Friday, February 27, 2015

Lucky Horse Shoe Wall Hanging for Petaloo

I am totally and absolutely superstitious. 100%. Every entrance of our home has a horseshoe hanging above it. Let's blame my Irish roots.

  Lucky Horse Shoe for Petaloo with Authentique - Nichola Battilana
Needless to see I was wholeheartedly on board to play with Authentique's "Lucky" collection. Having an extra horse shoe (or two... or more...) hiding in my stash I knew it was my lucky day (terrible joke... could not be helped!).

Lucky Horse Shoe for Petaloo with Authentique - Nichola Battilana

I painted and distressed a lazer cut flat frame and applied Authentique's "Lucky Four" for the background. Next, the old rusty horse shoe. Then a healthy application of Petaloo flowers and burlap trims. Finally a sentiment from Lucky's "components".

Lucky Horse Shoe for Petaloo with Authentique - Nichola Battilana

Besides being a great project to celebrate St. Patrick's Day (when EVERYONE is Irish and hopefully just a smidge lucky), I think this would make a great house warming gift, bestowing the luck of the Irish upon the recipient :)

Lazer cup wood frame/base

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Cute As Buttons Gazebo for Alpha Stamps

This months Alpha Stamps kit is themed "Cute as a Button". It's very sweet. If you are a doll maker or like teeny weeny things I highly recommend that you check out the add-on kit which contains the most adorable perfectly tiny buttons you have ever laid eyes on. Now, on to my piece...

Cute as Buttons Gazebo for Alpha Stamps - Nichola Battilana

I've transformed a Rusty Metal Lantern* into a tiny gazebo with just a bit of white acrylic paint, paper and Thin Looped Dresden.

Cute as Buttons Gazebo for Alpha Stamps - Nichola Battilana

Love the Montage Mercantile Scrapbook Paper included in the kit. The butterflies on it are gorgeous.

Cute as Buttons Gazebo for Alpha Stamps - Nichola Battilana

It is the perfect spot for faeries to sit in thimbles and darn socks, surrounded by Small Wooden Spools and those delightful 4mm and 6mm doll buttons.

Cute as Buttons Gazebo for Alpha Stamps - Nichola Battilana

Be sure to hop over to Alpha Stamps and check out all the Cute As A Button goodies. You might also want to poke around their growing Doll House Miniatures section which is expanding by the month :)

Butterfly Vignette Box for Alpha Stamps

Two posts, one day... it's madness! 

My friends at Alpha Stamps sent me the most wonderful little box with wrap around lid to play with. It's very much like Graphic 45's Mixed Media 5x5 Box, only without the window and shrunken to fit in the palm of your hand. 
Butterfly Vignette Box for Alpha Stamps - Nichola Battilana

I'm going to start a bit backwards here and show you the finished exterior. I covered the outside with Yesterday Papillon Scrapbook Paper*, added a few snippets from Thread Trading Card Cuties Collage Sheet and Sewing with Kitty Collage Sheet  tied it together with some twine and an Ornate Metal Key. I finished it off with a Bronze Branch Connector on the little magnetic closure flap. 

Butterfly Vignette Box for Alpha Stamps - Nichola Battilana

Here's the outside without all of the fuss. I distressed the heck out of it. I mean I REALLY distressed it... glue, paper, water, paint, ink, sandpaper. I love the way it looks but I really battered that little box and I'm not sure how much more it could take. They are sturdy little things, but if creating your own, I'd suggest a light hand on the creases and not going batcrap crazy with the water and sandpaper like I did.

Open up that grungy old box and here's what you'll find inside...

Butterfly Vignette Box for Alpha Stamps - Nichola Battilana

The papers on the interior are from the  Sew Lovely 6x6 Paper Pad . Again, I distressed them. They totally remind me of the inside of an antique steamer trunk I have. Amid all this grunge and distressing is a beautiful little vignette of butterflies and flowers. An intimate, quiet moment that reflects the sentiment "Oh, the world wasn't so big... it was wonderful."

