This months watercolour challenge theme is planes! Obviously because Lukas loves planes! This boy builds the planes out of lego, pretends to be flying like a plane and flies every possible object like a plane. You got the picture. I felt I had to make the boys room plane themed.
So this month for my watercolour challenge I decided to collaborate with my own 2 year old toddler (Eek!!). I enjoyed watching Lukas do art so much that I thought it would be very cool to create some careless abstract art inspired by his doodles and fill our kids room walls with it. Isn’t that the greatest idea you ever heard? Well, not quite! Although it did not work out exactly how I imagined (no artwork on the walls yet), working with the toddler thought me one thing or two. Before I tell you all about it, shall I explain how we did go about it first? If you agree then read on to hear my full story below. For our first arty session I set out with all material I had in stock. Although I don’t have crazy amount of art material, it was still little too much. This was my first lesson on how to make art with the toddler. Never give too much choice or you will be overwhelmed or (what happened in our case) he will be obsessed with one art media. I started by painting large rainbow on the page and Lukas joined in as soon as he noticed me painting. He picked a brush and kept dipping it where ever he could find: acrylics and water paint. The result was as I was expecting although I am not sure about the colour combo here, it did not go with our house interior at all. Because I noticed Lukas likes to spread a paint with the brush, I realised watercolour was too watery. This is why I mixed up few watercolours with white acrylic paint to get thicker paint. But that meant the colours ended up very pastel. If you like pastel colours than this is fine, but I was not a big fan of this as I LOOOOOVVEEE bold colours. But why I did not like Lukas using water colour straight? Well… a 2 year old did not quite understand the concept of using it. To use watercolour you need to constantly dip your brush into water between colour change and before to moisten the paint as well. To fix this problem I tried to dilute some watercolour pigment in little water. Here it is, I made a palette that I though would work. Except, yellow soon got mixed with green, created lime colour and other colours got mixed up as well. Did I tell you how easily watercolour mixes? You get the image: lots of grey/brown paintings. The pic below was the least overdone (lol).
I also tried placing few drops of watercolour ready on paper. You can blow on those drops to create pretty lines and patterns (this is my fave painting technique!!!). However this did not work out with 2 year old, he just did not quite get what exactly I wanted him to do with the straw I gave him (although I gave him plenty of demonstrations). Eventually I let him scribble away with crayons. I used Lukas scribbles to make my own abstract art which I much preferred. However I realised that this does not go with our house or my style. The artwork with alphabet is my fav, however it does not have so much input from Lukas. I am thinking maybe for my next watercolour challenge I should do something alphabet themed (I really really enjoyed painting letters). Will see ;-).Hope you have been inspired ;-)
To be completely honest it was very hard to come back to painting but once I started I really felt piece and joy. I felt inspired by the plants that I saw on our holiday in Dominican Republic. Tropical climate plants are so so pretty!!! I am inspired to have some of them at my home some day, but for now they can at least live on my walls.
As usual I started with the method in mind I wanted to try. This time I wanted to try watercolour combined with the wax crayons. I remember first time I fell in love with the watercolour is when my Finish art teacher showed me how crayons makes paper waterproof and when watercolour is painted on top of it, the wax of crayon blocks from colouring (mixing with) the drawing leaving the colour it was but colouring all around it instead. This technique really fascinated me back then which is why I wanted to try it out again. In the painting above I drew the core lines with the crayon and painted leafs on top of it. I was pretty pleased with the outcome. The lines kept its sharp green shade! The plant in the pic above have been my favourite so far! Although I don’t feel I depicted it well in my painting… Painting this curly leaf plant was quite fun! I love making repetitive patterns and painting these wiggly lines been real pleasure. To add some colour (not only paint in green) I tried painting this pink flower. I feel this was not my best painting so far. And look at all this mess I made in my watercolour palette! I wonder if other artist end up like that. Although I have seen other people just using water colour from the little tubes and mixing palette on separate piece of paper. I wonder if it is worth investing in fresh collection of water paint, hmm… For my next botanical painting I decided to use pencil instead (and rub it off after), that way I thought I will improve my shading technique. I divided the leaf into different segments that are “coloured in” separately and therefore shading is visible (hopefully). This painting took 2-3 hours, but it was so so worth it. I am in love! Finally this was a quick painting, I used pencil to mark the stalk of the fern and leaf in watercolour. I don’t know why, but this is my another favourite, so simple but so beautiful at the same time!Thanks for letting me share my experiences here re my new found passion :-)
So here we are, I am starting my very first bullet journal!! As excited as I am you should really know that it took me over a year to actually try out this organisational system. Initially I noticed my friend Jacolien journaling on the Instagram (@made2celebrate) and then I read somewhere that this system lets you do more with less??? This could not fit in my head, how pretty page layouts with beautiful fonts would save me time and make me more organised? This is when my friend Jacolien explained that these layouts are completely optional and bullet journal can be whatever you make of it! So I decided to go with the original Ryder Carroll style (who by the way created this system after all) which is very simplistic indeed. May upgrade it later if my handwriting improves in any way. I will let you know how I got on, but for now here are my goals for this year that is already included in my bullet journal.
