September 28, 2017

DIY Pet Memorial Stone

A craft DIY for you today in the form of pet memorial stones, if you have any furry friends to honour.

Just before our new pup came along I had a pang of guilt that I hadn’t yet made memorial stones for my two previous fur babies who have since passed on. So in their honour, I purchased a bag of mortar mix, dreamed up the project and completed the task. I couldn't find what I wanted them to look like online, so I came up with a project myself.

You will need:

-Mortar mix
-Cement additive/ fortifier (optional- but gives your finished piece extra strength)
-Chicken wire (use a small gauge- not the big size)
-Masking Tape
-Acrylic paint in black and white
-Matte medium

Tools & other useful items:

Pliers, metal spatula, rubber gloves, various clay tools or skewer, stamps, paintbrush, rags, plastic bags.

To start with draw on a piece of paper how big you want your stone to be. Scrunch up some newspaper and wrap it in masking tape. Make the scrunched newspaper shape about two thirds the size you want your final stone, as adding wire and cement layers will add extra bulk.

Cut some lengths of chicken wire and start wrapping around your newspaper shape. Cover the shape with approximately 3 layers of chicken wire. Use pliers to twist ends together and inwards so there are no spikes sticking out.

Take your mortar mix and mix some up adding some cement fortifier as per instructions. I used Bondcrete. I guess how much cement I’m going to use, trying not to make too much as I can always make more. Make your mix on the drier side rather than making it too wet. You will get better detail when it comes to making the marks, and a stronger mix.

Working on a plastic work surface start pressing your cement mix into the chicken wire. You need to do this all over the stone shape, including underneath. 

Keep adding cement until all of the wire is covered. My stones ended up having a flat base, and I just smoothed the cement all around the bottom edge for a neat appearance. On the top of the stones you need a fairly thick layer of cement, so that you can stamp & draw some elements in without hitting the chicken wire underneath.

When this is all done make the whole stone nice and smooth using your gloved hand or a metal spatula. It’s quite fun- similar to icing a cake.

Use a clay tool to write words by pressing into the cement rather than ‘drawing’, and use stamps with bold shapes to press into the surface. Fine detailed stamps will not show up so well. I made some stamps out of polymer clay specifically for this project.

Once you are happy with your creation, leave to set under plastic. Wrap the plastic around the stone loosely, as you do not want the plastic to disturb the surface of the stone.

Once the cement has set (keep checking at half hour intervals. It might take 1-3 hours and it still should be wet), come back and wrap wet rags around the stone, then wrap in plastic and leave to cure for 3- 7 days. Curing cement slowly like this gives it extra strength.

Once the stone has had decent time to cure let it dry, and mix some black acrylic paint with equal parts matte medium and enough water to make a runny mix. Working quickly, paint the black paint mix into the stamped and written crevices, and wipe the excess away using a damp rag. As I used a cement fortifier, my cement wasn’t super porous, so this stopped a lot of paint seeping in where I didn’t want it too. If you didn’t use fortifier, wetting the stone first might help.

If you want extra depth and contrast to your stone, dry brush some white acrylic paint over the top to highlight. You do this by getting paint on your brush (not diluted) then brush most of it off on some paper so that when you paint your stone only minimal paint is being transferred. 

Place your stone in the garden and you can remember those furry friends every time you wander in the backyard.

Yes, we named our previous dogs after Futurama characters!

RIP you guys.. miss you xx

I’m also thinking this project would work well as gifts to grandparents with little handprints pressed in with names and dates, heart shapes and pebbles pressed in.
Have fun,

Jules :)

September 21, 2017


Hello! My book project is nearly done, so I will be back babbling on here again in no time. I am dreaming up lots of outdoor crafty projects, as I want to get outside and away from the computer now that the weather is warming up. I'm thinking mosaics! And cement! I have caught the cementing bug :)

We have mostly an Australian native garden here but I still manage to find some colour for a vase

Spring has arrived in the land down under and it is a sight for sore eyes. I think the winter just gone was the coldest ever, or maybe it's just that I'm getting older? I'm not built for the cold.

Another reason for getting outside more is this little guy:

Meet Archie! The cheeky fluff- ball bundle of mayhem! Our newest family member.

And in honour of our not-too-long-ago-passed previous fur babies, I have finally made them memorial stones for their graves in the backyard. That was a project I'd been meaning to do for a long time. I have made it into a tutorial too, as I couldn't find instructions online specifically for what I wanted, so stay tuned for that one.

Another thing that's been taking up a lot of my time is cooking. Miss 6 has been put on a special diet by her integrative doctor which is similar to the paleo/ gaps way of eating. I'd go into why, but don't really want to get into finer details but I will say that I think functional/ integrative medicine is the way of the future! I'm doing the diet too as I just feel so much better when I eat this way. I do it mainly to tackle some niggling health issues that I have. I always believe in addressing the root cause of issues and asking the question "why?" Because I'm never satisfied with "it just is." :)

The authors healed ailments such as eczema and OCD through diet, and this just fascinates me no end.

My favourite cook book at the moment Life Changing Food

Mmmm veggie seaweed crackers and baba ganoush- from the book

Gluten free sausage rolls with homemade tomato sauce (both in the book) with a side serve of steamed cabbage and kombucha

I just wish I could eat this way and not have to make all of it. And the dishes are mountainous! I've started asking the kids to help me with washing up, and they can earn a bit of pocket money on the side.

So combined with puppy mayhem (it's like having a baby again!), masses of cooking, and the kids book I've been working on, things got a little crazy busy. I'm looking forward to chilling out a bit more in the warmer weather and focussing on what's important, and not trying to do everything and be everything to everyone. I think as mama's or even women we can easily get stuck in that trap, until we realise we must do some tweaking for everyone's sanity and ease back on some things. Hence the break from the blog. And I decided, that was OK.

Here's another little snippet from the book:

This dog is quite small within the illustration I did for this page, but I'm interested in enlarging parts I've done so I can see individual line marks and colours. I love seeing brush stories and paint marks.

I'm at the stage now where I'm touching up and editing images, so... nearly there.

Catch you soon,

Jules :)


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