DIY: Recycled Rainbow Mobile

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This month’s DIY Challenge theme is Rainbows, so send in all your favorite rainbow projects for the round-up at the end of the month. Visit the challenge page for more information, and use the handy-dandy form to upload your project photos. We can’t wait to see what you’ve made!

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Rainbows are amazing. They’re awe inspiring in the sky, they are a great way to organize things*, and they are just plain magical.

This little recycled rainbow mobile tries to be a few of those things- and has the added bonus of being a nifty reason to doodle.

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SUPPLIES

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Use the thick material punch to cut circles out of every piece of plastic you can find. Don’t worry, the idea of using recycleables for art will make you look insane. Embrace it. (;

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Use your rainbow of markers to doodle decorations on each circle. It’s okay if you have an uneven amount of some color because you think orange is terrible, just have fun!

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Tie three strings to your top ring, and tie those three together to hang the ring parallel to the ground. Find a place to hang this ring while you work.

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Choose one of your most popular colors (purple for me), and poke a small hole near the top of each piece with a safety pin. Cut a piece of thread approximately 12″ long, and string it through one of the holes. Tie the ends of the thread together, and attach it to the hanging ring using a lark’s head knot. Repeat this for each circle of this color.

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Choose the next color in the rainbow (blue in my case) and poke each piece like you did before. This time add two inches to your thread for a length of 14″. Attach each of these pieces to your ring.

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Continue by adding 2 inches to the length of each new color until you have tied all of your pieces to the ring.

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When you have finished, hang it in a bright window and watch it sway and catch the light.

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See, sometimes trash-art is fun!

 

*I may or may not be one of those people who sorts books by color. My librarian mother may be driven insane by this fact.

DIY: Watercolor & Wax Paper Jewelry

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Sometimes I come up with a project that I enjoy so much that it’s hard to stop to write a post. This, my friends, is one of those.

It’s a simple combination of watercolor, melting wax, and punching shapes- but it’s oh so satisfying.

 

SUPPLIES

  • Thick paper for Watercolor
  • Watercolor paints and brushes
  • Pencil
  • Straight Edge
  • Paraffin Wax
  • Scraping Tool, like a vegetable peeler.
  • Iron, ironing board, towel or other surface to catch wiley bits of wax
  • Parchment Paper
  • Scissors
  • Large Thick Material Punches (optional but recommended) I used circle punches in 2″ diameter, 1.5″ diameter, and 1″ diameter
  • Small hole punch
  • Thin cord or ribbon
  • Jump Rings (optional)

Step One: Paint it

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Gather your paper, pencil, straight edge, paints and brushes.

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Draw several parallel lines with your pencil to create stripes of varying widths.

Begin filling in each stripe with a color in the order of the rainbow. (ROY G BIV –  Red Orange Yellow Green Blue Indigo Violet).

If you fill a small stripe, use a similar color next to it (Orange red and Red for instance.) It’s okay if your paint is a little irregular, or you have small white spaces.

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Now it’s time to paint the back of your pendant. Draw some non-parallel lines on a new piece of paper, and fill them in with some of the same colors you used on the other side. Leave a little white space as well. Set your paintings aside to dry.

Step Two: Wax it

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Now you will need your ironing setup, parchment paper, and wax. You might have a little wax escape during the ironing process, so it’s a good idea to have a scrap towel or cotton fabric to protect your ironing board. Remember to keep an eye on your ironing so you don’t singe anything!

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Sandwich one of your dry watercolor sheets inside a piece of parchment paper. Shred a pile of wax on top. (You can always add more wax, so this is a good time to play!)

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Turn your iron to it’s lowest setting, and gently melt the wax between the sheets of parchment paper. You will see the paper start to look wet. Continue working the liquid wax into the paper until it starts to be consistently translucent. You may want to add more wax.

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Flip your paper over, and add a pile of wax to the other side. This will be the “glue” that holds your two sides together.

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Lay the other piece of paper on top of that pile…

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shred some more wax on that, and iron again following the earlier instructions.

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Continue to add wax until the papers are translucent and consistently wet looking. When you’re happy with the look, put a little bit of weight on the stack, and let it cool for a couple of minutes.

IMG_6356_waxedpaperjewelryWhen it is still warm, but safe to touch, uncover the paper, and use your finger or a tool to smooth any puddles of wax. (Playing in wax is one of my favorite things!) Now let it cool completely (a few minutes.)

