I’m really passionate about our planet and doing my bit for the environment. You don’t have to be a full blown eco warrior hippie to make a difference, but if we all make an effort then little by little I truly believe that together we can change the world.
Personally I find that by making little changes here and there and adapting greener habits I’m slowly changing my ways for the better, and hopefully I can pass these onto my children and influence those around me.
As we know recycling is good for the planet and good for your pocket. The more you can re-use the less crap that will end up in land fill. Every little bit counts. Even if you only get one more use out of something before it is thrown away, that’s one less thing you had to buy and therefore one less thing thrown out
So this post is a list of items I like to collect and re-use in an attempt to lower my waste, and save money In the studio. There’s the obvious things of course that creatives will pounce on but these ideas are looking more at everyday rubbish as opposed to the once in a while treasures we come across. It’s good to get yourself into the habit of viewing all rubbish with open eyes, you can find some real gems and save them from becoming trash.
Jars – Ok this one might be a little obvious, but what I’m talking about in particular are the kind with glass lids. I (sometimes) purchase certain brands by the packaging they come in – if I can reuse it then it’s a bonus. I haven’t thrown one of these coffee jars out in years. They come in so handy. Just remove the labels and they’re great to store materials, use as a water jar for cleaning brushes, use in a project, contain gifts and so on.
Plastic/Paint palettes – Don’t ever spend your hard earned money on a piece of plastic crap to put paint on. Humans throw out pieces of plastic crap every day. Use those instead. I like to collect plastic lids, meat trays, any plastic trays used for fruit/veg (all though I avoid when I can sometimes you can’t help it) jars with lids etc.
Scrap paper #1 – Off cuts, interesting textures or patterns, gift cards, pictures, keep it all in a folder of sorts and re-use it. Great for scrapbooking, art journals, mixed media art, stationary and kids projects.
I remember my Nan used to keep her Christmas cards each year and when I stayed with her and Pop I loved going through them to cut out the pictures and paste onto paper. Imagine getting your kids to make a heap of Christmas cards or tags with last years left overs? Win win!
Scrap paper #2 – The actual scrap scrap. Use the backside. I make A4 sketch pads using scrap paper from work with old invoices/order forms etc. Anything that can be flipped over and used for sketching ideas or writing notes – gold. I use a big fat bulldog clip to keep it all together.
Old hand towels/tea towels – Cleaning/wiping/drying your brushes and just general artsy mess. To be honest I’m currently using my sons old (but certainly clean!) cloth nappies.
Blotting paper sheet – I like to use a piece of blank paper to wipe my brush on and test colours. Often these little strips of paper turn out quite interesting with an array of colours and strokes. These used to be thrown away but recently I have been turning them into gift tags, cards, bookmarks or simply putting them into my scrap paper folder for another use.
Broken Jewelry – Never discard old jewelry without picking it apart and collecting the useful pieces first. Charms, beads, chains, you name it. Collect it.
Packaging – Boxes, bubble wrap and tissue paper in particular. If I sell something and need to post it I like to re-use packaging materials rather than buy them. So I keep a nice collection of materials stashed away. Pretty gift boxes are really great for this too!
Well there’s 8 things that I collect to re-use regularly that perhaps you hadn’t thought of.. or maybe you have. I’d love to hear more ideas so please add yours into the comments below!
My husband was going to get rid of this little chest of drawers. I could see they had the potential to be.. better. So I claimed them. A coat of paint and some new knobs is about all I needed, and as we have baby #2 on the way they’d be perfect to use in the nursery.
I gave the drawers a clean and sanded them a little before painting. I also attempted to unscrew the remaining knobs but they were stuck, so a big whack with a mallet and they flew off quite easily and slightly dangerously.
I’d decided to give chalk paint a go which can be painted straight onto the drawers with only one coat, then easiyl sanded back to give a rustic look.
I bought Rust-oleum Chalked ultra matt paint for about $38 a tin which as enough to paint these drawers with plenty left over for another project or 3. I chose a light green tint base called ‘sage’ to go into baby’s nursery.
The paint went on beautifully and covered all the scuff marks on the drawers. I added a second coat to help smooth out my brush strokes, not that there were many but I did use cheap brushes so it wasn’t the greatest paint job in the world. Still, it turned out just fine.
Chalk paint is quick drying, so I didn’t have to wait too long before painting the pieces again. I only painted the front of the drawers and came up with an idea to paint a pattern on the sides.
It was super easy to clean up any edges, the dried paint was a breeze to sand off.
For the patterned sides I thought it would be really easy to paint stripes by sticking down strips of masking tape. This seemed like a good idea at the time, but once I started I soon realised it was quite a time consuing task. I think it was worth it – but if you have the choice I suggest you use thicker tape.
I peeled off the tape in lots of two to make a stencil for thick stripes on the drawers.
I was going to paint the sides white first but that meant getting more paint.. so I left the colour of the wood to come through instead. Actually I think it’s just chipboard.
This is my 3 year old trying to help. Naw! Nice try buddy.
The fun part.. taking off the masking tape to reveal my mad stripes! Yeah it took a while, but was definitely worth it. I really liked the way they turned out.
Then.. after some further research on this awesome paint I found out I needed to seal it with a protective clear coat. Oops. It wasn’t hard to get some, but there goes another $38. Suddenly my cheap paint job just doubled in price. Ah well, at least there’s plenty of left overs which I know will come in handy in the long run.
I used Rust-oleum Chalked protective top coat in Matt Clear.
Finally once the top coat had dried I roughly sanded all the edges. This can be done as much or as little as you like.
Then for the finishing touch I replaced the knobs. Holy cow there is so much to choose from out there but in the end I opted for these antique looking bronze pulls that I found on ebay for a few dollars each.
Big Brother Oscar helping me put baby’s clothes away.. warm fuzzy feels!
The break down..
