Sunday, January 31, 2016

Up-cycled Valentine's Chocolate Box

Before my school let out for Christmas break, I was showered with gifts and candies of all sorts. Such sweet children and families I work for! Some of the gifts included several boxes of chocolate. Which I liked very much. 

Some of the boxes were just too nice to throw out, so I began thinking of possible projects to convert them into something useful and pretty. Those are my favorite kind of projects by the way. And with the looming holiday most famous for boxes of chocolate, I thought this was a good time to share a Photo-box DIY.

I started with an empty box of chocolates. (Let me know if you need help emptying yours...)

I removed the plastic and any papers that were inside. This particular one was square, but a rectangle or even heart shaped box would be very charming and usable.

You want to get a nice blank workable space to decorate. I used Gesso (available at most craft stores - got mine at the Hobby Lobby), but white paint would also do the trick. Acrylic, tempera, spray paint - whatever you have on hand. Just cover the box with a good coat or two of whatever you've got!

I do like the Gesso though. It gives very good coverage, especially on that red.

By the way, Gesso is a chalky paint mixture used by artists traditionally to cover canvases before starting a painting. BUT, it has so many very good uses. Worth having on hand I think.

I did two coats. Probably not all that necessary, but I did it anyway, ok? Good.

Get the edges of the bottom of the box too. It had a logo I wanted to cover up.

Dry time. The worst part of any project.

OK. So now to address the interior of the box. I wanted to cover up the chocolate 'map' or 'code' as we call it. You know the top part of the box that tells you which chocolates are which, so you don't accidentally eat a yucky one like nougat or something. Ick.

So, I glued in some scrapbook paper.

Basically, I traced the top of the box (lid) to get the right size and then trimmed it down to fit.

I used good old Elmer's. Mod Podege or glue sticks would probably work fine as well.

Helping hands are always around at my place. Thanks Ada!

I picked a cute black and white camera pattern, since I was converting it to a photo-box. See what I did there... ? 

I'm clever, I know, my mom tells me.

I wanted the color of the photo prints inside to shine, so I liked the idea of the inside being black and white.

I lined the bottom with paper as well.

Now comes the GOOD part. The messy, arty, fun part.

You can really let your creativity fly here. Whatever your favorite medium(s) is/are, use them!

Crayons, markers, watercolors, acrylics, mix and match a little of it all - the sky's the limit really.

A total blank slate.

Sometimes a total blank slate stops me in my tracks. The bareness stifles my creativity. Yup. It happens. Us creative people don't want to admit that sometimes, so for me, I've found that rolling on big splashes of color with a brayer help me get past that very first step. See here...

Just a little snippet of starting the messy, arty part. 

Also, here's how made this real fancy video... I own a tripod... sometimes you gotta even DIY the video set up.

Said brayer... 

I used a pencil eraser to make the dot pattern. You can LITERALLY use anything you have. 

You don't need fancy art supplies people! You can do this!

I added a scrapbook ephemera piece to the top and mod-podged it on real good.

Oooo. Aaaahhh.

Ok - time to make this beauty into a photo-box.

Le Hubbs got me a mini photo printer for Christmas. It has a fancy app that lets ya print pics right from my phone! I also love Postal Pix. Its an app that prints your Instagram photos. They're all cute and square. The quality is good too. So I have a combination of Postal Pix prints and some I did from home.

I wrote a little note on the back of each photo to remember what we were doing and the dates.

SQUEEE! I love when the final project starts to come together.

It makes for a pretty decorative and conversation piece in the living room. 
I've caught Ada looking through it a couple times already. And I like that. A lot.

Keep those chocolate boxes you get on LOVE DAY. You're gonna need them. Best wishes lovies.

Monday, January 25, 2016

Why make art?

I have been pondering thoughts lately of the meaning of WHY I create and make art. Don't get me wrong, I could make art and DIY's all day long. Joyfully spreading bright, cheery paint on just about anything, sets my heart on fire. Sometimes, I even have to remind myself that I have other responsibilities and relationships that need tending to!

It feels selfish sometimes to indulge in something I love so much. I firmly believe that God's design for all of us is to create in some form. But what's the point of making? Why make art? Deep philosophical stuff here! These are the kind of questions I challenge my students with. I should have the answers, right?

Well, I don't have all the answers, but God does and He always knows just what I need.

Reading through one of my absolute favorite devotional books on Sunday I read through a chapter on 'Imagination'. The author Tim wrote these words and prayer:

"It is for His (God) glory - not ours - that we live and breathe and have our being. He is the main character. I am not.

Lord, Jesus, help me to see beauty. Help me to grasp your meaning in this life so that I can communicate it imaginatively to my friends and the world."

Yes! Absolutely Yes! This is why I create. I create because just as the birds sing to bring God glory, I paint and draw and DIY and write and teach and mother and encourage to bring God glory.

My deepest prayer is that all I do would point to God, to a savior that longs to know each of us intimately! I hope to convey the way I see the world through a small lens of how God sees it.

I am focusing more of my art on bringing more attention to Him.

Monday, January 18, 2016

Budget Friendly, Simple Placemats

There are only 4 needed supplies for this DIY! And you probably have most of them!

* 2 - 4 foam sheets (depending on how many place-mats you want) SO CHEAP. I paid .89 cents each.
* Paint - we used acrylic - you need brushes too
* Washi tape
* Mod-Podge or a laminator

That's it!

OK, OK. We also used stamps... 5 supplies.

I basically just let Ada go to town, adding anything she wanted to the foam. I helped guide her color choices a little. We painted and stamped first, then when the paint was dry, we added strips of washi tape.

Stamps and doodles.


I ran the decorated foam through a laminator. It did ok. It buckled and wrinkled a little, but they turned out just fine.

Fine enough to have food dripped all over them.

If you don't have access to a laminator, put a good coat and seal of mod-podge over everything.

We just made 2 because they fit our table better. It adds a nice pop of color to the table. Along with that new fruit bowl that I scored at Hobby Lobby - 40% off coupon baby!

And this is what our kitchen table looks like when we aren't making a giant arty-mess on it!

Sunday, January 10, 2016

Winter Messy Art Sessions

The holidays are over and we are back in the normal swing of things. Winter is here too and that means lots of days stuck inside. It's kind of ok by me though, because that means more time for messy art sessions.

A good messy art session is something both and Ada I enjoy. I know the day will come when these moments will be few and far between. I sometimes find myself wishing we were past the 'three-nager' stage of life. Though it's difficult, there are so many sweet and FUNNY times we have together. I want to cherish these times and memories.

Saturday morning we had no where to go, so we schlepped all the paints, cups and brushes up from the basement (that's where I store all our art supplies) to the kitchen table.

Ada got that cute table easel for Christmas. It is the perfect size.

These are the FUNNY moments right here...

Ada uses crayola tempera paints. I let her pick 5 colors at a time. Cheap brushes are easy to find and are just right for Ada at this stage of life. I like to let her experiment with different sizes and shapes of brushes.

I keep old large messy pieces of paper from past art sessions to lay down on the table. They get more and more beautiful with each accidental stroke and drip of paint.

I've been sprucing up the house since all the Christmas decor is down. I prefer to make decorations because they are cheaper and unique.

These pennants will be strung together with yarn to make a banner to put on the fireplace. 

I'll share more of that project soon!

I love painting this floral pattern. I've done it in so many different color combinations. I actually use my fingers to paint the flowers.

Happy New Year by the way! I hope you've been inspired to make something today!

Sunday, January 3, 2016

Art Journal Update

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