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Paper Doll Palooza and Interview with Creator Cory Jensen

Sof with paperdolls

When I was in kindergarten, I got the chicken pox and was home on the couch for a week.  (Now, thankfully, my children will never Golflex fashion 1920know that “joy” due to the chicken pox vaccine, but I digress.)  My grandma and mom tried to help cheer me up and pass the time by making homemade paper dolls.  They tried to make the magazines of the day work , but the images were not like those of yesteryear.  When they were young, the girls in the magazines could be cut out and homemade paper dolls created because the pictures and drawings were roughly the same size and it was easy to make them fit together (see the advertisement for goldflex frocks).  Though we couldn’t make it work with the 1980’s magazines, that memory was the catalyst for my fascination with paper dolls.  On my sick bed, I imagined the gorgeous styles, clothes, and scenery and how I would play with them.

Fast forward to the computer age and my own children.  It is so easy to find beautiful paper dolls online that talented artists have created to be shared.  As we were searching, we came across some of the most beautiful images that I have seen.  My daughter went CRAZY!!!

I mean look at these:

Cory Jensen - Aladdin1

Cory Jensen - Aladdin2

GORGEOUS! Right?

An artist named Cory Jensen has a facebook page dedicated to paper dolls that he’s created.  He takes no money for them (as they are fan-based), but I think that it is a wonderful way to build a resume – and I’m sure that with his amazing talents, he will go far!

I contacted Cory in order to write this post and he was so willing to share some information about his creations and talent.  He modestly said that he didn’t have any professional training and wasn’t a professional artist, but I’m sure you’ll agree with me that he is a talented artist nonetheless.

1. How long have you been an artist?

I have been interested in art my whole life and I have been drawing ever since I could hold a pencil! So minus the 2 years where I could only scribble, I would say I’ve been an artist for 20 years!

2. Where did you get your training?

As I said, I have never had any actual training or schooling in art…yet. Although, I would like to attend an art school in the near future. I never even took art classes in high school, which I do regret. I watched all the Disney classics when I was a kid and I was in awe of how the drawings literally came to came to life on the screen! So even without realizing it, from a young age I was studying these movies and learning the basics of art. Obviously, Disney movies have remained a big part of my life and I continue to study them as well as the work of countless artists. So, I wouldn’t say I am self-taught, but taught by hundreds.

3. Do you do “Paper Dolls, by Cory” for a living, or for fun?

As of right now “Paper Dolls by Cory” is something I do for fun. I started making these “retro” style paper dolls several years ago and posting them on my DeviantArt page. People seemed to like them and I liked making them so I started “Paper Dolls by Cory” to reach more people. I would like to make a living of making these paper dolls but because most of the dolls I make are of copyrighted characters I don’t feel comfortable selling them. I would, however, like to create original paper dolls and sell those in the future. But for now, knowing that people enjoy my work is enough for me!

4. Are your paper dolls hand drawn or do you use a program on the computer?

 I start off the dolls by hand drawing very rough pencil sketches which I then scan into my computer. Usually, the first sketch is far from perfect so I scribble several notes on what needs to be adjusted on the computer (i.e. slight pose changes, and proportions.) After I scan them I start using a program called PaintShopPro 9, which is essentially a less expensive Photoshop. I also use a Wacom Bambo Create pen tablet to more easily draw and color on the computer.

5. What other types of artistic work do you do?

 Almost all of the art work I do is done digitally. But I am always sketching ideas in my sketchbook and even on receipt paper from where I work…they don’t like that too much…ha ha I love to draw people! Whether it is a Disney character, someone I know, or just someone I thought of. My goal when I draw a character is to convey an emotion, from the eyes and facial features, to the pose and gestures. I feel like I have done good work if someone looks at a piece of art I’ve done and they feel something.

6. What advice do you have for kids who are interested in becoming artists one day?

Explore the world around you! Find what interests you, draw it, and study it. Draw what you see and how you see it. Make the world your own! I’ve found that another good way to learn about art is to look at other artists’ work. Study their technique, ask questions like “why did they draw that expression?” or “why did they use that color?” Let them inspire you, but find your own artistic voice and style.

