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Archive for paper craft

make . Color-It-Yourself Gift Card Holder

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This Fall, a colleague from WCBI TV, the local CBS affiliate station in Columbus, Mississippi, called to invite me to join a monthly segment on their MidMorning with Aundrea morning program. It’s a “mom’s panel” with a couple of other moms of friends who share my Baby Girl’s kindergarten class, and we just sit and talk for a few minutes about the stuff moms normally discuss! It’s been really fun and maybe a little out of my comfort zone, but still something I’ve enjoyed doing it. One of the things we talked about in our November segment was how we approach teacher gifts for the holidays. The consensus from Toralyn and Nell, like me, was gift cards! We’ve all had a habit of getting gift cards for our teachers and including them with a little personal happy to say “thank you” and “merry Christmas” to those men and women who love on our kids each school day.

I’ve been taking a little time this week to bring to fruition some of the make-able ideas that have been flowing through my brain in preparation for the holidays. One of those ideas is a fun way to present gift cards to teachers or anyone else on my list. I’m planning a Christmas issue of AQUA, my e-based creative journal that will have a couple of printables and free artwork features to enjoy — including a printable gift card holder to correspond with the calendar I shared yesterday. But, I also thought it would be so fun to give a gift card in a holder that my kids can personalize with their own styles. SO, I decided to create a Color-It-Yourself design! I printed the layout and asked Baby Girl to color the images for me. She was happy to get involved! This template includes two holders and is pretty easy to fold and glue into the finished product. [You could also insert a business card or a set of gift tags!] Just cut out along the outline, and use a craft knife to cut the slit shown in the bottom flap — this will help the holder stay closed. Then, fold all the flaps back. Apply glue stick to the side flaps and secure them in place with the bottom flap. The top flap will slide into the slit to close. An easy personalized holder! I hope you enjoy trying it out with your little ones.

DOWNLOAD THE TEMPLATE

If you’re not on the AQUA list, go ahead and sign up! It’s just one email a month that usually includes two or three pieces of free downloadable artwork as well as a peek at what’s happening in the Pond.

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Calendar Printable + It’s Beginning to Look a Lot Like…

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“It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas 
Toys in every store 
But the prettiest sight to see is the holly that will be 
On your own front door!”

{“It’s Beginning to Look a Lot Like Christmas”}
~ Meredith Wilson

Can you believe it’s December? Thanksgiving holidays ushered us right into a new month, and Christmas is in full bloom around the Pond. I love transforming our rooms with Christmas traditions, and this year I’m on a mission to simplify our schedules, our places and our thoughts. Last weekend we spent some time pulling Christmas boxes down from the attic and decking our halls with so many familiar treasures. We each enjoyed our own moments of “oohs and aahs” remembering where each holiday item should be placed in the house — and finding a few new places for things too! We are saving our Christmas tree for Saturday, so more trimming is in store!

Last week when we celebrated Thanksgiving at our farmhouse, I took my paints to do a few watercolor sketches — possum haw holly, pine fronds and cones, as well as some practice painting words. I’ve put some of the sketches together in this printable December calendar. I hope you enjoy it this month! Punch a hole and hang with a ribbon or trim it to tuck into your journal or sketchbook as a reminder of how precious these days really are. There is also a little gift tag/paper admonition you can clip off and share with someone else to cheer it forward — do not open until Christmas! Click the image below to DOWNLOAD the printable calendar, and  I hope a few photos of our decked out halls will get you in the Christmas spirit.

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make . Saint Nick Stamping

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If you are on the AQUA Creative Journal email list [please SUBSCRIBE!], you were the first to see a new illustration project I’m working on. Through some connections with a high school friend and my online Sketch Journal entries, I’m thrilled to launch a new Small Pond Graphics collection of craft stamps through my friends at CRAFFITI DIRECT! The clear polymer stamp maker launched its custom line of stamps earlier this year with a handful of artists, and in October, they approached me about turning some of my “sketching” style and illustration ideas into a Small Pond Graphics collection.

I’m really excited about the possibilities with these stamps. All the designs are original illustrations with hand-drawn type. I recently received my samples and have had a lot of fun playing around with ideas for how they can be used to create cards, wrapping, gift tags and other DIY projects. The kids and I are enjoying some rainy days at our family farmhouse for Thanksgiving, and I thought I would share a couple of the stamp diversions that have been keeping our creative juices flowing indoors.

One of the stamp sets in the collection we’ve been playing with is one called “Saint Nick.” The set includes all the “parts” needed to make the funny Santa shown below. I’ve also been experimenting with some patterns and cards using his hat and beard. Enjoy!

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Here’s a peek at the first five Christmas sets available in the collection. They can be purchased here. This was my first opportunity to use clear stamps, and it’s amazing how they “cling” to almost any plastic surface. I’ve used clear stamp blocks, stamp pad covers and even silly things like hairspray tops to stamp them! So many possibilities!

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Smarty Pants & Other Name Calling [printable]

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It’s nearing the end of the first nine weeks of school for my kids, and we’re having a great year so far. Reports will be coming out in a few weeks, and I’m so proud of them no matter how the marks come out. But, at this point in the school year, October’s Fall break is looking better and better, and getting up early each day for reading, writing and arithmetic is getting harder and harder. It’s made me want to give a little extra encouragement to my gang and say, “You can do it!” Kids and grown-ups alike shine when they get an extra vote of confidence. So, a few weeks ago I put together some printable tags to help me do a little name calling… Smarty Pants, Sunshine, Rock Star, etc. They are the perfect way to slip some encouragement into a lunchbox or back pack. And, being called a “Smarty Pants” is just as fun for those OVER eight years old! Click to download, and I hope you enjoy the chance to do some name-calling of your own.

