June 30, 2017

Creative Life Round Up

Here's a creative life round up, where I show a bunch of random shots from my crafty, arty & creative life.

Here I am testing out my new (but old) rug hooking tools. Which I guess are more like punch needles. They have quite a big opening in them so that I can use them with wool. I love the texture of hooked wool, and I love using wool with variations of colours within the ball.. it gives extra textural interest. And, this craft is fast! Which is great for an attention deficient crafter like me :) This effort is from one evening in front of the telly.

A bunting in progress upcycled from a thrifted wool scarf. I've also made some little upcycled tassels to use on this bunting too.

Hanging some of my collected lampshades up. I still have more to hang. I thought it might inspire my husband to get them hooked up electrically when they're all just hanging there from string and thumb tacks. Maybe!

Not being able to find an affordable jacket I like (in Australia) that is also warm I went and ordered a copy of Ottobre Magazine which has some jacket patterns in it. I'll get my Mum on the case when it arrives. She's an excellent sewer. I'm planning on getting her to make some lined jackets for me so that they will be nice and warm, plus how cute will patterned fabric for the lining be?

She also better get ready to sew some dresses for me. I have ordered this dress pattern designed by Dottie Angel. How awesome are they? Hoping to have some made up in time for spring when some warmer weather will be welcomed with open arms.

It's school holidays here now, and our first creative project saw us making some iced cookies. Check out how bad great they look! ;)

We eat more along the paleo/ healthy lines here, and I am yet to find an icing recipe that is easy to make AND use. I cannot master whipping coconut cream (I have ruined quite a few batches) and even this one I could not get to work. It was so clumpy to use but still tastes good I suppose. Looked nothing like it looked in the cookbook! This icing was made from cacao butter, coconut butter, honey and nut milk. 

The search continues! 

Other creative and crafty projects that we would like to do on the holidays include finishing some previously started projects and starting some plaster animals that will appear as a tutorial on my blog in the near future.

My final MATS illustration project has begun, which is a crazy eclectic mix of icons inspired by collections (I chose a quirky doll collection and beads). Right up my alley! I love that for the last project we get to go a little crazy. I will post the finished project here when done.

Miss 8 recently entered the Young Archie portrait prize. This is her mixed- media piece. I helped her with the planning but every step was completed entirely by her. I suggested a plan of attack: 

-draw your portrait in pencil on plain paper
-create some decorative papers to use for collage
-paint/ fill your background on your good paper (watercolour paper)
-glue your collage pieces onto the background
-transfer your portrait drawing onto the background using carbon transfer paper
-render the figure. She used acrylic paints and coloured pencils for the figure. 

The last step was to sign and varnish. 

The only thing I helped with was reassurance along the way, enlarging her drawing to transfer onto the watercolour paper, and some colour mixing tips when she got stuck. I believe having a plan & breaking it down into little steps removed some of the overwhelm of trying to create something good to enter into a competition. That kind of pressure is heavy!

That's it for now. 

If you've enjoyed these pics, I do the most sharing of my creative life in picture form on Instagram. Come join me there!

Yours creatively,

Jules :) 

June 26, 2017

Make At That Sells: Children's Picture Book Illustration

So, I have finished the children's book illustration part of the Make Art That Sells course that I am taking. I have one assignment to go. I'm doing MATS A which has five illustration components: bolt fabric, home decor, children's books, wall art & the gift market. You can find some links at the bottom of this post for the illustrations I've done for this course.

So, on to the children's book illustration part! We were given a story to illustrate called "The White Cat".  We could illustrate the cover, or an internal page spread. I chose the latter. It was an old story (I'm guessing it was old) and was quirky in the way that older fairy tales usually are. The cat is a princess under a spell, and that prince there is riding a wooden horse (the horse is also under a spell). 

This particular part of the story where the prince was riding a wooden horse and the cat a monkey appealed to my love-for-the-strange. As my kids say "you love weird, don't you Mum?" Yes, poppets, I do :)

My favourite part of the illustration is the cat riding the monkey. Here's the rough pencil drawing for that part..

The next picture is from when I was about halfway through drawing & painting the illustration. I used coloured pencils, and acrylic paint with medium. You can see here my enlarged rough that has been taped together. I like to enlarge my roughs on computer to the size I want to paint the illustration, then print it out in sections and piece it all together. That way I can work as large as I want.

I put variations of colour into the tree & the monkey. And because the story seemed vintage-y to me, I wanted the colours to have a vintage children's book feel to them. I think I was channelling a picture book from my past with this. Not that the illustrations are similar at all, but I remember the feel I used to get when reading that particular book and I think I was trying to capture that.


