Editor Spotlight: The Beauty of Imperfection by Danielle Mohler

November 20th, 2014

Danielle Mohler - Editor of Artful Blogging

The world of artful blogging is simply amazing. From wildly popular authentic living spaces to digital studios that offer artists a place to showcase their work, there are many different types of creative blogs on the internet. More importantly, in my opinion, there’s a strong sense of community, which helps to nurture and strengthen artists from all walks of life. Today we’re shinning the spotlight on a very special person, Danielle Mohler, the editor of Artful Blogging.

Grab your notes, your camera, and get ready for a little inspiration — please join me in giving Danielle a warm Somerset Place welcome.

~*~

Artful Blogging Winter 2015~Photograph by Kim Klassen

Like many people, my day-to-day life follows a routine that rarely changes. On weekdays, I wake up and stumble to the kitchen to turn on the coffee pot before spending a few moments with my kitty, Holly Golightly, who sure likes to talk in the morning; that is, until her food bowl is replenished. Over the next hour, I get dressed, make lunch, and head off to work. Even at the office, I have a routine: I warm up whatever is left of my coffee and make breakfast while my computer turns on. I am not a morning person, but I sure do love those first few moments at work sipping coffee and catching up with my favorite bloggers. It sets the tone for my day and surrounds me with creative inspiration. In my line of work, this inspiration is crucial.

 

Artful Blogging Winter 2015~Photograph by  Anetta Bosakova and Stephanie Dahlsrud

I have been an editor at Stampington & Company for about two years now, having the opportunity to manage a few of our titles. Each publication is a thrill to work on, but the newest one I manage also warms my heart. My first issue of Artful Blogging hit newsstands at the beginning of this month. As I put together the issue, I was amazed at the bloggers, the stories they shared, and their outstanding photography. Many of them told stories about their blogging journey, their longing for perfection, and their misconstrued concepts about photography.

 

Artful Blogging Winter 2015~Photograph by Jesi Haack

One thing I love about blogging is its vulnerability. My favorite blogs are the ones showcasing the flops, mistakes, and errors along with the successes. They show me the importance of laughing off blunders, instead of getting bent out of shape. After following blogs for a while, I feel as if I know the bloggers. I look forward to new posts and sympathize with them during hard times. It’s a magical experience where you travel with them through their highs and lows all from your own computer. Sometimes this means saying goodbye, when a blogger decides it’s time to take a step back and re-evaluate priorities. It can feel like losing a friend.

 

Artful Blogging Winter 2015~Photograph by Krisha Hinkle

The desire to be flawless spills over into every aspect of life, including blogging. Often, bloggers strive for the best stories and photographs in each blog post to attract more and more followers. This issue of Artful Blogging features inspiring bloggers who have risen above this idea of perfection. I think Krisha Hinkle sums it up just right (p. 80): “These days, I measure the success of my blog by how little time I spend perfecting it.”

 

Artful Blogging Winter 2015~Photograph by Beth McWilliams

So many things in life can’t be controlled no matter how hard we try. Perfection is merely an idea that can never actually be attained because, at the end of the day, we are all human. When I truly consider it, I believe life would be quite boring if everyone was perfect. The quirky details and hairy back stories make for interesting people. Even though I majored in English in college, I still misspell a word every now and then, and that’s OK. Instead of aiming for perfection, I have learned to enjoy imperfections. Nowadays, my goal is to take each day at face value. I can’t wait to see where this new mindset takes me.

~*~

Artful Blogging Winter 2015~Photograph by Courtney Kennedy

Who hasn’t dreamed of starting their very own blog and reaching across time and space to touch the lives of complete strangers? If you’ve considered it, maybe it’s time to start! Thank you to Danielle Mohler for sharing a bit of your insight into the world of authentic and artful blogging.

 

Use Code BLOG1114 to get $5 off Artful Blogging

Artful Blogging Winter 2015Immerse yourself in the breathtaking photos and captivating stories of some of the world’s most creative bloggers in this issue of Artful Blogging — and because we love our blog readers, you can get $5 off the winter issue.





Sarah Artful Living ,,

The world of artful blogging is simply amazing. From wildly popular authentic living spaces to digital studios that offer artists a place to showcase their work, there are many different types of creative blogs on the internet. More importantly, in my opinion, there’s a strong sense of community, which helps to nurture and strengthen artists […]

Stuffed Canvas Dolls by Guest Artist Connie Fong

November 17th, 2014

Stuffed Canvas Dolls by Guest Artist Connie Fong - Display



Art dolls are such a unique way to express creativity, but they can be a little intimidating — especially when you don’t even know what a ball-joint is. That’s what attracted me so much to Connie Fong’s little stuffed dolls. Their assemblage is straight forward and simple enough, while their actual presentation leaves space for trying out and showing off artistic technique. After finding these charming dolls on Connie’s blog, I was very excited to invite her to become a guest artist for Somerset Place. You can only imagine how overjoyed I was when she agreed!


