Category Archives: craft

Handmade gifts are awesome

Handmade gifts are awesome because they contain a bit of YOU. It could be as simple as a batch of cookies, or as complicated as a large bronze statue (though I don’t see anyone giving me a metal statue for my birthday…)

Gifts can be a quagmire though. Take the example of cookies: there are vegan cookies, sugar-free cookies, and cookies the person is allergic to, and regular sugar-laden cookies.

So, the safe thing is to make something pretty. I love hand-knitted and hand-painted things, like boxes and usable items like cardholders and coin purses.

The sky is the limit! Since my etsy shop is called Earth and Faery I like to make things that are magical but also down to earth.

Since school just started here, I thought of a gift a child might like and came up with a pencil box that I painted and embellished.

pencil box

This is the end result, a mystical night view with a fairy and a dragonfly.

I bought a box of raw wood, which I sanded within an inch of its life. Then I painted some primer, using craft paints. The last layers of paint are done with artist acrylics for better results. Pictures are in the sequence of production.

pencil box
primer
pencil box
primer
pencil box
lid artist paints

In the above picture I used three shades of purple to get the night sky, using artist acrylics.

pencil box
inside finished
pencil box
lid embellished with gold paint
pencil box
fairy and dragonfly

There you can see the details of the lid embellishment. Simple but fun and I think some child would treasure it, don’t you?  As a child I would have been enchanted to receive this gift.

We don’t receive enough homemade gifts in my opinion. All the cold store-bought things just inspire you to buy more (in search of that thing that gives a sense of satisfaction within.)

I prefer to give gifts people can use, like candles, edibles, boxes for keepsakes, knitted wash cloths or hot pads, a painting (IF the person professed a liking prior (unless they were lying…)) That’s their problem then. 🙂

Etsy is full of cool handmade gifts. Maybe this Christmas is a good time for a shift in gift giving, what do you think?

If you liked this simple tutorial on how to paint a wooden box, you can check out this blog post about making a handmade art journal. GREAT gift!!

Crafty girl’s guide to art journal making.

An art journal for an artsy friend is surely the best gift.

I also have a short e-course on how to make a polymer clay mosaic embellished box. Check it out.

Polymer Clay Mosaic Box from start to finish.

I know we’re a long way from Christmas still, but now is the time to look into making handmade gifts. What calls to you? Yarn? Check out some local sales. It’s a good start.

Have a creative week, lovelies!

xo

Maria

P.S. I have lots of goodies in my etsy shop right now just in case people don’t want to make their own…Earth and Faery.

 

Crafty girl’s guide to art journal making

Crafty girl’s guide is a way to save on your art journals. Most of us mixed media artists drool over Moleskine and Strathmore brands, and many more, but they make a big dent in our wallets too.

Not that it’s bad to spend on good art materials. I do spend, but sometimes I like to make my own journal because it has “me” branded on it, not spiral binding or ugly covers.

I like to embellish the store-bought covers, but it’s something special about making your own.

I have even made some to sell in my etsy shop because beginning art journalers sometimes have a hard time with the blank page, so I make some simple backgrounds on the pages.

I buy watercolor paper on sale and take the pads apart for easy art making.

Then I fold the painted pages and use a bone folder to flatten the crease as much as possible. I sew the pages together with embroidery thread or hemp string.

The reason I like embroidery thread is that it’s colorful and strong, and flexible.

Crafty girls know how to be creative with the backgrounds in the journal. The more you create, the more your creativity blossoms.

Make your own!

crafty girl's art journal making
crafty girl’s journal

This is the latest journal I made. I covered the front and back with some vintage paper. The cover can be painted or more ephemera added on top. The label can be affixed anywhere or left out.

So much fun!

crafty girl's guide to art journal making

Above is a sample page of a background, and below are a few more. As you can see, crafty girl’s can make this EASILY!

crafty girl's guide to art journaling

crafty girl's guide to art journaling

So easy… A while back I made a video on how to put the pages together into a journal.  HOW TO VIDEO.

I have written some posts about art journaling basics for you. CLICK HERE TO READ.

ART JOURNALING STUFF (mostly cool backgrounds.)

If you need a push, here’s another post about the importance of allowing yourself to make art. BEGIN NOW! 

Now you can make your own journal and get started with art. There are no excuses and there is no time to lose. If you love art, make some today!

xo

Maria

P.S. I made a simple e-course on how to make a variety of art journals. It’s for the crafty girl in you! 🙂 CLICK HERE. 

