Friday, October 30, 2015

What's in the box?

Who doesn't like to open up a box of new stuff! I wish you were here with me for this! But because you are not here, let me take you through the unboxing of my new goodies from the Make Amazing Design Team! Enjoy :)

I am so excited and look forward to sharing creative projects and ideas with you guys using these products!

Thursday, October 29, 2015

Inspired by Autumn: A Series in Art Making, Week 5 - What to do when you have more ideas than you have time

Before you start reading this post, please answer this question:
Which do you love creating the MOST?
1. Scrapbook Mini Albums
2. Art Journals
3. Both about equally
Here's an affirmation: It's totally fine to find yourself in just one spot and also to slide back and forth on this scale. We don't have to choose a side, we can play on both teams! Right now, I find freedom of creativity in art journals but I also like to tell stories of my family more than free writing in journals. I feel that I belong somewhere in between groups 2 and 3. So, that makes me a two and a half, I guess? That almost sounds like a shoe-size, doesn't it?
How did I grow into a half-size? Time, my friends, or lack there of!
I know, YOU too have MORE IDEAS than you have TIME, whether you work or study full-time or take care of family. I have found my solution in Memory Journals, a fusion of memory book and art journal. Read on to see how you too can blend your approaches together to satisfy all your creative cravings!

Welcome to the 5th and final week of my Inspired by Autumn mini Blog series as I share with you my Autumn Memory Journal!
This has been a month-long celebration of the beauty of Autumn and how it inspires the creative muse. Be sure to read the posts from previous weeks: Week 1Week 2, Week 3 and Week 4.
I have taken photos, recorded the sound of my footsteps on fallen leaves, taken more photos, pressed colorful leaves, picked my own apples, peaches, tomatoes, berries and even acorns, drank pumpkin shakes, ate corn muffins, scrapped layouts, decorated the house, Instagrammed (Go ahead, follow Color_Happy_Creations, you won't be disappointed ;), brush-lettered, illustrated and water-colored the scenes around me...
I have lived this Autumn to the fullest! And here's how I am telling my story in my Memory Journal, fusing my love of :
  • Photography
  • Illustration
  • Modern Calligraphy
  • Watercoloring
  • Story-telling
  • Memory Keeping
and you too can blend the creative roles you want in the following steps:

1. The Photographer: Take those photos even if with only a phone camera, to capture the moments.
Don't you get excited to get a freshly printed stack of photos? The scrapbooker in me sure does!

2. The Sketcher-Doodler: Don't be shy! If you like drawing, spread it beyond your sketchbook.  
From doodling on the margins of my notebooks in school to carrying a sketchbook to the beach, I have always scribbled and sketched scenes all around me. Now, these little drawings let me put more of me in my memory journals.

Are you loving this beautiful trend of modern takes on calligraphy?
3. The Calligrapher: Don't just love it, try it... develop your personal style of hand-lettering!
Use it to create titles and quotes.

4. The Painter: Go on, paint the town! Create washes, ombre effects, splatter, drip... PLAY with colors to satisfy the painter in you. 
I am a huge fan of watercolors and I take every chance I can find to play with it.

5. The Illustrator: Tell your story not just with photos, but also with your illustrations!
If you are wondering about the differences between drawings and illustrations, read this article.

6. The Wordsmith: Use your story-telling skill!
Use words to paint a more complete picture of the behind-the-scenes details that your photos may not reveal.

7. The Explorer: Experiment! Play with techniques... you know that you are dying to try them! 
Most important: HAVE FUN!
You may not enjoy all the same roles I like to play. You might be skilled with polymer clay or embroidery or carving your own stamps. Replace the roles with your skill set wherever you see fit. Flex your creative muscles and see which skills you can put together to make your creative process more enjoyable.
Let's meet on Thursdays in November too for another fun blog series! 

Sunday, October 25, 2015

When a special piece speaks to you

Are you a member of a scrapbooking kit club? When you open up your kit, fresh from the box, does a special piece or two speak to you? Do you answer its call by keeping it separate from the pile and plan a special project around it?

