Giftwrapping

Confined To A Small Space – Art In Miniature

(This post is part of my Focus Your Craft & Soul Blog Event – see the list of all the posts HERE!)

Here’s another way to focus your crafting – by making some art in miniature!

Art In Miniature Tags at Jennifer Grace Creates

These three tags were inspired by pins of artwork on Pinterest. The one on the left is inspired by THIS PIECE, the middle one is inspired by THIS ART, and the one on the right is inspired by THIS CANVAS.

I printed off the inspiration pieces so I could refer to them while I was working:

Art In Miniature Tags at Jennifer Grace Creates

And I collected 3 tags – the middle one is a purchased tag, and I used it as a template to cut two more tags from white art paper:

Art In Miniature Tags at Jennifer Grace Creates

I started the wreath tag by stamping the leaves and berries from this Avery Elle ‘Joy To The World’ stamp set:

Art In Miniature Tags at Jennifer Grace Creates

Then I stamped some flowers from an old MME stamp set. I included a purple one because there was some purple on the inspiration piece (I would never normally use purple) and I’m so glad I did as it gave it extra depth:

Art In Miniature Tags at Jennifer Grace Creates

I finished the tag off with a Gossamer Blue sentiment and some gems:

Art In Miniature Tags at Jennifer Grace Creates

For the silhouette tag I watered down four colours of acrylic paint:

Art In Miniature Tags at Jennifer Grace Creates

And painted them in an arch pattern, with the lightest at the bottom going to the darkest at the top. I didn’t let it dry between colours as I wanted them to blend a bit:

Art In Miniature Tags at Jennifer Grace Creates

Then I used some more stamps to add a hot air balloon, tightrope girl, and a border, as silhouettes on top of the sky:

Art In Miniature Tags at Jennifer Grace Creates

And I finished it off with a few star gems:

Art In Miniature Tags at Jennifer Grace Creates

For the boat & sunset tag I began with colouring pencils (Derwent Coloursoft), drawing the sea, a yellow sky, and an orange sun:

Art In Miniature Tags at Jennifer Grace Creates

Then I swiped across it all with clean water:

Art In Miniature Tags at Jennifer Grace Creates

When it was dry I added a stamped boat which I coloured in with Promarkers, a sentiment, and some swirly waves cut from patterned paper:

Art In Miniature Tags at Jennifer Grace Creates

I’m very pleased with my three works of art, and I can’t wait to add them to a project or present:

Art In Miniature Tags at Jennifer Grace Creates

Or I might just hang them on my wall!

Be Inspired:

Make something in miniature – eg. a work of art, or a small card, or a mini book

Stamp a pretty wreath with words inside

Paint or colour a sunset background

Which tag do you like the best? Do you ever look at works of art for inspiration?

I’ll see you again in an hour,

Jennifer x

Home Decor Craft Projects

Focus – A Bright, Bold, Mixed-Media Canvas!

(This post is part of my Focus Your Craft & Soul Blog Event – see the list of all the posts HERE!)

Focus on word that means something to you, like a word-of-the-year, by painting it inside a bright, bold, messy circle!

Focus - A Bright, Bold, Mixed-Media Canvas at Jennifer Grace Creates

This mixed-media canvas certainly catches my eye each day now and reminds me to stay on track with my word for 2015!

The canvas I started with is just under 12″ square, and it’s a box canvas so that I don’t have to worry about framing it. I used Martha Stewart Satin Craft Paint, which is basically a kind of acrylic paint. Here’s the order I painted the circle in, leaving the paint to dry in between each layer…

1. Draw a pencil circle lightly on the canvas – I drew around a child’s plate.
2. Paint a wide yellow circle on top of the pencil.
3. Paint a blue circle on top of the yellow one – leaving the yellow edge showing.
4. Paint a red circle on top of the blue one – again leaving an edge showing.
5. Splatter yellow, blue, and red paint across the canvas. You don’t need to leave it to dry between colours, just do them all at once. Make sure you protect the surrounding areas as the paint may flick around the room.
6. Paint some sketchy black circles on top, making them more intense in the center and fading as the circles go outwards.