Step Three: Punch it

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I am loving these thick material punches from Fiskars. I have long abused normal paper punches, and they have a habit of breaking at the worst possible moment. These punches go through everything like butter.

IMG_6361_waxedpaperjewelryUse a punch (or scissors) to take shapes out of your waxed paper…

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until you have a nice little pile of shapes to work with. To turn solid shapes into pendants, punch small holes on one or two sides. You can run cord through these holes (or attach jump rings.)

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After you have everything cut out, polish the shapes by using your fingers to rub excess wax off the surface and edges.

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Feed thin ribbon, cord, or chain through the holes in your pendants. You can feed your cord through, wrap it several times, or tie a lark’s head knot. Anything goes! Leave enough room to slip the necklace over your head, and you’re set.

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Double sided rainbow pendants!

Now I want to wax all the paper. Someone stop me before I go too far!

DIY: Three Ways To Paint A Watercolor Feather (For Beginners)

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Can you believe it’s almost spring? Here in Portland, the rain clouds have been taking more frequent breaks to let the sun shine and people are preparing their gardens for the new year. One rainy afternoon I felt the urge to get out my watercolors and play. I had fun experimenting with a favorite subject (one that fits our DIY Craft Challenge theme this month), FEATHERS and decided to share a few of my favorite ways to paint one.

This is a great project for those who are just learning how to use watercolors. Be sure to check out my other posts on Watercolor Basic Supplies & Techniques and 8 Watercolor Techniques For Beginners.

Materials Needed:

• Watercolor paper
• Watercolor paints
• Small + medium size brushes
• Black fine tip pen (I use 0.3 Copic Multi Liner)
• Pencil
• White gouache
• Sea salt
• Feathers (for inspiration)

Prep Your Paper & Sketch

Start by cutting your watercolor paper to three pieces of equal size (I cut mine to be 4″ x 6″). OR you can simply paint all three feathers onto the same page. Then lightly sketch a feather shape with pencil. To do this, first draw an elongated oval shape. Then sketch a straight line down the middle (this will be the stem).
DIY: Three Ways To Paint A Watercolor Feather

METHOD #1: Color Wash + Black Pen

Start by creating a color wash within the feather shape. To do this, first paint your feather shape with a thin layer of clear water only.
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Then prep a few colors by wetting the pigment with water. While the feather shape is still wet, use your brush to drop color randomly onto the wetted surface (I like to use two or three colors for this). Allow the paint to flow together. You can even lift your paper slightly to help it run together.

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OPTIONAL: Wait a minute or two, and while the paint is still wet, sprinkle some sea salt over the top. Let dry completely, then brush off any remaining salt from the paper.

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Once dry you can decide whether or not you want to do a second color wash layer. I chose to add some more red/orange paint to the bottom of my feather to achieve a darker, more vibrant hue. Don’t forget to paint a stem!

DIY: Three Ways To Paint A Feather

Next get out a fine tipped black felt pen. I use a 0.3 Copic Multi Liner. First draw two lines down the center. You want the lines to come to a point near the top of the feather to create the stem. Next you can begin drawing lines from the stem starting and at the top of the feather and working your way down.

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Experiment with leaving space between the lines at different intervals. You could also try different mark making techniques like dots, dashed lines, or even illustrated patterns.

TIP: If drawing with pen directly onto your watercolor feather is too nerve-wrecking, you can lightly sketch your lines with pencil first and then go over with pen.

DIY: Three Ways To Paint A Feather

METHOD #2: Color Wash + Watercolor Details

Start by sketching your feather shape. I chose to sketch my stem in an arc/curve shape this time. Then create a light color wash by first painting the feather shape with a thin layer of clear water and then dropping paint at random onto the wetted surface.

DIY: Three Ways To Paint A Feather

TIP: To paint a lighter shade color wash, all you have to do as add more water to your paint to dilute the pigment.

DIY: Three Ways To Paint A Feather

OPTIONAL: Because I like texture, I chose to sprinkle some sea salt over the color wash (just like in Method #1). Let dry completely, then brush off any remaining salt.

DIY: Three Ways To Paint A Feather

Next create a second layer with feathery details. First choose a darker color (I chose a dark green) to paint the stem.
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Using a small brush, begin to paint whispy lines starting at the stem going out to the edge of your color wash. Experiment by using a few different colors of the same hue.

DIY: Three Ways To Paint A Feather

Once you complete your second whispy layer, you can continue to add more color or detail (while the paint is still wet) until you achieve a look you like. Once finished, let dry completely.

