12/17/21

Merry Christmas 2021!

 Merry Christmas from the deRosiers! 



I will be taking my annual blogging break and will return on January 3. I wish you all the best, now and throughout the new year. 

12/16/21

The Best of 2021

Each December, I look back the year's projects and pick my favorites, starting with kids crafts. It's interesting to me how many different styles and themes made my Best of 2021 list. There's a little bit of everything I do amongst these projects. 


You Are Priceless, Valentine






And now, my favorite scrapbook layouts from 2021. Not surprisingly, more than one of them relates to the pandemic. Without travel or big gatherings to scrap, I made more layouts about everyday things than I usually would. I also made layouts with older photos and more layouts than ever before with no photos at all. 


I love looking back at my projects and my pages! I'm so thankful to have this blog as a way to document everything I make. And I'm so grateful for all of you who support me and make my blog possible. 

12/15/21

Paddle Spoon Reindeer Ornament

This is my latest homemade ornament, which I'm calling a Paddle Spoon Reindeer because "paddle spoon" is the search term that finally worked when I tried to figure out what to call the mini wavy craft stick that makes up the reindeer's face. It's hanging right by my Diamond Dotz Joy ornament. Slowly but surely, the homemade ornaments are crowding out the store-bought ones on the tree (as it should be). Affiliate links below.    



Paddle Spoon Reindeer Ornament



Materials:


Steps: 


Paint the paddle spoon brown and set it aside. Cut the brown craft foam to make a pair of antlers, then cut the green craft foam to make two teeny holly leaves. Cut a length of ribbon to make the hanger.

Glue the antlers behind the paddle spoon, then glue the eyes, pom pom, holly leaves, and bell in place. When those are dry, glue the ribbon hanger to the back. 

12/14/21

A Batch of Holiday Cards

Trevor and I made holiday cards during a workshop our friend Ann taught at our church. We'll be using these as our thank-you notes for gifts from friends and family. 

I loved the way Ann set up the workshop. There were four tables, each with a different set of materials for cardmaking. You could follow her examples or take each card in your own direction. She pre-cut the dies so that we had plenty of time to make the backgrounds, assemble everything, and embellish. I spent most of my time playing with ink, since that's something I don't really do. The alcohol inks were fun, but I particularly enjoyed using the water-reactive distress inks to make backgrounds. (Affiliate links here and below.)

I made all of these cards:    


I also made the snowflake card at the top right. Trevor made the other three cards. As you can see, each of Trevor's cards uses the same materials as one of my cards, but the direction we each took them is quite different. I love that. 


I don't pay too much attention to cardmaking products and techniques (I'm much better informed about the latest in scrapbooking), so it's really fun to play with all of Ann's supplies and learn from her expertise. I found a few items that will be making their way onto my wishlist, most notably this organizer. It's exactly what I need to free up a bit of desk space. I love how versatile it is!

12/13/21

Nativity Drawing

Yesterday, I taught some members of my church how to draw a Nativity scene. It was fun teaching the class and everyone's projects turned out beautifully. Make your own! Affiliate links below. 



Nativity Drawing


Materials:


Steps:


Use a pencil to very lightly draw Joseph, Mary, and Jesus on white cardstock. Start by making an oval about the size of your thumb for Baby Jesus. Add a circle for his head on the right hand side of the oval. Draw Mary's head directly above Jesus' and then Joseph's head slightly behind Mary's. Draw Mary's gown and arm, then add Joseph's cloak and arm. 

When you are happy with your drawing, trace over the lines with the black pen. 


Add the faces. I used simple curves for their eyes and mouths. Obviously, you can do whatever you'd like. Feel free to give Joseph a beard, add noses, etc. 

Color in the three faces and two visible hands with the flesh tone of your choice. Then use a yellow colored pencil to draw a glow around the baby. 


Color the clothing, leaving Jesus' swaddling clothes white. For depth, I added some shadows underneath the arms and where Mary is shading Joseph. 


