Once upon a time . . .

Are you sitting comfortably children?  Then I’ll begin . . .

Once upon a time …  when I was a little younger than I am now,  …  not much younger you understand,   just a little, I was watching daytime TV when all of a sudden what should appear on the screen than some darling little houses.  Just for a flash.  A moment.  The longest, they were on-screen was about 3 seconds.  BUTI saw them and that’s what’s important here.

I tried to find the little houses on the internet, by doing a search for the TV programme on which they made their momentary appearance, but, sadly, it was not to be.  I discovered that they were never featured within the programme, so they were just there in the introduction as a colourful addition to the film sequence which ‘introduced’ the programme.

BUT ….  I’d seen them,  and once seen, they could never be forgotten.  They were imprinted upon my brain.  Well … my one brain cell had drawn them on a  post-it note and pinned it to the wall of my brain so that I remembered them.

They were on the ‘back burner’ of my mind for the longest time, when one day, some weeks ago I mention\ed them to Mr.Cobs. 

Mr. Cobs has a collection of scrap bits of wood – off cuts of this, that and the other which he cannot bear to throw away.  As a crafter I can fully understand this behaviour.  I ventured down the garden, pretending to look for one of our cats, but I was sneakily peeping through the windows of his Man Cave.  He caught me at it!

A voice boomed from somewhere and made me jump:  “What are you up to, young lady?”.  I gasped, audibly.  Was that God speaking to me?  A ghost maybe? (because we’re pretty certain we have one – along with many ghosts of cats).  I looked towards the house but could see no one there.  Again, the voice asked “What are you doing?” only this time I knew where the voice was coming from.

…..  “I was just looking in the shed windows.  Y’know….  like y’do.”  I said, feeling that would be enough of an explanation.  But it wasn’t.

Mr.C wandered into the conservatory and I instantly knew I was ‘in trouble’.  He was putting on his gardening shoes, and that meant only one thing . . .  he was coming out!  I’d been caught in the act, and I was going to have to explain myself.

Now Mr.Cobs is a ‘stamper’.  Not a crafting stamper you understand, but a  ‘BANG HIS FEET DOWN ON THE FLOOR AS HE WALKS BECAUSE HE A HUGE BEAST OF MAN’  stamper.  He’s on the other end of the scale when it comes to ‘Ballerina’. In fact … he’s totally off that scale.  Think more Sumo Wrestler – but slimmer.  He’s a tall chap, and does carry a little more timber around the middle than the Doctor is happy about, but he’s not huge.  However …  he’s going to totally stuff up the internal ‘shock absorbers in his legs’ with the way he walks.  He can’t do anything light-footed.  He can’t creep, and I swear to Dog that he can’t walk gently.  He  S.T.A.M.P.S  his heels down with the heaviest feet in the whole wide world.

He exited the conservatory.  The ground was shaking as he approached.

“You were looking for something – I saw you.  What are you looking for?”

“I was just gazing in the windows.  Just, y’know ….  gazing”  I replied.

“So you weren’t hoping to go into the shed to find something and remove it then?” he said as almost an accusation.

“Uhm .. well, no, not quite  ….  not now you’re here.”  I said, grinning,  and feeling the warm glow of guilt coming to my cheeks.

Oh, right, well then I’ll go away.  He said, pretending to turn and walk away.

“Well … actually….  since you are here….”  I ventured, in a cajoling tone…. 

He turned is body back around and lent his head to one side, in a questioning sort of angle – his eyebrows raised, clearly (voicelessly) asking … “What?”

“….  I saw something on TV a little while ago, and I would rather like to make some of them”

“So you WERE looking for something then!”  He said, accusingly, but with a laugh which also showed as fun on his face.

“…..  Welll … Yes  …   I was really.  Sort of.  I need some little bits of wood”.  I said in my most Sunday best, angelic voice that I could muster.

“Bits of wood?  What for?  What do you want to make and what size of wood are you hoping to find?”.  He was warming to the subject matter, I could tell.  Bits of wood are Mr.Cobs ‘currency’.

Lifting my hands to demonstrate,  I said:  “Well, I need three bits ….  around this sort of size”  … (making box shapes with my hands).  “I want to make some little houses”.

