Acrylic paint: Matt varnish test

Dear Readers,

A few weeks ago I used some heavy structure gel in one of my paintings to give it an impasto look. However I found that from certain angles it reflected light a lot more than the acrylic paint on its own and therefore changed the colour of the painting.

The sun set painting is the specific painting I am referencing

So this week I decided to do a test painting and then varnish it with a Matt varnish to see if I liked the results.

The middle of the painting that looks impasto is done with acrylic and structure gel, the smooth parts are just plain acrylic paint.

Before varnish face on

Before varnish side on

I used one coat of Matt Liquitex varnish to see what the effect would be.

Front on after varnish
Side on after varnish

At the end of the day I think that I prefer it before/without varnish. I think that although the Matt varnish has homogenised the painting I think that it looks more muted and has lost a lot of definition from varnishing.

I don’t think that I will be varnishing my paintings in future. 🙂

Hope that you have been having a lovely crafty weekend.

Peace and love

Ellie xoxox

Victorian Craft Series: Monograms and Cyphers

Welcome to the first installment of my Victorian Crafting Series working with Cassell’s Compendium of Victorian Crafts.

Morag and I decided to start off with the Monograms and Cyphers because we anticipated that it would be a relatively quick one and also because it would give us something to use as a cohesive image throughout the posts.

Continue reading “Victorian Craft Series: Monograms and Cyphers”

Snow Week again

Hello again,

This week I took a lot of photos for some reason so I have a decent amount to share with you! I am going to preface this and say that there was a lot of snow this week so there are a lot of photos of snow. Haha, being born and raised in Cape Town, snow is still a novelty for me. Also because it typically doesn’t really snow in Edinburgh.

On Tuesday it began snowing. And it wasn’t just a few pretty flakes, there were windy gusty flurries of snow. I found it so mesmerizing I spent a good deal of time just watching out of my kitchen window.

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I did try to start a new painting…

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But after freezing my toes off and then discovering that since we don’t have double glazing it was 14.8 degrees Celsius next to my window, I decided to move. I know it doesn’t seem that cold but when the rest of the house is 21 degrees and you are sitting still painting you can get pretty cold.

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So I moved myself into my nice warm lounge, got out my long abandoned crochet blanket and caught up on my backlog of knitting podcasts I watch.

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This is a lovely blanket that I will eventually release the pattern tutorial for when I have finished it. I call it my honeymoon blanket because even though I started it long before that I brought it with me on Honeymoon and I worked on it a bit then. The dark colour always lands up looking black in photos but it is actually a deep aubergine purple.

Husband used excel to help me write the pattern as I wanted the colour stripes to be random and I am not good with excel.

The yarn is all from South Africa.

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You can see here later on in the week I even got my hotwater bottle out and it has a panda bear cover which my sister gave to me.

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I can’t wait for the blanket to be finished. I have about another 20 colour stripes which are each made of 2 rows. I will probably do 1 colour stripe a day from now on as I am finding that working with such a big blanket is hurting my shoulder if I do it for too long.

On Wednesday the snow got even more intense.

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Mean while my sister sent me this photo from their house in Cape Town and the grass is all but died with the drought.

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On Wednesday evening we decided to go out for a walk in the snow.

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As you can see I love the snow very much. With my lovely big coat and my warm hand knits I dont’t find that the cold bothers me at all.

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Making my very first snow angel ever.

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And instant regret! I was all wet on my jeans and gloves. But I am still glad that I did it. 😛

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With the weather being all cold and grey as it was it put me in a baking mood. So I made some oatcakes. This is something my mom has made a lot throughout my life. I like them because I think that they are yummy and I don’t feel bad snacking on them because they are much healthier than regular biscuits. They don’t contain sugar and they contain relatively little butter.

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Next week I think I need to make a double batch of these.

