Monthly Archives: August 2011

Wood, nail and string sculptures

Beaux-quet ( craft project)

If you were born in the 60’s / 70’s ( as most of us mums were) then you probably remember this craft from “yester-year”.
It hasn’t popped up for years in any pre-school or school project I’ve seen. So I decided to revive it.
I bought string and nails for my home schooled art students and a few cans of spray paint. Of course the whole spray paint, hammers and nails thing really appealed to the boys.
Instead of going to buy wood, I went to Beacon Hill council clean up and looked through piles of recycled goods and found 14 pieces of wood all different shapes and sizes for the students.

Some left their wood plain and others spray painted it.

Some ‘eager beavers’ began nailing the nails into the wood while the paint was still wet. Lol (above).
But my funniest moment was 3 yr old little Joshie. Who wanted desperately to be Bob the Builder. He began wacking nails into his little project and then wondered why he couldn’t pick the wood up.
He had nailed the entire thing to the deck!!!!
I cracked up laughing……

Some students did lovely star shapes and even purple curling ribbon diamond shapes.

The kids thoroughly enjoyed this. Right from age 3-14. And my girls can’t wait to give it a go this weekend.

Asher made a lovely elongated rectangle. This, I’m told, is her Fathers Day pressie for her Dad and the knot in the wood where there is a hole, is the part where it’s going to be hung on a hook on the wall.
I love kids creativity.

All the shapes were so unusual. This one of Dan’s reminds me of a rocket ship.

I would love to take this project one step further and get kids to silver-leaf stars onto the back ground and do painted flames coming out of the rocket , all done on a piece of black painted wood (out of space theme).

Remember this project ( above). See previous blog. A combination of string and nails rocket ship and this stars and planet back ground would look fantastic. A great craft for a boys party.
Have fun…. P.S. – DO NOT nail the craft to the deck!! Lol.


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Ndebele hut

Beaux- quet ( craft project)

These are Ndebele [uhn-duh-bee-lee] huts in Africa (where I was born). They are so colourful and beautiful. An art form of pure genius architecture all in their own right. I love them.

I was inspired to get my girls to make one of these huts and also my art students.
It turned out a lot harder than it looks. But a lot of fun.

I thought I’d get my girls to construct a hut together. Hmmmmm… Bad mistake.

Eden did all the beautiful colouring of the Ndebele geometric shapes and Jessica constructed a tottery ( cute) hut. We put it all together. But then Jessica (5yrs) fell apart because she believed the hut was hers and hers alone. But Eden (7yrs) had the same thought!!!!

Josh ( my husband) arrived home from work to find craft scraps all over the lounge floor and two very teary and indignant sisters pulling at a cardboard hut.
He then offered to slice the hut in half and give half to each of the girls ( like the old wise King Solomon did in the bible with two women who wanted the same baby…. You may know the story).

Well that idea did not go down well in the least and just induced more tears!!!
Note to self: do not attempt craft at the end of the day when kids are ratty and overtired.

I took the hut away and ” banished them” from it for the last hour of the night until bed time. After a lesson on sharing is caring!!!!

Anyway – back to the hut craft. Firstly I drew simple geometric shapes with a black marker and ruler.
The geometric blocks were coloured in with textas.

This is a picture of a real Ndebele hut wall (above). The white blocks inbetween really make it look fresh. Kids tend to want to colour each shape in, instead of leaving a few white.

Next we cut black cardboard and rolled it into a cylinder shape and stapled the sides together.
Next the roof was made with a paper plate. Cut to the centre of paper plate and fold edge around to make cone shape and staple.

Next stage is to snip 1cm cuts around the one end of black cardboard and bend snips out ( as seen below).

Then staple or sticky tape this to the paper plate roof.

Stick Ndebele decorations onto the side of the hut walls with glue. Optional: cut a door opening.
Next we went into the garden and collected “thatch”. It wasn’t actually thatch but dried cats-tails plants. We snipped these with scissors and tied into bundles with sticky tape.

I grew up on a farm in South Africa and I have vivid memories of real thatch roofs on the farmhouse and the workmen up ladders laying new thatch every so often. Such a clever thing to do. I haven’t seen an actual thatch roof since being here in Australia.

When I explained to my kids and art students that these Ndebele hut walls were actually made from real dung and mud mixed together they were horrified.

Anyway – the thatching bit was very challanging for the students. It’s quite a tricky process. But some really got the knack of it.
They glued the bundles to the roof and the Ndebele hut was complete.

Needless to say – I did not even attempt this final “thatching the roof ” stage with my overtired little girls. Only with my art students.

My girls Ndebele hut is now officially Rapunzel’s home and the roof remains white….

Happy constructing everyone!!


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Beaux- tie ( a recipe )

This is a ” lethal” recipe. Nothing healthy. Purely indulgent and sooooo delicious. It’s expensive and fattening. But oh so good.

Just made a dozen this morning and can you believe it: it’s got TEN egg whites in it!!!!
These babies look so gorgeous all tied up with ribbons or twine. And they taste even better served with lashings of fresh cream and strawberries.

I got this recipe in new Zealand from my sisters friend, who got it from a lady who used to have an old French nanny. It’s authentic, old school French.
I have since seen similar recipes in gourmet magazines, but when I got it ten years ago no one was making them at home. And you could buy a friand in a cafe for up to $4.50 each and they never taste this good.

Before getting dressed for school, my girls and I made these. Here’s the recipe:

5 egg whites
2 cups icing sugar
1/2 cup flour
180g melted butter
1 cup almond meal
Vanilla essence

You can see this recipe is looking worse for wear in my old recipe book ( above). I doubled the recipe which makes about 20.
I threw in some chunks of chocolate too. I used an egg separator which made it easier.

Preferably you need a friand pan, which is deeper than a muffin pan and oval shape not round.
As I said – this is pure indulgence and works out expensive. But still about $1 each instead $4+ each in the cafes if you buy one.

Throw all ingredients into a large bowl and mix. Then scoop portions into the friand pan. I line my pan with baking paper first so they won’t stick. Or you can spray with non stick spray.

I placed fresh strawberries in each raw friand. Tinned berries also work well or just chocolate chips.
Bake at 180 in oven until golden brown.
Serve warm with a nice cuppa.
You will love this. I promise.
Let me know how it goes.


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My new painting

Beaux on the go

I know this isn’t quite the beaux design project blog – but I just had to share this with my blog readers.
Very happy to have well over 2000 hits on my blog from all around the world. Whoooooo!!!!
Thanks everyone.
I love sharing creative ideas and inspiration with everyone.
So I wanted to upload my latest painting I just finished tonight.
I am so excited. It’s a dream come true to complete such a huge big painting.
I had to get a truck to deliver the canvas and it’s amost floor to ceiling high. Needed to stand on a chair to paint it.
It’s called ” these are a few of my favourite things! ”
From the old classic movie “sound of music”.
I just love spiral staircases, cabbage roses, trees, vintage houses, chandeliers and rooms with a view. So this is a taste of a few of my fav things all in one painting.
Just look at this chair below. Wow. I would have loved to have painted this too. But alas….

I couldn’t get a chair in perspective to fit.

Tried a new thing called gel medium to transfer photocopies of spiral stair cases into the canvas surface. Amazing stuff. Another blog on this technique to follow.
Used the old butterick clothes pattern as the underlay of my painting ( See previous blog on this in other areas).

Used the technique of transferring letters onto name canvases in previous blog to do the sepia letters ” these are a few of my favourite things”.
The floor of the painting is tiny roses. I stuck rose paper napkins onto the canvas and gloss varnished over them to seal them flat.

Desperately wanted to do a turquoise window sill and paint my beloved vintage chair in there too. ( this is an older photo) but it didn’t work over all.
Finally after many hours, this

baby is done. I’m a happy camper.

The section with the cabbage rose on the bodice of the mannequin is one of my favourite parts. That was done late last night.
I really want to frame this in an old world type Italian frame. Huge one. But I need serious $$$$ to pay for that. So for now, it will stay unframed on my wall.

After doing years and years of painting commissions for other peoples walls, it’s so nice to finally indulge and do something just for me. Xxx


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Painting – flowers in a vase

Rain -Beaux. ( art project).

