Creating Simple Crafts
for Your Home


~Wreaths~
Brighten Up Your Living Space
With Wreaths for All Seasons

Wreaths are not just for Christmas anymore. Wreaths are appropriate all year round, each reflecting the season, the holiday, a recent family vacation, or even your dreams!

Wreaths are no longer confined to being circles. This home decor can be heart shaped, squares, ovals or straight lines. The decision is entirely up to you - the artist.

Furthermore, they are not only made with evergreens and pine cones. The materials that go into a wreath are so varied now that they are only bound by your imagination or what you have collected.

You can hang one on a door, fireplace, window, wall and even lay it on a table.


Winter Wreaths Include a Valentine's Day Wreath

Valentine’s Day is among our favorite holidays, so why wouldn’t you make your home a little more festive?

There are beautiful Valentine’s Day wreaths that can be made both from natural and artificial materials.

Image of a wreath in the shape of a heart

Working with artificial flowers and materials is the best choice for unskilled and beginners, though tucking in a live rose may add a lovely touch. You could also use felt rosettes and dried flowers to make a rich and colorful wreath.

A valentine wreath will give your home a romantic look. The possibilities are endless.

The dollar stores, department stores and craft stores sell items that can trigger your imagination. You can use roses, hard candies and heart-shaped lollipops.

Or you can use something that has sentimental value to you. Did you collect sea shells on your last vacation? Do you have a common interest with your honey, such as a favorite team or sport? Highlight your "togetherness" with reminders about the things that bond you as friends and lovers.

There are straw wreath starters in the shape of a heart. Or you can create a wire wreath in the size you want, using coat hangers or wire mesh. Wrap the starter with red ribbon and stick your decorations into the slits between the rows of ribbon. Use thin wire to fasten hearts or other mementos that are meaningful to your relationship.

Hang your wreath in your living room or bedroom. Leave it up for a while after Valentine's Day as a symbol that your undying love.


The Trend is to Make Wreaths out of the Most Unusual Things

Challenge yourself by trying different and unusual materials in your wreath-making adventures.

When walking with the kids, look for interesting natural things that would make a wreath intriguing.

Become famous for your unusual and artistic wreaths. Your friends may find your wreaths to be a fun topic of conversation and the news of your talent will spread.

The wreath on the left has dried fruit sewn into it!

The simple wreath below it has birds and the wreath's foundation is not completely covered. Perhaps because it's this kind of straw that birds make their nests out of.


Even the Christmas Wreath is Changing

We're all familiar with the Christmas wreath, traditionally evergreen with a big red bow. However, this standby is growing up and trying on new attire for the season.

You can now use Christmas tree ornaments, candy and even twinkle lights to create unique wreaths. Other materials are wrapping paper, Christmas cards, snowmen dolls, nutcracker soldiers and stocking stuffers.

If you've ever made a wreath with evergreen branches and pine cones, you know the difficulties. The evergreen needles are hard on the hands! You need to wear leather gloves, which only makes the job more difficult. In many respects, it's not a fun activity to make the traditional Christmas wreath.

The good news is that you can now use easy-to-handle materials, such as cloth and paper to make your one-of-a-kind creation. The dollar stores offer more possibilities for your wreath than you could possibly use. As long as the item is smaller than the wreath you're making, it's a possible option to use.

The foundation for the wreath can be easily found at department stores. They come made of wire, grape vines, straw and other easy-to-handle materials. Items can be attached to the foundation using wire (thin or thick), ribbon, yarn, string, glue and the like. There are few rules. Some of these fastening materials can be visible on purpose, such as ribbon. Others, like wire, you would probably want to be hidden. Keep that in mind when gathering your wreath's materials. In a pinch, use what you have on hand


Wreath Are Displayed in New Places and Shapes Now

Wreaths are not just for the front door anymore either. Why not hang small wreaths in the bedrooms or bathrooms? Give the whole house a festive atmosphere.

This fall wreath is hung outside a window.

Image of wreath hung in front of a window

They are not always green and red. How about making a wreath with the color scheme that matches the hallway or children's room? Did your child color a picture of Santa? Hang it on the wall and make a wreath that will frame it. Place clothes pin reindeer ornaments or popsicle sleighs on the wreath. A good children's craft project is to create items to decorate the wreath.

