Feeling spooky- Halloween inspired sketching

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October is upon us; that means my return to university, the inevitable rise of pumpkin spiced everything, and Halloween.

I feel as though when I have my own house I will go totally nuts at Halloween. I’m a big fan of spooky face paint, dressing up, pumpkin carving- and who doesn’t like sweets?! To be honest with you, I’m just one of those people who loves any excuse to celebrate and bake themed cupcakes.

But anyway, I was feeling particularly inspired today to get into the spooky spirit. Seeing as I didn’t have time to tackle any adventurous craft projects, I settled on a spot of painting.

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It’s actually been AGES since I last painted with watercolours. I used to do pieces like this all the time, but since going to uni there’s been very few additions to my collection.

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A piece like this usually takes me about two hours, so they’re rather quick in the big scheme of things. Sometimes I prefer doing them to my larger canvas works, because there isn’t as much commitment involved; if I’m unhappy with the finished product, I don’t feel as bad about throwing it in the bin. This usually means I experiment a bit more with these pieces, creating a messier and more abstract final result, which I like.

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This piece was completed using a combination of watercolour, dyes and ink. I can afford to work quite loosely with the watercolour rather than keeping my work restricted and neat, as sketching over the top with black ink adds detail.

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I hope you enjoyed this little artsy blog post today guys! Let me know if you’d be interested in seeing more posts like this in the comments!

Have a spooky October friends!

Love birds!- DIY modelling clay owls

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Hey guys!

I am soooo ready for spring at the minute. As of tomorrow afternoon I will be having a short and much needed break from university life, and will be making the journey down the motorway to spend the weekend at home with my family and Jason. I had been intending on taking my winter coats home to be put away for another year and busting out my spring time jackets- as those of you who live in the UK will know, this will sadly not be the case. Most of the UK (and a good chunk of Europe, actually) has been hit with some serious snowfall for this time of year. Luckily for us Lancashire folk, the Northwest has managed to escape the worst of it; however we are being battered by incredibly strong winds.

So even though we’re not experiencing that warm Spring weather that I’ve been anticipating for so long, this miserable climate is good for one thing- staying in all day and crafting! As my regular readers will know, I haven’t had much time for crafting recently (or anything else for that matter!). My degree is pretty full on, so I’m always grateful of any chance I get to spend some time doing something fun. (Not that Physics and Maths aren’t fun… LOL.)

As luck would have it, I ended up with a couple of hours spare the other evening. Enter my modelling clay owls! 

I recently uploaded a post about my first attempt with my new FIMO clay and asked if you guys would be interested in seeing some little tutorials and more creations. As always, you were lovely (thank you!!) and great fans of my little dinosaur, so today I’m bringing you a quick tutorial on how to make these little love birds!

These two owls are actually going to be a birthday present for my gran. She’s owl mad and has a huge collection of little owl ornaments, so I thought it’d be a cute idea to make her these little guys to join the family.  Like I stressed in my last post, I am by no means a professional standard clay modeller. You can also probably tell from the photos of these owls that I accidentally got pen on the blue little guy, oops. But I’m still kind of happy with how they turned out!

Fancy making some? Find out how below!

To make one owl:

  1. In the colour that you want the body of your owl to be, roll out a small ball of FIMO clay in between your palms. Once you have a nice smooth sphere, place it on your work surface and press down lightly with your palm so that you have a circle of around 1cm thick. Begin shaping the body of the owl, as shown below. To get the ‘ears’, place your pinky finger at the top of your circle and mould the clay around it. P1240286
  2. Once you are happy with the body of your owl, in a contrasting colour clay or a lighter shade like I did, roll out three small balls, much smaller than the body of your owl was. You want two of these to be the same size, and one to be slightly bigger. Using your palm, press your balls flat until they are about 2mm thick. These will be the wings and stomach patch for your owl, as shown above.
  3. In white clay, roll out two small balls. Press them down lightly with your palm, but not as much as you did with the body of the owl. These will be the owl’s eyes.
  4. Assemble your owl. Place the wings on either side of the body and the stomach patch on the front. Add the eyes in the desired position. You will not have to apply a lot of pressure in order to get your pieces to stick together, be gentle. P1240291
  5. Out of orange clay create a very small triangle and press this on just under the centre of the eyes. To help your owl stand up, from the same clay as you used for the body of your owl, create a small triangle. Add this to the back of you owl to act as a little support for when it is stood up.
  6. Bake your owl in the oven according to the directions on the packaging of your clay.
  7. Once your owl is cooked, remove it from the oven and leave it to cool completely before handling it. Once cool, add two black dots for eyes. Ta da!

