Friday, July 31, 2009

More than just another AWARD!

How lovely it always is to know
someone is thinking of you
by sending a card or email, by a simple phone call,
by sending a little gift/thought/prayer...
there are so many ways
to let your friends and loved ones know
you are thinking of them.
Today I have the honour to say I have received
this most welcome award from my sister Sue.

Thanks Susan (Crafty Sue) at
for this One Lovely Blog Award.

I am very happy to receive this award and also,
of course, to pass it on to other friends.

Here's my chosen list:

Tammi's Recipe Box
Crafty This and That
Dennis and Roberta
Bran Made Tags
Southshoreartist Blog
Anecdotes from Malta

If you accept this award please pass it on too,
remember to let your chosen blog friends know
they have been awarded by sending them
a comment on their blogs or by an email.


Here are a couple of quotations I found that are related to receiving and giving...

Be thankful for the least gift, so shalt thou be meant to receive greater.

~ Thomas a Kempis

Each day comes bearing its own gifts. Untie the ribbons.

~ Ruth Ann Schabacker

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Recycle your paper carrier bags

Isn't it amazing how at first we did not know what to do with all our plastic shopping bags? Besides using them as bin liners we almost always ended up having a pile of them in the kitchen. There have been many crafters showing us ways of how to recycle them ~ now we treasure them like gold!
The time has come when we are being given paper carrier bags to protect the environment from harmful plastic, besides saving on the EcoTax on plastic! However, we are still faced with a recycling problem. We need to be aware of saving these bags and reusing them, thus saving our planet's supply of trees too. Unfortunately the idea in reusing them for shopping is limited or not feasible at all since they are not sturdy enough. So naturally of course we can use canvas bags or similar fabric carriers. So what are we to do with all our paper bags is one idea!

I have just finished recycling one of these bags and thought to take pictures to pass on this simple yet creative idea ~ I hope it will inspire you!

Cut two rectangles from your chosen wrapping paper a few centimetres smaller than the size of your carrier bag, that is one for each side.

Dab glue (I used a gluestick) on one side of your bag, again a few centimetres away from the sides, leaving a border of brown paper showing. Carefully place one of your sheets in place making sure the ends and corners are glued down well.
Do the same on the other side of your bag.

Find a suitable spot on your design and add a motif, for example a funfelt heart as in the picture or stars or maybe even a silk flower. You can also use glitter pens or other add-ons to decorate your bag. Do not over-clutter, remember less is more!

You can use PVA glue direct from a bottle with a nozzle or use a small paintbrush to attach your motifs. Do not use too much glue as the paper may tear or stain.

Once you have put your gift inside the bag you can secure the bag opening by wrapping a co-ordinating ribbon around the handles and fastening it into a bow to finish it off. You can also add a recycled gift tag (or one made from the same wrapper paper) to the handles if you wish.

Et Voila'! Here is your re-cycled paper Gift Bag!

You can use different wrapping paper for different occasions and seasons.
You can also re-use your old wrapping paper cutting out motifs or, if you have enough, cut rectangles as in the above illustration. This method is great for covering bags with shop adverts too!
This is a great idea for gift-giving especially if the gift is shaped in a way that is difficult to wrap.
Make sure that the bottom of your bag is secure, add tape to make sure the flaps on the bottom do not come undone.
Do not use for heavy gifts.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Summer Club for Kids

Come join us on our journey of colour,
fun, paper, glue, paints, glue, and um...more glue!

We are into our 3rd week at our Klabb Sajf (Summer Club) at our local Parish Centre. The pictures posted here are of works in progress by the kids aged from 6 to 12. Here you can see painted terracotta pots, decorated wooden spoons, decoupaged plates and sequinned butterflies.

As you can see most of the crafts are as yet unfinished as some take several sessions to finish. I will post more pictures as we go along.

Friday, July 10, 2009

~ A Decoupaged Wooden Tray ~

Here is a more advanced project than what I have been featuring so far...the pictures are of a work in progress my son had done in his first year at college ~

Items needed

Wooden Tray

Fine sand paper

Pencil & Ruler

Craft Knife

Cutting Board

All Purpose Acrylic Sealer

2 1/2" flat Brush

Elmer's Glue-all or PVA glue

Mixing bowl & spoon

Water based semi-gloss varnish

Computer generated designs


Damp cloth

Start by preparing your surface. Lightly sand tray with fine sand paper. You can use a tack cloth to get all the dust particles off the tray.
Seal with a all-purpose acrylic sealer, let dry.
Lightly sand again. Dust off dust particles.