You can also visit my etsy shop for more journals if you don’t want to make your own. EARTH AND FAERY

 

You want to sell art?

You want to sell art? Well, why not. We need more art in the world and yours makes a difference. Everyone’s art perspective counts.

People usually advise against becoming an artist since they always equate such a creature with a “starving artist.” Side note: I feed a feral cat and many people do, so why would we not feed starving artists??

There are many ways around the starvation syndrome, one is to become a creative thinker and produce many streams of income. (You can always get a sugar daddy or mama… joking.)

rainbow rose
rainbow rose

I painted the rose above in ’06 and I sold 7 versions of the same painting. I still own this one but I might put it in my etsy shop.

I paint, make mixed media art, art journaling, and several crafts. I enjoy them all. I started selling paintings on eBay back in 2003 (how time flies!) What did I learn from that?

  • Always add hanging mechanisms on the back of the art. All I did was varnish the paintings and send them off. 🙂 Small paintings work well with sawtooth hangers. Large paintings require picture wire and eye hooks. Apply the eye hook to the INSIDE edge of the stretcher bars so that the picture will hang flat against the walls once you attach the wire.
  • Paint on gallery wrapped canvas or some other professional surface. If you paint on cheap stretched canvas and the staples show on the sides, you give the impression of “starving artist.” (Gallery wrapped canvas is the kind that is stapled to the back of the stretcher frame.)
  • If you can afford it, always buy stretched canvases with the deep 1″ edge.  They look so much better, and definitely don’t need a frame, which is a selling point. If you’re handy, stretch your own canvas. You can get rolled canvas for great deals on eBay. Other surfaces that are usable are Masonite and luon-covered plywood. Places like the Home Depot can cut them to size right there. You need to gesso the surfaces and they need to be framed (by the buyer.)
  • Write eye-catching descriptions if you sell online. That is a make or break point besides awesome art.  Use TAGS, as many as you can think of, so that peeps can find your art during a search.
sisterhood painting
Sisterhood

Sisterhood was a painting I ended up making eight versions of and they all sold. This was back in 2008. People have wanted to use the art for their business cards. I think women loved these paintings because of the sisterhood idea.

  • When something works, make several versions that show the same theme, different shapes and colors. I get tired of repeating myself, but I make as many as I can stand.
  • If you use mixed media, make sure the papers and ephemera are glued down securely. Nothing is more annoying than flimsy edges and corners that stick up.
  • Use a quality acrylic varnish to finish off the artwork.
  • Try lots of different styles until something clicks and you come home to yourself.
  • Master some kind of fun craft and sell the things you make.
polymer clay mosaic art
polymer clay mosaic

Crafts are like a meditation for me.

If you can only focus on one kind of artistic expression, do what you love the most and hold a part time job to pay the bills until your art takes off.

In this day and age, you can find our art spread all over the internet. I sell art and crafts all over the world through my two etsy shops. I find that my crafts sell better, but painting is my first love.

Arts and crafts shows were never something I wanted to do, but I know artists who do well with those. Whatever floats your boat.

Today I focus online and I have been creating art e-courses for the last couple years. Talk about a giant learning curve… lots of fun!

The bottom line: MAKE ART EVERY DAY, and you will sell some, guaranteed!

xo

Maria

P.S. I have lots of lovely and affordable gifts in my etsy shop EARTH AND FAERY. Support a successful living artist today! 🙂

Empty well?

Empty well today?  Maybe it’s a chronic condition and you say I’m suffering from artist’s block. Writers get away with that quite easily, but artists? We see life in color so the well is easily filled again. Here are some things I do to fill my artistic well:

MAKE CRAFTS

I’m grateful that I enjoy making stuff with my hands. As a kid I learned to sew, knit, and crochet, but these days I mostly create polymer clay embellished boxes and inspirational frames.

polymer clay mosaicI love the meditative quality of crafts. I don’t have to think too much, just make the tiles and paint them. They usually come together easily once I design the box lid or frame.

polymer clay mosaicI also make handmade art journals, which are SO MUCH FUN! I can get real sloppy with inks and paints.

art journalI sell the crafts on etsy in my EARTH AND FAERY shop and they are quite popular. That is a side bonus that also inspires me to make more.

To get back to art making as in painting and art journaling, I come back with a fresh eye after a few days of craft making. My other major inspiration is:

NATURE

If you live in the boonies you are surrounded by nature, but if you live in an urban area like I do, it’s hard to get outside and be surrounded by trees. I live by a park, and that was a choice I made. Pretty much every day I go to the park, and the energy fills me up.

