Happy Monday! How are you? It’s turned numbingly, bitingly cold since my last post, and we had our first flurries of snow on Sunday (the perfect day for a picturesque but entirely unproblematic snowfall). Harry and I finished making our annual Christmas cards, this time with a beautiful and cheery reindeer, painted by Harry. We were inspired by the work of amazing illustrator Catherine Rayner, who paints gorgeous animals and also shows children how to draw them for themselves (this giraffe!). Harry sketched out his reindeer and then we mixed up some watercolours for him to use. He outlined it in a black water-resist pen which made all the difference to his finished painting…
I scanned the picture and printed off a set of cards for us to fill in (if you’re wondering – he added the holiday lights two days after the rest of the painting, and after I’d printed out the pictures below; an artist never stops iterating…). For the cards that we can hand-deliver, we’re sealing them with big red and wooden buttons from the button box for a final fun accent.
We’ve also made some simple but vibrant tags to go on gifts, by taking inexpensive bulk-buy white tags and glueing on a mass of tiny pom-poms; we simply rolled a glue-stick over the last couple of inches of each tag and then pressed a handful of pompoms onto the glue, leaving in place until they dried..
And then my third and rather more understated project; silver-sprayed giant gift sacks made from the same paper potato sacks I used for this project;
To make these, simply spray your paper sacks silver (or any colour – but do it outside given the fumes and the mess!). Whilst the paint dried, I printed out giant name-tags onto watercolour paper (using this font), cut them into shape and then used a brown marker pen to line the edges in dashes to mimic stitching, adding a wooden star to each tip. I glued the tags under the turned-over rim of each sack, and they’re now ready to stuff with gifts….
…like this olive tree! Have a wonderful – warm! – week, wherever you are and whatever you’re doing. In the evenings after work we’re slowly decorating the house for Christmas, building this year’s Fir Lady and taking a rather Nordic approach to winter decor, with stars, greenery and wooden accents dotted around; more to follow on this next time!
p.s. One from the archives; rather more elaborate heirloom sacks for those with the time and dedication…
This week I made a simple Christmas nativity scene using some wooden blocks I picked up from a craft store. Painted in muted colours and with twists of wire, modelling-clay and wooden accessories, they make a calming and beautiful tableau. I bought a selection of different wooden shapes (mine were from A C Moore in(…)
I’ve made advent calendars in the past, usually filled with chocolates and tiny toys for Harry. This year I decided to make a rather different one for a couple of my girlfriends, which reveals a new beauty treat each day through the month of December… A few weeks ago, I began to collect pocket-sized lotions,(…)
It’s Harry’s birthday soon, and it seems to me very important that at breakfast-time he should get to wear a crown (because if you can’t be a king on your birthday, when can you?). In describing these as origami crowns, I use the term fairly loosely; in truth they involve folding single sheets of paper(…)
With Remembrance Day on Sunday, I decided to have a go this week at making poppies, using coffee filters to create simple yet beautiful oversized blooms in commemoration. Here they are… To make these, I took a pack of coffee filters and separated them into little clumps of 3 or 4, then filled a shallow(…)
When we got married almost ten years ago, I slipped a champagne cork from the wedding breakfast into my husband’s pocket as a memento of the day. A year later, I did the same on our first anniversary, and then again when we raised a (very small) glass to toast Harry’s arrival into the world.(…)
It’s almost Halloween! I have to confess, the spooky side of Halloween is not really for us; Harry has long been a-feared of witches, ghosts and all things spooky, and after brief experimentations with ghoulish decor we’ve decided to instead embrace the bits we love; the baking, the trick or treating and the pumpkins. Oh,(…)
Picasso famously asserted that ‘Every child is an artist. The problem is how to remain an artist once we grow up’. It’s a great question to ponder; why do so many children change from being magnetically drawn to any available paper and crayons to declaring, somewhere in the double-digit years, that ‘I can’t draw’, and(…)
This week, I made a giant brown bear head to hang on the wall…. It is one of the messiest things I’ve ever made, so brace yourself. It’s also really, really good fun. Having mastered the bear, Harry and I are currently attempting a triceratops (because our ambition knows no bounds). But first, let’s scroll(…)
Have you ever painted a pumpkin? Until now I would have put it in the category of ‘life is too short to even contemplate this’, but then I decided that I would give it a go. As the seasons turn from summer to autumn, it feels a little too early to deck the halls with(…)
The nights here are drawing in as the seasons turn, bringing out my hibernating instinct. The wind and rain and the sudden chill in the air have given the perfect excuse for spending a few evenings over the last week in the art room, radio on and cup of tea in hand, painting a set(…)
What’s on your desk right now? Or your kitchen or bedside table…whatever space you consider most yours? Mine is messy. Always. Occasionally artfully messy, but more often cluttered with cups of half-drunk tea, pots of paintbrushes in water (or sometimes, I confess; paintbrushes in half-drunk tea), papers and scribbles and lost toys and lists and(…)