Inspiration: Lost & Found – Part 1

Lost & Found in the Wilderness

Sometimes it feels like inspiration is impossible to find. It hides in plain sight, masquerading as mundane items in our daily lives. Once you find it, you are faced with another question: What should I do with it? In this three-part series, we shall delve into several inspirations and interpret creative expressions for each one. Please join me on this artistic journey in search of inspiration.

Inspiration – A Beautiful Day at the Beach in Maui, Hawaii:

Maui Beach

Spending time at the beach is so relaxing and refreshing. Fluffy clouds drift across the azure sky, palm trees sway in the gentle breeze, and the foamy surf tickles your toes as it ebbs and flows. What’s not to like? Tranquil blues and greens abound, while the soft sand cushions every step as you wander aimlessly picking up scalloped shells in this tropical paradise. Below are a few ways to express this inspiration.

Paint Pouring / Fabric & Apparel Design

Paint Pour & Fabrics

Monkey Carved Coconut Sculpture / Sea Turtles Sand Sculpture

Coconut & Sand Sculptures

Seashell Wall Art / Tropical Illustration

Seashell Art & Illustration

Tropical Leaf Wall Sconces / Hibiscus Fabric Placemats

Wall Sconces & Placemats

Ceramic Sea Turtle / Abalone Shell Earrings

Ceramic Sea Turtle & Abalone Earrings

Inspiration – Scuba Diving:

Lionfish

Dive beneath the waves into a hidden world of exotic creatures, bold colors, intricate patterns and textures soft as sand or razor sharp as coral. Each new discovery becomes a snapshot in your memory, filling you with excitement and the need to creatively express these newfound treasures.

Sea Life Wreath / Fish & Coral Throw Pillow

Ocean Wreath & Fish Pillow

Fish Sand Sculpture / Humpback Whale Carved Wood Sculpture

Sand Sculpt & Wood Carving

Framed Fish Collage / Aquatic Wall Mural

Collage & Wall Mural

Aquatic Stained Glass Dome / Tropical Fish Wall Art

Stained Glass & Wood Fish

Sea Horses Ceramic Tile / Aquatic Mosaic Wall Mural

Ceramic Tile & Mosaic Mural

Inspiration – Garden of Irises:

Green Blue & Purple Irises

World renowned artists, including Monet, Van Gogh and Georgia O’Keeffe, have been inspired by flowers for centuries. Delicate petals in the most exquisite colors beckon us to come closer to appreciate these living works of art.

Hydrangea Wreath / Hydrangea Hand Hooked Rug

Wreath & Hand Hook Rug

Floral Fabric Painting / Hydrangea Fabric Placemats

Floral Fabric & Placemats

Flower Garden Painting / Floral Embroidery

Floral Painting & Embroidery

Garden Gazebo Needlepoint / Beaded Jewelry

Needlepoint & Flower Jewelry

Butterfly Watercolor / Stained Glass Flowers

Watercolor & Stained Glass

This completes part one of this artistic inspiration post. I hope you have found some interesting ideas for your future projects. What inspires you? Please let me know in the comments section and stay tuned for part two next week.

Thanks for Reading & Happy Crafting!

Sculpting in the Sand

Child’s Sandcastle

Child's Sandcastle

For a child, a day at the beach would not be complete without building a sandcastle.

Buzz Lightyear

Buzz Lightyear

Overachievers among us have honed their sand sculpting skills “to infinity and beyond!”

Sculptor’s Sandcastle

Castle with Flags Flying High

During worldwide competitions, we admire these incredible, albeit temporary, masterpieces. Let’s explore the amazing world of sand sculpture.

Relief Sculptures:

Adam & Eve in the Garden of Eden

The Garden of Eden

The details are remarkable, including the serpent’s scales, human anatomy, grainy tree bark, and dimples on the apples. The glass eyes of the serpent appear to glow.

Librarian

Librarian

Each book and every nook and cranny in the bookcases were carved by hand.

Disney’s Snow White

Disney's Snow White

Snow White’s likeness has been captured beautifully, including her delicate eyelashes and the lively twinkles in her eyes.

Sculpting Details

Detailed Cockatoo & Kangaroos

Feathers upon the wings of a bird, and a joey in a kangaroo’s pouch – no details are overlooked.

Freestanding Sculptures:

Three dimensional sculptures, with subjects ranging from movies and books to famous landmarks and historical events, draw us in for a closer look. At this level of competition, the details are so crucial because the audience and judges must easily recognize the scenes, subjects or ideas presented. Below are several sand sculptures based upon popular characters.

