Kids Crafts

Kids Focus Challenge – An Indoor Activity

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

I thought it would be fun to test how well my kids can focus! I put together a few activities to make a competition for them, and they had great fun. I will be keeping this in mind for rainy day activities!

Kids Focus Challenge - A Rainy Day Indoor Activity

We had four challenges – a puzzle, a tower building time test, a memory tray, and a music memory trial!

For the puzzle I made this outline (which you can download HERE):

Kids Focus Challenge - A Rainy Day Indoor Activity

And then I cut out some felt shapes to fill it in with. Sorry I don’t have a template for the shapes yet, but I will try to sort one out in the next couple of days! I just held my outline up to the window, held the felt over the top, and drew onto the felt with pencil to trace the outlines.

I made two puzzles so the kids had one each:

Kids Focus Challenge - A Rainy Day Indoor Activity

I gave Cheeky Boy a 5 second head start and just said the first person to finish was the winner. I shouldn’t have given him a head start as he finished way before Little Miss, she particularly struggled with the areas where there were curves cut from shapes so the circles fit in. She kept ignoring the curved holes entirely!

Kids Focus Challenge - A Rainy Day Indoor Activity

The next challenge was who could build the tallest tower. They had baskets of bricks with the same amount in each, and 5 minutes on the timer to see who could make the biggest stack of bricks!

 Kids Focus Challenge - A Rainy Day Indoor Activity

I didn’t give any head starts this time. At one point it looked like Cheeky Boy was going to win again:

Kids Focus Challenge - A Rainy Day Indoor Activity

But by the end when the time was up, Cheeky Boy’s wobbly tower had fallen down, but the stronger tower by Little Miss was still standing:

Kids Focus Challenge - A Rainy Day Indoor Activity

The next challenge was the memory challenge. They had two minutes to stare at a tray of toys to try and memorize them, then they told me what I could remember and I ticked the boxes for the ones they got right:

Kids Focus Challenge - A Rainy Day Indoor Activity

Here they are memorizing the items, you can see that Cheeky Boy’s focus wasn’t great at this point:

Kids Focus Challenge - A Rainy Day Indoor Activity

This game was too easy for Little Miss, but Cheeky Boy struggled, just look at his concentrating face:

Kids Focus Challenge - A Rainy Day Indoor Activity

He only got five because Little Miss whispered a few in his ear! Next time I would do different levels of tray, with more on for Little Miss and less on for Cheeky Boy.

The final game was a music challenge, I tapped a few notes on a xylophone and they had to try and repeat the tune. Little Miss was excellent at this but Cheeky Boy just kept playing his own tune!

Kids Focus Challenge - A Rainy Day Indoor Activity

I want to test them both some more with this last one!

Be Inspired:

Use felt or craft foam to cut some geometric shapes for a project

Try a memory challenge – find a photo and see how many things you can write down about that day / place / moment

Fill a heart with a mosaic of colourful shapes

How do you think you would have handled these challenges? My memory isn’t great so I think someone should test me with the kids focus challenge!

I’ll see you again soon,

Jennifer x

P.S. I’m linking this up to Motivation Monday!

Your Craft & Soul Events

A Giveaway! Sponsored By Happy Scatter! {NOW CLOSED}

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

It’s time for the last Etsy Shop giveaway of the event {NOW CLOSED}. This one is for my own Happy Scatter Etsy shop, where I sell stencils, wood veneers, flairs, die-cut 3×4 cards, and more, all which I have designed myself!

Happy Scatter Etsy Shop Selling Crafty Stencils and Embellishments!

If you’d like to add a few new bits and pieces to your stash, then keep reading for a giveaway at the end of the post!

I started my Etsy shop last year, after getting hold of Adobe Illustrator, and being given a Cricut Explore machine which meant I could cut stencils and die-cut cards I’d designed! I’ve been adding a variety of items since then, including cork stickers and flairs… I have lots more I want to add but I have more ideas than time!

