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Saturday, 3 October 2015

A Summary with References of Blogs 1-50

A number of people have mentioned that they find it difficult to find specific blogs among the growing list of published blogs. This gave me the idea of publishing a summary of previously published blogs, with links and photo references. This way you only need to save a handful of blogs which can easily be accessed to navigate to the blogs you are looking for. This is the first of these Index Blogs.
Follow these links to the Index Blogs:
Blogs 1-50
Blogs 51-100
Blogs 101-150
Blogs 151-200
Blogs 201-250

Blog 1 - Launching the Gallery
'As part of our growth strategy, we have also at long last opened up the Gallery section of A Pretty Talent.  If you had been following our status updates, you will know that this is something that we have been dreaming about for a very long time.  We want to welcome the first two artist to the Gallery and hope to soon see many more.  Welcome Andre du Plessis and Miekie.  You can already see their works on display in the Gallery.  Simply click on the artist to see more of his/her work.  Click on the drop-down menu next to their featured work and you will be able to navigate through all of their featured pieces.'

Blog 2 - A review of drawing materials
'Recently someone asked me which pencils I thought were the best to buy.  This is a difficult question for me to answer.  Personally, I prefer to have a variety of pencils at hand.  I’ll review a couple of the more easily available ones on the market today so that you can review their strengths and weaknesses for yourself'

Blog 3 - Guidelines to the Art Gallery
"Follow these simple steps to have your work displayed in the Gallery on
Send an emai to with the following information:"

Blog 4 - Guidelines to the Made by Hand/Crafts section
"Follow these simple steps to have your work displayed in the section for Craft Products on"

Blog 5  - Art on Auction Guideline
"Follow these simple steps to have your work displayed in the Art On Auction tab on"

Blog 6 - Meet the artist - Anton Kilian
"This month saw us welcoming Anton Kilian to the Art Gallery in A Pretty Talent.  Anton’s work has not been on display for long before one of his paintings was sold and he was extended an open invitation to display as many works as he wished to in the Gallery.  What is particularly fascinating about Anton’s style is his liberal use of colour.  He has an incredible talent for capturing the mood and emotion of his subjects, which enlivens the expressions on his portraits.  He then goes one step further by adding surprising splashes of colour to the paintings.  In the hands of a less skilful artist, this would detract from the work, but in Anton’s case it serves the purpose of underscoring what the portrait was already communicating."

Blog 7 - December 2014 newsletter
"It has been a busy time at A Pretty Talent since the launch of the shop from its Facebook platform to a full-blown website.  In this newsletter I will review what has been happening and look ahead at what is to come.  I will introduce you to the artists that have joined the newly established Gallery and talk a bit about the baby to the page, the Art on Auction section.  I will also do a bit of a product review as well as to devote a part of the letter to practical advice and tips for artists and crafters.
Throughout the journey to get the shop to where it is today, one thing has always been of the utmost importance to me, and that is to maintain a personal touch with clients, artists, suppliers, etc.  There are too many online stores where you have no idea who you are dealing with or who to get in contact with.  At A Pretty Talent, we actually encourage you to leave your shopping cart at the till and talk to us first about a better deal.  We keep posting email and contact details to make it easy for you to get in touch.  This will always be important at A Pretty Talent.  We want to know you.  This is the one shop where you matter and the things which are important to you, become important to us."

Blog 8 - Hou jou paelet in toom - deur Marie Theron
"Oor die jare het ek al heelwat Akrielverf palette weggegee omdat mense daarop verlief geraak het. Hierdie is ‘n lekker grote en hy gaan net hier bly. Hy is so mooi, en groet my met sy glimlag die oomblik wat dit lig raak."

Blog 9 - Daler-Rowney Pitt Pens for artists
"I recently added some Daler-Rowney Pitt Pens to the store after purchasing them from an art store that was closing its doors.  I had never worked with these before and was very curious to see what could be achieved.  Of course, I was not spoiled for choice, but was left with the brunt of the stock, the leftovers.  My colour choice was therefore limited and I could not specify points.  I simply took everything that was left and made the owner an offer he could not resist.  Today I finally got around to exploring the possibilities."

