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DIY Chocolate Mice From Hershey’s Kisses

In anticipation of Ashland’s annual Chocolate Festival, I’m sharing how to make these really cute mice made from chocolate kisses (and a little bit of paper, the ears). The Chocolate Festival isn’t until March, but I like to be prepared, especially for chocolate.

A bunch of mice made from chocolate kisses. The ears are made from paper.

A bunch of mice made from chocolate kisses. The ears are made from paper. Perfect favors for Valentine’s Day.

The following quote about chocolate is dedicated to my friend, Sophia.

Chocolate comes from cocoa
which comes out of a tree.
That makes it a plant,
Therefore, chocolate counts as salad.
The end.

Now for the instructions for making your salad.

Here are the steps to make your chocolate mice.

Here are the steps to make your chocolate mice.

Steps to making your mice (the numbers below refer to the numbers in the above photo):

1. Get 2 Hershey’s Kisses. I got a package or red, pink and silver kisses and another package of gold kisses.

2. Remove the printed paper message from the kisses.

3. Glue googly eyes on one of the kisses. I suggest using a liquid glue for this step.

4. Cut a 4″ length of bakers twine, put a knot in one end and insert the unknotted end into one of the kisses where you removed the message paper.

5. To make the ears, cut out 2 ovals out of brown paper and two smaller ovals out of pink paper.

6. Glue the pink ovals on the brown ovals. I suggest using stick glue for this step.

7. Glue the paper ears on the kiss with the googly eyes. I suggest a liquid glue for this step.

8. After the glue on the paper ears has dried, glue the two kisses together. I suggest a liquid glue for this step. Hold the two kisses together for a little bit to make sure the glue adheres well. Your mouse is now finished.

Two chocolate kisses mice.

Two mice made from chocolate kisses.

I realize that the ears are the only part of these mice that are made from paper. But, they’re so cute, I couldn’t help but share them with you.

Chocolate mice made from Hershey's kisses.

Chocolate mice made from Hershey’s kisses.

I will be demonstrating how to make these little mice during the First Friday Art Walk on March 6, which is also the first day of Ashland’s annual Chocolate Festival.

These chocolate mice are so easy to make. And in Valentine's Day colors too.

These chocolate mice are so easy to make. And in Valentine’s Day colors too.

I am making a whole bunch of little mice to share with friends on Valentine’s Day. They will be placed as table decorations on numerous tables where I will be having Valentine’s Dinner.

These are the start of my table decorations for Valentine's Day.

These are the start of my table decorations for Valentine’s Day.

Happy chocolate, Candy

A Visit To It’s A Burl

Monday’s I usually share what I have been doing in my studio for the previous week. This week I’m sort of playing hooky from my studio. For some time now I’ve been taking the last week of January off. Rather than go away, this year I’m staying home and having a staycation.

It’s A Burl in Kerby, Oregon.

I’m walking the streets of Ashland and Medford and Grants Pass, checking out new and old shops for inspiration. I’m eating out at least one meal a day. I’m visiting friends. And, Saturday I went to visit one of my favorite places, It’s A Burl in Kerby, Oregon. It’s located on Highway 99 between Grants Pass and the Oregon coast, near Cave Junction.

The front doors to the Gallery at It’s A Burl.

It’s a Burl is where I get all the burl wood for the bottoms of my Earth Spirit Vessels. It’s a magical place that reminds me of the feeling I had while reading J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Hobbit and Lord of the Rings. It’s feels almost like a fantasy with wizards and wood elves.

This burl wood sculpture looks as though it could be from J.R.R. Tolkien’s Middle Earth.

There is a Gallery which has incredible carvings by master woodworkers and carvers. There are clocks and bowls and furniture and things only an artist could imagine.

Wouldn’t this burl wood love seat make a spectacular statement in a living room?

Outside there is the yard where you can purchase hunks and slabs of burl wood. There’s a biplane that dangles in midair, an 8 foot wooden rooster and numerous multi story tree houses.

One of the tree houses at It’s A Burl.

