Happy New Year 2021

Beautiful Sunset
The beginning of a new year is often a time for thoughtful reflection. As children, we so easily see magic in the world. As time goes by, the obligations, worries and responsibilities of adulthood weigh so heavily upon us that we fail to appreciate the grandeur and beauty around us. Let’s recapture some of the magic!

Graphic Arts Tulips
The coming year will be filled with projects and topics to spark your creativity and inspire arts and crafts to share with friends and family. Rekindle the joy.

New Years
We find ourselves in a new year filled with infinite possibilities. May 2021 bring you Happiness & Love, and may all your dreams come true!

Thank you so much for reading, following, liking and commenting!

Happy New Year & Happy Crafting!

Holiday Wrap Up

Dreaming of Christmas
It’s the night before Christmas, and little feet tiptoe toward the tree for a sneak peek at the presents. We may not admit doing this but it’s human nature to wonder what’s inside the box? Whether you are celebrating Christmas, Hanukkah, or Kwanzaa, you’re going to give gifts to lots of people, and those gifts need to be boxed, bagged or wrapped in an attractive fashion. Here are a few ideas:

Colorful Gift Boxes
Colorful Boxes
If the thought of wrapping gifts is unappealing, you could buy readymade gift boxes such as these. All you need is some ribbon and bows and no wrapping is required.

Vintage Wrapping Paper
Vintage Paper & Red Twine
Revive memories of Christmases past with vintage designs and twine.

Contemporary Sparkling Gift Wrap
Sparkling Paper
Modern technology has enabled the creation of new textures, colors and special effects never before possible.

Nature’s Wrapping
Nature Wrap
For an all-natural look, utilize recycled paper with twine instead of ribbon and pinecones, evergreen or other elements from your own backyard.

Foil Wrapping
Foil Wrap
This easy to use method only requires the gathering of foil paper and a simply tied bow.

Coordinated Paper & Ribbon
Fabric Ribbon Coordinate Paper
Even though the prints vary, red and white colors unify this attractive gift wrap.

Self-Stick Bows
Self Stick Bows
The invention of the self-stick bow is a wonderful time saver.

Fireworks Bow
Fireworks Bow
What do you get when you combine a metallic pompom and a large white bow – an amazing starburst bow, which makes the perfect topper for an elegant package. (And it’s a self-stick bow too!)

Crinkle Ribbon
Sprinkled Snow Curled Ribbon
Instead of a bow, tie long strands of crinkle ribbon around a package and curl it with a pair of scissors.

Triple Bow & Custom Paper
Triple Bow & Finger Painting
Making your own bows is a sure way to make your gifts stand out. For an added more personal touch, plain white wrapping paper can be colorfully finger-painted, creating wrapping for gifts year round.

Floral Fabric Bow
Floral Bow
Sometimes a really great topper steals the show. A floral bow, such as this, will be treasured and it’s reusable. Check out the many bow-making videos online for how to instructions.

Floral Picks
Floral Picks
From a distance, this photo resembles a water lily garden, but it’s actually green bows adorned with artificial red berries.

Ornaments

Dress up dollar store ornaments with ribbons or bells and tie onto your gifts and hand-delivered cards.

Handmade Ornaments/Gift Tags
Holly Tag & Ornament
Is it an ornament or a gift tag? It’s both! Write the name & year on the back and attach it to your present. After the gift is opened, it’s ready to hang on the tree.

Gift Bags – Paper
Gift Bag Paper
Gift bags are probably one of the best inventions of all time. They’re sold just about everywhere, including the food stores, so when you’re running around last minute a gift bag is easily on hand.

Gift Bags – Fabric
Gift Bags Fabric Amazon
Amazon provided these sparkly gift bags, which are reusable and perfect for any occasion.

Gift Pouch
Christmas Pouch
Gift pouches are ready to use and include the ribbon and gift tag.

Christmas Stocking
Christmas Stocking
If you have several small size items, a Christmas stocking is a fun alternative to traditional gift wrap.

Gift Baskets
Gift Basket
A gift basket filled with the recipient’s favorites is always a welcome surprise.

Collectible Porcelain Box
Porcelain Box
Porcelain boxes come in a variety of designs for jewelry, small items, or cash gifts.

Seasonal Metal Tin
Seasonal Metal Tin
Most people associate tins with cookies or other baked goods, but this large tin could easily hold a pair of pajamas or sweater. The design is adorable and all you need to do is simply close the lid and the gift is ready to give, without the need for paper, bows, tape or scissors! How easy is that?

Glass Mason Jars
Glass Jars
Jellies, candy, sauces and anything else you cook up stores well in re-sealable glass jars, which require nothing more than a simple bow or ornament, and can be reused indefinitely.

Handmade Soap & Soap Dish
Hand Made Soap Dish
Many people like to make their own Christmas gifts. Take your creativity to the next level by designing a unique gift presentation, such as this handmade soap and accompanying twig soap dish.

It’s a Family Affair
Festive Dogs
If you can’t get help with all that wrapping, at least you’ll have the companionship and encouragement from your family pets.

Treat Yourself
Treat Yourself
As they say, “it’s the thought that counts,” but “presentation is everything.” With a few creative choices, wrapping gifts can be a pleasure, and be sure to treat yourself while you’re at it! Thanks for reading!

