Monday 18 December 2017

Christmas Robins at Calico Craft Parts Blog

Christmas is coming so it's time for all Magpies to sort out their Christmas stash and maybe add a few new bits and bobs to the tree. Today I have a very quick and easy idea for Christmas dangles over at Calico Craft Parts here.

I hope your Christmas preparations are fun and that you're managing to avoid stress at this busy. May your holidays be full of peace and joy!

Monday 4 December 2017

Winter at Calico Craft Parts!

Hello and Welcome to Magpieheaven. Today I have a snowy, woodland canvas over at Calcio Craft Parts here.

I hope you find some creative time amidst all the festive busy-ness on the horizon!

Monday 20 November 2017

A Box of Winter Delights at Calico Craft Parts

Hello and Welcome to Magpieheaven. I'm over at Calico Craft Parts blog today with a box frame of winter delights. I hope you'll be able to join me and be inspired to create your own box of delights.

Have a wonderful, creative week.

Monday 6 November 2017

Follow Your Dream at Calico Craft Parts Blog

Hello and Welcome to Magpieheaven! I'm over at Calico Craft Parts blog with a chunky box canvas for a friend who lives far away.

Please flutter across if you would like to find out the story behind it and how I made it. Have a lovely creative week.

Monday 23 October 2017

Birds of the Night at Calico Craft Parts Blog

Hello and Welcome to Magpieheaven. Today I am over at Calico Craft Parts blog with 3 little stacking boxes, which I have wood-burned with owls. If you would like to see more, please hop across here

 I hope you're  enjoying the Autumn, which is possibly my favourite season! I'm a great fan of Autumn colours; the scent of wood smoke and long walks through crisp leaves. The other evening when walking home from my mother's flat I heard the plaintive cry of an owl in the twilight. It provided the perfect soundtrack to the fallen leaves and skeleton trees around me and inspired a doodle that I thought would be fun to re-create as a wood-burned design.

Halloween parties when our children were small, with dressing up, traditional games and spooky surprises are some of my best Autumn memories. We live in a quiet little street of Victorian cottages and every October 31st we're visited by new troupes of tiny ghouls, witches, cats, vampires and - inexplicably - a fair smattering of Disney princesses - all excited to be out after dark, with parents keeping an eye out in the shadows! There are more treats than tricks, and peels of excited laughter as our visitors wait on the doorstep!

I've turned my hand to spooky projects since I started creating a few years back, but - much as I've enjoyed making them - I've never felt they were that scary! The Mexican Day of the Dead has always fascinated me too because it seems to be far more about life and laughter and remembering those who lived and loved life to the full than about grim and menacing visitations.

  Owls are more beautiful than creepy to me... and there's always the temptation to giggle rather than scream when the lights go down! 

Maybe that is - after all - what Halloween is all about. As the days shorten and the dark nights draw in, let's dance among the shadows and chase fear away!

Monday 25 September 2017

Adventure Awaits at Calico Craft Parts!

Hello and Welcome to Magpieheaven. How has the Autumn been progressing where you are? In my part of the world the trees are turning to gold and red and the apples and pears in the garden are ripe. Due to a total lack of planning in the family, Autumn is the birthday season around here with first my brother-in-law then me and then our son and daughter all celebrating birthdays! Over at Calico Craft Parts I have an ATC I created for my daughter, Matilda's birthday.

Please hop across here if you would like to see how I created it. If you need some seasonal inspiration for craft projects then Calico Craft Parts shop is definitely the place to go. They have the loveliest selection of finely detailed leaves, fruits, birds and beasts and lots of Halloween themed wood shapes too. The shop is well worth a browse. If you are interested click here. Until the next time, have a lovely, creative Autumn.

Monday 11 September 2017

Autumn Flight - Printers Tray at Calico Craft Parts.

Hello and welcome to Magpieheaven. I have been very remiss with blogging again despite my New Year Resolutions! This week I have a very Autumnal project over at Calico Craft Parts blog here. I do hope you will have a few minutes to pop across and check it out.

