Painted Luke's name in Arabic with oils

Project Room Progress And Special Birthday Art Project

So in this week’s catch-up blog post I talk about the progress happening with the project room. My small artwork project I did for Luke’s 18th Birthday. And general catch up and chill. So get a nice warm beverage and enjoy.

And Paul, I’ll tell you in advance that this artwork is safe, unlike my artwork in the last post. So you are safe with your hot beverage this time :-)))

Paul Jackson's Comment about nearly spitting his tea out

Project Room Progress

My stuff is absolutely everywhere in the bottom rooms of the house. So it’s very difficult to create anything at the moment.

My project room stuff

The project room has been put on hold repeatedly due to difficulties throughout these past few years. This house is around a century old (probably more) and requires more work than we expected. There’s also been other things in life making it needlessly complicated.

New room flooring bought

However, we’re getting even better at not caring about the people who don’t deserve our energy as well as the things they throw at us. Meanwhile caring more about the people we actually love and care about.

Including this freak who has now discovered our new duvet and hasn’t come downstairs for the past 12 hours, not even for food nor anything else.

Neelix's during his sleep marathon

Couldn’t even open his eyes when I came to see if he’s okay. He just lifted his head up with his eyes closed, so I just left him to it.

Project room corner with stuff everywhere

So yeah, new flooring will be installed and Rich with his handiwork with wood is going to design and build the workbench. So a trip to the timber yard is due soon. We’re going to get this project room to a state where I can start doing electronic projects again and things will just be much easier to film and edit.

Luke’s 18th Birthday

Rich and I got together and talked about what his son would like for his 18th. We already knew one thing and that was a retro/vintage watch he saw in a local antiques place one time. I really wish I had a photo of it, it’s quite good, but Luke’s away and I’ll have to get a shot of it when he’s back. (More about watches later).

Rich said Luke’s taken to writing and sketching and that he’s quite good at it. So alongside the watch, Rich decided to get him a really nice pen and mechanical pencil. Parker fountain pens, I haven’t seen one since high school. I remember how we as high school kids were obsessed with pens and pen accessories.

standard fountain pen cartridges

It kinda took me back because I haven’t seen these things for a couple of decades now!

Some kids would go further and come in with ink bottles and those tiddly piston pump cartridge things.

piston ink pump

Anyway, back to the birthday gifts, I decided to get him a pen and pencil box as well as a notebook for him to write in. I’ve always loved Paperblanks when it comes to note books as their designs vary a lot.

Writing And Thoughts

Rich and Luke are very close, honestly, most of the time they’re like best mates more than father and son. I love seeing that <3.

Throughout this past year Rich has been proudly telling me about what Luke’s been up to and how he thinks about things, what he’s getting into etc. He’s pretty much been confirming the things I’ve sensed myself in Luke.

Here, the lot of us are at a cafe having a lovely day out on his 18th. He was challenging Rich to an arm wrestle thinking he could beat him, then accusing him of cheating. you already know how this arm wrestle ended.

Alice being entertained by Luke and Rich having an arm wrestle

Something I wish to express, is how proud I feel of Luke and the young man he’s becoming. His way of thinking, his sense of morality and his intuition is more deeper and way ahead of a lot of full grown adults I know and have dealt with.

Rather than accepting what society dictates, conforming to norms and obeying. He questions everything and what most would deem as “Crazy ideas” I personally would deem as a strong independent mind. Someone who has a strong sense of whats right and what isn’t. I would deem this as admirable and respectable.

Along with the fight in him, he has a sense of empathy which I don’t see that often in people unfortunately and I have to say is refreshing. I know too well that people who have genuine high empathy tend to face the raw deal in life. Without a doubt it makes them much stronger and once empowered, brings a great inner strength and fight.

I’m not surprised at all that he’s into writing. Rich and I both want to encourage this part of him to grow further hence why it wasn’t difficult to decide what to get him for his 18th.

Rich Alice and Madeeha chillin out

We as a family have an interesting connection and a strange and uncanny synchronicity going. Nonetheless it’s pleasant and I have to admit, I’ve not experienced with that many others at all in my life.

Maddi, Alice and Rich sat at a cafe

I have to express that I’m also proud of Alice for being who she is, she’s got quite a strong independent mind and is heading in the same direction as us all. She is brighter and more aware than most her age and is much deeper than she let’s on. One thing I know is that I can chill with her as if she’s an adult and I love that about us <3


We are a Watch family. However classic watches only. we’re also a cafe family. We love hanging out at cafes, especially in the summertime.

Alice, Rich and I sat at cafe putting on our watches

Rich has always loved watches and last year, Alice and I caught him ogling a watch in the cash converter store where I got the Yamaha Sy55 Synthesizer. I actually wrote a blog post about it back then. Rich does so much for others but never gets anything for himself. I’ve criticized him for this a few times. Anyway, this watch, he tried to convince us that he doesn’t really want the watch.

Alice and I knew better and we all got into a little fight with smirks on our faces at the entrance of the store. We were trying to pull Rich back into the store and he was pulling us back out. It was to the point where people were watching us and smirking as they were walking past.

He managed to convince us to come out of the store. As we were walking back to the car, we were plotting and scheming, messing each other while walking down the town centre.

Alice and Maddi messaging each other about the watch

I made an excuse to get the SY55 synthesizer the next day. Despite wanting it, it was out plan to get him the watch. Needless to say we each were stubborn and I bought him the darn watch.

