Sunday, 25 March 2018

Make Art That Sells - MATS

I am currently in the third month of a five month long course call MATS Bootcamp. It is designed to get those creative juices flowing and help you put together 5 pieces of work suitable for an illustration portfolio. I have to say I am loving getting back to my art. It has been far too long.

Above is my portrait of Belva Lockwood, a famous American suffragist. I have discovered in doing this that I really enjoy researching for an artwork. She is quite a character.

Last month we designed a journal cover. Mine was based on Tea Leaves.

And then in January we designed a non-fiction childrens book cover based on a celebrity chosen for us. Mine was Tina Fey, who in fact I had never heard of, so it was a good challenge. It certainly took me out of my comfort zone. However, I think the biggest benefit so far from the course is that it has got me back to creating art when for so long it had been put on the back burner. I have loads and loads of ideas now of things I want to paint and make and I am just itching to do them. I can't wait to see what our next topic is going to be.

Until next time...

Monday, 26 February 2018

Paperless Post

"Paperless Post. What on earth is that ?"  I hear you ask.

As you probably know I have made one or two paper cards in my time, and I am a keen papercrafter.  I mean, who doesn't love paper?....what's that? You don't? And I thought we were friends!

Anyhow, you might be wondering why on earth I would want to use Paperless Post when I love paper so much. What is Paperless Post?  It is an e-card website where you can customise their vast range of cards and then email them to whoever you wish.

Does it cost? Yes, but not too much, and it's certainly way less than  using snail mail.

It's not that I am against snail mail, I am most definitely for it, but there are those times when you hear of a friend needing a word of encouragement, or a birthday that you almost forgot, or you  just want to send a little message to a friend for whatever reason , and you can't get out to the Post Office. Then Paperless Post is perfect for these times.

As it happens, where I live, I don't have a Post Office I can walk to , and so Paperless post is perfect for me. Especially for sending notes to friends and family overseas.

They have a really huge selection of cards. This isn't your average e-card kind of set up. They have a wonderful range of card designers and artists to choose from. They are very tasteful.

You can send cards or invitations , or little notes, and you can customize everything from the envelope to the backdrop to the fonts to the stamp to the colour to the....yeah, ok, you get the idea.

When the recipient opens your e-card, they get a lovely animated virtual card with an opening envelope and then the front and inside of your card. It really is the most tasteful e-card available out there for sending.

You can save all your addresses for sending out more cards another time. I love it!

When your card is sent, you get an email notification, and then you also have notification of when your card has been opened.

So, if you have never tried it, go on..Go to Paperless Post now and give it a shot.

Well, I'm off to send a card to a friend now.

Have a lovely day.

Saturday, 24 February 2018

TV cabinet from an old sideboard

I realised that I never posted this little upcycle I did a few months ago. I purchased a really solid good quality but rather dull sideboard  from a local lady who runs a junk business. I get the goodies delivered to my door, so what could be better. That's the way to furniture shop!

I'm afraid I didn't get a chance to stage the cupboard prettily for a photo shoot before it came into use as our TV cabinet, but you get the idea.
This is  what it looked like before...
As you can see, solid, but not very interesting. I gave it a sand, refinished the top with Polyvine wax finish varnish, and the base with Sarah Jayne Chalk paint and affixed new handles to it, which gave it a much classier look. It's not that I didn't like the handles that were on the drawers, I'll save them for another project. I just wanted a change of look. Plus, the doors didn't have handles and I thought it would look better with.

I love to paint my own artwork, but I also enjoy using vintage graphics, especially on furniture. This design is from the Graphics Fairy. There are tons to choose from on her site, and even more if you go for a paid membership.

I traced the design onto the doors using carbon paper, I then hand painted it using a mix of chalk paint colours to make this soft grey.

I'm rather pleased with it!

Lots of other projects waiting to be done always!

If you want to check what I am up to at the moment follow me on Instagram

Have a lovely day

Sunday, 4 February 2018

A Fox on a Box

If you know me, then you know that I have a bit of a thing for making and decorating pretty little boxes , often  using antique Natural History illustrations.

