Tiny Houses

Several months ago, I asked my Dad if he could use his woodworking skills to make a dollhouse/playmobil storage case for my girls. We needed something that wasn’t too big so that it would fit in our new home easily. Dad finished his part pretty quickly, but it took me a few weeks before I got all the decorating finished and the girls could finally play with it.

Suitcase-Dollhouse-Play

This week has been a big exciting week for my family because we have finally sold our house and will be moving into a small one room apartment for a few weeks until we get our RV to live in and travel full time. If you want to know more about why we are moving into an RV, you can check out our ministry BecauseFamily.org and our fundraising campaign.

Because living in an RV with four kids means we won’t have a lot of extra room, I wanted to make sure the toys my kids play with the most had the right storage as well as playability for the small space.

Suitcase-Dollhouse-Wood-Box

Dad put together the box to be sturdy but easy to carry with enough space for the Playmobil guys and the tiny bunk beds he had made for them.

Suitcase-Dollhouse-Cedar-Floors

 

I painted the outside then “wallpapered” the inside with scrapbook paper and modpodge. Dad used cedar wood for the flooring. So fancy!

Suitcase-Dollhouse-Clasp

Dad put it all together with hinges and a latch to keep it secure for transportation.

They love it! Their tiny house will fit perfectly in our tiny house/RV.

Suitcase-Dollhouse-Play Suitcase-Dollhouse-Play Suitcase-Dollhouse-Play Suitcase-Dollhouse-Play Suitcase-Dollhouse-Play Suitcase-Dollhouse-Play Suitcase-Dollhouse-Play

Gelatin Printing for DLP Art Challenge

For week 16, the Documented Life Project was the Gelli® Plate and the journal prompt was , “A lot on my plate.”

Jan:
This type of monoprinting is a favorite of mine. I like to use my homemade gelatin plate to make prints. I have used the same plate for the past year and a half made in a 9X9 glass pan. I finally made a larger one in a big glass pan and can print on a whole sheet of paper now. My inspiration for this print was a plant growing in my flower bed called a Silver Dollar plant. It has very unique seed pods that dry into a silver color disc. These plants were originally brought over by the Pilgrims.

Silver-Dollar-Plant

My plants were just past the blooming point. The ends of the stems were filled with tiny purple flower clusters. When I was a child we had a large bush that we called a Silver Dollar Tree in our yard and my sister and I used its leaves for play money. The plants growing in my yard only get about three feet tall, so I am not sure what the plant we had was officially called when I was a child.

Gelatin-Print-Silver-Dollar-Leaves

I made many prints using these stems adding layers upon layers. Several times I got to a point where I really liked the print, but then would decide to add one more layer and it ended up being too much. I decided that my response to the journal prompt of “having a lot on my plate” was going overboard with my layers of print. You just have to know when to say, “Enough!”

Melinda:

Has literally had a lot on her plate lately and will get to this one when she can.

My Princess:

Kid's-Gelatin-Print

Ninja Boy: He wanted to try the string printing  like I made a few weeks back.

Kid's-Gelatin-Print

Combining Marking Pens with Alcohol for Paper Art

Three of the grandkids were over one evening and as happens many times at our house they wanted to do some kind of art project. I had seen images online of marking pens used on fabric and then treated with rubbing alcohol to make a tie dyed effect but I wondered what it would do on paper. Out came the markers (an assortment of cheap markers the kids like to use for drawing) and some card stock paper as well as some watercolor paper. We drew designs and then used droppers to put rubbing alcohol on top of the markers. The ink ran and blended making unique pictures.

Marking-Pen-with-Alcohol-Process

It was interesting to see that two different black markers would produce different colors when the alcohol was applied.

Black-Ink-with-Alcohol

The kids had a blast and kept asking for more and more paper to experiment with for almost two hours. Of course, I was enjoying experimenting as much as they were. Even the three year old loved it.

Marking-Pen-Alcohol-Ink-Pictures

Marker-Ink-and-Alcohol

Marker-Ink-Pictures

Table-of-Ink-picturesMarker-Ink-Picture

Let your kids or grandkids give this a try. Be sure to place something under their papers to protect the table like an old placemat or sheet of plastic. Our table needs refinishing and I did discover some rubbing alcohol that was dribbled on the table surface eventually started stripping off the varnish. So if you care about your table, protect it, so you can have fun creating!

