DIY pet toys with Hallmark artists | thinkmakeshareblog.com

Make your own pet toys (and make your pets very happy)

Hallmark designer and pet parent extraordinaire Susan C. takes great pride in spoiling her fur babies. Knowing that several of her co-workers would welcome the challenge to create their own pet toys from scratch, she got everyone together for a few hours of crafting. Read on to see what they came up with!

DIY pet toys with Hallmark artists | thinkmakeshareblog.com

Hallmarkers are a special breed of people who love what they do, especially when they’re doing what they love. At a recent workshop, a few Hallmark friends got together for an afternoon of combining their own personal love for their pets with their love of making things. Many “fur-baby” stories and photos were shared while everyone stitched, braided, stuffed and crafted some pretty incredible pet toys. The only thing missing was the pets themselves!

Hallmark artists share their handmade pet toys | thinkmakeshareblog.com

I share my home with two Keeshonden named Elroy Jack and Acapella (because she likes to sing). They are very smart, playful and love being part of their “family pack” at all times. Pella likes to snuggle with pillows, so I made an octopus for her, using soft, cuddly socks. Elroy is very curious, so I decided to make a caterpillar for him with balls inside that squeak. Because Elroy would be putting the toy in his mouth, I thought that coloring the fabric with a natural material was the way to go. I gathered dandelions and hammered them with a mallet onto the fabric to make a bright yellow-green caterpillar. (You can find step-by-step instructions for making this crazy caterpillar dog chew toy here!)

Hallmark artists share their handmade pet toys | thinkmakeshareblog.com

One of Sarah’s two cats is a rescued barn kitten named Marlo Thomas. Both kitties love to watch birds on the deck, so Sarah keeps a bird feeder filled. She’s sure that Marlo is “plotting some sort of plan” for the birds. That’s why she made her a little birdy of her own, so she could live out those dreams.

Karla has two Rhodesian Ridgebacks named Nelson and Wyatt. They are known as lion hounds, originally bred to protect herds from lions in Africa. Because her dogs don’t have to protect anyone from lions, she thought it would be appropriate for them to have a lion toy to play with. Sometimes they can get rough when they play together, so she also made them two pull toys that are tough and tuggable.

Hallmark artists share their handmade pet toys | thinkmakeshareblog.com

Eleanor Jane—also known as Pretty Girl Jane, Sweet Jane, Janer,The Kitty, Freckle Belly,Elle,EJ and JANE—is Leslie’s sweet girl. Eleanor loves chasing frozen peas and rolling around in the grass. On any given day, she can be found sitting wherever the sun is beaming brightest. Leslie thought a toy full of bold colors would brighten up Eleanor’s day. She’ll be sharing step-by-step instructions later in this post.

Terry will tell you that Rylee and Tucker are amazing kitties, and that Rylee is quick as lightning. Both Rylee and Tucker love to play with their toys, particularly the handmade ones. Terry put her illustration talent to work and hand crafted a mini dog and some mini kitties.

Hallmark artists share their handmade pet toys | thinkmakeshareblog.com

I also have two cats named Fiona Daisy and Rufus. Rufus is my snuggler, who is a quiet observer and is content to just watch Fiona play. Fiona is a one-year-old Maine Coon sweetheart who likes to snuggle under the covers. She follows me around and “talks” to me. If I call her by name, she comes running. Quite often I will wake up and find her just sitting on top of me, watching me while I sleep. One of Fiona’s favorite activities is to jump at toys in the air, so I made her a jellyfish swimming among bubbles. (You can download instructions for my jiggly jellyfish cat toy here.)

Hallmark artists share their handmade pet toys | thinkmakeshareblog.com

Jennifer has a feisty kitty named Jayna who loves to play and snuggle. Jen thought a snake-haired Medusa would be fun for Jayna at her feistiest. And for times when Jayna’s dreaming of her favorite treats, Jen made her a cuddly fish with flowing tails.