The Autumn is a little more advanced in my project than it is in my garden...

where the Michaelmas daisies and the fennel and even the petunias are still flourishing...

along with the daisies...

.and my favourite Aurora roses! I hope your Autumn is full of joy and blessings.

Friday 8 September 2017

The Spirit of Autumn

Hello and Welcome to Magpieheaven. I do hope you've had a wonderful summer and that you have been able to enjoy some autumn colour and fruitfulness.

 These are such troubled times with natural disasters and political turmoil world-wide and my heart goes out to all those affected by tragedy at this time. It can be difficult to stay hopeful, yet the seasons roll round and this month offers up its bounty of apples, pears and other good things. Autumn is such a beautiful season, rich in the most wonderful colours and with everything bathed in such a lovely light. Like the spring it is a time of promise and new beginnings in many ways.

 I just wanted to blog today about a miniature diptych I just created and added to my Etsy shop, Magpiehaven, to celebrate the magic of Autumn.

In the Land of Autumn sprites peep out from behind the acorns and secretly feast on wild blackberries. Quick as the lightning of an autumn storm, they can shape-shift into a cheeky robin, or a spooky raven! As mischievous as any child trick-or-treating, autumn sprites like to dress up as clowns and witches and tap against your window pane.

They mean no harm, though. They just want you to look at the beauty and the kindness all around you and let your heart be light for a moment.

As you might have noticed, my diptych is resting on a collection of John Keats' poetry. His beautiful ode to Autumn can be found here I hope that the Autumn Season will bring you some joy and some fun and that you will be able to dance among the shadows.

I think the Autumn Sprites would be in agreement with Shelley in his ode To the West Wind that 'If winter comes can spring be far behind?' I'm hoping to add more diptychs and some Christmas ornaments to the shop over the coming weeks and I'd be delighted if you have the time to stop by. Thank You for stopping by my blog today. Have a creative and peaceful Autumn.

Monday 14 August 2017

Not all who Wander are Lost - ATB at Calico Craft Parts

Hello and Welcome to Magpieheaven. Today I'm over at Calico Craft Parts with this ATB cube featuring one of the great word elements and a miniature canvas. The full project can be found here.

Once again, I have been neglecting my poor blog! I have been creating whenever I can and posting on Facebook. I've discovered the joy of painting garden stones with PaperArtsy Fresco paints -

and used some vintage dominoes; Calico Craft Parts; bottle tops and broken jewellery to create a wooden peg doll.

Here is her reverse side - a far happier mood! Perhaps the Princess has learned to accept and love who she is?

Thank You so much for dropping by Magpieheaven today. I apologise for being such a poor blogger these days. I hope that your late summer days will be happen and full of creative fun.

Monday 31 July 2017

All who wander are not lost - Calico Craft Parts

Hello and Welcome to Magpieheaven. I'm over at the wonderful Calico Craft Parts Blog today with 2 miniature canvasses that have a story to tell.

I do hope you will be able to pop across to find out more. Meanwhile have a great week! xx

Monday 17 July 2017

An Owl Princess at Calico Craft Parts

Hello and welcome to Magpieheaven. If you would like a closer look and to see how I turned this little tin into a shrine to a fairy-tale princess please pop over to Calico Craft Parts, here.

Have a lovely creative week everyone!

Monday 3 July 2017

The Birth of Venus at Calico Craft Parts Blog

Hello and Welcome to Magpieheaven! I'm lucky enough to be over at Calico Craft Parts today with a foxy friend...

I do hope you will pop over and make her acquaintance. xx

Monday 19 June 2017

In The Artist's Studio - Calico Craft Parts

It's Monday and time for a Calico Craft Parts Blog Post. Today I'd like you to step into the Artist's Studio, if you have a few moments to spare.

Leonardo, the creative cat would love to share his latest commission with you!

Monday 5 June 2017

Follow Your Dream - House of Stories at Calico Craft Parts Blog

Hello and Welcome to Magpieheaven. I'm over at Calico Craft Parts Blog today.

Please pop over to the blog here if you would like to see the whole project. Have a lovely week full of happy dreams!