On Wednesday a lot of people left their work early to make it home before the snow trapped them. Husband can luckily walk to work so he was not in any danger of getting trapped in a car. Then on Thursday and Friday a lot of people were either told to work from home or to take the day off. The buses stopped driving and unfortunately grocery stores stopped getting deliveries. So From Thursday until Sunday I had to ration my supply of milk, and husband went to a whole load of shops to find any sort of milk that he could and he found some soy milk. If you don’t know I use a lot of milk in my tea and coffee!!

On Friday I did a small A5 painting because I could do this in my warm lounge. I just covered the dining room table in newspaper to protect it. I painted something inspired by the snowy stormy weather.

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On Saturday the restaurant that my knitting group meets at was thankfully open so I attended my knitting group for the first time in ages and it felt great! I really missed seeing my friends there. One of my friends even brought me a Danish type of Dubble Zout (Salty Licorice) for me to try and it was delicious! They were hard which is different from all the chewy ones I have tried but they were super nice. I think that if I got hard ones they might stop me from eating them as fast! I think I eat the chewy ones way too fast.

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Then on Sunday Husband and I decided to go for another walk in the snow. This time we walked along the canal.

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A quick snap of our backyard. As you can see the snow has gotten a little thinner.

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My handsome Husband in his Hand knit Hat.

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It was a bit odd that the water became ice in random places. We couldn’t figure out what might be causing it.

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Someone built an igloo in the park

Now I will insert some funny photos that my friends and husband have been sending to each other of sightings around Edinburgh.

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And finally to end off I will share more cozy cat photos of my loves in South Africa.

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Salty Cuddling my sister in bed

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Zoe is not impressed with having to share my sister with Salty.

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Salty may have gotten into the Catnip this week. She Chased her tail around for a bit and then just sat down like this.

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Salty Soaking up the last of the Sun

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Pangaea being silly and rolling around on the carpet

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Wow this week has been quite a week now that I look back on it!

I hope that you have enjoyed the snow vicariously through my photos.
Lots of Love


My First Adventure into Exhibiting Art

Hello again friends,

Second time this week! Hi-five!
This week it is just as the title says.

Last year I decided that I wanted to join an art society so that I could grow more as an artist. So at the beginning of this year I joined Visual Art Scotland aka VAS. Then on the day that I joined (sometime very early January) I discovered that they were holding an open exhibition where anyone one who is one of their members can exhibit art for free. The submission date was the 21st January so I got my hustle on and started painting like crazy!

At first I didn’t tell anyone about it because I didn’t want something to go wrong and then I couldn’t exhibit and then I looked like a liar.
I did three paintings in total. The requirements for submission were 1-3 paintings that fit into a 30cm x 30cm mounting. And they will be for sale and you can price it anything up to 250 pounds but they do take a percentage.

I did 2 acrylic paint paintings and 1 watercolour.


from instagram
Unfortunately I forgot to scan this piece before we mounted it.


My wonderful husband mounted my pictures for me. We could not find 30 x 30 mounts so we had to cut our own out of mounting board and my husband is much better at measuring exact things and cutting them out exactly! I always manage to mess it up by a couple of mm.

I am super excited about this. We went to the exhibition opening night on the 28th of January, it was just the artists and their friends and family. It was so exciting to see all the amazing art there. There were loads of beautiful pieces and some very strange ones which really stood out in my mind.

The one was a man who was walking around in just his boxer shorts and he was carrying a chair. He just walked slowly with purpose, weaving in and out of the crowd not interacting with anyone. He also had a very interesting physique. He was short and incredibly muscular but he also had very saggy skin as though he had lost a lot of weight at some point in his life.

The other was a whole bunch of paintings of faces in black and white, they looked like very old photographs that had been cut out so it was just the face and they were on long poles so that they cascaded down from the top of the ceiling to just above head height. There were about 4 or 5 rows if I remember correctly. Anyway so I was looking at them thinking they were really interesting when I realised the one had a body! So I pointed out to my Husband and our friend R, and said look that one is a person standing on a chair with their face painted. So Husband said no that’s a mannequin… and then it blinked!! It was a man standing there!! He also was not interacting with anyone, just standing very sill on that chair. So now I am wondering if he stands there everyday or if it was just for the opening night. Does he go to the loo? Does he take a break to eat?

