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Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Be Green and make your own LORAX!

This project is for personal, non-commercial use.

Our kids have been eagerly awaiting The Lorax movie since seeing the trailer last fall. They also received the book for Christmas and we must have read it to them once a week since then. They know it word for word. So you know where we will be heading this weekend... but before that we thought we would create a little LORAX how~to in celebration of the Lorax and Dr. Seuss' upcoming birthday.

**The orange handle lino cutter in the picture above is not something you need for this project. We used this to create the hair texture then realized a toothpick could work just as well.

Materials for the Lorax
• 2 oz White, Orange & Yellow Premo Polymer clay
• 1/4 circle cutter
• black craft paint
• toothpick
• super slicer
• 20 gauge wire and wire cutters
• Sculpey Ultra Light
• oven
• ceramic tile
• drill

Materials for the Truffula Trees
• bamboo skewers
• fuzzy pom poms
• yellow and black craft paint
• glue
• paint brush

Materials for the Green hill
• 2 oz Green Premo clay
• toothpick
• paper flowers

To make the Truffula Trees. Paint the bamboo skewers yellow. Once dry use a dry brush and paint your black stripes. add glue to the end of your skewer and insert your fuzzy pom poms. Cut skewers to various sizes.

We created an egg shape armature with the Ultra light sculpey (make and bake the armature first) to insert in the center of the Lorax. It will make it lighter to stay on the skewer. If you don't plan on making it a plant stake then you don't have to make the armature.

Using the orange clay, we rolled and sculpted the body. Use a bamboo skewer to help form and mold the legs. Use a piece of the wire to insert into both of the arms to give it more strength. Once you decide the placement of your arms smooth them to the Loraxs' body.

Using a 1/4" circle cutter, make the eyes and eye lids. Roll out a small orange oval for the nose and a small snake for the mouth.
Take some yellow and shape the eyebrows and mustache. Then add the features to the face.

Once the Lorax is complete, use a toothpick to create the fur.
Then place your figure on a smooth ceramic tile and bake in your oven according to the manufacturer's instructions. Let cool.

Once cooled, use some black craft paint to paint the mouth and eyes.

If you want to make it a plant stake like the image below, use a power drill and very carefully drill a hole in the bottom the width of your bamboo skewer.

There you have it. You can make a bunch of these Lorax plant stakes which make a neat gift for your teacher or family members for spring or Earth Day. UNLESS....

...you want to create a little "scene" with a green hill and paper flowers and some Truffula trees.

Enjoy and have fun creating your own little Lorax world.
Happy Birthday Dr. Seuss!

Here is the what our 6 year old created while we were making this how-to.
Definitely LORAX approved!
~Lianne & Paul

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Do you have a doodle book?

Ever since our our days in art school Lianne and I were encouraged to always keep a sketchbook with us at all times and make it a habit of sketching in the book everyday. Well, it's been along time since our days of art school and many of the sketchbooks were tossed away, placed high on the book shelf or just became quick sketches on paper and discarded after the project was complete.

It wasn't until we started designing our ornaments that the sketchbook ritual returned and become such a vital part of the designing process again and our designs. Nowadays we can't think of not having one the sketchbook. These days it is not as easy for Lianne to always keep up with a sketchbook, but she definitely tries. I try to take it everywhere... to family events, appointments, even jury duty. I highly recommend everyone keep a "doodle" book in one form or another. It's such a great way to express your creative ideas and becomes a great reference and inspiring guide.

This weekend I started my 12th sketchbook (it usually take me a year to fill one up). After adding the 11th book to the shelf I thought I would visit some of the pages from the past eleven years.

Kicking off the 12th book, are the start of the sketches from our new Easter/Spring collection. The sketch books I prefer are called Cachet Studio. They're available in wonderful colors and sizes. I've been using them for years and really enjoy them. I love the 5 x 8 size because I prefer to sketch smaller and it makes a great travel companion where as Lianne enjoys the bigger size to sketch in.

I try to make sure I record each and every thought.... the good and the bad.

This page was the start of the design process for our Swirly Designs name. At one point, we were considering the name Swirly Things Designs for a while. Yikes!

I also like to add notes and color to some of the sketches to help fine tune some of the possible designs.

At one point we were tossing around the idea of creating a Swirly Designs calendar and on the right side was a sketch of an early craft show booth layout.

I'll randomly add the date and even sometimes the time on the top of the page. Why... I don't know. Sometime it fun to look back and see when and what time the ideas were created.

Above, shows our now six year old's 1st birthday invite illustration and sketches.

and from sketch to final product, it's always fun to see the design process come alive.

So we encourage you all to go and pick up a sketch book and start DOODLING your creative life!

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Things We LOVE: Part Deux

Well, we wanted to post this on Valentine's Day BUT life happened and we just never got around to it. Bad bloggers, we know! I didn't want to shelve this post until next year, so I thought why not post it just a little late - just think of February as the month of LOVE!

We hope everyone enjoyed the day and told the ones you love how much they mean to you. Whether it was a simple little note in your kids lunch bag or a quick call to your folks or a single flower in a vase on your night stand; it's the little things that make people happy. At least it is for us and that's the point of this post.

We've come up with a few more to add to our things we love post we did last year.
Just some silly little things that make us smile:)

• We LOVE our fans. Some of you have been following our journey since the beginning. You are the first to place orders for each and every collection we launch online. For that, we thank you and LOVE your support. (Is that enough kissing up for you?)

