Monday, 26 February 2018

Floral Owl Chick - Julie Ann

Hello Everyone! It's great to be here at Calico Craft Parts Blog once again. We're still experiencing wintry weather here in the UK, but despite the cold there are signs of spring in the daffodils and the odd tulip beginning to peep up through the earth. This week I hadn't quite finished experimenting with variations on hearts and I decided to use the heart shape to create a little character who symbolises new beginnings - an owl chick! Dangling from a branch, with that look of determined concentration, I think she is taking her first tentative flaps towards flight.

My owl chick really began with a doodle. I wanted to see if I could create a fantasy owl from leaf and flower shapes and this is what I came up with.

After scanning my doodle, I adjusted the size of my little owl face and fixed it to one of the beautiful, smaller sized Calico birch ply heart plaques. There are many sizes to choose and the standard hearts are lovely shapes to work with. I decided I would use a larger plaque as a body and you can see this shape waiting to be altered in the right of the image above.

Now it was time to dip into my treasure trove of Calico Craft Parts and I grabbed this Art Nouveau arrangement of spring tulips. Maybe I have a quirky view of the world, but turned upside down it looked remarkably owl-shaped to me! The roots at the top seemed to form a feathery tuft too.

As my owl chick squeaked away in the background, I toyed with the idea of floral wings, but she insisted that conventional wings made better sense and I had to agree with her.

For her body, I painted a medium sized heart black and when this was dry, I added a thin layer of crackle glaze. Thick strokes of brown acrylic over the dry crackle added texture and I then stencilled over this in bright colours with a feathery stencil to create what I hoped would be a nice, fluffy effect.

My tiny owl chick was now eager to make her first attempt at flight. I melted gold UTEE on the tips of her wings and the edge of those tulip petals to suggest the golden light of the setting sun touching her wings as she flies into the twilight.

Meet Olivia, the owl! I didn't even need to get out my Dremel to drill holes for this one, as the tiny tulip roots provided a little space to thread some twine through. If you know that your project will require holes and you don't own a Dremel or similar mini drill, Calico will provide your plaque with holes too. Olivia's first attempts at flight might not be the most dignified movements you'll see, but soon she'll be moving across summer skies swiftly and silently, a graceful hunter! Let's hope the springtime's tentative beginnings will sweep across the land and flourish into a warm and fruitful summer. Have a lovely week wherever you are and happy creating!

Calico Craft Parts Used
Small sized standard heart shaped ply wood plaque
Larger sized standard heart shaped ply wood plaque
Art Nouveau Tulips style 27
Sheet of mini mdf wood Angel wings, style 4

Thursday, 22 February 2018

ATB Desk Tidy by Jennie

Hello! and my apologies for sharing yet another desk tidy! I have found my little trug so very useful I decided to convert the ATB stack kit into another desk top tidy.

As with my previous project I painted the inside of the box with chalk paint. I decided to do this before making up the boxes and it was a good call! Once dry the boxes were made up. Although I haven't used the lids of the boxes, they are still very sturdy and glued together well.  I then painted the outside in the same chalk paint. Now that the boxes were made up I was able to see how I wanted to join them together and that allowed me to identify the surfaces that would be seen. I decided to go for a small connected group.

I still had a whole half of my napkin left and being a larger project was able to make use of the large blousy roses.

Once the napkins were in place I used a layering stencil and texture paste to add a little raised definition here and there and also added some light stamping with waterproof ink.

Once sealed with multi medium DecoArt Crackle Glaze was applied quite thinly but just enough to get a lovely crackle. White Antiqueing Cream was then added to highlight the cracks. It always looks so good on the darker colours.

A little DecoArt Gold Metallic paint was added to the textured areas before adding embellishments. I used some lace around the top to disguise the "crennelations" around the top (where the lid of the ATB would have gone) and also added a little strip of paper around the inside.

