A stationery must-have: the sticky-note dispenser

By Srishti Mitra for Yanko Designs

Having some cool stationery designs on your work desk can really transform work into joy, and makes dealing with everyday tasks easier.

It’s hard to keep track of the tasks we have to complete by the end of the day – meetings to attend, calls to return, assignments to complete.

Sometimes we just need to write it all down, especially when your boss walks into your office, throws a couple of random instructions at you, and strolls off! Jonghwan Kim’s Memo Roll promises to help us with that.

The Memo Roll is shaped like a teardrop, and to understand its functionality, I guess it’s best to compare it to a tape dispenser.  You simply tug out a note as needed, scrawl down whatever you need to remember and stick it onto your desk or bulletin board. No more scrounging around for your memo notepad, while you struggle to jot down crucial details.
You can place your Memo Roll conveniently onto your work desk, providing you with easy access to the notes. You surely won’t miss its cute, quirky form.

By Glenda Viljoen / Trocraft

Ranger Product Requirements:

TIM HOLTZ ADIRONDACK

ALCOHOL INKS: POPPY FIELD, RED PEPPER

ALCOHOL INK APPLICATOR AND FELT

ALCOHOL BLENDING SOLUTION

TIM HOLTZ DISTRESS

DISTRESS SPRAY STAINS: CANDIED APPLE

MINI DISTRESS INK PADS: CANDIED APPLE,
SPUN SUGAR, FESTIVE BERRIES, AGED MAHOGANY, ANTIQUE LINEN, GROUND ESPRESSO, HICKORY SMOKE

DISTRESS PAINT: PICKET FENCE

DISTRESS GLITTER: SPUN SUGAR

MINI INK BLENDING TOOL

RANGER ACRYLIC PAINT DABBERS

PINK GUMBALL, CLASSIC CHERRY

DYLUSIONS INK SPRAYS

CHERRY PIE, POSTBOX RED

ARCHIVAL INKS

VERMILLION, WATERING CAN

EMBOSSING POWDER

RED CINNABAR

ADHESIVES

WONDER TAPE, GLOSSY ACCENTS, MULTI MEDIUM

Product Information:

TIM HOLTZ ADIRONDACK ALCOHOL INKS
Acid-free, fast drying transparent coordinating dye inks specially formulated to create a colourful, polished stone effect. Use on glossy paper, metal, shrink plastic, glass and other slick surfaces. Alcohol Blending Solution lightens colours and cleaning inks from non-porous surfaces.

PAINT DABBER | DISTRESS PAINT

Ranger Acrylic Paint Dabber and Tim Holtz Distress Paints may look like similar products, but each has its own signature features that make it different from the other: Distress Paint is more fluid, reacts with water, surface remains smooth, opaque coverage, semi opaque when mixed with water and is permanent when dry. Acrylic Paint Dabbers create texture on surfaces, opaque coverage on multi surfaces and permanent when dry.

DISTRESS SPRAY STAINS | DYLUSIONS INK SPRAYS

Distress Spray Stain and Dylusions Ink Spray are different formulations, each with their own reactive properties. Dylusions Ink Spray ghosts and lightens while Distress Spray Stain is designed to wick and mottle when wet. Both products are acid free, non-toxic water based dye inks.

Techniques and instructions:

METAL TIN

  • Adhere tissue tape to rim of lid.
  • Cut two strips of red heart paper: width x 1,8 cm. trim second strip to measure 9 cm. cut a ‘v’ into left edge. Adhere strips to outside of tin. Adhere pearl to ‘v’.
  • Cut 9,5 x 9,5 cm (cream with black heart paper). Corner-round corners and adhere to inside, bottom of tin.

