Soul Food Studio

Make your own Funky Feather Christmas Wreath

CraftsAmanda Russell

Who wouldn’t want this incredibly chic colourful feather wreath to bring bright carnival colour to your room? I show you how to make this unique wreath with the minimum of effort.

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You will need:

Turkey Quills in assorted colours

Polystyrene wreath form

Glue gun

Fishing line

Command Hook

Satay stick

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The secret to the wreath is to put the feathers in at an angle so they completely cover the white polystyrene form. Starting pressing in feathers on the outside edge, first, make a pilot hole in the edge of the wreath with a satay stick, press the feather into the hole, then squeeze on a blob of glue to hold. Add the feathers in staggered layers, about 3cm from the next one. Work from the outside to the inside edge moving, around the wreath with each new layer.

When finished decide which is the top of the wreath and tie around a loop of fishing nylon to invisible suspend the wreath from a removable Command hook.

I used:

Specialist Crafts: 3 packs Turkey Quills in assorted colours £6.17

Specialist Crafts: Polystyrene ring approx £1

Create your own handmade Christmas decorations

CraftsAmanda Russell

This nifty little project making Christmas decorations, is one for people who have pets using old pet food containers. We are talking about those lightweight aluminium ones with a lip round them.

You will need: Clean pet food containers Patterned paper Ribbon Wooden picnic spoons PVA glue Paintbrush Acrylic paint Thin card Clear sticky tape Double sided tape Acrylic paint Felt tip pens pencil Scissors  

You will need:

Clean pet food containers

Patterned paper

Ribbon

Wooden picnic spoons

PVA glue

Paintbrush

Acrylic paint

Thin card

Clear sticky tape

Double sided tape

Acrylic paint

Felt tip pens pencil

Scissors

 

Instructions: First cover the inside of the container with the paper face down. Draw around the edge with a pencil. Take a pencil and extend the sideline of the square. 2. Cut out the paper cross shape. Fold the side arms in to crease the paper. Paint the reverse of the paper with a layer of PVA glue, put the paper into the tray, press the two shorter sides onto the tray, then press out the long sides onto the sides. Along the top edge of the tray cut deep nicks in the paper and wrap the paper over the edge to stick in place. 3. To cover the outside of the tray, take a contrast printed paper. Paper face down draw around the base of the tray, cut out square shape. Measure around the outside of the tray, add 1cm for overlap. Cut a strip of paper the measured length and 3cm wide. Paint with PVA glue then wrap around the tray cutting long nicks in the paper to ease around the curved corners, press the loose strips into place on the base, then glue the square of paper over to cover. Poor glitter onto a plate, paint the front edge of the tray with PVA and dip in glitter. 4. To make the portraits, if you like use scissors to trim the top of the spoon into a hairstyle, then paint the spoons with a base coat of white acrylic paint. While they are drying make the shoulders for the portraits. Cut a strip of thin card slightly narrower than the opening of the tray and about 2cm high, fold in half along the length then glue on printed paper. 5. Use acrylic paint to mix a variety of skin tone colours, paint the spoons. Leave to dry then use felt pens to draw on details. Use sticky tape to attach the portrait onto the shoulders. To keep the portrait in position cut a narrow support strut from thin card about 4cm long, fold in both ends by 1cm, then tape one to the reverse of a portrait. Stick the shoulders to the bottom edge of the tray with double sided tape and tape the end of the support strut to the back of the tray. With the point of the scissors make a hole through the top edge of the tray. Cut a length of ribbon and pass one end through the hole and tape in place.

Instructions:

First cover the inside of the container with the paper face down. Draw around the edge with a pencil. Take a pencil and extend the sideline of the square.

2. Cut out the paper cross shape. Fold the side arms in to crease the paper. Paint the reverse of the paper with a layer of PVA glue, put the paper into the tray, press the two shorter sides onto the tray, then press out the long sides onto the sides. Along the top edge of the tray cut deep nicks in the paper and wrap the paper over the edge to stick in place.

3. To cover the outside of the tray, take a contrast printed paper. Paper face down draw around the base of the tray, cut out square shape. Measure around the outside of the tray, add 1cm for overlap. Cut a strip of paper the measured length and 3cm wide. Paint with PVA glue then wrap around the tray cutting long nicks in the paper to ease around the curved corners, press the loose strips into place on the base, then glue the square of paper over to cover. Poor glitter onto a plate, paint the front edge of the tray with PVA and dip in glitter.

4. To make the portraits, if you like use scissors to trim the top of the spoon into a hairstyle, then paint the spoons with a base coat of white acrylic paint. While they are drying make the shoulders for the portraits. Cut a strip of thin card slightly narrower than the opening of the tray and about 2cm high, fold in half along the length then glue on printed paper.

