White Pumpkin Floral with Succulent

 

The little succulent we made several days ago has been so lonely. It’s time to make it a home, where it can live with other pretty things and be enjoyed by others. Thus, I introduce you to our newest project: the white pumpkin floral arrangement.

Orange pumpkins are bright and cheery and oh-so-autumny, but white pumpkins are classy, elegant, and much more versatile. You can use any colors you want! Let’s move past the rusts, yellows, browns, and oranges and embrace purple, burgundy, green, and gold!

This project takes more time to shop for than it does to put together. In my mind, that a win-win! (wink, wink)

Let’s start with our list of supplies:

  1. a small (or large if you prefer) white foam pumpkin
  2. a large wedge of floral foam
  3. an Exacto knife or similar one that can be extended (see photo)
  4. hot glue gun and glue sticks
  5. 12–15 individual stems of silk flowers, leaves, accents, etc.
  6. wire cutter
  7. your succulent from the last project

Step-by-step instructions

Step #1: Draw or score a line around the top of the pumpkin where you will be cutting the top off. I like to use the razor to score the line. Then I just have to push the blade through on my second trip around.

      

Step #2: Use the cutter to cut through until your have a lid you can pull off the top of the pumpkin. Be careful! This doesn’t have to be perfect. The opening will not show under the flowers and you can later trim the edges of the lid to look neater.

Step #3: Plug in your hot glue gun. (Put the lid aside for now.) Unwrap the floral foam and set aside. Drizzle a puddle of hot glue into the bottom of the open pumpkin. Insert the floral foam while the glue is hot and press down. (You might need to trim the edges to get it to fit inside.) Once it’s set, shave off the top so it’s more or less even with the top of the opening.

   

       

Step #4: Gather your silk flowers and use a wire cutter to cut the stems so you have a dozen or more individual pieces.

        

Step #5: Arrange your flowers! I like to start in the center with one and then move outward until I’ve filled the opening. Add various tall, short, full, textured pieces to make it interesting and beautiful.

Leave a space somewhere toward the edge of the pumpkin for your succulent. Here’s a look at my progress.

        

Step #6: Use the pin on the bottom of your succulent to stick it in place.

    

Step #7: This step is optional. Some people like to have the lid show, making it clear that this arrangement is actually a pumpkin. Others don’t care for the look. 

To add the lid, you will need to put hot glue on BOTH the inside of the lid and on the outer area of the pumpkin where you are going to place it. Press the glue areas together and hold for about a minute, or until you cannot move the lid. I carefully laid the pumpkin on its side while I was holding it down. 

         

Step #8: Admire your handiwork and find a perfect place to display it. Be sure to tell everyone, “I made this! Why, yes, I’ll take orders if you want one.” 

Thank you for spending time with me as I make and play and create projects. I hope you will share them with others and find yourself feeling happier, more creative, and surprised at your power to make stuff.

As always, comments are welcome.


 

Hello, Doily!

Sometimes you just have to combine two crafts that you love—and come up with a new one to love, as well. This week’s project is easy, Zen-like, and oh-so-pretty!

Those of us of a certain age grew up in homes decorated with doilies. Think of them as lacy coasters, if you will, underneath everything from lamps to candlesticks to the make-me-beautiful objects found on a bedroom vanity.

Before you panic, don’t! I’m not going to entice you to learn the needlecraft of thread crochet or tatting. (My grandmother knew how to do both to perfection.) No, we’re going to do something that will take much less time, fewer materials, and no stress. (Unless you stress about everything, in which case, I can’t promise much. tee hee

Remember some of my previous posts about learning to Zentangle®? I’m going to show you how to apply some of the basics of calming, creative, mindful doodling to make a lovely circle of sweetness. Let’s begin with what you’ll need:

