Sunday, September 28, 2014

DIY Fall Wreath Tutorial

Today I have an awesomely easy fall wreath tutorial for you!  Just in time to beautify your door from now through Thanksgiving.

Here are the materials I used.  I had two colors of burlap ribbon (you could have just one) and I also used pumpkins, but you could use any light weight plastic craft-type fall decoration you choose.

So let's get started.
STEP 1:  Hot glue one edge of the burlap ribbon to the back of your wreath.  Wrap and twist loosely, leaving space in between, all the way around and secure again on the back with hot glue.
STEP 2:  Repeat the same procedure with your second color of burlap, and each ribbon color that you have chosen. 
** Don't worry too much about how it looks as you wrap.  I loosely made sure to cover the wreath with the burlap and then roughly placed the ribbon where I wanted.  Since it is only glued at the beginning and end, there is still a lot of wiggle room to fluff your wreath how you want it to look before the next step and again at the end.
STEP 3:  Take time to fluff and place your burlap and ribbon more how you want it.  Hot glue your decorations in place.  I placed mine in a cluster at the bottom and off center.  I moved the burlap and ribbon aside slightly to glue the pumpkins directly to the straw wreath to make it more secure.  This step took the longest because I had to hold each one in place while the glue dried.
STEP 4:  Use your wire cutters or strong scissors to cut the flowers from the stems, leaving about 2-3 inches of stem.  Weave the stems through the holes in the burlap to secure the flowers in place.  I let the burlap hold them in place, but you could also add a little hot glue here as well. 
STEP 5:  Fluff your burlap and ribbon one more time until your wreath looks how you want it to look.  Use ribbon or twine at the top so you have a loop to hang it from.  And that's it! 

I think this is my favorite wreath to date.  I also have a summer wreath tutorial that can easily work for fall if you prefer a sleeker look to your wreaths!  Let me know what you think and happy fall everyone!

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Friday, April 4, 2014

Invisalign Update: Before and After

Hi everyone!

My All About Invisalign post has been my most viewed page on this blog, and I noticed some commenters asking for an update. It is now over a year later, so I am way overdue!

I finished my last set of aligners in February of 2013 and have been very happy with the results!  Since then, I just wear a retainer every night that is just like a plastic aligner, but a bit thicker.  I still have the same nightly routine of brushing, flossing, and mouthwash.  And I do still have to brush and clean the retainers. 

The overlap in my front teeth, which happened during college, was the main reason I got Invisalign.  See how bad it was?  Sometimes seeing these "before" photos are shocking because I never knew how noticeable it was.  In certain lighting or at certain angles, that tooth looked very pronounced.

My treatment was 36 weeks long, and worth every penny.  My front teeth are totally straight and my bottom teeth have a nice arc to them.  Before, they were mostly straight across with the side teeth rotated out.  I know this isn't a good close up photo, but hopefully you can see the difference.

While there were some annoyances with the process, I would recommend it to anyone thinking about straightening their teeth.  The nine months may have seemed like a long time, and I was self-conscious about the way my smile looked at times, but I have mostly forgotten all about that now. 

If there are any questions, please comment and I will try to answer! 

You can also check my archives to see my previous Invisalign posts.

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Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Summer Fabric Designs: Crickets and Fireflies

After a few months away from Spoonflower, I finally got back into it this summer.  I've been entering many of the weekly contests, which has been great practice and a lot of fun. 

Two of my summer designs were for the crickets and fireflies contests, and here are my designs.


I have to say that I was really happy with how each of these designs turned out; however they didn't do too great in the contests.  Go figure.  I can never predict which designs will make it to the top.  I usually vote for about half of them and the other half is always a complete surprise.  Therefore, I have to remember to design things I am happy with and know that not everyone will love it. 

I tried something a little different with my fireflies design.  I colored in the fireflies freehand using the brush tool.  I like how it looks imperfect, like they are doodles in a child's coloring book, making it a great design to decorate a kid's room with. 