“Little Houses?”   He repeated, while his brows furrowed….

“Yes.  Simple, rustic looking little houses, out of cut wood, and I will paint doors and windows on them!”

He’s that used to my hair brained ideas for crafting things – I’ve been a crafter all our married life, so he’s used to me now – that he didn’t flinch or give me one of his  ‘Are You Totally Mad, Woman?’  faces that he can do sometimes.

“Ok…  I think I can do that.  But … what about the roofs?  What are you going to do for those?”  He asked.

“Uhmm … ….  paint them I suppose.” I said, shrugging my shoulders.

“Ok.  Give me a little time.  I’ve got to finish getting the garden in order and  . . . ”  … he reeled off a list of VITs  (Very Important Things), and ended with:  “…  and then I’ll get to your wooden houses.  OK?”

During the weekend just gone he presented me with three little blocks of wood.   I took my pencil and drew how and where they’d need to be cut in order to give them a roof.  He took the blocks of wood away and a few minutes later he presented me with these:

LittleHouses Wood Blocks

Three almost but not quite little houses.

I painted them with an under-coat, and as I did so, Mr.Cobs appeared back in the craft-room and asked me again about the roofs,  telling me that he had some ‘slates’ left over from when we built our porch.  “I could cut you some of those slates to the right sizes, if you’d like Slate for the roofs.”  He said.  I jumped at the chance!

He measured up the little houses and went away humming to himself, and a little while later he came back and gave me six individual little pieces of slate – all cut to the right sizes for each of the houses, and with little holes in them, so that they could be fixed in place!  And this is what they now look like:

Little Houses Pink

Little Pink Painted House

 

Little Houses Yellow

Little Yellow Painted House (a farm-house, maybe?).  You can see, over to the left as you’re looking at this photo, a steel rule which is showing (as best as can be) the height of these houses. They’re measuring at roughly 4″ tall (or 10cm)

Little Houses Blue

Little Blue Painted House.

I painted the backs to look different from the front ….

Little Houses Backs

The backs of the Little Houses

  so that you can compare the fronts and the backs . . .

Little Houses Fronts

The fronts of the little houses

And that’s how the adventures of the Little Houses began.

They’re not Fairy Houses, and they aren’t houses which go in the garden.  They’re rustic, little cottagey type houses – the type of cottages found by the seaside here where I live in the South of England.  They’re just for decoration inside our cottage.  To look sweet on a shelf somewhere, or on a table or bookshelf.  These three are going to sit on my coffee table.

I’m already planning to make some more…. only the next one’s will be a bit different to these.

Thanks for coming and spending some time with me.  I love your company.  But  then …. you know that already.  ❤

Be good to yourselves this month.  Give yourself a smile in the mirror every now and again.  A REAL smile.  One which reaches your eyes.  And …  don’t expect so much of yourself.  It’s great to have goals and ambitions, but sometimes, a body needs to know it’s loved.  Love yourself. Because if YOU don’t love you, how can anyone else be expected to love you.  (But please always remember that I love you in spite of yourself! lol)

Sending love, from me here in my corner, to you there in yours.

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#InkTober2017 6th ~ Love – is all you need!

I’ve not really ‘done’ a Zentangle before.  I’ve dabbled and kind of began drawing one, but begin is as far as it ever got.  Words were said, such as:  “I can’t quite understand the joy of this…”  and ….  “.. it’s pretty … but … I’m not sure I’m cut out for it.”.  And that’s as far as my venture into this unknown thing got.

Inktober

So when I was trying to think of something to draw for a daily drawing #InkTober2017 and Zentangling popped into my head, I should have wondered why.

What was I thinking?  I know that a Zentangle looks like a quick bit of doodling, but I’m here to tell all those of you who haven’t tried their hand at this form of artwork, that it’s anything but quick.  Of course, it would have been a couple of hours shorter had I not began by measuring it out, cutting the right size of paper and got to the drawing of ‘V’ (I’d already drawn and coloured L and O – I didn’t want to lean on any artwork and dirty it, so thought I’d colour it in one letter at a time) …  and it was after I began to draw the letter V that a slow dawning realisation came about that although I’d measured out correctly the size of the letters, I’d forgotten to add in the space between the letters which I’d require, so I had to start aaalllll over AGAIN!  Grrrr!

