I long, as does every human being,
to be at home wherever I find myself.
- Maya Angelou
Full disclosure: it has been awhile since I sat down with a needle and thread. The glue gun has become my best friend because it enables my rapid fire making habit. So when my friend Trixi from Coloured Buttons reached out to see if I would like to join her Holiday Sew-a-Softie my heart said, "heck yes, I do!", but then a teensy wave of panic set in. Will I have time... and do I even remember how to sew a stitch? I know, kind of ridiculous but it had been that long.
Ri and I have a standing holiday tradition. We have a hot cocoa date followed by a craft store shopping spree and then we make something together. Last year it was this advent calendar and this year it was our Little Llama. Her maiden name was Fa La La La La La La La La Llama, but I have been calling her Llama Del Rey for the past 48 hours. You can call her whatever you wish... just don't call her a giraffe.
If you want tons of sew-a-softie inspiration from the real pros, check out www.sewasoftie.com
If you want to get into sewing with your little ones but don't know where to start, Trixi is truly a sewing with kids guru and her site is filled with fab tutorials for every skill level!
- printed cotton fabric
- llama template (see form below)
- fabric marker
- fabric shears
- needle and thread
- tiny pom pom ribbon
- fancy gold ric rac for sparkly details
- embroidery thread for tassels
Print the llama template, cut it out, and trace it onto your fabric with a fabric marker. Cut out your llama shapes (you need 2, obviously). You will cut inside the marker line.
We started stitching our llama's feet and worked our way up, adding batting as we went. We used the back of a paint brush to push the batting into harder to reach sections.
After our llama was stitched and stuffed, it was time to get her dressed! We started by cutting a rectangular blanket out of a contrasting printed fabric. We laid it across her back, making sure the two sides were even, and trimmed a piece of fringe to serve as a finishing hem.
Next, we added gold ric rac ribbon to the sides of our llama's blanket.
We then used the gold to create a halter and some anklets (Lana is fancy).
Ri felt like La La/Lana needed some lashes, so we cut some out of black felt with a sharp pair of scissors and a very steady hand. We added a skinny gold loop so we could hang her from our tree. Come January, she will be living in Ri's room (she called 'dibs').
If you dream it
you can do it.
- Walt Disney
What happens when a bunch of crafty bloggers from all over the globe get together with a mission to bring you a great collection of holiday family crafts? They call it CRAFTMAS and they make it c o u n t. Without further ado... drum roll please...
There are no strangers here;
Only friends you haven't yet met.
- William Butler Yeats
A couple of months ago the lovely ladies of Little Button Diaries rang (there was no phone involved but it just sounds a whole lot cooler, so let’s pretend) to ask if I wanted to join them on a worldwide holiday craft collab. I said ‘yes’ before they could finish their sentence because I ADORE them. These crafty babes from Brighton keep me laughing and utterly inspired on a daily basis. They are so likable and lovely that I would watch them empty the contents of their handbags… I have actually... more than once. So it was an obvious ‘yes’ for me, but the cherry on top of this sweet deal is all the other creative-maker-mamas who said ‘YES’...
Oh Creative Day, Make It Your Own, Handy with Scissors, Brainy Beginnings Network, Art Garden Blog, Smocks.on, Hobby Craft, Barley and Birch, Teach Investigate Play, Creating Creatives, The Harmony Tree, Raising Kinley, Momma Teaching, Toddler Tornado.
A whole lotta love went into this project and we are so excited to finally get to share it with you!
Please give a warm welcome to our first ever guest bloggers on the ART CAMP site: Tia and Laura!
Oh! one last thing...your next stop on the CRAFT MAS train is Hobby Craft HQ.
This easy snow globe is the perfect kid’s craft for a cold afternoon, armed with a large mug of cocoa, of course. We’ve made a little polymer clay polar bear, but you could make anything you like - a snowman would be easy for little fingers, or you could try making Father Christmas himself.
- plastic fillable snow globe or jam jar
- white, black and red polymer clay (we use FIMO)
- 2 small plastic tree decorations
- white acrylic paint
- glue gun (or strong glue and a bit of patience)
- cling wrap
To make the polar bear, roll a grape-sized amount of white clay and squash it into a bear shape.
Cut a little section out the bottom of the bear (approximately 5mm) and squash the side together to make it look like the polar bear is sitting. Use the cut-out bit to roll two ears and press them onto the head, using a knife to secure in place.
To make the scarf, roll a strip of red clay between two sheets of cling wrap. Add tiny lines with white clay and roll flat. Use a knife to cut a scarf shape and wrap it around the polar bear’s neck.
Add a tiny black nose and press in place. Following the manufacturer’s instructions, cook the clay and leave to cool.
Add white paint to the tips of the plastic trees and leave to dry. Cut one in half so they are different heights. Use a glue gun or strong glue to attach the trees and polar bear to the base of the snow globe.
Add the glitter into the globe and fill to the rim with water. Pop the lid on and screw it tight. You can add a line of glue if you want extra security!
