Layering Traditional and Modern

wood slice painting

I’ve been wanting to paint a wood slice ala hip and trendy style for a while now. In my grandfather’s old stuff, my mom found this slab for me. It had a print on it already and even though I always feel bad covering a form of art, I gessoed a handful of layers and got myself a nice wood canvas. I sanded down the gesso to a smoother texture, though the wood grain still added a nice texture to the base.

I chose to do my painting in this almost graphical-pop art-new wave style to counteract the traditional landscape subject on the natural canvas. It took tons of layers and I spilled some retarder which caused me to fear it may never dry. Luckily, it did and was thoroughly sealed and finished. It’s a handy painting compared to the framed paper paintings on my wall. For example, it makes a good…

1. Piece for wall art

mountains on wood

2. Table tray for cocktails and candles

mountains on wood tray

3. A miniature stage for toddlers to dance on

mountains on wood with kid

Hopefully I’ll scrounge up another slab of wood soon…


One of Each: Paired Paintings of European Buildings

european paintings paired (2)

Why choose between watercolor and acrylics? I got back into acrylics for the first time in a very long time with this British street scene. I went for almost an oils-approach with tons of texture and smudging. I’m crazy about acrylic mediums like gels and pastes. They make unimaginable depth.

england street on canvas (2)

As is often the case with me, this is based on a photo I took while abroad – this one in Nottingham.


The acrylic canvas was a spur of the moment idea but after I was so happy with it, I decided I needed it to be part of some sort of set. Because, of course. So I used the same general palette for a minimalistic, subtle, watercolor complement.

bath building in watercolor (2)

This one was a loose interpretation of a photo taken in Bath.


Miniature Warblers on Miniature Canvases

birds in a row

It’s that time of the semester that I start making a lot more junk and doing a lot less productivity. But here you are, three little birds, warblers actually, on three little canvases.

Mini birds 3 set

I had planned to do four (4 pack of canvases) but my TV show was almost over by the time I finished the third bird. Three is a good number for decorating anyways.

Bird 2nd of 3

All done in solely acrylic paint. I lined them up in between the top of my curtains and my ceiling.

Mini bird painting 1 of 3

Dying Un-dyeable Curtains Ombre

Here’s a project I did a few months back, at the start of summer.

100% polyester curtains dyed peachy ombre with acrylic paint

You know when you get stuck on something and even when it turns out its impossible, you are too stubborn to let go? That’s what happened to me with my curtains. I snagged some cheap, opaque white curtains on sale from Target a while back to use as closet doors, but I have never loved the look the gave me. I decided I absolutely had to dye them a dusty, rust-peach colored ombre. Turns out, my curtains are 100% polyester – you know, the fabric that doesn’t take dye? I considered other ways to alter my curtains: trim, painting, stitching. I cut the top tab-style. But I could not let go of my ombre idea. So here’s how I “dyed” my polyester curtains in a cheap, unconventional way.

What I used:

  • White, 100% polyester curtains
  • Freshly brewed coffee
  • Acrylic craft paint in peach, yellow ochre, and red
  • Buckets
  • Water
  • A clothesline
  • Stubborn determination

After some research, I heard you could “dye” with diluted acrylics. It is not common because it does not seep into the fabric the way a true dye does, it’s more a way to paint an entire piece without brushing it on yourself. But I decided to do it anyway.

First, I brewed up a couple pots of coffee and dumped what I didn’t drink of it into a bucket containing my curtains. I let them soak in the fresh hot coffee outside, all the while praying none of the cheap stitching would dissolve. I let it be patchy since I just wanted to dirty the base color of my curtains before dying.

While waiting for my shower to heat up, I filled a large bucket some of the way with water. (I live in California so obtaining water for crafts this way makes me feel less guilty.) After I was clean I mixed up my paint using primarily a peach with yellow to tone down the orange and red to warm it up. I found about a gallon of water to quite a few tablespoons of paint to color the fabric best.

