Category: Things to make

The 100 Day Project – 100 Brushscript Quotes

Phew…… I am just over a third of the way through this project! 100 days is a long time! I’ve been sharing my quote each day on Instagram and you can find me here over there.

I may have rambled before about my attraction to this art form before but thought I’d go over it again as I try to cement ideas in my head.

It all started with Kal. She doesn’t really post there anymore but that is where I found her many years ago. She is over here on Instagram.

I have tried her way of writing before.

I also found Amy through scrapbooking and a few years ago she started writing in watercolour brush script. Her style is completely different to Kal and they are both different to what I imagine that kind of writing to be. Mostly you find, if you look on You Tube, a perfect ‘copperplate’ style that is written to a formula. Neither of these artists write that way and I don’t want to either.

I want to try to develop a style. My style. And I think by writing for 100 days I may get there.

So far I am loving it. Up until day six I didn’t practice before I put brush to paper I just wrote the quote. Of those first few some were just a mess that looking back I don’t like very much.

Lesson number one then? I do need to ‘warm’ up before I write each one simply to get the movement flowing and to keep up the practicing. Lesson number two? Keep varying the size and style. I have tried to write differently but am drawn to the loopy writing more as you can see.

Lesson number three? Slowly does it. Now here in lies a problem. I have no patience. I want to take up the brush load it with colour and write. But I have found that if I slow down I can better judge the letters and where exactly I want the brush to go. I have also found that the way I hold the brush makes a difference. Straight up or like a pen and you end up with a different look.


I hope I’m getting better. Well I think I am. I have developed certain letters that were a problem to start with like ‘b’ and ‘y’ I like my ‘f’, ‘h’, ‘l’. Some are still tricky like ‘s’ and ‘m’ but I keep trying.

A few days ago I started with movie quotes and I’m loving that twist.

Generally I am writing them all in a book. I thought the idea of having all of them together would be kind of cool. I have done three ‘loose’ and may do more perhaps on different paper like the one in the first photo.

The paper in this pad I’m using is not watercolour paper but is slightly thicker and more textured than printer paper. I’m using a set of proper watercolour paints and a cheaper, chalkier set that I got from Hobbycraft in the UK. I use a fine water-brush for convenience and the bristles are very controllable.

I’m not sure I like the way my style is developing but I’ll keep going and see where this adventures leads me!


Go here to find out more about the 100 Day Project.

The other Gingerbread House

On Christmas Eve Gav and I decorated our own gingerbread house. There was one left over so we took up the challenge. Above is one of the lovely little elements that Gav made. A pile of snowballs! Love it.

We enjoyed ourselves and it was a very festive thing to do on Christmas Eve.

The picket fence was all Gav’s too have to admit between him getting a bit bored of ‘gluing’ them together and us eating the Matchmakers on the front of the house had a finished fence.

I made a few windows by laying down the pattern on a piece of greasproof paper and sticking them in place once set.

I also came up with a sleigh full of logs….

That’s a vegetarian red liquorice rope to pull the sleigh. In fact all our sweets were suitable for us to eat.

And a snow angel….

All in all a truly lovely way to spend an afternoon. I’m sure I said that I never wanted to make any gingerbread ever, ever again after baking six houses but after some time has passed I’m actually looking forward to this years house decorating adventures!

Take five gingerbread houses……


For a couple of years I have had this pin on my Pinterest board. I mentioned the idea of doing something similar as a family gathering to my sister, next thing you know she’d bought a great cutter set. Looked like I was doing the crazy idea this year.

I set about making the house’s – six in all – and used this recipe x 4. After baking the first batch and dragging Gav into the kitchen to help me we decided to cut the houses about a 1/4 inch smaller than the template. They spread so much during the baking process that the sides of the pieces were no longer straight so after baking and when the pieces had just come out of the oven we carefully, as the gingerbread was hot of course, cut the baked dough again with the template. That way we had uniform pieces to stick together. Gingerbread firms up quite quickly when it comes out of the oven so speed was key.


We stored the pieces in airtight tins with some baking parchment in between each piece. When it came time to assemble them Gav helped again. It would have been impossible with just one person especially as we were doing so many. I used ‘royal icing’ icing sugar to which you added water and then piped the icing on the edges while Gav set the pieces together on the cake boards. It was quite the production line. As you can see we used a variety of tin cans, cups and anything we could to hold the pieces in place.


The came the fun bit. We set out a variety of sweets and candy canes and chocolate fingers.


And let them go……




Gav and I were blown away by their creativity, focus and I guess a little competitiveness as there were prizes! But really who knew they had this in them?!

My Mum and Hannah’s creation. Cute Gingerbread man!


My older niece Holly’s house – she was decorating on her own, everyone else was in two’s so go Hol!


My nephew Josh and Sammy’s house –  they used a shimmer spray on those white chocolate buttons!


My other nephew Adam and Natalie’s house. (Their’s is the top photo of this post too.)


And finally my sister Bev and her husband David’s house.


And this photo made my heart sing.