Happy Holidays & Happy Crafting!

Forever Green

Snow Covered Pines
What I miss the most during the colder months are the beautiful colors in nature. The winter sky is so gray, the trees are dormant, and the flowers temporarily disappear for a long winter’s nap. Evergreens defiantly retain their glorious shades of green regardless of the weather. To brighten your home decor, you can add a little evergreen and it will never need to be watered.

How to Paint Wooden Pine Trees
Lighted Tree Close Up
This painted craft is very easy to complete in a short amount of time and it’s great for beginners too!

Raw Wood Trees
Raw Wood Trees
As with all raw wood, a little sanding may be required, especially along the edges. The pre-drilled holes are for lights in a later step.

Supplies
Painted Tree Supplies
Supplies:
Wooden Pine Tree (17” high x 9” wide x 1/2” thick) (Base is 9” wide x 2” deep)
Acrylic Paints – green, white
Paintbrushes
Sandpaper
String of 20 lights

Apply Green Paint
Painted Green Trees
Paint each tree green, ensuring both sides, all the edges and the base are painted.

Define the Branches with Snow
Painted Snow Trees
In nature, snow gathers on the branches. To give these trees a more three-dimensional appearance, add patches of white paint to imitate Mother Nature.

Tree Lighting
Trees with Inserted Lights
Those pre-drilled holes were made to hold a strand of twenty white lights. The lights can only be pushed through from one side of the wood frame. You may need to secure the last light at the bottom with a piece of tape to keep it from pulling out from the weight of the electrical cord.

Finished Trees (with and without camera flash)
Lit Trees
All you need to do now is choose a spot to display your handiwork and plug in those lights. I place my trees in the living room windows to enhance the rest of the outdoor decorations. When the holidays are over, they can remain on display throughout the winter.

Pom Pom Alternative
Pom Pom Tree
As an alternative to lights, you can turn a simple pine tree into a Christmas tree by gluing on multi-color pom poms as ornaments.

I hope you enjoy this project and have fun decorating your home for the holidays.

Thanks for reading & Happy Crafting!

Gingerbread Dreams

Gingerbread Cookies
Gingerbread cookies are a favorite treat any time of year. Decorating gingerbread is a great activity for the whole family. For a real challenge, why not try designing, building and decorating a gingerbread house? Before we look at some finished houses, let’s take a closer look at a few of the important details.

Decorating Gingerbread
Piping Icing
Whether decorating cookies or building a gingerbread house, the first skill you will need is piping icing.

Piping is the Key
Candy CloseUp
From the smallest detail to the walls and roof, royal icing is the edible glue that holds everything together.

Candy Decor
Gingerbread Roof Close Up
Any type of candy will do. If you tend to nibble while you work, you might want to have extra candy on hand so that you don’t run out before the project is finished. (lol)

Architectural Details
Architecture Details
This budding architect has carefully defined the details: candy cane columns; stamped brick wall pattern; piped & candied landscaping, door and window trim; M &M roofing; and candy accents.

Festive Elf
Festive Elf
Don’t forget to have fun with your creation.

Be Adventurous
Adorable Snowman
Let your imagination run wild. Come up with interesting details. This artist darkened the windows to add depth and carved wood grain into the door. Make your project as unique as you are.

Humorous Little Details
Rooftop Cat
Be sure to include the unexpected, such as this fondant cat on a snow-covered roof.

Miniature Gingerbread Houses
Cookie House
There’s nothing wrong with starting small. This house was made entirely from gingerbread cookies. It’s quick and easy to put together and can be used as ornaments, or as gifts for visitors. You could even pipe names on each one as edible “place cards” at the table.

Chalet
Gingerbread Chalet
Instead of candy, decorated gingerbread cookies adorn this simple A-frame house.

In the Doghouse
Gingerbread Doghouse
Icing is the main decoration on this adorable doghouse, with only a few candy accents.

A Bright Idea
Lighted Cottage
This cottage may be small, but it has two interesting qualities that make it really stand out: 1) LEDs provide a soft glowing interior. 2) The reflective high gloss tray resembles ice or water. As an alternative to lights, you could place sheets of fruit roll ups over the inside of the windows and doors to create a cozy glow.

Accessible Design
Decorating for Everyone
Holding a piping bag and defining tiny details can be difficult, if not impossible, for those with limited mobility. Decorating can be made easy by simply spread icing with a spatula over all the walls and roof. Place decorations wherever desired, and the icing will hold them in place.

Log Cabin Village
Log Cabins
These gingerbread houses remind me of the colonial log cabins in Valley Forge National Park. Instead of candy, piped icing was used throughout the design, with a sprinkling of sugar snow.

The North Pole
North Pole Village
Leave it to Santa to create a quaint village, where even the North Pole is edible!

Cabin in the Woods
Cabin in the Woods
Like something from a fairy tale, this cute little snow-scene has a soft pink and blue color scheme complemented by a welcoming fire glow from inside.

Cozy Chalet
Cozy Chalet
Almond cookies adorning the roof and chocolate door & chimney set this chalet apart.