Harvey and Joy Shinerock opened It’s A Burl in 1987. Harvey was a woodcarver who started working burls in 1977. Their grandson, Will, is the one who helps me pick just the right burl wood for the bottoms of my vessels. He even slices the slabs for me. My favorite wood is usually maple, but on Saturday I found a beautiful willow burl that I had to purchase.

Here is where I found my latest burl wood purchase.

In addition to the Gallery and the Gardens, there is burl wood that you can purchase. There are buckets full of small pieces of wood, but I just love wandering through the open shed like structures that house slabs and chunks of various types of burl wood. They are organized by wood type.

Daniel ‘s bench will be in the Gallery later this week.

On Saturday’s trip, I watched Daniel as he was finishing his latest creation, a bench. Daniel is a wood carver, but he said that every once in a while he just has to make a piece of furniture. This bench will be finished and in the Gallery later this week.

This bicycle is made out of burl wood. I’m not sure if It really can be ridden.

It’s a Burl is a fun place to visit. It’s easy to get lost wandering through the Gallery, Gardens and The Yard. There’s so much to see.

This wise old owl is in the Gallery at It’s A Burl.

If you would like to see how I make the burl wood into a base for one of my Earth Spirit Vessels, you can check out this Studio Snapshot.

This is a full sized horse made out of burl wood. It’s on the porch outside the Gallery.

Happy staycationing, Candy

DIY Folded Paper Heart Garland

After making a whole bunch of heart ornaments for the front window of the Ashland Art Center (see my last post, Paper Valentine Heart Ornaments), I decided to make some folded heart garlands.

Folded Paper Heart Garland

I started with three colors of paper, a red, a dark pink, and a purple. I also used a variety of beads. Most were #6 seed beads, but I used a few other sizes of beads to go with them. I liked the contrast of the different sizes and shapes of beads.

I used red, dark pink and purple papers along with some beads to make this paper folded heart garland.

I used a text weight paper. I started with an 8.5″ by 11″ paper that I cut into quarters.

Beginning steps to make a folded heart for the garland.

1. Cut an 8.5″ by 11″ piece of text weight paper into quarters.

2. Fold the paper in half horizontally and again vertically. Cut a rounded corner shape like in the photo #2 above. Hint: Make a paper template of your desired shape once you have a shape that you like.

3. Unfold as you can see in photo #3 above.

4. Fold into a fan shape as in photo #4 above.

Next 2 steps in making folded paper heart garland.

5. Poke a needle through the center of the “fan” as shown in #5 above.

6. Cut a piece of string, embroidery floss or thread the length you want  your garland. Put a knot at the bottom and string a few beads on the garland. Then thread the needle through the center of the “fan” hole made in #5. See #6 above.

Hint: Start from the bottom of the garland and go up. The first garland I made I started at the top and went down. The second garland I made was much easier to make because I started at the bottom and went up.

Glue the first heart on the garland.

7. Put glue stick on both sides of the inside of the “fan” to make the first heart. Also at this time glue the thread down too, pulling just a bit to make sure the beads are tight against the back side of the paper.

First heart on the garland. Now continue up the garland.

8. Close the two sides of the paper against the thread. Hold for a little bit to be sure the paper is secure. Now you have your first heart on your garland finished.

Keep adding more folded paper “fans” and more beads to your garland.

Add more beads and hearts until you get your garland the length you want. Then tie a knot to secure the top bead and tie a loop at the end so you can hang the garland.

Folded Paper Heart Garland finished.

I got the inspiration and basic instructions (which I have modified a bit) from Kate’s post on Red Ted Art.

This is a fun project that will add a little pazzaz to your Valentine’s Day decor.

Enjoy, Candy

Studio Snapshot – Valentine Paper Heart Ornaments

There’s a First Friday Art Walk every First Friday in Ashland. All the galleries are open late and people meander the streets and visit lots of galleries. It’s fun and festive. This past First Friday, in my studio on the 2nd floor of the Ashland Art Center, I demonstrated how to make my paper heart ornaments. An emphasis on reds and pinks I thought would be perfect for Valentine’s Day.

One of my paper Valentine Hanging Heart Ornaments for the Ashland Art Center front window.

I wasn’t the only one who liked those paper heart ornaments. The executive director of the Art Center asked me to make a bunch more of them to put in the gallery window for a Valentine display.

