Sunday, July 18

Mixed Media Art Experiments


Hi Blog Friends!

the summer holidays have started and things are a bit slower than usual. As mentioned in my previous post, I'd been in a bit of a creative slump these past months until I discovered mixed media art for myself. After watching a couple of art videos I went ahead and bought the Dina Wakley Mixed Media Art Journal that includes four different substrates - thick paper, canvas, burlap and kraft. I thought this was a fun way to experiment with different techniques on various surfaces. The great thing about mixed media is that the possibilities are endless. This may come as a surprise to some, but watercolor is not for me. I find that I need to wield a big brush and slap on paints that have a creamier texture. Heavy body acrylics are perfect for this. They can be thinned down with water to mimic watercolor effect or made more fluid by adding medium. I like them straight out of the tube. I don't mind visible brush strokes - that's all part of the mixed media fun! 

When I started painting I told myself to 1. let go of perfectionism and 2. just enjoy the process. Of all styles I like abstract art the most. Of course art is subjective, whether you like abstract or not. For me it's all about mood and composition. I'm drawn to bold brush strokes, unusual color palettes and texture. This is why I incorporate collage, stamps, ink, stencilling and art journaling in my work. I also like the grungy or messy style, but maybe not quite as messy as Dina Wakely or Alisa Burke are known for ;-)

Below is the very first art page I had done after ten years of not painting at all. I had this image in my head for a while and this is what came out on the page. The funny thing about mixed media is that I don't really know how the page will ultimately turn out. I simply enjoy the process, sometimes adding or removing stuff while painting. 

I was curious to try out the canvas and burlap. I normally sew with canvas, but it is smooth enough to paint or stamp on it. I tried stamping with archival inks. I found that simpler stamps work better than detailed ones, as the canvas does soak up a lot of ink and because of the texture some finer details won't show up clearly. As for the burlap - well there have been mixed reviews on this. It's got quite a rough surface and burlap tends to fray. I have to admit the fraying is a bit annoying, but I solved this problem by lightly varnishing the edges. When they are dry they are a bit stiff, but no longer fray. I was going to try some Sashiko stitching, but haven't got around to it yet. I did, however, finish a page on the Kraft paper. I initially tried painting on it, but found that Kraft does not like wet mediums - it buckled immediately and does not go back to its shape after the paint has dried. So instead I stencilled on a design with heavy white gesso and let that dry completely. After I worked my design over it using colors such as burnt umber, siena and a creamy brown that would work with the Kraft background. I incorporated some washi tapes, a doily and ephemera as well. The gesso acts like a resist and I do like how the different textures show through the paint.

Would you believe one of my favorite tools are crayons! Yes, those that kids use. I love the neocolors II by Caran D'ache. They come in plentiful colors, intense pigments and since they are water soluble you can use them wet or dry. The background for this next piece was done with crayons.

Experimenting with different techniques is so relaxing. And you don't even need that many tools/paints to get started. A box of crayons and basic set of acrylics, a couple of paint brushes, some black ink, a stamp or two and you are ready to go. As for collage, well you can use any bits of news paper, ticket stubs, old pieces of gift wrap, paper doilies...

Sometimes I like to go in and pick out details with marker pens, such as I did in the image above. I have a basic set plus black and white. The white is great for adding highlights.

This last one is my personal favorite. I love this color scheme! I used acrylics to paint the circles, then added some scribbles and doodles with crayons, stamped some images and finished with some journaling. 

I guess you could say I've overcome my creative block. And I'm still setting some time aside each weekend to explore various techniques and come up with new art spreads. I may show a finished piece now and again, but my main focus will still be fabrics and sewing :)

Speaking of which, I also made this casual summer shirt, since tie-dye has made a comeback this year! I think the sunburst motif turned out quite well. 

I hope you're enjoying your summer wherever you are in the world. Till next time - take care and stay safe!

Friday, June 25

Garden Days

Hello lovelies,
I finally made it to one of my favorite show gardens! I have been visiting those in my area for years and it is something that I look forward to each summer. Unfortunately the thunderstorms of the past days destroyed many of the flowers, especially the roses, but I was able to capture a few that had been spared. Although this garden isn't that large, what I love about it are all the whimsical details - little fairies sitting among flowers, cute signs, tablescapes and garden decor, sculptures, the herb garden, rambling roses, a variety of plants and so much more! Everywhere you turn there is something interesting to discover, be it a little bird house or lovingly tended honeysuckle climbing up a frame. This is my third time visiting and each time there are exciting new things to see. And since I hadn't been out of the house for months on end I'm seeing it all with fresh eyes. I hope you enjoy my selection of photos below!