Midnight Cabin
Midnight Cabin
The contrasts between light and dark give this gingerbread house a spooky feel like something you might see in a dark lonely forest. The gumdrop posts appear to be glowing, while the almost obscured windows make you wonder what might lurk inside.

Gingerbread House Kits
Gingerbread House Kits
You could make gingerbread houses from scratch, but kits, which include all the candy, walls, roof, and icing, are a great place to start for beginners.

A Grinchy Christmas
Grinchy Home
The Grinch gets an upgrade from his old cave home to this perfect gingerbread tribute to Dr. Seuss. From the whimsical tree to the asymmetrical door, the spirit of the story comes to life before our eyes.

Angelic Lace
Angelic Lace Cottage
Delicate lace-like patterns harmonize with tiny gold dragées, while mini string lights illuminate the tree as well as the interior. A very steady hand is required to keep the lines soft and fluid.

Guiding Light
Lighted Church
Gingerbread can be made into any type of building including castles, churches, and lighthouses. If you can imagine it, anything is possible.

Chocolate & Gingerbread Cottage
Chocolate Fairy Tale Cottage
You seldom see chocolate decorations on gingerbread, but this artist has done a wonderful job combining the two into an exquisitely detailed showstopper.

Feast for the Eyes
Wintry Dream
There’s a lot going on here, but it’s beautifully balanced. The snow drips from the roof and the evergreen tree is decorated with colorful balls and a star on top. The upright pinwheel candies make a lovely border, while the cheerful gingerbread man and his snowy friend are sure to please. Every detail in this sentimental gingerbread home was made with love to warm the heart.

Your Reward
Eating Gingerbread
What is the best part about decorating gingerbread? Eating it! After all that hard work, you deserve a tasty treat. If you don’t have the heart to munch on your creation, have a few decorated cookies on the side as a reward for a job well done. I hope you are inspired to give gingerbread building a try. Good luck and remember you can always eat your mistakes. (lol)

Thanks for reading & Happy Crafting!

Decorating for the Holidays

Hand Painted Glass Ornaments
It’s that time again when we deck the halls, shop ‘til we drop, and dream of snowflakes and gingerbread fresh from the oven. Decorating your home can be stressful. There are so many styles and colors to choose. Where to begin? Let’s review several options to pique your interest.

Mood Lighting
Dining Room Ambiance
The festive contemporary vibe in this dining room is created solely through the clever use of lighting. Round white lights adorn the table and trendy letters upon the back wall, which is bathed in soft lavender light and soft blue accent lights.

Traditional Candle Wreath Centerpiece
Candle Centerpiece
The traditional red and green Christmas color scheme is accented with nuts and pinecones in this evergreen centerpiece. The aromatic scents of the great outdoors will last for weeks. To convert this to an Advent wreath, replace the red candles with three purple and one pink.

Contemporary Candle Un-Wreath Centerpiece
UnWreath
Create a contemporary candle centerpiece, without the wreath, by using a gold or silver tray covered with pinecones, artificial fruit, and assorted small decorations.

Contemporary Candle & Glass Ornament Centerpiece
Contemporary Candle & Glass Ornament Centerpiece
Christmas balls can be glued together to form a wreath, which is great as a centerpiece, or you can hang it on the wall for a colorful, reflective focal point.

Sophisticated Gold & Brown Centerpiece
Sophisticated Gold & Brown Centerpiece
This unusual gold and brown combo brings to mind boxes of Godiva chocolate. The rich colors and just the right amount of glitter make this an elegant, eye-catching choice.

Traditional Style Meets Contemporary Flair
Traditional Style Meets Contemporary Flair
Red & green are traditional, but here we have a glass bowl filled with natural elements, such as moss, apples, and pinecones, mixed with glass and carved wood ornaments, and metal spheres. The candlelight is supplemented with flower shaped mini lights tucked among the greens like little blooms.

Red & Green Glowing Glass Centerpiece
Red & Green Glowing Glass Centerpiece
What sets this display apart is the lighting hidden inside the fluted glass bowl. This inner glow reflects off the tabletop and twinkles upon the glass ornaments.

Fresh Cut Flowers Centerpiece
Fresh Cut Flowers Centerpiece
Floral centerpieces can be quite expensive. As an alternative, make your own with evergreens, pinecones, and berries from your yard, and add a few exotic looking fresh cut flowers for maximum impact.

Colorful Foil Garlands
Colorful Foil Garlands
Many trees are decorated with silver or gold garland, but there are many other colors and styles available.

Beaded Garlands
Beaded Garlands
If you look at historical photos of decorated trees, you may notice beautiful beaded garlands. Originally they were made from glass, but today plastic beads provide the same old-fashioned look without the added expense and fragility of glass.

Floral Garlands
Floral Garland
Those fortunate enough to be living in warmer climates may choose genuine flower garlands for natural tropical flair.

Popcorn Garland
Popcorn Garland
Another old-fashioned choice is popcorn garland, which is easy and inexpensive to make. For a dash of color, alternate popcorn with cranberries.

Semi-Homemade Ornaments
Semi-Homemade Ornaments
Transform store-bought ornaments with a little personalization. This crafter started with purple glass ornaments. A glitter paint pen was used to draw vertical line, and then gold rhinestones were randomly glued along the stripes for a regal appearance.