DIY: Three Ways To Paint A Feather
DIY: Three Ways To Paint A Feather

METHOD #3: Color Wash + Gouache Details

Sketch your feather. This time I chose to create a slightly more detailed sketch. Start with the basic feather shape and then using your actual feather as inspiration, lightly draw ‘more wild’ feather shape.

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Fill the feather shape with a color wash the same way we did in the last two methods. Paint the shape with clear water and then use your brush to drop in color at random.

DIY: Three Ways To Paint A Feather

Then while the paint is till wet, choose a darker color and add in some stripes. Do this by dropping in the dark color in intervals, leaving gaps in between each ‘stripe’. You can keep adding color until you get a look you like. Then let dry completely.

DIY: Three Ways To Paint A Feather

Then add some white gouache to your palette and using a fine tip brush, paint a line down the center of the feather and add in some white dots. Let dry and you’re done!

DIY: Three Ways To Paint A Feather

Three ways To Paint A Feather

DIY: Paper Maché Birdy Penny Bank

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My friend Tara is a paper maché inspiration. A couple of years ago she made a couple of piggy banks that were so amazing I decided I needed to make a bank of my very own. A birdy bank.

I love that papier maché gives you the opportunity to make basically anything out of recycled materials. This is a great project for kids and adults alike- just be ready to take it in shifts over a couple of days so that the form has time to dry between each coat.
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Basic Supplies and Tools

  • A table cloth or paper cover and an apron. This is a wonderfully messy project!
  • A balloon
  • Newspaper
  • Flour and water (to make paste)
  • A piece of chipboard (like scrap from a cracker box)
  • This template for the feet, beak, wings and tailfeathers (which you will cut from chipboard.)
  • Masking Tape
  • Glue – Hot glue works great, but other thick glues work in a pinch
  • Scissors and craft knife

Finishing Supplies

  • Sand paper or sanding block
  • Acrylic paint
  • ‘ glue or similar
  • Brush

 

Step One: Starting the Paper Maché and Form

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Blow up one balloon about 5.5″ in diameter, and crumple up a piece of paper to make a head about 2.5″ in diameter. Tape the “head” to the balloon*, roughly the opposite side from the tied end.  (If you would prefer the inside of the birdy to be smooth, cover the balloon with a layer of paper maché before attaching the head.)

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To make your simple paper maché paste, mix one part flour with one part water. (You can change this ratio if you prefer a more watery or thicker paste. Practice makes perfect.) Stir the paste with your finger until it is smooth.

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Tear your newspaper into small strips and pieces and begin to coat your body form with a layer of newspaper. Dip each strip into the paste, and pull it through your fingers to remove excess paste and moisture.

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Overlap the pieces of newspaper on your form, and cover all but the tied end. It may be helpful to set the balloon on a cup or bowl to lift it off of your surface.

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When you have completely covered the form with one layer of newspaper, set it aside to dry. If you have a fan or space heater, set this little guy in front of that and it will dry faster. Make sure to let it dry almost completely before moving to the next layer of material, or you will have a soppy mess. At least wait a few hours.

Step Two: Adding more Detail

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Since your bird looks nothing like a bird yet, it’s time to add some appendages. Download and print this template and cut each of the pieces from a piece of chipboard.

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To build the birdy legs, cut into one side of the chipboard as shown, and roll the other end into a cylinder. Secure the roll with a couple of pieces of tape.

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Then tape across the foot to attach it to the leg. The flap left at the end of the leg will be glued to the base of your balloon form.

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Roll the beak to form a cone shape, and tape it in shape. Stuff a little piece of paper into the open end of the cone to make it easier to attach to your birdy head.

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Glue works best to secure the wings, legs, beak, and tail feathers to your form. Hold them in place until the glue is holding firmly. When everything is in place, begin to add another layer of papier maché,  covering all the new parts of your bird in addition to adding another layer to the main form you’ve already covered.

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As you add paper, make sure to leave the end of the balloon visible; this is where you’ll be breaking the balloon and pulling it out. Paper maché is very forgiving and it’s easy to cover up this hole.

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When you’ve covered the form with one or two layers of paper, let it dry again. You may find that you have to stop before you’ve completed covering the whole thing because life gets in the way of your messy fun, or your messy fun become a little too messy. No worries! Just make sure that your paper is as smooth as you can make it, and let the bird rest.

