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Shakespeare Quote Canvas #ThouShaltCraft

I love Shakespeare. That dude was clever. I prefer the more comedic plays (the ones with less blood and tragedy) but that’s my general preference for entertainment in general – I like things to have a happy ending as much as possible (if a program or book that I’ve loved so far kills off a beloved character, I have been known to boycott it forever more. And maybe throw some popcorn at the TV or throw the book across the room).

So it’s no surprise that my favourite of his plays is ‘A Midsummer Night’s Dream’. As well as it being a humorous and happy-ending play, it might also be my favourite because my birthday is the 24th of June – the 23rd of June is traditionally Midsummer Night here in England, with Midsummer Day being my birthday (see HERE for more on that tradition). So I feel especially connected to it somehow, and when Viking (stationery and desktop supplies) asked me to join in with their #thoushaltcraft challenge to commemorate 400 years since Shakespeare’s death, I knew I’d have to use a quote from this play for my project:

Shakespeare Quote Canvas #thoushaltcraft at Jennifer Grace Creates

I thought this would be a nice canvas to display in our bedroom… it can reassure me when I wake up from a strange dream!

For anyone who doesn’t know, A Midsummer Night’s Dream is about 3 main things – a love triangle between four Athenians, the quarrel between Titania and Oberon the Queen and King of the fairies, and the comeuppance of Bottom, the pompous weaver who has his head turned into a donkey’s head for some of the play. It has mistaken identities, and magic, and love. I tried out some of the quotes I like the best to see which one I should include on my canvas:

Shakespeare Quote Canvas #thoushaltcraft at Jennifer Grace Creates

I know that a lot of people find Shakespeare hard to understand, but somehow I could always get the gist of what was going on, even if I didn’t understand all the words and phrases from the time the plays were written. Then I studied a Shakespeare module at university and I understood it more! But when you pull out particular quotes like these, they show how universal and timeless his writing was, you might not even guess at them all being Shakespeare if you didn’t know – for example ‘the course of true love never did run smooth’ could be a song lyric!

My 8 year old daughter has some homework to create a piece of art about ‘Midsummer Dreams’ so I was trying to work out how I could introduce the play to her – then I found out the kid’s channel cBeebies had put it on as a play! We watched it a couple of days ago and she loved it – the fairies especially of course, but she was also amused by the love triangle – she kept laughing and saying ‘oh my gosh’ when Puck mixed up the Athenians. Even my son (aged 4 and a half) enjoyed bits of it, though he wandered off now and then!

Here’s what Viking sent me to use for my project:

Shakespeare Quote Canvas #thoushaltcraft at Jennifer Grace Creates

After trying out the different quotes, I decided on the ‘slumber’d’ one, because it would be good to display on my bedside table, and because it comes at the end of the play, so the words always stuck in my mind. Puck (the mischievous fairy who mixes people up) says it to reassure the audience – if anything in the play has upset them, they should just pretend it was all a dream.

I sketched out my idea for the canvas on a scrap of paper and then drew the outlines on the canvas:

Shakespeare Quote Canvas #thoushaltcraft at Jennifer Grace Creates

I then coloured around the outlines so the shapes were a negative space, using the Uni Gold Paint Marker:

Shakespeare Quote Canvas #thoushaltcraft at Jennifer Grace Creates

When I’d covered the whole thing I noticed a couple of white dots where I’d missed spots, so I tried just dotting more ink on these:

Shakespeare Quote Canvas #thoushaltcraft at Jennifer Grace Creates

But these spots didn’t fade – the marker pen doesn’t blend in if the first bit has already dried:

Shakespeare Quote Canvas #thoushaltcraft at Jennifer Grace Creates

So I went over the whole thing again to blend it all in, then I set it aside to dry. While I was waiting for that to dry, I painted the easel white:

Shakespeare Quote Canvas #thoushaltcraft at Jennifer Grace Creates

And when the paint was dry I used the Chisel Tip W10 Sharpie to draw some black lines on top:

