Converse + Calvin ‘n’ Hobbes

They’re finally finished!  Took me long enough, right?  But I’m super stoked to show you my latest creation…drum roll please…..Calvin and Hobbes themed painted Converse’s!  Calvin and Hobbes is my favorite comic of all time, so it’s only fitting that I used it as my inspiration for my first pair of painted canvas shoes.  Check them out!

imageimageimageimageimageimageimageimageI used fabric paint, fabric markers and paint markers for the design.  Then I sealed the paint with some clear matte varnish.  The markers were definitely the easiest to use, but I don’t think they would show up as well on shoes that aren’t white.  I’d like to try my hand at a different color next time so I will definitely be practicing up on my fabric paint skills.  The most difficult part of this project was finding designs that would fit on the quite narrow sides of these shoes.

My new goal is to make a whole collection of different themed, different color, and different styles of Converse shoes.  I need your help deciding what themes to paint next.  Any ideas?  Please leave me a comment!


KristyMichele signing out…..

Tulips for Mom

 

img_4554Mother’s Day is coming up fast and today I have for you a fast and easy way to dress up Mom’s card or gift.  I use these little guys as gift toppers, slipping them right underneath the tied ribbon.  Or make several and give Mom an everlasting bouquet to show her she is forever loved.  These paper flowers aren’t the most realistic looking ones in my arsenal, but what they lack in realism, they make up for in charm and durability.  The heavier paper means they won’t easily get wrinkled or ruined (unless you get them wet of course…..don’t water your paper flowers….they aren’t real).

Here we go with the supply list:img_4486

  • wire cutters
  • scissors
  • floral wire, preferably cloth wrapped
  • green floral tape
  • paper ribbon in black and either red, pink, white or yellow (also known as twisted paper).
  • yellow tissue paper
  • completely optional and only for the nitpicky like me:  a straw

Easier right?  No searching for heavy crepe, no online ordering (you can buy all these supplies at your local Hobby Lobby), no downloading templates, and best of all very little cutting.

Steps:

  1. img_4488Ok well there is some cutting.  But it’s sooooo much faster than cutting individual petals.  Cut a 2 inch by 3 inch rectangle of your yellow tissue.  Cut a 2.5 inch section of black paper ribbon and three 3-inch sections of your brightly colored paper ribbon.  Use your wire cutters to cut a 6 inch section of wire (or longer if you are making several for a bouquet).
  2. Make the yellow center of your stamen.  Crinkle up your piece of yellow tissue and fold in half over the tip of your wire.  Tape in place with a small section of green floral tape, gently stretching the tape (to activate the adhesive) and wrapping it down the wire stem.
  3. Unfold your black paper, and cut in half with the grain.  Now make 5 to 6 cuts about 3/4 of the length of your paper.  Make sure and cut with the grain.  Twist each piece of fringe.  Cut a small to medium length of floral tape.  Wrap your black fringe around the yellow center and wrap your tape around the base of black fringe and down the stem to secure.
  4. Take your brightly colored pieces, unfold them, and round out the edges.  I like to round one side of each petal a little more than the other side for a more organic look.  I attach each petal separately for this flower because the petals are thicker and it just seems easier.  Cut 3 medium to large sections of tape (about 8 inches or so).  Attach each petal by scrunching the base of the petal just a bit, holding in place around the stamen with one hand, and wrapping tape around the base of the petal and down the stem to secure.  The petals will overlap each other some.
  5. With one last long piece of tape, wrap your stem one more time,slowly and carefully, for a finished look.
  6. Now for the overly ambitions ones out there, I like to make the stem a little thicker just like a real tulip by using a straw.  Insert the bottom of your stem into a straw and position the straw so that it butts up against the thick base of the flower.  Cut the bottom of your straw/wire to the desired length.  Now wrap tape from the base of the flower over the straw and down to the bottom of the straw.  If you cut a piece that is too short, no worries…..just cut another piece of tape and pick up right were you left off.  Twist the tape at the bottom and wrap it back up the straw just a bit to round the bottom out.  Where your tape ends, press in with your fingernail to keep it in place.
  7. Now shape your flower by gently stretching each petal  at the middle so that the petals cup around each other.  Straighten and shape the fringed stamen and viola!  Super cute and bright….strong enough to handle some handling….simple enough to make in 20 minutes or less……and a fun way to brighten Mom’s day!