Movie: “The Wizard of Oz”

Sculpting Dorothy & Friends Wizard of Oz

Movie: “Avatar”

Avatar

Movies: “Pirates of the Caribbean” & “Maleficent”

Captain Barbossa & Maleficent

Movie: “Pirates of the Caribbean”

Pirates of the Caribbean

Movie: “Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory”

Willy Wonka

Children’s Book: “Where the Wild Things Are”

Where the Wild Things Are

Special Effects:

Color & Lighting are just a few of the special effects implemented to bring sand sculptures to life.

Dyed Sand – Crocodile

Special Effects Crocodile

Dyed Sand – Zebra

Special Effects Zebra

Flames – Fire-Breathing Dragon

Special Effects Fire Dragon

Illumination – Castle

Special Effects Lit Sandcastle

Illumination – Fall of the Roman Empire

Special Effects Lit Ancient Rome

Illumination – Cave Monsters

Special Effects Lit Monster Cave

Illumination & Scenic Backdrop – Mother Gorilla & Baby

Special Effects Gorilla & Baby

Illumination – The Paparazzi

Special Effects Lit Paparazzi

The Best of the Best:

Neuschwanstein Castle

Castle Neuschwanstein

Located in Bavaria, Germany, world renowned Neuschwanstein Castle was the inspiration for Walt Disney’s Cinderella’s Castle. Despite the enormity of scale, and pressures of recreating an historical treasure, these artists successfully accomplished their goal.

Neuschwanstein Closeup

Closeup Neuschwanstein

Lifeguard Rescue

Lifeguard Rescue

Watching lifeguards rescuing a victim is an intense, nail-biting experience.  Those emotions are extremely well conveyed in this incomplete lifeboat sculpture.

Lifeguard Rescue Closeup #1

Closeup Lifeguard Rescue

The near vertical pitch of the lifeboat implies rough seas. The rowing lifeguard is focused upon an approaching wave or the distant shoreline. Either way, there is doubt and worry in his facial expression.

Lifeguard Rescue Closeup #2

Closeup Lifeguard Rescue

Fully engaged in the rescue, the second lifeguard struggles to pull his victim into the boat, while bracing for the next wave. It looks like they all may need to be rescued.

Jack & the Beanstalk

Giant Jack & Beanstalk

“Jack & the Beanstalk” is a classic fairytale known to children and adults. Seeing it come alive in this sculpture is both awesome and scary. In this modified version, the giant survives the fall from the gnarled beanstalk and now he wants blood. Tossed by the sudden impact, Jack helplessly lies nearby on the ground awaiting his fate. The entire composition is a textural feast for the eyes.

Closeup of Giant from Jack & the Beanstalk

Closeup Giant Jack & Beanstalk

Pure fury is exemplified in the giant’s furrowed brow and roaring mouth with bared jagged teeth, as his fingers mercilously tear into the soil in his quest for vengeance. Pointed ears and wart covered skin add a layer of horror to this fairytale villan. How does this version end? We may never know.

I hope you enjoyed seeing these amazing works of art. The next time you visit a beach, maybe you will give sculpting a try. I’ll never look at sand the same way again. Please let me know which ones are you favorites in the comments section, and best of luck with your next artistic project.

Thanks for Reading & Happy Crafting!

Choosing the Best Craft Tools

Art Supplies
Arts and crafts are more than a hobby – it’s a vocation. The passionate pursuit of beauty and self-expression is inspired by the world around us. When shared, it opens a dialogue of ideas and inspirations, reminding us that we are all connected.

Over the years, artists and crafters develop new skills and acquire lots of tools and materials. Along the way, we learn about time saving tools and media to simplify the creative process. Below are several suggestions to assist with your next project.

Tackle BoxFishing Tackle Box – See next photo
Open Tackle Box
A Tackle Box becomes an Art Bin – Every artist needs a place to store paintbrushes, pencils and other tools. In my experience, items made for artists cost twice as much. Instead of buying an Art Bin, get a fishing tackle box, which is inexpensive and has compartments for all your arts and crafts supplies.

Fabric Paints
Fabric Paints – The name implies they’re only for fabric, but these paints provide textured color on any surface and act like glue for small items, such as beads.

Chip Clips
Chip Clips – These are great to use as clamps when gluing small objects together, although you may have to pry them out of the hands of your potato chip eating kids.

Fillet Glove & X-Acto Knife
Fillet Glove & X-Acto Knife – If you do a lot of cutting, a fillet glove is a must to prevent accidents, and an X-Acto knife is a great tool for making very precise cuts.

Prismacolor Pencils
Prismacolor Pencils – These thick, soft lead pencils have beautiful, saturated colors. Although they tend to be expensive, craft stores offer great sales and coupons, making them much more affordable.

Eraser Pencil
Eraser Pencil – In case you never heard of this item, it is a pencil filled with an eraser instead of lead. It can be sharpened to a fine point for precise erasing and the brush on the other end can be used to remove erasures without smearing the surface.