Christmas Ornament Kits
Christmas Ornament Kits
Due to the small sequin size and intricate sewing, the two ornaments shown above would be for the more advanced crafters, but there are plenty of options for beginners and kids.

Festive décor varies based upon the holiday being celebrated and your personal style. Below are several different theme ideas to inspire and consider for your next holiday.

Festive Bells
Christmas Bells
Bells make pretty Christmas ornaments. Collectors adorn their trees with bells of all kinds, typically from around the world. If you have a prized collection, whether it’s snow globes, porcelain figurines, dolls, etc., consider displaying it this festive time of year using your own creative style.

Blue & Gold
Blue & Gold Tree
For some, it’s all about the lights. Here we have blue lights and fancy gold ribbon taking center stage.

Blue, Silver, & Gold with Purple Accents
Blue, Silver, & Gold with Purple Accents
On this tree, ornaments are the main focus, accented by silver snowflakes and gold poinsettias.

Red & Silver
Red & Silver Tree
Glitz and glamour are achieved with mirror-finished ornaments, pinpoint white lights, and last but certainly not least, a sparkling reindeer.

Red, Purple & Gold
Red, Purple & Gold
Colorful ornaments and two shades of garland vie for your attention in this beautifully coordinated tree.

Turquoise & Silver
Turquoise & Silver
This tree is exotic in so many ways. The combination of turquoise and silver is as rare as the color of the tree, which is brown! The silver ornaments vary in textures, shapes and materials. It is truly a one of a kind.

Mother Nature’s Tree
Mother Nature’s Tree
For nature lovers, decorate with pinecones, berries and cute little birds. Animal themed trees have been very popular for the last few years. Whatever strikes your fancy – owls, birds, sea horses, etc. – decorations can be found or made to make your vision a reality.

Nature’s Fragrance
Natural Scents
Perfume the air with pinecones and cinnamon sticks.

Wintry Forecast
Snow & Ice on a Window
Christmas is typically associated with winter, but not everyone has a white Christmas. To create the look of ice and snow, use blankets or bags of artificial snow and aerosol cans of spray snow, which cleans up after the holidays with window cleaner.

Our Furry Companions
Our Furry Companions
Let’s not forget an ornament or two for those lovable family pets. In case you didn’t know, tree skirts are very popular places for afternoon naps.

A Room with a Fabulous View
A Room with a Fabulous View
Curl up with a good book by the fire, or find a cozy spot overlooking a winter wonderland. The holidays are a wonderful time to decorate our homes and celebrate the season with family and friends. May your holiday dreams be happy, filled with peace and love.

Happy Holidays & Happy Crafting!

Designing Beaded Jewelry

Beaded Jewelry in Fall Colors
Making beaded jewelry is a fun activity for the entire family. There’s an incredible selection of gemstone, glass, crystal, metal, and mixed media beads, which can be strung upon wire, leather cords, ribbons, or any other material of your choosing.

Strands of Gemstone Beads
Strands of Gemstone Beads
Most beads are sold in strands, which are pre-strung on fishing tackle. You cannot keep the beads on this temporary strand because it is not durable for every day wear and tear, and will eventually break.

When working with beads, having a jewelry maker’s tray (like the one pictured below) is extremely beneficial for laying out your designs. The numbers along the perimeter are for measuring the length of bracelets and necklaces. The grooves in the tray are multi-purpose: enable experimentation with different beads; create a necklace and bracelet at the same time; design a multi-strand necklace. Compartments in the tray hold additional beads while you finalize your work.

Black Onyx & Carnelian Beads
Onyx Carnelian Beads
Using the same beads produces two different looks by simply changing the pattern – both are in seasonal fall colors. The large, reddish orange, Carnelian nuggets have a raw but luxurious appeal, while the smooth, round, Black Onyx beads are cool and sophisticated.

Black Onyx, Carnelian & Silver-Plated Metal Beads
Onyx Carnelian & Metal Beads
The addition of precious metal beads provides rich texture, eye-catching contrast, and the all-important sparkle.

Rain Forest Jasper & Mother of Pearl Beads
Rain Forest Jasper & Aventurine Beads
These two photos demonstrate the effects of using shape and color to create necklaces with very different styles. On the left, a pear-shaped, Rain Forest Jasper pendant takes center stage with Rain Forest Jasper and Natural Mother of Pearl beads. The result is a fancy necklace with warm rich earth tones, suitable for a night out on the town. On the right, Aventurine alternates with dazzling, White Mother of Pearl beads in a soft palette and casual style for everyday wear.

Rain Forest Jasper, Mother of Pearl, and Gold-Plated Metal Beads
Rain Forest Jasper Aventurine & Metal Beads
The same beads are shown here with the addition of gold-plated, round spacer beads on the left, and gold-plated, filigree bead caps on the right.

When you are satisfied with your design, the beads can be strung one at a time onto wire. Be sure to place a piece of scotch tape on the end of the wire before you start stringing your beads. Once you’re satisfied, the clasp can be attached. There are many videos available to show you how to attach each of the different types of clasps.

Here are a few photos to get your creative ideas flowing:

Necklace – Lampwork Glass Frog & Glass Beads on a Cord
Glass Frog Cord
This striped glass frog is a fanciful addition to any wardrobe. Cords are easy work with and comfortable to wear. All it takes are a few beads and a focal point to complete this piece of jewelry. You could also use a pendant you already own. Cords can be made of leather, rubber, or woven fibers.