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There you have it guys, I hope you enjoyed this quick little DIY- maybe it inspired some of you to have a go playing with FIMO yourselves! I must admit I am really enjoying it the more I play around with it; it’s great fun and you can be really creative with your designs. I can’t wait until I have some more time on my hands to see what I can come up with! 

Best wishes to you all,

Maddie x

Meet the girls- my painting collection

Helloooo lovely reader: So, I got a bit carried away (again) with the intro for this post, so if you just wanna skip to the pretty pictures, you just scroll on down my friend, I won’t judge. Well, much 😉

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‘Carnival Queen’ (WIP- left) and ‘Nebula’ (right). My two acrylic on canvas works.

Hello guys!

So I know it’s been a while since I last posted something on here- I’m sorry! Things got a lil’ hectic with me moving back up to university in mid January, and I actually managed to leave my camera at home- shock horror! So as a result I was left unable to take any photos to go with my blog, and let’s be honest, it ain’t really a great blog if there’s no pretty photos for you all to look at!

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No name. Self portrait, acrylic on paper.

Aside from the accidental leaving the camera at home fiasco, it has also been an incredibly busy few weeks for me in terms of academic workload. I. Am. Exhausted. Second year Theoretical Physics with Maths is NOT a walk in the park, and the lecturers are clearly sadistic and really enjoying watching us struggle as we try to learn all the new content that’s being thrown at us… at least that’s how I see it.

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Carnival Queen- Work in progress

But I have to say, it feels darn good to be back!

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‘Cuentos de Hadas’ feat. Zoe.

I am so excited about the content that I’m going to be posting on my blog during 2018; I can’t wait to finally find time to do some more DIYs and yummy recipes for you all. I also want to start adding a few more ‘lifestyle’ posts, seeing as that is what I originally started A Little Mad Smith for.

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No name- a quick self portrait.

So that brings us to today’s post. Reunited with my camera, today I’m bringing you a happy mixture of my usual craft style post with just a hint more ‘lifestyle’ thrown in for good measure; today we get to have a little look at my paintings!

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‘Nebula’ feat. Olivia

Meet the girls- a collection of my favourite paintings that have made their way onto my walls at university. I adore painting female portraits, and I’ve steadily accumulated a little collection over the past two or so years as I’ve honed my technique and discovered my style.

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‘Night Dreaming’ feat. Fairlight

I LOVE painting. I love art. I studied two art subjects at GCSE level when I was in high school, before going on to study an A level in Fine Art at college. My interest for portrait painting was really sparked when I was 16, and I discovered the work of three artists in particular: Charmaine Olivia, Paula Bonet and Agnes Cecile. These women paint the most beautiful portraits I have ever seen, and all three have such unique styles! I immediately fell in love with Charmaine Olivia’s wonderful use of colour in her oil work, Agnes Cecile’s dramatic watercolour technique and Paula Bonet’s unique mix of pencil and water colour.

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‘Festival Queen’ feat. Chloe

These three women have been a huge inspiration to me, and have massively influenced my own artwork over the years. I don’t have time to paint as much anymore, due to my intensive degree subject, but whenever I get the chance I always enjoy picking up a paintbrush and seeing where it takes me.