Butterfly Vignette Box for Alpha Stamps - Nichola Battilana

I like the surprise of something small and pretty beneath the dust and grime. It's like hope, or star-shine through the dark.

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

A Fairy Planner for Graphic 45

This book is actually a work in progress. It isn’t filled yet. I’ll be using it to sketch, plan and chronicle my fairy adventures this summer. 
G45 Once Upon A Springtime Mixed Media Book - Nichola Battilana

Every year I work closely with the little people to build houses, picnic areas and camps for my fairy friends. Children (and grown ups too) come to visit to see if they can spy winged creatures on my lawn. What could be more perfect for fairy planning than Once Upon a Springtime?! 
G45 Once Upon A Springtime Mixed Media Book - Nichola Battilana

I wanted to make this book look as though it was discovered in the forest, old and well worn, with a dash of magic too but I also wanted to make it practical enough to be put to good use. 

G45 Once Upon A Springtime Mixed Media Book - Nichola Battilana

The outside embellishments are not over-the-top and inside I’ve been conservative too. I’ve grunged up the divider pockets, and only used small die cut labels as embellishments. Sometimes a little touch is all  you need.

G45 Once Upon A Springtime Mixed Media Book - Nichola Battilana

The supply list:
Graphic 45 Mixed Media Album
Stamped Metal Butterflies
Metal Door Plate
Organza Ribbon

Sunday, February 22, 2015

One Little Thing - Crowning Glory

This weeks prompt is "Crowning Glory"

Take the prompt literally and create a glorious crown for your much deserving head, create something that shouts to the world your very best achievement, or explore the most important accomplishments of someone you admire. There is no wrong interpretation!

Have fun creating and making :)

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Paper Crafter's Library, Graphic 45 and altered bits

I'm featured over on Paper Crafter's Library today, a proud representative of Graphic 45.
Picking a project that represents my work is difficult. I dabble in so many styles, materials and whatnot, that it becomes a task to select one thing that says everything. Getting off track here... I chose this series of altered art pieces for the Paper Crafter's Library feature.
Altered Art with Graphic 45 - Nichola Battilana
I wan't going to use this project to represent my Graphic 45 work at all. I thought that maybe their product wasn't quite glaring enough (companies like when their product is glaring). But truly, it's the versatility of Graphic 45's products that I love. Their designs can be unmistakable... but they can also meld beautifully with authentic vintage rusty bits in altered art. Getting off track again. Here's the featury bit..
Altered Art with Graphic 45 - Nichola Battilana
These little altered art pieces were a lot of fun to create. They use a combination of authentic old pieces and new items, including a slew of Graphic 45 metal staples. I’ve used papers from Graphic 45’s Typography (one of my favourite collections!) for the back ground, as well as their washi tape for accents.
Altered Art with Graphic 45 - Nichola Battilana
Altered Art with Graphic 45 - Nichola Battilana
Altered Art with Graphic 45 - Nichola Battilana
Altered Art with Graphic 45 - Nichola Battilana
Altered art is a lot of fun and a great exercise in creating visual balance, texture and layering. It’s a lot like building a puzzle from scratch, with the final picture often telling an unexpected story.
Altered Art with Graphic 45 - Nichola Battilana
  • Graphic 45 Typography
    • Journey
    • Inspire
  • Graphic 45 Staples
    • Washi Tape Set
    • Ornate Metal Key Holes
    • Antique Metal Door Pull
    • Ornate Metal Keys
    • Stamped Metal Brads
    • Metal Butterfly Wing
  • Spellbinders – Media Mixage Collection – Bezels – Shields One – Bronze
  • Tim Holtz – Idea-ology Collection – Clock Keys
  • Resin Senorita Cameo
  • Other: Vintage spoon, Iron nails, Buttons, Beads, Laser cut wood frames, Metal Letter, Bottle cap, Metal Hands, Large Game Spinners, Vintage lottery number, Tintypes Collage Sheet
Remember to  hop over to Paper Crafter's Library and take a good look around, there's loads of beautiful work by talented folks to be seen :)