 

Now run along and start creating!  Don’t make me tell you twice!  Happy Mother’s Day to all moms, mommies, mommas, mothers, and humoms.  You are, after all, the reason we are here to live, love and create.  Until next time, my flowered friends…..this is KristyMichele signing out.

 

 

Forsythia: budding branches in paper

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My current flower project is to recreate the budding branches of my forsythia….something tall and bright for an umbrella stand that sits in my entryway. As I create my ‘mini-trees’ I am  reminded of these fabulous wire trees a friend of mine makes…..each branch is smaller in scale with thinner, more malleable wire but the technique is the same.  As my mom and I worked together on this project, I found and worked out more than a few kinks in my original plan.  These flowers may be a bit bigger than your standard forsythia but the bigger petals make them easier to handle and they still look cute.  I also made my leaves with tissue paper at first to make obtaining your supplies easier, but they just didn’t look right.  I ended up using crepe paper for the leaves, but cardstock or scrapbook paper may do in a pinch.  And that my friends is why I’m here….to work my way through the mistakes so you don’t have to.

So, without further adieu, let’s gather our supplies:

  • scissors
  • wire cuttersimg_4456
  • light or medium yellow tissue paper
  • green or lime green heavier crepe or craft paper.  Mine is yellow-green gradient crepe from Castle in the air.
  • yellow or green stamens.  I found some lime green pips in Hobby Lobby’s cake decorating section that work especially well, but small yellow ones are cute too.
  • brown floral tape for the branches
  • green floral tape for the leaves and flowers
  • floral wire….the cheaper kind that comes on spools, because we will be using a lot and we want a longer cut of wire than the precut pieces.
  • my flower petal and leaves template.

First off we want to create our branches.  I created branches that are about 30 inches tall using various lengths of wire twisted together.

  1. Cut 4 to 6 sections of wire in various lengths, depending on how tall you want your arrangement.
  2. Hold the wires all together and start twisting them together from the bottom up to form your branch.  Pull out wire in twos as you work your way up to resemble the smaller twigs coming out of the thicker branch.  You can separate some of your wire pairs to make even smaller twigs.
  3. Wrap brown floral tape around your wire, working up from the larger stem and up into the smaller twigs.  Stretch the tape slightly as you go to activate the adhesive.  Cover the whole branch with brown tape.  The following video will hopefully give you a clearer picture of how I twist and wrap my wire (as well as adding the flowers later).

Now we need to make our flowers and leaves for the top.

  1. Download and cut out my petal and leaf templates here:  Templates, forsythia
  2. Cut petals in yellow tissue paper and leaves in craft paper or crepe, long side with the grain.  You will need 8 petals and 1 pip for each flower.  I used my larger leaves by themselves and the smaller leaves attached together in pairs.  The flowers will the bulk of the color in our arrangement so cut enough to make several flowers.
  3. Layer and shape your petals.  Make 4 petals by layering them in pairs.  Twist each pair together at the base while folding inward so they look a bit like a spoon.
  4. Fold one pip in half and attach to a 1.5 inch section of wire by wrapping a small section of green floral tape around it. img_4457 Now position 4 petals around the pip center and attach with another section of green floral tape.  You don’t have to cover the entire section of wire with green tape because we will attach these to your branch with brown tape later.  If you need help with your flower-making and wire wrapping technique, watch my YouTube video on my previous flower post, Paper daffodils.
  5. I think it looks cute to attach the smaller leaves in pairs.  If using crepe paper, scrunch the bases and attach to a 1.5 inch section of wire (using green tape) with their colorful sides facing each other.  Gently stretch the middle of the leaves so they cup towards each other.
  6. The larger leaves can be stretched slightly, scrunched at the base and simply attached straight to a branch by themselves with brown tape.
  7. Attach flowers and leaves in various positions around your branch.  To attach, hold the flower where you want it with one hand and leaving a little of the green tape showing at its base, wrap a small section (about 2 inches) of brown tape downwards until you have attached the entire small piece to your branch.  To keep your tape from coming undone at the bottom, use your fingernail to make a small crease where you stopped.
  8. When you have all your flowers and leaves attached where you want them, gently shape your arrangement, and display!  You may want to make a few branches (as I have done) for a greater visual impact.

