is all you need to top off this summertime favorite.  

Tiramisu

Espresso, rum, cocoa, and creamy mascarpone filling make this dessert out of this world.  

Hungry for more desserts?  Please click here to read part one, “Save Room for Dessert.” 

Thanks for Reading & Happy Crafting!

One Craft Leads to Another

Colorful Sunset

Because we live in such a beautiful world, it comes as no surprise that we are inspired to create using every color of the rainbow.  Many people have not had the opportunity to explore or develop their artistic abilities.  Starting small enables you to build up your confidence while learning new skills.  Coloring is a fun and easy introduction to the world of arts and crafts. 

Let’s look at the coloring media options, and then we will explore different crafts where you can apply your coloring savvy.  

Thin Core Colored Pencils

Colored Pencils Thin Core

Thin core, colored pencils have hard lead, which is great for drawing fine details.  These are inexpensive and sold in sets.  If you are looking for saturated colors, or need to fill large areas with color, use thick core pencils shown below.

Thick Core Colored Pencils

Colored Pencils Thick Core

Thick core, colored pencils have soft lead, which is essential for shading and blending.  When purchased individually, these pencils can be expensive, but craft stores often have big sales on colored pencil sets, such as Prismacolor, at very affordable prices. 

Crayons

Crayons

Crayons have been kid’s favorites for decades.  If you have them on hand, grab your favorite color and plunge into the world of coloring. 

Gel Pens

Gel Pens

The fine points on gel pens can be used for drawing intricate details or color accents.  These pens include some unusual inks, including metallic, neon, iridescent, and glitter. 

Markers

Markers

Markers produce bold colors across large areas with only a few strokes.  You can also layer colored pencil over marker to create interesting effects.  Markers may soak through paper, so be sure to place a liner under the page to prevent damage to the surface underneath. 

Sketchbook versus Coloring Page

Blank Page vs Printed Lion Page

Now you could buy a sketchbook and start doodling.  However, the dreaded blank page can be intimidating.  Coloring books are a great place to start.  As you develop your unique artistic style, you might want to pursue new crafts, which will challenge your newfound skills.  Below are side-by-side coloring pages with related crafts. 

Coloring & Watercolor Painting

Coloring & Watercolor Painting

Do you enjoy blending colors to find that perfect shade?  Painting may be the perfect choice for you.  Watercolors can be transparent, translucent, or opaque, depending upon the amount of water used.  You may want to lightly outline your overall design with watercolor pencils prior to painting, but don’t press too hard as the lines might show through the paint.  Watercolor paper is strong enough to withstand being wet and dries flat.  Acrylic and oil paints are alternate options. 

Coloring & Mural Painting

Coloring & Mural Painting

Do you find yourself drawn to bold colors and designs?  Is your motto: “Go big or go home?” You might want to try mural painting.  If wall space is limited, paint on canvas. 

Coloring & Soft Pastels

Coloring & Soft Pastels

Soft dreamy palettes are easily achieved using soft pastels as shown above.  These pigments come in easy-to-use sticks, allowing you to draw and color at the same time. 

Coloring & Mixed Media

Coloring & Mixed Media

Do you tend to choose geometric images with sharp, clean lines?  Mixed media is up for the challenge.  Technical pens, markers and watercolors were combined to render this beautiful image of Notre Dame Cathedral. 

Coloring & Stained Glass

Coloring & Stained Glass

Nature is a common theme for stained glass.  The complex patterns, and bold translucent colors are illuminated by sunlight, creating a kaleidoscope of light. 

Coloring & Mosaics

Coloring & Mosaics

If you enjoy intricate designs, mosaics fit together like puzzle pieces, which work together to create a larger image, viewed at a distance. 

Coloring & Fantasy Portraiture

Coloring & Fantasy Portrait

Yes, fantasy portraiture is a thing.  With the appropriate wardrobe, accessories, hair, makeup, and special effects created with photo editing software, fantasy becomes reality.  Make someone’s dream come true. 

Coloring & Abstract Art

Coloring & Abstract Art

Abstract art is very popular, and can be created with any medium, including oils, acrylics, watercolors, and photo editing software. 

