Monday, 18 June 2018

Where's the Garden Twine? Tiny Spool House by Julie Ann.

Hello! It's lovely to be back at the Calico Craft Parts Blog, where today I'm sharing a miniature project with a practical purpose.I love summer days spent among the fragrant roses, philadelphus and geraniums in my garden, listening to the hum of the bees and the birdsong as I weed and dead-head. I like to use bright, colourful twine in the garden, so I decided to create a very distinctive spool that would ensure I could always lay my hand on it. Please meet Flora who always reminds me of the jobs that need to be done in the garden.

Like me, Flora is drawn to the window by the sounds of birdsong and the scents of the garden wafting in on the early morning breeze. She can sit for hours watching the grass blow, or the bees visiting their favourite blooms.

To make Flora's garden home, I glued together one of the mini Calico Craft Part Block style tall house kits and applied a coat of Gesso to an antique style spool. I like to leave the roof open, either for storage or for adding interesting bits and pieces inside.

The next step was to create Flora using pretty floral, Chiyogami papers and some of my own artwork.

Here she is after her edges have been filed and I've added some definition to her face using water-colour crayons and fine graphic pens. I've also drilled a tiny hole in the bottom of the house and threaded some copper wire through. This is for one of Flora's bees to hover and fly when the spool is moved.

I wanted my project to look as interesting from the back as the front, so I chose these Calico windows. The Chiyogami paper behind this one gives a lovely, warm glow. We can't see Flora through this window, but I expect she is inside flipping through seed catalogues in the lamplight.

The turquoise paintwork on Flora's windows has crackled a little with the years, but they still remind her of bluebells nodding in the spring-time breeze.

To create the bumble bee hovering among the swishing grasses, I sandwiched the end of the copper wire between two bees, liberally coated with crafting glue. Here you can see that I painted over the Gesso on the spool with some green acrylic paint and dry brushed with a touch of peacock blue.

What I really needed here was a video so that you could see how the bumble bee does his  'waggle dance' among the grasses.

Moss helped to create the impression of a garden around the house. Little white brads made great door handles. I took apart some of the Calico Craft Parts - the branch and the hive from the MDF sheet, some fern fronds, grasses and the songbirds on a branch - to create the impression I wanted. Although they are very delicate and detailed, the craft parts break cleanly and look very effective when they are secured down in different arrangements.

Thank you for stopping by today and meeting Flora, my garden helper. If you have some spools in your stash, why not give them an individual look with a Calico Mini House? Wishing you sunny days and refreshing rain in the weeks to come.

Calico Craft Parts Used in this Project
Block Style Tall House Kit, Mini
Window Style 16
Window Style 17
Sheet of MDF Bees and Beehives
Songbirds in Spring Branches
Wild Grass Wood Shape
Maidenhair Fern Wood Shape

Saturday, 16 June 2018

Photo in a Jar - by Kerstin


I'm absolutely happy and proud, because I'm the newest teamie

on the amazing design team from Calico Craft Parts :-).

I'm a big fan of their MDF shapes, because they have an individual design with exquisite contours and shades which give them a very unique and personal touch.

Thanks so much to the team and Calico Craft Parts for your heartily and friendly welcome!

"A picture is worth more than a thousand words" - a well-known saying
that reflects me and my attitude towards life.
If something is unclear, you can always ask me and I will always try to help you.

Today I want to share with you an idea for a home decoration piece,
which is also perfect as gift for a beloved family member.

It's very simple and made quickly - you only have to pay attention to the size of the individual parts, so they fit through the narrow neck of the bottle. The easiest way is to work with tweezers.

 I used a transparent glass bottle and poured a lot of Baltic Sea sand into it. Then I cut a beach chair from a photo. The newest Seahorse & Seashell Collage (Size M) was so awesome for me, because I love seahorses in all types and sizes.

different side views

some details

 I didn't want to paint the Craft Parts at first, because I was afraid of destroying the fine contour lines.
That's why I decided to rather use Antiquing cream; a water based tinting medium from DecoArt in Titanium White, Patina Green and Raw Umber. For the seahorse I used a little bit orange water colour. Also in some places I glued on Decosand using Heavy Gel Medium.

 Calico Craft Parts MDF shapes used:

Thanks for your visit!
Enjoy your weekend!

Thursday, 14 June 2018

Home by Jennie

Hello and welcome to a quick little project using one of my favourite Calico Craft Parts pieces - bespoke wood words! 

