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Albert Einstein

Gift Ideas for Poor Creative Souls (21)

Posted by: Cathy

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I saw this idea a few times on the Martha Stewart site and I would really like to make these as stocking stuffers this Christmas.  It seems like such an easy thing to do and would really take no longer than baking a cake.  I have some lovely old jars that I could place these in too which would really make it a lovely gift for someone.


Baking soda
Citric acid
Spritzer bottles
Food coloring
Glass bowl
Essential oil
Baking molds

1. Sift 1 3/4 cup baking soda, 1 cup citric acid, and 2 cups cornstarch through a sieve to remove chunks. To make different tints, fill small spritzer bottles with water and add about 6 drops of food coloring to each.

2. Pour 1 cup of powdered mixture into a glass bowl. Lightly spritz, stirring after each spritz, until powder is desired color. Add water slowly, so mixture does not fizz. If mixing two tints, alternate colors as you spritz. Check the consistency of powder with your fingers; when it can be tightly packed or shaped, stop spritzing (this may take a little while).

3. Select an essential oil. Add 5 drops if it's one of the stronger scents (peppermint, lavender), 6 if it's a weaker one (lemon, grapefruit). Mix well. Firmly pack mixture into small baking molds. We used 1/4 cup for each fizzy, which is good for one bath. Allow mixture to set for 2 hours, then pop out carefully. Repeat with different tints for remaining powder.



If you wanted to have a different shape, you simply just need to use a different mold, like ice-cube molds.

This would give you a different way of being able to package them, like putting them in jars.


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Generally speaking I am not intimidated by too many things, however I must admit that I have always been very cautious while swimming in the sea. I guess this is simply the result of growing up in South Africa and from time to time seeing the huge sharks which fishermen have landed from the shore and the rocky coastline. Somehow the thought of not being able to see ” what lies beneath” is a little unnerving. The added idea that there are predators such as the great white shark possibly swimming somewhere in the murky depths looking for its lunch never helped the matter.

Yesterday as I stood in my studio ready to start the next canvas, a 24″ x 34″ x 1.5″, I suddenly felt intimidated by this huge expense of white canvas which was ready to swallow up my creative ideas. It was not that I didn’t know what the commission would entail but it was simply the thought that I may get it wrong and that my client would be disappointed. Suddenly the canvas in front of me became a metaphor for “what lies beneath”.

I have talked to many artists about this fear of “great whites” and why it is that after executing many successful canvases, some artists still struggle with the first strokes of a new commission. Perhaps this feeling is the equivalent of the adrenaline rush which athletes experience before the sound of the starting pistol. It may well be that these feelings are essential and it is what pushes artists onto the creative edges of their style and into the evolution of their journey as artists..

After some procrastination and another cup of tea, I  finally I reached for the Vandyke brown, quickly mixed it into a nice watery consistency and then, cloth in hand, I applied the base coat which serve to render this “great white” harmless. Suddenly there it was, that rush of satisfaction as the white disappeared and from the surface of the canvas there began to appear the rudimentary shapes, ideas and serendipitous coincidences of line and movement.

As I turned off the lights and close the blinds on my studio last night,  I felt the satisfaction of what the anglers of my childhood memories must have felt when landing a big shark on the sun-drenched beaches of the Eastern Cape.

This morning when I lifted the blinds and turned on the lights, there it was, a great white on my easel, now a brown expense of shapes and lines ready to do my bidding. As I stood looking at the tame canvas before me, the words of Jonathan Truss, the artist who painted the amazing picture of the great White at the beginning of this blog, came flooding back to me. I had mentioned to him how I sometimes felt intimidated when starting at new canvas. He looked at me and with a lot of understanding but very little sympathy simply said this;

“just get painting Ed, just get painting”

With that sound advice, that is exactly what I am going to do. I am off to prepare and eat my shark and get this next commission done…..”creativity demands expression”.


Craft Ideas for Poor Creative Souls (20)

Posted by: Cathy

Tagged in: Untagged 


Key Fob French Style

Living in France means that I get to find all kinds of lovely old objects.  Old keys seem to be everywhere here and I've never really known what to do with them until now.  Photocopying them seemed to work well and from this, you can use the image to découpage just about anything.

Materials Needed:

- old bits of wood (the more weathered, the better)
- saw
- PVA glue (Hodge Podge)
- scissors
- drill
- string or ribbon
- brass eyelets (optional)
- printed images of old keys (see templates below)
- varnish

1. Print off your key images in black and white. (sepia would look good too) and cut them out carefully.

2. Cut your key fobs from your old wood whichever size you want.  Mine are 10cms x 6cms. I've cut mine with a point at one end but you could just cut rectangles.

3. Drill a small hole at one end for your string or ribbon to fit through. I have added brass eyelets but this is not strictly necessary.

4. Glue your key images onto your key fobs and leave to dry.

5. Varnish with at least 2 layers of varnish, 3 is better.

That's it!  You're done!  Now you have some great unique gifts.



Print these off if you don't have your own old keys to photocopy.

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