Saturday, December 31, 2011

happy new year!

there's something about the start of a new year that makes you think of years past.  for some reason i was thinking about when i was younger and i used to like to draw free hand letters on to large pieces of paper.  my objective was always to have the letters look right, but also be centered perfectly on the paper.  not an easy feat. so for nostalgia sake, i free-handed these onto large paper, and my sons jumped at the chance to color them.  guess i still got it- lol!





the ensuing photoshoot was not so easy, but i think we got a few keepers!







wishing you all a happy new year and a fabulous 2012!

-julia

Saturday, December 24, 2011

merry christmas!

the business side of our studio is shut down until after our kids go back to school in january.  we were traveling earlier this week, and now we are home getting ready for christmas.  thought i would share some pics from around our small, 1950s house.

this is elfie, our antique elf that is spending the holidays with us.  he once belonged to my great grandmother! 



we are doing our own version of "elf on the shelf" with him, and he has shown up in some interesting places!

artwork by heidi lingamfelter


artwork by winter rusiloski


we have a small, thin christmas tree because of lack of space, but it's still pretty when it lights up!






and you just can't escape the art over here.  it even peeks out from behind the tree.

artwork by omar hernandez


i am really liking sparkle this year, so the boys and i made some pretty leaves.  my 4 year old's preschool teacher gave him the largest leaf i've ever seen.  so we spray painted it (and some smaller ones) gold and sprinkled gold glitter on them while they were still wet.  i'm using them as a centerpiece on my table. 








i also found these shiny letters at hobby lobby.  with a few stitches, i attached the initial letter of each of our names on our stockings.




i ran sparkly ribbon down the middle of a closet door to display the photo christmas cards.  i think i actually need to add a second row now!


thanking you all for the best year yet for jaeartworks, and wishing you a very merry, magical, sparkly christmas!

-julia

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

easy way to frame kid art- no mat required!

with 12 days until christmas, i thought i would show you this super easy method for framing kid art, or really, any kind of flat artworks.  i love, love, love art made by kids.  and with a nice frame, it can easily be transformed into an awesome wall piece and/or a great gift!

i am going to show you this using these two pieces my sons made recently to go in their space-themed bedroom.  they started out drawing on cheap printer paper.  when they informed me they wanted to hang them in their room, my mind quickly started churning on how to make the pieces more substantial.  printer paper is not exactly high quality.  so i had them cut out the items that they had drawn on the printer paper, and then we glued the scene back together on black card stock.  once on the black, i had them draw in some embellishments with white crayon.  here are the results.  so quick and easy, and what a difference!

by zane age 6

by zac age 3 1/2


because of where these were going to be hung, i knew i did not want heavy frames.  so i found this 2 pack on sale at michaels for pretty cheap.  buy whichever frame you think will work best with your artwork.  what you want to do is buy the next size up from the size of paper your artwork is on.  so, the boys pieces were on standard sized paper, which is 8 1/2 x 11.  therefore, when i bought the frames, i bought the next size up which was 11 x 14. 




turn the frame over, open up the back, and take all the pieces out, except for the glass.



take the colored paper that was in the frame as advertisement and flip it over.  usually the back is a solid white.  if for some reason the back of this paper is not in good shape, you can easily cut another piece of white paper (or whatever color you choose!)  in that size.  you can use the paper that was in the frame as a guide by tracing it.  mine was good enough to use the back, so i flipped it and put a little bit of masking tape on each corner of the printed side.




then flip it back over and secure it to the masonite back-piece of the frame.  next, flip the artwork and put a little tape on those four corners too.  flip the artwork back over, center it, and secure it in the middle of the white one on the masonite.




now, many times with these cheaper frames, some genius puts a sales sticker right on the glass that doesn't want to come off.  and that was the case here.  i keep a bottle of goo gone spray gel in my studio for just such cases.  spray the sticker and let it sit for a few minutes.




then use a knife or razor blade to carefully scrape up the sticker and adhesive.  i use a palette knife.  make sure you clean the glass off with a little glass cleaner when your done to remove any traces of the goo gone because it is pretty greasy.



place the clean glass back in the frame, and then flip the artwork that is now attached to the back-piece over and slide it back into the frame as well.  push all the holders back in place, and voila!





inexpensive, easy, and no mat required!   i think it's a great way to preserve treasured artworks, decorate a space, and/or give a wonderfully meaningful gift!  

wishing you all a very merry christmas!