  1. Plain paper—a square size of your choice—that doesn’t bleed when using markers. Any color is fine, as long as your marker will show up on it. You could even use black paper if you have a white marker. (I’ll show you how that looks at the end.) I use 6″ x 6″ cardstock paper: 
  2. A ruler
  3. Anything you can find to make concentric circles: a compass, circle stencils, circle templates, or a variety of round objects from small (about the size of a dime) to large (for this purpose, about the size of a small saucer).
  4. A good pencil and eraser. My favorite pencils for things like this (because they erase completely) are Ticonderoga No. 2 and Palomino Blackwing Pearl. Any good pencil will do if you find you can create soft lines and erase without leaving any graphite behind. My favorite erase is not on the end of the pencil. I prefer the old-fashioned, bouncy, chunky art gum erasers. They are unbeatable for erasing pencil marks and not taking away any ink from your work.
  5. Fine-tipped colorfast markers or gel pens such as Sharpie, Copic, Sakura Micron, Sakura Jelly Roll, Pilot G2, Stablio, etc. Here’s a photo to show a few of these and a writing sample of each. For the project you’ll see here, I used the fourth one down, the Sakura Micron 0.3 marker.

That’s it. Now we can start. Find a place where you can work comfortably and where the light is good. You’ll be making faint pencil marks, so it’s good to be able to see them easily.

First, using your pencil, start by drawing straight lines from corner to corner so you can find your center.

 

2. Draw a small circle in the center. Use a compass or template or just freehand it.

3. Make a design around the circle. I’m using long ovals that look like petals. You don’t have to do exactly what I’m doing on these steps. Whatever design you want, go for it!

4. Draw another circle around the first one to keep your designs equidistant from the center. Remember, all of the pencil marks will go away at the end.

5. Doodle a different design around this circle. Make sure it touches the first circle’s design so it seems to hold together, like a doily!6. Sketch in another circle around that one.

7. I decided to border the entire second circle with a chain effect. You could use dots, scallops, lines, or nothing!

8. Using the lines you drew at the beginning, begin to pull your design outward. As you do this, you won’t have to keep drawing circles to keep your distance from the center. However, you may draw circles if you feel better about that. The goal here (as you can clearly see from my example) is NOT perfection. It’s about play, imagination, design, and feeling calm as you discover what wants to appear.

9. Just keep adding designs as you wish. Here’s a progression of mine for this round. (When crocheting a doily, each time you start on a new circle, it is called a “round.”)      

10. Now I’m using the rays (lines) to pull the design again. These leaf/feather pieces also add something recognizable. 

11. After I put the dots in, I pull a “wing” down to the center dot of each section.

12. Then I do the same to the other side.

13. I add some dots as fillers and draw a lefthand line that I’ll be using to shade the design.   

14. Again, I’m pulling the design outward by placing these small circles in the center of each section. (See how you don’t have to keep drawing circles now?)

15. Use your ruler to draw a straight line from tiny circle to tiny circle, making sure you touch the top of each arc (petal).

  

16. Progress by adding elements to this round. We’re almost done!

  

  

  

17. You can keep adding rounds as long as you want. The project can be as large or small as you want. When you’re happy with your final round, it’s time to erase—but wait! Let your ink completely dry before you start rubbing the paper with an eraser. The time varies, but I try to wait at least 15 minutes. Some inks take longer. I prefer to use a gum eraser. It takes out everything the pencil has done, but doesn’t interfere with the ink at all. 

Here’s the final product! No, it’s not perfect. But it’s nice and pretty and ready for a little frame. Unless…I decide to color some areas. That’s entirely up to you! Use gold or silver metallic pens to put some elegance on it. Or use colored markers or colored pencils to make it pop. 

I hope you had fun doing this project with me. As promised, here’s an example of one I did on black paper with a white gel pen—again, NOT perfect.

Here are some crocheted doilies I’ve made. Most were given as gifts. And now I can draw them (which is SO much faster!) 

Send me pics of your paper doilies when they’re done. I love to see what you create! 