Electric Pencil Sharpener
Electric Pencil Sharpener – If you do a lot of drawing or coloring, having a sharpener nearby is a time saver because it keeps the points clean, sharp and consistent.

Glue Gun
Hot Glue Gun – So many projects require glue. Hot glue guns are easy to use, fast acting, and low odor. You’ll want to keep extra glue sticks on hand because glue guns have voracious appetites.

Sharpie Markers & Paint Pens
Sharpie Markers & Paint Pens – If you need to write or draw on virtually any surface, Sharpies have a wide assortment of colors, finishes, and pen tip sizes.

Wire Cutters
Wire Cutters – Flower arranging is simplified with a sharp pair of wire cutters. They’re excellent for cutting zip ties too.

Tweezers & Crochet Needle
Tweezers – These are great for positioning small beads and working in tight areas. Crocheting Needle – Use to attach floral picks or weaving ribbon into a wreath.

Paint Brushes
Paint Brushes – Different crafts and media require many types of paintbrushes. In case you are wondering about the old brush on the bottom, I keep it for mixing small quantities of paint and for applying rough base coats.

Scissors
Scissors – A good pair of scissors is indispensable. In fact, you might want to keep several pairs on hand for different tasks. I keep this pair for cutting fabric. If you cut other materials, such as plastic or cardboard, the blades can become damaged. This will not only dull the scissors but will also cause fabric fraying in the future.

Ott Light
Ott Task Light – These portable electric lights provide bright, true color lighting in a non-glare, energy efficient fixture, which folds closed for easy storage.

Multi-Drawer Storage
Art Supply Storage – This rolling, pullout-shelving unit was originally used in an accounting department. It’s so convenient for crafting because you can see everything, and each basket can be individually slid out and carried to a table for easy access.

Cotton Swabs & Toothpicks – Inexpensive everyday items such as these are so useful for removing excess glue or paint, and for touch ups and clean ups.

I hope these ideas will be helpful for your future creations. Do you have a favorite craft tool? Please share your suggestions.

Thanks for Reading & Happy Crafting!

What’s New in the Art Studio?

Artist Painting in an Art Studio

New ideas are always brewing at the arts and crafts studio. Here is a sneak peek at a few of the upcoming projects…

Cake Decorating

Cake Decorating Car Birthday Cake

Cake decorating has been a popular topic on this blog, and I have lots of new cake designs to share.

Crafting with Feathers

Crafting with Feathers

Craft stores always have feathers, and there are many creative ways to include them in your artwork.

Full Color Makeover

Crane Statue

This monotone crane has been standing next to a potted plant for years. It is high time he gets some much-needed attention. Believe it or not this makeover will transform him into a crowned prince.

Cookie Decorating

Decorated Cookies Flamingos

The only time of year my family decorates cookies is Christmas. This post will inspire you to create beautiful cookies any time of year.

Painted Wood Crafts

Floral Unfinished Wood Decor

Wood crafts are inexpensive, easy to color or paint, and quickly produce attractive décor for your home.

Magical Creatures from Harry Potter

Harry Potter Griffin

The world of Harry Potter is inhabited by some extraordinary creatures. With a little creative magic, you can conjure one to adopt into your family.

Art Studio Mascots

Studio Mascots

Speaking of adoption, our foster cats have become permanent members of the family, and they will be popping into the studio from time to time for a visit. Here are a few of their recent comments: “Being an inspiration is exhausting and we’re working for kibble. F.Y.I., the feather projects will be delayed indefinitely…you don’t have any. You’re welcome. Wake us when there’s a big juicy mouse project!”

I hope you enjoyed this brief look into future posts. Comments and suggestions are welcome, and I look forward to hearing from you.

Thanks for Reading & Happy Crafting!

Rainbow of Gems – Part 3

Multi Gemstone Necklace

This is the final leg of our gemstone tour as we explore the neutral color palette, followed by several multicolor gems that really know how to stand out in a crowd. Here we go…

Color: Black – mysterious, sexy, luxurious

Black Onyx

Black Onyx & Fluorite Earrings

Historically, black onyx has been carried as protection for travelers. Used in jewelry, it provides great eye-catching contrast, showcasing any accompanying gems.

Black Diamonds

Black Diamonds

Have you ever seen black diamonds? The natural-color black has been growing in popularity, but unlike other diamonds, these stones are opaque.

Snowflake Obsidian

Snowflake Obsidian

The product of volcanic activity, as molten obsidian cools tiny pockets of trapped gases burst forming the delicate snowflake patterns in this beautiful gemstone.

Tahitian Black Pearls

Tahitian Pearls

Tahitian black pearls, grown in the waters of French Polynesia, are the only true black pearls. All other black pearls have been dyed.

