• Tuesday Ten: Spotted in PA

    Date: 2014.04.22 | Category: life | Response: 0

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    PA-birds

     

    wildlife-PA

     

  • Tuesday Ten: Made from Rectangles

    Date: 2014.04.15 | Category: Craft | Response: 0

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    Here’s a powerful craft insight (I’m not the first to realize it): If you can make rectangles you can make MANY other things.  So many useful, beautiful, fun crafts either are just a rectangle or are made of several rectangles.

    The best part is rectangles are easy easy easy to visualize.  You can roll them into tubes, fold them into squares, cut them into smaller rectangles.

    Here are ten things you can craft out of rectangles:

    1. Blanket (knit or quilt)

    2. Caftan top or maxi dress

    3. Dish towels/cloth napkins

    4. Greeting cards

    5. Tissue paper flowers

    6. Beach cover-up

    7. Reusable shopping tote

    8. Fabric headband

    9. Pillowcase

    10. Women’s tops

    I made a Pinterest board with tons of DIY’s and how to’s to make stuff out of straight up rectangles!

    rectangle diy

    What other rectangle crafts can you think of?  Please post your examples in the comments!

  • Floofy Friday!

    Date: 2014.04.11 | Category: life | Response: 0

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    Can you even believe I have a cold…again?? Thanks wacky spring weather and allergens.

    Here’s Zeus and Sherlock to cheer us up.  Hooray budgies!

    floofy

  • Friday Freebies: Bokeh Backgrounds

    Date: 2014.04.04 | Category: popelephant | Response: 0

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    Hey popElephant fans, I thought today I’d make you guys some 100% free bokeh backgrounds for your enjoyment.

    Use these as wallpapers, backgrounds for quote posters, pin ‘em, share ‘em, and otherwise have fun.  Do please give credit if you use them in public (your blog, facebook, etc.).

    bokeh-background-free

    Just click the image to go to full size bokeh background!

    bokeh-background-warm

    bokeh-background-midnight

    bokeh-background-emerald

    bokeh-background-champagne

  • Tuesday Ten: Must-have Craft Supplies and Tools

    Date: 2014.04.01 | Category: popelephant | Response: 0

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    10 must have craft supplies

    All crafters have favorite craft supplies and tools, depending on their preferred aesthetics, media, and methods of working.

    Here are ten craft supplies I always have around and use more often than I expect:

    1. adhesives

    glues

    Always always always have at least several different types, that is if you plan to be gluing different types of materials.  Some glues are better for paper, some for non-porous materials, some are lightweight, some are more heavy duty.

    2. contact paper

    contact papers

    I myself also keep several varieties of contact paper in my stash.  I love love love faux wood and faux leather, but I also really like metallics and patterned papers.  This supply is unbelievably versatile: use it to make stencils, wall decals, revamp furniture and appliances and even in paper crafts.

    3. binder clips

    binder clips

    Binder clips have so many uses, it’s ridiculous.  I most often reach for them to use as hangers for unframed art works and to secure fabric for stenciling/painting.

    4. x-acto knife

    x-acto knife set

    I have to admit this tool is not one of my strongest techniques, but it’s an absolute must have for cutting stencils as well as other paper and cardboard cutting.  One of the best things you can use an x-acto for: scraping sticky labels/label goo off of glass or ceramic objects.

    5. acrylic paint

    acrylic paints

    Acrylic paint is a crafter’s best friend.  It’s water soluble so you don’t need any special materials to use and clean up.  It’s opaque so you can paint over and correct mistakes.  It can be applied to a variety of surfaces: paper, canvas, wood, fabric.

    6. spray paint

    spray paint

    Oh spray paint, what a multitude of sins you cover.  Like contact paper I ALWAYS keep it on hand.  It nicely, and evenly, covers pretty much any material (yes, you do have to make sure it’s clean though).  One of my favorite tricks is painting a collection of different objects (bottles and jars, or different picture frames) all with the same color.  Like magic you have a matching set of thingies, and you can match them to the rest of your decor, party, or whatever.

    7. decorative paper

    digital scrapbook paper

    Ok, I admit I have waaaay more scrapbook paper than I strictly need.  Still, it’s a great supply to have on hand.  Like contact paper you can use decorative paper to cover small objects like picture frames, small containers, boxes, etc.  Of course you can also use it for scrapbooking.

    8. masking tape

    masking tape

    Masking tape is a given with spray paint and sometimes acrylic and fabric paints.  It holds stencils in place or is a stencil/mask itself.  Use it also to secure sheets of paper for drawing/sketching, to label boxes and containers, or to pick up lint from clothes/carpets/desks!

    9.  transparent clip-board

    clear clipboard

    Clip-board…seems obvious, but why is she saying it should be clear? Because in addition to serving it’s purpose of holding papers while you write, draw, invent, or whatever a transparent clipboard serves as a super duper cheap light table.  Hold it up to a window or with a light behind it and you can easily trace drawings/patterns/templates/etc.

    10. craft paper

    craft paper

    Craft paper is also a must-have for so many crafting purposes.  I use it to make sewing patterns, create templates for large objects, collages, gift wrap, and as a drop cloth for spray painting (see number 6).

     

    Some people couldn’t live without their iThings, coffee, or make-up.  If I was stranded on a desert island I might bring a few of these craft supplies with me, how about you? What art or craft supplies do you consistently reach for?

  • Friday Freebie: Today matters most Buddha quote

    Date: 2014.03.28 | Category: popelephant | Response: 0

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    Hey lovely people, happy friday morning to you!  Here’s a quote to start off the day with purpose and meaning:

    today matters most

    In case you’re wondering, yes! I did make that graphic myself.

    If I share images from other sites I do my best to link back, so if the image links to itself or nothing it’s made by me.

    Feel free to pin, share, wallpaper, and otherwise enjoy!

  • Tuesday Ten: Simple Ways to Celebrate Spring!

    Date: 2014.03.25 | Category: popelephant | Response: 0

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    celebrate-spring

    As you might imagine the weather here in San Francisco isn’t particularly ‘spring-like’, certainly not sunny and warm.  Still, here’s some simple (and low or no-cost) ways to celebrate spring no matter where you are.

    1. Take a walk through your neighborhood or local park.  How does it look different than it did in Winter? If you live on the coast like I do the changes are subtle, especially compared to a place where, say, it snows and trees are bare.

    2. Take photos of blooms, flowers, grass or any other plant-life around you.  How about the produce or flower sections of your grocery store?

    3. Get some houseplants to bring the Spring inside to your home or office.  I personally love succulents and pothos, they’re very green and very easy to care for.

    4. Go vegetarian/vegan for the week, month, or all of Spring.  Plants are rich in all nutrients needed to thrive and cutting out animal products will give you the opportunity to learn about the different benefits of different foods.

    5. Partake in some plein air art, whether painting, drawing, scrapbooking, knitting or whatever craft you love.  Take it outside and get some fresh air, and maybe sunshine! Unless you’re in SF…

    6. Make a Spring bucket list; illustrate it with Pinterest.  Do you want to enjoy wildflowers, try a new craft, clean the house, or visit a favorite natural spot? Put it on your list!

    7. Spring is the time of growth and renewal.  Focus on growing, renewing, and healing your mind by starting a meditation practice.  I love the calm app on iphone which has tons of guided meditations from two to over twenty minutes long.

    8. Make paper flowers to decorate your living space.  They’ll last all season without wilting or needing water and are so easy to create that you can make a whole garden’s worth right in your living room!

    9. Get excited about all the natural activity of Spring by volunteering at a beach clean up, national park, wildlife organization, or even your local animal shelter.

    10. Make sure you enjoy the unique possibilities of the season, whether it’s seeing your favorite wild flowers, enjoying more outdoor activities, or eating certain foods.  Take a deep breath and mark the changing of one season into the next.

  • 4 Steps to Be More Creative ALL The Time

    Date: 2014.03.24 | Category: Art, life | Response: 0

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    creative

    As a crafter/maker/artist I occasionally hear “you’re so creative, I could never have come up with that!”.  This statement baffles and frustrates me.

    For starters I often hear it most from people that I admire as a creator.  For example my mom, who I consider to have been a HUGE inspiration in my growing up a creative person, is the most frequent exclaimer that she “couldn’t have thought of that”.  I’ve also heard this nonsense from my friends who I look up to as artists with skills way beyond mine.