Focus - A Bright, Bold, Mixed-Media Canvas at Jennifer Grace Creates

Next you can paint the inside circle with watered down acrylic paint or gesso, to help your word stand out from the background. Blend the edges of the gesso out with a baby wipe or wet piece of kitchen paper:

Focus - A Bright, Bold, Mixed-Media Canvas at Jennifer Grace Creates

Flick some white paint or gesso across the canvas and leave it to dry. Then stamp a variety of icons around the circle using Stayz On black ink:

Focus - A Bright, Bold, Mixed-Media Canvas at Jennifer Grace Creates

It’s easier to press the stamp on if you hold the canvas from behind, or bulk it out with something, so there’s something to press onto. Otherwise the canvas will just sink as you try to press the stamp on!

Once you’re happy with your stamps you can paint your word into the centre (or use alpha stickers if you are worried about painting letters):

Focus - A Bright, Bold, Mixed-Media Canvas at Jennifer Grace Creates

I also added some enamel dots and gems – using Glossy Accents to stick them on as I didn’t think the adhesive that came on them would last very long on a canvas.

Be Inspired:

Make a home decor piece featuring a special word

Use a large circle on your background for your next project

Create colourful paint layers with black lines on top

What word would you put in the middle of this bright circle?

I’ll see you again in an hour!

Jennifer x

Cardmaking, Your Craft & Soul Events

Framing A Sentiment – A Cut Shoppe Card

(This post is part of my Focus Your Craft & Soul Blog Event – see the list of all the posts HERE!)

Earlier tonight I showed you a layout using chipboard frames to journal a story. Now I’m sharing a card with a die-cut frame for a sentiment:

Frame A Sentiment - A Cut Shoppe Card

Fun huh? By using a polaroid-style frame to structure my card design I was able to put this together really quickly. Here’s how to do it…

Step 1: Load up some frames and arrows into your die-cutting software (or use a manual die-cutter & dies, cut by hand, or use shop bought ones, if that’s what you have!). I used some files from The Cut Shoppe, they are called Doodle Dandy and Say Cheese, and I loaded them up into the Cricut Design Space to use with my Explore machine:

Frame A Sentiment - A Cut Shoppe Card

Step 2: Hide the images you don’t want (I left a couple of frame choices as I wasn’t sure what I wanted to use yet), and resize & recolour as you wish. I sized the frames to be 4″ tall, and the tallest arrow is 4.28″ high:

Frame A Sentiment - A Cut Shoppe Card

Step 3: Cut them out – I used the Cardstock+1 setting – cutting the frames from turquoise cardstock, and the arrows from an orange-woodgrain thick patterned paper:

Frame A Sentiment - A Cut Shoppe Card

Step 4: Cut a piece of white paper for your background (watercolour or art paper works best if you have it – there won’t be as much buckling on the paper then). Mark tiny lines with a pencil to show where your frame will sit – though you’ll end up moving it slightly to cover up these lines as the pencil can’t be erased if you’ve painted over it:

Frame A Sentiment - A Cut Shoppe Card

Step 5: Splodge some clean water at the two bottom corners and the top right corner of where your frame will sit. I hope you can just about see this:

Frame A Sentiment - A Cut Shoppe Card

Step 6: While the water is still wet, randomly dab on some turquoise blue watercolour paint. Remember it will lighten as it dries, so make it darker than you want it to be:

Frame A Sentiment - A Cut Shoppe Card

Step 7: While the blue is still wet add some yellow watercolour paint around it. Where the colours meet it will turn slightly green, but try not to overlap them too much or you’ll lose the different colours and just end up with green entirely:

Frame A Sentiment - A Cut Shoppe Card

Step 8: Leave the blue and yellow to dry completely, then flick some orange watercolour paint across it. Make sure you protect your surrounding workspace – I may have flicked some orange paint onto another project nearby (oops!):

Frame A Sentiment - A Cut Shoppe Card

Step 9: Check how your card is looking. At this point I decided my card was looking way too blue:

Frame A Sentiment - A Cut Shoppe Card

So I cut the frame again from some gold mirror card which looked much better (I’ll keep the blue frame to use on something else one day).