Color: Gray – sophisticated, timeless, well-balanced

Gray Jasper

Gray Jasper

Gray jasper brings a sense of calm and well-being to the wearer.

Color: Brown – relaxing, grounding, comfortable

Tigereye

Tigerseye

Want to see a magic trick? When bright light reflects off fibers in a Tigereye stone, the color appears to change in a phenomenon known as chatoyancy.

Smoky Quartz

Smoky Quartz

Also known as smoky topaz, this gemstone ranges in color from light browns to black, just like its namesake, smoke.

Natural Mother of Pearl

Natural Mother of Pearl

Mother of pearl comes from the shell of an oyster or mussel. These organic gems are cream, beige and tan swirled with white.

Color: White – peaceful, practical, cool

Onyx

Onyx

This banded stone is believed to increase intuition and clarify dreams.

White Mother of Pearl

White Mother of Pearl

Because this organic gem comes from a pearl producing shell, it is associated with nurturing and motherhood. Cameo pendants and pins are typically carved from mother of pearl.

Pearls

Pearls

Pearls have long been associated with female power. Cleopatra is believed to have worn makeup made from ground gemstones. Today we may wear pearlescent eyeshadows, but she wore the real thing!

Clear Quartz

Clear Quartz

Clarity of vision and creative inspiration are qualities associated with clear quartz. Because this gem resembles ice, it looks even more frosty when paired with blue or black gemstones.

Diamonds

Diamonds

Diamonds are the hardest gemstone in the world. Perhaps that is why they have become a universal symbol of love and commitment in engagement and wedding rings.

Multi-Color Gemstone Gallery: – multiple colors in one gemstone

Sardonyx

Sardonyx

Fluorite

Fluorite

Abalone

Abalone

Pink Labradorite

Labradorite

Opal

Opal

Blue Agate

Blue Agate

Unakite

Unakite

Chrysocolla

Chrysocolla

Watermelon Tourmaline

Watermelon Tourmaline

Turritella Agate

Turritella Agate

If you love gemstones and archeology, turritella agate is for you. Turritella is a midsize snail that lived millions of years ago. These fossilized creatures are forever preserved within the stones, resulting in a one-of-a kind, visually stunning piece of jewelry.

Carved Agate

Carved Agate

Our final gemstone is this beautifully carved fish cut from a single piece of agate. It’s a gemstone and sculpture in one. How cool is that?

I hope you have enjoyed Mother Nature’s rainbow of gems. New gemstones are still being discovered, creating fresh possibilities in jewelry design. If you feel inspired to try jewelry making, Fire Mountain Gems is a wonderful resource for gemstones, supplies, tutorials and more.

Thanks for Reading & Happy Crafting!

Rainbow of Gems – Part 2

Multi Color Gemstones

Welcome to part two of our rainbow of gems tour.  The Warm Color Palette includes yellows, oranges, reds, and pinks. Qualities associated with each color are noted below. Warm colors call to mind images of blooming flowers, days at the beach, and barbecues in the backyard. Let’s find gems to inspire us.

Color: Yellow – cheerful, warm, motivational

Golden Beryl

Golden Beryl

You may not have heard of the gemstone called beryl, but I am sure you are familiar with two of its relatives, emerald and aquamarine. Although it comes in a few colors, yellow is the rarest.

Amber & Amber with an Insect Trapped Inside

Amber & Encased Fly

Even when the sky is gray, cheerful gold and yellow amber beads will brighten your day. Amber is often found with very interesting inclusions like the famous mosquito in the movie, “Jurassic Park.”

Citrine

Citrine

Want more light and positivity in your life? Citrine captures rays of sunshine you can wear day or night.

Lemon Quartz

Yellow Quartz

Yellow quartz quenches your thirst for beautiful gemstones like a cold glass of lemonade on a hot summer’s day.

Color: Orange – joyful, playful, independent

Orange Coral

Orange Coral

Coral has been used for centuries in jewelry. Because it is susceptible to damage from direct sunlight and excessive heat, care should be taken when wearing or storing your coral pieces.

Orange Carnelian

Carnelian

Carnelian has a blend of color from light to dark within the same stone.

Orange Chalcedony

Orange Chalcedony

Available in several colors, chalcedony may also have bands of color. I must be hungry because these beads remind me of an orange creamsicle.

Peach Pearls

Peach Pearls

Known for their iridescent luster, pearls have been a worldwide favorite for every type of jewelry, from single pearl earrings to priceless crown jewels.

Color: Orange Red – energizing, attention-getting, self-assured

Madeira Citrine

Madeira Citrine

Named for a city in Portugal, Madeira citrine has a deep, reddish orange or brownish orange color.

