24 #Big roses at The Mackintosh Church A Pure Dead Brilliant experience !

Queens Cross Church in the Maryhill Area of Glasgow is the only church that Mackintosh fully built. Thats may be why locally we call it The Mackintosh Church. It’s located at the cross road of Maryhill and Garcube roads next door to Partick Thistle football grounds in a really popular area of Glasgow. Locals remember going to the services there and for them its a popular buildings.

So strange… as for the rest of the world this is the headquarters of The Charles Rennie Mackintosh Society… and for me … my very first job when arriving in Glasgow almost 30 years ago !

And there is a small triangle of land in the middle of it. Thats where #thebigrose project was happening this Sunday. With visitors to the city, Mackintosh Society members and many local children from the Queens’ Cross Area My volunteers and I spent the Sunday stencilling large roses on the ground.  The weather was gorgeous as it often is in October a bit like it feels guilty for all the rain its been throwing at us all through the summer and it needs to make peace before the cold winter arrives…

It was only right that this project had a day there… After all this is where everything Mackintosh wise starts as The Charles Rennie Mackintosh Society has its head-quarters in the church building. A Squarish looking red sand stone building with a turret and a beautiful stain glass quite modern in the shape of a heart but so blue !

So we arrived first thing and planted our table in the middle of the triangle and traced a rectangle carpet 3.5 m x 6 x on the ground… getting ready for participants to turn up and fill it up with roses.

And they came, from China, Japan, Balloch, the South Side and … on the other side of the road. We had young and old on their knees, applied with their large brush and enormous stencil making sure the brush stayed dried to avoid mess. Many small children with their mums crossed the road from Springbank street to try their hand at stencilling on paper first then on the ground, in pairs sometimes three of them around a rose made sure to cover every area in pink paint.

A friend from an up-cycling class came along to have a go, a volunteer who was not on that day brought her daughter to have a try. A mature couple came along to try, both of them held the brush and left so satisfied to have had a go. An older lady who was sorry about having bad arthritis did not try but came to have a chat about the good old days in that neighborhood.

Had I missed something there. So busy thinking about the Mackintosh fans I had forgotten to speak to the locals. And they were so very keen to take part. Shame on me, I will need to address the local Housing Association at Queens Cross. I hear they are always very opened to new experiences and I bet the local children would love to have another go.

Thats the thing about Art projects as those. They are for the people not for the purists. They are for the little people like me and you to try their hands and be so happy to have tried. Those projects are not for the galleries and the posh openings.

#thebigrose project is all about exchanging and being nice to one another. They are for sharing and taking part. And they did share their roses when then were stencilling. Will you do this in pair? off course we will…. and there you are… two individuals who did not know one another are seating on the pavement stencilling a flower on the ground…


What can I say, its Glasgow and its pure dead brilliant !

 cant wait to bring #thebigrose to The Lighthouse this week end. Another day, another rose…


I hope to see you there.


Betty xx

24 #bigroses at The Hill House

This morning, 24 beautiful ordered large cabbage roses are adorning the lawn in front of  The Hill House in Helensburgh, that Charles Rennie Mackintosh designed for the publisher Blackie in the early 1900’s, a pure Scottish Art Nouveau Gem !

They are the result of the first day of  #thebigroseproject , an art project I am running this October in connection with the  #MackintoshFestival  this year.

We have 5 #Bigroseproject day and 1 Stencilling Masterclass during the month of October.

The idea is to welcome the public to the Mackintosh venues this autumn during the festival with a carpet made of roses designed by the great master over 100 years ago. The rose we used here comes from #thewillowtearooms but was used for the stencilling of the fire place of the 1990’s creation of   #thehouseforanartlover in Glasgow.

Its a grand project, a year in the making, and many people involved in the preparation but today is a special day as for the first time the beautiful rose gets stencilled again and this time by the visitors themselves. To help me making sure they enjoy this #theGlasgowrosegirls my wee volunteers  Rachel and Sula are giving them a full stencilling practise making sure they get the grip of their stencilling brush before they are given a cushion and down on the ground they get to stencilled their large cabbage rose.