I urge you to listen when a small piece speaks to you. It could be telling a story. And who knows what you will find if you just follow its lead!

Something like this happened to me today. You know the deer whose story I told you the other day? Well, I think he kind of has my heart! He will look ADORABLE on any page of the Painterly Christmas Memory Journal.

But how fun would it be to take him out of the pages and give him a spot on a mantle or a desk?

The idea began to shape in my mind when I first watched a Make Live Share video on Richard Garay's blog. The project is called Happy Sails. In only a few steps, Richard turned a teeny tiny glass jar into a special gift. Richard has a whole gallery of project videos that are filled with many cool ideas. Be sure to check them out alongside his Richard Garay Retail and Fun Stampers Journey Direct Sales catalogs.

Of all his videos, this one spoke to me the most because my son has a small collection of ships in bottles and I had always wondered how the artisan manages to insert a ship into the bottle through its narrow neck!


In his video, Richard showed how to do that... well, sort of :)

So from the deer that I painted and the idea that I got from Richard, I decided to create a mini winter scene in a glass jar!

I rounded up some pieces from my Painterly Christmas Memory Journal 2015 Main Kit alongside my deer. The only other thing I needed was a glass jar. I wash used up jelly jars and save them for later projects.

 I LOVE upcycled crafts!

I particularly loved Richard's idea of the sequins. I have seen several DIY snow globes that are wet being filled with some sort of fluid. I wasn't quite willing to drown Phillip...

oh did I tell you that we decided to call our deer, Phillip?

Ah yes, since I'm sure that Phillip wouldn't want to get wet, I thought that the shimmery sequins from the kit would be perfect for his winter wonderland grazing ground.

Then, of course, I had to add my personal touches! If you like my idea, follow along:
  • Create a mix of a couple of jingle bells and some sequins and pour it into the jar. You might want to add some extra sequins from your stash here.
Don't you LOVE the sound of jingle bells!
  • Push the Christmas tree trio into the sequins to create the backdrop.
  • Place your deer in front of the trees.
  • Cover the jar with lace fabric and close the lid to finish.
Better still, why don't I show you the video of how quickly I finished this project?

BONUS: Did you notice that we didn't use any glue for this project? Which means that after the holidays, you could still use the pieces to embellish your memory journal and they would match the photo of  your handmade holiday décor perfectly!!!

I attached the half wreath on the lid with a little repositionable adhesive, but you can choose to skip that piece if you like.

Here's the finished project!

Decorate your home with it or give it as a gift. Imagine how thrilled someone would be to get a handmade cutie like this?

You really can find a starting point anywhere. Use that inspiration to create something that speaks to you. And if it speaks to you, it will speak to others as well!

Friday, October 23, 2015

Did you know there was an add-on?


Your emails started coming in within seconds of publishing my first post about the Painterly Christmas Kit! It was almost midnight EDT when I posted. LOVE YOU GUYS!

When you responded with this much support for my Painterly Christmas Kit, you have inspired me to create something MORE for you to play with alongside the Main Kit! Here's a sneak peek:

There are FORTY pieces of hand-drawn images, painted frames, hand-lettered words, phrases, and even a poem in this Add-on Kit inspired by the Christmas carol,
As I am drawing, coloring, hand-lettering, and cutting these pieces, I am getting really excited to imagine how much fun you will have creating with them!!! Watch for more sneak peeks from this add-on kit :)

This is what you need to know about the Add-on Kit:
  • Each Add-on Kit is $15.
  • I'll will ship it for FREE if you order it with the Main Kit.
  • If you want only the Add-on Kit, your shipping will be $5 domestic and $10 international.
And now, how about a few more peeks into the Painterly Christmas Memory Journal Main Kit?

This little guy has a story. I debated a bit in my mind as to whether or not to give him a red nose like Rudolph. So I drew two of him and colored them a bit differently. One was more chestnut with a red nose and then this guy. At the end, I chose him because
he seemed MORE eager to be part of the kit!
Now, what you want to name him is totes up to YOU!