 

EMBELLISHING METAL TIN LID

  • Spritz fabric flower with Cherry Pie Dylusions Ink Spray and Candied Apple Distress Spray Stain.
  • Stamp two paper flowers with script text with Vermillion Archival Ink.
  • Dab Festive Berries and Candied Apple Distress Ink pads onto non-stick craft sheet. Lightly spritz with water. Place ribbon into ink to colourize. When dry create a bow, leaving a piece to create two ribbon tabs for booklet inside tin.
  • Apply a few drops of Poppy Field Alcohol Ink to felt on alcohol ink applicator. Dab onto pearl and rhinestones.
  • Ink small chipboard heart with Festive Berries Distress Ink using a mini ink blending tool.
  • Decorate lid with flower, leaves, die-cuts, word stickers, chipboard heart, inked ribbon, resin rose, stamped paper flowers, tissue tape, heart stickers, pearl and rhinestones.
  • Embellish reverse side of lid with die-cuts, chipboard heart, paper flower, red button, stickers and twine bow.

 

ACCORDIAN BOOKLET (ZIG ZAG FOLD)

  • Cut two strips: 30,5 x 8,5 cm and 25,5 x 8,5 cm. Join two strips, matching lace edges, with ‘postcard’ strip on left, joining with strips of tissue tape.
  • Starting from left side, measure and score at 6,5 cm 13,5 cm and 22 cm and then at 8,5 cm and 17 cm on second half.
  • Fold on score lines, pressing the crease with a bone folder, creating a zig zag fold.
  • Corner-round top and bottom left-hand edge.
  • Lightly ink edges with Antique Linen Distress Ink using a mini ink blending tool.

 

BOOKLET FRONT COVER

  • Stamp left and right edges with script stamp and Vermillion Archival Ink.
  • Adhere acetate die-cut bracket frame to right edge, overlapping folded edge. Adhere red felt and gold foil hearts. Adhere paper die-cut heart to complete heart cluster.
  • Paint metal button with Picket Fence Distress Paint. Dry slightly and then wipe to remove paint from raised areas.
  • Colourize one pearl pin with Poppy Field Alcohol Ink.
  • Finish with tulle bow, pearl pins and button.

 

BOOKLET PAGE THREE: WATERCOLOUR PAPER

  • Lightly dab Spun Sugar, Candied Apple, Festive Berries and Aged Mahogany Distress Ink pads onto the back of layering stencil until the stencil has colours in most areas. Mist inked stencil with water from a mister.
  • Lift stencil and place onto watercolour paper. Press with roller towel to ‘print’ colour as well as to absorb excess ink. Lift stencil and dry with a heat tool.
  • Place stencil back onto inked watercolour paper and ink with Spun Sugar and Antique Linen Distress Ink using a mini ink blending tool.
  • Stamp script text using Vermillion Archival Ink.
  • Cut into a 7,5 cm square and corner-round all four corners. Add inked ribbon tab and alcohol inked rhinestone to right edge. Centre and adhere to page.

 

BOOKLET PAGE FOUR: STAMPING AND EMBOSSING

  • Stamp quote with Watering Can Archival Ink. While ink is still wet, apply Red Cinnabar Embossing Powder.
  • Lightly shake off excess powder taking care not to remove embossing powder from stamped image. Heat with heat tool until embossing powder melts. Add a small felt die-cut heart.

 

BOOKLET PAGE FIVE: STAMPING WITH PAINT

  • Cut cream paper (7,5 cm x 7,5 cm).
  • Dab Pink Gumball Acrylic Paint onto splatter stamp. Stamp onto cream paper.
  • Dab Classic Cherry Acrylic Paint onto splatter stamp. Stamp onto cream paper.
  • Swipe Festive Berries Distress Ink pad onto piece of music note tissue tape. Wipe with roller towel. Adhere onto dry painted surface.
  • Ink foiled chipboard heart with Spun Sugar, Candied Apple and Festive Berries Distress Ink using an ink blending tool. Lightly spritz with water to react and blend ink.
  • Adhere painted paper to page. Embellish with foil and felt hearts, word stickers and tissue tape.

 

BOOKLET PAGE SIX: ALCOHOL INK ON FOIL

  • Apply a few drops of Poppy Field Alcohol Ink to felt on alcohol ink applicator. Dab onto areas of foil alpha sheet, flower rhinestone and pearl.
  • Cut red heart paper to measure 7,5 x 7,5 cm and adhere to page. Trim foil alphas to fit and adhere.
  • Stamp script text onto a paper flower. Add flowers, rhinestone and pearl. Add word stickers to complete.