-julia


Tuesday, December 6, 2011

holiday happenings

this post is going to be quick this week, as i am up to my eyeballs in the studio with work.  first things first, though.  i had a portrait deadline this past week, which i'm happy to say that i made.  this is ellie.  her aunt comissioned her as a gift for her parents for christmas.  i sincerely hope this portrait brings them joy for many, many years!

graphite on paper      16"x20"


so, besides doing portraits, teaching private art lessons, and making my own art, i also do a line of kid art using hand prints and foot prints.  i like to call them "printworks."  you can see finished examples on my website here or on my facebook page here.    this past sunday, my friends in waxahachie hosted a party for me and here is the stuff i need to finish.



i didn't even get all of it this picture, hence my wording "up to my eyeballs!"  and, i can't forget that other full-time job i have of at-home wife and mother. 



my boys are only 6 and 4, so this time of year i also have that all important 3rd full-time job, otherwise known as "santa's helper."  no worries...i can do it all.  right??? 

i'll leave you with one more thing before i go.  last week i posted a cute upcycled lightbulb santa tutorial.  you can click here to see it.  my art students are still working on these, but one has finished so i thought i would show you.  this one is by carly age 11.



carly always likes to do her own thing over here, which i love.  she made hers in to mrs. claus.  she wasn't sure about how to give her hair.  i tossed her a thing of gray yarn and told her to figure it out.  and figure it out she did!  i think she was so clever in how she chose to wind it.  here's the top.



like i said, so clever!  i told you it was a good problem-solving exercise. 

so, i'm going back to painting now.  wishing you a joyous and creative holiday season!

-julia

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

upcycled light bulb santa how-to

how cute is this upcycled santa lightbulb?!  my art students are making these for christmas.



i found this idea in the latest issue of cloth paper scissors magazine



there is not a tutorial in the magazine, however, so i thought i would share the general steps we are using to make these.  i say general because my students have the artistic freedom to change anything they want.  in the magazine, the artist used buttons to make the beard.  for ours we are using one of my favorite artist tools- our fingers.

to make this one i used an old light bulb and craft store acrylic paint.  if you don't have any old light bulbs, you can buy a box of 4 at the dollar store for a buck. i started by painting the light bulb in a flesh color.  holding the light bulb by the bottom, i painted the top portion first.



then i set it inside a small paper cup to dry.



once it was dry, i turned the light bulb and painted the rest of it.  



then i set it on the cup to dry again.  on this one, i did 2 coats of paint because i didn't want the light bulb glass to show.

 


once all the layers were completely dry, i used a pencil to lightly sketch a line where the hat would hit and a frame for the face.  you don't want to make this area too big.  i put 2 dots for eyes and  a small oval for the nose.  then from the center of the nose i drew 2 lines that curved out to give myself a guideline for the mustache.  last i sketched a line for the mouth.



to fill in the white i used my finger prints.  i started by following the face and mustache lines first.  put some paint out, dip your fingertip in it, and print it a few times, then repeat.



then i filled in the rest of the front of the light bulb the same way.  i set it on the cup again to dry.  once it was dry, i turned it and filled in the back.  once that was dry, i put a second layer over the entire white area, using the same finger print technique.



once the white was finished, i used a small brush to paint the nose pink and the mouth red.  for the eyes, i filled in the dots with a thin sharpie marker. 



once that was dry, i used a small round brush with white paint to fine tune the area around the face and fill in any other areas of the white part that looked thin.

to make the hat, i used an old red tshirt that my son had grown out of.  first i cut off one of the sleeves.



then i put the part of the sleeve with the seam around the light bulb where i wanted the hat to sit.  once i had the material pulled back tight enough to have the hat sitting where i wanted it, i sketched a line with pencil to mark it.  you can't see the pencil line on the picture, so i marked it with tape to show you.  it is the inside tape line.  it is close to the light bulb, but not right up against it because i know i have to sew a seam.  i think i also put one sewing pin on that line to hold the material together before i carefully pulled it off the light bulb.