Art is a business about making decisions.
For me there are only 3 ways of reaching a decision:
- Mark Vaux
This day last year I popped up from behind the colors and shapes and posted a picture of my face and told you a little about me. I asked you if you would join me as I entered the world of blogging, which is really just a generic way of saying, "I am going to share a big part of me online, right out in the open. I am about to get really vulnerable in this space... will you stick around for it? Will you read it? Will you like it? Will you love it? Will you share it? Will you buy it?" That last part makes me a little queasy. Yeah, the buying part. I think that woozy feeling just means that I need to practice that part a lot more. I did not retire from earning a living when I committed to sticking with a vision and building this brand. ART CAMP is a business. A business built on a deep, deep love and passion for art and creative expression, and a 'feel it in my bones' belief that creativity is a pathway to connection and connection is something this world needs more of as we all transition to living big parts of this 21st century life behind screens. This thing I am doing is not one year in the making. I did not just decide to do the thing on a whim on 11/28/16. It has been with me, slowly building and taking form over the last 39 years. Those years I have spent as little human, student, artist, teacher, mother, art academy director, daughter, sister, and friend. This anniversary marks the day that I decided I was going to go all in and pour everything I had into a vision I had been living with for a very long time. It is the day I committed. I am sharing that to inspire you. It is okay if you are still in the mulling phase. I do think great things take time, but when the day comes and the universe says, "What are you waiting for?!" and all of your excuses don’t hold up, set the fear to the side and... Do. The. Damn. Thing. Do it with your whole heart and everything you've got and next thing you know that vision baby that you held so closely to your heart will be all grown up and out in the world. There will be moments when you find yourself scrolling for jobs... your fear tells you that you are more “suited" for jobs that come with benefits and hours that end at 5:00. I say, have a scroll. When that scroll leads to heartache, put the mouse down and go back to the work that you HAVE to do. My only regret is that I wish I had made the decision sooner. You know what kept me from making the decision? I was holding out for perfect. "What if I put something out before it’s ready... before it’s perfect?" The best piece of wisdom I received at the beginning of this year was: it’s never going to be perfect. It is always a work in progress, constantly being tweaked and refined. Don’t wait for perfect. I took those words and tattooed them to the insides of my eyelids... not literally... I am not that brave, but metaphorically they are there and every time that 'P' word pops up, I close my eyes and put the work out anyway.
This Ira Glass quote is one of the best things I have ever read, so I am going to share it with you before I sink back into my world of colors, shapes, hard work, and grit...
“Nobody tells this to people who are beginners, I wish someone told me. All of us who do creative work, we get into it because we have good taste. But there is this gap. For the first couple years you make stuff, it’s just not that good. It’s trying to be good, it has potential, but it’s not. But your taste, the thing that got you into the game, is still killer. And your taste is why your work disappoints you. A lot of people never get past this phase, they quit. Most people I know who do interesting, creative work went through years of this. We know our work doesn’t have this special thing that we want it to have. We all go through this. And if you are just starting out or you are still in this phase, you gotta know it's normal and the most important thing you can do is do a lot of work. Put yourself on a deadline so that every week you will finish one story. It is only by going through a volume of work that you will close that gap, and your work will be as good as your ambitions. And I took longer to figure out how to do this than anyone I’ve ever met. It’s gonna take awhile. It’s normal to take awhile. You’ve just gotta fight your way through.”
We did it! After dreaming of turning our first series into an eBook for oh I dunno... the past 300 days, it is finally a reality. We are so thrilled that you are loving it! For those of you who are wanting to know a bit more about it, here are some FAQ I have received in the past 24 hours:
Do we have to do the projects in order? A: Heck no! The 24 days can be arranged, merged, and hacked as you see fit. I just wanted to make sure you had 24 creative projects to take you from the 1st - 24th.
Is this book a good fit for little ones? This book, like all of our projects and our boxes, was designed with families in mind. We love the idea of artists of all ages working together to make beautiful things. Will you have to modify some of the projects to introduce them to 3 and 4 year olds? Yes. Will this be hard to do? No. Also, please note that the assembly of many of these projects suggests the use of a hot glue gun and as such, that part should always be done by an adult or an older child.
Freebies! 2 really good ones. No, I am not telling you what they are because I want to deliver some surprise holiday cheer into your inbox when you least expect it.
Hashtag?! Yes... thank you for the reminder. Please share your ART CAMP HOLIDAY projects using #artcamp24. I cannot wait to see them!
Grab your copy here.
Here is a little slide show we put together so you can see the projects in a fun format:
Reach out if you have additional questions!
Kindness is like snow-
it beautifies everything it covers.
We had so much fun creating these wintery splatter paintings and we know you will too! You can watch the step-by-step process here.
- Mod house, tree, and reindeer templates (see form below)
- 12" x 12" blue cardstock square sheets for background
- Assorted colored cardstock for printing templates and adding collage details
- White acrylic or tempera paint thinned with a bit of water
- Glue stick
- Batting or a cotton ball for chimney smoke
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Gratitude unlocks the fullness of life.