Cut out your drawing, then set it onto a piece of black cardstock. With a very sharp white colored pencil, write a verse or a message along the bottom. I used part of Matthew 1:21 (... he shall save his people from their sins...")

Glue the Holy Family in place, then draw the Star of Bethlehem using the gold Sharpie. Add glitter with the Nuvo pen. 


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I did my first draft entirely with colored pencil before deciding that coloring in the background was WAY too time-consuming for such a short class. But it was a fun experiment for me to do. 


I hope you are all enjoying the Advent season. 

12/10/21

Colored Pencil Magazine

For purposes of research, I bought an issue of Colored Pencil Magazine. I didn't buy it because I’m addicted to colored pencils - we’ve already confirmed I am not. Besides, if I were addicted, I would have bought a subscription, not just a single issue. Ok, so actually it was two issues, because what if I ended up picking an issue that was significantly better or worse than average? Much better to buy two. 

I bought a paper copy of the November 2021 issue (which came with a link to download the same issue digitally), as well as a digital copy of the October 2021 issue. Affiliate links here and throughout the post. 

   

I was delighted when my hard copy showed up just a few days after I placed my order. I’d expected to have to wait weeks. After I finished reading that magazine, I read the October one digitally. 

Overall, I was very happy with both. The artwork was gorgeous and inspiring. There was a heavy emphasis on technique that I liked. The articles were interesting and well-written (though the copy editor in me saw a few typos that shouldn’t have made it to print). The October issue had a fantasy/magic theme, which is not my thing. While I still enjoyed the issue and read it cover-to-cover (twice), I definitely preferred the November issue.

My favorite article from everything in both issues was a feature on the artwork of Catherine Scartaccini. Her teeny drawings are absolutely incredible, and the article about how (and why) she makes them was so interesting. Honestly, it's worth it to buy the November 2021 issue just for that article. Bonus that there are so many other interesting things in there!

So, would I recommend Colored Pencil Magazine? Yes, without hesitation! I will almost certainly be buying more issues in the future. 

12/9/21

Pantone Color of the Year 2022

Pantone has announced the Color of the Year for 2022, Very Peri! According to Pantone, "Very Peri displays a spritely, joyous attitude and dynamic presence that encourages courageous creativity and imaginative expression."


All week, Pantone has been doing a recap of previous COTY selections by imagining them as soda cans. I love how they look together. That's 2021 COTY(s) Illuminating and Ultimate Gray in the top left with the 2010 COTY Turquoise in the bottom right. 


Here's the same graphic, but with a close-up of each color. Even though they are beautiful, I find it easier to focus on the colors without the backgrounds showing. 


What do you think of Very Peri? I'd love to hear your thoughts!

12/8/21

Gingerbread Tags for Baked Goods

While I wouldn't blame you one bit if you kept an entire batch of gingerbread muffins for yourself, they do make really nice gifts. Bundle up a half-dozen and give them to friends and neighbors instead of (or in addition to!) a plate of cookies. The smiling gingerbread tag lets them know what's inside. 


To make your own, draw a gingerbread man on brown cardstock and then cut it out with microtip scissors. I actually cut the ears off the template I made for the torn paper bear and used that for my gingerbread man. Then I used a white colored pencil to draw the frosting onto the gingerbread man. I tested my various colored pencil sets to see which white was the most opaque and ended up using my Prismacolor Premier.  


I have another idea for using the same template that will let me test the opacity of more colors than just the white. Stay tuned! In the meantime, check out some...

12/7/21

Gingerbread Muffins

I love making up my own recipes, and I particularly love when they turn out exactly as I'd hoped on the first try! These gingerbread muffins have a pronounced ginger flavor, enhanced by a mix of spices and molasses. They're delicious right out of the oven and even better with the vanilla glaze. 

 

Gingerbread Muffins


Muffins:

   
                ½ c butter                                                     ½ tsp salt
                    ¾ c molasses                                               1tsp baking powder
                    ½ c milk                                                       ½ tsp baking soda
                    1 egg                                                            ½ tsp ground cinnamon
                    1 tsp freshly grated ginger                        ¼ tsp ground allspice
                    ½ c brown sugar                                         ½ tsp ground cloves
                    2 ½ c flour


Glaze:

                    1 c powdered sugar
                    2 T milk
                    ½ tsp vanilla extract


Preheat oven to 400°F. Melt the butter in a microwave-safe bowl. Add molasses, stirring until the two are completely combined. Add milk and egg. Mix in grated ginger, then add in brown sugar. Stir until the mixture is completely smooth and uniform.

Combine the flour, salt, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, allspice, and cloves in a separate bowl. Add the dry ingredients to the liquid ingredients, stirring just until you can no longer see flour. Spoon the batter into 12 greased or lined muffin cups.

Bake 18-21 minutes. Remove to a cooling rack. Eat them warm as is, or let them cool for 30 minutes before glazing.


To make the glaze, combine the powdered sugar, milk, and vanilla in a small bowl. Whisk together until completely smooth. If the glaze is too thick to drizzle, add milk to thin. If it is too thin, add powdered sugar. Drizzle the glaze over the top of the muffins. The glaze will harden in about 30 minutes. 


12/6/21

Pantone Color of the Year 2022

Each year around Thanksgiving, I begin impatiently awaiting the announcement of the Pantone Color of the Year. It's interesting to me to learn what colors are trending and which Pantone is predicting will represent the upcoming year. I enjoying making my own guesses from a craft perspective (rather than a fashion or home decor point of view) and then seeing if the COTY does indeed show up in craft materials, such as scrapbook papers, inks, and specialty paints. 

While I am very curious about which color Pantone will name as COTY 2022, I’m going to be really annoyed if they name another pair of colors like they did last year. (Or, god forbid, more than two colors.) Traditionally, the color comes from the Spring/Summer Palette, announced in the fall. This year, they presented two different palettes. Each has ten main colors, plus five 'core classics.' 

This is from New York Fashion Week:



There are a few surprises for me, the main one being Basil / Fair Green appearing as a neutral on their respective palettes. Conversely, the coffee-inspired Coca Mocha / Coffee Quartz are not part of the neutrals but rather a featured color. Interesting. I see a lot of pastels and wouldn't be too surprised for one of them, perhaps Orchid Bloom, to take COTY. Two colors, including Northern Droplet and Poppy Seed, are on both palettes, which makes me think they're contenders. I don't know - Pantone has surprised me many times with their selection.

What are your thoughts? What do you predict for COTY and/or what do you hope is named COTY?

12/3/21

CHA to AFCI to NAMTA

Seven years ago this month, a dream of mine came true. After four years of working toward the goal, I finally qualified for membership in the Craft and Hobby Association (CHA). I consider December 2014 to mark my official transition from craft hobbyist to a professional in the craft industry. 

With my CHA membership came a lot of fantastic opportunities. Over the years, I've worked with a bunch of companies I love (these are my current affiliate partners), taken on many freelance writing and designing assignments, served as a brand ambassador, spoken at conferences, seen my projects published in books, and met some of my best friends. I can trace just about everything that has happened in my crafting career back to my CHA membership and the steps I took to qualify. 

Over the seven years I've been a member, a lot has changed with this trade organization. Membership categories came and went (I was a Creative Professional, then a Designer, then a Digital Content Creator, even though who I was and what I did hadn't changed). The organization rebranded in January 2017, when the name changed from the Craft and Hobby Association to the Association for Creative Industries (AFCI). 

For a variety of reasons, AFCI struggled. It was obvious to most of us that it was only a matter of time before AFCI would cease to exist. So it was no surprise in August when AFCI members were notified that we would be voting to merge with NAMTA (the International Art Materials Association). The merger became official last month, with NAMTA absorbing AFCI. My AFCI membership, due to expire at the end of this month, rolled over into a NAMTA membership. 


