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Paper Roses with a link to a fabulous tutorial!

orangerose purplerose
I have long admired paper flowers. I think I first noticed them in Mollie Makes, a UK craft magazine. I love Mollie Makes, even though I don’t sew, knit, or crochet. I love the look and feel of it. I’m inspired by the crafts, and love reading about other creatives. It’s crafty, with a hip vibe.
Screen Shot 2016-02-27 at 11.41.44 AM

The first paper flower tutorial I tried didn’t work so well. I have to admit, I’m not the best at following directions, so it wasn’t surprising. the flower didn’t stay together, it just unraveled.

The other day I saw a post on Instagram from @liagriffith – who is amazing – and decided to check her site for tutorials. I did a watered down version of Lia’s rose tutorial. (I hand drew simpler versions of the petals, just to try it out.) I wasn’t disappointed! Using wire, you add a section of petals at a time, securing it with a dab of glue – from a glue gun.
paperflowers1paperflowers2paperflowers3

I was so proud of my rose, I did another, and another, and then tried one with paper I painted with purple watercolors. The bright flowers are really giving life to my Easter mantle!
flowersonmantle

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Try String Art! A heart shaped tutorial.

finalstringartheart
I’ve been wanting to try string art for months. When I saw my Valentine’s Day pattern printed – I knew it would make the perfect background. Have you been wanting to try string art? If so, gather these materials and read on.

  • 8″ x 10″ frame with the glass removed
  • 8″ x 10″ piece of cork board (or use an additional piece of corrugated cardboard)
  • 3 pieces of 8″ x 10″ corrugated cardboard
  • patterned paper cut to 8″ x 10″
  • red embossing thread
  • nails – I used wire nails (#18 x 3/4″), approx. 50 nails
  • hammer
  • scissors
  • spray mount or other adhesive
  1. Take the glass out of the frame and use the frame backing to cut the cork board, cardboard pieces, and patterned paper.
    cutpaper
  2. Apply adhesive to the patterned paper and secure to cork board
    spraysmooth
  3. Place paper and cork board (facedown) into the frame. Put one – three cardboard pieces behind it. If frame backing fits, use it. Otherwise use tape to secure cardboard to the back of the frame. Use enough cardboard for a tight fit. Flip frame over.
    cardboardtapepaper
  4. Cut out heart to use as template
    cuttemplate
  5. Place heart in the center of the frame and use a nail to poke holes (equally spaced) around the heart.
    poke
  6. Remove the heart and hammer nails into the holes.
    nail nails
  7. Knot one end of the embossing string to one nail. Trim loose string.
    tie
  8. Wrap string around a nail on the opposite side of the heart. I wrapped the string fully around the nail, before string the next nail.
    firstwrapstring1
  9. Continue stringing the heart by wrapping around nails on the opposite sides (randomly). String until the heart is filled in, and every nail is wrapped at least once.
    string2 string3
  10. Then, wrap around each nail in clockwise order, completing an outline of the heart.
    stringedge
  11. Display your beautiful creation!
    finalstringart

I want to see your creation! Post your work and tag me on Instagram @eileenmckenna. Use #mcrstringheart. See more of my pattern designs here.


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Nutcracker Pattern – and it’s available as fabric and gift wrap on Spoonflower!

nutcrackersrepeating
I’m so excited to announce that this Nutcracker pattern is available on Spoonflower and can be ordered as fabric or gift wrap! I just received some Nutcracker fabric and I’m excited to make something with it for the holidays!


You all know how passionate I’ve been about surface design this year! I’ve been wanting to take the next step, and see these patterns in action. And make them available to anyone else who is interested in them. I plan on adding some of the past year’s pattern designs to my Spoonflower shop too. If there is a particular one you are interested in, please let me know (links below).

This Nutcracker pattern is my “November” design. I know it’s jumping ahead of Thanksgiving, but I couldn’t help myself! I’ve already uploaded another holiday design and am waiting to see it printed. I’ll share with you, once I have it in my hands!

My surface designs this year:
January – August
September (includes a tutorial on making a repeating pattern)
October


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Watercolor Leaf {A how to craft project}

Easy Watercolor Leaf Tutuorial | fall crafts | #fallcrafts
This is one of my favorite Fall projects! Give it a try and share your results, either in the comments below or on Instagram – tag me: @eileenmckenna.

Supplies:

  • heavyweight watercolor paper – I used Fluid Easy Block
  • watercolor paints (3 colors – light, medium, dark. I used yellow, orange (or red), and brown.)
  • water
  • paintbrushes (1 thick, 1 thin)
  • scissors
  • pencil
  • leaf (for shape and inspiration)

Steps:

  1. Trace or draw leaf onto the watercolor paper
  2. Cut out the leaf shape
    leaf1
  3. Use paintbrush and water to wet one side of the leaf shape
  4. Soak up yellow paint from your palette, with a very wet brush (you can even dip the brush into the water after absorbing the paint)
  5. Paint the entire leaf yellow (or a light color of your choice)
    leaf2 leaf3
  6. With a wet brush, absorb the orange paint and paint the edges of your leaf. The orange will bleed into the yellow – this is a good thing!
    leaf5
  7. Use a thinner (and not as wet) brush and absorb the brown paint. Paint thin lines onto the leaf. (Copy the veins from your real leaf.)
    leaf6
  8. Allow the leaf to dry a bit. (The dryer the paper is, the less the paint will bleed.) Then, add more thin brown lines.
    lastleaf

When I first showed my kids my painted leaf, they thought it was a real leaf!
Have fun! Can’t wait to see what you make. 🙂

This post contains affiliate links to products/brands I use and recommend. I earn a small commission whenever you buy using these links, at no additional cost to you. Thank you for supporting my blog!

