Thursday, February 27, 2014

The Craft Corner : DIY Canvas Art

Hello again! Wow, a month really rolls around quickly..

While I've spent the last week denying that it will be MARCH next week, I've also been doing a bit of painting with my girl. Over the Christmas holidays I decided our bedroom needed a freshen up. New linen has been purchased, and I feel a strong urge to purchase spray paint and give our bedside lamps a facelift. But most of all, I'm bored with all the art hanging above our bed. It's been the same for two years now and as with most things over time, I've outgrown it. Of course, the husband couldn't care less which means free creative reign for me.

I have been eyeing off a beautiful big canvas at our local art store, hoping and praying, each time I walked past, that they would have a massive sale and I would have enough pennies to buy it. Hasn't happened. And I'm tired of waiting. So I decided I would make my own - but on a budget.

There was no way I could recreate the painting I had been dreaming of (clever artist having painted ACTUAL people) so I had to go in a new direction. Instantly, I had a rough idea of what I wanted, and knew my girl would want to help so had to be sure it would be something the control freak in me could manage to let go of.

So I collected some supplies. Even this part required some new direction of thought. I wanted something big (approximately 1m x 1.5m) and struggled to find a reasonably priced canvas. Parting with $200+ for the canvas alone seemed silly, when I was meant to be on a budget. So I decided two large canvases joined together would do the job (2 x 1m x 75cm canvas, $20 each from The Reject Shop). I doubt Neale Whitaker is coming to inspect our home any time soon, so I am sure it will suffice.

How to join them together? Quickest trip in history to Masters saw me leave with three pieces of thin, lightweight timber (42mm x 1200mm x 6mm, approx $3.50 each) to run horizontally across the back of my canvases, in line with the frames.

Line your canvases up, place your first piece of support timber in place, drive a couple of thin nails in at key points for best support; repeat for remaining two pieces of timber, and you're done.

Next step - paint! Given my kids' love of painting, we have plenty of brushes and watercolour paints, but only a small collection of acrylics, which are necessary for this type of canvas (or oil based paints). Not quite enough for the scale of this project so I bought a few more tubes from our local bits and pieces store (Monte Marte, $7 for a twelve piece set or $2.50 per large tube). Buy yourself a packet of plastic plates. I haaaate cleaning up acrylic paint and the best method I have found is to use plastic plates - because you just throw them out when you're done! Soak your used brushes in hot water and the paint will come away easily.

The problem with attaching the two canvases together meant there was a small gap that needed to be concealed as best as possible. Given the style of painting I was going for - haphazard, uneven texture - this worked fairly well. While not completely invisible, I was fairly happy with our putty style of painting down the centre of the canvas. We went over it a couple of times in varying directions which seemed to work well.

The picture I had in my head was big, bold blocks of colour, mashed together. Pretty easy really! And even if we stuffed it up.. we could say it was meant to be that way. Because we are the artists. Snort!

We did this over the course of four days, more so because that is what our schedule would allow for, stealing half hour painting sessions here and there. I also found it better to have a break and step away to decide what colour/area to do next. I highly recommend painting in the early morning light, still in your pjs, before the school rush begins.

I'm really happy with how it turned out. Half of it was painted very close to sun down because I kept falling asleep putting the kids to bed when I knew I needed to be painting.. but of course, that was the plan all along! So says the artist..

So, the all important budget. We came in under $70 for this project; one tenth of the price of the PROPER art I had been lusting after. Now that IS something the husband DOES care about! Once we give our room a little spruce over the weekend and hang our painting, I can see it will give just the right lift I was hoping for.

Above all - budget restraints aside - this was really fun to do. And very therapeutic! My girl is already onto her own canvas for her bedroom. If you've got a budding little artist under your roof, I say give it a go - small or large scale, whatever takes your fancy.


YAY! Thanks so much Tahnee, it looks brilliant and I'm pretty keen to see that bedroom makeover (perhaps for March?? HINT HINT). 

You can love all over Tahnee at her personal blog Milk Please Mum

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Wearing: The T- Shirt Dress

There is nothing better than adding a key item to your wardrobe. Something that you can throw on and be comfortable in. It's even better when it's a dress that you can actually feed your baby in- hello button down front.

This Summer T Shirt Dress is made from a super lightweight cotton jersey and can be accessorised with  a lovely big Sunshine Shawl and Knotted Yarn Necklace.


Summer T Shirt Dress | Bohemian Traders
Sunshine Shawl | Bohemian Traders
Feather Drop Earrings | Bohemian Traders 
Saltwater Sandals 

Monday, February 24, 2014

Stills: A Weekly Collection {week 8}

1. Park Life.

2. Sunlight from above.

3. Farm Life.

4. A Pigs Life.

5. Domesticity.

6. Bohemian Traders Oversized Deep V Tee.

I hope your week was a beautiful one.

xo em

Sunday, February 23, 2014


Zeph: dressed and ready to go to your first ever preschool party. You chose a faded navy polka dotted button up shirt and washed green linen shorts. You insisted on standing just 'so' and preferred to keep a serious look upon your face. You, my boy, are growing up and up and up.