Monday, February 16, 2015

Couture Caravan for Graphic 45

This little piece is inspired by beautifully crafted “vardo”, traditional Romani wagons. 
A Couture Caravan with Graphic 45 - Nichola Battilana

The roof and base were cut from Couture’s Stunning using the largest die from Spellbinders Shapeabilites ‘Bow Elegance’. 
A Couture Caravan with Graphic 45 - Nichola Battilana

The body of the wagon is a simple box shape with a curved top created with ‘Gorgeous’ with panels of ‘Classy’ layered on top. 
A Couture Caravan with Graphic 45 - Nichola Battilana

It’s the addition of LOADS of Graphic 45 staples that really pull this piece together, giving it elegant little details throughout.

A Couture Caravan with Graphic 45 - Nichola Battilana

Supply List

Graphic 45 Staples

Shabby Chic Door Pull> 
Shabby Chic Ornate Metal Key Holes
Door Knockers
Shabby Chic Ornate Metal Brads> 
Shabby Chic Ornate Metal Keys
Spellbinders Shapeabilites ‘Bow Elegance’ s6-017
Tim Holtz Thinlits Mini Labels Die Set

Wooden craft wheels
White Foam Stamen*

Dried flowers
Bamboo skewers

Be sure to check out all the great project from my super talented teammates on Graphic 45's blog.

Sunday, February 15, 2015

One Little Thing - Family

Tomorrow is Family Day in Ontario.

'Family' means different things to different people. For some it's blood relatives, for others friends are their chosen family. Lets not forget the important role that 'fur babies' play in the lives of many.  

This week your challenge is to create one little thing using the theme of 'Family'

Have fun! And enjoy creating :)

Friday, February 13, 2015

Forever Bouquets for Petaloo

Forever Bouquet for Petaloo - Nichola Battilana

The hubs and I have been together forever and we don't really celebrate Valentines Day. The sweeping romantic gesture in our house will be pizza and beer. Anyway, I really wanted to create a project that could be for any occasion, a sweet little something so say "I think you're nifty." So I made these little 'forever' bouquets with Petaloo's amazing faux blooms.
Forever Bouquet for Petaloo - Nichola Battilana

I'll probably keep these, maybe tuck them in the guest room, so that there are pretty blooms to look at year round. A few drops of essential oil and they'll even smell great too!
Forever Bouquet for Petaloo - Nichola Battilana

This little bouquet is in a small galvanized metal can. Inside I've placed some oasis, carved the top into a sort of dome shape and glued the blooms in place. So easy and cute as can be!
Forever Bouquet for Petaloo - Nichola Battilana
Perfect little blooms that don't need water and will never wilt.
Forever Bouquet for Petaloo - Nichola Battilana

This tiny arrangement was created in a mini mason jar. I painted the inside of the jar white, allowed it to dry, then added my oasis. Again, so simple and very sweet :) 
Be sure to hop over to the Petaloo blog for more gorgeous (though non-pizza related) ideas for your lovely.
White paint
Floral Oasis
Small jars or tins
Hearts or other small embellishments
Optional - Essential oils

Thursday, February 12, 2015

The Lovers

My one little thing sort of got a little out of hand this week. I spent a long time on this piece. I probably could have spent forever on it and still be fiddling. But there comes a to time to let things be. You may have noticed that this piece is a tiny bit DeMeng-y. You'd be right. I'm a big fan of his work and keep meaning to sign up for one of Michael DeMeng's online classes... but... well... I keep getting distracted. Soon!

Anywho, without further a-do, The Lovers...

He opened the door of the old cupboard and saw a single item sitting on the shelf.

The Lovers Totem - Nichola Battilana

He had no idea what the object was, but he was hit with the instant realization that he had been completely wrong about it's creator.