Coloring & Embroidery

Coloring & Embroidery

Bold solid colors, floral motifs, and three-dimensional details easily translate to needle crafts, such as embroidery or needlepoint. 

Coloring is relaxing, reduces stress, and provides instant gratification.  Who knows what crafts you might explore next?  One thing I have found to be true in all my artistic endeavors: “Draw or paint what you FEEL, not what you know.”  Follow this advice and you will never be disappointed. 

Special thanks to Trudy, a local crafter, for providing all the coloring pages! 

Thanks for Reading & Happy Crafting!

Abracadabra – Harry & Hermione’s Magic Wands

Hermione and Harry never go anywhere without their magic wands. 

Logo/Sign at Ollivander’s Wand Store, Universal Studios

Every Hogwarts’ wizard goes to Ollivander’s to choose his or her magic wand. 

Magic Wands at Ollivander’s Wand Store

While doing research, I was surprised to see that many of the wands in the Harry Potter series were rather lackluster.  I expected wizards to have exquisite, highly personalized wands to express their personalities as well as their power. 

Wooden Chopsticks

For this project, we will transform wooden chopsticks into magic wands for Hermione Grainger and Harry Potter.  Use these techniques to create a wand for any character and add whatever embellishments feel right to you. 

How to Make Hermione’s Magic Wand:

Inspiration

Hermione’s wand has a fairly simple design, consisting of English ivy wrapped around a monotone magic wand. 

Supplies

Supplies:
Wooden Chopstick (9” long x 3/8” thick)
Acrylic Paint: yellow ochre
Bottle fabric paint: glow-in-the-dark white
Paintbrushes
Clear Spray Paint: Matte Finish
Optional 1) Faceted rhinestone & Acrylic Paint: metallic peridot.  See “Advanced Painting” below.

Painting Chopstick

Step 1 – If the chopsticks are lacquer-coated, you may need to prime the surface first, and then apply two coats of acrylic paint.  Puncture a hole in a box to hold the wand upright for drying, but don’t forget to paint the tip later.  To prevent fingerprints and scratches, handle with a tissue. 

Painting Vines & Leaves

Step 2 – Starting at the top, use three-dimensional paint to create an ivy vine wrapping around the wand.  Add an interesting twist by using glow in the dark white paint, but if you prefer, you can use plain white.  If you want to be true to Hermione’s original wand design, wait until the 3D paint dries, and then paint the vines with yellow ochre to match the rest of the wand. 

Hermione’s Finished Wand

To seal the paints, spray the wand with clear spray paint.  At this point, the wand is complete.  If you have been following this blog for a while, you know there is usually an enhanced version, which is shown below in the “Advanced Painting” section. 

How to Make Harry’s Magic Wand:

Inspiration

Harry’s wand has a textured, two-tone design.  Rough “tree bark” at the top serves as a handgrip, and the rest is smooth wood. 

Supplies

Supplies:
Wooden Chopstick (9” long x 3/8” thick)
Acrylic Paint – licorice black, coffee bean brown
1) Bottle fabric paint – brown
Paintbrushes
Clear Spray Paint: Matte Finish
Optional – Glue gun & 1) Faceted rhinestone. See “Advanced Painting” below.

Creating Texture

Step 1 – Using three-dimensional paint, draw long lines at top to create the basic texture as shown above. 

Adding More Texture

Step 2 – Fill in with more texture, to create a rough tree bark appearance, including pointed edges across the top of the wand.  Allow paint to dry overnight. 

Painting Black

Step 3 – Paint the entire wand with black acrylic.

Dry Brushing Brown

Step 4 – Dry brush the rough bark with brown acrylic paint, allowing the black recessed areas to show through, as they do with real bark.  Seal the paints with clear spray paint. 

Harry & Hermione’s Finished Wands

This photo shows the two completed wands side by side.  I wanted to take this project to the next level by creating more texture on Harry’s wand and more visual interest for Hermione’s. 

Advanced Painting:

Hermione’s Wand – Defining the Leaves

Step 1 – Make the leaves more prominent by applying a thicker coat of the same three-dimensional glow in the dark paint on each individual leaf. 