Shakespeare Quote Canvas #thoushaltcraft at Jennifer Grace Creates

When the gold marker had dried on the canvas I erased the pencil lines, and I added my quote using the Fine Point Sharpie Pen. I drew it all with thin lines first:

Shakespeare Quote Canvas #thoushaltcraft at Jennifer Grace Creates

And then I went over it again, thickening up just the ‘downward strokes’ of the script writing so it looked more like calligraphy. I also used Glossy Accents to adhere a couple of black star sequins:

Shakespeare Quote Canvas #thoushaltcraft at Jennifer Grace Creates

Though the sequins didn’t actually start as black – I used the Fine Point Sharpie Pen to colour some gold sequins, which worked a treat:

Shakespeare Quote Canvas #thoushaltcraft at Jennifer Grace Creates

Then I just propped my canvas on the easel, ready to be displayed:

Shakespeare Quote Canvas #thoushaltcraft at Jennifer Grace Creates

What do you think? Do you like Shakespeare? Or do you like any of the quotes from his plays, even if you don’t read or watch the plays themselves?

I hope you have a great day!

Jennifer x

Disclosure: Viking sent me the products to use for this post, but all photos, text, and opinions are my own.

Kids Crafts

Art Party! Little Miss Turns 8

It was my daughter’s 8th birthday on the 19th of March and she wanted an Art party. Like mother like daughter, eh?! I of course happily obliged, using pinterest and my own ideas to come up with some projects for her and her friends to make!

Art Party For An 8 Year Old

I had a minor meltdown on Monday this week when I came to write this post and thought I’d accidentally deleted all the photos from her birthday. I was searching everywhere, and for 24 hours I thought they were gone completely. I even ran several recovery programs trying to find them. On Tuesday I’d given up hope, then when I was working on a new cover photo for my Etsy shop I randomly discovered the photos inside a folder for my Etsy shop pictures. I don’t know how they ended up there but I’m extremely glad I found them!

I didn’t take too many photos because I was very busy helping them all to craft. But of course the photos I do have are precious!

Four of Little Miss’ friends came round so there were five girls all together (Cheeky Boy had a friend round to play with him in his room too!). We started by using lots of Happy Scatter stencils and some Martha Stewart Satin Paint, decorating the party bags that we’d be filling with their makes at the end of the party:

Stencilled Gift Bags Party Activity

They added a bit of glitter too! I love how bold and bright the colours are.

Next we made Fimo trinket bowls, following THIS TUTORIAL at A Beautiful Mess. I got the girls who finished their bags first to start squishing the Fimo to make it softer. They twisted sausages of colours together, then they all rolled out their bowls using some ‘rolling pins’ which was actually a long wooden pole we’d picked up at B&Q and cut down into sections.

We put them inside some oven proof bowls to bake them. In future I’d spray the bowls with some spray oil or something first, as they were a little tricky to get out!

Making Fimo Bowls at Jennifer Grace Creates

They looked great though, both the girls and their parents were impressed. I would add the gold rim as a finishing touch like the original tutorial if we had more time!

I liked how different they all looked. Some of them gave their bowls wavy edges which I thought was a nice touch:

Making Fimo Bowls at Jennifer Grace Creates

While the bowls were baking in the oven to set they played pass-the parcel, and then we moved onto the next project – drawing on some mugs using my Edding Porcelain Paint Pens. I’d shown them the mug on THIS POST at Design Sponge to give them an idea of what they could do, but told them they could draw what ever they wanted:

Drawing On Mugs Art Party at Jennifer Grace Creates

They were having great fun giggling over what the others were drawing and offering suggestions – both helpful and silly ones! Most of them drew pets they either owned or would like to own:

Drawing On Mugs Art Party at Jennifer Grace Creates

A couple of them had left the party before I remembered to photograph the mugs, but here’s a few of them after they’d been baked to set the pen. Little Miss’ is the one on the left, which is an Easter mug apparently:

Drawing On Mugs Art Party at Jennifer Grace Creates

After the mugs we moved on to edible art as Little Miss wanted to make something to eat. I melted some chocolate, butter, and golden syrup together following THIS RECIPE, and mixed in some broken biscuits. I did all this while they were drawing on their mugs. Then I poured it into some silicone cake cases, and they decorated the tops with a variety of sprinkles (including salted caramel, popping candy, and strawberry flavours), and marshmallows!

