Friday, 28 April 2017

Gilded Verdigris Tags by Guest Designer Alison

Hello all.  It's Alison here again from Words and Pictures with the second of my guest appearances here this month.  (If you missed the first, do take a look at my Springtime Shadowbox.)  I went through a number of stages before I ended up with this pair of gilded verdigris tags, but the Craft Parts can take any number of layers being thrown at them, so it's okay if you're feeling indecisive!

Even though I went the long way round to get there, I really like the antiqued burnished metal look I've ended up with.

And although, as usual, I set myself a photography challenge in trying to capture that look, I think you get a sense of the gleam of the gold in the sunlight, as well as the weathered chalkiness of the Distress Oxides and the oxidising Verday paints I was using.

It all started with some texture paste through a stencil onto a pair of tags, covered with a coat of gesso, applied so as to give even more texture to the look.

I added washes of Transparent Yellow Iron Oxide DecoArt Media Fluid Acrylic, along with Pumice Stone Distress Crayon for shading.  I really liked this subtle vintage look, but somehow I couldn't progress any further - other than adding the die-cut cardboard shapes for another dimensional layer.

So next it was on to the Oxides... I challenged myself to step outside my colour comfort zone and try out the Fossilized Amber and Spiced Marmalade, and I found myself really enjoying the golden glow of it.

I thought I knew the two main pieces I wanted to use - from Calico's selection of Flora and Fauna Decorative Wood Flourishes - but I couldn't decide on the finish for them.  You can see here a couple of experiments with some of the Mini Butterflies.  (I only had one each of the Flourishes, so I had to wait until I was closer to knowing what I wanted to do with them.)

And I was also thinking of including some vintage photos at this stage.  I was really tempted - as always - to just leave the Craft Parts "naked".  I do like this version - maybe I should have stuck with it (but with bare butterflies too).

Suddenly I remembered my Verday Paint and Patina - so far mostly used on dollshouse projects - and thought it might be nice to go for a coppery verdigris to contrast with the golden sunshine background.  This is the first coat - a true metallic copper.

Then you add a second coat and spritz that with the patina spray and allow the verdigris to develop as the metal particles in the paint oxidise.  (So we have Oxides and actual oxidisation!)

The verdigris green made me want to experiment with adding a similar shade to my background, so I used washes of Distress Paint (Broken China, Evergreen Bough, and maybe some others in the mix too) to add softer blue-green shadows within the texture.

And having got that far, I decided I really didn't want to cover up too much of these beautiful backgrounds, so the photos hit the dust, and I started to play with arranging the Butterfly & Vine...

... and the Morning Glory Vine & Butterfly with the other elements on the tags.

As I went, I decided I wanted a little more depth and a little more gilding.  So I started adding Treasure Gold in Florentine and Aquamarine to the edges of the Craft Parts...

... as well as to the edges of the tags.  And I also used my Sepia Archival Ink to deepen the burnish of the gilding.

I had to have some spatter of course.  I'd already spattered some Oxide inks in places, but I also used the Broken China Distress Paint.  I really love the look of this as part of the verdigris distressing.

I used a couple of my much-loved WordBands to add the words.

They've each had a touch of the same Treasure Gold waxes to help them tone in.

And they're fastened to the tags (now mounted on sturdy cardboard) with the same fine gold wire which adorns the tops of the tags.

So, it took me a while to get there - and I'll probably go back and recreate some of the earlier vintage look backgrounds for projects in the future - but in the end, I think it's a good look for the Craft Parts.

What do you think?  Should I have stopped at an earlier stage?  Or was it worth continuing down the experimental path?  Either way, thanks so much for stopping by today.

Remember, you can click on any of the links to find the specific items, or you could just go and have a browse at Calico Craft Parts if I've tempted you.  Many thanks to Zuzu and the team and the fantastic Calico Craft Parts owners and designers, Helen and Steve, for having me back to play along again.  I've had a wonderful time.

Alison x
Words and Pictures

Wednesday, 26 April 2017

Lost My Shoe, I Did - by Lesley

Hey people, Lesley here with an altered canvas for you.

