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Gold Leaf Holiday DIY Gift Cards Ideas: some (very) last minute Christmas Projects

 

DIY gold leaf Holiday card ideas final

As usual, I left things till the last minute…I don’t know how to do it any other way. Under pressure is usually when I am most motivated and inspired. I got a little carried away with my Gold Leaf paint and pens and painted just about everything in it last night.

My favorite gold leaf to use is Plaid Craft Liquid One Step Gold Leaf Paint. The gold leaf pens are definitely easier but they dry out so fast. This guy comes in a re-sealable bottle and is about the same price as the pens but will give you more use. It is super rich, and heavy but make sure you shake it every time you use it.
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The cards I used are also available on Amazon and are just regular heavy-weight blank white greeting cards (5 x7″). You get 40 for $14.95 and I ended up cutting some of them into smaller cards too. So they will last a while.
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DIY christmas gift cards GOld
holiday diy gift card ideasI hope everyone has a wonderful Christmas with their loved ones! xoxoxo

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More of my sketchbook pages.

 

 

floral sketchbook page quote

 

The start of a new year means a new sketchbook. I get really excited about starting a new journal- especially at the beginning of a new year. It literally allows me to turn a fresh page in my life and re-organize, reflect and motivate. I’ve been slowly compiling pictures of some of my sketchbook pages from this past year or so and funny, I never realized before just how often my pages center around a quote or lyric that is inspiring me at that time. I think because a big part of the reason I keep a journal is to motivate me and to help me stay positive. Oh, I also apparently am big on bright colors and florals.

 

 

 

 

 

sketchbookpagejessross

also, I’m really interested to know (for any fellow art journalists who stumbles across this page)…what your favorite sketchbook/journal is(Mixed media paper, watercolor paper, bound, spiral, small, large….)? I have over 30 journals and have tried all different types and sizes and I am starting to narrow it down to my favorites but I still feel like my perfect sketchbook is out there somewhere undiscovered and waiting. just really want a large sized sketchbook with pages that don’t bleed through…I like the watercolor moleskine sketchbook but it didn’t have very many pages and was quite expensive.
Here are my go tos:

The Moleskine Art Plus Watercolor Album

(12″ X 8.5″) Professional Folio Series, Hardcover $27.37

click on the picture to view in Amazon

pros: thick, heavyweight, high quality watercolor paper, super absorbent and doesn’t bleed through.

cons: expensive & only has 60 pages while most sketchbooks have at least 100 pages.

 

The Canson 180-Degree Art Book ($13.79)

(8.3′ x 11.7″) 80 sheets 

canson art sketchbook, click picture to view in amazon

Pros:  Lays flat, nice design

Cons: Paper is not high quality, and poor quality paper, rips easily

Strathmore Hardbound 500 Series Mixed Media Art Journal

(11.5″ x 8.5″, 64 Pages)

Strathmore Sketchbook, Click picture to view in Amazon

Pros: Great size and Price

Cons:

 

stormsrootsstitched together quote rjournalpagemixed media sketchbook page lyricsWhat inspires you? Do you have a favorite medium when journaling? What is your go-to when you are sketching or journaling… I always wish I wrote more….  but I never do….abstract ocean blue sketchbook page
journal illustration page

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20 Original Winter/Holiday Themed Art Journal Ideas

20 artist journal page ideas

I put together a little Holiday Themed Art Journal Idea List, some of the ideas are a bit simple but fun.

I always find myself journaling and sketching a lot over the Christmas and New Years breaks. I think it’s my way of reflecting on everything that happened over the past year as well as gearing up for the new year ahead (also because I usually like to start the new new calendar year off with a fresh journal so I try to fill up the remaining pages in the old one). Also, I am one of those people who religiously comes up with New Years Resolutions every year…The older I get, the more it’s becoming a bucket list and a reminder for me that life is moving fast. I am a big list person too…I just feel better about my lack of organizational skills when I can cross off even the most mundane tasks.

I also rounded up some of my favorite journal pages from this year….they are nothing like some of the pages I see of other artists on pinterest or tumblr…but they make me happy 🙂 Some of them can fit as examples for the Winter themed list so Ill note them if they do…

 

e e cummings mixed media art journal collage page

e e cummings mixed media art journal collage page

One of my favorite things to do is write down  inspiring quotes, passages, poems r song lyrics I come across and then create some sort of art around it.

ink and mixed media watercolor shape collage with inspiring quote
ink and mixed media watercolor shape collage with quote
watercolor flower bouquet and vase
watercolor flower bouquet and vase
succulent and cacti planters
succulent and cacti planters
floral watercolor artist sketchbook page
floral watercolor artist sketchbook page

mixed media artist sketchbook page

abstract watercolor journal page

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An Easy and Fun DIY Abstract Art Project Tutorial for All Ages!

