Monthly Archives: September 2011

Painting tulips in a vase (kids)

Rain- beaux ( art for kids)

How absolutely gorgeous are my tulips!!!
As the sun shone in my front door I took the above photo of the stunning tulips a friend of mine ( tara) gave me.
They inspired me to do a class on still life and tulip painting.
Although we have explored the whole ” flowers in a vase” in a previous blog or two …. It’s still such a winner as a composition for kids, and I hadn’t actually done it with my home schooled art students class.
I took in the vase of tulips for them to paint.
The results were sensational. Especially given that some of these students are only ages 3-6!!!

Here’s how they did it:
Firstly we worked off a cream/ butter coloured cardboard.

The students printed down a textured wallpaper print onto the cardboard with grey paint.

I’ve got lots of these, they are so great for printing textures down on art works.

My friend tara found 40 books of these wallpapers in a throw out pile from a wallpaper shop. They were all deleted ranges.
Going to a wallpaper and fabric library is a fantastic place to find deleted ranges and bits and pieces for craft for free.

Love this piece of fabric (above).
Next we painted black onto a kitchen sponge and painted half the cardboard. A piece of masking tape or paper is a good way to tape off the table section before sponging on with black.

Next the students cut vase shapes out of bug paper. Any paper or wrapping paper will work for the vase.
Before you glue the vase shape down, sponge grey paint on one side to shade the vase and make it look more 3D.

After the vase is glued onto the surface of the art work, get a ruler and print down green stems with the edge of the ruler or a folded piece of cardboard.

Printing skinny shaped flower stems often looks a lot better than letting the kids paint in flower stems with a brush. They always tend to paint very fat, sausage looking stems on flowers, I’ve found over the years of teaching. And this often ” ruins” the look of the art work.

Next : paint leaves into the stems with a yellow-green.

Lastly: use a spatula or palette knife to dab on orange and red tulips, thickly onto the top of stems.

Big, swirley roses looked good too!

Wonderful art work for a Christmas gift – especially if framed!!
Op shops have great 2nd hand frames. Just pay for matt boards to be cut to fit size of 2nd hand frame, from any local frame shop.

Art and craft is the new black…..
Happy painting everyone. Xx



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Transforming old tables

Beaux- peep ( interior styling tips)

I looked at my coffee table in my lounge and thought it really needed a revamp or a replacement.
Then I opened some catalouges that arrived in the mail and saw all the new stylish coffee tables available ….. And the price tags. Especially the ones I really liked. My mum always said of me ( right from when I was young) ” Jo, you have champagne taste with beer money!!”. True. I do.
So when I told my husband the price of a new coffee table – it was a no go zone, especially since our car service just cost over $2000. New clutch etc etc. Ouchhhhh.

This got me thinking how I could spruce up the coffee table I have already for much cheaper.
I remembered seeing this pic in a magazine recently.

I like the idea of glass over an old table with cloth or wallpaper underneath. It can be a constantly changing canvas. Nice.
I got out my very old T-Square and measured the coffee table and ordered a piece of glass.
My dads old words ringing in my ears “measure twice, cut once!”.
I dismissed these in my flurry of creativity.
Later, I went to pick the cut glass up, with beautiful sand blasted edges ( for safety: a must).
Laid lovely wallpaper down on the surface of my old coffee table and can you believe it…… The glass was the wrong size.!!!!

I was fuming and kicking myself for not measuring twice.
This morning the oven was on and I was up baking banana bread for breakfast.
As I took it out the oven a thought crossed my mind – I wonder if I could bribe the guys from the glass cutting factory to recut my glass for free and trade with a fresh loaf of warm vanilla banana bread.
I went there and the smell alone won them over.
This old Ozzie chap in stubbies came out to the car and said, “did you really bake that @@@$$# cake right now? We”ll cut the glass for free and sand blast it and do it all now while you wait in your car… Any time you want glass cut, please stuff it up again and then we can recut it and get another

Not being an Ozzie myself, the strong Australian accent and the scenario was just like a scene from the classic Australian movie “The Castle”.

The glass and wallpaper transforms this table.

Before and after…

Our outside table was a sad state too. Another council clean up score at the end of the street where we live. So we carried it up the hill and home.
I found these red wave chairs on sale for $10 EACH.
The shop assistant didn’t know how much they were till she scanned them. Then she said “Oh no!!! Only $10 each. I wish I’d known that, I would have bought them myself. ”
I said “No, no. I’ll take every one you have in the store thanks.”

I popped a $5 table cloth on and got some red stone balls to decorate with. I found a beautiful big linen umbrella at a garage sale for $20. This is another transformed table.

As most of my blog readers know – I love chairs. I bought 9 of those red wave chairs. Every last one in the shop. So we have them outside around the outdoor table ( as seen above) and inside around our dining table. ( below).