Close-Up Vines & Rhinestone

Step 2 – Create a glowing cap on the end of the wand and place a rhinestone in the center as shown.  In case you didn’t know, fabric paint can be used in place of glue. 

Glowing Wand

Step 3 – After being exposed to light, the vines, and leaves glow in the dark.  You can test the glow by holding the wand under a bright light for several seconds and then switch off the lamp.  Adjust the paint as needed. 

Accent Painting the Leaves

Step 4 – Something still needed to be added, but I didn’t know what it was.  Finally, I decided to apply a soft pastel green to the leaves, providing color as well as a subtle shimmer.  Seal paints with clear spray paint.  By day or night, this wand has stylish and surprisingly powerful. 

Harry’s Wand – Creating Thicker Tree Bark

Step 1 – Using a glue gun, add long lines for more texture upon the handgrip. 

Roughening the Texture

Step 2 – Use brown three-dimensional paint to roughen up the smooth lines of glue, to resemble tree bark more closely. 

Painting Black

Step 3 – Paint the entire wand with black acrylic.

Dry Brushing Brown

Step 4 – Dry brush only the rough bark handle with brown acrylic paint, allowing the black recessed areas to show through, as they do with real bark.  Use glow in the dark fabric paint to attach a rhinestone to the end of the wand as shown above.  Seal paints with clear spray paint. 

Harry’s Finished Wand

The thickened “tree bark” looks better, and the sleek black wand is the perfect choice for a powerful wizard. 

Harry & Hermione’s Finished Wands

These two wands work well together, just like Harry and Hermione. 

Close-Up – Both Finished Wands

I hope you have found a few inspirational ideas to create your own wands.  Do you have a favorite wizard, or a favorite magical literary character?  What kind of magic wand do you think that character would choose?  Please let me know in the comments section.  Enjoy the creative process, and let your ideas run wild. 

For more Harry Potter crafts, please check out this post: “Harry Potter’s Magical Creatures.”

Thanks for Reading & Happy Crafting!

World of Color: Meanings, Perceptions & Expectations – Part 3

Mother Nature has an interesting way of mixing colors, which inspire our fashions, home furnishings, and interior design.  Check out the wolf photo above.  His fur is a perfect blend of black, brown, gray, and white.  We typically contrast neutrals with more vibrant colors, but as you can see, they can stand on their own.  Let’s explore the hidden meanings, common perceptions and our expectations of the neutral color palette. 

Color: BLACK

Mystery & Superstition – What is it about black cats that inspires other-worldly tales of witches, monsters and things that go bump in the night?  Everyone loves mystery and suspense, always wondering what is behind the curtain.  Black piques the interest and keeps them guessing. 

Fear of the Unknown & Protection – Ghost stories shared around campfires are a common summertime activity.  The human mind can imagine all sorts of things hidden within the shadows.  On the other hand, darkness offers protection, a type of shield, which is why black onyx was often carried by ancient travelers to ensure safe passage. 

Formal & Luxurious – Even if it is only for one special night, black tuxedos and evening gowns are luxuries, making the wearer look and feel like fashion royalty.

Exotic & Sexy – The “little black dress,” a staple in most women’s wardrobes, is the perfect example of this color’s attention getting, seductive nature. 

Color: BROWN

Comforting & Casual – The color brown invites you to come in, sit by the fire, and sip hot cocoa, while roasting marshmallows and enjoying the cozy atmosphere. 

Natural Beauty & Tranquility– The beauty and serenity found in nature fills us with feelings of awe and joy, inspiring new ideas and a fresh outlook. 

Relaxing & Soothing – You work hard and often play hard too.  Forget the world for a while.  Relax, unwind, and restore your body, mind and spirit.

Down-to-Earth & Self-Confident – Be true to yourself, grounded, levelheaded, and practical. 

Color: GRAY

Balance & Sophistication – Cool grays create sleek sophisticated style. 

Uncertainty & Ethereal – The warm grays, such as these trees, are earthy and grounding, while the cool gray fog produces a more ethereal quality. 