Drawers – Free
Clalk Paint – $38
Matt Clear Top Coat – $38
Brushes – Pack of 3 for $10
Masking Tape – $2
This project did end up costing me more than I’d planned, but on the upside I do still have plenty of left over paint to use on something else and we were able to turn some old trash into treasure!
One of the many DIY projects I worked on for our wedding included making coloured glass jars. I used these as vases and put (fake) tealight candles inside them. I had everything I needed so they cost me nothing! It was a great way to recycle glass jars too.
The process was super easy, but can be messy. You’ve been warned!
In a container mix some Mod Podge with food dye. Only add a few drops at a time until you make a colour you’re happy with.
Then add about half as much water. Stir to a nice runny consistancy.
When you have the colour you desire, pour some of the mixture inside a glass jar and swirl it around to cover the whole interior. This can get messy trying to colour the top lip of the jar so try it over a sink or outside.
Place the jar upside down on the newspaper to drain excess liquid. This can also get messy. You may need to change the newspaper a few times. Admittedly i didn’t actually have newspaper.. so I used paper towels and some brown kraft paper I have on a never ending roll.
Continue the process with each jar.
Leave the jars for a few hours until all the excess liquid has drained. Turn jars the right way up and put then in the oven at about 200 degrees for about 45 mins to an hour, when the colour has turned clear.
When fully cooled I also played around with twine, charms and beads. Pictured here is twine and a piece of an old belt.
The other night I was looking through my old sketch books and it was crazy to see how far I’ve come with my art. Especially when I could remember doing the old work and how I felt about it at the time or what inspired me. I took a few photos on my trusty mobile phone (so not the best photos I’m afraid) and wanted to share them with you here.
This first few are from 1994 when I was either 9 or 10 years old. I’ve been drawing faeries forever and here my biggest influence was Cicely Mary Barker. My sister had the Flower Fairies Alphabet book and I spent lots of time trying to copy the pictures.
A quick sketch of a wizard because wizards are cool, obviously.
Towards the end of ’94 maybe even 1995 is this sketch of looking through a witches’ window. This drawing was inspired by the movie Hocus Pocus, I loved that film and all it’s witchy magical goodness!
This mermaid picture isn’t dated but looking at the style and knowing I was a huge fan of Shirley Barber at the time I’d guess it was around 1995.
Another from 1995 my Princess and the Unicorn picture scored me an equal 2nd place in our local Show Art Competition! I think it was the first drawing competition I’d ever won – even if I did share 2nd place it was pretty exciting. I think I won $3 or something haha!
Onto 1996 (Grade 6 / age 11 or 12) I remember loving this drawing I did of a little faery and thinking I had her in perfect proportion. It took me a few years and even now it can be tricky. I had not yet got the hang of shading.
My Grade 6 project.. we must’ve had free choice on the subject because I chose to write about my favourite artist, you guessed it, Shirley Barber.
My entry in the local Show again, this time I came 1st place! 1996 age 12, strong influence from Shirley Barber again and her beautiful mermaid art.
These are some of my first digital artworks. I first started drawing digitally waaay back when we got our first computer in 1993 but I don’t have any of those. These range between 1995 – 1999 and I created them using Microsoft Paint. Now here’s the kicker.. I would zoom in as far as possible, so I could see all the pixels, then draw these by colouring each pixel in the grid. Explains why they’re so small! Except for the circles and rectangles of course, I used the shape tools for those.
Early 1997 I painted this picture of my favourite film at the time.. can you guess what it was!? And so the goth inspired art began. There’s a lot of darker pictures in my high school years.. but still plenty of colourful faeries too!
A few years back I handmade all my Christmas gifts and for my sister I made some bath tea. It’s a sweet little idea that I’d been meaning to write about in detail and I’ve finally remembered to actually do it. These little bags of goodness are made to soak in the bath with you to infuse the lovely scents while preventing little bits of dried flowers and what not sticking to your butt.
You can create your own custom recipe and have fun experimenting along the way. The key is to place all the ingredients into a little bag or puch so it can infuse the bath and release the scented goodness just like a tea bag would.
A bag or pouch – I made my own using a muslin wrap I no longer needed. I cut out rectangles and sewed along each edge leaving one side open to insert the ingredients, before adding the ‘tea bag string’ and sewing it shut. This is for a single use but you could leave an edge open and tie shut so it could be rinsed and reused.
For the bags pictured I used the following ingredients:
Note: The milk powder and bi-carb soda was fine enough to come through the muslin fabric. Perhaps a thicker fabric would work better. I kept this in mind when decorating and made sure to wrap the bag to prevent too much powdery leakage when gifted.
Epsom salts would be a great additive too for a relaxing bath, great for sore muscles.
All the dried plants came from my own garden, and you could really play around with this part and try adding all sorts of dried flowers, herbs or even fruit peel.
Essential oils give a scented boost and will ensure a strong aroma in your bath, not to mention of course the added benefits of aromatherapy.
Using materials I had in my trusty craft drawers I wrapped each bag with some recycled brown kraft paper and put a hole in the top with a hole punch. Then I neatly wrapped around the string from the bag and taped it down. On the computer I designed some fancy looking labels, simply printed them out snd used double sided tape to attach.
There are two ways to use these. If you have a string attached you can hang them from the tap as you fill your bath to infuse. Or, place the bag/pouch into a bowl and add hot water. Infuse the bag in the hot water until your bath is ready, then add to the bath.
When we planned our wedding last year, like most, we had a strict budget to stick to. We needed to work out exactly what our priorities were and expensive wedding invitations were not one of them.
‘ It’s how much per invitation? And RSVP cards? Plus postage? Plus a stamped return addressed envelope? AND we’re expected to send out save the dates as well? TIMES ONE HUNDRED PEOPLE!?’ We were looking at over $500 easy and that didn’t even include the stamps.