Step Three: Removing the Balloon and Making this Guy a Bank

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Yes. It looks silly. That’s okay, the best things are silly. When your form is completely dry, you’re ready to remove your balloon. Gently grip the balloon’s knot, and pierce the balloon to let the air out. As it shrinks, it should pull away from your paper. If it sticks in a spot, gently pull it out of the hole.

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No bank is complete without a place to put the money. Mark a line down the back of your bird, between the wings, about 1/4″ wide and 1.5″ long. Use a craft knife to carefully trim out the piece you’ve marked.

To finish the bottom of the bank, you have a couple of options. You can either add an access hole for money to be removed or go with the ol’ piñata method– keep the money inside until it’s time to smash! (Which is definitely satisfying.)

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If you’d like to make your bank reusable, find a small lid or something else that would work as a plug. Trace around the shape and cut any extra paper. It you’re having trouble keeping the cover in, trace it onto a scrap of chipboard and make a ring the perfect size, then glue that on top of your form and cover it with paper. The chipboard with provide a little extra stability. (Yes, I know this all looks kinda amusing. Giggles are allowed.)

Step Four: The last of the Papier Maché

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If your form is feeling pretty secure, it’s time to start adding the last layer of papier maché. The paint will not completely cover the paper (unless you want it to) so this is a great time to start having fun with your paper color and prints. Save gold and orange colored paper for the beak, cover the wings and head in dark colors, and use white newsprint for the breast. When you’re happy with the way it looks, let it all dry overnight!

Step Five: Sanding and Painting

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If you’re anything like me, your form will need a little sanding. USe sand paper or a sanding block to smooth off any edges of paper, clumps of paste, or rough edges- making sure not to sand below your papier mache layers.

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To make a transparent paint layer, mix equal parts glue and white acrylic paint with a little water.  (Add more glue for more transparency, or more paint to cover the paper more opaquely.)

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Gently apply a layer of paint and glue to the whole form and let it dry.

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When it dries you will still be able to see a lot of your newspaper pattern. If you like, add another layer of white paint, or start to add more colors to bring out details. To keep some of the transparency, you can water down your colored paints and streak them across your form.

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Let it all dry, and get ready to fill it with money!

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Using this balloon method you can make pretty much any animal you want! I’d love to see!

TODAY: Creative Ways To Heal A Broken Heart

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I recently went through a painful breakup with my boyfriend of five years. It was the longest relationship I’ve ever had and extremely heartbreaking to let go of and accept its end. Coming away from the relationship feeling more heartbroken and emotionally wounded than I’ve ever felt before has prompted me to really commit myself to the process of healing. I know that I don’t want to stay living in my past, thinking about “what might have been”. I want to accept all that’s happened, reflect on the lessons I’ve learned and look forward to the future. I want to heal my heart so that it can reopen fully to new relationships and discover deeper connections with others.

One of the first things I did after the shock of the breakup wore off was go to my local bookstore and pick up a copy of the book, How to Survive the Loss of a Love. I stared at the relationship self help aisle for a long time, overwhelmed by the amount of weird relationship books. I flipped through books like The Breakup Bible and others but decided I wasn’t really interested in reading stories about other people’s horrendous breakups. What I wanted was some simple words of encouragement and a flexible guide to help me through the healing process. Originally published back in 1976, How to Survive the Loss of a Love walks you through the stages of recovery from a loss which are: survival (shock/denial/numbness), healing (fear/anger/depression) and growth (understanding/acceptance/ moving on), and then goes through a sort of checklist with suggestions, reassurances, and resources.

Now that I’m in the healing stage of recovery, I’m learning more and more about what it actually means to heal. For me, it means giving myself time to mourn the loss. My instinct is to push away any feelings of sadness, pain, and anger. But pushing those emotions away for me means holding them in and I’ve learned the hard way what can happen to your body over time if you hold that kind of negativity inside. So instead I’m trying to be with my pain now. To really feel it and allow it to pass through me and be released rather than compartmentalized and ignored.

Creative Ways To Heal A Broken Heart

Being with my pain now has also made me learn to experience the loss differently. At first feeling the fear, anger, desolation and pain would completely overtake me and become too overwhelming to experience. So I’ve learned how to mentally step out of my feelings and simply be with them like I would a close friend, allowing the tears and emotions to flow but focusing on my body and breathing, and telling myself, “You’re OK”, “Everything is going to be OK”.