I have no idea if anything has sold or not. I don’t know if or how they will notify me but I guess I just won’t receive them back at the end in March if they have sold. Just in case any one is interested I have scanned the Octopus Lady who my mother named Octavia, and also the eye. So once the exhibition is over I will be uploading that to my Redbubble so you can buy prints on merchandise, and I may list some prints on Etsy if any one is interested.

Wow this post landed up much more wordy than I thought it would!
I hope that you have had a lovely week and that you have a wonderful Weekend,

Love Diella

The Week of the Paintings

Hello Again,

I know I skipped last week so I am just going to pretend that that didn’t happen. 😛

Last Friday Husband and I decided late in the evening that we wanted to buy a puzzle to do. So we landed up on an adventure out to HobbyCraft at Fort Kinnaird at 8pm because they only close at 10pm. We got there around 9. We chose a puzzle called the Carpenter’s Cottage.



We just did shopping and we helped a friend look at a flat he was looking at buying. It was a really nice place.


Friend E came over and I did some mending of her clothes for her. It was all pretty easy stuff except for a neckline which was made of a fine stretchy mesh folded over by more stretchy mesh, that took a bit of fussing.


As usual Monday is my cleaning day and so my house got quite a deep clean. It hadn’t be cleaned thoroughly for a while. I mean things like scrubbing the inside of the oven and that sort of thing.
My studio also got an amazing clean. Sigh, it is so nice to be back in my little creative space. I pushed my Laptop backwards so that I could set up my tripod for filming.

Unfinished crochet blanket makes another appearance

Here is my filming set up but I am going to have to play with it a bit more. 1) because I would like to have my tripod set up and also have my monitor on the table. I need my monitor in order to edit my art scans better. Laptops don’t give good colour representation because you can keep changing the angles. and 2) because I keep getting my head in the way!


And for supper I cooked a roast chicken for dinner. Ah, the Roast Chicken story. First of all, all you South African’s take a look at the photo below!


I bet you are thinking what I was thinking when I first unwrapped the chicken. What the heck are those?! I’ll explain. This chicken has shins, or lower leg parts still attached to the drum sticks. The only explanation which I can imagine is as follows: In South Africa there is a market for chicken feet, people buy them and cook them, so in South Africa the lower leg of the chicken is chopped off with the feet and sold that way. Where as, I am guessing here, there is less of a demand for chicken feet in the UK and so their chickens are sold with just the feet removed. My sister told me that she thinks they look like crayfish eyes / eye stalks. I agree.
Anyway so I take this chicken out the fridge and remove the packaging and discover  that these leg things are tucked into the carcass of the chicken to make it neat. I gingerly pull them out and immediately get squeamish. (I was vegetarian for 2 years before I had to stop for health reasons) Getting this up close and personal with uncooked meat really freaks me out apparently. Then when I had to rub the butter over the skin I very nearly vomited. This chicken also seems to have a lot more skin than Z.A. chickens and they also left the neck on. Oh and there were some poor little tufty feathers on it.
This chicken has changed my life people. I am not joking, I am going to see if I can cut us down to one meat meal a week and see if my health can stand up to that. At the moment we are doing about 3 vegetarian meals a week.


I continued filming and managed to finish my architectural piece which I was painting.

My mom sent me this cute picture of Salty cuddling her.


Then, having decided that I was going to bake, I went in search of some nice baking trays. We currently only have one really small one that came with the flat. While I was going from shop to shop I saw these pretty pink velvety chairs! But husband pointed out that I already have a studio chair.


And I did find some really nice trays that are the perfect size for our oven! Our Oven is about 36cm squared and these are 34cm squared.


And then the baking bee stung and I baked over 100 cookies. I don’t know why I always do this. I don’t bake for ages and then all of a sudden I bake loads.


