Daily Art Challenge: July 17

Having spent the last several days purging, dumping and donating-I thought a challenge using found objects was in order.

These could be things you’ve found in a drawer in the kitchen, something you found in your kids toy box, a bottle cap you found while on a walk…

Since the massive purge of our stuff began, I’ve found things I could swear I’ve never seen before.  Boxes filled with fabric I’ve never laid eyes on, books and games, tools, you name it and I’ve found it.  Much of it could be used in art projects.

Use whatever you have available and be fearless in creating your art.



Daily Art Challenge: July 14

Our challenge for today is to use our finished adult coloring pages.  If you enjoy coloring but don’t know what to do with your finished pages, here are a few ideas:

  1.  I’ve mentioned several times I use my pages in my art journals.  I cut out individual images to use as a focal point on a page.
  2. I collage my colored pages to chipboard or card stock and cut out images for embellishments.
  3. I collage them onto deli paper, cut into strips and use as washi tape.  I add double sided tape to the backside before attaching to a project.
  4. Once you’ve collaged the page onto card stock or chipboard, you can use a paper punch or your scissors and cut into larger circles.  Glaze with diamond glaze, triple thick gloss glaze, glossy accents, or any other hard drying varnish.  Then poke a hole in the top part of the circle to make really unique holiday ornaments.
  5. Cut into small teardrop, diamond or round shapes.  Add your favorite varnish-I like the triple thick stuff from Hobby Lobby.  Poke small hole at top and now you have earrings or pendants.  Make the shapes small squares and you have charms.
  6. Use child friendly images, and using the same collage to card stock technique, combine and hang from a plastic coat hanger above a crib for a quick and easy mobile.

Obviously there are many ways you can use finished coloring pages in your art.  Use your imagination and have fun!

Decluttering and Simplifying, Part 2

Today is another decluttering and simplifying marathon.

Lindsay the Frugal Crafter used the Konmari method to clear out her house.  It took Lindsay 6 months to do it.  I have a 10 day rental for our dumpster and intend to do the entire house in that time frame.  Wish me luck!

My first problem is I started in the most difficult room.  I started in my work space.  Now you may be asking why that’s the most difficult room in which to begin. Well, most of us consider our art supplies to be “precious”.  Because these things cost-sometimes-big bucks, it’s hard to let them go.  Well, I had to get over that.  I have my desk top left to go in this room.  And I should mention, I will be going through everything again and thinning out more.  This is just the first round of decluttering.  I’m getting rid of the most obvious stuff I know I won’t use and putting the other stuff where it goes.  Laurie and I organized a couple months ago, so most stuff is already in its own spot and labeled.

So far I have emptied 28 different storage items.  Not all are full sized totes or equally large cardboard boxes, but most of them are.  I have filled 8 garbage bags with stuff that’s broken, recycled materials, small scraps, and junk.  None of this is something I would want to donate to a second hand store, because it’s junk.

What I find so amazing is I’m emptying stuff from the area outside my room, where I keep my excess/overflow and I’m able to move what I want to keep into this room room and it fits.  I have room for the supplies I want to keep!  That’s unbelievable to me.  The workroom was so crammed packed full of stuff I had a pathway through it to get to my wall of totes.  Now the carpet is visible, you can sit in the chair, the table holds four totes separated into categories:  Lettering supplies and books, Art Journals,  Coloring books and sheet music, and a box of wire bound notebooks.

I had been planning to purchase several wire bound notebooks the next time I was in town because I couldn’t find any writing paper.  I use the notebooks for project descriptions and instructions, ideas for home improvements, gardening notes, the kids stuff, doctors instructions and medications, you name it and I write it down!

I always have several notebooks, labeled and in my bookshelf near my work desk.  Until suddenly, there were none!  Impossible!  Can’t be!  I buy these in bulk, people.  I should really say by the ton…

Since I’ve been working down here, I’ve found 17 spiral bound notebooks with only a couple pages used in each.  I’ve found several sketch pads, including a couple small ones I can carry in my purse.  (This was another item on my list of stuff to get when I go into town.)  I found water color paper, canvas paper, tracing paper, a couple packs of card stock and a huge box of family photos.  There’s a ziplock bag filled with film which needs to be developed in there too.

Ive found lettering books I completely forgot I had.  I have enough ink pens to last my lifetime and the lifetimes of my kids.  I have so many in-progress art journals they take up an entire box all by themselves…The coloring books, both completed and not worked in yet, fill another box.  I found coloring books I don’t remember ever seeing before, much less purchasing.

There are several things I don’t think I’ll ever need to buy again.  For example, I love to use vintage book pages in my art journals.  I had books scattered everywhere!  I consolidated them into boxes and they’re behind my work desk.  After seeing I have four boxes filled with vintage encyclopedias, children’s books, books with gorgeous photography and still others with interesting text or fonts-I have enough vintage books to last my lifetime.  I don’t need any more.  Ever.