Cry Me a River of Acrylics

The art challenge for week 15 of the Documented Life Project was to use acrylics as part of the theme of exploring paints and inks. The journal prompt was “Cry Me a River.”

Jan:
For this challenge I combined two monoprints I made with acrylic paint using some new stencils on my homemade gelatin plate. On the lower print with the blue waves, with a purple pen I doodled a design called “Weave”  which I learned from this video at A Little Lime’s blog post. With one of the stencils I used in the top print background, I stenciled the plant with black ink and then added in some more details with a black marking pen. I wrote the verse by hand in black ink highlighted with a white pen. In order to make a border around the picture, I rubbed on gesso with my finger.

Sow-in-Tears- Reap in joy

Melinda:
My hubby was gone on a trip to New Mexico and sent me a picture of the landscape as he was driving. I thought it was beautiful and knew I would use it somehow for an art project.

New-Mexico-Landscape

I liked the idea of using the acrylic paint to do a simplified version of the different layers in the picture. I wrote the poem to tie in to the journal prompt of “cry me a river” since I didn’t actually paint a river.

Acrylic-Landscape-Poem

My Princess:

Kid's-Acrylic-Cry-Me-a-River

Ninja Boy:

Kid's-Acrylic

 

Fairy Garden Tea Party

While mom was buying plants for her garden at a local flower stand, the flower lady showed her the cutest little plants that are perfect for making fairy gardens. This gave her a fun idea for making a centerpiece for my church’s spring Mother-Daughter tea. We had committed to decorating a table for the tea but hadn’t decided what to do yet. She told me her idea, and I thought it was definitely the thing we should do!

How-to-Build-a-Fairy-Garden

We took the girls with us to go plant shopping and found tiny plants, pretty flowers, and unique leafy plants. We found a large bowl at a thrift store and a few smaller ones to make mini gardens. While trying to plant the flowers, we realized the smaller bowls were too shallow for the plants. We had a couple tubs that had previously stored toys in the playroom that we used instead.

Fairy-Garden-Planting

The girls had fun playing in the rocks and dirt.

Mom and I spent the evening looking for odds and ends to make into fairy accessories. We felt like we were playing doll house! While arranging our fairy gardens, I came up with a story about who lived in each of the little houses.

Fairy-Garden-Story Book

Once upon a time, there were three fairies. Their names were Alice Tickles, Lucy Songbird, and Nora Princess. They loved to sing and dance together. Alice Tickles loved to paint and watched over the jar of fairy dust. Lucy Songbird loved to play music and sing silly songs. She loved reading by the pond. Nora Princess loved to sew and made all of the fairy skirts. Sometimes they leave their fairy gardens to go on big adventures together. When they leave, the birds and squirrels take care of their things. When they come back home, they sleep for a week to rest. When they wake up, they have a garden tea party to celebrate and talk about all of their adventures. They drink the dew drops and eat the flower petals. After their celebration they go back to their fairy houses to do what they love. The End.

Alice Tickles’ Fairy Garden:

in a Tickle Fairy GardenFairy-Garden-Blue-HouseFairy-Garden-Paint-EaselFairy-Garden-Paint-BrushesFairy-Garden-Fairy-DustFairy-Garden-BallFairy-Garden-Blue

 

Lucy Songbird’s Fairy Garden:

Fairy-Garden-Yellow House

Fairy-Garden-Trumpet Fairy-Garden-Pond and Book Fairy-Garden-Yellow Fairy-Garden-Thimble Planters Fairy-Garden-Ball and Fence

Nora Princess’ Fairy Garden:

Fairy-Garden-PinkFairy-Garden-PinkFairy-Garden-Thread SpoolFairy-Garden-Sewing BasketFairy-Garden-PinkFairy-Garden-Clothes Line

It all came together so nicely, and we loved our table decorations for the Tea Party.

Tea-Party-Fairy-Garden

Tea-Party-Fairy-GardenFairy Gardens Tea-Party

You can see what we did for our table last year here.

