Wednesday, November 6, 2013

A Handmade Christmas

Not all my gifts will be hand made this year as we have decided Christmas is not an emergency and we have been donating to our Christmas envelope for a few months now. Many of my friends actually prefer handmade consumable gifts, they see them as a thoughtful gift made with love that will not need to be dusted in the future. So I thought I'd share a few gifts I am making, I won't show it all so the person getting it will still be surprised. I'm also going to give a shout out to the Prudent Homemaker who also has great handmade gift ideas (and No she did not pay me to link her up I just think she is fabulous.)

I decided to do a set of seasonal cards. I have a bag of cards left over from our adoption announcements so many years ago, I found them when I was cleaning. I also have one last big piece of watercolor paper, and all the leftover watercolors from CTC that are just begging to be played with.
So I measured my blank cards and my paper and cut my watercolor paper up into (for me) tiny pieces that will fit on the card fronts. 
I then drew a tree because what is easier than a nice landscape with a lone tree... 

I then used a piece of tracing paper (ok I'll be honest it was velum because I can't find the tracing paper), to trace my tree I used my pencil to shade in the back so when I trace it on to my other watercolor papers  the tree will have the same general shape 
Don't forget to add some kind of registration mark! I marked the corners of the paper so when I laid it down to trace I could keep it in the same place for every card. 
Ok here I have 4 all done you can do more than 4 but this is how many I managed with my card size.  I planned on a piece of paper what each card will look like. I took a few ideas from these posts 
and it helped tremendously to know what each season was going to look like in my head before I started. 

Using a small piece of tape I made a moon taped it down and then did a wet on wet color wash of a winter night. Notice I stopped at my horizon line. I have taped these down via the back not the edges, since they will be glued to the cards in the end I can flatten them out then. 
After it dried I pulled off the tape and added yellow shading to the moon. painted in the tree in black, then hit the bottom with white paint, added a quick shadow and then shook the salt shaker over the drying white paint to add a 3D snow effect. You need to work quickly so the salt will stick. 
Here is my background for spring. I dropped in some white clouds over the top of the sky. 
Add the tree in brown and let it dry. 
Now I added in bright green leaves by dabbing with a nasty ol' paint brush  the kids had destroyed. Add some spring flowers, I'm not sure if they are daffodils or yellow tulips, but they do make this image look like spring!  You could also add white blossoms to the tree if you wanted to make it an apple, dogwood etc.  I also did a green wash up from the bottom over the top of the yellow underpainting. 
Here is my background for summer but alas the finished product photo is unusable and I already wrapped the present, so I'm going to leave the rest to your imagination. Add in a brown trunk and use a darker green  
for the leaves. I added dots of yellow to the grass to be dandelions. 
For fall I picked a stormy day, after I had mixed up some grey blue paint and did a wet on wet color wash I used a dry brush to soak up some of the wash. Then used a wet brush to drop in some clouds. When it had dried a bit I added some white to the clouds and some more of the dark wash to edges. I love how it turned out. To get the fall grass look I under painted a light brown and then went over it with the leftover summer green wash. See how it gives it a more fuller color. 
I painted in a few extra limbs on the tree as if the tree had actually grown during the seasons. Using my paintbrush I dabbed in leaves on the tree. Use yellow, orange, and red and don't worry if the colors get a bit mashed together. I then used my brush by dabbing to makes blowing leaves as if the wind was carrying away the leaves. 

After they were all done I glued them to the cards, be sure to weigh the drying cards down with books so they dry flat. Don't forget to sign and date your art work! Wrap and give. 

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