Thursday, 29 March 2012

michelangelo and me !

You must have heard of tennis elbow, a repetitive strain injury that can effect anyone who uses their arm alot (no sniggering at the back !).

Well, I have decided that I have painter's thumb ! I'm having spasms in my right hand from holding a tiny paint brush for days on end. I've finished my murals, and although I used large paintbrushes as well, I had to paint loads of outline detail, and I not only have the spasms, but also some callouses where my hand was perpetually moving across a large wall !!!

At least I wasn't painting the ceiling like Michelangelo, neck pain is far worse !

And because you're now thinking that I'm using loads of metaphors (I can hear some of you giggling - I know who you are ladies), and that I wasn't actually painting atall, I made a little video.

It's not meant to be funny but you might find it so. What I'm saying doesn't make much sense because I'm just rambling - I didn't do much preparation. Also, this IS me, not some child I roped in, to do a voice over. Sad, but true.

Below are the photos I used for reference material.

And the finished result - yes I made the daughter's bed (granted, not very well). This won't make much sense, unless you've watched the video.

The colours I've used all come from the curtain, a gorgeous sheer fabric in really bright colours, behind which there is a blackout blind. I love the acid yellow lamps that sit on funky little tables.

I also painted a much smaller mural in the master bedroom ensuite, but there could be copyright infringement !! so I'm not going to post the finished piece but here's a picture of the bathroom. You can see the beginnings of the mural in the mirror.

The bathroom tiles are really big with tiny facets all over to reflect the light, and the shelves, sills and bath panel are all thick pink glass, inspired by the amazing towels that the client owns.

Now I'm sorting stuff out for the next job, which starts Monday - glad that I won't be doing any detailed work for a while !

DISCLAIMER: I am not likening (?)  myself to Michelangelo in any way, shape or form what-so-ever.
Calling this post 'painter's thumb' didn't sound quite so good !!!

Saturday, 24 March 2012

more tagging !

This week I was tagged by the lovely and very funny Kirby over at Kirb Appeal, and while I was trying to think up some interesting stuff to bore you all with tell you, I was tagged again by Holly - the super creative lady over at Full Circle Creations.
Holly has very thoughtfully provided me with some questions, so here goes.

The last book I read -
I rarely read books. If I find a book that I enjoy, I find it very hard to put down, it stops me doing anything else - so I don't read very often.
When I do, I enjoy science fiction/fantasy novels. Yes I'm a Hobbit lover and have read The Lord of the Rings numerous times.
I'm the middle aged woman standing in the science fiction section of the book shop. I keep company with long-haired young men avoiding eye contact and wearing heavy metal t-shirts.
I may look out of place, but no-ones going to keep me from the dragons !

My copy is slightly more battered than this one - it belonged to my Dad.

My favourite meal -
Sunday roast, preferably chicken, with all the trimmings - stuffing, chipolatas, roast potatoes and parsnips, carrots, peas and yorkshire pudding ( although yorkshires are normally served with beef).
For dessert, maybe a Banoffie Pie, although I've never actually made one myself. It has a biscuit crumb base like a cheesecake, then a caramel layer, then cream, then bananas - yuuuuuuuummmmy.

Roast beef with only one Yorkshire ! no way, one is never enough.

A favourite childhood memory -
I don't have a specific one but a trip to the seaside was always incredibly exciting.
It was the thought of the tide being out and searching through rock pools and eating fish and chips.
Going to the amusement arcades, having candy floss and bringing home a stick of rock.
I loved, loved loved trips to the seaside - luckily I don't have to get in a car to get to the sea now !

My greatest achievement -
I'm not sure what that would be, but I was walking on air the day I got into Art College. It meant that I had a direction in which to go, once I had left school.

A favourite film -
Once Upon a Time in the West - incredible music, stunning shots and great cast.
Henry Fonda is superb as the villain of the piece and Charles Bronson just makes my day !