Edible Art Chocolate Cases

I stuck these in the fridge and they ran off to play upstairs for a bit.

While they were upstairs me and hubby prepared the party feast, which was a tea party. Though they had smoothie in their tea cups instead of tea!

Girls Tea Party

They thought it was very fancy and were all trying to drink with their little fingers sticking out!

Then we sang Happy Birthday and Little Miss blew out her candles. I had planned to bake a cake but I ran out of time so Little Miss had chosen this very pretty one instead:

Happy Birthday Little Miss

Then it was time to go. We put all their crafty makes into the bags they had decorated (the choc cakes were put into a sandwich bag first), along with a couple of other crafty gifts like a tube of glitter, a mini notebook, and a small paint-by-numbers set, as well as a slice of cake and a few sweets of course!

It was a fun party. I would have done a few more preparations if I’d had time. I wanted to make some decorations like THIS watercolour number poster. Instead I just used some paper chains and octahedron bunting which I’d made previously for other events. And I would have made a cake – I’d planned to make one with smarties hidden in the middle. But never mind, we can never fit it all in, and I’m sure that Little Miss enjoyed her day, so that’s the main thing!

Have you ever had an art party? Do you think you’ll be trying any of these ideas out?

Thanks so much for stopping my,

Jennifer x

About Me

Blogging Goals For 2016

I’m calling this post blogging goals for 2016 even though the goals aren’t just for blogging, and even though we’re already 2 and a half months into 2016. You’re okay with that right?!

Blogging Goals For 2016 at Jennifer Grace Creates

I did a post last year for my blogging goals in 2015, and though I didn’t achieve everything on the list, it certainly helped to get me focused. And I like putting my plans out there for you all to see, so you know what I’m up to behind the scenes, and what I have planned for the months ahead!

So, here’s the things I’d like to achieve in 2016…

Goal One: Make My Blog More Snazzy

Okay, I’m totally cheating with this one, as I’ve already pretty much completed this. But it was a blogging goal for 2016, I just happened to finish it before I wrote this post. I’ve been working super hard on it all weekend. If you are reading this post in an email or reader where you can’t see the whole blog, please pop by and take a look!

Here’s what the landing page looks like now:

 Jennifer Grace Creates New Blog Look

There were so many things I wanted to achieve, and I think I’ve managed most of them! I wanted: a logo I’d made entirely myself (drawing the text by hand rather than using a font), a home page with some welcome images / info on (rather than you just landing on the blog), a drop-down menu so that you can easily choose which project types or seasons you are interested in viewing, the menu to stay at the top of the page when you scroll down so it’s always accessible, a full width instagram widget in the footer, a sticky sidebar so when you are scrolling down a long post the sidebar doesn’t suddenly go empty, and just a slightly cleaner look – but without losing too much colour.

What do you think? Here’s a screenshot of the old home page for comparison:

 Jennifer Grace Creates - Screen Shot Of The Old Blog Look

If anyone is interested I used the Cabin Theme by Select Themes on Envato to help me build my new look.

Obviously I will keep playing around with things a bit but I’m pretty happy with the overall effect. Do let me know if you have any problems with navigation or page load times or anything though!

Goal Two: Work On My Etsy Shops

Yes, you did read that right – it’s plural. I now have 2 Etsy Shops. Because, you know, life wasn’t busy enough!

You already know about my Happy Scatter Etsy Shop, selling stencils and embellishments that I’ve designed and mostly made myself. I’ve been planning some more bits and pieces to add to that, including 8 mini-stencils that are 3″ square, but I’m just waiting for some more mylar to arrive before I can cut them and list them.

Mini Stencils at Happy Scatter

But what you probably don’t know about Happy Scatter is that I’ve recently created a Happy Scatter Instagram Account, and a Happy Scatter Blog!