These paper Valentine Hanging Heart Ornaments are made from polka dot scrapbook paper.

So, this past week, I’ve been making lots and lots of Valentine paper heart ornaments. DIY directions are on my blog post: DIY Hanging Paper Heart Ornaments.

Paper Valentine Hanging Heart Ornaments for the Ashland Art Center front window.

Paper Valentine Hanging Heart Ornaments.

I watercolored the paper before making this paper Valentine Hanging Heart Ornament.

These paper Valentine Hanging Heart Ornaments were made from a paper I have been saving for over 20 years. Time to put the paper to good use.

This paper Valentine Hanging Heart Ornament was made from scrapbook paper.

The heart ornament on the right is made from one of my paste papers.

These paper Valentine Hanging Heart Ornaments are so fun to make.

Valentine Hanging Heart Ornaments sitting on two papers that will soon be made into more ornaments.

As I said earlier, the instructions are in my blog post: DIY Hanging Paper Heart Ornaments.

Enjoy, Candy

DIY – Making an Inexpensive Light Box

I have received numerous compliments over the years on the quality of the photos on my blog. I now have purchased a professional light tent, but I started out by making an inexpensive light box out of a cardboard box and tracing paper. I used it for about 3 years, and loved it. The only reason I bought my light tent was for space reasons. The light tent could be folded up and put in a drawer. My light box took up more space, but my old light box took just as good photos as my new light tent.

This photo was taken in the light box that is featured in this blog.

Last week I had an apprentice, Inka, from Telemark University College in Norway. She is studying Folk Art and wanted to apprentice with me for a week as part of her degree program. The first thing I did was to show her how to make an inexpensive light box.

Photo taken with the light box that is featured in this blog post.

Materials:

• cardboard box big enough to fit the object(s) you wish to photograph (plus a few extra inches)
• white paper (butcher paper will work well)
• tracing paper or transparent vellum large enough to cover 3 sides of your box (top and two sides)
• box cutter or craft knife
• glue or craft paste
• tape (for reinforcing a used box, if necessary)
• brush for spreading glue or paste (optional)
• digital camera
• lights (daylight bulbs work well)

Light box made from a cardboard box, white paper and tracing paper.

How to make a light box:

1. If you are using a used box, reinforce any weak points with tape before you begin.

2. Leaving 1″ to 1.5″ margins, cut out a “window” in the top and on two sides of the cardboard box with the box cutter. See photo below.

Three “windows” have been cut out of the 2 sides and the top of the box.

3. Paste white paper on the inside of the box where you didn’t cut out. This includes the inside of the four flaps. A paintbrush can make the job go faster. The white on the inside of the box will help to reflect light within the box, and create better photographs for your art.

Pasting white paper on the inside surfaces of the light box.

4. Cut out the tracing paper or vellum and glue it on the inside of the “window holes”. This will allow light to enter the box from outside lamps, but will diffuse the light.

5. Voila! Your light box is finished. You are now ready to set up your light box for use.

Light box set up. Notice the piece of paper the paper fortune cookie is sitting on.

How to use the light box:

1. Place a piece of white paper paper that is larger than the item being photographed. Place it in the box with a bend upwards to the top of the box, creating a nice backdrop. Avoid folding the paper. See photo set up above.

2. Place your art object in to the light box on the piece of paper.

3. Set up 3 lights, one from above, and one from each of the two sides. These lights should shine in through the “windows”. Play around with positioning them and your art, moving the light forward or backward to create different shadows and light effects.

4. Photograph.

Here is the photo taken with the light box in the photo shown above.

Photo taken in the light box in this post.

Photo taken in the light box featured in this blog post.

In last Thursday’s blog post I wrote about my apprentice for the week, Inka. The art showcased in this blog post was made by Inka last week. The photos were taken in the light box that Inka made.

All the photos in this blog post were taken with an iPod touch.

Enjoy, Candy

Studio Snapshot – Winter Themed Mail Art

This past December I participated in winter themed envelope exchange. I’ve always loved sending and receiving wonderful envelopes and cards in the mail. Being able to hold and feel the envelope makes if feel more special than an email. I love being able to put my treasures in a box and come back to them again and again and become inspired by them all over again.

