Thursday, 15 March 2018

A Kaleidoscope of Butterflies by Lesley

Hey people.....Lesley here!

You may have noticed that Helen has gone large AND very small with a new release of wooden tags!
The tiny ones are beyond cute! And the larger ones are super versatile! I have created a mixed media version for you using some mini butterflies.

I didn't bother using any gesso on the tag......just dove straight in with my paint! I used a brayer to apply the paint, drying the layers inbetween so the colours didn't muddy.

I then used white paint and a butterfly stencil from my stash.

Lots of layers were added including stamping, dripping of paint, and a few bits of washi tape.......

I used a sponge to apply two different shades of blue to the little butterflies.

Finally, i added ribbon to the top of the tag.

Best thing about these huge tags can chuck pretty much anything at them.....and they take it!

Thanks for reading,

Ingredients used

Mini MDF butterflies, style 6
MDF tag shape, rounded rectangle

Monday, 12 March 2018

Queen among Cats by Julie Ann

We've just emerged from a bitterly cold spell here in the UK. After several days of white and grey and slippery streets, I curled up with a big pile of art books to brighten my evening with vivid colours and rich symbolism. I was drawn to Elizabethan art during our recent 'cold snap' because I recall that winters during the reign of Elizabeth and her son, James were pretty bleak and there were even times when the River Thames froze over, and 'Frost Fairs' covered the frozen waters with stalls and entertainments. I also noticed that Calico had introduced a beautiful, boat kit - could I combine Elizabethan portraits and Calico art kits in some way?

The answer came in this magnificent 1592 portrait of Queen Elizabeth 1 from The National Portrait Gallery in London, known as the Ditchley portrait. Elizabeth is shown as a powerful but forgiving monarch. The original painting was commissioned by Sir Henry Lee and painted by Marcus Geeraerts the Younger. Researching the symbolism behind the portrait, I discovered that Sir Henry had been a supporter of the Queen, but he had retired from court due to her disapproval at his living openly with his mistress!

What if, I wondered, another courtier commissioned a miniature art piece at that time, one that could be held in her Majesty's hand?

 And what if that little piece of art was commissioned by the Queen's favourite but little known lady-in-waiting - Caterina?

This likeness of the Queen's feline companion is enshrined in a tiny wooden dinghy, symbolising Caterina's hazardous journeys of discovery when she was ship's cat on The Golden Hind.

Caterina was created by collaging my art work of her head onto Geerhaert's beautiful painting, minus the Queen's head (hope that isn't treason!) The body - with its new head - was fixed to strong card stock and I added colour and outlines with fineliner in places to enhance the art work further.

I loved how, in the original, Elizabeth stood on a globe with her feet on Oxfordshire. Taking the base from the boat kit, I used a scrap of vintage map paper with a galleon on it to symbolise Caterina's voyages - when she had the whole world at her paws.

As with all Calico craft parts, the boat kit will take all manner of altering. I had great fun playing with collage, mark making, stamping and painting Caterina's background. This would mostly be obscured when she was enshrined, but it was fun to create!

Now I reversed some Calico Scrabble tiles and covered them with scraps of map paper. These were to decorate the sides of the dinghy.

I used masking tape so that the little tabs designed to slot into the base of the boat would not become clogged with paint and crackle. This also helped to create an aged effect when the tape was torn away.

Here you can see the worn effect when the tape has been removed, the side panels have had some stamping and been slotted in and the map tiles have been added.

You might be able to see that I added some Elizabethan style script stamping on the underside of the panels too.

 A scrap of gauze fixed with fluid gel medium, creates the idea of waves lapping around Caterina's tiny paws. I fixed her to the back of the shrine with a large wooden bead so that she would not be too far back. I hope you have enjoyed meeting Caterina today. The Calico Boat and Oars Kit comes with oars, which I haven't used on this project, but I'm sure you can think of many ways in which they could be utilised. I have other plans for this versatile kit in the future, so please watch this space! Have a lovely, creative day wherever you are and whatever you may be doing.
Calico Craft Parts Used
MDF Boat and Oars Kit
Sheet of MDF Scrabble tiles

Thursday, 8 March 2018

Rosebud Birthday Card by Jennie

Hello and welcome to my first project this month.  I cannot believe that we are already into March! but I am loving the longer evenings and the chance to start a little bit of tidying in the garden. And of course longing for those lovely summer days to come.

With summer in mind I am sharing a simple card project today. This glorious Rosebud Flower Stem has been calling me for a while and I thought it deserved some special treatment but a simple background.

I am not a great painter and so my "daubings" are a bit hit and miss! For the leaves I used a light green paint underneath and then daubed some darker on top. Again with the stem, I started with the light green but added a watery brown so it retained the delicate feel.

I then used a Decoupage crackle glaze over the top and this had the effect of bringing in some of the brown from the MDF  which I really loved.

In fact you can see that better here on the Rose Head which was painted in white but this wonderful brown vintage effect came through as I added the glaze.