Child number one went to Tesco the other day for some treats and left her purse at the checkout. She came back super upset.....and i sent her back to leave our phone number there should someone hand it in. She really didn't want to go....and i was trying to explain to her that there were nice folk in the world and it might turn up. This reminded me of when i used to run pubs (in another life, before kids) and the numerous people that used to come in on a sunday/monday asking if i had found their purse/necklace etc.
One particular weekend, a girl came in asking me if i had found her shoe! She just kept saying to me "lost my shoe, i did". How on earth do you lose a shoe?
I was still thinking about her when i sat down to do my Calico piece......and this is how the canvas came about!

I started by priming the canvas with gesso and then used Decoart chalk finish paints on it. 2 colours and some crackle glaze were used. And i used black paint to age the canvas.

I used different parts from the pipework maze craft parts set for added dimension around the edge of the canvas, and a few bits on the front. These bits were painted green with a touch of gold wax added.

I added a piece of hessian into the aperture of the canvas where the shoe would hang and then added a hole in the dolls shoe to attach a jump ring and a length of chain so the shoe would hang in the hole of the canvas.

I had to add the words "lost my shoe, i did" seemed wrong not to!

The mini plaques were painted green before adding the stamped words.

I never did find the girls shoe, and sadly child number one never got her purse back either. A lesson learnt for the thirteen year old.......take care of your stuff!

Thanks for reading,

Ingredients used
Pipework maze
Notched rectangle mini plaques

Sunday, 23 April 2017

Calico Cat Box - Julie Ann

Hello and Welcome to the Calico Craft Parts Blog. I've been having fun creating animal characters by 'collaging' my own sketches onto bodies from classic portraits. These combinations suggest all kinds of stories to me. Here is a cat portrait I had been working on. All I needed was the right body for my feline friend - and some beautiful Calico Parts to add dimension!

At first I was convinced I had created a feline page or minstrel!

Until I placed the head on this elegant 18th century lady's body, replacing her human hands with paws; arranged the portrait against part of a master  board I'd already created and fixed it to a Calico MDF plain egg...

A completely different character took shape - an elegant white kitty with clear, blue eyes; a love of gossiping with her feline friends or conversing with feline poets, musicians and wits at her famous salon.

Feathers and fine silks came to mind; lace and the scent of exotic balms and perfumes; the chink of bone china tea-cups; the glint of gold leaf; the purr of sophisticated voices and above it all the trill of a pet canary. I reached for a sheet of Calico feathers, experimenting with dragging a cocktail stick dipped into acrylic paints through a tiny blob of pearl glaze to create a marble, feathered effect.

The character taking shape could have been a decorative plaque, but I was beginning to imagine her at home in the boudoir of a fine lady of fashion in the eighteenth century.

I chose one of the Calico trinket boxes and used a Crackle glaze to age it.

Some delicate, script stamping in black, and some gilding along the edges provided the finishing touches.

A tiny brass cabinet knob would help make the box lid easy to remove or replace...

and I added feet in the form of 4 little wooden, blue beads.

I wonder what my box might contain? I imagine it to be an 18th century comfits box. Comfits were nuts, fruits or seeds coated with candy and a very popular confection in the 18th and 19th centuries, or perhaps it contains tooth powder to keep Mistress Kitty's teeth as white as a string of milky pearls. What do you imagine the contents to be? Wherever you are and whatever you're doing, I hope you're feeling inspired by the scent of Spring in the air. Have a great week and see you back here in a fortnight.
Calico Craft Parts Used
Trinket Box (plain, style 2)
Plain MDF Wood Egg Shape
Sheet of Mini MDF Wood Feathers

Wednesday, 19 April 2017

A Corner of My Heart by Jennie

Hello Everyone! and welcome to my second project this month.

I spent a lovely day with my dear cousin at RHS Rosemoor last year and we found a gorgeous little hideaway in the garden grounds which we both felt we wanted to "take home" with us! We came home with just the memory (and a lovely photograph) so with this in mind I decided to alter a little Calico Craft Parts House.

I am sorry there are no process photographs - I was so sure I had taken them but I cannot find them on my camera! So I must have been dreaming! As I was using papers I decided to cover the inside walls first and then made the house up.

It was easy enough to cover the sides and back drawing around the relevant parts for the right size.

I edged my papers with some Vintage Brown Ink and everything stuck down very well.

I decided to crackle the roof using DecoArt Crackle Paint over a dark brown paint. I then used some pieces of the Holly Leaf Corner Embellishment which were left over from a previous project. They had already been painted with a light covering of white paint - just lightly so the natural brown underneath shows through in places.

The little piece of fence was also left over from a previous project and fitted the corner just perfectly!