Here’s a few items from the shop which go well with the ‘focus’ theme of this event…

1. Frameography Stencil – I try to make most of the stencil so that they could be used both as a whole stencil, or by masking off parts and just using bits of the stencil. This new one could be a cool background by using the whole thing, but you could also make the frames off and use them individually – my favourite is the Polaroid-style one near the middle:

The Frameography Stencil at the Happy Scatter Etsy Shop

2. Arrows and Triangles Flair Set – I’ve been having lots of fun making new flairs and this set is one which you can use on a variety of projects:

Arrows And Triangles Flair Set at the Happy Scatter Etsy Shop

3. Simply Life Everday Wood Veneers – This set features a camera, a frame, some chevron-style arrows, and a ‘simply life’ banner flag, so it’s got all the icons perfect for this ‘focus’ weekend:

Simply Life Everyday Wood Veneer Shapes at the Happy Scatter Etsy Shop

Do you use a lot of stencils, flairs, or wood veneers on your pages? I’ve been getting more and more into using stencils since designing my own!

Here’s the giveaway. One Lucky commenter will win:

Win £20 to spend at the Happy Scatter Etsy Shop!

£20 GBP to spend at the Happy Scatter Etsy Shop! Then winner will need to email me with their choices for what they’d like and I can send it out to them!

To enter the giveaway {NOW CLOSED}: Just pop over to the Happy Scatter Etsy Store, take a look around, and come back here to leave a comment telling me about an item or two that caught your eye (it doesn’t need to be ‘focus’ related, just anything you like).

I’d also love it if you popped by the Happy Scatter Facebook Page to say hi, but that’s not compulsory!

The giveaway closes at 10pm BST on Sunday the 24th of May 2015 {NOW CLOSED}. It is open internationally. The winner will be announced here on Thursday the 28th of May, so make sure you check back to see if you won.

Good luck! I’ll see you again in an hour!

Jennifer x

Scrapbook Layouts

Get Close To The Detail – Them Buttons Layout

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

I’m good at taking pictures of people and places, but I need to remember more often to zoom in close to the detail too! I really want to capture these things to look back on in years to come.

For this layout I’ve focused on my daughter’s hands doing up her shirt buttons, something she still struggles with but is so proud of herself on the days she manages it:

Get Close To The Detail - Them Buttons Layout

I really like the ‘don’t be pushed by your problems, be lead by your dreams’ Ralph Waldo Emmerson quote from a piece of Webster’s Pages Dream In Color paper. It’s such a positive suggestion to turn your worries around and work towards goals instead!

When I started this page I’d originally planned to put the photos on a grid paper background with a coral-pink cardstock border:

Get Close To The Detail - Them Buttons Layout

But I decided it looking boring! I think I was drawn to the grid paper because it’s such an everyday photo with not much colour in it. But who says everyday photos should be on plain paper?

Once I switched it to this special piece of Crate Paper Craft Market Gold Glitter Accent Paper it looked much more fun and positive, plus the chevrons pointing down act like arrows and create a focal point down the middle of the page:

Get Close To The Detail - Them Buttons Layout

I wrote my journaling on a thin strip of grid paper, and adhered it to a ‘shelf’ I cut from wood patterned paper. Then I flipped it over and added two layers of foam tape just along the bottom of the shelf:

Get Close To The Detail - Them Buttons Layout

I stuck the ‘shelf’ along the bottom of the layout, then tucked buttons all the way along it! I also used a button in my title for the ‘o’:

Get Close To The Detail - Them Buttons Layout

The dark brown of the ‘shelf’ was a bit dominating, so I made sure to use brown at the top of the page too, with bronze alphas and a button for the word ‘buttons’ and the word ‘them’ has brown letters. I also punched a couple of tiny stars from the wood paper and added them to the page with pop-dots:

Get Close To The Detail - Them Buttons Layout

The ‘shelf’ was a fun way to use up some of my button stash:

Get Close To The Detail - Them Buttons Layout

Do you spot the pink triangle enamel shape on top of the left-hand photo? It’s pointing as an arrow towards my daughter’s hands. I also used a geotag as another ‘arrow’ on the quote piece:

Get Close To The Detail - Them Buttons Layout

Everything helps to keep your eye moving around the page!

