Posts Tagged With: Creative

Art Display 

At our last house I had a “clothes line” art display where I could peg my sons art work.

Cheap & simple

In the “new” house I’ve been holding off on any kitchen displays as I wanted to wait till the wood-veneer panelled walls were painted.

Well… They’re painted white(ish) and the kitchen has black and red accents so I felt it was time to work on the display

Make a mess…

I found a large, cheap, poster frame; wooden craft letters to spell ART and paint in black, white & red (thanks Walmart) I handed all of the above to my 6 yr old and told him to make a mess…. This is the result

The finished display

Usually he brings home larger drawings from school so the frame is massive for this little one, but I like it 🙂 (He drew “Anger” from the Pixar Movie “Inside Out”)

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Hippie Pics (#2)

As promised (here) These are some more tie-dye pics from the Hippie Party we went to  – it was so much fun and check out that cake! Since the party, little man and I have got a good amount of wear out of our tie-dyed items 🙂

 

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Forbidden Fruit 

It’s been hectic to say the least, I’ll fill you in eventually… or not depending on how much I feel like sharing by the time I make it to the laptop again 🙂

For now, just to wet your whistle I thought I’d share my latest canvas, a gift for my friends little girl. Another “forbidden fruit” in my book (to see what I’m talking about click HERE) so it won’t be published in my Etsy Store but wanted to share with you rather than hiding it away like some kind of dirty secret 🙂

Forbidden Fruit


I like how simple it is compared to what I usually do 🙂 

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Maybe it runs in the family….

I have a few posts in the pipeline but many are being written in real-time (usually part way through an awful a challenging DIY project) so I will wait to see how they pan out or at least edit them a bit better  before posting. In the meantime I wanted to share my little mans latest Artwork.

I have mentioned before that he wants a Spiderman themed bedroom. Well with the exception of any major changes like the colour of the walls its beginning to take shape with the help of some blue and red items (such as his Spiderman-blue book crate I painted here), some shelves and bedding etc. I have a few more tweaks, including a huge canvas but eager to get going he wanted to make one of his own.

so here it is….

SpiderMan

SpiderMan

I love it 🙂 You can tell what it is and everything -or I can anyway. I gave him free reign on this – which given my worrying controlling  picky nature was a big step forward for me and I’m so proud of him. He’s reminded me that he doesn’t need me to hover over him and help all the time and that hes more than capable of making something beautiful unaided.

Speaking of which…. we received a letter from his school informing us that one of his art pieces had been chosen to represent the school and be displayed at the local “mall” (VERY PROUD MUM ALERT)

Here he is with his art 🙂 Can you tell what it is?

Whoop Whoop!

Whoop Whoop!

 

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A.E.I.Love U! Decoupage Letters ( <— Check ME out)

My sister in-law is expecting (yay) and asked me to make (or rather decorate) some wooden letters for his nursery – and some for her step daughter while I’m at it. She sent some photos to give me an idea of what kind of lettering/decoration she would like, along with photos of their bedding sets and colour schemes. Grey, green and a dash of bright blue for him – and purple, white with lovehearts & stripes for her.

*Deep breath * Let's do this

*Deep breath * Let’s do this

With the amount of pattern involved I knew just painting them wasn’t going to work so I decided to try decoupage, i.e. coloured papers glued onto pre-cut wooden letters (Yup this is where the Modge Podge experimenting started)

I set off to get materials such as letters, coordinating paint, papers & ribbons. The assistant at the craft store was very helpful, she gave me a few tips such as letting each layer dry before adding more and investing in a craft knife & sponge brushes – not just an up-selling ploy by the way.

I started with her Step-Daughters letters “KYA” – the babys name is a secret so I will just show you one or 2 of his letters in case this massively popular blog post gets leaked to the media * rolls eyes *

I decided to paint the wood first to avoid dripping on the paper when painting the back and sides – and also in case the paper didn’t cover 100% of the front. For Kya I went for a purple. Once dry, I drew around each letter, cut them out carefully and whipped out the ModgePodge. The assistant was right, a thin coat first, place the paper and wait for it to dry. THEN another coat to seal it, add any other papers or ribbons on top….let it dry….top coat…let it dry.