Pippi: For you, life is always this good. You're a ray of squishy sunshine.

Elke: MUMMA (and a booger, but you know). You've been communicating with such clarity over the past week or so. I'm not even biased when I say you're a child prodigy.

Joining with Jodi.

Thursday, February 20, 2014

The Family Home Project : Libby and Derek

photographed by Kristoffer Paulsen

Welcome to the home of Libby Moore, the creator and founder of Woolf & Cotton, mumma to two darling boys and wife to Derek, Professional animator, story board artist, Canadian and grower of extraordinary beards. These guys live in a compact 2 bedroom apartment in a sleepy seaside suburb of NSW Australia. Libby is the queen of hidden storage and master of making things fit. Its with colour and fun that they create a practical family home. 


         Who lives here? 
I live here with my husband Derek and our two boys, Logan (4) and Hugo (16mths). I am a stay-at-home mum/part-time uni student/part-time crafter. Derek works as an animator and storyboard artist and our boys are little balls of silliness, sweetness and energy that make our home so much fun!

What is your style ethos?    
Our home is made up of some vintage finds mixed with a bit of Ikea and handmade items. Since our home here is so small, we are always searching for items that have an element of practicality with their style and beauty and of course, are easy on the wallet. 

Who/what inspires your style?      
The online world and social media play a part in my inspiration sources. I love stealing a few minutes with a cup of tea in hand to catch up on blogs like this one, have a browse on Apartment Therapy or Design Sponge and pin a few items to look back on later.

Where is your favourite place to sit?    
On the left hand side of the couch, usually with a cup of tea and a crochet hook and yarn close by.

How does the layout of your home affect the way you live/function within it?    
Our little flat is unique in that each room lead into the next. You can literally walk in a continuous circle through the rooms if you want to. While it's small, it is quite open plan and I really love that it means we are always close to each other. Because our home is so small, it forces us to simplify and minimize the things that we put in our home. It means that most of our belongings needed to tick both boxes of being aesthetically pleasing as well as functional. It was actually a fun challenge to brainstorm ways in which we could make the most out of our tiny space.

What are your future plans/dreams for your house?      
We have actually just moved into a new home. We are officially first time home owners! Our new house requires a fair bit of fixing up and making over, as all as clearing out the jungle of the backyard. However, we are excited for this next journey and having the chance to make our own decisions on how our house will look. We've upsized our space but we still hope to maintain the same practice of making the most of our space with functional pieces that suit our style and way of living.

Any tips for someone who might like to emulate your style (places to shop, key items colours etc)?      

If you're the creative type, DIY when you can. Look through magazines and online for inspiration and consider what you might be able to make yourself that fits within your budget. I love that I can look around my home and see my own woolf&cotton baskets set to good use, filled with toys and other treasures. There is a certain sense of pride and accomplishment knowing that I was able to create something beautiful and practical for our home. eBay and thrift stores are great places to score a unique treasure for your home. Some of my favourite items in my home were sourced that way: my sewing table from Gumtree (that came complete with draws full of vintage buttons, threads and notions), our toy box which was originally an old army ammo box from eBay (I put Derek to work sanding back the paint a previous owner had covered it in. Now it looks wonderfully distressed and has been one of the most perfect additions to our home), a 70's wood veneer desk with a world map for the table top that I picked up from a local thrift shop for $20 (I bought this one when Logan was a baby, knowing someday it would go in his bedroom. It sat in storage for a few years, but we've got it out now that we have moved into our new home).

What makes a house a home?      

Love, laughter, the sounds of my children, the memories that are made, the morning ritual of a cup of tea (often before the sun rises) followed by a cup of coffee with breakfast, story time and family dance parties. 

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Wearing : An Oversized Deep V Tee

Excitingly, we've just got a delicious batch of oversized cotton tee's in at Bohemian Traders. I'm wearing the large in white here (excellent for breastfeeding) but also give my black one in size small a good go. They pretty much form the basis of my summer wardrobe. Light and breezy, floaty and flattering with a lovely deep V to the front.

In other news, thanks for your humorous and loving comments on this pic. I did manage to laugh, cry and capture a few golden pics on my camera, so I'll be back later to expose my children for the 'creative' children that they are.


