Art Journal Ideas: Remembering or Planning a Family Vacation

September 9th, 2014

One of our favorite ways to be creative here at Artterro is art journaling.  We introduced our Art Journal Kit almost exactly three years ago, and we love to see how kids and adults alike respond to the prompts, supplies and inspiration in the kit.  September seems like a great time to share a series of journaling prompts and tips.  Something about the seasons changing seems to lead to introspection.

Our friend Heidi, a talented artist and mom to a homeschooling family, is all about art journaling as well.  She just shared a pre-vacation journal page with us, and hopefully it will inspire you or your family to set down a page or two of free-form thoughts, images and colors.

My family and I are leaving for San Francisco on Monday. So this entry was fun and meaningful to me.

-Heidi

Art journaling is all about mixing it up!  Drawing, painting, collage…you don’t need to commit to just one material or technique.  Here Heidi used pencil and handmade Artterro paper to begin her San Francisco-inspired art.

Art Journal Example 1

Here’s the finished page, where she traced over her drawing and added flourishes with pen:

Art Journaling Example

If you aren’t coming or going from anywhere in particular, try filling in a page with ideas of somewhere you’d love to visit.  Maybe it will inspire you to start planning a trip!

One Response to “Art Journal Ideas: Remembering or Planning a Family Vacation”

  1. Carol B says:

    Awesome page! Beautifully done!Thank you for sharing :)

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Art Journal Ideas: Illustrate an Inspiring Thought

September 6th, 2014

art journal prompts birds

Today’s art journal idea is a simple one.  When you have a happy thought, write it down, and then create an illustration to match.  You can also reverse it: illustrate a happy image that pops into your head, and then write down whatever words you think of  around it.  If you do this regularly, your journal will fill up with positive ideas and images, and looking back on old pages will be uplifting!  Perfect for days when you need a little boost.

Tips and photo from our guest contributor, Heidi Crabb:

Draw and cut out design templates (like birds and leaves). Use them to trace onto the nice paper.

Add your words of dreams and visions! Pencils first, them trace over with a pen or marker.

What will your first happy thought be?

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DIY Eco Jewelry Holder Tutorial

August 29th, 2014

When we redesigned our packaging, one of our goals was to make something more beautiful, but also more functional.  There is nothing sadder than thinking of all the product packaging that is manufactured and sold, only to end up in a landfill or (sadder still) the ocean.  So, we were determined to make useful, reusable packaging.  And we’re very proud of what we accomplished!  Here’s just one example of how to reuse the inner tray that comes in the Artterro box.  We hope you’re inspired to look at packaging a different way!

DIY Jewelry Holder

Tutorial by Spark blog contributor Anna Lee Steinbuck

DIY Eco Jewelry Holder

Materials:

-Artterro inner tray

-leftover Artterro handmade paper

-Glue

-Scissors

-Wooden skewers or rods (I used the rods from our Bubble Wands kit)

-Decorative items ( I used a felt flower and sequins)

Step 1: ***This step is for an adult to do!***

-Use heavy scissors to poke evenly spaced holes into both sides of the inner tray. I put three holes on each side so I could hang more earrings, but if you have longer dangly earrings you may only want to put two rows in.

Step 2:

Cut out paper to fit into the background and inner sides of your tray. I laid the paper over the back of the tray and traced the outline to get a perfect cut of paper.  Glue your cut out paper to the inside of the tray. Decorate the tray with any decorative embellishments you have.

Step 3:

Poke your rods through the holes you cut out. You may need to use the scissors again to widen the holes if the rods don’t slide in easily.

Step 4:

***Optional***

If you don’t want your rods sticking out, cut them down to your desired length. Depending on the thickness of your rods, you can either cut with scissors, a serrated knife, or a dremel cutting attachment.

Step 5:

Hang your jewelry from the skewers. Then use the perforated tab on the top of the tray to hang your jewelry display on your wall!