Monday 29 May 2017

Take Flight - An Art Doll Cat

Hello and Welcome to Magpieheaven. Around 2 years ago I took an Artful Gathering class on line with the very inspiring Mary Jane Chadbourne. Named 'The Imaginarium, the anthology of an art doll', the class was a wonderful opportunity to learn all kinds of collage and mixed media techniques while creating free-standing art dolls. Now Mary Jane is running an encore class at Artful Gathering for students who might have missed it the first time around. Inspired by Mary Jane's beautiful wooden kits, I learned to cut my own wood shapes from our children's old bunk beds. Although I'm not on this current class, I wanted to re-visit the doll idea, but this time to explore some animal characters. Here is my first creation in memory of our cat, Daisy who we had to bid farewell earlier this year.

As Mary Jane will be teaching this class, I won't give step by step instructions on how I made an art doll. I would urge you to take one of Mary Jane's classes if you can. I would also like to tell you a little about the cat who inspired this creation. Daisy meant so much to all our family. She was the gentlest of cats, always there to offer us comfort. She was a good listener, the perfect, counsellor - always there for us through good times and tough times . Just stroking that little ginger head and hearing that extra loud purr helped get all our worries into perspective.

And in all the sixteen years we had her, Daisy never harmed a single bird. She would sit in a spot of garden sunlight and listen to birdsong without even a flick of her tail.

Now some might say this was laziness, but we preferred to see Daisy as a peace-loving feline. We reckoned she was the darling of the local bird population.

They certainly flocked happily to the bird-feeders without fear.

Daisy seemed as enchanted by bird-song as we were and she would lie on the grass with her eyes closed in ecstasy. We wondered if she ever dreamed of a world in which cats flew on tiny golden wings.

Daisy's last resting place was in the garden she loved. Both our children had taken the day off work to be there to say 'Goodbye' and as we lowered her tiny body into the earth the birds gathered in the trees around and seemed to be singing her a special hymn. 

Thank You so much for stopping by today and taking the time to look at my homage to a beloved pet. I wish you a lovely, creative week.

Monday 22 May 2017

Anchovies Tin Icon

Hello and Welcome to Magpieheaven. I'm over at Calico Craft Parts Blog today with an altered anchovies tin shrine! If you would like to see how it came together, I'd be delighted if you could join me there.

Have a lovely, creative day.

Tuesday 16 May 2017

ATB Assemblage PaperArtsy Challenge.

Hello and Welcome to Magpieheaven! It's ages since I've entered a challenge and this fortnight PaperArtsy have been challenging us to create an assemblage. 3D art has always captured my imagination and the inspirational projects on the blog have been sensational. A couple of summers ago I participated in an on line class with Mary Jane Chadbourne in which she gave an extra tutorial on making ATBs or Artist Trading Blocks. These are really mini assemblages with even more potential than the usual Artist Trading Card. I'd never got round to utilising the little blocks of MDF included in the kit that went with the course so I decided to give myself a treat and create a mini assemblage. I'd like to link up what I have created to the current PA Challenge, which you can learn all about here.

This challenge continues in a similar vein to the previous 'Found Objects' theme, which I never got round to entering! Never mind - there were some 'Found Objects' on this project including part of an old earring, a cylindrical Polymer clay bead from an old pendant  and a couple of wooden beads.

I have been using some drawings of animals, digitally reduced and given different bodies, on miniature houses, pegs etc, but for this project I decided to allow those faces to take 'centre stage'. This little cat was given a summery party hat from some floral design paper with a Dresden embellishment. The background is some tissue with text on it, gifted to me by a friend I met in an online crafting class. I have a supply of books from library sales and the text at the top was taken from one of these.

One of the first things I did with the block was to paint it with PaperArtsy Fresco Finish paint in Turquoise. This set the tone for the whole assemblage, which evolved to have a Night and Day/Summer and Autumn theme. PaperArtsy produce a great Crackle Glaze, but for this project I particularly wanted a glaze that would produce tiny cracks so I went for a one-step crackle by DecoArt. 