Azusa love-love-love-loves animals, any animals. She has two cats named Coco Puff and Cream Puff (because Azusa is a foodie). When Coco Puff has a hair cut, he becomes Coco Lion. Azusa also loves nature as much as animals, so she decided to craft some tree branches and a cute bunny for her cats.

Eager to make a few of these treats for your own furry friends? Read on to see how Hallmark designer Leslie S. crafted her feline-friendly pom pom cat wand!

Make your own DIY POM POM CAT WAND | thinkmakeshareblog.com

From Leslie S.: I decided to make a little something for my oldest gal, a 14-year-old Maine Coon mix cat named Eleanor Jane. No one in our pack questions this little lady’s alpha status. She’s a sophisticated one who prefers chasing the laser pointer over some silly, store-bought cat toy. So I thought I’d try my hand at creating an Eleanor Jane-worthy kitty wand with a few bits of textile loveliness. And pom poms. (Always pom poms.)

If you’re up to the challenge of amusing your feline—no question, they can be a tough crowd—I highly recommend this pom pom cat wand! If you want constructive feedback, you might even let your fur-kid in on the process of choosing materials. Eleanor Jane takes project managing quite seriously.

Here’s what you’ll need:

  • Wooden dowel rod
  • Flat leather cord
  • Scissors
  • Glue gun
  • Yarn
  • Baker’s twine
  • Embroidery thread (I went with metallic gold. Because cats and shiny things.)
  • Small strips of felt

Here’s what to do:

Make your own DIY POM POM CAT WAND | thinkmakeshareblog.com

Drill a tiny hole in one end of the dowel rod, approximately 1/4″ from the end.

Make your own DIY POM POM CAT WAND | thinkmakeshareblog.com

On the opposite end, place a small amount of glue and begin wrapping the flat leather cord. Add more glue along the rod as you wrap, enough to create a comfortably sized handle.

Make your own DIY POM POM CAT WAND | thinkmakeshareblog.comThis next step is as simple or as intricate as you choose to make it: Create a variety of colorful braids or simply gather together a few straight pieces of whatever textiles you choose (yarn, twine, embroidery thread, woven cord, you get the idea) to add color and length.

Make your own DIY POM POM CAT WAND | thinkmakeshareblog.comKnot each section at both ends, leaving tails long enough to tie it to the next section. I took this opportunity to channel my inner 12-year-old and made some varying lengths of 5-loop-square-braids with yarn and standard braids with sparkly baker’s twine and metallic embroidery thread.

Make your own DIY POM POM CAT WAND | thinkmakeshareblog.com

Create enough pom poms (find an easy how-to here) to intersperse between each section of textile material.

Make your own DIY POM POM CAT WAND | thinkmakeshareblog.com

And create a tassel or two (find another easy how-to here).

Make your own DIY POM POM CAT WAND | thinkmakeshareblog.com

Use baker’s twine or embroidery thread to tie and knot the pom poms between sections of braid.

Make your own DIY POM POM CAT WAND | thinkmakeshareblog.com

Repeat to attach the tassels, one to each end.

Make your own DIY POM POM CAT WAND | thinkmakeshareblog.com

Attach your string creation to the dowel rod by threading baker’s twine through the drilled hole and tying a secure knot. Before tying that final knot, I topped it off with an extra pom pom for good measure.

Make your own DIY POM POM CAT WAND | thinkmakeshareblog.comMake your own DIY POM POM CAT WAND | thinkmakeshareblog.com

If you want to take the embellishing a step further, wrap and straight-stitch a couple of felt tabs along the dowel rod, one near the handle and another at the end of the dowel rod.

Make your own DIY POM POM CAT WAND | thinkmakeshareblog.com

Workshop photography by Lindsey Mehlhorn.

Share pics of your pets frolicking with your expertly crafted pet toys on Instagram—tag us @think.make.share! For more pet toy ideas and templates, visit our friends at Hallmark.com.

