Adventure In Coloring II

I’ve been a little busy these past few weeks so I haven’t colored as much as I did when I first started, but I still got a few new pieces done:

coloring - lilies by 14 shades of greycoloring - heliconia by 14 shades of grey

coloring - foxgloves by 14 shades of greycoloring - bird of paradise by 14 shades of grey

coloring - peaches by 14 shades of greycoloring -sunflowers by 14 shades of grey

coloring - goldfish by 14 shades of grey

These are in chronological order, and looking back at them now, I can see that I’m definitely making progress. I’ve learned to trace more lightly so that it looks like an actual painting and less like a tracing (just compare the lilies, which is one of my earlier ones, with the rest), and I’m getting more confident with color layering too. There are a lot of mistakes, of course – for one, I haven’t quite mastered the art of painting leaves just yet – but I’ll keep at it.

Adventures In Coloring

Coloring books for adults are all the rage these days, aren’t they? It seems I can’t walk into a bookstore without seeing a dozen of them. Usually the hipster in me would turn up her nose at what is so obviously a fad. But then I began to seriously consider buying one after I realized that, to unwind from work, I would do more work – like, if I get tired of my script reading, I would translate a book, or if I get tired of that, I would translate a movie. I needed a new hobby.

For colors, I wanted to use up all the watercolor supplies left over from my art class back in college; however, the paper of these books is not suitable for watercolors, so I decided to make my own.

I went online, found a website with free printable coloring pages (Googling “[blank] line drawing” also works), printed them out, and traced them with graphite paper onto my watercolor sketchbook. It’s a bit time-consuming, but the tracing alone is therapeutic enough, and if I made a mistake with the coloring, I could always trace it again. It’s kind of like painting without having to draw (which is great for me because I can’t draw.)

tracing by 14 shades of grey

coloring by 14 shades of grey

coloring by 14 shades of grey

That one is my first try, so it’s kinda simple. Here are some more finished products:

coloring - fox in burrow by 14 shades of greycoloring - carnation by 14 shades of grey

I did print out a page from “Enchanted Forest“, but the intricate details are a pain to trace and don’t look that great with watercolors:

coloring - fox by 14 shades of grey

The realistic botanical illustrations are much more my style. I’m particularly proud of the berry ones:

coloring - tropical lily by 14 shades of greycoloring - hummingbirds by 14 shades of grey

coloring - strawberries by 14 shades of greycoloring - blackberries by 14 shades of grey

Overall I still have a lot to learn, but I really like it. We’ll see how long I can keep it up, but maybe this coloring fad is not such a fad after all.

Tutorial: Dandelion Tee

dandelion tee

Gods, it’s been so long since I did a tutorial that I had to look at old posts to see how to structure it. Anyway, I’ve been missing my graphic tees lately – both my whale tee and my feather tee are so worn out that I’ve passed them to my niece as nightshirts – so when I saw this dandelion print tee, I immediately knew I wanted to make my own.

dandelion tee tutorial

What You Need:
– A white or light-colored tee
– Fabric markers (I used two, one big, one with a finer tip)
– A piece of cardboard or magazines


1. Put the cardboard or magazines into your shirt so that it lies flat and the marker doesn’t bleed into the back.

dandelion sketchdandelion tee tutorial

2. Start drawing. Begin with the stem of the dandelion, then sketch out the stalk of the seeds, both around the dandelion clock and scattered across the shirt. I don’t draw (I wouldn’t say I can’t draw, but I’m not good), so I actually did a few sketches on paper, to get the feel of it first.

For me the hardest part to get right is actually the fluff of the seeds (Wikipedia tells me it’s called the “pappus”). I used the big marker for the stem and the stalks, then used the fine-tipped one to draw the fluff. I’m not quite happy with the shape (it doesn’t look as full as the inspiration piece), but don’t worry about being exact.

