Friday, 14 June 2019

Sketchbook Landscapes

Inspired by Minnie Small on Youtube I've been doing some small landscape paintings based on images from Google maps street view.
Have you ever just looked around on Google maps? Dropped the little man on a random spot in a random country and had a walk around. It's fascinating!

The paintings are done with gouache and are quite quick to do. I can get one or two done in an evening which is great for keeping my hand in the painting game without committing too much time.
The sketchbook I'm using is a little A5 one from Seawhite. The paper isn't the best for wet materials, but it was only about 60p so I don't mind.

I had a good look around this lake in China. I'd love to know what that colourful teepee type structure is as I saw a few of them around the lake. I also loved that image of the boy posing for a photo so I had to draw that. I switched things up by using colour pens rather than paint.
I like the mix of images and materials, all relating to one area, so I'm keen to do more pages like this.

Tuesday, 21 May 2019

Sewing Bows

The drawers I keep my fabric stash in all very full. I'm almost at the point where I can't close them properly. But when my sister is getting rid of off-cuts from her latest costume project, or when someone donates a bag of fabric at work and I get to look through them first, I just can't say no.
So I need to start using some of this fabric that I've aquired. Which is why I've made all these bows!

Clip-on bows seem to be quite popular at the moment (I'm looking at you, Jo-Jo) so I bought a pack of these crocodile clips to attach to the back of the bows using UHU glue. I do prefer to sew clips to the bows, but since these clips don't have any holes in, the glue seems to be doing a good job.
I have a lot of Christmasy fabric which I was very excited to use for a few bows. I'm hoping these will be popular later in the year at Christmas craft fairs.

I also made a few bows with some of my quirkier fabric, like the Pikachu one! I've had it for years and it's so big I can make a lot with it. 

Something I started putting together last year for craft fairs is these surprise bags. They started as a way of shifting old stock but they were so popular I'm now having to make things especially for them.
I made a batch for a recent craft fair which contained a hair bow, a charm keyring and a pack of colour in stickers. They were very popular!

What would you love to find in a surprise bag?

Tuesday, 14 May 2019

Dog Paintings

When I found out there was a dog friendly cafe opening in my town I approached the owner about doing some dog paintings to hang on the walls. She gets some free artwork and I get some free advertising. Win win!

These are a few of the paintings I've done. 

These are A4 sized. I also did a couple of larger paintings, including one of the owners own dog who sadly passed away. It already has pride of place on the wall in the cafe.

I also made some leaflets to go in the cafe in the hope of getting some commissions for pet portraits, and I've made a new page on my website to advertise them.

I love how they look in frames! I got these white frames from Wilkos.
I can't wait to see them up in the cafe!

Thursday, 28 March 2019

Mermaid Hairband

After making some unicorn hairbands the next logical step seemed to be a mermaid hairband! Of course!

Here's how I made it.

The first step had me so stumped that I almost gave up. I needed to build a structure on the hairband that I could stick all the shells on. I tried one piece of felt that folded around the hairband but it kept leaning with the curve of the band. I even tried putting a piece of card in between but I still couldn't get it to stick up straight.
Then I got the idea to build up the structure with multiple pieces of felt. I cut circles of white felt which folded around the hairband. I glued and sewed them in place then added some pairs of semi-circles which made a scalloped pattern. Very appropriate for a mermaid theme.

With the structure in place it was time to add the decoration.
I started with a string of small shells across the bottom which I was able to sew to the felt.

Then I picked out some larger shells which I attached using my glue gun.

Then I filled in the gaps with more little shells, pearl beads and blue plastic beads. I don't think I've ever used my glue gun so much!

I added some more colour by painting the shells with blue and purple nail varnish to get a shimmery look.

The hairband is a little heavy but I'm really pleased the felt is able to hold all shells and remain sticking up.

Thursday, 14 March 2019

Felt Flowers

If you follow me on Instagram you will have seen that I've been making a lot of felt flowers recently.

Don't judge the state of my mat!
Just before Christmas I treated myself to Cricut Maker and I've been exploring some of the patterns that come with it.
These flowers came from the felt flower wreath project.