I'm really enjoying the MATS class and I only have one more assignment to go! I'm learning a lot, and growing and expanding with each new assignment. I love checking out all of the other students' work in the class galleries, and the tips and advice sprinkled throughout the course. 

If I had the time I'd just sit around doing online courses! 

You can check out my other illustration projects for MATS A here:

Make Art That Sells Illustration Course- gift market illustration (coming soon)

Jules :)

June 23, 2017

Art Journaling Prompt: Collage & Mixed Media

An art journaling prompt for you today, using collage & mixed media.

I used collage to kick start this sketch book entry, scrap book papers, and some images printed on my ink jet printer at home.

Sometimes all you need is a few prompts to get you started on some new pages in your sketch book or art journal. Follow this art journaling recipe along as closely or as loosely as you like!

You will need:

-scrapbook papers
-printed images
-mod podge
-acrylic paints
-matt medium
-coloured pencils

Head over to The Graphics Fairy to find some copyright-free print-quality images that interest you and print a few out at sizes that will work well in your sketch book. I was quite drawn to the bird images. I had to shrink the images as they are quite large which is great to know for other projects :)

Take some decorative/ scrap book papers, cut some smaller pieces and start sticking them in with mod podge (pva glue also works, but I like the archival qualities of using mod podge).

Once you have some decorative paper stuck in, start filling in the blank pages with acrylic paint. Feel free to mix in some matt medium to make the paint washy or just to make your paint go further.

I like to stick to using matt medium so that I can draw over the top of the paint with coloured pencils.

Cut you ink jet prints out and glue them in place, covering the whole reverse side of the images with mod podge. I always put glue on the reverse side of the piece I'm sticking down, rather than the sketchbook.  It helps to avoid the piece you're sticking down wrinkling.

Once firmly stuck (I give them a few minutes- go make a cuppa) paint over them to seal the ink with some matt medium. When you're sealing, work lightly and only one stroke over each section of the image to prevent the printer ink shifting.You can do a second coat if needed once the first coat is dry to make sure it's totally sealed. This seals the printer ink so you can work over the top with paints etc without the ink smudging. (As ink jet ink is not waterproof when dry, but laser copies are.)

Once everything is dry again (use a hair dryer to speed things up), use some coloured pencils on top. Draw shapes, patterns, scribble a bit, and/ or add some hand drawn type. Just doddle and have some fun.

Then take out the acrylic paints + matt medium again. Mix colours close to your background colours and paint around the white bits, if there are any, around your cut outs.

You can also add some more interest with paint by adding some spots and detail into any shapes or patterns that you decided to draw.

I added some more detail with my coloured pencils. I thought those black birds needed some more contrast so I added some black pencil to them to make them stand out.

Dilute some acrylic paint with medium and add some washes over certain areas. If you're unsure about mixing colours, keep it simple by only mixing a couple of colours together to avoid muddiness, and that will help to keep your colours fresh. 

You can keep going and adding more patterns, washes or detail with your paints or coloured pencils, or else if you are happy with how it looks you can stop there. 

So there you go, an art journalling recipe for you to try! See what you can come up with!

Jules :)

June 19, 2017

Colourful Wish List

There's nothing like colourful 'window shopping' around on the internetty for home decor or other fun stuff. I could spend a large portion of my time doing just this! Here are some of my latest finds.

Pineapple Kantha quilt from Matt Blatt

Clockwise from top left: This whole outfit from Gudrun Sjoden, Ryder rug from Matt Blatt, Claude dinnerware from Joss & Main, Angelina Ngale cushion from Matt Blatt,  Nathalie Lete cutting board from Amara

I only recently discovered Gudrun Sjoden and I love the fashion there; the colours and the layers.

These cushions from Anthro which remind me of Staffordshire pottery (which I had fun with being inspired by in an illustration project here)

And walls like this! I stumbled upon the designer Lilly Pulitzer who makes resort wear but I am definitely into her designs as wallpaper as pictured here from a Lilly Pulitzer store. How fun!

Hope you enjoyed that line up. 

Jules :)

June 14, 2017

Winter Time...

This is a Wintery post! Winter is here in Oz and while it's quite mild compared to other parts of the world (ie. it doesn't snow at our house), I'm still complaining and my feet hurt! But even though winter is my least favourite month I still try to be grateful of the wintery things we get to enjoy: nice warming meals, being cosy and warm rugged up inside, guilt- free movies, winter crafts, and the different textures and layering of clothes. Hello scarves.

As far as crafts go, rug hooking would have to be most at home during the winter months. My Mum recently found these rug hooking tools which belonged to my Great Grandmother. I've never used a proper rug hooking tool before, only a crochet hook (as in this post), but it will be fun to try and work out how to use the ones where you thread the needle up. I envisage watching many youtube videos showing just how to do it. They look like a much more efficient way of creating rug hooked projects. I wish I knew what my Great Grandmother made with them.

