Crafts · Painting

Canal Boat Painting

A [British] canal boat of traditional long, narrow design, steered with a tiller; spec. one not exceeding 7 feet (approx. 2.1 metres) in width or 72 feet (approx. 21.9 metres) in length Oxford English Dictionary


Narrow boats are wooden boats  used on canals. They were traditionally drawn by a horse walking on the towpath led by a crew member. It was and, indeed still is,  common practice to paint roses and castles on boats,  their fixtures and fittings. Common surfaces are furniture, coal hods and buckets.

Today the boats are mainly used for leisure purposes but can still be seen in all their glory, having been painted in the vibrant colours.

Traditionally oil based paint was used for this technique, but I will be using DecoArt Traditions. These are really good quality acrylic paints which will more than stand up to any uses my students will have for their finished items – not much chance they will be painting canal boats – but you never know!

i painted these wooden spoons as a class project on a cruise. It went down really well with the passengers and, funnily enough, one of them has a canal boat!



There are many books available……I really like this one by Anne Young
Crafts · create · Painting · She Shed · studio

She shed or We shed? decor

Come into my studio…..



It was a lot of fun deciding what to put in my new shed/studio. I wrote  about the construction in a previous post here

The furniture was made to my specification and was  painted with @DecoArt Chalky Finish Paint. The colour used is called Everlasting, a very soft white.

This paint is so easy to use and gives excellent coverage when updating furniture and accessories. The best thing is no priming or sanding is required; this saves lots of time and effort.

To seal the pieces and add durability I then brushed on two coats of Americana Matte Varnish        


Now for the accessories…..

I love the trolley/cart purchased from @Hobbycraft and painted some accessories to match it using DecoArt Multi Purpose Paint in Soft Jade – what a great match!


This chandelier was in the attic for around 20 years! It was really rusty and, to be honest looked ok but not quite the look I wanted.

I removed the original drops and replaced them with a selection of coloured crystal ones. I didn’t have any purple ones so I coloured a few  with a purple Sharpie to co-ordinate with the velvet sofa (you could also use DecoArt Glass Paint). After painting it with the Soft Jade paint I sanded it in parts to give a more vintage look.


The piece de resistance for me is the armoire. It was made to my spec and holds lots of my favourite things, including pointe shoes I decorate with hand crafted silk ribbon roses. The bottom drawer holds fabric and embroidery hoops.


I found this garland @The Range at a bargain price of £10.99 and glued on a few more roses for effect. You can never have too many roses!!


I have some lovely antique lace I wanted to keep tidy so I printed off  images from @thegraphicsfairy,  photos of roses in our garden and some I had painted, and made the shaped cards. The lace stencil, and the image on my paint storage cupboards are both from


Some of my hand painted cards


I have had this book  for almost 70 years! It is huge and I can only imagine how I must have felt owning this book that was probably taller than I was!

Some of my felt hearts embellished with embroidery and tatting


This lovely girl was painted for me by my very dear Facebook friend, Laurie May


A get well card from my headmistress and school friends when I was 14!


French linen cushions – I painted the front one with with DecoArt So-Soft Fabric Paint. This amazing paint really is soft and can be washed time after time. The little angel is an image downloaded from the Graphics Fairy 


Every craft room needs a pin board – I may decorate this at a future date, but don’t want it to look too fussy. It currently holds an eclectic mix of fabric painting, embroidery, tatting, silk ribbon flowers and hand made jewellery.


The best artificial flowers ever are from Bloom UK – this is their meadow flowers arrangement. Apart from the fact that it’s the wrong time of year I would defy anyone to notice they are not real.





Finally the furniture…….

I knew exactly what I wanted and was very lucky.

The lovely velvet chair and sofa are from TK Maxx (TJ Maxx if  you are in the US) and fit the bill perfectly. I feel that adding them makes this a place where I can tidy away my craft stuff and use the shed as extra living room. My husband Bill and I often sit in the evening with a glass of wine – hence the name She Shed – We Shed


I feel so lucky to have this place to create, relax and display all these little things that mean so much to me.

Thanks for visiting – please leave a comment and come back to the shed soon!

Crafts · create · Painting · She Shed · studio

She Shed? We shed




I am so happy with my new she shed/we shed – most of the time it is for my use but already my husband Bill and I are sharing nice times in it……hence the name.

There were so many considerations when designing the shed and we were lucky to find Allan, a top notch tradesman, who had done work for us about 15 years ago. Allan is one of these hard-to-find guys who work in tandem with you and is happy to make changes as the work progresses. He even made a bespoke armoire and paint storage table from scratch (pictures will be in my next blog).

This is a really solid shed as quality wood was used and there is 5” deep insulation in the ceiling, walls and floor. Although this greatly added to the cost it means it will be more comfortable to be in.  I can design projects, create and paint here with all my books and materials to hand. I have been teaching various crafts for 20 years so have a lot of stuff!

The colour used on the outside is Seagrass by @Cuprinol. As soon as the weather improves I will paint the window boxes in a contrasting colour.

The fun part was, of course, deciding how to decorate the inside and I will share pictures in my next blog. All I can say us I am delighted with the result



Canal Boat Painting is fun

I have been working on some new designs to teach on  cruises later this year.

One of my classes will be canal boat (narrow boat) painting for beginners.

Traditionally oil based paint was used for this technique, but I will be using DecoArt Traditions. These are really good quality acrylic paints which will more than stand up to any uses my students will have for their finished items – not much chance they will be painting canal boats!

There are many books available……I really like this one by Anne Young

This style of painting is not too difficult if you are prepared to practice stroke work.
Happy painting