How to enjoy Infinity Ornaments All Year!

 

With the start of the New Year and the end of the Christmas season, I wanted to talk about the Infinity Ornaments again. I don’t want anyone to think they’re too late to join in on the fun just because Christmas over. Actually, the opposite is true – now is a great time to start getting into Infinity Ornaments!

You might have noticed some of the ornaments aren’t necessarily specific to the Christmas season. For example, you could use the dog bone accessory to commemorate a new pet any time of year. Or create a baby rattle ornament for a baby shower. The candy could accessorize an ornament framing a couple’s picture for Valentine’s Day or a family picture at Easter. The possibilities really are infinite! But there will be even more possibilities coming soon…

As I mentioned the last time I wrote about these ornaments, I’m already thinking about future additions to the Infinity Ornament line. These will include ornaments and accessories for all seasons. If you missed my blog post introducing the Infinity Christmas Ornaments, you can read it here: https://chrishaughey.wordpress.com/2015/12/01/infinity-christmas-ornaments-are-here/. This post explains the ornaments and includes ideas to help you get started. But remember – there is no limit to the possibilities!

Not only do these ornaments offer many possible combinations – there are also many options for decorating them. Infinity Ornaments aren’t just for painters or stampers. Even people who don’t consider themselves artistic can use decoupage and paper to quickly create beautiful, unique ornaments. And if you want some guidance, I’ve made a pattern that includes 12 different Christmas ornaments. You can follow the pattern directly or make your own variation by changing colors, stencils, etc. This means if you aren’t quite ready to start thinking about next Christmas, you can still use the pattern as a loose guide to creating ornaments that fit other seasons as well. Whether you choose to follow the pattern or start from scratch, you have infinite possibilities – you just need to get started!

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As I know from experience, though, finding a good time to work on craft projects can be difficult. That’s another reason I wanted to make these ornaments so flexible. Depending on what you want to do, they can be quick and easy or more involved.

 

Infinity Ornaments can be great for crafting alone in your spare time, or as a group. In fact, working on them could be a great group activity to build a crafting party around! They’re also ideal for working with groups of kids, because they can all work on the same project while expressing their own unique creativity. The ornaments are wonderful for family bonding as well, whether through giving ornaments as gifts or creating them together. You can spend as much time on them as you want, or make them quickly and easily. It all depends on what you want your creating experience to be.

 

If you’re ready to get creative with Infinity Ornaments, check out http://www.cdwood.com/collections/infinity-christmas-ornaments to get started. Remember, this is just the beginning! I’m working on even more additions to this collection. So get your craft supplies out and come along with me on this creative adventure with infinite possibilities!

Jennifer McConkey, copywriter and editor. For information or quotes call 937-207-2082 or email jmcconkey@cedarville.edu

Christmas Rescue…

…or should I say DecoArt rescue….again…

Christmas is always a hustle, bustle time of year.  Christmas lists are can be a bit of a challenge as one tries really hard to find just the right gift for everyone.  It’s always a good feeling to think you have acquired the perfect gifts.

My brother in law has a pontoon boat and my husband found the perfect t-shirt for him on line.  Pontoon.jpg

However, when it arrived, the front side was just what we wanted, but the back of the shirt was this!Backside.jpg

Since he does not drink beer, and there was not enough time (you know how that last minute shopping goes!), I decided to try another approach.  I wondered about using the Photo Transfer Medium  (available at Cupboard Distributing) to cover up the beer mug.  Since I have never used this product on fabric, I called the DecoArt helpline (they have wonderful technical service for any of their products).  They suggested once the t-shirt had been washed to remove sizing, that I use So-Soft to cover the image as the mug might show through the transfer.  I had used a water soluble pencil to outline the area to be basecoated.  The dark edge around the basecoat is wet fabric to dissolve the markings.  IMG_2069.JPG

He is a big Coke drinker, so I decided to use a Coke can image to cover up the beer mug.  I printed the image in reverse on my laser printer.  Once the basecoat was applied, I followed directions on the bottle to transfer the image.  Probably the worst part was waiting the required time before removing the paper to see if would work.  I am not good at doing crafty things, so was really on pins and needles, plus I had no time for error!  IMG_2115.JPG

Guess what??  It looked wonderful!  I was so excited, it really looked like it was factory printed with the Coke can.  You know, there is nothing worse than giving a gift to someone that looks like a 5 year old created it!  A great big thank you to DecoArt for once again saving the day and making something look amazing!