A friend is returning home after spending some time travelling and rather than send a welcome home card I thought I would make her a little hanging.

I have been marvelling at some of the broken bird egg shells in the garden (following hatching!) which are a most beautiful blue and wanted to try and create something similar. So not quite a duck egg blue base but soft enough to show through the white crackle. I have used DecoArt Weathered Wood for the crackle and applied it thickly in places to get a more open crackle.

I have used the Coventry Garden Font for this four letter word. There are a good selection of sizes so you can always find one to fit your project. I have kept it simple and just painted it white.

And then the simplest of flower embellishment - soft colours to match the background but with a little bit of blush pink to lift it all.

A quick and easy project but which I think will be appreciated for longer than a card.

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

Jennie x

Calico Craft Parts used:

Monday, 4 June 2018

The Fairy Dust Theatre - Calico Punch and Judy Booth Kit

Hello Everyone! I hope you've been enjoying sunny weather where you are and that you've managed to fit in a visit to the seaside, or maybe you plan to soon? When I was small, my favourite part of a trip to Brighton or Hastings on the South Coast of England, was the anticipation as I watched the Punch and Judy man set up his booth on the seafront. Although I found the character of Mr Punch terrifying and I didn't enjoy seeing poor Judy beaten black and blue, I loved the bright colours of the miniature theatre and the details on the puppet's costumes. I always hoped that perhaps, this time, the puppets would have a happier tale to tell!

Once I was home with my collection of sea-shells and the salty sea smell still in my nostrils, I would create my own little theatres from cardboard boxes and make puppets from paper and card. Seeing the Calico Punch and Judy Booth kit took me back to those days, so I decided to let my imagination run free with one of the small, plain kits!

I wanted to transform the Booth into a Mixed-media theatre of magic and dreams. Red and Gold are not colours that I often work with, but they seemed suitably theatrical. The decorative flourish at the top of the booth reminded me not only of Mr Punch's hat, but also of that of the Joker in a pack of cards. I used my own artwork of a face and hands to suggest the Joker/Puppeteer bending over with the marionette's strings at the ready as we wait for the show to begin.

The MDF pieces that make up the kit don't need Gesso; but I like to give them a thin coat before collaging with tissue and adding some rubber stamping.

A wash of translucent blue gave me a background to work upon. It suggested to me the sunshine and blue skies of a perfect childhood day and the layers of memories and stories that shape us.

You can see from this shot of the back of the kit that I used embossing paste through a stencil as my final 3D layer. Green wooden beads provide the finials on the 2 rear corners.

I used a harlequin stencil and gold embossing paste to continue the playing card/Joker theme. What fate awaits the characters who prepare for the drama to unfold? At the moment their only audience is a tiny wren, but I expect the sea-gulls are gathering over head too! The sun faces on the bunting echo the stamping on the background.

And here is the seagull's eye view as he swoops down to watch the show!

Perhaps the clowns and minstrels who sing and dance to attract their audience are also the puppet actors in the show. Once you have taken your seat and you are settled with the wren and the seagulls they will vanish and re-appear in costumes that seem to have been sprinkled with fairy dust.

Will the Lion Minstrel put on the royal robes of the enchanted Beast?

Will the Sad Clown become The Happy Prince?

Will the Little Clown who thought she was no more than a funny dreamer become a Princess?

Buy your ticket and see!

Thank You so much for stopping by today. I do hope you will be inspired to create your very own puppet booth. You might want to keep to the traditional Punch and Judy. If you do, the kits come with their own Punch and Judy plaque. This can also be reversed for your own signage if you wish. You might want to create tiny puppets to appear on the miniature stage or try out the larger size booth. Whatever you create and wherever your summer travels take you, have a wonderful week.
Calico Craft Parts Used
Punch and Judy Booth Kit (small, plain)
Sheet of Wooden MDF Garden Birds

Thursday, 31 May 2018

Early Autumn Dreams by Jennie

Hello everyone and welcome to my final experimental ATC this month.

I am again using the same colours as before but this time with the addition of a little Paynes Grey and what a difference it has made!

I wanted to create a dark background on the ATC so blended these three colours until I was happy with the finish. This was a really good opportunity to try blending but without worrying too much as crackle was going to cover it up!

DecoArt Weathered Wood Crackle was then added on top  but I did rub away some bits and pieces here and there and around the edges. I didn't like the white as I felt it was too stark so I gave it a wash with a very watery Paynes Grey and then flicked some Quinacridone Gold onto the ATC and around the edges.

I felt very pleased with this effect and didn't want to cover it up too much. So this gorgeous leaf got the same colours blended onto it but this time with a very stiff bristle brush.

I then added DecoArt Crackle Glaze and rubbed in a little White Antiqueing Cream. I love how this mutes and blends the colours even further.

Lastly I coloured a few mini letters with the same colours. They came out a little darker than I planned but it is quite difficult to blend the colours on such a small item!

Both the leaf and letters are a perfect size for the ATC and allowing a good part of the crackle to be visible.

Calico Craft Parts used:

And so here are my three ATCs using the same DecoArt Fluid Acrylics but utilising different techniques.  The Calico Craft Parts pieces are just perfect for taking these mediums and the ATCs themselves allow experimentation with lots of layers without buckling. A perfect combination for experimentation!

As always thank you for joining me and I hope you have enjoyed my experiments as much as I have. I am sure I shall be using these techniques on larger projects in the future, but it has been great to experiment first on the ATCs. And of course they are a great reference too.

Jennie x

Monday, 28 May 2018

Happiness Comes in Waves - by Claudia

Servus, hi and thanks so much for stopping by today!
Spring is in full swing over here in Donaustadt, Vienna, which means that some of the lawns and fields of the market gardens nearby are covered by thousands of poppies. There will be more poppies throughout the next months in the roadside ditches and little corners here and there, but now there's this ocean of red and only for a very limited time.

As there's the Old Danube and many little ponds as well, the large dragonflies and seagulls are back too. These together with the bright red from the poppies form a very special atmosphere that I enjoy so much when walking my dog these days. I wanted to treasure this special mood by capturing it in a tag.

And with the beautiful "Wild Poppies" Wood Shape this was quite easy to do. ;)

Calico Craft Parts used:

- Wild Poppies MDF Wood Shape - Style 55
- MDF Tag Shape - Classic
- Sheet of Mini MDF Wood Birds - Seagulls
- Sheet of Mini Insects - MDF Wood Shapes Style 1
- Word Elements - Summer and Seaside

As usual I started with finding the perfect spots for the Wood Shapes I wanted to use and took a picture (in case I needed it for reference).

Then I dry brushed the poppies, word band, sea gulls, bee and dragon fly with two layers of DecoArt media white Gesso. 

I used DecoArt Americana paints on the whole tag. To create the first background layer for the sky, I mixed Ultra Blue Deep, Sea Breeze and White Wash on my palette and on the tag, scraping the paints on with a palette knife.

After the first layer had dried, I applied pure Ultra Blue Deep and White Wash to add a cloudy look.

The background for the poppies was done the same way - mixing Festive Green, Avocado Dip, Citron Green and Limeade with the palette knife on the palette and while scraping the paints on wet on wet.
While I used only horizontal movements when scraping on the sky, I used only vertical movements for the meadow.

For the poppies I used Alizarin Crimson, True Red, Cadmium Red, Festive Green and Black Plum.

I worked wet on wet to create shades of reds for more dimension. The centres of the poppies were painted using watered down Yellow Light.

The sea gulls, bee and dragon fly were painted using a detail brush and Yellow Light, Charcoal Grey, White Wash, Sea Breeze and Red Iron Oxide.

The painted parts were glued to the tag using matte DecoArt Decou-Page. Later - after everything had dried - I added a bit of doodling with a white gel pen around the edges of the word band and the tag.

But first I added some DecoArt media Liquid Glass to the insects' wings. After that had cured I swiped on some Turquoise DecoArt Metallic Lustre with my fingertip.

A thorough coat of Triple Thick was brushed onto the poppies...

...but I left the stamina untreated so the lovely texture from the Craft Parts would not get lost.

Finally the word band was fixed to the tag using sticky foam pads and string. 


Some close ups as usual: 

I hope I have managed to capture this special time of year or at least the hint of what I love so much about it.  The sight of the fields covered in red, the sea gulls' cries and the big dragon flies buzzing by - that definitely touches me like a  "wave of happiness".

There are other lovely poppy wood shapes in the Calico Craft Parts shop...simply use the search function on the shop page or browse the Flora and Fauna section for the collection of Poppy Wood Shapes.

Hugs and happy crafting!