The ability to self soothe is an extremely valuable skill to have especially when recovering from a loss. Only you can heal yourself and knowing that you have the ability to calm and comfort yourself without having to rely on others is extremely important. You might find your friends and family becoming impatient with your healing process, so it’s important to be able to soothe yourself and stay on track in your healing process without relying on help from others.

Creative Ways To Heal A Broken Heart

There are lots of ways you can self soothe when healing from a loss. Here are some of my favorite creative activities that help to ground me, calm my nerves, and relax:

DIY: Watercolor Affirmation Cards #tutorial

Affirm Yourself.

Combating negative self-talk is so important when healing. We all have moments of feeling unloved, unloveable, fearing that we’ll forever be alone, and the pain will never end. Whenever negative thoughts like that start to creep in I make sure to acknowledge them and then counter them by telling myself, “I am loved and lovable”, “I will recover and things will get better”, “I will find new love”. Make your own cute affirmation cards to carry in your wallet or purse and post in little places around your home and workspace to remind you to think positively.

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Art Journaling.

Express your feelings through Art Journaling or try Soul Collage. Art journaling has been a favorite activity of mine since high school. These days I turn to my art journal whenever I feel like I need to reconnect with my true self. Allowing my intuition to cut, paste, paint, draw, and write helps me to process my emotions and release them into the pages. When working in my art journal I try not to judge or worry about what my finished pages will look like. The focus for me has always been on  the process so instead I draw my attention to color and shape, to my paint or scissors and let my intuition guide me.

Creative Ways To Heal A Broken Heart

Coloring Books.

Adult coloring books are all the rage right now and studies have even shown that coloring is like a form of meditation. So play some soothing tunes, get out your box of markers and colored pencils and spend an evening coloring (and sipping a glass of wine).

Cleanse your space.

Clearing out my closet and sorting through and getting rid of stuff was one of the first things I did after my breakup. I rearranged my entire living room and redecorated my bedroom so that my space felt like the “new me”. I also recommend smudging your space to help get rid of any lingering negative energies that might be stagnant in your house. If you’re curious to know more about the art of smudging, check out this article I wrote for Molly Muriel.

DIY: Jersey Macrame Hanging Planter #craft #home #decor

Get a new houseplant.

After I finished cleansing my space, I shopped for a few new houseplants to give my home some fresh energy. Being close to nature is extremely cathartic for the body, mind and spirit. Bringing nature into your home is an easy way to get creative too with decorative planters and arrangements. Check out a few things I’ve made recently like a Macrame Plant Hanger and Mini Crystal + Succulent Garden.

DIY: Culinary Herb Wreath

Start an herb garden.

Herb gardening is another new hobby of mine and I love that it can be done both indoors and outdoors. Not only has watering and caring for my herb garden become a relaxing part of my daily routine, I also have have fun finding creative ways to harvest the herbs both in the kitchen and in the craft studio. A few of my most recent projects were making an Herb Wreath and also a batch of Legendary Four Thieves Vinegar

DIY: Mini Crystal Succulent Garden

Crystal Healing.

This might sound a little too woo-woo for some of you, but I’ve found having a few healing stones and crystals to be extremely soothing. Each stone has a metaphysical quality that relates to the chakras and a special vibration or resonance that gives them the ability to restore stability and balance the body’s energy systems. I recently went to my local rock shop and treated myself to a handful of crystals specifically for healing the heart chakra. I like to choose one stone to carry with me and draw my attention to it throughout the day. You can also place a few stones near your bed or even under your pillow when you go to sleep at night.

Use Color To Uplift Your Spirit.

Color can have a big impact on our general mood. Uplift your spirit by surrounding yourself in cheerful colors through the clothes you wear, the food you eat, the room you spend most of your time in, etc. Red, orange, yellow and pastel colors are all in the “up” spectrum of colors. Green is also a great choice because it is soothing and promotes healing and growth.

A few more suggestions:

  • Keep a journal. If you find yourself stewing in pain or anger or any sort of negative emotion, write it all down in your journal. This can help to get things out of your mind, set them in order and release them.
  • Pamper yourself. If you have a broken leg or are hospitalized, friends and family bring you flowers, send baskets of fruit, and you get to lie in bed all day reading and watching TV. In short, you are pampered. If you have a broken heart, that’s not the case. You are still expected to fulfill your obligations and show up for work with the same energy and efficiency you normally have. So what do you do when the world does not accept the fact that emotional pain not only hurts, but can be debilitating? Pamper yourself! Take a hot bath, get a massage, buy yourself a beautiful new book or magazine, treat yourself to crazy delicious chocolate fudge ice cream, buy yourself a bouquet of flowers.
  • Make plans. Sometimes there’s nothing worse than sitting at home by yourself on a Saturday night. So call up your friends and/or family. Reconnect with people you’ve lost touch with and plan to do something fun together.
  • Let yourself heal fully. If you can, don’t take on any new responsibilities. Don’t get involved in an all-consuming passionate relationship or start any big projects for a while. Let your healing process run its course. Just follow your daily routine and let yourself heal.

