Handmade Gifts

There is something really unique about a handmade gift. It’s a special experience for both, the receiver and the gift giver. An out of the ordinary, one of its kind, special present which shows thoughtfulness, love and care combined.

Handmade’s current issue Vol 36 no.6 is all about gift giving ideas, full of inspirational gifts for Christmas.

 There are 27 exciting projects inside.

There is also an upcycled project by yours truly

 I used an old coffee jar for this one … and a little bit of paint of course 🙂

I just added a couple of battery operated tea lights inside the jar to make it glow.


Happy painting,




Pickets for Charity

During mid October members of SFDAV bonded once more through amazing efforts raising funds for charity.  BlazeAid was the chosen charity for our painted picket competition, voted by peoples choice at “From Picture to Page Show”

Here are some photos of our members’ entries.

Didn’t they do a wonderful job?

BlazeAid is a volunteer-based organisation that works with families and individuals in rural Australia after natural disasters such as fires and floods. Working alongside the rural families, our volunteers help to rebuild fences and other structures that have been damaged or destroyed.

Equally important, volunteers also help to lift the spirits of people who are often facing their second or third flood event after years of drought, or devastating losses through bushfires. BlazeAid volunteers work in a disaster-affected area for many months, not only helping individuals and families, but also helping rebuild the local communities.

For more information on BlazeAid, please see their website: http://blazeaid.com.au/

Making a positive difference to someones life is so rewarding.

Well done ladies!



Giving Back

Each year I allow myself a few weeks to shift my focus on others who are less fortunate than us. Whether it would be by giving my time or my efforts it is really so rewarding when I can make a difference to someone’s life.

When I give, there is no benefit for me, I work along with the SFDAV; a group of like-minded, “art loving” ladies who share a common passion and have bonded through their enthusiasm for it.

We use our own material, we give our time and effort to paint and create, we run competitions, we sell Christmas decorations. And every cent we make from the competitions and our Christmas decoration sales goes directly to our chosen charity.

We give, and we walk away with nothing. Not a thing gets sent our way and our main reward is the satisfaction of knowing that we have made a positive change to another’s life.

This year we are painting fence pickets for our competition to raise funds for Blaze Aid.

A huge selection of pickets have been painted by our members and  will be ready for judging by peoples choice at “From Picture to Page Show” at Sandown Racecourse on the 14th and 15th October.

Giving back reminds us of how lucky we are.

Happy painting,


Terracotta Glam Up!

Dazzling copper over terracotta?

What an elegant way to glam up such an inexpensive item.


While browsing the fresh produce section of our local supermarket I found myself drawn to these cute terracotta pots.

Well, they are designed to tempt foodies with their contents of delicious dips…


 I was mostly focused on the uniqueness of their shape … “I’m sure there is something I can do with these”, I thought. So, in my shopping basket they went and off I trotted home.

 You can glam up any terracotta pot by following these simple instructions.


Terracotta pot (any shape and size you wish)

Basecoating brush

¼ inch angle shader

DecoArt Americana Multi-Purpose Sealer

DecoArt Dazzling Metallics : Copper

DecoArt Americana Acrylics: Bittersweet Chocolate

DecoArt Metallic Lustre: Orange Flicker

DecoArt Americana DuraClear Varnish – Gloss



1. Apply a coat of Multi-Purpose Sealer using the basecoating brush, and let it dry thoroughly.

2. Basecoat with two to three coats of Copper using the same brush allowing drying time between coats.

3. Paint along the indentions of the pot with a mix of Copper/Bittersweet Chocolate 1:1 using the angle shader then let it dry.

4. Mix Orange Flicker with a little water and brush over the entire pot. Let it dry.

5.Finally apply three coats of gloss varnish.

Ta da!!

Just place this pot anywhere to add an out of the blue pop of “metal versus flora” – a robust, but stylish design feature.


Happy painting,


What Makes a Good Background?

A good background should complement your artwork rather than compete with the main elements in a painting. It should show relevance, composure and uniformity to the picture. Its role is to complete and tie your whole artwork together.

Remember, the background is there to enhance, and not to overpower the “star of the show”.