I have done nothing more than layered the rose onto some old book paper and a piece of green cardstock which I had stamped on with a rather nondescript stamp. I then layered it all onto some cream cardstock which formed the base card. As I thought this would make a lovely birthday card for a special friend (who loves the colour green!) I added a small label.

And as they say ..... that was that ! The Rose is so beautifully detailed it really doesn't need much more to set it off.

As always thank you for joining me today and happy crafting!

Jennie x

Calico Craft Parts used:

Monday, 5 March 2018

Winter has Returned to the Parks of Castle Schönbrunn! - by Claudia

By the time you are reading this post, the lovely snow may already be gone again, but now - as I am preparing this post (which is on February 20) - it has returned to Vienna and has gently been falling throughout the whole day, covering the fields and parks in white (just when I had already started thinking on putting away the warm boots and winter coats until next year ;)

We don't have a lot of snow over here in Vienna (and I found I really miss it), so I was happy about the sudden return of "hiver" (which is French for "winter" and explained as "the coldest season of the year" in my old Petit LaRousse dictionary) and also inspired to create these two ATCs (click onto images for a larger view):

I love the first one, because the songbird wood shape is just so adorable, but the second is my personal favourite. 
In the parks of Castle Schönbrunn there are long, long pathways with loads of hedges crowded with sparrows, waiting for visitors to spread some dry bread or sunflower seeds they've brought, but what I love even more are the many squirrels that wait for peanuts and other treats - they even come and pick them from your hands if you hold still enough. The Viennese like to call them "Hansi" (which is German for "Johnny"). Don't ask me why. Especially older people often pick that name to call the squirrels (or also swans on lakes). 
So there are (even three!) Hansis and my special friend, Mr. Hedgehog, on my ATC, all being surprised by the sudden snowfall. 

There are a lot of gorgeous squirrel wood shapes in the Calico Craft Parts shop, but I especially fell in love with the ATC wood blank with the Squirrel and Hedgehog Frame
and the cute squirrels on a branch

Calico Craft Parts used on both ATCs:

This is how the ATCs were done:

I started with dry brushing DecoArt Americana Chalky Finish paint "primitive" onto all the parts I wanted to use. The Chalky Finish paints can be applied very evenly and provide great coverage and tooth for painting or stamping onto it. They dry to a matte finish, which is something I especially like about them. Dry brusing (instead of brushing on) is necessary so none of the beautiful and fine detail on the Craft Shapes get lost! 

I used crackle and scratch stamps and dark brown archival stamping ink to add a bit of texture.

Then I scraped on tiny amounts of DecoArt media Titan Buff. That was followed by a mix of Titan Buff and Burnt Sienna.

Translucent White was used to scrape on the top layer.

I did the same with the Craft Shapes and the ATC frame.

Once all had dried, I painted a tree (well, part of a tree) in Burnt Sienna...

and also added touches of it to the squirrels, the hedgehog and the songbirds.

The landscape on the other ATC was painted using Translucent White and Burnt Sienna.

Using a splatter brush and diluted DecoArt premium Titanium White, I created the falling snow.

The left over Titanium White was brushed onto the top sides of the branches, the leaves and the ATC frame to add more snow.

Both ATCs were sealed with DecoArt media Gloss Varnish. I also used the varnish to directly glue the songbird wood shape and label holder onto the ATC (by simply placing them into the still wet varnish).
The ATC frame and squirrel wood shapes were glued on using DecoArt matte Decou-Page.

The cut out "winter" definitions from the French dictionary were glued in place using the Gloss Varnish and a soft brush.

To finish off my ATCs I added touches of DecoArt Gold Rush Metallic Lustre using my fingertip. I applied it around the ATC frame and edges and on top of the songbirds and other animals.


And once again I was amazed by how much media and content can be put onto such a small format!
Here are some close ups:

 I hope you like my little winter flashback! 

Hugs and happy crafting!

Thursday, 1 March 2018

Bats Gone Wrong-by Lesley

Howdy folk.
I hope you're all wrapped up warm and toasty on what it probably the coldest day of the year so far! A scorching -4 where i am!

The piece i wanted to share with you today is sadly not quite finished. My craft room is my basement......and it is so blinkin' cold down there at the mo........i can't work down there! So i have rustled up another piece from the confines of my kitchen!

Now.....i absolutely hate waste. And with that in mind, i used some off cuts for this canvas. The piece i was working on originally.........i cut up some of these bats.....i only wanted the wings. So, i had the rather cute dumpy bodies left.

How dinky are these little fellas!?

The canvas board is 6x6" in size, which i primed with gesso.

I then used some paint and my pinkies and covered the board, drying inbetween layers as i went.

For the little fat bats......i sanded down the sides where i had cut off their wings. I then stamped onto them and added a couple of coats of melted wax on top.

I cut of some fluffy bits from some old feathers and glued them on the back before adhering them to the board. I then used dots of black enamel for their eyes.
A word element was used for them to sit on.

Right.....fingers crossed this horrid cold weather disappears soon, and i can venture back downstairs again!

Thanks for reading,

Ingredients used
Word elements, travel and explorer
Vampire bat silhouette