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,

Effie

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Terracotta Glam Up!

Dazzling copper over terracotta?

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

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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…

 but…

 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.

Material

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

 

Instructions

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.

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Happy painting,

Effie

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.

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Happy painting,

Effie

 

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….

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Happy crafting,

Effie

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

Materials

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

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Happy Father’s Day,

Effie

 

 

Migraines

It’s no secret how I love to stick to timetables, lists, diaries etc. So this unscheduled post is a bit out of the ordinary for me.

But this impromptu post is about me, the person … not the arty-crafty someone I’d rather you perceive. So here’s a little about me…

I have the migraine gene.  A genetic disorder passed down to me from my parents.  Medically, the exact cause of migraines is still a mystery. There is no cure, just preventative treatments; which don’t seem to work for everyone.

For the past thirty plus years I have suffered from migraines, which in recent months have progressed to a chronic condition. I suffer from these daily, usually curled up in bed and isolated in a dark and silent room. Please don’t confuse these with the norm of a headache; the symptoms of a migraine can only be described as turmoil; involving extreme pain. I can only describe it as an intense throbbing or hammering to the head, usually located on one side (for me it mainly affects my left temple and eye and forehead). Other symptoms include nausea, vomiting, blurred vision and unsteadiness on my feet. I become light sensitive, sound sensitive and smell sensitive. And if you think you can tip toe past me during a migraine episode – you will still sound like a stampede of horses racing by.

Over recent weeks I have had a couple emergency visits to the hospital, home visits from the paramedics, followed by a weeklong stay in hospital due to the escalating severity of the pain and symptoms. At the Doctor’s request I received Intravenous Lignocaine Infusion continuously for the whole week. But the symptoms persisted. Then dehydration followed (due to the increased vomiting). Receiving IV fluids was a no-go due to my tiny inconspicuous veins collapsing every time an attempt was made to insert another intravenous cannula. Next, the anaesthetist was called in … but still, those stubborn little tubes of mine were not going to be tempted … not by anyone. So rehydration was a very slow process.

During my stay tests were performed. An MRI scan for the head and an MRI scan for the neck. More medication was administered, and medications were changed.

In the hope that I can find some relief for my pain, any inconsistency with these investigations would have been a blessing. Although I must admit it was comforting to hear the results showed very little other than moderate disc degenerative disease in my cervical spine.

And still there is not much left to do other than more trials … let’s change medications and try different migraine preventatives. For the moment the best outcome I can hope for is to reduce the severity and frequency of my migraines.

So, let’s see how we go.

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Hugs,

Effie

It’s Frrrreeezing in Australia!

So what does one do?

Rug up, stay warm and create some crafty goodies.

I must admit I can’t wait till spring; when the wind chills ease and the rain and grey skies are almost behind us. But I still believe winter is a great time and season to slow down a little and explore new creativity…

In the meantime, while my countdown to spring continues I’ll just curl up on my comfy couch and cross stitch.

Cross stitch is such a simple craft. It’s just one stitch, cross stitch, the rest is all in the counting of the little squares.

You only need a few basics to get started; Cross stitch fabric, tapestry needle, embroidery floss, scissors and an embroidery hoop.

Here are some tips to get you started
  1. Wash your hands before you begin.
  2. Fold the fabric into quarters to find the centre, then mark the folds with lines of tacking in a contrasting sewing thread. The tacking lines should intersect in the centre.
  3. Place the fabric in an embroidery hoop to keep the tension even.
  4. Begin stitching in the centre of the design.
  5. Don’t knot the end of the floss, just hold it down behind the fabric and catch it down with your first stitches,
  6. Make sure that all upper stitches lie at the same angle.
  7. Always work back into the previous needle entry.
  8. Avoid carrying threads across the back of the work as this may lead to shadows on the front.
  9. To end off the thread, run the needle through the back of several stitches to secure it.
  10. Always remove the fabric from the hoop when not in use.

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Happy stitching,

Effie