The Perfect Autumn Craft: Painting Leaves

After painting acorns a few weeks ago, we were ready to move on to painting leaves! 
This is a simple project that has beautiful results, is a lot of fun, and everyone in the family can participate. I think the variety of shapes of leaves combined with the different paint 
colors is what was so appealing to me about this project. Check it out and let me know what
you think!

First we collected fallen leaves that were mostly brown, but not too dried out. Our leaves

were still a bit pliable but not crumbly. After we collected a nice variety of leaves, I 
placed them between a stack of heavy books for over a week to completely flatten them out. 
The longer you leave them between the books, the better your end result. I recommend 
leaving them between books for at least a week. I flattened a few for three days, and later 
found that after we painted those that they curled up a bit once the paint dried. If your 
leaves are still green, you will want to press them in between sheets of newspaper in between
the books. This will help absorb some of the moisture from the leaves as they dry out. 

Next we gathered our supplies: a variety of acrylic paints (I used whatever I already had at 
home), some newspaper to protect our table top, a few plates to serve as palettes, a variety 
of craft paint brushes, a cup of water to clean our brushes with, some wax paper to place
our leaves on while they dried, and a few paper towels.

 We used a variety of acrylic craft paints

A few fine-tipped brushes were great for painting thin lines and detailed designs

 I started with this leaf. Nice and dry and flat and ready to paint!

I began by painting a thin line just inside the edge of the leaf. I loved the way this 
metallic gold craft paint contrasted with the rust and brown colored leaf. 

Simple lines and dots

I love the vibrant autumn colors

Beautiful end result

I loved seeing everyone's unique, individual style come out when they painted their leaves

Duane's fancy leaf

I think our leaves would look fantastic framed behind glass in a picture frame and hung 
on a wall...

What do you think?
Which is your favorite?

A Look Inside My Jewelry Instruction Book Photo Shoot

It's hard to believe that my first book, BoHo Chic Jewelry, was just released this past March 
2014, and there I was last week, only six months later, flying off to Cincinnati, Ohio for the
photo shoot for my second jewelry instruction book, Soldered Alchemy. I feel so grateful and
fortunate to have the opportunity to share my ideas and designs with the world, and I really
hope that my books not only help to teach people new skills and techniques, but that they
inspire people to explore their own creativity in new ways! 

This was a busy summer! Within a span of less than three months, I wrote an entire book. 
A few people have asked me what writing a jewelry DIY book entails. Do I write the text? Or do I just create the projects? The answer is yes, I do it all. It basically begins with 
brainstorming project ideas, about 25 or 26 projects that all are cohesive yet different from one another, each with varying difficulty from beginner to advanced. Everything has to kind
of mesh together and coordinate in a certain way (that's the cohesion I was talking about) but at the same time, every project has to be unique unto itself, and there has to be a nice
balance of different types of projects. It's not an easy task to accomplish!  

In a nutshell, I brainstormed possible project ideas, and then sat down and designed each 
project. Next I made each project from start to finish. This is when I also wrote the step by 
step text for each project, while at the same time snapping test photos for the step by step photographer along the way. I did this so that once we were at the photo shoot, we would 
know where to stop and take those important photos that displayed what was explained in 
the step by step instructions described in the book. Once all the projects were completed 
(and they had to be perfect, as these were the actual projects that would later be 
professionally photographed for the book), I then worked on what's known as the front 
matter, which is the beginning section of the book that contains the materials and 
basic techniques sections, as well as the introduction and dedication. Oh, and I almost 
forgot to mention, I was working under a deadline! That being said, there is not much time 
to leisurely create. You really have to be focused, have great ideas, and know what you're 
doing to do this type of work! But I love it. 

Taking a moment to recharge before my flight. 
There's no better feeling than putting your bare
feet in the grass for a few minutes!

Once all of the text and projects are finished, it's time to fly to Cincinnati to the publisher's
photo studio so that they can take all of the step by step photos that accompany the text in
the book. For this, I have to pack up my entire workshop - all of the tools and materials that
I need to create every project in the book - and ship them out to the photo studio so that
when I arrive we can get right to work! Once I arrive, I unpack everything, set it all up, and
then remake every single project while the photographer takes the photos. 

Sitting in the airport, waiting for my flight.

Yummy bagel I had in the airport.

Goodbye Detroit! On my way to Cincinnati. I flew from where I 
live in Pennsylvania to Detroit and then to Cincinnati. 

Arriving in Cincinnati

"I'm in Cincinnati!" Hotel selfie before work to send to my boyfriend hehe...

Arriving in the photo studio the first nice and clean! Just
wait till I get all of my supplies and materials laid out! 

All of my finished projects that I had completed beforehand were
laid out on a table so that I could double check them for reference.

Some of my materials and tools, and in the bags were all of the
parts and materials that I needed for each project. It pays to be organized! 

Here is where I worked! 

My text was put into a layout and I used it as a guide.

In the middle of working on a project.

My fabulous photographer Christine Polomsky hard at work editing the step by step photos.

We worked from Monday through Friday, Christine taking photos at every step while
I made every project. It was a lot of work, but Christine is just awesome and we had a

great time all week! On Friday after we wrapped up the last chapter we packed up all of my tools and materials to be shipped back home to me and then I headed to the
airport to fly home. Next the photos will be edited and put into place within the 
manuscript, and then in a few weeks I will do a review of the manuscript where I
answer any of my editor's questions, making any needed corrections or clarifications, 
making sure that each photo matches up correctly with the text. Once that is complete, 
more editing reviews will be done, the beauty photography will be done (those are the 
pretty photos at the beginning of each chapter and on the cover), the fabulous designer 
Brianna will work her magic, and then off to the printer it goes! 

The book shown being created in these photos is entitled Soldered Alchemy,
and it is being published by FW Media, and will be released in May 2015. Once it is available for presale on amazon I will announce it here on my blog! 

What do you think?