Wisdom & Maturity – They say an elephant never forgets.  Imagine the stories she could tell!

Timeless & Calming – Walking along the beach, we collect seashells formed eons ago, as we let the water wash our cares away. 

Color: WHITE

Simplicity & New Beginnings – Life doesn’t have to be complicated.  Feel footloose and carefree as the dawn brings new opportunities. 

Peace & Clarity – White doves are symbols of peace and the spirit world. 

Purity & Remembrance – White roses adorn bridal bouquets.  For some cultures, white flowers are memorials for deceased family members. 

Cool & Crisp – White clothing is commonly worn during the summertime because it not only looks cooler, but also reflects the heat of the sun, making you feel cooler too. 

The Great Film Debate:

Black & White Film versus Full Color Film

Black and white film was the standard.  The invention of color film was a real game changer.  Everything came to life in “living” color, resulting in an interesting question: Should the old black and white films be colorized?  The purists say no because black and white are an integral part of the story.  Adventurous movie lovers say give us vibrant colors and don’t forget the “CGI” special effects!  Do you have a preference?  Please write your thoughts in the comments section. 

In case you missed the two previous World of Color posts, Part One covers the warm color palette: red, orange, and yellow, and Part Two discusses the cool color palette: green, blue, and violet.

Thanks for Reading & Happy Crafting!

Birds of a Feather – Decorative Wood Crafts


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. New trends and seasonal favorites compete for your attention on the shelves.

Painted Inspirational Words
The popularity of the television show, “Fixer Upper,” has brought farmhouse chic to the forefront of home design trends. As a result, oversize wood letters and words have become very popular wall art. If a particular word or phrase has special meaning for you, spell it out on a wall as a daily inspiration to share with your family and friends.

Birds on Wire
Looking for a quick and easy way to add some pizzazz to any flat wood surface? Apply contact paper or left over wallpaper for interesting colors and patterns.

Wooden Bird & Fish
For a distressed look, keep the color palette soft as if they faded over time, allow the paint to dry, and then use sandpaper to “age” the surface.

Painted Wood Boxes
The base coat for decorative boxes can be painted using brushes or spray paint. Intricate details and complex designs can be applied using fine point paint pens in solid or metallic finishes. Rhinestones and beads will provide a touch of sparkle.

Wood Owl
This adorable little owl has a painted face and the patterned wings were created with contact paper. For clean, crisp edges on the eyes and beak, use stencils.

Wooden Eggs
Painted eggs are a tradition in many cultures. Applying wax in intricate patterns and dipping the exposed areas into dyes created these beautiful designs.

How to Paint a Wooden Flamingo
Now that you’ve seen several woodcraft examples, it’s time to try your hand at decorating. Craft stores and Dollar Tree stores have several freestanding wood animals, including a flamingo, rhino, hippo, stegosaurus, peacock, elephant and more.

Flamingos
As with all projects, it helps to have a little inspiration. Seeing live flamingos really helps with color and feather pattern decisions as well as basic biology.

Raw Wood Flamingo
As you can see, the thick wood has been cut out in the shape of a flamingo and has the advantage of strong, sturdy legs, making this a freestanding, three-dimensional piece. 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.

Supplies:
Wooden Flamingo (7-1/2” high x 4-1/2” wide x 1-3/8” thick)
Acrylic Paint – orange, black, & white (plus optional yellow for eyes)
1) Bottle fabric paint – orange
1) Bottle fabric paint – pink
Paintbrush
Sandpaper

First Coat of Paint
Step 1 – Paint the flamingo with orange acrylic paint, including both sides and all edges.

Second Coat of Paint
Step 2 – Apply a second coat of orange acrylic paint, and add details to the face. The legs have been painted gray.

Textured Paint
Step 3 – Create a feathered texture by applying orange fabric paint. The paint on the head and neck was applied in a random dotted pattern because these areas are smoother than the lower body. Use long strokes on the torso, ensuring to go in the direction of the feathers. Refer to the inspiration photo as needed. Allow the paint to dry overnight. Using a small paintbrush, and orange acrylic paint, add the thin leg and feet details on the sides, front and back of each leg. This gives the illusion of thin legs like the live birds.