 

 

Embossed Foil with Alcohol Ink

A while back my sister showed me a technique for embossing foil by folding a piece of foil several times for thickness and placing it into an embossing folder to run through the CuddleBug machine. I then added a layer of white gesso and let it dry. Alcohol ink was dripped on top and after it dried, I lightly ran fine sandpaper across the embossed foil to bring out the foil highlights. Here are the fireworks I made.

fireworks

Well, fast forward to now and I still do not own an embossing machine (though I do have access to one any time I want.) I decided to see what would happen with using alcohol ink on one layer of embossed foil. I laid a stencil on the table, placed one sheet of foil over it and rubbed the foil with my finger to emboss.

embossing-foil

I used many stencils to randomly fill the foil with embossed designs.

Stencil-Embossed-Foil

To color the foil, alcohol ink was dropped on top of the embossed foil along with drops of alcohol blending solution and set aside to dry.

Alcohol-Ink-on-Foil

After the ink dried, instead of using sandpaper (since the foil was one layer and I did not use gesso) I lightly rubbed my finger across the embossed foil to bring out the foil embossed design.

Foil-Ink-highlights

To protect any more ink from being rubbed off, I sprayed the sheet of foil with Mod Podge Acrylic spray. Then when dry I brushed a couple of coats of Mod Podge on top to make the foil more sturdy.

Alcohol-Ink-Embossed-Foil

I used a portion of the foil to cover a small notebook by cutting a piece slightly larger than the notebook. I glued the foil to the cover of the notebook with tacky glue, turning the edges to the inside and gluing them as well. I cut pieces of scrapbook paper to line the inside of the front and back cover and glued in place.

Notebook-to-cover

Alcohol-Ink-Foil-Embossed-Notebook-CoverNotebook-Lining

Here are some more closeups of the various embossed textures in the foil.

Embossed-Alcohol-Ink-Foil-Textures

Now to figure out what to do with the rest of the piece of foil— maybe cut out pieces to use on a card, or to put into a mixed media collage, or use on a piece of jewelry, or cover something else…

Be creative! Take some time to play with the tools and supplies you already own to see how you can use them in different ways. Try this technique and share with us in the comments how it worked for you.

Water Under the Bridge

Week 14 of the Documented Life Project started a new month’s theme of exploring inks and paints. The first art challenge was watercolors with the journal prompt being, “It’s water under the bridge.”

Jan: 

I kept it simple this time- just watercolor of a bridge and water.

Watercolor-Water-Under-the-Bridge

 

Melinda:

I made mine a little more complicated. I think this is the longest I’ve spent working on one page. I used watercolor pencils, which I don’t have a lot of experience with yet. I was brainstorming page ideas, and “water under the bridge” made me think of forgiveness. I was searching on pinterest to see what would come up, and I saw the quote about drinking poison to kill someone else. I also saw this really cool picture of underneath a bridge in Paris. I decided to combine the two. I am just going to pour out my anger and let it be water under the bridge. (I am in no way condoning pollution. Please dump your poisons in an appropriate and safe manner.)

Water-Under-the-Bridge

 

My Princess:

Kids-Watercolor-Water-Under-the-Bridge

Ninja Boy:

Kid-Watercolor-Water-Under-the-Bridge

Making a Unique Element for Your Mixed Media

The Documented Life Project art challenge for week 13 was to make a custom element. Melinda, the grandkids, and I each rode in a different direction in pursuing this challenge which fit in well with the journal prompt quote: “Ride the energy of your own unique spirit.” by Gabrielle Roth.

Jan:
I wanted to carve my own stamp with the linoleum cutter I had purchased a long time ago and never got around to using. Not wanting to be overwhelmed in my first carving attempt, I used a simple little pink eraser. I drew a design on a piece of tracing paper with pencil and completely filled in the area I wanted as a stamp with pencil. Then I laid the penciled side of the paper on top of the eraser and rubbed over the backside of the paper to transfer the design to the eraser. Enough of the pencil lead markings transferred to the eraser so I could see where to carve. The smallest head for the linoleum cutter easily sliced through the eraser in very thin strips carving away the part I did not want in my stamp until I got more brave and cut away bigger chunks. My husband (who does woodcarving) said I should have started with straight lines! Eventually I got my design carved and tried it out.

Eraser-Stamp

After playing around with that stamp a while, I decided it wasn’t what I wanted for this challenge. So I carved another eraser stamp.