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Welcome October + Printable Calendar

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“Listen the wind is rising
and the air is wild with Leaves.
We have had our summer evenings:
Now for OCTOBER eves!”
~ Humbert Wolfe
{poet 1885-1940} 

October is here! It’s one of my favorite months of the year because (among other reasons) in Mississippi, we finally begin to enjoy the cooler mornings and evenings of Fall! We had that coolness this weekend, and the air was indeed “wild with leaves!” My kids and I enjoyed changing out potted plants for autumn foliage and filling the house with our Fall decorations. We purchased an abundance of tiny pumpkins and gourds to spread across our table, and we even watched “It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown” in celebration.

I’ve been wanting to do some pretty artwork for marking time as we turn the seasons to Fall, so on Friday evening I did a few little watercolor illustrations. I’ve put some of them together for this printable October calendar. I hope you’ll enjoy it as you begin the season of pumpkins! Punch a hole and tie a ribbon to hang it just as is, OR trim it apart for a date reminder to slip in a favorite notebook. You can even clip the “Fall for you…” image as a sweet message to pass along and brighten someone’s day! Just click the image to DOWNLOAD, and enjoy a few glimpses of this weekend’s Fall handiwork!

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make . DIY Paper Stars

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Last month, we celebrated my oldest son’s 8th birthday around the Montgomery household! While I was getting over the shock that he could possibly be eight, I decided to create some fun decorations for our dining room chandelier. We decided to have just a “family party” rather than a “kid party” with friends this year, but I still wanted him to feel special — for a couple of weeks :)

Maybe I’ll share the “8yo Birthday Blast-Off” rocket centerpiece I made him to hang from the light in another post, but for this one I decided to offer a little how-to on some paper stars I created for the rocket’s airspace. These are really simple, and you can make them with any solid or patterned paper. I decided to print out some silly patterns in the colors I wanted, and you can download those if you like them. The stars are so whimsical that those white spaces left at the edges when you “print to page” from an inkjet printer aren’t even noticeable. So, I can even see these stars as a neat and festive way to recycle used printouts! Enjoy and have a blast in your own starry celebrations!

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What you’ll need:

>> Sheets of paper — any size, where the width = about 1/3 the length.
** I used a 8 1/2 x 11″ sheet cut in half to make two stars
[you’ll need that approximate width/length to be sure your star can easily open to a full circle]
>> Tape
>> Scissors
>> Twine or string

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How to make it:

1. Gather your materials so you’re ready to begin — the more fun the paper and string, the better!

2. Fold your piece of paper accordion style along the narrow side. It doesn’t matter how wide the fold it, just try to keep it consistent.

3. When your folding is complete, cut the strip in half. You’ll be able to make a star out of each half? When cut, carefully fold the strip in half. You can use a straight-edge to help crease the fold. Then, tie a string around your folded strip at the crease.

4. Now you can get creative! Using the scissors, cut various shapes into the sides and/or ends of the folded strip. Your cuts will create light holes for more twinkly stars.

5. Pull the top and bottom ends of the accordion folds toward each other and secure with tape to create a full circle. you’ll tape on the opposite end of a fold as shown above.

6. Thread a string or ribbon through one of the star holes and you’re ready to hang for a stellar celebration!

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Spring Forward . New Stationery Designs

I’m so ready for Spring! I don’t know about you, but my children have been virtually bouncing right before my eyes in anticipation of running free for Spring. I don’t know how much longer I can hold off Baby Girl and her flip flops. Of course, the Mississippi weather these last few weeks has been nothing short of a tease. We enjoyed snow flurries on Saturday, and I’m certain we’ll reach the 60s sometime tomorrow. Such is life in the Deep South!

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In anticipation of the Spring season, I’ve been working on a few new block print designs for The Frog Kisser Etsy shop. It’s been very fun to continue this craft and hopefully improve my quality and craftsmanship with each new iteration. The Spring designs feature some of my favorite reminders of the new life happening this time of year — fruitful nests, new blade of grass and flowers seeking the sun. My favorite design so far is the watercolor embellished bird’s nest. I’ve experimented with a bronze slightly metallic ink and blues and browns for the speckled egg. I hope you enjoy the new designs and please leave a comment about your favorites and ways to make them more “kissable!”

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You can find the new designs on Etsy here:
SPRING NEST in Metallic Bronze
SPRING NEST in Robin’s Egg Blue
SPRING GREENS in Emerald
SPRING FORWARD in Emerald
DOUBLE SUNFLOWER in Yellow

inspired by . Flower Constructions

Today, I’m really enjoying these “flower constructions” from artist, Anne ten Donkelaar. She had some other more vibrant constructions, but I was so struck by these more minimalist compositions. With flowers, it is so easy to focus on their color, but these  really highlight shapes and patterns. Ms. Donkelaar’s work is created from actual found objects from nature, photos, maps and other paper materials. I’m so stunned by their intricacy. Check out her website for her other types of constructions — all show such an admiration and understanding of nature, and the melding of nature with our lives. [The butterfly series is absolutely stunning, and maybe a little haunting.]

collection . Alphabets No.3

I’ve always loved alphabets — anything that depicts letters in a beautiful way, really. This weekend, I was sifting through the dark recesses of my bookmarks again and discovered these three examples.

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1. Elsie Dodds Alphabet cushions
2. Ben Pentreath LTD Alphabet wrapping paper
3. West Elm Alphabet paper weights featuring the chalk lettering work of Dana Tanamachi (which I love)

crave . Be Prints

You know I’m a huge fan of hand-printed designs. I have fallen in love with the “BE” prints from Honeycomb Print Shop. These imperatives paired with bold type and bright colors make me want every one. And, you can even suggest a “be” phrase for printing!

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