A Modern DIY Style Blog

DIY Home Decor | Winter Potpourri

Did you know that you can dehydrate and dry fruit in the microwave?  As my kitchen continues to be renovated, I don't have the luxury of an oven, but a few of the DIYs coming up over the next week or so meant I needed a fresh batch of homemade dried fruit.


Oranges | Lemons | Limes | Cinnamon Sticks | Frosted Pinecones | Pinecones

Ready Made Versions [Dried FruitPineconesMini Pinecones]


I have posted before how this can be done with an oven, but thought I'd share how I achieved the same with my microwave to create some Winter spiced / Christmas potpourri.  It's decorative and smells amazing and easy - you should try it!

If you have a DIY in mind that involves drying your own fruit, start the process a week before you make the project to allow suitable prep and drying time.

From previous experience, I selected the most fragrant fruits: oranges, clementine, lemons and limes - the largest ones I could grab in the supermarket.  I sliced them at around 1/2cm in thickness and then set them aside on a paper towel to soak up as much of the moisture prior to drying. I added cuts to the clementine quarters for a little variety in shape and size.

I also sprinkled a little cinnamon on a few slices before transferring to a microwavable plate.  You can layer your fruit, but this will increase the time it will take to dry, so I recommend smaller batches of one layer to speed things up.
Set your microwave to defrost and begin microwaving your fruit in 10 minute intervals and turning your slices each time.  The time will depend on your microwave and settings, so keep an eye on the first batch to gauge the suitable time bursts.  As my fruit began to dry out, I reduced these bursts to 5 minutes.

Continue until all your fruit is dry [if you feel yours is still a little sticky and fear that further microwaving may burn your fruit, transfer to your airing cupboard or on a tray under the radiator to completely dry.
To display my potpourri, I used frosted pinecones, cut from a stem bought at poundland, cinnamon sticks and a few real pine cones [not at all stolen from my nephews nature box - sorry, Jack!] and added them to a decorative jar, open bowl and as little hangings to the door handles to add a little festive decoration as well as scent to my house.
These are really easy to make and there are so many decorations that can be made with them. It's the season - and this is the perfect craft to get you in the mood!

DIY Craft Black Friday Deals 2017

It's Black Friday - you can't escape it - embrace it and treat yourself.  Here's my crafty wishlist and favourite savings for 2018.

Storage Trolley | Black Friday Price £25 | Buy it Here

This not only stores away all your crafting supplies in a gorgeous trolley, but is the perfect blogging buddy as it can be used to organise your supplies for each DIY in a separate shelf.

Cricut Explore | Save £30 + Free Tool Set | Buy it Here
The DREAM. In Pink. [also available in green and blue - which to choose?]

KitchenAid | Black Friday Price £299 | Buy It Here

I mean.....LOOK AT IT!

Look, if you can't be, organised in style - this comes with equally as gorgeous stickers, dividers and pockets.

Art & Craft | 15% Off with BLACK15 | Buy Everything Here

Advent Calendar
 | Half Price | Buy it Here
Although an advent calendar, this blank train set is perfect for any time of year and would be perfect for my niece and nephew - the decoration possibilities are endless.

Today is also Indie Friday - support independent businesses today, celebrate the small business and follow @Justacard1 or the hastag #JACIndieFriday to find out more!

Please note that the links above are affiliated - you can read a little more about this here!

Pinty Plus Aqua Spray Paints | Moon Art

I'm really happy to be sharing a collaboration with Pinty Plus Aqua 2017 today and a project that has added [a little colour] and decoration to my bedroom.


Pinty Plus Aqua Spray / Canvas / Masking Tape / Bubble Wrap / Scissors / Tape


I really wanted to test out the versatility of the paints in this project and the techniques that could be used to create an interesting, large-scale art piece.

I have had the idea of a larger moon print for my bedroom in my drafts for months and this provided the perfect opportunity to finally make it.
I chose fairly muted tones [light orange, grey fig, black knight and white lady] to reflect where the piece would be and just 4 colours.

As this is using a large scale canvas, I created my own border to separate the colours with masking tape, with a view to show how the colours can build and graduate:
Starting with light strokes, moving side to side and holding the spray down constantly, I built the colour up to be completely opaque on the sides of the canvas and outside border, using lighter, constant sprays and spraying from further away as the colour is brought to the insides of the border.  This creates a graduated colour from the outside in:
[Quick note - don't worry - the paint came off the wall easily!]

The next step was to create a little detail to the background sky, so I used a plastic plate to act as a template to where the moon would be placed and bubble wrap to cover and protect the outside border:
I highly recommend bubblewrap as a material to create templates from - it's really easy to cut, light weight, cheap and won't mark or ruin your project.

Using the grey fig and dark knight spray paints, I tried a different technique to the border, applying from far away and using shorter sprays and very light pressure on the nozzle.  This meant that the paint create a splatter effect, much like a galaxy background.  I layered the two colours and built up the detail in stages:
The paint dries fairly quickly, so you can move on to each stage in succession, rather than wait for each layer to dry.  Once happy with the background, I removed the plate and used it to create a template in my bubble wrap so that I could cover the entire canvas, apart from the moon section:
Secure everything with tape to ensure all areas of the canvas are covered and a clear template for the moon is created.
Using a photo of the moon to act as a guide, I layered my colours by background, foreground and detail.  The background colours were the darker shades of grey fig and dark knight, the foreground was white lady and then the three would be used again for adding detail.
Starting with grey fig, I began spraying in light, constant strokes, concentrating the spray where the colour was darker, more built up and opaque.  I then moved the spray further away to help blend that concentrated colour:
Using the same technique, I added dark knight in short, sharp sprays to keep control of where the paint was going and how it built up:
Next, the main colour of the moon and using the spray paint to add more detail.  With the spray paint close to the canvas, I concentrated the colour with short sprays:
I then blended this colour out with sprays from further away, gradually adding the spray paint from around half a metre away to add specks of colour and texture to the overall finish:
Finally, the detail was created and having used the paint in a variety of ways to this point, I had the confidence to vary the distance and pressure applied to either create a build up of colour, a splatter effect, or a concentrated area of colour.  I varied between the three colours until I achieved the overall look I wanted [still using a photo of the moon as my reference and guide]:

 Once completely dry, I removed the bubble wrap to reveal the finished moon:
 ...and then the masking tape to reveal the border:
I like the overall contrast of a build up of colour as the border, graduating in to the picture was easy to achieve with the paint - with a constant pressure, the build up is achievable and moving the nozzle further away allows lighter coverage:
Adding a little colour to the background ties the palette together:
...whilst the build up of colour for the moon creates a softer outline and much detail:

Against the exposed brick in my bedroom, the colours nicely compliment, but whilst muted, the build up creates lots of detail and interest - I'm really happy with the result.
Overall, I found the Pinty Plus Aqua paints much more versatile and easier to use than ones I have used before.  Smaller in size, they are much easier to control and concentrate the paint and the variety of effects that can be created using different pressures and distances mean that all sorts of art projects can benefit from either the blanket of colour they can provide and variations in the shades, or the detail and texture they can create.

So if you fancy a go, or are interested to find out any more, do give the website a visit to see the full range - www.novasolspray.co.uk/

I have not been paid to make this post, but Novasol did kindly send me the Pinty Plus Aqua spray paints to try - thank you!
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