I. Don’t. Think. So.
Some of those things may be important to you and that’s totally cool. Perhaps you have a budget big enough to cover such expenses. But I’m a tight arse and I’m an artist. I can make that shit and I can cheat.
Our save the dates were sent via Facebook – as an event, or through text messages to those who aren’t on Facey. I know, it’s so untraditional and informal, but hell it was free and it worked a treat. It also meant more bottles of booze. Like I said earlier, priorities.
As for making the invitations, well, I won’t lie. I was excited. I do love this sort of thing, and I knew I could do it. But not without some hiccups along the way. So please, learn from my mistakes. Here’s a list of Do’s and Do Nots I recommend and a few tips to keep the price down..
Ok so we’ve got a few main points out of the way. Read on to see how I made our viking inspired budget wedding invitations.
Total: $108 / $1.08 per invite
After having a good look on Pinterest for inspiration I decided to make some little clay decorations to tie onto each invitation. Going with the Viking theme, runes were a must. These were super easy to make: roll out little balls of clay, squish them flat, use a piece of wire to imprint the rune symbols. As an added bonus, if guests wanted to they could look up the meaning of their rune.
Instead of a rune you could imprint a leaf, use a rubber stamp, thumb print? So many options! Leave them to dry overnight then carefully paint the rune – or leave bare.
I set up my printer to print directly into the cards. ALWAYS do a test print to make sure it looks right and your card is in the correct way! If you use metallic or pearl cards you may need to print onto paper then stick it inside the card as the ink may not dry properly.
Below was a test print, we tweaked the wording a bit but you get the idea.
Ideally I wanted to use a beautiful olive green metallic paper for the decorative strip. I used the strip for added colour and to hold all the pieces together. (RSVP card, Map, note with dress code etc.) However when I found the paper I wanted it cost $4.50 per sheet. I needed about five sheets which would cost $22.50. For coloured paper. Oh hell to the no. So instead I raided my crafty paper drawer found an assortment of colours and textures.
The RSVP cards I designed on computer, printed onto recycled kraft paper and fit about 12 to a sheet. Easy peasy. Although as you can see I didn’t leave any room for the guests to write their name.. so that was silly of me.
If you can’t quite see, the card options read:
Below is the mock up but unfortunately I didn’t take a picture with all the pieces tucked into the back and held with a peg. I’m sure I did but I can’t see to find it. It was a neat little package though!
Overall, was it worth it? For me, yes, hiccups and all. I really enjoyed the process and was stoked that it only cost me $1.08 per invitation. If you’re not the crafty type then don’t bother – it will do your head in. But don’t worry, there are other budget options!
Do you have a crafty friend or family member wanting to help? Ask them to design you a postcard invitation (as I did for my sister) and print through someone like Vistaprint, an Australian company where 50 postcards will cost as little as $14.99 (plus postage) with free envelopes!
Here are the simple Save the Date postcards I designed for my sis, printed through Vistaprint:
This is my very first online Mad Tea Party Blog Hop, hosted by the ever so delightful Vanessa at ‘A Fancilful Twist’. I’m not entirely sure what to expect, and I believe I’m half a day in front of everyone else, but here it goes..
‘Have I gone Mad? I’m afraid so.. you’re entirely bonkers. But let me tell you a secret, all of the best people are!’
So please, pour yourself a cup of tea, put on your fanciest hat and leap into the rabbit hole while we enter the very curious, twisted, completely MAD online imaginary tea party event!
Alice: ‘This is impossible’
Mad Hatter: ‘Only if you believe it is’
It is time.. for tea! (But time is a he?)
‘Who R U?’
As it is Winter here in Australia my little Tea Party was held inside where it’s warm and cosy. Perfect time for tea!
‘There is a place. Like no place on earth. A land full of Wonder, Mystery and Danger! Some say to survive it you need to be as Mad as a Hatter.
Which luckily I am.’
White tea with Rose and a hint of magic, do you dare to take a sip?
‘Curiouser and curiouser..’
‘Wonderland is better when you are completely lost’
‘It’s always tea time.’
Time for some nail art, don’t you think? The stranger the better..
I’ll have tea for two, thank you!
Thank you for stopping by,I hope you enjoyed the madness as much as I did! And a very special thank you to Vanessa for hosing the event xx
Be sure to see the other parties by following this link:
Just now, I stumbled upon this Mad Tea Party event happening tomorrow! TOMORROW! (July 23rd 2016 – and possibly for a few days over) It’s an annual ‘Blog Hop’ with the delightful Vanessa at A Fanciful Twist. I admit I have never attended one of these before, let alone even heard of one of these until this very moment. So what in Wonderland is it?
I don’t really know.
But that’s half the fun, isn’t it?
It just gets curiouser and curiouser..
By the looks of it I believe it will include plenty of blog hopping, discovery and surely be very inspirational. If you’d like to join in just click on the invitation for more details.. there will be a list of participating blogs and I look forward to seeing how this event plays out. I will delete this post when the party is over, so if you’re reading this consider it still happening.
So go get yourself a nice hot cup of tea and make yourself comfortable. But not for too long.. ready, set, ‘Change places!!’
My party is up! You can find it here 🙂
I vaguely mentioned this topic in the past, about my macaroon fail, but thought it was too good a story not to share here in full. It still makes me cry with laughter, so I hope you get a good belly laugh from this too!
So, here’s how to NOT to attempt making macaroons..
I have a special day coming up for a friend where we are required the bring a plate of food. I decided to be creative and make something special instead of my usual supermarket run for dips n chips.. so I thought (far beyond my capabilities) it would be a great idea to try macaroons! To be completely honest I’ve never even tried a macaroon. I saw them on Master Chef – ages ago – it looked easy enough!
So I get the ingredients (after looking around for almond meal for ages not realising it would obviously be in the nut section) I get home and realise I don’t have anything to weigh the ingredients. That’s ok! So I work it out going on the 110g bag of almond meal I have. I need 130g of almond meal. Shit. That’s ok! So I compare the weight of that with the unmarked bag of icing sugar I have left over from some cake mix I had. It felt heavier. I reckon 150g. I needed about 220g but I need to compensate for the almond meal so that should be about right.
