• Display,  Projects

    The Art Wall Evolves….

    After a long, I might say unplanned break, I’m finally back and blogging again. I think that’s the longest break I’ve ever had, though I suspect more might be on their way as Christmas approaches. There has of course been lots happening behind the scenes, and hopefully I’ll have time to share some of the projects we’ve been up to, the new products we now have available, and other news before the madness starts. So I thought I’d start with an update on our Chalkboard Art Wall. This has been a really successful addition to our home – I don’t think I would ever be without a chalkboard wall now,…

  • Projects

    Arty Felt Accessories

    I promised I’d reveal what I’d decided to make with the hand-made felt I’d made, so here it is. I’ve always loved beautiful art accessories, (even if they are completely unnecessary), and one of my favourite gifts which I’ve received in recent years is a leather wrapped sketchbook, so I decided to create some more with felt. To begin, I cut the felt to size around the open sketchbook, leaving a border of about 3mm on 3 sides, and a wider border to form the wrap on the 4th (see diagram below). You can make this overlap (which will wrap over the front of the book) any size you like,…

  • Projects

    Felt-making Part 2

    I’ve been meaning to have a go at proper felt-making for a long time, and when I say a long time, I mean a long time, I estimate about 30 years in fact! I figured the time time was right, as I had plenty of wool fleece left over from making felt balls, so all that was required was time and opportunity – both somewhat thin on the ground these days. But I’ve been getting withdrawal symptoms from the sheer lack of creative activity lately, so I forced some time into the schedule (at the expense I’m afraid of getting the housework done – something had to give). Working with…

  • Freebies,  Projects

    Hand-Lettered Poster to Print out and Colour

    I’ve been taking a bit of an unintentional blogging break since my last post – and I suspect there may be a few more to come. I’m sure I’ve said it before, but trying to juggle family life and chores along with running a business leaves a lot less time than I would like for purely creative projects. However I suspect that however much time I had, it would never be enough, as I find that the more creative projects I get involved in, the more ideas and projects my mind seems to generate.  It doesn’t help also that I’m one of those people who can never concentrate on a…

  • Projects

    Using Kids Artwork for Handmade Books

    I think I have mentioned before how I have huge problems throwing any of my boys artwork away.  I know (and have acted on) all the advice to keep the best and sling the rest (well maybe not this one), to photograph or scan into the computer, and have photobooks made. But having done all that I still can’t bring myself to throw away the originals.  It is of course very useful having a never-ending supply of personalised wrapping paper to hand, or material for collages etc., but the pile still grows ever larger.     However this project is perfect for recycling some of that artwork in large quantities,…

  • Projects

    Children’s Art Temporary Tattoos

    Temporary children’s tattoos are undergoing a resurgence of popularity again at the moment, and I thought it might be fun to let the boys create their own tattoos using ink-jet printable tattoo paper This took a bit of tracking down, but eventually I managed to find some. It was easy to use, and the finished product was not only completely unique and personal but also worked really well.       I ‘cheated’ a little, in that the artwork the boys produced for the tattoos were just drawings with no colour, so I digitally coloured them in Photoshop first before printing out the tattoos. However this really isn’t necessary, and I…

  • Projects

    Artful Origami Heart Cards

    I discovered these origami hearts when I was invited to review Origami for All. As I mentioned in that post, I have always found origami rather challenging, but these origami hearts which are included as a project in the book, (and which you can also find out how to make here), are really so simple to make that even I can do it. They look fabulous made from children’s paintings and drawings, or indeed decorative paper of any kind, and I used them to make a selection of Valentine cards. They have a wonderful 3 dimensional quality to them, and a little ‘pocket’ at the back which is perfect for…

  • Projects

    Adventures in Feltmaking

    I hope everyone had a relaxing Christmas – ours was wonderfully uneventful, offering time to pause and draw breath after the madness that was our run up to Christmas. A chance to catch up on the housework, spend time with the family and have lots of long lie ins. I even had the chance to do something creative, and add lots more ideas to the growing list of projects I want to tackle – eventually! I’ve been meaning to have a go at feltmaking for quite some time – and have had the raw materials sitting in a cupboard for over a year now. I decided to start with making…

  • Projects

    DIY Sketchbook Bandoliers

    Its been a long time since I last had my sewing machine out – I used to do a lot of sewing pre-kids, but it’s been gathering dust a bit since I’ve had the 2 boys. Amongst all the many and varied interests I have and would like to devote my time to, something has to give, and textile crafts such as sewing, knitting, hand-spinning, quilting, embroidery, etc. etc. all of which I once enjoyed, is one major area of interest that has on the whole been sacrificed since children came along. So it was nice to know that I hadn’t actually forgotten how to thread the machine, and to…

  • Display,  Projects

    Children’s Artwork Mobile

    This project offers an alternative three-dimensional way to display children’s artwork. It’s a simple concept with multiple potential variations so you can make it as basic or as complicated as you like. I love it’s kinetic qualities, but unfortunately this made it astonishingly difficult to photograph properly, so all I can say is that the photos don’t really do it justice. You can make them as big or as small as you like depending on the space available. I think a few really long ones would look fabulous suspended down a stairwell. However we don’t have the house for this, so a corner of my kitchen had to do!  …

  • Projects

    Concertina Sketchbook Display

    Much of what goes on sale in the Artful Kids store goes through a ‘testing’ process when it arrives. This is partly for practical reasons, and partly because we often can’t resist trying the products out.  This was certainly the case with one of the latest arrivals, the Concertina Sketchbook. I’d heard of these before, but not often seen them, and was therefore quite keen to try one out. It occurred to me that this would be the perfect place to store and display some of the numerous samples of painted paper we’d produced in the last few years using different techniques, which were currently hidden away in a drawer.…

  • Projects

    Experiments with Doodlebots

    We recently visited Manchester’s latest Mini-Maker Fair. There was lots there to entertain my 2 boys (or 3 if you count the husband) – especially my eldest son. Amongst the various activities on offer, he did his first soldering session to make a flashing badge (and has a small burn to show for it) attended a Minecraft hacking session, and 3D printed a miniature robot. We also attempted to make our own doodlebot. This involved using a simple motor which was wired to a battery, and taped to a piece of card.  Holes were punched into the corners of the card, and the tips of the pens pushed through. We…