Rich's Citizen Nighthawk watch

And he clearly “Didn’t want it” as you can see in these two shots when we were chilling in a cafe afterwards:

Rich faffing with his new Citizen watch at a cafe
Rich trying out his new citizen nighthawk and reading the instructions

The second time around, more recently (post Egypt) we went back to my family home and went into town. He had his eye on another watch. He wanted this watch but then changed his mind. The same antics in the middle of the centre, these 3 way fights we had trying to pull him back to the store. This man is hard work sometimes! He then said he’s only going to get it if he gets us both one too.

He keeps feeling guilty about spending as he’s quite sensible with it, but these are rare treats as it is and he deprives himself too much, even with things he needs.

For Alice we went halves on hers so it’s from both of us. But the three of us ended up with a watch.

Rich's Lorus Watch
Alice's new Sekonda watch
Maddi's Sekonda watch
boxes of our watches on our table at a cafe

EDIT: I finally got a shot of Luke’s watch. It looks like such an 80s design, I really like it. I’m not sure when it’s actually from. All I know is that we got it from an antiques place.

Luke's Timex watch

Painting The Pencil Box

For the pencil box, I got a plain one which I decided to paint on it with oils.

A plain pencil box

I sanded the surface so the black gesso primer base can adhere to it properly.

Sanding down the box
Painting the box with black gesso

Once that dried, which took a day, I used a little trick. Since oils take days to dry (not really dry, but harden) and I only had 6 days to complete this in. I decided to mix the oil paints in liquin impasto medium. This not only bulks up the oils, it allows you to mix whatever you wish into the paint to add texture.

I was originally going to add some sand I bought back from Sharm El Sheikh (Egypt) but again I didn’t have any time. I also wasn’t sure if Luke was going to like it that textured. So I just added a base layer using a palette knife and it left the knife texture to give it some interest. This took a couple of days to dry (or harden).

Painted the basecoat with oil using a palette knife.

I painted the main part of the design once the base hardened enough. This is Luke’s name in Arabic. Again I mixed this with Liquin Impasto so that it would harden quicker.

Painted Luke's name in Arabic with oils
oil Painted and personalized box for Luke, Finished and hardening.

Finally I completed the rest of the painting. I have no idea how I pulled this off in just 5-6 days and it being completely hardened by the time his birthday came. But I did it. However that is a regret I have, that I didn’t start it sooner as I’d have loved to have had the chance to change a couple of things. To me, the Arabic writing could have done better being a bit smaller. Rich thinks it looks great and to leave it as it is.

Luke's Birthday gifts

New Additions To The Family

Meet Cammy from Egypt:

Camel plush from Egyptair Duty Free

Meet Buzz

(I fell in love with Minecraft Bees after I discovered you can attach a lead to them and take them around for a ‘fly’)

Minecraft Bee Plush

And finally meet Djungelskog, the bear we met at Ikea yesterday when we needed some drawers and shelves.

big floppy bear plush in shopping cart

Have a lovely evening everyone <3

2 responses to “Project Room Progress And Special Birthday Art Project”

  1. Paul Jackson avatar
    Paul Jackson

    Ha! You won’t catch me out again… probably… *sips tea with eyes closed just in case* 😋☕

    Mr Neelix is looking pretty comfy there. A quick 12 hour snooze sounds like a great way to start your day!

    Ahhh, there’s something special about a classic watch especially when it’s bought as a gift. Just the opening of those little presentation boxes, then poring over the little instruction booklet. Wonderful stuff.

    As for obsessing over pens and pen accessories that takes me back, plus of course you needed a cool pencil case to keep them all in. But a hand painted pencil box? Now that’s another level of cool right there, certainly a gift to cherish, and happy birthday to Luke!

    Phew, made it to the end and didn’t spill a drop. Have yourselves a great week ahead!

  2. Jason Marrison avatar
    Jason Marrison

    Hiya Maddi ☺️ Wow, this is the first chance l’ve had to sit down with a coffee and read the latest blog entry and it’s fabulous.

    Rich and l have so many commonalities, it’s getting unnerving lol. I completely get the whole not wanting to spend out or not believing that l deserve or need something and Fi often will often have to do the same tactics as you do to change that.

    Same with the whole watch fascination which l get from my Grandfather as he gifted me my love of gadgets, electronics at a very early age which l have spoken about in my blog in the past.

    I can’t help but glance through the local shops in the village for retro technology and watches are always a highlight and the ones shown for yourself, Rich and Luke are fine examples ☺️

    The more that you speak about the family, the more it makes sense. There is a lovely synchronicity which know we have spoke about before.

    Like minded people come together but also as you have shown, empathetically in tuned as well. I am very pleased that both Luke and Alice are on such wonderful paths of creative individuality which goes against the worrying social media mind washing of younger people l see almost constantly.

    I will very quickly step over the stationery part of the blog or l will be here all day lol l was always buying new pens, pencils, mechanical pencils and l could go on for hours on that alone 😳 That wooden box was lovely by the way, what an excellent gift!

    Mr Neelix looks incredibly comfy on the duvet and l strive to achieve that level of zen relaxation hahahaha 😂

    Anyways, good to see the project room is making some progress as and when and that there are new fluffy pals in the mix!

    Great blog upload Maddi and please give my very best to everyone there today and have a awesome weekend ☺️

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