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Hack: An Easy Way to Embrace Pastels

Pastel Painted Candle Votives (c) ellasplace.co.uk

As part of my on-going efforts to revamp my bedroom I’ve been looking to add a sense of calm and tranquility to the space. If you saw my previous post on the pastel trend you’ll see these tones are being touted as perfect for providing as sense of calm and relaxation and are currently dominating the high street.

I wanted an easy way to embrace pastels while giving my boudoir an handmade artisan touch. I also don’t want to commit myself to one colour or style yet as I’m still undecided as to how I want the room just yet. I needed a flexible update that I could change, so I got out my paints…

Pastel Painted Candle Votives (c) ellasplace.co.uk

First I painted a small canvas with a very simple layers of light, rose and dusky pinks to create a pop of gentle colour to brighten up my side tables.

Pastel Painted Candle Votives (c) ellasplace.co.uk

I liked my quick canvas but I wanted something to tie things together. I then remembered a project I did last year for Homemaker magazine. It was really simple but incredibly effective and all it involved was a set of acrylic paints and some filled glass candle votives.

Pastel Painted Candle Votives (c) ellasplace.co.uk

My house always has scented candle glass votives – I pick them up when I’m doing my grocery shopping and, if you don’t pick a pungent fragrance (give them a sniff) and don’t mind a shorter life span, you can buy them for about £1.50. I’ve used a rough, coarse brush to apply lilac and serenity blue paint on the base of the glass as I want a tactile, painterly feel to these pieces.

Pastel Painted Candle Votives (c) ellasplace.co.uk

They look fab on my bedside cabinets and I love the way they look when they are lit after I take a bath (I love a little spa feel) and when I’m reading in the evening or when unlit as a colourful ornament during the day. They also make great gifts for people too – I’ve done a couple of these for friends as part of a ‘relaxation box’ (more on that later) and they have loved them. Pastel Painted Candle Votives (c) ellasplace.co.uk

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Hack: Simple ways to update your plates with ceramic pens

Update your plates (c) Ella Johnston ellasplace.co.uk

As my one of my previous post suggests I am really playing with pattern at the moment, trying to free myself up as an illustrator and exploring ways of drawing to see what ideas ‘land’.

Update your plates (c) Ella Johnston ellasplace.co.uk

I thought I’d try doing things beyond pencil and paper to really put my mind away from the subconscious self-imposed constraints that I may place on my illustration.

Update your plates (c) Ella Johnston ellasplace.co.uk

I had these spare plain plates that I’d bought originally for photography props when I was editing Homemaker Mag, I actually never used them because they were too plain and the rim wasn’t delicate enough for any of the shots (it’s amazing what you obsess about on a shoot and what works and what doesn’t).

Any-hoo these thick plate rims really allowed themselves for drawing on and I thought at the very least I’d be updating some dull crockery. So out came my cobalt blue ceramic pen and had a little play, here are the results.

Update your plates (c) Ella Johnston ellasplace.co.uk

I gave myself a 20-minute time frame to do them so it was five mins per plate. I did this because I didn’t want to overthink it. I wanted the designs to be spontaneous and completely from the top of my head. So there’s fishes, some Charles Rennie Mackintoshesque roses, wheat germs and blue retro-style flowers.

Update your plates (c) Ella Johnston ellasplace.co.uk

I like the plates and am pleased with the designs. I think I’m going to looking to the wheat germ and fish shapes further. I’ll keep you updated!

Update your plates (c) Ella Johnston ellasplace.co.uk

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What to do with spare fabric

Fabric covered box (c) Ella Johnston ellasplace.co.uk

I’ve been designing fabric patterns and have ordered lots of my handprinted leaf design in blue from my Spoonflower shop to craft with. So, after making cushions, lampshades and using it to revamp some little steps I have (more about that later), I’ve got an excess of little bits and pieces.

So what to do? Well I’ve got a lovely set of wooden boxes from BoxyLady.co.uk and I’ve used my blue and white material to cover these little numbers with. They are really easy to do – simply measure your fabric to fit the box, brush the boxes with PVA and place the fabric so it bonds with the glue, mitring the folds and snipping away any spare bits of fabric as you go.

Here’s the result. These containers are great for those little fiddly household items. I use this box to keep my tea-lights in when I’m not using them and it sits pride of place on my sideboard in the dining room.

Fabric covered box (c) Ella Johnston ellasplace.co.uk

Fabric covered box (c) Ella Johnston ellasplace.co.uk

Fabric covered box (c) Ella Johnston ellasplace.co.uk

Fabric covered box (c) Ella Johnston ellasplace.co.uk




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Summer in five colours

Berry head cliff edge TEST LO RES

Last week I spent a few days in South Devon and the weather was beautiful. At this time of year, when nature is starting to reach its vibrant peak, colours come into their own and seem to create a palette of pink, white, green, yellow and blue.

PINK
Red valerian at Berry Head PINK LO RES

The hedgerows, meadowlands and walls were full of wild red valerian, which is sometimes known as kiss-me-quick, fox’s brush or Jupiter’s beard. It was everywhere.
Red valerian at Berry Head 2 PINK LO RES

WHITE
White valerian at Berry Head WHITE LO RESThe white ‘albus’ form of valerian also smothered swathes of the cliffs at Berry Head, while the higgledy-piggledy buildings of Brixham’s harbour reminded me that what we think of as ‘white’ is usually a mixtures of other, softer colours – creams, yellows, blues and pinks.
Brixham Quay WHITE LO RES

GREEN
Ivy blue wall 2 GREEN LO RESSome of those harbourside walls are gradually being ‘greened’, while a walk through the Grove took me back to Andrew Marvell’s poem ‘The Garden’ and the line ‘a green thought in a green shade’.
Brixham Grove trees GREEN LO RES

YELLOW
Brixham lichen 2 YELLOW LO RESThe sunny week in June saw me and Dr B spend afternoons in some of the secluded coves along South Devon’s coast. I am fascinated by lichen (it’s starting to cover the roof of my little studio) and on one afternoon the dappled sunshine was reflected in the golden colour of the lichen on the rocks at the foot of the cliff – it’s almost an abstract painting.

BLUE
Fishcombe Cove boat BLUE LO RESAnd of course, when it comes to blue, the sea and the sky around Torbay provided perfect inspiration.
Torbay yachts TEST LO RES