Volunteers are a great thing, I was once told by Creative Scotland that one should not expect to “exploit” people with the mere promise of an entry on one’s CV. I am not sure he understood the process… When looking at the interaction I have with my volunteers on this project I think he might have failed to understand the whole “exchange” concept of volunteering. In this project I get 6 very keen “arty” young girls who want to involve themselves in an art project without  having to drive it. They are gifted, enthusiastic, full of energy and ready to engage for the day. They have real skills they are prepared to share but they also want to learn in the process and meet other likeminded folks. And that I can offer them… in return they make sure I don’t turn into a nervous reck that all the visitors feel important and looked after. They tried their hand at stencilling, they even stencilled a few roses themselves. They drank tea, stood in the beautiful sunny garden for the day and met a good number of great visitors and gave me advice. We exchanged, we were this short lived team. It was a beautiful exchange. They were so joyful, they made a huge difference to the success of the project.

The internet is is wonderful took when it comes to rally people for such a project. I have been posting on Instagram, Face book, Linkedin etc… photos and brief of this project, many organisations have been so supportive, Glasgow Mackintosh were very involved as this is part of their festival, but many reposted, tweeted and son on and … People turned up in a magical way ! Out of the blue ! from everywhere and no where!…

And then after much preparation I made my way to The Hill House. In the stunning garden we ran the first day of #thebigrose project.

We arrived with a car full of stencils, brushes and paint, two volunteers and myself, that would be us “The Glasgow Rose Girls” and we set up a large piece of tarpaulin in the garden path. On it we would stencil during the day a good number of Charles Rennie Mackintosh designed roses. The Plan… make a carpet. Get the public to stencil those roses onto the Tarpaulin, getting them to remember the feel of hand-made Arts and Crafts. Getting them to look at some really good Mackintosh design and switch off for a few minutes from normal life to become an artist even for a few minutes.
We were greeted by Property manager Lorna and gardener, Gavin. They were both on their sunday off and on their way to do another walk another garden, I cant imagine their reaction when coming back to The House they saw the carpet at night, its very large…

Karen the retail manager at the property had a good go at it, she is an artist herself and produces those wonderful silk painted scarves. She came down from her office, and … stencilled a rose.

The best stencillers by far were the children, completely fearless they were arriving with their mums and dad (and sometimes powerless little brothers or sisters in the pram) and got to work, no fear about making a mess like any adult would think… just down to business eager to hold the brush and make an early start.

We had a very early starter, a local lady member of the local Art Club… she had just booked herself on my stencilling workshop later this month in Helensburgh but she wanted to try her hand at the technique. We had visitors to the house who found us by accident, we had young family rallied by a friendly Facebook post who came to amuse their young ones. We had international travellers…

We even had…. The Local Cat !

The result is stunning and after a second quick visit this week to check the paint and add the leaves I expect it will be there until the end of October a moving carpet which will tour around the garden to avoid yellowing the grass… Gavin the gardener offered to move it around for me. Thats a new job for a gardener… Moving the roses around without getting his hands dirty !

I am looking forward to next Sunday, We will be at Queens Cross Church stencilling on the pavement this time on the 9th of October. I hope to see you there!

Have a great week !

Betty xx



#thebigrose update ! One week to go !!!!

This week marks the beginning of the Autumn season and the last week before the Mackintosh festival kicks in !

The leaves have started coming down on my garden path and #thebigrose I stencilled a while ago are fading gracefully … They remind me that in a week tomorrow I will be packing up stencils and brushes, paint and knee pads for our first day of the project at The Hill House in Helensburgh on the 2nd of October.

There, in the garden path we will be stencilling a beautiful carpet of Mackintosh roses and if you come on the day we will let you stencil your own rose … 

My excitement is high this week … the local press has now caught up with my project and The Glasgow Herald and Visit Scotland have talked about it in the paper and online. 

Visit Scotland have mentioned #thebigrose one of the 7must do of the festival. This is so exciting. 

I have now a wee group of volunteers very excited about taking part … Glasgow rose girls 4 of them from very different background but all excited by the project and in Love with Mackintosh and his rose… We will all meet on Thursday to finalise the team, do a practice run check out everyone’s abilities and make up a rota.

I have been testing some of the surfaces I will be stencilling on (see below ! I might have gone wild at The Lighthouse).

I will be preparing the tarpaulin for Sunday by quoting them with a primer Ho Ho ! How exciting … Ready to take the paint !!!

Some stencils are still needed cut ! 

​And I will charge my camera to make sure I have hours of battery for all the photo taking ! 