Color: Red – bold, romantic, sexy, powerful

Red Carnelian

Carnelian & Pearls

In ancient Egypt, carnelian was worn as jewelry for its beauty, carried daily to energize the body, and buried with the dead as protection in the afterlife.

Red Coral

Red Coral

Red coral is typically harvested in the deep waters of the Western Mediterranean.

Garnet

Garnet

Garnets have a long history as symbols of love, power, and protection. Many rulers have worn garnet studded crowns as sign of their power and authority.

Rubies

Rubies

Rubies, the birthstone for July, are one of four “precious” gemstones, which includes Sapphires, Emeralds, and Diamonds.

Red Jasper

Red Jasper

Jasper can be spotted, striped or solid color. Warriors often adorned their weapons and armor with jasper to ensure success in battle.

Color: Pink – soft, feminine, sweet

Rhodochrosite

Rhodochrosite

This beautiful pink gem is honored by Native Americans. With frequently occurring “floral” patterns within the stones, rhodochrosite is a popular gift of love.

Rose Quartz

Rose Quartz

Transparent rose quartz is very rare, and the most prized comes from Madagascar.

This completes the warm color palette and the traditional colors of the rainbow, but there is still a treasure trove of gems waiting for their turn in the spotlight. Please share your thoughts about your favorite gemstones in the comments section and stay tuned for part three. To read part one, please click here.

Thanks for Reading & Happy Crafting!

Rainbow of Gems – Part 1

Rainbow Gemstone Bracelet

Mother Nature created gemstones for every color of the rainbow. I thought you might enjoy seeing some of her greatest works. We will start with the Cool Color Palette, consisting of violets, blues, and greens. Qualities associated with each color are noted below. Let’s delve into the fabulous world of gemstones.

Color: Violet – exotic, dreamy, calming, majestic, regal, passionate

Amethyst Geode

Amethyst Geode

Gemstones grow as crystals in a variety of colors. Amethyst is typically found in shades of purple, but as shown above, it also comes in green, which is known as mint quartz.

Amethyst Nuggets

Amethyst Nuggets

Polished gemstone nuggets serve as decorative home accents and touchstones or may be displayed in jewelry designs by drilling or wiring.

Faceted Oval Cut Amethyst

Amethyst Faceted Gem

Gemstones are graded according to several qualities including clarity, hardness (scratch resistance based upon Mohs scale), color, carats (weight), and luster (light reflection).

Purpurite

Purpurite Necklace

Colors for this opaque gemstone typically range from reddish purples to deep violets. Both ends of that spectrum can be seen in the photo above.

Sugilite

Sugilite Bracelet

Although this gemstone is usually seen in soft shades of lilac, it can also be bluish purple or deep violet.

Color: Indigo – mysterious, ethereal, enchanting, intriguing

Tanzanite

Tanzanite Pendant

Depending upon the viewing angle, tanzanite, which is rarer than diamonds, changes color from exotic violets to indigo blues.

Iolite

Iolite Faceted Stones

Iolite is the perfect marriage of violet and blue. With reflective properties like tanzanite, changes in natural or artificial light transform the color through the full range of blues to violets and back again.

Color: Blue – refreshing, tranquil, playful, inspiring

Lapis Lazuli – Rough Stones

Lapis Lazuli Rough Stone Necklace

Vibrant blue stones flecked with gold differentiate lapis lazuli from another blue gem called sodalite.

Lapis Lazuli – Polished Stones & King Tut’s Funerary Mask

Lapis Lazuli & King Tut Mask

Historically, lapis lazuli has been a favorite gemstone of royalty. The most famous example is the funerary mask of King Tut, which includes inlaid lapis lazuli, turquoise, and obsidian.

Blue Sapphires

Blue Sapphire Bracelet

Although blue is the most recognized color, it also comes in several rare varieties including green, yellow, pink, and star sapphire.

Sodalite

Sodalite & Clear Quartz Earrings

Sodalite is a blue stone with white and sometimes black inclusions, which are materials trapped within growing crystals. You’ll see a famous inclusion photo in the next post.

Blue Topaz

Blue Topaz Earrings

Light blue topaz gemstones are called Sky Blue, medium blue is referred to as Swiss Blue, and dark blue is known as London Blue.

Turquoise

Turquoise Jewelry

Green and blue turquoise typically have black or brown veins called matrix. The most coveted turquoise is Robin’s Egg blue, which has only been found in one location, the Sleeping Beauty Mine in Arizona.

Color: Blue Green – successful, creative, luxurious, exotic

Paraiba Tourmaline

Paraiba Tourmaline Earrings & Pendant

This beautiful blue green gemstone is among the rarest in the world and is highly sought by jewelry designers and gemstone aficionados.

Color: Green – abundant, grounding, renewing, prosperous, fortunate

Malachite

Malachite Necklace

Bold green swirls and striations are hallmarks of this popular gemstone.