To be honest I’m not sure if it’s the planning and sketching out which takes the time, or the then drawing and colouring, but the whole lot adds up to a lot of work. It’s harder than it looks and I now have a new-found respect for anyone who does this as their chosen form of art.  Seriously so.

Anyhoo …  I didn’t get to post a photo yesterday for Inktober 5th so I’m missing a day, but I’m sure I won’t be expelled for it.  So this colourful bit of Zentangled Art is my #InkTober 6th inking.

#InkTober2017 Love is all you Need 2

When I look at it, now that it’s done, I can’t help feeling that maybe this type of Artwork is this modern ages version of Illuminated Manuscript.

I kind of planned it out in pencil before hand, but then added the loops and coils and danglings and curly bits, twirly bits, hearts, dots etc etc, as I inked the words using a Zig Memory System Ink Pen by Kuretake.  Everything was drawn out in that pen.  From thin to thick lines – all the black you see is that one pen.

All the colour on the other hand comes from ‘Kuretake Clean Color, Real Brush’ Ink Pens.  Try as I might I cannot find a better pen than these to colour with ink.  They blend so, so beautifully, and with so little effort on my part.  And clean up is so easy.  If you (for example) use a bright yellow pen against a deep red one and get a dirty brush (nib)  you simply do a tiny scribble on a scrap of paper and the pen is clean again.  VOILA!

Well … that’s my  #InkTober 6th offering which was missing.

coffee cup

Now the observant among you will notice that there was something missing from today.  I’ll give the unobservant a clue:  Today is Friday.

Ding  Ding  Ding  Ding  Ding.

Yup …  there was no Friday Post.  There is a very good reason for that.  A very good reason indeed.  And when I think of it I’ll let you know.

No … actually, to be serious.  The truth is …  [hangs head, looks down at toes and kicks imaginary dirt around with the toe of her shoes] . . .   I er, umm … well … it’s like this … . . . .   I  [cough] …  I fell asleep in the chair and when I woke up I went straight to bed and forgot that I had a date with you.  I’m sorry.  I shall feel guilty for ages about it.  Well … for a moment or two anyway.  I shall make up for it by inviting you all round for coffee and cakes next week.

Until then

Have a truly wonderful weekend.  May you find something to smile about;  find something to do which you enjoy;  and …. don’t forget to put your feet up at some stage and just watch what’s going on outside … even if nothing appears to be going on outside.  Just keep watching.  Something is bound to happen – even if it’s just a bird flying past; a squirrel running up a tree or a cloud floating by.

Sending love ~

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Happy Anniversary! I pegged on a Chalkboard.

Before we begin …. 

This little chalkboard is proof, if more proof were needed, that I’m a ‘fricken’ rubbish photographer.  You see … in real life, this little chalkboard is so sweet.  So lovely.  Incredible in fact.  Something I was so proud of making,  and still am proud of making.  But in  all  the photos (and there were a LOT of photos taken) there wasn’t one good one. Not one.  🐻  (I wanted an emoticon with steam coming out of the ears but couldn’t find one, so you have a grumpy bear instead).

It was Mr.Cobs and his enchanting  sweet  charming  wonderful  captivating  rubbish photographer wife’s (me) 36th Wedding Anniversary recently and I wanted something other than just a normal card for him.

I know, 36 years!  I heard you gasp when you read it the first time.  It’s hard to believe isn’t it,  because I look so young in my Gravatar photo. What can I say …  he was a cradle snatcher, but I’ve grown accustomed to his face now so I won’t bother causing a fuss.

I went in search of something which would stand up on the shelf or coffee table, but which wasn’t made from a card or paper product.  I found the very thing. A little Chalkboard!

It came as four unprepared pieces so that you can do whatever you wish to them.  A front and a back piece – which are identical.  And a frame front section which goes on top of the front piece – so forming the frame around what will become the chalkboard, and finally – a smaller piece which will give you the little shelf for the chalk.

I waded straight in and painted the section on the front piece, in black paint to make it look like the black of a chalkboard.  While it was drying, I glued the ‘chalk shelf’ to the frame.  Once the paint was dry, I then fixed the frame onto the front (chalkboard painted) section, and held it tightly using some craft clamps and clips.