Can I have another one -
The Magnificent Seven. Cowboy heroes saving a village. What's not to love - Charles Bronson again, as well as the gorgeous Steve McQueen and Yul Brynner.

I want to learn -
to be better on the computer.
why -
so I could do more.

What would I do if I won the lottery -
have the freedom not to HAVE to go to work.
buy one of these

A black Mini Cooper.

And I'd buy one of these.

So that I could make great coffee at home.

Where would I like to live -
I love the Greek Islands, I've mentioned it before. I'd like to retire to a pretty village with white washed buildings, minutes from the sea.

The Island of Santorini.

If it wasn't so far away, I wouldn't mind living in Sydney. It's a gorgeous city.
I spent a year there, and got the bus into the city in the morning to work.
At the end of the day I would get a ferry back to Manly and then walk along the coastal path to the 'old white house' I was staying in. Very idyllic.

Ofcourse, if I had actually won the lottery, I could travel alot or maybe even have a couple of homes.

Who would I like to have dinner with -
Kevin Mcleod. He presents a programme called Grand Designs, where people build amazing homes, and he's also written some books on paint effects. I'd like to talk interiors !

What have I learnt about myself since blogging and why do I blog -
I started blogging because it was cheaper than making a website for my work. As it turns out, any bloggers in the UK who might see my blog are not the type to order a mural - being creative types themselves. I have, however used it as an online portfolio a couple of times.
I continue to blog because at the very least - seeing other people continually creating stuff, inspires me to get on with my own things.
At the very most it makes me think outside the box - I'm continually stunned by things I'd never even thought of. Long may it continue.
What have I learnt about myself - that really my design style is about texture. I find as much beauty in something rusty as something gilded.

So what have you learnt - if a cowboy swept in on the back of a dragon, with a super hot takeaway latte, and offers of a trip to the Med - who would I be to refuse !!

Like Kirby, I'm going to flout the rules and not tag anyone.
If you want to play, then please do. If you want me to tag you, I'll erase this paragraph and leave a little list in its stead !!!

Sunday, 18 March 2012

chalk and chocolate

So, here is my first ever piece with Annie Sloan's chalk paint. I posted about my little trip to buy some here and now the result.

I combined it with a wonderful design from The Graphics Fairy about chocolate, hence the title - chalk and chocolate (good name for a blog !).

This little table has been in our lean to for years, and looked pretty bad, when I decided to rescue it.

This was it after I cleaned it, sanded it and scraped off all the chipped paint.

Now to the painting - I didn't find it easy, ascp is very thick and not what I am used to and I brushed it in every direction as I had seen on an Annie Sloan video here. In the words of Julia Roberts in Pretty Woman ' BIG MISTAKE' - just stick to what you know Fiona and stop trying to be clever !

Now I'm going to blame my tools - you definately need a good brush, one with soft bristles, preferably a Purdy or similar. Stiff bristled, cheap brushes leave tracks in thick paint. You can't see it in these photos but the surface of this little table is pretty bad.

Now I'm going to blame the table - ascp dries REALLY quickly, and as I had sanded this table A LOT, the surface was really porous, so it sucked the moisture out of the paint and made it even more difficult to get an even coat.

NOW FOR THE GOOD NEWS - I have since painted another table, that I didn't sand, which I painted using a soft brush, and which I painted in my own way, chanelling Fiona, not Annie.
IT WORKS, I AM A CONVERT - I am saving the piece for another day, but I am REALLY pleased, and I will definately be using ascp to do my dining room table and the various chairs I have scattered about the house !
The 'no preping' is such a big draw, and it works, it's sticky and thick, and sands like a dream. It's lovely and matt, and the colours are gorgeous. Also, it does go really far, and on the second piece, I only used one layer, even though the table was quite dark.
One more tip - it's not so thick that it won't run, just watch it when painting vertically, and don't be tempted to put too much on. (I realise many of you use it already, but this is just my take on it).

I think this table worked because of the wonderful graphic.