That’s all folks!….uhhh, I mean, paper florists!  Stay tuned later this week for a simple (no template required) Tulip gift topper, perfect for dressing up your favorite gal’s Mother’s Day gift.  For now, this is KristyMichele signing out…

 

Sketch Crawl 2016

imageThis first and only (that I know of) sketch crawl OKC went down Saturday afternoon.  First off, for those of you who have never heard of a sketch crawl…..it is a gathering of sketchers who meet in a specific time and place to sketch their surroundings together.  If you are intimidated to sketch in public, I highly recommend trying one.  I found that having other people around doing the same thing alleviated some anxiety I had about urban sketching.  This particular one was hosted by the Myriad Botanical Gardens in Oklahoma City and directed/instructed by artist, Debby Kaspari.  You can view her work and learn more about her on her blog, Drawing the Motmot.

Seven sketchers, including myself, met in the gardens to sketch with Debby.  We learned some warm-up exercises, drew quick 1 minute line sketches of some potted plants, then went outside to sketch at 4 different locations around the gardens.  Debby taught us how to see values, do thumbnail sketches, sketch with markers, and keep our pencil lines from smearing as well as sharing tips on perspective.  She showed us her favorite tools, including a watercolor sketch box very similar to my new Sennelier set.  She even handed out much needed binder clips to keep our paper still on such a windy day.  I am not sure how Debby got any sketching done while teaching and encouraging all of us, but she did!

image

 

Now since inquiring minds want to know, here are my top 10 do’s and don’ts of outdoor sketching:

  1. Do bring a hat.  It will keep the sun from glaring in your eyes and you may be able to ditch the sunglasses.  I find that sunglasses distort my sense of color while I sketch.
  2. Do wear sunscreen and dress in layers.  It was quite warm and humid at first, but when the wind picked up, it felt a lot cooler and I was glad I brought a jacket.
  3. imageDon’t bring all your favorite sketching supplies….just your favorite essentials.  You will feel weighted down and disorganized very quickly.  I brought all my favorite supplies, but I wish I had brought just one pencil, one pen, 2-3 paper towels, my watercolor kit, waterbrush, and small container of water.
  4. Do bring binder clips, especially if you live in a windy climate.  Even if it’s not windy outside, you can use one to clip your paper towel to your book.
  5. Do bring something to sit on……unless you like sitting barefoot on a rock or the ground like one sketch-crawler did.  This is something I would have never thought of.  You can bring just a small towel or cushion that fits in your bag or a folding stool like the Travel chair or the Walkstool that you can carry over your shoulder.  We borrowed folding chairs from one of the Myriad Gardens classrooms.  We looked quite ridiculous carrying these bright white chairs all around the gardens and attracted even more attention to ourselves.  One guy even asked me, “Ummmm ….art class?”.
  6. Don’t be intimidated when people stop to look over your shoulder.  Just smile and keep working.  They won’t stay long.  People are fascinated by something different.  Chances are very high that they only wish they could sketch like we do.
  7. Do give yourself a time limit.  Setting your watch or phone timer for a reasonable time can give you a sense of urgency to finish more quickly and move on to your next spot.  Debby gave us roughly 30 minutes at each location.  I found this especially helpful because it is so easy to lose all sense of time while sketching.
  8. Do choose a safe location to sketch if sketching alone.  Speaking of losing all sense of time and space…..you may get so absorbed in sketching that you don’t notice danger.  Choose a place that has the ‘right crowd’ of people around.
  9. Don’t worry about creating a masterpiece.  Sketching outside is all about remembering where you were, how you felt, and simply being in the here and now.
  10. Do get outside and sketch!  Start in your backyard if you must, but go absorb some sunshine and practice your sketching.  It’s fun!

    image

Until later, my fellow sketchers…..this is KristyMichele signing out.