1 Anniversary Chalkboard

I painted the legs, frame and back of the chalkboard in Amish Blue paint, then once dry I coated it in a crackle glaze – which I bought many years ago (about 25 years ago) by the bucket-load, (well no, about 15 large bottles of it).  It was a new thing on the market then and I loved to crackle crafty stuff.  I had a couple of bottles left . . . . 

I got a bottle out of my cupboard while chewing on my lip, telling myself that it would be no good.  It would have gone off after all this time.  BUT … IT HADN’T!!!   Ohhhh Joy thy name is Crackle!  I duly painted a coat of the crackle glaze, and once dried, I gave it another coat of the Amish Blue.  I didn’t want the ‘white peeping from behind the blue, or black or red etc’ thing that everyone seems to do.  I wanted a crackle which I could rub some antiquing medium into the cracks so that it had that old cracked varnish look like you find on things in posh shops.

Once everything dry, I added some white stencilling paste around the corner of the chalkboard to give it the suggestion of chalk dust sitting on the side.

Then I turned my attention to fixing the chalkboard back and front together – with soft white string as you can see in the photo’s.  And also make the ‘note’ which I wanted to fix to the board.

2 Anniversary Chalkboard

 

Next was the turn of the decorative paper flowers to the lower left corner.  White paper roses, some Prima blue daisies, and Prima pink roses.  Moss, and a few other bits of floral decorations and the corner was done!  (The twigs and the teeny pine cones came from my garden).

I added the sentiment – on some lovely striped paper from DoCrafts, in their Floral Muse range (which I ‘vintaged’ using brown ink and a duster brush), and fixed them in place using the two pegs (now glued to the board) and a dab of glue to the back of the ‘note’ to make sure that it didn’t try to make a get-away!

In case you can’t read it, the note says:   Happy Anniversary!  You are my best decision EVER!

3 Anniversary Chalkboard

 

And that’s all there was to it!

Explaining it makes it sound really complicated, but it really wasn’t.  Truthfully.  If I made it then any idiot with some glue, paint and a brush can do it.

Ohand yes, he really was.  My best decision,  ever.

After the three photographs you’ve seen here …. (and remember, these are not good) …  this was the next best one….

4 Anniversary Chalkboard

Look how blurred that is!!!   When I first opened up this last photo, I initially took my glasses off and rubbed them with the hem of my t-shirt which I had on!  I thought it was my glasses…. then my eyes …. and only after that did I realise that it was my fantastic talent for taking shocking photos.   (And if you think this one is bad you ought to see the ones I WOULDN’T show you!  lol).  But … if you look really carefully to the top bar, over the chalkboard, you can just about see the fine cracked varnish affect I got from using the same colour over the top of the crackle glaze, and then rubbing antiquing medium into the cracks to make the cracks show up.

Ah but anyhoo …

Before I go I have something I just have to share this with you.  Mr.Cobs reads a little selection of newspapers on-line and he popped over to the Daily Mail to glance down the main home page to see if there was anything he’d missed from elsewhere.   I came in from my craft room to find him laughing so hard (yet trying to keep it under control) so much that I thought he was about to have a fit of some description.  He eventually calmed down enough to show me what he was laughing about.  When I looked at it I too began to giggle, then laugh, eventually having to grab a tissue to wipe my eyes so I could continue to read.  I thought that I would love to share this with you because … well, there’s so much in life to give us a frown right now that if I can make just one of you smile even a little then grabbing the link to this would be very much worth it.  So, with my love, and with the advice of making sure you too have a tissue ready ….  I share this link:  Daily Mail UK – Answers Children gave for Tests.   It will open in another window for you. 

Enjoy!

Thanks for coming for a visit, I love to see you, but then, you know that already.  ❤

Have a blessed day.  Be good to each other.   See you next time.  

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Never Stop Making Wishes!

Going through the moving of my sewing deskalong with numerous boxes of crafty stuff which I did last week,   I came across a long forgotten little blackboard which I bought from one of those pound shops for … yes you guessed it,  a £1.  I can remember that I bought it with something in mind to do with it, however that ‘something’ long ago made its travelling plans and went on a walking holiday out of my right ear and never came back.  So … seeing the blackboard again made me think that I really needed to do something with it.  So I did!