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Prints of my watercolor beach paintings are now for sale at shop.eileenmckenna.com. Take a peek!
The Blue Collection by Eileen McKenna | watercolor beach ocean landscapes available as limited edition giclee art prints


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Merry [day after] Christmas!

dioramafinal
I was feeling guilty that I never finished a Christmas diorama, as I promised you. Posting one today or tomorrow seemed too late. But, as I cleaned up all the scraps of wrapping paper, boxes, and ribbons, I realized today is the perfect day to finish a Christmas diorama and use some of those leftovers. The rush of shopping, baking, and wrapping is over. Today is a lazy day – the perfect day to work on a project and those leftovers had inspired me. In my last diorama post, I went over all the problems I was having with my diorama. The main thing I realized was that I was thinking too literally. This time I didn’t fuss about a realistic floor – I just created and I’m so happy with the results! I hope you had a very Merry Christmas!

wrapping


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Christmas Diorama – in progress

diorama1
I haven’t forgotten about my Christmas diorama project. I’m learning that (like anything worth doing) it isn’t a quick, easy thing.

I’m using a tea box and realizing I need to cover every side – inside and out.
diorama2a

Unfortunately the craft tape thingy isn’t strong enough and is showing through the vellum. I’m also realizing that all the corners need to be tight or it looks sloppy. Or I need to trim all the corners and edges in garland. And my watercolor background and sides buckled a bit and aren’t flat.
diorama2c

I started with a “floor” that I tried to mimic real wood. Then I realized the carolers were outside, so I created a cobble stone look.
diorama2b

I think the depth of my box is too large for the pieces I have. I need to add more elements to it or cut the box.

I often think very literally. I created a sky and cobble stone floor for the carolers. Maybe I should try to change my thinking and use Christmas patterns for the inside sides or background.
diorama3

It’s a work in progress. I’m hoping to have a finished diorama to show you by Christmas Eve!

 


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Dioramas – the planning stage

christmasdiorama1
I’ve wanted to work on a diorama for awhile now. I haven’t worked on one since the kids made shoebox sized ones for school. Even then it wasn’t my project and they wouldn’t let me take over! I’ve been pinning Christmas diorama projects on my board like crazy lately. When I remembered the illustrations in my dad’s old Christmas music book, I thought they would be perfect! I could plan my dioramas around them. Imagine – vintage illustrations, right at my fingertips. How lucky and out of character. We are not the family that ends up on Antique Roadshow! We didn’t even have an attic!

I looked through each illustration and figured out how I could create a diorama around it. Then I wrote a list of all the things I need. I measured my box to know the sizes. I want the dioramas to have one 2D element (where the illustration is brought forward from the background) and one 3D element – a miniature tree for example. I’ve planned on five dioramas, but we’ll see! I’m an ambitious planner.

 


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Paper Quilt – No sewing required!

When I saw a paper quilt on the Country Living magazine website (from Linda & Harriett – see links below), I knew I had to make one. I have always wanted to make a quilt, but I can’t sew! I wanted to go to the craft store and get paper, but it was pouring out, so I decided to use what I had, including pieces of a gift bag.

The Country Living quilt calls for 2″ squares of paper in 4 different styles (20 squares of 3 styles, 21 squares of 1 style). I have a 1″ square punch, so I decided to use that and make my quilt with 1″ squares. I drew out a grid of 9 rows and 9 columns, so I could plan my design and play with different paper options. Since I was unsure of which papers to use, I decided to follow the Country Living design. I wanted to use mostly greens, because St. Patrick’s Day is around the corner.

I selected 4 paper styles and punched out my squares. I also punched out shamrocks. I placed the squares on the grid, following the Country Living design. I took a photo and swapped out one of the papers. I tried a couple of options, taking photos of each one, so I could compare. I decided to go with the last option I tried.

paperquilt1paperquilt2 paperquilt3 paperlast

Since the grid I drew wasn’t perfect, I got a new piece of paper to glue the squares on. Using a glue stick, I started in the corner, using the edges of the paper as a guide to keep everything as even as possible. After it was done, I trimmed off the unused paper. I mounted my quilt on a piece of card stock.

gluingpaper

I couldn’t be happier with the results! It is going on my mantle! What a fun project.

final-paper-quilt

Visit my Etsy shop for downloadable clipart:
St. Patrick's Day Watercolor clipart | leprechauns pot of gold rainbow shamrocks

and invitation borders:
St. Patrick's Day shamrocks invitation border printable invitation card

Order some St. Patrick’s Day flair in my Zazzle shop!

St. Patrick’s Day #patricks #day #pins #hat

Create an Irish Blessing sign with this downloadable pdf and transfer tips.

Irish Blessing Free Download. Info on Citrasolv transfers.

Links:
Country Living
Linda & Harriett