 

Paper Daffodils, part 2

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Welcome back, paper artists…..to part 2 of Paper Daffodils!  Easter Sunday is coming up fast.  Do you need decorating ideas?  If so, you’re in luck because today we learn how to make a small daffodil centerpiece……or large one if you’re feeling really ambitious.  It’s a pretty simple process once you have your flowers all made and really makes the flowers look real.img_4141

Supplies needed:
  • a bowl or short vase, preferably opaque, to hide the floral foam we will be using.  One with a wider opening will be best for this project.  I am using a vase that is 5 inches in diameter and almost 5 inches tall.
  • paper daffodils.  My previous post has all you need to know to create these.  You’ll need probably 5 or more depending on how large your container is.
  • floral foam to fit in the bottom of your container….found in the floral department of Hobby Lobby.  If it is too tall like mine is, you can cut it with a hacksaw to fit.
  • floral wire
  • wire cutters
  • glue, either a hot glue gun or craft glue
  • green cardstock
  • dried moss….once again found in the floral section of Hobby Lobby.
  • *side note*–I did not use anything this time to adhese my floral foam to the container.  I just tried to balance the flowers and leaves well on the foam and stuffed in enough moss to keep it from slipping to one side.  In retrospect, it would have probably been easier to build if I had used some adhesive dots, putty or floral clay.  If you choose to try this, just make sure that what you use is removeable so that you can reuse your container later.

Steps:

  1. Let’s make a space for your flowers to sit.  Select your bowl or vase.  Trim your foam to fit inside.  You are going to add a layer of moss, so you want the top of the foam at least 1/2 to 1 inch below the edge of the vase or bowl.  Insert the foam into the container.  If you bought removeable adhesive, first clean the bottom of the container with alcohol, then place the adhesive, then attach the foam.
  2. I made quite a few leaves to fit in the spaces between the flowers and make it look they would if they were blooming right there in the bowl.  For each leaf you will need to cut 2 leaf patterns.  I have added various shaped leaves for your choosing to my previous flower template, available for download below.  (If any of you readers have a Cricut or a Silhoutte die cut machine, please email me.  I have made myself a nifty SVG file that you can send to your machine to cut, and I will gladly email it to you for your cutting convenience.)  Template: Templates, daffodil [23402]
  3. To form the leave, place a piece of floral wire down the center of one of the leaf sides.  You want your wire to stick out of the leaf at the bottom enough to stick into your piece of foam.  I placed my wire so that it would stick out about 2 inches out of the leaf and run up about 3/4 the length of the leaf like so:  Glue the wire onto the leaf side, then place the matching leaf side on top and press firmly.  Since I used a hot glue gun, I placed a dot of glue at the bottom, about every 3 inches, at the top of the wire, then again at the top of the leaf.
  4. Ok, now the fun begins!  Decide how you want your flowers arranged, and begin inserting each flower into the foam.  Now fill in the empty spaces in the middle with your leaves.
  5. Gently pick apart your moss and use it to cover the foam and you’re done!  Just in time for an Easter dinner centerpiece.image

If you got busy and just made a few flowers, you can always stick them in a bud vase, use them as gift toppers, or tie one to the handle of an Easter basket.  image

Got more ideas?  Share them in the comment section!  Until next time, my paper crafting ‘peeps’, have an awesome Easter and see ya soon….this is KristyMichele, signing out.

 

Would you like a spot of tea?

img_3979Well it’s amateur hour!  Don’t get excited…I’m talking about my video editing skills, not your sketching…silly.  I don’t have exactly the right equipment and believe it or not, it’s incredibly difficult to video my work with my phone in my left hand while sketching with my right.  That being said, if you’ll bear with the rudimentary photos/video footage and hopefully-not-too-vague instructions, you can learn my process and create a sketch of your own…..perhaps the first sketch of a well-loved sketchbook.

I selected one of my favorite things to sketch, a teacup.  This one is fairly simple in shape and detail and a good confidence booster if it’s your first watercolor skimg_3966etch.  For this exercise you will need a cheap watercolor or craft brush (something soft, not bristly), a small set of watercolor pencils, a permanent pen, and of course paper or a sketchbook thick enough to handle some water.  I am using my Faber-Castell Pitt Artist Pen size S (but a Bic or a Sharpie pen works just fine), a watercolor pencil set from Faber-Castell, a cheap watercolor brush that came in a set of 5 at Hobby Lobby, and my Strathmore 500 Series Mixed Media Journal.

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First I look closely at my subject.  What colors are represented?  I only used blue, green, yellow and brown in my sketch.  Where are the shadows and highlights?  You can squint your eyes to blur your focus and see these better.  I won’t get into too much detail on shading yet.  This exercise is really just meant to get you loosened up and having fun.