I mix them together. I need a sifter thingy. I need to sift 3 times. But I don’t have one, so the colander has to do. I make a complete mess trying to sift it all 3 times.
Next, I whip the egg whites, sugar and form peaks. In the mixer thinga-ma-jig–what I thought would take a few minutes took ages! It wasn’t working, damn it! My appliance started to have this kind of.. burning smell going on after a while so I gave up on that and out comes the antique 100 year old hand held egg beaters. It was a good work out I must admit, if you want one super strong man arm. Swapping hands doesn’t help, it just gets messier.
After a bit of good ol’ fashioned elbow grease the egg whites were looking pretty good! Now, to fold them together.. I did it as gently as I could, trying not to squish out the air or whatever. I had no idea what it was supposed to look like other than ‘smooth and shiny’. Mine certainly wasn’t smooth or shiny, but slightly lumpy and pasty. Ah well, lets see what happens! Into the piping bag.. uh, hand made baking paper bag, and pipe 3cm small round dots. They were pretty dodgy looking but some were not too bad! Finally I let them sit for 20 mins then into the oven for 20 mins as directed.
30 mins later.. tada! Craparoons.
When we decided to have a Viking inspired wedding (which you can read all about here) I had this brilliant idea to make a couple of medieval chandeliers. I’d seen some online retailing for around $400 +postage. Screw that, that’s half our wedding budget! Ha! I could so make them myself anyway. How sweet would that be!? The only catch was.. I had absolutely no idea what I was doing. I researched DIY tutorials and came up with nothing. Not one! That’s ok I thought, how hard could it be?
First things first I needed a big wooden wagon wheel. Easy right? I scanned ebay and came across a whole bunch of them for sale and not too far from me at all, better yet they were going for $10. For the lot. Score! I made my bid and watched it like a hawk for the next few days as the bidding came to an end. Then just my luck, with about 5 mins to go.. some bastard made a bid. Oh hell no! So I bidded again.. outbid. No. I tried again. Outbid. NO! For the final few minutes I was ranting at my computer screen frantically typing in larger bids and slamming my hand down onto the enter button ‘Noooooo!’ I wailed as the bidding came to an end and the wagon wheels were sold for $61. I had a few strange looks in the office as I told the computer to get stuffed.
Fail. Now that I had my heart set on making these chandeliers I decided to keep at it and my next stop was a local buy/swap/sell facebook page where oh my goodness would you believe there was a bloody wooden wagon wheel up for grabs! I asked the lady how big it was but unfortunately it was way too small, like 30cm diameter. I considered making a mini one.. but no it wouldn’t do. I told her thanks but no thanks it just wasn’t big enough, when she suggested I check out the Reject shop as she’d seen some big garden wagon wheels just recently. Holy shit you bloody ripper! Thank you!
So off to the Reject shop I skipped and to my amazement I found two huge wagon wheels for $30 each. Yes please, I’ll take them both! It was amusing to see the odd looks as I wheeled around a trolley with two enormous wagon wheels on each side, I was even stopped at one point by a lady asking where I got my steampunk trolley from.
But of course I was only at the starting point, I was yet to find some kind of candle holder to attach to these monsters, with a way to attach them, and my gawd it turned out to be far more difficult than getting the bloody wheels. I searched online, ebay, etsy, cheapo shops, not so cheapo shops, wedding shops.. with no luck! I came close, my plan B was going to be screwing on some hooks and from there hanging little lantern tealight holders.. but I had one more lead to try out first.
I found a blacksmith online who offered custom made work. It was worth a shot. So I emailed and crossed my fingers..
Hoorah! Challenge accepted! The guy was happy to make me my candle holders for $15 each – I emailed him a few photos with measurements and explained what I was after and he said they’d be ready in a few weeks. I’d need 12 of them, totalling $180. I also needed to pick them up. In Bendigo. A 3 hour drive away. Shit.
I managed to convince my fiancé what a fun road trip it would be! He agreed to come with me and the three of us (including our 2 year old) headed North to get collect my custom made hand forged iron candle holders. The trip wasn’t bad at all, in fact it was a beautiful drive but by the time we got there all we wanted to do was head home, so back in the car we got and another 3 hours on the road we got home in time for dinner.
All that was left to get was some bolts, (2 for each candle holder) some chain, and bolts with hoops to attach the chain to. Oh and some S hooks to attach the chain for hanging. I’m sure there’s a better name for that stuff but that’s the best I can do. I went to Bunnings to collect these goodies, all up it cost me around $40 and I was very pleased to work it all out for myself, I even bought the correct size bolts first time. Go me!
As for putting it all together, well it was just a bit of drilling holey holes here and there and putting the bolts through and securing them with the other bolty bit and washers (ok that’s onle thing I do know the name of! The flat donut metal pieces that came with the bolts yo) ta da! I bloody well did it! (With a little help from hubby to be who insisted on giving me a hand, naw!) Here’s the proof:
How amazing did they turn out!? All together they did end up costing me a small fortune, about $460 for the both of them, so $230 each which includes the candles and the petrol for our day trip. But hey, I get to keep them and they were hella fun to make!
I got married! Yay!
So you may or may not have noticed that there was a lack of crafty goodness being shared on my behalf, and that’s because I spent most of last year DIY-ing the crap out of our wedding. I know I know.. LAST year.. in October. It’s been a while, my friend.
Some people will tell you not to bother making things for your wedding, it is a lot of hard work but.. I was in. my. element.
Not to mention, we were on a fairly small budget so making a majority of the stationary and decor saved us a lot of mula!