Like the dope that I am   … I forgot to take a photo of the blackboard in its original state, (DOH!)  so I took a photo of the back of it so that you could see the plain wood and what colour it was.

Back of the Blackboard

It’s a soft wood, and quite light in weight, so not something that will pull a wall down if you hang it on a nail!

Blackboard painted

The front … I painted the frame in a deep wine red colour.  It took the paint really well and dried pretty quickly, which I was glad about because I was eager to crack on with the project.

While waiting …  I knew I wanted to put some flowers on the frame, so set about making some roses.

The making of the blackboard flowers

petals in No.1 are waiting to be formed.  Petals in No.2 have been shaped into ‘cup’ shapes.  And finally, No.3 is the completed ‘rose’ flower.

I cut out a variety of sizes of the same flower – one was to be a larger flower and I wanted two others to be slightly smaller.

Once the shapes were cut, I then popped them into a cardboard box which I’d lined with some cling-film (cling wrap), and I lay the ‘petals’ of each flower on it, and then spritzed them with some Cosmic Shimmer sprays, to turn the petals into the colours I wanted them to be.

While these were drying, I went back to the blackboard and did the ‘words of encouragement’ you see in the photo.

blurry hanging on the wall Wishes Blackboard

Bit of a blurry photo, but the only one I got of it hanging on the wall of my cottage. (The flash wiped out the colours a little and left everything looking ‘flat’)

Once the rose petals were dry, I then shaped them into ‘cup’ shapes, and assembled them, shaping the petals as I went along.  Once all assembled, I then spritzed them again, very lightly, where needed, to adjust each rose colour so that it looked like it had grown on the same bush as the others.  (there’s method in my madness! lol).  Finally, I added a tiny sprinkle, here and there, of chunky ice crystals (like glitter, but not) – just to give them a bit of sparkle.

I die cut some leaves, and a bit of deep ‘greenery’ filler and then built the floral decoration in the top left corner, making it sit upon a little soft cream coloured crocheted doily.

And that’s all there was to it!  Ta Dahhhh!

Finished Blackboard

Happy Monday! 

May I just take this moment to say hello to some new followers.  I won’t mention each person by name, but you know who you are.  🙂  Thank you for joining and coming to visit.  Please feel free to chat away in a comment on any post you’d like to.  Don’t feel shy.  Everyone here is amazingly friendly and you’ll fit right in.

If you can’t work out where the comments section is …  go to the top of the post you want to comment on and find the title of the post (eg: for this post the title is  Never Stop Making Wishes) … just over to the right of the title is a pale grey speech bubble which will turn darker when you hover your cursor on it.  Click that speech bubble and it will take you to the comments section and you’ll be able to read and write there.  😀

So anyhoo ….  This is the last Monday in April….  so let’s make it a great day!  Plaster a smile to your face and each time you catch yourself without your smile, paste it back there and try to keep it there.  If nothing else it will make people wonder what you’re up to!  lol

Have a truly lovely day my friends,  and …  be good to each other.

Sending squidges by the bucket load ~

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Is it Time for Tea?

About two weeks ago I went into my local Charity store to have a look around and see if there was anything I needed which I didn’t know I needed until I saw *it*. (what ever *it* might be).

Amongst the china were some little cups and saucers which someone had made into pin cushions. “One of those would be great to replace my current pin cushion, because the one I’ve got has really had its day!”  I said to Mr. Cobs.  So I duly bought said pin cushion and took it home.

The following day I found that this ‘pin cushion’ didn’t want to the job it was supposed to do at all.  The felt which the maker had used as the ‘cover’ was that thick childrens felt – and it just didn’t want to accept that it’s job was to allow pins through it.  After a week of trying to jiggle (force) pins into it, I was about to throw the whole thing in the bin in frustration,  but something told me I should try removing the red velvet ribbon around the rim of the teacup, and the white felt – along with whatever was inside that felt,   and, if the cup was still in an OK condition, perhaps I could re-make the pin cushion.  So I did.  And it was.  So I did!

pin-cushion-cup-1

Cleaned up nicely!

