Watercolor Kitty Cats

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If anyone should have custom paintings of their cats, it’s my roommates. The two affectionately refer to their cats as their kids and miss them during two day trips. The above is of our girl Cassie, more commonly known as Puddy. I did a quick sketch of her one afternoon as she was posing by me. This sketch snowballed into two watercolor pet portraits.

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This little guy was harder to sketch, too fidgety. Though I did most of the pieces looking at the cats live, I took photos as well. Here are the references of Puddy and Ollie,

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Puddy responded well to her sketch, as you see below.

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I guess my roommates liked them because they framed them up and hung them right over their bed.

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Suspended Watercolor Planets

Suspended watercolor planets

I like painting planets because they’re easy and pretty, like flowers, but more subtle and cool.

I used watercolors to paint these on a large sheet of what I believe is watercolor paper, but may be print paper, it was from a large folder of miscellaneous art paper hand-me-downed from my grandmother. I mixed all the greys because 1) I don’t have gray and 2) I wanted more dimension and variety to the color than just using mixed down blacks. Once done and cut out, I suspended them with thread and push pins (I know nails look cooler but I love the ease of a thumbtack), attached to the wall in two spots to keep them each still at an angle, unwavering.

watercolor planet paintingCutting out watercolor planets

Also, here’s to back to school!

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

Floral, Inspirational, Austen Quote on Watercolor Canvas

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Someone I care about a lot is going through a hard time, so I made this for them.

I used some watercolor canvas, a pad we had lying around the house. Can I just say, painting on this canvas is a dream! I really loved working with this rather than a basic watercolor paper or regular paper. It is so easy to paint and repaint over and over without it getting all weird. The paint really stands out on the surface. The fabric style of canvas gives the finished piece a really nice, soft look and easier to give to someone than just a piece of paper.

It does need to be slightly stretched and secured while you paint on it. I used regular staples on soft wood while painting, shown below, and only taped, as shown above, while spraying with a sealant.

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This photo is pre-quote, just after I had begun to remove the canvas from the wood so I could use a window while tracing over my lettering. I traced my letters to avoid any pencil marks on the canvas. I made a dark gray mix with acrylic paints and used a tiny brush to apply the letters while canvas and sketched out letter were taped to a window.

The quote I used was from, as usual, Jane Austen. In this case, it was from her novel, Emma and goes as follows:

“If things are going untowardly one month, they are sure to mend the next.”

DIY Art to Help You Make More Art

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While creating some color charts for my watercolors, I thought to group the colors by shade and practice hand lettering on the sides to make them pretty enough to display. It’s a pretty way to add some color and art to a room while multitasking as a productive tool for your next painting project.

Color Charts for Watercolor - With crafts and lace

I tossed them in some extra unused frames. The smaller frame was one I altered myself. I actually quite like the way the look, framed up and leaning against my wall. A reminder that art is part of my life.

This way, I can quickly glance at them while mixing colors to paint with during practices. They also serve as inspiration and motivation.

This way,I can quickly glance at them while mixing colors to paint with during practices. They also serve as inspiration and motivation.

Do You Call it a Mobile or a Chandelier and How I Made One

My friend has one month left in her pregnancy. To both our excitement, she is going to have a baby girl. So naturally, I needed to make her a baby-related craft. Now I remember these as “baby mobiles” but often when I see crafted versions, they are called “chandeliers.” I don’t know if that’s a way to make us feel like we can hang such things in our non-baby households (which we totally can) or if I’m just old-fashioned. What do you like to call them?

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Anyways, here’s the finished mobile (above) and I’ll give you a quick walk-through on how I made this baby (pun intended) happen.

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First thing, you need to make the lacey pouf thing-a-majigs. I had some scraps of old lace from my grandmother that I chose to use up. I cut the lace into small circles, with the guidance of a mini embroidery hoop, I cannot cut a circle freehand to save my life. I popped a paper coaster in the back to keep it still and then snipped the edges.

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So once you have a circle, fold it in half and then either in half again or in a triad. You’ll get a bit of a triangle-like shape, consider it a petal. Make three-four of those and gather the tips to make a pouf-flower-deal. I clipped mine in place with clothespins to hold them in place for the next step.