7. If someone wanted to purchase a set of your paper dolls, or commission some work, where could they go?

 I don’t yet have paper dolls available for sale, nor am I currently taking commissions, but when I do the information will be available on my Facebook page.

I want to wish Cory the best of luck for his future and thank him for the hours of fun that my daughters had with his creations.  I know that he will go far!

  • Do you ever do paper crafts (or Paper dolls) with your kids?
  • What are your favorites?
  • When I was young, my brother had a set of Cowboy and Indian paper villages.  Any other great ideas for boys?
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Christmas Advent Calendars

I love Christmas countdown traditions.  From easy ones like paper chains, to elaborate homemade countdown items.  This post will look into some Countdown Ideas that will help children, old and young, anticipate that special day.

Missy's Advent Calendar

 Muffin-Tin Advent Calendar

My dear friend Missy Glancy, put this one together for our Relief Society Super Saturday Activity (it’s a gathering where woman from our church sit down and make homemade items).  It’s basically a muffin tin in which you can insert small gifts or slips of paper listing activities that you and your children can do together that day.  You cover each tin with a piece of decorated card-stock, and those papers are held onto the tin with a small magnet.

Missy said that this is a very easy set-up.  She puts in some big activities (going to see the lights) and some small ones (reading a Christmas story or watching a Christmas movie).  If one day they are not able to do an activity that they had planned, she can switch it out for an simpler one.

A Stocking Countdown Calendar

Disney's Family Fun Advent Idea

For this next one, I turn to Disney’s Family Fun Magazine.  Their idea is quite festive and fun – if you can find the right socks. 😉  You basically fill a sock for each day until Christmas with a treat, small present, or activity.  These socks are hung with clothespins across a piece of yarn, twine, or small rope.

The magazine also presented some fun stocking ideas for each day –

  • “Get Out of Chores Free” or “Pick a Movie Rental” cards — each good for one use!
  • A puzzle distributed in pieces among the socks; kids can put it together over the course of the month
  • Trading or sports cards
  • Special coins such as foreign currency or a silver dollar — chocolate coins are always a hit too!
  • Music or other gift cards
  • Jokes or riddles (stick the punch line in the next day’s sock; see AZKIDSNET.COM for ideas)
  • A game (a Mad Libs or Sudoku a day)
  • Art supplies, such as a mini paint kit and pad
  • A special ornament to add to the tree
  • A new pair of socks. 

You can see the full article here. 

Paper Chains

Simple Paper Chain

This can be as simple or elaborate as you wish it to be.

Instructions –

  1. Cut up 24 pieces of paper (red and green construction, beautiful wrapping paper, crafting paper that matches your Christmas theme, or even beautiful Christmas ribbon).
  2. Wrap the first one into a circle and secure the ends together with tape or glue.
  3. Insert the next paper through the first and secure the ends of that link together.
  4. Continue with all of the papers until you have a paper chain.
  5. You can hang it horizontally across a wall or vertically by a door.
  6. Cut off one chain each day until Christmas.

You can do the following to “spice it up” if you’d like, or leave it as simple as the chain –

  • Write an activity on the papers (do this before you begin to link them).
  • Make a treasure hunt out of them.
  • Write a Christmas poem on the links.
  • Choose a person to contact (letter, phone call, card, etc.) or serve each day.  Write their name on the chain links and have fun with your family doing (RAKs) random acts of kindness for a new person each day.

Mom's Advent Calendar

Wilhelm Family Advent Calendar

When we were little, my Mom made this calendar at a RS meeting.  I have such fond memories of it.  We’d pin the little sequinned felt ornaments on the little tree, starting with a star on the first and Santa Claus on the twenty-fourth.  Then a couple of years ago, my mom gave each of us (each of her four children’s families) an advent calender that she had handmade.  She said that she couldn’t get the little sequins on the calendar any other way but by hand sewing each piece.  It was one of the most wonderful gifts I have ever received.