Step 10: Stick the layers down (making sure you move the frame slightly to cover up the pencil marks) and stamp your sentiment:

Frame A Sentiment - A Cut Shoppe Card

Step 11: Finish the card off with another arrow, plus a few wood veneers and gems:

Frame A Sentiment - A Cut Shoppe Card

In case you are wondering, I adhered all the die-cuts to the card using my Herma repositionable dots tape runner. I was able to rub off any dots that stuck out from the edges of the die-cut designs that way!

Be Inspired:

Use a frame for a sentiment on a card

Base a project design around one large embellishment

Add some paint – both ‘splodged’ and flicked

I love the way the watercolour paint kind of ‘frames’ the frame too!

You may have spotted that The Cut Shoppe is a giveaway sponsor for this event… keep a lookout for a great prize from them coming up next!

I’ll see you again at 9pm!

Jennifer x

P.S. I am linking this up to The Cut Shoppe monthly challenge in their blog sidebar HERE!

Cardmaking

Teal, Gold & White Colour Combination!

Last week I needed to make a wedding card for my brother and his wife (who just renewed their vows at the weekend) so I decided to use a colour scheme to help me design it. Little Miss was a bridesmaid and I knew her dress was golden (though I hadn’t seen it) but I didn’t know anything else about the colour scheme. So I just picked one of my favourite colours of teal, and used that with white and gold – which made a gorgeous classy combo…

Teal, Gold & White Colour Combination:

Teal, Gold & White Colour Combination at Jennifer Grace Creates

Pretty huh?

I literally just dug through my stash finding objects that matched the colour scheme in my head, including the gold flower which is one of my spray-painted embellishments:

Teal, Gold & White Colour Combination at Jennifer Grace Creates

Then I painted their names with watercolours on some art paper, flicking some drops of paint over the top too:

Teal, Gold & White Colour Combination at Jennifer Grace Creates

Before putting it all together!

The heavy flower and budded stem are adhered on with hot glue to make sure they won’t fall off:

Teal, Gold & White Colour Combination at Jennifer Grace Creates

I think it looks nice and classy:

Teal, Gold & White Colour Combination at Jennifer Grace Creates

And I was super happy when I arrived and found out that Cheeky Boy – who was a page boy / best man – had a teal hat to wear with his outfit:

Teal, Gold & White Colour Combination at Jennifer Grace Creates

How perfect was my colour scheme?! What a good guess. And don’t the kids look cute? It took about 12 takes to get them to both smile in vaguely the right direction though!

Have you ever used a teal, gold and white colour combination? Why not try it out. Or you could try using white and gold with one of your favourite colours. Let me know if you do!

Have a great day,

Jennifer x

Cardmaking

A Watercolour Card Video For The Sweet Stamp Shop Re-Opening!

Today I’m celebrating along with Sweet Stamp Shop, as they are having a Grand Re-Opening. They’ve been re-designing their website, packaging, etc, and they are having a month-long party to celebrate, all kicking off today! Do you want to see a watercolour card video tutorial? Read on for more…

Fans and past designers of Sweet Stamp Shop were invited to join in by making a project with an Oolong Tea stamp set (we were provided with a digi file, though it won’t be available in digi format), or we could use any current Sweet Stamp Shop stamps. All our projects should be going live at the same time today, and if you comment on the blogs in the designer showcase then you might win a $25 giftcard – one random blog has a giftcard to giveaway (you never know, it might be me)! Check out the Sweet Stamp Shop Blog for the blog hop list!