Blog 10 - What were they thinking?
"Getting into the heads of designers and illustrators using pen and ink
In my previous blog entry, I told you about the fun I had with Daler-Rowney Pitt pens for artists. The very next day saw me back in the studio, determined to put those pens through their paces. I was still very intrigued by the designers and fashion illustrators I had (re-)discovered the day before and decided to make an applied effort to get into their heads as far as the creative juices were concerned."

Blog 11 - A Pretty Talent: A Community Business
"by Marietjie UysSouth Africa,
Doing Unto Others.
A Pretty Talent was born out of people’s frustrations. I heard once too often that people were unable to source what they needed to pursue their talents for creating pretty things, be it art or crafts. I started a Facebook Page, advertising my willingness to buy these items for them and ship them to wherever they were. I would charge only a small handling fee. Buying at a slightly larger scale soon made it possible for me to purchase at better prices and my clients were quick to benefit from this. It took only weeks for me to realise that I should keep a small quantity of certain popular products on hand and resultantly started building up stock. Next thing you knew, I had a small shop going that launched into a fully fledged online store."

Blog 12 - Step-by-Step: Decoupage a Tissue box & make an accompanying card
"It is the first month of a new year filled with wonderful opportunities. It is also the beginning of a whole new year filled with upcoming birthdays. That is why I thought I’d get an early start on giving you some great DIY gift ideas.  Not only are these cost effective, but they are also fun to make. And of your recipients are anything like me, they will appreciate the time and effort that went into the gift and love it the more for it. It is always a great idea to give a one-of-a-kind gift, rather than a mass-produced factory item. (Though I would not decline the gift of a car ;-) In fact, I might make an exception in this case, and say that I’d prefer the factory produced version.)
Jokes aside, I thought I’d show you step-by-step how to make a decoupage tissue box holder and accompanying card. In fact, I figured I’d double up on my time and make two while I’m at it. This way you could see how easy it was to get completely different results following the same steps and using basically the same materials."

Blog 13 - Meet the Artist - Lilla
"Marlize Visagie is the name behind the artist, Lilla. Lilla is a nickname her older sister gave her as a baby which stuck with her through life.
Lilla studied art at school where the impressionists had a great influence over her, especially William Turner and Vincent van Gogh. She matriculated from Hoër Meisieskool Helpmekaar, Johannesburg, in 1986. She started her studies in Art at Pretoria Technikon the following year. As is often the case, life took her down different roads and for a while she stopped practising art altogether. It was only around 2012/3 that she decided to take up both brush and pen again, devoting time to her writing and painting."

Blog 14 - Decoupage an album cover with old tea bags
"In this project I am going to decorate a masonite album cover. The album can be used as an art journal or as a scrapbook album. Tea stains have some of the warmest, richest colours you can find. Add to that the fact that tea bags are wonderfully absorbent, semi-transparent and a perfect surface to paint/draw on, and you have a perfect product for your next craft product."

Blog 15  - How to create a stay-wet-palette when painting with acrylics
"I always feel pressed for time when painting with acrylics, because the paint has such a fast drying time. I spray acrylic retarder over my paint, but it still dries out too quickly. Then I learned how to create a stay-wet-palette and my problem was solved. My acrylic paints will stay wet for days in these. Let me show you how."

Blog 16 - How to put grommets in your curtains
"These days there are plenty of easy ways to hang curtains which makes hanging them a breeze. I especially love those metal/plastic holes where you simply slide the rod through them. Being a DIY girl, I always wondered how I could make those myself. I found this nifty tool, called the Dejuca Grommet Tool, in a hardware store and have not looked back since. These are available in various sizes."