It took me a while to discover how to get the best results with this product. Then about a year ago, after several failed attempts, a class-mate on a course suggested using a desk fan while the glaze was drying and it's worked a treat ever since!

Miss Flora, the kitten, faces each day wide-eyed and ready to discover all that blue skies and sunshine have to offer.

Miss Ava, the owl, on the other hand, awakens to moonlight. She resides in the ancient oak tree and especially loves the autumn when the acorns collect around the roots of her home.

She's on good terms with the Magpies who sometimes leave their calling cards in the form of a single feather outside her door while she sleeps.

A dear friend of my daughter who now lives in Australia once told us that she feels owls can see into our souls so I thought this Tim Holtz word band was appropriate! I decided to give this little assemblage to my daughter and her partner as 'Welcome to your New Home' project. Their flat is on the first floor of a Victorian house and they look out onto trees with a lively community of squirrels, woodpeckers, blackbirds and chattering magpies. I do hope their kitten, Roxie doesn't ruffle any feathers in this community!

It was such fun using scraps I found in the studio for this project. The tissue with an acorn design was from some packaging, and you can probably see that I used some doilies on the piece too.

Thank You so much for stopping by Magpieheaven today. I do hope you'll have a go at creating an assemblage too because they are so much fun to create.

Monday 8 May 2017

Through the Door at Calico!

Hello and Welcome to Magpieheaven. Today I'm over at Calico Craft Parts - one of my favourite places to be - with a little hinged house! Please pop over if you have the time!

And find out what lies behind the door of dreams!

Saturday 6 May 2017

Travelling Pegs!

Hello and Welcome to Magpieheaven! Have you ever found something at the back of your craft cupboard and been inspired to play? It might be a little box to alter or a collection of embellishments you had forgotten. In my case it was some plain, wooden memo pegs. I had so much fun creating 'art dolls' from these a couple of years ago - using techniques I had learned from a class with Mary Jane Chadbourne a couple of summers ago. They were great to swap and to give as little gifts. When I recently moved everything upstairs to my new craft room, I found I had some pegs left unaltered. As I've been playing with new animal characters, I decided to bring them to life on these substrates.

My theme is 'The Owl and the Pussycat went to sea...' Although I do recall the Owl in the poem was male and the Pussycat female, my owls are Elizabethan ladies and instead of an 'Elegant Fowl' I have a rather courtly cat who made an appearance here not so long ago. I've used my own art work, that of classic Old Masters, design papers, fragments of tissue napkin, bits of old maps, Dresden trim and even a little stamping on the pegs along with broken jewellery bits.

I wonder if these sophisticated owls and pussycats have travelled to faraway lands, or if they've merely dreamed of doing so?

Here you can see what the giant peg looks like before it's decorated. You might notice that I've given it a light sanding.

When I first made these pegs a couple of years back, I was afraid to remove the metal spring, but this time I took the plunge and it was so much easier to be able to paint, decorate and stamp the individual pieces. The spring was not too difficult to replace either.

I wanted to create the impression of aged wood and I chose colours that I hoped would evoke the oceans traversed by my intrepid animal travellers - real or imaginary!

Once my pegs were painted I could add collage to them.

I keep different sized scanned, cut-out pieces of my art work, scraps of napkin and papers in little containers on my desk and play around with them. It's great to have bits and bobs stored close at hand now that I have a craft room. I can just grab my water-colour pencils, markers or paints and enhance an image without having to rummage for hours through cupboards.

These Dresden suns were just a little too large so I replaced them with smaller ones with tiny gems taken from broken jewellery at the centre.

This courtly young cat will be travelling through the post soon as a gift for a friend. I wonder if he's dreaming of his new home? At least his 'Love' is on the reverse side of the peg, so they will not be separated!

This fine galleon is a detail from some map wrapping paper produced by 'The British Library'. I scan the maps and then print them out, so that I still have the originals.

Thank You so much for stopping by today to see what I've been up to. I do hope that you're having a creative week of adventures like my little characters, whether you're at home and dreaming of your holidays or on your travels!