I may not set many goals last year, I am expecting quite a lot this year. My bullet journal is pretty full for the next six months which has not happen for few years. For each goal I listed tasks to help me to achieve it, some tasks have the deadline and some have been scheduled into calendar already.
1.Upgrade Friendly Nettle website goal was on my mind for four years. I think this year will be the year when I finally do it. I I will begin in February as this is when I am thinking to take a break from blogging for a month and from then on I will schedule once a week appointment with the website. Hopefully this will do.
2.Get arty, because I forgot how to paint or draw. This is why I decided this year to replace reading books to watercolour painting (the media I like the best). Like with books I will review my artwork here on the blog.
3.Reach healthy BMI as I am seriously overweight. I reached my biggest I have ever beed and I am feeling this is effecting my health too. Luckily loosing weight is not time consuming. All I need to do is reduce my meal portions, don’t stress eat and fast once a month. I think this should do the trick.
4.Make our house beautiful, because we still doing it up. Hopefully this year the cosmetics and decorations are going to be done. I am not actually thinking it’s possible to finish all the house DIY completely. I have already set up some deadlines for some tasks, although this goal I am feeling least confident about sadly.
5.Create child friendly garden has been my dream for a while. I need to be confident that kids can play safety outside as well as growing a small patch of veg on the side. I am thinking to start in March once the preps for Tomas dedication/birthday party prep is over. So how did I got on with bullet journaling so far? I think quite ok, I understood the system after reading about it on few blogs, but the video that explain it best is on bullet journal website. There are few pros and cons that I can see so far. But what does’t have pros and cons? So far I love that this system requires you to (1) handwrite (kind of con as well), you got to have a love for stationary! I even bought myself a fountain pen that I get so much pleasure out. The bullet journal itself is (2) very easy to set up, all you need is index, future log and a monthly log. From that on you just can start scribbling simple notes that are either to-do lists or ideas. As long as all those notes are attached to the right symbol you are set to go. Besides, you can (3) customise it as much as you like! I started using my BUJO (short for bullet journal) for personal stuff such as tracking my weight loss and recording my body temperature for NFP. So these are my positives.
Things that I am still trying to work out is (1) how to organise events between our family planner and my personal journal. I end up writing the same event twice, to the journal and then to our planner, this is often confusing and sometimes I wish all those notes synchronised somehow! The other issue I have so far is that (2) the bullet journaling is not for perfectionist (at least at the beginning). I already made many mistakes that can’t be erased. I guess I just have to look at it as a journey on improving my hand writing.Hope you started 2018 well!
