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Had so much fun during the process of making this painting, thought I’d share!

Preparing the Surface

  • Start with a DIY Masonite Panel (or any hard surface) & stack of old leftover book pages (or any paper good for collaging).
  • Mod Podge pages to the board – in a pattern or not, just cover the whole thing. Use the mod podge as a glue, putting it directly on the board then smoothing the pages over the top.
  • Paint the board with white acrylic – use a big brush and not a lot of paint. You don’t want to cover the whole thing so the texture and color of the book pages come through.
  • Once the paint is dry use your handy putty knife to scrape at it a while to give it a warn look. Don’t be afraid to dig into the pages and tear up small edges and corners.
  • Paint over it again with the white acrylic if you’d like.
  • Then you have a wonderful texture-y surface to draw or paint on!

Painting with Tissue Paper

  • Sketch out the elephant or whatever shape/animal you’d like.
  • Find a sheet of tissue paper that will cover the whole shape you want to fill in.
  • Fill in the shape with a gluestick, it doesn’t have to be exact but it’s better to be a little out of the lines than inside.
  • Carefully smooth the tissue paper over the glue’d areas – using a tissue works well for smoothing.
  • Once it’s all covered and dry cut around the shape with an exacto and remove the extra tissue.
  • At that point I drew over the elephant again with a dark pencil line but do whatchya want!

I made a smaller version on paper with a cute little elephant stamp I found at Jo-Ann’s too!

Yesterday were my first two workshops at Art Unraveled and they were fantastic. I was surprised that the primary age-group of attendees was 60+ (and 100% women), but who wouldn’t feel comfortable in a room full of hip and crafty grandma’s? I feel like I’m getting a headstart.

The first workshop was “Soldering for Maidens” with the lovely Paula Hardesty. Unfortunately I was too enthralled with soldering to snap any process photos but here’s what I made!

In case you’re wondering, they’re supposed to be lumpy like that – texture!! It was actually a lot easier than I imagined and Paula was a wonderful and thorough instructor, really sweet too.

Last night I attended the workshop “Ancient Amulets” with Laurie Mika. I have to say this, because I thought it all night – she’s basically who I want to be when I grow up. Wordly, artistic, smart and her techniques, swoon! If you ever have the opportunity definitely take a class, buy her book, research her online – she’s awesome.

ancient amulets, class work

The above photo are pieces from the class, I wish I knew who’s was who and everyones name! And here’s my little guys:

ancient amulets ancient amulets

One woman’s comment on the purple one, “Oh, that one’s….. different?” Story of my life! My new friend for the day was Gloria from Surprise, AZ – kind and funny with a great attitude towards life and art and a big big heart.

Today I took the day off to get some work done, which of course I haven’t done yet. Tomorrow is “Plastered in Wax” – I’ve been wanting to learn encaustic painting for YEARS, cannot wait. Then Sunday is “Creating Hollow Forms in Color.” Not sure I’ll be blogging about every day but you can check out all the photos on flickr!

block-ornament ornaments07

Make your own!

These ornaments are super simple to make, you just need a wooden block, an eye hook, gluestick and whatever else you want to glue or stamp on!

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Spent yesterday sitting at my sewing desk experimenting with piles of buttons, wire, pliers, embroidery floss and fabric scraps. I’ll probably try a few more times but am pretty happy with the above results. I’m donating the ornaments to the 5th Annual Artist-Made Ornament Exhibition at MADE art boutique!

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I’ve been really into crafty podcasts lately and decided to start a list of sources and episodes I love. If you’re thinking “oh-my-gosh-I-can’t-believe-she-didn’t-mention-so-and-so!” – please let me know. I just threw this together quickly and am sure I’ll have additions soon!

Crafty Pod
Designers in a Changing World, with Sarah Hodsdon
Branding Your Crafty Business, with Margot Potter

A Conversation With Amy Butler
Taking Flight with Soft Sculpture Artist Abby Glassenberg

Talking with Timothy Adams

CRAFT Podcast Archives
Hello Craft
Crafty Chica Podcast
Thread Banger
Etsy :: The Storque

Fabric: 2 pieces 34.5″x 17.5″ – 1 piece 48″x 4″ – 2 pieces 22″x 11 (or scraps for the pocket squares)
Thread & Sewing machine

Personalize it!
All of the sizes can be changed depending on what size you want the bag to be – so nothing has to be exact! The great thing about this bag is that measuring just isn’t that important, don’t tell anyone but I’m a pretty sloppy sewer! I never match the thread to the fabric either and love going back and forth with the thread so that it looks like scribbles!

To start you’ll need 2 rectangles of fabric 34.5″x17.5″ – one piece will be the outside body and the other will be the inside. Fold one side of the fabric in 12″ – from the unfolded piece measure in 1″ and cut the fabric away on each side (pictured below). This will be the flap of the bag.

Step 0

Step 1
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Last night we stopped by MADE in downtown Phoenix to check out the “Crafting Panel: From Hobby to Business” and it was so fantastic we have to share! Thanks to Sam Greene who wrote a majority of this post – you’re the best! To the panelist, thanks so much for taking the time to share your knowledge, you guys rock! And thanks to the Downtown Phoenix Journal for posting about this event, we wouldn’t have known about it otherwise!

3 extra crafty ladies

Lisa Jacobs, a.k.a. Sticker Club Girl, creates jewelry, purses, wallets, hats, paper, books and clothing using recycled and vintage materials. She’s currently teaching art and is co-owner of Conspire, an Arts Collective in downtown Phoenix.

