Why Should the Kids Have All the Fun?

I’ve discovered a new craft. Actually, it is just an extension of paper crafting which I have been doing for a while. Ready for it….adult colouring!

It all begins with a Digital Stamp, which is really just a digital image (clip art?) that someone has designed. You can get them for free or buy them for a few dollars. They are jpeg or png files, so after downloading you can put them in Word or Photoshop to manipulate and then print them.

Then the colouring begins! Digital stamps can be coloured digitally of course, but the fun for me is colouring with pencil crayons, markers, paints, ink, chalk, or even crayons! Cut them out, attach them to a card, and good to go.

I’m still new at this, so the best I’ve come up with is very basic and monotone. Here is an example:

(I can’t find the maker of this image at the moment, but will fill it in when I can. Crediting artists is very important.)

However, when you become really good (or are just naturally talented), the colouring can have shading and multiple hues and look like this:

(See Pattie’s blog for image credits.)

Of course you can spend absolutely oodles of money on this, especially on the special Copic markers that were originally designed for Manga comics. But I’m making due what I can find amongst children’s crafts supplies and am still really enjoying it. I actually don’t remember enjoying colouring all that much as a kid, so maybe that’s why I’m so excited about it now.

A couple of months ago I joined a network for digital stamp enthusiast called Crafter’s Digital Art Center. After a call for business-minded crafters, I’m now on their board of advisers for the next few months. It is fun and keeps my brain busy. I feel like I’m on the other side of the AbeBooks Advisory Group all over again. Hilarious! But our group is a lot less cranky.

The other great thing is that this is something Annie and I do together. We look through all my saved images and I print them full size for her to colour, while I do a smaller version for me to make cards with. Excellent bonding time for sure.

And I was shocked how big the “industry” is. Even the small number of sites that I’m aware of have over 100,000 members combined. Now I’m sure there is lots of duplication there, but still. At first I was surprised that people devote so much effort to this, but I guess in terms of your entertainment time, it is a great deal better for the mind and spirit than watching another reality TV show. And now that I’m addicted, it feels totally normal.

I’ve even done a tiny bit of colouring on my Christmas cards (as with every year, I use the term “Christmas” loosely in terms of when you will see them in you mailbox), but since there are so many I didn’t go crazy.

I wonder what is next. Rediscovering rug hooking? Let’s hope not.

On Being Crafty

I discovered crafting rather late in life. As I child I hooked a few rugs (does anyone even do that anymore? It seems soooo 70’s), but as I couldn’t draw (and still can’t), other crafts seemed daunting.

In my 20’s my friend showed me how to bead necklaces, and that hooked me. I made jewelry for several years (on and off), until Annie was born. And then after I had taken 3,000 pictures of the girl (really…not an exaggeration), I figured scrapbooking made sense. And I love it! (Well, as those who know me will attest, it is more accurate to say I enjoy scrapbooking but LOVE buying scrapbook supplies. It has something to do with the potential of creating something beautiful, I think.)

And the last couple of years, all those supplies certainly have come in handy! Not many days go by without Annie and I cutting and pasting and coloring. Annie loves my punches that turn paper into fun shapes and of course there is always glitter. Glitter, glitter everywhere! I find it on my skin and clothes and floor and sometimes Markus even gets a bit sparkly after a big hug.

Oddly, and somewhat reminiscent of the 1950’s, scrapbook supplies actually make me feel like a better mom. Annie goes to an English group with 4 other children, and earlier in the year I got mixed up and didn’t realize that it was my turn to organize the class. The organizer usually reads a book and then the children make a craft. We try to have some kind of theme to tie it together. An hour before we were to start, I pulled a snowman book from Annie’s shelf  and then openend my craft drawers to get busy. Forms to cut circles in various sizes, googley eyes, coloured construction paper, coloured felt for the scarf, hole punches (in 3 sizes), and voila! Everyone could make a snowman to go with the theme of the day. I went looking for glue sticks for the kids to use and discovered I had 5 of them. 5? There are only 3 people living here…why do I have 1.66 glue sticks per household resident? Because you never know!! And there you go…what a (seemingly) organized and  never-let-my-child-down Mama I am!

It was a natural transition from scrapbooking to card making. I remember saying to a friend that I didn’t understand why people made cards, as they didn’t last for years like a scrapbook. But then I sent a few and felt great about doing something so personal for  someone I cared about, and of course all the feedback was a good ego boost.

cardBilder 1038

I’m quite excited to have more space for crafting in my new apartment. With 60+ Christmas cards that need to be made for next year, I’d better get cracking!

Annie Get Your Shot

The other day Annie asked to take some pictures with my camera. She has had a semi-obsession with cameras since watching the Elmo video (again and again) that talks about taking pictures. She went around the house saying: “Now I’m taking a picture of my giraffe, now I’m taking a picture of the chair, now I’m taking a picture of mommy.” Hilarious.

Here are the some of the shots of the world from a toddler’s view. Interesting angles and, of course, mostly blurry; tough for a little girl to stop moving. These are going to make a great scrapbooking page!







My Nod to Domesticity

I had such a great day today. And no, there were no tours through castles, no jaunts off to Paris or London, and not even German class. I had the day completely to myself for 8 blissful hours. Sweet!

And what did I do with this precious time? Crafts of course!! I don’t cook, I hate (HATE!) cleaning, and frankly I don’t care if the cutlery, flatware and place mats match. But I did discover, somewhat late in adulthood, that I adore being crafty. It is really my only domestic interest and, dare I say, talent. As a child I was always terrified of art class as I couldn’t draw my way out of a wet paper bag if I had a gun to my head (serious metaphor mixing but you get my point), so never thought of myself as someone who would be interested in anything remotely artistic.

But then a friend got me onto beading and it snowballed into scrapbooking and now here I am, seriously lucky that craft supplies are not as expensive as heroin, because I am that addicted.

So while Markus helped a friend build a float for a festival in January (don’t ask, I don’t have any details) and his wife looked after Annie, I made Christmas cards. I hopped on my bike, pieced together enough embellishments (no, I didn’t create the penguins myself), cards, stamps and ribbon from three sad little hobby/paper shops here (ever heard of Michales people?!) and got down to work. When I was employed and time was so precious, I remember thinking that I wouldn’t ever bother to make cards, as people just throw them away. But now with time on my hands, I’m going for it and am having a great time. Of course, I only made 11 cards in 5 hours, so at my regular rate plus supplies, each card would cost about $25.00, but well worth it for the fun factor.

Here are the results:

I made these!!
I made these!!

I had to make 2 of these, they were so damn cute.
I had to make 2 of these, they were so damn cute.

By the end of the afternoon I was going a bit crazy, hand punching little stars onto sparkly paper and pasting them together to have a dimensional effect before gluing to the card. Luckily Rebecca reminded me that I had mentioned I was going to take break three cards ago and I was finally able to pull the plug.

But don’t expect some great European adventure next Wednesday when I am off from school; it is going to be all card making, all day. And if you want one of these lovingly created pieces, just send me your address (of the snail mail variety…these ain’t e-cards.)