 

BOOKLET PAGE SEVEN: DISTRESS GLITTER

  • Cut black with cream design paper to measure 7,5 x 7,5 cm.
  • Centre acetate frame onto black paper. Trace inner square with a pencil. Remove frame and set aside.
  • Cut strips of Wonder Tape to cover square extending a few millimetres past the pencil lines. Peel backing from tape and adhere frame onto tape.
  • Place square onto spare paper and pour Spun Sugar Distress Glitter onto exposed tape. Tap off excess and return excess glitter to container.
  • Adhere foil chipboard heart on top of glittered area. Pour Glossy Accents to inner section. Add red glass beads and Spun Sugar Distress Glitter. Set aside to dry. Tap excess glitter off and return to container.
  • Colour pearl heart with Poppy Field Alcohol Ink.
  • Create ribbon tab and adhere to right-hand.
  • Adhere square to page and finish with sticker words, hearts and pearl heart.

 

TO FINISH TIN

Cut cream with black heart paper (9,5 x 9,5 cm). Corner-round corners. Adhere to bottom of tin. Adhere booklet to tin.

 

LEGO enters arts and crafts space with Dots

By Ryan Tuchow for Kids Screen

The LEGO Group is building its way into the arts and crafts category with the 2D tile-based play line LEGO Dots.

The new flat tiles come in various shapes and sizes and users can place them together to create 2D designs, such as facial expressions, planets and music notes. Dots is a departure for the company, which has primarily focused on 3D play with its many brick-based brands. Dots launches March 1 with bags of coloured and decorated tiles, wearable bracelets and room decor that can be decorated, including photo cubes, jewellery holders, a pineapple-shaped pencil holder, a small picture frame.

The Danish brick-maker is launching the new property to tap into kids desire for more personalised forms of play, where they’re free to explore and express themselves, LEGO said in a statement. LEGO discovered this white space after conducting a quantitative study with 10,800 parents and 7,200 kids across the US, China and Germany.

To showcase the new brand, LEGO partnered with London-based artist Camille Walala – and 180 kids – to build a five-room interactive house full of the new tiles. The installation is at Coal Drops Yard in London’s Kings Cross from January 28 to Feb 2.

In other LEGO news, the company is expanding its licensing relationship with Universal Brand Development to include Universal Pictures’ Fast & Furious franchise. Under the broadened partnership, LEGO will launch the new LEGO Technic brand, a construction toy line where kids can build their own cars, on April 27. Aimed at kids 10 and older, LEGO Technic is coming out ahead of Fast & Furious 9, which arrives in theatres in May.

LEGO has been collaborating with Universal since 2018 to turn some of its biggest brands into CP, including Jurassic World which got an animated special, a miniseries, and play-sets. It also teamed up with the studio as a CP partner for DreamWorks Animation’s upcoming feature film Trolls World Tour for the first time, last year.

This relationship might move beyond CP though as just last month multiple news outlets, including The Hollywood Reporter and Collider, reported that the brick-maker (whose deal with Warner Bros. expired last fall) was in talks with Universal about an exclusive film partnership for the studio to produce new movies focused on the toys.

Find a hobby and get off your smartphone

By Nicole Dieker for Life Hacker 

Every day, I try to do at least one activity that is both engaging and smartphone-free—and if it’s social, that’s a bonus. Sometimes it’s group exercise class at the YMCA. Sometimes it’s choir rehearsal. Sometimes it’s as simple as spending an hour reading a physical book.

I’m always amazed at how quickly my mind quiets down when it isn’t staring at a screen. Even though I’ve already adapted both my phone and laptop to eliminate notifications, noises, and so on, it’s still kind of like looking into an infinite possibility portal (that comes with a side order of infinite demands), and it’s nice to limit those possibilities to the book or the music or the group of us steadily working our lower abdominals.

I’m not the only person who actively looks for activities that require me to set down my various devices. As Minali Chatani, co-founder of pet lifestyle brand Wild One, explains at Inc.:

I’m the first person to admit that I’m a workaholic. When running a start-up and hopping between video meetings, emails, texts, photo shoots to more emails, it can sometimes feel like I fall into this incessant, internet-driven work cycle. Picking an activity that makes you disconnect and be more present can be very grounding at the end of a chaotic day.