I am currently taking an online course to get back to my painting and illustrating and I have long been intending to create my own images to decoupage. So I gave myself a bit of a push and went for it. I created the fox illustrations with watercolour and coloured pencil.

For the body of the box I have used some Sarah Jayne chalk paint which I was sent at the end of last year to try out. This is me getting around to it now ! Too many things on my list!

These are the little project pots, they will keep me going for ages.

It went on smoothly and easily, and I love how there are no nasty fumes.
I used Royal Navy for the outside of the box, which is a gorgeous lapiz lazuli shade.

Inside and underneath I painted the box in Stardust, which I have to say I am really impressed with. It has a highly metallic sheen and I will be using this for more boxes. (This started as one of those little papier mache box blanks that you can buy, and I have added the cute wooden feet.)

On top of the Royal Navy I have splattered Stardust and a small amount of Mercury. The fox is standing on some silver snow which is Nuvo gilding flakes from Tonic Studios.

It turned out quite cute I think. There may be more foxes on boxes in the future. This one is going to be a gift, but I think now I had better make something foxy to go inside of it! An empty box might be a bit of a disappointment.

Have a lovely day.

Thursday, 23 November 2017

Oh yeah, I remember now, I have a blog!

Yeah, so, it's been a while since I was here. Sorry about that. It's not that I haven't been busy creating things, just that I tend to use Instagram more nowadays than the blog. However, I think I shall have a shot at getting back into the swing of blogging for a while and see how it goes.
Here is my latest endeavor. I made some cute little labels for a friend's hand knitted garments which she sells through a local craft shop.

I was able to use my Tonic Studios dies for this, it makes for a very cute little tag don't you think?

You can't really tell from the picture, but I have a strange way of doing the printing on my inkjet printer which results in a cool raised printed effect.

Unless you have a top of the range inkjet printer, the inks will run if the label becomes wet. I want to avoid this for labels and make them a bit longer lasting. I do this with embossing powder.

As my printed card is coming out the printer, I sprinkle embossing powder over the inked areas. Because the printer uses pigment ink, the embossing powder sticks to the printing. I then tip off the excess into a big plastic tray I have for the occasion and use my heat gun to heat the embossing powder as you would do normally.

This can be a bit messy and you have to be careful not to trash your printer. But it works for me anyway.

Anyone else do this?

Have a lovely day !

Monday, 22 May 2017

Highland Summer

 May is often a really good month for us in the Highlands. No exception this year. We have had several weeks of beautiful warm dry weather. Hopefully June and July won't be too bad...often the best of summer is right now !

 I was able to make my first ever gate. I am quite pleased with the result. I am working on gate number two just now.

We already have a few strawberries ripening, although this one looks more like a bug or an alien.

I finished painting my Welsh Dresser and I am enjoying using it in the kitchen. I used Everlong Chalk Paint for this.  Now onto the next furniture on my list. Finish upholstering a couple of dining chairs and then paint a bed frame for the spare room. My list is long!

Plus we have been working in the garden slowly developing new flower beds which I am excited about planting up. Too much to do and not enough time!

Plus I entered my first Spoonflower fabric design competition. The remit was Whimsical watercolour insects. I decided on Cobalt blue beetles. I'll be very pleased if I make it into the top 25 fabrics for my first attempt.

Hope you have been having a good May.
Have a lovely day wherever you are.

Tuesday, 4 April 2017

Watch the Birdy

 We still have much work to do on our new garden, but we have been enjoying the varied bird life we get. This handsome fellow has visited a few times now pecking about at the bottom of the bird feeders.

Isn't he gorgeous!

Goldfinches and greenfinches are a plenty, sometimes the neighbouring tree is all a chirp with birds waiting for a turn on the feeders.
This is a lesser Redpoll. He comes from time to time.
I think the goldfinches are one of my favourites though.
There are signs of spring in the garden too, but being in the Highlands we are a little behind lower regions of the country.
But it is lovely to see things come into bloom.

It makes me feel like painting, but I have so many other things to do ...sigh!

Have a lovely day.