Sunday 6 May 2018

The Magpie's Nest - by Julie Ann

It's great to be back at Calico Craft Parts Blog at the beginning of the beautiful month of May. I'm still thinking about the birds that come to my little garden, but this week I've been reminded of their cosy nests.Rather like the birds that visit, I love to collect twigs fallen from the shrubs and trees and I'll often add them to a project. I decided to use one of the versatile MDF tags from Calico and a tall block style house to hang above my desk, so that I can always have a supply of twigs to hand to add that finishing touch of tree.

As I was working, I found myself singing an Irish folk song called 'The Magpie's Nest'. Do you ever find a song captures your imagination while you're creating? The doll stepping out of her cottage and into our world might be the little Irish Fairy of the song, I think. 

'For the Magpie's Nest is a cottage neat and clean
And it stands beside the Shannon where the meadows are green
And I never saw a princess
 With beauty such as this
My little Irish Fairy in the Magpie's Nest.'

I started this project with a pointed top tag 50 mm x 25 mm, added Gesso and some scraps of patterned tissue. I love the way that the pointed roof of the tall block house complements the tag shape.

As I wanted the doll stepping out of her cottage to have pose-able arms, I decorated the front of the house before sticking the kit together and drilled 2 tiny holes under the sleeves where I could fix the arms with brads. I really enjoy mixing and matching the Calico kits and craft parts so much!

I wanted to create a 'mixed-media' look for this project, so I cut out a dress shape from a master-board I had made, using scraps of paper-pattern, stamping and stencilling. The arms are painted and then stamped with text. Can you just glimpse the cherry blossom in the background?

Now for a bit of mixed-media experimenting! I gave the tissue background a wash of diluted turquoise acrylic paint before dripping down a mixture of acrylics blended with a string gel.This takes a while to dry, but when it does you have a gleaming background that looks as if your work has been dipped into a rainbow! When it was fully dry to the touch, I stamped some text over it with white acrylic and fixed the 2 art doll legs in place.

All I needed to do now was bring the house and tag together and add a few details. The little wren whispers secrets into the Irish Fairy's ear - is he bringing messages from her lover, I wonder?

This is a project that is dimensional and decorative, but also useful. I love how the drips of paint remain suspended, looking as if they might be wet to the touch! You can see from this angle how I crackled the sides and added miniature doors and windows. Thank You so much for stopping by today and taking a look at my nest-building. Have a lovely, creative week, wherever you are and whatever you are doing.
Calico Craft Parts Used
MDF Tag Shape - Pointed Tag 50 mm x 25 mm
Block Style Tall House it (small)
Standard jointed Art Doll Kit, style 1, medium
Sheet of  tiny doors and windows
Sheet of Mini Garden Birds wood shapes


  1. Julie, she is a real beauty, she has such a wonderfully serene face. I think I may be humming that beautiful Fairy song for the rest of the day! Hugs, Anne xx

    1. Thank you so much, Anne. Shirley Williams' version of the song is my favourite,I think. xx

  2. What a charming little bird's nest of a project... I can see she's busily humming as she collects up the twigs to decorate her house. Lovely imaginative use of the Craft Parts as always. I don't know the song, but I'm off to find it. This is perfectly timed to join in with our musical challenge at A Vintage Journey this month, if you'd like to!
    Alison x

  3. Thank you so much, Alison. I haven't done a challenge in a long time. I will certainly check out the Vintage Journey blog, as I do love musical challenges. x

  4. This is enchanting, Julie Ann. I love that she has poseable arms! Mum and i have been enjoying the birds in the garden so much, and the magpie is a regular visitor,

    Lucy x

  5. I just love her Julie Ann! and the mixed media additions are wonderful and magical!
    Jackie xx

  6. A wonderful project, I especially love the little wren on her shoulder! Hugs, Chrisx

    1. Thank you so much, Chris. That little wren is one of my favourites of the birds. xx

  7. Thank you so much, Jackie and thank you for stopping by today! xx