Now, without further ado, please help me welcome the extraordinarily talented Connie Fong to our creative corner of the internet.

~*~

I’ve dabbled in most creative areas including jewelry, art journaling, paper dolls, sewing, scrapbooking, and card making; however, I recently just started making dolls. I always thought painting faces was going to be a challenge, so I never pursued this area until I took a wonderful class with mixed-media artist, Danita. After taking her class, I made several dolls and gained the confidence I needed to pursue further doll making; that’s when I signed up for Mindy Lacefield’s class on Primitive Portraits. I love Mindy’s style and her online classes are great — she takes you step-by-step, gives helpful tips, and she shares what supplies she likes to use. I took her style and added my own touch and turned my drawings into these stuffed dolls.

 

Stuffed Canvas Dolls Material List:

Canvas Fabric or White Duck Cloth Fabric
White Gesso
Multi-Media Paper
Canvas Photo Paper (This paper can be purchased at most office supply stores)
Ink Jet Printer
Watercolors
Paint Brushes
Acrylic Paint
Soft Lead Pencil (9B)
Stabilo Pencil
Blending Stump
Tissue Paper (I used Metro Tissue Paper)
Adhesive (I used Mod Podge)
Sewing Machine
Black Thread
Polyfil
Small Embellishments

 

Stuffed Canvas Dolls Project Tutorial by Connie Fong:

There are two methods I use to create these stuffed dolls. One method is to draw and paint the doll directly onto the canvas fabric and the other is to draw and paint onto some mixed-media paper and then transfer the image onto canvas photo paper using a printer. Personally, I prefer the second method because then you can reuse your original doll image over and over again for different purposes, such as making other stuffed dolls or taking the image and using it on a greeting card or art journal. I’ll take you through the steps for each method.

 

Method One – Drawing/Painting Stuffed Canvas Dolls Directly onto Duck Cloth Fabric or Canvas Fabric

Stuffed Canvas Dolls by Guest Artist Connie Fong - White Gesso

Step 1 – Cut a rectangular piece of duck cloth fabric about 8 inches tall and 5-1/2 inches wide (you can also use Canvas Fabric).

Step 2 – Paint some white gesso over the center portion of the fabric where you will be drawing the doll, and let dry before continuing.

Stuffed Canvas Dolls by Guest Artist Connie Fong - Drawing Doll

Step 3 – Once dry, use a soft lead pencil to draw an oval for the face. Pencil in the eyes, nose and mouth, then draw the neck and body.

Step 4 – Next, watercolor the face. Try to blend the colors and add some shading and depth by making the edges of the face darker and lightening the color towards the center.

Stuffed Canvas Dolls by Guest Artist Connie Fong  - Painting Dress

Step 5 – Use black acrylic paint to fill in the eyes, eye lids, and brows.  Use a very tiny brush and some magenta acrylic paint and color in the lips. Use watercolor to fill in the neck and arms. Don’t forget to create some shading under the neck and on the sides of the arms. Also, paint over the entire dress area, creating shading on the top and sides of the dress. Finally, outline the lower half of the face, neck and arms with the Stabilo pencil to create a darker line. If the line is too bold, you can soften it with a blending stump.

Stuffed Canvas Dolls by Guest Artist Connie Fong - Painting

Step 6 – To paint the hair, use a small bristle paint brush — the stiffer the better. Paint the doll’s hair with acrylic paint using light strokes around the head.

Step 7 – When the paint is dry, cut out a square piece of Metro tissue paper that’s slightly larger than the dress area. Lay the tissue paper on top of the dress area and trace the shape of the dress with a pencil. Cut the tissue paper accordingly and adhere the tissue onto the fabric with Mod Podge or glue ( you can see an example of this in method two).

 

Method Two – Drawing/Painting Stuffed Canvas Doll onto Multi-Media Paper

Stuffed Canvas Dolls by Guest Artist Connie Fong - Painting

Step 1 – Follow the same steps as method one to draw and paint the doll, except this time paint directly onto multi-media paper. Don’t worry, multi-media paper is sturdy enough to hold watercolor and acrylic paint.