The great thing about Spoonflower now is that you can also buy wallpaper, wall decals, and wrapping paper!  Wouldn't these be fun to wrap a child's birthday gift in? 

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Friday, September 13, 2013

I'm Still Here

Hi everyone!

Life has been busy over the past year since I started this blog.  It's been the best year of my life thanks to the decision I made to quit my job and go back to school for design.  I've met new people, had some great teachers, learned gobs of new things, and created like a mad woman.  And it will be continuing for another year.

This semester, I'm taking 3 art classes- life drawing, digital drawing, and art history; and 2 web design classes- HTML and Dreamweaver, and Flash.  It's been a crazy start to the year!  I have no doubt that I'll continue to learn at least a handful of new things every day.

Lately my mind has been going crazy with plans for the future.  I have a new idea at least once a week.  Business ideas, specialty areas, websites I want to create, freelancing, new techniques to try... the list goes on and on.  My husband hears me say all the time "Andy, guess what..." and then I get all serious and excited with probably this crazed look in my eyes like an animal that's been in a cage for the last decade and now is finally free to roam around.  I guess I'm nuts; but in a good way.

A fun project I have in the works right now in my digital drawing class:

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Thursday, April 25, 2013

Abstract Pastel Drawing

School update!
One of our drawing projects this semester was to take a still life and abstract it.  We first drew the still life realistically (mine had a pedestal, grapes in a small pot, two flowers in a large bottle, a leafy plant in a pot, flourescent lights and poles in the background, and lots of tall leafy greens in the foreground). We then studied the objects and broke them down into basic shapes.  Then we did some sketches and chose one to be our final drawing while focusing on shapes, lines, overall composition, and a split complimentary color scheme.
We could decide to what extent the abstraction was (mine was on the far end of the spectrum), what colors to use, how the objects would be arranged, if we wanted it to be flat or have dimension, and if the space would be realistic or ambiguous. 
Here's about halfway through, as I was getting my basic colors in place:
I gave some objects some sort of dimension with some highlights, and I wanted my space to be ambiguous- so I tried to have my objects "fall into" each other, overlap in odd ways, and not make a lot of sense. 
Close to being done, with some colors that have yet to be blended & some spaces yet to fill in:

I really like how it turned out!  It has been, by far, my favorite drawing to complete.  The process was enjoyable from beginning to end.  I think abstraction is my thing. 

And here's some details with just a few of the many many many things my amazing drawing teacher has taught me! 

I love you, school!

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Saturday, April 13, 2013

For the U.S. History Teachers teaching the Great Depression

A big part of what I think about on a daily basis, is how to use my new graphic design skills to

a) help people
b) make myself happy
c) be successful possibly working from home
d) incorporate my teaching skills

I created this Great Depression info sheet for my sister, who is a seriously awesome new teacher.  I asked her to try out this idea with her class to see if anyone liked it, and to see if it was helpful.  So I thought I'd post it here in case it can be helpful to any History teachers out there in the world! 

I know FDR looks pretty weird, but you know... any attention grabber with high schoolers is probably a good thing. 

Fingers are crossed that if you click on the image, you'll be able to print it full quality.  But if not, please let me know and I will gladly email you a high quality PDF.

Happy weekend!

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Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Abstract Pastel Self Portrait

Art teachers must love to have students draw self portraits, because this is my third one in my first year of school. 

If you missed my first two, here's my digital portraits here, and my painted/ stamped one here.

This one, we did with soft pastels, and it had to be abstract using complementary colors.

We were asked to take time studying our face in the mirror, and thinking about the planes of our face and what basic shapes each feature looked like.  Some of my shapes were just too weird... I hated making my nose like a triangle or rectangle, and even the basic circles for eyes were not doin' it for me.  I tried a couple close-eyed versions, and turning my nose to the side in profile, and that was better. 

So here are some of my sketches along with my first try which I didn't love. 

And here's the final version along with some close ups!

I blended everything on the face, smoothed the streaks in the hair to make them less dramatic, added some highlights and left the background streaky with a smorgasbord of lines.

What do you think?  Kinda creepy, right? 

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