I designed and handmade all the invitations, RSVP cards, signs, bunting, decorations, candle holders, runes.. I even made two all mighty hanging medieval chandeliers! For reals. Because why buy one for a small fortune when you can make two for a slightly bigger fortune and drive for an entire day to collect custom hand forged iron parts? Because art. But that deserves a post all on it’s own.
You’re probably wondering by now why. Why a viking wedding? Well I’m glad you asked! To be honest I hadn’t even considered a themed wedding because I didn’t think it would really appeal to my other half. Then one fine day out of the blue my Hubby-to-be said to me ‘Hey we should have a viking themed wedding’ and I said ‘Hell yes!’ and that was that. I was so stoked that he came up with the idea and was really keen to follow through. Oh my gosh, creativeness started to overflow from then on.. move over flowers and tule, gimme leather, metal and drinking horns!
So without further ado, let me share with you from our amazing Viking (inspired) Wedding!
So as I soon discovered the word ‘wedding’ makes everything expensive times ten. Some people are all into that, and that’s great, but I’m sure as hell not. Invitations that cost $10 a pop plus postage? I don’t think so, besides I actually enjoy doing all the fiddly stuff myself, even if I did come across 101 issues along the way. So they all turned out a little different, and I ran out of envelopes, and runes, and ink.. but hey I saved myself a small fortune! (I think)
The RSVP cards above have the options A: Fierce axe weilding vikings couldn’t keep me away! (That’s for a yes) and option B: ‘Sorry, I heard about the vikings..’ (That’s for a polite no) Hehe, I couldn’t resist a bit of humour!
I also made personalised invitations for my ‘Shield Maidens’ which were as follows.. (Warning, strong language) And they each recieved a special gift bag of goodies on the day.
And lets not forget all the signs (about 5 all up) and one very time consuing bunting that I forgot to bring on the day and totally didn’t end up using. Ah well, all the more reason to add it here so it can be appreciated!
We were lucky enough to hire a hall in Ferny Creek which had a lovely old enterior and a ‘mini forest’ outside where we had the ceremony. Of course by hiring a hall it meant we were also responsible for everything – including setting up, decorating, cleaning up etc. So saving money certainly comes with some work. But that was fine by us. To keep costs even lower (and let’s be honest, I’m not too fussed with the traditional formal wedding look) we used the chairs and tables we found in the store room. I could have hired chair decor and ribbons for around $200 or I couldn’t give a damn. I chose not to give a damn. However, I simply had to have burgundy tablecloths. (Which were a bargain anyway and I get to keep them afterwads!)
Oh my lordy.. check out my medieval chandeliers! I am so proud of these because they seemed like an impossible task to complete at one stage, but I got there and they looked amazing. (Even better with the lights off, this photo was taken just before it got dark)
Self constructed photobooth. I nearly died when I found out a photobooth was going to cost $2000 minimum! (It was photos or food.. we chose food) But I figured what the hell, it couldn’t be too hard to make one could it? I allready had the camera, flash and tripod.. so I made some signs, bought some props and a remote shutter which did the trick. (Highly recommend, this was a big hit on the night!)
To add the Viking element in my decor I tried to use old pagan style objects such as chests, wooden candle holders, metal work, leather and fur.. some items I had at home, many I found in opp shops and bargain shops. I painted runes on pieces of wood, found ivy growing outside, collected and painted glass jars.. threw it all together and voila! Here is my set up for the treasure chest of plunder (gift cards) my rune pendant making table (huge hit!) and table decor – all different, all recycled, all cheap as chips.
Yes, that is a fox. Foxy Loxy to be exact. I allready owned her and decided she had to be included. Long story, don’t be freaked out she doesn’t bite. We also had to get matching drinking horns because it wouldn’t exactly be a viking wedding without them now would it?
Ahh.. ceremony time! Now obviously we weren’t in full viking dress up but of course I had to have braids in my hair and a few accessories to match our theme. (Not that you can really see them here but I had to throw in a few bride pics!) I wore a simple lace maxi dress over a simple white slip, Dr Marten leather lace up and buckle up boots, (the most exciting part of my whole outfit – they cost more than everything else put together!) mixture of jewelery I liked some I allready owned and other pieces I bought and a leather belt with lovely brass buckle. The bouquet was made by a friend and a total surprise on the day! How absolutely beautiful is it??
We had a pagan hand fasting as part of our ceremony and I made each ribbon which represent each of the elements: earth, air, fire and water. This is out little man Oscar being a bit shy around the crowd and wanted to be with his mummy and daddy. Naw!! Precious thing I love this picture.
My boots! Aren’t they amazing!?
Now it’s time to party, eat and drink like a viking! Starting with a grand feast of meat. We weren’t interested in a formal sit down dinner, so we had kababs! Wedding food is one of the most expensive things of all but when we approached a kebab shop and inquired about wedding catering they said no problem, we can even cook the meat right there on site! Brilliant. It was also a bargain and tasted delicious. There was even enough for everyone to have seconds.
A friend of ours was so bloody awesome he not only brewed beers especially for our wedding, but he also named them and labelled them with our faces! What a legend. He made three brews and they were called: Ragnar Loth-Brew Wedding Pilsner, Lagertha’s Dark Wedding Vienna and Becky and Dustin’s Valhallale.
Friends of ours played music especially for us, changing the words to match and all! They bought their own viking helmets and totally rocked!! We have some pretty awesome friends as you may have gathered by now.
We had a shield cake and we cut it with axes. Hell yes we did, it was one of my favourite moments among many!
How sweet did the set up look once the lights were turned off? The low light really bought on the viking theme we were after, and here is a bunch of awesome people getting into the spirit of making rune pendants.
As you can see the photobooth was a lot of fun.. sure it got knocked around a little and the settings kept changing, but for the price of a $20 remote shutter which saved me $1980 it was totally worth it!
Well if you made it this far, thank you! I can tell you I had the best time EVER. I hope to get around to explaining a few of my DIY projects in closer detail so you can have a go at tackling them youself – and much sooner this time, I’ll try not to keep you waiting 7 months this time.. oops!
