For the last few years I’ve had a generic plastic wreath on my door and thought it would be nice this year to make more of an effort with it. I went into Dublin city and picked up some fancy pants ribbons from A. Rubanesque who this year even have their own custom designed Christmas ribbons in store. It cost €10 euro for 3 types of ribbon. I picked up some willow branches too to start off my circle and then added some bendy branches from a tree in my garden to supplement them. The willow was pricey – €3 a pop, hence the need for other branches to fill it out.
The willow here is the green one, the others are brown. I wanted to add some festive natural colour to the wreath and still save money, so I painted the furry catkins on some pussy willow branches I had already.
After this was done I just added the ribbons and voilà, it was ready.
Every couple of months, I organise a morning in my house in Dublin where creative types get together to make something, eat some cake and have some friendly banter (e-mail me if you fancy joining) . The last one was a free session where you could work on whatever you fancied – I used this as inspiration – – to create some clay bowls. All I needed was some air-dry clay (from a craft shop) and some leaves – it was just the end of summer so a good time to get some fresh leaves before they dry out and curl too much in Autumn. I rolled out the clay to 1/4 inch thickness, pressed the leaves in and cut out with a stanley blade. I then left these to dry in a curved shape on a piece of tinfoil for 24 hours.With the leftover clay I made some small bowls by pinching out the clay from a rolled ball. After these were dry I experimented a bit, some i painted, other I used a gold spray. With all of them i finished with clear nail varnish – not sure how long this finish will actually last but looks ok for now.
Rustoleum brilliant gold spray (Woodies DIY have this)
clear nail varnish
Hey presto – here’s the finished product – I wanted something handy to put my jewellery in on my nightstand. I think the gold spray paint worked out really well and was a doddle to apply.
Moving to a new house and having zero funds left to buy artwork inspired me to be a bit more creative. I think I’d also prefer to let the walls grow organically and fill them over the years with art I’ve fallen in love with rather than something I purchased for the sole purpose of covering an empty wall. Here are some tips:
- Make your own. I keep an eye out for paintings online that I like the look of and could (relatively) easily copy. I use Pinterest to keep a record of these and then tackle some which I think might work out. Judge for yourself!
2. Go to auctions – Here in Dublin Scoop is an annual charitable art auction. There is no reserve so you can end up picking up really great pieces by local artists at a fraction of the price. Also because it’s a charity if you spend more than 250, your donation may qualify for tax relief. We went to the last one in October where I picked up this by a local artist .
3. Buy online. Etsy and Saatchi are great resources to get cheaper prints of original artwork, I’ve also had some luck using this publishers site.
4. Use technology – I got this fantastic app this week called waterlogue which transforms your photos into realistic looking watercolours, it gives fantastic results and is very addictive to use as it shows you the process from initial outlines to filling in the colours. I’ve made tons of these so far and would love to print out a few if the results are good. This is the only app i’ve ever paid for in the itunes store which says something!