February 28, 2014

twinkle, twinkle

My little nephew is truly smitten by the owl of “twinkle, twinkle little star”, a very popular English lullaby. So my sister-in-law asked me if I could make a painting of it, and I agreed. She asked me back in November, and although I made an effort to get it done by Christmas, that didn’t work out very well.
But after three months, it’s finally finished! And I hope they will both like it.

February 26, 2014

Fabric canvas art

I cannot remember how I came up with the idea of making fabric canvases. The first time I experimented with this technique was before Olivia turned 1. I was looking at making my own party’s invitation cards and tried gluing some fabric to a piece of cardboard. And that was it! I liked the process and the end results, although I didn’t use the card at the end, because I couldn’t figure out a way to scan the image properly and get it printed out on time. But that is a different story.
During the past year, I had another go at it, this time using a canvas as a background and introducing gel medium in the final process. I failed twice; first time I used too much gel, second time I tried a matt gel that didn’t quite work.

But, as they say, third time lucky, I finally managed to produce something I was pleased with. So that so, I gave it to my friend’s baby girl as a present for her first birthday.
The process is a bit messy, but fun, and I’m planning to write a short tutorial on how to make a simple fabric canvas soon.
This is something I enjoyed doing very much; it combines my love for printed fabric and my inability to sew properly. And it gives me a good excuse to keep buying pretty fabric.

As I made two identical canvases at the same time (I like to work in tandem!), I’m putting one up for sale in my Etsy shop.

February 25, 2014

Sketchbook #1

This is what my brand new sketchbook looked like at the end of January! Hoping to fill it in a bit more with a different theme by the end of February.

February 24, 2014


"A portrait of my children, once a week, every week in 2014"
Olivia: We came to realise this week that she has very much outgrown her baby stage. She doesn't want to sleep in her cot anymore, but in the big bed. She doesn't want to seat in her high chair at the dinner table, but in papa's chair (with no booster seat, we tried and she firmly refused!). She doesn't want to seat in her pushchair for long, but prefers walking. It's a joy and a pain to see her grow so fast.

Baby-to-be: And again this week, I'll get a new picture in a separate post!

Linking up with Jody from Practising Simplicity.

February 21, 2014

Project 52 into a photo book

Last year’s project "A portrait of my child, once a week, every week in 2013" has been a success! Although I started at week 3 I managed to carry on for the entire year and ended up with more than 52 pictures of Olivia. Between my inexperience and an ever more active toddler, not all of the pictures were great, but some were good enough to make it onto 30x20cm canvases.
But I really wanted a photo book to capture the changes into my daughter’s life throughout a year. Also, each week, together with the picture, I had made a note of some facts about Olivia’s life, her achievements and some funny stories. And I wanted to keep a record of that too.
I decided to go through Photobox, a trusted site I used many time before. The quality of their product is awesome, and if for any reason you are not satisfied, they’ll do whatever they can to meet your expectations.
I chose two different sizes for the books, a square spiral softcover one and a small soft cover one. The first one was for the grandparents, big photos and no text. Because the notes were written in English and they don’t speak English, I thought it was too much effort to translate everything in Italian. But they ended up with about 60 full pages (20x20cm) picturing their beloved granddaughter, and so far they have not complained a bit!
The smaller book was for us to keep. I liked it because it was rectangular (approx. 18x14cm) and perfect for fitting both pictures and text side by side. I used the same layout throughout, except where there was too much text to fit in and in that case I used a double page spread for just one week. Probably a bigger size would have been better, but surely not cheap.
The site was fairly easy to use, I uploaded all the pictures at once, chose the type of book and the layout for the cover and for the inner pages, and the book was automatically created. Of course you can make changes and move things around, change the colour of the background and so on.
To add the text I copied it first from my blog onto a word document, and then manually copied it onto the site in the text box available on each page. A bit tedious but well worth it.
Olivia loves looking at her pictures, and I’m sure she will appreciate reading through my notes once she’ll be old enough to do so.

Disclaimer: This is not a sponsored post. I’m just sharing my experience with Photobox because I love their products and used them many time before.

February 20, 2014


Trees illustration - watercolour
Valentine's card - red ink pen on Bristol board
Topiary textures exercise - watercolour
Flower dooddle - black ink pen on Bristol board
Daffodils - black ink pen and watersoluble pencils
I have been neglecting this space a lot lately, and was wondering if I should really try and keep it alive. 
And my answer is YES. 
I have the intention of CREATING a lot this year, together with enrolling in at least one art class. And this where I want to share my work, whether it is a work in progress, a finished painting, an evening doodle or a simple exercise. 

February 19, 2014

Sketchbook #1

Despite the numerous unfinished sketchbooks, this January I started a new one. I had a new project in mind, and the current deal “no new sketchbooks until all the others are completed” wasn’t really motivating me anymore, if not holding back my creativity.
Moreover, my brother and his girlfriend bought me a new sketchbook this past Christmas, so really that was just an excuse to use it!
I’ve also decided to start labelling my sketchbooks. At first I thought of numbering them all, including completed and unfinished ones, but as I’m giving myself a new start this year, I went for starting afresh and begin from #1.
I’ve written a bit about this little project before (here), but I will be using Sketchbook #1 for themed drawings/illustrations/watercolours, mainly taken from two little books I recently bought: 20 ways to draw a tree and 20 ways to draw a tulip.
Over the past month, I focused on trees shapes and illustrations, covering various styles and seasonal palettes. The idea is to get practising on nature subjects that I like, and to make a painting at the end of the month using what I’ve learned.
I’m still drawing sketches for the final piece, but given the fact that I don’t have much spare time to paint, I want to make sure that I’m actually creating something that I like, rather something just because.

