Monday, 30 January 2017

The Street Where You Live - Victorian Box - Julie Ann

Hello! I do hope some winter sunshine has been shining through your windows wherever you live. Earlier in January I resolved to research my father's family who settled in London from Poland in around 1891. This week researching into the little street in Mile End, Old Town where my grandfather, Judah and his wife, Annie started their family led me to create something using Calico Craft Parts: a box that contains some of the secrets of a lost street.

I took one of the MDF Victorian Round Boxes and had a  play with the pieces, along with some tiny windows and doors.

Because Gardom Street, where my grandparents lodged, no longer exists, I was going to have to use my imagination to create the tiny terrace of houses that was their new world.

I started with a 'dry run', assembling the box without any glue and fixing doors and windows temporarily with glue dots.

Once the box was in pieces again, I could decorate each of the mini panels to suggest a separate dwelling. I played with different textures, applying texture paste through stencils, using crackle and ageing the edges with archival ink.

As I worked, ideas came. I decided to feature the one house that stood out for me - Number 7 - where my father was born. One of the mini block Calico house kits was perfect for this. My dream would be to have photos of my ancestors, but for now I imagined Annie looking into the future and inviting me into her present. All I have left of Gardom Street is a name on an old map of London's East End, so I used scraps of map paper as part of Annie's collage.

When we turn the box around, there is Annie's first child, my father, Samuel representing the future in England, which you can see on the tiny map. I painted the lid and surround with acrylic paint and stamped with this 'mini' stamp. The sentiment reads 'Imagination rules the World'. When we look into the past there are so many gaps to fill in with our imagination - plus there is something of a rule and tape measure theme in the piece, as my paternal grandfather, Judah was a tailor.

I covered the backs of tiny Scrabble pieces with map paper and playing card illustrations to convey the idea of travel and chance in my forebears' lives. I used the tiny MDF hinges and catches, but I replaced them in places with copper wire.

Here you can see the copper wire threaded through the hinges at the back and the map paper sides of the miniature house. I used tape with a ruler design along the tops and bottoms of the house panels.

How I wish I could step into Number 7 and meet the family! I used just a touch of gilding paste to highlight texture on the houses.

A bird's eye view: I wonder if Annie fed the little cockney sparrows that visited her window sill?

Thank You for peeping into the past with me and to Calico Craft Parts for helping me to make my dreams and imaginings into something 3D! Whatever your quests and dreams today and in the following weeks may they bring you joy and fulfilment.

Calico Craft Parts Used in this Project
MDF Victorian Round Box with plain edges
Sheet of tiny windows and doors
Mini Block Style House Kit
MDF Engraved Scrabble tiles

Thursday, 26 January 2017

There is nothing like a dream... by Jennie

Hello and welcome to my second project this month. 

I had good clear out of one of my cupboards in the craft room recently and discovered some napkins I hadn't crafted with for a while and I thought they would suit a decoupage style hanging.

I used three notched panels which first got a coat of brown acrylic paint. Note too that when you order your panels you can decide where you want the holes punched - such a brilliant idea!

I then used DecoArt Crackle Paint - painting on a thinnish layer. When it had dried I blended some ink around the edges to give it a more vintage look.

I then decorated each panel with pieces cut or torn from the napkins. I love this particular set as it has a combination of flowers, text and butterflies.

If you have not used napkins before, you need to peel off the layers so you are left with the one very flimsy printed layer. Carefully adhere a gel medium to the back of the napkin piece and lay it very carefully on the panel brushing out from the centre with your paintbrush. Use a very soft brush and delicate strokes but if it does rip it all adds to the vintage look!

Once I was happy with the layering of the napkin I gave the whole panel a coating of gel medium.

For the middle panel I created my own bespoke wood word using the Coventry Garden Font. This is a wonderful way of making your project very personal.

I did my usual "splodging" with acrylic white paint to get this vintage look. 

Finally it was very easy to thread a length of string through the beautifully drilled holes!

Thank you so much for joining me today and I hope this might inspire you to check out some of the napkins you might be hoarding!

Jennie x

Calico Craft Parts Used:

Monday, 23 January 2017

Mini Book in a Box - by Claudia

Servus, hi, salut and thank you so much for stopping by again! It is my turn today to share another (hopefully) inspirational project with you and this time I have followed my love for tiny projects and created a mini book that fits into a matchbox.