For your diary ! An entry : A day to remember. 2nd of October 2016 ! Between 11am and 3pm Stencilling roses at The Hillhouse. 

Have a great holiday week end if you are in Scotland.
Betty X 

Doors open days !!!

Last week was Glasgow dod  (Glasgow Door open days) a week long festival part of a huge international movement which consist in opening doors of historic buildings who are normally not open to the public. It’s a huge thing in Glasgow, a week long festival with  heritage talks, opened buildings, guided tours, and douzains of people walking around the last week end head down in their pink little book ticking all the venues they have done. Ahhh ! #ilovedod

This year was a bit different though. I decided to take part, this time not a spectator eager to learn but as one of the #intheknowhow one of the knowledgeable speakers of an other time an other place and by God it was so much fun… I have met so many interesting people and at the end of the week I was so tired…

Glasgow doors open days 2016 program

The House for an Art Lover’s is celebrating their 20th anniversary this year and I though it was time to give back to the venue that has been so good to me over the years in providing me with great work. I offered the venue to give two “heritage talks” about the making of the stencilled scheme in 1996 and I went to dig out my 20 years old stencils, drawings and old photos. I took around the Mackintosh rooms two groups of visitors, from Glasgow but also from Japan and China, explaining the sources for this design, the technique used and finally demonstrated stencilling as it would have been done in Mackintosh’s days. How difficult is it to recreate something that has never existed… where do you get sources for this… what technique do you use… does everyone like your result? Talking about the process made me remember so many good images of past times when up a huge ladder I was stencilling The House. The dust of the joiners finishing last bits of woodwork, hard hat and hard boots. The smell of paint and the satisfaction of the job well done… until… the new tenant decided to paint over one of my friezes but that is a different story … it was interesting to discuss with complete strangers how you come to terms with the loss of a design you have just worked on for several months. The Mystery frieze had a lot of success.


The Glasgow Guild opened their doors this week to a number of artists/artisans “jacks of all trades” and was holding talks and demonstrations. I was one of them…


Karen Beauchamp talked about recreating “historic walpapers” and highlighted the importance for businesses to keep well organised archives. Her 200 + photographs were stunning scenes of pattern books and past designs, vintage views and new recreations for sophisticated French compagnies such as Isodore Leroy for whom she has re-edited a collection of wall papers from their archives at Le Musee des Arts Decoratifs in Rue de Rivoli in Paris. How very stunning. Karen has spent a lifelong working on wall papers and fabric re-editions and I worked along her during my last project…. At the Ault Wharrie house in Dunblane she re-created a wall paper from some old scraps found in a forgotten back room. A complete stunning piece of work. Karen is an artist and leaves in the North of Scotland where she runs workshops and lovely painting holidays…


Helen McCook is a stunning embroiderer a graduate from the Royal School of Needlework, I have seen some of the work she did for The Glasgow Guild Mackintosh cabinet, delicate poetry with a needle and a silk thread. Her talk about the myth of the embroiderer was fun and full of deep comments about the traditional task of a modern day embroiderer. Her work is stunning and varied. In a few sentences she modified the impression I had of the task of an embroiderer. Modern, focused, creative but traditional and so very serious its a great craft… or should I say Art Form ? Helen has embroidered for Kate Middleton’s wedding dress and Kate Moss party dress … does it get any better? will all left to go home and look for that tumble .

But the best of the celebration was the week end when I got to share that very special space that the Glasgow guild have in Renfrew street only a small step away from the Glasgow School of Arts… Wilma MacKenzie  the glass engraver (the very last of the kind) and I were to spend two days marvelling visitors with tales of past jobs, hands on demonstrations and talks about theories on job well done. As for me  My talks were about “colours and shapes in recreation of historical stencilling” and I would then get the public to try their hands at stencilling a George Walton border and a Charles Rennie Mackintosh Rose. It was so much fun. Wilma seating at the wheel was demonstrating how the little diamond was engraving the Crystal glass with delightful shapes. Lucky members of the public were allowed to have a go.

The tables were bursting with old stencils, large brushes, bottles of pigments, metallic objects unknown to the common passer’s by.

Sunday arrived so fast but we were so tired, so full of the excitement of sharing forbidden knowledge with visitors eager to hear secret tales of a life they dream about… the creative one.