abstract art ideas

 

I can’t help that my natural artistic impulses are the same as every 2 year old who has just been given their first ever box of crayons (to take all the colors, smash them together, color all the paper,  mess all over the floor and then take a nap curled up in the eye of the hurricane). I swear I have every intention of trying to become a decent artist when I get out my graphite pencils and little eraser to practice sketching. Somehow though, I always end up on the floor surrounded by paint in every color and shade available. But Im at my happiest and  most inspired making my kaleidoscopic messes…

Abstract Geometric Watercolor Artwork by Yao Cheng

I happened to spot the inspiration for this DIY art project in an advertisement in House Beautiful magazine for minted.com. I ripped it right out (don’t worry, it was my copy!) , taped it to my wall and started to go to work on my own version. Later, I was able to investigate further and discovered (thank you pinterest) that the Artist’s is Yao Cheng, she specials in beautiful watercolor paintings and her online store on Minted’s website is FULL of stunning watercolor prints. The above piece and the object of inspiration is “Hexagon Cluster,” and you can purchase  her Limited Edition of Hexagon Cluster print on Minted (or click through the links) for anywhere from $20 to $200 depending on size and finish.

Here is everything you will need to make it:

1) watercolor paints (the Kids Crayola watercolors work just fine) and paper (brushes and cups of water as well)

I suggest the following liquid watercolors for bright, vibrant colors:

Sargent Art 8-Ounce Watercolor Magic Set (10 different watercolors for $49.95)

click on picture to view in Amazon

or Dr. Phil’s Concentrated Watercolors (my personal favorites) They average about $5.00 a bottle or a set of 14 is around $69.99.

Dr Phil’s Concentrated Watercolors (click pic to view in Amazon)

2) Watercolor Paper Pad

For the best price and quality, I suggest Strathmore 360900 Cold Press 140-Pound 12-Sheets Strathmore Watercolor Paper Pad, 9-Inch by 12-Inch, which is only around $7.00, also available on Amazon

Click photo to purchase in Amazon

 

3) Thick, heavyweight white paper Mixed Media paper works well, just something to hold the weight of mixed media and glue without tapering.

4) Scissors and a gluestick!

The How To:

The steps to making this DIY project are super simple.  But since I’m not sure of how the original artist created her stunning piece so I’ll tell you how I made my version.

1) Get out your watercolors and watercolor paper and go crazy (this is one of my favorite things in the world to do). You don’t need any fancy paper or expensive watercolors. In fact, I mostly used plain old, reliable Crayola Washable Watercolors  (available in probably every single pharmacy and grocery store in America).   because I had just moved to Grand Rapids from Chicago when I got this project itch, I had none of my supplies and couldn’t wait a few days till I went home again.

* Try experimenting with colors…I love playing with colors and mixing and matching up colors I wouldn’t usually put together while doing this…I tend to lean towards bright, bold, colors but what I love about Cheng’s is that she uses subtle, subdued colors with a pop of bold color that makes the piece stand out. Her use of subtle tones and light/grey hues accentuates the rich blues and the  subtle use of warm orange colors all come together to create a vibrant, yet refreshingly simple and peaceful piece of art that would compliment many differently styled rooms.

2) Using a ruler or something to help you draw straight lines, trace out 20-30 hexagons (6 sided shapes). Make sure to make all different sized hexagons..the sides don’t necessarily have to be symmetrical or have all equal lengths..this will help to add to the abstract and organic feeling of the piece.

3) Arrange them in a way you like on your heavyweight art board..the only rule I used for myself was that each shape has to be touching another shape by at least one point..I think this helps adds continuity and fluidity of the artwork and helps guide the viewer’s eye from each unique hexagon to the next.

I also tried another technique and did one piece where all the sides of the shapes had to be touching sides perfectly..this one took a little more time and a lot of cutting down shapes to fit better…

DIY abstract art project

4) admire, frame and hang!

Here are a few that I did, as you can see, I have a hard time using natural and subtle colors- which I think makes my finished pieces a little to “in your face.” But to each their own!

DIY Abstract Shape Art Project

abstract diy shape project

 

And that is it my friends!

 

 

 

 

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How to Build Your Own Terrarium Tutorial

howtobuildaterrarium

 

Last week,  I visited the absolutely amazing Downtown Market in Grand Rapids, Michigan with some friends for the first time to attend a workshop called How to Build A Terrarium. If you are ever in Grand Rapids, you have to visit the Downtown Market. They have the indoor Market Hall, a “culinary collective” of artisan products including a Bakery, Juice Bar, Coffee Bar, Wine Bar, Meat Market, Bake Shoppe, AND gourmet restaurants including: Fish Lads, Rak Thai, Sushi Maki, Tacos El Cunado AND even a Creperie.