I used the Oolong Tea set but without the sentiment (because it said ‘it’s been oolong’ and I’d never heard of oolong tea before) to make this watercolour card…

A Watercolour Card Video Tutorial for Sweet Stamp Shop at Jennifer Grace Creates

Cute huh? I decided to go with a ‘magic in a cup’ kind of theme, because whatever kind of tea or coffee you like, it does feel like magic to have a sip!

Here’s the process video (you can also watch it on YouTube HERE):

 

I just love the little smiles on the cup, milk carton, and sugar cubes:

A Watercolour Card Video Tutorial for Sweet Stamp Shop at Jennifer Grace Creates

Below you can see how the doodled black pen is deliberately not perfect – eg. the lines don’t meet up at the corners of the stars – this is to keep it looking hand drawn and lively:

A Watercolour Card Video Tutorial for Sweet Stamp Shop at Jennifer Grace Creates

What are you waiting for? Go and check out the stamps, plus lots more inspiration and party fun, over at Sweet Stamp Shop:

Watercolour Card Tutorial for Sweet Stamp Shop at Jennifer Grace Creates

You can also like their Facebook Page HERE.

Don’t forget – there is a $25 Sweet Stamp Shop gift card for one comment on a random designers blog – so, comment along (and follow / like the designers if you want to). I might be the blogger with the golden $25 – you never know!

How do you colour in your stamps (if you do that kinda thing)?

Thanks so much for stopping by, have a great day!

Jennifer x

Kids Crafts

Kids Craft – Crayons + Watercolours!

As my children are on their Easter break from school I thought we ought to do a kids craft activity. Every day they get a little crafty with their felt pens and stickers, but when they get to use Mummy’s paint’s that’s a real treat. I decided to show them what happens when you use crayons (you could also use oil pastels) and watercolours!

Kids Craft - Watercolours + Crayons at Jennifer Grace Creates

When you draw a picture with wax crayons and then paint over the top with watercolours the crayon resists the paint so you can still see the pattern through. This is like magic for kids (and I find it quite fun too).

We started with a box of crayons and Mummy’s watercolour paints to share, plus a palette, water pot, paintbrushes, and white card each. They had two scraps of white card to try the techniques out on first, then a big A3 sheet of card each for a bigger picture:

Kids Craft - Watercolours + Crayons at Jennifer Grace Creates

This card is nothing fancy, just cheap white card. It will buckle after painting but will flatten out quite a bit if you stick it underneath something heavy once it’s dry!

They started on the scraps first, but you can’t tell my daughter to hurry for a practice piece, she wanted a perfect picture even on the small scrap. Cheeky Boy can’t do much except scribble and draw crosses / kisses:

Kids Craft - Watercolours + Crayons at Jennifer Grace Creates

Once they’ve drawn some marks with crayon it’s time to start painting. I showed them both how to use the watercolours and Little Miss managed on her own, but I did have to help my son get the consistency right for the paint – he kept doing it too dry so it wouldn’t spread, or too watery so it had hardly any colour. Once I helped him mix it he went crazy with the painting though:

Kids Craft - Watercolours + Crayons at Jennifer Grace Creates

He was smiling the whole time:

Kids Craft - Watercolours + Crayons at Jennifer Grace Creates

Little Miss had her concentrating face on though! This was when she’d moved onto her second scrap of card, where I’d encouraged her to scribble – she’d basically coloured in the flowers on the first scrap and not really tried out the resist effect of the crayons. So she tried it out here with white crayon as the resist:

Kids Craft - Watercolours + Crayons at Jennifer Grace Creates

Cheeky Boy moved onto his big piece of card and made lots of lovely swirls and marks with the crayon. At this point he was most interested in what colours we could make by mixing different hues together. Thumbs up for making purple:

Kids Craft - Watercolours + Crayons at Jennifer Grace Creates

Little Miss moved onto her big piece of card, but she was mostly colouring again. When she was using the resist she was painting along the crayon marks by following the lines rather than swooshing the paint across:

Kids Craft - Watercolours + Crayons at Jennifer Grace Creates

When she said she’d finished I showed her that she could put a lot of water onto the brush to swipe across the picture – to make the colours blend a bit more and fill up the white gaps for her page which she had fun with.

