A Shadowbox Begins

Wow, did this month fly by or what! It feels like only yesterday that I thought the Art Elements theme of the month, Repurposing, was perfect for a project that I’d been thinking of, and it’s already reveal time. Many thanks to Lesley Watt for hosting this theme, since it turned out to be the spark that got this project started.

We’d taken out a new set of teacups a few months ago, and since then, I’d been holding on to the styrofoam container they came in, because it was perfect for a shadowbox!

Styrofoam Shadowbox: WIP

However, I’ll add some emphasis on the first statement of this post, because I couldn’t complete as much as I’d thought I would. To compensate for the lack of creative time last month, I think I put my fingers in too many pies this month. 🙂 So I’ll just list the few steps that I’ve completed in the project as of today. So far, I have:

  • Decoupaged the styrofoam surface with newspaper
  • Added some texture by crudely adhering cheap toilet paper onto the surface
  • Applied gesso over the surface
  • Brushed some yellow / orange acrylics over it

All of these steps were interspersed with a lot of waving around of a heat gun, and then, because the surface still seemed a bit springy to the touch, letting it dry overnight and get some sun through the day as well.

I like how it looks so far. Next, I’ll add more acrylics of orange / red / brown shades, and try out some ideas for decorating the shadowbox with other material. Hopefully by then, I’ll have figured out what goes into the shadowbox, because let’s leave the most important stuff till the end! 🙂

Coincidentally, some of my other projects this month fit the repurposing theme too, but they’re not a part of this reveal, and I’ve already talked about them. Though I couldn’t complete something for the reveal, I had a lot of fun this month, and it feels great after the crafty scarcity of last month!

More repurposing: a trinket box made from packaging cardboard base, scrap clay, and paper from a manual; and a shawl (which I’m still working on) using yarn reclaimed from an earlier project.


This is a blog hop, so if you’d like to check out what the other guests and the Art Elements team have repurposed for their artsy projects, do head over to their blogs linked below!

Guests: Tammy Alysen Evie & Beth Karin Hope Divya Anita (you’re here) Sarajo Kathy Rebecca Martha

AE Team: Niky Laney Cathy Caroline Jen Jenny Sue Claire Lesley

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Inspiration Station: Cosmetics Holder

My sister and I collectively work on quite a few arts and crafts, and we thought we’d try out a theme-inspired creativity session between us once in a while – our ‘Inspiration Station’ – one of us picks a theme, and each of us makes something inspired by the theme in any media we fancy. We’d like to do this every month, let’s see how it pans out.

Sis chose our very first theme last month: a mood board from Butterfly Reflections, Ink which is in turn inspired by Pinterest. I’d wanted to make a short, squat cosmetics holder for some time, to put eye/lip pencils and sticks in. The mood board was perfectly inspiring to get me started on this project!

Inspiration Station: Dec '18 inspiration

Inspiration Station: Dec inspiration – a mood board at Butterfly Reflections, Ink.

To start with, for the squat cylindrical wall of the container, I used a thick cardboard roll left over from used-up tapes. For the base, I used two circles cut from a chipboard – a smaller one that fits within the inside of the wall, and a larger one whose size matches the outside. I adhered the circles to each other and to the wall’s base.

I then glued striped paper, which I cut from envelope covers, onto the inner and outer surfaces of the base and onto the rim. To make them fit well, I cut them larger than the required size and snipped notches at regular intervals outside the ‘borders’, which proved useful to grip adjacent surfaces as well as to ensure that there are no gaps showing in the finished product. While all this dried in the sun, I moved on to gel printing.

Inspiration Station: Cosmetics Holder

Inspiration Station: Cosmetics Holder

The paper for gel printing was, again, from a thread-reinforced envelope, and it provides wonderful texture, both visual and tactile, which I love in containers. I used stamps with circles and patterns for my interpretation of the shapes in the mood board. The gel printing went better than I hoped (but still not exactly like I wanted to – the blues turned out too bright, and pinks are supposed to be flowers and dandelions. 😀 ) However, I just love the outcome! I cut the paper to size and glued it to the outer and inner walls, with the thread still intact.