Choose your freeware design and copy to your preferred design programme, make multiple copies or as in this case my son chose a Celtic design and enlarged or reworked it to fit the design into the basic space of the tray.
You could also cut designs from tissue paper as I did in my previous napkin decoupage or cut motifs from cards, wrapping paper, etc. You will also find lots of freeware designs on the internet, copy into your programme, re-size if you need to and print.

Make sure you have enough designs so that you can work a lovely display onto your tray.

Using a good craft knife and cutting board as well as a ruler to cut out your designs.
If you are using designs that need scissors, it is preferable to use embroidery scissors to be able to cut perfectly around corners and difficult shapes.

Pre-arrange your designs on your tray until you find an arrangement that you like.
Once you decoupage your design and it dries, it cannot be removed.

Water down your PVA glue slightly to the consistency of cream, mix well. Depending on how thick your glue is, add water a little at a time until you see it resembles a milky mixture.
Working from the centre of the tray, ***apply a thin coat of glue mixture, using your flat brush, to the surface of the tray where your motif is to be pasted...use a single long stroke applying the glue along the grain of the wood...this is very important!
Press down your motif in place on top of the glue and with your fingers gently press from the centre toward ends gently working out any wrinkles. Make sure your ends are sealed into the surface.
Apply one more single stroke top coat over your design according to the wood grain.
Clear up any excess glue carefully with a damp cloth. Let this dry for 24-48 hours, even more on humid days.***
You can speed up the drying process by using a hair dryer on low heat about 6-8 inches from your project but I prefer to let it dry naturally.
Continue working this way according to the directions between the *** until you have glued all your desings in place.
Do not brush any glue over areas where you have already glued as this may cause too much moisture and your designs may have air bubbles. Also too much glue may work its way into the wood grain in some places. Always let each coat dry before adding another.
After 24 hours Again using a single stroke, apply two coats to the total surface area with a soft brush, letting coats dry for 1 hour in between.
When totally dry, apply two coats of water-based semi gloss varnish, letting each coat dry in between coats.
  • You can use a spray varnish or if you use a painted varnish apply using a clean soft brush, never a roller or sponge as it forms bubbles.
  • You could also cover all the basic surface of the tray with your chosen paper rather than cut-outs. In this case the only wooden part showing would of course be the handles and sides.
  • You CAN paint the wooden item prior to decoupaging if you like. in which case use water-based acrylics.
Last but not least, use your imagination and be creative...have FUN!

Thursday, July 9, 2009

PEG YOUR NOTES ~ An easy Decoupage craft

PEG YOUR NOTES Fridge Magnets ~ This is a very simple craft, one that can be done in only a few minutes. It is a great craft to make with children.

Materials needed:

New wooden pegs

Printed Paper Napkin with small design (ex. flowers or geometric design) preferably on white background
OR any leftover wrapping paper or scraps of colourful paper

PVA glue mixture (see side note)

Narrow paintbrush


Magnet small enough to fit back of peg (cut to size from advert magnets - see bottom note)


All-purpose glue

Wet cotton rag

Acrylic Matt varnish

Step by step instructions

Place two or more pegs in a row.

Cut the napkin down to size using one piece enough to cover all the pegs in one go. DO NOT CUT OUT DESIGN.

Separate the top layer (the actual design) of the designed napkin from the other 2 plain layers. (Separate by peeling from the corner.)

Spread PVA glue mixture over one side of the pegs using a paintbrush.

Place the designed sheet over the pegs and dab down gently with the sponge (do not rub) or you can even use your fingers.

Wipe fingers on wet cotton rag to remove any glue.

Smooth out creases or air bubbles with fingers.

Let dry completely.

Apply at least another two more coats of glue, letting each coat dry completely. Fix magnet to back of peg using all-purpose glue.

When totally dry, separate pegs by cutting off the excess napkin and trimming edges.

Do not decoupage more than two or three pegs at one go as they might be awkward to handle if you are not used to it.