2 Responses to “DIY Eco Jewelry Holder Tutorial”

  1. Stacey says:

    I am a private, in-home health care provider of three young, recently adopted children, each with learning disabilities and/or physical disabilities. I am also a Montessori Educator and incorporate my Montessori background into their life. The one thing that all three enjoy and that brings us together on the same level is blowing bubbles. I would love to have the opportunity to share a Bubble Kit with these children, unifying us and even momentarily overlooking the challenges that they face.

  2. Jessica says:

    Hi Stacey! Please send an email to info@artterro.com with more details about your request. Thanks for commenting!

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Starters vs. Finishers

August 26th, 2014

“Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate.

Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure.

It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us.”

-Marianne Williamson

There are some very creative people here at the Artterro office, including a silversmith, a mixed-media artist, a graphic designer, a paper artist and several general crafting enthusiasts.  We were recently talking about how difficult it can be to get started on a new project, and one member of our team mentioned that she has a much harder time finishing a project than she does starting one.  It got us thinking about the forces that get in the way of the creative process, and what we can do to work through them.  Here’s a Q&A with some of the artists on staff at Artterro; we hope this sparks some creative thinking for you!

Q: Are you a starter or a finisher?

Anna Lee: Finisher.

Forrest: I would say that I’m a finisher and will only start a project if I know that I’m going to be able to finish it in a reasonable amount of time. Usually a few days or week.

Shari: Definitely more of a starter.  When I have no time to do anything, I get all these ideas!  And I make lists and pull materials out and start three things at a time.  Then later I get busy with other things or run into obstacles, and most of my projects I don’t finish.  But I start A LOT of projects, even if it’s only planning for them, so I still end up accomplishing a lot.

diy jewelry holder

A recent craft project by Anna Lee: Jewelry Holder made from our packaging, handmade paper and wooden rods

Q: Do you find it difficult to pick up your tools and supplies for the first time?  Why?

Forrest: I find that I need to gather all my materials and supplies first, then let them sit on my table for a few weeks, maybe even a month before I start the project. Sometimes I find it so difficult to start a project because I need time to let it stew in my head for awhile and sometimes I need lots of inspiration. So, I use the internet to find pictures, I find Pinterest especially helpful and quick.

Shari: In some ways yes, and some ways, no.  If it’s when I’m first starting something random and getting ideas, I pick up everything and pull everything out (and essentially make a giant mess).  If it’s something I’ve been hired to do/a specific thing I know I need to do, I hesitate to start it because I’m nervous about screwing it up.  Even if it’s something I know I can do.

Anna Lee: No. Gathering supplies, tools, etc and getting started is my favorite part. I enjoy the concept/ planning/designing process a lot.

diy lavendar sachets

Lavender Sachets made by Forrest

Q: Do you find it difficult to put in the work to finish it once you’ve started an exciting new project?  Why?

Shari: YES.  Even though I love crafting, I get very distracted by all the other things I need to do (like stuff around the house, running errands, cooking, etc).  And again, I’m always nervous I’m going to screw it up.  Even though I know finishing awesome things is totally worth all the work.  Especially if it’s a surprise gift for someone.

Anna Lee: Usually yes, but mostly because I enjoy the starting process too much and tend to start too many projects at one time. This also depends on if it is an art piece or a DIY or craft project. If it is an art piece it can take me years to actually finish, as there is no real planning process, it’s just worked on when I have the inspiration, and the final vision is always changing. If it is a craft or DIY project I find it difficult to put the work in to finish if I haven’t acquired all of the necessary materials/tools/etc from the beginning. If I have missing parts I tend to put it aside for “later.”

Forrest: I find once I start a project I’m able to get it done quickly and don’t mind if it starts to take a lot more time then I originally thought. I also find that I really start to get into the process of working with materials after I start the project, then it feels more like play and less like work.

Shari, at work on a Collage Jewelry project

Q: How do you get past whatever is holding you back?

