Thursday 30 October 2014

Finger painting fun

Start them young! Whilst I sit here drawing, my little one is happily painting a masterpiece with these excellent washable finger paints. £6 for 6 tubs from Galt, and they last ages. Lovely and gloopy.
From Amazon

Monday 27 October 2014

DIY Fireplace Blackboard

My daughter's room has a lovely little original fireplace in it, but unfortunately comes complete with sharp edges and a broken draughty vent! Needing to baby-proof the room I decided to temporarily convert the area into an art space for her (what else?!) and make a DIY blackboard from a broken picture frame I had lying about. Here's how I did it:

Board/wood/back of a broken picture frame!
Blackboard paint
Wall fixers (I used the super strength velcro sort for hanging pictures)
*Acrylic paints (for final decoration)

Stanley knife
Metal ruler
Mix of paintbrushes

First I measured up the space, and then cut the board to size with the Stanley knife. I then prepared the board with a quick sand, to clean up rough edges and so that the paint would take better. I laid on the first layer liberally, and gave it 30 mins to dry.

I then gave the board a quick sand again after the first layer, and went in with layer 2. I repeated this for layers 3 and 4 so a nice thick layer built up. 
TIP - I alternated the direction of the brush on each layer so Ive ended up with a nice crosshatched textured effect.

After a bit of sketching of ideas, I draughted the design onto the board in pencil, and began painting. Acrylics are perfect for this as they are water resistant so the board can be wiped clean with no fear of destroying the design. I then applied the fixers to the reverse of the board, and 'hey presto!'

Friday 24 October 2014

Packaging junkie: 'Plasticine'

I am a sucker for a nice bit of packaging, and this week paid over the odds at £2 from a charity shop for some old plasticene that I don't need.... but look at the box!

 I was immediately drawn to the retro palette and typography, and from deciphering the roman numerals on the back it looks like it dates back to 1977. I also absolutely love this tiny illustration on the back. Worth every penny!

Thursday 23 October 2014

Channel 4 doc: Grayson Perry: 'Who are you?'

Grayson Perry: Who are you?

Well worth watching on catch up if you missed it last night is the first of this 3 part series on Channel 4 by Grayson Perry on portraiture/identity. The 14 portraits he makes during this series are on display at the NPG until March next year. I can't wait to head down there before too long and take a look!

Available on catch up here:
(image © Channel 4)

Tuesday 14 October 2014

Felt bunting

I had great fun making lots of colourful felt bunting for my little one's birthday. Though a bit time consuming I think its really fun and so simple to do.

Simply cut your circles (or other shapes) and assemble a huge pile next to your machine, then stitch straight down the centre of each piece being careful to stitch straight onto the next one as I found the thread tangled and jammed if I wasn't quick enough and the stitch had nothing to stitch on to!

Cutting your own letters means you can easily personalise any birthday banners. I did these in the same way as the circles but used some bias binding to form the 'ribbon' and hold the pieces together. Try it with a variety of shapes and letters!


Monday 13 October 2014

Quentin Blake Exhibition at HOI

Well worth checking out is a rare collection of Quentin Blake's work at the House of Illustration at their new premises in Kings Cross (

A simple and beautifully designed exhibition which let the sketches and doodles of Blake take centre stage and leap out at you from every corner. I absolutely loved seeing authentic half-used paint pots and scraps of paper. On until the 2nd November, its a must! My 1 year old also really enjoyed it (and its a fantastic venue if you are pushing a buggy around - lots of space and ramps!)

Friday 10 October 2014

Christmas Crackers

 Time to get thinking about Christmas, and making crackers for your loved ones is a great gift and fun too. Here's how to do it:

SCALPEL (or guillotine)
BONE SCORER (optional, a blunt knife or similar will do)
*optional, you could purchase ready printed/patterned paper if you wanted

PAPER: 200gsm white card, 100gsm red paper, coloured tissue paper (for hats)
TOILET ROLL TUBES *note: not all toilet rolls have the same diameter!
STRINGS & RIBBONS: red & white twine, red gift ribbon
CELLOPHANE (for wrapping gifts, optional)
BANGERS: sourced from ebay
SMALL GIFTS: your choice!

First I designed the patterns for the crackers and made the templates to print on the computer
(I'll be putting a downloadable template on here shortly.)

Print out on your deskjet, and trim to size top and bottom.
Gently score down the folds (dotted lines), and then cut the holes (solid lines).

Cut the red paper for the ends (155mm x 50mm, or the required length for your cracker)
and stick it on the insides, inserting a banger underneath one end. (leave it free the other)

Apply double-sided tape to the top edge, and place a toilet roll in the centre, with the banger inside the tube. Carefully roll and stick down to create a cracker tube (leave one end open)

Next make the hats from tissue paper. I concertina-folded a length of 580mm by 100mm high and made one diagonal cut across the top of the folded stack. Open out and secure one end with double-sided tape. Refold and its ready to go.

I chose to wrap my inner gifts & hats in a piece of cellophane secured with some twine.

Insert the gift in the open end and tie both ends with gift ribbon, and you're done!

Tuesday 7 October 2014

Thankyou Cards

Being a bit 'old-school' I much prefer to send physical cards and letters than send a text or email, plus its an excuse to get the pencils out.

I have just made a set of thankyou cards with some stamps I had, its SERIOUSLY easy and quick and produces a great result. Here's how I did it:

BONE SCORER (or blunt knife/equivalent)
ROUND CORNER CUTTER (optional, I love a round corner on anything!)

PAPER: 200gsm white card
RUBBER STAMPS & INK PADS: sourced from art/hobby shops or good old ebay
ENVELOPES: sourced from your stationers, C6 size

Cut the A4 card in two to 210mm x 148.5mm
Score vertically in the middle of your card (105mm in) to make an A6 finished size card.
*TIP - score on the top of the card and fold AWAY from the score for the best finish.
Ink up & line up your stamps and go crazy.
Leave to dry (1/2 hour should do it, depending on your ink)
Cut the round corners to finish, get writing your messages and address your envelopes!

Saturday 4 October 2014

Sausage Dog Card/Lino Print - part 1

2 dog-loving friends of mine are getting married next year, so I set out to make them a congratulations card. I quite like this little dog, so I decided I'm going to develop this into a lino print, which will be available to buy in my Make Play Do before too long.

Wednesday 1 October 2014

The Liberty Book of Simple Sewing

I've been looking through my Liberty sewing book, and have started planning all the projects I'm going to attempt. The cloud-shaped cushions and drum lampshade are a must, so I'll look forward to getting some gorgeous fabrics for those. Watch this space.

It's a beautifully designed book from Quadrille Publishing, filled with large glossy photos, clean graphics and cute 'how-to' illustrations. There's a great range of ideas within. Recommended!