So, the moral to this little story is to not give up.  DecoArt has such a broad spectrum of products that do a myriad of things, from crafts, to home decor, to decorative painting to wearables.  Just remember, when you are in a pickle, they might be able to save the day with flying colors!

Infinity Christmas Ornaments are here!!!

It is so exciting to see an idea come to fruition. I have been working on the idea for these Infinity Christmas Ornaments for quite some time, trying to figure out how to package it all together. I really, really wanted to present it before Christmas as it would be so perfect for this time of year.

This short video is an overview of the Infinity Ornaments.

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Christmastime is all about family, friends and memories.  Hand crafted ornaments are straight from the heart.  They are created with love and are a gift that keeps on giving year after year.  However, I know how crazy it gets around the holidays.  I also know that we all have good intentions of getting everything done “earlier this year”!  I had all this in mind as I created and designed.  I wanted these ornaments to be so quick and easy that they can be created in a snap and stress free!

Some of the angles I tried to address with this concept:2015-11-30 16.57.28.jpg

  1.  Crafting with kids is always fun and creates special memories.  I have memories not only with my children and grandchildren, but also when I was a child.  These ornaments are perfect gifts for moms, dads, grandmas, grandpas, aunts, uncles, neices, nephews, grandkids…perfect for anyone on your list.
  2. One of the best things about this whole concept is the flexibility.  With the frame openings, it is perfect for photographs, stamped sentiments, quotes, hand drawn sentiments, Christmas card insets, dates…see how the list keeps going on and on?!
  3. 2015-11-30 15.47.44.jpgI wanted to make sure the ornaments are big enough for adding names, dates, etc…  For example, the dog bone could have doggie’s name and year.  The baby rattle is perfect for baby’s first Christmas.  Name and birth date could be added to the ornament with baby’s picture in the frame.  Change wording on the blackboard ornament to that special teacher’s name.  2015-11-30 15.47.19.jpg
  4. 2015-11-30 15.48.11.jpgI wanted to add a variety of techniques to make these ornaments do-able for any talent level.  Decorative paper, wrapping paper, pretty magazine pictures, decorative tissue paper, scraps, etc… can be decoupaged onto the background for instant, amazing results.  I love this idea as it offers the opportunity to use up little snippets that we save and store!
  5. 2015-11-30 15.47.01.jpgFor those that love to stamp, a simple painted base can become a showstopper by stamping with your favorite stamps.  I mostly use paint to stamp with, because I am more comfortable with this medium.  However, I have been known to pick up a stamp pad for quick and (almost always) perfect results.  I found a set of stamps that were designed for Christmas card sentiments…guess what?…they are perfect for inside the frame openings!  How simple is that?!
  6. 2015-11-30 15.47.36.jpgStenciling is another technique that provides impressive results quickly.  It is so much fun to see a plain surface evolve into a beautiful brocade, whimsical bubbles, sophisticated motifs, or modern chevron.  Even if you only have one or two stencils, the results can be modified by simply changing colors!
  7. If you want to ramp it up and show off painting skills, these ornaments are just the right size and offer a great painting surface.  In my pattern, I have included some designs that are a little more involved.  Again, the possibilities are endless.  Whether it’s one of my designs or any of the hundreds of available Christmas designs, the ornaments are perfect.

2015-11-30 15.48.21.jpg Switch out the colors, change the embellishments, use different shapes, frames in the centers, frames on the sides, solid ornaments with no frames, use stencils, stamps, decoupage, add photos, sentiments, personalize, use Christmas cards, scraps, etc…

22-W1556 Infinity Kit.jpgI hope you are as excited as I am with the endless possibiliies these ornaments offer.  And…this is only the beginning!  My mind is swimming with future additions.  So, as you can see…these ornaments are INFINITE!!

