22 May 2017

Tea Party Themed Happy Mail Swap

Hello Everyone! Today I'll be showing you a tea party themed happy mail swap I did recently. If you're not familiar with the term 'happy mail swap' it means that you and someone else both send a parcel along with a letter to each other, often with a theme. Normally both parcels are sent at the same time but in this case, I sent a teaparty themed happy mail and then got one back in return soon after. I hope you enjoy taking a look at what I have created and what I received as a reply!

For my tea party themed happy mail (the one I made and sent out), I created a flip book. I used A5 pieces of card that were sellotsped together so they could fold into a small shape or open out into a large, interesting piece of happy mail. I used lots of different papers and embellishments. You can see in the collage above, just one page of the flip book that I've photographed in 3 different ways. I created 2 mini envelopes and filled them with goodies. In one envelope I put handmade stickers and some pretty gift tags that I bought in there. In the other I put elements of a decopague picture in there. They could fold back to reveal a quote and a colouring page.
In this collage you can see the front cover, the back cover and the letter. I wanted everything to tie in with the tea party theme or at least tie in with the pastel colours I used throughout. That's why I thought carefully about the design on the writing paper. I was inspired by a picture I saw on Pinterest  of some beautiful writing paper to create my own teacup writing paper with watercolour paint. The back cover was decorated with pretty sticky notes that I stuck down to create a pattern. Also, the front cover was created with all sorts of embellishments along with a pretty piece of paper.
I wanted this flip book to be full of handmade delights so I made this teacup bookmark (on the top page) out of paper, alphabet stamps and string to fill the flip book. The bottom page has a currently section which if you didn't already know, is a place where you write everything that you've been up to recently e.g what you've been reading.
Here's what you see when you first open the flip book. On the left hand side of the page, there's an envelope where the letter goes in (that you saw earlier). I chose a beautiful envelope that came with a writing set which acted both as an envelope and as a decoration. On the right hand side, I used a mandala stencil and acrylic paint to decorate the card and I put some handmade teacup hairclips on it as a goodie.
Now here's the incoming teaparty themed happy mail. It's made with gorgeous tea party patterned paper. This is called an exploding box because when you take the lid off it unfolds! It was really exciting to open the box and even the letter opened up really beautifully since it was sealed with a sticker.
Here's what I saw when I opened the box, it's gorgeously handcrafted with scalloped pockets on each square and beaded and threaded borders on each square. The colours scheme is super cute and I was giddy when I saw the pretty goodies which you'll see better in the next photo.
Here's the goodies that were sent to me. Along the top are handmade gift tags with cute tassles in pastel threads and sweet notes on each tag. I think I'll keep these in the box instead of using them on gifts since they're too pretty to use! On the left is a handmade 3D brooch which is a turquoisecrafting The person I received this from is my Auntie Beverly who does bead and wire crafting so this is made very professionally and I can imagine it took her hours! In the middle is two lady grey teabags in an origami box she made with a sticker on that I sent her. Then there's a rolled up recipe for strawberry short bread that is so cute. I look forward to making it soon!

So that's the tea party happy mail swap! It was so fun to make the flipbook and I love love love the exploding box I got in return! I recommend  doing a happy mail swap if you're bored or you want to try out a craft project! It's fun to pick a theme to do with your penpal whether they're a friend or family member!

Over to you...
Have you ever done a happy mail swap? Did it have a theme? If so, what was it? I'd love to know! Or have you ever have a tea party? What did you eat and drink? Let me know in the comments! 

08 May 2017

How to Create a Gradient with Coloured Pencils

Hello everyone! Today I want to show you a technique I use all the time when I'm colouring, creating a gradient. The colouring book featured in this post is actually a calendar: Colour Yourself happy 2017-month to view calendar. This was illustrated by Heartfelt Illustrations (whose Facebook page you can see here). I have been enjoying creating gradients on the names of the month that are nestled amongst illustrations of nature. Anyway, I hope that you find this simple tutorial helful either for colouring or creating your own art!

Step 1: Apply your first Colour from the top:

In my case, I used a yellow coloured pencil for this stage. Take into consideration the size of your shape/letter that you're colouring and think where half way down the shape/letter is. This is where you will stop using this colour. Above this mid-point, split the section into 3. The top section is where you'll apply the most pressure with your pencil. The second section down is where you'll apply a middle pressure, not full pressure, but not the lightest pressure. The last section is where you'll apply the least pressure. You can clearly see the difference in tone in each section at this stage, but they'll blend together in later stages.

Step 2: Apply your second colour from the bottom:

Now that you've finished applying your first colour, you should be left with the bottom half of your shape/letter. You should split this into 3 sections as before. However, this time you apply the most pressure at the bottom and the least pressure at the top. It's basically the opposite of what you did before and in a different colour. So the section at the bottom is where you apply the most pressure, the section that is second to the bottom is where you'll apply the middle pressure and the section at the top is where you'll apply the least pressure. Make it so the areas where you've applied the least pressure with both colours are just touching slightly.

Step 3: Apply an 'in-between colour':

An 'in-between colour' is a colour that is a mix of the two colours you've just used. I used peach because it seemed like it would blend pink and yellow together well. This stage is a bit more difficult to explain so stick with me here. Apply the most pressure half way up where you've applied the least pressure with the first colour and half way down where you applied the least pressure with the second colour. Then apply a middle pressure from where you are right now to half way up where you applied the middle pressure with your first colour and half way down where you applied the middle pressure with your second colour. Finally, apply the least pressure from where you are right now half way up where you applied the most pressure with your first colour and half way down where you applied the most pressure with your second colour.

Step 4: Blend :

You might not be able to see much difference between the last photo and this one (apart from the labels) but that's because I've not added any new colours. I've just blended the shape/letter. You can use several things to do this stage: a blending pencil, a blending stump or a white pencil. There's probably a few more methods but those are just the ones I've tried. In this case, I used a white pencil since I can't find my blending pencil and I don't like blending stumps very much hehe. Just evenly use the blending tool/white pencil over the shape/letter, you may want to use circular motions  for this. Also, you may want to add a little more pressure in the middle of the shape/letter but it's up to you.

So that's how I create two colour gradients! I know I technically used 3 colours but it's a gradient from yellow to pink and you're not meant to see the peach as a third colour, it's only there to help you to create a smooth gradient. I hope that you could understand my tutorial and you found it helpful!

PS: If you want to see the blog series I wrote a while ago called 'Colouring Quest' here is the first part, here is the second part and here is the third part. Or you could just click the Colouring label that is listed on the right side of my blog to see all of my colouring themed posts.

Over to you...
Do you have any colouring tips? Share them in the comments. Also, what is your favourite medium ton colour with? Mine is Prismacolor pencils (by the way in this tutorial I used Prismacolor premier: canary yellow PC916, blush pink PC928, light peach PC939 and the white pencil PC938).