Finally seal with a coat of acrylic matt varnish or spray.

Make several to peg your notes and decorate your fridge!!


IDEAS! You can use these decorated pegs to hold notes on your fridge and if you do not attach a magnet to the back you can also use them to seal bags of cereal, snacks or frozen veggies, and also to hold back curtains!

Great fund-raising item for school or church sales! Or to give as gifts!

MAGNETS: If you do not have any advert magnets, try hobby shops or hardware stores for sheet magnets which you can cut down to the required size.

PVA GLUE MIXTURE: See the posting about 'Getting Ready to Decoupage'.

The photos in this posting are from shared files.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

I love Decoupage ~ Part II

Getting Ready to Decoupage

First of all you need to decide what object you would like to decorate. It could be anything from a shoebox or a wooden box, a plain glass vase or plate or a simple drinking glass. I suggest you start on an empty clean jar, a shoebox or if you are feeling more adventurous try working on a glass plate or a simple drinking glass. Make sure it is not an antique!

For each project, you will need:

White (PVA) glue (or any decoupage medium you prefer)

Brushes the size depending on the surface area you will work on (pref. a 1 1/2" wide, flat brush with fine bristles for a plate)

A pair of scissors

Greeting cards, wallpaper, napkins or other pictures to cut your design from

The object you are working on

Acrylic Matt varnish

Dry cloths

Preparing your object for decoupage:

Peal any thick labels from boxes, sand down wood and wash glass objects in warm soapy water. Dry with a soft cloth making sure it is dust and lint-free.

White or PVA glue is the good old carpenter's glue which you can thin down by mixing one part glue to two parts water (sometimes even one part to one; experiment until the mixture resembles a white medium-thick milky consistency. You can also buy ready made decoupage glue but I find I can work very well with my own mixture to which I also add some transfer varnish (from hobby shops) purposely for decoupage.

The brush you use with the glue should be soft and flat and the size according to the area you are working on. Always clean your brushes after use even if you are stopping for a 15-minute break. PVA glue should be cleaned with water.

Make sure the scissors you are using are comfortable to work with especially if you will be doing a lot of cutting. Specialist or hobby shops carry a range. When you cut make sure you're sitting comfortably in a good light. The scissors should be sharp and you should cut as close as possible to the outline of your design. When using napkins, you could use the whole peeled off napkin over the entire area and then cut (trim) off the access after the first couple of glue coats have dried.

Before you start cutting, imagine the cut-out as part of the object you are decorating. You can even mix and match designs, so long as they go together of course. I suggest you use thin paper: you could make photocopies of a favourite picture if the paper is too thick. (There is a process called thinning which, as the word itself suggests, allows you to thin the paper, but we will not go into this here).

My favourite paper is decorated napkins. Even though they might be delicate to work with, the finished product is quite unique! The tealight in the previous posting is an example as the light filters through the glass giving the candle holder a lovely translucent effect especially when the candle is lit!

It is important to know whether to apply the glue to your paper or item you are woking on or vice versa. In the case of napkin decoupage, it is better to apply the glue to the item you are working on, then gently peal off one ply (with the design) from the napkin you have chosen and carefully place it on your object...once in place, gently pat down the paper in place starting from the centre and working your way towards the edges. You can very gently keep using your fingers which I prefer or gentle strokes with a soft wide brush (see list above) to fix it in place without pulling or stretching the paper. I know it can be very fiddly sometimes and you may have to re-start if the paper tears...I have been there too but do not give up! That is why I insist that you practise on an empty jar at first or a box.

Several coats of Acrylic Matt varnish should be applied to the finished pasted product with your flat fine bristled brush (the ones used for varnishing are excellent). Make sure each coat is dry before applying the next.

Painting: There are projects wherein you will need to paint the object before or even after applying the paper cut-outs. Sometimes you might use White Matt emulsion paint or gold acrylic, etc. Just follow the instructions if you are reading from a specific project and don't be afraid to experiment.

Washing your brushes:

It is extremely important that you keep your brushes clean. Wash them as soon as you have finished part or all of your project.

Wash away PVA glue residue or acrylic varnish immediately with plenty of water.

ALWAYS dry brushes on a soft dry cloth and leave to dry completely by placing them in a container with the bristles facing up. If necessary re-shape bristles while still moist.