The Lovers Totem - Nichola Battilana

He had been dismissive. At times she had been indistinguishable from the background. He had missed her magic altogether.

The Lovers Totem - Nichola Battilana

If only...

His regret was of no consequence. There would be no lovers totem for him.

It was not resentment for the lack of affection or attention. She did not share her bed, heart or mind with anyone who did not appreciate her value.

She knew her own worth.

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Altered Altoid Tins Revisited

A very nice surprise yesterday when Scrapbook Expo shared my Secret Garden tins. I thought perhaps it would be fun to look back and share some of the altered Altoids tins I've created over the years.

Secret Garden Altered Altoid Tin - Nichola Battilana

Halloweeny Altered Altoid Tin - Nichola Battilana

Evil Dead Altered Altoid Tin - Nichola Battilana
E is for Edward (Gorey) Altered Altoid Tin - Nichola Battilana
E is for Edward (Gorey)

Secretive Altered Altoid Tin - Nichola Battilana
Wicked Circus Altered Altoid Tin - Nichola Battilana

221B Baker Street Altered Altoid Tin - Nichola Battilana

Haunted House Altered Altoid Tin - Nichola Battilana

Haunted House Tin
This project is over on craftster but the images links are broken.
I stink. I know.

And that's about it. There are a few others, but this is the bulk of them. Perhaps it's time to pick up work on the last ones I was working on...

Sunday, February 08, 2015

One Little Thing - The Lovers

Next Saturday is Valentines Day and I've chosen "The Lovers" as this weeks theme.

Wait! Wait! Wait! Hear me out on this one...

If you are the lovey dovey type and go in for flowers and boxes of chocolate and romance, by all means, go ahead and get your Cupid on! Pull out the pink paint and hearts!

BUT if you're disinclined to jump on that bandwagon now is the perfect opportunity to do some really creative thinking. Just because the prompt is "The Lovers" does not mean that they have to be particularly good lovers, or nice, or well suited or that their tryst lasts very long at all.

Have fun with your making this week!

Saturday, February 07, 2015

My One Little Thing "Fruitful"

Here is my one little thing for this weeks 'fruitful' theme. It's not at all what I intended but there's two lessons from this sketchy mess.

My kiddo actually asked me to make with him this week. My kiddo isn't much interested in art or making. I suppose that being surrounded by mum's 'work' sort of takes the appeal out of it. Or maybe he's just more interested in other things... like food... and sports... and youtube. So when he asked me to sit down and draw with him all other plans went out the window.

So, lesson 1: ALWAYS draw or make with your kids when they ask. Not only is it time spent together, it places importance on creativity. You are showing them that making is valuable. That's the whole point of these 'one little thing' exercises, to give value to the time, any time, spent creatively.

Lesson 2: I used terrible waxy crayons for this picture. Awful things placed in those kids kits of 1001 art supplies on sale for $5. I swear they are one step away from drawing with a candle.

It occurred to me that anyone looking for a way to focus on the process of making rather than end result might find using bad supplies helpful. It would give you permission to just have fun without the expectation of an exceptional result. I'm not saying that blaming tools is a wise (or honest) excuse for bad work... but it just might be helpful if you've forgotten how to scribble and just want a bit of fun ;)

P.S. You may have noticed I missed last weeks post. Yep. But that's ok! We all have hectic weeks we can't fit it all in... myself included.

Friday, February 06, 2015

A place for Maman Brigitte

It's been AGES since I've talked about anything pagan-ish but I did a redo of a shrine the other day so I suppose I'll make good and chit chat about it right this minute.

I have several shrines in my house. Unprejudiced in my beliefs, I celebrate gods, goddesses, spirits, saints and deities from a variety of faiths and paths. Some people prefer a singular path, but this mishmash works for me.

Shrines are a space to contemplate, to show gratitude, to ask for guidance... but most mornings I simply light some incense and say a little 'hello'. It's nice. Like a daily visit with friends. 