Finally I had my usual fun adding a few tiny embellishments snipped from papers and added the Vintage Art Dolls using four layers of foam pads to give a little depth.

Everything had to be scaled down for this tiny little house including the flowers.

A lovely keepsake memory of a wonderful day at RHS Rosemoor!

Thank you for joining me and I hope your week is filled with some crafting time.

Jennie x

Calico Craft Parts used:

Monday, 17 April 2017

Oriental Style Cinnabar Lacquer Box - by Claudia

Happy Easter Monday and welcome back to another share of Calico Craft Parts goodness, dear craftin' friends!

I made another box (as you can never have enough boxes, right?) - but this time in a totally different style and technique of course ;)

I tried to imitate the wonderful colour and look of oriental cinnabar lacquer pieces and the idea for this box came right out of the blue when I opened my Calico Craft Parts DT parcel and found that the 100mm x 100mm square shaped mixed media greyboard blanks were a perfect fit with the largest cube of the Square Aperture ATB Cube why not use the two to create a beautiful little box (and keep the two smaller cubes for a smaller project)?!!!

Calico Craft Parts used:

- Artist Trading Block Cube Kit - Square Aperture
- Square Shape Greyboard Mixed Media Board - Style 27 (smallest size)
- Sheet of Mini MDF Hinges Wood Shapes
- Art Deco & Nouveau Style Ornament Shapes - Style 17

I like to use matte DecoArt Decou-Page for assembling my ATB cubes as it dries really quickly. Once the largest block was ready I painted it with DecoArt "Venetian Gold" Dazzling Metallics paint on the inside and DecoArt Americana "True Red" acrylic paint on the outside.

Then I applied some clear DecoArt media Crackle Glaze to the box lid and four sides of my ATB cube using a palette knife. I made sure that I spread the Crackle Glaze quite loosely and in layers here and there and that I left areas uncovered (especially around the edges). I found that this technique works best with "older" Crackle Glaze that has already become a bit less fluid so it doesn't do its self-levelling trick that much anymore (which is just perfect for the desired look).

Of course I could only do one side at a this is a project that needs a bit of time (I put my covered box close to my daylight lamp that gives a bit of warmth to speed up the process and got some household stuff done during drying times. I think each side took about thirty to forty minutes to dry that much so I could cover the next). 

While that was set aside to dry I applied some "Gold Rush" DecoArt Metallic Lustre to my mini hinges and Art Deco ornaments using my fingertip. 

Once the clear Crackle Glaze had dried I added a thorough coat of DecoArt media "Carbon Black" Antiquing Cream to lid and box. I worked it well into all the cracks and crevices with a soft brush and let it dry before I sprayed a soft cloth with water and wiped off the excess so the cracks and texture became more visible. 

This image shows how the "layered" (and scraped on) Crackle Glaze created additional texture besides its wonderful crackle effect. It also shows where the black Antiquing Cream stayed in spots where no Crackle Glaze was applied to: 

Lid and box were sealed with a thin coat of DecoArt media Gloss Varnish and the mini hinges and Art Deco ornaments were placed right into the still wet varnish so it worked as a glue as well. 

I used matte Decou-Page to fix the metal corners to the box.

Then it was time to fix the lid. 

I cut a small piece of linen bookcloth to size and first only glued one half onto the edge of the box using matte Decou-Page. I let everything dry thoroughly before I painted the "linen hinge" with Gold Rush Metallic Lustre. 

Then I attached the box lid to the other half of the linen strip and let that dry while the box was closed (I made sure there was no excess glue that might glue my lid closed! ). 

If you use this technique to fix lids to containers where you cannot use metal hinges make sure you do not open and close the lid until the glue has totally cured! But if you are patient you will be rewarded with a quite strong linen bookcloth hinge ;)

Yes, it was that easy! ;)

There are many more new and beautiful Art Deco & Nouveau Craft Parts in the store that would go well with this type of project! I really love them all and guess I will have to do some more boxes with different ornaments as they're all so pretty!

Once again the finished box: 

I hope you like my oriental style box with the faux (and aged) cinnabar lacquer look! I love the result so much that I am sure there will be more boxes made from ATB Cube kits and mixed media greyboars in the future (I think they make gorgeous presents, don't they?). ;)

Thank you so much for stopping by and I hope to see you again in two weeks!

Hugs and happy crafting!