This project came about completely spontaneously, which is always a delightful occurance. My S.O. was cutting the bottoms off of a bunch of baby bok choi, and I noticed that the cut ends looked like roses.
I've seen the chopped end of a bunch of celery used to make flower prints, so I thought I'd try a smaller version with our bok choi ends. I poured some red acrylic craft paint into a clean peanut butter jar lid (perfect for such tasks) and grabbed a couple of pages from pads of inexpensive drawing paper.
I chose two of the bigger, sturdier bok choi ends for this. If I had gone about this more deliberately, I would cut a little farther from the end, so I'd have something to hold onto. (And I'd wash the bok choi better. It was from a farm stand, so at least the dirt is local, and all natural!) As it was, I needed to stick a toothpick into the base for a handle. Using the toothpick, I dabbed the cut end into the paint.
Then I just pressed the painted end onto the paper. It worked best when I rocked the end around in a circle so all of the edges made contact with the paper. I usually got two or three flowers from each dip into the paint. I also tried to rotate the bok choi as I added more prints, to make the flowers look scattered and random. I think the paper came out looking pretty good!
It sort of reminds me of old-fashioned block-printed wallpaper. I might add some leaves, using a stamp made by cutting a leaf shape out of felt and gluing it to a block. This makes lovely wrapping paper, or you can use the technique to make homemade cards.
Here's to impromptu art exploration!
I love pompoms. When I was a kid, I anthropomorphized them, as-is — no eyes or anything added, just the little fluffy ball was cute enough for me to treat it as a tiny, tribble-like pet. Although I enjoy having a big bowl of pompoms around so I can play with them as I please, it turns out you can also utilize them for crafts! It's true. Here are the 10 best ideas I found on the web.
Happy pompomery! xo
Have you met Koo Seong Yung? She creates amazing still-lifes and then photographs them. These flowers look like they're made of glass and gemstones:
...but they are actually made with candy. Youn recreates flowers, buds, and leaves using nothing but candies and popcorn. She lights and photographs her work so artfully that it takes some time to realize what you're actually seeing.
With Halloween around the corner, and mountains of candy entering our homes, Youn could be used as an inspiration to do something with all of that sugar besides eat it. I can think of a few candies that would make great art materials: Smarties, SweeTarts, Swedish fish, M&Ms, Jolly Ranchers... Try using them to create a mosaic-like picture, or smash the non-chocolate ones up into dust and use it as you would glitter ("draw" with white glue, sprinkle on the dust). Or, if you get super ambitious, use hot glue build up a 3D piece, like the flowers shown here.
I just stumbled across this Etsy shop, Jane Brady Designs, that has very cute socks for babies, kids, and adults. Seriously, seriously cute.
The little ears sticking up slay me. Somehow these socks are also super cheap, like $6 to $8. I don't know how she does it; I assume sorcery is involved.
The other thing about this shop is that she offers skirts in patterns that aren't traditionally found in girls clothing. As her About page says, "My daughter enjoys princesses and dinosaurs, sparkling necklaces and superhero patterns. Jane Brady has them all."
(Yes, that is a Star Wars skirt on the right. Love.)
Go check out Jane Brady Designs!
This fall project uses a free, natural material (rocks) and uses up a bit of your fabric stash. Use these rocks sans stems in a modern decor display, or add paper stems to make them more on-the-nose seasonal.
Start by collecting several rocks that are somewhat roundish, smooth, and ideally, can stand "up" on their own. Comb through your fabric stash and pick out any and all orange-ish patterns. If you don't have a stash, a trip to a fabric store is in order! Choose two or three fat quarters, and check the remainders bin for good candidates.
Next, set up your work area. I put down newspaper (probably unnecessary) and waxed paper (definitely necessary). Then, tear strips of fabric: Cut a snip into the edge of one of your fabrics, about a half-inch in. Firmly grasp the fabric on either side of the snip, and pull them away from each other.