I have made my mini book a birthday calendar as I am one of those persons who constantly struggle with keeping track of others' birthdays and always start little notebooks with their birthday dates and then loose them (which actually means I am storing them in such special places that I never find them again *rollingeyes). So it may seem a bit odd to create an even tinier book for my birthday issues...but my hope is that my love for tiny treasures will help me in this case. lol

And just to give you a more precise idea on how tiny this book is:

It fits snugly with the matchbox - so the gorgeous Calico Craft Parts doors are the perfect size to create little books that can be put into matchboxes...which also makes them perfect little gifts, right?

Calico Craft Parts used:

- Sheet of Mini MDF Door Wood Shapes
- Sheet of Mini MDF Hinges Wood Shapes

And here's what I did:

I measured the doors for creating my accordeon fold pages and marked the width of the two needed strips on my cardstock.

Then I added dots of DecoArt Americana Butterscotch, Sea Glass, French Vanilla and Bleached Sand right from the bottles onto the paper...

...and scraped on the paints using an old plastic card.  The trick with this is to not overdo this step as the paints will start to mix too much and the lovely texture will get lost. But the good thing is: you can let it dry and always add another layer if needed until you are content with the look.

Once the paint had dried I cut the two strips to size and added some floral patterns through a stencil using brown archival stamping ink.

The strips were then folded and the edges of the pages inked with the brown stamping ink too. 

The two doors and hinges were given a base coat of DecoArt media fluid acrylic Raw Umber. 

Once that had dried I added tiny amounts of Vaseline here and there using an old small brush.

I painted on a mix of DecoArt media fluid  acrylics Titan Buff and Cobalt Teal Hue using a very soft brush (so not to smudge the Vaseline too much).

Once the paint was dry I wiped across the doors using a damp soft cloth thus taking off the paint that hadn't dried where the Vaseline had been added.

I finished off the doors by adding diluted Raw Umber and White DecoArt media Antiquing Creams.

Next I painted some DecoArt media fluid acrylic Metallic Gold on the hinges and door knobs...

...and toned them down with a wash of Raw Umber Antiquing Cream. 

Using an ultra fine tip black marker I added the months.

Before I glued the pages and door covers together (using matte Decou-Page) I dabbed on some more Metallic Gold around the book pages' edges to make them match the gold look of the hinges and door knobs.

Then I covered an old matchbox with another sheet of paper that I had done the same way as the book pages....

...and did some more handwriting on the box lid. 


I am sure these books would also look great in a doll's house or as mixed media jewellery pendants.  And of course they can be used for other notes than birthdays. Oh, I see endless possibilities for more mini door books here! ;) 

I hope you like my tiny project! 

Hugs and happy crafting,

Thursday, 19 January 2017

Rusty Flower Art by Lesley

Hey everyone, Lesley here with an upcycled rusty piece for you.

This piece was unbelievably cheap to make! The wooden base was rescued form the scrap wood pile at work last year. I originally thought it a piece of skirting board, but looking at the shape of, it seems it isn't. No idea what it was meant for!

It was painted black to begin with, so i gave it a couple of coats of gesso. I then applied a few layers of rust paste all over the block.

The next bit is where it became super cheap! I used the greyboard round mini shapes with rusty wire to make the flowers. As you may know, i'm a huge fan of the mini's......and if you choose to have the shapes in greyboard rather than MDF.....they are even more of a bargain at £1.20 a sheet!
I took 8 of the circles and painted them brown and then added the rust paste to just one side of each of them. Once they were dried i took long lengths of rusty wire, gluing one piece to the back of a circle and shaped some petals for the flowers, leaving 2 long lengths for the stems. I then glued the another circle to the back.

The little clay face was left over from a previous project, which i glued to one of the flowers. I bent the stems to make an L shape and slotted them in the wood, and poured in a liquid glue to secure them.

Whilst this was drying, i took two of the mini MDF plaques and added some wordage.

These were glued to the front of the block. To finish the piece, i added a long length of the wire, wrapping it around the block several times.

I've said it before, and i'll say it again.......these mini shapes are so versatile.........i can't imagine doing a project and not using them!

Cheers for reading,

Ingredients used
Greyboard round mini shapes
Notched rectangle MDF mini wood shapes