It’s a Rumball Christmas

It’s a Rumball Christmas

I’m serious. It really is.

I think I’ve made eight batches so far this month. I have hardly worn my rings because I’ve ‘been rumballing’.

Last year it was choc popcorn, before that it was citrus curd, and before that mini-puds. This year – rumballs.

And I’ve illustrated the recipe for you to download, print and stick on the fridge. Or make cards or gift tags with it – it’s totally up to you.

Diana's Delicious Rumballs by Anna Bartlett

The recipe comes from my mum, Diana. And it’s got weetbix in it, which makes it totally ok to have rumballs for breakfast. I’m sure that’s true.

So here it is, my gift to you. Illustrated rumballs.

Have a shiny, happy, rummy Christmas!

Shiny Happy Boxes and Bags

Shiny Happy Boxes and Bags

It’s been a long time since I’ve bought wrapping paper… and I find it almost impossible to throw away bags and boxes that I ‘just might’ find a use for. So in the interest of decluttering let me guide you through the creation of these truly unique gift bags and boxes.

Firstly, you’ll need some bags and boxes to upcycle. I LOVE Apple packaging, and it’s best to paint over all the imagery on them so you don’t get your recipient’s hopes up (unless you truly are giving them and iPad of course!). I’ve also used a couple of simple bags and a post box with some interesting Ukrainian leaf stamps (thank you Etsy!).

If there are stamps or interesting things or images on your bags and boxes, make sure they’re stuck on well. I’ve used some Golden Gel Medium to adhere the stamps well, but PVA or a glue stick would also do the job for this project. (The leaves on these stamps inspired the pattern I ended up painting onto this box.)

Choose your colours and paint over the text and logos – I’ve used Teal + White, Hansa Yellow + White and Magenta + White. By adding the white to each colour I’ve made the paint more opaque/less transparent, and more likely to do a good job of covering the bits I want to disguise.

Then using a paint pen or brush, start adding some patterned detail. You can also use stencils, more collage, pencils or sharpie markers. Be inspired by the patterns around you – fabrics, cushions, even all those new colouring in books that seem to be everywhere at the moment, can all be sources of pattern inspiration.

Here I googled ‘woodblock’ images and started with this paisley pattern inspiration.

For this bag I used acrylics to sketch on a loose wreath especially for Christmas.

Now, whether they go under a tree or in the mail, know that your packaging is as much a gift as what’s inside. Do a few at a time so you’ve always got a bag or box handy.

Fun, huh? I’d love to see what you make! Share with me on instagram or facebook – #shinyhappyart

Shiny Happy Gift Ideas

Shiny Happy Gift Ideas

I really love choosing gifts, but I may be the only one in my family who does! So if you’re open to ideas, here are a few ‘shiny happy arty’ gifts that I’d recommend.

An ART MUG full of marshmallows (or those yummy French Vanilla Cashews from Coles!). If you’re local, I’ve got a good selection here in the studio. If you’re not, you can order directly from my Society6 shop (they’ve got a lot of great specials on before Chrissy).

Xmas Mugs lores

If you’ve got littler ones, or no paint in the house for yourself, I have a very limited number of my ‘Just add water’ Paint Along Packs. It includes everything you need to paint my ‘Owl and the Pussycat’ Online Paint Along – a terrific thing to do with or for little ones you love.


If you’ve already got some paints, or know someone that has, take your pic of my other Online Paint Alongs. Each one starts with your very own personal Pep Talk and there are videos and written instructions to take you through, step by step. I’ll be adding to this library a lot next year, but there’s already plenty to choose from.

Screen Shot 2015-12-02 at 11.53.07 am

If you’ve come to one of my Studio Paint Alongs, or even watched one online, you know I ADORE the Golden brand of Acrylic Paints. If you have a budget of $60 to $100 for a special artist in your life, let me put together some paints and brushes in one of my art mugs. (It’s a gift I’d love to receive!) Just email and let me know how much you want to spend and I’ll do the rest.


And of course I couldn’t finish without suggesting my brand new, totally designed and printed in Toowoomba, Birthday Calendar. These are also available in limited quantities and you can buy directly from me ($20 includes postage to anywhere in Australia) or you’ll soon find them at the Toowoomba Regional Art Gallery and the Toowoomba Information Centre. Remember to write your birthday in it before you give it away!


Some truly special things that I also love (I am not being paid by these people – I just think they’re terrific!):

FOREVER SPIN metal spinning tops from Canada

SPINELESS CLASSICS are an entire book on one poster

This DIY Christmas Elf from my friend, Lauren, at MOLLY AND MAMA

The book, ‘Drawing with Children’, by Mona Brooks

Burch & Purchese Fruit Salad White Chocolate

So there you go – my first burst of ideas for the season. Onwards and upwards everyone!