 

SHOW+TELL: Art Journaling Through The Years

SHOW+TELL: Art Journaling Through The Years
This article was originally posted last year over at Punk Projects. But because art journaling is so near to my heart, I thought I’d share it here on Adventures-In-Making too!

SHOW+TELL: Art Journaling Through The Years

My high school art journal.

I’ve been art journaling ever since I first discovered this book by Sabrina Ward Harrison in high school. It was the first time I’d ever seen an ‘art journal’ and I was hooked. I cut up my Seventeen magazines, old National Geographics, and used watercolors, chalk, ink, and anything else I could get my hands on to fill my precious art journal with song lyrics (I was obsessed with Jewel and Alanis Morissette), quotes, collages, and all sorts of angsty teenage FEELINGS. At the end of my senior year, I gave my precious art journal to my English teacher to keep as a time capsule to send me 10 years later. Boy, was that a trip to get in the mail at age 28!

SHOW+TELL: Art Journaling Through The Years

Crazy collage from my high school art journal.

SHOW+TELL: Art Journaling Through The Years

Pages from my high school art journal.

I’ve kept many art journals since then and now use it as a safe place to create intuitively. Whenever I’m feeling lost or overwhelmed by life, I get out my art journal and start filling pages. Doing this calms my nerves, and helps me to reconnect with my true self. I use many of the same techniques I loved in high school. I collect vintage National Geographic magazines, old books and postcards. When I’m working in my art journal, I don’t question or judge myself, but just let my mind and body relax and reflect on where I’m at in life.

SHOW+TELL: Art Journaling Through The Years

Pages from my current art journal.

SHOW+TELL: Art Journaling Through The Years

I’ve been enjoying using color as a main theme.

Since college, I’ve been using vintage books as my art journal medium. There’s something about drawing inside the pages of a book that feels so satisfying. There are no blank white pages staring at me saying “this better be good” and I love choosing an old book with a title and cover that speaks to me.

SHOW+TELL: Art Journaling Through The Years

I now use vintage books at my art journal medium.

SHOW+TELL: Art Journaling Through The Years

I still collect magazine clippings and other ephemera to fill my pages.

What are some of your favorite art journaling supplies, techniques and inspirations?

TODAY: Be Inspired, Not Intimidated.


I’ve been kind of at odds with my work lately, and I’ve been drowning myself in busy work to keep from having to address the elephant in the room- What do I do next? I’ve spent the weeks since the store closed doing anything but the things I need to further my art, and the longer I waited the harder it became to pick up a pencil again. Somehow in that time I became more and more discouraged by the truly awesome work I saw all around me, and I’ve decided it’s time to do something about it.

The internet is an amazing thing for an artist. Snap your fingers (or ask Google) and you have access to a million inspirations and a trillion resources. (Also a gazillion distractions, but that’s beside the point.) We don’t even have to go to a library or a museum to be exposed to new work or new concepts; it’s just there, in our Facebook feed.

With such luxury, it seems like our possibilities for inspiration are endless, and yet all these amazing things can be just as intimidating as they are stimulating. How can you ever draw that well? Why can’t you come up with the perfect idea? Why should you spend hours on something that they can do without even a sketch?

Thus begins the cycle of stagnation: 1: Get discouraged, 2: Can’t work, 3: Don’t get better at what you do (and don’t get to enjoy the process), 4: Spend more time on the internet looking at “inspiration”…. Rinse and repeat.

So, lets turn this whole thing on its head, and figure out how to see inspiration as just that.

1: Acknowledge talent, and move on.

Even is your first defensive instinct is (like mine) to pick apart the work of other artists, try to instead see what is causing you to react. It’s likely envy, and that’s just silly. There isn’t a finite amount of talent to go around.
If someone is awesome, let them be awesome. Admire what they do, and that they do it well. Move on.