 

Ellie Wright Free Downloadable Desktop Wallpaper | thinkmakeshareblog.com

Free digital wallpapers from the Hallmark summer interns

There’s no denying it; we are wildly proud of our interns here at Hallmark. Every summer we welcome a cadre of college creatives who consistently surprise and amaze us. The Hallmark Summer Intern Class of 2015 is no different. We couldn’t keep their talent to ourselves, so we’re sharing some of their art with you today!

Ellie Wright Free Downloadable Desktop Wallpaper | thinkmakeshareblog.com From Ellie Wright: The theme of my desktop wallpaper is dreams. Growing up in Kansas City, I’ve always been passionate about Hallmark and the creative energy it brings to our city. So to say this internship is a dream come true would be an understatement! I wanted this wallpaper to reflect my excitement about this internship and Hallmark in general. I’ve thoroughly enjoyed my time here. It’s definitely lived up to the dream.

Download DREAM desktop wallpaper  |  iphone wallpaper

EllNan Sinchai Free Downloadable Desktop Wallpaper | thinkmakeshareblog.com From Nan Sinchai: I am a big believer in staying optimistic. For my desktop wallpaper, I wanted to create something that reinforces that positive attitude. I like to keep my desktop clean and organized, so I decided to make something light, simple and straightforward by emphasizing the lettering. The lettering style reflects the feeling and meaning of the word itself.

Download GOOD VIBES desktop wallpaper  |  iphone wallpaper

Mariya Pilipenko Free Downloadable Desktop Wallpaper | thinkmakeshareblog.com From Mariya Pilipenko: Working at Hallmark and being around all the amazing artwork and passionate people has given me such an abundance of creative energy. This project was the perfect outlet for me to express that Hallmark spirit. When I illustrate, I get lost in the details, colors, shapes, lines and imperfections. My goal with this wallpaper is to create something for you to pause and get lost in as well. Enjoy!

Download PLENTY OF FISH desktop wallpaper  |  iphone wallpaper

Sara Bicknell Free Downloadable Desktop Wallpaper | thinkmakeshareblog.com From Sara Bicknell: Being around so many talented artists here at Hallmark has been inspirational. Seeing their techniques has encouraged me to use traditional media more often instead of just digital. The bee wallpaper was pulled from a sketchbook I’ve been keeping during this summer to practice using media such as gouache and watercolor.

Download BEE desktop wallpaper  |  iphone wallpaper

Elisa Martin Free Downloadable Desktop Wallpaper | thinkmakeshareblog.com From Elisa Martin: With this wallpaper, I wanted to create something simple but quirky at the same time. The talent here at Hallmark constantly pushes me to design something fresh and new. I truly wanted to embody all of those elements in my piece.

Download Fresh desktop wallpaper  |  iphone wallpaper

“Shop” our entire desktop wallpaper archive here! And don’t forget to share your favorites with us on Instagram (@think.make.share). We’d love to see where you’re taking your wallpapers!

Hallmark Gold Crown Store bag refresh | thinkmakeshareblog.com

Hallmark Gold Crown debuts their new Artist Bag and Box Collection

Hallmark Art Director Alfred Jones has an incredible aesthetic and an unbelievable eye for detail. This made him the perfect candidate to oversee one of our latest and most exciting projects—a rebrand of our in-store shopping bags and boxes. We’re excited to show you what will be coming to a Hallmark store near you very soon!

Hallmark Gold Crown Store bag refresh | thinkmakeshareblog.com

I love a project that starts with a simple idea like, “Let’s put the Think.Make.Share URL on our in-store bags,” and ends up as a complete redesign. That’s just what happened with our new Artist Bag and Box Collection.

Our creative team saw a bigger opportunity than just adding the Think.Make.Share website to our shopping bags and boxes. So we pulled together a group of Hallmark artists, gave them blank bags and boxes, and asked them to let their imaginations run wild. (How cool does that sound?) With the help of Hallmark Trends Studio Director Jen Walker, we were lucky enough to get artists Flora Chang, Sam Lewis, Lynn Giunta, Ken Sheldon, Barb Mizik and Kim Pjecha to participate.