How wonderful to have a big painting on the wall done by your child / children.

Right now I am sitting in china town in a little hair salon getting my hair chemically straightened by the real pros at this game…. And writing my blog at the same time. My untamed lions mane will be dead straight locks of hair in a few hours. Why not use the time to blog!!!!

My niece and nephew (4 yrs & 8yrs) did this painting for their new house last week with me when we were on the gold coast. My girls and I flew up to the Gold Coast in Queensland last week for $35 each. I love a bargain. I’m nic named the ” bargain queen”. Gotta love those cheap flights on jetstar.
Anyway – we decided to do mum ( my sister in law) a painting. Here’s the Prelude:

I went into this cute florist to buy my sister in law some real tulips. A small bunch was $35 !!!!
I nearly choked with shock. That bunch of 7 tulips was the same price as my air ticket from Sydney to the Gold Coast!!!
I smiled politely and quickly popped the tulips back in their bucket in the shop and hurried out.
Let’s rather buy a canvas and 5 tubes of paint for $30!!
And paint the tulips in a vase and then you have them forever.
So that is what we did. It looks gorgeous.

I also did this same project a couple of weeks ago with an even bigger canvas and 4 kids.

I got the kids to lie next to their black canvas to show just how big it was. This painting was their pressie for their mum ( my lovely friend Claire from Zimbabwe ).

First step: was to cover the back ground with neutral coloured paint using large kitchen sponges. Little Zara ( 4yrs) really got into this part and loved feeling included in this big project with her older siblings.

We used masking tape to section off the table part of the painting. They used burgundy and purple paints to do this with big brushes. Each step was dried in between with hair dryers.

Next they masked off a simple vase shape with masking tape. John painted in the vase with white paint. ( as seen in pic above).
Once dry, before removing the masking tape from around the vase shape, they sponged a grey shade down the left hand side of the vase. This gives the 3D illusion that the vase is a cylinder shape.
Then the masking tape is removed. Next they got a tube of olive green paint and squeezed the stem shapes straight out of the tube. Down the centre of the canvas and into the vase. Time for the flowers.

I got some cellophane and the kids painted the tulips onto that first and then printed them down onto the surface of the canvas at the top of the flower stem.

Flowers look better in odd numbers than even numbers. 3 or 5 often looks good and makes a complete composition.

Rough leaf shapes were dabbed onto the stems using a lighter green and a kitchen spatula.

Once the flowers are dry, the kids used their fingers to smear on darker shades of red over the orange.

This is Ben drying the painting while on the wall. The excitement of seeing it hung…. Big smiles and a wow from dad when he came in the door.
My brother was the same – most impressed with his kids art work.

Needless to say… So was I.
We then sprayed over the whole canvas with 3 coats of hair spray to give it protection and a glossy sheen.


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Marbling with paints

Rain-Beaux ( art project)

This is such a fun project……
But so, so messy. So I’ll state that right from the outset.

We ended up hanging all our marbling art works on the washing line to dry to get them out the way.

Firstly you need some old baking trays with about an inch of water in each.
Mix jars of oil paints in different colours in each jar.

The oil paint needs to be very thinned out / runny so you can pour this on top of the water. I used thinners and linseed oil to mix the paints and thin them down.

Swirl oil paint droplets around to make patterns.

Lay paper flat on the surface of the water and the oil marbling effect sticks to the paper. The kids were stoked with the outcome and we decided to laminate our art works to make sets of place mats for the table

Here are all the laminated art works below.

Next we tried another form of marbling with milk, dishwashing liquid and food colouring.

Fill the trays with milk instead of water. Drop food colouring into the milk.

Once that is done, put little drops of detergent on top of food colouring.
Colours begin to swirl on their own.

Dip paper on top of the surface of the milk and lay flat.

The results were truely amazing and great to do with really young kids too.

A nice gift for Grandparents, to do a set of laminated place mats done by the toddler. Tie up with a satin bow and place in gift bag.

I do recommend art smocks to be worn especially when doing the oil paint version of marbling. And have a large ream of paper and a large surface/ table covered in newspaper ready to place wet art works.


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