5. Use acrylic paint to mix a variety of skin tone colours, paint the spoons. Leave to dry then use felt pens to draw on details. Use sticky tape to attach the portrait onto the shoulders. To keep the portrait in position cut a narrow support strut from thin card about 4cm long, fold in both ends by 1cm, then tape one to the reverse of a portrait. Stick the shoulders to the bottom edge of the tray with double sided tape and tape the end of the support strut to the back of the tray. With the point of the scissors make a hole through the top edge of the tray. Cut a length of ribbon and pass one end through the hole and tape in place.

Styling your Dartmouth Flower Urns

Interior, StylingAmanda Russell
Pedestal vases were inspired by the 30s to the 50s ceramics designs of the international household name, high society florist, Constance Spry. The most popular designs were copied and reproduced in the 50s for the thousands of housewives who read her books. To style an interior treat as a stand alone gorgeous sculptural statement piece, or fill with grasses, flowers, trails and twiggery. As a characterful vintage piece expect the cream coloured glaze to have light crazing along with slight iron staining to the interior.  

Pedestal vases were inspired by the 30s to the 50s ceramics designs of the international household name, high society florist, Constance Spry. The most popular designs were copied and reproduced in the 50s for the thousands of housewives who read her books. To style an interior treat as a stand alone gorgeous sculptural statement piece, or fill with grasses, flowers, trails and twiggery. As a characterful vintage piece expect the cream coloured glaze to have light crazing along with slight iron staining to the interior.

 

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How to style your home using Sylvac Urns

Styling, InteriorAmanda Russell
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This Gorgeous voluptuous loop handled mantle urn is a stylists dream. With so many ways to style it up who wouldn't want to fill it with twiggery and flowers or keep it simple with a moss cushion. It's a vintage piece so expect wear which adds character, with light crazing to the cream coloured glaze along with slight iron staining to the interior.

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The Gentleman’s Wardrobe: Vintage Style Projects for the Modern Man by Vanessa Mooncie

Book ReviewsAmanda Russell
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I was really excited when The Gentleman's Wardrobe by Vanessa Mooncie arrived on my desk. I'm a designer maker and creating a capsule wardrobe that sums up your own unique style, seems like a very fine thing. There are lots of sources out there for women but what about the men? The book does just what it says on the cover with all the know how to make an entire gentleman's wardrobe. The garment collection was inspired by old black and white family photos showing beautifully dressed relatives taking great care over their immaculate appearance.

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This is a beautiful book packed with a wealth of contemporary lifestyle fashion plate images to give you all the inspiration you need to get cracking. The 14 projects cover a wide range of skills, there's an elegant garment or accessory for everyone to make following the easy step by step instructions and sewing patterns. All levels of sewing are covered from simple beginners projects like a cravat and for makers with a higher level of expertise there are more complex garments such as shirts and jackets. With a wide range of projects all styles are catered for, choose a different fabric and change the style of garment to create a unique expression of yourself.

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With its indepth knowledge and lots of attractive fashion images it's an easy and approachable way to start building a stylish gentleman's wardrobe. Flicking through the pages a young man with beginners sewing skills was blown away by the idea of making his own silk dressing gown and I was taken with the images for making a tweed flat cap. Whether you are a maker yourself or want to give this book as a gift it's the perfect book to turn to for both reference and a source of projects. With ideas for a quick project or something that will take longer this book would win long term space on my book shelf and remain there long after today’s love of vintage fashion has been superceded.

The Gentleman’s Wardrobe by Vanessa Mooncie

Published by GMC £16.99

Available from www.thegmcgroup.com

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How to make Mattisse inspired wall art

CraftsAmanda Russell

Create a bold Matisse inspired fabric wall art. Use simple motifs to make an impactful piece of wall art.

You Will Need

  • Canvas, £8, Hobbycraft
  • Tracing paper
  • Bondaweb £3.90 Akaban
  • Fabric scraps
  • Stapler
  • Pencil, paper and tracing paper
  • Command Strips from £2.70 B&Q

Step-by-step

  1. Place the canvas on a large piece of paper and draw around the edge of the canvas, add 10cm to each side.
  2. Draw your design on the paper and mark each colour. Using the tracing paper trace the shape for each colour.
  3. Iron paper backed Bondaweb to the reverse of fabric scraps. Cut out the shapes, then remove backing paper and iron to bond in position. Use a sewing machine to sew around the edge of the fabric shapes.
  4. Place the fabric image on the canvas and stretch the fabric over the edge, use the stapler to secure the fabric at the back.
  5. Hang on the wall using Command Strips

Tips

  • When stapling the fabric on start from the middle and work towards the outer edge so there are no creases in the fabric

Book Review: House of Cards By Sarah Hamilton

Amanda Russell
Have you ever wanted to find out about the ins and outs of selling your own handmade cards? We are a nation of card givers, greetings cards punctuate and chronicle our lives, House of Cards by artist Sarah Hamilton is a book that celebrates the greeting card industry as well as showing you how to become part of it using your own designs. It is an attractive book full of fresh bright visuals and shows you how to make money from your art. Full of sassy know how, packed with expert tips and advice from practising artists, it's a designers must have manual. A practical as well as informative book it helps short circuit some of the hard work of starting out selling your own cards.