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‘Night Dreaming’ feat. Firelight

For those who were wondering (if any), yes, I am super sad and name my paintings. Not all of them, but sometimes some of them just look like an Olivia or a Zoe and I name them that. Almost all of these are drawn originally using a photo of my face as a starting point, but they hardly ever turn out looking like me. I like to give each one it’s own personality and style.

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No name. Self portrait, acrylic on paper.

This painting here was one of the first I tried in acrylic. I was super happy with how it turned out, I really like the contrast of the blue with the orange. This is one of the only few that actually kept a bit of a resemblance to me in it, at least I think so. I especially love that she’s holding a pencil.

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The festival queen pictured below is called Chloe. One of the funnest parts of doing this one was adding all the feathers to her hair (above); it turns out they’re actually really easy to paint! Chloe actually turned two last week, I painted her back when I was 18 just after Christmas with a new set of paints that I’d gotten from my parents. She’s one of my favourites.

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‘Festival Queen’ feat. Chloe

So that’s all from me today guys, I hope you enjoyed this little look at some of my artwork! I really do miss having the time to spend on painting that I used to, but that’s why I love having this blog as a creative outlet for me!

I’m hoping that I can find more time for my art throughout 2018; I’m also actually hoping to start a bullet journal which I intend to document on here!

Do you enjoy painting or drawing? Or is your creative outlet something different? Let me know in the comments! 

Thanks to you all for reading, and best wishes to each and every one of you. It is a genuine pleasure to be able to interact with you all as I do and I am incredibly thankful for it. 

Until next time,

Maddie x

 

 

Making Beeswax Soap- Review and How To!

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Hello you lovely people! How are we today?
Today’s post is all about my first experience of beeswax soap making! As some of you may remember, for my birthday back in September I did a HUGE Hobbycraft haul, returning home with innumerable crafting goodies, supplies and kits that I was just dying to try out. One of those kits was this Kirstie Allsopp Beeswax Soap making kit.

Soap making is one of the few popular crafts that I hadn’t tried out prior to purchasing this kit, and I was super excited to give it a go and see how it turned out. There were a couple of other soap making kits available at Hobbycraft during my visit, but I loved the luxurious vibe of this one, thanks to the beeswax.

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So how did I find it? 

This kit retails for £10, and contains enough ingredients to make four square soaps. You also get a mould for your soap, an instruction booklet with some background information on the process of soap making, and an inspiration booklet.

This kit uses a Melt and Pour base to make the soap. This means the process is super easy, and all you have to do is melt the base, add your preferred fragrance and colour, before pouring into your moulds. Your soap will be ready to use after just a few hours of setting time. This makes the kit great for novice soap makers, like me, and great as a gift for young adults too.

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The process was super easy and I was really pleased with the result. I began my soap making endeavour by melting my beeswax pellets in a double boiler and setting it to one side. Once I had done this, I melted the soap base in the double boiler before adding the beeswax.

I then removed my mixture from the heat and stirred it thoroughly, before adding a few drops of fragrance. Then all I had to do was pour the mixture into the provided mould and allow my soap to cool over night!

I loved the look of the finished soap, and actually ended up wrapping some up to gift to friends over Christmas. Also, the fragrance provided with this kit smells divine- it’s a wonderful sweet honey scent.

All in all, I thoroughly enjoyed making this soap, and I think this kit would make a great gift for the crafters in your life who are wanting to try something new.

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Do I think it’s worth the money? 

I do think this kit is worth the £10 I paid for it. I had great fun making the soap and it does make a wonderful homemade gift for friends and family.

I probably wouldn’t repurchase this kit, but I would definitely purchase the soap making ingredients individually. I usually find with trying out new crafts its always better to start out with a kit and then purchase your ingredients separately from there on; it normally makes things cheaper in the long run, and prevents you from repurchasing unnecessary instruction booklets and moulds.

