My little crafting world....

Hi all
I'm a complete craft addict! I have a small business called Surrey Crafts teaching craft workshops from my studio in Esher, Surrey and at venues around the country. I teach mixed media, decorative painting, card making and papercrafts, jewellery making and creative embroidery classes. If you'd like to find out more just leave a comment, or take a look at my other social media pages:
Crafty hugs & stuff


Thursday 31 December 2015

New Year Journal page

It's been ages since I blogged...and ages since I crafted just for fun! Here's how it happened. I was shopping in Kingston Upon Thames yesterday. So where did I end up??? In the kids shop! There is a fab children's shop called Smiggle which mainly sells all sorts of vibrantly coloured stationary and suchlike. I was looking for bits for my Mum's birthday next week as she's taken up colouring, when I spotted a set of crayons which looked remarkably like Gelatos - and they were all metallic and only a tenner!!! The lovely girl opened a pack for me to have a little play with and after that I was hooked. I've got lots of Gelatos, love the vibrant colours, but as these were all sparkly! I've missed journaling. And having been looking at the Journal 52 group and all the changes, having signed up to Tiare Smith's free Jam 2016 group and also the Wunderlust 2016, I thought I'd better have a quick play and what better topic today (New Year's Eve) than to say Happy New Year 2016!!

So here is the finished page. I simpley squished a load of the new crayons onto my journal page, spritzed, smudged and repeated.I then drew rough hearts again just using the crayons, layered and smudged shadows. Then I drew in the words with a Faber Castell Pitt marker, widened them, let them dry, then decorated each with white dots using a Signo Uniball white pen 153 (my fave of all white pens). And voilla.
Happy New Year
Hope yours is the best it can possibly be.

Friday 11 September 2015

From tatty storage box to pretty bathroom furniture

We've had this storage box for many years and it had almost become invisible.  But now I'm addicted to upcycling with DecoArt paints I find myself hunting around the house - and anywhere else I am - looking for things to give a new lease of life. And I was so pleased with the end result that the box now sits in my bathroom being very useful storing loo rolls and cleaning products while looking lovely!

Initially I was just going to use the Heirloom and Lace colours.

But I noticed on the DecoArt website how many colour variants you can make by mixing the ones you have....and I have a few!! So I thought I'd try blending a few colours to see what happened. I got the rich dark chocolate by mixing 3 parts Rustic Brown with 1 part Carbon Black...Loved it! 

Hubby very kindly removed the box lid by taking off the hinges and arms that brace to keep the lid up. I gave the whole box/ lid a coat of the Lace then secured the Classic Quatrefoil stencil to the front of the box using a low tack tape so I didn't damage the first coat of paint and to mask of the areas I wanted to protect.

I started from the centre and worked my way out using the sponge dabbers which I find are a lot easier to use than stencil brushes, give a better colour blend and you don't have to 'pounce' quite so hard either. Starting with the lace in the middle I then added a darker colour each time until the darkest colour which I'd mixed myself, just in the corners.  
  I attached the 'Parisian Street' stencil to the box lid (there are crosses on the stencil to make the mid point which I lined up with the marks I'd put to identify the middle of the lid). I did the same as with the main box attaching the stencil and masking off the outside then painting from the lightest colour out to the dark, though more in lines than the circular pattern I'd used on the front. 

 And Voila!!!!

Here are a variety of pics in various lighting which I hope          show it well.
Go on, have a go!!!

 Feel free to leave a comment if you'd like to ask a question or just want to know more! 
 Have a good weekend all. Suz xxx

Thursday 30 July 2015

Rescued Table painted with DecoArt Chalky Finish Paints

I am AMAZED by what people want to throw away! I hope this proves why we shouldn't be so wasteful.

I took this beaten up but SOLID table. Sanded down the top to remove thick paint splashes. Washed it completely....3 times as it was really filthy. I wanted to keep the original brass fittings underneath clean and also the markings underneath so taped all edges of areas I wanted to protect before starting .

Originally I was going to paint it a range of colours as you can see from the product pic. But I decided to keep it simple and elegant so I could use the table in my hallway and just went for two beautiful colours colours: white (Everlasting) and pale blue (Serene).

To start with I painted the shelf white (Everlasting) to give a lovely contrast. Then painted the rest in the the serene. gave both a second coat being really careful where the legs cut into the shelf. Then I used a DecoArt stencil called Distress Harlequin which is one of the Chalky Finish range of stencils. I did this using a stencil brush and more of the everlasting paint and I was chuffed to bits with the results!
Once it was all completely dry I gave it a coating of the DecoArt wax cream to seal and protect it.