I think they were kinda proud of themselves eh?


Truly a magical afternoon of Christmas fun. Thanks you guys for joining in!


Sketch and draw, paint and colour it in


Earlier in the year I was inspired by an artist and her Instagram account. Lisa Congdon. She has a sketchbook on the go constantly and shares lots of great art both on insta and her blog. Remember last year I tried to do something arty every week and failed miserably? Well I put that behind me and was so driven on by the creativity of this woman I bought myself a new little watercolour book and a couple of fine tipped black pens.


I was very conscientious throughout April and picked the book up at least twice a week. I’ve tried to be neat and careful which is a challenge. The doodle above is of my own design but the one below is from this pin.


I love the idea of hand lettering.


And was really pleased with my first alphabet, taken from this pin. The watercolour paper is quite bobbly so often I ended up with a wavy line.

Couldn’t resist doing a total copy of one of Lisa’s drawings.


This is such a departure from what I’d usually doodle and I think I’d like to keep going so that I can develop my own style but with a greater degree of thought and care. And practice. If there is one thing that sings out from her work it is the daily routine of practice, of doing it and keeping doing it over and over. This is also something that does not come naturally but I can try.

What I need to do is to put down the laptop and pick up the sketchbook.


Pipe cleaner Christmas tree garland


It’s been a while since I shared a crafty project other than scrapbooking. This garland has been in the making for over a year but I finally finished and hung it.

I have no idea where this notion came from, maybe just that I had lots of green pipe cleaners….. Anyway it’s easy and fun.


Take your pipe cleaner and start to fold into a triangle (tree) shape. Giving the folds a good strong angle helps the overall look of your tree.



I tried to measure the long sides so they were more or less the same length.


To make the tree stump I folded the longer edge over the bottom length of the triangle twice which helps to fix the two loose edges together.


Fold up to form stump shape and then do the same twisting to tuck the final end in place.


Voila, a forest of plush little trees.


Attach to string, I tied each in place as I moved along the length, and hang it up.

Cute and simple and festive!

And…… arty


This is a project I’ve wanted to make ever since I pinned it. Usually I am not a gold girl but gold was all the drawing pins they had so gold it was.

My younger niece and I made a similar one a few months ago with her initial. We just did an outline and I though I’d taken a photo of that canvas but couldn’t locate it. Anyway that was my trail run.

The canvas is 8 inches square not too big and not too small. I drew my ampersand in pencil to begin with and as you can see had a couple of attempts till I got it to look about right.


Then I just started filling in the design. I did pay attention to each pin and worked methodically for the most part.


I found that overlapping looked best so the drawing pins are really close together.


The tricky part was pushing the pins into the edges where the wooden frame was behind. The pins tended to stick a little proud but you don’t notice that on the finished canvas.


This was actually quite therapeutic and I love the end result, well worth a couple of hours of anyones time I think.

Make something ugly


I read and listen to a lot about creativity. Blogs, magazines, t.v shows, podcasts. Making things weaves its way in and out of my day in one form or another.

One of the podcasts I’ve been listening to lately is Elise gets Crafty over here. There was one particular episode recently that had me thinking. Elise was talking to an author and fellow creative called Kim Werker (it’s episode 32 in the 2014 season.) I found their discussion and Kim’s concept of making something ugly a wonderful idea. You can’t fail. They say this in the episode – if you set out to make something ugly and you end up making something pretty it’s not a fail is it? Win win. Yay.

It’s all about how you set about the task at hand and the problem I have and I’m guessing I am not alone here, is the pressure I put on myself to make it right the first time.

Truth be told I have made plenty of ugly things along my creative lifetime. But most of the time I am afraid to try because I might make something terrible. So I don’t make anything.

I don’t start because I may fail.

And then if I do take a risk and try, but it doesn’t work out I’ll be less likely to try it again. That’s crazy. It is a very rare thing in this life that we get something new right the first time. So why should a creative ‘thing’ be any different? Why do we make different rules for our creative endeavor’s?

Here is a little story along similar lines.

In my quest to be creative at least once a week I tried to make this painting. I covered my canvas in black (I quite liked it just black….) and then left for a few days too terrified to put the white on. Well, when I did feel brave enough I splodged on the white and immediately hated it. I stared down at the mess I’d made and started erasing the image I’d tried to make by scraping the white all over the canvas so that I could use it for something else.

I abandoned the little canvas on my desk.


A few days later Gav was printing something, the printer is in my room. I was in there too trying to tidy it up a bit and I picked up the canvas to tuck it out of the way somewhere and he said ‘that’s really good by the way, probably the best thing you’ve done, bet you could sell that.’

Well I was a little shocked. He doesn’t often volunteer comments let alone compliments about my arty stuff. My immediate reaction was to laugh and ask if he was joking. I was shocked that he thought I’d made it intentionally. So instead of saying thanks and feeling proud and happy for the compliment I explained it was a cast off, a mistake, a work in progress. I can’t remember his reply, but I’m pretty sure he was reminding himself never, ever to comment on something I’d made again! Way to go Mel!