Shari: I’m not really sure.  When I have a deadline and it’s down to the last minute, I know I can’t disappoint whoever the project is for, so I forge ahead; I’ve sacrificed a lot of sleep for last-minute crafting.  Getting paid is also a good motivator.  It also helps to try to get out of the house because there are so many distractions there.  If I can bring my project to a coffee shop or a friends’ house, in some ways that helps me focus on just the project at hand.  As long as I don’t let other things there distract me!

Anna Lee: This also depends if it’s an art piece or a craft/DIY project. As far as art goes, I try stepping away from it and finding inspiration in other places…I’ll go to a museum, go for a hike, look through old pictures, etc. Or I’ll try creating something in another media; if I’m stuck on a metal art piece I might start drawing something or paint something. If it is a craft or DIY project, usually a deadline motivates me, like if some one’s birthday or a holiday is coming up and I need a gift to give. Or I’ll motivate myself to finish by imaging where the end project will go in my home, garden, etc. or ways I will use or enjoy it, and then start planning for that. For example if I’m making a purse I will start planning outfits to wear with it, or if I’m building a plant stand I’ll move other furniture and make room for it in my house.

Forrest: I like to give myself a deadline or start a project a few days before I need to give it as a gift. That way I’ll have to get it done and the pressure to get it finished will help to motivate me. I believe procrastination is a useful tool.

We hope you found it helpful to hear how some of our resident artists deal with artistic road blocks.  Feel free to give your own answers to these questions in the comments!

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DIY Decoupage Project: Flower Pots

August 8th, 2014

We often hear from customers that after making all the jewelry pieces in our Collage Jewelry Kit, they still have a few pieces of our solid-colored and fancy-patterned tissue paper.  If you are in the same boat, we have two fun, simple and beautiful DIY projects for you to try out!  Last time we showed you how to decoupage a recycled glass bottle into a beautiful illuminated vase, and today we will show you how to transform a plain clay pot into a work of art.

DIY Decoupage Clay Pots

Project by Spark blog contributor Anna Lee Steinbuck

Materials: fancy tissue paper, plain tissue paper, recycled papers: (newspaper, magazine cut-outs), clay pot

Tools: foam brush, scissors, Artterro glaze

Optional Materials: soy based acrylic paint

Instructions:

  1. Gather all materials and tools. Arrange on a covered surface, (I laid down a few layers of newspaper on my table) because this can get messy!
  2. Cut out or rip up pieces of tissue paper and your other recycled materials. *I ripped up little bits of tissue paper by hand to make a “patchwork” kind of layered look, and cut out pieces with scissors for a more refined and polished look.  If you want to paint the lip of your flower pots, do this now and allow paint to dry for about five minutes before going on to step three.
  3. Apply a thin and even layer of Artterro glaze to your containers using your foam brush.
  4. Start laying down pieces of paper on your containers, gently smoothing any bumps or creases with your fingers. *Try layering different sizes of tissue paper, and overlap the paper in order to thoroughly cover the containers
  5. Once you are finished laying down paper pieces, and are satisfied with the look of your piece, apply an even layer of glaze over the entire piece. Make sure you cover the entire surface with glaze to seal it. Don’t worry, it dries clear!
  6. Allow your pieces to dry overnight before handling them. Keep the surface underneath them protected in case any glue drips. *Make sure there aren’t any stray pieces of paper that accidentally got stuck to the bottom of your piece!

Isn’t decoupage wonderful?  You can be as creative as you want, incorporating other materials and changing your design as you go.  Let us know if there are other objects you’d like to see us decoupage on the blog.  Happy crafting!

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DIY Decoupage Project: Illuminated Vase

August 5th, 2014

We often hear from customers that after making all the jewelry pieces in our Collage Jewelry Kit, they still have a few pieces of our solid-colored and fancy-patterned tissue paper.  If you are in the same boat, we have two fun, simple and beautiful DIY projects for you to try out!  Today we will show you how to decoupage a gorgeous vase, and our next post will inspire you to transform a plain clay pot into a work of art.

DIY Decoupage Bottle

Project by Spark blog contributor Anna Lee Steinbuck

Materials: fancy tissue paper, plain tissue paper, recycled papers: (newspaper, magazine cut-outs), recycled glass bottle

Tools: foam brush, scissors, Artterro glaze (or your own decoupage medium)

Optional Materials: battery powered mini string lights

DIY Decoupage Glass Bottle

Instructions:

  1. Gather all materials and tools. Arrange on a covered surface, (I laid down a few layers of newspaper on my table) because this can get messy!
  2. Cut out or rip up pieces of tissue paper and your other recycled materials. *I ripped up little bits of tissue paper by hand to make a “patchwork” kind of layered look, and cut out pieces with scissors for a more refined and polished look.  If you want to paint the lip of your flower pots, do this now and allow paint to dry for about five minutes before going on to step three.
  3. Apply a thin and even layer of Artterro glaze to your containers using your foam brush.
  4. Start laying down pieces of paper on your containers, gently smoothing any bumps or creases with your fingers. *Try layering different sizes of tissue paper, and overlap the paper in order to thoroughly cover the containers
  5. Once you are finished laying down paper pieces, and are satisfied with the look of your piece, apply an even layer of Artterro glaze over the entire piece. Make sure you cover the entire surface with glaze to seal it. Don’t worry, it dries clear!
  6. Allow your pieces to dry overnight before handling them. Keep the surface underneath them protected in case any glue drips. *Make sure there aren’t any stray pieces of paper that accidentally got stuck to the bottom of your piece!
  7. Optional: If you want your vase to be illuminated, you can put a string of battery-powered lights inside your vase.

What other recycled containers have you decoupaged?  We love making votive holders, gift boxes, and pencil holders.  Stay tuned this week for a tutorial on clay pots as well!

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Exploring Art & Science: Open-Ended Bug Project

July 18th, 2014

Wool Felt Bug Habitat

Summer is a wonderful time to help kids learn about the natural world around them, especially small creatures that are easy to observe in our own backyards and parks, like butterflies, worms and bugs!

Here’s an idea to stoke your child’s interest in nature and art at the same time.

DIY Insect Observation Art Project

dragonfly diy craft project

Optional preparation: Go to the library together to check out a book about bugs.  Here’s a list from the Frogs, Snails and Puppy Dog Tails blog to get you started: Children’s Books About Bugs.  Try to find the answers to these questions together: What makes insects different from other animals?  How big is the biggest insect?  What about the smallest?  Which one is your favorite?

summer insect activity DIY

  1. Take a nature walk and do some close observation of bugs, using a magnifying glass if you have one, or just getting close to the ground.  Let them be the scientist, and you can be the assistant!  Ask your child what they notice about the bugs they find (color, shape, body parts etc.).
  2. Write down notes or make quick sketches of your favorites.
  3. Get out your paints, modeling clay, colored pencils or Wool Felt Bug Kit, and make your own creepy-crawly friends!  Your child might be interested in copying the real insects exactly, or maybe they want to invent their own species.  Either way, it will be a lot of fun!
  4. Make a habitat for your bugs.  In the photos above and below, we decorated our packaging with Artterro paper for grass, and glued on some real sticks.  You could also use a jar or a shoebox, or simply draw your own habitat.

Tip: Try to keep this project as open-ended as possible.  Your trip to the library may inspire interest about a different subject altogether.  Go with it!  Or maybe the flowers and trees will interest your child more than the bugs.  Great!  The important thing is for curiosity to lead the activity.

wool felt bugs

Artterro Bugs in the Wild!

For more fun bug crafts, check out our newest Pinterest board!

DIY bug art project

Bonus project: How many Artterro creatures can you spot in this photo?

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5 (Easy & Eco) Summer Art Projects For Kids

July 15th, 2014
Summer Art Projects

Copyright 2011 Jim Pennucci via Flickr

We’ve reached the middle of summer!  If filling up all the free time between now and September seems like a challenge, check out some of these wonderful art projects for kids and tweens gathered from some of our favorite blogs.  We chose simple projects families can do together, with finished products that make kids want to get outside and play!  We also have some wonderful options in our Artterro Store–always a convenient option for busy families.  Be sure to sign up for our mailing list to hear about upcoming specials and promotions.

