Sunday, August 10, 2014

Before and After Camera Case/Bag using DecoArt Americana Chalky Finish

give your camera case a new lease of life

from this.....

to this.....

My camera case was, to be honest, looking rather scruffy, but I like it as it's the right size to hold my camera. I decided it would be easier to do a makeover than search for a new one! Isn't that what painters and crafters do?
I used:

  • DecoArt Americana Decor Chalky Finish Paint (the colour I used is "Refreshing")
  • DecoArt Americana Clear Creme Wax
  • Isopropanol (pure rubbing alcohol). 
  • 2 x lint free pieces of cloth
  • a small piece of card
  • a paint brush

The first thing I did was cut off the zipper pull

then rubbed the surface with a piece of lint free cloth dipped in rubbing alcohol

I held a piece of card against the zip when applying the paint - just to keep it nice and neat and to make sure no paint got on the zipper

 I placed the case over a bottle and left it to dry

and applied a coat of Americana Clear Creme Wax with a piece of lint free cloth ( this paint dries really quickly so I din't have too long a wait!)

after a couple of hours I buffed the whole case with a dry cloth

and added a new zip pull I made with a silver toned bow and heart and, finally, added  rhinestones for a bit of bling

I am really pleased with the result and the paint doesn't even come off if I scratch the surface with my nail! It actually looks like leather now

This paint is amazing and, like the colour I used it is "refreshing" - an added bonus is that my camera bag matches my new holiday handbag (sorry it is not a great picture)....none of mine are!

Thursday, August 7, 2014

German Glitter Glass on Paper Shoes

at last I have some German Glitter Glass....and love it

Glitter comes in lots of shades and grades. Inexpensive plastic glitter is fine for kids projects but not great  for time consuming projects that you want to be "just so" (this is not a suitable product for children as it is real glass)

 I will always love DecoArt Glamour Dust for my painted projects and when I want a fine glimmer but sometimes something a bit heavier is required and German Glitter Glass comes in different grades to suit many projects

I sprinkled some on tissue paper I used for a fairy's skirt

German Glitter Glass is produced by Bavarian glass artisans using a seven step process - the glass is coated with pure silver before firing - it is then ground in to different "grits" ranging from "fine to "course" and comes in many colours

The Glitter Glass does tarnish through time although I find this an attractive look, I don't want it to tarnish prior to use, so I will pop one of these small anti-tarnish pads in the Ziplock bag I store the glass in.

The possibilities for this are endless...think Christmas ornaments. shoes, wooden blanks, tea light holders

Let's sparkle!

Monday, August 4, 2014

Artcoaching in Greece with Nadia Bandura

“Life as an art cannot be copied; it must be created.”
― Nadia Bandura

Earlier this year I was teaching on a cruise ship and had the pleasure of meeting Nadia Bandura. Nadia was the classical pianist on the ship and she played a great part in adding to passengers enjoyment. You can listen to some music, from her album "Heavenly and Earthly Piano" HERE

In addition to being a pianist Nadia is also the author of Artcoaching

What is Artcoaching? Nadia describes it as "a technique which gives you skills to create your own life as an art.

She has chosen Samos - a beautiful Greek island as the location for her upcoming Artcoaching tour in August 2014. You can register on her website 

Unfortunately, because of teaching commitments,  I can't accept Nadia's kind invitation to join her as part of this venture this year, so I can only dream of golden sandy beaches, tours and tastings, daily workshops,  sunshine, white buildings, friendly people, good food and the opportunity to see the Greece you will not find in a guide book.

If you are lucky enough to go - enjoy!

Sunday, July 27, 2014

Sizzix Moveable Garden Fairies

Hello.....are you finding time to craft or are you enjoying the beautifull weather outdoors?
I spent some time this week playing with "Garden Fairy" dies from Sizzix. They are fun and easy to use and lend themselves to lots of possibilities using bits and pieces already in your craft stash.
The faces are stamped then cut out using "Framelits" dies. This is the first time I have used Framelits and they are fabulous. I used watercolour pencils to colour in the faces, then blended the colours with a very small brush dipped in water. I added a little shading under the chins and on the arms to give depth.
The skirt on this little one was made using petals cut from green tissue paper with the Sizzix "Tattered Flowers" die.

For this skirt I cut tissue paper using a Sizzix doily die. I used 4 doilies...each one was folded into 4, then the doilies were glued together. I applied some glue round the bottom of the skirt and sprinkled on some German Glitter Glass. To add depth to the skirt I puffed up the folds. I printed the wings image on to copy paper, traced the pattern on vellum with a Sharpie, sprayed a little hair spray and, finally, sprinkled on some DecoArt Glamour Dust

For a different look on this one I used artificial leaves for the skirt and white acrylic paint, applied with a stylus, around her top.
If you like playing you will love these dies.......

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Chalky Finish for Glass from DecoArt

and after.....

I am grateful to DecoArt for giving me some Chalky Finish Glass Paint to try.
For this project I used the lovely grey called "Yesteryear" on a glass bud was past it's best and it turned out that the lovely green glass vases I bought last year in Copenhagen were actually clear glass with a plastic coating!