A few weeks ago I was lucky enough to be able to look around the John Smedley knitwear factory. I left Lukas with Nanny and took Tomas with me on the tour all the way to the beautiful Peak District. It felt like my fashion years are back again!! For those who don’t know John Smedley knitwear I really recommend to visit their website where you will find more detailed info (the whole history if you want). John Smedley is a family business that is owned by many generations of the same family. They still handcraft finish their garments and still maintain many traditional craftsmanship methods. So buying their knitwear is really worth the money if you want to add some staple jumpers and cardigans to your wardrobe as they are made to last ;-). John Smedley knitwear starts with a good quality yarn, mostly made with sheep hair (or cotton for summer) which I was quite surprised by. My memories of sheep wool is not great and I remember it being rough and stingy on the skin. But wait, this yarn comes from special sheep that come from New Zealand (called merino sheep). Their hair is softer because of better weather conditions. The yarn then gets washed and conditioned to achieve maximum softness. As I was visiting John Smedley factory it was obvious that the quality is the top priority here. The knitting is checked and checked again at many different stages and gets rejected when it does not meet these high standards. But it does not go to waste. These clever machines unravel the knitwear so this beautiful yarn have another chance to become a piece of knitwear again. Pfew! Thats good to know ;-). I especially loved some of the older machinery that although it is vintage is still very well maintained and making quality garments(however these are a little louder than modern ones). Every piece of knitwear is kept on needles as you would expect (If you are knitter yourself you would understand what I mean here). There is special compartment for trims as you can see here that get later attached to the main body. This is where the garment gets its handcraft finish. The neck hole is cut by hand and then a special machine knit stitches the body and the trim together. Finally each garment gets a final steam press.The factory building has it’s old charms as well. The original water mill is still here, although it is no longer used to power the machinery it still makes a very pretty feature. Hope you found this post interesting as much as I did when visiting this fine knitwear factory ;-).
Today I have decided to finally share my experiences in upholstery. I know this may not be the simplest project to start with, but I have learned so much from it! Of course I did not do this alone, my mum-in-law and her friend Mariane helped me a lot with their knowledge. Now looking back, I can’t believe it is still the same chair!
I got this chair from a cafe that once I helped out at, it was about to go to the dumpster. Luckily I saved it and now it gain it’s second life as a nursery chair :-). So we started the chair refurbishment with removal of old material such as top fabric, felt, foam, hessian and lots of dust (yuck!). Everything was tacked with little nails called tacks. We did stripping in this order: first we removed the bottom covering fabric, then from there we removed tacks to strip the fabric all around. Then we removed back fabric where we could access even more tacks! This allowed to remove top fabric and felt from the front of the back. I was so pleased to find that original springs were in very good condition, so we left them as they were.Finally we stripped the chair arms and removed the rubber webbing that stretched out over the years. Other than original back springs we left hair material on the back and hessian on the inner arms. We removed top wooden arms to be sanded, re-stained and re-applied back once the arms are covered with the new top fabric.After the chair is stripped, I was told it is good idea to go shopping (Yey!). We made the list according to what we stripped and what needed to be added so the chair ends up all nicely padded. At the end of the project we realised that we bought too little of rubber webbing, but way too much of wadding. While we did our shopping Joni’s dad fixed the chair frame. Some parts were loose and the little holes that were made by old tacks needed to be filled. First thing we did after shopping is stretched out the webbing onto the seat of the chair. We tacked one end of the webbing on the back of the seat and then stretched it over to the other side with this very cool tool just made for that kind of job. We repeated the same technique to apply webbing from left side to the right side.We started the chair upholstery with the seat. We applied hessian and calico with wadding layer in between. Secured everything with the tacks….Then moved onto the front back and repeated practically the same. Except this time we used upholstery felt for extra cushioning.And same with the arms as with the seat.Finally the day have came when we could apply top fabric! To choose top fabric was a hardest bit for me. Eventually I narrowed down to three pictured bellow. The blue one seemed like the most obvious choice as the check fabric is difficult to work with and the dark green fabric reminded me of those tacky furnitures at the skiing resort (you know, those green carpets matched with pine wood?). Anyway, I am really happy with my final choice as this fabric not only turned out to be versatile, but also really forgiving and easy to work with!Applying top fabric is almost like applying calico. With calico, I felt like practicing to upholster, therefore when it came to applying the real thing, I wasn’t that nervous!Whilst doing upholstery Joni’s mum made sure that all dents from the arms went away. She used ironing technique, where she applied wet cloth and ironed it on the wood. Eventually Joni’s dad sanded it down to perfection as well as chair legs. I used antique pine stain that really suits overall chair style I was aiming for. After we finished upholstering the chair I closed the back with the hessian (for support) and top fabric. I used invisible stitch to sew the sides (I did the same to join inner and outer arm top fabric pieces). We got the cushion foam specially cut for the size, slightly thicker than original cushion because I wanted to sit slightly higher when nursing. It came covered in stockinet that helps to insert into the cushion case and also protects it from wear. To begin with I have traced the foam shape onto the fabric as tightly as I could and then rounded the edges for extra fit. I cut two pieces out with 1cm seam allowance. The foam measured 10cm thick, therefore I cut out long 12cm wide strip (1cm seam allowance on each side). I wrapped the strip tightly around the foam and stitched it according to the fitting. I applied one piece I cut out earlier on to of the cushion and pinned it down onto the strip. I stitched it according to where I placed the pins. Next I turned the cushion up side down and repeated the same with the second piece as I did with the first piece. This time I left a gap so I would be able to turn the cushion cover inside out. Once the cover is finished I re-inserted the cushion and by using invisible stitch I closed the gap completely. My final step was to close the bottom of the chair. I used a very basic black fabric for that. I measured roughly the size and cut out the square according to that measurement. Then I stretched the fabric onto the bottom making sure the edges of the fabric are folded in.I secured the fabric by neatly stapling all over the edges.The end!Leia is loving new chair!I hope you found this inspiring!