Blog 17 - Decoupage with Fabric
"Everyone is always carrying on about decoupaging with tissue paper, or serviettes or any other paper you can imagine, but did you know you can decoupage fabric with equal success? In this BLOG, I decoupage the covers of a masonite album with fabric. The album is intended to be used as an art journal and is slightly bigger than A4."

Blog 18 - Decorating a Girly Album
"I love pink and every so often I need to simply over-indulge myself and create something very, very pink. You can of course substitute colours to suit your needs and likes, but I shall stick to my girly pink for this project. I am still decorating the album covers I started with in the previous BLOG. I've taken another look at what I've done and decided I could be more creative. Therefore, I pulled the fabric off and set it aside to use on another project later. I still intend to use the fabric, but I would go about it differently. Here is what we are making:"

Blog 19 - How to strengthen paper to take paint
"Did you ever have a piece of paper that you wanted to paint on, but you knew it would not be able to 'take' the paint? Then this BLOG is for you! A lot of people keep an art journal and often run into this problem. Mixed media artists also frequently encounter this problem. The solution is gesso. Gesso is the stuff that you paint on canvas to prepare the surface to accept paint. Few people know that this can also be applied to paper for the same purpose."

Blog 20 - Designing and making a Pleated Handbag (Part 1)
"I've had a bee in my bonnet lately, not finding a bag that could accommodate the technology I always carry with me, i.e. mobile phone and tablet PC. I also want a space for my glasses and somewhere to hook my pen onto, so I don't have to search for it, madly shoving all sorts of oddities aside. Easy access to my USB stick would be nice as well. Or I could use those same spaces for make-up. But who am I kidding?! Every woman has her own ideas and priorities when it comes to handbags. Long story short, not finding what I was looking for, I opted to design my own handbag. I did not obtain a diploma in Haute Couture for nothing! Where to start? With a picture, of course."

Blog 21 - Galllery Guidelines for Scholars
"Follow these simple steps to have your work displayed in the Gallery on A Pretty Talent."

Blog 22 - Decoupage a Tissue Box with Fabric
"You have jumped in and made yourself a beautiful new duvet cover, or even a quilt. You made matching curtains, fashionably hung with grommets, and you have painted and made scatter cushions to round everything off. What about that unsightly tissue box? Make a quilted cover? Possible. Sew a cover? Also possible. But how about simply decoupaging it in the leftover fabric from your room make-over? Let me show you how."

Blog 23 - How to fold a neat corner
"Have you ever covered books or gifts and gotten yourself into a jam with the excess paper on the corners? Or maybe you were sewing something that made a right angle somewhere, perhaps a table cloth or a curtain, and you had to struggle with a thick wad of fabric on the corner. Let me show you a quick and easy solution to folding neat corners."

Blog 24 - Meet the Artist: Art by Val - By Val Weber
"Discover how a right-brain creative person got bogged down in a left-brain numerical job, until abandoning it to follow her passion. A Pretty Talent is proud to present Art by Val in the Gallery."

Blog 25  - Geometric Paper Piecing
"Have you been doing scrapbooking for a while now? Then odds are that you have stacks of 12" x 12" white papers taking up space in your life. Being a scrapper, you are probably sentimental and don't like throwing anything away. Besides, every time you bought refill pockets for your albums, they listed those blank pages as an asset. Problem is, you have not been able to figure out what to do with them. Good news! I love using those blank pages and from time to time I will post a BLOG where I have done just that. Today is one of those days. Of course you can use any size paper, but I used 12" x 12" paper. Let me show you how I turned a blank page into this:"

Blog 26 - Designing and making a Pleated Handbag Part 2
"In Part 1 of this blog, I have shown you the development of the pattern of the handbag, which is downloadable in PDF format from the A Pretty Talent website, free of charge. When we reached the end of the article, our pattern pieces were already cut out in fabric and waiting to be made."

Blog 27 - Making Sour Cream and Chive Dip
"I love dips, but I am seldom satisfied by the quality of the dips available on the store shelves. That is why I have started experimenting with making my own dips. This one in particular is a firm favourite."