This envelope came from Eric in France.

So here are photos of the envelopes that have been arriving over the past month. Some are watercolor designs. Some are done in calligraphy. Some envelopes are handmade. I love the variety.

This envelope is from Susan.

This watercolored envelope is from Karen. 

This is the back of Chuck’s envelope. And somehow it got to me without a stamp.

This envelope is from Wendy.

This envelope with my address in the fireplace is from Saba.

This envelope and card is from Marti.

This Christmas tree envelope is from Cathy.

This handmade envelope is from Phillip. Notice the stamp is on the left of the envelope.

This envelope is from Jean Wilson.

This envelope is from Hester. It wraps around and has a message and ornament on the back.

My snowman envelope came from another Chuck.

This envelope came from Janet.

This envelope came from Florence.

Another Christmas tree envelope. This was from Elena.

And a big Thank You to Jan who spearheaded the exchange.

If you are interested in seeing more examples of mail art, be sure to check out Jean Wilson’s blog: Pushing the Envelopes and Phillip’s Blog: Envelope 100. You can see the envelopes I sent out on my Blog post: DIY Snowflake Envelope.

Enjoy, Candy

My Apprentice For The Week

This week I have an apprentice, Inka, who is studying Folk Art at Telemark University College in Rauland, Norway. As part of her program she needs to apprentice with a working artist for a week.

My apprentice for the week, Inka, is making a flag book.

While Inka’s emphasis at college is in textiles, she is also interested in paper, bookmaking and calligraphy. Those interests are what brought Inka to ask if she could be my apprentice for the week.

Two accordion books with paste paper covers and watercolored papers for the inside to which Inka will be adding pen and ink drawings.

On Monday we made a light box for taking photographs of artwork. We made it out of a cardboard box, white paper and tracing paper. You can look to instructions on how to make one of your own in a future blog post.

Light box made from a cardboard box, white paper and tracing paper.

Also, on Monday, I showed Inka how to make a simple single signature booklet using a 3 hole and a 5 hole binding. We then practiced photographing using the light box. Inka was a quick study and was taking great photos in no time.

Flag book open. Photo taken in light box.

On Tuesday, Inka made a watercolor cover which she used to make a wrap around book. She started making a flag book, an envelope book and two accordion books. Also on Tuesday we made cord using embroidery and other threads and a simple folded box with lid.

Envelope book closed. Photo taken in light box.

Wednesday morning I gave Inka a short calligraphy lesson after which we visited the studios of Rochelle Newman, Richard Newman and Robbin Pierce. In the afternoon Inka finished the flag, envelope and accordion books she had started on Tuesday.

Envelope book open. Photo taken in light box.

Today is Thursday and we are making book cloth, a two-sided book, heart ornaments and paper fortune cookies. Tomorrow will be a paper mache project and anything else we can fit into the day.

Folded boxes with lids made out of origami paper. Photo taken in light box.

It’s been a full week, but loads of fun! I’ve enjoyed teaching Inka. Throughout the week Inka has been taking detailed notes (instructions) which she is sharing with me to help me. They will be the basis for a number of future DIY blog posts.

Muslin painted with acrylic that will be turned into book cloth.

Happy Creating, Candy

Studio Snapshot – Matching Lotus Flowers & Paper Wrapped Pencils

After making paper lotus flowers for the Rogue Gallery last week, I had some scraps of paper left over. I got the idea to make matching paper wrapped pencils to match the lotus flowers. I love how they look together.

I used the same paper to make the Lotus Flower as I did to wrap the pencils.

I used the same paper to make the Lotus Flower as I used to wrap the pencils.

I used the same paper to make the Lotus Flower as I used to wrap the pencils.

I used the same paper to make the Lotus Flower as I used to wrap the pencils.

To see how I wrap pencils: Paper Wrapped Pencils

To see how I make Lotus Flowers: Steps To Making A Paper Lotus Flower

Happy Creating, Candy

2014 Year End Review & A Preview For 2015

It’s hard for me to believe that 2014 is gone and it’s already 2015. 2014 was a great year for me with my move into a home with more studio space, three shows and so much support from family, old friends and many new friends too. While 2014 seemed to go by fast, when I look back, I am amazed at how much I did accomplish this past year.