If in doubt I like to take a step back and keep things simple. There are times when a solid colour background can be the best outcome. As a decorative painter, I paint on many different surfaces. And many of these are usually rather oddly shaped.  So at times I feel that a solid background on a decorative surface is all that’s required to enhance my art work. Especially when there is routed edging, hinges, knobs, doors, draws, lids, etc. etc. etc. to contend with. A solid background with an edge that pops may be all that‘s required.


So what makes a good solid coloured background?

A well applied basecoat in your chosen colour is all you need. In most cases the basecoat is the foundation for most background techniques and effects. So in this case, where there are no techniques and effects required, a well executed basecoat becomes the background; a solid colour of support for your artwork.

And here’s a quick tip;

If you have mixed colours for the background, save some of the mix for any touch ups later.


Happy painting,



LOOK! It’s Me…

That’s exactly what I said when I received my copy of this month’s Handmade magazine.

But, in all honesty

Being featured in Handmade’s Inspirations section was really not a surprise…

You see, I knew it was coming…

but I had no idea how it was going to be presented… then, seeing it in print for the first time

Was quite Amazing.

Handmade Vol 36 No 4 is Handmade’s Special Christmas Edition (yep Christmas… it’s almost that time of year again).

Inside this issue, there are lots of handmade goodies to make; from decorations to gift ideas.

And there is a project in there by me…

My Inspiration Jars

Now, I’ll be off to buy myself a couple more copies….


Happy crafting,


Father’s Day Project

It’s almost Father’s Day in Australia and to honour this special day I’m sharing a quick and easy handmade gift idea for the men in your life.

Father’s Day?

Now, I know what you’re thinking

I know… I need to clarify

I know we’re in August

But … Australians celebrate father’s day a little later than the rest of the world. Dad’s down under need to wait until the first Sunday of September for their special day.

This black vinyl passport holder was a $2 find in a bargain store, but a little bit of crafting magic makes it a fabulous stand out from all the rest.

Passport Holder

©2015 Effie Carayannis


Passport holder- size (100mm x 1400), can be vinyl, leather, or patent leather

Andy Skinner Stencil – Route 66 (12″x3″)

Fine grade sandpaper

Cling wrap

Paper towel

Old toothbrush

Basecoating brush

No. 4 stencil brush

¼ inch angle shader

No.10/0 liner brush

Americana Multi-Purpose Sealer

Americana Glazing Medium

DecoArt Americana Acrylics: Lamp (Ebony) Black, Bittersweet Chocolate, Neutral Grey, Fawn, Light Mocha

Americana DuraClear Varnish – Matte

TIP:  To paint the cover of the passport holder, open it out and face it upwards, so you‘re painting the front and the back of it simultaneously.  Refer to the picture for guidance when applying stencils.

Let’s paint the design
  1. Give the passport holder a light sand before you begin then apply a coat of Multi-Purpose Sealer using the basecoating brush, allow it to dry then sand once again.
  2. Base with two coats of Lamp (Ebony) Black using the basecoating brush, allow the first coat to dry before applying the second coat.
  3. Mix equal parts of Glazing Medium and Bittersweet Chocolate and apply this with the basecoating brush, while this is still wet, place a piece of the cling wrap over the top, press over it with your hand so wrinkles form; then remove the cling wrap carefully. Allow to dry.
  4. Mix equal parts of Glazing Medium and Neutral Grey, apply over the cover as previously and repeat the Cling wrap process. Allow to dry.
  5. Place the required section of the stencil over the background referring to the picture for placement. With the dry stencil brush pick up a little Neutral Grey, wipe any excess paint off on a paper towel and gently pounce over the design. Let it dry.
  6. Keeping the stencil in place, pounce over the same area with Fawn/Light Mocha/Bittersweet Chocolate 2:2: touch, allowing some of the first layer to show through.
  7. Carefully remove the stencil, place the required section on another part of the cover and repeat the process then let it dry thoroughly.
  8. Side load the angle shader with Lamp (Ebony) Black and float beside the left hand side and underneath each letter and element.
  9. Add water to the Fawn/Light Mocha/Bittersweet Chocolate mix to make a runny consistency, load this on the toothbrush then run your finger through the bristles to splatter a little over the piece.
  10. Paint within the “PASSPORT” inscription using Lamp (Ebony) Black loaded on the liner brush.
  11. Apply a couple of coats of Varnish using the basecoating brush.

Americana products and Andy Skinner stencil distributed by DecoArt Inc. online store DecoArt.com store


Happy Father’s Day,