My head full of the excitement of the past week I packed my treasures in the boot of my car Sunday night promising to take part next year again… I missed every single talk I wanted to attend to and I have not discovered a single new building this year… But giving is so much more enjoyable than receiving…

I need to email Rachel tomorrow morning to offer to take part next year. That was so much fun…

Here are the photos and the films I took during the week… enjoy… make sure you book to come and see us next year.

In the meantime, us the artists and the Glasgow guild we are putting together a program of very specialised classes for 2017… if you want to be kept in the loop email your details to … bettysbeautifullife@gmail.com we will keep you posted.



Photography competition – Glasgow DOD Win Glasgow Style Stencils

Between the 12 and the 18th September I am taking part in the #glasgowdod and I will give talks about stencilling Mackintosh but also about Historic stencilling . Glasgow DOD is a great celebration of Glasgow architecture and Scottish Style.

The Lansdowne House of Stencils will be offering the prize of 3 stencils in the Glasgow Style to one of the winners of the Photo competition organised that week by Glasgow DOD.

So dont waste time, get your phones and cameras out and get photographing between the 12 and the 18th of September… and see details of the competition here

Love  Betty xx


Glasgow sees every Mid September a great number of its historic buildings opened to the Public for the very awaited for #DOD (Doors open days). Those which are normally closed to the public open their doors for a few hours… Those who charge an entry fee welcome free of charge many visitors and experts of all sorts talk for hours about their expertise to a public avid to get more and more knowledge on historic architecture and design.

Elisabeth Viguie Culshaw Stenciller

This years is the 20th anniversary of the built of Mackintosh wonderful “The House for an Art Lover” in Glasgow. Many decades after he designed the great project, a group of Glasgow enterpreneurs, experts and artists had got their act together in the early 1990’s to build Mackintosh’s dream house and I was part of this great project.


This year I want to make sure to spend time to reflect on this fantastic opportunity for a young stenciller, this great chance to research in the work of the great man and put my little touch in that building. I want to tell the story…


What was it like to approach the project, how did I research to find sources to create the design without “Charles Rennie’s supervision” how did I make sure to coordinate with other craftsmen/artists. How could I be sure my scheme would be what he wanted… Was I ever sure that it was? Have I had any regrets? Would I do it differently today? What did I use? What would I use????

I feel lucky to be able to visit again 20 years later and compare and contrast. I still have no certainties… I would still be happy if the Master popped out of the woodwork to guide me and reassure me but I feel very  confident after 20 years that I did my very best at the time the house was built.

I am so lucky to be a hoarder… none of the stencils have gone they are still in my workshop and I will bring them along to share their view with my talk’s listeners. I will explain and answer questions. I will not be the expert I will be who was entrusted for a short period of time with the task to try and create.

But I hope you will visit next tuesday the 13th at 2pm or Thursday 15th at 10am to look, listen, prod and try your hand at stencilling. It will be my pleasure to share my story with you.


See you then….

Love   Betty xx

Get in Style for a Tenner :)* #UpcycleFurniture for £10 à week 

So you have been dreaming to take on an evening class for ever and September is just around the corner … You have this old battered small chest kicking about and not much money in your pocket due to expensive holidays activities with the family ! 

If this suits you to a T then take a look at the classes I will be running with The House for an Art Lover this Autumn… They are for you…

From Up cycling furniture full hands on to the very creative Art is the Flower via the Stencilling week end we have kept the focus on Big creative achievement for small cost ! 

For one you don’t have to be an artist to do crafts ! And you don’t need a large bank account to do those classes ! You need some time, some desire to meet nice people and to be creative in their company and a little … But very little cash !

For £10 each week you can join the Up Cycling furniture class and spend 2.30h a week in perfect bliss of distressing… Chalk painting … Stencilling… Printing … For 10 weeks ! 

Enough chat ! Why don’t you take a look yourself ! 

If you have any questions email me on bettysbeautifullife@gmail.com 

See you soon 

Betty xx

* classes are booked in block of 10 for The Upcycling Furniture – 10 weeks of 2 hours 30 that is £100 for the block , £10 per week and £4 for an hour.