Necklace – Large-Hole Resin Beads on Ribbon
Necklace - Large-Hole Resin Beads on Ribbon
Stringing large-hole beads on ribbon is an easy way for beginners to learn about jewelry making. Children and those struggling with arthritis or any other dexterity issues can easily handle these over-sized beads. Stringing on ribbon or a cord can be done quickly and beads can be interchanged until the desired look is achieved. Best of all, there are no special skills or tools required.

Large-Hole Glass Beads
Large-Hole Glass Beads
Large-hole beads are for use on cords, ribbons, thick chains and wire. Crafter Tip: With these beads, you can achieve the same fashionable look as seen in Pandora stores, but at a fraction of the price. The best selection is available at Fire Mountain Gems.

Bracelet -Large-Hole Glass Beads and Metal Beads on wire
Bracelet -Large-Hole Glass Beads and Metal Beads on wire
Stringing beads upon wire is easy to do, but requires the special jewelry making tools to attach the clasp. Bead stores will typically offer shoppers the chance to select beads, and string your own necklace or bracelet. A staff member will then attach the clasp, or can give you instructions to do it yourself using their tools. These stores periodically have classes, and offer private jewelry making parties for your family and friends.

Earring & Bracelet – Crystal & Glass Seed Beads
Earring & Bracelet - Crystal & Glass Seed Beads
When you think of crystal jewelry, the name that most likely tops your list is Swarovski. The rich, colors and light reflecting facets of crystal have been featured in memorable jewelry designs ready to wear anywhere from the super market to the high fashion runway.

Necklace – Glass & Metal Beads
Necklace - Glass & Metal Beads
Glass blowers create beads one at a time, and each one is a unique masterpiece. All the colors of the rainbow and a few Mother Nature never considered can be found in glass. Solid colors, striated, and two tone beads are but a mere few of the possibilities with matte or high-gloss finishes. Glass pendants make interesting focal points, while tiny glass seed beads can be woven into intricate spiral patterns in necklaces, bracelets and earrings.

Bracelets – Gemstones, Metal Beads, & Bells on cords
Bracelets – Gemstones, Metal Beads, & Bells on cords
There’s a bracelet style to match every person’s fashion needs – cords, cuffs, stretch, charm, bangles, and many more. Genuine gemstone beads are available in an amazing array of colors and sizes. Beads can be purchased from craft stores, beaded jewelry stores, bead trade shows, and from online retailers, such as Fire Mountain Gems. Because genuine gemstones come from the earth, the colors and patterns will vary. If you are planning to make a bracelet and matching necklace or earrings, make sure you have enough beads to complete the set. Each finished piece of jewelry will be as unique and individual as you are.

Jewelry making is an exciting and rewarding craft. Enjoy the process. Learn from mistakes. Experiment as you follow your inspiration to create the perfect design to express your personality and style.

Thanks for reading & Happy Crafting!

The Basics of Decorative Painting

Paint Brushes
In a post a few weeks ago, faux finishing was discussed with several painting options and instructions for sponge painting. Faux finishing is part of a larger category called decorative painting, which includes stenciling, murals, and custom painted details.

At it’s most basic, decorative painting can be as simple as painting vines on a flowerpot. Be sure to use weatherproof paint, not only to protect it from rain and sun, but also from watering the plants.

Stenciled Butterflies & Vines
Stenciling
Stenciling is a fairly easy process. Choose a plastic stencil, a few paints, and some sponge brushes. Painter’s tape is great for holding the stencil in place while you work, painting one color at a time. Crafter Tip: Stenciling on a textured wall is not recommended. The bumpy texture can cause the colors to bleed, and the designs may appear stretched or irregular.

Antiqued Wood Chair with Painted Floral Seat Back
Antiqued Wood Chair with Painted Floral Seat Back
Furniture presents the challenge of durability. Paint alone is not enough. Crafter Tip: Consult a specialist, or research what types of paints and sealants to use to ensure your designs will withstand every day wear and tear.

Stippling
Stippling
This is an example of stippling layered over a multi-color background. The base coat is created using sponges or brushes to blend the colors together. Stippling consists of little dots to create light and dark areas by changing the density of the dotted pattern.

Watercolor
Watercolor
In this technique, water-based paints are thoroughly mixed with water and blended together while still wet. It’s important to remember that you will want to start out with light washes of color and gradually build up to the darker areas. If you get too dark too fast and don’t like the results, you will need to start over.

Layered Techniques
Mixed Media
Here we see an interesting mix of free-hand painting, stenciling, and stamping. Pressing painted corrugated cardboard against the surface created the parallel lines.

Now if you’re really feeling ambitious, here are some amazing painted murals:

Floral Wall Mural with Metal Butterflies
Floral Wall Mural with Metal Butterflies
This bead board paneled wall was painted green as a background color, and then the flowers and vines were added. Crafter Tip: Even though you are painting a mural, you don’t have to paint everything yourself. There are plenty of wall art options, which will coordinate with your painting, such as these sculpted metal butterflies, the perfect complement for this gardener’s retreat.