Do you have a baby in the house or do you have a new grandchild? Why not create a wreath with baby booties and pacifiers using the color scheme of the nursery?


Image of wreath in the shape of a triangle Image of wreath made of sleigh bells


Inside the House or Out?

Your choice of materials may depend on whether you'll display your wreath inside the house or out.

Silk ribbon, for example, will not do well in the weather, but will look beautiful for a long time inside the house. A better choice for outside might be taffeta or burlap, which comes in many colors.

If the wreath will be outside, items will need to be fastened as securely as possible. Wind, rain and snow can buffet a wreath day and night. But with sturdy wire and a strong foundation, a wreath can endure the season and bring a cheery look to the outside of your home.

Artificial flowers work best for outside wreaths, whereas real dried flowers can adorn an inside wreath.


When Christmas is Over

Normally, we don't hang Christmas wreaths past January, so a winter wreath can take their place until spring.

Pick a theme... Does your family like skiing, sledding or skating? Do you prefer reading by the fireplace? Choose a theme and start creating. Photos can be part of your wreath. If your family went on a winter outing, attach your favorite snapshot to your wreath.


A Vacation Memento Wreath

If you had a good time on a vacation and would like the memory to last, pick up some small souvenirs while on your trip. Pens, mugs, notepads, figurines and postcards are just some of the items you'll find in tourist gift shops.

If you were fortunate enough to go to a tropical location, collect shells and other small items only found in that type of climate. Encourage those vacationing with you to help find artifacts and mementos that will fit on your vacation wreath.


A Profitable Skill - Wreath Making

Perhaps you’ll find that you love making wreaths and would like to make some money from this enjoyable hobby. You can learn how to make the most money possible in the ebook package called Crafts to Make and Sell at http://craftstomakeandsell.com. This information will help your imagination run wild with all the possibilities!

Personalized wreaths are entirely unique. A small plaque near the bottom of the wreath that says, "Welcome to the Foster's Home" would be a wonderful house warming gift that someone would buy for a friend.

Perhaps a local realtor is looking for a memorable, one-of-a-kind gift for someone who just bought a house from him or her. Make up a few wreaths in different sizes and prices ($15-$35). Show how a wreath can be customized and how the realtor can include her business card by tucking it into the wrapped ribbon or by hanging it from a string.


Springtime Wreaths Can Start with an Easter Wreath

Chose an Easter theme. Do you want it to be religious? A cross centerpiece surrounded by Easter cards is a good start. Also consider doves and early flowers, such as crocuses.

Image of the wreath designed for the Easter season

Do you prefer the Easter bunny motif? They'll be lots to choose from at the dollar store.

Pastel colors are typical for this time of year - light purples and pinks.




~ Painting on Canvas ~
for Home Decor

Finding the perfect wall hanging can be a long and expensive search. Nobody knows your home like you do. You know the atmosphere and the impression you want to make on guests coming into your home. Now you have more control over both.

Finding a wall hanging that looks rich and contains the perfect colors for your room is not an easy task. Why not create a unique and wonderful painting yourself?

One of the awesome aspects of art is that there is no real right or wrong. The object is to create something that works for you and your purpose. Unlike so many other things in life, painting a wall hanging can flow and develop in any direction that you want it to. The result is always unique. No two paintings are exactly alike. What is right for you, is right.

As you will see in this article, you do not have to be an accomplished artist to create a stunning artistic work. With the help of this information and the videos included here, you can create the perfect wall hanging in a very short time - sometimes in less than 1 hour!

I have included some simple examples to trigger your imagination. Your painting does not have to match any of these. They are placed here only to give some ideas of simple but stunning artwork that have survived the test of time.

Let's look at them:

 

Example #1, Spirals

This bold painting is made of a series of spirals of different sizes, some clockwise and some counter clockwise. The dominant color is red, with dark blue being the outlining color. Contrast is made with lighter blues and a splash of yellow and white.

Image of an acrylic painting that you can copy showing swirls and spirals of different colors

The largest spiral is at the bottom. The bottom of that spiral is cut off. That is, it goes off the bottom of the canvas. This spiral is also the lightest.