There were four adorable sewing boxes beneath the metal table.  I picked my favorite one, emptied the others into that one and now have one full sewing box.  One was filled with all Singer sewing needles, bobbins, etc.  My singer became a boat anchor late last year-why would I need any Singer stuff anymore?  I’m giving it all to Laurie, as I’m sure she has a Singer sewing machine in her life somewhere.  Whether at her home or at school where she makes our theatre costumes.  And if she doesn’t, she’ll have sewing friends that do…

This was just an update on my progress so far.  More will follow.


Daily Art Challenge: July 10

Our project for today is to make fabric embellishments for art journals.  Here’s how:

  1.  I begin with my scrap fabric container.  I grab two pieces, similar in size.
  2. Cut a piece of chipboard into the size tag you want.
  3. Sandwhich the chipboard between the two pieces of fabric.
  4. Stitch around the chipboard.
  5. You’ll have excess fabric all around your chipboard.  I use a pinking shears to cut the fabric into a decorative edge, but that’s not necessary.  You can just trim the excess neatly with regular shears too.
  6. Now you have an embellishment you can stamp with images or words, add flatbacked gems, add 3-D things like flowers, metal, beads, broken jewelry…

You can use the fabric tags as a mat for photos or journaling.  Combine several for a mini-journal, use as ATC’s or inspiration tiles.  Use as seating cards for parties.

You can make these in holiday fabrics or colors and make ornaments or a garland.  I made two sets of these, one says Merry Christmas the other Thanksgiving.  Each tag is one letter of the word.  I decorated each with vintage images from that holiday.  I used two eyelets at the end of each tag, threaded them onto twine, and they hang from my shelf in my dining room.  Charming!  This would work for your Christmas tree garland too.

You can make these in different shapes and sizes.  They lay flat, can be stored easily in ziplock bags in a small plastic tote.  This project uses up all sorts of tiny fabric scraps, if you’re feeling overrun with them.  You can make them in larger sizes and use as a pennant with the letters of your kids name on each one.

This is a very cost-effective project that uses up lots of scraps and cereal box chipboard.  The end result is fun, fast and frugal!  How much better can it get?

Weekly Techniques Challenge: Week 26

Our weekly techniques challenge is to make a Spirit Doll.  The idea of a spirit doll came from Barb Owen.  She is a wonderful artist and a fantastic teacher.  Barb has been one of my favorite you-tubers for a long time.  She’s insightful, compassionate, and just a terrific person.  I have been truly blessed by her work and her lovely, joyful personality.  (And I love “the sponsors!”)

What is a spirit doll?  My interpretation of what a spirit doll is might be different than many, but for me it is a way of focusing on a spiritual area I want to work on in my own life.  I give my spirit dolls the name of the attribute or area of spiritual growth I am focusing on.  For example:  I may name my next spirit doll Understanding, as in being understanding in my dealings with others in my life.  Another name might be Compassion.  Or Wisdom.  Strength.  Peace.  Gratitude.  Love.  Any of these might be a name for a spirit doll.

If the words spirit doll bother you, just don’t call yours that.  Make your doll just for fun, or as a reminder of a loved one or person of influence in your life.  You can make your doll look like a mermaid, an elf, a construction worker.  Pick a holiday and make your doll based on that…There are countless things you can do with this project.

I sketched out a pattern on an 8 1/2 by 11″ piece of paper.  I made the body and head larger than I wanted the doll to be, as you need some extra for the edges.  If you prefer-you can skip the legs and arms and just make a triangular shaped body with a round head on top of it.

Now, once you have your pattern drawn-(there is a free pattern on Barb’s website if you prefer that one)-Barb attaches hers to a plastic sheet.  You can use plastic leftover from one of the boxes toys come in.  The heavy-weight, flat plastic.  If you don’t have any, attach the pattern to a piece of chipboard.  Use glue sticks or Aileene’s tacky glue to stick the pattern down onto the plastic or chipboard.  Cut out the pattern carefully once it’s on the plastic or chipboard.  Cut the face oval from clear plastic if possible, as you can see through it which is really helpful later in the process.

Barb has face stamps she uses for her dolls.  I don’t have any of those, so I drew the face onto a scrap piece of thin pale fabric (larger than the oval piece) with my waterproof ink pen. (If you want you can find a copyright free face on line and use that as your pattern.)  Use whatever color ink you prefer.  (Barb used brown, I believe.)  These are meant to be fun, happy faces.

Now, if desired, use some colored pencils or pastels to shade the face.  Make the color slightly darker than the color of the fabric.  Once you have the shadows on your face, add some highlights with a lighter color.  This isn’t absolutely necessary, but it does give your face a bit more life.  Add a light cheek color to the balls of the cheeks and a slightly darker color on the lips.  Add your eye color.  You can lighten the color slightly in areas with some white.  This gives the eye some life. Use a dark color for her eyeliner.  Fill in the pupil with a waterproof black ink pen.  You can add some eyelashes and eyeliner with the black pen as well.  This needs to be a very fine tipped pen.  With a very fine tipped white paint pen, add your highlight.  Make sure they both point in the same direction so the eyes look like they’re looking at the same spot.  Otherwise she’ll look cross-eyed or walleyed.  Barb covers her face with workable fixative, which I don’t have.  I sprayed mine with clear matte finish from Krylon.