Second Coat Textured Paint
Step 4 – Create more texture by repeating the orange fabric paint process in Step 3. Add additional details with pink acrylic paint: Dot the pink over the head and neck, and create the wings on the torso. Refer to the inspiration photo as needed.

Finished Flamingo
Step 5 – Apply a second coat of pink fabric paint, thickening the wings and increasing the pink highlights on the head and neck. Allow the paint to dry overnight. Using a paintbrush, give the beak a second coat of white and black acrylic paint. To give the eyes more dimension, add a large dot of yellow fabric paint. Remember to add a black dot in the center of each pupil.

This completes your flamingo project. He may not take flight, but the bright colors and cheerful expression are sure to make you smile.  For more painted wood crafts, please click here.

Thanks for Reading & Happy Crafting!

Harry Potter’s Magical Creatures

Diagon Alley
During frustrating travel restrictions, wouldn’t it be nice to wave a magic wand to restore order once again to our lives.  I suppose the next best thing is delving into a magical book or watching a movie about everyone’s favorite teen wizard, Harry Potter.

Harry Potter Owl & Griffin
While I appreciate all the characters created by J.K. Rowling, I must admit my favorites are the mysterious, magical creatures that inhabit that fantasy world.  Whether real or imagined, each is endowed with exceptional powers and abilities – some for good and others not so much.

Harry Potter Goblin & Dragon
Don’t you just love goblins for balancing the books and dragons to keep it interesting?

Fire Breathing Dragon
Fire-breathing dragons are awesome, but perhaps we need to find something a little less flammable? lol

Harry Potter Monster Book
Every Harry Potter fan dreams of living in his magical world. You have read the books and seen the movies, but to experience it in the real world, you’ll need to make the trip to Universal Studio’s Wizarding World of Harry Potter. If travel isn’t on your agenda, perhaps you could bring a piece of Harry’s world into your own.

Harry Potter Monster Book
You can’t be a wizard without a few enchanted books. Who could forget the ferocious monster book? Ever wondered if you could make one?

How to Make a Monster Book Fit for a Wizard:

Raw Wood Book Box
Unfinished Wood Book Box
The moon and the stars must have aligned to make your wish come true with the discovery of this wooden book box, available through Michaels for $6.49. It’s the perfect size and thickness, and offers a strong foundation for building a monster book. As a bonus, there’s a secret compartment inside for storing your favorite spells (recipes), magic charms (office supplies), or wizardly collectibles.

Supplies:
Wooden Book Box (9.75″ x 7.5″ x 2.88″)
Black Paint – brush on Acrylic or spray paint
Sharpie Metallic gold marker – medium point
Vampire Teeth
Faux fur
4) Packing peanuts
4) Glass marbles – orange
1) Bottle fabric paint – black
1) Bottle fabric paint – white
1) Leather or vinyl belt
Glue gun
Scissors
Paintbrush

Book Box Painted Black
Book Painted Black
Paint the box black, inside and out. This dark color will make a great contrasting background for the gold paint applied in the next step.

Gilded Pages
Gilded Pages
To create the appearance of gilded pages, draw horizontal lines along all three sides of the book, using a Sharpie metallic gold pen. Don’t worry about crooked lines. Pages in old books become crinkled and curled. Imperfect lines will provide an aged look.

Toothy Expression
Attach Teeth
The next step is attaching teeth. Center the mouth as shown. The large fangs are from Fire Mountain Gems, and the smaller teeth are actually clear quartz crystal chips, painted to match. To simplify this step, purchase vampire teeth at a Halloween store or Amazon.

Hair Club for Monsters
Fur Cover
Faux fur from JoAnn Arts & Crafts is the perfect color and texture for this monster. Cut the piece large enough to allow a hem on all four sides. Be sure the fur will not interfere with the operation of the hinges. Please note: the raw edges of fur shed like crazy. Once they are hemmed and attached to the book the shedding stops. (Yeah!)

Faux Fur
Trim & Hem Fur
The sides could be hand sewn, but these hems were made with a glue gun.

