Around November 2017, I was asked if I would be interested in being commissioned to do a painting of Sally, a Schnauzer who belongs to my friend Rob, and Vinnie (his husband). It was to be a gift for Vinnie’s birthday the following month and Rob wanted it in pop art style. So while my mind screamed ‘Don’t be ridiculous Kelly, you don’t have time’, I replied to Rob ‘Yes, I’d love to paint Sally’, because really, how often does one get asked to paint a pop art Schnauzer? 😉

SALLY_SCAN_REDRAWLow opacity photo with sketch over top.

Vector image I sent to Rob as a mock up.

Rob sent me lots of photos for reference, specifically of the length of beard he likes Sally to have (LOL) and asked me to try and capture her beautiful long eyelashes. Apart from that, Rob left me to it so I printed out one of the photos I liked a lot, at a low opacity so I could kind of trace some of her features and exaggerate others. Then I redrew my sketched lines in Illustrator. It was all go from there – Rob loved the mock up, even down to the turquoise I chose as the background as it was (coincidentally) a colour that was special to he and Vinnie – so far, so good.

Never one to go the easy route, and wanting it to look authentic and still handmade, I had decided I wanted to spray paint this image with stencils, so I got together the stuff that I needed (cardboard, spray paint, MDF, scalpel) and got to work …

Sally redrawn at 600mm x 600mm and outlines cut out.

Outlines sprayed in a light colour for placement.

Separate colours cut and sprayed in layers.

SALLY_SCHNAUZER_5One of the last layers before outlines and final touches.

Final piece (Highlights on eyes done with a white paint pen by hand).

She’s not perfect. But she is OOAK and made with love. And Rob and Vinnie love her which is the most important thing. Thanks for thinking of me for this piece, Rob! X.

‘Sally’ in her new home with the original Sally on the couch.
Pic by @robiliciousnz

Fairy Bread Christmas Decorations

COMPLETEMy Christmas tree is chocka with handmade (sometimes tacky) decorations and I love it. But I like it to always have an element of Kiwiana – in this case, Fairy Bread! But look closely … can you tell what it’s made from? Not bread, of course, that would be gross in the summer heat… Nope, it’s an ordinary household sponge.
This project is easy enough for kids to make and will brighten up any tree!

1_SPONGE2_SPONGE_CUTSTEP 1: Take your kitchen sponge (I recommend a new, yellow or light-coloured sponge. Of course you can use other colours, but the darker your sponge, the more coats of white paint you’ll have to do) and cut a square, then cut that square into triangles. Discard the end piece for now, but don’t throw it away – I’m sure you could use it for something (or is this why my craft room looks the way it does?) 😉

3_PAINTEDSTEP 2: Paint your sponge with white paint. I used a Resene test pot called Double Pearl Lusta but any white/off-white acrylic will do. You’ll need to do both sides, at least two coats and put it on thick to fill in all those holes.

4_BUTTEREDSTEP 3: Place your pieces back together and paint yellow where your ‘butter’ should be. Let your pieces dry completely.

5_SPRINKLESSTEP 4: Put your piece (one at a time) in a shallow dish to catch your sprinkles. Using a glue stick (not a runny glue as your hundreds and thousands will ‘bleed’) rub over the surface where your ‘butter’ is. Sprinkle over your hundreds and thousands and pat down to make good contact with the glue. Shake off excess and re-use on next piece until all four are complete. Use a needle to thread some silver cord or coloured ribbon at one end to make a loop to hang your new decoration. That’s it!

BLIPPI BAG TAG – Make your own!

I don’t even remember how we came across Blippi on YouTube but his educational videos about tractors and underwater creatures have saved my sanity countless times when my son is having a meltdown, under my feet while I’m trying to cook dinner or just bored on a rainy day. If you have a toddler who is especially interested in vehicles (of any kind), totally look him up here. Corey absolutely adores him so I took this Playmobil guy (of which we had two) and ‘Blippied’ him for Corey’s backpack. Of course, you don’t have to choose Blippi. Just by changing a few colours and details, you can make your bag tag into anyone you idolise, even Dad! 😉

2_BLIPPI_PRIMERSTEP 1: Spraypaint your figure with primer. This will give you a nice, even surface to paint and make sure all of your colours come up bright without too many coats. Leave to dry.

3_BLIPPI_BRACESSTEP 2: Using a small brush, add some of your first coats, starting with the lighter colours.

4_BLIPPI_UNDERCOATSSTEP 3: Keep blocking in colour, until your figure is completely coloured in. You may need to do a couple of coats in places where you can see brush strokes.

5_BLIPPI_GLASSESFINAL DETAILS: Using a permanent black pen, add in some details such as buttons, creases in clothes, pretty much wherever two colours join to give him ‘outlines’.
Glue on little beads for eyes and attach other details like glasses/bow tie like I have, (above), which I made out of Fimo and baked. I drilled a 1mm hole in his hat, attached a screw eye and lobster clasp, gave him an all over coat of varnish and left him to dry.




UPCYCLED FRANKIE BRACELET – Images by Charlotte Love

I love Frankie Magazine. It only comes out every couple of months but when you have a toddler, it actually takes you that long to get through it (if you read it cover-to-cover) like I do. It’s actually the only magazine I buy these days. You won’t find any Hollywood celebrity fluff in Frankie, (thank god), it’s full of REAL celebrities: Artists, musicians, designers, photographers, writers, explorers, makers-of-awesome-things. I have gathered quite a few Frankies over the years and they are shelved in my craft room. But I’m not keeping them to re-read, I’m keeping them for the paper. They are FULL of beautiful illustrations, patterns, typography and photos. It seems silly to buy patterned papers when I can re-use these gems and give them a new, out-of-my-craft-room life.
Which brings me to this bracelet I made. I had actually folded down the corners of these pages from this back issue: I fell in love with these images instantly. They are by London-based stylist Charlotte Love. I am using them with her permission and you can find her gorgeous website here.

1_PRIMESTEP 1: Spray your beads on both sides with primer if you would like. Mine were wood but I didn’t want that natural surface so I coated both sides lightly with primer that is suitable for wood or plastic. The one I use is Rust-oleum 2x Ultra Cover Flat White. I use this all the time, it’s probably one of my most necessary craft items. Available at Mitre 10 or Bunnings.


3_CUTSTEP 2: Use one of your beads to trace around onto a piece of cardboard or acetate. Cut it out and use this as a template for the other rectangle images you need. Use a light pencil to find your best crop and then use a craft knife and ruler to cut your pencil lines, rubbing out any remaining pencil.

4_PASTESTEP 3: Stick down your images using Mod Podge. Mod Podge is great because it acts as a glue, but also as a sealant. I sealed mine (all the way to edges) about three times, letting each coat dry completely before doing another. I decided to go a step further and coat mine in epoxy resin as I love the shine but you absolutely don’t have to. These are all ready to string with nylon elastic to make a bracelet – but as I only used nine of the ten I made, I used the other to make a brooch, which I sent to Charlotte as a thank you…