A sad start to the holiday season…

I hope you all had a lovely Christmas and I truly wish you a happy and prosperous New Year.

The holiday season started out on a sad note for my family.

We went through one of the more excruciating experiences of our lives – the euthanasia of our dear dog, AJ, just days before Christmas. Our beloved dog was part of our lives for almost sixteen years and lately had become so frail and unwell. After a long illness and triumphing through several strokes, she had lost ten kilos of weight throughout this time. During the last few weeks of her life, AJ was barely able to walk, while her usual ravenous appetite had almost disappeared.

Right to the end she tried with all her might in being my creative companion, my guardian in the garden and my excited escort to the clothes line. Even though her efforts resulted in an unsteady shuffle accompanied with moans and groans. Picking up the wash basket in the morning has not been the same for me since she passed.

It’s been quite devastating and I sincerely don’t think I can ever go through this again.

We miss you AJ.

R.I.P our dearest pet

Effie

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Merry Christmas

Hello friends. Well, it’s that time of year again, Christmas is almost here and a new year is just around the corner.

Thank you for sharing your stories, special moments and your creativeness. In so many cases your ingenuity has left me in overwhelming admiration. I am so lucky to have found you all.

Your friendship and support is truly heartfelt.

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I hope you all enjoy Christmas with family and loved ones,

I would like to wish you all a Happy and Healthy New Year. I hope 2018 is an incredible year for you all.

Thank you so, so much for being here,

xoxo

Effie

A Christmas Workshop

Last weekend I held a workshop.

It was for the SFDAV end of year Christmas Luncheon which was held in our lovely community hall.

We spent the day laughing, sharing, creating, eating and meeting new likeminded people. And what a great turn up we had. We had two workshops running in the morning. Heleen held one and I held the other.

I taught my Nativity candle Jar.

What a great job my students did. They made me so proud…


You can just add a couple of battery operated tea lights inside the jar and watch it glow.

 Then we sat down for lunch in the afternoon. Lunch was delicious with all the festive trimmings. There were handmade cards and gifts for everyone. Then came the raffles; there were so many winners. The prizes included woodwork, painting supplies, cakes, gingerbread houses and lots of crafty goodies. They were all mostly handmade by our talented committee members.

After lunch there was time to sit and chat. Catching up with old friends …and making new ones.

A truly beautiful day!

Happy painting and a Merry Christmas to you all,

Effie

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How to Paint a Nutcracker

With Christmas just a month away I would like to share a  post with you. It’s  one I posted about a year ago which is getting a lot of action lately; it’s becoming one of my most popular posts.

I’ve been enthused by nutcrackers since I was a child.

You know the ones … the kind that resemble little kings, soldiers or policemen that pop up at Christmas time. These figurative wooden doll looking carvings with stern, almost angry faces come in a range of sizes – from a few inches tall to full adult height.  I use to refer to them as little men, unbeknown to me until later in life that they were derived from what was once a functional tool.

In 1872 Wilhelm Füchtner, a craftsman, who was known as the “father of the nutcracker”, created and commercially manufactured the nutcracker doll. And ever since the nutcracker has remained a classic custom used as a Christmas decoration all around the world.

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Maybe it’s the statuary strength they portray that I find appealing, or is it their colourful military style uniform that catches my eye?

Never the less I would love to have a house full of them.

Not long ago I purchased a few little men nutcrackers (unpainted of course)…

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… and I lovingly added life to them.

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 What a joy they were to decorate.

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Adding my choice of rich colours was so satisfying… 

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  I respectfully added the traditional composed nature on their faces.

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 I thought of adding a smile or maybe a smirk … or even a wink ….

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Nahh …I couldn’t do it… I love them just the way they are… :>

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Here are some tips on how to paint your very own Christmas Nutcrackers

You can purchase unpainted wooden nutcrackers at selected art and craft shops.

1. Firstly, remove the hair and beard from the nutcrackers by warming the areas up with the hair dryer, this softens the glue so they peel off easily. For best results work on a small section at a time, this way the faux fur comes off in one piece. If you happen to rip it (like I did), don’t worry, you can purchase faux fur from craft stores.

2. Then remove the limbs, you may use the hairdryer again to soften the glue if required. If you can’t remove the limbs don’t force them as you may break them, you can still carefully paint around them while they’re attached.

3. Sand all the pieces using a fine grade sand paper and wipe them clean with a lint free cloth.

4. Prime all surfaces with a coat of Americana Multi-Purpose Sealer

5. I used the following paint colours:

DecoArt Americana Acrylics:  Cool White, Flesh Tone, Light Mocha, Royal Purple, Santa Red, Festive Green, Lamp (Ebony) Black.

DecoArt Dazzling Metallics: Emperor’s Gold

6. Mix Light Mocha/Flesh Tone 3.1., this will be used for the skin tone. You can pre-mix this and store in a small airtight container so it won’t dry out. This will come in handy for touch ups if required throughout the project.

7. Now the fun starts! Begin painting. Be creative, make it your own.

8. Apply several coats of Americana DuraClear Varnish – Gloss. Allow to dry thoroughly.

9. Attach the limbs with PVA glue. Let them dry.

10. Next neatly attach the hair and the beard with a small amount of PVA Glue.

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Happy painting,

Effie

 

 

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.

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Happy painting,

Effie

 

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!

Effie

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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