Emeralds

Emeralds & Diamond Pendant

Emeralds have been treasured throughout history, but surprisingly they tend to be easily damaged due to the presence of inclusions, which weaken the stones.

Nephrite Jade

Carved Green Jade

This is another ancient gemstone in beautiful shades of green, which can be carved for jewelry as well as decorative figurines.

Peridot

Peridot Chip Bracelet

Peridot, the birthstone for August, is also known as Olivine. Inclusions and fractures often found in these stones make peridot more susceptible to damage.

Aventurine

Aventurine Bracelet

The inherent shimmering quality of aventurine makes it stand apart from all other gemstones.

This completes our exploration of the gemstone cool color palette. I hope you have seen some old friends and met a few new ones. Do you have any favorites? Please let me know in the comments section, and please stay tuned for part two next week.

Thanks for Reading & Happy Crafting!

The Ultimate Hair Accessory – Flowers

Girl in a Field of Flowers

Spending time in nature brings a renewed sense of balance, re-energizing the mind and body and nourishing the soul. Wearing flowers in your hair is a lovely way of taking a little piece of paradise with you as a daily reminder to stop and smell the roses.

Accessories by Nature

Butterfly & Flowers

Who needs an accessories store when Mother Nature provides everything we could possibly need and more?

The Power of One

Single Flower Focal Point

Sometimes all you need is one bold flower as a focal point. Of course, there is no denying that having green hands tends to be an attention-getter as well. (lol)

Hawaiian Traditions

Hawaiian Floral Traditions

Native Hawaiians celebrate beautiful traditions with music, dance, and flowers, and visitors are encouraged to join in the fun.

Timeless Flowers

Granddaughter & Grandmother

Weddings, birthdays, and anniversaries are all great excuses for floral accessories, but you don’t have to wait for a special occasion. Celebrate “Me Day” with flowers!

Flower Girls

Flower Girls

Sweet and sassy flower girls are experts at charming audiences and stealing the show. 

Back to Nature

Back to Nature

Turn an ordinary picnic in the park into a portrait session for you and the kids.

Fairytale Princess

Childhood Fantasy Portrait

Start with an adorable portrait of your precious crowned prince or princess (a.k.a. child) and let the power of photo software magically develop a fairytale image to be treasured for years to come.

Fur Babies

Flowers & Pets

If your kids are fur babies, a few flowers will render heartwarming photo results.

Love & Romance

Orchids & Lilies

Perfectly placed blooms evoke an exquisite romantic vibe.

Beaded Beauty

Indian Traditions

As the bride processes down the aisle, guests are dazzled by a delicately beaded headpiece and a ring of bold red flowers to complete this attractive updo.

All Eyes on Me

Floral Headbands

On the left, a copper headband wrapped in flowers, complemented by beaded copper earrings and shimmering eyeshadow, creates this lovely harmonious look. The more organic style on the right beautifully frames the bride’s face, while dramatic makeup and lashes draw attention to her eyes. 

Confidence is Beautiful

Floral Headbands

Soft and ethereal like a fairy princess or bold and sensual as a siren of the sea, flowers let your personality shine through with confidence.

Floral Fashionistas

Pink & Purple Floral Hairstyles

Makeup, hair, and jewelry accompanied by color-coordinated flowers are the key elements of these fashion forward styles.

Pretty in Pink

Peonies Crown

Peonies are so beautiful, and their scent is intoxicating.

Bold & Beautiful

Red Floral Bridal Hairstyles

If you want to stand out in a crowd, wear red. Flawless makeup with vibrant lip color will have them hanging on every word.

In Perfect Harmony

Beads & Flowers

A white pearl headband and earrings mimic the white hydrangea blossoms and charming lace wedding gown. A filmy pink dress calls for delicate mini roses and pastel blooms of spring.

Poetry in Motion

Mexican Traditions

Flowers, ribbons, and vibrant designs are an integral part of Mexican traditions. Her black dress and hair provide the perfect contrast for the fuchsia and green palette, with a brilliant smile as the cherry on top.

Belle of the Ball

Belle of the Ball

Start with an intricately beaded evening gown, layered with fabric petals and pearl centers. Wispy greens serve as the foundation for a lovely peach floral crown and matching bouquet.  A soft peach makeup palette completes this exceptional formal look. The belle of the ball will be dancing long after midnight.

Flower Power

Fairytale Wedding

If you love being the center of attention, a bold statement is the way to go, and this floral look is unforgettable. The makeup palette perfectly complements this jaw dropping composition. The only disappointment is not seeing how her bridal gown coordinates with such an over-the-top floral display.

Here we are at the end of our flower extravaganza. Hopefully you are inspired to incorporate more flowers into your life. Flowers bring smiles and we all benefit from more happiness.