The next prominent spiral is the dark red one, which is higher and slight to the left of center. These two spirals do not touch.

A cluster to three smaller spirals are at the left about half way down the painting. Notice, too, that none of the spirals are perfectly formed. They look free-hand.

Below that is the only solid area, red with some faint dark streaks.

This painting is interesting and unique and it draws the eye to it and gives a feeling of playfulness and freedom. It is modern but not so abstract that someone is going to ask, "What is it?" It is just there for you and your guests to enjoy.

Although this color scheme is warm and wonderful, you can imagine that there are other color schemes that would also could be used. Let's say that your living room has greens. Greens, blues, yellows and browns would complement that decor beautifully.

I've included a video later in this article that will show you how to get these brush-stroke effects with acrylic paint and brush.

 

Example #2, Calligraphy Gone Wild

Are you intrigued by beautiful handwriting? Does it seem elegant and sophisticated? Have you dabbled in calligraphy or absentmindedly scribbled flowing letters on the odd sheet of paper?

Then perhaps you'd like to create something like this on canvas.

Image of an acrylic painting that looks like calligrpahy writing

Notice the bold "B" near the center of this painting. Is "B" significant to the artist?

Below are partial letters, also bolder than the rest. Thin white cursive lettering goes over the bold brown, barely noticeable.

Some of the writing seems like scribbles, yet they could be words. Maybe not. The "almost" words seem to be somewhat along horizontal lines, but not exactly. I think I see the word memory in two places. Is that something significant to the artist? What word is significant in your life or home?

Again, there is a feeling of freedom, but this artwork is more busy that the spiral artwork above. Perhaps this would give a more relaxed impression with fewer scribbles. However, "busy" is what might attract your eyes and mind.

Could there be a right and wrong to this artwork motif? I don't think so.

The background has pale yellows and blues. Some places look water stained. Would a quick work that springs from this motif be something that would liven up an off-white wall space in your home?

Although this is modern as well, viewers are not going to ask what it is. And if they do, the answer is simple: It is art.

 

Example #3, Bulls Eye

Here is a geometric shape that anyone could use as a pattern. Although it is regular, the lines are not perfect. There is a free-hand feel about this piece.

Image of an acrylic painting that looks like a bulls eye target in many colors

Notice the gold color three rings from the center. To show delineation in the quarters, the artist went from light gold to a slightly darker gold. In other places, the color chances completely, such as from black to off-white. Along the bottom, the color doesn't seem to change at all.

Stand back and you'll notice that the lights are balanced somewhat with the light purple and off-white. There is another balance between the pink and the gold.

Notice that none of the sections are completely solid. There are light and dark patches of the color in every segment.

Could this motif be done with an irregular shape? Certainly. However, bulls eyes tend to draw the eyes toward them, so the bulls eye, however distorted, might be worth preserving. Draw it out on your canvas, certainly, but don't be meticulous about staying on the lines.

Of course, the colors could be altered to fit the mood you want to create or your home decor.

Bold and simple is the key here.

 

 Example #4, Petroglyphs

Ancient drawing on rocks has always fascinated modern civilization. Clearly, they were not created by great artists, yet they are interesting and mysterious.

Image of a petroglyph that can be recreated as an acrylic painting

You can find many examples of petroglyphs around the internet. If your home has a room that lends itself to something like this, you could create an interesting piece of artwork.

You would not have to copy any cave drawing in existence, although you could if you wanted to. It would not need to be exact. Instead, it could be an artist's interpretation of it.

Or your painting could be about a completely unique drawing. Archeologists have been trying to figure out what the ancient artists were expressing with their wall drawings. Perhaps you could say something mysterious with your own drawings and symbols.

 

 Example #5, Brush Strokes

If what you just want is a splash of color, consider this!

Image of an acrylic painting done in many random different colors

It is bold, yet the colors do not appear solid. It is free hand and attractive.

There are reds, blues, yellow and white. The pink is from the white and red mixed.

The key to this type of artwork may lie in knowing when to stop adding color. Give it a try and see what you come up with. Choose 3 or 4 colors that match your room, or contrast with it.