In the evening husband and I met friend R out at a restaurant for Taco Tuesday! They ordered something super spicy but I was a sane person and ordered something cheesy 😛


Wednesday was kind of a busy day but I didn’t plan it to be. First of all my prints which I had ordered came in the mail. If I have forgotten to tell you, I am in the process of setting up my Etsy Shop. At the moment there is nothing there because I am still ironing out some kinks.

The print job was perfect. Where you can see colour variation that is where I scanned the picture and then edited it on my laptop instead of on a fixed screen monitor.

The Original is on the Right

The Original is on the Right

The Original is on the Right

The Original is on the Left

The Original is on the Right

Then I decided that I need to do more exercise so I did 45min of Tribal Fusion Belly Dance on my own, which considering I haven’t done it in over a year it was probably a bit much. We are desperately saving for our own place and so I am not that keen to go out and pay for lessons at the moment so I was just practicing what I remember and also doing some drills off Youtube. It is easier for me because I used to do a lot of it so I know how the moves are supposed to go. It’s just building up those muscles again.


After I was done with my dance practice I decided so do a painting of a flower my sister had photographed. It went way quicker than I had expected. It is a peach blossom.


After supper my husband and I went for a nice long walk. He took me on a route he had discovered while I was in South Africa. We took some photos along the way because it was so pretty.


Then at home something horrifying happened. Husband and I were chilling on the couch drinking coffee and chatting about our walk when suddenly I saw something out of the corner of my eye. Picture me pulling my legs up onto the couch quickly and yelling ” *insert husbands name here* ITS A GIANT FUDGING SPIDER!” Except I didn’t say Fudging I said a bad word. Husband is momentarily freaked out until he looks over and sees the actual size of it. And then he proceeds to calmly catch it and remove it for me. He doesn’t like killing spiders so he threw it out the window.
We did out best to identify it and we are pretty sure it’s the Giant House Spider. This one isn’t that big but apparently they can grow really huge and also what makes us even more sure that that is what this is is that it once held the Guinness world record for fastest spider…. and boy was this thing fast! Even husband was a bit unnerved by it’s speed. But thankfully their venom is not fatal to humans or pets and they prefer to escape than to bite.


It took me a really really long time to fall asleep that night. 😦 I am convinced I have a mild form of arachnophobia.


On Thursday I did a quick expressive painting. I quite enjoyed it as I have not worked in this style for a while.


Then I did a little sketch of an Accounticorn for a friend. I might paint this one up and give it to her.IMG-20170907-WA0007

And then I spent the rest of the day editing and uploading the art video which I filmed earlier in the week. You can see it here.



On Friday I did a quick little drawing inspired by the lyrics from a song by a band called Cake. “Sheep go to heaven, Goats go to hell”


My mom sent me more cute photos of Salty invading her art supplies.


And I also started a crochet stuffy / amigurumi for friend E. Friend E and I are pretty much obsessed with unicorns.


Halfway through the first leg I discovered that you stuff it while you make it not all at the end. So I had to leave my cozy home and go in search of stuffing. In the end it turned out cheaper to buy a microfiber pillow for M&S and open it than to buy actual craft microfiber at a craft store!


We had a lazy slow start to the day. Husband was immensely helpful with my Etsy and helped me with the money side of things.
We went for a walk up Corstorphine hill and saw another monument to Scott.


I managed to finish the unicorn!


The card above was my welcome home card from friend E.

I love it’s fabulous hair!


Then we took a quick walk through some suburbs that we might consider looking for our own place in. Husband has looked at a lot of the areas before but I was in South Africa and I haven’t seen them yet. It was really nice walking around and discussing the pros and cons of the area. Then at the end of the walk we went to friend E’s house where friend R was meeting us and we made a curry box. Friend R regularly gets these curry boxes. It was a lot of fun, and friend E loved the unicorn!


Well thank you for sticking with me again through another busy week! I hope that you are having a good week and I hope that anyone in the Florida area is busy keeping warm and safe!

Love Diella xoxo