Perfect Circles…

Whether painting or drawing, creating circles can be a challenge.  I have discovered  a simple, fail safe way to make round shapes absolutely perfect. Let me share my secret to success!

I use a series of templates and stencils.  These offer a variety of sizes from teeny tiny to extra large.  For larger shapes, saucers, dinner plates and platters are my solution.

This is a short video to show the benefits of these tools.

Learn how to simplify and make your art even better.

These background stencils are made of a sturdy Mylar and offer a variety of sizes and also give the option of using them for interesting background effects!
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The circle template is made out of thin plastic, however makes a great tool for drawing, stenciling or misting round shapes!  29_00815__88469_1024x1024.jpeg

All stencils and templates are sturdy and easy to clean.  They store flat and can be available at your fingertips.

All these can be found at Cupboard Distributing www.cdwood.com 

Stock up and make your circles simple!logo.png

Splatter Painting…

Whether you call it splattering, spattering or fly specking, this technique has been around for years and is a great way to add interest, texture, design, and even snowfall!  Keep reading to see all the techniques and watch a short video to see the newest tool, the Splatter Brush, in action!Screenshot_1_552a8b21-f8b3-41f2-ac0f-cb55368f2eae_1024x1024

There are several different ways to create this unique look.  Probably the most familiar is to use an old toothbrush.  Load toothbrush with thinned paint and run a thumbnail over the bristles to “flick” paint onto the surface.  The biggest drawback is messy fingers! images.jpgimages.jpg

Another easy way to create spatters is to load a large round brush with thinned paint.  Hold a ruler in left hand.  Keeping loaded round brush in the right hand, wack the brush onto the ruler or heavy object.  The results are a more controlled spatter.  Also, using this method, very minimal mess!

New to the painting scene is the Splatter Brush.  The brush has long, stiff, nylon bristles.  The ferrule is flat, not round and it has a wood handle.  The brush is easy to hold and “user friendly”!  Simply load thinned paint on the bristle tips.  Holding the brush firmly, pinch the clean section of the bristles and flip.  The paint will flick out of the bristles in a very controlled area.  This great tool keeps fingers clean, makes spattering easy and the results are perfect!

A Weary Traveler’s Diary

I have just arrived home from several wonderful adventures.  I am physically weary, but so excited from all my travels.  It started with my fantastic visit to Las Cruces, New Mexico to teach a seminar with my dear friends at the Yucca Pod Chapter.  Life in New Mexico is so very different from Ohio.  I cherish my time there and enjoy the stories, food and friendship immensely.  This chapter holds a special place in my heart and 12806152_1103815366317017_1978786079583370450_n.jpgI look forward to our times together.8209_1103384786360075_1882210195690064580_n.jpg

Next was on to the high energy pace of the Creative Painting Convention in Las Vegas.  Wow, this year was even better than ever.  Hats off to Jay and Jayne for hosting such a successful and fun show.  The week opened on Monday with a Sponsored Event taught with Laurie Speltz.  We were excited as the class sold out months ago and we ended up with 96 students.  Boy, did we ever have fun!  We kept these gals on their toes with no time to waste!  They all kept up and amazed us with two almost (99%) finished pieces!12801354_1105043792860841_8874516103017299853_n.jpg

Next was the trade show.  OMG, the excitement on the was unbelievable.  It is always so much fun to see so many familiar faces and to make new painting friends.  I was pleased and honored at the great response to my new book, “Ornamania”, and my many new patterns.  This is what makes it all worthwhile!12805904_10156745626030045_1609345689542420811_n.jpg

Friday was my class, Midnight Delivery.  Again, the class was sold out, which is really great considering it was the last day of the show.  The class was a little calmer and slower paced, which was good for all of us!  We finished…almost, but always pleased to get to the tail end.  No one likes to take home UFO’s.  12670807_10156891538710045_6952912161240885560_n.jpg12791125_1348196855205788_7131115614674143149_n.jpg

 

A long trip home was made just a little longer with a few mechanical problems with our beloved truck.  It is funny that in the midst of trials, we get to meet wonderful people.  The hotel staff, the tow truck driver, the mechanics were more than kind and helpful.  Hats off to Oklahoma for making what could have been a nightmare a making it a treasured memory of kindnesses.10348448_1108875485811005_1772085511609722769_n.jpg

Home for a quick 5 days then packed the truck for a trek to Florida. 12832424_1111762608855626_8037750199486772444_n.jpg

I don’t think anyone in Ohio would be sad to go south during the month of March.  First stop was the Orlando chapter.  The gals there were so much fun and made our stay delightful.  Again, both days, we were able to get through both projects.10547590_1114778251887395_377377416582280814_n.jpg

Next up was Coral Springs.  What a beautiful area!  Just to see those gorgeous tropical plants, the amazing Atlantic Ocean, eat fish…ahhhh…  We laughed and painted and I met some really special and talented women.  It seemed that time flew and before I could blink, it was time to move on.10157115_1119659684732585_3581112444776369384_n.jpg

We had a couple days off and visited with my sister-in-law.  We ate (really well, by the ocean), shopped, laughed, ate really well (by the ocean), went to the Keys, took lots of pictures, ate really well (by the ocean), shopped some more and made some great memories!Keys.png

Last stop was Chattahoochee.  I was really weary by then, but the love and enthusiasm of this group rejuvenated me.  It was beautiful beyond words, huge hedges of blooming Azaleas of all colors, flowering trees, green, green grass, ferns, beautiful homes with unique architecture, seeping with history, quaint restaurants with unbelievable food, but the best part of all were the gals in the chapter.  We laughed, painted, ate (very well), prayed and bonded together.  12400992_1125342744164279_2581987407213123184_n.jpg

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As this adventure draws to an end, I am tired, but overall renewed in spirit.  I have realized that hearts can bond across miles;  even though we are all different, we share the same spirit with sincerity and love and it is cherished deeply.  My love of painting is reinforced and renewed.  Best of all…THERE’S NO PLACE LIKE HOME!

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!