Petal-eraser-stamp

I covered my page with a light layer of blue and pink paint and then used my new stamp with a maroon ink to make several flower shapes all over the page. The colors were too intense, so a spread a light coating of white gesso over the page to tone it down. Then I tore up pieces of various scrapbook papers with blue, pink, purple and green colors and glued them to the page, layering on more paint, gesso with a honeycomb stencil, and stamped petals with my eraser stamp. Using a makeup sponge, I blotted green ink through various parts of a stencil to add greenery. The centers of the flowers were cut from scrapbook paper. To finish it off and add some highlights, I added some doodles with a white pen to the flowers and some leaves.

Mixed-Media-custom-stamp

 

Melinda:

I’ve been saving coffee bags from our favorite coffee places and from some we have visited in our travels. I’ve seen people do pages about “surviving the elements” for this page, and that is what I was thinking about when I sat down to do this page. Coffee is how I survive the elements of each day. I was never a consistent coffee drinker until my last baby was born, and I needed a daily pick me up to stay awake. I used the inside silver part of a bag to make my mosaic coffee mug and parts of a couple bags to make the coffee and heart. I wrote the words and drew the coffee beans with a colored pencil.

Coffee Mixed Media

The kids watched the video Rae-Missigman posted on her blog for this week’s challenge using stamps on tape and they decided right away they wanted to try it for their pages.

My Princess:

Kids-Tape-Marks

Ninja Boy:

Kids-Doodle-Tapes

Easter Twinsies and Custom Jewelry

My girls are at the ages where they still get excited to dress alike. So when I started making a dress for My Princess and decided to use some of the fabric for a coordinating outfit for Miss Tickles, they were calling themselves twinsies for the rest of the afternoon and reminded me daily that they would look alike for Easter.

Dress-Patterns-and-fabric

I used a pattern I had bought specifically for making dresses for My Princess and used a pattern I had bought years ago to make Miss Tickles’. I didn’t have enough extra fabric to do the whole dress for Miss Tickles, so I bought a couple pieces of fabric to coordinate. After I got the dresses done, I knew I should make some matching jewelry for them with polymer clay. I played around and made a bunch of different elements and baked them off. Then I figured out how to put together Miss Tickles’, and mom put together My Princess’.

Polymer-Clay-NecklacePolymer-Clay-Necklace

Easter-Dresses

They were so excited to wear their dresses for Easter weekend.

And the next weekend for a friend’s wedding!

Kids-with-photo-props

(The boys didn’t get anything homemade this year.)

After their dresses were done, I thought that I should make myself something. I looked in our “fabric closet” that has pieces of clothing we have bought at thrift stores and clothing stores to make into other things and discovered an XXL dress and and XL long sleeve t-shirt that would coordinate with my girls.

Clothing-Transformation

It took several minutes of staring in the mirror, brainstorming different possibilities, and looking at Pinterest for inspiration before I landed on my plan of action. And of course, once it was done, I also had to have my own custom jewelry.

Polymer-Clay-Triple-Pendant

Transformed-Dress

(I wasn’t meant for modeling. I felt like a goober.)

But these girls are pros!

Girls-Easter-Dresses

 

 

 

Focus on This

The art challenge for week 12 of the Documented Life Project 2015 was “As a Focal Point” with the journal prompt, “Coming into Focus”. The phrase focal point means the center of interest or activity. So in an art piece, the focal point should be what your eyes are drawn to first.

Jan:
I combined two gelli prints from my experimenting with threads and fabric for the background of my page. One print reminded me of trees and the other a fence. The flowers were punched from another gelli print. I added bark, limbs, and leaves to one tree with torn book paper. Doodles to add emphasis and focus were added with a black marking pen.

Focus-Gelli-Print

 

Melinda:

I was scrolling through Facebook and saw a post from a beautiful friend that inspired me to do this for my focus page. She is such a positive person, and I loved what she wrote about the lines across her face from the blinds being her “war paint.” People are often too quick to put on war paint to fight each other. I want to put on sunshine and a positive attitude to wage against the things I don’t like.

Sunshine-War-Paint

 

My Princess:

Kids-Doodle-Focus

Ninja Boy:

Kids-Focus-Doodles