I absolutely love custom jobs that spark new ideas. This job was one of those. The ideas were endless and they just kept coming, and evolving.. I freakin love that! I had to stop myself from going overboard, and instead the inspiration began to pour out onto other projects I’m working on.. like the interactive dead faery sculpture that is now going to have a mystery to solve within it as well! But more on that later. Back to the Magical Fairy Gift Box.
I was asked to paint a fairy for a young girl and later the idea was proposed to create a fairy gift box with trinkets inside. Well! I tell you what, I grabbed the idea and flew with it! I had so. much. fun.
Above is the finished box. I found a gift box to put everything in, I was after something plain but the pretty roses and lettering looked fairy-gift like to me. Then I went crazy adding twine, tags and a wooden butterfly button.
Extra stuffing to keep everything in place..
All the things!
I didn’t want the painting hidden at the bottom, so instead I hid it at the top! In the lid. The artwork is on cardboard backing, wrapped in a bio-degradable plastic then stuck to the tissue paper with double sided tape. The tissue paper is glued to the lid and sealed with a sticker.
Ta da! The painting is safely tucked away.
To fill the box I used a lid from another gift box inside as a platform, because I didn’t want the contents to be loose. It worked perfectly! Then I added a layer of green moss (that I’d bought for our wedding but forgot to actually use) which worked perfectly.
Inside is an assortment of trinkets and treasures for the lucky birthday girl to explore. Starting with a sweet little toadstool matchbox containing a letter from the one and only Lily Rose, Princess of Fairyland.
Inside the gold star bag is one of my dear little hanging toadstools.
A pocket full of wishes.. complete with pretty paper to write your wishes on and a rose quartz for love and magic. Also glitter, because glitter. It’s like magic seasoning really.
Ooh la la..a miniature bottles of fairy dust and magic beads! I know I loved teeny tiny things as a kid.. who am I kidding, I still do!
A packet of sunflower seeds to attract fairies to your garden. Naturally.
Aaand.. a magical fairy bracelet of course! Tied into a little gift card with twine and a toadstool tag. Every details counts 🙂
Late last year, the design job of a lifetime appeared in my inbox. It was an opportunity to work with a fabulous little team known as ‘Who gives a crap?’. It’s a small business that manufactures earth friendly toilet paper and 50% of their profits go towards building toilets for those that truly need them. It was a dream come true.. design work, environmentally friendly product and giving to those in need. Brilliant!
Updating my resume was good fun, because I grabbed the toilet humour and ran with it. I ended up with a rainbow farting unicorn flying across page – surely that would get some attention?
Indeed it did! But alas I did not get the job. Bugger. However.. I decided to upload the unicorn picture to my Redbubble account and guess freakin what!? I’m actually making sales. That’s right, sales, as in more than one!
Ok, so I’m not exactly ready to give up my day job.. I’m only earning about 40 cents per sticker, but hey, people actually like my farting unicorn enough to buy it. This is awesome!
And of course, you can get one too. Or a t-shirt, or a bag.. you might wana get in early cos you know, I’ve clearly started a trend here. Before you know it I’ll be licencing my design to someone big like Prada and the stickers will be at least $100 a pop.
Grab your Rainbow Farting Unicorn goodies here!
Well, that went fast.
2015 was jam packed full of artsy goodness, but I didn’t realise just how much until I looked back on everything I’d achieved. I guess the biggest thing to happen this year, art-related, was winning 2nd place in Canon’s Light Awards Competition! That was early on in January, for the month’s brief ‘freedom’.
Not a bad start.
I completed thirteen paintings including 2 squashed faeries, 6 toadstools, 1 book illustration, 2 small canvases and 2 collaborations with my 2 year old son.
2015 was the beginning of dream catchers. I have lost count of how many I made but it would be at least ten. More are coming too, I promise! I also made a hell of a lot of hanging toadstools and a handful of hanging stars.
My work was displayed in four exhibitions in 2015:
Although I didn’t win anything in the Maroondah Photo Competition, I did in fact have my entry from last year included in the 2015 brochure! So I pretty much won anyway 🙂 That’s me floating on the lake..
On top of all this art insanity, I also had a huge art project that I worked on from January to October. That project was.. our wedding! I DIY’d the crap out of that thing, and I was in. my. element. From the invitations to decorations, hand fasting ribbons and the all mighty medieval chandeliers. Yes, you read that right. I made medieval chandeliers.
I’ll be going into further details with all the wedding diy hoo ha in future posts, but for now I’ll just leave these viking inspired wedding craftaholic pics here..
Overall it was a pretty crazy year and even I’m surprised to see how much I crammed into a measly 365 days. (I also work 4 days a week) In fact on top of all this again I also photographed two more weddings! Bringing my wedding photography tally to 5 so that was a great experience too. I haven’t yet finished editing them all so I’ll leave those for another post.
Bring on 2016!
I was recently asked by a friend to make a dream catcher for her son, who has been having bad dreams. I was so glad she asked! Of course I would. Dream catchers have been on my ‘to do’ list for a long time so I was excited to get started. Not long after, I had another request from my sister in law to make one for my niece.. certainly! Surely this is a sign..? I sign that’s telling me I must drop everything and create these lovely things! Of course it is.
So I thought I’d make a tutorial to share with you all, because yes, I’m just that awesome.
Aah the delightful chaos that is my studio!
All you need is:
I have also used in mine: fabric scraps, ribbons, lace, old jewelry parts and butterfly buttons. Go through all your crafty things and see what you can use. This is my favourite part, the treasure hunting!
Ok lets get started! I have taken step by step photos to show you the web making process.. firstly lets look at how to make that web.
Tie the waxed thread to the hoop, a nice tight double knot. Place the thread back over the hoop with about a 3 cm gap from the knot.
Bring the thread back through the hoop and over the existing thread.
