Make: Magazine Collage Patterns

I've always been a bit intimidated by collage - great collages are really great, but not-so-great ones are more like visual clutter.

Wanting the final product to be something that I wasn't embarrassed by has always stopped me in my tracks when it came to trying collage... but part of my year long doodle challenge is trying different mediums and learning not to be afraid of art... so I took a deep breath and convinced myself it was time to try.

I love seeing collage pieces that cleverly use vintage images... but I don't love sourcing materials before I know if it's something I like doing. Test then invest, if you will. So, I decided that the best place to start was with what I already had - magazines... a bit of a mine field though if you're trying to avoid the crafty dream board look. But then I had a bit of a revelation...

As I flipped through magazines looking for inspiration or a starting point, it hit me...

Don't look AT the pictures. Look IN them - for interesting patterns, textures and colour combinations. Suddenly I had a starting point I could work with and went through ripping out interesting bits and pieces to play with.

But what to do with all these magazine pages? My conclusion - build patterns!

Susan (a fab artist I follow on Instagram) suggested sticking with a limited palette... so that's just what I did. Picking a narrow range of colours and then cutting them into small pieces.

Whenever I work with a repeating pattern, I like to first create a template out of card stock or cardboard and then use it to cut all the pattern pieces. I cut heaps of shapes - I find it easier to start with too many than to wind up scrambling to find more or using pieces which are just okay at the end.

Next, I arranged the pieces into the desired pattern and, once satisfied with the combinations. started sticking. This was not my favourite part and had me proclaiming that I was sticking with tape - no sticky fingers - but I'm a sucker for a pretty pattern, so went back for more!

Pink, coral, red and orange herringbone pattern.

Blue scallop pattern with a touch of hot pink. My favourite!

And diamond pattern in neutral shades.

All in all, I loved this first toe dip into the deep pool of potential that is collage. Will I be back for more? Maybe! I feel like this is a nice starting point - and I really am smitten with the blue scallop pattern.

Are you a collage lover? Any tips for me? 
Is this something you would try in your own sketchbook / art journal?

New Tapes For Spring

A little shop update - just added some pretty new washi tapes to our collection!

A lovely mix of designs for Spring....

New traditional patterns.

And the prettiest mix of florals and embroidered laces.

Find them all here.

New Washi Tape Sticker Trick!

Washi tape stickers are my favourite! (If you've been reading for awhile, you'll notice that lots of things are my favourite!) I love the versatility of washi tape and being able to transform tape into stickers is a huge part of that.

But it's always really irked me that craft punches chew up washi tape covered backing papers* so I've always just hand cut shapes. Time consuming... but if you love washi tape stickers, that extra time (usually) feels worth it.

But then, last week, I had an aha moment and now punching stickers is so simple!

The trick? Card stock!

Layer a piece of card stock under your washi tape covered backing paper*, then punch your shapes, making sure that the punch cuts through the card stock first.

*release paper, waxed paper, parchment paper, sticker backing paper...

Bonus - colourful card stock confetti!

Stick, layer, punch. Repeat. Easy washi tape stickers for envelopes, gifts, scrapbook pages, walls....

Happy crafting!

Paper Obsession - Flow Book For Paper Lovers

One of my favourite purchases of 2015 has to be the Flow Book For Paper Lovers. Jam-packed with over 300 pages of paper goodness, it makes me happy just to flip through it - there's so much to see (and do!)

Designed by the Dutch creative team behind Flow Magazine, the Book for Paper Lovers brings together artists and illustrators from around the world into one hefty treasury of colour, pattern and paper play.

Let's take a peek at some of the wonderful things inside...
(There's much more... but in case you manage to get your hands on one, I don't want to ruin ALL the surprises.)

There are plenty of patterned pages for writing snail mail.

Cute address labels (yes, they're sticky!) plus perforated pages of gift tags, mini cards, postcards to pull out and use.

Pretty papers for paper craft and collage.

Things to make and do - a colouring book section, paper dolls, buntings.

Adorable double-sided gift wrap.

A big fold out poster (it's double-sided too!)

Pages of stickers and a paper picado inspired garland.