Downtown Market

In the summer, they have an Outdoor Market three times a week and in the Fall, every Saturday from 9am to 2pm.

Outdoor Market

Finally, they also offer a full schedule of classes, programs and workshops which include everything from: yoga, cheese making, Introduction to Aromatherapy & Essential Oils, Cooking Classes, Mommy and Me Activities, to Greenhouse workshops. Click Here to see their schedule of upcoming classes. This is where I went with two of my friends to do the How to Build a Terrarium Workshop.  I put together a cheat sheet of the ingredients you will need based on what I learned at the workshop to share with you:

terriarum ingredients

1. First, start by putting about 1 inch layer of gravel at the bottom of your container, to fill up space in the jar and to keep the soil from being to damp.

2. On top of the gravel, put approximately .5in to 1.5in layer of activated charcoal, also to help soak up extra water.

3. Add your cactus/succulent potting soil. The amount of soil you want to use really depends on the size and shape of your container. You want a nice, thick layer so that the soil comes up about to the bottom of your opening.

4. Plant your succulents in the soil. Give them space to breathe.

5. Add your decorative items on the top of the soil after you planted your succulents. This will help weigh the soil down.

Sun Requirements:

* Most succulents need about 6 hours a day of indirect sunlight. Make sure your terrarium is in a cool, well ventilated area.

* It helps to place your terrarium near a south or east facing windows in the winter in order to get maximum sunlight exposure.

* Observe your succulents when they are by windows, as sunlight may be magnified in the glass and can scorch leaves. Adjust accordingly.

Water Requirements:

* In the winter, you may water just once every 2-3 weeks.

* In the summer, it is closer to once a week. Water in the morning.

* If you are unsure, poke your finger in the soil and if it is completely dry then it’s probably a good idea to water it.

succulent terrarum

And voila! You have a start on a green thumb with a lovely & easy and organic terrarium, all your own. Does anyone have any other tips for making terrariums? If you have one, or make one,  I would love to see pictures of them!! succulent

 

XOXXo

jessie. bo.bessies.

 

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Artist Trading Cards!

Ever since I got the “ok” to teach my art class, I have been WAITING for the session where I taught my students how to make Artist Trading Cards. And this last week, was FINALLY the time to do it! I was so impressed by the results….I loved all of them, they worked so hard on them. I was a little worried they wouldn’t take it seriously and give it %100 of their efforts but I stressed the importance of each card being like a mini-artwork….I loved how hard they worked and how unique all of them turned out…. 
How cute are these owls??? 
….I did a mini-lesson on creating “mixed media” pieces and showed them a couple of my favorites I have found via the web as well as some of my own ATCs. These are a few of mine: 
I brought in tubs of different materials including: magazine pages, fabric, yarn, glitter, watercolors, pens, markers, buttons, pom-poms…

I loved that each card never failed to showcase each students’ personalities…Here are a few of the ones the boys in the class did…they mostly stuck to markers and pens:
We are looking to SWAP with another classs….if you are an art teacher and have done or are doing ATCs with your students! Email me at jsheffield@kenilworth38.org
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DIY Holiday Idea: Glitter Reindeers!

13 days until Christmas! YAY! Anywhooo…I made these three reindeers for under $15.00 total and so can you! All you need is: 

* tacky glue
* 3 wooden reindeers or other Christmasy wooden pieces ($3.00 a piece at Michael’s)
* 1 canister of glitter
* ribbon/string to hang

First, simply cover your reindeer with tacky glue ( I did mine in sections so that the glue wouldn’t dry before I covered it with the glitter) and then sprinkle generous amounts of glitter onto the glue. Of course, remember to place paper under your reindeer so glitter doesn’t cover your floors (Being as I am a messy person, even with paper, my floors are still sparkling).
After, applying the glitter, let the reindeer dry overnight or at least for a few hours. When you pick them up to finish them after they have dried, give them a good shake, to let the extra glitter off onto the paper and not your floors (I learned this the hard way).
Then, I used wire and a glue gun to make little loops to thread the ribbon through, but you can glue the ribbon directly to the back of the reindeer…it will save you time.

Finally, hang out reindeer in a viewable place and when people comment on how great they are…you can brag about how you made them for $15.00. 

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Holiday DIY Decor: Yarn Christmas Tree Cones

I got inspired to do these super simple and cheap Christmas trees after seeing a pin on pinterest that came from Thriftyandchic.com: 

soo cute and rustic! But I didn’t have any hemp yarn so I used some thick wool yarn (and instead of styrofoam cones like the ones thriftyandchic.com uses, I used paper cones). All you need is a few yards of thick yarn of your favorite color, a glue gun and a paper or styrofoam cone and you are in business baby!

A simple, easy, chic and unique DIY Holiday Decoration!

Anyone out there done any of their own DIY Holiday decorations lately?  I am always looking for inspiration!