Thanks for Reading & Happy Crafting!

The Octopus & the Mermaids

Tropical House Closeup
A little piece of paradise – Isn’t that what we all want? That means different things to different people. For many, the idea of a cozy grass shack on a tropical island is a common fantasy. Of course it goes without saying that we’ll expect all the comforts of home in that “shack,” but that’s not important. Visualizing the dream is the focus here. This time of year so many people visit the seashore. An ocean-themed centerpiece, created one piece at a time, brings memories of vacations past to mind, and inspires dreams of vacations yet to come.

Beach House Before & After1
Before & After Photos: Tropical Home – Front Facade. What was once a home for tiny gnomes transforms into a tropical retreat with orange silk flowers, and a bamboo pattern drawn by hand on the exterior walls using a brown Sharpie marker.

Beach House Before & After2
Before & After Photos: Tropical home – Back Facade. The bamboo pattern continues across the back, giving it that island vibe.

Light House Before & After
Before & After Photos: Lighthouse. Whoever heard of a lighthouse without a roof? To make the roof shown, fold the paper into a cone and staple it as needed to hold its shape. Glue a soup can lid to the bottom of the cone and paint it gray to match the lower portion of the building. Add twine along the edge and down the sides to resemble a standing seam metal roof. Tie several knots in a piece of twine and glue it to the peak of the roof. Tint the glass votive holder yellow using a highlighter, and line the inside with orange paper to suggest a brilliant light glowing from within the tower.

Sailboat Before & After2
Before & After Photos: Sailboat. This sailboat only needed minor adjustments. The faded white stripes needed a fresh coat of paint, and the middle stripe was changed to orange. Because the opposite side of the sail was unfinished, the stripes and shells were duplicated on the back. A cute little blue bird was glued on top of the mast.

The Star of the Show: A Blue Ringed Octopus
Octopus Before and After 2
Before & After Photos: Octopus Closeup. It’s hard to believe the monochromatic octopus on the left is the same one on the right, but it is. It’s amazing what a difference a little paint can do.

Octopus with Candles
Original Octopus Candleholder: This whole project started with this silver metal octopus candleholder. As you can see, it looks top heavy with the large pillar candles, and the octopus is rather hidden underneath. Round candles were another option, but he looked like a juggler! (lol)

Blue Ringed Octopus
As with all creative projects, it’s helpful to gather a few photos for inspiration. The blue ringed octopus is a fascinating creature. Fans of James Bond 007 will remember the movie, Octopussy, in which Maude Adams had an aquarium with this beautifully patterned octopus, and she also wore a white silk robe emblazoned with its colorful, exotic image. Each octopus has a unique pattern, and the blue iridescent rings are impressive creations courtesy of Mother Nature.

Paints
Supplies:
Octopus (7-1/2” high x 4-1/2” wide x 1-3/8” thick)
Acrylic Paints – tan, brown, black, yellow, white, & metallic blue
1) Bottle fabric paint – white
1) Bottle fabric paint – brown
2) Paintbrushes – one for base coat, and a fine brush for details
Paint Palette
Clear Spray Paint

Octopus without Candles
This is how it looks without the candles. The large metal plates are too big, overpowering the beauty of this piece.

Octopus without Plates
The plates were removed using a Dremel cutting tool, and the tips of the tentacles were filed smooth. Now you start to notice the amazing sculptural details created by the artist.

Painted Tan
The color was the next issue to be addressed with two coats of tan paint. The artist painstakingly created a realistic looking octopus, but that thick coat of silver paint had obscured all those intricate details.

Painted Brown Spots
A brown pattern was applied to the entire body and the eyes were painted black.

Painted Black Spots
Black spots were added, overlapping the brown.

Painted Blue Rings&Yellow
Blue iridescent rings were applied over the black spots. Random yellow stripes wrap around the legs and head. A white dot was added to the pupil of each eye.

Painted Brown Irises White Outlines
The eyes were made more realistic with the addition of brown irises and white outlines.

Clear Coat & Suction Cups
Two coats of clear spray paint were applied to protect the acrylic paints. White suction cups were added to the underside of the tentacles and allowed to dry. Next brown fabric paint was applied over each of the suction cups to provide shape and depth. This beautiful sculpture now has the rich, colorful appearance it deserves, and makes an interesting conversation piece.

Finished Centerpiece
Photo: Completed Centerpiece. Black pebbles form little volcanic islands amid a vast ocean. In front of a cozy tropical home, a mermaid sits quietly reading, as a sailboat glides along the water. Another mermaid leaps out of the sea with a treasured seashell in her hand. The lighthouse makes a welcome rest stop for wildlife and a sunbathing mermaid. A feisty octopus playfully thrashes about the water’s surface. Palm trees swaying in the breeze display a pair of small signs that says it all: “Beach Please!”