Infinity Ornaments and all the supplies are available at Cupboard Distributing  

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

So little time…so much to do…

In the last few weeks, I have literally traveled coast to coast.  I stuck my toes in the Pacific Ocean and just a couple weeks later I stuck those same toes in the Atlantic Ocean.  I have traveled by truck and trailer over 8000 miles, taught a 3 day seminar, set up and worked 2 conventions, taught 5 classes and special event all within about 3 weeks.  I can rightfully say that I am bone tired!

However, my schedule is packed so tight and I have so many deadlines that rest is not an option.  So, what is the solution?  I thought I would share my secret to organization and keeping productivity at a max.

The first thing I recommend is making a list.  The list needs to be quite thorough.  I list EVERYTHING that needs to be done from art projects to house cleaning tasks.  Once the list is complete, the next step is to prioritize.

This is my secret, the solution to solving my crazy schedule.  I recommend purchasing a large desktop calendar.  I use the one with each month on an entire page with plenty of room on each day for notes.  I also like the ones with room for notes across the bottom or side margins.Calendar

Now the fun begins!  With a pencil (in case you need to re-arrange), start putting the tasks onto the calendar.  My best advise is to NOT overload each day.  Be practical and give yourself time off.  It is not realistic to pack the days so full that there is no time to enjoy life!  I always keep at least two days open, just in case the grandkids come over or I get an offer to do something fun.  That’s the main reason that I use a pencil!  I can simply erase and re-schedule.  My calendar is ALWAYS visible so I can see it at a glance.

Once I have all my deadlines and tasks listed on my calendar, I no longer stress or worry about trying to get everything done.  It doesn’t mean I don’t have long days, but now I have the comfort of knowing that it is all under control.  I can focus on each project as it is scheduled which allows me to be much more creative.

I absolutely love what I do!  I feel that I have been blessed with a talent and the desire to share.  My head spins with new ideas and designs.  I have stacks and stacks of sketch books, note books and scraps of paper with ideas.  My biggest challenge is not coming up with new designs, it is trying to juggle working full time, being a designer, painter, wife, mom, grandma, and making it all work.

My calendar is my peace of mind.  I know how much I can pack into each day and keep my sanity.  Some days are still long, but when I look at my calendar, I can always see order, which keeps me calm.  Now my focus is on the important tasks at hand, whether designing, painting or (sigh) cleaning house!

What a Mess!!! by Chris Haughey

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Messy Studio!

This summer has been a whirlwind!  I just arrived home from a travel teaching job in Rapid City, South Dakota and the Raindrop Convention in Portland, Oregon.  My house and studio were spotless when I left…and look at it now (and this is just a portion of it)!  I have just a week until I am off again, this time to Marlborough, Mass for the New England Convention.  My studio table is stacked from unpacking my travel tote, with new product from DecoArt (aren’t they the greatest?!),  surfaces to prep for NET, class pieces from Portland & Rapid City, brushes, sponges, sample demo pieces, class pieces, patterns, etc…YIKES…I have EIGHT projects to design and paint BEFORE I leave in just 8 days!

However, there is no way I can be productive in this chaos!  I will work my magic and get everything in its place.  It always looks worse than it is.  Abracadabra…look at it now!

Ready to Work!

Ready to Work!

It really didn’t take much time and now everything is in it’s place.  I can relax, design, paint like a white tornado!  I know for a fact that a tidy work space is much more conducive to productive painting time.  This blog is short, but to the point…Take time to clean after each project!  There is nothing more deterring to painting than a messy area!  So, if nothing else, tidy up and when the opportunity arises, the paint and brushes will welcome you with open arms!

Sketchbooks and Organizing Inspiration

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I am often asked how I come up with so many ideas. I love to design and believe I have been blessed with a talent to create. Trying to organize and systematize my ideas has been a challenge. However, over the years, I have created a logical approach to cataloging my designs.