Have you ever wanted to find out about the ins and outs of selling your own handmade cards? We are a nation of card givers, greetings cards punctuate and chronicle our lives, House of Cards by artist Sarah Hamilton is a book that celebrates the greeting card industry as well as showing you how to become part of it using your own designs.

It is an attractive book full of fresh bright visuals and shows you how to make money from your art. Full of sassy know how, packed with expert tips and advice from practising artists, it's a designers must have manual. A practical as well as informative book it helps short circuit some of the hard work of starting out selling your own cards.

Card by Sarah Hamilton image by James Bolston The book is divided into two sections, the first contains an informative account of the history of greetings card giving, along with all the nitty gritty and practical detail to help get you started with card creation and sales. There is also an invaluable chapter by artist agent Jehane Boden Spiers giving inside advice on liscencing art work as well as insight into the deals available to designers to increase their portfolio of earning potential as well as providing a nest egg.

Card by Sarah Hamilton image by James Bolston

The book is divided into two sections, the first contains an informative account of the history of greetings card giving, along with all the nitty gritty and practical detail to help get you started with card creation and sales. There is also an invaluable chapter by artist agent Jehane Boden Spiers giving inside advice on liscencing art work as well as insight into the deals available to designers to increase their portfolio of earning potential as well as providing a nest egg.

Artwork by Lynn Guinta mage by Kevin Cozad To get you started on your own creative journey the second section has 10 exciting practical easy to follow step by step projects introducing many techniques such as lino, screen printing and decoupage. Show casing ten artists it gives us the unique opportunity of having a private glimpse into the artist working studio. The book is generous and each case study starts with a short piece about the artist as well as hints on tools and techniques and inspiration to help you create your own personal artwork.

Artwork by Lynn Guinta mage by Kevin Cozad

To get you started on your own creative journey the second section has 10 exciting practical easy to follow step by step projects introducing many techniques such as lino, screen printing and decoupage. Show casing ten artists it gives us the unique opportunity of having a private glimpse into the artist working studio. The book is generous and each case study starts with a short piece about the artist as well as hints on tools and techniques and inspiration to help you create your own personal artwork.

Card by Lynn Guinta image by Kevin Cozad The book supports the inspiring Just a Card campaign. The premise is that card sales are an important part of independent artists and shops income generation and if we all buy cards when we visit them we help keep them going. An attractive book full of energy and packed with invaluable advice, it's an indispensible bookshelf addition for anyone in the visual design industry wanting generate an income in the world of greeting cards. 

Card by Lynn Guinta image by Kevin Cozad

The book supports the inspiring Just a Card campaign. The premise is that card sales are an important part of independent artists and shops income generation and if we all buy cards when we visit them we help keep them going.

An attractive book full of energy and packed with invaluable advice, it's an indispensible bookshelf addition for anyone in the visual design industry wanting generate an income in the world of greeting cards. 

Cards by Gabriela Szulman image by Kristy Noble House of Cards by Sarah Hamilton is published by Pavilion. Find them on Instagram at -  @pavilionbooks @hoc.cardbook @justacard @sarahhamiltonprints @jehanebodenspiers_

Cards by Gabriela Szulman image by Kristy Noble

House of Cards by Sarah Hamilton is published by Pavilion.

Find them on Instagram at - 

@pavilionbooks @hoc.cardbook @justacard @sarahhamiltonprints @jehanebodenspiers_

How to Style Your Interior With Plants

Amanda Russell
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We all want our home to look wonderful and project our personality without making any costly mistakes. As an interior stylist working on magazines and in interior design, I believe everyone has their own unique style, but pin pointing it can be a tricky one with so many visual influences and different avenues to tempt you. Just now plants are having a moment, we all love a bit of greenery in our home. Firm up your style identity with a few simple styling tricks to set you on the right track when you are working with plants. 

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House plants are slow growing and are in danger of making a room appear static and repetitious. Ring the changes, breath new life into a space by using plants as props and showing off your chosen hero object at its best. The styling hero can be anything that takes your fancy, I dip into my shop where I stock vintage ceramics, vases, vessels and figures.