The hardest part was trimming the edges, it took some trial and error but I eventually figured out how to trim any overhang without tearing the paper (yup you wait till its dry and rubbery) There were a few slips but a dab of paint covered any mishaps and overall it seemed to work out well.

Taa Daa :)

Taa Daa 🙂

His letters were done even quicker and I’m really happy with them. My sister-in-law has seen Kyas but babys is a surprise, she doesn’t know I’ve started them yet, let alone finished, packed and posted them 🙂 I’m excited for her to get them, fingers crossed she loves them.

I love them more each time I look at them, at first I was stressing about a few minute imperfections but I need to remind myself that the things I make aren’t going to be perfect, the edges aren’t going to be completely flush every time because I’m human. This is work done by hand, not printed by a machine and mass produced…they’re unique and made by me, with love.

As always below is an album of the process and some other shots of the finished letters

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What’s love got to do with it?

Recently I made some superhero / comic themed magnets (made from mini canvas) for a promotional doo-dah. Their fate (and box) has been sealed and it’s now in the hands of USPS.

Last night I sat bolt upright in bed as the realization hit me – I forgot to sign them 😦 usually I sign the bottom right corner, I had also planned to stick mini “British Chick” stickers on the back of each one but forgot to do that too. Each magnet is in an individual bag with a business card so my information is there but I would have preferred something that would stay on them as a permanent claim and way to tell who made them (and where to order more) you live and you learn I suppose.

Valentine Collection :)

Valentine Collection 🙂

Those canvases inspired a Valentine collection, with Love hearts, burlap, the lot. I even dug out an old embossing set I was slightly obsessed with about 10 years ago. You stamp “glue” onto card, sprinkle with metallic powder & heat with a mini hair dryer type contraption– of course the UK plug/voltage was an issue but thanks to my converter I got there in the end (Even if it was a painfully slow process)

I made them in 2 sizes and each one is different. This time I used Modge Podge – basically a stronger version of PVA glue which sticks things together and glosses over them to give them a nice, flush finish. This stuff is typically used for decoupage and I had some for another project (details of that coming soon) so I gave it a try.

Again, it was a learning curve –

*Thin coats work best

*Leave each layer to dry before adding another/top coat

*Wash your sponge brushes as soon as you’ve stopped

*Wash you hands thoroughly at random intervals throughout– Modge Podge holds any residue and is easily transferred onto whatever you’re working on

Matching Cards FTW

Matching Cards FTW

I’m really happy with how they turned out. I think they’re quite cute AND they serve a purpose (I love practical things) I also made a few matching cards – Matching items for the win!

I would have liked to have spent more time on the back of them. I cover the wooden frame at the back with sheet burlap to hide any paint drips and basically make them more presentable. The wrapped twine on some of these canvases made them quite bumpy/bulky to cover AND meant some of them needed extra magnets to fill the gap. I tested them all before sealing and they are strong enough to stick on a fridge so that’s something and at least it’s the back that could use some tweaking rather than the front – again it’s another lesson learned.

I have already sold 2 (to a friend but a sale is a sale) and the rest are sealed and on display in the local “gift box” where I volunteer and sell some of my work. Again I forgot to sign them but luckily I have the chance to sneak in and change that on my next shift 🙂

Now I have ‘Superhero’ & ‘Love’ under my belt I will have to get thinking about my next themes to try – Of course I could just follow the usual holidays – Easter, Halloween, Christmas – along with Mardi Gras & St Patrick’s day etc but I need some general ‘year round’ themes too…feel free to comment with ideas 😉

Again, below is a few photos of the process & finished products 🙂

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POW she’s back in the game  

Recently I opted in to a promotional “thing” set up by Cody of Lu & Ed . Cody sends out “swag bags” to existing customers. These bags contain samples from various other businesses -namely crafty ones who focus on items for children. It’s a sweet way of thanking the customers but also a great opportunity to get other small businesses out there, so I decided to go for it.

