Tuesday, December 12, 2017

A Merry Shadow Box - a tutorial

It’s so much fun to give home made Christmas presents and if you’re on my list this year, you might be getting a shadow box! They are so much fun to make.

Here’s how:

1. Take a small sturdy box and cover with the paper of your choice. You will want to choose a die that fits your box well. I used vintage paper throughout.
I glittered the back of my wrapped box by simply rubbing a glue stick on it and dropping mica glitter in, then tapping the excess back into a jar.

2. Using the adhesive you like best, ruffle some paper and stick it on the top of the box as shown. I used a roll of crepe paper glued quick and dirty with my trusty fine tip hot glue gun but you can use any paper and adhesive you like.

3. Fold the paper down so it becomes a “curtain” across the top of your shadow box and glue another piece of paper across the top of the box. This will cover up any messy glue that may have escaped in step #2! Trim the curtain to the length you want. I used scalloped scissors for this.

4. Cut out the die of your choice from card stock. My Shapeabilities Holiday 2017 die (please insert link to this page)https://www.spellbinderspaperarts.com/shapeabilities-presents-holiday-2017-by-sharyn-sowell-etched-dies/ is a perfect fit for this kind of project. 
Fold the bottom of the die cut paper over and glue to the bottom of the box.

5. Now decorate and embellish to your heart’s content. I used pipe cleaners, glitter, baker’s twine,a sprig of wired trim, and two silver star stickers. You can add feet if you want. Mine are hazelnuts.

I love home made gifts more than anything ready made because they come from the heart. Isn't this one sweet?

Saturday, December 9, 2017

And the winner is...

Maria F, you were the lucky winner of our $25 gift certificate!
Look at your email for instructions on how to redeem.

Congratulations, everyone. 
Even if you didn't win, you can find the Build A House die and lots of others at Spellbinders online or in a store near you.

Tuesday, December 5, 2017

Creative. Living. A challenge for the year ahead.

My goal this year: make every part of my life more effortlessly creative.

Not working on it, simply enjoying, allowing creativity to invade everything.
Embracing mistakes, learning to be gentler with myself, because perfection is so over-rated
and creativity flourishes when we love ourselves as much as we love others.

This kind of creativity doesn't take much time, doesn't cost a penny.

I've been using pretty dishes and napkins for ordinary moments, even when I'm alone, and pausing to notice and appreciate artisan honey, green beans from the garden, the scent of my tea.

Being mindful, living with gratitude and awareness changes everything.
Even dull, rainy afternoons are beautiful and pausing for literally ten seconds to snap a photo and remember the beauty transforms a dark day.

Watch a butterfly. 
Laugh with a child.
Put flowers in your hair and dance.
Take time to walk with someone you love very dearly, because tomorrow may be too late.

We can all do this, can't we?

And there are so many ways to be creative, so many new skills to learn!
The local yarn store has free knitting lessons. Woohoo, I'm all in!

Torch firing enameled beads- yes! I'm back to my roots as a jeweler.
I'll be putting these on Etsy very shortly (watch this space for an announcement.)

It's wonderful to applaud others, too, and to honor them by asking them to teach us. 

When I bought my tulip bulbs and saw a migrant worker planting in the display garden, I asked her in my halting Spanish for tips and wow! Her creativity will be visible in my little garden this spring.

Right in my own little studio, I've been savoring long hours of creative time. 
New mediums, new friendships. Permission to make mistakes and falter.

So here's a challenge for you for the coming year:

Give yourself permission to be creative every day in every way.
Chase the fun of creativity in whatever way brings you joy.

And remember to say "thank you" for all the gifts that surround and inspire.
It will change your life.

Monday, December 4, 2017

Make a festive gingerbread garland

Don't you just love cosy? Nothing sings Christmas joy more than a cosy corner
with warm gingerbread and cocoa, and garlands of pine. 

So I made all this today!
And you can, too.
No baking necessary.

You'll be using my Build a House crafting die from Spellbinders Paper Arts. It's a jiffy way to cut out all the pieces you need to make this darling gingerbread cottage.

Simply use the die pieces to cut out all the pieces for your house. Then use a white pen (I love the UniBall white Signo pens!) Decorate to your heart's content, then glue the little houses together as shown on the package. 

You'll want to use tracing paper or vellum behind the windows and doors to allow for the light to shine through. Cut an X in the roof or floor of your little houses so you'll be able to tuck a twinkle light in through the hole.

Now hang a pine garland on a window or wall and wrap it with twinkle lights. 
You can purchase the garland, or do as I did and gather a variety of fresh evergreens, berries, holly and other greenery and tie and wrap it together into a long garland. Stick the houses on by pushing a twinkle light in through the X hole you made earlier.