Tinkerbell Wall Mural
Tinkerbell Wall Mural
Disney characters are sure to be childhood favorites. The flowers and vines in this mural can be painted by hand or stenciled. Crafter Tips: In lieu of using a paintbrush, delicate details can be made using a fine tipped paint pen. If Tinkerbell seems a bit beyond your skill set, purchase a Disney decal, or wallpaper version and adhere it to the wall after the mural is complete. It will save you time, and from a distance, no one will ever know.

Ocean-Themed Exterior Wall Mural
Ocean-Themed Exterior Wall Mural
The old block wall in this photo has been given new life through wall art. Because of the large scale, and dependence upon the weather, the artist used a paint sprayer to speed up the process. With the overall design blocked out, the details can be added using a combination of a fine spray nozzle and paint brushes. Crafter Tip: Using a paint sprayer will certainly give your arms and upper body a workout. You won’t need to go to the gym that day!

Asian Water Dragons Mural on a Porshe
Asian Water Dragons Mural on a Porshe
Vehicle painting is a specialty in itself. Painted details can include logos, initials, stripes, and full-size murals. Crafter Tip: Vehicle painting is best left to the pros. Manufacturers’ new vehicle warranties will most likely become void if the body paint is altered.

How To Decoratively Paint a Powder Room

Fleur-de-lis Powder Room
Powder Room
Fleur-de-lis design was made using an ink stamp, which was purchased from the scrapbooking department at Michael’s craft store.

Acrylic Paints, Ink Stamp & Fan Brush
Powder Room Paints
To produce more consistent imprints, paint was applied directly upon the stamp using a small flat brush. The stamp was then pressed against the wall, spacing the pattern by eye. All the brown fleur de lis designs were completed first, and then the stamp was cleaned in preparation for the green paint.

Create a Fleur-de-lis Pattern
Painted Powder Room

Fleur-de-lis Detail
Powder Room Paint Detail
Using a fan brush at the four corners, brush strokes were applied with the contrasting metallic paint color.

For continuity and consistency of the design, it is probably best to have one person working on a project. However, if your friends or family would like to help, assign a particular design element to each person to be completed throughout the project. Using the fleur-de-lis project as an example, one person could do all the stamping while another applies the flourishes at the corners.

Crafter Tip – Future Decorative Paint Removal
I once had a painter in my home to give estimates on a few small projects. I had recently finished a mural in one of the bedrooms, and as we walked by, the painter said, and I quote, “Do you know how much Kilz it would take to cover that?” Although I was appalled at the idea, it certainly gave me food for thought. At some point in the future, how could I easily cover over painted designs without filling the house with toxic fumes? The answer is simple: paint over it using the same paint used to create it. There was an acrylic midnight blue design (Folk Art Brilliant Ultramarine) painted across the upper half of one wall. White acrylic paint (Folk Art Wicker White) was brushed over the dark paint. Just to be sure, a second coat was applied. The painter was stunned to see how well it covered. The new wall paint was a pale blue, covered in only one coat, and there were no toxic fumes. To protect the air quality in your home, be sure to select low odor paints, with low or no VOCs (volatile organic compounds).

Thanks for reading & Happy Crafting!

It’s All in the Details

Detailed Floral Wood Carving
We deal with so many details every day. I thought it would be fun to take a look at some craft photos to demonstrate how small changes can make such a dramatic difference. Let’s go!

Acrylic Painted Rabbit
Painted Bunny Face
This cute rabbit has blended fur colors, but a rather blank expression.

Acrylic Painted Rabbit with 3D Details
Bunny Face 3D Details
The 3D paint creates facial depth, and provides a twinkle in eyes filled with personality.

Acrylic Painted Flamingo
Acrylic Painted Flamingo
Flamingos are so colorful and unusual. The color scheme captures the essence of the bird but lacks the textured feathers.

Acrylic Painted Flamingo Layered with 3D Texture
Acrylic Painted Flamingo Layered with 3D Texture
Now he appears to be staring back at you while he proudly shows off his brightly colored plumage.

Two-Tone Green Man
Green Man Original
Mother Nature’s counterpart doesn’t look very happy, does he?

Two-Tone Green Man with Metallic Gold Highlights
Green Man Gold Accents
After brightening the whites of his eyes, he had his “hair” highlighted and now he looks rather pleased with himself.  lol

Black & White Photo vs. Colorized Photo
Black White Photo vs Colorized
The black and white portrait is nice, but look how soft, warm and romantic the second photo is thanks to the addition of color and dreamy special effects.

Metallic Silver Octopus
Octopus Monotone
Metallic silver is an odd choice for such a fluid sculpture of a living animal.

Full Color Octopus with 3D Details
Octopus Full Color
A vibrant new color scheme brings this blue ringed octopus to life, and the three-dimensional suction cups add texture as well as a more realistic approach to this wriggling octopus.

Gnome House vs. Bamboo Tropical Hut
Gnome House Original vs Tropical Hut
Originally this little house was part of a collection of gnomes. A bamboo pattern combined with a few brightly colored silk flowers transformed it into a tropical hut for an ocean-themed centerpiece.

3D Painted Celtic Cross
Celtic Cross Green & Black
Celtic designs are famous for their knot work. The three-dimensional green paint contrasts nicely with the black background and textures the entire surface.