Don't overly judge your own artwork. Create it, hang it and see if it grows on you.

Don't ask for other people's opinions on the piece. It's your creation and that's that. If someone else would do it differently, fine. This is your creation and there's no right or wrong to it.

 


Example #6, Bear

This bear is bold, yet not drawn perfectly. It clearly was not meant to be a perfect rendition of a bear, yet we know what animal is represented here.

Image of an acrylic painting in a face of a bear but in abstact technique

The eyes are somewhat piercing because they are stark white surrounded by medium-dark shades of grey and brown. The nose and mouth are prominent because they are the two areas that are semi-solid. Step back and see that more clearly.

The background was laid out in tans with a hint of blue. Then black sketchy lines seem random and curiously drawn on top of the blotchy background. Besides the eyes, the forehead and snout are the lightest areas.

Could this motif be done wrong? Only if the artist tried to be realistic and missed. But a loose sketch of a bear like this one is easier and more interesting. Even the dark areas around the two eyes are not done the same. The black lines on the snout do follow the direction of the bear's fur.

The larger the painting, the more striking it will be.

It is definitely a unique painting and something you could do.

 

Example #7 - Lady Clown Face

Now here is a fun one! Big eyes, small nose, expressive mouth.

Image of an acrylic painting of a ladys clown face

The hair is done nicely but a lighter shade would have worked, too, though the black frames the face wel.

Black, dark pink, turquoise, gold.

Could this be done wrong? I don't think so. It might go well in a teen girl's room.

And what a unique gift!!!

 

Example #8 - 3 Flowers

This is a fun and simple painting. A blurry green background with cartoonish pink-purple flowers.

Notice that the flowers are not all facing forward. One is facing upward and one is facing to the side a little bit. Draw a border around each flower and see that none are a perfect circle. The outline is oval and depending on which way the oval goes, that's the way the flower is facing.

Could the flowers be something other than a pink-purple? I think so. How about blue tones? The point is that the contrast with the green background and really stand out.

 

Example #9 - Building

This famous painting is amazing. Can you guess the artist's name?

Image of a painting done long ago by Vincent VanGogh of a church

 Notice that the building doesn't have straight lines. The roof is a crooked as the house that Jack built.

The sky is dark but the foreground is very light. The sky is solid but the foreground is not.

The color inside the windows is the same as the sky! This is unrealistic but ties the painting together.

The driveway is dabbed, not brush stroked. So is the grass.

Blue, black, white, yellow, rust.

Could you do a free-hand sketch of a house and add color like this. Certainly. Don't try to be realistic. Just draw and paint.

 

Example #10 - Starry Night

A famous and well-loved painting by Vincent VanGogh.

Image of a famous painting called Starry Night

I read about an person who duplicated this on canvas and sold hundreds of them. He signed them with his own name and didn't pretend they were VanGogh's.

Since the original was done so long ago, there is no copyright on it. Perhaps you have a favorite old-time painter that you would like to copy.

 


 Watch This Video - Midnight Raven

Watch how this artist uses her brush and creates a stunning painting in an hour!

You can create your first painting by following this artist - but DON'T compare your work with hers. Every painting is unique and that's what makes it all so wonderful.

When you hang your painting on your wall, your viewers will NOT have seen this video. They will not compare your work with hers. And if they did, they might like your better.

So be encouraged and inspired to make your own creation.

 

Purchasing What You Need

Use acrylic paints because they don't have the strong odor of oil paints and can easily be used indoors.

Purchase a canvas, some acrylic paints and some brushes.

Low cost paints are fine for beginners. If you find you like painting with acrylics and want to do a lot more, the upgrade in paint quality as your paint runs out. Be aware, that colors by the same name but made by different companies may appear different. So if you find a paint you really like, you might want to stick with it.

You don't need to purchase every color of the rainbow, but be sure to get the basics: black, white, red, blue, and yellow. From these you can make any other color by mixing them. Note: You cannot mix acrylics and oil paints because they are chemically incompatible. One is water based, the other is oil based.

Be aware that acrylic dry darker than when painted on. They also dry very quickly, so be patient when learning to add water to the paint and when choosing colors.