Five boxes, each perfect for holding a small piece of Dagoba chocolate.

Looking back at my blog posts, I found that my most viewed blog post was DIY Boxes For Chocolate. I guess chocolate wins hands down every time.

Earth Spirit Vessel, Forest Tapestry, contains 665 pieces of hand folded paper. Not only was it sold from my blog, but I was asked to make a custom lid for it.

My Earth Spirit Vessels, which were featured in a number of my blog posts, received a lot of views. I even sold a couple when they were featured on my blog. The power of the internet is wonderful. If you want to see more of me Earth Spirit Vessels, just type Earth Spirit Vessels in the search bar at the top of the right hand column of this blog.

It’s easy to make the box look extra special with gold thread and beads that match the color of your Truffle Box.

My DIY posts were the most popular of my posts. My top 7 posts were all DIY posts. And my DIY Truffle Box with Template was almost as popular as my DIY Boxes For Chocolate post. Perhaps it was popular because it’s a great box to put a piece of chocolate in.

This Crown Jewel Heart Box was made from hot pink card stock that was sprayed with some purple ink. The heart shows the unsprayed hot pink. I love the contrast.

Many of the photos from my blog were shared on Pinterest. Anything with hearts seemed to be very popular on Pinterest. My Crown Jewel Heart Box from my post DIY Crown Jewel Heart Box was one of the most pinned photos from my blog.

50 triangle boxes are a whole lot of boxes. This was another favorite photo that was pinned a lot on Pinterest. It’s from the post: 50 Triangle Boxes For A 50th Wedding Anniversary.

This information is helpful for me as I make plans as to what to share for 2015. Obviously there will be lots of DIY blog posts. I will be sharing some DIY bookbinding blog posts as well as continue to share box and envelope templates and instructions.

A photo from one of my Monday Studio Snapshot posts showing what is going on in my studio.

I will continue to post twice a week. My Monday, Studio Snapshot, will show what’s been going on in my studio for the previous week. My Thursday blog posts will be more informative and include things like DIY posts, more detailed information on my art and the process, book reviews, shows and what other paper artists are doing, tools and techniques and more.

My own personal favorite photo from my blog last year. It is from My Favorite Tools which I wrote last April.

The past few years, I have been doing a lot of journaling, especially about things I am grateful for. In 2015, I am going calligraph “gratitudes” or things I am thankful for. I am not sure what form they will take. I’m thinking of a book or possibly even coasters. I’ll be sharing with you as my gratitudes take shape.

This is the inside from one of my most viewed posts from 2013: Napkin Fold Card: Part Two (including instructions).

I was quite pleased to find out that my blog was visited almost 4 times more in 2014 than in 2013. I’ve been blogging now for 4 years and loving it. Apparently others are enjoying it as well.

Some of my paste papers from another popular post: Making Paste Papers: Part One

Happy New Year! I look forward to a new and wonderfully creative 2015.

Enjoy, Candy

Studio Snapshot – Lotus Flowers for the Rogue Gallery Gift Shop

The Rogue Gallery in Medford recently asked me if I would put some of my Lotus Flowers in their gift shop. I said “yes” and this week I have been making paper Lotus Flowers. I will deliver them early in January.

A dozen paper Lotus Flowers

This paper Lotus Flower is made from butterfly wrapping paper. It’s shiny, slippery and hard to work with, but sure worth the extra effort when its done.

This paper Lotus Flower is made from a heavy paper with some flocking on it. It reminds me that spring is just around the corner.

This paper Lotus Flower is made from my last sheet of this printed purple paper.

This paper lotus flower is made from paper printed with gold and silver dandelions with lots of glitter.

Note to self: Don’t touch face after working with paper that has glitter on it.

This paper Lotus Flower is made from marbled paper.

This paper Lotus Flower is made from purple paper printed with silver dragonflies.

If you are interested in seeing how these paper Lotus Flowers are made, you can check out my blog post: Steps To Making A Paper Lotus Flower.

Enjoy, Candy