Botanical Wall Lights


I have in my living room two of the ugliest wall lights I have ever come across. At this point I haven’t found the right replacements at the right price, although I’m sure to come across something nicer one day!

Seriously, these things are hideous:


So I decided to try and make them slightly less ugly with the help of some pressed botanicals.

I chose to use ash tree leaves which I laid between the pages of a big fat book on embroidery.


After a week, the leaves were nice and flat and had dried neatly.

I took the frosted glass panels out of the lamps, slathered them in mod podge and glued the leaves onto the glass.


Once the glue was dried, I trimmed the edges and gave the panels a coat of clear gloss spray for durability.

They’re a definite improvement, and will do until the right sconces make their way into my life!


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Cyanotype Cushions


Back in the dark ages (aka the early 1990s) when I was a hippie dippie art student majoring in printmaking, I fell in love with cyanotype or blueprinting. A combination of two chemicals mixed with water and set out in the sun= magic blue-ness! I did a lot of these even in the first few years after I left university, but when I moved from flat to flat in my early twenties my printmaking fell by the wayside, it was difficult to keep a bunch of printmaking supplies in tiny spaces.

So it has been over 20 years since I blueprinted anything.


Then I came across Inkodye, mentioned in a craft book I was reading.  A quick eBay search and a couple of days later I had a bottle of my very own!

This stuff does just what I’d done back in my uni days, but comes in a wide variety of colours! I went with old school blue, but next time I’d like to try a green- it’d be fabulous for botanicals.

And that’s what I wanted to use, leaves from my garden on some plain white cotton fabric.


Now this did not go smoothly, I can tell you!

To begin with, the thick gloopy liquid is hard to work with, and you need to work incredibly fast, it starts colouring straight away. 


Then there was a light breeze that moved some leaves part way through, although this was a happy accident as it actually created quite a cool effect.

It only takes 10 minutes to fully colour.


The next step was to wash the fabric to remove the remaining inkodye. I popped the fabrics into the machine with a small amount of washing powder and once done, hung them on the line.


That was when I discovered the dye hadn’t completely washed out and the white bits started to go blue!!!!

Quickly back into the machine with more powder this time.

Unfortunately the colour faded a bit in the wash so I didn’t get to keep that wonderful deep indigo.

Still, the blueprint feel was there and took me back in time. I love them!


Then I just needed to sew them into cushions. I used an old, very damaged bedspread to source the backing fabric from.


I’m ecstatic with how they turned out, especially considering the hiccups along the way!


A word of caution- use rubber gloves if you don’t want blue fingers for days afterward!!!

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Shelf Vignette

I have spoken before about what a terrible gardener I am, but I wanted to fill a shelf full of vases of prettiness, so I went hunting in my garden and found a surprising array of beautiful plants to display:

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January Bed Post


A quick January bed post, with my favourite vintage floral pillow cases and my grandmother’s patchwork bedspread. 

With assistance from the handsome Frodo.

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The Sketchbook Project


Six years ago I participated in The Sketchbook Project by the Brooklyn Art Library for the first time. I enjoyed it, but at the time I wasn’t a regular Sketchbook user, and I actually found it difficult to fill that little book.

Since then, I have become an aficionado of the Sketchbook (see my post from last year about Sketchbooks and Journals) and last year I discovered that the Brooklyn Art Library had produced an inspiring and fascinating book about the project :


I absolutely ADORE seeing the Sketchbooks of other artists, it’s fascinating to see others process and I get inspired by different techniques and ideas.

In fact I have quite a collection of books about artists Sketchbooks and follow a variety of blogs on the subject.


So I figured I should once again participate in the project, to give a little back and hopefully inspire someone in the process!

The books have got a lot smaller and a lot more expensive (our exchange rate and postage costs mean this has cost me nearly $100, and I haven’t even posted it back yet!).

However……

I thought I would share with you all the pages of my TSP Sketchbook before I parcel it up and send it to New York….


If you’ve made it this far, then you obviously like see Sketchbooks as much as me! Thanks for joining me in my travels through this book.

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A Mirror Restored


When I spied this bevelled mirror in the op shop for $4.99 I knew I couldn’t pass it up.

A couple of hours with some paint stripper and a sander revealed a gorgeous oak frame.


It had been stained darker, but I used a clear varnish to keep it a bit lighter.


I hung it on the back of the front door so I can check my reflection for paint smudges on my cheek or forgotten paint brushes tucked into my ponytail before I leave the house!


A bargain at $5!

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Kitchen Floors Finally Finished!


It has taken one hell of a lot of hard work, blood, sweat, tears and swearing, but the kitchen floors are finally done!
Let me remind you what it was like when I first pulled up the floating floor.


Covered in glue, there was a lot of painstaking spreading paint stripper and scraping hard. Over and over again.


Halfway done, a lot more to go, I thought it would never end!

Sanding, sanding, sanding. 

Finally it was time to apply the varnish! I toddled off to Bunnings and tried hard to match the colour of the floor in the living room from photos.


So far, so good. I was quite happy at this stage, even though the colour was slightly more orange than I wanted it was close.
However. It needed two coats, so once the first coat was dry, I started all over again.



Once the second coat went on, it was very orange. It doesn’t look so orange in photos, but in real life it’s not my ideal colour.

But. It’s done! And it will be fine until such time as I can afford to get professionals in to do the whole house properly!

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