There is something so healing about nature, and it also balances you. Just as you make a commitment to join a gym, you can make a commitment to spend time in nature every week. Look at it as self-care.

YouTube

There are so many tutorials on YouTube you could spend a lifetime getting inspired by other people’s art. Half an hour here and there works wonders. I also love to look at art by the old masters. A trip to an art museum or gallery can be inspiring.

EXERCISE!

Many dread that word, but exercise is essential for well-being on all levels. I find it to be the fastest way to clear out the cobwebs and get the ball rolling. Once it’s rolling, it keeps going.  Exercising and park visits go hand in hand…

ART PARTY

Every month I get together with a couple of artsy friends and we have an art party. We take turns to host it. We make art, talk, and eat a great lunch. It’s truly refreshing and inspiring. I usually end up working in my art journal. Doodling is one way of expressing art while deep into a discussion.

TAKE A NAP

When all fails, take a short nap! You wake up with fresh eyes. 🙂

If none of these things appeal to you, well, come up with your own regimen for creative self-care. Then the well will always be filled.

Creating art is not always easy, but don’t blame it on “artist’s block.”

Have a creative weekend. (Those are the best kind.)

xo

Maria

Make your own art journal

Make your own art journal is easy. I actually put up an e-course on how I made a similar one to the one below.  (Link at the bottom of the post.)

make your own art journal
make your own art journal

I love making stuff, and experimenting with materials, mostly paper and fabric.

I hand “painted” the muslin cover with acrylic paints and alcohol inks, let it dry, and then I ironed it flat. I used a manila folder that I cut to size to fit the pages I made. I also made sure the muslin covered the inside of the cover. I got lucky because it did!

Then I proceeded to deckle the edges of 34 sheets of card stock in various colors.

deckle edges
deckle edges

I then wet all the pages and dribbled or poured paints and inks on them, and the effect is always fun when paint runs in the water.

ink and acrylic paint
ink and acrylic paint
alcohol inks
alcohol inks and acrylic paint

 

acrylic paints
acrylic paints

It is very rewarding to make your own journal, to be part of the entire process of making it your own and then filling it with art and writing.  Modern day journaling… I think we long for expression, something to keep us in touch with what we REALLY feel.

So much time is lived behind the mask that society expects from us. Art is a great way to express your innermost thoughts and feelings, and some stuff you didn’t even know was in there. 🙂

Art is healer and a challenger. Why not go for a wild ride and claim your innate creativity? Everyone is an artist and that’s the truth.

Everyone knows how to express themselves, therefore there is an ability to express in art.

The above journal is available in my Earth and Faery etsy shop. The link is EARTH AND FAERY. SOLD right away, but you can still make your own. 🙂

If you want to check out the e-course how to make three different kinds of art journals, go to THIS PAGE.

I wish you a great, creative weekend!

xo

Maria

Save

Save

Don’t follow the rules!

Don’t follow anything.  Break the rules and do your own thing.

With my art I have discovered that every day is different.  Some days I feel inspired to paint, others I craft, and then again, the crafts change as I see an opportunity.

I suck down a lot of Altoids due to allergies, so I end up with a lot of empty tins. They are too cool to throw away. Sometimes I recycle them, but lately I have had the idea to make travel shrines out of them.

tin shrine
Tin shrine

 

tin shrine
tin shrine

This is an example of one.  I used scrapbook papers, borders, polymer clay mosaic tiles, words, and a picture of Mary. I’m not even Catholic, but I like the classical pictures of her and what she stands for.  This shrine is for sale in my etsy shop. (Link in sidebar.)

I love it when creativity takes me on detours. I often have the notion I should paint, or work on my art journal, but I see something and I see possibilities with the items around my house.

I go where inspiration leads me. I made a video about how to make these Altoids mini shrines. You can check it out HERE.

They are very easy to make. Basically all you need is paper and glue. If you have any stray ribbons or mini silk flowers, they would work too.

It doesn’t have to be a religious shrine.  It could be a nature shrine, an inspirational shrine with a picture of someone who inspires you. It could be used as a small gift box. The sky is as wide as your imagination!

I have a 50% off sale on one of my e-courses: ART AS ORACLE.  It’s a way to tap into your intuitive answers through art. It’s a lot of fun also.  You can read all about it HERE.

The sale ends on November 3, so only two days left.

I also have lots of things for sale in my two etsy shops. Christmas is coming. Are you looking forward to it? I enjoy all the lights the most.

Have a creative rest of the week.

xo

Maria