Pull the thread to the right and repeat
Repeat all the way around and back to the beginning. Keep pulling the threat tight as you go.
Continue the process on the next round and you will slowly start to understand how the web shape is formed.
Don’t forget to add your beads! It’s best to add them early otherwise the web becomes too small and the beads get in the way. Dream catchers only rewuire one bead but I like to add a few.
When the web is complete simply tie a double knot nice and tight – but before you cut off any loose ends, always add a dab a glue and let it dry.
Now for the decorating! I used a rough hemp twine to wind around the hoops, and on one of them I used wool. Simply tie the twine of choice to the hoop and as you wind it tightly, smear glue on the hoop as you go. Tie at the end and leave some extra twine to tie as a hanger. Add plenty of glue to the knots.
I glued feathers to the side and bound them with more twine. Ribbons are attached with a larks head knot and dabbed with glue on the back. Other random items have been glued or tied on.
I also made labels with instructions and explaining how dream catchers work.
..not that you would want to.
Regardless, this stuff rocks. Seriously.
It’s easy to make, environmentally friendly, cheap as chips and most importantly it WORKS!
In a typical day I apply the deodorant in the morning and spend a full day at work, head to the gym afterwards for 30 – 45 mins and after all that, in the evening.. I still. don’t. smell. It’s truly amazing.
All the ingredients are available from the supermarket and cost me around AU$12 for the lot. The deodorant is a paste that you massage into your skin. I take a tiny scoop (about the size of half a pea) and rub it between my fingers before I apply under my arm. In cooler weather the mixture will harden, so I use an icy pole stick to dig some out. Coconut oil melts with body heat so rubbing it before applying helps it to spread smoothly.
All you need is 3 ingredients, and a container:
Optional – Add a few drops of essential oils to create your own scented deodorant!
To make the deodorant:
2 parts coconut oil to 1 part bi-carb and 1 part arrowroot.
Around about 1/2 cup of coconut oil in this batch which will fill a small jar and last about 6 months.
Add 1/4 cup bi-carb soda.
And 1/4 cup arrowroot.
Mix with a fork to a thick paste – you can use a microwave to soften the oil but be careful not to heat it too much. Try only 5 seconds at a time.
If you’re adding essential oils add a few drops at a time to the mixture. Add as much or as little as you desire.
Transfer the mixture into your jar and let it settle. Ta da! It’s ready to use!
Add some decorations and you have yourself a lovely little gift!
I love the opportunity to sticky beak into other artist’s work spaces, to peek inside the room or space where all the magic happens, see what inspires, how their studio reflects them and their art and how they manage work flow.
There’s 2 main types of studios I have noticed. The neat spaces that are minimal and incredibly organised, and the overcrowded ones. Mine is definitely the overcrowded type. I don’t have time to tidy, I’d rather spend it creating!
I have taken over the dining are of the house, right next to the kitchen. This is where the magic happens.
Zooming into the area above my amazing chest of drawers that I got for my 30th. The drawers are from Ishka and are made from recycled boats in Asia. Inside the drawers is all my stationary items! I love stationary.. you’ll find everything in here – pens, paper, sticky tape, hole punches, staplers, blue tac.. all kinds of paper, twine, tags, cards.. you get the idea.
On top of the drawers (not that you can really see, sorry for the dodgy camera phone pictures) is a treasure chest containing all my acrylic paints. My CD player is pictured and a few random books. Framed on the chest is an original painting by Shirley Barber (my biggest inspiration growing up!) which is a picture of instructions to help me paint hair!!! In front of that is a dish of ‘earth’s treasures’ and random things that inspire me. Aaand above that is a canvas I painted of Kurt Cobain.
This is my ‘earthly treasures’ dish.. all sorts of things here including sea shells I have found, coral, seed pods, leather, flowers, crystals etc.
To the right of the drawers is a cupboard that came with the house we rent. It contains folders of artworks, items for sale, framed work and odd frames, fabric and blank canvases. On top is my new printer/scanner, the butterfly box homes my jewelry making supplies, there’s a chunk of wood covered in candles and the Bimo tin has rubber stamps in it.
Onto the table.. I have this small easel that I unintentionally use as a mood board. I tend to put things on it the need to be worked on, but it often ends up covered with interesting finds, pictures, paper, whatever fits on it. Currently there is some sketches ready to be painted, a note book, metallic tattoos, page of a book I found outside our house, coffee stained ribbon and an off cut of watercolour paper put aside to use again.
There’s a sewing machine tucked behind everything.. I’m a pretty bad sewer to be honest! But it’s fun and I just need more practice. The machine doesn’t have a home so it stays on the table for now. I have lots of pencil/paint brush containers with my most used brushes. A dish for random items such as bobby pins, jewelry and dead insects.
Close up picture of my desktop during a recent painting frenzy!
It appears that I have a collection of jars and bottles. I do reuse all my coffee jars, they’re great! Here I have used them for washing brushes, beads and bones. I also like to display any interesting wine bottles just because. I’m not sure of the history behind that amazing hand carved box.. but it used to be mum and dads and they used it for their cassette tapes back in the day! I always loved it, and now I keep all my watercolour paints in it.
My desktop today, this is about as tidy as it gets! Two recent paintings are there ready to be scanned. I’m usually too lazy to get my cutting mat out and I put scratches in the table, so now I just leave it there so I have no excuse not to use it.
Me in action! A selfie from a week or so ago while working away painting toadstools.
I have noticed a few artists like to reflect back on the past year and see how their art has developed from previous years. I find it quite interesting but never really bothered to try it myself. well, until today. And the results were somewhat unexpected. 2014 is the year I became a sculptor.
*I have not included any Graphic Design or Photography into this collection, only personal artworks.
