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Thursday, 23 June 2011

New Week, New Crafty Skills

This past week has been all about me learning some new skills! Some crafty skills and some DIY skills.......throw them into a mix and what do you get? Well you get this..........
For a while now I have been admiring people upcycling and making old furniture a bit more jazzy. Moving house is the PERFECT opportunity to start dabbling in all sorts of crafts so when we went to go and buy our kitchen table and chairs I knew I wanted to treat them to a lick of paint. In fact you could say I have gone a bit nuts for spraypaint!
I have been spending so much time in B&Q lately choosing wall paint, choosing wood paint and spray paint but I still feel like a bit of a novice. No better way to learn that just to dive straight in!

Project one was this standing lamp that I bought at a furniture charity shop! I knew I wanted to duck egg blue it up and luckily I found the perfect colour. I didn't quite realise until I began painting with it that it was an oil based paint. This meant that it was a bit gloopy, it was smelly and it would take a while to dry. Oh well lets soldier on!
First task was to get all the lamp sanded down. Its a bit tricky with all those nooks and crannies! Then time to prime it and finally get the colour on!

Sanded down lamp
The duck egg blue lamp!
Voila! Didn't buy a big enough lamp shade though.....oppps


For my first chair I decided to use spraypaint.
Rustoleum Painter's Touch. It comes in such a range of colours but I fell in love with this French Lilac colour.
First job was to sand down the chair to "key" it, basically for the paint to stick to something. I also decided to spray on a coat of primer. Primer acts in the same way it provides a surface for the paint to adhere to.
The spraypaint dries quite quickly with a 20 minute drying time which comes in handy when the Aberdeen weather decides to go from sunny to pouring with rain.


David helping me sand
The primed chair with its first spray of Lilac!

Next stage once the primer was dry was to apply the French Lilac colour. I find spray painting a bit addictive. You begin your project and you come to love the results and just want to keep on going. It is so easy and easy to get to all the hard to reach bits too! All you need is a bit of newspaper on the ground and voila!





Doesn't it look nice? I was in two minds whether or not to distress it a bit but to be honest i love the solid a colour! The lovely cushions are courtesy of my mum they go so nicely!

Chair number 2 is currently in progress so will feature very soon, a nice Guava Green it will be too.

Alongside spraypainting furniture I also had a go at soap making for the first time with the girls from my knitting group. I couldn't believe how simple it was! Simple = good = I want to do more. As I am writing this I am planning a trip to Hobbycraft to see what supplies they have. Soap is a very pretty, quick gift. Just find a box get some fancy paper and you can make it look really brill. This could be a good contender for Xmas 2011 presents. You have been warned!

How to Make Soap

Firstly you need to cut up the soap blocks and melt them. You can do this in an old pan or in the microwave. We did ours in the microwave. We had two types of soap opaque and clear.
Make sure you keep stirring the melted soap, you don't want a skin to form and it starts to harden quite quickly. It is a good idea to have all your materials ready before hand.

You can put whatever you like in soap. We had special scents and colours that we got from a soap making suppliers. Whilst you are stirring your melted soap add in your chosen colour and scent and keep stirring!
We had a choice of Honey, Sea Breeze, Lavender and Rose scents to choose from.There was also a lot of glitter flying around the table.

Once it is all mixed up nicely (like a cake) you can pour it into moulds. We had silicone soap making moulds but you could also use cupcake cases (we started using these once we run out of moulds!) However if you use the cupcake moulds you won't get such a defined finished shape.

I decided to add some buttons into my soap, not exactly practical but pretty! I was going for the more decorative soap that sat in a bathroom. However I suppose you could use it and as the soap wore down you got some buttons to donate to your next craft project! You can also add dried flowers such as lavender, rose buds, poppy seeds etc.

Once you have poured your soap into the mould and everything is added in you need to leave it alone to harden. We were a bit impatient and took them out earlier than recommended! But keep an eye on it and you will see how long it takes. The recommended time to leave them is 4 hours.