It turns what we have into enough, and more.
It turns denial into acceptance, chaos into order, confusion into clarity.
It can turn a meal into a feast,
a house into a home,
a stranger into a friend.
- Melody Beattie
This project was inspired by our 3-D Mixed Media Penguin project. We had so much fun making our penguins that we thought, "why not make a turkey in the same style?!"
As you can see, this turkey shed his traditional rusty plumes and grew some feathers in shades of indigo, olive, mint, and chartreuse. We are pretty sure that Monsieur Matisse would approve.
These artful birds would look lovely as part of your Thanksgiving centerpiece. Or you can shrink your template down and make smaller birds to use as seating cards. Or simply leave them as is and let them dance across your mantle!
- Turkey template (see form below)
- Cardboard (we used recycled white file folders)
- Oil pastel we used these
- Assorted collage papers
- Black marker
- Scissors (if you are cutting thick cardboard you want to use a utility knife or ceramic blade for this step)
- Glue stick or Mod Podge
This post contains affiliate links, which means that we earn a small commission on the products that you buy using our links. Thank you for your support!
Print out your turkey body and turkey tail template.
Cut out your template shapes and trace the template shapes onto your cardboard.
Cut out your cardboard shapes.
Don't forget to cut out the straight lines that will connect your two turkey pieces together and allow your bird to stand.
Gather some beautiful collage scraps...
Time to start adding your oil pastel details and collage pieces to your turkey!
Now for the tail! We kept our tails white and just enhanced them with collage strips. Some we tore by hand and some we trimmed with scissors.
live in each season as it passes
breathe the air
drink the drink
taste the fruit
and resign yourself
to the influence
of the earth
- Henry David Thoreau
Call it what you will: flint corn, Indian corn, calico corn, maize, harvest corn, primitive corn, decorative corn.... the corn with the pretty colors. This classic symbol of fall can be found everywhere you look October - December, including art rooms and classrooms all across this great land. I have done a dozen different variations of "harvest corn" projects over the years and each time I do, one of my students will ask, "can you eat this kind of corn or is it just for show?". I have to admit that the first time this question was laid on me I really wasn't quite sure. I mean, I assumed that if it was in the corn family it had to be edible but it is also hard as a rock, so is it? It is! Flint corn can be consumed by animals and humans... it is the type of corn used in hominy and polenta. It is harder than sweet corn because its kernels contain a small amount of soft starch surrounded by a larger amount of hard starch, which is why the kernels shrink uniformly when drying and are less prone to dents and spoiling... therefore, the ideal type of corn for autumnal decor.
I am a big fan of pretty corn but I wanted to do something a little different this year. Something a little more modern and less traditional, something with a 3-D pop. Then it hit me... Model Magic! Guys, have you ever used Crayola Model Magic? It is an air dry clay that feels like light, fluffy marshmallows. As you can imagine, the kids go NUTS for this stuff and I have to admit that I love it too. When I was teaching large groups of students, I would plan 4-6 Model Magic projects a year. One of my favorites was this 3-D Egg Carton Dragon project:
1. Choose a piece of colored card stock for your background (if you want to add anything to your colored background, now is the time to do it). Take 1 long, medium width strip of brown craft paper and cut or tear a few sections into your corn husk pieces. Attach your craft paper husks to your card stock with a glue stick. Start with 3 or 4 pieces... you will add more after you have modeled your corn. Take a small section of Model Magic out of the bag and begin to create your kernels by rolling small balls. Please note that you want to seal the remainder of your model magic so that it does not dry out. Use your glue stick to draw a simple corn shape on your card stock. This will give your kernels something to hold on to when you press them into your paper. Start forming your ear of corn one kernel at a time until it is completely filled in.
2. Time to paint! The best part is that you don't have to wait for you model magic to dry! You can paint it while it is still moist and fluffy and if you want to skip the paint clean up, you can color Model Magic with markers! We are big fans of painting in this house and painting fluffy marshmallow clay increases our love of paint ten fold.
3. After you make one ear of corn you might want to make another! Yes, it is THAT fun.
I try to apply colors like words that shape poems, like notes that shape music.
- Joan Miró
In the midst of Halloween prep crazy, a vision appeared. A stacked, recycled, open-ended sculpture project painted in a tight, bold palette ala Maestro Miró. So I dropped the pumpkins and face paint and dashed off to bring you a new project that is not tied to any season... well, maybe the eternal season that I live and love: GOOD, BOLD ART.
WATCH THE VIDEO TUTORIAL HERE!
Miró inspired shape printables (see form below)
Recycled odds and ends: plastic pieces, cardboard, paper cups, lids, collage scraps
Cardboard tubes - TP and paper towel length
Acrylic and/or tempera paint (we used red, deep blue green, golden yellow, black, white, navy, pale blue, periwinkle)
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