Earlier this month I had great fun showing people how to use Posca pens to decorate glass lanterns the easy way at The Stitching, Sewing & Hobbycrafts show at EventCity in Manchester. As you know I’ve been working with Posca pens all year, as I’ve done a lot of work with the company, but it’s always better when you can see what other people come with up when you show them how to use the pens.
I ran around five workshops in small groups of five or six everyday and it was such as pleasure to share some knowledge and see others’ creativity flourish. I made the illustrated lanterns shown here in preparation for the show, to illustrate how you can use the pens to decorate onto glass, using the different sized nibs and various colours to create different illustrative effects.
The glass drawing preparation work I’d done was a great way of kick-starting new ideas from my workshop buddies who used the designs as a inspiration for their own work.
I did a combination of easy dots and strokes, simple girly designs and seasonal Christmas-themed, autumn and halloween illustrations. I’d kept the shapes very simple and easy to copy and explored ways you can layer colour with the pen. And while some of my workshoppers stuck to simple dots and strokes or my easy shapes, others were more ambitious, creating stunning intricate designs of their own. It gave me a real buzz. You can work directly onto these glasses with the pens. To seal in the design you simply bake the glass in the oven for 160-degrees (Gas mark 2 I think) for 45 mins so we’re using robust glass here. We used glasses from Ikea so that people could easily get more if they developed an addiction for easy glass painting. I’m doing a mini-tour of with the company and will be doing my do with Posca and other Uni-ball pens at the following venues.
NEC, Birmingham: 3-6 November
ExCeL, London: 17-19 November
Join me if you can, if not just check out what you do with some pens and some glass.
One of my favourite cheap and easy decoration tips is to create a colourful wall display. Here I’ve hung some Amy Butler prints in neon frames.
Bright and eclectic, Amy Butler’s designs are so joyous. Butler gets inspiration from a range of sources, using patterns and colour combinations inspired by her travels around the world.
I’ve got loads of her fabrics and I was very excited when she released a book of her designs on paper, Amy Butler Decoupage. I’ve used the papers on many of my projects (including this one above for Homemaker Magazine). The book only costs around £11 and you get 80 colourful sheets making it fantastic value. I had a few sheets left and I’ve always felt a bit guilty about ripping them up for decoupage and wanted to show them off properly as a wall display.
Luckily I have a collection of old frames gathered over the years and picked up at car boots (I think it’s another obsession of mine) and luckier still I’ve got a whole box full of spray paint in various colours (including some fab neons) to co-ordinate with the prints. They really brighten up a dark corner and would look really fun as a grid with matching frames to fill a wall.
I don’t know about you but I’ve got a big stash of plain and patterned paper from previous projects and from when I’ve taken advantage of bulk offers in art shops. It seems like a waste to have them languishing in drawers and boxes so last week I took action and turned some of them into stash-busting banners to decorate our study with a simple wall display. I had some lovely light blue card that I’d been waiting for something to do with and some left-over summer swallow and butterfly designs that I had created to decorate a friends wedding. I thought the colours all worked really well together and I had some Posca pens in a lovely slate grey that would lift the blue card and unify the whole scheme once I’d added some simple text and design. Making these banners is a synch. It just requires a ruler, a length of doweling, a craft knife, twine, double-sided-tape and the paper(s) of your choice. I measured my doweling at various lengths and cut to size (I could easily snip mine with a craft knife but you may need something more ‘robust’). I then trimmed my papers into rectangles making sure I had about a 2cm allowance to wrap them over the doweling and leaving room at the bottom for cutting the bottom into a ‘v’ or inverted ‘v’ or at an angle while not compromising the main design. Once the blue card was cut, I could draw a bespoke illustration on it. I thought I’d keep it some with a hand-scripted ‘hello’ and some simple laurel leaf and flower motifs. Let me know if you’d like me to talk through hand scripting and drawing these leaves and flowers – they’re easy to master and you don’t have to be a great draftsman/woman, I promise . With everything cut to size I applied lengths of double-sided-tape to the doweling and, in the case three out of the four banners, I attached the ends of my twine before rolling the edges of the rectangles over the doweling to fix.
I’m pleased that I was able to give my old stash a new lease of life and I’m delighted to be able to add another bit of quirky handmade styles to a little corner of our study.
Last Sunday I got to spend time in our little garden while doing some quick garden furniture maintenance. As you can see above, the folding chairs we’ve had for well over a decade have taken the force of some dismal British winters – and summers, for that matter – first on our London balcony and then here in Wivenhoe. Of course we should have moved them indoors when it rained – but when it rained it was rainy, so we didn’t venture outside. In winter we’d forget about them. Surely we’re not the only ones!
I recently got hold of some really rather lovely Chalky Finish paint from Americana Decor. It’s a matte chalk paint that doesn’t need priming or wood to be sanded down before using – perfect to upgrade an old piece of furniture when you’re short on time (or perhaps just a little lazy). To protect the surface the quick-drying paint is finished with a choice of waxes and varnishes. It really was so simple to apply.
The chair was finished in less than a couple of hours– which left me free to enjoy the late-afternoon sunshine.