Friday, July 24, 2015

Coloring Book {ART}

When I was a kid, if I wasn't reading a book, I was coloring in one. I even brought coloring books with me to college! Now, as a mom of two kiddos, the only coloring books I've colored in are theirs. I've always been a bit of a "coloring book snob,"  preferring the ones with crisp, white pages.  They weren't always easy to come by, especially in themes I'd be interested in as an adult...until recently! Adult coloring books are the newest craze! The choices are incredible- anything you can imagine: mandalas, doodles, folk art, circus, cute to realistic, etc. Better yet, the majority are crisp, white pages. Irresistible. And let me tell you, these things are everywhere! My favorite places to find them locally (Rochester, mn) are Tangerine Gift store, downtown in the peace plaza and The ABC Toy Zone, in the miracle mile shopping center. Of course, they can also be found at your local big-box craft and book stores.

One of the reasons adult coloring coloring books are so popular is because it meditative; you can get lost in it like a good book. Your heart rate calms, your breathing evens, your head clears...can you imagine?! Sold yet?! Well, the second reason coloring is popular is it's cheap! You can easily start this hobby for less than $15. You don't need fancy, expensive crayons or pencils, good ol' Crayola works great! The most important thing is to choose a coloring book that will keep your interest through 30 or so pages. If you don't like the design, you won't enjoy coloring it. I think it's important to take some time to really look through the choices of coloring books, to find one that speaks to you. Is the paper a texture you like? What about the size and how it opens up? Can you picture yourself coloring in this book? Do you LOVE it?!

I really took a lot of time finding my coloring books. I may not be investing a lot of money into these, but I am investing my time coloring them- so they need to be 'just right'. Like, "I can't leave this store without this coloring book in my hands 'just right'."  Also, I had treated myself to Derwent colored pencils this past Christmas and I've never once used them!  (I wouldn't want to insult my quality pencils by choosing something second rate, right?!) The first book I chose is chock-full of folk art designs, surprise, surprise! Actually, the surprise for me was that the artist of this coloring book, Lisa Congdon, is an artist whose art I have admired for some time.  I didn't realize that until I got home, it was the cherry on top! 

Coloring the first page in a brand new coloring book, with brand new colored pencils was a little intimidating. I reminded myself not to over-think things- to JUST START. The is my advice to you: JUST START!  If you are thinking, then you're mind isn't free. It's amazing how something so simple can bring a sense of peace to your day.

Feeling peaceful means I've cleared all the clutter in my head, I've  moved aside the worry. And guess what? Now I have room something even more important: gratitude. I've stepped back from the chaos and now I can feel grateful for all of the things that brought the chaos in the first place. But now it doesn't feel like chaos- it feels like life; a life that I love. Yep, all that from a coloring book.

Monday, July 20, 2015

Life is Sweet {BackyardART CLASS}

I am so excited to announce my next BackyardART class: Life Is Sweet! It's a bakery themed mixed media project I've designed for girls ages 8 and up. In this 4-hour class, we will make 10 pages of art using scrapbook paper, vintage sheet music, scissors, glue sticks, white paint pens and doodle markers. 

We will design cakes, cupcakes, ice cream and quotes using a mouth-watering color palette of soft pink, Kraft, teal, black white and grey.  Each child will sketch and cut out their own designs from patterned paper and then glue the pieces onto a piece of 6"x9" Kraft card stock, using a technique called paper-piecing. 

Your child will also make four cupcake cards along with two adorable pocket-pages to store them in!

After gluing our designs, we will add details using a white paint pen and a black, fine point doodle pen.

Finally, we will bind all of our pages into its very own book, using binder rings. We'll add some "sprinkles and a cherry on top" with ribbon and lace that we'll tie to the rings.

I just know the girls will be so proud of their creations! Everything they learn in class can easily be done at home. In order to encourage them to create, I will send them home with their glue stick and doodle marker! 
What: "Life Is Sweet" BackyardART class with Amber Engelhardt
Who: Girls, ages 8 and up
When: Sunday, August 9, 2015. 1-5pm
Where: my house:Rochester, MN

Cost: $50
4 hour instruction
All supplies needed
10 pages of art, including 4 cards with enveloped and two pocket pages, all bound together.
Sweet treat and bubbly punch 
Take home gluestick and doodle marker

Please pre-register by August 1, 2015.
You may pay at drop off for the class.