I used:
DecoArt Chalky Finish Paint for Glass - Yesteryear
DecoArt Americana Spray Sealer/finisher Matte
German Glitter Glass
A Rhinestone stick on embellishment
Double sided tape

To upcycle something similar:

1. Wipe the glass with rubbing alcohol using a lint-free cloth
2. Paint the glass - I applied two coats and used a filbert brush (helps prevent streaks) and leave to dry
3. Spray with varnish and leave to dry
4. Place double sided tape on the vase, where you want the glitter - I just wanted a band round the
    bottom of the vase
5. Roll the vase in the glitter glass
6. Gently brush off the excess & save for other projects
7. Apply stick-on rhinestones

This is a really easy way to transform a glass bottle or dish in to something special and would add real wow factor to any occasion....birthday party, wedding tables or even just sitting on your dressing table
Now.....what can I do with the other two?

Tuesday, July 1, 2014


Today I have been using DecoArt So Soft Fabric Paint to paint roses on a T shirt

I will eventually get around to posting a practice sheet for my roses but, meantime, here are a few tips for painting on fabric
  1. Pre-wash the garment prior and let it dry
  2. Do not use fabric conditioner
  3. Place a piece of plastic or card inside the garment to prevent the paint seeping through to the other side
  4. Leave to dry for 48 hours
  5. Wash on a gentle cycle
  6. Hang dry
  7. Clean brushes with soap and water
Decoart also make Fabric Painting Medium, and this converts acrylics to fabric paint. Simply Mix 2 parts paint to 1 part water

Happy Painting

Thursday, June 5, 2014

Vintage Craft Show Display using Chalk Paint

I will be teaching crafts and painting on cruise ships this summer and I do like to have a nice display to showcase my projects.

I decided to give a vintage look to some of the items I will be using -  a business card holder, necklace stand and a box I  made with ordinary 250gsm craft card

This is what I used for the makeover:

DecoArt Americana Decor Chalky Paint - colour Rafraichissant
Kitchen towel
Glue or sticky dots

The necklace stand was plasticised card (sorry I didn't take a picture of the business card holder, but it was an mdf piece I had previously painted)

and these are the embellishments I used

this is how to paint something similar:
  • 1. paint the base pieces with the chalky paint (please see below for how to paint the embellishments)
  • 2. float the Graphite paint around the edges and, after a few minutes, rub some colour off with kitchen towel until you get the desired effect
  • 3. mix  some inky paint with 50/50  Graphite paint and water, and use a toothbrush to add speckles - to do this dip an old toothbrush in to the inky paint and run your thumb across the bristles. It is a good idea to practice on paper first 
  • 4. apply the wax using a lint-free cloth and buff when it is dry

To paint the embellishments:
1. paint with Graphite paint and allow to dry

2. Pick up some green paint on a flat brush, take off some paint on card or paper, and dry brush on to the embellishment allowing the grey paint to show through. Don't use too much paint and repeat if necessary

3. Seal with spray vanish and glue the embellishments on to  the base pieces

I absolutely love DecoArt Chalky finish paint - the colours are fabulous and it can be used on so many surfaces including furniture, glass, metal and walls. Try combining different colours for a unique result

 I also prefer the wax to any I have used before as it is so easy to apply and gave just the vintage finish I wanted on this set

 Watch this space for more Chalky Paint projects


Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Vintage Buttons from Portugal

Don't you just love the feeling when you stumble across a traditional shop, tucked away in a back street, brimming with things you love?

This happened to me a few days ago when I came across a little button shop in Portugal. From the the outside it looked nothing special, but I was not surprised to find the best stash of vintage buttons I have ever seen in one place....with the exception of museums of course.The shop is owned by a lovely Portuguese lady and she told me the business has been in the family for 94 years

So far I have returned to the shop 3 times - I am not an expert, so would be delighted if anyone reading this has any comments.
Everything was organised and in boxes or jars...this made me smile
I am guessing that some of the buttons are new but some may have been taken from vintage clothes...I would love to hear their story
This is one of my favourites but, unfortunately, there was only one. It is beautifully formed and has a large piece of mother if pearl encased in plastic
These tiny ones are glass

a selection of very large buttons - the cream ones could be shell?

Plastic I think but very old and very pretty

These are sooooo unusual - made with a gilt button as the base with braided gilt around the edge

These are hollow, about 1/3" deep with sequins in the bottom and they have what looks like a piece if chain around the edge


Gilt and plastic


another gift from this sweet lady....a vintage hospital vial. Her father used to sell them many years ago and she stores tiny buttons in them.


As if I had not seen enough she then came through from the back with boxes and boxes of vintage silk floss, in jewel like colours


I hope you have enjoyed visiting a Portuguese button shop with me. I will go back tomorrow and will share pictures of any more treasure I find. I did spend mire than I meant to but that, I guess, is to be expected and happens to us all......

Was I excited doing the simplest of things - yes I was lol

Happy Crafting