Monday, 24 April 2017

Calico Cat Box - Julie Ann

Hello and Welcome to the Calico Craft Parts Blog. I've been having fun creating animal characters by 'collaging' my own sketches onto bodies from classic portraits. These combinations suggest all kinds of stories to me. Here is a cat portrait I had been working on. All I needed was the right body for my feline friend - and some beautiful Calico Parts to add dimension!



At first I was convinced I had created a feline page or minstrel!



Until I placed the head on this elegant 18th century lady's body, replacing her human hands with paws; arranged the portrait against part of a master  board I'd already created and fixed it to a Calico MDF plain egg...



A completely different character took shape - an elegant white kitty with clear, blue eyes; a love of gossiping with her feline friends or conversing with feline poets, musicians and wits at her famous salon.



Feathers and fine silks came to mind; lace and the scent of exotic balms and perfumes; the chink of bone china tea-cups; the glint of gold leaf; the purr of sophisticated voices and above it all the trill of a pet canary. I reached for a sheet of Calico feathers, experimenting with dragging a cocktail stick dipped into acrylic paints through a tiny blob of pearl glaze to create a marble, feathered effect.




The character taking shape could have been a decorative plaque, but I was beginning to imagine her at home in the boudoir of a fine lady of fashion in the eighteenth century.



I chose one of the Calico trinket boxes and used a Crackle glaze to age it.



Some delicate, script stamping in black, and some gilding along the edges provided the finishing touches.



A tiny brass cabinet knob would help make the box lid easy to remove or replace...



and I added feet in the form of 4 little wooden, blue beads.



I wonder what my box might contain? I imagine it to be an 18th century comfits box. Comfits were nuts, fruits or seeds coated with candy and a very popular confection in the 18th and 19th centuries, or perhaps it contains tooth powder to keep Mistress Kitty's teeth as white as a string of milky pearls. What do you imagine the contents to be? Wherever you are and whatever you're doing, I hope you're feeling inspired by the scent of Spring in the air. Have a great week and see you back here in a fortnight.
Calico Craft Parts Used
Trinket Box (plain, style 2)
Plain MDF Wood Egg Shape
Sheet of Mini MDF Wood Feathers

Thursday, 20 April 2017

A Corner of My Heart by Jennie

Hello Everyone! and welcome to my second project this month.


I spent a lovely day with my dear cousin at RHS Rosemoor last year and we found a gorgeous little hideaway in the garden grounds which we both felt we wanted to "take home" with us! We came home with just the memory (and a lovely photograph) so with this in mind I decided to alter a little Calico Craft Parts House.


I am sorry there are no process photographs - I was so sure I had taken them but I cannot find them on my camera! So I must have been dreaming! As I was using papers I decided to cover the inside walls first and then made the house up.


It was easy enough to cover the sides and back drawing around the relevant parts for the right size.


I edged my papers with some Vintage Brown Ink and everything stuck down very well.


I decided to crackle the roof using DecoArt Crackle Paint over a dark brown paint. I then used some pieces of the Holly Leaf Corner Embellishment which were left over from a previous project. They had already been painted with a light covering of white paint - just lightly so the natural brown underneath shows through in places.


The little piece of fence was also left over from a previous project and fitted the corner just perfectly!


Finally I had my usual fun adding a few tiny embellishments snipped from papers and added the Vintage Art Dolls using four layers of foam pads to give a little depth.


Everything had to be scaled down for this tiny little house including the flowers.


A lovely keepsake memory of a wonderful day at RHS Rosemoor!

Thank you for joining me and I hope your week is filled with some crafting time.

Jennie x

Calico Craft Parts used:




Monday, 17 April 2017

Oriental Style Cinnabar Lacquer Box - by Claudia

Happy Easter Monday and welcome back to another share of Calico Craft Parts goodness, dear craftin' friends!