But then I liked the lighter deer too. So, I decided to paint another smaller one and put him in a snow globe. I didn't give him a red nose but gave him two dandy antlers. He is HANDSOME!

Keep checking back as I give you more sneak peeks into the Kits and share some behind-the-scenes stories and give you hints about the surprise giveaway that will go to one of my pre-order customers. This is going to be fun!


Thursday, October 22, 2015

Inspired by Autumn: A Series in Art Making, Week 4 in Photos

Are you the photographer in your family? Are you always looking to take photos that capture the true spirit of your loved ones?
Then, I am with you. I am by NO MEANS a photography guru. But I am in your shoes and here are SEVEN photo ideas because many of our art projects begin with photos :)
Welcome to Week 4 of my Inspired by Autumn mini Blog series and a peek into my little family in my DIY photos!
If this is your first time here, let me tell you a little bit about what this series is about.
Autumn is my most favorite time of the year. Right now, nature is at its best in my eyes and that is inspiring my creativity! I'm sketching, art journaling, photographing, scrapbooking... you can take a peek into my Instagram to see some of my daily musings. In order to live this beautiful season to the fullest, I wanted to share some of my favorite fall projects, new and old, along with brief how-tos here on my blog every Thursday this October.
Check out my Week 1Week 2 and Week 3 posts for more ideas.
You are most welcome to take inspiration from these projects. Don't feel limited by any product choices that I made here. Feel free to give it your own spin!
Stop by on Thursdays this month to see some inspired projects from me. Feel free to ask if you have questions for me.
If you too are inspired to create by autumn, please leave link(s) to your favorite fall-inspired creations in the comment section!
Such things are better shared, right?
Week 4 is ALL about photos! I took these photos with different cameras: my LG smartphone camera, Samsung WB35OF and my precious Canon Rebel XT.

Idea # 1: Look around and capture a bit of nature
I'll start off with my leaf collection. My neighborhood is surrounded by Maple trees. I don't know the names, but there are at least ten varieties of Maple leaves that fly into the yard.
Some are rich purples, some are bright yellows and some are deep reds with green veins.

Every time I step out, I collect some and marvel at their beauty. That is important for me to record especially because this is our first time in a place where we can SEE seasons change in nature. We used to live in Florida where autumn was not this glorious. Plus, our family in India love to see our lives in our new home (we moved recently) in photos. Taking this kind of photos help me tell our stories meaningfully in my scrapbook.
To compose a similar shot, you can layer some leaves, big to small, in varying colors. Hold them in your hand or ask one of the kids (mine don't always cooperate). If you are holding the leaves, stretch your hand out as far as you can (if you are right-handed like me, hold them in your left and the camera with the right) and click.  

Idea # 2: Capture the love 
These are my two girls. My oldest is almost like a little mommy to my youngest! She ROCKS as a babysitter! These girls are sweet little things that end-cap my one boisterous, adventurous boy that you are going to meet next! In this photo, I played with Depth of Field in Photoshop a bit. That is, in my layman terms, making what's in the front pop up by making what's in the background recede further. 

Idea # 3: Catch them in action.
Here he is, my son... he loves to help his dad in the yard when, of course, his mood strikes. At other times, you can't get a response from him even if the house is on fire (so to speak... I'll drag and carry him out if that happened!), especially if he is playing Minecraft, Terraria, Pikmin and other such video games.
Idea # 4: Catch them in a moment of pause.
This is him on one such rare moment! Took much MUCH effort to just get him to stand still for a shot because he was 'busy'... sigh! 
Idea # 5: Catch them even if they refuse to smile. It's a phase! 
My oldest, freshly turned teen... she has a beautiful smile but doesn't like to smile for pose. But I'll take whatever I can get!
PLEASE tell me, I'm NOT the only one facing such challenges!
Idea # 6: Capture the scene even if the lighting is imperfect.
Our kids had Columbus Day off from school. So it became a long weekend giving us time to go on a long drive. We drove to the Camelback Mountains and on our way, I had my husband pull over so I can take pictures of these cotton plants by the roadside. It was mid-day, the light was harsh. Not happy with the results, but still lucky to have a snapshot. Any ideas about how to make such photos look nicer? I did adjust my camera's White Balance setting to the Sun icon.
Idea # 7: Don't forget the immediate surroundings.
And last, but not the least... the view on my street... NO WORDS!
Can't wait to scrap these and other fall photos I took.
What pictures are you taking this fall?