That’s all from me today folks! I hope you’re all having a wonderful January, best wishes to you all! 

Love as always,

Maddie x

My Uni room tour!

 

Hey guys! First things first, I have to apologise if I don’t seem like my usual cheery self in this post. It’s been one of those days and I’m just starting to come down with a cold, but I didn’t want to leave you with no post today! 🙂 Today was also my first day back at University- I know, I know, we start sooooo late here!– so it’s safe to say I’m feeling pretty frazzled.

But now to what this post is about! Today’s post is my uni room tour (‘Wow, really Maddie? We’d never have guessed- it’s not like you called it that!’). This is my second year living in student halls, and I have had a room like this for both years. Seeing as I’m incredibly nosey curious and LOVE looking at people’s accommodation and housing, I figured some of you may be interested in seeing what kind of accommodation I live in while at University, and also how I choose to decorate my room while I’m here.

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You can see pretty much all of my room on this photo. I am stood near the entrance, and to my right is a small wet room consisting of a toilet, sink and shower. I also have to apologise for the terrible quality of these photos! The lighting made it really difficult to get a good shot- sorry! This photo also gives you a good idea of the amount of storage I have in my room. I’m very lucky to have a lot of shelving over my desk-something that is very much necessary for a crafter! I also keep all my folders and textbooks up here. You can also see three drawers: one for hair products and styling equipment, one for makeup and one for underwear. Then there’s also my wardrobe; it’s a double wardrobe with plenty of space for my clothes and shoes; it also has a large shelf at the top where I keep all my cleaning equipment and an over night suitcase for when I go home for the weekend.

As you can see, I have a single bed against the wall featuring a quilt that I made last summer. I am incredibly proud of this quilt! It took me months to complete it but I love how it looks; on a side note it also washes really well! You have probably also noticed the abundance of blankets on the end of my bed- I get super chilly during winter, and seeing as the heating is turned off over night I find it best to wrap up!

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The paintings behind the bed are my own work, acrylic on canvas. I haven’t really mentioned it much on my blog before, but I love to paint. You’ll probably spot a few more of my paintings dotted about as you look through the other photos. I love having my paintings up at uni, as it makes my room feel like home!

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I always have a vase on my windowsill, although sadly it is not always filled with flowers! I keep it here for the occasions when Jason brings me flowers, and I also sometimes buy my own to brighten up my room a bit.

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My record player is probably one of my favourite things in my room, it’s a bright orangey-red Crosley make. I love vintage style and music, and it’s so relaxing to be able to have my records playing while I work at my desk. My vinyl collection is stored just above it on the built in shelving.

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Behind my desk is a really large notice board that I can pin things to. I covered this with two posters as soon as I got here; a world map and a doctor who poster (I’m such a nerd). I pin my fairy lights up here too, just under my shelving.

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The wall next to my bed also has some of my paintings stuck up on it. I hate the colour of the walls at uni, it’s a really ugly off white, so it’s nice to add a bit of colour and personality to them.

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I would not be able to get by without my TV while I’m away at uni. I wouldn’t say that I’m a tele-addict, but having a spare hour to just relax and watch a tv show at the end of the day keeps my stress levels low. I study a very full on and (at least for me) challenging subject, and I think I’d really struggle without that downtime.

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Here’s the view from the other end of my room (left) and my ensuite (right): not quite as pretty as the window end, but it does give you an idea of how much space I have here, which I thought some of you would like to see. You also get a little sneak peak at some of my other paintings that I have tacked up on my ensuite door.

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So there you have it guys! What did you think? I actually really like my accommodation here at uni. I’m very lucky to have an ensuite, and I love making my room feel like home by adding all my little finishing touches. My paintings and my posters are probably the most important things for me here, as they make my room feel much more personal.

Would you guys like to see more like this post? Let me know! I hope you enjoyed it, and I will be back on Wednesday with a new travel post- so keep your eyes peeled!

Best wishes to you all,

Maddie x