I cleaned up the glue and bits of velvet threads stuck to the cup by using an emery board, then gave it a wipe.  I then went and had a bit of a look through my bits of fabric box.  I found some bits of soft denim fabric from some old striped jeans I had and laid it flat on my desk and with a chalk pencil I drew around the saucer (and added about half an inch, just to be sure).  I then did a running stitch all around the circle of denim, and left a long thread at the end – but didn’t knot or over-sew the end as I wanted to be able to draw that circle together.

pin-cushion-cup-2-height

The cup itself (without the saucer) is just a shade under 6cm tall – which is around 2.25 inches.  Such a tiny little cup.

Then using some foam (from an unused sponge),  which I’d cut to shape (so that I could see that it fitted into the cup as I wanted it to do), and then wrapped a little toy stuffing (or cushion pad inner stuffing) around the outside of the sponge, to give it a bit of a filler to make it more ’rounded’ in shape.

I sat this wrapped sponge onto the middle of the circle of fabric and began to pull the loose threads, which in turn began to gather up around the foam.  This is a part that you have to do carefully, as you want to make sure that all the foam and stuffing are in the exact places you need it to be, and that it’s all encased inside that fabric.

After this, I re-threaded the needle with those threads and stitched the gathered up denim closed, so that it wouldn’t come undone.

pin-cushion-cup-3-width

The width of the saucer is roughly 10.3cm – which is around 4 inches.

I tested it in the cup to make sure I’d got it just right, then, using Pinflair Glue Gel in a syringe, I squeezed out a thin line of Glue Gel all around  (about an inch down)  the inside of the top of the cup, then carefully placed the denim ‘parcel’ into the cup,  and once happy, I gave a gentle press downwards, to make sure that the fabric actually was at the bottom of the cup, and that it had touched the glue gel, all the way around and so would stick & be held in place.

pin-cushion-cup-4

Then it was simply a case of decorating around the edge.  I chose some Jumbo Ric-Rac and some tiny dollshouse  Pom-Pom Trim in the same shade of pink as the Ric-Rac,  and hand stitched them around the edge,  to finish it all off.

This was SO easy to make that I think even Little Cobs (grandson) could manage this one.  And the best thing about this?   From start (removing the old ‘pin cushion’), to finish ….  the whole thing took me about 30 minutes!  One – Half an Hour craft project!

pin-cushion-cup-5

Handle to the left ….

Oh!  Hang on….  NO!!!  The  BEST  THING  about  this  is  . . .   IT NOW TAKES PINS It’s now a really real Pin Cushion!

pin-cushion-cup-6

. . .  and handle to the right!  …   A view from above, so that you’ve ‘seen’ all the way around it, in case you want to make one for yourself … or for someone else.

If you do decide to make one of these for yourself....  the day before you actually make it, glue the cup to the saucer with some strong glue.  Not crafters glue, or PVA.  Use something which is suitable for china.

If you have Pinflair Glue Gel, I’d guess that would do a great job – but remember to put enough glue on (which ever glue you use), because there’s a little rim around the bottom of a cup (normally), which will make the base of the cup stand proud from the saucer – so you need to put enough glue so that it makes a good grab onto the saucer and the cup.

And that’s all there is to it!

This was such an easy make that I wasn’t going to post about it.  I felt like a bit of a fake because I hadn’t sweat blood and tears over it.  But then I thought that maybe there might be someone who needed a pin cushion and so could make something like this in their spare time.  

Happy Thursday all.  Sending squidges to you, from me!

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Babooshka, Babooshka, Babooshka-ya-ya! No not the song, it’s a Cup Mat Make-over!

To be true to the art work,  real Babushka’s are spelt just as I’ve just typed it: BABUSHKA,  and not as in the Kate Bush song ‘Babooshka’Or to give them their usual name that we mostly all know them as Russian Dolls.

I had a set of Russian Dolls when I was about 8 or 9 years old.  It had 8 nesting dolls altogether – each of them getting smaller and smaller, and I loved it.  However, at some point in my life it went missing and I’ve thought about it off and on as the years passed.  Then something really weird but totally wonderful happened last year.