I decided to use paper scraps, glitter and some ribbon to spell out Merry Christmas as a finishing touch but you can do whatever works for your home, using whatever you have on hand.

Doesn't it look wonderful?  Turn up the Christmas music and celebrate!
And now for two happy giveaways to make it even sweeter.

Wouldn't you love to win a $50 gift certificate for this and other crafty dies? Spellbinders Paper Arts is giving 5 gift certificates away! Just leave a comment on theSpellbinders blog by Sunday, December 10 11:59PM EDT for a chance to win. Winners will be announced in the blog hop post on Spellbinders blog on December 11.

I'll also be giving away a $25 gift certificate to spend on Spellbinders crafting dies and stamps! Just comment below, and I'll announce the winner on December 11. Doesn't that sound wonderful?

Now time to make yourself a cocoa and pop over to the next blog on our Spellbinders Holiday Blog hop... Click here for more inspiration.

Monday, November 13, 2017

Santa's Workshop Now Open

When the blustery days arrive, it's time to begin the Christmas preparations.

For me, that is just another way of saying "shut the doors and make presents in secret!"
Piles of detritus cover every surface. 
Knitting peeks out of my larger-than-usual handbag, to be pulled out and worked on at odd moments wherever I am.
Recipes for marmalade and fresh citrus wait on the kitchen counter.

Because for me, if it isn't homemade, it's not a "real" gift I'm putting under the tree.
I don't spend money for ready made presents often... I shop for ingredients and spend love.

This week it's felted headbands for the little girls on my list.
Want to try some? It's so easy!

I used two dies from Spellbinders Paper Arts but you can easily snip your flowers freehand with an ordinary scissors.

I begin with a rectangle 9"X4", folded in half lengthwise to 9"X2" and stitched around the edges.

Cut little flowers from felt. My friend Debi Adams designed this die called Oopsy Daisy and  this one called Hydrangea Florets for Spellbinders Paper Arts. You will want bright colors. I just used plain ordinary cheap felt but if you can find real wool felt in lovely shades, go for it! It feels fabulous.

Cut plenty of flowers and play with layers until you're happy. Stitch them on with pretty embroidery floss. You can experiment with little dainty stitches if you like. I have lots of ideas for you on my Pinterest board for felt. Add beads and sequins (little girls love bling!)

When you're finished, add a piece of elastic to secure on both ends. Your length can vary but I usually like something around 8-9" depending on the child's head size.

And that's it~ another gift (or three or four!) to tuck under your tree.
Don't you just love having your own Santa's Workshop? 
So much nicer than shopping!

Thursday, November 9, 2017

My Little Cottage Featured in Where Women Create Magazine

This month my studio is featured in Where Women Create Magazine, Winter 2017 - 2018.
It's especially meaningful since Jo Packham, the magazine's owner, was editor for my first book on paper cutting!

 Here's a peek at my studio on a day when it was all tidy at once! A rare occasion for 
this hard working little cottage in the garden.

Nobody succeeds on their own. I am so grateful for my friend Debi Ward Kennedy, (click for link) a gifted visual designer and merchandiser. In July 2016, Debi and I gutted my tiny cottage and did a major refresh on a thin little shoestring of a budget. She's a genius; if you ever need help with store or studio design, Debi knows how to make your space work harder while it looks so much better!    

The magazine featured some of my work... and I think all their readers could see what a passion I have for scissors and paper (and almost any other art material that happens to be on hand!)

Below I was able to explain my key to artistic growth, my philosophy that practice is all important.

The back walls are sometimes a smorgasbord of my recent art, with the old platen press in the center of the room.

When asked what is my tip for other artists, I candidly shared the joy and pleasure to be gained from being in community with other creative people. Thank you to Joan, to Barb, to Scarlet and Pearl, Bailey and Kate, to all the women who inspire me and live in my own neighborhood.

If you don't have a creative community, start by just finding one friend and bake muffins, stitch up a little something, sketch your own pets together... or dream up your own adventures.

So here we are again, counting our blessings, and among my favorite reasons for gratitude is YOU.
Thank you for following along on my creative journey.

You can find Where Women Create Magazine on news stands everywhere magazines are sold and in stores like JoAnn Fabric and Crafts as well as online at Stampington & Company.

Thursday, October 19, 2017

Taking time for creativity

This year I've been away from blogging and other things that take time.
I gave myself a permission slip to be selfish with my days
and spend long hours in any creative pursuit I liked.

I wondered how my cut paper would translate to other subtractive mediums so one of my explorations has been linoleum block printing. I've even done the same image both ways!


One of the joys of being an artist is the genuine pleasure we derive from a lifetime of experimenting and expanding our art in different directions. For me this year, that permission to simply make art, whether it's salable or not, has been a great blessing.

So if you wonder where I've been, what I've been doing, now you know!