 

 

 

 

Let’s Fill Those Pockets, Part 2

In everyone’s life, at some time, our inner fire goes out. It is then burst into flame by an encounter with another human being. We should all be thankful for those people who rekindle the inner spirit. —Albert Schweitzer

This is one reason I love doing pocket letters. It allows me to send a little spark of hope, friendship, laughter, or love to my friends. Jennifer and I have known each other for more than 20 years, and most of those years we’ve been separated by hundreds of miles. Mailing each other cards, notes, stickers (I got those yesterday!), packages, and now pocket letters has kept our friendship alive and well. I believe in connections. But connections break if we don’t tend to them. This project we’re working on together in this set of blogs can strengthen the bonds of friendship no matter the distance between the sender and receiver.

Today we’re going to finish that pocket letter! Get out your supplies, including the cards you’ve cut to size. Let the fun begin!

FIRST: I like to insert all of my cards and arrange them in a way that’s random, attractive, and colorful.

   Front (see the binder holes on the left?)
Back

My mixed-bag of papers has a loose theme that could be kitchen-y or calico-y or retro. I just liked how all of the patterns and colors worked together.

NEXT: Now I get to go digging through my containers of embellishments. (I won’t admit how many of those I have.) I’m looking for stickers, decorative elements, etc. to add to each card. Here’s one of my hoards:

ALSO NEXT: The next photos will show you how I took different paper cards and applied stuff to them. 

     

    

ALMOST DONE: After every card has its special message, design, or gift included (tea bags fit perfectly in a pocket!), just put them into the spaces until the page is filled (on both sides if you want).

I added some tea bags to three pockets in the back before sending this PL to one of my new friends, Linda. (Hi, Linda!)

Sending? That’s right! These are meant to be mailed. Just accordion-fold the three horizontal sections and the whole thing fits a standard business-size envelope. If it weighs less than 13 ounces, you only need one first-class stamp. Most of mine take two stamps—sometimes I add a third one if the envelope is extra-thick.

So try one! There’s nothing about this that has to be perfect. It’s easy, creative, and filled with love. That’s almost as good as a doughnut!

Send me your photos of finished or in-progress pocket letters. I’d love to share them with my blog followers and on my Heartfelt Crafts Facebook page. Send them to me at tanya (at) heartfeltcrafts (dot) com.


 

Zen and the Art of Doodling

I’ve always been a doodler—have you? I remember taking notes in high school and college and decorating the margins with nondescript squiggles, piles of squares, and a recurring cluster of grapes. I had no idea that doodling was anything more than something that kept me from being bored in classes and at meetings. Recently, however, I watched this TED talk about its value:

Just google the phrase “benefits of doodling,” and you’ll be astounded at the research that supports it as a powerful brain tool. Who knew?

 

Zenspirations: Letters & Patterning by Joanna Fink

So, after feeling confident with my painting effort (see previous post), I went to Michael’s to nose around the art section. That’s a couple of intimidating aisles! I spotted an end-cap display with some books that caught my eye. They all had to do with Zen and drawing or Zen and doodling. I picked one up, leafed through it, and saw the simple step-by-step instructions. “I can do this,” I told myself. So I bought the book and some fine-line Sharpies to get started. This is the book. Click on it to go to Joanna’s website. I’ll wait. ———————>

 

first doodles3

After reading the introduction and basics covered in the book, I started trying out some of the patterns and pieces that evening. I’d always had good handwriting, so the loops and swirls and lines looked like things I could manage. I had a spiral-bound blank journal to work with, so I opened my Sharpie, found a page with something kind of simple, and gave it a try. Here’s the first thing I finished:

 

first doodles4

It seemed to need something, so I used the Copic markers to brighten things up a bit. (See previous post, Fun with Color, about my Copic class.) This is how it turned out:

 

 

 

I was encouraged, but I knew I’d need to practice if I wanted to do some of the other pieces I liked. And I’d have to give myself permission to mess it up. That’s where the Zen of the art comes in. Check back next time and I’ll explore that topic with you.

Happy doodling, dear doodlers!