Get Yourself an Asymetric Coffee Table

CraftsAmanda Russell

Have yourself an enviable conversation piece coffee table by transforming a very ordinary coffee table with a new asymmetrical top and a lick of paint.

You Will Need

  • Lisabo Tabe Ikea
  • 20mm MDF 
  • Black and Decker electric jig saw and drill
  • Paint 
  • Varnish
  • Wood filler 
  • Screws
  1. Using the jig saw cut the table top over hang off the table. Draw the shape of the new table top on the MDF. Cut out with the jigsaw. Sand the edges of the table and MDF.
  2. Paint the MDF table top blush and the legs graphite.
  3. Place the MDF table top on the table, drill through the new top into the old top then screw down.
  4. Fill screw holes with two part filler when dry sand and retouch paint.
  5. When dry paint the whole table with quick dry

Tip

  • This table gives lots of space for styling a table scape, I love the zingy saffron I chose. For a new look, change your styling accessories with the season.

Stamp your own floral lampshade

CraftsAmanda Russell

I love simple bold classic 60s florals and designed a print in a bright vibrant green for a large lampshade. This is a very simple way to create your own bespoke piece of designer homeware.

You will already have many of the things you need for this low-tech hand printing project and there are only a couple of specialize products you will need.

You will need:

  • Plain drum lampshade 
  • Dylon fabric paints in Green and Yellow from
  • Acrylic block
  • Tracing paper
  • Pencil
  • Rubber
  • Masking tape
  • Glue stick
  • Hobby foam sheet
  • Car wash sponge
  • Scissors
  • OHP pen (overhead projector pen)
  • Masking tape

Step by Step

  1. Measure the lampshade and draw a design to fit, then trace onto tracing paper. Use a permanent OHP pen to mark the center back of the acrylic block. Place the design under the acrylic block and trace onto the reverse side of the block with the OHP pen.
  2. To transfer the image onto the foam sheet, place the tracing paper design face down on foam, and then scribble over the back with a soft pencil.
  3. Cut out your design from the foam sheet using scissors and a craft knife. Stick the cut out pieces in position on the acrylic block using a glue stick.
  4. Place a line of masking tape around the top and bottom edges of the lampshade.
  5. Mix up your fabric-printing colour, I made a lime green by mixing the yellow with the green about half a pot for this design. For the fabric paint applicator cut a piece 3cm cubed from the car wash sponge. Dab one side of the foam in the fabric paint until it is evenly coated. Then dab the fabric paint onto the design block and print on paper to check colour.
  6. Start printing onto the lampshade, beginning at the seam, reloading the block with paint after each impression.

Tip

  • Transparent acrylic blocks take the headache out of positioning the block especially when printing repeat designs.

Bang on Trend Super Easy Picture Shelf

CraftsAmanda Russell

Have you ever marvelled at curated collections of pictures and wondered how you can move them about without damaging your walls? This great little picture shelf is the answer, use it to display your own curated collection of pictures, it’s easy to move them around again and again whenever you want to change the look.

You Will Need

  • Wood strip and beading
  • Brass picture hooks
  • White matt emulsion paint
  • Electric Drill Black and Decker
  • Rawl plugless screws
  • Panel pins
  1. Measure the wood strip and beading and use a saw to cut both pieces of wood to the same length.
  2. Place the beading strip in the centre of the wood strip.
  3. Hammer in position using panel pins.
  4. Paint with white emulsion.
  5. Screw the brass picture hooks on the back edge.
  6. Mark and drill holes for screws on the wall, then screw the shelf in place.

Tip

  • Paint the shelf with the same colour as the walls so it blends into the room

Upmarket Luxurious Upholstered Footstool

Amanda Russell

Yawn, yawn, a coffee table's a coffee table's a coffee table. I wanted something a little different and an upmarket luxury upholstered stool fitted the bill perfectly. It just took an Ikea coffee table and lots of imagination to make it into a fab statement footstool. 

You will need:

  • Nornas coffee table, Ikea
  • Fabric
  • Cot mattress
  • Wadding
  • Saw
  • Tape measure
  • Staple gun
  1. Before assembling your table, measure halfway down each of the legs and saw them in half.
  2. Paint the legs and the underside of the coffee table with black paint. Once the paint is dry follow the instructions to put the table together.
  3. Cut your mattress to fit the top of your coffee table. Piece the off cuts together to make a shape that fits the table top.
  4. Place the trimmed mattress and off cuts on top of the table and cover with wadding. Staple the wadding to the underside of the table to hold everything together.
  5. Lay the printed fabric on top of the wadding and staple underneath. For neat corners fold and sew the fabric in place.