Shaped & Glued Packing Peanuts
Packing Peanuts as Eye Sockets
I decided this monster would have four eyes. To make the eye sockets, use four packing peanuts. Each peanut is pinched in half and glued to hold its shape. Glue the four together end to end as shown.

Painted Black
Painted Packing Peanuts
Paint the foam with black fabric paint. Use a toothpick to keep the paint off your fingers.

Orange Glass Eyes
Marble Eyes
I found four orange glass marbles with red streaks resembling bloodshot eyes. Each was glued into the sockets, and outlined with white fabric paint. A white dot was added to each marble to give it that creepy glint in the eye appearance.

Final Assembly
Attach Eyes & Fur
Attach the eyes to the fur, and then secure the fur on top of the box.

Accessorize
Finished Monster Book
Last step: Wrap an old leather belt around the book to keep your monster under control.

For diehard Harry Potter fans with model building and wiring skills, there is one more step that would take this monster book to the ultimate level: mechanization!  Hide a motor inside the box to operate remote controlled wheels and hinges for the jaws.  Unleash the beast!  lol

Congratulations!  You’re now the proud owner of your very own Monster Book.  Be sure to keep it on a short leash because we all know how much it loves to shred – shoes, feet, paper – anything within reach.  For decades, kids have been telling their teachers, “The dog ate my homework!”  With a monster book as a pet, this excuse might be believable!

Do you have a favorite Harry Potter creature?  Please share your thoughts in the comments section.  Until next time…

For more Harry Potter crafts, please check out this post: “Abracadabra – Hermione & Harry’s Magic Wands.” 

Thanks for Reading & Happy Crafting!

World of Color: Meanings, Perceptions & Expectations – Part 2

Sunrise
There are times when the sky is so blue that you find yourself daydreaming every time you pass a window. And then there are days so gray and gloomy that it’s hard to believe the sun could be hiding behind those clouds. If you have ever flown on a rainy day, you know how amazing it is to see the sunlight burst across the sky as the plane reaches its cruising altitude, high above the cloud cover. The people on the ground have no idea what a gorgeous day it is. It’s all a matter of perspective.

Part One of this series covered the warm color palette: red, orange, and yellow. Those colors encourage taking action, family activities, celebrations, romance, and getting noticed. In Part Two, you will learn about the hidden meanings, common perceptions and our expectations associated with the cool color palette: green, blue, and violet. When it comes to psychology, there are no “neutral” colors.

Color: GREEN
Four Leaf Clover
Good Fortune & Abundance – “Overnight” successes usually start as ideas, followed by a series of goal-driven steps, which culminate in bringing the dream to fruition. Maybe the luck of the Irish is in knowing when to take a leap of faith?

Emerald & Diamond Ring
Wealth & Prosperity – Prosperity means different things to different people. For some, it’s shiny cars or expensive baubles. For others, it’s getting that big promotion at work. Perhaps one of the best ways to feel prosperous is to surround yourself with family and friends to accompany you on this journey called life.

Sunlight streaming through trees
Grounding & Rebalancing – Feeling out of sorts? Take a walk in the woods. The soft sensation of the grass beneath your feet and rustling leaves in the breeze will rebalance your mind and body.

Mountain Landscape
Natural Beauty, Calming & Relaxing – Scenic landscapes have the magical ability of slowing down the hectic pace of our everyday lives, quieting our minds and relaxing our bodies. When a trip outdoors is not a possibility, viewing landscape paintings and photographs can have the same beneficial effects.

Green Grapes
New Opportunities & Indulgence – Grapevines are the ultimate opportunity seekers. Birds scatter the seeds, and the vines grow wildly, climbing over any and all obstacles to reach the sun. At the end of the day, as you enjoy a glass of wine, remember we owe our thanks to the lowly grapevine’s hardy and tenacious nature.

Cliffside Waterfall
Renewal, Refreshing & Personal Growth – Challenge yourself. Go hiking with friends. Take that trip you’ve been dreaming about. Make time to truly experience the beauty of the world around you. Let your cares melt away as you enjoy some very well-deserved “Me Time.”

Color: BLUE
Butterfly Fantasy
Fantasy & Inspiration – The most fertile ground in this world lies in your imagination. Always the explorer, you never know what wonders lie around the next bend, just waiting to be discovered. What comes next? You decide!

Hot Air Balloon Dreamscape
Dreams – In dreams, we’re all superheroes. Your feet never touch the earth, and you are free to fly whenever and wherever you please. There are no rules. Anything is possible. Keep on dreaming.

Sailboats on the Ocean
Refreshing & Relaxing – The gray days of winter are quickly forgotten with the arrival of the brilliant blue skies of spring. When it comes to our precious vacation days, most people are drawn to oceans, lakes, waterfalls, and even the hot tub in your backyard for the soothing, refreshing effects of water.

Sunrise above the earth
Mystery & Wonder –Our bodies, like our planet, are 70% water. We’re more alike than we are different. Seven billion people share this world and we’re changing it for the better, one person at a time.

Swan on a lake
Tranquility, Solitude & Self-Reflection – A swan, silently gliding across pond, is a portrait of grace and beauty. Meditation and personal reflection are enhanced when surrounded by nature. Find a quiet spot. Give yourself the gift of quiet reflection. You’ll be glad you did.

Cookie Monster
Playful – Charming and playful as ever, Sesame Street’s Cookie Monster has been entertaining and befriending kids of all ages for over fifty years. And he hasn’t aged a day! He reminds us to make time to laugh and play every day, and most importantly … eat more cookies!

Color: VIOLET
Twilight
Wishes, Dreams & the Future – We often look to the horizon, wondering what the future holds. Faced with uncertainty, ancient mapmakers used to write, “Beyond here there be dragons.” Turns out there were no dragons, only new friends yet to meet.

Gemstones
Exotic & Regal – The earth provides a multitude of beautiful gemstones, typically worn as personal adornments. It is believed Cleopatra had lapis lazuli and amethyst gemstones ground into powders to make eye shadows. And you thought your makeup was expensive?

Lavender & Butterfly
Sleep Inducing & Mood Enhancing – Lavender is a wonder drug courtesy of Mother Nature. The color and delicate floral scent promote a restful, quiet state of mind and improved sleep.

Silk
Luxury, Passion & Royalty – There’s nothing like the luxurious feel of silk against your skin. The color violet was once reserved for royalty. Today we can treat ourselves to whatever fabrics and colors we choose.

Spa Ambiance
Indulging, Pampering & Pleasurable – Day spas and fitness resorts understand the beneficial physical, psychological and emotional effects of color, fragrance, music, flavors, and simple human touch. By appealing to our five senses, we are transported, if only for a little while, to a place where pleasure reigns and the art of doing nothing is our only pursuit.

Thunderstorm
Powerful & Majestic – Have you ever watched a thunderstorm? It’s so powerful that you can feel the electricity in the air. The landscape changes from one second to the next as bolts of lightning pierce sky in a kaleidoscope of light and color. Mother Nature puts on quite a show and the admission is free.

The Great Ice Cream Color Debate:
Green Mint Chocolate Chip Ice Cream versus White Mint Chocolate Chip Ice Cream
Mint Chocolate Chip Ice Cream
Mint Chocolate Chip Ice Cream – one of the most popular flavors of all time. Have you ever considered the color? Should it be green or white? You’re probably asking yourself, “What difference could the color possibly make?” Right?

Here’s where it gets interesting: There’s an expression: “You eat with your eyes first.” You may not be aware of this, but color affects your perceptions of taste. For many people, if the ice cream isn’t green it’s not mint, but it’s not just a matter of color. They actually don’t taste the mint flavoring! For them, it’s vanilla ice cream with chocolate chips. Their sense of taste is overpowered by their visual expectations.

Have you ever been surprised by the flavor of a food based upon its color? What flavor were you expecting? Would changing the color improve the taste? Dr. Seuss once asked, “Would you eat green eggs and ham?”

To read Part One of this post, please click here. Part Three covers the Neutral Color Palette.  Need some advice on color selection?  Read this post: “Color Selection 101.”