This course can not be purchased as a weekly drop in as there is a progression in the tuition of all the various techniques 

UP CYCLING AS A WAY OF LIFE – a new up cycling class this Autumn – in Glasgow

Many years ago this trunk caught my eye in a “around the corner” charity shop, I remember vividly buying it for £10… that was in the days when you paid “normal prices” for things (that does make me sound a little old but really it was the good times and not so long ago when your £ went further…).

a beautiful shape
lovely shabby chic look once finishes

That one had a huge drawer at the front and a wee cupboard underneath with a double door opening … a real beauty and I had loads of plans for it but somehow life took over and part from being a toy holder for my little girl the trunk never graduated to anything else until now…

But I have recently decided to try my hand at #chalkpaint something I must say i have rubbished in the past for being too expensive. And the bright blue trunk has now graduated to our master bedroom where its seating proudly under a vintage suitcase in the window corner. My husband loved it so much that he has taken it over as his… thats to say !

before waxing
after waxing

This time I used a combination of normal emulsion paint and chalk paint together with a #beeswax and a soft-cloth. I had a small paint sample in a grey linen colour and I used a cream emulsion as a contrast. All together with a dark wax it has transformed my trunk into a lovely old looking piece and highlighted all the little lovely features of the piece including all the various signs of wear and tear.

detail before the polishing
lovely technique highlight the wear and tear love signs

It is just now a lovely “shabby chic” piece which will make me proud for a long time to come.

TOTAL COST £10 trunk + £ 3.5 chalk paint + a wee drop of left over emulsion and wax = £15 plus my work

This is a technique I have been teaching in my furniture up-cycling classes but I will add the chalk paint aspect to my autumn class starting on the 22nd september at The House for an Art Lover. This is a run of 10 evenings of fun and creativity on a thursday night. A really very relaxing activity and what best that to create something unique and artistic at a very low cost.

completed piece in my workshop

For information about this class and booking see HERE

If you have any questions about this class email me @ bettysbeautifullife@gmail.com

See you there may be.


Betty xx







You may have heard about the Art Project I am working on for the Mackintosh Festival next October. It will involve stencilling carpets of Glasgow Style roses outside some of the Mackintosh venues. I will involve the public and some school children in the venture. The idea is to show great design and learn new skills while showing a great deal of Scottish Hospitality.

To make this a great project I need to secure some funding and what better than help from friends … If you would like to help this project happening please visit my crowd funding page on Indiegogo and purchase one of the perks available. From ready to use stencils to stencilling courses and multimedia prints you will find a good deal of good design there.

If you would like to take part, keep your eyes on the program of the festival. It will be live shortly on the Glasgow Mackintosh Festival Website or send me an email @ bettysbeautifullife@gmail.com and let me have your contact details.

Thank you in advance.

Betty xx



Doors Open day talks #GlasgowDOD

For many years now September has brought a treat along with the doors open day #DOD for a whole week end with a week end crescendo a great number of buildings all over Europe open to the public free of charge. A great chance to discover local history, enter secret places and lean a great deal about magical places. This has been going for a good number of years and I was delighted when I arrived in Glasgow to see that this great Festival was vibrant with lovely venues and events.

Along the years I have discovered little by little most places and I am looking forward to this years festival. But for one good reason, this time I will be taking part. I will be joining the #heritagetalks of the Festival to share my knowledge in #heritagestencilling with the Glasgow public. I will talk about my experience with #Thehouseforanartlover 20 years ago this years in rebuilding an authentic #mackintosh scheme. I will also talk about more recent work I have done in #victorian and #turnofthecentury buildings at #TheGlasgowGuild

my work at The House for an Art Lover

Two of my most favourite venues have agreed to host my talks:

  • The House for an Art Lover built in 1996 but designed by Charles Rennie Mackintosh in the early 1900’s. I realised the stencilled scheme. It is a beautiful building open to the public today. I will talk and demonstrate about Mackintosh stencilling. I will give talks
  • The Glasgow Guild a specialised furniture restorer, uphoslterer and polishing workshop. I have worked with the Glasgow Guild on some occasion in refurbishment of listed buildings. I will talk there about historic stencilling and running workshops.
a George Walton dear i dtencillednin the foyer of The Glasgow Guild

If you want to browse through the program click here  But if you want to hear about the Open Days in Glasgow then look here

And if you feel adventurous you could take part in the photographs competition and win 3 of my Mackintosh stencils… See the program cover for details.

I hope I will be seing you there. Its great fun to learn new techniques… Come along.


Best wishes … Betty xx