Monday, October 19, 2015

A Painterly Christmas Memory Journal Kit

Your family is coming home to you for the Holidays.

You are EXCITED!
You want to cozy up every corner of your home for your loved ones, add your personal touches to the things you know they crave... the food, the presents, the decorations, the fragrance... you want to make the Holidays as special for them as you can.

You are BUSY!
You want to watch as their faces light up, maybe their eyes tear up a little as they realize how much they missed you and all this! You want to create beautiful memories to last a lifetime... with them and for them.
Because that's what YOU do!

You want to capture these moments forever in photos, in scrapbooks. But it's all too much, managing the daily now and planning and organizing for the Holidays. AND to shop for all the latest and the greatest to make a scrapbook that lives up to those special memories? 

It all feels so OVERWHELMING! 

I know that feeling. Let me take one thing off your plate this year!You focus on taking care of them and leave me with the task of designing a memory journal for you this Holiday season.

Because just like you, I too put a lot of love into creating a unique experience for YOU!  

Let me introduce you to my

For me, it is not about the latest mass market trends or products. It is much more about the warm feeling you get when you open up a homemade handcrafted memory book that matches the magical ambience of the Holidays that you created in your home for your family.

From hand-painted images to hand-lettered words, phrases, quotes and soft, flowy watercolored backdrops, it's a chock-full of heart-warming Holiday goodness put together in a unique kit that will work whether you scrapbook or art journal. You will have 55 pieces of unique painted embellishments like the ones pictured above to add to the hand-painted pages among lots of other kit elements. You can't find this kit anywhere else as its not put together with store-bought scrapbooking products. I made this just for you!

Since I am creating several of the kit elements fresh every single time, I can make only a LIMITED QUANTITY of this kit available. I'm offering an introductory price for the pre-order.The kit is $65.00 plus $7.00 domestic shipping and handling. International shipping and handling is $15.00.

**ETA: Please note updated shipping prices: Domestic is $10.00 and International is $20.00**

**Order NOW to secure yours before they are all gone. **

ETA: I am so grateful for your response, I have added a FUN EXTRA for you! Check this out.

Thought you might like to know what other customers are saying about my previous Christmas journal kits:

cozyhomeartist on November 16, 2012               

"I love my Christmas journal. So excited when I saw that Mou had made a new item I had to buy it that day. I had bought the New Years Resolution Journal and it sits on my desk reminding me of my goals for the year. I am looking forward to filling this Christmas Journal up soon. Thanks Mou for sharing your creative projects!"  

jennifermasi on January 3, 2012        

Wow! I was so happy to find this shop and even happier with the product when I received! It's creative, well crafted and so beautiful! It came quickly and in time for Christmas.

Be sure to check back because I have a very special giveaway for one lucky winner who I will choose from among my pre-order customers. 

You don't want to MISS this! 

Friday, October 16, 2015

Are you loving the Adult Coloring Books?

Did you notice the trend of adult coloring books? Did you know that adult coloring books have been repeatedly making it to Amazon's Top 100 Book List? Have you tried them?
Research says that it is a therapeutic, meditative, analogue entertainment for adults.
I have been seeing adult coloring books practically everywhere, mostly ones with really intricate mandalas. I have flipped through a few. But the ones I saw didn't appeal to me that much. I was looking for something a little different. I did not know what exactly, but that I'll know when I see it. And then I SAW IT!
Nope, I haven't seen the whole book yet. But the pages I have seen have drawn me in enough that I can hardly wait for the full version! 
I am talking about The Coloring Studio.