Here are their finished pictures:

Kids Craft - Watercolours + Crayons at Jennifer Grace Creates

This was a really easy activity that they were both able to try despite the age differences (they are 3 and 7 years old). It kept my daughter interested for longer but my son maybe had more fun as he was in his element making a mess! I had to keep reminding myself not to worry if they weren’t doing things how I expected – it’s more important for them to experiment and have fun, right?!

Kids Craft - Watercolours + Crayons at Jennifer Grace Creates

I’m thinking this was an introductory session and I will have a go again with more of a project in mind – maybe lots of squares with different patterns on to make a collage. There’s some more ideas for how to use this technique by other bloggers HERE, HERE, and HERE.

In the meantime I will experiment on my own too – here’s my quick attempt:

Kids Craft - Watercolours + Crayons at Jennifer Grace Creates

I did use this technique on a layout a few years ago (called Funny Faces – HERE), and now I’ve reminded myself about it I think I’ll be using it more often!

If you want more ways to use watercolours make sure you come back on Thursday (the 9th of April) when I’ll be sharing a process video for a watercolour card.

See you soon,

Jennifer x

P.S. I’m linking this up to the Tuesday Tutorials #pintorials Linky Party!

Industry News & Reviews

A Review Of The Big Picture Classes New Website

NB: I am not affiliated or connected with Big Picture Classes in any way, I just want to shout about something I’m loving!

Have you taken a look at the new Big Picture Classes website yet? I’m loving it, and I thought I’d share a review so you can find out why!

Straight up I will say there are things that are different to how it was run before. And some aspects aren’t perfect, but they are working to try and solve them, so we may just need to wait a while for a few fixes. But for me the new way works. And I’ve got some shiny new projects to prove it…

A Review of Big Picture Classes at Jennifer Grace Creates

If you haven’t heard of Big Picture classes, it was started by Stacy Julian in 2005, and has featured a variety of classes about scrapbooking, crafting with kids, photography, and more. The company was sold to Studio Calico in August 2014, though Stacy Julian is still at the forefront of the business. You can read more about the story of the company HERE.

Big Picture Classes used to sell classes on an individual basis, charging different amounts per class. Some class were self-paced and some were taught during a certain time-frame. I think all of them were sold with the promise of lifetime access, which has now changed, and which caused some controversy at the end of 2014, which you can read about at Scrapbook Update HERE. However Big Picture have been doing their best to figure out how to give plenty of time for people to download / backup the classes they’ve paid for in the past. Any classes that are transferring to the new site will still be accessible if you’d previously purchased them – I believe once they are uploaded you receive a code so you can access them without having to subscribe…

The new website is run on a SUBSCRIPTION basis.

It costs $9.95 a month to subscribe, and you get access to all the regular classes on offer. There will be quarterly premium classes which ARE NOT included in the subscription, which anyone can pay to join in with. I think there’s currently 20 classes available, with more ‘coming soon’ – they say they hope to add 10-15 classes, maybe more, per month. Here’s a glimpse at some of the current classes:

(Screenshot of ‘New Releases’ at Big Picture Classes, taken 11th March 2015)

Here’s what I like about this – you can unsubscribe at any time. And your content will still be there when you re-subscribe again. I plan to unsubscribe at the end of September and re-subscribe at the beginning of February, because I know during October – January I don’t have time for classes! In the meantime I can browse all the classes, and dip in-and-out when I find something that interests me. I’m not limited to one class that might turn out not to be what I expected – I can just do a lesson on cardmaking one day, and a lesson on photography the next!

You can also customize your profile page – you can add your profile photo, a cover photo, links to your blog and social media, etc, and you can ‘follow’ other members. Here’s what mine looks like at the moment, though I’m still tweaking it:

You can follow my profile HERE.