now, i have a sewing machine, but it is not set up.  so instead of doing that, i decided to just hand stitch the seam.  if you don't want to stitch it, you could use fabric glue.  even staples might work if you don't pull too hard on it afterwards.  you couldn't see my stitched seam in the picture, so i added white dots on the line to show you.  while it was still inside out, i cut off the extra fabric.  make sure you don't cut too close to the stitched seam.

then i flipped it inside out so the seam was on the inside and placed it on the light bulb where i wanted it.  the top off the hat was still open and ugly from where i cut it, so i pulled  down and marked with my finger where i wanted to attach it.  i carefully pulled the hat off the light bulb and put in a couple of stitches to hold the top of the hat down.  now, i'm just telling you how i made my hat.  you could do this many different ways.  if you do this with your kids i encourage you to let them problem solve a way to make a hat.  my art students are doing their own.  like is said earlier, it's a great problem solving activity.



my hat is just sitting on top, but if you wanted to, you could add a little hot glue on the hat to attach it. 

viola!  a cute and super trendy upcycled santa for the holidays!



i also wanted to show you these ornaments my boys made the other day.  these were sort of an accident while we were looking through what i had stored in the studio.  i had some of these clear glass balls.  



my 6 year old found some shiny pipe cleaners in another box.  you know kids love all things shiny, so he couldn't resist messing with them.   he started bending them and shoved one in the glass ball.  i saw it and encouraged him to shove in some more of different colors.




then we grabbed zac, and they both started making them.  they had such a good time!



now, i really tried to get a good picture of this for you guys, but this was the best i could do.  



i think you can tell that these came out really cute!  i just added a christmas ribbon to the top and, boom, instant gifts for the boys to give.  and so easy, fun and cheap!

happy holidays!

-julia

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

not made in china

today's confession: i can not make everything myself.  hmmm... maybe i should rephrase that: i should not make everything myself.  these ikea chairs from my boys' room are exhibit a.



my boys love these chairs.  but how long do you think it was before that white pad (and that is your only choice when you buy them!) was filthy?  so i did a search online and found 1 person who made designer covers for that chair.  i then decided that i should just go ahead and make them myself.  12 hours and 1 ginormous headache later, i had them!  not bad, huh???


well, here they are again...1 month later.



so i gave in and ordered them from jcaroline home.  and look at them now!  for $45 i got a completely new pad covered in a very durable, deep orange fabric.  and she has all kinds of fabrics and patterns to choose from.  they still look great over a month later, i might add.  and trust me, they've had some wear and tear!

 

my next search was for some bird earrings.  i wanted them to be very simple, so i thought surely i should just make them myself.  then i came across these from off beet on etsy.  i love these so much!  it was well worth $12 (and that included the shipping) to not have to drag myself all over town trying to find the stuff to do it on my own.



and did you know i am a huge football fan?  it's true.  you can blame it being raised by a football coach.  well, check out  my new game day tassel earrings from  paper taxi.  she did not have purple in her etsy shop (which i need for my tcu games) so she made them special for me.  love!




i found these totally quirky, super awesome skull earrings for a gift for one of our artist friends at sora designs on etsy.  i haven't given them to her yet, and truthfully, i really don't want too!



and how about these halloween name tags my sister-in-law made for my son's 4th birthday party?  could not have made these better myself.  perfection!



or this moss covered "h" by green crow gallery?!  love, love, love! 



and don't you just love these ornaments, also by green crow gallery.  simple and natural yet elegant, they look like something straight out of better homes and gardens!  her website is not up right now, but if you want more information on these items, let me know and i'll give you contact information.



so, if you have the time, money and inclination to make something yourself...i say go for it!  i know i'll never stop.  but, sometimes it's nice to have it done for you. 

this christmas season i raise my glass and toast to all the artists and artisans out there following their dreams and all their wonderful and unique items, not made in china!

have yourself a handmade christmas,

-julia


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