Friday, June 11

A little bit of this and that


Hello friends!

oops, I did it again - that is, not blog for weeks on end. At this point I'm probably writing into the void, bar for the handful of exceptionally loyal readers who have stuck with me throughout the years. Know that I appreciate you so much ­čĺĽ

So while my poor blog has been collecting dust, I have been busy dealing once again with new rules and regulations affecting my small business. In fact, in the past 3 - 4 years it seems like the powers that be have been targeting small businesses - especially online businesses. I finally had to loop in my tax consultant, because the whole process is quite complicated. As the new regulation goes into effect next month I've sadly had to "lower my sights" businesswise. It's kind of depressing actually, but I'm not throwing in the towel just yet. I love my shop, my products and of course my fabulous customers!

In a nutshell, this basically means that I will be shipping my goods primarily to the following countries:


I may be able to ship my goods to:


I may be able to ship my goods to:

AUSTRIA, if you use one of those companies that provide delivery addresses in Germany close to the border and are able  to pick up the goods from there.

Finally, I won't be able to ship my goods to: EU countries outside Germany

The latter must seem especially confusing and not wanting to get into the nitty-gritty, trust that I have gone through all options available to me ­čśö

If your country isn't listed - contact me at my email and I will check if I can ship to you!

All of this comes at an unfortunate time, because my own website plus Etsy have propelled forward in the last pandemic year and I was actually hoping for a repeat this year. Now with having to cut important shipping destinations I will really need to up my game locally.
As if that wasn't enough to deal with I will also have to primarily source my goods locally too. Thankfully, I have been carrying popular acufactum fabrics for a while now and they are based right here in Germany. Below are some new fabrics that I have received recently. They are certified oekotex® cotton fabrics at 58" wide. 

Except for the fox one, all are available both at my website and at Etsy.

In other news...

This past Monday I received my second vaccination. So far I only have a sore arm and felt a bit tired the next day. I am so relieved. I have decided to keep wearing my mask while grocery shopping, though, out of courtesy for those that haven't had a shot yet. It is slow going in Germany, as there aren't enough vaccines available. sigh.

My beloved sewing machine of 12 years broke down a few weeks ago. Ugh.  I'm still deciding whether to get a new one or bring it to the repair shop, which is actually a bike repair shop, but the guy does sewing machines on the side. I will have to make a decision soon, as it is really weird not being able to sew!
Plus I'm still suffering slightly from "creative block". I'm putting it down to being cooped up at home for 14 months. I miss those garden days . I always found inspiration there. Speaking of garden, we have started picking up where we left off in our garden again, however it's a bigger project than we initially thought! So, no pictures as of yet. 

While browsing the internet I came upon this art site and suddenly I felt the urge to paint again. I haven't held a paint brush in probably over ten years...
Anyway one art site led to another and another and basically I'm now passionate about mixed media art. I know I'm very late to the game, but I am just happy it sparked my creativity again, even though it's completely different to sewing ­čîł
I have been circling Dina Wakley's Mixed Media Art Journal for a while and finally bought it. I was intrigued by the various painting surfaces - watercolor, canvas, burlap and kraft paper - inside and wanted to try out some new techniques. I bought some basic art supplies (that was fun!) and also unearthed the swag bag I once received while attending the KreativMesse. I hadn't even opened some of those crafty things and now they will be put to good use!

Hopefully I can show you some stuff I've done with it in the near future. I know the burlap is tricky. We'll see what I come up with. 
Thank you for reading along. I hope you are all doing well. I know these past months have been so tough for many of us. Take care! Love ~

Sunday, February 21

Crafting a little felt bunny & shop news


Hi everybody,

what a turbulent start to the new year. On top of pandemic fatigue (yes, it's a thing).

We've been in a partial lockdown since January and by the end of February it will be one year that I've been sheltering at home with the occasional trips to the supermarket. Plus earlier this month we were hit by a massive snow storm - which, if you have been following my blog for some time - you will know is quite unusual. My area is known for rain, but not snow or subzero temperatures. We were completely snowed in for an entire week, and I'm just glad I had the foresight to stock up on food.

I remain hopeful that with more and more people getting vaccinated there will be a shift by the end of this year. Until then we will still need to remain cautious and follow the hygiene guidelines including wearing a mask.  

Needless to say the international trade fair that I used to go to every year won't be taking place this year. Instead there will be a digital version. I am curious how that will work out, and I truly hope it will be better than the zoom meeting I had the other day with about twenty other people - one guy obviously had his laptop on his coffee table, because we were looking at his knees the entire time haha. Don't do this.