So far I’ve checked out several classes, though I haven’t completed all the lessons for each – I’m just going with whatever intrigues or inspires me. I have watched all the lessons of Paige’s Pages 01 though, and one of the lessons inspired me to make this layout…

Pass That Silly Parcel:

Pass That Silly Parcel Layout using a pinked-circle punch at Jennifer Grace Creates

Paige Evan’s had a great video sharing how to make the circular page element with punched circles cut-in-half, though adapted it by using a pinked-circle punch, and I only filled half my layout with the design instead of the whole layout like Paige’s.

I enjoyed almost didn’t stitch the circles with a sewing machine, but I followed Paige’s guidance and I’m so glad I did:

Pass That Silly Parcel Layout using a pinked-circle punch at Jennifer Grace Creates

It was a great way to use up lots of paper scraps and adds a dramatic detail to the page:

Pass That Silly Parcel Layout using a pinked-circle punch at Jennifer Grace Creates

This is for an album I’m making about My 30th Birthday Party, where we all dressed as Disney characters and had lots of fun. The photo shows my friend Rosie (aka princess Jasmine) trying out an inflatable saxophone she won in the pass-the-parcel:

Pass That Silly Parcel Layout using a pinked-circle punch at Jennifer Grace Creates

I am so glad I tried this technique out as it adds something unique to my album, and it was great to add more patterns than I normally do.

Another class I’ve dipped into was Postmarked, by Julie Campbell, about cardmaking. I’ve totally skipped a bit, where you are shown how to make a storage folder for cards – I might go back to this at some point but I didn’t fancy it right now (I’m happy with the box storage I’m currently using). But there was a lesson on watercolour cards, and a watercolour rainbow cake was included, which prompted me to make this:

Watercolour Cake Birthday Card at Jennifer Grace Creates

It was super easy and fast to make!

Both the above classes have videos, though not all classes do. Hopefully at some point there will be an icon to show which classes have a video as that would be good to know.

One class that doesn’t have videos, but which I still enjoyed, was Creating With Kids – Cards, by Natalie Elphinstone, about getting kids to help you with cardmaking. You can still enjoy this class without kids as it’s mostly about getting messy and having fun, so if you are up for that you can do them all yourself! I haven’t made any projects following the actual lessons yet, but the stamped embellishments did inspire me to make the layout I shared HERE on my blog last Friday:

Stamped Embellishments at Jennifer Grace Creates

I am sure I will find lots more inspiration as I keep browsing and as new classes are added. Something to note is that there’s currently NO ABILITY to print out or download your classes – you have to follow them all online. They’ve said they are working on a solution for offline access, but I don’t know what form this will take, or when it will arrive, so if the ability to view classes offline is make-or-break for you then don’t sign up until they have this figured out. It doesn’t bother me as I can browse and watch videos on my tablet (a Hudl2), and carry it to the crafting table with me, and when I’ve printed classes in the past they’ve just stayed tucked in a folder, unused and unloved!

There’s also a community section of the website, with groups you can join to chat about your favourite topics, and a student gallery where you can upload your work (and ‘like’ or comment on other people’s projects). As more people get involved it’s going to get even more lively and interesting!

Conclusion:

This is a big change from how Big Picture Classes was run before, and I can see why some loyal customers are upset at the change. I’d only taken a few classes at the old website, and I’ve already downloaded all the class info that I wanted to keep.

For me the new website is fresh, more visual, and exciting to browse through. It gets me fired up – just like when I browse Pinterest or other blogs and I spot something I want to try. But here, unlike Pinterest, I also get the community spirit of uploading my projects and chatting to other class participants, I can earn virtual ‘badges’ for joining in, and I get little check-marks to show I’ve completed a lesson, which makes me feel like I’m achieving something!

Have you checked out the new Big Picture Classes website? What do you think? If you haven’t checked it out you can try it for free, but I think you have to put your credit card details in – so don’t forget to cancel it if you don’t want to carry on.

Let me know if you have any questions,

Jennifer x