Step 1:  Draw the outline of your subject.  Don’t worry about scale or proportion.  Just draw what you see.  My teacup drawing isn’t perfectly round either, and that’s okay.  It’s just a sketchbook after all. img_3964

Step 2:  I color in the blue and green parts of the tea cup with watercolor pencil.  The photo does not show it well, but the bottom of the cup has blue merging with green.  I notice that there is a shadow on the left side of the cup and the inside of the handle where it curves in.  I use brown to represent these shadows like so:img_3967

 

Step 3:  I decide to go ahead and finish the outside of the cup by adding some water with my brush.  Dip your brush in the water and blot a little with a paper towel so that you don’t drown your paper.  I first deepen the color of the blue and green parts with water and let that dry just a few seconds before moving to the brown.  To finish the outside of the teacup, I start my brush on the side with the brown shading and drag it across the cup.  This way, it gets lighter and lighter as you go to the right, creating the illusion of the roundness of the cup.  Leave the lightest parts alone of the cup alone.  This part is probably best shown by the video below.

Step 4:  Now, let’s move to the inside of the cup and the tea itself.  The shadows on the inside of the cup are to the right so I add brown on the right inside rim.  For the tea I use yellow on the left (highlight) side and brown on the right (shadow side).  I blend the two colors of the tea with water using my brush.

Step 5:  The shadow the cup casts on my desk looks like it’s falling behind the cup.  I draw a thin line of shading underneath the cup and a larger block of color up each side.  For the shadow I use brown and a little blue layered on top.  Then add water and sort of muss it all up and you’re done!

Bonus:  I like to add a sentence or two in whimsical lettering about the sketch….where I am, what I’m doing at the time, how I’m feeling….whatever feels appropriate to say.  Date, sign your name, or frame an outline in pen if you want.

Now admire your work, let it dry, and move on to a fresh page.  You did it and hopefully had fun in the process!  I definitely did!  Cya next week, artists.  Until later, this is KristyMichele….signing out.

 

Spring forward!….shall we?

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Welcome to March, fellow artists!  The weather is warming up.  The daffodils are in bloom.  Tonight I write this to the sound of a spring thunderstorm and Tuxedo Cat fights the laptop for a space on my lap to sooth his nerves.  Ahhhh…..spring!  I hope you are ready to see and create some really cool stuff this month.  Here is a sneak peak into my March itinerary.

This month I am inspired by my bulb garden to learn to make a paper daffodil centerpiece.  I have bowls, vases, and trays galore just waiting to be filled with something pretty.  Now flat surface spaces to display those beauties?….ehhhh….not so much.  But never mind that!  For you paper crafters out there, I will be showing how to create your own paper daffodils……for the more adventurous, perhaps a spring centerpiece similar to mine.  In fact, I’d like to create and feature a different paper flower project each month.  We can all learn more about paper crafting as I start my own collection of flower studies and petal templates.

I have enrolled in another course of Sketchbook Skool called ‘Seeing’, where I will learn to see the world around me more clearly and continue my almost-daily sketching habit.   I will feature tutorials of quick and easy subjects.  For beginning sketchers or those who are timid to try, I say “start small and gain confidence”.  And gain confidence we will!

As the grand finale of the month, I intend to create a pair of painted Converse sneakers.  I love graffiti art…I love cartoon graphics…I love street style…and I LOVE my Converse sneakers.  How much fun does it sound to have my own custom-painted pair?….created by none other than…..the ever elusive…..ME!…..KristyMichele.  Ok, ok….stop rolling your eyes!  Seriously though….stop.  Inspiration and sneaker design to be determined…..

Any of you who know me personally know I can’t sit still for long.  I will forever be trying new art supplies, learning new skill sets, searching for other art blogs, and researching just about anything I can find about creating……so what I find and love, I’ll share.  If you have or find anything you’d like featured…ideas you’d like to see….skills you’d like to learn….please email me or leave me a comment!    I’m always open to my readers’ suggestions.  Oh, and I almost forgot…..each month will have it’s own inspirational quote of the month….just because I love quotes.

Sounds like we’re headed into a busy (and fun) month of projects.  Let’s spring forward and get started!  Until later…this is KristyMichele signing out.