• Projects

    Get Creative with QR Codes

    I’ve been adding QR codes recently to some of our business stationery and marketing materials, and being struck by their creative potential for hidden ‘secret’ messages and creativity, decided to experiment a bit. QR codes are very easy to create and download, and you can have them link to a webpage, a special photograph or piece of artwork you have uploaded somewhere, or simply reveal a line of text when scanned. When it comes to text, the shorter and simpler the information, the simpler and bolder the QR code created will be. I found that when printed at a reasonable size, the QR code becomes a piece of artwork –…

  • Christmas,  Freebies,  Projects

    Postage Stamp Christmas Wrap

    Christmas is creeping up ever closer, and for the last few years I’ve tried to offer readers a Christmas gift in the form of a seasonal free printable. I think I must have forgotten in 2013, but in 2012 it was 3 sheets of vintage Christmas wrapping paper, and the year before a printable Christmas Tree template to decorate. This year I’ve put together some sheets of Postage Stamp Christmas wrap using the scanner – one of my favourite tools for art making. My Dad has always collected stamps, but he was having a clear out recently and offered me a large number of Christmas stamps that he’d collected over…

  • Christmas,  Projects

    A Card with a View

    Another Christmas Card project! This one is a very simple idea which is really easy to make, and has the added benefit of recycling your old Christmas cards, so unless you’ve saved some cards from last year, this may be one to keep for the future! When I was a child, we inherited a few old early 20th century cards from a great-aunt, who had kept them because they were rather more special than your average card. I don’t know what happened to them, but I remember a couple of them in particular took my fancy. These were 3 dimensional snow scenes with a snowy window effect on clear plastic…

  • Christmas,  Projects

    Keepsake Christmas Card

    Christmas is getting ever closer, and I thought it must be time to start getting things ready preparing our home-made cards. We alsways need plenty of time for this, and this year is no exception. These days rather than making a whole pile of home-made cards at Christmas time, we’ve got a bit lazier and tend to send out just a few to special friends and relatives – this means we can spend a bit more time on them too, so it’s a little less like a production line and the quality is higher! So for this year’s card me and the kids put together something which can also double…

  • Projects

    Dip-Dyed Shoes

    I love the current dip-dyed trend, and have long been looking for an excuse to use the ‘Stained by Sharpie’ pens I picked up a little while ago. We’ve also been looking for an opportunity to try doodling and decorating our own shoes, so this project was a way of bringing all those things together. My younger son also fancied having a go, but used a more direct approach than me, to draw directly onto the shoe (see below).     For myself, I decided to try  a more experimental ‘dip-dyed’ technique as illustrated at the top of the page, and described below: First of all I dipped the whole shoe…

  • 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…