To register, please leave a comment below with your daughter's name and age and your email and I'll contact you. Or email me at

I can't tell you how excited I am- and so is my 8 year old, Ella. This is sure to an awesome art party! Hope you can join us!

Friday, June 26, 2015

Garden {ART}

A while back, someone gave be these tall, skinny windows (below) and I put them straight into my garden just as they were, knowing someday I'd do "something" with them. Two summers later, that "something" finally came to me: permanent "chalkboard" art with doodled flowers would be such a cute background in my garden!

It's so cute just doodled, but the artist in me was dying to color it in AND so were my 5 and 8 year olds! I did the doodling ahead of time and picked our color palette... To be honest, I even picked which color went where (I had a vision and had to go with it!) The kids didn't mind that at all, they were just thrilled to take part.

We spent a couple hours outside painting; it was just as I had hoped it would be! No fighting or complaining just awesome art time with my kiddos. They painted the flowers while I worked on some of the leaves and occasionally I'd help them with a second coat of color. I was careful to stay within their colored lines, so not to "fix it"- the imperfect paint job is exactly what I'll treasure in the future.

We purposely left a few details unpainted to keep that doodled chalkboard look. The kids were so proud of themselves and I was so excited to put these one-of-a-kind masterpieces into my garden. I finished them off with two coats of U-V clear matte spray paint to protect them from the sun and weather. 

After posting pics on FB, I had a few inquiries about making these to sell, which lead me to another creative ah-ha moment- let's make it a class! Each family will make their own treasured window art! AND I'll make it easy: I'll provide the windows, prepped and ready and all of the supplies. I'll even take care of the mess! Sounds perfect, right?!

Where: My backyard: Rochester, MN (I'll send you my address once you register)
When: Monday, July 13, 2015 
           12:30pm- 3:30pm
Cost: $60/ window (one person or group/ family (at least one adult please) 

Class includes everything you need to make your window art. The windows will be prepped with two coats of chalkboard paint ahead of time. As a class I will teach you how to do your doodles- (don't worry, we will practice first on paper!) You will doodle with a paint pen and before you know it, you'll be painting away! We will use the same color palette that I used on my windows. Finally, we'll spray paint a final protective clear coat and you will have beautiful new art work for your garden!

Please pre-register by Saturday July 11, 2015, either by messaging me on facebook (Amber Wise Engelhardt) or leave a comment below with your info. I will confirm all details on Sunday July 12. You may pay at the time of the class. 

I have supplies for 6 families, but if there is more interest, I may add a second date- so if you are interested and this date does not work for you, please message me. Also, if you are interested in just the window with doodles, ready to paint, but not wanting to take the class- send me a message about that, too! 
This is so exciting, I can't wait!!

Thursday, March 19, 2015

Having a {Moment}

So many wonderful things are happening right now and I'm dizzy with creative inspiration! Next Monday, I'm hosting a girls night at dwell local for my friends and I've been busy making art with them in mind. Lots of little pieces with bright colors and spring flowers, each with it's own "happy word," like "lovely" and "renew."
 When you have a creative brain like mine, it bounces from idea to idea and before I know it, I've created my own little coordinated collection of mixed media art.
Ever get an idea from Pinterest and just have to make it- immediately? Banners similar to these ones (tracyBdesigns on caught my eye and I HAD to make some to coordinate with my art- immediately. I quickly dug through Ella's fabric scraps from her sewing stash and grabbed the canvas banners (which were already made) and then stamped my words on pieces of canvas ribbon and started to sew- immediately.
I didn't waste any time over-thinking things. I just dove in and it was done so quickly- less than an hour. Now that's immediate! 
So, now I'm over-flowing with banner ideas. Can't wait to pull out Ella's little sewing machine and get to work!

Thursday, March 6, 2014

Just {Playing}

 I'm continuing to have fun playing with different art supplies and trying new techniques. Sometimes it's really nice to make something that doesn't have an intended purpose- it's not to sell, it's not for someone else, it's simply making art for the sake of being creative.

I dug through my collection of vintage books and tore out pages to free-hand cut feather shapes in order to make this skirt. The pink parts are actually from handwritten notes for a Geography class taken by Gail Perkins in 1934! She left a wonderful stash of handwritten notes tucked in the pages of her text book! Thanks for the inspiration, Miss Gail Perkins, where ever you are!