Stuffed Canvas Dolls by Guest Artist Connie Fong - Dress

Step 2 – Once you’re done drawing and painting your doll and adding the Metro tissue paper for the dress, you’re ready to copy the image onto canvas photo paper. Insert the canvas photo paper into your inkjet printer as if it was regular paper, following manufacturer’s directions.

Step 3 – Photocopy your original image onto the canvas photo paper.

 

Finishing your Stuffed Canvas Dolls:

Stuffed Canvas Dolls by Guest Artist Connie Fong - Dolls

Step 1 – Once you have your image painted onto fabric, using the method of your choosing, you’re ready to create the stuffed doll.

Stuffed Canvas Dolls by Guest Artist Connie Fong - Sewing

Step 2 – Lay some blank canvas fabric underneath your doll image and sew around the image, creating a pocket and leaving the bottom portion open. I personally like sewing around the image twice using black thread, it adds dimension and a decorative touch.

Stuffed Canvas Dolls by Guest Artist Connie Fong - Stuffing

Step 3 – Trim the excess fabric, leaving approximately a quarter of an inch edge. Stuff the doll with polyfil, and once fully stuffed, sew the bottom of the doll closed.

Step 4 – Finish your doll with embellishments such as buttons, ribbons, flowers, or anything else you want.

Stuffed Canvas Dolls by Guest Artist Connie Fong



I hope you try your hand at making one of these dolls; you’ll be surprised by how easy it is! Also, thank you, Mindy, for providing me inspiration with those primitive portraits.

~*~

Thank you so much, Connie Fong, for the great tutorial. These little stuffed dolls would make great stocking stuffers or even Christmas tree ornaments. You could make one in the likeness of each member of your family, or gift them to creative friends. I think they would be darling on a baby mobile!

We’d love to know how you would use them — let us know in the comment section below.

Don’t forget to visit Connie Fong on her blog: ArtfulPlay

 

See More of Connie Fong’s Work in Somerset Studio Gallery

Somerset Studio Gallery Winter 2015Somerset Studio Gallery is filled with hundreds of samples of extraordinary artwork presented up close and in detail. Whether your passion is rubber stamping, calligraphy, or paper crafting, this latest issue of Gallery features everything you love about Somerset Studio including more of Connie Fong’s unique artwork.



Sarah How-To Project Tutorials ,,,,,,,,,

Art dolls are such a unique way to express creativity, but they can be a little intimidating — especially when you don’t even know what a ball-joint is. That’s what attracted me so much to Connie Fong’s little stuffed dolls. Their assemblage is straight forward and simple enough, while their actual presentation leaves space for […]

DIY and Ready-Made: 8 Creative Stocking Stuffers

November 13th, 2014

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Who doesn’t love getting a small but thoughtful gift in their Christmas stocking? From creative art supplies to ready-made products that delight and inspire the inner muse, stocking stuffers offer us a unique opportunity to share our creativity, while also giving functional and beautiful gifts to those we love and appreciate. Inspired by the upcoming holiday seasons and the spirit of giving, we’ve put together our top 8 ideas for creative stocking stuffers.  

Creative Stocking Stuffers

  Affirmation Bracelet Project

 

1. Affirmation Bracelet Project

There’s nothing quite as wonderful as finding that little tell-tale box inside your stocking. You just know it’s jewelry! But a piece of hand-crafted jewelry with an uplifting affirmation written across its surface would make anyone feel special. This creative bracelet project uses Tim Holtz’s metal word bands and some basic jewelry making techniques.

Click here to see even more jewelry making projects.

 

Patterened Tapes Collection for Stocking Stuffers



2. Patterned Tape

From vintage and airmail to stripes, polka dots, and chevron designs, we have the perfect assortment of patterned tapes to give anyone from budding new artists or advanced mixed-media crafters. Give a roll or two as part of an art set or set someone up with a full collection!

Click here to see our full assortment of patterned tapes.  

Mini Art Pops Moleskine Journals Project for Stocking Stuffers

3. Mini Art Pops Moleskine Journals

Who doesn’t love a brand-new journal? Better yet a fresh new Moleskine journal, with a personalized cover by their all-time favorite artist — you! With three in every set, you can personalize a journal for all your friends and family.

Click here to see even more mini book & journal projects.

 

Smart Device Skins - Creative Stocking Stuffers



4. Smart Device Skins

Give the gift of inspiration with Kelly Rae Robert’s smart skins. These bright and beautiful finds are compatible with the iPad mini and the iPad 3, iPhone 4, 5, and 5s, and Samsung Galaxy S3 and S4. They’re easy to install and provide on-the-go creativity as well as protective functionality for smart phones and tablets.