Blog 28 - Arranging a Salad Platter
"There are precious few things as enticing as a deliciously fresh salad platter and the best part is that anyone can do it. Let me walk you through the steps."

Blog 29 - Designing and Making a Pleated Handbag Part 3
"This is Part 3 of an ongoing BLOG where we design and sew a handbag. The pattern can be downloaded free of charge from A Pretty Talent."

Blog 30 - Designing and Making a Pleated Handbag Part 4
"This is the 4th and final part of the series in which we design and make a pleated handbag. If you like what you see, you can always go back to the previous blogs and make your own. The pattern can be downloaded free of charge from A Pretty Talent."

Blog 31 - Fusing Papers with Plastic
"I wanted to make a pretty birthday card for someone special. I found myself with absolutely the perfect paper for the person I had in mind. The problem was that both sheets of paper I wanted to use were single-sided, meaning the back was white. I almost always use double-sided paper/cardboard when making cards."

Blog 32 - Making a Masonite Album
"I have been wanting to start an art journal for a very long time. What kept hindering me, was the fact that I could not find a single journal/paper pad that would be able to accommodate all of techniques and mediums I would inevitably want to put in there. I finally realized that the only solution would be to make my own album and slide the pages in there. It was an idea I borrowed from scrapbooking."

Blog 33 - Baking Connie's Danish Heirloom Layer Cake
"I came across this recipe on Facebook, posted by Courtney Louper who claimed her friend used to bake it and that it would be your favourite if you tried it. I had a birthday coming up and decided I wanted to try it out on my non-cake-eating family."

Blog 34 - Fusing Fabric with Plastic Wrap
"Having successfully fused two sheets of paper to each other using heat and Glad Wrap, I wondered whether I could fuse a piece of fabric to paper using the same method. Once the idea was born, I had to try it. True to form, I decided to record the whole process for your benefit. I start by laying down a piece of white paper. I used a 12" x 12" sheet."

Blog 35  - Delicious Lamb Curry
"The days are turning chilly and it is time to start thinking of curries and stews once again. Truth be told, I love lamb curry even on a hot day, so the slightest excuse will do for me. I'll walk you through my lamb curry recipe. I start by obtaining choice cut lamb form my local butcher. I opted for two shins and a neck, approximately 2 kg."

Blog 36 - Preparing Mini Features
"In a previous blog I told you how to make your own album from masonite. We had some off-cuts left ever from that project and I promised to show you how to put them to use. We'll do exactly that in this blog. Let me step back first for the sake of those who had not read the previous blog. After measuring the sizes of the album I was going to saw from the masonite, I was left with a thin strip of wood. I measured the width and divided it into squares. I happened to get 5 squares and an odd-sized piece. The measurements doesn't matter here, because you are allowing your off-cuts to determine size for you. Mine worked out to approximately 6,5 x 6,5 cm."

Blog 37 - Mosaic an Album Cover
"As is so often the case, I started wondering if it would be possible (read practical) to mosaic an album cover. The more I thought about it, the better I liked the idea. It was inevitable that I would put it to the test. Read on to see the problems I encountered and how I overcame them. In the process I'll walk you step-by-step through a very basic mosaic project and you'll pick up a new hobby, if you're not already into it."

Blog 38 - Drawing and Blending Mediums: A comparative overview
"I was paging through one of my drawing books when I came across a tiny picture that fascinated me. It was a simple little picture and easy to draw, but the serenity appealed to me. I sat down to do a quick sketch and was immediately confronted by the question: which medium to use? And just like that this blog was born."

Blog 39 - Fridge Magnet Chalk Board
"I've had these chalkboards in store for a while now and ever since receiving them I have found them boring. I know they are intended to be used in school by the junior grades, but I could not help fantasizing about PRETTY-ing it up. I finally settled upon the idea of turning one into a fridge magnet, handy for quick notes and jotting down info when there isn't paper around."