2: Realize that what you like in your work does not have to be what you love in someone else’s.

I love looking at realistic art. I love looking at landscapes that seem to miraculously appear from patches of paint. I like mosaics built from found trash that take on a whole new life in their new format. I have no intention of doing any of those things. I am never happy trying to be realistic. I like lines, not plains; and when it comes down to it, I really just want to make functional art.
You’re no less an artist because you do something differently- obviously art is all about being different. You can be an artist in the kitchen, an organizing savant, an expert at standing on one foot while you knit– and all the while you can love the things you don’t do. Maybe you can love them more because you DON’T do them.

3: Spend a little time looking at things outside of your comfort zone.

I have a long list of blogs in my feed reader and I almost always read the web comics and interior design blogs first. Now, as a dedicated blog contributor I should probably be looking at things that are a little closer to home- but I get inspired by things that are outside of my experience.
You can find inspiration anywhere. In a history book that talks about the mysterious ins and outs of the past. In a mystery novel that lets you see out the eyes of someone else. In a garden reference that talks about permaculture and the growth of magnificent living things. Even in a cute kitten video. (That one’s a little bit of a stretch, but if it feels good it can’t be all bad!)

4: Get away from it all.

If you are seeing too much, close your eyes for a while. Unplug from the constant stream of visual information and take a deep breath. It’s okay. The internet is forever, and you can always go back and see things later. When you’re ready.

5: See your work for what it really is.

I don’t know everything, but I suspect that we mainly make because we are trying to express ourselves. We are trying to show everyone else how we see the world, trying to highlight and solve a problem, trying to learn. So, if someone else is doing that differently, it’s alright.
I am who I am, and you are who you are, and I like it that way.

May DIY Challenge Results!

This month’s DIY Challenge theme has reached full bloom, and we’re very excited to share a roundup of submissions we received from our readers. With a theme like ‘flowers’ you know you’re gonna have some fun. Without further ado, here are the May DIY Challenge Award Winners along with the gallery of everyone’s lovely submissions…

DIY Challenge Award: Brightest Idea

The award for “Brightest Idea” goes to Lori Miller of Eldridge, Iowa. Lori is a fine art fiber artist and loves transforming cast-off sewing materials into something new. You can see more of Lori’s work on her website.

May DIY Challenge Results #adventuresinmaking #flowers

As I am always seeking ways to turn the cast-offs into some type of treasure, I came up with a variation of the zipper pin. The idea is not my own originally but I modified it to make a more fresh, funky flower design. Combinations of colors was fun as well as the different type of zippers. – Lori Miller

DIY Challenge Award: Most Inspired

We were “Most Inspired” by Gail Griffin’s handmade foam lilies. Gail is from Millersville, Maryland where she teaches crafty classes and creates various projects for her blog, Plum Perfect and Me. Check out Gail’s step-by-step tutorial and have fun making your own foam flowers!

May DIY Challenge Results #adventuresinmaking #flowers

DIY Challenge Award: Most Treasured

This beautiful handmade journal deserves the “Most Treasured” award because it is almost too gorgeous to write in! Made by Nikki, the creator of Venus Envy Paper. Nikki used K & Company scrapbook paper to create this book and used the coptic binding technique. As a lifelong journal writer, she loves that her handmade journals have the ability to lie completely flat, for easy writing. Be sure to check out Nikki’s Etsy shop where she sells handmade wax seals, custom journals, paper flowers and more!

May DIY Challenge Results #adventuresinmaking #flowers

I specialize in making custom art journals, paper flowers and wax seals. I live in a smallish (read growing way too fast) town in Northern California. I am a proud sci/fi nerd and have adopted six homeless cats. Or I should say, they decided I was going to be their human servant for the rest of their natural multiple lives. I am most passionate about creating journals that will last not for the moment, but for generations. – Nikki

Flowers Gallery

May DIY Challenge Results #adventuresinmaking #flowers

Credits (left to right):

1. Homegrown Lollipop Flowers by Stephanie Rose from Vancouver BC, Canada
2. Field of Flowers Tote by Donna Heron
3. Mixed Media Collages by Becky Brooks from Issaquah, Washington
4. DIY Flowers On A Stick by Despina from Greece
5. Painted Sunflowers by Madison Lee from Southern California

Thank you for participating in the May DIY Challenge! We will be taking a break for the month of June but we’ll be back with our next DIY Challenge theme in July!