3D Painted Celtic Cross with Metallic Gold Accents
Celtic Cross Gold Accents
The introduction of three-dimensional gold accents brings a bit of sparkle and opulence to the design.

Acrylic Painted Seahorse with 3D Accents
Acrylic Painted Seahorse with 3D Accents
Seahorses are known for their brilliant colors and textured bodies. The 3D paint adds a bit of texture along the contours of the body and upon the spiny back.

3D Painted Seahorse
3D Painted Seahorse
By using only 3D paints, the entire seahorse springs to life in glorious color and texture.

Fashionable Snowman
Fashionable Snowman
No snowman is complete without a few knitted accessories.

Fashionable Snowman with Lights
Fashionable Snowman with Lights
The addition of lights not only adds sparkle, but also enables him to shine at night in any window to complement your exterior decorations.

Halloween Witch vs. Christmas Elf
Halloween Witch vs. Christmas Elf
How can a Halloween decoration become one of Santa’s helpers? The answer lies in accessories! Cover the hat and tuck in the hair, add a scarf and candy cane and voila you have a Christmas elf.

Instructions for most of these items can be found on the “How To Projects” page.

It is said: “Beauty is in the eye of the beholder.” Little details have a strong influence over our perceptions, but sometimes we become so accustomed to our surroundings that we barely notice. Look at your home from a new perspective. Check out those little details to see if something could use a touch of color, a bit of whimsy and a little tender loving care. You’ll be glad you did!

Thanks for reading & Happy Crafting!

Skeletons Like Makeovers Too

Eerie & Otherworldly
Spooky Cemetery Skeleton
No Halloween display would be complete without a skeleton or two. Each one has its own personality.

Unexpectedly Playful
Funny Skeletons

Culturally Festive
Day of the Dead

Bone-Chilling & Terrifying
Snake Skeleton
Every year manufacturers introduce new items to thrill, amuse or frighten avid Halloween fans. With a few easy steps, you can personalize store-bought skeletons to express whatever style or attitude you desire for your Halloween décor. Here are a few ideas to get you started:

Fierce Makeover:

Deep Sea Fish Skeleton
Original Fish Skeleton
This skeleton is based upon a real life deep-sea fish called an Anglerfish. To attract prey, a bioluminescent fishing lure is cast in front of its head and in no time, those strong jaws snap shut as vicious teeth make short work of consuming the meal. Check out the illuminated photo below.

Illuminated Deep Sea Fish Skeleton
Original Fish Skeleton Lit
As a Halloween decoration, it certainly is more unique than the usual offerings. When lit, the lure is bold yellow and the stomach has an eerie purple glow. While he does have a menacing appearance, I think we can do better! I really like the purple glow but when the lights are turned off, the bones are a neutral color without any contrast. In other words, he needs an upgrade!

Fish Skeleton Paints
Fish Paints
Supplies:
Deep Sea Fish Skeleton (8” high x 17” long x 5” wide)
Acrylic Paints – linen, metallic periwinkle blue, & black (not shown)
Paintbrushes

Fish Tail – Before
Fish Tail Before

Fish Tail – After
Fish Tail After
Paint the tail and tips of the spine with metallic periwinkle blue. Notice how the bones stand out against the metallic blue. The reflective quality of metallic paint contrasts well with matte finish bones.

Fish Head & Fins – Before
Fish Head Before

Fish Head & Fins – After
Fish Head After
Paint the eyes black. Paint the webbing of the fins and crevices around the eyes with periwinkle blue. The fleshy, darker contrast makes the eyes look meaner in a zombie-like fashion. Linen paint can be used to touch up unwanted marks on the head.

Finished Fish
Finished Fish
The individual bones in the tail and fins really show up now, resembling creepy skeletal hands for seizing prey or curious trick-or-treaters.

Illuminated Finished Fish
Finished Fish Lit

Portraits – Before & After
Before & After Portrait
The first photo is the original fish and the second is the finished makeover. The purple glow now extends across the entire body. With a ferocious expression and intimidating attitude, this Anglerfish is ready to strike, perfect for a Halloween scare.

Fantasy Fashion Makeover:

Spider Skeleton
Original Spider
Spiders often have a very creepy aura and you could certainly go in that direction. This lucky lady prefers a haute couture makeover and we know just how to bring it!

Spider Skeleton Paints
Spider Paints
Supplies:
Spider Skeleton (6” high x 8” long x 13” wide)
Acrylic Paints – metallic blue sapphire, metallic copper, & pure black
Paintbrushes

Spider Head & Feet
Spider Black & Copper Paint
Darken the eyes with black paint, and paint the facial details and feet with metallic copper. Feel free to experiment with the colors.

Spider Joints & Spine
Spider Metallic Blue
Turquoise and brown are a very fashionable color combination, making metallic blue the perfect complement to the copper. This bejeweled spider is ready to make her debut on the fashion runway! lol!

Finished Spider Pulling Wagon
Spider Drawn Carriage
Why not show off her new look by participating in a Halloween parade with a few friends?

Fairy Tale Makeover:

Frog Skeleton – Before
Original Frog Skeleton
This little guy has a heartwarming smile. I believe we can add a little more charm.