Take good care of your brushes and you will get many years of use from them.





Keep your work area clean and tidy


Wash brushes immediately after use.

The photos in this posting are from shared files.

I love Decoupage ~ Part I

I have been enjoying decoupage for several years now...I am self taught and have done lots of research too. I had several pages on my website (which I am at the moment restructuring) on this wonderful art, some of which I'll try to share here on my blog for those interested in trying out this fun and definitely rewarding hobby. I will start by giving an outline of ...


The word decoupage is derived from the French word decouper which means to cut out. Decoupage is the creative art of cutting, re-assembling, pasting (or glueing) and finally varnishing paper designs for decorating objects. The word itself is a 20th century word but the art of decoupage has a very long and fascinating history, dating back several centuries that can be traced back to many different and distant countries.

In the late 17th century oriental lacquered objects became fashionable in Europe. It was mostly in the form of furniture and came from the Far East. Wealthy people hired painters to paint their furniture and to decorate their walls and ceilings with various designs including country scenes, animals, birds and flowers. However because this was very expensive and much in demand, another form of decoration developed. Drawings were cut out, re-assembled, glued to surfaces or objects and covered with lacquer thus resembling original paintings. This was termed poor man's art from l'arte del povero.

During the 18th and 19th centuries this decorative art became very popular and flourished all over Europe including the houses of the upper classes and royalty. Common people with a flair for the art snipped away at pictures and glued them onto boxes, fire screens and furniture. Many works of distinguished artists ended up in this way.

There are many magnificent pieces of furniture or objets d'art in museums or private homes and are a fine example of fine cutting and colouring, pasting and lacquering.

Over the years decoupage has been practised by many famous people and artists including Marie Antoinette, Madame de Pompadour, Lord Byron and recently Matisse and Picasso.

Today decoupage has definitely made a come-back across the world and is being taught in its many forms. With such an interesting and long history, it is not at all surprising that decoupage is still evolving with different styles and techniques.

Nowadays decoupage has become a fascinating art in its limitless forms. However you should not be discouraged by its complexity. Anyone who knows how to use scissors and glue and has a steady hand can do decoupage! Once you try your hand at this art and use your imagination, the possibilities are endless. And hey presto, you will progress from simple designs to more complex works of art - you are on the way to becoming a decoupeur!

Indeed the art of decoupage offers you an opportunity for endless hours of creativity as well as enjoyment. The finished product will certainly prove to be your trophy of pride and satisfaction for years to come. The image created on any item looks as if it were painted on. A decoupaged gift given to a loved one or a special friend will bring lasting memories. And if preserved in years to come, it might even end up as a valuable antique!
NOTE: If you are totally new to this craft, I suggest you practise first on some glass jars. Then when you feel more confident, bring out that wooden box that you have been meaning to do something with or that odd glass plate you never wanted to throw out and have fun turning them into a work of art! One word of caution though do not experiment on antiques, once the modpodge (or whatever glue you are using) dries it is not easy to scrap it off.

Check these sites out...

Read the next posting ...

'Getting Ready To Decoupage'

Saturday, July 4, 2009

Happy 4th of July!

and all my American friends online!

Have a lovely weekend!

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Happy Birthday CANADA!

Again I am late in posting but I just had to write about this special day. Yesterday July 1st was Canada Day and the colours red and white were proudly displayed, even worn across the country as Canada Day activities from coast to coast were celebrated to honour its history, culture and diversity.

From news I hear from family and friends, the weather has been anything from sunny skies, thunder, rainy or dry...some plans have had to be postponed but all festivities will continue right through to this weekend.

July 1st is considered Canada Day because on July 1st 1867 was the enactment of the British North America Act of 1867. This established the Canadian Federal Government which made the four Canadian provinces at the time into one country. It is a statutory holiday and a day that all Canadians can feel proud of their country.

When we lived in Canada we used to look forward to and thoroughly enjoy this memorable day and all the Parades with marching bands, picnics in parks, BarBQs and family get-togethers as well as the lovely fireworks displays. What beautiful memories!

For interesting reading check these sites...

For Crafts, Activities and Recipes click here...

Happy Canada Day

to our relatives and friends in Canada!

Have a safe and happy week ~ enjoy!

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