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