Kathy Cano-Murillo, the Crafty Chica, is a syndicated newspaper columnist, national TV personality, has her own product line and is the author of seven published books. Read her full bio here.

Cyndi Coon is co-creator of Laboratory5 which offers custom art commissions, paintings, ceramics, childrens books, stationery, textile pattern designs, temporary and permanent public art, teaching, workshops, training sessions, consulting services for artists and project management for art and social organizations.

MADE Art Boutique

madeThanks so much to MADE for hosting the event and to Cindy Dach who contributed lots to the discussion as well. Cindy is an artist and a writer, general manager of Changing Hands Bookstore in Tempe, a co-founder of Local First Arizona and owner of MADE Art Boutique.

The Panel

Each panelist presented their story of how they earned success as a crafter. During the discussion they fired off tons of tips for crafters and artists just starting out. Here are some of them!

Be persistent. Don’t be afraid to call a store 2 or 3 times. If you are wonderful, say so! Email editors of websites telling them why they should feature you. Start a database of businesses that fit your style and send them samples every year, even if you’ve been turned down before – buyers change often. Cyndi Coon says stalking got her where she is today.

Be considerate. The best time to approach a business owner is typically not when you are there shopping during a busy period.

Be helpful. Offer to demo your techniques for local tv shows or magazines. Send in press releases to newspapers with a picture. Add a few different angles into the press release – the least amount of work for the writer the better.

Be a little tricky. Write ‘materials requested’ on the outside of your package. These writer types are busy and don’t remember every contact or request! Always use FedEx, special deliveries skip the mail room and go right to their desk. If you’re having something delivered local, try to arrange it at the back door, this makes it seem special.

Ask questions. All three have frequented trade shows. They weren’t afraid to ask questions and studied up. People that are doing what they love are enthusiastic about sharing what they know. Be yourself and don’t worry what people think. Brush it off if you’re kicked out of a booth and wear tennis shoes!

Get online. A website can make you look bigtime – even if you are just one person working from a kitchen counter. Stop in on all the little communities. Crafy Chica thinks that “each site is like a little party – you want to make an appearance at each one!” Buy your domain name now! Even if you can’t put a website up. Seriously, they cost $10 a year. If you are going to blog, commit to it.

Consider your true goals. Do you want to paint 10,000 little pots to send to retail stores around the country? Do you want to be known for art – and be remembered for eternity? Do you want to be famous and in all the coolest magazines? If you don’t have a goal, you may end up down the road with a whole lot of work you didn’t plan for and not as happy as you should be.

Price it right. Be consistent – don’t sell on the street for $7 and $15 in a store. Make sure you know how much money you’re putting into each project, down to every envelope and last piece of thread.

Get business cards. Have some nice cards printed and hand them out to everyone! Put them in the little credit card books you get at a restaurant, hand them to your hairdresser and your banker.

Focus your brand. Market yourself under one brand – even if you have diverse mediums and interests. Working to get your name recognition up is your number one priority. Don’t multiply your marketing time by using multiple names.

Market yourself relentlessly. These ladies say that half of their work is marketing. Customers don’t always come to you.

Collaborate. Involve your friends, as customers or coworkers. Collectives can ease the burden of running a store or creating a product line. Have an art show or trunk show at your house close to a ‘buying time,’ such as the holidays or Mothers Day. You won’t strike it rich, but your friends will begin to recognize that you are serious about this! Meet other crafters and trade ideas. Get involved in your local community.

Diversify. Try to develop multiple ways of earning money. Licensing, authoring and teaching are good ways to supplement your “Artful Life”.

Bird embroidery A whale? Airplane? abstract embroidery Close up on stitches

Well, I’ve been embroider-ing every night. Now I just need to figure out what to do with them? I could frame them but that seems kinda boring. Hmmmmm….

Hello! I went to Joann’s on Friday to pick up some fabric for a new (secret!) project. I ended up leaving with a crazy book, Crazy Quilting – The Complete Guide. It has about a hundred different stitch and knot examples. I’ve been wanting to try freestyle embroidery ever since I saw the work of Takashi Iwasaki.

Here’s a sample:

Amazing right?! He has lots more to look at on his website: Takashi Iwasaki

Anyways, here’s my first attempt (in progress!)


I still want to add a lot but embroidery is SO much slower than the drawing that I’m used it. AND I really need to get off the computer and start on my new secret project which I’m VERY excited about. Here’s a hint!

sewing machine and green and brown fabric

And as a reminder, the newest addition to my workspace. Yes we can!


I made a bag this weekend that turned out so nice! I was inspired by this beautiful bag, by Morelle and followed this tutorial, on ‘Cut Out + Keep.’ I started a ‘make this’ folder and have added in tons of projects and tutorials I found over the weekend online – My mom recently bought me a sewing machine and I’m really starting to love it. I’ll be posting more about it here in the future and maybe make my own tutorial! I’m thinking of creating a notebook/pocket book to go with my DIY Planner template pages.

In other news, we haven’t sent out our wedding thank you’s yet. 2 1/2 months later! I’m sure that’s the hugest wedding faux pas of all time, but I’m hoping since they’re all handmade/stamped and have several 4×6 photos inside it’ll make up for it?! We started this afternoon and finished all of the cards and envelopes & I’m about halfway through all the messages inside, phew!

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Amanda Hawkins

Amanda Hawkins

Take care of little humans,
stare at tiny computer,
scribble on paper,
Maker of DIY Planners and 🎨 artist; front-end web developer and designer well-versed in CSS & WordPress. Make music with RBK & as Love Morris. Check out if you're interested in hiring me for WordPress dev. Subscribe to a newsletter I never send out. Connect on Instagram & Twitter.

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