Having a non-work hobby or activity that disconnects you from your smartphone and connects you to your body, other people, and/or the natural world is also an excellent way to stave off burnout. Yes, sometimes work and life can be so involving that the thought of squeezing in a run or exercise class or choir rehearsal becomes overwhelming, but I’ve found that I always feel better after I get back from one of those kinds of activities. They’re rejuvenating, perhaps because they ask me to be present in a physical space instead of a technological one.

Plus, getting a hobby that puts you in regular contact with other people is a great way to form low-stakes friendships.

So if you don’t have a hobby that actively engages you in something besides a device, it might be time to get one. There’s cooking, knitting, birdwatching, weightlifting, singing, dancing, tabletop board gaming (though you have to be really careful because it’s easy to spend tabletop sessions with one eye on your phone), family walks after dinner, friend hikes on Saturday mornings, basically anything you can think of that puts you in a different kind of present tense — and, after the hobby session is over, leaves you relaxed.

And if someone might need to reach you during that time, you can always tell them to call your phone twice in a row.

By Bedros Keuilian for Entrepreneur South Africa

All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy. If Jack is an entrepreneur, it also makes him less effective at building insane wealth.

What’s Jack got to do with you? If you’re a business owner with big plans, every hour of your life matters. Screw around during the day, and you put your bottom line, your lifestyle and your employees’ paychecks at risk. You have to do something useful with your time, even when you’re not in the office. Everybody needs a hobby, and if you pick yours wisely, they’ll all serve your money-making mission.

What hobbies do you need? Here are three that you can’t afford to skip and how they improve your life and support your mission of building an empire.

1. A hobby to make money
“Choose a job you love, and you’ll never work a day in your life.”

You’ve certainly heard that quote before, and there’s some real wisdom to it. But tread carefully. Following your passion blindly won’t do you any good. There are plenty of broke people out there who are staying true to their passions. Unless you want to join them, you’ve got to go beyond your passion and into profit. This means finding the angle that lets you turn your passion into financial gain. And if you’re savvy enough, you can find that angle with absolutely anything. Don’t believe me? Look at history. There was a time when people spent their hard-earned money on pet rocks. And today, naked yoga is a thing people pay to participate in.

If you think your passion doesn’t offer the opportunity for dollars to trade hands, you’re wrong. Research some more. Figure out what people with the same passion most want to learn, have, become or achieve. Then develop a product or service tailor-made to fulfill that. Then sell like there’s no tomorrow.

Remember that if what you create helps you, it’ll help others with the same passion. You can sell your product or service by sharing your own story — no sleazy “tricks” needed.

2. A hobby to keep you fit
Science has proven time and again that there’s an intense mind-body connection. In fact, the connection is so strong that you can’t afford to be out of shape.

Work hard in the gym, and you’ll make your body hard and ready to take a beating. At the same time, exercise conditions your mind to do the same. Working out actually develops your brain, building your mental toughness so you can take on any challenges and stresses that come your way.

Let your body go, watch everything else follow.

And don’t think I’m just saying this because of my background in the fitness industry. What I’m saying here applies equally to entrepreneurs and business leaders in all industries, and it cuts both ways.

At my lowest point, even I had gotten inconsistent with my workouts, and I wasn’t pushing myself as hard I should have. This showed in a business that was not only disorganised and losing money, but also on the brink of collapse.

The first thing I did to take back control of my situation was to take control of my health. That meant making my gym time a non-negotiable, so I could rebuild the physical and mental strength I would need to pull my business out of chaos. If you’re in a similar bad place with your business, you can use this same strategy even if you haven’t ever made fitness a priority before.

While I love lifting weights, your hobby doesn’t have to involve a gym. Get outdoors and hike. Swim every day, increasing your speed and distance. Play basketball or racquetball or tennis or volleyball. Just make yourself move and the synapses of your brain will fire faster and bring you more money-making ideas.