I’ve always been a 2D artist, branching out a little but always returning to my trusty pencil or brush. However, looking at the work I have completed throughout 2014 there are a measly 3 paintings, a few sketches (I added to bulk up the 2D art range) and more 3D art than I could fit onto the page. Roughly 5 dead faery sculptures and at least 25+ hanging toadstools, 2 rings, 1 cross stitch and a bunch of other little creations along the way.
It’s surprising to see so few paintings, then again it was also the year of the toddler. Need I say more.
The image below was created for a particular exhibition where artists were given a theme and had 24 hours to complete an artwork. The theme was ‘The thief of Time’ so I went with the idea of being ‘away with the faeries’ and losing time when you’re daydreaming.
And seeing that there are so few artworks I may as well post them all! My painting of Kurt Cobain was in fact an entire make over for a painting I’d been touching up for years. Pretty pleased with the results, think I’ll keep this one.
It’s a little sad to look back and realise I did so little this year, but in all honesty I found myself making a lot of toadstools and dead faeries, which I seemed to have a bit of a demand for which was really exciting! And hey, they’re fun to make as well. So I didn’t really stop painting I just became a sculptor for a while. I guess this means you’ll be seeing plenty more in 2015.. fun (and busy) times ahead!
Other achievements for the year:
Completed the 365 photography project
Had new artwork in 4 exhibitions (One painting, one photography and three sculptures)
Published in a book (a craft fail mind you but hey, my work was published! Score!)
Runner up in 1 photography competition
Sold my favourite painting. Ever.
It was a brilliant year all up, art wise, and I’m looking forward to making a heap more art this year! I am aiming to build up stock and sell many more toadstools and faeries through my Etsy shop, as well as participating gift shops. I do intend to paint more too, but he no stress as long as I’m being creative in some way I’ll be happy!
Hello, my name is Becky and I’m a craftaholic. So when it comes to things like Christmas I always get me craft on.
Last year I hand made everyone’s presents which you can read about here. There was no way in hell I was going to be doing that again, but of course I wasn’t going to go without completely. Here’s what I whipped together for Christmas 2014..
I have a large collection of glass jars because not only am I addicted to craft but I am also addicted to coffee. The kind that comes in glass jars. I can’t bare to throw them out so I hoard them until I find uses for them, such as Christmas inspired treats.
Usually for Christmas I make little chocolate/coconut truffles, coat them in chocolate then smother the tops in white chocolate and finish them off with chopped red and green jelly lollies to resemble little puddings. They’re awesome, but also very time consuming and fiddly. So I cut out the last few steps and decided to call them ‘Reindeer Poo’ for something a little different.
I made about 4 batches, all different flavours! Choc/Coconut truffle, choc walnut, choc mint and fruit’n’nut. To keep spending to a minimum I invented some recipes to use up ingredients that I already had in my pantry. One such idea was the fruit’n’nut choc balls where I added dates, mixed nuts, cocoa, coconut and coconut oil to a blender. I rolled the mixture into balls and dipped them into melted chocolate. The only ingredient I purchased for those was the chocolate for about $3.
Gettin’ stampy.. I had the blank tags left over from another project but they’re pretty easy to get your hands on. Using my Shirley Barber fairy stamp collection I got stampy and coloured them in with some coloured pencils. Cute huh!?
Home made deodorant
This stuff is the bomb. Here’s 3 reasons why you need to switch your deodorant to home made:
1. It’s chemical free
When you think about it, deodorants you purchase are made to stop you from sweating. Sweating is how the body releases toxins. By using ingredients such as alcohol which closes the pores and reduces your sweating, this prevents the release of toxins and as a result those toxins remain in your body.
This recipe is so natural you could eat it – not that you would want to, but it does smell delicious. I used 3 ingredients: Bi carb soda/baking powder, arrow root powder and coconut oil.
2. It’s cheap and easy to make
A jar this size (small recycled moccona coffee jar) will last around 6 months. I made enough for 2 jars and it cost around $3. That’s $1.50 for a years supply.
The Recipe: Add 1 part bi carb soda to 1 part arrow root powder and mix in 2 parts melted coconut oil.
The mixture becomes a thick white paste that solidifies in cool temperatures and melts to a goo in the heat. When it is solid simply scrape out a chunk (no bigger than a 5c piece) and it will melt onto your skin. Hold for a second, then rub it in.
3. It works!
It is by far the most reliable deodorant I have ever used. I put it on in the morning and it still works by the time I go to bed. next morning.. still no smell!. The ultimate test is the gym. I apply this mixture before going to the gym and even after an hour work out I don’t smell bad. Just a little coconutty.
You can add essential oils to make it scented, or leave it as is which has a mild coconut aroma. It’s mild enough to still be able to wear perfume at the same time.
It’s not quite Christmas at my house with some sort of daggy little decoration that just didn’t quite turn out as well as I’d imagined. But I’ll still put it on display all the same. I had envisioned this cute vintage style little hand stitched tree with buttons for baubles.. which it kind of is.. minus the ‘cute’ part. I really do need to practice my sewing!
You may have read previous posts about my ‘craft fail’ incident, involving my over enthusiastic confidence to cook like a MasterChef and a recipe for macaroons.
Long story short I created ‘craparoons’ which were a complete disaster. Or so I thought.
I knew of a hilarious blog called Craft Fail where you can submit your failure and have a good ol’ laugh about it. So I did just that.
You can have a read of it here. My fail made number 3 in the top ten craftfails for 2011! Go me! But wait, it gets even better..
There’s now a book.
So you have probably guessed by now that yes indeedy I have a copy of the book to give away!
You will find my not-so-lovely craparoons on page 99 and a heap of other hilarious fails throughout! There’s lots of pictures and hilarious quotes and comments that literally made me laugh out loud.
Oh! And of course I will very happily sign the book for the lucky winner.
To enter, just make a comment below, maybe tell me about your craft fail experience? I’d love to hear!
Entries close 31st December 2014 and I’ll draw a winner by random early in the new year. What a fabulous way to start 2015! With a free book and laughter!