Click here to see our full collection of Kelly Rae Robert products and explore even more skin and case designs.  
 

Homemade Lip Balm Project

5. Coconut Lemon Lip Balm Project

Not only is making your own lip balm fun and easy, it’s also incredibly addictive and it makes for a unique stocking stuffer gift! These little balms are the perfect project because you can make them in bulk and gift them to all your friends. Plus, these darling little metal tins can be altered and personalized and who wouldn’t appreciate a chemical-free, homemade lip balm?

Click here to see more homemade bath and body projects.

 

Artistic Magnets for Stocking Stuffers



6. Inspiring Magnet Art

Make a midnight-snack a touch more inspiring by helping your friends and family dress up their refrigerators with a colorful assortment of magnets. These artsy magnets are inspired by Kelly Rae Robert’s unique mixed-media collage style and are available as functional clips, ornamental pendants, and flat inspiring phrases and images. They’re the perfect size to stuff into a stocking, and they work great on any metal surface.

Click here to see our full collection of Kelly Rae Robert products and explore even stocking stuffer ideas.  
 
Three Ways to Use Essential Oils for Stocking Stuffers

7. Three Ways to Use Essential Oils

This three-in-one project was created by our wonderful editor-in-chief, Christen Hammons, and provides fun and easy ways to incorporate essential oils into some of our favorite bath and body products. First up is a formula for a fresh-scented linen spray; next is a simple to recreate room freshening spray; and last, but not least, is a super simple bath salt recipe. Christen also provides detailed instructions for artfully packaging these homemade creations. Drop one, two, or all three of these unique gifts into a stocking — you can’t go wrong!

Click here to see more homemade bath and body projects.

 

Cavallini & Co. Rubber Stamp Sets for Stocking Stuffers



8. Cavallini & Co. Rubber Stamp Sets

Cavallini’s classic designs of wood-mounted stamps are captured in assortments of gift-worthy tin sets. Each darling set contains a creative array of high quality stamps based on authentic, vintage designs. They’re perfect for card making, mixed-media projects, collaging, and more. This is a great stocking stuffer for beginning or advanced stampers, and if you want to go a step further, you can even pair it up with our latest issue of The Stampers Sampler.

Click here to browse our collection of Cavallini & Co. products.

~*~

Whether you’re shopping for friends and family, or looking for a little gift for yourself, our extensive collection of artful products is a great place to find unique and thoughtful stocking stuffers. You don’t have to break the bank to share inspiration — we offer ready-made finds and creative project ideas to help you find that perfect something that shows your appreciation for someone else.

 

Make Your Holidays Memorable with our Handmade Collection

Handmande Holiday Collection - Stocking StuffersIf you’re searching for some more handcrafted inspiration for the holidays, look no further than our new Handmade Holidays Collection! We’ve assembled a crafty assortment of unique packaging and easy-to-follow gift projects, seasonal issues, and products that are well suited for crafting homemade gifts. Show your loved ones that they are worth your artistic energy and mean more than a trip to the store.

Click here to explore our Handmade Holidays Collection



Sarah HolidaysHow-To Project Tutorials ,,,,,,

Who doesn’t love getting a small but thoughtful gift in their Christmas stocking? From creative art supplies to ready-made products that delight and inspire the inner muse, stocking stuffers offer us a unique opportunity to share our creativity, while also giving functional and beautiful gifts to those we love and appreciate. Inspired by the upcoming […]

A Caption Contest with a Creative Twist!

November 10th, 2014
Caption Contest with a twist - Artful Blogging Summer 2014~Photograph by Tara Morris from the pages of Artful Blogging Summer 2014


 

Caption Contest with a Twist - Artful Blogging Spring 2014~Photograph by Diana Elizabeth from the pages of Artful Blogging Summer 2014


 

Caption Contest with a Twist - Artful Blogging Autumn 2013~Photograph by Tracia Whitmer from the pages of Artful Blogging Winter 2014


Inspiration comes in many shapes and forms — sometimes it’s a found object, sometimes it comes from our animal companions, and sometimes it’s simply the beauty of nature. Whatever the case may be, inspiration has a funny way of rousing different parts of our mind. The right image at the right time can conjure colors, words, sounds, and feelings, all of which can lead to the creation of new art or the appreciation of old masterpieces.

For example, while flipping through the pages of the autumn 2013 issue of Artful Blogging, I saw Tracia Whitmer’s photograph of a lonesome road bathed in sunlight. I immediately thought of “The Road Not Taken” by Robert Frost:

I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere age and ages hence:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I—
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.

