Monday 5 March 2018

Winter has Returned to the Parks of Castle Schönbrunn! - by Claudia

By the time you are reading this post, the lovely snow may already be gone again, but now - as I am preparing this post (which is on February 20) - it has returned to Vienna and has gently been falling throughout the whole day, covering the fields and parks in white (just when I had already started thinking on putting away the warm boots and winter coats until next year ;)

We don't have a lot of snow over here in Vienna (and I found I really miss it), so I was happy about the sudden return of "hiver" (which is French for "winter" and explained as "the coldest season of the year" in my old Petit LaRousse dictionary) and also inspired to create these two ATCs (click onto images for a larger view):

I love the first one, because the songbird wood shape is just so adorable, but the second is my personal favourite. 
In the parks of Castle Schönbrunn there are long, long pathways with loads of hedges crowded with sparrows, waiting for visitors to spread some dry bread or sunflower seeds they've brought, but what I love even more are the many squirrels that wait for peanuts and other treats - they even come and pick them from your hands if you hold still enough. The Viennese like to call them "Hansi" (which is German for "Johnny"). Don't ask me why. Especially older people often pick that name to call the squirrels (or also swans on lakes). 
So there are (even three!) Hansis and my special friend, Mr. Hedgehog, on my ATC, all being surprised by the sudden snowfall. 

There are a lot of gorgeous squirrel wood shapes in the Calico Craft Parts shop, but I especially fell in love with the ATC wood blank with the Squirrel and Hedgehog Frame
and the cute squirrels on a branch

Calico Craft Parts used on both ATCs:

This is how the ATCs were done:

I started with dry brushing DecoArt Americana Chalky Finish paint "primitive" onto all the parts I wanted to use. The Chalky Finish paints can be applied very evenly and provide great coverage and tooth for painting or stamping onto it. They dry to a matte finish, which is something I especially like about them. Dry brusing (instead of brushing on) is necessary so none of the beautiful and fine detail on the Craft Shapes get lost! 

I used crackle and scratch stamps and dark brown archival stamping ink to add a bit of texture.

Then I scraped on tiny amounts of DecoArt media Titan Buff. That was followed by a mix of Titan Buff and Burnt Sienna.

Translucent White was used to scrape on the top layer.

I did the same with the Craft Shapes and the ATC frame.

Once all had dried, I painted a tree (well, part of a tree) in Burnt Sienna...

and also added touches of it to the squirrels, the hedgehog and the songbirds.

The landscape on the other ATC was painted using Translucent White and Burnt Sienna.

Using a splatter brush and diluted DecoArt premium Titanium White, I created the falling snow.

The left over Titanium White was brushed onto the top sides of the branches, the leaves and the ATC frame to add more snow.

Both ATCs were sealed with DecoArt media Gloss Varnish. I also used the varnish to directly glue the songbird wood shape and label holder onto the ATC (by simply placing them into the still wet varnish).
The ATC frame and squirrel wood shapes were glued on using DecoArt matte Decou-Page.

The cut out "winter" definitions from the French dictionary were glued in place using the Gloss Varnish and a soft brush.

To finish off my ATCs I added touches of DecoArt Gold Rush Metallic Lustre using my fingertip. I applied it around the ATC frame and edges and on top of the songbirds and other animals.


And once again I was amazed by how much media and content can be put onto such a small format!
Here are some close ups:

 I hope you like my little winter flashback! 

Hugs and happy crafting!


  1. Claudia, these are gorgeous! I think the second one is my favourite too, although I do love those songbirds on their bough. Your technique has really captured the powdery, magical quality of snow. I love the colours and textures you have introduced and the exquisitely beautiful art you've created on these ATCs. We're just coming out of a brief, bitterly cold spell, which - although beautiful to look at - has sadly taken its toll where wild birds are concerned - all part of the natural cycle of life and death, I suppose. Anyway, today the sun is shining and spring is awakening with the hope of a different kind of beauty for a while. xxx

    1. When I created these ATCs - about two weeks ago - no one would have guessed that this was meant to become more than just a short mild winter's visit. It's not as much snow and as cold over at my place as it is in the UK, but it's a lot colder (and for a lot longer) than usual in Vienna too. Poor wild animals and first spring flowers...and now we're expecting a temperature rise of more than 12 °C within three days...that's crazy! xxx

  2. Oh my... these are just breathtakingly GORGEOUS Claudia. WOW. Xj.

  3. :))) Thank you, Joi! Mwah! XXXX

  4. Beautiful wintry ATCs - brilliant paintwork as always.
    Alison x

  5. Hallo liebe Claudia, komme endlich mal wieder dazu auch bei dir rein zu schauen und was ich sehe gefällt mir sehr. Deine beiden winterlichen Stilleben mit Tieren sind wunderbar stimmungsvoll gelungen. Superklasse!
    Liebe Grüße ins schöne Wien.

    1. Herzlichen Dank, liebe Sabine, wie lieb, dass du hier vorbeischaust! Liebe Grüße zurück an dich aus dem schönen Wien! Ich hoffe, dir geht es bestens!

      Claudia xxx