Every Christmas I try to make something for my immediate family and certain extended family. They usually all get the same thing, or variations of the same thing. One year, my godparents and my grandma (by chance through a random gift exchange) received Mexican hot chocolate mix in a decorated mason jar.
For this project, I used small pint jars. They were an off brand so they were a little cheaper, but most importantly, didn't have any raised wording on them. Smooth glass was important because I wanted to etch the surface. At first I wanted to create things on them like a reindeer head, or a snowman face, or Santa's face, but I instead chose a simple decal of several holiday phrases. In addition to a mix container, they could then be used as a holiday "lantern" or candle holder. Well, that was my hope. There aren't that many steps to this project, but it definitely takes some time, even for four jars. And I found I needed a lot more hot chocolate mix than I thought.
As I said, I did this for Christmas presents, but this craft could be altered to be for any holiday. And you wouldn't have to put hot chocolate in the jars. There are plenty of recipes out there for cookies, soups, among other things that can be gifted in mason jars. If you choose to do something else, get creative with your etched design, too.
Mexican hot chocolate mix*
*recipe courtesy of Sandra Lee from FoodNetwork.com
For the last few years for Mother's Day, I have made small floral arrangements for all the mothers in my life: my mother, grandmother, godmother, sister, sister-in-law, and now my boyfriend's mother and sister. I've gotten a good feel for the flowers, but I'm always looking for new containers to use. Vases are fine, but I bet every woman has a small collection of vases that are sitting forgotten in a cabinet somewhere. I've used ceramic bowls before so at least the container could be washed and put to use. This year I wanted to get a little crafty and recycle candle holders to make vases that could serve as a vase again or could be re-used as a candle holder. I ended up decorating the holders in two fashions.
1. Tissue Paper Mosaic Candle Holder
My initial thought was to cover the candle holders with tissue paper and create a mosaic look on the outside of the glass. I had high hopes of experimenting with different shapes like flowers and stars and butterflies, leaving some glass uncovered to let the candle light shine through more brightly in those areas. However, I quickly realized that tissue paper becomes quite transparent and dangerously thin when smothered with Mod Podge.
Once the vases were created, it was time to fill them up flowers. Instead of cards, this year I created little paper pockets placed on a thin dowel that added more decoration to the floral arrangements. Inside the pockets, I folded a piece of paper on which I had written my Mother's Day message.
3. Paper Pockets
Finally, I couldn't just do flower arrangements. I also had a stockpile of bananas in my freezer that I wanted to use. So, in addition to the flowers, I made banana bread, and I made enough for my aunts and close friends who are mothers as well. Once I made them, I wrapped them in cellophane, tied twine around them and then added a small paper tag to each of them. This is the last craft of my Mother's Day gift factory. The tags are easy enough and can be used for any holiday or gift by changing the text and decoration.
4. Paper Gift Tags
Mother's Day and Father's Day are both over, and these card designs were designed for these holidays, or at least, that's what I made them for, but that doesn't mean these ideas can't be used for something else!
These are two very simple card designs I've done recently. They require little time for planning and assembling; you could easily finish one in under 10 minutes, depending on the complexity of the design you want to create. I apologize for the non-creative card design names.
1. Simple String and Sticker Embellishment
2. Simple Cut-out Card
There you have it. Two really easy ways to make cards that look pretty neat, if I do say so myself. The trick I've found with card making is just having the right accumulation of things laying around like oodles of paper, stickers, and ribbon. Now, take these directions and make them your own. If you feel inclined, share a picture of your own card creations.
It's hard to believe that 2014 is almost halfway over, and another Mother's Day is upon us. I was watching YouTube videos the other day because apparently they now have commercials for popular YouTube channels and there was one that I had to check out because she seemed to make some pretty neat stuff. One video she did with a friend who practices Ikebana, a Japanese art form that is devoted to creating floral arrangements. So, as I watched the video, I became inspired for a project and lucky for me, Mother's Day was fast approaching.
Flowers, of course, are popular Mother's Day gifts to begin with, but it doesn't take much effort to buy some buds and stick them in a vase and set out on a table. However, it can get kind of pricey, and for me, it's really hard to find an arrangement I truly like. I like mixing and matching, Of course, you can choose whatever sort of container and the flowers you want, but here's how I went about it:
1 package of 2 cylinder wet foam (found in the floral decor part of a craft store)
1 set of 4 ceramic bowls
3 small bouquets of three different types of flowers
In the tradition of Ikebana, I set up my work area so I could work in peace with minimal noise (although I did have one tune playing on repeat). I got everything prepared so I could work without disruption.
1. Cut sponges (if necessary) to fit the size of the container. I cut the cylinders I bought in half and had about a 2"-high sponge in each bowl.
2. Pour water (I mixed mine with the plant sugar packet) on the sponge until the sponge is saturated or until there is some standing water in the bowl.
3. I worked on all four at once so that the buds were distributed as evenly as possible. Be sure to cut the stems in the water and then place them into the sponge. From what I learned from the video I watched, you should try to create something that looks good from all angles, so that it is art from every angle., and what I thought was a cool thing, was that I was done when I felt it was done. Once one is pleased with the arrangement, they should stop.
This whole process probably took me an hour, maybe less. And look how neat they turned out. I hope the four lucky mothers will be happy with their Ikebana-inspired Mother's Day gift. What do you think?
It was my sister’s one year wedding anniversary at the end of August, and if you don’t know the list of traditional anniversary gifts, year number one is paper. While I decided not to wrap up toilet paper or paper towel (I already knew others had given them plenty), I did have fun with the wrapping, and wanted to share a quick and easy way to use tissue paper to create a little floral embellishment. What's great about using tissue paper is that one, it's cheap; two, you probably have some lying around your home; and three, there are so many colors to choose from--I was even able to use my sister's wedding colors.
You can attach the flower to ribbon or even the front of a homemade card. I’m sure you could get even more creative and add them to things like headbands, wall decorations, or paper artwork.
Two years ago I decided to try my hand at devoting a site to my work and started with a free Wordpress site. I worked on it for a bit and then didn't keep up with the blogging end. It took me starting a personal blog to really think about how to get my art blog up and running again. So, I revamped the Wordpress site and I had my second go. However, after a couple posts I realized it still wasn't what I wanted. Or maybe I was too busy. Either way, there it sat.
Then, I happened upon Weebly and on a spur of the moment, I bought this domain and started completely anew. I guess the third time is the charm! I finally found the perfect way to get my self out there in a way that is easy and flexible. I've had some blogging experience and am now ready to kick this site off. The art gallery and portfolio are a bit scarce, as I'll admit, most of my work has been done to give as gifts or was a small school or personal project and I'm trying to build up a few items before really posting. But a blog post here and there can't hurt!
The world of art and design is one of continual learning, and I'm excited to share my explorations with the world. Here I'll post inspiration, how to's, and more. Because to me, everyone is an artist. You just have to find the right thing to tackle. Creativity comes in all forms and is one of the most important things to society and culture. So please, even if you're not here to purchase anything, enjoy my work and my words. Be inspired by Cobblestone Art &Design.
g. m. cottrill isn’t sure what she’s looking for in life, but that’s not to say she doesn’t know what makes her happy, or what urges her onward to experience life’s many wonders and surprises. Art and design are two such things that she finds solace in and enjoys sharing with the world. This blog is just one way to explore the enlightenment that comes with creativity.