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Now that you have some nice little lace poofs. You will want to stitch up around the tail poking out of the clothespin. I knotted the thread and strung it through the inside and up out of the tail before sewing them together so as to hide the end. You could extend the thread a long way for hanging the poofs but I chose to just tie it off and trim the thread and use a different string to hang them.

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Around the time you’ve finished catching up on Better Call Saul, you should have a collection of lace flower/poofs/poufs/bulbs/petals/whatever-you-want-to-call-them. I made 5 whites, 4 pinks, and 3 blues. Now put those to the side and prepare your hoop.

I am using the inner piece of an old, large embroidery hoop. You could use the outer, I just already used that piece to make a dreamcatcher a while back. You need two sticks, mine are just old pieces of bamboo. I don’t know about you, but I have quite a few laying around. Cut the length of the sticks to about the diameter of your circle.

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Form an X with the sticks and glue or bind (or in my case, both glue AND bind) where the sticks connect. Pop your X in or on (however it fit, mine fits inside one way and on top the other way) and glue them in place. I honestly just used some basic tacky glue, hopefully it stays together. Now back to the cute part of this mobile (chandelier).

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So at this point, I was worried all these pastel lace poofs weren’t girly enough and decided to add some pearl beads. (I didn’t use the pink ones because they are not rounded.) I didn’t trust regular thread to be durable enough so I used some beading thread that I, once again, just happened to have on hand.

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I did as before, knotting the thread and stringing it through the lace flower from the inside through the top. Use string that is cut a few inches longer than you want the pouf to dangle. Then, at random points, I strung on a bead. I found I needed to tie some of the bigger sized pearls in addition to just looping through to keep them in my desired position. Repeat this for all your lace-y bulbs. Now back to the hoop.

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This is optional. The mobile looks really cute with the embroidery hoop showing but I wanted to give this one a bit more finish. And of course, it was still not girly enough. For the hoop covering, I grabbed a floral ribbon/sash strip that was in my grandmother’s lace box and folded it over a lace ruffle to hide the ruffle’s raw edge. You can see it pinned in place in the photo above. I sewed it once, normally, to keep it folded and attach the lace. Then, I sewed it with a loose stich so I could lightly gather it a bit. Now to put all the pieces together.

I didn’t take a photo in between the steps here, my apologies. I tied my lace poofs onto my hoop. I did this while the hoop was hanging so I could better see how they would fall. I do not recommended doing that, try to plan the lengths of your flowers and where to place them ahead of time so you don’t hurt your shoulders and neck as much as I did. I arranged the flowers like so:

  • white poofs on the hoop part, placed as though on the points of a ‘star’
  • pink poofs on a slightly higher level than the white and placed on the X part, one on each section
  • blue poofs higher up but also on the hoop part, following the points of a triangle

Glue the fabric around the hoop, I used hot glue this time, and you are done!

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I’d also like to enter this in Simon Say’s Stamp Monday Challenge, though this is not as paper-y as I usually do, but I can’t resist because B is definitely for Baby! http://www.simonsaysstampblog.com/mondaychallenge/

 

My Mood Board–A Vintage March

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As I don’t have a certain paper project in mind right now, I chose to set up my new inspiration board to showcase a collection of special, beautiful pieces. Many of these came straight from a Vintage Fair in England.

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I chose to post a second time this week to just show you this small creation. I hope it helps to inspire you to create this week, even if it is just something small!

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What will you be making this March?

A Seascape in an Altered Mint Tin

For my Frenchie from Paris with roots in Brittany, I altered a mint tin as part of her presents. About every other week, she says she “needs to see the sea, ASAP” so I made a seascape for those moments in between in a sort of paper diorama-style 

The clown fish has a fishing pole trailing from his mouth, so you know.

A Harry Potter-themed Altered Box

I picked up a vintage Snakes and Ladders game for 95 pence at a thrift store to alter. I dipped the natural wood box in strong black tea to tone down the coloring and flipped the lid over so the S&L game board would be on the inside. I chose to keep the game board and pieces with the present for fun. 

I then used watercolors in browns to age the edges of the map piece, cut from a Nottingham map, and attached it to the lid. I wrote out Harry Potter’s address on a vintage postcard and attached that as well.

The sides have drawings on them as seen in other photos.

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.