What quote, poem, song, or narrative does this photograph remind you of?

 

Quote the Image Caption Contest Giveaway

[This giveaway has ended.]

This caption contest with a twist is a great creative exercise. The three featured images on this post by Tracia Whitmer, Tara Morris, and Diana Elizabeth are extraordinary! They capture nature’s majesty, a child’s curiosity, and the spirit of a true adventurer.

Select one of the three featured images, and find a quote, snippet of a song, a line from a poem, or even a portion of a beloved narrative that somehow resonates with it and then share it in the comment section below.

 

How to enter:

  1. Click the “Pin-it” button for your favorite photograph and share it on Pinterest with your friends.
  2. Leave us a comment on the blog with the most fitting caption that you can think of.

The person with the most “fitting” caption will receive a magazine of their choice (a value of $14.99 or less)!

Contest ends on November 30th, 2014.



Sarah Artful LivingContests and Giveaways ,,,

~Photograph by Tara Morris from the pages of Artful Blogging Summer 2014   ~Photograph by Diana Elizabeth from the pages of Artful Blogging Summer 2014   ~Photograph by Tracia Whitmer from the pages of Artful Blogging Winter 2014 Inspiration comes in many shapes and forms — sometimes it’s a found object, sometimes it comes from […]

A Charming and Functional Recipe Journal Project

November 6th, 2014

Family Recipe Journal Cover



There’s nothing quite as charming as an old family recipe book that gets passed down from generation to generation. It’s especially nice to pull that book out now that Thanksgiving is just around the corner. But if you’ve ever had a recipe book, then you know that the pages within this precious family heirloom have a tendency to be dynamic. Recipes change over the years, and each generation adds a little something extra or adjusts things more to their own personal liking. The pages of a recipe book are alive with creativity, love, and delicious secrets!

This project is about starting your own family recipe journal, which is a bit more functional than a book. By using a ring binder you can add or remove pages, use page pockets, and even insert envelopes — pretty much anything that can be hole-punched is fair game. This particular project is beautiful, practical, and perfect for the holidays.

Materials for the Family Recipe Journal Project:

Ringed Binder
Ephemera
7gypsie Printed Postcards
Tag Envelopes
Tim Holtz’s Idea-ology Page Pockets
Ecology Natural Filler Kraft Paper
Grubby Tags
Rub-On Stickers
Pen

Family Recipe Journal Clipping



Family Recipe Journal Project Tutorial

Step 1 – First and foremost, you’ll want to pick a ringed binder — for this project we used one of Tim Holtz Idea-ology designs.

Step 2 – Write your recipes directly onto various pieces of ephemera. We wrote some of our recipes on 7gypsie printed postcards and envelopes. The envelopes are especially handy because you can stuff them with recipes written on tags, cut-outs from magazines, or recipes printed from online sources.

Family Recipe Journal Ephemera



Step 3 – You can also use Tim Holtz’s Idea-ology Page Pockets. The pockets are great for adding handwritten recipe sheets, or those recipes that you find on the back of food packaging like flour, oatmeal boxes, and other similar items. We even wrote some recipes on the Ecology Natural Filler Kraft Paper and Grubby Tags, which added a sweet rustic and worn look to our journal.

Family Recipe Journal Tag

Step 4 – Next, punch holes into all of the ephemera pieces, envelopes, and journal pages that you’re using and bind them together in your binder.

Step 5 – Add some decorative rub-ons to the cover of the album for an elegant, finishing touch.

This is a fun and functional project with a lot of creative potential. It’s a great way to start collecting treasured family recipes as well as a lovely way to commemorate the recipes used during a special occasion like Christmas or Thanksgiving. Make one for yourself and watch the pages multiply with tasty new concoctions, or get one started with a few of your favorite recipes and gift it to a friend or family member.

Want Even More Inspiring Holiday Projects?

Holiday and Special Occasion CollectionThe holiday season is upon us, but there’s still plenty of time to craft some homemade party favors, décor accents, seasonal cards, treat bags, and much more! Explore our entire collection of holiday-themed projects and find over 160 creative ideas to help make this time of year a little extra festive.

 

Click here to visit our Holiday and Special Occasion Collection.



Sarah How-To Project Tutorials ,,,

There’s nothing quite as charming as an old family recipe book that gets passed down from generation to generation. It’s especially nice to pull that book out now that Thanksgiving is just around the corner. But if you’ve ever had a recipe book, then you know that the pages within this precious family heirloom have […]