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Kids Flower Painting

Rain- beaux ( art project)

One of my most favourite things in the whole world is the ” proud as punch” look on little kids faces when they have done a stunning art work. It lights up my world as a kids art teacher.

I’m just in the process of planning our school holiday programe, Art Station for kids. Last year the classes were full and at the end of all the classes we put an art exhibition together of all the kids work through the year

170 people attended the opening.
There were many proud little faces that day.

This was another one of my favourite pieces.
Anyway – back to the flower painting Eden did.

Firstly she painted a canvas lime green acrylic.
Dried it with a hair dryer between each step. Then pasted red circle stickers along the bottom of the canvas and painted the foreground of the painting in teal green, over the stickers.

Next she peeled the stickers off and circle shapes were left in lime green as shown.

Next was the exciting bit – painting tulips over the top.

Eden painted the tulip petals on clear cellophane and then printed them down onto the canvas surface.

Next she printed down an orange daisy shape the same way and then the stems were roughly painted on by hand.
She finished off with a navy blue daisy – all painted on cellophane first and then printed down.

Note: she has painted her name totally backwards and not realised it. That made me laugh.
She finished off with white dots all over.
But she is so proud of her artwork and it hangs proudly by her bed with another two pieces which are all done using this similar technique.

Cellophane creates a lovely printed effect that hand painting doesn’t achieve. It’s very effective and I highly recommend it.

This is  another one of Eden’s I framed. It was done in the same way.

Proud little sisters at the opening of the Kids Art Station exhibition. ( my Eden and my Jessica).

For those who may live in Sydney and want dates for holiday classes
Tues 27 sept. 10am & 12
Wed 28 sept. 10am & 12 o clock

Please email enquiries to

I know I have alot of blog readers all over the world. So for those in uk, nz etc etc. I’ll be sure to post more art ideas from the classes at a later stage.

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Revamp a lamp

Beaux – quet ( craft project)

I so enjoyed revamping this lamp. But I know this is not everyone’s cup of tea. I’ve had mixed reactions from friends and family when seeing this ‘new’ lamp of mine. You either hate it or love it.

Basically it was an old lamp found in the garage of a deceased estate in Lane Cove. Friends of mine bought the house and found this very old retro lamp in the garage and were throwing it out. I put my hand up for it and decided to give it a revamp.

I bought beads and ribbon and fringing and of course my good old favourite Vogue clothes pattern.
Firstly I cut a piece of fabric to fit around the lamp. I painted gel medium onto the fabric with a big brush and placed the Vogue tissue paper pattern onto the piece of fabric and folded it around the edges.

The gel medium fuses with the fabric and the tissue paper and makes it almost like stiff plastic. It’s wonderful stuff.

It sets clear when fully dry and I used a hair dryer to help speed this up. Then I stuck decorations on with PVA glue.

Next I used circle shapes ( like drinking glasses, saucepan lids etc) to draw and then to cut out decorations. As well as paper doilies and wall papers etc etc.

I found little paper owls for $1 each and glued these on as well as a few stamps and pieces of fabric. Paper owls available from pulp paper in Sydney Rd, Balgowlah.

When all this was dry I got out fishing line and a needle and stitched beads along the bottom of the lamp. I also placed the fabric around the old lamp shade and stitched it on with the fishing line too.

Next I glued olive green polka dot ribbon to top and bottom edges of the lamp.

The red fringing was the final stage. I attached this with masking tape from the inside edge of the lamp so the fringe hangs behind the beads. I’m sure there is a more glam way of doing this, but by this stage I so just wanted to switch the lamp on and see it finished.

The fringing doesn’t sit quite straight. So I did try and straighten it.

Yes – with a GHD hair straightener. And it DOES NOT work. My husband came in and took this photo of me on my creative mission!!!

This picture is of me cracking up at how stupid I looked and me laughing at him laughing
at me. It was a funny moment ( guess you had to be there).
So anyway…. The fringing remains a little wonkey. But I do love my new revamped lamp.

Two more things I found on the road side lately- this lovely old vintage chair and this fabric stencil lamp top.
Chair will be re-covered when I can afford it ( in cherry red and white polka dots with white buttons and wood painted white or red ) and the stencil lamp top fits nicely inside my lamp so when I switch it on, beautiful floral patterns appear on the ceiling.

Revamping lamps is a bit of a timely process. I enjoyed it, but I can now see why shops charge $300 for a new lamp shade.
“Armchair Collective” is a delightful new cafe in Mona Vale, Sydney ( Darley St) near the beach. It is full of revamped old vintage chairs and lamp shades. I highly recommend a visit there for inspiration on revamping your lamps and chairs.
Great food and coffee. Expensive lamp shades.

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