Be Inspired:

Use a ‘special’ piece of paper for an everyday photo or card

Make a shelf and put buttons along it

Use a triangle or a geotag as an arrow

What do you think of the swap to the special paper – are you a glitter paper lover or not?

I’ll see you again at 1pm!

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

Your Craft & Soul Events

Which Paperwork To Focus On – Deal With It Folder

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

Good morning! I’m going to start the day off today with something I am terrible at, because it’s boring… sorting out paperwork! Tell me I’m not the only one who leaves it building up into a big tottering pile?

Well, now I’ve made myself a pretty folder to hold the important paperwork that must be dealt with…

Which Paperwork To Focus On - Deal With It at Jennifer Grace Creates

My problem was that when I did sort paperwork, I’d just make it into new piles. So there would be a pile of stuff that needed dealing with, but then more new paperwork would get put on top of that pile, and the stuff to be dealt with would sink and sink, until 2 months down the line when we’d get an overdue notice for a bill we hadn’t paid…

Pile Of Paperwork To Be Dealt With at Jennifer Grace Creates

I’m hoping that by putting the papers that need attention into this pretty folder it will remind me which ones to focus on, and help de-clutter our house a bit too!

I started with this blue card folder. It was a little bashed at the edges but I didn’t want to go and buy one when I already had this:

Which Paperwork To Focus On at Jennifer Grace Creates

I drew around the flap onto the back of two pieces of patterned paper (one wasn’t big enough on it’s own), making sure I gave them some overlap in the middle. I didn’t want any blue poking through at the join:

Which Paperwork To Focus On at Jennifer Grace Creates

After cutting the patterned paper out I adhered them to the flap. I also added a strip of glitter tape along the ridge at the bottom of the folder. Now it doesn’t look so bashed any more:

Which Paperwork To Focus On at Jennifer Grace Creates

I could have stopped there, but I decided I needed an encouraging statement and a few pretty things, so that I would be really happy to leave it out on display:

Which Paperwork To Focus On - Deal With It at Jennifer Grace Creates

I cut the corner out of a chipboard frame so that it sits nicely with the alphas. I also added a speech bubble as I realised the little point on it acts like another arrow, pointing at the word ‘deal’:

Which Paperwork To Focus On - Deal With It at Jennifer Grace Creates

With the words ‘Deal With It’ shouting at me from this jazzy folder I think I’ll get better at sorting my paperwork!

Be Inspired:

Alter a folder, binder, or other office item

Cut the corner off a frame

Use the point of a speech bubble like an arrow to point at something important

Do you have piles of paperwork like mine in your house? Tell me I’m not the only one!

I’ll see you again at 11am!

Jennifer x

Home Decor Craft Projects

Make An Inspiration Wall!

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

For the last post of today I have another way to gather inspiration (like my Pot Of Inspiration last night). This one is making an inspiration wall:

Make An Inspiration Wall at Jennifer Grace Creates

This was so much fun – and it brightens up my craft space as well as giving me a place to visit for inspiration!

I didn’t think I’d have anywhere I could make an inspiration wall in my craft space. I say ‘my craft space’ but it’s actually our dining room really… it’s just a dining room full of crafty stuff! Two walls are taken up by big patio doors and windows, which is why I love to craft in there – it’s so light:

My Craft Space at Jennifer Grace Creates

Another wall is mostly taken up by my Expedit unit and glitter shelves:

My Craft Space at Jennifer Grace Creates

Then I realised I could use the back of a door to add my inspiration pieces to! I chose to use this door, as it opens inwards, so when the door is open it will be hidden:

My Craft Space at Jennifer Grace Creates

I gathered a variety of bits of inspiration, including THIS PRINT, some postcards, a wool-wrap piece I made at college, a piece of 12×12 paper, some empty frames, washi tape and ribbon, a photo, some Amy Tangerine Creative Handbook pages, and the latest Mollie Makes magazine for the ‘Geo Origami’ page to make some 3D triangles:

Make An Inspiration Wall at Jennifer Grace Creates

Plus some trusty Blu Tack to stick some items up with!

Then I just kept adding to the door until I was happy. You can watch me putting it together in this video if you like (there’s no voiceover, just music):

 

You can also watch it on YouTube HERE.