            This sketch was inspired by a pinterest photo and I used NeoColor II to color it in. I think she's so pretty- despite her giant left eyelashes. I'm thinking she forgot to put on a fourth coat of mascara to her right eye. LOL.

 I'm often drawn to paintings that have large, loose brush strokes, lots of color and less detail. It's more about capturing the idea of the bouquet or arrangement instead of the look of each specific flower. Plus, I had 12 new Liquitex Acrylic colors I wanted to try!

These next two are journal pages from my LifeBook 2014 class, using spray inks and white space. It was neat watching this page evolve. It wasn't until all of my spraying and techniques were completed that I realized the "splats" would make great dream catchers, so I added some feathers and a little doodling.

The dream catcher page was my warm-up before the actual lesson, making this girl with flowing hair. Thank goodness her eyes were closed, because drawing a profile of a face was completely new to me and was challenging enough! And then to make the spray ink look like flowing! Look what I can do!

There is something so freeing when I try something I haven't done before. I seem to go through a similar pattern of emotions with each lesson I take through LifeBook. At first I'm eager and excited to get started. Then the lesson starts and I see my blank page and the Artist Instructor's finished page and I think "No way I can do this- I believe that for a bit- I'm vulnerable and questioning myself. Then I start...and...what?! Oh, look, you can do this! My self-talk gets a little nicer and I feel motivated and excited to continue. Often, I get going on my own path and will turn off the video lesson and just let myself continue to be inspired and finish my journal page on my own. Typically I'm left feeling really proud of myself and my confidence has been re-replenished. This feeling is what ultimately leads me to venture into "play-mode."  I end up coming full circle with both my emotions and my art!

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Scrap It {School Pics}


 I just love these "Daily Flash" mini collections by October Afternoon! I got all three for Christmas: "Apple Cider," "Milk Money," and "Eggnog." They couldn't be ore fun! "Milk Money" was perfect for the kids' school pictures.
 Look at all these pieces! It would be hard not to layer! ...I love the wood grain Tin Pin- it's perfect for this photo of Ella because I think it totally looks old school. I feel like that could have been my school picture from 1986.
I'm completely in love with this moment. <3 p="">

Monday, February 3, 2014

Deer Silhouette Heart Canvas {Cosmo Cricket}

I can be my own worst enemy when it comes to just sitting down and creating something without a specific purpose. If there's not a reason, I usually feel like there's something else I should be doing. I let myself just play with this project- no theme or special purpose...just because.

Here's what I used:
Cosmo Cricket:
Heart Canvas, Self-Adhesive Glitter Paper, Wood Charms: Feathers, Glubers, Tiny Text
Paper Doily, Burlap Ribbon, Vintage Lace trim with eyelets, wire (I used "Wind it Wire" by Purple Cows- it's thick but easy to bend). Ribbon, Pop Dots, Glue, Black Ink, Deer silhouette.

I loosely sketched my deer silhouette, folded it in half vertically and cut it out to make sure it was symmetrical. Feel free to use my template or perhaps you have the perfect die-cut just for this occasion :)

1. Trace your heart canvas onto the back of the glitter paper, careful to preserve the excess for our deer bust. Cut both the heart and deer out. Ink the edges of your deer. Set aside and let dry.

2. Now we're going to make our ribbon "wreath." I started with about 20" of wire and folded it half then twisted the two pieces together to create one piece.

3. Take your eyelet ribbon and begin threading the wire through it, skipping holes to give it a ruffled look. Bend your wire and ribbon into a circle shape. (I used a small jar to wrap mine around.) Twist the wire ends together and move the ribbon to cover your ends.

4. Adhere the glitter heart onto the canvas, followed by the doily and burlap ribbon, adhering those with the Glubers. Adhere the ribbon wreath with glue (my fave is Mixed Media Glue by Canvas Corp that I bought at Hobby Lobby). Do the same with the deer, careful to glue only the areas that will touch the ribbon. I put a couple Pop Dots stacked on top of one another in the middle of the bust to keep it from sinking or bending.  

5. Glue your wood feathers and Tiny Text stickers to the bust. Take 16-20" of thick ribbon, fold in half and knot both ends. Glue the ends of the ribbon to the back of the heart.  Hang and enjoy...