Archive for Kits


The Magic of Transformation

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(This month I’m a guest designer on I’m sharing a version of the post I wrote there here with you.)

One of the most satisfying aspects of the creative process is transformation.

Transformation is that moment in the creative process when the jumble of actions and choices you’ve been making start to gel into a new wholeness–and suddenly, your humble caterpillar project evolves into a gorgeous butterfly.

In truth though, transformation is not easy to achieve. We can make a lot of work we think is just ‘okay’ but feel it lacks that certain something.

And I think that certain something is often this elusive “transformation” process-when the sum of the whole becomes greater than its parts.

I believe though, that creating transformation is something you can practice–and when you increase your awareness about it, you can learn to have this satisfying experience in your work much more often.

One of my favorite things about my Byzantine Baubles Ornament Kit is that it’s a great exercise for learning more about how to do this in all your work.

Making this kit will carry you, step-by-step, through a genuine transformation process–each step evolves the project from its humble, brown kraft paper origins into its final, bejeweled, glittery wonderfulness–it’s truly a great example of how lots of small details create a final result that’s truly greater than the sum of its parts.

A super-clear how-to video is available when you buy the kit, but I thought I’d walk through all the steps “aloud” –if you will–(hmm, don’t get to say “if you will” very often) in order to give you a better idea of why this kit is just as much an useful art lesson as it is a nice way to create a beautiful ornament.

So. Let’s get started.

Byzantine Baubles Ornament Kit–Step by Step

Supplies: Paper Mache Ornaments; Ultrafine Glitter; Dries Clear Glitter Glue; an Ultrafine Metal Glue Tip; Metallic Paint; Dresden Trim; Glass Pearl Cabachons; and a Paintbrush.

  1. Paint all your ornaments first and let them dry thoroughly. I like to use metallic paint and I usually use two coats:

    1. Decide where you’re going to dry your ornaments before you start painting—I like to stick a tack in the side of my worktable.
    2. Wash and dry your brush when you’re done, you’ll need it later.
  2. Practice drawing lines and dots with the ultrafine metal glue tip on scrap paper before you start working on the actual ornament:

    1. Get a feel for the tip and the design you want to make. I provide a template for my looped design in my kit, but you can look in pattern books for other inspiration.
    2. If you aren’t using my kit, it would be better to work out a pretty design that you like first on scrap paper. It’ll help you use your glitter wisely and figure out which part of your pattern should be in what color before you start on the ornaments themselves.
    3. Simple is best. As you can see on the Byzantine Baubles ornaments, I use a simple all over loop pattern with gold dots.
    4. Filling the space with a repeat pattern is a great way to make your final product look good– don’t worry if your drawn lines and shapes aren’t perfect–the repetition of the pattern and the gorgeousness of the glitter hides all kinds of imperfections.
  3. Once you’re ready to work on your ornament, it’s best to work in stages:

    1. If you’re using a multi-sided ornament like mine, draw your glue pattern on one or two sides and then sprinkle your glitter before the glue dries.
    2. If you’re working on a round ornament, pick a section that’s small enough to be comfortable working on, and do the same as above.
    3. Once you’ve sprinkled your glitter on top of your wet glue, you’ll notice extra glitter seems to stick everywhere on the ornament—even the non-gluey areas. Don’t worry, you’ll be able to brush off the excess glitter after it’s dry.
    4. Hint: You might actually find it easier to work on more than one ornament at a time because it will help you resist the temptation to continue working on the wet one.
  4. Once you’ve created the entire background pattern and it’s dry, you can brush off the excess glitter with a (dry) paintbrush:

    1. Now you’re ready to add your second color. For the Byzantine Baubles Ornaments, that means adding a simple glue dot inside each loop of the pattern.
    2. Again, it’s better to work on only one or two sides at a time so the glue has a chance to dry.
    3. Don’t forget to resist the temptation to brush off the excess glitter until the glue has dried.
    4. Once you’ve covered your entire ornament with gold dots and brushed off the excess glitter, you’re ready for the next step.
  5. Your ornament should be looking pretty snazzy at this point, but these next two simple steps are key to making the ornament look like something else—something more exotic than it is—this is what makes it feel transformed:

    1. By wrapping strips of traditional German Dresden Trim around the center of each ornament, it starts to look like a jeweled encrusted secret box or a Christmas-y version of a Faberge egg.
    2. This is exciting because now we’ve got a story about our object which is key to the transformation process. Our imaginations love stories–they’re are satisfying, fulfilling, and primal.
    3. We can reinforce this feeling by adding oversized, flat backed glass pearls (cabachons) to three sides of the ornament, (just glue them in place with the glitter glue). The glitter, the trim and the pearls all work together to create an over-the-top fancy feeling that’s perfect for a Christmas ornament.
    4. Once the ornament is done, it’s thoroughly transformed from its original state—kraft paper? No way! Who knew?

 The base product is now our  little secret because we’ve elevated our project into a new wholeness by effectively combining materials to create something larger than the sum of its parts.
    5. This transformation sparks the imagination of the viewer to connect our design to other images, ideas or feelings in their experience–personal memories or shared cultural symbols and objects.
      And all of that happens in nano-seconds. Most of the time, as the viewers, we’re not aware of it. We just respond positively and say something like: “Oh, that’s so cool–it looks like a……………”
    6. It might sound high-falutin’–we’re only crafting here!–but I believe that creating connections like these in our viewers’ minds is one of the important reasons that good design is good—and when you’re developing a craft project, that’s what you’re doing—designing. Why not shoot for the moon?