Any day I get to work with our crazy-talented Hallmark artists is a great day.

For our workshop, we gave each artist four hours to create as much as they could with the materials we provided. As you can see from the photos, it looks like they had fun.

Hallmark Gold Crown refreshes shopping bags | thinkmakeshareblog.comHallmark Gold Crown refreshes shopping bags | thinkmakeshareblog.comHallmark Gold Crown shopping bag refresh | Sam Lewis | thinkmakeshareblog.comHallmark Gold Crown shopping bag refresh | thinkmakeshareblog.comHallmark Gold Crown shopping bag refresh | thinkmakeshareblog.com

Hallmark Gold Crown shopping bag refresh | thinkmakeshareblog.com

Jen and I knew that we wanted the designs to be printed with white ink on kraft paper, and the artists were up for the challenge. At the end of the workshop, we had a body of work that surprised all of us. The design, craftsmanship and attention to detail were impeccable. And as you can see, the bags and boxes turned out AMAZING!

Hallmark Gold Crown shopping bag and box refresh | thinkmakeshareblog.comHallmark Gold Crown shopping bag and box refresh | thinkmakeshareblog.comHallmark Gold Crown shopping bag and box refresh | thinkmakeshareblog.comHallmark Gold Crown shopping bag and box refresh | thinkmakeshareblog.comHallmark Gold Crown shopping bag and box refresh | thinkmakeshareblog.comHallmark Gold Crown shopping bag and box refresh | thinkmakeshareblog.comHallmark Gold Crown shopping bag and box refresh | thinkmakeshareblog.com

On each bag, we added the artist’s signature and a brief bio. We know you’ll want to read and collect them all. The new bags and boxes will be available at your local Hallmark Gold Crown store soon, free with any purchase. When you find your favorite, take a pic and tag @Think.Make.Share on Instagram!

Photos by Kevin Hosley.

A huge thanks to the talented artists who worked on this project, as well as Hallmarkers Jon Saura, Clint Schell, Suba Nadarajah, Terri Irwin, Mike Brady and Chris Watson.

Project Runway Unconventional Materials Challenge winning dress by Edmond Newton | Hallmark Signature collection | thinkmakeshareblog.com

Designer Edmond Newton’s Winning #SignatureStyle

Project Runway Signature Style Challenge | interview with winner Edmond Newton | thinkmakeshareblog.comProject Runway Signature Style Challenge | interview with winner Edmond Newton | thinkmakeshareblog.com

To know Project Runway is to love the show’s recurring unconventional materials challenge, in which designers have to “make it work” by creating garments out of anything and everything from leaves to lawn chairs. Thanks to the creative collaboration between Hallmark Signature and Project Runway, our very own Signature cards stylishly starred as the designers’ materials in this season’s unconventional episode. For those of you who tuned in to see Edmond Newton’s winning wedding dress march down the runway, you already know that his sculptural creation—complete with a coordinating bouquet—was created out of Signature cards, envelopes, and featured embellishments such as gems, feathers and the clever use of the Signature logo on the bodice of the dress. We had a chance to chat with Edmond to learn more about his creative process, what inspires him and even what’s on his playlist.

Project Runway Unconventional Materials Challenge winning dress by Edmond Newton | Hallmark Signature collection | thinkmakeshareblog.com

Where did you first learn about fashion?

Growing up, both my mom and dad were very fashionable people, and I saw this style focus daily. For them, getting ready for work or events was a process. I also grew up in my mom’s beauty salon in South Carolina and was always around beauty and fashion and the whole nine there.

How did you get your professional start in fashion? 

I was a professional model for a time, and it was there I realized that I didn’t care for being in front of the camera as much as I liked to be behind it. I loved fashion, and was inspired by what I saw on the runways, but didn’t see the things I liked in malls or stores. I realized if I couldn’t buy it, I was going to have to make it. So in 2004, I started teaching myself to sew. I did some small shows in my hometown that same year. It was also the year I learned about this new show called Project Runway and decided to audition for the first time for it. I auditioned every year until I finally made the show in Season 14.