    Well, in a way, you *couldn’t* have thought of the same idea I had because you’re a different person.  You would have come up with some other, no less wonderful, creative idea! An idea that I couldn’t have invented.

    The thing about creativity, the thing that most inspires, grabs, and moves me is it’s uniqueness  and ubiquity.  ALL my ideas come from somewhere; a dream, something I saw (either natural or man-made), something I heard, and often the art created by others. We are constantly soaking up ideas, sights, sounds, flavors, and feelings.  All of these are sources of inspiration for creating.

    I’ve always described myself as creative, and I think THAT is the only difference between the so-called creative people and those who do not know they are creative.

    So how can you be creative, or be  *more* creative?  Here are four steps:

    1. KNOW that you are creative.

    Never ever ever fall into the stereotype of thinking that because you’re not a painter/photographer/poet/whatever as a profession that you are not creative.

    Can you whip up a delicious meal from whatever’s in the fridge/pantry?

    Do you have a green thumb?

    Do you knit/sew/make furniture/blacksmith?

    Then you ARE creative.

    Creativity, in my opinion, is simply the act of imparting your energy onto something else, creating for its own sake or to express or nurture.  Any time you feel ‘flow’, are in ‘the zone’, or otherwise feed your soul you are creating.

    2. Ask questions, be curious.

    “That’s a great painting/story/dish, and what if…?”  This to me is one of the most obviously conscious ways of thinking to inspire creativity.

    What if you try to recreate that dish you had at a restaurant changing one ingredient? Or all but one?  What if you recreate a famous painting/sculpture but with a twist? A different medium, a different intention?

    Do you love animals? Ask yourself how they would perceive what you’re seeing, tasting, hearing.  Use that as inspiration to write/sing/paint/draw their perspective.  Are you a scientist or engineer? Ask yourself how things work, what if they worked according to a different principle? What would that look, feel, sound like?

    3. Never say NO to yourself.

    After you ask yourself those questions, DON’T SHOOT ANY OF THEM DOWN!  There’s no such thing as a bad creative idea.

    Critiques are an important part of the creative process, but they come much later, first you have to bring ideas to life before you can really analyze them.

    4. Explore & experiment.

    The only thing left to be done after you’ve come up with ideas and NOT criticized them is start makin’!

    If your idea was to paint something explore doing so in different media (watercolor, acrylic, ink, or even pastels).  If your idea was to write something try different formats (story, poem, magazine article).

    In the process you  may discover that your idea may not be a painting or a written piece.  Maybe it should be a song, sculpture, or garden.

     

    BONUS Step: 5. Never turn off *creativity*.

    Ideas can come from anywhere, any time.  In the last few weeks I had a terrible chest cold and a fit of coughing inspired an idea for a digital painting (I’ll post it on the blog when I actually finish it).

    Never ever assume that running errands, cleaning the house, or even being sick can’t be fabulous times to get creative!

     

  • Friday Freebie: Creativity Bradbury Quote

    Date: 2014.03.21 | Category: Art, life | Response: 0

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    This quote really resonated with me recently.  As much as I LOVE to think and overthink things, creativity cannot be forced or brought about by logic.  It is a kind of love and thus cannot be tried, only felt.

    dont think

    Click for larger image.

    What advice do you have about creativity?

  • Tuesday Ten: Spring Palettes and Patterns

    Date: 2014.03.18 | Category: Craft, popelephant | Response: 0

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    In honor of the first day of Spring coming up in 2 days I wanted to share some spring palettes and patterns I made on colourlovers.

    splash

    splash palette

    Screen Shot 2014-03-20 at 10.13.59 AM

    vacation

    Screen Shot 2014-03-20 at 10.17.53 AM

    vacation

    whirl pool

    whirl pool

    Screen Shot 2014-03-20 at 9.54.28 AM

    blooming

    blooming

    Screen Shot 2014-03-20 at 9.54.06 AM

    breeze

    breeze

    Screen Shot 2014-03-20 at 10.10.35 AM

    If you want the full size image files for these patterns and palettes search their names on colourlovers.com

    Happy spring!

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