Blog 40 - Fridge Magnet Note Pegs
"Having started with fridge magnets, I simply could not help myself and carried on with the same theme. I had a brand new set of wooden clothes pegs lying on my craft table. I use only plastic pegs for the washing and purposefully but these for crafts. Can anyone relate?"

Blog 41 - Mixed Media on Paper
"Have you ever found an object and just knew immediately that you would put it to a completely different use than what it was intended for? This blog was created around just such an item. Here is what we are going to make today.
I worked on a surface I had prepared during a previous blog. In that blog I took a normal printer quality paper of 80 gsm. I painted it with two layers of gesso and left it to dry. This will strengthen the paper to be able to take paint. I then painted the whole page yellow, using acrylic paint and a flat brush. I put the flower wheels on this background and drew random flowers in a variety of colours, using the markers I bought."

Blog 42 - Fold a Stationery Box
"Those of us who have children around will know that they do not make good onlookers. They want to get involved and participate. Encourage them to do so. It is great for their fine motor development as well as being a right brain stimulant. This product is an easy and fun one to do with a child of any age. Simply adapt the decorating part to their ability and have fun."

Blog 43 - Painting with Oils on Paper
"A while ago I did a blog on strengthening paper with gesso. I showed you how it was possible to turn any paper, even printer paper of 80 gsm, into paper that was strong enough to handle paint. This blog follows up on that one, showing you how I continue with oil colours on one of the papers I prepared in this way."

Blog 44 - Small Paintings Triptych Part 1 of 2
"I love today's project, because it cost me next to nothing to make, since I worked solely on cut-off pieces of wood, that most other people would have discarded. See how nice it turned out?"

Blog 45  - Small Paintings Triptych Part 2 of 2
"Yesterday I published the first of two blogs on how to turn some discarded wood off-cuts into decorative works of art. This follow-up blog will give you the final steps in the process."

Blog 46 - Painting a Parisian Illusion
"Do you also love those paintings where the artist doesn't seem to actually paint anything and yet when you step back, the illusion of a scene appears? This is called impressionism. Today I will walk you trough the steps of painting an impression of a Parisian scene."

Blog 47 - Mosaic a Tactile Mirror
"One of my besties has a birthday coming up. To an artist/crafter this means an opportunity to make something PRETTY! This time it would have to be a little different. This friend of mine is completely blind. I have painted something for her in the past which she could enjoy (I'll do a blog about that in the future) and I wanted to once again make her something that she could enjoy, but which would still serve a decorative and useful purpose in her house. My choice fell on a mosaic mirror."

Blog 48 - Compiling a Masonite Album Part 1 of 3
"I have talked a lot about masonite albums for art journaling and scrapbooking in previous blogs. In the next three blogs I am going to show you how to bring it all together. But let's first recap what has already been covered:
At this stage we have a lovely album and a number of loose pages that need to be slipped into the album. This is not tricky, but I would like to give you a few tips on compiling the album that will assist in improving the visual experience. In this first blog, we concentrate on the front cover and the first page.

Blog 49 - Compiling a Masonite Album Part 2 of 3

"I have talked a lot about masonite albums for art journaling and scrapbooking in previous blogs. Yesterday I started the first of three blogs, showing you how to put together an album that is visually appealing. But let's first recap what has already been covered:
In yesterday's blog we worked on the back of the front cover and the first page, turning it into a double spread layout. In this second blog, we concentrate on the back cover and the last page."

Blog 50 - Compiling a Masonite Album Part 3 of 3
"It is finally time to start putting the album, that we have been working on over the last couple of weeks, together. But let's first recap what has already been covered:
In the first part of these three blogs we worked on the back of the front cover and the first page, turning it into a double spread layout. In this second blog, we concentrated on the back cover and the last page. Today we are simply going to put it all together. In the process I'll show you how to use a couple of nifty tools."

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Remember to keep nurturing your TALENT for making PRETTY things.
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