Frog Skeleton Paints
Frog Paints
Supplies:
Frog Skeleton (3-1/2” high x 5” long x 4-1/2” wide)
Acrylic Paints – metallic peridot green & pure black
Paintbrushes

Frog Skeleton – After
Finished Frog Skeleton
Sporting his new color, he’s bound to win hearts and maybe even garner a few kisses for luck. Who knows – maybe he will turn into a prince?

I hope you enjoy these fanciful skeletons and apply these ideas to your Halloween décor..

Thanks for reading! Happy Halloween & Happy Crafting!

Halloween Magic – How to Make a Bewitching Centerpiece

Witch Flying Across Full Moon
The movie Hocus Pocus is celebrating its 27th Anniversary, inspiring witch themed costumes and decorations. Whether you’re having a Halloween party or simply decorating for the fun of it, a centerpiece is a must for the coffee or dining tables. Below are step-by-step instructions and photos for building your own, one piece at a time.

Witch Boots
The Inspiration – As with all creative projects, the first requirement is a source of inspiration. This pair of witch’s boots is sold at Michaels. Although smaller than expected, it still has a spooky vibe. The style varies slightly, but all are black with a silver spider painted on each side. Having a pair of boots is nice, however it’s one piece and can’t be separated. If you prefer a more humorous impression, many stores sell individual witch boots painted in bright, fanciful colors and patterns.

Witch Boots
Step 1. Witch’s Boots – Centered upon this coffee table, these boots look quite sparse, but we’ve only just begun.

Witch Boots with Floral Stems
Step 2. Floral Stems & Owl – For color and texture, the key to this design is choosing strange looking plants in autumn, Halloween colors. Here we have added leafy vines with plush mini pumpkins, and orange lanterns. Bend the stems as needed to adjust the height. Crafter Tips: Do not cut the stems because you may need to adjust the height at the end when the arrangement is complete. (You may not need to cut them at all, simply conceal the bent stems inside the boots). The owl, made from twigs, was already mounted on a long stick for easy placement.

Witch Boots with Pumpkin
Step 3. Jack-O-Lantern – Orange and black – the perfect color combo for Halloween. This resin pumpkin includes optional lighting. High contrast and a brilliant punch of color lend visual interest to this asymmetrical composition. Instead of a pumpkin, you could use a round platter or globe, resembling the full moon, or a light color witch’s broom to contrast with the dark boots.

Witch Boots with Pumpkin & Owl
Step 4. Ceramic Owl – Contemporary details with an eerie presence make this owl a perfect addition by contributing color, light, and texture. Moss green and tan coordinate with the autumn vines and leaves. Feather-like half moon slits in the body of the owl allow light to pass through and the opportunity to insert mini lights inside with the battery pack underneath, wrapped in black fabric. Crafter Tip: Ensure the battery pack’s on/off switch remains accessible.

Add Decanter
Step 5. Decanter – No witch-themed display would be complete without a few unknown potions brewed with magical spells. The clear glass decanter, with four separate chambers and claw-like stoppers, provides much needed height and color on the left end of the display. A little food coloring and water becomes a scary cocktail of witch’s potions. The green color was chosen to coordinate with the other green elements. Alternatives: You could create a grouping of different size bottles or apothecary jars with strange contents inside; or add a book of “spells” and candles to capture the spooky aura. Crafter Tip: Experiment with various objects and colors, being sure to balance the composition.

Add Rat & Snake
Step 6. Rat & Snake – Now we need a few creepy crawlers to stir up our primal fears. A rat on top of the pumpkin seems like a natural choice, and the snake has the added bonus of implying movement, as it appears to slither along the tabletop among the objects in the centerpiece. A trip to a Halloween or craft store is sure to have plenty of options, including spiders, worms, skeleton bones, and the like. A few spider webs might kick up the spooky factor another notch.

Candle Stick
Step 7 Orange Candle & Metal Candleholder – To add height and a pop of color on the left end of the centerpiece, add an orange candlestick in a dark metal candleholder. Although the base of the holder is plain, it provides an opportunity which we will take advantage of in the next step. The candle had been stuck in a box for years, which caused the wax to curve. This works great in a Halloween project, where crooked lines are more desirable than straight ones.

Add Spider
Step 8. Orange & Black Spider – I never thought I would say these words, but this spider is actually quite beautiful. The camera flash tends to wash out the brilliant colored stripes upon the spider’s body, which is covered in tiny orange and black glass beads. The large size and imposing ready-to-strike posture are just what this display needed.

Add Witch's Hat
Step 9. Witch’s Hat – The pumpkin’s toothy grin becomes the witch’s face by the simple addition of a classic black hat, which frames the pumpkin’s face, adds character, and ties all pieces together into a unified Halloween theme.

Finished Centerpiece Illuminated
Step 10. Illumination – This is the finished centerpiece with optional lights turned on inside the owl and pumpkin. It’s spooky fun just like the movie, Hocus Pocus.

Designing a Halloween centerpiece is an enjoyable process for stretching your creative muscles. Start with one piece as an inspiration and decorative items you may already own. Find different ways to use existing items by looking at things in a whole new way with your theme in mind.

Happy Halloween and Happy Crafting!