The great thing is, I can incorporate any of these ideas in those little pockets for my family.

Other Family Countdown Traditions

Chocolate Advent Calendar

We love the German Advent chocolate countdown calendars.  Each day you pen a door and find a piece of lovely chocolate inside.  When I was a young girl, we lived in Germany and my parents bought each child a Chocolate calendar.  I remember having a friend over and for some reason, we were hanging out in my brother’s room.  She and I ate all of my brother’s calendar chocolate. There is something much more satisfying (surprisingly enough) to savor these each day, rather than gobbling the whole calendar of stolen chocolate in one sitting.

My girls love these calendars and I even buy one for my husband each year.  The women at his work tease him, “What are you five?”  but, as I said before, countdowns are about helping children, both old and young look forward to that special day.

What do you and your family do to countdown to Christmas?

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Origami

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Origami Star Boxes

A friend of mine gave me a gift recently. I wanted to share the idea with you. She loves Origami and makes these beautiful open paper boxes with them. Then she fills the boxes with various things. At Christmas, she gave us Hersey’s kisses and more recently, they were lantern houses. As usual, my daughters are “ga-ga” over them. They often go to bed with the little lights. I loved the way that she decorated them.

Just can't keep her hands off!

Any other cool Origami tips, facts or ideas to share?

Here’s a site that has created very easy instruction and wonderful pictures (if you can ignore the ads).

Love the Origami, or maybe the tea light.

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Pirate Party – ARRRR!!

We had an Indian Summer last fall in Utah.  My cousin, Jana decided to take advantage of the warm weather and she threw a pirate party.  First of all, there is no one craftier, than Jana.  She can turn nothing into something beautiful and I am in awe of her talents.

Jana, Pirate Party Queen Extraordinaire

I received this in my inbox –

 

The Invitation

We dressed up the girls (as much as I could) –

The Pink Pirate Brigade

 

There were Pirate games, a treasure hunt, and a marshmallow fight.  The kids had a blast –

The flag

Jana has a knack!  Her site is Creations from the Kitchen Table.

Treasure Map

(Look at the detail on that hand-drawn map!)

A casualty in the Great Marshmallow War.

The kids were crazy, and Jana’s husband, Rob was such a great sport as the kids “attacked” him.

The location of the treasure was magical!

I just love it when you can get under a tree with hanging branches.

The treasure chest

The treasure chest was made out of a box of Kirkland Signature Baby wipes  – it was fantastic.  Check out the look on the boy’s face – he is mesmerized!

Hip, hip, hooray!

It was wonderful!  Creative, fun, and there was no “underlying” reason for it (birthday, etc.).  Here’s to Jana for making the kid’s day bright, just for fun!

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Old Scrapbooking Items

With her paper purse made by her cousin

Recently I’ve realized that I don’t have time or ability to make gigantic scrapbooks.  Sad, I know.  So I put my pictures in regular old albums, but I am left with lots of scrapbooking materials just sitting on the shelf.

I began to remember that when I was young, kind people gave me their crafting “scraps” and I used to make the most amazing “stuff” with those treasures.  So I’ve been letting my little ones use my scrapbook items, and I think that they are excited because they get to use “cool” pieces to create their treasures.

My niece Audrey kept a roomful of young girls entertained yesterday by making these paper purses.  She used a piece of 12″ by 12″ hard paper and tape. Even my two year old loved it.  She wore her purse over her arm and in her sister’s high heels, looked like a little diva.

My five year old has been using my stamps, brads, stickers, etc. to decorate her own scrapbook.

Brads, stamps, and stickers

At first it was hard to let her use the items that I had planned on using for family memories.  But I soon noticed that she was in HEAVEN, and the TV was off.  A few days later, I had wrapped a present in plain paper and she decorated it with markers and stickers.  I was impressed with the patterns and designs that she had created -at five years old!

So I guess I am using all of my expensive scrapbooking equipment for family memories, they were just different memories than I had originally planned on.