Monday 20 November 2017

A Box of Winter Delights by Julie Ann

Hello it's great to be at Calico Craft Parts and today I'd like to invite you to step inside a winter's world captured within a frame. For some time I've wanted to have a play with one of the Calico Craft Parts Birch Plywood Box Frame kits and I decided to just let my imagination lead me into this winter's tale. There is a list of all the Calico Craft Parts I used at the end of the blog.

As with all Calico Craft Parts, these box frame kits are really adaptable. They come with a glass panel, which you can slip in and out of the frame and you can change the arrangement if you wish. Because I wanted to create a winter scene the viewer could 'step into', I fixed my elements inside. I also preferred not to use the glass for the effect I wanted to achieve.

My imagination was sparked by these winter-themed napkins, which I tore and fixed with fluid matte medium to the back and sides of the box.

For a magical twilight mood, I blended thin layers of teal and light green acrylic mixed with an acrylic glaze.

I had been wanting to use one a little paper-clay head I'd created by making a mould from this German doll's head. You can see that at first I intended her to be a conventional Christmas angel, but I think she had other ideas!

She was much more of a Nature Spirit!

These beautiful window frames from Calico remind me of the glorious stained glass windows we saw on our recent trip to Belgium. I used Japanese paper and gem stones to try to create the effect of them glimmering in the winter evening.

I just used the outer frame rather than the two pieces with glass between and applied a crackle finish.

Winter worlds within worlds was my plan, so I created this little haven, watched over by a guardian angel fox. I had lots of fun creating ice and snow with ice-resin, gesso and acrylic paint dripped from a cocktail stick!

Putting the whole assemblage together was lots of fun and I reached for a few additional Calico details along the way! I wanted to keep the 'rustic' look of the plywood so I simply stamped in paint on the sides and then used a clear embossing powder to add a little dimension to the stamping, sponging the corners with white acrylic with a dusting of distress glitter.

Step through the frame and we're invited into a frost-bound world, but we don't have to be lonely or cold. The choir is singing carols and the sweet sound fills the chilly evening. Angel Fox invites us to join her by a cosy fire and listen to her stories before we step back into our own world.

I plan to display this little scene above my fireplace this Christmas, but the kit does come with the fittings for you to fix it to the wall. I hope you have been inspired to create your own boxes of winter delights to add a little Seasonal Magic this winter. 

There are so many beautiful Calico pieces you could use with your own artwork and found objects. Have fun!
List of Calico Craft Parts 
Birch Plywood Box Frame Kit
Sheet of mini MDF snowflakes
Mini Star Wreath (split into 2 pieces)
Steampunk Snowflake corner embellishment
Window MDF wood shape style 3
Block style Tall House kit
Sheet of mini MDF Label Holders


  1. Beautiful as always, Julie Ann!

    1. Thank you so much, Helen. I had lots of fun creating this.

  2. A fabulous winter world to step into... I love your Nature Spirit - so much more mischievous than an angel - and the little haven to keep us warm as we listen to the carolling choirs. The gemstone stained glass is amazing. A magical creation as always, with crackle and details and delights to spare.
    Alison x

    1. Thank you Alison. I thought it would be fun to have a little bit of mischief to balance the heavenly choir! :)

  3. Hi Julie Ann. A trues box of delights. Before I read your story I enjoyed creating my own from your wintry scene.
    How clever to recreate the head and how effective. Love the little glistening frosty touches and the illuminated window.
    As always a magical creation. Xx

    1. Thank you so much, Hazel. I had so much fun creating this. I always hope people will make up their own stories inspired by what I make - I love that! xx

  4. Julie Ann! Simply enchanting!
    I do believe you have achieved the look and feel you were going for here! If I wasn't so large, I would gladly climb through Miss Fox's door to be warm and cozy by her fire, and listen to the choir!
    And yes, your Nature spirit is much more comfortable as she is instead of an angel! heehee
    Love your little display-as always,so magical!
    Jackie xx

    1. Thank you, Jackie, this was so much fun to create. That little Nature Spirit was indeed far happier as a sprite than an angel. I thought she had a mischievous look! xx

  5. A gorgeous box Julie Ann - so many wonderful details, but I love the church window! Jennie x

  6. Dear Julie, I can see, I made my own version of your beautiful story, when commenting on fb :-) I hope it is ok ,lol. I still think it could be a beautiful version , with the fox angel watching baby Jesus :-) .
    But of course your own version win and it is a wonderful shrine, your fox is so gorgeous with cross , I love the white details on him.
    Hugs , Dorthe

  7. Thank you, Dorthe, I'm delighted that you created your own story for the piece. I like the idea of many stories associated with one project - the more the merrier! That's the beauty of images! xx

  8. I always admire how you manage to fill your makes with magical story telling whimsiness, Julie! As Dorthe the pictures alone created a story in my head. But I love your story too. Isn't it wonderful, how artwork leaves plenty of "open space" for own stories? Great use of the porcelain dolls head as a mould!

    Claudia x

  9. Wow! What delights! The crackle , the little sprite and oh my! the angel fox! What a lovely place to be! Hugs, Chrisx

  10. Thank you so much, Claudia. xx

  11. This is just magical, Julie Ann. I love how you have made the doll's head yourself, snd i love the fox and the incredible stained glass window!

    Lucy x