 Not quite 4 hours later this is what we had......

My clear button and glitter soap before its ready......

...And once it has hardened!

This was the opaque soap with some buttons inserted

And buttons added on the top

Fancy giving it a go? Go for it! It is so easy and the results and well worth it!

Thursday, 2 June 2011

The absentee returns!

I thought it was about time I jump back on the horse and get on with doing my blog again! Apologies for the long absence, it has been MORE than a while. But I have a good excuse.............I life has been taken over by boxes!

Yes that's right I've been moving house!
 The past month has been manic, with moving, making sure the flat we are moving out of is left in a good condition so I got my deposit back (which I did!) and decorating I've not had a moment to rest. Work has been my rest, but now things are starting to calm down, boxes are being emptied, things put in the loft and walls stripped of wallpaper. We are slowly getting there! I can now breathe a sigh of relief and start doing the things I used to do before the moving bug caught a hold of me and controlled me for so long!

David and I on our first night in the new house! No furniture and no cooking stuff.
Look what Northern Rock sent us! A welcome pack full of goodies! What a great surprise!

So what is there to update you on? Well of course there is the house. With its ups and downs (and there have been both) we have been very lucky to have David's dad to help fix a multitude of ailments. He really is a bloody good handy man! The current decor is a bit dated shall we say so the whole house will be given the decorating treatment over the coming months! Project number 1 - Decorate the living room.
Who would have thought stripping wallpaper and re-decorating would be so time consuming......... I was a little naive when it came to this DIY malarkey. Hmmmm take the wallpaper off and paint? I think not! I learnt very quickly that re-decorating was not going to be a walk in the park! You need to strip the wallpaper, fill the odd hole (if needed), sand down the wall, then paint???? No no no!
"If you want to get a smooth finish I recommend putting lining paper on first before you paint" David's dad advised. "Then you can paint".
So far it has already taken us about 3 weeks to do it and we haven't even finished doing the lining paper yet.  David and I aren't the most experienced when it comes to DIY but I tell you this is a learning curve! Here are some in progress photographs! At least I have finally chosen my wallpaper and paint. The beautiful Hockham duck egg blue wallpaper by Laura Ashley which will be complimented by Antique Pearl paint from B&Q which we got mixed up especially by using the eau de nil colour from the wallpaper! Exciting!

The wallpaper with many paint samples!

Lining the dreaded walls............


So the house aside I have a few other things I wanted to touch base with you about!

A few months ago my work colleague approached me and asked if I would like to design a book cover for a publication her and her friends were putting together. With the title of "Shades of Time" the book consists of a variety of short stories and poems centred around time. I came up with an image which represented the past present and the future and it thankfully approved and used.

Here is my orignal artwork I did.

The other day I got an email from my colleague saying that an author has read and reviewed the book.

The author is a lady called Leila Aboulela and she started her review by mentioning my design.
"Shades of Time, the latest publication from the Lemon Tree Writers comes with an attractive cover by artist Camilla-Erika Campbell. I found myself spending more than an average time studying the image with its three clocks, its past postage mark and the hint of a future" 

You can read the full review and find out more about the publication here
Secondly and very importantly I wanted to mention about my business. Neon Haze Designs has under gone some re-branding! Some friends advised me to consider changing my business name to my own name instead and after some deliberating I took their advice and did just that. (Yes you were right all along David!) So its time to say goodbye to Neon Haze Designs and hello to Camilla- Erika.

Apart from my name not much has changed in terms of my product lines. I closed down my old folksy shop but fear not as I now have a brand spanking new folksy and also etsy shop too!

Please go and have a look at my new shops on the following links!

I have also decided to get some business cards and postcards professionally printed! Here is a photo of the front of the postcard.

So remember if you want to go shopping head to the above links! You can also find me on facebook under Camilla - Erika

That's all for now folks, I'll be back soon with another crafty update I promise!!!
Ciao for now!