I had thought to use this on my craft desk but I think it is far too posh! It now looks rather swish in my sewing area with scissors, needle book and other sewing paraphernalia.

Thank you for joining me today and I hope that this little project shows how versatile Calico Craft Parts products are for creating little Home Decor items.

Jennie x

Calico Craft Parts used:

Monday, 19 February 2018

Don't Hide, Little Pike! - by Claudia

Hi, servus and welcome to today's new project post over here at Calico Craft Parts! I am so happy you're stopping by and can't wait to share with you my latest make (which my son snapped from my hands the second the last shot I needed for this post was done).

In my stash I found a very old IKEA box frame (in which my son had created dioramas with dinosaurs or sometimes fish as well when he was little...but this one never got finished and so I was allowed to take it apart and recycle the box frame for a new fish-themed project).

It was so hard getting a shot of this diorama without having nasty flares on the screen, so I had to play around for quite a while with lighting - and the one solution that worked made the soft pastel turquoise from the outer box almost invisible (sorry for that). 

See the little spike that's trying to hide in the far back of the pond? (my son immediately spotted him...spikes are one of his favourite fresh water fish and he sometimes is lucky to spot one when snorkelling in the lake where we always stay in summer). 

The colour scheme for this make was mainly inspired by a picture I took when we visited Castle Orth, which lies close to the Danube and in the midst of the Danube Wet Lands National Park. There's a walk-in underwater observatory where you can watch all kinds of fish in their natural environment which my son and I love a lot!

So my aim with this project was to capture the musty impression and monochrome colour scheme.

A biologist will immediately spot that I have combined fish and plants that usually come from different environments (some not even from underwater!)....but I went by the shapes that I found most pleasing together (and as I had some more wild grass and seaweed and fish wood shapes, I played around with all of them until I was content with the composition) son doesn't mind that I have created a biological I am more than fine with it ;).

Calico Craft Parts used: 

- Brown Trout MDF Fish Wood Shape
- Common Carp MDF Fish Wood Shape
- Crucian Carp MDF Fish Wood Shape
- Pike MDF Fish Wood Shape
- Cladhymenia Iyallii - MDF Seaweed Wood Shape - Style 7
- Dotted Peacock Weed - MDF Seaweed Wood Shape - Style 3
- Wildgrass MDF Wood Shape - Style 1
- Wildgrass MDF Wood Shape - Style 5
- Wildgrass MDF Wood Shape - Style 6

I started with mixing DecoArt Americana Navy Blue with some DecoArt Watercolour Medium to make it more liquid - this way I needed less paint to paint the insides of the box frame. I added loose strokes of Leaf Green and Jade Green wet on wet to create soft streaks.

The background panel was also painted mixing paints directly on the panel to create an ombre effect. Then I brushed mixes of different greens and blue (Arbor Green, Leaf Green, Navy Blue) onto one of the wild grass wood shapes and used it like I would use a stamp to create my background image. 

Using caps of felt tip pens and other small circle shaped items I stamped on airbubbles (in three different greens). Then I added light reflexes with a very fine tip detail brush. 

The seaweed and wild grass wood shapes were painted with the same colours and I made sure I brushed these on loosely, wet on wet, to create the effect of moving light spots from above (as you see them from underwater when the wind is creating little waves on the lake's surface). 

I did the same with the fish wood shapes, but this time I applied a dark green-blue to the bottom of the fish, and a light green to the top for more depth. The final highlights were still added wet on wet in Limeade DecoArt Americana acrylic. 

Then it was time to lay out the shapes to find the perfect hights and layers for the seaweed, grass and fish shapes. I took a picture for later reference (already looking quite cool, huh?).

I used acetate from old packagings to create the stands for the plants. As these already had shaped edges, I simply cut these off the packaging as they were - this way I didn't have to create a template and fold the acetate, as it had all already been done for me ;)

I only had to adjust widths and lengths of my acetate stands. Then I glued them to the backs of the plants using DecoArt media Liquid Glass.