See the coloring page? The black and white illustration? Yep, and now look to the left... that's my colored page. But there's a whole lot more to it that I can't divulge at the moment even though I'm dying to share...
But of course, I don't want to tease and leave you hanging!!! So, I'll just copy and paste the details as seen in Stampington and Company's newsletter Creative Impulse:

The Coloring Studio is not your kid’s coloring book. With an imaginative collection of sophisticated, edgy illustrations in the Somerset-esque style you've come to love, this special book puts an artistic spin on today’s hottest trend. Featuring 60 unmatched illustrations from the industry’s top artists, including Christine Mason Miller, Suzi Blu, Lindsay Ostrom, Linda Trenholm, Deb Dunn, and more, this coloring book includes bonus content and ideas that you won’t find in similar publications.

Inside the Premiere Issue:
  • Art journalers Susie LaFond and Mou Saha (you guys, that's me and I'm so mindblown!!!) show how you can transform your coloring pages into art
  • A special section on Zendoodle with basic patterns and silhouettes for you to fill in
  • How to incorporate watercolor pencils and other unique coloring tools
  • Distinctive palettes to work with
  • A primer on basic color theory 
Whether you love contemporary art, want to get your creative juices flowing, or simply need some “me time,” The Coloring Studio won’t restrict you to a single theme, but offers a wide variety of designs just awaiting your own personal style.
Available December 1st"

Okay... everything is from that newsletter except for the pink highlighted part, that's me, I HAD to add that! It's not everyday that your favorite art magazine features your work to promote their latest trendy premiere issue launch. And not everyday, you get to see your name on the same page as your beloved artists like Suzi Blu! I'm so stoked that I couldn't help sharing the news with you :)

Can't wait to see the entire issue for what other artists have created because I know it will be great! And I'm so glad I have YOU to share this news with!

Thursday, October 15, 2015

Inspired by Autumn: A Series in Art Making, Week 3: A Homemade Handcrafted Fall Garland

Are you looking for inspiration for seasonal DIY projects? Then you are in the right place!
Welcome to Week 3 of my Inspired by Autumn mini Blog series!

If this is your first time here, let me tell you a little bit about what this series is about.
Autumn is my most favorite time of the year. Right now, nature is at its best in my eyes and that is inspiring my creativity! I'm sketching, art journaling, scrapbooking... you can take a peek into my Instagram to see my daily musings. In order to live this beautiful season to the fullest, I wanted to share some of my favorite fall projects, new and old, along with brief how-tos here on my blog every Thursday this October.
You can also read my Week 1 and Week 2 posts to learn more.
You are most welcome to take inspiration from these projects. But don't feel limited by any product choices that I made here. I hope you'll stop by on Thursdays this month to see some inspired projects from me. Feel free to ask if you have questions for me. And if you too are inspired to create by autumn, please leave link(s) to your favorite fall-inspired creations in the comment section! Such things are better shared, right?


People tell me that my joy of watching falling leaves will wear off when I will have to rake them! They speak from experience, I'm sure.
But for now, I am enamored by the colors of these swirling beauties all around me!
The rest of my family, including my kids, shake their heads at my childlike wonder. I can't help my joy of watching and feeling autumn all around me! I have lost count of the leaves I have picked up and slid between the pages of my kids' old workbooks. So much grandeur. So much splendor. How can my heart be not filled with wonder!
When something makes you feel this way, it HAS to inspire everything you love doing... whether you bake, sew or craft like me. The leaves inspired me to create a simple home décor project: a leaf garland. 
When we moved into our new home, we inherited some window treatments. Not my aesthetic, but creating window treatments for these windows is a bit tricky and not really in my skill set. So, for now, I'm getting by with adding personal touches wherever and whenever I can. When I am surrounded by gorgeous fall colors, I had to bring some of that into our living space.

I colored some mixed media papers (mine are by Canson, you can buy them by the pad at Michaels) with Faber-Castell Design Memory Craft Gelatos colors. By coloring, I mean rubbing a decent amount of Gelatos on the paper and blending and spreading with a wet brush. I did this on both front and back, keeping in mind that a garland is not static and the leaves will turn and when they do, we don't to see a blank surface.
Once the colors dried, I stamped on it with a scripty stamp. Also, splattered some inks on each page just to make it a bit more fun!

I started with 9" x 12" papers. I cut them in halves and diecut some fall leaves out of it. I used Sizzix Bigz L die Leaves by Brenda Walton for this along with Sizzix Big Shot machine and Sizzix Accessory Standard Cutting Pads. You can totally handcut leaves like we all did in kindergarten.

Next, I laid out the leaves varying their colors and shapes and machine stitched them together. It helps to sew at the lowest speed setting of your sewing machine.

I left enough thread free at the beginning and end to be able to tie the garland to the spot. 

They add fun and color to the interior especially on those grey, rainy and chilly days.
I am probably not the only one who loves autumn leaves this much. Are you like me? What do you do with those leaves?

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

A little snowy scene

What is your favorite part of Holiday decorating? Is it putting up the lights? Setting up the Christmas tree? Or hanging the wreaths? Stockings? My son loves the part when he gets to set up the train tracks under the tree. We have a quite the state-of-the-art Bachmann Polar Express model steam engine set... yes, it lets off steam and sounds like old trains! No wonder that he loves it. As for me, I dig little holiday villages. What fun would it be to be able to make your own version of it? You can. With the Sizzix Bigz XL Die - Village Dwelling and other dies from the Tim Holtz Winter collection.

I am starting with the  Sizzix Bigz XL Die - Village Dwelling, Sizzix Bigz Die - Village Winter, Sizzix Bigz XL Alphabet Die - Billboard and Sizzix Bigz Die - Evergreen.

To diecut the Village Dwelling, create this Sizzix sandwich: lay paper on the blade side of the the Village Dwelling die. Place the two between a pair of Sizzix Accessory Cutting Pads- Extended and pass the whole sandwich through the Sizzix Big Shot machine.

Here are the Village Dwelling diecuts. Follow this PDF for assembly Instructions. Just leave the chimney detached for now.

Here's the assembled Village Dwelling.

Diecut the Village Winter pieces with this Sizzix sandwich. Lay watercolor paper on the blade-side of the Village Winter die. Place them between a pair of Sizzix Accessory Cutting Pads- Standard and pass the whole sandwich through the Big Shot machine.

Color the Village Dwelling with watercolor paints.

When the paint is dry, apply glue to the Village Winter dies and sprinkle with glitter.

Make sure to do this all around the Village Dwelling so it looks pretty from all sides.

To diecut the tree, put five layers of paper on the blade-side of the Evergreen die. Place them between a pair of Sizzix Accessory Cutting Pads - Standard and pass the whole sandwich through the Big Shot machine.

Holding all the tree diecuts together, machine stitch down the middle. Pluff out the layers to look like a tree. Paint it and glue it to a birch round. Add some glue and sprinkle glitter.

With palette knife, apply Silver Texture Luxe medium to cardstock. Let dry. Die cut the letters by creating the following Sizzix sandwich: lay paper on the blade side of the the Billboard alphabet die. Place the two between a pair of Sizzix Accessory Cutting Pads- Extended and pass the whole sandwich through the Sizzix Big Shot machine.

Once you have all the letters you need, spell out your banner and machine stitch. Color cardstocks to match. Mount them on foam core board. Attach the foam core boards at a 90 degree angle. Attach the banner and glue the Village Dwelling and Evergreen in place. Create one scene or a whole village... you decide!


Sizzix Bigz XL Die - Village Dwelling
Sizzix Bigz Die - Village Winter
Sizzix Bigz XL Alphabet Die - Billboard
Sizzix Bigz Die - Evergreen
Watercolor paper
Birch round
Sewing Machine
Paint brush 
Silver Texture Luxe Medium
Palette knife


Note: I am a project designer for Sizzix. Sizzix provided me with the above dies to create the above project. If you click the links to buy these dies, I will earn an itsy bitsy portion of the sale. Use the code SZB2015 at checkout. You get 15% off and I get an itsy bitsy portion of the sale. It's win-win!