If you're going to be painting outdoors, you might want to get a stay-wet pallet and don't push out too much paint from the tube because it can dry on the pallet before you use it.

Buy a family of paints, when you have the money. Or if you want to paint along with the video, get the colors that she lists in the beginning of the video.

Acrylics are fast drying and can be used straight from a tube or can be thinned with water, as you saw in the video.

Get a variety of brushes from small to large. Do not get oil brushes or watercolor brushes. Choose ones designed to be used with acrylic paints.

Get a pallet knife for mixing paints and also for putting paint into your artwork in some cases.

Since acrylic paint dries quickly, you might want a mister bottle.

Acrylics are very stable and a painting can be expected to last a very long time. However, the base on which you create your painting will matter when it comes to the longevity of your work. In short, get the best canvas or base material you can afford.

 

Preparation of the Canvas

It's recommended that you paint the entire surface of your canvas with a color that will serve as a base color. In Midnight Raven, for example, the base color could be white.

For this painting below, the base is obviously a turquoise:

###img here###

Fields of Flowers #3 and #4 (diptych, left panel) by Kim Ellery, acrylic on canvas, 36 x 72.


Brush Techniques

Starting out, try each of these to learn the effects they have.

1. Dry Brush

Apply the paint exactly as it comes from the tube (no water). You will notice the boldness of the color and the rough edges.

2. Adding Water

You can add water to the paint and get a much smoother look and feel. Water also softens the color. It also makes the paint go further. It doesn't dry as fast as using the dry brush technique. But once the paint dries on the surface, it cannot be reworked by adding water again.

It's possible to add too much water. When that happens the pigment can separate for the binder. You might want to experiment with that on scrap paper to see what the water limit is. The general rule is not to add more than 30% (about 1:3) water to paint.

3. Stippling

With this technique, you create an image with a collection of tiny dots. Adding dots on top of dots make the color darker and can create a sense of texture.

4.Flicking

Using a large, wet brush, splatter paint onto your canvas. This technique is often used in abstract paintings, but it can also we used to indicate rain or other effects. Use eye protection when flicking paint and keep all food away from the area.

5. Dabbing

This is done by dabbing paint onto the canvas with the corner of sponge or paper towel. Try this on a piece of paper to see if you like the effect.

6. Detailing

Detailing is needed for eyelashes or the lightened tops of branches or leaves. A fine brush is used and the typical colors are black and white.

7. Palette Knife

Applying paint with a palette knife gives the effect of volume and texture. Entire paintings can be done using just the palette knife.


Safety with Acrylics

Acrylics are very safe to use, but certain pigments in the paints are toxic, so precautions should be taken:

1. Keep the paint out of your eyes, mouth and lungs. Not eating, drinking or smoking while painting will help you avoid accidental ingestion.

2. Wear an apron to keep as much paint as possible off your clothes.

3. Wash your hands thoroughly after use - and any other place on your skin where the paint ended up.

4. Have a clean cloth or a box of tissues nearby if you need to scratch your face or rub your eyes.

5. Use eye protection if there is a risk of splashing

6. Keep the paints and brushes away from small children. Young artists students should be properly supervised. Check for the Approved Product seal on paints regarding use with children.

7. Store your paints and brushes in a safe place where your children or visiting children cannot find them.

Cleanup with Acrylics

1. Acrylic paints are water bases, so, rinse brushes in water while using them and clean them with soap and water at the end of a painting session.

2. Don’t allow acrylic paint to dry on your brushes or palette knife. The dried paint can be removed with solvents, but that's a smelly step you want to try to avoid.

3. Remove dried paint from a palette by scraping or peeling it off or by letting the palette soak in water.

 

Watch this Second Video


SUN ON A BLUE SKY

 

 Now give it a try!!!

 
 

Have a happy and creative day,
-Elaine Foster from Colorado
elaine@happycreativehome.com







  


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Home Life Has Many Facets:

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Simple Home Crafts

    (1) Wreaths - Home Decor for All Seasons

    (2) Painting on Canvas - for Your Home Decor

    (3) Purchasing Your Art Supplies

    (4) Techniques for Developing the Artist in You

Successful Goal Setting and New Year Resolutions

Improving Relationships

Growing Gardens

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