I made another box (as you can never have enough boxes, right?) - but this time in a totally different style and technique of course ;)



I tried to imitate the wonderful colour and look of oriental cinnabar lacquer pieces and the idea for this box came right out of the blue when I opened my Calico Craft Parts DT parcel and found that the 100mm x 100mm square shaped mixed media greyboard blanks were a perfect fit with the largest cube of the Square Aperture ATB Cube kit...so why not use the two to create a beautiful little box (and keep the two smaller cubes for a smaller project)?!!!


Calico Craft Parts used:

- Artist Trading Block Cube Kit - Square Aperture
- Square Shape Greyboard Mixed Media Board - Style 27 (smallest size)
- Sheet of Mini MDF Hinges Wood Shapes
- Art Deco & Nouveau Style Ornament Shapes - Style 17


I like to use matte DecoArt Decou-Page for assembling my ATB cubes as it dries really quickly. Once the largest block was ready I painted it with DecoArt "Venetian Gold" Dazzling Metallics paint on the inside and DecoArt Americana "True Red" acrylic paint on the outside.




Then I applied some clear DecoArt media Crackle Glaze to the box lid and four sides of my ATB cube using a palette knife. I made sure that I spread the Crackle Glaze quite loosely and in layers here and there and that I left areas uncovered (especially around the edges). I found that this technique works best with "older" Crackle Glaze that has already become a bit less fluid so it doesn't do its self-levelling trick that much anymore (which is just perfect for the desired look).

Of course I could only do one side at a time...so this is a project that needs a bit of time (I put my covered box close to my daylight lamp that gives a bit of warmth to speed up the process and got some household stuff done during drying times. I think each side took about thirty to forty minutes to dry that much so I could cover the next). 


While that was set aside to dry I applied some "Gold Rush" DecoArt Metallic Lustre to my mini hinges and Art Deco ornaments using my fingertip. 


Once the clear Crackle Glaze had dried I added a thorough coat of DecoArt media "Carbon Black" Antiquing Cream to lid and box. I worked it well into all the cracks and crevices with a soft brush and let it dry before I sprayed a soft cloth with water and wiped off the excess so the cracks and texture became more visible. 


This image shows how the "layered" (and scraped on) Crackle Glaze created additional texture besides its wonderful crackle effect. It also shows where the black Antiquing Cream stayed in spots where no Crackle Glaze was applied to: 


Lid and box were sealed with a thin coat of DecoArt media Gloss Varnish and the mini hinges and Art Deco ornaments were placed right into the still wet varnish so it worked as a glue as well. 



I used matte Decou-Page to fix the metal corners to the box.





Then it was time to fix the lid. 



I cut a small piece of linen bookcloth to size and first only glued one half onto the edge of the box using matte Decou-Page. I let everything dry thoroughly before I painted the "linen hinge" with Gold Rush Metallic Lustre. 


Then I attached the box lid to the other half of the linen strip and let that dry while the box was closed (I made sure there was no excess glue that might glue my lid closed! ). 


If you use this technique to fix lids to containers where you cannot use metal hinges make sure you do not open and close the lid until the glue has totally cured! But if you are patient you will be rewarded with a quite strong linen bookcloth hinge ;)



Done!
Yes, it was that easy! ;)



There are many more new and beautiful Art Deco & Nouveau Craft Parts in the store that would go well with this type of project! I really love them all and guess I will have to do some more boxes with different ornaments as they're all so pretty!

Once again the finished box: 





I hope you like my oriental style box with the faux (and aged) cinnabar lacquer look! I love the result so much that I am sure there will be more boxes made from ATB Cube kits and mixed media greyboars in the future (I think they make gorgeous presents, don't they?). ;)

Thank you so much for stopping by and I hope to see you again in two weeks!

Hugs and happy crafting!
Claudia
xxx



Saturday, 15 April 2017

Springtime Shadow Box by Guest Designer Alison

Hello all!  Alison from Words and Pictures here, and I'm delighted to be back at Calico Craft Parts to share a couple of projects with you this month.  I was so sad when other commitments meant I had to give up my full-time DT post, so it's lovely to return as a guest.  In my usual fashion, it's a photo-heavy post, so grab a coffee and enjoy the ride.