I hung my coffee-d curtains from a clothesline with the bottom halves or so sitting in the paint/dye mixture. Every so often, I moved them up a level. I chose to add some additional paint for the very ends to get them even darker. For once, California was my friend since I believe the heat helped the curtains take the paint and set it.

100% polyester curtains dyed peachy ombre with acrylic paint

May Journal Entry: Peonies and Books

20150601_012123000_iOS 1

To fit all twelve months in my altered planner, I will need some months to be 1 page spreads. May Entry 2015 I choose May as it is always a whirlwind due to the end of Spring semester. It wasn’t my easiest Finals week ever but I got through safe and sound. To reference the academic focus of the month, I hand lettered an “M” made entirely of book spines and the occasional bookmark. It was a fun challenge and I felt a detailed statement would be good for this half size entry. I was inspired by the peonies resting on my desk/vanity/nightstand (I like to make my objects multi-purpose) for the entry’s coloring and pattern. I stole only two stems from my mother’s kitchen bouquet to place in my room.

may entry 2015may-entry-2015

I used my Acrylic paints to create a semi-abstract, messy interpretation of peonies and leaves encircling the monogram. A basic, black pen was used to add flourishes and a border on top of the floral. I, of course, tried a few versions of acrylic peonies in my acrylic journal before beginning my monthly entry. I have to admit my messy floral pattern doesn’t share much with the more structured practice buds. Lastly, I used a leafing adhesive pen to add spots of gold leaf along the edges of the entry, focusing on the corners. Here’s to summer vacation!

May Entry - Withcraftsandlace

Monthly Entry: April

april lilies withcraftsandlace 2015

I realize this is a bit late but May is always quite busy, being the end of the semester and all. Still, I found a good moment to reflect back on April and it’s highlights to create my monthly art journal entry. In April, the most important things were filled with love. My friend’s baby girl was born and named Lily. She was my obviously my main inspiration. Just days after her birth, I attended a family friend’s wedding and it was a gorgeous outdoor ceremony and sweet reception. She deserved such a happy day.

april lilies withcraftsandlace 2015

For the entry, I mixed gesso with a bit of blue and then green acrylics to make a lightly washed background. The lilies were loosely sketched out with pen and let to dry before I messily watercolored the blooms. It is a simple entry but a reminder of special moments.

april lilies - with crafts and lace

Two Entries, One Post: Acrylics Journal Edition


As a way to practice with my acrylics, I have been painting versions of birds and plants in some old illustrated birding books we have. I love chubby birds and I love yellow birds, so here we are. I had also bought a book a while before these entries that features a little yellow bird, see the right corner. I actually got two hooks, one in the sweet yellow and one in a soft turquoise. Obviously I have yet to actually hang them…


This was actually a bit of a stretch for me. I rarely paint living items beyond simple plants. But I actually like how this warbler turned out, I was quite surprised!

The first week of official Spring is always exciting. I love early Spring with comfy mornings and heart-warming sunshine in the afternoons. I only wish we would get Spring a while longer before the horrors of Summer kicked in (I’m a winter-y kind of gal.)


What are your Springtime plans?

Kristy the Kitty Cat Gets a Tent

Before I abandon my cat for an entire semester, I thought I should do another update of her kitty cat tent. She looks silly, falling asleep with half closed eyes. This is how the tent looks in soft morning light, perhaps I will take another photo to better show the designs later.

The tent is made entirely of materials I already had on hand: old tablecloth/sheet material, lace cut from an old shirt, fake flowers and leather, and bamboo sticks. I used my acrylics to paint the tent. I tried to create a sorta whimsical pattern – not too “boho” and not too “cutesy”. The color choices were inspired by new dresser knobs shown in the back. Back side shown here. 

I stuck an old, folded up, flannel sheet with a cat print (that my kitty amusingly loves to sleep on) in there for a nice cushy base. 

This project was adapted from this tutorial.  

Making my Paint Storage Pretty: Oils

I think this last box redo is my favorite. Seems Kristy agrees.

Look at the collar I made her awhile back aww

Making my Paint Storage Pretty: Acrylics

Here is another redecorated paint box lid.