1. Always have a sketchbook close at hand. Whenever inspiration hits, I sketch a quick image and add a few notes. Rarely does the finished product look exactly like the quickie drawing, however, it is the idea that I want to capture. Because of this, I find that spending a great deal of time with a “perfect” sketch is rather a waste. Besides, I like to keep my options open just in case my mind wants to travel in a different tangent.

2. Buy a nice sketchbook. I use a standard 9” x 12” Sketchbook. There is something inspiring about having a book full of blank pages just waiting for ideas. I have used scraps of paper, but a sketchbook is more professional, consists of quality paper, keeps every idea in one place and encourages entries.  Besides, little pieces of paper seem to disappear.

3. Purchase a small travel size sketchbook. A 4” x 6” fits perfectly into my purse and is always handy whenever inspiration strikes. It is amazing how much time we spend waiting. Why not spend idle time, being creative?  It would be nice to be able to sit down and simply pour out ideas onto every page, but not realistic!  The smaller pages can either be removed and taped into the larger sketchbook or re-sketched.

4. Sketch every idea, or at least jot it down. I am sure that many, many designs have fallen through the cracks of my memory. Nothing is worse that knowing it was a great design, if only I could remember!

5. Don’t be critical. I would be the first to admit that most of my hurried sketches are very poorly executed and would be embarrassed to show them to anyone. However, these are my ideas and not intended to hone my sketching talent nor for show and tell.

6. Gather themes together. I have a three ring binder and hole punch. After I have a multitude of sketches, I punch them and file them in a binder. I have a binder for Christmas, spring, fall, everyday, etc… When I get ready to create a new design, all I have to do is flip through my catalog of ideas.

7. Once an idea has been used, it is not outdated. I have sketchbooks that are so old that they are curled and yellowed!  I have sketches ten to twenty years old that still inspire new designs. It is amazing to realize how many ideas result from a simple sketch, even old ones!

I have re-used many ideas as they can be updated with trends or change of color. I am sure we can all look back on projects from the early days and see how far we have come. A simple sketch from twenty years ago may be a solid design, all it needs is tweeked using some of the skills acquired over the years.

8. Let your mind be free. I truly believe that we are so regimented with adhering to rules and regulations that it is difficult to loosen up and try something different. Dont be afraid to experiment.  If it doesn’t turn out…oh well, but if it is amazing…aaaahhhh!

9. Play in your sketchbook. If you are trying to figure out a color scheme, painting strokes in the sketchbook will make it much easier to visualize. I have saved much grief by testing on the pages of my sketchbook, after all, I don’t have to sand and start over on paper!

10.Get in the habit of using your sketchbook every day, or at least several times a week.  Even if I don’t sketch, I get excited just looking through my pages.  I can almost guarantee that by the time you turn those pages, you will have at least one or two ideas to add!

11. A sketchbook is the perfect remedy for painting blahs.  If I ever get out of the painting groove, browsing through my sketchbook will revive my spirits.  Sometimes, painting just won’t fit in my schedule, but I can peruse through my designs, select what I will be doing next and mentally get everything in order, such as surface, colors, mediums, etc…  Doesn’t always mean that I will stick to the original plan, but it is enough to get me going.

12. Write notes.  Just because it is a sketchbook doesn’t mean that it is for sketches only.  I jot down what colors I may want to use, background info, additional embellishments, anything that may work for this project.  Often I overload the project with suggestions.  This give me plenty of choices when I get ready to paint.  It also gives me optional ideas for the same design.

I love to paint and my sketchbooks are my source of inspiration.  My sketchbooks are near and dear to me and I have a stack.  I probably spend more time with my sketchbook than I do painting.  Several years ago, I was working on a new book and the publisher asked how it was coming (which means “is it almost ready?”).  I told him it was finished except for the painting!  LOL!    To me, the designs, colors, and surfaces are the biggest obstacle, the painting is the fun and easy part!

My advice is to purchase a nice sketchbook and have fun filling up the pages.  It is an enjoyable and exciting adventure.

Discontinued DecoArt and the Dilemma…

This year DecoArt discontinued quite a few Americana Acrylic colors, some of my favorites.  I hear many comments about our beloved colors that will no longer be available.  At first I was really upset and refused to believe the rumors running rampant on Facebook.  When these rumors were confirmed, I decided to settle down and approach this as the creative artist I claim to be.