Why not have a go!

Tuesday 28 July 2015

Fairy Door using DecoArt media acrylic products

Some time last year we had to cut down a rogue young tree growing by the back fence in our garden (don't worry we've got a forest growing up there and they were crowding each other out!). I asked hubby to try and get some cross sections of the tree trunk so I could use them to craft with....I didn't know how, but loved the idea of it.

Anyway I've got a bit of a thing about doors at the moment, having seen some amazing examples at Westminster Abbey in London a few weeks ago. And while having my usual brows through some pics on Pinterest I saw a new trend developing in 'Gnome Doors'. Well I'd rather have a fairy in my garden and it seemed the prefect way to use on of the slices of wood. It was very easy too so here's how I made it

The wood slice was REALLY uneven as you can see from the pics. I spread a thick layer of DecoArt Crackle Paste to even out the surface, but this still left a fab texture underneath as this paste doesn't level like the Crackle PAINT does. These pics show how much I used; like icing a cake. It took a few hours to dry as it was soooo thick, but the unevenness of the layer gave great variations in the size of cracks!
Once the crackle paste was dry I added antiquing cream in the patina and raw umber and a touch of white to emphasis the cracks and add colour. I left this a couple of hours then knocked it back with a damp cloth so it left a beautiful soft effect.

Then I added some gold metallic paint and also some gold Interference Acrylic paint. The first gave a more opaque gold which I smooshed into some of the cracks and wiped off the surface. The interference gave a beautiful sheen when it caught the light.  I also then added some other interference paint in the magenta which you can just see flashes of!

So those couple of pics of the fairy door at the top were taken in my studio against the wall with a daisy chain over the top made from punched paper and glamour dust glitter.  The other pic was by a redwood tree-trunk in  Claremont Gardens.....these fairies like to travel you know and by moving the door they can go anywhere!
Hope you have fun making yours! Suz 

Thursday 2 July 2015

Fern (the Fairy) challenging myself to paint a face!

Hi all
I love drawing faces....but I'm really not good at colouring them in! I Drew this face a couple of months ago on a page which I'd used to mop up paints from another project (as you do).
Anyway I decided to try and paint Fairy Fern's face!
Oh my goodness; I ended up making so many mistakes and with so many layers it was hilarious. But I kept going (even through the part where I completely messed up her hair and made her look like 'Wolverine' ) until I had a face I as fairly happy with - then I made myself stop before I messed it up again! I'm really glad I had a go.

Here are pics of the stages and details of the beautiful DecoArt Media Acrylic paints I used.

Here was the original sketch on a base journal page...I really liked it, very scared to paint it!
First layers of paint....eeeek.

Hair and face were a mixture of Titan Buff and Quinacridone Gold; but just a touch of buff mixed with the quin G for the hair and the reverse for the skintone.
For the next layer of skintone I added a tiny amount of cerulean blue and for the final rosy layer I added in a tiny amount of Quinacridone Red. I used a brush and then my fingers to blend in the paints.

Lips were painted magenta and titanium white with a few white highlights.

Then I started on the eyes. I liked the colour behind the eyes and it was again very similar to the colour I'd achieved with the buff and quin gold during the process of playing with hair colours.

So I added the white then fIIled in with the gold/hazel colour where needed and added tiny black lines in the iris' and for the lashes and lids. Once the eyed were dry I added a couple of dots of Titanium white to bring them to life a little.

I went back over the hair using just quin gold,I kept adding depth with more colour (burnt umber and burnt sienna).

Then I decided to bring the hair around the face a little more - BIG mistake and here was born Wolverine. It did make me laugh when I looked at it properly!
 So this was the beginning of "Wolverine recovery"! Basically taking the hair back with Titan Buff. But then I had to repaint the whole face again to get another even skin tone and it wasn't as nice as before (but it was ok!).
To paint the fairy wings I added Titanium White using quite heavy brush strokes for texture. Then I 'dripped and tipped' with a very water Cerulean Blue to create the veined look of the fairy  wings. 

I used the left over blue to fill in gaps around the edge of the page and to frame the top section. 

The leaf was several layers of paint again to give a bit of depth. Mixing PhthaloGreen-Blue, Green Gold, Prussion Blue Hue and Titanium white

Handwritten words added with Decoupage glue and Voilla! Little old Fern is as ready as she'll ever be!

Good luck with projects you're not sure about - the moral of the story is KEEP GOING!

