Monday, December 1, 2014

Giveaway Winner

Sorry I'm a bit late with the draw.  It was a crazy weekend.

The winner of the "Daily Zen Doodles" book by Meera Lee Patel is Ann-Marie Burgdorf.

Congratulations Ann-Marie and thanks everyone for entering.


Sunday, November 23, 2014

Mixed Media Angel Block

The Christmas rush is coming…I've spent the last week doing all the clay projects, I have 2 more weeks of Christmas themed projects and then I'm prepping for Christmas craft day.

I'm exhausted just thinking about it :)

Here is a angel that Grade 6 will start tomorrow.

The substrate is wood. I had my carpenter 'father in law' cut hundreds of these for projects.  The planks are 1.5" thick and 7.5" wide. They come in 8 ft lengths and are cut square.

You could also use canvas, cardboard, or canvas board.

They are thick enough to sit on a mantle or shelf.

I'll give you the full "how to" in just a minute but first…

from Ulysses Press

…how about a giveaway!

Daily Zen Doodles is a new book by Meera Lee Patel. It's a little workbook filled with prompts for doodling and inspirational quotes to help you relax and focus during your busy year.

With the holiday season upon us we all need a little time to slow down and quiet our minds a bit.

I try to do some drawing everyday, whether it's faces, my corner of the staff room, or what I see outside my window. It calms me and helps me think so I can plan out those 24 different Christmas projects or whatever else is on agenda.

This book is a great way to get you started.

I'll put the give-away details at the end of this post.

Now back to the angels.


- substrate, mine is wood and is 7.5" square
- acrylic paint in white, blue, and purple
- some everyday items for printmaking, pencils, lids, cups, etc.
- sandpaper, optional
- metallic acrylic paint in gold and silver
- Crayola Model Magic, you'll need a golf ball sized portion
- tacky glue
- iridescent glitter glue, I use an opal or clear type that works with your base colour
- wax paper
- scrap of kraft paper or a brown bag
- tan coloured card stock
- coloured pencils
- old book page
- some embellishments, I used a sequin star and some metallic foam (a placemat)
- mod podge for sealing
- printed text from the computer, "all is calm, all is bright"


Take your wood, sand any rough sides if needed.

Paint the 4 sides and the front with white acrylic paint.

Set aside to dry.

Take your scrap of kraft paper and paint it white.

Set aside to dry.

Take a piece of wax paper, 6" or so wide, and crumple into a ball.

Flatten out the wax paper.  Using the leftover white paint print some shapes onto it with some everyday tools.

I using circle shapes.  I like to use ends of pencils and dowels, little shooter cups I get from the dollar store and corks.

While our painting is drying we will make the body of our angel.

Give each student a golf ball sized portion of model magic.  I like using model magic in my mixed media projects.  It's expensive so we only use it for one part and I tend to use my 40% off coupons at Michael's to buy it.

Have the kids flatten out the model magic. Our backgrounds are 7.5" square so we don't want our body too big. Around 9cm or 3.5" max. I pre cut some strips of paper to use as a guide and you could also get the kids to measure with their rulers.

Model magic is easy to cut. We just use a plastic knife.

Cut a nice triangle shaped body.

Now we want to texturize our model magic.  I'm using a bottle lid and a glue lid.  I'm also using my new favourite clay tools. These are cupcake decorating tools that I found at the Dollar store. I get 8 tools each with 2 ends for $1.

I bought 12 sets!

Leave your model magic to dry overnight on a paper towel.

When the wood slab dries we want to add our background colour.  We are going for a distressed look, we want to see some white poking thru.

Using a dry brush and being careful to only use little amounts of paint at a time brush on the background colour.

Let dry.

When it's dry you can distress it further by sanding some of the paint off.

Your kraft paper should be dry by now.  Using the inside of my masking tape roll as a template I traced out a circle for my halo.

I want a rich detailed design for my halo.

Squeeze out a little gold and silver paint. To make my design I use cut pieces of cardboard, dipping the ends into the paint and making lines.  Corrugated cardboard gives you a nice ripple. I'm also using my glue lid again, end of a pencil, and the end of a paint brush or wooden skewer.

Let dry.

I use up my leftover metallic paint by painting my old book page.  Metallics tend to be translucent but you can add a bit of water so it's more of a wash.  You want to still see the text.

This will be used for the arms so each student only needs a quarter of the page.

When your model magic is dry paint with acrylic paint.  I used purple.

Squeeze out a little glitter glue onto your wax paper and then using your finger smear it on top of the paint.

While my body and halo are drying I work on the face.

I have a range of flesh toned card stock for the kids to choose from.  They only need a little square.  Using a plastic shooter cup (yes it's those same ones from the Dollar store) trace out a circle.

Using coloured pencils I add the hair and rosy cheeks.  With a sharpie I add eyelids and a smile.

Your angel could have open eyes if you prefer.

Cut out the halo and glue near the top of the background.

Glue the face into the middle of the halo.

To make the wings fold the printed wax paper in half.

Cut a leaf shape on the fold so you have 2 wings.

To attach to the background I use mod podge.  I use the mod podge instead of glue because I want it to dry clear.  Glue can sometimes dry cloudy and you would see it thru the wings as they are a bit translucent.

Glue on the body of the angel.  I just use tacky glue.

For the feet I cut 2 circles from a gold placemat. (Dollar store again)

Cut the book page into strips for the arms.  I added a sequin star.

I printed out the text "all is calm, all is bright".

I added some colour with some disk tempera.

Glue onto the background.

Finally you can add a coat of Mod podge to add a nice shiny finish and help keep everything in place.

That's it.

If you are interested in winning your own copy of "Daily Zen Doodles" by Meera Lee Patel you can enter by doing one of the following:

- leave a comment on this post
- like or comment on this post on my Facebook page
- or send me an email at

I'll make the draw on Friday Nov 28th/14.