When I actually started analyzing these colors, I realized that many were so very close to other hues, that I was a bit surprised!  For example, I use Green Tea in almost all of my designs.  My next choice (if I didn’t have a bottle handy) was Limeade…guess what?…both were discontinued!  Well, take another look, Lemonade is almost identical and is just as lovely.  I always had the worst time finding a good Christmas red.  Too bright, too transparent, too orange, too blue, etc… until I found Antique Rose which was perfect.  I was more than a little saddened to see this wonderful color on the list.  I could either quit painting Christmas or find another color.  I tried the new Watermelon Slice.  I found out that it is absolutely beautiful!  I was so excited with the results that Antique Rose has become a distant memory.

13_Set2015__20336_1024x1024So, this is my conclusion:  We can let the discontinued colors become a black cloud over our painting world, or we can venture into the world of experimentation and look for substitutions or create mixes.  I am not a fan of mixes as I never can mix a second batch that will match.  I did find out that in my adventure of trying to find comparable colors, I have ended up with some pretty and impressive results!  This would have never happened if my tried and true had not been discontinued.  So, looking on the bright side, I say “Thank You” to DecoArt for pushing me outside my color comfort zone, forcing me to be a little more creative and becoming a better artist!  I encourage you to take that same journey with a fresh attitude and dabble with gusto!

These are some of the color substitutions that I would recommend.  I don’t stress out too much on being exact.  “Close” often will work out fine, don’t be too fussy, it’s more fun to relax & enjoy the artistic journey.  The first color in the list is discontinued and the second is my choice.  I have notated some of the bigger differences, such as the substitution colors are darker, lighter, etc… All paints are available at Cupboard Distributing at a great discount!  Click on this link: DecoArt Paint Savings

Discontinued Color

Replace with…

DAO5 Taffy Cream DA07 Moon Yellow
DAO21 Crimson Tide DA097 Rookwood (darker)
DAO26 Mauve DA162 Antique Mauve
DAO27 Gooseberry DA286 Terra Coral
DAO28 Raspberry DA276 Razzle Berry
DAO30 Spice Pink DA292 Coral Blush
DAO79 Brandy Wine DA097 Rookwood
DAO81 Colonial Green DA178 Blue Mist
DAO89 Cool Neutral DA319 Burlap
DAO96 Iron Oxide DA219 Heritage Brick
DA102 Medium Flesh DA025 Dusty Rose
DA135 Ice Blue DA149 Silver Sage
DA156 Antique Rose DA324 Watermelon Slice (beautiful!)
DA158 Antique Teal DA107 Teal Green (brighter)
DA162 Antique Mauve DA128 Deep Burgundy (darker)
DA177 Green Mist DA209 Arbor Green
DA184 French Vanilla DA309 Banana Cream (brighter) or DA03 Buttermilk (softer)
DA185 Light French Blue DA098 French Grey Blue (darker)
DA197 Violet Haze DA236 Grape Juice (darker)
DA198 Dried Basil Green DA187 Reindeer Moss Green
DA206 Limeade DA252 Lemonade
DA210 Soft Blue DA277 Spa Blue
DA213 Admiral Blue DA035 Navy Blue
DA218 Gingerbread DA062 Terra Cotta
DA220 Traditional Raw Umber DA130 Raw Umber (never could tell the diff!)
DA222 Traditional Raw Sienna DA093 Raw Sienna (ditto)
DA237 Soft Lilac DA211 Wisteria
DA258 Butter DA309 Banana Cream
DA279 Blue Haze Light DA178 Blue Mist (darker)
DA280 Autumn Red DA018 Country Red
DA281 Slate Green DA152 Shale Green
DA282 Green Tea DA252 Lemonade
DA295 Butterscotch DA194 Marigold
DA298 Purple Wave DA272 Purple Cow

Please note:  these are my “go to” choices.  They will be “close”, but if you want an exact match, the mixing chart is listed at:   Discontinued Paint Mixing Chart