To set the surfaces and finish the holder, I used matte transparent gel. (Thanks, Sis, for the idea! I think you’ve finally succeeded in making gel ideas stay put in my mind, ready for access at the slightest nudge. 🙂 ) I’ve already started using the holder, and I’m delighted that it’s just the way I wanted it to be!

Sis has made a pretty card for our theme, and you’ll want to look at the cute flower motifs and the background!

Inspired by Iced Tea | We’re All Ears Challenge

The folks at Earrings Everyday host a themed monthly challenge – We’re All Ears – with a reveal and blog hop on the third Friday of the month. For July, we get to be inspired by our favorite summer drink! Doesn’t that sound like fun! 🙂

It’s pretty difficult to think of a summer drink when it’s rainy and chilly here in Bangalore 😉 but while I sipped hot tea one cold afternoon, its sister, the iced tea, came to mind. What’s not to like about a refreshing drink that readily accepts different flavors being blended in, and still maintains its inherent ‘tea-ness’ underneath!

I thought I could use the dregs from my tea for a pair of paper-based earrings… (Let the creativity flow!) And this was the result –

Iced Tea Paper Earrings | Anita

The pattern

I spread the dregs on a piece of paper, then quickly removed them. I then reduced the amount of dregs, then re-spread them again on the paper for a longer while, and removed them again. I repeated the reduce + re-spread + remove process a couple more times to get a pattern of smaller, darker brown specks over larger, lighter brown ones.

The beads

I cut out long right angled triangle paper strips, and made conical paper beads by rolling the strips around a thin piece of wire, using glue on the paper during the rolling to ensure the beads don’t unravel. These form the bead bases.

I then cut a couple of squarish shapes from the tea-patterned paper, ensuring that they are slightly larger than the length of the paper beads. I draped each square over a paper bead, retaining the same conical shape – but looser, like a slightly oversized dress – and made them stay put that way using glue.

I used a couple of layers of Mod Podge for some gloss, which I then reduced by lightly rubbing the beads with some fine sandpaper. Then I squished the base of these tea-patterned cones a bit, and twisted them. Ah now that’s a look I like!

The assembly

For each earring, I strung a dark brown bead through a long gold-colored head pin, then added the paper bead, and made an eye hole at the top, to which I attached an earring finding. For more interest, I added tiny pre-wired black loreal seed beads to a jump ring and attached it to the earring finding.

Yeah! I totally love this earring pair – simple, light and pretty. 🙂


This is a blog hop, so please check out what the other participants have made by heading over to the reveal at Earrings Everyday.

Kaleidoscopic Earrings

Sometimes, an idea strikes you, and regardless of whether you know how to execute it or not, it persists. That’s just what happened this month when a concept for a pair of earrings popped into my mind, which would work for not one but two challenges! I didn’t know if it would work out, but I did know I had to try. So these are the earrings I made using polymer clay, and they’re mostly true to how I envisioned them in my mind. That means happy times!

Kaleidoscopic Polymer Clay Earrings | Anita

This project also marks my attempting canes after a long hiatus from when I tested the caning waters. I used simple colors and simple patterns for the cane – nothing too ambitious until I get better at it. 😉 The cane turned out pretty usable, but there’s some distortion from the reduction, and I’ll need to figure out how to avoid that. The slicing also resulted in some distortion, and I learned later that I should let it cool well before I start slicing. (Lesson to remember for the future.)

As for the making of the beads – I tried out a different hollow bead concept since I knew I was going to use cane slices on the bead. I covered large, metallic beads in brown-black Premo clay – also ensuring that I poked holes in the clay to match the ones in the underlying beads. I baked the beads, and then sliced them into hemispheres so I could remove the metallic beads. I then used some liquid Sculpey to adhere the halves back together, also sticking the cane slices in a kaleidoscopic pattern along the join using more liquid clay. Another round of baking, and the beads were done!