3. A hobby to keep you creative
The simplest ideas are the best and easiest to execute, but it takes serious creativity to find simplicity. This kind of creativity isn’t cultivated in an office. It’s developed out and about, where you can take in new stimuli and actively relax.

Find your free place and grab a paintbrush or pen some poetry, master the harmonica or go full force into needlepoint. Whatever you choose, get creative and funky. Don’t be afraid to mess up. That’s where you learn the most about yourself and break down mental barriers. Push yourself beyond your artistic comfort zones and you’ll never plateau.

My creative outlet is drumming. The most physical of instruments, drums give me a way to beat something to a pulp without going to jail. I have a good ear, and through practice, I’ve developed quite a strong rhythm. However, I don’t sit around hitting everything on the quarter, eighth and sixteenth notes. I push myself to learn new fills and patterns, tempos and styles that make my brain work in new ways.

To be honest, these growth practices aren’t always a fun start to finish activity. In fact, they can be crazy frustrating. But when everything finally comes together and my feet and my hands go where they’re supposed to go, it’s absolute euphoria!

I don’t leave this attention to detail and commitment to success in the practice room. I take it to work with me. Doing something creative can do the same for you. Make it part of your life and it’ll open your eyes and help you see the world in a different way. You’ll understand how things come together, and you’ll have a fresh perspective on whatever problem is nagging you at work.

And you know what happens when you’re thinking clearly and your creative juices are flowing? Another million-dollar idea crops up with a clear path leading right to it.

So pick your hobbies, and go at them with all you’ve got. You’ll never work a day in your life, but you’ll earn an obscene amount of money.

10 cute Christmas crafts to do with toddlers

By Crystal Bassler for Moms.com

It’s the most wonderful time of the year. Every child’s head is filled with thoughts of Santa and what presents might end up underneath the tree. Meanwhile, parents are buzzing around like bees trying to get things ready so that they can have the perfect Christmas. There is no doubt about the fact that the holidays can be stressful, so why not take a break, sit down, and do some fun crafts with your little ones to get the most out of this Christmas?

Doing crafts with your little ones will create memories that they will always have and keepsakes that you can store away for when they are older. This is great bonding time and the perfect opportunity to explore your crafty side. Take a look at these 10 cute Christmas crafts that are perfect for toddlers.

Fingerprint Christmas lights

Fingerprint Christmas lights are a fun and easy Christmas craft for kids of any age. This craft is super easy to do and requires very little supplies. Go to your local crafts store and grab some finger paint and some construction paper and then you are good to go.

Simply let your child pick out the color of construction paper that they want, what color paints they wish to use, and give them a space to work on that you don’t mind getting messy. Let them dip their fingertips in the paint and get creative with their lights as seen in the picture above.

Paper plate Santa

This is another craft that is super easy and great for young children to do. For this one all you will need is some markers, a paper plate, cotton balls, and some glue. Have your child simply color in the top of the plate red for Santa’s hat, make two eyes, and a nose.

You will then have your child glue one cotton ball at the top of his hat and then a bunch of cotton balls on the bottom of the plate making Santa’s beard. This is a cute craft that you can store away and keep forever.

Construction paper tree

This is a simple craft you can do with your toddler that requires very few supplies. You’ll need green construction paper, a pencil, scissors, and some sequins. If your kids are younger, they may need some help with the cutting, so stay close by and offer them help as needed.

Simply trace out the pattern of a tree on the green construction paper, cut it out, take the glue, and start decorating! Super easy, fun, and adorable. As with many of the crafts on this list, be sure to pack it away and treasure it forever.

Reindeer masks

Reindeer masks are super fun and easy to make, not to mention the fact that your child can wear it on Christmas instead of it just being something that they put on the fridge to look at. For this fun craft, you will need scissors, construction paper, ribbon, and of course, some glue.

Cut out the shape of a mask, you might need to measure your child’s face to do so. Let your child then help make the antlers, nose, and ears. When all of that is done glue some ribbon to both sides so that your child can put on the mask.

DIY ornaments

If you don’t feel like investing in expensive ornaments that might end up broken, then this one might be a fantastic idea for you. Have your children make their own paper ornaments, get some string, and let them hang the ornaments from the tree. To do this you will need a ton of construction paper of all different colors, scissors, a hole puncher, and some string.

