December 09, 2019

DIY Craft: Rhubarb Concrete Stepping Stones


I have a DIY concrete craft for you today: rhubarb concrete stepping stones.

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

I have by no means come up with this project. I've just seen it done so many times and wanted to make some for our backyard and I'm sharing our experience.

It's sumer here! I am so happy the weather is warming up which means we're heading outdoors much more as a family on our one acre block. There are always jobs to do (so many weeds- ugh!) and big projects to work on that Jimmy has started. We are currently working on some crazy paving using slate in a new fire pit area. We have an electric cement mixer here (which I dubbed Jimmy's thermomix) and I decided to steal some of the mix so the kids could be outside alongside us working making stepping stones.

We laid out some plastic sheeting on an outdoor table and the girls picked some large rhubarb leaves from the garden. (See Jimmy, rhubarb IS useful for more than just apple and rhubarb pie :D)

The leaves have lots of cool veiny texture which captures really well in the concrete.

We had some pretty tough wire that we used for reinforcing (which you can see in the bottom left hand corner above), which Jimmy cut with a grinder. You will need some sort of wire to reinforce the stepping stones, if you need to cut by hand just use the thickest wire you can manage to cut by hand.

The girls then took handfuls of the concrete mix and slapped them down onto the leaf. You keep adding them till you reach near the edges. I get them to wear kids gloves as you don't want skin to come into contact with concrete. 

(For a nice strong concrete mix I like to use 1 part grey cement, 2 parts fine sand, and 1 one part coarse sand and a cement additive (optional) to packet instructions. You can also find suggested mixes on the sides of a bag of portland cement.)

We kept in from the edge of the leaf an inch or so, and shaped our leaves into heart shapes. Once we had one layer of concrete on the leaf, we placed our wire reinforcing in, then added another layer of concrete. Our stepping stones were around 1 1/2- 2" thick. 

The girls tended to make their edges a little thin so I needed to remind them to build them up to make them the same thickness as the centre of the stepping stone.

Once shaped, we let set for 1/2- 1 hour then came back and covered with plastic. I kept them damp and covered for one week to let them cure for extra strength. (A minimum of 3 days would be sufficient.) 

24 hours after they've been made you can peel the leaf off and neaten up any rough edges with a chisel or rasp. 

The kids had fun peeling pieces of leaves back! :) They were really stuck in there, but they come out easily when they're all dry.

I love how they turned out and want to make lots for all around the garden! Jimmy thinks the rhubarb has earned it's keep (he thinks it pointless keeping something that requires a tonne of sugar to do anything with.)

I hope you enjoyed our DIY craft rhubarb concrete stepping stones experience, please drop a comment if there's anything you'd like me to craft out of concrete. It's such a versatile product, and it lasts a long time as art in the garden. Affordable, and no kiln needed! 


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.

September 11, 2019

DIY Craft: Faux Weaving

Hello Creatives!

I have a fun DIY craft today: faux weaving. 

I'm sorry I have not been around much! *cry* In all honestly I think I was suffering the winter blues and have had a long stretch with no inspiration. It happens to us all!

But something colourful is sure to cheer us up ;) And the sunshine that is out today. Sunshine helps!

This faux weaving was made by sewing wool, threads and trims onto a fabric panel. A look around your craft or fabric store will no doubt find you some interesting options & trims for creating your own faux weaving.

This wasn't a super quick project, but I'm liking the way it turned out and will feel quite happy with this hanging on my wall somewhere. You could squeeze it into a lazy weekend.

You will need:

- fabric for backing 19' wide x 20" high (48 x 51cm)
- various wools/ yarns/ threads/ trimmings/ pom poms etc
- Yarn needle with sharp end
- wooden skewer
- dowel rod (I used a piece of bamboo)

Sew hems 1/2" (1.5cm) down the sides of the fabric. Add a hem to the top making sure you leave enough space for the dowel to go through. I didn't hem the bottom as that was the selvage and will not fray.

Start decorating! Below here you can see I've added long running stitches and then loosely woven thick wool through them. 

Thick roving looks amazing. I stitched it down with vertical stitches as I went across. Once I did a row of this, I went back and did another row, mirroring the way I'd stitched the previous row.

I sewed down some random pom poms from my stash, and then made smaller little tufts by stitching loops in the fabric and then cutting them with scissors. A row of these would look good!

I also included lots of running stitches, sewing down multiple strands of wool, and sewing down thick wool but leaving little loops protruding randomly (above photo).

Lengths of wool looped at the top were added along bottom of the fabric. I found if I only looped over stitches it didn't look as neat, so I used a skewer to pull the loops tight and then sewed them to the bottom, then pulling the skewer out. I trimmed all this bottom hanging wool to a triangle shape.

Overall I'm pretty happy with the result! A fun project if a real weaving seems a bit intimidating for you!

July 23, 2019

DIY Pistachio Shell Mosaic Craft

I have an easy DIY craft project for you today using something that would normally be thrown away.

How can one be creative, and eat pistachio nuts and not hoard those cute little shells for a mosaic craft project!? (Unless you don't eat nuts that is...)

You will need:

-Plywood or masonite panel in your choice of size
-Tile adhesive (I used a premixed indoor adhesive)
-Pistachio shells
-Acrylic paint
-Acrylic gloss sealer/varnish

Start by spreading your adhesive over your wooden panel. I love this part, it's so like icing a cake :)

Press the shells into the adhesive. You can go totally random or do flower or spiral shapes if you like. Let dry fully.

Once dry you can start painting the shells in colours of your choice using acrylic paints.

Add any interesting paint effects like spots, stripes or variations of colour. Keep these colours bright so they will contrast with the darker colour we will add later. (They kind of remind me of easter eggs!)

Once you've painted all of your shells, coat in acrylic gloss and let dry overnight. (You want the gloss to be fully cured as we will be wiping it back and we don't want it to shift.)

For my pretend "grout" colour, I made a runny mix of deep purple paint, and painted it over the surface and then wiped the shells back with a just-damp cloth. Rinse your cloth out when it gets too dirty.

Use the deep purple paint to do any touch ups to your "grout" with a fine brush.

I made a little wooden frame for my pistachio shell mosaic craft, but you can display as is if you want!

I hope you enjoyed this DIY craft!

Jules :)

July 17, 2019

25 Flowers for The 100 Day Project

Hello Creatives!

I recently committed to the 100 day project. It's an art project that challenges you to do creative for 100 days. I chose to paint or draw 100 flowers, and although the challenge has passed it's 100 days for this year, I am still doing the 100 flowers, just not as an every day thing.

The challenges I faced when I started this is I officially have Art- Attention- Deficit- Disorder (ha) and sometimes I would sit down to paint a flower and find that I've all of a sudden started a new painting. Not necessarily a bad thing but sticking to the plan would be better...

Also, announcing on social media that that is what I was doing committed me to show every flower I drew, when usually I do not share everything I do as an artist. I pick and choose what I share. I don't share every failed drawing, that's for sure! I didn't think of that before I started!

On the positive it challenged me to do regular entries in my sketch book, a practise I should aim to be doing as an artist. But as a busy Mum and running my own creative biz, I juggle many balls and sometimes I drop some (or all!) of them.

Enough chit chat! Here are the first 25 flowers in no particular order:

This last one is a pattern made from some of the flowers already shown

So, there you have it, 25 of the first flowers completed by either drawing or painting (with acrylic paints), and there's a quick digital one in there too.

I hope you enjoyed the show!

Jules :)


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