About  twenty-four hours later that I realised my error in not simply saying thanks and accepting his praise. Taste in art, and most things, is so personal. But I have reevaluated and I can accept that he likes the canvas so I should like it right? Even if I think it’s ugly.

Anyway, I have rambled on and on and forgotten what my original point was. So I’ll stop rambling because I have a canvas to hang!

Making art every week – update in March


In January I made the bold statement that I was going to make something arty every week. I haven’t done too badly, I have picked up the pencils or the paint or the weaving and managed to make something most weeks.

They aren’t all pretty, but they are all mine and inspired by this board over on Pinterest. Here are a few of my attempts.




Below is the beginnings of this idea.


I photocopied the image above and then I photographed it uploaded the photo, made it black and white in photoshop and tweaked the contrast etc. Here is what it looks like at the moment.


Not sure I like enough to make it into a canvas but I loved the process of getting it to this point. Might try another one.

And lets finish on a truly comic moment. Here is my version of the collage pooch I have pinned on my board. I tried to make it look like Buddy…….


Gav laughed with raucous hilarity at my attempt and said it looked like the rabbit from Donnie Darko. If you haven’t seen the film just google it and you’ll see what he means. I actually quite liked my collage Buddy but will be trying harder next time…..

So not too bad at all, I’m having a go and that makes me happy.

Adventures in weaving – number three


This one has taken a while. Here is my original post way back in October. I think my colour choice made me hesitant to carry on, as Gav says ‘there’s nothing like glow in the dark art!’

But I am not the kind of girl to start over so I ploughed on. That bright pink is tricky to photograph so I apologise for the poor shots in advance.

After looking at my wool choice I decided the colour scheme needed white so added a fluffy ball into the mix. Then I added tassels to the bottom of the warp strings. I went for two rows of tassels. This is a great tutorial for all things beginner in weaving and she shows you how to add the tassels.


I liked the idea of diamond shapes with in the weaving so added some diamonds before I did any other straight weaving.


My counting is completely off so they didn’t sit symmetrically but I didn’t mind so left them in. You can see that I tucked the ends of the wool up out of the way as I went along.

Then I just started weaving varying the type of ‘stitch’ as I went.


I even tried a soumack row or two.



I seemed to get fed up around this point and left the weaving all over Christmas only dabbling again towards the end of January. I also forgot to take and in-between pictures…


I did find filling in where the diamonds were a bit of a challenge but the white wool is so fluffy it hides a multitude of gaps! Also I chose such a large block of the white to try and tone down that pink.

Because I am the most impatient person ever I decided to use a bamboo cane from the garden to hang the weaving from and although it would have looked so much better in white I decided that staining the cane with Tim Holtz silver alcohol ink. I scrubbed the cane first then added the ink. It dried so fast and looked fine for now anyway I might change it at some point.


I cut the first warp strings on one side and tied them to the cane making my knots towards the back of the weaving and then did the first strings on the other side and carried on that way until all the top strings were tied onto the cane.


The bottom strings were tied together in the same way only this time I made sure that the tassel knots were secure between each of the longer pink knots.

Then the loose threads from the front of the weaving were then taken through to the back and stitched into the weaving to secure them.


I trimmed the tassels and decided to leave the longer pale pink ones on too and hung it up.


I must admit it isn’t my favourite project, the colours just don’t match the room but I’m leaving it there for now.


I have learned a lot and my love of this craft carries on, maybe I’ll give number three to my niece and make a calmer one for us!

A little something to make


This idea is was wholeheartedly inspired by this pin. I loved this canvas piece of art and wanted to try it for myself. I have an old dictionary that’s fallen to pieces, actually I inherited this from an work colleague when I left that job and moved on, somehow it ended up in my box of stuff! I dig it out any time I need text pages and think about the good old days when I worked in the job center!

So I just started writing letters on book pages using a sharpie. I picked a sharpie because I knew I’d use gel medium to adhere the letters and I didn’t want my drawn lines to bleed.


I used paint for the coloured letters, again so they wouldn’t run when covered in gel medium.


The letters were cut out with scissors and as the paper is so thin I managed to even cut out the middles of the letters with scissors too.

A cheap and cheerful small canvas was used.


And painted red around the edge of the canvas. My lines are not that straight but it’s handmade right!


And in the spirit of trying to use some of that inspiration I get from all my pins I picked a saying from one of my boards. I laid out the combination of words a couple of different ways.



I liked the second one best.

I got out the gel medium and started sticking down the letters. I always apply a coat of gel to the canvas then adhere the letters and cover the letters carefully with more gel.


You have to put a good layer on.


And I use my fingers to apply and smooth out the gel taking care not to wrinkly the letters as I smooth the gel out. Nothing like getting messy.


And here it is all finished.


Adore it, as usual with anything I make. Ha!

And I didn’t stop there….


My original inspirations was too good not to try too.

This was so much and easy to do I have a feeling I’ll be making more to give away as gifts!