Monday, 23 October 2017

Birds of the Night - wood-burned stacking boxes by Julie Ann

Hello Everyone! It's great to be back at Calico Craft Parts blog. Now is the season to be spooky and Claudia and Kerstin recently cooked up some 'spooktacular' haunted houses, while Lesley added toppers to delicious Halloween cakes with Calico Craft Parts. I didn't want to let Halloween go by unheralded, so I have been consulting with my wise owl friends who tell me it's their favourite time of year. 

 I'd been wanting to get my wood-burning tool out and play with some of the lovely little Calico stacking boxes, so I decided to try my hand at creating 3 boxes with a Halloween/Autumn theme.

Because I love the natural wood colour of these Calico boxes, and they take the wood burning so well, I decided to use very little paint on them; but to create contrast with the wood-burned designs. My wood burning kit was a gift from a friend, but there are some excellent ones out there with temperature controls and - with a little practice - the effect is similar to drawing with a pencil. You just have to be careful not to allow the tool to get too hot and remember that mistakes cannot be rubbed out!

The boxes are very easy to assemble and secure with wood glue. I chose the small boxes, 1-3, but there are medium and large options too and you can buy the boxes individually. 

My friends know how much I love owls. I associate them with moonlight, wisdom and all things magical. Their plaintive calls are like a mysterious music to me: they invite us to fly into starlight and the rustling of black and silver leaves in the velvet night.

The Calico sheet of mini owls captures these wonderful birds in miniature. I thought they would make perfect details for my box lids. I added a little colour and some faux gems for eyes.

I like to have a 'dry run' with my Calico Craft Parts, putting pieces together without glue and playing with positioning until I'm happy with an arrangement...

experimenting with leaves on the upright sides of the box.

Here is the largest 'Owl Box', all fixed in place. On the lid, Autumn the Owl meditates. Her friends, the talking trees don't like to disturb her reverie, while beyond, the tower holds the secrets of the twilight.

The boxes stack perfectly one within the other. I hope the miniature pine cone and vine leaf give some idea of the scale of the tiniest box - ideal for a minuscule Halloween favour.

This birch-wood heart was just the right shape for Autumn the owl's face. I kept the wings and the acorns in their natural wood state too.

Now it just remains for me to decide on the treats those boxes will hold - chocolate pumpkins perhaps - or licorice spiders? Thank You for stopping by today. I hope you have been inspired to have a go at wood-burning one of the Calico boxes either with your own take on a Halloween design or the pattern of your choice. Until we meet again, have a creative and happy time as the days shorten.
Calico Craft Parts used in this project
Birch Plywood Square Box Kit, small 1-3
Birch Plywood Heart Shape (small)
Sheet of Acorns and Oak Leaves
Sheet of mini MDF wings (style 1)
Sheet of mini MDF wood bird shapes (owls)

Thursday, 19 October 2017

Thank You With A Flourish : by Jennie

Hello and thank you for joining me for what is really a rather simple project, but a card which is very handy to have "in the box"!

To me a simplicity in card making is essential given the numbers that we sometimes need and it struck me that some of the wonderful CCP flourishes would make a great base for a card but without being too bulky.

I started with a base of craft cardstock and layered another two layers on top for sturdiness. I intended to keep my tones neutral so chose this plain handwritten text cardstock.

Then I added the wonderful Flowering Vine Flourish with that great little "circle"element at its base. I did no more than add a little white acrylic paint to the wood effect to maintain the neutral palette.

I added a little flower cluster (muslin, hessian string and a handmade flower) on that lower circle, again keeping the colours neutral.  A little butterfly balances the design outwards to the top right hand corner.

I normally leave cards at this stage and stamp a number of different sentiments on my tags so I can add something appropriate as needed. But to complete the card I decided to make this a "thank you" card.

So very simple ..... yet so very effective.

As always thank you for joining me today and happy crafting!

Jennie x

Calico Craft Parts used:

PS If you would like a tutorial for the rolled rose flower, then please click the link HERE which will take you to a tutorial on my blog.

Monday, 16 October 2017

Halloween Chunkies - by Claudia

Hi, servus and welcome back! Claudia here to bring to you another Halloween themed project created with some of Calico Craft Parts' fabulous Halloween Wood Shapes!

I love Halloween and I love ATCs....but even more I love CHUNKY Halloween ATCs! lol
I created my chunkies from thick corrugated card (= packaging left overs that came with our new bed back in June, when we were busily renovating and switching rooms).

Creating the chunky ATCs was great fun - I always enjoy working by the typical Halloween colour scheme with bright greens, red, oranges and purple contrasting gloomy backgrounds...

Calico Craft Parts used:

- Pumpkin Head MDF Wood Shape 
- Ghoulish Monster MDF Wood Shape - Style 1
- Staggering Mummy MDF Wood Shape 
- Witch's Stripy Legs MDF Wood Shape
- Word Elemements - Horror & Halloween
- Sheet of Mini MDF Halloween Motifs - Style 3
- Halloween Wood Words

To create my ATCs I simply got out all my Halloween themed Calico Craft Parts and played around with different arrangements until I was content. (I then always take a picture....just in case I forget which arrangements I finally have decided on ;)

Using a palette knife I scraped DecoArt media black Gesso around the chunky corrugated card ATCs' sides and fronts.

While the Gesso was still wet, I scraped on white DecoArt media Gesso so the black and white mixed and created streaks. When you do that make sure you wipe off any excess from your palette knife before you dip it into your Gesso!!!! Otherwise you will contaminate the Gesso in the pots!