Well not fully done, of course. I wanted to glaze them, and tried out some Vintaj Glaze for the first time. I loved it when I initially applied it, but after a day or two, I find that it’s a bit sticky, so I guess it’s not viable.

Anyway, continuing with the earrings – now I only had to add in other beads into the mix. I used beads and headpins to make simple embellishments revolving around the color scheme of the focal beads, put them all together, and voila! we have super-lightweight earrings.


With these earrings, I’m participating in these challenges –

  • Art Bead Scene Studio’s June monthly challenge, which features an oil painting, Les Ibis, by Jean Metzinger. Jean’s role in Cubism inspired me to go with the cane-based concept, and the colors and the nature theme definitely contributed.

ABS Challenge June 2018 Inspiration

  • Earrings Everyday’s We’re All Ears challenge, which features Kaleidoscopes as the inspiration for June. And who hasn’t been mesmerized by those? 🙂 I used mirroring of cane slices for the pattern on the beads, inspired by those in kaleidoscopes. I’m also pretty excited since it’s my first time participating in this challenge! 🙂 This is a blog hop, so do check out the entries from other participants by clicking on the Linky Tools link below.

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Summer Horse | Art Elements Challenge

The team at Art Elements has recently started hosting themed monthly challenges, which involve a reveal and blog hop at the end of the month. The theme for April is Horses, picked by Jenny, with the reveal being hosted by Cathy.

At first, I thought “Seahorse!” These creatures have inspired so many artsy pieces (especially jewelry.) Thinking on and off about seahorse projects, I slowly realized I wanted to stretch myself and go for the land-horse, which I find more challenging.

I didn’t delay starting the project as much as I did last month, but it definitely began in the later half of the month. 🙂 My aim was to create a horse head accessory for a tote bag that my sis and I plan to make – the horse would be made of polymer clay, and have a beaded mane. I also wanted to check off at least one item from my make-nine list for the year, and I chose alcohol inks.

Summer Horse - Beaded Polymer Clay Charm

The colors in the project are inspired by the summer here, with blue added in since it’s also been raining recently! That’s some weird and wonderful weather. 🙂

The Claying

I drew an outline of a horse head using rough strokes, traced it multiple times with my pencil, and pressed a sheet of white-with-translucent clay on it to transfer some of the outline onto the clay. On the other side of the sheet, I used a texture sheet to add a pattern I liked. I then cut out the figure roughly following the pencil outline.

Now came the trials with alcohol inks. I added drops of different inks over the textured clay, prodding them so they mix well at the boundaries. When I was satisfied with how the colors looked, I let the ink dry a bit, and dabbed a paper towel spritzed with rubbing alcohol to wipe away some of the ink on the raised surfaces. After the ink dried fully, I applied Perfect Pearls on the raised surfaces.

I added one more clay layer with a simple-textured back to strengthen the piece, and added some color to the back and the edges with chalks. To help with my beading of the mane later, I poked holes 0.3cm apart all along the top of the neck.

Baking time! (I already liked how it looked when it came out of the oven; the Perfect Pearls, however, seemed to have dulled a bit.)

The beading

I added beaded fringes, each 15-18 seed beads long, one fringe per hole, ensuring that overall color theme of each fringe matches the color of the base clay in that area. As I made the fringes, I began attaching them to one another to keep them in place. To steady the top of the fringes, I made a 1-row modified brick stitch edge behind them, along the top edge of the neck.

This is one of those rare times that a project turned out better than I’d hoped for – I totally love this piece! Challenge accomplished, as far as I’m concerned. 🙂

My sis and I have not yet taken a call on exactly how we’ll use this – it’ll either be a short swinging charm, or held in place on the bag. Meanwhile, I feel a little more confident about alcohol inks now, and I can’t wait to use them more!


If you’re curious to see what the AE team and the other guests have made for this challenge, go have a peek at their blogs! (Some guests don’t have blogs, so AE team member Laney has posted their creations on her blog.)

Guests:    Alysen    •    Anita (that’s me!)    •    Beth    •    Catherine    •    Jill    •    Paulette    •    Raven    •    Sarajo    •    Tammy

AE Team:    Caroline    •    Claire    •    Jen    •    Laney    •    Lesley    •    Marsha    •    Niky    •    Sue

Bohemian Earrings | ABS Challenge

The folks at Art Bead Scene Studio feature awesome artwork every month, and challenge their readers to create art beads, and art-bead-incorporating jewelry, inspired by the artwork. April’s inspiration is a piece, Disks of Newton (Study for “Fugue in Two Colors”), by František Kupka.

ABS Challenge Apr 2018 Inspiration

The colors instantly drew me in, of course, but so did the concentric circles. Would I want to incorporate both into a project? As much as I wanted to, I wasn’t able to come up with many jewelry ideas involving a lot of colors that would be ‘me’. So I picked the concentric circles as my inspiration, and these are the earrings I made –

Polymer Clay Bohemian Earrings - ABS Challenge Apr 2018 | Anita

As usual, I started out with something in mind, and my process took me in a completely different direction. 🙂 My original idea was to arrange strips of clay scraps in sections of concentric circles. To my credit, I actually did that. And I didn’t quite like how it looked.

I then went in a different direction. I used a texture sheet that most closely resembled concentric circles, and chose strategic points in the circle-filled layers to impress the clay. I cut out two circles from the layers to make into beads for earrings.

The indigo sections in the circles gave me another idea, and I applied Perfect Pearls to give a metallic shine to the main area of the beads, so the blue provides a deep patina look. Beautiful! I poked holes at the top and bottom of each bead, and baked them on a curved surface for some dimension.

I wanted the focus to be on the focal beads so I kept the earrings simple, using wooden beads and glass beads as accessories.

PolyClay Appliqué, and Beaded Bezels

The folks at Art Bead Scene Studio feature awesome artwork every month, and challenge their readers to create art beads, and art-bead-incorporating jewelry, inspired by the artwork. March’s inspiration is a piece, Red Water Lily of Southern India, by Marianne North.

ABS Challenge Mar 2018 - Inspiration

Now here’s a piece of art that captured me in more ways than one. A beautiful, colorful nature scene; set in Southern India from where I hail; painted by a respected female biologist and botanical artist. That’s just too much inspiration! 😉

I allowed a few days for my initial excitement to settle down, and chose the colors, the flowers, and the Indian-ness to work with. I decided to make a large Polymer Clay bead with flowers created using the appliqué technique, and depending on how it turned out, use it with some beadwork.

The flowers and dragonflies in the picture capture our attention, but it would be a dull scene without the reedy background. So I made my background have a texture akin to reeds, using a texture plate. I brushed some chalks and Perfect Pearls over it for accent.

ABS Challenge Mar 2018 - Polymer Clay Appliqué Pendant with Beaded Bezel

I then crafted some layered flowers using the appliqué technique. Wow, it’s been a while since I’d tried it, but I love how it turned out! It also becomes better with practice. Can you tell which my first flower is and which my last one is? 😉 I added some reddish Perfect Pearls to accentuate the flowers as well. As expected, it doesn’t show up much in the pictures I clicked. (I only managed to capture the background shine with some difficulty.)

I baked the bead, and felt it would look good as a small pendant with a beaded bezel around it. I made the bezel using right angle weave this time, rather than peyote stitch which I’d usually go for. I used 8/0 beads for the bezel. Of course, I had to fill in the gaps in the stitch with smaller (11/0) beads.

The bezel looked a little too ‘strict’ and un-fun, so I risked adding a branched fringe aligned with the flower bunch. I also added another outer layer of independent right angle weave stitches for a funner touch. 🙂 I love the traditional/modern vibe that it gives out. Keeping with the theme, instead of adding a traditional necklace, I opted for a metallic-silver bead sideways to double as the bail, and a matching chain. Love the result! ❤

How do you like my attempt? And how does the picture inspire your art?