Most of my items are custom orders and for a while I’ve been wanting to branch out so I can turn up to craft fairs and events armed with ready-made British Chick items rather than a pen and paper to take orders (It’s on the resolutions list – well maybe not THAT list but shhh)

Superheros are always a hit...right?

Superheros are always a hit…right?

Being set the task of making 25 samples forced me to think about what kind of ready-made item I could work on.

I had shown Cody this canvas an example of what I do. Immediately she suggested mini versions saying POW or “BAM” Duh! How obvious! What better way to sample my painting than with a tiny painting? And what kid doesn’t like superheroes?

I set to work on them and managed to make some stupid mistakes along the way which longed out the process massively – for example:

  • I used basic acrylic paint despite knowing that outdoor paint has much better coverage – this meant painting each one 2 or 3 times
  • I painted Dark Blue strips before Red even though I know blue is going to be harder to cover up -and I would need to cover it up
  • I underestimated just how many paint pens I would need and about had a breakdown when Walmart ran out of stock
Super Fridge Magnets

Super Fridge Magnets

However, I also had a “yay” moment when I realised that with the simple addition of some magnetic tape these bad boys are not just mini canvases any more – they’re kick-ass fridge magnets Whoop Whoop! 🙂

After what feels like a lifetime (in reality about one week) I’ve finished 🙂 It’s definitely been a challenge and an experience where my feelings about them changed by the day – if not by the minute. Now they’re done I love them

I’ll be sending them off shortly and keeping my fingers crossed that the stranger I’ve entrusted them with does something other than sell (or set fire to) them – Wish me luck 🙂

Here are some photos of the process

 

 

 

 

 

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The day the Spray Paint almost won

Over the past few months my little man has learnt to read. I’m a big reader so I’m thrilled that he enjoys it so much and want to encourage him to keep at it. His growing library is rapidly outgrowing his book rack so I began the hunt for extra book storage I can cook-up ready for the move.

SandPaper is my friend - as is cardboard

SandPaper is my friend – as is cardboard

Sadly the majority of ideas offered by Pinterest involved sewing to make a “book sling” so they went out the window, basic shelves crossed my mind but that would involve some kind of spirit level and something stronger than drawing pins to hold it up…not to mention book ends *urgh* (I must state here that 90% of my wall-hanging objects are held up with drawing pins and/or bluetac)

I eventually decided on wooden crates. EASY! Just grab some Spiderman Blue spray paint, nail them to the SpiderMan Red wall (after trying and failing with pins no doubt) and the books can stay put regardless of how wonky they are 🙂 (yes I realise I could make my life much easier by investing in a spirit level – or just digging out the one that’s buried in the garage) BUT painting is my thing, DIY is not… This crate idea seemed to be a winner….

I found a crate/box in a local charity shop (I wish I had a “before” photo) and went to work on it. I don’t know why I chose a late afternoon to start this project… In the garden… And the wind but it happened.

Turns out paint and spray paint are two very different mediums.  The can wouldn’t spray colour unless is was pointing straight forward (like spraying a wall) but it simply dripped down the wood if sprayed at this angle. After adjusting and experimenting I seemed to have the distance, angle and speed worked out and managed to make my crate look “alright” until the wind blew my protective newspaper (yes Blue Peter would be proud) up and onto the wet paint.

SpiderMan Book Rack *Whoop Whoop*

SpiderMan Book Rack *Whoop Whoop*

The paint was just tacky enough to hold all alien materials to it so I was left with large chunks of some cartoon character seemingly immortalised on the box. *urgh!* To make matters worse, in my panic to remove the offending paper I had run inside in search of sandpaper; thus freeing the puppy who then ran around the garden, knocking the crate onto another of its wet sides…. MORE paper stuck to it.