I love how the very different pieces all came together!

Make An Inspiration Wall at Jennifer Grace Creates

One thing to point out is that I stuck a little piece of Blu Tack at the bottom of each frame to hole it to the door – when it was just hanging with ribbon it would have swung about all over the place, so the Blu Tack keeps it where it should be!

Be Inspired:

Make some 3D origami triangles or other shape

Stick things to your next project using washi tape to hold it on

Hang a frame with ribbon – in your home or on a scrapbook page

Have you got somewhere that you could make an inspiration wall in your house?

Thanks for joining me today, I’ll see you again at 10pm tomorrow!

Jennifer x

Industry News & Reviews, Your Craft & Soul Events

Focus On The Props – Photo Styling

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

You may have noticed that I’ve been attempting to make my photos a bit more arty and styled lately – using props rather than just photographing a project on a plain background. This is for several reasons – 1. I got a bit bored with the way I was doing things, 2. I wanted to emulate nicely styled photos like you see in magazines like Mollie Makes, 3. I noticed that things which get pinned more on Pinterest are often the ones with more props.

I still have a lot to learn, and I thought this event was a good excuse to practice a bit more and share what I’m doing!

Focus On The Props - Photo Styling

Here’s some of the photos I’ve posted recently using props:

Focus On The Props - Photo Styling

I also used props to style my header for my Jennifer Grace Creates Facebook Page:

Focus On The Props - Photo Styling

Adding the scissors was the ah-ha moment in the above photo!

On these pictures I’ve mainly been using crafty items as the props, but I want to start adding other pretty items too. One of my inspirations for adding more items is the #propstylers challenge on Instagram, set up by Georgie St. Clair and Christina Colli. Each month they challenge use to use a certain prop (for this month, May 2015, it’s ribbon) and style it in a gorgeous way, to post to instagram using the hashtag. You can see Georgie’s original post about the challenge HERE. If you click HERE you can see some of the recent #propstylers entries on Instagram. I thought I needed a plan of action to help me focus on this!

So I gathered up a basket full of bits and pieces:

Focus On The Props - Photo Styling

Here they are all spread out. It include a big mix of items, large and small, and different sizes and colours – though I did keep it to more muted colours rather than bold and bright ones for now:

Focus On The Props - Photo Styling

Note the little boxes of sequins and buttons – these wouldn’t be necessary for everyone but I think it’s good for me to use something I’m comfortable with, and so I can keep my scattered style!

I tried to create a styled photo straight away, using the ribbon prompt for the challenge. Plus I used an empty frame and a triangle button to keep in with my ‘focus’ theme for this weekend. I liked how the tarnished frame looked with the green flowers inside so I picked these out with a couple of other bits in the same hues:

Focus On The Props - Photo Styling

Which looked okay but I thought it needed something else to make it ‘pop’. So I added in a couple of coral-coloured buttons:

Focus On The Props - Photo Styling

I liked this much better!

Next I decided to try and photograph my ‘On A Journey’ Brooch again with these new props. I also kept some ribbon in for the challenge, but wanted to do something different with it, so I wrapped it around a piece of slate:

Focus On The Props - Photo Styling

I thought I’d try a different background surface, so I photographed the same set-up on a woodgrain patterned piece of paper:

Focus On The Props - Photo Styling

I’m not sure if I prefer this on white or on woodgrain, what do you think?

One tip I’ve learnt is it’s great to have a lump of Blu Tack to hand while you are styling. You can put a small piece under a curved object to stop it rolling around, or you can use it to keep things level – for example in the above photos the brooch is propped up at the top with a thick button and a piece of Blu Tack to keep it level with the slate:

Focus On The Props - Photo Styling

What do you think? Have you ever tried to add props to your photos? You could try photographing some of your favourite things, or a nice meal, or a new purchase, in an arty way like this, then use the photo for a scrapbook page!

Be Inspired:

Style a photo using some props

Wrap ribbon around something grungy / discoloured

Put some flowers inside an empty frame

Which of my styled photos do you like the best?

I’ll see you again soon for the last post of the day,

Jennifer x