Simply cut out the shape of a typical ornament, punch a hole in the top, tie a string through the hole, and have your kids decorate them however they would like to before hanging them on the tree.

DIY snow globe

The next cute Christmas craft on our list might get a little bit tricky, but it is super cool when finished. For this, you will need two paper plates, sequins, markers, a stapler, and some saran wrap. Have your toddler color on the inside of one of the plates, be it a Christmas tree or a snowman.

While they are doing that you will want to cut out the middle of the other plate and tightly wrap Glad wrap around to cover the hole. When your child is done with that have them sprinkle the sequins on the plate that they coloured then staple the two plates together.

Pinecone Christmas tree

This Christmas craft we like to think of as the Christmas equivalent of easter eggs. To do this you will need pinecones, paint, paintbrushes, some of those little pom pom balls, and some glue from your local craft store.

To start, have your children paint the pinecones after they dry your kids will then glue the pom poms on as if they are ornaments, and if you want to make them shine feel free to add some glitter for a little extra fun. These could look really neat as a centerpiece for the table at Christmas dinner.

Toilet paper roll snowman

Who doesn’t love building snowmen? Everyone does of course, but what happens what it doesn’t snow and your kids are feeling bummed out about not being able to make a snowman? Well, we have the next best thing for them.

Gather up the rolls to empty toilet paper rolls, tape some white paper around them, push some small twigs inside of it for the arms, and use cotton balls, pom poms, and markers to decorate your snowman. It might not be as good as the real deal, but it sure is fun to make.

Fingerprint Santa sleigh

This craft is very similar to the fingerprint Christmas lights. Break out your construction paper and let your kiddos pick out whatever colour they want.

When that is done, you’ll want to get out the finger paint and allow them to use their thumbprints to make the Santa, and the reindeer and three prints together to make the sleigh. A small paintbrush would then take care of the rest. This would be an adorable craft to add to your fridge for all to see.

Construction paper puppets

This next craft is especially fun because once you are done making it you can put on a show! Construction paper puppets are relatively easy to make and all you will need it scissors, tape, glue, and of course construction paper. To do this you will want to staple two pieces of paper together leaving a hole for your little one’s hand to fit inside of.

You will then use the additional construction paper to turn the puppets into fun things like Santa and his reindeer or even an elf. After the puppet is done, have your little one put on a show for you using them.

Local seven-year-old starts stationery business

By Lungile Satsuma for IOL 

Omphile Mabitsela, 7, is so determined to beat the country’s harrowing unemployment statistics that he has already started building his stationery empire.

Mabitsela, a Grade 2 learner from Randburg, has already roped in two of his friends, his aunt and mother to help him grow his stationery business.

His “office” space is situated at his mother’s business building, also in Randburg. Quirk Quirk Inc, Omphile’s business, produces and supplies a variety of paper-based stationery, such as bookmarks and party packs and sells puzzles, crayons and pencil cases.

He told The Star this week he wanted to be the person who hired the unemployed who he heard President Cyril Ramaphosa speaking about in the media. It was announced recently the country’s unemployment rate had shot up to 29.1%.

“President Ramaphosa told us there are so many people who are not hired so I want to be that person who hires them,” Omphile said.

His mother, Prudence Mabitsela, said parents needed to instill entrepreneurial skills into their children to become self-starters and not necessarily wait for jobs.

“We should stop creating job seekers as a country and start creating jobs ourselves,” she said.

The young mogul said he was inspired by his mother to start his business which has been in existence for a year now. It also has its own website.

“It was my mother that inspired me to start my business because she is a business owner as well. I want to hire people who don’t have jobs,” he said.

Quirk Quirk Inc is a registered and 100% black-owned business. Omphile mixes his academics and arts to produce his products.

He said his passion was inspired by his friend who showed him his “quacks quacks” and that inspired him to make bookmarks for people who read books. These sold for R10 each.

His mother said Omphile was someone who was aware of his surroundings and wanted to assist where he could.

“He has hired a team which consists of social strategists, a brand manager and a receptionist,” she said.