Thanks for Reading & Happy Crafting!

Unforgettable Baby Elephants

Bath Time for Baby

Baby Elephant & Family

All babies are cute, but baby elephants are so expressive like the one above having the best day ever!

Baby Nuzzles Mom

Baby Elephant & Mother

Standing beside their watchful mothers, they look so small and somewhat fragile.

Baby’s First Steps

Baby Elephant Walking on Dirt Road

With those big floppy ears, it’s easy to imagine them taking flight, playfully floating upon the breeze and coming to a landing in our love-filled hearts. Let’s bring some of that joy into this week’s project.

How to Paint a Wooden Baby Elephant:

Raw Wood Elephant

Raw Wood

In previous painted wood projects, the animals had feathers, scales, or fur. Elephants present a unique challenge: wrinkles. I must admit this took much longer than expected as I progressed through a series of trial and error to achieve the desired appearance by layering. Let’s get started…

Supplies

Supplies

Supplies:
Wooden Elephant (5” high x 6-1/4” wide x 1-1/4” thick)
Acrylic Paints – Gray & Black, (Pink is optional)
Paintbrushes
Markers – Gray
Pens -Black Fine Point
1) Bottle fabric paint – Brown
1) Bottle fabric paint – Black
1) Bottle fabric paint – White (not shown)

Texture Building

Build Texture

Start building texture with three-dimensional fabric paint. I used white, but any color will do because we will paint over it in a later step. Draw both eyes with a pencil. Thicken and shape the ears and outline the eyes with fabric paint.

Paint the Body

Paint Gray

Paint the body gray, including both sides and all the edges.

Draw Details with a Marker

Marker Details

Define the wrinkles using a gray marker.

Add More Wrinkles

Add Wrinkles

After viewing numerous photos, I added wrinkles all over the body using a marker but immediately regretted it. I should have followed my own advice: Draw or paint what you feel, not what you know.

Repaint the Body

Repaint

A fresh coat of paint gives us a clean slate to try again and allows the marker lines to lightly show through, which is great for the next step.

Cautiously Draw Wrinkles

Pencil Details

Using a pencil, slowly add details in key areas to imply overall wrinkles. Build up the eyes with brown fabric paint.

Trace with a Marker

Marker Details

With a gray marker, trace the wrinkles and outline the eyes. Finish building the eyes up with brown fabric paint and allow it to dry. Add pupils and a white spot in each to bring them to life.

Trace with Fabric Paint

Fabric Paint

Retrace the wrinkles with black fabric paint. You are probably thinking, “Here she goes again. Jumping in with both feet,” and you are correct. The difference is this time … I like it! Don’t worry about too much contrast because we will tone it down in the next step. Develop the eyes with the same fabric paint.

Repaint & Create More Texture

New Texture

By repainting the body with gray paint, the raised wrinkles recede, becoming part of the thick skin. Next, mix black and gray acrylic paint to create a darker gray. Dip a cotton ball in the new dark gray paint and dab it on a piece of scrap paper to remove the excess. Lightly dab the cotton ball all over the body to create new subtle layers of texture. Repeat as needed.

Trace with a Marker

Accent Marker

Retrace the wrinkles, ears, and eyes with gray marker. Add lines around the mouth and tip of trunk. At this point you could stop, but I wanted to add a few little details to make this elephant look like a baby. For that we need a little inspiration.

Adorable Baby Elephant

Baby Elephant

Three things stand out: eyelashes, the pink inside of the mouth, and peach fuzz hair running along the spine from top of the head to the tail. Markers or paint will work nicely for the first two details, but the third requires a special ingredient…

A Longhair Cat

Long Hair Cat

Yes, I am recommending the use of cat hair for an art project. I must say it is the oddest ingredient I have ever used. Longhair cats require daily brushing, so collecting soft hair is no problem. (lol)

Completed Baby Elephant

Add Hair

Glue on the hair with Elmer’s glue. Adjust and trim the hair as needed. Add eyelashes with a fine point black pen and paint the inside of the mouth pink.

Closeup of Elephant’s Face

Close Up

Although these details are minor, I think they provide softness and a “cuteness” factor to this baby elephant, just like his living counterparts.

Baby Elephant – Before & After

Elephant Before & After

This completes our project. Persistence pays off. Experimentation is a tremendous help in solving artistic problems. If you are not happy with the results, let it sit for a day or two and the inspiration will come to you just when you need it most.

Have you faced any artistic challenges like wrinkles? Have you used an unusual item, such as cat hair, in an arts and crafts project? Please share your ideas in the comments section. Thanks for joining me. Good luck with your future works of art.

Thanks for Reading & Happy Crafting!