my creative resolution

Watercolor, Illustration, Surface Design


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Beach Diorama

Beach diorama craft with DIY steps http://wp.me/p4cmnl-15e
I got crafty today and finished the diorama that was inspired by a quick beach painting in my sketchbook and the cardboard leftover from the Brie cheese.
Beach diorama craft with DIY steps http://wp.me/p4cmnl-15e
I can draw and paint but I don’t think of myself as particularly crafty. I’m a mess with a glue gun in hand. So if I can pull this off anyone can!
You’ll need:

  • Leftover cardboard round with edges (mine is from cheese)
  • Scissors and hole puncher (if you have one)
  • Painting, photo, or patterned paper for the background
  • Shells, rocks, sticks, wood (any beach treasures you’d like) and sand
  • Ribbon, fabric, or paper to line the inner and outer rims
  • Twine or ribbon (or in my case the handle from a shopping bag)
  • Glue gun, craft glue, and double sided tape or scrap booking adhesive

Beach diorama craft with DIY steps http://wp.me/p4cmnl-15e
Steps:
1. Trace a circle on your painting using the cardboard as your guide. Cut inside the circle. Adjust until the paper fits inside the cardboard. (Set painting aside.)
2. Poke a hole through the rim or use the hole puncher. The hole will be the top of your diorama.
3. Glue ribbon around the inner and outer rims, putting seams at the bottom.
4. Thread twine through the hole and knot.
5. Tape painting to the inside of the circle. Pay attention to the “top” (the hole) when lining up the horizon of your painting. Make sure to tape down all the edges.
6. Use glue gun to add all of your beach treasures.
Beach diorama craft with DIY steps http://wp.me/p4cmnl-15eBeach diorama craft with DIY steps http://wp.me/p4cmnl-15e
7. Use glue gun to secure shell to the knot. (See image below.)
8. Add craft glue in between shells and rocks. Pour generous amount of sand on top.
Beach diorama craft with DIY steps http://wp.me/p4cmnl-15e
9. Add craft glue to bottom of the shell (on the knot) and pour sand onto glue.
Beach diorama craft with DIY steps http://wp.me/p4cmnl-15e
10. Wait until fully dry and gently shake off excess sand.
Extra – make a little sign with the name of your special beach to add to your beach diorama.
Inspired by this post? Let me know what you make! Tag me on Instagram @eileenmckenna

Have you read:
Process for Painting the Beach in Watercolor

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Waiting for the leaves to change

rainbowleaves
Here in New York the leaves are beginning to change. Only a few have fallen. I am so looking forward to the bright colors and to walking through the leaves – that “swish swish” and the beautiful reds, purples, and yellows everywhere. Cleaning up the leaves I am not looking forward to!

In years past, the leaves have been a huge inspiration to me.

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See how I made this watercolor leaf here.
finalleaf


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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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I’m thankful I finished this project!

givethanksfinal
I finally got around to finishing this. I started it back in the summer, when I painted the background for two signs. One sign became my “beach lover” sign, which I finished over a month ago. For this sign, I wasn’t sure what to do with it, what words to paint on it – Fall harvest? With Thanksgiving getting closer and closer, I decided on “give thanks.”

Two years ago Thanksgiving took on a whole new meaning. My siblings, parents, cousins and my aunt were all affected by Superstorm Sandy. They all had major renovations to tackle and some of them couldn’t even live in their homes. Living 20 minutes away, our home was unaffected. So Thanksgiving 2012 was here at our house. We hosted around 40 people. I wasn’t stressed at all. I knew everyone would be happy, just being together in a warm, dry place. There was no need to sweat the small stuff. Although they suffered damage to their homes, everyone was safe and that was definitely reason to give thanks.

Technique:
I used the same technique for the lettering as last time. Using the side of the pencil, I quickly colored on the back of my printout. Then, I flipped the printout over and taped it to my sign. With firm pressure, I traced the letters on the printout, using a Nintendo DS stylus pen. I peeled the printout off and, using the light pencil marks and indentation as a guide, I painted the letters. After the letters were dry I added a little white for effect.

thanks1thanks1b    thanks2a thanks2thankspaintthanksalmost


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Beach Lover Wooden Sign

beachlover
I bought a piece of wood and had it cut into pieces at the hardware store. Using acrylic paints – teal and white – I added streaks of both and blended them, to get achieve a beachy, sun bleached look.

Wooden signs
I set up the lettering on the computer and outlined it. Last time around I cut custom stencils which was a lot of work. This time I found advice on hand lettering. I laid the printout on the wood and using a hard stylus pen (from my kid’s old DS), traced the outline of the letter. When I was finished I could see the outline impression on the wood.

Following the outline impression on the wood, I painted the letters black. When they were dry, I painted white steaks over the letters with a very dry brush to capture the distressed look. I’m happy with the results!

Click here to learn more about how I painted the background.


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Painting Wooden Signs

woodproject
Finally, I’m tackling a wood project! I’ve been interested in painting on wood, and creating handmade signs. It was surprisingly easy to walk in to Ace, pick out wood and ask them to cut it. And cheap!

I pulled out the hand sander, which made me feel like a pro, and gave the wood a light sanding. Then I added streaks of different colors and blended them, sometimes adding water to dilute a color. I wanted to create a bleached, weathered look.

wooda woodb wood woodc
I’m happy with how they came out. See how I added lettering to them here.