Omphile said his target audience is from everywhere in South Africa and people can order items online.

His parents initially funded the company which eventually grew to be self-sustainable.

The determined young man said he was motivated by unemployed people seeking jobs and knowing that he can be the solution in inspiring people to be business-minded.

“I want to inspire them to have their own company,” he said.

The company has sold more than 1000 products countrywide.

Colour-in wallpaper ideal for children’s rooms

By Rebecca Knight for Ideal Home

Once upon a time, colouring-in books were the domain of toddlers and primary school kids. However, soon the adults were quick to catch onto the past-time that was leaving their children quiet and zen-ned out.

We were all clamouring to get our hands on an adult colouring book at WHSmiths. Not since we were 11 had we been so excited at the prospect of a new pack of felt-tips and gel pens.

Well now, your destress colouring sessions are no longer confined to a book. You can now go a step further and get colour-in wallpaper.

Amazon is selling Colour Me wallpaper by Graham & Brown for around approximately R500. The colour-in wallpaper is designed by illustrator Lizzie Mary Cullen and features a crazy cityscape, complete with the taxi, coffee shop, cafe and even an octopus.

After pasting it to the wall all that is left is to select your colour scheme and start colouring in. This beats a standard session painting your living room hands down.

When choosing what to use to colour the walls in you have two options: colouring pencils, felt-tips or fine liners. Colouring pencils will offer the most even colour but can come out a bit faint for a wall. Felt tips and fine liners will offer the punchiest colour, however, you will need to colour carefully to create an even wash of colour.

The next choice is where to put them up. If you aren’t fussy about colouring within the lines, why not use the wallpaper to create a feature wall in your kid’s playroom. Just be sure to arm them with either colouring pencils or washable felt tips to avoid any colourful accidents.

Image credit: Ideal Home

The fascinating history of paint-by-numbers kits

By Emma Taggart for My Modern Met 

You probably remember “Paint-by-Numbers” kits from your childhood, but do you know the history of how they came to be? A mix between a coloring book and painting on a canvas, painting by numbers allows anyone to create a detailed work of art, even if they’ve never taken an art class. The simple art sets were first invented in the 1950s and they still remain popular for both kids and adults today. Despite this, very little is known about their original creator, Dan Robbins

Robbins was a Detroit-based commercial artist who began his career working for the art departments of various car manufacturers. In 1949, he started working at Palmer Show Card Paint Company alongside the company’s founder, Max Klein. At first, Robbins was hired to illustrate children’s books, but Klein soon tasked him with a new, more urgent mission: sell more paint. His solution was to devise a hobby kit that would promote the sale of Klein’s paint products.

Where did the idea come from?
Robbins based his concept on Leonardo da Vinci’s teaching system of numbering sections of his canvases for apprentices to complete. “I remembered hearing about how Leonardo da Vinci would challenge his own students or apprentices with creative assignments,” Robbins recalls in his autobiography. “He would hand out numbered patterns indicating where certain colors should be used in specific projects such as underpainting, preliminary background colors or some lesser works that did not require his immediate attention.”

To create each kit, Robbins first painted an original artwork, and then placed a plastic sheet over it and outlined the shapes for each hue and shade. Each segment was then given a number and corresponding color. After trial and error, Robbins’ Paint-by-Numbers kits were born, and were introduced to the public with packaging that proclaimed, “Every man a Rembrandt.” Post-war, they were launched during a time when American people had more time for pursuing leisurely activities, and the concept quickly became a cultural phenomenon.

The first paint-by-number kits
Robbin’s first ever Paint-by-Numbers kit was called Abstract No. One—a vibrant, abstract still life that paid homage to the abstract expressionists of the era. Unfortunately, the design wasn’t commercial enough to appeal to the masses, so Robbins, Klein, and a new team of artists started to produce less abstract landscape and portrait hobby kits that proved to be more popular.

The public’s response
Palmer Show Card Paint Company was renamed to Craft Master, and the company quickly grew to 800 employees who worked around the clock to produce 50,000 Paint by Number sets a day. In 1955, around 20 million kits were sold in America, and finished works hung proudly in homes across the country. Even President Eisenhower’s presidential appointment secretary, Thomas Edwin Stephens, curated a gallery of Paint by Number pieces made by administration officials in the White House.