Our neighbours went away on holiday, and when they go away we look after their cat for them.  They’d gone to Russia.  When they came back they called round with the gift of a set of genuine Russian nesting Dolls.  I was absolutely beside myself with joy. My neighbours didn’t know about my lost dolls.  I was in a state of total joy for days on end.

The set is so lovely and every now and again I take them apart and set them up as their individual dolls, just so I can look at them and enjoy them.  Then I very carefully pack them all back into each other and pop them back where they ‘live’ on top of my grandmother clock – out-of-the-way of cats, dogs  and Little Cobs!

Anyhooo...  regular readers will remember that I did a make-over on a rather tired cup-mat last week, painting a Goose on it.  Today is the turn of a Babushka, a Russian Doll, to grace a cup mat in the craft room.

Babushka Cup Mat 2

The ‘half way mark’ of the make-over of the cup mat.

Just like last weeks cup mat,  this mat was rubbed down,  painted with a coat of white Gesso, then two coats of black acrylic paint.  I don’t normally draw a detailed drawing when I’m going to paint, I generally just go straight in with the paint.  But I had to get the proportions of the big round body and smaller round head right, so I used a pencil to draw gently on top of the black acrylic and ‘place’ everything where I needed it to be.  Once I’d painted her, and took the above photo, I decided that the colours weren’t quite as I wanted them to be, so I re-mixed some paints and painted her scarf and apron a slightly warmer colour.

Babushka Cup Mat 1

If you compare the two pictures you can just about tell the difference in her scarf and apron.

So … you might be wondering why I haven’t shown you a photo of my Russian nesting dolls, the gift from my neighbours.  Well I wouldn’t because these are different from the Russian lady dolls . . . . . .

Russian Dolls

They’re cats!   Five beautiful, fabulous cats – and the biggest has just come back from a fishing trip where he caught a rather pretty fish.  I’m certain that he caught it as a pet for them all.  [I totally refuse to believe anything else].  The Dog in the photo, (on the left as you’re looking at it), is a sculpture, and he really does actually have two ears … it’s just that the one you can’t see is on the other side of his head and I didn’t notice when I took the photo that it wasn’t showing.  I only realised that he looked like he had an ear missing when I was re-sizing the photo to post here, and by that time …. well … it was a case of ‘Oh sod it.  I can’t be bothered to set it all up again’.  LOL.

Soooo  Happy Monday!  Got anything planned this week?  Birthdays?  Anniversary?   Holiday anywhere?  Visiting somewhere which you’re looking forward to?  Someone coming to visit you?  Orgoing back to the theme of re-cycling or doing a make-over .. have you or are you planning to do a make-over on something?  If you’ve done one and posted on your blog about it, then put a link to it, here in the comments below, so that we can all come and visit your blog!  (Who knows, you may pick up one or two followers in the process!)

Have a truly lovely day today I know that traditionally Monday can be Misery Monday because it’s the first day back at the daily grind … but look … it’s a Monday.  A brand new day.  What if this was going to be the very last Monday ever?  Wouldn’t you make sure that you had a darn good, memorable last Monday?  Go and have THAT darn good day!  (Then come back and tell me about it!).

Sending big squidges, from my corner to yours

Sig coffee copy

There’s more to make-overs than surgery, clothes and cosmetics!

I have a couple of cup/mug coasters (mats) in my craftroom.  One to the right of my computer (no-one can sit at a computer without a coffee or a tea to one side), and another on what I call my ‘work desk’ – where I do the majority of my crafty things.  BUT … both of these mats are rather, umm…  old and grubby looking.  Bits of paint; spills – which although I’ve wiped up, have still stained;  little bits pull off where I’ve sat some Sellotape (well-known brand of sticky tape in the UK – yes, I know that Sellotape is the name of .. erm .. something else in another country).  Well look … why don’t I just face the shame and show you what one mat looked like.  Are you ready?  ……

Cup Mat Make-over 1

When these were new, I absolutely adored them.  I have some  Cornishware  storage pots and other bits and pieces in my kitchen, and my dining room (in our previous cottage) linked to the kitchen and was very English country cottagey in style so these mats fitted in perfectly.

But …  years later . . .  they really aren’t good for man nor beast, as you can see,  hence the reason they’re in my craft room.  However … I looked at them a couple of days ago and said [to no one in particular]  … “those really need to be thrown away”.