Oversized Deep V Tee | Bohemian Traders
Freedom Skirt | Bohemian Traders
Knotted Yarn Necklace | Bohemian Traders 

Yo, do you wanna win a mamaroo? Enter here

Tuesday, February 18, 2014


When I became pregnant Zeph, it was like the whole world pounced on me with advice. Advice about what to eat, what to drink, what to wear, how to prepare for birth, how to give birth, what to name my baby, how and what I should feed my baby, what consumer goods I’d need, what items I should NEVER use and of course, the ever present influx of information about how I should raise my child for the rest of his earthly life.
The advice was comprehensive, to say the least.
I realised very quickly that many women are passionate (read dogged) about birth and mothering. They are determined, focused, knowledgable, assertive and right - they are always right.
It took me a little while to shuffle through the information overload and find what really worked for Zeph and I. It was the same thing that worked for Pip and I and Elke and too. 
It was MOTION. 
Moving, regardless of how we did it, always soothed a grizzly baby. 
The pram, the pouch and the glorious baby swing were my 'go-to' items during those first moths of motherhood. The baby swing, especially, afforded me enough time to take a quick shower, do a wee and shovel some food into my face every so often. It kept my baby happy, content and quiet and you know what that means? A much happier mother. 
 For this reason, I'm utterly delighted to be offering one lucky Australian reader of The Beetle Shack the opportunity to win a Mamaroo. The ultimate in baby swings (hello, you can plug your iPhone into it).

What are/were your essential items for that newborn stage?

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Sunday, February 16, 2014

Stills: A Weekly Collection {week 7}

1. My mermaid sister Nic (aunty Cole, if you will) and I watched as the sun crept up and stretched it's smokey beams across the ocean. Nic swanned, I photographed and the fisherman just kept on fishin'. You can see a few more photos over at Bohemian Traders.

2. The recycling spewing out across the kitchen floor. Reality.

3. The living room. My fruity prison that keeps the children and I captive most days of the week. Who news to go out when one has a rag rug and recycling all over the kitchen floor? not me.

4. Mid sentence. I'm pretty sure we were discussing the tree house that Nic and Bren are building bang smack in the middle of a fire zone. Roof removal, fire blankets, window shutters and sprinkler systems.

5. No matter how hard I resist, I always fall victim to Bayside Vintage's instagram feed. Alison grams something, I instantly can't live without it. Helloo perfectly petite antique french prints.

6. Dried Hydrangea blooms contained within a glass dome.

7. The worlds most delicious helper and the worlds most delicious husband (love heart eyes).

7/52 {portraits in black and white}

Zeph: 'look Mum, I can whistle' {whilst singing a tuneful oooOOOOooo}

Pip: 'Mum,  this is bewteeful'

Elke: If you see an open door, you bolt for it. Front door, bathroom door, bedroom door, any old door really.

As always, I'm joining with Jodi. If you haven't entered this lovely (international) giveaway, you really must.

See you later for the Stills Collection. I'm totally gonna be on time this week!

Thursday, February 13, 2014

The Craft Corner : How to make a Loom

Kelly wears Sportsgirl Dress and Knotted Yarn Necklace by Bohemian Traders 

Have you guys met my friend Kelly yet - Kelly from Chief and Kewpie? She is the master of all things DIY. This girl has more skills that I would ever dare to dream of - Kell can weave, create tassels, plaster crosses, macrame and so much more. 

From time to time she and I get together to sip tea and eat salted caramels. In an attempt to work of some of those extra caramel calories, we craft… well, Kelly crafts and I dream of being Kelly.

Today, Kell is going to teach us how to make a loom so that you can get your weave on. You can see a collection of Kelly's weaves here.

Take it away Kell



Let's make a loom, ok? Cool.
This tutorial is so simple yet once you're done you'll have a beautiful little weave.

What you'll need: cardboard, texta, ruler, scissors, yarn and a needle.

1; choose your weapon. You'll need a piece of cardboard. I find a shoe box lid is the right thickness and a great size. You could use a tissue box or cereal box, if you're into that. Tissues and cereal. I am.

2; rule up your weft (up and down yarn lines). Pop the ruler at the top of your cardboard, mark out every .5cm with a small line. Once you're done, rule it off nicely (horizontally) about 1cm down so you know where to cut to. Let's call this the Ho-Line. Let's not.

3; make little cuts on your .5cm marks down to your ho-line (we said we wouldn't use that). Repeat steps 1-3 on the other end of your cardboard.

4; grab your yarn, start stringing it top to bottom making sure to go across to your loom left to right. Once you've gone down, make sure you wrap it around the next .5cm slit over before you go up again.

5; WEAVE!!! Cut about two arms length of yarn and thread a needle, weave right to left taking your yarn under and over until you get to the end of your loom, do it again!!!! Left to right this time being sure to alternate your unders and overs.

6; when you're done- you can just pull it off the loom carefully and it magically finishes itself off. If you want to insert a stick for hanging- just thread it through the loops at the top.

There you have it! Thanks pals. X

View other tutorials in The Craft Corner
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