I spent the rest of the sunlight sanding the whole thing down, chasing Toby (the pup) in order to retrieve the sandpaper he insisted on eating and vowing to start again tomorrow.

Tomorrow is here and I’ve finished. (Yay) I’m happy with it & can’t wait to see it against the red of his (future) wall. It’s a small victory but I’ve learnt a few things for next time…

1-Read the can! The angle/distance wouldn’t have been such a surprise if I’d done that

2-Cardboard is a much better surface protector than newspaper (especially on windy days)

3- Less is more (but less work ha ha) Light coats dry quicker and more evenly

4- Rushing is not an option– waiting 2 minutes between coats saves a few hours of sanding to fix a problem

5- Puppies & Sandpaper do not mix– Toby spent the rest of the night throwing up the remains of it (he’s ok now though)

6- If you’ve used most of a can of spray paint on one small item… You’re probably doing it wrong

And finally

7- Just because something LOOKS easy, doesn’t mean it actually is. It turns out people who make “easy” pinterest crafts have probably spent some time tweaking their methods.

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3 steps to world domination

BcardsOk so maybe that’s a SLIGHT exaggeration…

Happy New Year 🙂 The start of 2015 marks the start of my 2nd year here in the states.

I seem to have settled in nicely – I’ve made friends, we have a new addition to our family, I can now drive without wanting to open-mouth-scream-cry at the sight of a 4 way stop AND I’ve started my own small business. Yup, I’m doing what I love and painting for people other than my mother (yay). Admittedly it’s still getting off the ground and I have a few other tricks up my sleeve but I have faith in what I’m doing and building my British Chick Empire is top of the list. So what better way than to kick off with some resolutions?

Start an Etsy Shop: TICK

This crafty stuff has always been a hobby; moving here I joined a local a craft group and it stemmed from there. I discovered a little giftshop which holds hand-made items from over 40 local vendors – now including me 🙂 I set up a facebook page dedicated to my business and an actual online shop seemed like the next logical step. Its very fresh and rather daunting but it’s open and I’m adding to it every day (it’s here btw)

Blog again: TICK

I have missed blogging. However – busy schedules aside- the physical act of typing has a lasting affect on my body (cause to be determined) Because of this

I think I'm going to need bigger pots...

I think I’m going to need bigger pots…

I find it easier to avoid typing too much too often and that didn’t suit my previous blog schedule so it fizzled out completely. This time I am aiming for shorter posts and/or less frequent. I really miss the writing challenges so I think with all things considered it makes sense to change up the old blog and focus on my passions.

Get my DIY on: (Pending)

We are in the process of buying a house (eeeek) it’s definitely a fixer-upper as far as cosmetics anyway and I know we are going to have to do a lot of work to make it a little more bearable to live in -IF the sale goes well. I really want to try and do as much DIY as I can (or as my body will allow lol) and hopefully learn some new skills along the way (I’m sure the disasters & triumphs will make entertaining blogging material) I hope that by this time next year I will be a DIY QUEEN with a beautiful house – or at least part way there.

Of course the list could go on forever with the usual stuff like call grandma more often or stop nagging PEOPLE *cough cough* for leaving the toilet seat up…so I’ll leave you with a few ongoing aims (in no particular order) that have made it on to my list:

THIS is our new addition - Toby

THIS is our new addition – Toby

Work in progress:

Understand Taxes – a must when registered as self employed

Train the puppy – Pee pads are expensive

Be nicer – think/act/sound

Ebay/Donate/Throw away the clutter – started and vow to continue (if only to make money and room for more clutter

Health sorted – always a good one

New Recipe each week – I fear my family may run away at the sight of yet another spag bol

Family games night once a week – we got loads more games for xmas (and actually played them) so I want that to continue

……I think I’d better get started 🙂

What are your New Years Resolutions?

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