To make them easier to handle, I advise cutting your fabric strips into lengths of no more than six inches.
Now for the messy part. Stir together a solution of half tacky glue and half water. (I tried a mixture that was lighter on the glue, but the strips didn't hold after drying.) You don't need much, so start with just a tablespoon of each.
Place a strip into the glue solution, pressing it down so it gets completely saturated. Pull out the strip and run it between your fingers to wipe off any excess glue. Wrap the strip around your rock.
Repeat with additional strips. When your stone is almost completely covered, you may want to cut a strip into smaller lengths to patch up the remaining holes.
Let the rock (or rocks, plural; I recommend making several, as they look great in a group) dry overnight.
Here's what they look like, stem-free. I rather like them!
To make them more pumpkiny, let's add some stems. For each one, tear or cut out a strip of brown paper. Dab some glue onto the strip, then roll it up tightly.
Glue the flat part of the stem to the top of the pumpkin. (If there's no flat end on your rolled-up paper, just trim off an end with scissors.) Repeat for all of the rocks.
If your kids want to make jack o'lanterns, wrap your stones with fabric that's more monochromatic than the patterns shown here. Use a black permanent marker or paint marker to add faces to the dry rock pumpkins.
Have you met Erin Paisley? She is a self-taught artist and illustrator who lives in Milwaukee. I love her whimsical style.
She makes gorgeous, winsome crocheted animals and then outfits them with charming clothing.
Here, she reproduced an Anthropologie look on one of her rabbits. Love!
She paints lovely, gentle scenes of people, animals, and nature.
And she's been getting into ceramics, which are also very charming. I get the feeling she's very busy (she's also a mom); there's nothing currently up on her etsy shop or her ceramics store. Soon, I hope!
Erin seems to post most frequently to Instagram, so follow her! Do it.
It's no secret that I like bats. And since I also like garlands, and not-coincidentally had a bunch of black card stock on hand, I came up with this spooky sleeping bat garland. Hang it anywhere you'd least like to find a bunch of large bats staring at you.
Start by cutting or tearing a 12-inch square of card stock into four smaller squares; each one will become a bat.
Cut a 1.5-inch (ish) strip from a square.
Cut the top corners from the larger rectangle, and skinny triangles from the lower corners, so you end up with a 6-sided shape as shown.
From the skinny rectangle, cut off about one inch of an end, and then trim a shallow V-shape from the top. From the other part of the skinny rectangle, cut a smaller, narrower rectangle, and cut a slim V shape from a short end, as shown.
Punch eye holes in the head shape. You've now got the three paper pieces you'll need for a bat. Glue the head and leg pieces to the main piece. (I used tacky glue. I tried double-sided tape, but it wasn't strong enough.)
Let the glue dry for a few minutes before continuing. Apply tacky glue near the edge of one of the pointy sides of the body. Roll the two sides together so they overlap into a slightly-cone-shaped cylinder. Card stock is very stiff, and would prefer to remain nice and flat, so clamp the overlapping pieces together with clothespins while the glue dries.
Dab glue onto the ends of the legs, then fold them over a piece of string (or wire, or fishing line, or yarn...).
Make several bats, assembly-line style, and attach them to the string a few inches apart from each other. Hang up and enjoy!
I love this entire outfit (at right), but I'm not super confident I could pull off wearing a throw blanket as a skirt.
These friendly creatures are made of excelsior wrapped with thread and then painted, a process that sounds frustrating, time consuming, and very messy. But just look at the results! ( I am skeptical that anyone ever found this craft worth doing. Sorry, 1970.)
I genuinely love these felt birds. This craft could run in a modern magazine. There's a pattern in the back of the magazine for each bird; I've included one here. Get out your tracing paper!
Stay tuned for a part two to this post! There's too much goodness in here for just one.
It is currently blustery and rainy outside, so it seems appropriate to post this photo of my sweet dog being all tucked up and cozy. xo
I'm Debbie Way, an artist and writer who enjoys making things.