We set up our winter seasonal appreciation table yesterday (only a couple of weeks late). The kids felt Autumn wasn't quite done with anyway, as they pointed out Autumn leaves are still lying around. I don't usually buy anything new for the table; we seem to find enough things around the house. We go through craft supplies, decorations, jewellery, collections, toys, books; we have that book there which goes through the seasons so it's a great starter for our table. The kids are invited to add their own touches: found treasures, things from nature, or their own crafty or arty decorations.

Decorating the seasonal table is becoming a favourite tradition in our household. 

I made the wintery felt lady one night to add to the table. Miss 8 is working on one of her own, but it's not quite finished yet.

And while I'm on the subject of talking things textiles, this next photo is of a stamped fabric panel I have made that are destined for some new bags that I am having made. I can't wait to see them finished. 

If it's winter time where you are I hope you're surviving the cold. 

Might be time for a warm drink...

Jules :)

June 09, 2017

Home Decorating Book: Happy Home

Today I'm reviewing the home decorating book "Happy Home: Everyday Magic for a Colorful Life" on the blog.

I was happy to have a fellow internet- friend artist and reader recommend this home decorating book  to me after my last post on two awesome decorating books. This book fits into the same category as the other two, in that it's colourful, inspirational, and one of those chuck-out-the-rule-book books that encourages you to follow your own heart rather than some sort of defined formula for decorating your home.

This post contains affiliate links (see bottom of post for explanation).

I'm definitely a sucker for home decorating books that are in the colourful eclectic category. My only concern is I will sit down and spend too much time looking at beautiful books rather than decorating my home!

This book is by the founder of Rice Charlotte Hedeman Gueniau. It's no wonder that this book is fantastically colourful and inspiring when you have seen some of Rice's colourful products.

Some fun colourful products from Rice

The book goes through different sections of the home in detail, with inspiration and encouragement to play with colour and trust your choices.

I've been thinking of the fear we seem to have here of colour in Australia. I mean, I'm not sure you'd look at some bright pink flowers on a tree you've chosen for your garden and say... oh, I don't know, I might just get sick of that colour, better stick to white!

I am totally being cheeky right now. I get that people like neutrals, but I think it's sad when someone loves colour but they're too afraid to use it.

Colour makes me happy which is why I surround myself with it. So books like this easily win me over. You can see by these few photos from in my house why I love this style of book and decorating.

Images from my home

As I've mentioned before, I like home decorating books to have the perfect balance between words and photos. You need lots of photos in a home decorating book. And you need lots of tips and worded prompts to get you thinking about your spaces. This book has that balance.

Happy Home is available on Amazon.

Give me a shout if you have discovered a home decorating book I'd love.

Jules :)

*Affiliate Information: Affliliate links help me earn small commissions on products (at no extra cost to you), which helps support my love of blogging and sharing creative things. I only ever recommend or link to products that I'm genuinely into.

June 05, 2017

Make Art That Sells- Wall Art

This illustration for the MATS A course I am taking jumped the queue! The next one in line was the Children's Book component (I'm 3/4 the way through so I will be posting that very soon), but this one is in the running to be reviewed live by Lilla Rogers in a week or so and so I completed it first. It would be so awesome to be chosen for a live review in the class. Even if I don't get chosen I will be super happy for anyone that does and will enjoy watching it. (The live reviews are only visible by class members.)

This piece was for the Wall Art category. I had a colour palette allocated to me, which was pink & blue. I had no fear there, I love all colours so it really wouldn't have mattered what colours I got!

I started by collecting some bits and pieces as this was to be done as a mixed media piece. I found a cool website called The Graphics Fairy where you can download images to use in art as they are copyright free. I also created some bits to use like the little painted circles there, and raided my crafty stash.

I started by doing a collage and then just adding more and more elements. I used paint, stencils, stamping (the bird is a hand made stamp made by me), a variety of papers, and paint pens.

Once I had covered the whole panel I added the words "just be you", and started drawing in the lady. I started by drawing her straight onto the board, but then decided I would have more confidence with drawing her shape if I did it on a large piece of paper first and then transferred it on.

I started drawing and painting in the bunch of flowers too.

Once drawn I positioned the image and could transfer it onto the panel. Much easier!

I then collaged some more elements on top of the painting; little tiles and buttons, those painted circles, and some doilies that were in my studio for another project I'm working on.

I had a lot of fun on this one. I loved using the doilies in the illustration. 

My aim was to create something uplifting that someone would love to hang on their wall.

You can check out the other illustration projects for MATS A here:

Make Art That Sells Illustration Course- gift market assignment (coming soon)

Jules :)


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