BTW as some of you know, I often mention my techno inabilities, but printing this out went like a dream.
I sent the pic in an e-mail to the old geezer, because he has the printer. He opened it and left it on the screen. My technophobe brain told me it looked big. I pushed print and one half came out on an A4 - yipee. I moved the mouse around, it showed the other half - pressed print !
I can guarantee that's never going to happen again !

I adjusted the bottom line of the design to fit with the oval shape of the table, and used carbon paper underneath, tracing it through with a biro to get a clean, sharp line.

After painting, I sanded it.

I drew a little border for the bottom shelf, that I could repeat between the four legs, and painted it all with a little matchpot I have.

I finished it in clear and dark wax. I really like the result and will definately use this graphic again but nil points for the basic painting on this one.

linking up with
Brag Monday @ The Graphics Fairy
Debbiedoos Newbie Party @ Debbiedoos
Metamorphosis Monday @ Between Naps on the Porch
Nifty Thrifty Tuesdays @ Coastal Charm
Cowgirl Up @ The Farmhouse Porch
Knick of Time Tuesdays @ Knick of Time
Wow Us Wednesdays @ Savvy Southern Style
Primp Your Stuff Wednesdays @ {Primp}
Open House Party @ No Minimalist Here
Feathered Nest Friday @ French Country Cottage
Inspiration Friday @ At the Picket Fence
Fridays Unfolded @ Stuff and Nonsense

Saturday, 17 March 2012

gallery wall 2nd instalment

Continuing from my first post about my new gallery wall.
Sorry if you've seen some of them before, but for me, my blog is an online diary and I just like to catalogue stuff (I should have been a librarian !).

I did a guest post over at A Place 2 Call Home recently and showed this piece of beach junk.

I've hung it on the wall,  just as it is, because I love the patina so much.

I wanted something similar for the other side, so I created this little piece.

I just glued one piece of wood to another, then put a rusty nail through the rusty 'thing' and bent it round to hold in place.

Then, I slipped this old metal piece through the middle.
For some reason, I have given myself a rule with the beach junk. That is, that I can paint it, glue it to something, add pieces together and change it, but never to cut it up. I feel that if I cut it to fit something, then I have taken away the value of a piece of beach junk.
It washed up on the shore having been worn by time and the elements and I only want to enhance it, not destroy it.

You still here, I am not sure telling you all my off the wall thoughts is a good idea but I'm impressed if you've stayed.

Anyway, here it is on the gallery wall, where it balances out the larger piece on the other side.

I also bought this £3 pine frame, to show off some of my favourite things, because I couldn't find a box frame this size and shape. 

I painted it grey, and distressed and waxed it, then stuck the pieces onto the glass.

I thought I might just have no background at all, in the hope that it would look like the pieces were floating. This didn't work, so I used some photocopies of fish, which needed a few adjustments to fit behind the glass, and then just put it all together.

The shell in the middle, is just so lovely and worn. The silver pipe has a real softness to it, and I love the circuit board with tiny molluscs.

I'm loving all the grey tones - grey may be the new white in this house.
And because this is on the left side, I also did a grey frame for the right side. I bought this at the local charity shop for £5.

had to buy this, because the frame is great, but also because it's the Hight Street, Sevenoaks, Kent  - where I grew up. This photograph is from 1920 and that building on the corner is now a jewellers !

I kept the photo, but used the frame for a print belonging to the old geezer. He lived in Tenerife for four years and wanted to keep this momento of Puerto de la Cruz.

The print isn't square at all, so I did the best I could, and played about with the frame till it looked ok.

I have been collecting all this stuff for quite sometime. Some things I have made for no cost at all, and the ampersand I already had, but I have worked out that the whole cost for everything is £61, which for 16 items isn't bad at all.

Every time I walk in the room I feel seriously happy with the result.

There is one picture left - I'll leave that for another day !

An ascp finished project coming soon !!

Linking up with
Saturday Nite Special @ Funky Junk Interiors