Friday 14 April 2017

Springtime Shadow Box by Guest Designer Alison

Hello all!  Alison from Words and Pictures here, and I'm delighted to be back at Calico Craft Parts to share a couple of projects with you this month.  I was so sad when other commitments meant I had to give up my full-time DT post, so it's lovely to return as a guest.  In my usual fashion, it's a photo-heavy post, so grab a coffee and enjoy the ride.

I've been uplifted by spring lately - the fresh plant growth, lighter evenings, soft blossom, and birdsong, and even occasionally some sunshine... and all that is reflected, I hope, in this first creation.

I used one of the fantastic Printers Tray Kits and lined the inside back panel with some paper from the Tim Holtz Wallflower stash.

I painted the interior walls in DecoArt Americana Whitewash and added torn strips of tissue tape covered with light washes of paint to echo the papers behind.

Being able to do all this before you glue the tray together makes it so much easier.

Already I'm pretty happy with the look!

I laid out the Craft Parts I was planning to use, just to check they would all work in the various positions.  I love them in this "naked" state - it's always tough to take the next step, as I think they already look lovely.

But it was time to get going with some paints.  First of all, I gave everything a touch of white to allow the colours to pop over the top.

You'll see the birds only got touches of white.  The MDF is already a great bird colour, and the decorative carving means you get all that detailing included.  And the branches can just stay exactly as they are.

I used this delightful Songbird Trio on a Spring Branch in the medium size on an ATC recently (a perfect fit).  This large one works beautifully across the width of the Printers Tray, I think.

The fresh, bright green of new leaf growth is such a wonderful part of the springtime palette - so bold and zingy.  And again the laser-carved detailing makes it so easy to make the leaves look good.

The stems of the Wild Rose Vines are also done in nice bright greens, with flower heads shaded in Whitewash and Media Fluid Transparent Yellow Iron Oxide.

Who'd have thought that something with such an industrial name would be so pretty added to florals?!

There's a romantic couple - billing and cooing like turtle doves in one corner.

And one of my favourite sentiments in another niche.

I wanted my Photobooth photo and my sentiment to stand proud of the back wall, rather than be stuck down deep in the shadows.

I glued some alphabet dice to the back - picking the least useful letters! - to raise them up.

This adds even more dimensional layers to my tray.

Underneath the sentiment lies an egg, nestled safely in its mossy nook.  (Given what day it is today, I guess we'd have to say it's an Easter egg, no?)

And the moss found its way into the other niches too, adding another touch of nature to the look.

I couldn't resist just a few "naked" Craft Parts.  After all, I needed some more of that rich wood-brown around to echo the unadorned branches on which the birds are sitting.

So there are a couple of Butterfly Wood Shapes fluttering round the rose vines.  I could have painted them, of course, but I love the dark accent they give like this.

I think these are both from the Mini Wood Butterflies Style 5 set.  You get so many butterflies to play with on each sheet, and they're just lovely.

And on opposing corners of the tray, I've got the beautiful Deco Vine Wood Corner twining and curling its way around the edges.

I absolutely love this intricate swirling corner decoration and use it often, though if it's not quite your style there are so many more Corners, Flourishes and Ornaments to choose from, and always in multiple sizes, so you can get just what you need for a particular project.

Which reminds me... I should just quickly show you the exterior too, shouldn't I?  Sorry, I warned you we were photo heavy!

Crackle, what else?!  I used the Decoart Americana Chalky Finish Paints and Crackle Glaze, with greens as the base layer, adding washes of more greens over the top.

Finishing touches... the blossoms scattered around, light accents amidst the earthy greens, browns and greys.  And of course plenty of white spatter to bring it all to life.

And that's pretty much that.  I hope you like this springtime tray.  It was a joy to make, and it makes me very happy to look at now - almost as good as looking out of the window at the real blossom trees!

Thanks so much for stopping by today.  Remember, you can click on any of the links in the text to go shopping for the specific items, or just have a browse around.  I was amazed at how many more designs there are available even than when I was here full-time - there really is something for everyone!  I'll be back in a couple of weeks, so I'll hope to see you again soon.

Alison x
Words and Pictures


  1. So beautiful Alison with the gorgeous Spring colours and shabby splatters. Everything fits together perfectly. Xxx

  2. what a beautiful display project!

  3. Spring is here, captured beautifully within the tray, stunning!!
    Amanda x

  4. Absolutely enchanting Alison! I love your springtime tray!
    Alison x

  5. This is gorgeous, Alison, so glad to see the birds on a branch again,

    Lucy x

  6. I love this tray, Alison. How well you have captured Spring-time. You're so right about the beauty of Calico Craft Parts - that detail is second to none! That tip about giving dimension by using the little alphabet blocks is great - thank you - I have some of those somewhere! It's a delight to see you back here and to enjoy your special way with Calico Craft Parts. Now I'm looking forward to the next project! xx

  7. Absolutely gorgeous Alison - so wonderfully evocative of spring and all it's colours. Lovely to see you here x
    PS Great tip about the alphabet blocks - thank you!

  8. Absolutely stunning Alison!! What a delightful and beautiful make! This shadowbox is simply enchanting!!

  9. Wow! Love your extended stems and branches going all the way up this lovely frame box Alison! Your birds are just so sweet - beautiful splatter, blooms wonderful design overall! Julia xx

  10. Wow, this is just a wonderful and exquisite project by Alison, as only she is able to do in this style! Loving all these craft parts and the tray, and the way Alison has given life to all elements. Scrumptious!!!
    Corinne x

  11. Beautifully designed and made Alison but that comes as no surprise to me! I hope your are having a very nice weekend!!
    sandy xx

  12. The washes of green on the base give such an aged look, the birds are so, so beautiful - and the sentiment is just perfect! Love this! Anne xx

  13. What a truly beautiful piece this is! An absolute delight! Lx

  14. This is absolutely stunning...leaving you more love over on your blog xx

  15. Oh, how lovely, Alison!
    Love that this is so "you" and romantic! And I often struggle too with painting the craft parts because they already look so lovely just the way they are... ;)
    Those white spreckles really make a difference! And how funny - I have just ordered the gorgeous birds on a branch too. These are so adorable!

    An utterly charming spring project from your hand! TFS!

    Claudia xx

  16. Alison, you have given this ridged box so much organic life and movement with your fabulous details! This is a stunner through and through! Wow, how I love your ideas with these fabulous parts. Hugs, Autumn

  17. Lovely to see you back at Calico Craft Parts Alison - you always create beautifully with their products. Everything looks gorgeous here and the whole scene does indeed sing of spring sunshine and nature busy at play.
    Nicola x
    PS That is one neat throw of the dice!! You are clever at recycling!!

  18. How did I miss this Beauty when you posted it? Alison . So glad I followed your link on your cabinet journal .
    This really is so so beautiful. Adore everything about it. Such a wonderful 'nod' to spring.
    hugs x