More Design Tips

If you want to make your own ornaments rather than use my kit, here are a few more design tips and principles to consider:

  • Keep your design and palette simple:

    • Use just a few colors for an elegant feeling (or lots of colors to create a riotous, party feeling).
    • For these ornaments, I was shooting for “elegant” so I stuck to a narrow palette–I used one bold color for the paint and the main glitter and chose gold as the accent.

 I then echoed that gold from the glitter dots in both the trim and the pearls. If I had used white pearls instead, for instance, it would have looked weird and detracted from the design.
      (So before you discard an element that doesn’t seem to work, ask yourself if it’s the size, the shape or the color that isn’t right—change one thing and it might suddenly be perfect.)
    • Repeat shapes and lines—I repeated a lot of circles in my ornaments—the looped pattern, the little dots, the round pearl cabs—balancing repetition with slight variation creates visual interest and harmony at the same time.
  • Constantly strike a balance between variation and repetition:

    • When I first added trim to the middle of my ornament, I instantly loved that it created a closed box feeling because it created more story, which in turn created more visual interest.
    • But by repeating the gold color of the dots, I also kept the “visual interest” under control because it was connected to the other elements of the design—too much harmony and a design gets sleepy—too much variation and everything looks choppy and confusing.

I hope this project has provided you some ideas about how you might create transformation in your own artwork, design, and craft projects.

If you’d like to order this kit and be able to download my step-by-step how to video, please click here:

What do you think about my ideas about the role of transformation in your art making or crafting? Does it seem crazy or are you intrigued? Please share your thoughts, I’d love to hear from you.

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Guaranteed Success

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It can be so rewarding to make your gifts for the holidays. But stressful at the same time.

What if it doesn’t work out? What if you run out of time? What if they hate it?

Well, I’ve got two great ornament kits that are a great way to learn some fun techniques, make something special, and are guaranteed to work. They also come with lots of support–including a special (totally optional) FREE tele-seminar each month when we make them together.

And I figured that I better announce them now–even though it’s early October–to give you time to mull it over, order a couple-three (free shipping when you order 2 or more)  and finish them in plenty of time for giving or hanging on your tree.

Here goes!

Glitter Decoupage Ornament Kits

Okay, this kit is so fun, easy and pretty, that honestly, it’s almost ridiculous.

AND you can get several ornaments done in one afternoon.

They’re perfect teacher, grandparent, or co-worker gifts and they’re easy enough to do with little kids as well, which is not true of most projects I design.

And yet, they’re not a little kid project.

Which means, if you make them with a little kid, they’ll still look like a sophisticated, grown up ornament when you’re done. But you’ll both have had loads of fun with no stress.

Because it’s really all about the magic of this decoupage technique and the quality of the supplies. A seriously awesome combo that can’t be beat. (People actually find this technique very meditative.)

Click here to read what one mom wrote me about the kits last year after she made them with her 5 year old daughter (I felt like a million bucks after reading her note to me.)

This kit is also great for a party. I’m throwing an ornament party this year, and I’m going to use this kit because I know

  • everyone will be able to do it,
  • everyone will like the finished result, and
  • everyone will be able to drink wine and laugh with friends while they make their ornament.

The video for this kit is available for all to see, and you can watch it HERE to see how easy and pretty it really is.

Or click here to get all the details and/or place an order. (You can view the video from a link on that page too. But definitely watch the video!)

Byzantine Baubles Ornament Kit

I love these ornaments. Still easy, but not for little kids. Adults and crafty teenagers, yes, but not little kids.

This kit also has its own super clear how to video, but it’s only for people who buy the kit.

Because this kit is fancy with lots of special supplies, and one of those special supplies is the video itself. You won’t find a kit like this anywhere else on the internet.

As a teacher, I love how this kit is a great art lesson.

Making it walks you through a genuine transformation process–from its blah, brown kraft paper beginnings to its final, bejeweled, glittery wonderfulness– it’s a great exercise in experiencing how lots of small details create a final result that’s truly greater than the sum of its parts.

But best of all, they simply look great and if you give these as gifts, you can rest assured people will love them and keep them forever.

You’re creating heirlooms, when you make this kit. Heirlooms, I say!!

Click HERE to learn more.


You’re busy. Or it’s been a while since you made anything. Or you’re afraid to buy something you won’t use.

I get it. I’ve felt like that many times myself. That’s why I designed these kits to come with lots of support.

Each kit has its own HOW TO VIDEO, so there’s no tortuous reading of instructions. I hate to read instructions for visual things, I just want to see what to do.

(Of course, I’ve included written instructions in the kits, just in case, but really, you can just watch the video.)

AND, I’m also offering totally optional, totally FREE Tele-crafting Teleseminars to everyone who orders a kit.

These are conference calls where we create an ornament together over the phone–you’ll need an earbud or a speaker phone so you’ll have both hands free to work.

This tele-seminar gives you a chance to carve out time to get started, ask any questions you may have, or just have some company while you create.

But if you can’t make any of the teleseminar dates, you can write me anytime, and I’ll write you back pronto.

And if you’re still having trouble for some reason, we can even have an emergency crafting chat over the phone.

Support, baby, I’m not kidding around!

100% Money Back Guarantee!

And of course, there’s no worries because each kit has a 100% money back guarantee, so if you’re not completely delighted, I’ll give you a full refund out of my own pocket because I totally believe in these kits and I’ll be ridiculously surprised if you need to send yours back.

But if you do need to, no hard feelings, I just want you to feel safe about ordering and know that we’re totally good even if you do need a refund.

You can read more about the guarantee here.

Okay, I think that’s it for now. Click here if you want to learn more about the kits. And if you have any questions, feel free to contact me.

Categories : Decoupage, Kits
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