I've been uplifted by spring lately - the fresh plant growth, lighter evenings, soft blossom, and birdsong, and even occasionally some sunshine... and all that is reflected, I hope, in this first creation.


I used one of the fantastic Printers Tray Kits and lined the inside back panel with some paper from the Tim Holtz Wallflower stash.


I painted the interior walls in DecoArt Americana Whitewash and added torn strips of tissue tape covered with light washes of paint to echo the papers behind.


Being able to do all this before you glue the tray together makes it so much easier.


Already I'm pretty happy with the look!


I laid out the Craft Parts I was planning to use, just to check they would all work in the various positions.  I love them in this "naked" state - it's always tough to take the next step, as I think they already look lovely.


But it was time to get going with some paints.  First of all, I gave everything a touch of white to allow the colours to pop over the top.


You'll see the birds only got touches of white.  The MDF is already a great bird colour, and the decorative carving means you get all that detailing included.  And the branches can just stay exactly as they are.


I used this delightful Songbird Trio on a Spring Branch in the medium size on an ATC recently (a perfect fit).  This large one works beautifully across the width of the Printers Tray, I think.


The fresh, bright green of new leaf growth is such a wonderful part of the springtime palette - so bold and zingy.  And again the laser-carved detailing makes it so easy to make the leaves look good.


The stems of the Wild Rose Vines are also done in nice bright greens, with flower heads shaded in Whitewash and Media Fluid Transparent Yellow Iron Oxide.


Who'd have thought that something with such an industrial name would be so pretty added to florals?!


There's a romantic couple - billing and cooing like turtle doves in one corner.


And one of my favourite sentiments in another niche.


I wanted my Photobooth photo and my sentiment to stand proud of the back wall, rather than be stuck down deep in the shadows.


I glued some alphabet dice to the back - picking the least useful letters! - to raise them up.


This adds even more dimensional layers to my tray.


Underneath the sentiment lies an egg, nestled safely in its mossy nook.  (Given what day it is today, I guess we'd have to say it's an Easter egg, no?)


And the moss found its way into the other niches too, adding another touch of nature to the look.


I couldn't resist just a few "naked" Craft Parts.  After all, I needed some more of that rich wood-brown around to echo the unadorned branches on which the birds are sitting.


So there are a couple of Butterfly Wood Shapes fluttering round the rose vines.  I could have painted them, of course, but I love the dark accent they give like this.


I think these are both from the Mini Wood Butterflies Style 5 set.  You get so many butterflies to play with on each sheet, and they're just lovely.


And on opposing corners of the tray, I've got the beautiful Deco Vine Wood Corner twining and curling its way around the edges.


I absolutely love this intricate swirling corner decoration and use it often, though if it's not quite your style there are so many more Corners, Flourishes and Ornaments to choose from, and always in multiple sizes, so you can get just what you need for a particular project.


Which reminds me... I should just quickly show you the exterior too, shouldn't I?  Sorry, I warned you we were photo heavy!


Crackle, what else?!  I used the Decoart Americana Chalky Finish Paints and Crackle Glaze, with greens as the base layer, adding washes of more greens over the top.


Finishing touches... the blossoms scattered around, light accents amidst the earthy greens, browns and greys.  And of course plenty of white spatter to bring it all to life.


And that's pretty much that.  I hope you like this springtime tray.  It was a joy to make, and it makes me very happy to look at now - almost as good as looking out of the window at the real blossom trees!

Thanks so much for stopping by today.  Remember, you can click on any of the links in the text to go shopping for the specific items, or just have a browse around.  I was amazed at how many more designs there are available even than when I was here full-time - there really is something for everyone!  I'll be back in a couple of weeks, so I'll hope to see you again soon.

Alison x
Words and Pictures