The blog can be found at happyscatter.com and it looks a little like this at the moment:

Happy Scatter Blog

There’s a few posts on there which I wrote just to get it started, including a tutorial for this card using the Wood Slice Stencil:

Congratulations Card Using The Happy Scatter Wood Slice Stencil

At the moment I’ll just be posting my own projects using Happy Scatter items on there, but in the coming months I hope to get a design team going and start a monthly blog challenge, etc, so make sure you add it to your blog reader!

I created that blog using blogger and the Felicity Template by BlogShopbyGeorgiaLou on Etsy, in case you are wondering!

The Etsy shop which I haven’t mentioned on here yet is the one I just opened a couple of weeks ago. For a while I’ve been wanting to have another shop so that I could sell jewellery and gifts that I’ve made myself. I ordered tests for the wooden necklaces and pendants back in May last year, but then I started my part time librarian job in June, and then became the chair of the PTA at my kids school in September, and my plans got forgotten for a while. Then Etsy had a course called Etsy Resolution at the beginning of the year and it got me fired up again!

Here’s what the Jennifer Grace Creates Etsy Shop looks like:

Jennifer Grace Creates Etsy Shop

At the moment it just has a few designs of necklaces, earrings, and badges in it, but I plan to add more designs of these and also some other gifty bits.

One of the fun things about them is that you can choose the colours of the jewellery from a selection of paints, and I can add any names or phrases to the items, like on this Bunny Rabbit Necklace, perfect for Easter:

Custom Bunny Name Necklace at Jennifer Grace Creates

I won’t be blogging about that shop too often on here, but I will occasionally share if I’ve added a lot of new things or something. I will be sharing pics of items in it on my social media, but it’s not going to take over – my usual crafty projects and family photos will still be the bulk of it!

So my goal with my Etsy shops is just to keep working on them – keep adding new items and finding other ways to promote them. I love making items for them and I just want to do more, more, more!

Goal Three: Keep Networking

 Last year networking was one of my goals and I attended the CHA UK Creative Exchanges event in April, which was amazing fun (I wrote about it HERE). I believe CHA UK are doing Creative Exchanges again, but I’m not sure if I’m going this time as I think it’s in June, and in June I am already booked to go to Blogtacular!

Blogtacular

I can’t tell you how excited I am about this. I have wanted to go for the last couple of years, and have been joining in the #blogtacular twitter chats on Wednesday nights at 9pm as much as I can. But I’ve never had the money for the ticket at the right time. So last summer I convinced hubby to buy me an early bird ticket for my birthday present – this means I’ve been excited for months now! It’s less than 100 days to go, and I’ve booked my accommodation for the Friday night so I can attend the Friday night party, so I can officially start jumping around with anticipation!

I also want to continue networking online, in particular I’d love to get better at reading more blogs and writing comments again. I used to be much better at this, at least I would catch up with blogs I loved once in a while, but now when I do read blogs it tends to be on my phone or tablet and I don’t take the time to leave a comment. Which is naughty, because I know how much I love comments!

I enjoyed watching Julie Kirk’s challenge to herself to Write 300 Comments In 30 Days, and the Things She Leaned From It, and whilst I think that’s too high a number for me to attempt, I’m sure I could manage more than I do. I might print off some kind of tally chart to keep by my computer and just see how much I  manage each month. I’ll see how it goes!

Goal Four: Keep Making Stuff

I thought this was an important one to include! Last year I wanted to try and write 5 posts a week, and right now that’s laughably impossible. But I do want to keep making and sharing projects on here as much as I can. I’m not going to promise a certain number or a particular schedule, and I’m still not sure if I’m going to host any kind of blog event this year. But I will promise to keep making stuff, and to keep posting it on here!

It’s going to continue with a mix of layouts, cards, DIY gifts, kids crafts, and more, because I love making lots of different things. But hopefully now that the top menu can help you filter out particular projects you will still enjoy stopping by to see the latest ones you are interested in, if it’s not all of them!

Mix Of Projects at Jennifer Grace Creates

Thank you so much for continuing to support Jennifer Grace Creates with your visits! Do you have any blogging or crafting goals for this year? Let me know. Maybe we can keep each other on track!

I hope you have a great day,

Jennifer x