While AFCI focused more on crafts (including the scrapbooking / paper crafts, kids crafts, and edible crafts that I do), NAMTA has historically been exclusively for fine arts manufacturers and retailers. Until this merger, they didn't have membership categories for anyone outside of those two roles. They have added a Creative Professional membership and are doing a great job welcoming former AFCI members into the organization. Still, fine arts is not what I do. Sure, I've recently jumped into the world of professional-quality colored pencils, but I'm using them for crafts, not fine art. I'm struggling to decide whether or not continuing as a NAMTA member makes sense to me. 

One major consideration is the annual trade show, Art Materials World. For 2022, it has been branded "Art Materials World Featuring Creativation" and will take place in Orlando in April. 


While I know I would have a fun time, I don't know that it makes sense for me to attend. If it were on the west coast, I'd strongly consider going. But the travel time and expense in getting to Orlando, not to mention the hotel costs (during spring break!) and possible COVID issues, make me question whether I should sit out a year and reconsider for 2023. And if I do decide to skip the trade show, does it still make sense for me to maintain a paid membership? Probably, but I'd love to hear your thoughts. 

12/2/21

Magic the Gathering

Like many teens, Trevor enjoys playing video games. He is also a big fan of board games and card games. When he was 12, one of his fellow Scouts introduced him to Magic the Gathering (MTG) and he was instantly hooked. 

Magic the Gathering (affiliate link)

I had a lot of fun making this layout. The background paper is actually a sheet of white cardstock; you can't see it because I pieced the brick paper to cover it completely. (The brick paper had rooftops along the bottom that I didn't want on my finished layout.) For my title, I printed the MTG logo onto the cardstock I've been using for colored pencils. I journaled on metallic silver paper; I was pleasantly surprised how well the Micron pen worked on it. The final touch was adhering two very inexpensive Magic cards to the layout as an embellishment. 

If you have a tween or teen in your life who might be interested in MTG, I asked Trevor to put together this list of ideas for a beginner. Thanks, Trevor!


12/1/21

Poinsettia Gift Tags

Homemade gift tags add an extra-special touch to Christmas gifts. They take only a few minutes to make and are an excellent excuse for pulling out the colored pencils for a little bit of relaxing during a busy time of year. (Or, if your kids are younger than mine, an excellent task to keep them busy while you get something done!) Obviously, you could use any image for any occasion. I wanted to use this poinsettia stamp so that I could experiment with the texture of the basket, shading the greenery, and adding cast shadows. 

You can simplify the tags by not backing them with colored cardstock. You can make things even easier on yourself by starting with pre-made tag blanks. Affiliate link here and below. 
 


Poinsettia Gift Tags



Materials:



Steps: 


Cut the white cardstock to the size and shape of tag you want. (I'm not a fan of measuring unnecessarily, so I eyeballed mine. I don't care if the tags aren't all precisely the same). Stamp the poinsettia image on each tag, then use colored pencils to color them in. 

To back your tags, you could measure and cut. That's not what I do (see above). I cut a piece of colored cardstock to the rough size and shape as the tag. Then I adhere the tag to the back, and use the trimmer to cut the backing so that there is an equal amount along each side of the tag. 

Punch a hole through the backed tag with the Crop-a-Dile, then add a coordinating piece of embroidery floss to hang your tag. (Surprise! I don't measure that either!)

11/30/21

My Colored Pencil Wishlist

If you'd told me six months ago that 95% of my Christmas wishlist would be related to colored pencils, I would have been surprised. Since September, I've discovered a whole new world of colored pencils and accessories that I can't wait to try out. Fingers crossed that I find some of these items beneath the Christmas tree! Each of the photos below is an affiliate link; click it to learn more about the product. 

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Cindy's Colored Pencil Wishlist


The three things I want more than anything else are a set of Caran d'Ache Pablos (I love my Prismacolors, but these hold a much sharper point for detail work), this pencil organizer, and the precision eraser.

           


These are the coloring books and technique books I most want: 

          


There are a lot of accessories I need, like a good eraser set, drawing gum, and Sarah's recommended handheld sharpener

        


I'm going to need pencil extenders soon. And you can never have too many erasers or white pens - I use both regularly for all sorts of crafting. 

      

Is there anything on my list that you've tried? Anything that you want? And finally, is there anything else I should add to my list?