Creative Gift Wrap Ideas: Audubon Gift Tags

DSC_0948I used the bird paintings of John James Audubon for some fun gift tags this year. If you would like to learn more about the artist, PBS produced an amazing documentary on his life in their American Masters series (you can read about it here). I used a gigantic book of Audubon prints that I found in the bargain section of my local bookstore to make gift tags. You can use artwork from any book–or even magazine–of your choice. See the steps below:

Step 1:

Select artwork that appeals to you and fits into your theme for gift wrap. If you choose to use Audubon birds, many varieties will work–not just cardinals. Blue birds, quails, and many other subjects would look great with some gold ribbon on brown gift wrap.

Step 2:

Cut the art away from the page, but do not cut out the entire outline yet.

Step 3:

Adhere the art to cardstock using an archival glue stick.

Step 4:

Cut around the outline of the artwork using small scissors.

Step 5:

Thread a needle with gold thread. Insert the needle and thread through the art. Use the thread to secure the artwork to a bow with a couple of small knots. Trim the edges, and you’re done!

To see my post on using seashell art for stationery gifts click here!

The Color Wheel: Why It Matters at Christmas and All Year Long

Unfortunately, I think many people are afraid to use color–hence our gravitation toward neutrals and earth tones. I’ve actually always had a problem with the word “earth tone” because planet earth abounds in vibrant color combinations–not just tan and brown. And if mother nature is not afraid to pair hot pink and green beneath a bright blue sky, we shouldn’t be afraid to mix colors either. Colors have such a powerful impact on our mood and relationships that we shouldn’t cheat ourselves out of experiencing them in our homes.

People in all branches of art and design rely on color relationships. You’ve likely heard the term “color wheel” and have probably seen a few–maybe at your local home improvement store or in an art class in high school. Whether you are decorating a cake, redesigning your bedroom, or creating a painting, it helps to refer to one.

A color wheel organizes colors by their specific relationships to one another. I’ll explore more about this in future posts, but for now we’ll focus on complementary colors and analogous colors. If you look at the example of the color wheel, any three colors that are directly beside each other are called analogous. Pairing analogous colors creates a harmonious, soothing combination. Colors that are directly across from one another are called complementary. These colors “pop,” appearing more vibrant and lively when paired. Classic complementary relationships include blue and orange, yellow and purple, and red and green–which brings us, strangely enough, to Christmas.

Pairing complementary colors, like hot pink and mint green, or aqua and gold makes for a visually appealing presentation. If you are going for pops of color, with a fun, vibrant feel, choosing these combinations in pure, saturated hues is the way to achieve your goal. If you would like a soothing, calm holiday atmosphere, choose from a spectrum of analogous colors, like different shades of blue, or reds, pinks, and whites, and then throw in a small amount of complimentary colors for visual interest. You can use this approach when decorating all year long. For a great article on analogous and complementary colors, check out the Color Matters website here.

Carl Larsson Paintings for Christmas

Swedish painter Carl Larsson (1853-1919) focused mainly on domestic subjects of his own children. I think the sweetness and cheer in many of his works perfectly captures the joy of a young, adventurous family. They are great reminders of the happiness and innocence of the holidays. Some of the paintings below were not specifically painted for Christmas, but the colors and subject matter still seem fitting for the season. Enjoy!

My Bird Ornaments

DSC_0054I wanted to share one of my Christmas projects: beaded felt ornaments. I started making these a few years ago. I’ve made lots of different animals in the past, but making birds is my favorite. I’ve always loved birds since I was a little kid, and giving them whimsical beaded accents on these ornaments is fun. I draw each one, sew them, and then embellish them with beads and gold stitching. It really feels like drawing a picture, but with fabric. I’m posting these birds in my Etsy shop, and I’ll keep adding different designs from time to time. Do you have a favorite holiday craft or art project?