Thanks for Reading & Happy Crafting!

World of Color: Meanings, Perceptions, & Expectations – Part 1

Rainbow Colors
Color has a huge impact on our lives. Nature envelops us in color on a daily basis, although sometimes we fail to notice. We all have a favorite color. You know the one I’m talking about. While wearing it, you feel fantastic and you say to yourself, “Damn, I look Good!” (lol)  Other people notice too. Compliments are flowing. Is it the color that attracts attention or is it the way it affects your thoughts and behavior?

In this two-part series, you will learn about the hidden meanings, common perceptions and our expectations associated with particular colors. When it comes to psychology, there are no “neutral” colors.

Color: RED
Red Ferrari
Powerful, Energetic & Exhilarating – Secretly many people share the fantasy of being race car drivers. Performance car manufacturers satisfy this need for speed. Red is your color if you want to get noticed. Heads will turn, including local law enforcement, which tends to target red vehicles for speeding.

Red Balloons
Romantic, Spontaneous & Affectionate – Hearts in many forms, such as candy, balloons, jewelry, accessories, and home décor, are given to express love. Red roses are a Valentine’s Day staple.

Fairy Tale
Tempting, Daring & Dangerous – Snow White gave in to temptation by eating the apple and fell asleep.  Do you dare?

Red Gown
Bold, Sexy & Confident – Red screams, “Look at me! You won’t believe what I’m going to do or say next!”

Motivational Scrabble Tiles
Motivational, Courageous & Defiant – Never give up on yourself or your dreams.

Red Velvet Cupcake
Stimulating – In case you didn’t know, Red Velvet Cake is chocolate cake with lots and lots of food coloring. Red is known to stimulate the appetite. My mouth is watering just looking at the photo. (lol)

Color: ORANGE
Friendship
Playful & Friendly – What could be better than watching the sunset with your best friend?

Bonfire
Family & Entertaining – Firelight invites sharing of stories and roasting marshmallows with family and friends.

Halloween Cat
Halloween – Candlelit jack-o-lanterns, black cats and ghost stories are memorable elements from Halloweens past.

Orange Chinese Dragon
Celebrating & Festive – Bright lights and colorful decorations set the stage for getting the party started.

Field of Joy
Joyful, Laughter, & Lighthearted – Happy people are a pleasure to be around.

Orange Leaves
Seasonal, Change – Autumn arrives in flamboyant style with a full color show.  Change is inevitable. Welcome new opportunities.

Color: YELLOW
Yellow Sunflowers
Happy& Uplifting – The sun regulates our internal clocks, making us active during the day and sleepy at night. When it is cloudy and overcast for extended periods of time, we often feel lethargic and uninspired.

Yellow Caution Signs
Cautionary& Stimulating – Who knows what lies around the next corner? No falling asleep on this drive.

Yellow Chick
Warm & Fuzzy – This cute little guy begs to be touched, melting hearts with just one look.

Kermit the Frog
Energizing & Motivational – “Don’t just sit there! Get up & get moving!”

Refreshing Lemonade
Sweet & Tart – A lemonade stand is a summertime favorite & childhood right of passage.

Yellow School Buses
Attention Getting, Childlike, & Unpredictable – In late August, the first sighting of a school bus marks the end of summer and the return to school. If you’re a kid, it’s a bummer. If you’re a parent, it’s the most wonderful time of the year!

Color Perceptions: True Story
P19 Red Gloves
I will share a little family story with you. I have an aunt, who always wanted a pair of red leather gloves. She doesn’t know why she never bought them, and kept this wish to herself. Why? Did she assume they were too flamboyant? Maybe the color red had “naughty” connotations for her? When she finally mentioned the gloves, I bought her a pair for Christmas. You should have seen her expression when she opened the gift. A smile bloomed as she realized a lifelong wish had come true. Such a simple thing brought so much joy.

Take a look at the colors you’re wearing right now. How do they make you feel? Want to make a change? Could the addition of another color make a difference? Give it a try.

Please click here to read Part two of this article.

Thanks for Reading & Happy Crafting!