23 July 2014

Triangle plant pots

I'm a little bit obsessed with triangles at the moment. It started with my Charles Rennie Mackintosh carved stamps, which then led to my phone case, and later this week I will be reviewing a book full of triangles!

Today's project is a really quick and easy one - it took longer to go and get the pots from the garden centre than it did to decorate them!

1. Cover most of the pot in a plastic bag, then tape off a triangular area

2. Spray with gold paint
3. Leave to dry
4. Remove the tape and bag
5. Fill with plants and admire your handiwork!

Blogger Tricks

22 July 2014

Social media

I've finally entered the 21st century and added some social media buttons to my blog! They are across at the top of the right-hand column, if you'd like to try them out!

I started using Pinterest just a few months ago, and I love it! Then a few weeks ago I joined Twitter, set up my Emuse Facebook page, and joined Instagram. Of those three, I'm particularly loving Instagram, especially now that I have a phone with a better camera in it, and I think it will be fun for sharing some behind the scenes photos. It will take me a little longer for me to work out how best to make use of Twitter and the Facebook page. I've been a member of Flickr for a long time, and that will be where I will continue to share more photos of any events or places if there are too many to put in a blog post.

21 July 2014

Painted egg

This painted egg has a bit of history behind it!

When I was at primary school, there was a competition each Easter for the best-decorated hard-boiled egg. It was a lot of fun, with eggs decorated as all sorts of animals, people and objects, and we always enjoyed going round all the other classes to see their eggs.

When I reached the final year of primary school, I decided to make quite a subtle and artistic egg, with a painted design on it. I based the design on a painting of flowers and trellis that was in a craft book. And that year I won the prize for the best egg!

Unfortunately hard-boiled eggs don’t last very long! And I had no close-up photos of my egg. And somewhere along the way the craft book I’d taken the design from disappeared. But I never forgot my egg, and always wanted to recreate it.

This painted wooden egg was one attempt to make something similar. Although I remembered the flowers on my original egg had been blue, I decided to go for cherry blossoms instead.
The drawing was also based on the same idea, and was for a competition a few years ago at work for the best Easter egg design, which I actually won! I feel a little bit guilty about this, as the competition was really meant for the pupils, and I only entered to try to encourage them! But the pupils who were judging the competition decided to award me the prize.
After painting the egg, and doing the drawing, I finally found another copy of the craft book I originally based my egg design on, which is the Reader’s Digest Manual of Handicrafts. And I realised that the image I based my design on has a lot in common with some of Charles Rennie Mackintosh’s stencil designs (which is the connection with my Mackintosh Month!)

Now that I have the book, I look forward to sometime in the future making a true recreation of my old egg!

20 July 2014

Faux enamelled pendant

A couple of years ago I made some sketches of Glasgow School of Art, Charles Rennie Mackintosh's most famous building, and came up with some jewellery designs inspired by these sketches, but until now I hadn't turned any of them into real jewellery. One of the ideas was a pendant based on the lantern outside the main entrance, and I have now made this design from polymer clay.

Here's how I made it:
1. Mould white polymer clay into a flattened square shape

2. Poke two holes through 

3. Use an oval bead to make a depression in the surface

5. Use a knife to cut lines between the depression and the top

6. Break up some blue clay and mix it with liquid clay

7. Paint this into the depression and bake the bead 

8. Varnish over the blue area. I also sanded the bead with quite coarse sandpaper to give a matt effect.

9. Thread small blue beads onto two head-pins, place these through the two holes in the bead, and thread onto a necklace wire.

19 July 2014

The Willow Tearoom

When I had my 40th birthday a few years ago, I had trouble thinking of where I would like to go to celebrate. Then I remembered somewhere I'd always wanted to go, which was the Charles Rennie Mackintosh designed Willow Tearoom on Sauchiehall Street in Glasgow. It was great to finally see inside, and I did some little sketches and took plenty photos. My parents and I got the Room de Luxe to ourselves, and enjoyed a lovely meal there, including enormous meringues and the best chocolate brownie I've ever tasted!

18 July 2014

Tutorial: Design your own playing cards

Here's how to make a fun, unique pack of playing cards of your own design!

1. Decide on the size of your cards. Make a template and use this to cut 52 cards from thin card. I used a paper trimmer to do this quickly and easily, putting some tape on the trimmer so I could line them up to the same size. If you like, use a corner rounder to round the corners of the cards.
2. Decide on symbols and colours for the suits. I based mine on the designs of Charles Rennie Mackintosh, with red roses, blue squares, green leaves and yellow triangles. You can hand carve stamps based on your suits, like I did, or choose any small stamps you may have. I also made a larger stamp for my "Ace of Leaves"!
3. Lay out all the cards, and stamp the numbers on them. I found it easiest to stamp all those of one colour first, then clean the stamps and go on to the next colour.
4. Stamp the suit symbols on the cards. You can have fun deciding on how to lay these out on the card.
5. Stamp the face cards. I created one stamp for these, making it quite basic so it could look male or female. I then stamped the suit symbol in the centre.

What do you think? If you were going to make your own cards, what designs and colours would you choose?

17 July 2014

Stained glass Glasgow Rose earrings

Charles Rennie Mackintosh and many of his contemporaries used a rose design that came to be known as the "Glasgow rose". It's a simplified rose design, which I discovered worked really well for these stained-glass style wire earrings, which are quite simple to make!

You'll need:
Thin silver-coloured wire
Nail polish in a red or pink colour (I used Bordeaux by Essie)
Earring wires
A pair of jewellery pliers would be useful, but not essential, as, if the wire is thin enough, you can bend it with your fingers

1. Bend the wire into two rose shapes, each about 1.5cm across. Start at the middle with a triangle shape, and work outwards from this as shown in the diagram, until it forms a circle. Try to make sure there are lots of points where the wire touches, so that the segments that need filled with nail polish are small. Leave a length of wire to support the rose as it dries.

2. Load up the nail polish brush with plenty of polish, and hold it behind one of the open areas of the rose. It might take a few attempts to get the polish to cling. Leave each area to dry before doing the next. To support the rose as it dries, you could stick it in a blob of blu-tak.

3. When they are completely dry, bend the ends of the wires into loops, and attach to the earring wires! If the nail polish covers the wire at the front, you can try gently removing it with a cotton bud and nail polish remover.

16 July 2014

Mackintosh inspired clay mosaic pendant

I love the tile inlays used in some of Charles Rennie Mackintosh's buildings. Arrangements of squares are a motif that he used a lot, and blue is a colour he used frequently. So when I acquired some blue mosaic pieces I knew immediately what I wanted to try with them!

Materials: White polymer clay, mosaic pieces, liquid clay, varnish

1. Roll the clay flat (I used a piece of paper on top to keep the clay clean) 
 2. Place the mosaic pieces in place
 3. Press the mosaic pieces down until they are level with the clay
 4. Trim the edges, and poke a hole at the top
5. Add liquid clay on the top
6. Bake according to the instructions on your clay
7. When it is cool, varnish the pendant

15 July 2014

Recently thrifted

Here are some of my favourite recent finds from the local charity shops and car boot sales. The tiny Shaker basket is lovely, and I've been looking for one for ages! The coasters, which I nearly had to fight Mum for as she saw them at the same moment, will probably be used for a future craft project. And then there is the small quilt cover (cot sized) made of the cutest fabric ever (with cats and birdies and apples), which will also make its way into some craft projects!