And this is how the glued in place plants look on the backsides:

The stands are really barely visible from the front!

Then I painted some small boulders from my collection with washes of blue-green (Navy Blue and Arbor Green) to tone them down.

I used matte DecoArt Decou-Page to glue everything in place. The plants to the bottom of the frame (of course), the fish "hanging" from the top (on acetate strips), and the boulders where I thought they would cover up any visible edges or glue spots from the acetate stands. 

To cover up the nasty looking gap where the glass sits in the frame (on the bottom left and right), I applied some DecoArt media Texture Sand Paste and added some rough sand (that is usually used for home decoration) while the paste was still wet. 

Once that was dry, I painted everything with the same mix of DecoArt Americana acrylics I had used on the other pieces (Navy Blue and Leaf Green...and whatever else was left on my palette sheet). 

The outer frame of the box was given a coat of DecoArt Americana "refreshing" Chalky Finish paint. 


Some details:

Ah, there you are, little pike! I can see you! 

I hope you like my little fish observatory diorama! 
There are loads of beautiful fresh water fish wood shapes and seaweed and wild grass wood shapes to play with - if you browse the Calico Craft Parts shop you will find that you could create dozens of dioramas without ever having to repeat yourselves! ;) 

Hugs and happy crafting!

Thursday, 15 February 2018

Altered Rusted Triptych-by Lesley

Hey people. Lesley here with an altered triptych for you.

I opted to use one of the rounded arched ones, but there are other shapes available over in the shop.

I started by drawing round the three shapes onto patterned script paper and cutting out.
I then started to layer up the pieces, using ink, paint and stamps.

I used a stencil and crackle paint to give the pieces some more depth.

Rust embossing powder was used in patches. And I added liquid rust, allowing it to drip down the pieces.

I used some of the new art deco tulip pieces as centre pieces, embossing them in rust, a dark green and patina oxide colour.

Twine was attached around the large one using staples.
I then glued the pieces of card to the shaped wood.

I added wording from my stash, using a piece of corrugated card from packaging.

To finish, I added jump rings to hold the pieces together.

Thanks for reading,

Ingredients used
Domed Triptych Kit
Art deco tulip ornament, style 25
Art deco tulip ornament, style 27

Monday, 12 February 2018

Fragile Hearts - Valentine's Day Plaque by Julie Ann.

Hello Everyone! Valentine's Day is just 2 days away, so I thought I'd create a speedy heart-themed project in honour of the occasion. I've created various hearts in the past, but I'm not a huge fan of traditional Valentine's cards and gifts. That said, both hearts and flowers feature on this project, which I've given a 'shabby' and 'vintage' look.

I'd been having fun experimenting with bottle-tops;hand-drawn faces and ice resin. I used one of the faces for an art-doll and then - in an idle moment - added this little face to a Calico Craft part rose.

I was rather taken with my quirky rose girl, but I was unsure of where she might belong...


until she alighted on this medium-sized birch ply wood heart plaque. To create a vintage look, I spread a thin crackle glaze over bright turquoise paint, waited until it was completely dry and then applied black acrylic. A touch of gilding paste completes the vintage look.

I decided to add wings. After painting these in reds, oranges and yellows, I gave them a coat of clear UTEE to add shine and dimension and then a sprinkling of gold UTEE.

A quirky rose girl can grow lonely, so I gave her a little robin to be her companion. There's an extra leaf, snapped from another Calico rose and I drilled a couple of tiny holes so she can be suspended from a twig.

Thank You so much for stopping by today. As always a list of the Calico Craft Parts I used in this project follow below. Apart from the bottle-top face that needed to cure for around 24 hours, the rest of the project was super quick to complete. There are so many sizes and styles of hearts available in the Calico shop and other Valentine themed bits and bobs so you still have time to create something original for the one you love.

Calico Craft Parts used.