Project Runway Unconventional Materials Challenge winning dress by Edmond Newton | Hallmark Signature collection | thinkmakeshareblog.comHow do you keep yourself inspired?

I find my inspiration through my life experiences—and always trying to get new ones.

What’s your work process? Do you sketch first?

I dive in, no sketch. The fabric tells you what it wants to do.

What’s your work space like?

I like to think of it as workable chaos.

Project Runway Unconventional Materials Challenge winning dress by Edmond Newton | Hallmark Signature collection | thinkmakeshareblog.comFor the unconventional materials challenge, what were your first thoughts when you learned you would be making a garment out of Signature Cards?

Standing there, looking around, seeing so much shape, color, texture, 3D materials—I was just figuring out what would be my power statement. I took the energy of the Signature line into consideration, too. I kept thinking about what would be a really special, cool statement. Cards are something special these days. If someone takes the time to pick out a card, it has to reflect them. I wanted this to reflect me.

Did you run with your first design concept?

I did run with my first concept. A few of the cards spoke to me the same way fabric speaks to me. They are what jumped out, and they were my inspiration throughout.

Tell us about the cards you chose that inspired you to create your winning bridal look.

The cards brought back memories of my family and their stories as well as my own personal journey in the years leading up to Season 14. I channeled all of that energy into my look.

Project Runway Unconventional Materials Challenge winning dress by Edmond Newton | Hallmark Signature collection | thinkmakeshareblog.comThe handmade bouquet was a wonderful touch. What made you create that as well as your wedding dress?

As an artist, my mind works differently than most people. I focus on one project, but never one thing. For the bouquet, I just pulled out my art class skills—art was always my favorite subject in school.

Who are some of your biggest inspirations from fashion and beyond?

  • Gianni Versace
  • Halston
  • Rick Owens
  • Whitney Houston (I got to meet her on an airplane on the way to casting for one of the Project Runway seasons. I could barely get my words out, I was so starstruck.)
  • Madonna
  • Naomi Campbell
  • Lenny Kravitz
  • My mom, Rose, and my dad, Edmond

What are your three favorite songs on your playlist right now? 

  • “Everybody Wants to Rule the World” by Tears for Fears (my all-time favorite song)
  • “It Was All a Dream” by Notorious B.I.G.
  • “Anything” by Anita Baker

Project Runway Unconventional Materials Challenge winning dress by Edmond Newton | Hallmark Signature collection | thinkmakeshareblog.comWho would you love to have over to dinner if you could?

Halston. And maybe Rihanna?

Speaking of dinner, what’s your favorite meal?

Pizza. Papa John’s, pepperoni with extra sauce. I like to have that on Thursdays when I watch Project Runway.

 

To learn more about Edmond and to watch Hallmark Signature-inspired designers in Season 14’s unconventional materials challenge, “It’s All in the Cards,” go to www.mylifetime.com.

Say hello to Hallmark Signature on Instagram @HallmarkSignature and on the website!

Rainbow Brite is back!

Rainbow Brite is back!

The Brite is back! You’re not dreaming, friends: Rainbow Brite, heroine to ’80s kids everywhere, is making a comeback. Did you know that Hallmarkers created the unstoppable world-brightener in the early 1980s? They did! The current generation of Hallmark Creatives is insanely proud to be working for the birthplace of Brite. So we made a video. Like we do. Hallmark Gold Crown stores will be getting shipments of Rainbow Brite goods later this week; call your local store to find out when Rainbow Brite will be in your neighborhood. Rainbow Brite will be showing up on Hallmark.com in several weeks, so keep checking in there, too. 

Video Credits: Starring Tommy Donoho and Brian Rio. Appearances by Mark Morton, Jake Johnson and Jen Dreiling. Sound by Chris Johnson and Josh Williams. Edited by Dac McCabe.

Share your Rainbow Brite excitement with us on Instagram @think.make.share