Stretch the fabric to ensure smooth lines. It still puckered a bit for me, but this actually created an almost watercolor look that I liked.

dandelion tee tutorialdandelion tee tutorial

3. Add a few seed pods here and there, and you’re done! Let the shirt dry completely, and remember to wash it inside out from now on.

dandelion tee

I’m A T-Rex!

t-rex sweater tutorial by 14 shades of grey

I’m not big on trend, but one of the trends I’m sorry I miss this fall/winter is the animal graphic sweater. I mean, I’m a cat lady, it’s pretty much required that I have something like this in my closet, right? But, since it doesn’t seem like that trend has trickled down to Vietnam just yet, I’m going to make my own.

I decided to go with a silhouette instead of a full-color image because it’s less kitschy and well, it’s just easier that way.

t-rex sweater tutorial by 14 shades of grey

What You Need:
– An old sweater (the baggier the better, I found, since it adds to the whole retro vibe)
– Scrap fabric (solid color is fine, but I like the look of a printed silhouette)
– Marker (fabric or permanent, it doesn’t matter) or chalk, scissors, fray check (optional)
– Pins, needle and thread

t-rex sweater tutorial by 14 shades of grey

1. Print out your image. It took me a while to choose what animal I wanted, but in the end I was inspired by this shirt to pick a T-Rex. Who doesn’t want a T-Rex sweater?

2. Trace it on your fabric (I thought about adding an eye to it, but then decided not to because it looked a bit goofy.)

3. Cut the image out (I also added some fray check to the edge to keep it from fraying.) Pin that sucker to your sweater. You don’t want it to move around while you’re sewing!

4. Stitch. I used a basic straight stitch but a blanket stitch would look good too.

And you’re done!

t-rex sweater by 14 shades of grey

Express Tutorial: Lace-Trimmed Shirt

With the time difference between Vietnam and the US, where most of our Style Imitating Art participants are, I decided it would be easier for me to put the SIA post up by Tuesday morning (US time) instead of Monday evening, plus it’ll give you more time to submit your look too. So in the meantime, here’s a quick tutorial to open our week with:


What You Need:
– A shirt, sweater, or cardigan
– Lace trim
– Thread and needle, scissors

1. Cut the lace and pin it on where you want it. I put mine of the sleeve.

2. Stitch it down. Make sure the stitches don’t show, by keeping the stitches on the outside short and the stitches on inside longer.

3. I left the edges around the sleeves’ hems and the neckline open, but you can stitch it down for a more finished look. And you’re done. Easy peasy.

I was inspired to make this after seeing this on Lisa Hannigan:


Pretty, right? I don’t have any wide lace inset like that though, so mine ended up looking more like this Jason Wu sweater (which I’m OK with) but once I find a wider trim I’ll recreate Lisa’s shirt too.

Tutorial: Doily Pockets

Another ridiculously easy DIY/refashion. I pinned this picture ages ago, but it’s not until now that I got around to doing it.

What You Need:
– An old cardigan
– Two lace or crocheted doilies (I got mine from Joann, the smallest size.) Or you can do just one.
– Pins, needle & thread


1. Button your cardigan to make sure it lay flat. Put the doilies on where you want the pockets to be.

2. Pin the doilies onto the cardigan.

3. Stitch the doilies down, following the edges (I just used a simple straight stitch.) Remember to leave the top open.

And you’re done! Told you, ridiculously easy.

Tutorial: Cap-toe Ballet Flats

Cap-toe flats are all the rage this season, and I thought it would be fun to make my own. I hate to call this a tutorial because it’s ridiculously easy, but well… I don’t know what else to call it.

What You Need:
– A pair of plain flats
– Paint the color of your choice, paint brush
– Masking tape, plastic wrap/bag


1. Clean your flats. It works best if they don’t have any design around the toes (mine have little bows, but they’re easy to tape back.)

2. Tape off the toes with masking tape. If you’re using spray paint like I did, wrap the shoes in plastic. If you’re just painting it with a regular brush, there’s no need, but it might be a good idea to wrap them up just the same to avoid any splashing.

3. Paint away. Give them several coats, let dry, then peel off the tape, and you’re done!

Variation: Try colored tape instead of paint! Simply wrap the tape around the toes and trim off the excess. That way, you can change it up, and still have a pair of plain flats when you want.