When I have been asked for nicely printed wedding photo as a birthday gift I got really excited as I realised that I could try out different techniques on transfer printing. To begin with I thought I will transfer the wedding photo on canvas, but then realised printing on wood would be much more unique (well, kind off). I also got stuck with slight limitation. I have laser printer which means I could not use the ink from the printer like I would with ink jet printer. But there is always hope, even if that means buying extra products in the craft shop instead of using what is already available at home. So instead of extensive experiments I just did a bit of research on what products to use (only because I did not want to spend a massive amounts of money). Here is what products you can try when transfer printing:
PVA or Mod Podge. I heard that some people swear by it and apparently it works, especially with Mod Podge (which is I believe a fancy type of PVA). I went and bought Mod Podge only because it was available in matte finish unlike PVA basic glossy finish. However I ended up returning it after reading this helpful article.
Mod Podge image transfer (or any other brand image transfer). I have no idea where to get it, but here is the post where I have seen it used. The blogger there then used Matte Mod Podge as a finishing sealer.
Gel Medium. This is mainly used for mixing your acrylic paints with so larger areas can be painted more cost effectively. Unfortunately it often comes in huge pots, so if you only buying this for one off project it can be quite costly. They did not have gel medium in my local craft store which sort of worked out for the best! However gel medium can be used for finishing as well.
Acrylic Medium. Like gel medium it comes glossy or matte. It is also cheaper to compare to gel medium , but can’t be used for finishing the print.
Here is what I used to make my image print:
- A block of plywood
- A laser printed picture, flipped horizontally on Photoshop (or any other image editing program)
- A paint brush
- A Roller
- Acrylic matte medium
- Matte varnish
- Saw tooth hangers (for picture hanging)
I applied acrylic medium on top of the photo.I used a roller to press the picture onto the wood. Make sure the bubbles trapped underneath get pushed out. Once completely dry (after 8 hours or so) dampen the image and start rubbing the white layer off. Make sure don’t rub too much as the image itself can be easily rubbed off at this stage.Let it dry before the next stage…I applied matte varnish (acrylic type) on top. This stage fixes the image onto the wood (or any other surface) and remove all the white layer imperfections as well.Apply the hanger onto the picture:
1. Measure and place the hanger in the centre. Use a pencil to mark the dots where the screws should go.
2. Make a hole with the nail (smaller then the screws) by hammering it in and then removing it with the other end of the hammer.
- Unlimited space (almost), so no RSVP needed
- Super comfortable sofas at the ground floor cafe in Kings House
- Convenient location (if only you live in Bedford)
- Any type of crafts are welcome (before we were only knitting)
Interested to join? Visit our events page for more info.Hopefully see you soon!
I will admit that making your own pasta is a lot of hassle! It takes long and it is soooo messy (with all that flour). But I still like making it as things made from scratch are the way of life for me. Like most of types of pasta such as gnocchi or skryliai (Lithuanian pasta) you can make lots of it over weekend and then freeze it for a quick lunch or dinner later in the week. I have not tried doing this with this pasta, but I believe it should work. Will let you know if I try that out! My favourite pasta is with cabbage (this one is with kale actually, but it is as good!). I know, I know this is a weird preference, but after trying out this recipe I just keep coming back to it!!! I have learned making Italian fresh egg pasta while in Tuscany. Me and Joni took some cooking lessons while on honeymoon. Luckily Joni had some experience with pasta machine before, while I just stood and watched. “Dust the pasta machine with a lot of flour to avoid the dough sticking to it” apparently thats the most important tip! However today I will show you how I made pasta by hand. Same tip applies here as well (lot’s of dusting with flour indeed)!BASIC HANDMADE PASTA serves one, multiply as needed!