To start off with I made a couple of hairbands with one large flower on.

I didn't follow the project exactly. This flower is made up of pieces from two different flowers, and I did my own thing for the centres.

Then I made a bunch more smaller flowers and used them to embellish the unicorn hairbands I made last year.

Basically, don't stand still for too long in my house or I might stick a felt flower to you!

Friday, 8 March 2019

Handmade Sketchbooks

Every time I see a post on book binding or handmade notebooks I always feel really inspired. I finally put the project on my to do list and this is what I came up with.

I really wanted my books to have a mix of papers to make things more interesting, and each one unique. I started by going through my over flowing drawers of paper and picking out pieces to use as the pages. I've got cartridge paper, lined paper, coloured paper, squared paper, sugar paper, patterned paper, tracing paper and more.

I cut all the paper into A5 sized pieces and then folded them in half to A6 size. My tip for doing this is to fold them against a stack of post-its so the edges are alligned. It doesn't have to be post-its though, anything with a raised, flat edge will do, eg, a book, a box.

I then cut some card for the covers. I made them a millimetre or two bigger than the pages. I used Amazon cardboard envelopes which I have a fair few of as I love the quality of the card.
I arranged all my pages into books, making sure to have a good mix of all the different types of paper.
In my first attempt I used staples to attach the pages together but I didn't love how it turned out, so I tried sewing the pages together.

I started by marking four dots, about 3cm apart, along the fold of the centre page. Then I took a drawing pin and pierced four holes through the whole stack of papers. You can't see from the photo, but I had a lump of blue-tack on the other side of the paper so the pin had someting to go in to instead of my table top. I put a scrap piece of paper over the blue-tack so that it didn't stick to my book pages.
I then used one of the pages as a guide to pierce holes in the cardboard cover.

Then I used cream coloured sewing thread, doubled up, to sew the pages and the cover together. I arranged it so the knot would be between the last page and the cover as this would be covered up later.

Next I covered the card cover with something a bit more attractive. This was a chance for me to use some of the really colourful fabric I have in my stash.
I cut the fabric about an inch bigger than the card cover and cut the corners off. I used PVA glue to stick the fabric to the cover, one side at a time.

I then glued the first and last pages to the inside of the cover to cover up the edges of the fabric. This is also how the knot gets covered up.

The last thing to do was trim the pages so they all appear the same size when the book is closed. 

And before I knew it, I'd made all of these!

I really enjoyed making these books. I love the mix of pages. Much more interesting than page after page of blank white.

I hope I've explained my process well enough. Let me know if you have any questions!

Thursday, 7 February 2019

Clay Beetle Magnets

I was recently sorting through my craft room (a tricky but rewarding task!) which reminded me about the large tub of air dry clay I have, which I'd like to use more of. Somehow I came up with the idea to make some bug magnets, specifically beetles, as I also unearthed a few little blank magnets.
Projects where I don't have to go out and buy anything new are the best.

To make the magnets I started by shaping the clay. I rolled a piece into an oval which I cut in half to make two beetles, each with a flat side and a curved side.

I added detailed on the front, including sticking some extra bits of clay on for the head. I also pressed the magnet into the back of the clay to leave an imprint to show where I would later glue it.

I used black coated wire for the arms and legs which I pushed through the clay. This was a bit tricky as the wire didn't always come out the other side where I wanted it, so it often took a few tries.

I gave the clay a couple of days to dry and then painted it completely with black acrylic paint.

Then it was time to add colour. Using nail varnish was the perfect thing for this project as I think the metallic, shimmery colours really look like the colours of a beetle.
I got out my nail varnish stash and picked out a couple of matching colours. I used the in-built brush to paint directly on top of the black paint, starting with the darker colour and adding highlights with the lighter one.

After the nail varnish had tried I used Gorilla super glue to stick the magnet to the back of the clay.

I'm really pleased with how they turned out. I think they look great! And, aside from the time it takes for the clay dry out, this is quite a quick project which is always a bonus.

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