However, not long after its initial success, Craft Master went bankrupt, as it couldn’t keep up with the demand. Although Craft Master remains the iconic pioneer of the paint by numbers movement, numerous rival companies soon emerged and started producing their own versions of the hobby kits.

What did the art world think?
While the consumers’ response was positive, Paint-by-Number kits triggered a strong reaction from the art world. They were criticized for oversimplifying the creative process and undervaluing the work of “real” artists (some Paint-by-Numbers designs were based on famous paintings). One anonymous critic in American Art wrote, “I don’t know what America is coming to, when thousands of people, many of them adults, are willing to be regimented into brushing paint on a jig-saw miscellany of dictated shapes and all by rote. Can’t you rescue some of these souls—or should I say ‘morons?’ ”

Paint-by-Number kits meant that art could be infinitely copied, leaving many wondering if they could even be classified as art at all. However, the concept unsurprisingly caught the attention of Pop Art icon Andy Warhol who is known for his love of repetition. He become a dedicated fan and collector of Paint-by-Number canvases.

Despite the backlash, Robbins wasn’t overly concerned about the negative response of art critics, because he achieved his dream of bringing art to the masses. In his 1998 memoir—Whatever Happened to Paint-By-Numbers?—He wrote, “I never claim that painting by number is art. It is the experience of art, and it brings that experience to the individual who would normally not pick up a brush, not dip it in paint. That’s what it does.”

By James Greig for Metro

August 2nd was National Colouring Book Day. This seems as good a time as any to consider the adult colouring book trend, which really took off in the UK in 2015 and … hasn’t been talked about much since.

Are adults still using colouring books? Are they as good for mental health as people claim?

First, the bad news: these are hard times for adult colouring books. Hailed as the saviour to the publishing industry in the middle of the decade, by 2017 sales had plummeted so dramatically that there were a spate of articles concerning the death of the trend. But that said, a quick Google suggests that the trend is soldiering on.

You can still buy books with titles like I Hate My Ex-Husband (aimed at people who hate their ex-husbands).

What could be more rib-ticklingly funny than using swear words in a genre of book traditionally thought of as being aimed at children?

During the boom years, adult colouring books were bought en-masse, whether by people trying them out for themselves or as stocking-filler gifts for their least favourite relatives, many of whom would find that they weren’t that into them.

But there seems to be a small, steady market of people who simply enjoy doing them, or else find them therapeutic. In that sense, the trend is unlikely to vanish outright. As for the much discussed mental health benefits, these have been backed up by research.

One 2017 study showed that using adult colouring books does actually reduce symptoms of stress and anxiety – which confirms what plenty of people had been saying all along.

But are people who experience anxiety or depression still using these books as a way of improving their mental health? If adult colouring books really are an effective way of alleviating symptoms, this doesn’t seem like something which would simply tail off as a passing fad.

We spoke with Olivia, who lives with anxiety and still occasionally uses colouring books, though not as much as she used to.

“I find they’re really good when you just need to step outside of yourself for a little bit,” she says.

“Even though making my own art is a good outlet when I’m really anxious, I sometimes find having to create from the self can be a bit daunting and anxiety-inducing in itself. Colouring books take that pressure off. They let me zone out and reset.
“I always compare them to Buddhist monks creating mandalas,” Olivia continues. “It’s about focusing on one thing in front of you. It’s definitely meditative. Even destroying the pages afterwards is a really nice reminder that everything is impermanent, and that this too shall pass.”

Although, in one sense, the whole point is that colouring books don’t leave much scope for individual creativity, Olivia says that she still makes her mark.

“When looking back on certain pages, I can immediately tell what mental state I was in when I did them: how hard I was pressing, how loose or manic my strokes were, what image or colours I chose,” she explains.

For Olivia, and many others like her, adult colouring books are more than a short-lived publishing trend. Instead, they are an important act of self-care which helps them to manage their conditions – and there’s nothing childish about that.

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My Office News Ⓒ 2017 - Designed by A Collective


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