Anyway, on to the purpose of this blog post. If you have been following me on instagram you will have noticed that I've barely posted anything crafty. Truth is that I've been feeling unmotivated and seem to have lost my creative mojo. I was really unhappy about it and tried to combat it by going through diy magazines, looking for inspiration online and I even bought a few sewing/crafting books to get me going. Thankfully one of these books reignited my creative spark! 

Making Marmalade (this is what the bunny is called) by illustrator Simone Gooding is a sewing book that uses wool felt and quilting fabrics. It looks simple enough, but don't be fooled - there is a lot of handstitching involved and some of the steps aren't explained - it is assumed that you have basic sewing knowledge. So if you have made dolls/animals before and especially doll clothes, this book is for you. For beginner sewists it is not.

The projects are divided into seasons. The main project revolves around Marmalade and corresponding seasonal outfits, plus an adorable baby bunny (see above). I appreciate that there are large photos of the finished projects as well as close up pics throughout the book. And Simone's illustrations, of course, are lovely. I just went ahead and made a few projects regardless of the current season, with a few changes here and there to suit my taste. Marmalade measures about 12 inches. You need a lot of patience sewing doll clothes this small.

Instead of glass eyes I simply stitched the eyes with black embroidery yarn. I used cream colored and white felt for the body and exchanged some felted items with my favorite fabrics. I especially love how the sweet pillow and quilted blanket turned out. You don't require a lot of fabric for these projects - all of the fabric I used here are from my remnant bin! One of the best things about this book - the patterns at the back of the book are all actual size!
Now that my creative flow is back I will be continue making outfits for bunny (I think there are two outfits left) and I also have spring/summer craft ideas lined up. Can't wait to share :)

Note: this is not a sponsored post or book review. 

In shop news...

As mentioned in my previous post I have been waiting for fabric deliveries longer than usual due to the pandemic. Thankfully this spring collection by acufactum is now on its way to me. Just looking at these fabrics makes me happy. The details are adorable. Honestly I can't wait for Spring!

Easter post card in soft pastel green from April Rose 

Well that's it from me. I hope this post brings a spot of cheer to your day! Stay safe and healthy and let's do our best to look out for each other.

Sunday, November 29

Final Post in 2020 plus Fabric News & April Rose


Hi everyone!

2020 is coming to an end and what a tough year it's been for all of us! Especially these last few months have really taken their toll, as I was anxiously watching the US election. My brother and family live there so it does affect me. While I am truly relieved at the outcome and eternally grateful for everyone that came out and voted despite the pandemic, I'm only cautiously optimistic as Joe Biden hasn't been sworn in yet. Even as I write this the current occupant of the White House is implementing destructive policies - honestly, Jan. 20th cannot come soon enough! If you want to know what totalitarianism looks like - check out my childhood home of Hong Kong. Within just one year this vibrant, efficient and sometimes quirky world city has turned into a police state! Ordinary, hard working citizens can and are being snatched off the street for arbitrary reasons by the new "special police". Ring any bells? Hong Kong is officially dead and I can't even begin to describe my screwed up feelings. I'll save that for another post. Top this off with the turmoil in the US plus the raging pandemic (the vaccine will probably only be available to the general public mid to end of next year) and a wannabe dictator vying for the position of chancellor in the election here next year - is it any wonder that my anxiety levels are through the roof?

Sorry, I just needed to vent. Better move on to the pleasant part of this post...

I'm not sure if I've shown these before, but the latest fabrics by Tilda are all about sweet roses in mauve, mint, warm orange and sand. There are some cute buttons to complement the range.

Some lovely Christmas fabrics from German company acufactum have arrived recently. I'm happy to say that most of these have sold out, but they are on back order and should be back in stock mid-December!

In the card department I have a lovely range of postcards with Christmas motifs and all sorts of useful items for gift wrapping from Krima & Isa

And last but not least there's a wonderful collection of retro inspired Christmas card sets with a "Keep Calm" motto from my lovely friend Siobhan at April Rose. These are exclusively available in my shop. Each set contains eight cards with two designs to easily mix and match and included white envelopes. 

If you're wondering I have temporarily switched off the English version of my shop, because there is a bug that needs to be fixed. I do, however, ship to countries outside Germany. Simply drop me a line if you're interested - duni.buesken(at)gmx(de).

For those who wanted to know - after nursing little Sumi back to health she's is doing much better now, even with just one eye. This makes me happy and I'm so proud of her!

Finally, I just wanted to let all of my long time readers know I appreciate and think of you, even if I may not drop by your respective blogs that often. Wishing you all the blessings of peace and the spirit of love this Christmas season and let's all remain hopeful for the coming year. 
(p.s. I have been receiving loads of spam comments, so I have turned off comments for this post)