I repeated the same step with DecoArt Americana Neons "Thermal Green":

I set my ATCs aside to dry. In the meantime I dry brushed some heavy body white acrylic Gesso onto the Craft Parts I wanted to use. The white Gesso makes the MDF wood shapes less absorbant and also makes the colours used on them pop. 

Then I picked some of my favourite DecoArt media "Halloween" colours (Sap Green, Primary Magenta, Green Gold, Titan Buff, Dioxazine Purple, Quinacridone Magenta, Yellow Oxide) and painted the ghoul, pumpkin, mummy and witch's legs using a fine tip soft brush.

While the painted craft parts were drying I stamped some crackles onto the ATCs using black archival stamping ink. 

I created drip lines with a mix of DecoArt media Quinacridone Red and Quinacridone Magenta. To help the colours run and spread I sprayed on some water from a bottle. 

Then I added a wash of black DecoArt media Antiquing Cream to the ATCs and the painted craft parts (sorry, I obviously forgot to  take a picture of that step). I only wiped back a little here and there once the Antiquing Cream had dried. 

I sprinkled on red and black DecoArt media Mister paint as a finishing touch for my ATC backgrounds.

The words were glued on with matte DecoArt Decou-Page and then painted with DecoArt Americana Neons (Fiery Red, Thermal Green, Torrid Orange and Scorching Yellow). I added two coats of the Neons paints to make them really pop.


I hope you like my ATCs! I really had a lot of fun creating them (and a happy mess on my crafting
There are a lot more fantastic Halloween Wood Shapes to be discovered at the Calico Craft Parts online shop! Check them out by clicking HERE...and then get yourself the ones you like best and create your own Halloween ATCs! Have fun!

Hugs and happy crafting!

Monday, 9 October 2017

Autumn Prince, ATC by Julie Ann

Hello Everyone! Here we are in October and soon Halloween projects will abound! I haven't anything remotely spooky for you yet, but I am working on it and Calico have some spectacular Halloween themed craft parts available here. For now I wanted to share an ATC I created for our son, Isaac's birthday.

What I love about the Calico ATCs is that you can choose from such a wide range of beautiful and unusual frames all with matching blanks. As well as giving the perfect opportunity for swapping with other artists, these robust blanks and frames make an excellent substrate for creating individual mixed media miniature portraits to give as gifts, or as a more permanent greeting card.

I loved the elegance of this frame with its flourishes. It reminded me of the exquisite frames around tiny Elizabethan miniatures. The addition of blobs of bead gel; tiny oak leaves; miniature acorns and an exquisitely detailed blackberry branch made it even more special. So as to 'pull together' my added details a little more, I gave the background of the frame a coat of Gesso, leaving bare the acorns and blackberries, which I wanted to foreground.

Adding some colour brought the whole frame to life!

Gilding and white highlights were the finishing touches. I really wanted the acorns to be focal, as my son had seen me working with these and remarked on how beautiful they are. Calico do create some fabulous flora and fauna.

Now I needed an image. Our son is a cat lover - just like his sister; but for him I combined one of my cats with a rather elegant Elizabethan youth. The colours in his doublet suggested blackberries to me and the story behind Isaac's ATC became that of the Autumn Prince.

The Autumn Prince was sad and lonely all the long, cold winter. He dreamed through the awakening spring and the hot and drowsy summer, but when the autumn came and the trees were heavy with fruit he twitched his pink nose and caught the scent of wood-smoke, damp leaves and the winds of change. The Autumn Prince was ready for adventure and he had a map to help him on his travels.

Just like his sister, the Pussycat, famous for her voyage with an owl in a beautiful, pea-green boat, the Autumn Prince was now ready to set out in quest for undiscovered lands. What new discoveries will you make this month? I hope they will be ones that bring you joy and enrich your days.
Calico Craft Parts used in this Project
Shaped ATC wood blank with flourish frame
Sheet of mini MDF Acorns and Oakleaves
Blackberry Bramble Wood Shape

Thursday, 5 October 2017

For the Joy of Autumn Flowers : by Jennie

Hello and welcome to my first project this month. I can't believe it is October already and we have been so lucky to have a bit of an Autumn this year with many of the shrub roses still in flower. So my little project today is my "joy" at being able to see these roses so late in the year.

As many of you know I absolutely LoVE the Calico Craft Parts Beer Mats - at 25p each they really are an absolute bargain, will take anything you want to throw at them and are a lovely size to display around the house. This one started with a layer of Gesso and then some texture paste through a stencil. I added colour very lightly using water based infusion powders.

Another favourite CCP piece are these lovely trellis corners and the small size fit the mats perfectly.

The trellis makes a beautiful base for a flower cluster. I made this rose using the colours of one very beautiful rose still flowering in a sheltered spot in the big garden adjacent to the house. It has been a garden in the past and I have tried to bring it back into use, although it is tough work!  The rose doesn't look like this though - I just tried to replicate the colours.

Until a couple of weeks ago we also had butterflies on a calm day, so thought this little chap would also be appropriate.

Finally I added more texture with the gold micro balls and some of the small Gothic letters for my title.

As I love creating with ATCs I suppose the Beer Mats are just an extension of that love! I find the small limiting space really makes you think about what you want to achieve and so there is a little planning and/or picture in the mind required.

I love the depth that even the smallest of the MDF parts can give to a piece.

Sadly I couldn't share a photograph of the wonderful rose in the garden as we have now had four days of horrendous gales, so sadly it is no more. I will just have to wait until next year now.

Thank you for joining me today and happy crafting!

Jennie x

Calico Craft Parts Used: