Monday, 26 September 2016

Spool City - Mini Shrine Storage! by Julie Ann

Hello, it's my favourite Monday - the one when I get to play with Calico Craft Parts! This time I'm thinking about the coming months when I'll be creating Christmas gifts and wrapping them with twines and ribbons. My stash of trims and twines on wooden spools remind me of a little city, so I decided to brighten up my crafting area with a fantasy Spool City! Who lives inside the houses and how do they help me with my gift wrapping, I wonder?

My 'go to' material when it comes to attaching a tag or tying a package is good old, rustic twine. There's something very special about the combo of 'brown paper packages tied up with string', so my city is presided over by the beautiful, practical Twine Goddess always there to dispense string to her followers.

To make her, I combined one of the new doll kits from Calico - I am completely besotted with these - and a shrine kit. I used just the torso of the smallest sized doll and her arms. For the inside of the shrine, I painted with light acrylics and then made circle marks. The tiny circles are made by dipping the plastic packaging from a paint-brush into puddles of yellow paint and then printing with it! I try to keep to the rule of having the interiors of the shrines lighter so that they are easier to see against the darker outside walls.

I chose a warm coral for the outside with some vintage style tape in a complementary colour. The halo is from a sheet of mini Steam Punk shapes. I used one of my own hand-drawn faces for the roof/Goddess's head.

Lace scraps, stiffened with heavy gel medium and brushed with a touch of gilding wax made her sleeves and skirt. I added tiny blobs from a lilac pearl pen to finish her off.

Who doesn't love surprises? The Goddess has a neighbour, Chance. She adds to the mystery and excitement of gift giving! She plays with miniature die and flies on the wings of imagination.

This tiny house is decorated with patterned tissue, embossed copper foil and little scrabble tiles transformed into vintage playing card tiles with digital downloads of vintage playing cards stuck to the reverse, plain side of the Scrabble tiles. Mini windows and an all-seeing eye help her in the quest for the perfect gift and the prettiest ribbon to tie it with.

I stamped the walls with text and white embossed to create contrast against the Jade walls. Edging with Gilder's wax helps to create a vintage feel, which goes well with the dark wood of the spools.

Here's a glimpse of what she looked like before her home was fixed. As with all Calico 3D pieces, these shrines are so easy to assemble with a little white, non-toxic super glue applied to the edges before you slot them in. I use a wooden barbecue skewer to apply the glue.

  The third shrine is home of the Knave of Hearts. He reminds me that it's important to wrap a gift with love and to be as creative and imaginative as we are when making or choosing it. I cut the words from a sheet of designer paper. There's some map paper and some vintage style tape on the roof and the clay roses are from home-made moulds.

Now I just need to start making those Christmas gifts! I wonder if someone might actually like a spool shrine in their stocking? Have a lovely, creative week whatever you choose to do and thank you for visiting my Spool City!

Calico Craft Parts Used
MDF Plain Tall House/Shrine Kit (Small)
Standard jointed Art Doll Kit, Style 2 (Small)
Sheet of Mini MDF Steam Punk Motifs, Style 3
MDF Plain Tall House/Shrine Kit (Mini Kit)
Sheet of MDF Wood Scrabble Tiles
Sheet of MDF Wood Wings
Sheet of tiny MDF doors and windows


  1. I love shrines and yours are just so lovely and beautiful, Julie Ann! The Twine Goddess really looks like a very generous and kind goddess and as she gives good old twine (which is one of my favs too when it comes to fixing tags to objects) spool city has to be a wonderful place to live in! Absolutely adorable!

    Claudia xx

  2. Oh My Julie Ann! These are so beautiful - what a wonderful idea too! Chrisx

  3. so gorgeous and imaginative! I love the stories and the art! xo

  4. Thank you so much for the lovely comments, ladies! I am using these spools already and having lots of fun doing so. xx

  5. Oh wow these are amazing. I love the combination of those doll parts with the shrines and spools. And your wnderful faces. Chance is my favourite, with her hands clutching the die.

    Lucy x

    1. Thank you so much, Lucy, I had lots of fun making them.xx

  6. This trio of tiny helpers will add touches of magic to all your gift wrapping endeavors, Julie! Very dear, and all the little touches just make them that much more precious...thank you for sharing your process!

    1. Thank you so much, Heather. It's always special when you visit! xx

  7. Magical and oh so wonderful in every detail Julie Ann ♥
    Your faces are so beautifully done too.