1. Make Giant Paper Airplanes

Summer Art Project  giant paper airplanes

From the Fireflies and Mudpies blog

This project from Fireflies and Mudpies is great for summer, because it requires a minimal amount of prep and supplies, and afterwards you have a fun outdoor activity boys and girls alike will love!  We would add one tip: encourage your kids to find a big piece of poster board they’ve already used, and paint right over it!  Durable paper like that can easily be used more than once.

2. DIY Upcycled Bucket

Here’s another great project that leads to even more fun outside!  Who doesn’t have empty yogurt or sour cream containers filling up their recycling bin?  Why not give it one more purpose, and inspire some summer fun at the same time?  Follow the simple directions from Creative With Kids.  All you need are scissors and a hole punch, plus two plastic containers (one is for the handle).  Perfect for a beach day or a trip to the sandbox at the park.  Little ones often enjoy just moving toys and dolls from one place to another, and they’ll be so proud to help make their own container.

3. Paper Plate Frisbees

Summer Art Projects DIY paper plate frisbees

Copyright Amanda Formaro 2014

A great way to reuse paper plates, as long as they didn’t get soggy–maybe right after a summertime picnic!  With these easy instructions from Crafts by Amanda, you might think of even more objects that could be transformed into frisbees.

4. Water Bottle Fountain

Summer Art Project water bottle fountain

Copyright 2011 Christine Gross-Loh

This project from Origami Mommy definitely requires a parent’s help (for the hole-poking part), but it makes for a fun science experiment and a fabulous way to stay cool on a hot day!

5. DIY Bubble Wands

Summer Art Project diy bubble wands

COPYRIGHT © 2014 THE ARTFUL PARENT

The ultimate summer art project as far as we’re concerned!  Who doesn’t love bubbles?  They’re always a hit with the 10 and under set for sure.  And making your very own homemade bubble wand makes it even more fun!  Check out this post at The Artful Parent for some fabulous DIY options, or just pick up an Artterro Deluxe Bubble Wand Kit to make two sturdy, beautiful wands your kids can play with all summer!  Be sure to also check out Jean’s follow-up post on making perfect homemade bubble solution.

Do you have some more summer art project ideas to share?  Please include links or directions in the comments!  And if you want more ideas, check out our DIY Eco Art Project and Summertime = Craft Time Pinterest boards.

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Artterro Paper Cranes

July 11th, 2014

Have you ever used Artterro paper to make origami?  We find that the thick, sturdy pieces are perfect for folding intricate shapes, and you end up with something that looks like a special gift.  You’ll find the paper in our Bookmaking Kit, Art Dolls Kit and Creativity Kit.  Shari made these beautiful cranes recently.  We love how the subtle patterns on the papers she chose results in such unique little creatures.  And of course, it always feels great to use 100% recycled, handmade paper.

If we were to develop an Artterro Origami Kit, what kind of project ideas would you want to be included?  Cranes? Frogs? Gift boxes?  Something fairly challenging or relatively simple?  Let us know in the comments!

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DIY Needle-Felted Fish Project

July 9th, 2014
needle felted fish

A gorgeous rainbow anglerfish, very hard to spot in its natural habitat!

One of the most exciting parts of sending our kits out into the world is seeing all the different directions people take with our kits. One of our production assistants (who also happens to be a wonderful artist) recently took our Wool Felt Bug Kit in a fun new direction–she made an aquarium full of fish!

needle felted fish

This friendly orange-finned minnow doesn’t need a lot of fancy patterns, just some striking fins and fringe.

needle felted jellyfish

And here we have the very rare metallic fringed jelly fish–careful of its tentacles!

Last week’s post included a view of the whole aquarium, and some simple DIY tips for making your own needle-felted fish and an aquatic habitat.


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