And there's even a special pocket at the back filled with another garland plus pretty paper bags. (It's also a clever spot to store extra bits and pieces that you've removed from the book.)

I'm sure you can understand why I love it - I've never seen anything quite like it! I have finally started using it too - after simply admiring the pages for months. Beloved craft materials are always a little hard to use, but always worth it when you do!

Keeping my fingers crossed that they make a volume 3 (and keeping an eye on eBay just in case a copy of the first version pops up.)

If the book is out of stock, I recommend checking back a little later to see if its available again. This morning it was out of stock and then a lovely reader emailed to say it's back! 

Trying Something New - Embroidery

As I mentioned a little while back, I've been eager to try my hand(s) at embroidery. Well I did - I tried (am trying?) and I kind of love it!

I signed up for Carina's Mini Embellishment Club and every Monday 2 lovely little designs land in my inbox, ready to be stitched. The small size keeps things interesting and feels manageable on an evening - perfect TV crafting.

Ever thought of trying embroidery? Unlike some crafts, it's a pretty low commitment investment-wise. A hoop, embroidery floss in pretty colours, a needle, a pair of scissors and something to transfer your design onto the fabric.

There are, of course, fancy products and floss winders and pretty embroidery scissors and all sorts of wonderful things to help optimize your craft experience.
But I don't think the bells and whistles are necessary at the beginning.
Sometimes you need to just start.

Even if that means your embroidery floss lives in pretty little jumbled piles that might make others feel a little twitchy.

I love Carina's designs - they feel modern but classic at the same time. I'm not quite sure what to do with my newfound embroidery love. For now, I'm stitching all the weekly designs onto one piece of fabric with no real vision of what next? because they look so pretty side by side. A little unplanned sampler!

Find more info on the Mini Embellishment Club here.

Have you tried embroidery? Are there any arts or crafts you're itching to try?

Make A Mother's Day Card

With Mother's Day just around the corner, it's the perfect time to make a handmade card!

I was reminded this morning of my Script Cards so I grabbed a handful of my favourite tapes in lush green designs and got busy.

To create your own script card for Mother's Day, you'll need:
- Washi tape
- Waxed / Parchment paper
- Mirror print out of the desired text
- Marker
- Scissors or craft knife
- Blank card

First step - transform your tape into text. Pick your favourite momma moniker (but be warned, short ones are easier), then follow the steps on this tutorial to make your washi tape word.

Once your word is cut out, carefully peel it off of the paper backing and stick to the front of your card. With delicate washi words, you'll want to do this gradually. I find it easiest to do one letter at a time - peeling / tearing off the backing paper of one letter, sticking letter to card then moving onto the next letter until entire text is applied. Peeling the entire text off of the backing at once tends to be a source of frustration, tears and a sticky mess!

Add a colourful envelope and you have a simple but heartfelt card - and we all know how much moms love a handmade card!

Tapes used in this project: Jungle, Flowerfield, Watercolour Birds

Happy crafting!

April Doodles

Some of my favourites from April. You can see all of April's doodles here or follow along daily on Instagram.

April means I'm a third of the way through this 365 project (it also means we're a third of the way through the year... eek!)

New sketchbook. New markers! Still looking for the perfect marker but enjoying the pursuit.

New mini challenge within the challenge... Faces! While I'd be quite happy drawing flowers every day, it's always good to do more of the things you don't love. In terms of drawing, that means people... or to be more specific, faces. Sunday nights are for face practice. I kind of hate it but it's good for me... or something!

I started stretching beyond just markers and began playing with cut up colouring books, a bit of collage, more washi tape and even a bit of stitching. Fun! A bit more time consuming than just drawing but full of potential.

While drawing day to day in April felt good, when I look back over the month's pages, it feels like I made less of a progression this month than in previous months. Maybe that's just because themes and styles and techniques are all over the place.

I wrote a bit about this project and my goals for it here. The desire for drawing to feel effortless, pushing past fear to share work that isn't perfect, avoiding pencils and overcoming the fear of the blank page.

Do you have a favourite marker for drawing or colouring? I'd love to hear about it in the comments!