- 1 medium egg
- 95g ’00’ flour
1. In the food processor or by hand combine egg with flour. The dough will be crumbly at this stage.2. Kneed the dough into the ball and wrap it into cling film. Let it rest for 1 hour.3. Flatten the dough ball with the rolling pin on the well floured surface (flour the rolling pin as well). Roll and lift the dough as many times as it needs. The dough should become as flat as a piece of fabric. 4. Roll the dough into the roll. If I did this stage again, I would have rolled it into looser roll. Would have been easer to unroll it later on!
5. Slice the roll into the 7mm slices. This has been observed by Leia of course :-)6. Unroll the pasta while keeping it well floured. And that’s how it is done!Cook pasta for 4 min in boiling water (longer from frozen) and serve it with your favourite sauce.Enjoy!
Every time I want to start a journal or a diary I can’t find one that I like in the shops. Can you relate? They either are too expensive or the styles available don’t quite fit mine. So that is why I have decided to make my own book. There are so many pros to making your own hand bound book. There are unfortunately also cons as it takes sooooo long (it took me a day to make two books)! But I guess the pros weighs it down so this is totally worth it. Here are the pros:
1. Create your own cover design
2. Insert the paper type you like
3. Have fun making it
4. It will be much much cheaper!
The choice is yours ;-)I made two books completely from scratch. I planned it to be painted over with an oily sort of fabric paint. However the cover surface did not come out as I expected. I hoped for a neat looking cover, but it turned out to be a bit messy. I would still use this technique in the future, but maybe not in such big amounts. For now however, I do prefer my second book that I covered with embroidered fabric.Ready to make your own hand bound book? Click HERE for the step by step instructions. Happy book binding ;-)
One of our favourite wedding gifts we have received is this lovely soap pump from Alex. It looks very handsome don’t you think? The only con of having an empty soap pump it that it does come empty and we just realised that it is not so easy to find soap refillers in the shops. So I have decided to give a go and make my own! Few years ago I have made soap, so I know a little bit about how to make soap from scratch. However I have decided to make liquid soap half-way this time (I mean from existing hard soap). First, I had some soap to use up and second, I did not want to do much of preparation. Basically I wanted this to be a quick job without worrying about chemical reactions in my kitchen. For this Liquid soup you will need:
- 100g hard soap (can be any you want, but scent-free ones are preferable)
- 200ml water
- 1 tsp glycerin (can be purchased in many pharmacy shops)
- 1 tsp essential oil (I used lavender)
1. Grate the soap. I used Wrights coal tar soap, which wasn’t a good choice as it is almost impossible to kill that strong burned smell. 2. Gather all other ingredients such as glycerin, and essential oils. 3. Weigh the soap flakes and boil water accordingly. There should be 200ml water per 100g of soap. Melt the soap flakes in boiled water and process it with the hand processor. 4. Add glycerine and essential oil into the soap mixture and combine it well. Have you learned something new today? Rasa xoxo
As Mother’s day is soon approaching, I am really excited to be involved in the annual Mum’s and Daughters Tea Party organised by Every Nation Church. Yey!
Today we are making stamps for labelling gift boxes. If you would like to make your own lino print stamps than go here for fun tutorial!
Have fun today!
Recently I could not put my tatting work down… I have finally nailed it! Thanks to CRAFTSY online classes and their really easy to follow step by step videos. I especially love the fact that the teacher is really positive as that makes you feel like you can defiantly do it, regardless how complicated it looks. I can’t wait until I create new projects using this skill that I have learned (hopefully soon you will be able to make it too!). It’s like making friendship bracelets, but prettier ;).
This is my first time ever signing up for e-course! Have you had good experience with online classes before? Would love to hear your story :).
Finally, just wanted to mention that Craftsy offers a wild variety of courses to do with crafts and a little bit more (e.g baking). So pick yours HERE ;).
I love creating, crafting and DIY projects! I would like to think that I buy less (and spend less by being really really frugal) and make more, however this is still not truth. I started making my own cosmetics and soap so hopefully this will take towards my goal (to live homemade lifestyle of course).