• We LOVE children's books. Especially holiday themed ones (big shocker). But taking a trip to the bookstore and scouting out any new holiday books is so fun! We'll read the stories to the kids during lunch and at night leading up to the big day and then we'll store the books away after each holiday, so each year it's a nice treat to revisit them all over again. The kids love it and we love it too! Here are a few of our favorite Valentine's books:
Love Ruby Valentine, Ruby Valentine Saves the Day, Mr. Prickles, The Night Before Valentine's Day & If You'll Be My Valentine.

• We LOVE letterpress cards. It's an art form that's been around forever and we hope it never leaves us. There is something so timeless about a beautifully hand pressed card. Every time we purchase them we say they are "too good to give away" we never want part with them. Here are some of our favorites L to R: Egg Press , Hello! Lucky, Night Owl Paper Goods

• We LOVE Paper Source. With a mission statement that is to inspire you to "do something creative every day" how you can you not love this place. Paper Source is a premier paperie and retail store. We are so fortunate to have five locations here in MA and visiting (we have hit 4 out of the 5 so far) visiting a location you can spend hours upon hours checking out the beautiful array of colored papers and seasonal gifts as well as spend some serious $$. Every time we visit we lose track of time and usually end up with a parking ticket because our 2 hour meter has expired. Hey, a small price to pay for so much inspiration.

If you don't have a Paper Source in your neck of the woods we would suggest at least signing up to request a catalog. That alone is almost as good as visiting.

• We LOVE Pinterest! We realize that this site has been around for a couple of years already, but we are just jumping on the bandwagon. I had been on it for about 6 months with a personal account, and loved how I could organize all my finds online in one place AND find inspiration from other people's boards. It took awhile for me to figure it out, but once I did, I got a few of my friends into it and then finally got Paul hooked. He thought this would be a great place for Swirly Designs to gather inspiration but also to showcase our designs! We are still tweaking things , but we are loving it so far.

• We LOVE the new show on ABC "Once Upon a Time". Well, I do anyways, Paul has only watched one episode. But I am officially obsessed! It's a great way to spend a Sunday night catching up with all your favorite fairy tale characters and what would happen if they lived in an ordinary town in present day.

• We LOVE music. Working in the studio long hours we listen to our fair share of music like classic rock, pop or a mix of children's music since the kiddos are usually nearby when we are working. We picked up these iPod shuffles for the kids to play lullaby music to fall asleep at night.... because who doesn't enjoy listening to music as they fall asleep?

Until next year! Hope your year is full of LOVE!

** Disclaimer: Everything we mention above in this post is Swirly Designs personal opinions; we were not paid or asked to promote any of these items/products we talked about. We just "love" them!

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Valentine's Greeting

Happy Valentine's Day!
xo Lianne & Paul

Monday, February 13, 2012

Crafting Valentine's with the little one

I spent the afternoon having fun and crafting Valentine's with my little girl here at the studio who was all about hands on stamping, painting, cutting and gluing a Valentine for mommy.
~Happy Valentine's Day! Hope everyone enjoys the day with the ones you love.

Friday, February 10, 2012

Holiday How-to Valentine: Good enough to eat

But eating these clay cookies will surely give you a tummy ache!

Celebrate this Valentine's Day with Polyform and Swirly and make these Sweet Premo Cookies for the ones you love.

We are very excited to share with you our latest seasonal how-to project we created for Polyform which is up online now on their website here.

Happy clay day!

Thursday, February 9, 2012

How-to: Heart Tree Topper

This project is for personal, non-commercial use.

We love decorating for Valentine’s Day and as you may know we might have a few mini trees (is six a few??) decked out here to celebrate love day. Now, we don't expect you to have six trees... three would be fine..but even if you only have one here is a simple how-to project you can do to create this sweet tree topper for your own Valentine’s tree.

• Paper Mache covered styrofoam heart (we found these at Micheal's for a buck)
• Red and pink craft pain
• Sliver Dresden trim (D Blumchen & Co.)
• 3/8" ribbon coral rose color
• 5/8" ribbon lite pink color
• silver tinsel
• Hot glue gun
• Scissors
• a bamboo skewer

Step 1.
Take your scissors and make a hole at the bottom of the heart big enough to fit on your tree branch.

Step 2.
Paint. We painted one side bright red and the other side pink, but you can create any color combination you feel fits your ornament color palette. It could be red and gold, silver and purple etc.). Don't worry about the edges where the two colors meet, you'll be covering it with trim.

Step 3.
To make it easier to paint your heart, insert your bamboo skewer.Easier to hold, plus when done you can insert it into a glass to let the paint dry.

Step 4.
Cut two pieces of each of your 3/8 and 5/8 color ribbon 22" inches long (this size could vary depending on the size of your tree. You want the ribbon long enough to be able to drape down your tree) Use a glue gun to glue the ribbon around bottom hole of the heart alternating colors.

Step 5.
Glue the silver Dresden trim around the edges of the heart where the two colors meet. Then glue a piece of tinsel around the base covering the end your ribbon.

There you have it....your Valentine Heart Tree Topper!

Insert your heart onto the top of one of your trees and drape your ribbon down the tree.

The heart can easily be switched around if you want the pink side.

How great does the bright red side workwith our silver tinsel tree? It just makes all the red "pop" on the tree.

The red side also works well with a pale pink tree if you want more of a contrast.

...or switch it around to make the whole tree in tones of pink.

Have fun... be creative... use your own imagination to create your own lovely Valentine heart tree topper!

Happy Valentine's Day!

Friday, February 3, 2012

Our Valentine Collection photos

With our 2012 Valentine's collection up and available online today. We wanted to share with everyone some of the lovey images we took today since the photos we shot yesterday turned out so yellow from not having any sunlight in the studio. Thanks goodness the sun was a shining and the picture came out so nice. Take a look.

Happy Valentine's!
~Lianne & Paul
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