Trace your dolls body over your fabric.  I like to use Batiks for this.  (Barb used fabric she made herself.  I have made this fabric too, but I prefer to use my own scrap fabrics rather than the stuff I made myself.)  Only cut the shape for one side of the doll, and use a square or rectangle piece for the second.  Barb-who is a sewer and I am not-says this is way easier than trying to stitch the two identical pieces together.  Leave an opening so you can stuff your doll.  Stitch the body and backside together.  Leave about an eighth of an inch from the edge of your fabric.  Once you’ve stitched the doll, leaving an opening for stuffing, remove from your machine. (If you want, you can make several bodies for several dolls at one time.  This is a great way to use up scrap fabrics, and you can combine any two fabrics you want.  If you like batiks but find them expensive, use another cheaper type for the back side of the doll.  Anything works with these dolls.)

Stuff your doll loosely with fiberfill or cotton batting.  I used the white stuff you use for snow at Christmas time, which is what was handy.  Don’t stuff her so full she’s stiff and hard.  Once she’s stuffed, go back to the machine and close the opening where you stuffed her.  Now trim off threads and the excess fabric from the back piece.  Take your time to do this, there is no hurry.

Once your dolls body is finished, it’s time to add the face we made earlier.  You can use Aileene’s tacky glue for this as well.  I smear the glue on the backside of the face and add it to the face area of the doll.  Smooth carefully, making sure you have good adhesion to the dolls body.

Now comes the fun part of the whole process.  You get to decorate your spirit doll! Gather scraps of yarn, ribbon, trims, fabric scraps, beads, broken jewelry pieces, whatever you can think of for decoration on your doll.

Using our trusty Aileene’s Tacky glue, add your trims or fibers to your dolls head for hair.  Use a clothespin to hold the hair in place until it dries if necessary.  Add to the back of the head too if you want.  Include beads as a headband or add a flower in her hair.  Add bows or buttons on her body.  Make jewelry for her wrists or as a necklace.  If you want to add words to her, now’s the time to do that.  Perhaps her name or her first initial.  Play with your stuff and make her uniquely yours.

Let her dry completely and enjoy her.


Daily Art Challenge: June 26

Inspired as I was by the magnificence of the dragon at the Potter In the Park event, I think we should include one in our art work today.


Public domain dragon art.

Here are a couple ideas to get your started:

  1.  Use a children’s coloring book with a dragon in it.  Color the page and cut out the image.  Collage onto an art journal page or canvas. (Obviously you cannot sell anything with a copyrighted image in or on it.  This would be for your personal collection or as a gift for someone.)
  2. Use only the end of the snout.  The nostrils and open mouth showing some teeth.  Make flames coming out and use as your focal image or as a background on a page.
  3. Design dragon scales on a page or canvas as a cool background.
  4. Shape a dragon from Sculpey, add the loop, bake and use as a pendant.
  5. Use a stamped or stenciled image of a dragon.
  6. Print copyright free images of dragons.  Either fill in with color or print in gray scale.  Collage onto your substrate as a background.
  7. Use scrap fabric to sew a simple dragon shape.  Stuff and add paints, beads, glittery ribbons, whatever you’re inspired to use to decorate your dragon.
  8. Sketch a dragons eye.  Use your pencils to add the shading and details.  The scales, tiny bumps and imperfections around the eye, the slit in the pupil, the heavy eyelid.  Graphite pencils are some of the most used supplies in my work room.
  9. Make a dragon on top of a baseball cap using fun foam and hot glue. (Laurie and I did this for a friends child.)
  10. Make an armature and add paper mache’ or clay over top.  Sculpt your dragon from the clay or mold it from the paper.
  11. Use scrap paper and rip into rough shapes.  Add to substrate in the shape of a dragon.
  12. Make the dragons environment.  Whatever that looks like to you.  Maybe it’s a cave on top of a dark and scary mountain.  Maybe it’s within a volcano.  Maybe your dragon can swim under water and her lair is in the ocean.  You choose where your dragon lives and make that place.

That’s several ideas for this challenge.  You are a creative, I’m sure you’ll think of many more.  Remember, have fun and stretch yourself creatively.  This is a non-stress year of challenges.  If something is stressing you out, quit doing it!  If a challenge brings up painful memories or any unpleasantness in your life-skip it!  If the challenge is just plain dumb and you’re not into it-move on to the next one.  (Believe me, I know they’re not all winners.  But the goal is to give you 365 days of challenge prompts.  If you’re ever stuck and don’t know how to get going again-pull a card or two and your off and running!


Public domain dragon art.


Daily Art Challenge: June 16th

Our challenge for today is to use stencils in our art.  Use store bought or homemade stencils (DIY stencils, DIY stencils and Templates, DIY Stencils, Stamps and Washi Tape) for this challenge.  It doesn’t matter which.

Stencils are an inexpensive, but very useful, item to have in your work room.  I purchase my stencils only when they are hugely discounted.  Normally I just make my own.  Check out the links and have some fun with stencils today.