This month I will be focusing on flower bulbs. The subject is actually not covered in any of the books I mentioned above, but I was really inspired after seeing my flower bulbs starting to sprout. And I already have a plan for the final painting. It is true when people say the more you create, the more you get inspired! 

February 18, 2014

fruits of the womb // week 18

This week I struggled to get a decent photo. The light was weird, I still haven't mastered the art of the self-timer on my phone and I feel like none of my dresses fit well anymore. Apart from the awkwardness of feeling heavy and moving like an elephant, baby seems to be doing well. We did feel some bubbles popping, and I think this counts as feeling the baby moving! According to the babycenter, from where I'm getting all the weekly updates, the baby should be weighting almost 200gr and be roughly 14cm from head to bottom. Now we just need to know if it's going to be a boy or a girl!

February 17, 2014


It's week 7 and we are still eagerly waiting for this weather to get better! There has been a lot of indoor playing this week and a trip to the swimming pool with papa.
"A portrait of my children, once a week, every week in 2014"
Olivia: Sometimes during the day she has been asking to get to bed or the couch with the dummy and her beloved puppets, her favourite blanket and the light off and has been lying still for a good half hour. She has been suffering a bit with her back molars coming through, or it was just a cheeky way to get her dummy back during the day!

Baby-to-be: I'll get a new picture soon!

Linking up with Jody from Practising Simplicity.

February 14, 2014

Happy Valentine's Day

To all the lovely people out there: Happy Valentine's Day...whether you celebrate the day or not, whether you are in love with someone or with yourself,  whether you are just looking forward to the weekend or hoping today will pass quickly! 

February 12, 2014

Pick of the Month: February // Be My Valentine

1. Red floral corduroy dress from TheMysteryQueen on Etsy / 2. Valentine onesie from AshleyBoTiqueon Etsy / 3. Crochet Patterns * Valentine Slippers from Nuttypatterns on Etsy / 4. Valentines for little friends by Oana Befort / 5. Italy Art Print from FrannyandFranky on Etsy /6. Valentine’s day heart garland from TransparentEsDecoron Etsy

I’ve just realized it’s only two days until Valentine’s Day! Not that we could bother much, we are not very romantic anymore (although we used to be big time!), but it’s nice to browse the net to see what people come up with for this occasion. There’s plenty to choose from, all sort of things from homemade heart shaped cakes to romantic weekends gateways, family photo shoots and love coupons (oh yes, I remember those…we did this one too one year!). Etsy and Pinterest are the best places to look if you are lost for ideas. I’ve chosen a small selection of cute little things, mainly from Etsy, which make me happy.

Happy Valentine’s week!

February 11, 2014


It's week 6 and I'm playing catch up! I couldn't get a decent photo over the past week and I tried to make up for it yesterday during my lunch break and last night at bath time. 
"A portrait of my children, once a week, every week in 2014"
Olivia: She still loves bath time (and so do I). She loves washing herself, including her hair (finally!). The tricky thing is getting her out of the tub when the water starts to get cold. Yesterday, I managed to persuade her with a face cream, which ended up everywhere on her body, hair included....she's such a girlie girl!

Baby-to-be: We (well, it was just me!) heard the heartbeat for the first time, and it was nice to know everything is going well especially after my fall down the stairs a few weeks back!

And we have a new banner for this year's project from one of my favourite artist, Oana Befort. Click on the sidebar to see all my previous posts.

Linking up with Jody from Practising Simplicity.

February 07, 2014

Decisions, decisions

We have been doing some serious thinking lately. Plans are still very much up in the air, but the idea of moving to Rome for a year is slowly taking shape. With a two year old and a new baby on its way, we are probably mad, but the excitement when we think about this move is building up more and more very day. What do you think? Any thoughts and advices to share?

February 06, 2014

ONE LITTLE WORD // January reflections

I have been enjoying working on the prompts for One Little WordTM over the past month. I didn’t really follow the rules and did was I thought would suit me best. I have said this before, I am not a scrapbooker, I tried, and sort of liked it, but soon realised it is not really my thing. Also, living in the UK, it is not easy to find supplies as those suggested by Ali, and so I decided to make my own OLW book using a scrapbook journal from Paperchase.
Here is my take for January 2014.
This past month I’ve taken a few practical steps toward my goal of living a CREATIVE life.
I’ve chosen a set of books I want to read throughout the year to help me release my CREATIVE self. I am currently reading working on 20 ways to draw a tree and Craft-a-doodle. Both are helping me going back to my art with a free mind, and no expectations, and I’m loving it!
I also made a plan for doing yoga exercises, just haven’t been able to fit it into my daily routine, yet.
I’ve succeeded in my monthly goal of creating a new item for my shop that reflects my new CREATIVE spirit and focus on one of the few things that I’ve decided to pursue this year.
I’ve also chosen 4 words that hopefully will help me make my art more cohesive and that I would like people to use to describe my work: nature.pattern.childlike simplicity. seasons.

I’m starting February with a new vision and a few new things I will try to accomplish. 
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