Have fun

Sunday 21 June 2015

Upcycled Artist's Stool and Brush box

Hi all

I felt it was time to have a go at using the DecoArt Chalky Finish paints. I was slightly nervous about it so I went onto a local social media site and looked for itemes that were free.  I found a couple of bits someone was going to throw away if not collected, and that's where the fun started. This pic shows two of the finished items.  Easy tutorial below with a picture of the products used. Go on, give it a try!

This stool as you can see was looking a bit 'well loved' so that was a 'no risk' start to playing. I gave it a good clean then sanded down the seat as it had lots of bumpy paint splatters and the edges were splintering then cleaned it again to get the dust off.

I turned the stool upside down and painted the legs and underneath of the stool and all sides/ bottom of the box with a coat of DecoArt Americana Chalky Finish Paint in a minty green ('Refreshing') and it's quite a bright colour so I mixed in a little white ('everlasting'). The white paint was a little thicker so I added just a few drops of water to get a buttery consistency that glided on beautifully and the flat 2inch brush was brill for getting into the nooks and crannies!
Once this was dry and I'd got a feel for the paint I painted the seat itself and the reverse of the sliding box lid as it was flat and I didn't want the brand name showing. I wanted to jazz it up a little AND to try out all the colours I had in the laziest way possible! And as most of the artists I know are a bit dotty that was the answer.

 The polka dots were added with 3 foam stencil brushes (which come in packs of 12 and in 4 sizes).

Finally, once all the paint was dry I coated with the cream finishing wax and tadaaaa!
Love how cheerful these bits now look!
Happy upcycling.

Friday 19 June 2015

From Stars to Angels

This was one of those projects that began as a scrap of card that I couldn't throw away and started to play with - don'tcha just love art!!

So above here is the finished article and below shows the original scrap and tells how it grew from the start.....lots of pics as I was trying to catch the best light to show the amazing colours of the DecoArt Interference paints on the hearts as they change colour!!!
So in the beginning there was this scrap of card with some shapes die cut out of it (used to make a 75th Birthday card for my Dad a couple of weeks ago - pic of finished card at the end of the post).

 I painted it with three colours of Media Fluid Acrylics
 Then I added a layer of crackle paint - in varying thickness to alter the cracks - but put it on a little too thinly in places so the colour underneath didn't show through as I'd wanted! I used Patina Green antiquing cream all over, left for an hour then wiped some off with a baby wipe. Loved it!!!

I also embossed and painted some die cut and punched shapes to use in those spaces..

Painted the star with transparent red iron oxide and primary yellow. Then added gold and silver dry brushing to highlight the embossing. That was fine until I heard some really sad news from my friend which changed how I was feeling and consequently the direction of the project.

I painted over with pink (a mixture of titanium white and red). I then used white antiquing cream. As the paper was very porous I was able to wipe some off straight after applying and still leave enough behind.


To decorate the hearts I adapted an idea from one of Andy Skinners YouTube tutorials on using Interference Paints (to see it click here) but instead of firstly diluting the paint then adding to the DG3 Art Gel, I used a layer of the DecoArt clear liquid glass and then dropped various neat interference paints into the wet liquid. On some I also took a pokey tool and swirled the paints to give a variety of looks. I left these to dry overnight. The interference colours look very different depending on the colour that was underneath them. With silver underneath they look like Mother of Pearl; on top of bright red they each pop - love em!

I took a piece of A4 blue card and journaled my thoughts over it in white pen. Doing this always helps me clear my head.  Then I spritzed it with a little bit of blue (primary cyan) and then white DecoArt Misters to hide the words I'd written, thought I didn't do it that well so have not included the close up of the background.

It needed 'something more' so I used the Andy Skinner snake skin (Shedded) stencil with my original blue paints and also an Americana Pixelated stencil with titanium white fluid acrylics. I also used some of the left over blue paint to go around each of the apertures to add depth to the cut out shapes.  Next step was to layer up the die cut card onto the journaled background with some 3D foam tape to leave a nice gap underneath. 

At that point I could have left it but ended up drawing around the apertures with a white paint marker....not sure if I prefer it before or after so guess it doesn't matter!
 The following morning I added in the stars hearts and wings. Then I typed up a few words, inked around them and added them too.
Here are more pics of the interference paints....I'll be using this technique to make some jewellery I!

Hope you like my project and decide to have a go with some of those amazing media products! 
All the Best Suz xx

Oh and here is a pic of my Dad's card, the one that started this all off!