May DIY Challenge: Flowers

May DIY Challenge: Flowers! #craft #diycraftchallenge #spring
Sources left to right: Fabric Covered Flower Pots by Ashley Ann, Pom Pom Bouquet by Camille Styles, Pressed Flowers by Sweet Paul, Paper Ranunculi by Brit+Co, Seed Starts in Cupcake Tins by Tuinieren, Spring Paper Flower Garland by Lia Griffith, Edible Flower Cookies by Pretty Prudent, Felt Roses by Pretty Petals, Book Paper Flowers by 100 Layer Cake, Spring Flower Bowls by Martha Stewart, Spring Kitten Flower Cookies by Lookie Boo, Pretty Lace Flower Pots by A Beautiful Mess.

May DIY Challenge: Flowers

This month we are officially celebrating the spring season with Flowers! Flowers are such a beautiful, versatile subject so we are excited to see what YOU make this month. Whether you are planting seeds in your garden, baking flower cookies for a party or making a flower inspired art or craft project, we invite you to share it with us!

HOW TO ENTER

Click here for details on how to enter your project to the DIY Challenge! Don’t forget to share your projects with everyone on Instagram using #diycraftchallenge.

The challenge officially begins today, May 1, 2015 and ends on May 29th, 2015. We will post our favorite projects + announce the award winners on May 31st. Have fun and happy crafting!

Need more inspiration?

Take a look out our Pinterest board for more flower inspired project ideas.

April DIY Challenge Results!

We had a lot of fun experimenting with watercolor this month. We shared basic supplies, beginner techniques, and experimented in new ways. Of course, our favorite part of the Monthly DIY Challenge is to see what YOU come up with. We were so impressed with everyone’s projects that we’ve decided to award all the submissions!

DIY Challenge Award: Most Inspiring

These whimsical florals painted on old book pages by Aline of Paris, France are just beautiful! We just love her playful style.

April DIY Challenge Results #adventuresinmaking #diycraftchallenge

I love art and craft activities and I have a blog where I post some of my work. I decided to work on this project thanks to one of the inspiration images you posted on your blog!

I like using old paper to paint on and since I had a very old book, I decided to use it and paint some floral and natural ornaments because i love drawing nature. – Aline Savan

DIY Challenge Award: Most Useful

Donna’s watercolor bookmarks are so cute and functional. We love how she experimented with the wax resist technique! Check out a full tutorial of her process on her blog.

April DIY Challenge Results #adventuresinmaking #diycraftchallenge

Though I’ve tinkered with watercolors over the years, I wasn’t inspired for this challenge until I learned that April is also National Public Library Month in the US. I had the idea to combine the two and use some simple, yet creative watercolor techniques to make some colorful bookmarks. These watercolor bookmarks are easy to make and a great project for everyone in the family to enhance their enjoyment of reading! – Donna Heron

DIY Challenge Award: Best Practice

This floral bunny silhouette created by Zakkiya of Doha, Qatar is absolutely stunning! Zakkiya is an illustrator and founder of design and illustration company, Inkstruck Studio. You can follow more of her work on Instagram and twitter.

zakkiya-floral-watercolor-silhouette-tutorial

Watercolor is one of my favorite mediums to work with so I got all excited when I saw the theme for this month’s DIY challenge. One of the reasons I created this was to help beginner artists learn an easy way to paint. Generally, it’s all the tiny details that intimidate beginners (I was when I started off). So I decided on creating a silhouette of an animal. In this case a bunny. But instead of leaving it plain and boring, I added floral elements inside thus forming the shape of a bunny but with all floral goodness. The flowers are far from realistic, so even a watercolor novice can attempt and create this. – Zakkiya Hamza

DIY Challenge Award: Most Thoughtful

We were oohing and ahhing over Angela’s twisted vines and handwritten words. Angela wanted to create a piece of art that expressed what her family stands for. What a creative way to display family values!

April DIY Challenge Results #adventuresinmaking #diycraftchallenge

I live in Regina, Saskatchewan, Canada. I have been making things for as long as I can remember. I have dabbled in carving, sketching, painting, fibre arts and many other mediums. Lately I am in love with yarn, craft and have renewed my passion for painting. It is my dream to start a business that provides retail for local makers and have space for fellow makers to take workshops, as well as have studio space for makers to use our equipment or try out new stuff. – Angela Reddekopp

Thank you for participating in the April DIY Challenge! For those of you who wished they could have joined in the fun, never fear! Our May DIY Challenge begins tomorrow!