A voice boomed over me like it came from out of the Heavens.  “WHAT DOES?”  (made me jump I can tell you!) … “Uh?”  I swung around on my chair to see Mr. Cobs stood behind me.  “Ohh… these.  <picking up the cup mat>  Look at these . . .   they really have seen their day and I sadly think it’s time to go.”   “No!  Don’t throw them away … paint them!  Paint something on them.  Flowers or something.  Paint something, like you used to!“.

Hmmm… Ok, I could see where he was going with this.  “That’s a good idea, you clever chap.  I shall do that very thing.  But … would you rub them down for me?”  (He knows I hate sandpaper.  It makes my flesh recoil.  <shudder>).  So he did … and this was the result:

Cup Mat Make-over 2

The top layer was actually a paper/card layer, so rubbing the top down wasn’t difficult, but it did leave ridges which were impossible to totally get rid of.  Since the cup mats were only for me in my craft room I thought that I could get away with a few ridges.  So I set to work with some paints.  I first did two coats of Gesso – to help give it a ‘base’ to work on, and also to kind of help smooth out the ridges a little.  Then I gave it a coat of good quality black acrylic.

Cup Mat Make-over 3

If you look carefully at the above photo you can see some of the ridges.  The coat of black paint was done in order to dull the next coat a little.  Kind of ‘knock back’ the colour I was going to apply next – a deep blue colour which I’d hand mixed –  and the black would ensure that the navy stayed ‘flat’ or kind of dull, in colour.

Once the navy was dry I could then begin a ‘picture’ of some description.  ….  Can you tell what it is yet?

Cup Mat Make-over 4

Well I’m committed now so I’d better get on with it …

Cup Mat Make-over 5

Now can you see what it is?  🙂  Yeah, it’s a Goose!  But … the chest is a bit flat there, isn’t it?  Aw, don’t worry … that bit is going to be hidden anyway so I won’t trouble myself about it.

Cup Mat Make-over 6

This photo (above) I took with a flash, with the blind up, and two craft lamps on, so that you can see some of the details which I’ve added … like the shading under his/her chin, shading under the tummy and some detail to the feet.

Cup Mat Make-over 7

I realised that I hadn’t shown you the colours of paints I’d used/be using on this project, so I took the opportunity of adding in the pots of colours while showing you that I’d changed his/her bow from looking like a Christmas red, into a tartan bow.  (I didn’t want anyone to think he was the fatted goose which we were all going to feast on at Christmas!  eeek!).

Cup Mat Make-over 8

Surrounded by a vine, and four freshly laid eggs.

Cup Mat Make-over 9

Finally … three LIGHT coats of a spray varnish and it’s finished.  You can see  from the background in this photo –  that the ridges from the sanded paper were still there … but they really aren’t that noticeable anymore.

Cup Mat Make-over 10

Want to know the funny thing about this?  I am scared of geese (and horses, but we’ll talk about those another time)  … and what’s more … they KNOW IT TOO!  If ever I go anywhere where there are geese  … they surround my car until they’ve discovered the door which I need to get out of and then they  gather around the door and stand there LAUGHING AT ME.  They know I’m scared silly, and they mock me with their gaggling honks and giggling laughs.

If I visit somewhere – a lake, a walk with a stream running along side … and there are geese … those little bu&&ers make it their ambition to get to me and chase me. Honking all the way.

And yet … here I am painting a goose on one of my cup mats.  AM I CRAZY???  Obviously so.

Cup Mat Make-over 8

 

When I’d finished painting this mug mat, I did have a little wonder to myself if perhaps this sort of thing would make a rather nice Christmas present for someone.  You could buy some MDF (Medium Density Fibreboard – sorry folks outside the UK but I don’t know what you call this where you are) and if you’re handy with a saw (or have someone handy with a saw) you could cut the MDF to size and paint a set of four/six coasters for someone special.

OR … if you have a child at school … how about a personalised mug mat for the teacher, as a Christmas present? (or present for anyone at any time).  Just a thought.  🙂

Happy Wednesday all.  Make it a good memory day.

Sending squidges your way  ~

Sig coffee copy