Good luck everyone.

A big thank-you to Ulysses Press for sponsoring this giveaway!


Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Poppies in the Art Journal

Looking for a poppy themed art project for the art journal…..or maybe the bulletin board.

This is a very easy poppy project, no special supplies.


- paper or journal page
- reference photo
- black washable markers, the regular crayola, Mr. Sketch, etc.
- disk tempera paint
- red paper, optional
- glue, optional
- fine sharpie or your favourite pen if you want to add text to your page


A big thanks to Mrs. Werbicki who was the inspiration for this project. She used this technique a lot, doing leaves, then pumpkins, and finally poppies in Grade 2.

Provide students with a reference photo to point them in the right direction.

Have them draw some poppies.  I like to stress that poppies can be irregular, no perfect petals.
We also tend to see them at different angles, not all straight on.  We may only see half of one, the side view of another.

This will make the drawing look more realistic right off the bat.

Add a pod or 2.

You now need those washable markers. Most kids have them with their school supplies.

Outline all the flowers.

Using disk tempera start painting in the poppies.  We work from lightest colour to darkest.

We want variation in the colour of  our poppies so paint some parts yellow.

Add some orange and then some red. The colours all start to mingle and we get that variation I mentioned.

Add some green for the stems and pods.  Finally add some black in the centres.

I also splashed some paint on my background.

Here is where the magic happens.  The water in the paint makes the marker start to smear creating   a great soft look.

Take some red paper.  Here I have some extra painted paper I had.  I ran it thru my cuttlebug with an embossing folder to get some nice texture.

Cut out the letters for Poppy.

Glue the letters on your page and then add some text, a poem, or just your thoughts on Remembrance Day.

That's it.


Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Poppy Inchies

I recently completed these Poppy inchies with a Grade 5/6 class in honour of Remembrance Day.

The students made all 4 and then picked their 3 favourite to be mounted on 1"x 4" boards that are cut in 12" lengths.

Here they are up on the bulletin board. We completed them in two 1hr. sessions.

Please note: Like all my inchie projects each one of these squares can be done as a large project.


- 1"x 4" fence board cut into 12" lengths, you could also use black paper
- 4 watercolour paper inchies, we used 3"x 3" inchies
- cereal or cracker box cardboard, about 3" square
- scraps of corrugated cardboard
- drywall filler
- masking tape
- acrylic or tempera paint in red, blue, black, green, yellow and white
- disk tempera in red
- black and red paper scraps
- white paper, about 3" square
- old book pages
- tacky glue
- black button
- black pony bead
- black pencil crayon and/or fine black sharpie
- oil pastels in yellow and orange


We started by painting our boards with black acrylic paint.  We painted the front and the 4 sides.

Set aside to dry.

Now when I do inchies with the kids we work on several at once, when one stage is drying we are working on another step/inchie.  But it's easier for me to explain the steps for each inchie one at a time.

We will start with our Georgia O'Keeffe inchie. I tell the kids that O'Keeffe took a bee's eye view when painting flowers.

Give each student a length of masking tape, about 6 inches or so.

Have them cut it into 3 pieces.

Have them cut each piece in half lengthwise using a wavy or curvy line.

Choose 3 and tape off 3 corners.  Make sure the tape goes from one side to the other.  It's OK if a white corner peeks out.

Take the orange and yellow oil pastels. Make a outline next to the tape.  Then do a inner outline.

Using disk tempera paint inside the tape.  The kids can mix up a second shade of red to add. Just add a touch of blue for a darker red or a touch of yellow for a lighter red.

Set aside to dry.

Remove the tape.

Use a sponge and add some black acrylic to the one corner that had no tape.

Using black pencil crayon add the stamens.

Now we will do the inchie based on Irish painter John Nolan's work.

Draw a horizon line in the upper 3rd of the inchie.

Paint the upper portion with blue acrylic.  We used a nice electric blue.

Paint the bottom portion with green acrylic.

Let dry.

Mix a lighter blue (original colour + white).

Add some of this to the upper edge of the inchie.

Add some yellow and lighter green (original green + yellow) to the meadow.

Let dry.

Using a very small brush add some poppies to the meadow.  I asked the kids to make tiny ones in the distance, a few medium ones and then a few large ones in foreground.

Let dry.

Using a fine sharpie add the stems and a few buds.

This inchie is based on a project I did 2 years ago.

I gave the kids 2 small pieces from a newspaper or phone book.  They glued them randomly to our next inchie.

With the leftover paint from the last inchie dilute it a bit with some water and then paint this wash over the square.

You want to still see the bits of paper.

Let dry.

Take the piece of white paper and paint red.

Using a little piece of cardboard (this is not that 3" piece), add some lines to the red paper with  dark red acrylic paint.

With the red and black papers cut 2 circles out for the flower (1 large than the other) and a stem for the poppy.

Glue onto the inchie.

Glue the black pony bead into the centre.

I printed "is for poppy" off the computer and we added a P stamp to our inchies.

Our final inchie.

Take the 3" or so piece of cardboard and cut out a poppy shape.

Add some drywall to the front for texture.

Let dry, it takes about 4 - 6 hrs.

Cut your old book page in half.  Spread some glue on your inchie.

Stick your book page on the inchie.

Trim to fit.

Take some black acrylic paint (maybe the leftover paint from the O'Keeffe poppy), water it down a bit and give your book page a wash.

You can also splatter a bit of that black paint as well.

Let dry.

When your drywalled poppy is dry paint with red acrylic.  We used 2 different reds.

Cut a circle out pif a scrap of black paper, glue to the center.  Add a black button on top of the black circle.

Pick your 3 best and glue on your black board.

Great work Grade 5/6!