My shrine to Maman Brigitte was in much need of a makeover, so I'd like to show off the much improved sacred space...
A shrine for Maman Brigitte - Nichola Battilana

Google her and you'll find phrases like "death loa" and "dark goddesses". Those words can be frightening to those who don't fully comprehend their meaning. It's a little unfair. To me, Maman Brigitte has been like a bawdy talking, no nonsense auntie. She's funny, fierce, and will stand by you when you need her support. She is a protector and fair in her judgement... but she'd put you in your place if need be too.

I thought perhaps the same might be true of this shrine. It might seem 'dark' to some. So I'd like to walk you through the items on it, what they are and why they're there.

A shrine for Maman Brigitte explained - Nichola Battilana

Incense: may be used for a variety of reasons including cleansing or purifying the area, to represent the element of 'air', so that thoughts may be carried upon the smoke, as an offering, to attract or call up spirits.

Hot Peppers: I've used hot peppers here because they are directly associated with Maman Brigitte. She likes rum infused with hot peppers.

Decorations: These are simply artifacts, small gifts or tokens that made me think of her.

Water: may be included to represent the element 'water', as an offering, or refreshment

Clay dish: a place for small offerings. For Maman Brigitte this could be little purple items, nuts, cigarettes, feathers. Natural clay objects may also represent the element 'earth'.

Graveyard Dust: This is earth from a graveyard. Maman Brigitte looks over cemeteries, the departed and in particular those graves marked with a cross. They are sacred places to her.

Flowers: I've used small purple flowers because Maman Brigitte likes purple and what lady doesn't like flowers? If building your own shrine, it's good to keep in mind that flowers and herbs can have different meanings, significance or uses. Hyssop for cleansing, rosemary for remembrance...

Imagery: Maman Brigitte is a manifestation of Brigid.

Bell: This bell is here simply because it has a rooster on it and there is an association with Maman Brigitte BUT bells may be included because they can attract the attention of the spirits (kind of like a doorbell), or chase away negativity.

Candles: represent the element of 'fire', used as offering and for honoring. They are also often used in spells and charms

Skull: Again, a little nod to her connection to cemeteries and the dead.

Prayer Card: These little cards have images of Saints and a prayer on the back. Some spirits are associated with a specific saint or it's imagery.

Floral Water: water infused with essential oils. May be used in spell work or as an offering. This is orange water, smells very nice and is said to lift the spirits :)

Rum: Maman Brigitte likes to drink. She especially like rum spiced with hot peppers!

Coffee: Another favourite of Maman Brigitte. When I make myself coffee in the morning, I first pour a small cup for those spirits who favour it. A polite 'good morning, I'm thinking of you'.

Tobacco: Maman likes to smoke strong cigarettes. No ciggies on hand this day, so loose leaf tobacco will do.

Feathers: Maman Brigitte is associated with black hens. When we culled a black hen last year I saved a few of the feathers specifically for her shrine.

And that's it in a very simplified nutshell! A shrine is really sort of like guestroom for the spirit or deity. A space filled with sentimental items and things that make them comfortable. There WILL be differences based on peoples personal practice, beliefs, culture or paths... but this is a pretty basic and honest breakdown.

Thursday, February 05, 2015

One Hot Tomato Cards for Graphic 45

It was only very recently that I got my greedy hands on a die/emboss machine. I’ve used mine far more than I thought I would, it’s loads of fun, but I know not everyone has one. 
Graphic45 Times Nouveau One Hot Tomato Cards - Nichola Battilana
I thought that I’d share a card tutorial two methods, one using Sizzix die 659632 and a second die-less option. The cards are simple, but sassy using the sentiment “One Hot Tomato” from the Times Nouveau Classic Collection. Here's the Snapguide Tutorial to create your own!
Graphic45 Times Nouveau One Hot Tomato Cards - Nichola Battilana
These may not be your typical lovey, frilly Valentines... but I think they're really fun and will be perfect for giving to my own Hot Tomato ;)
Supply List

P.S. Be sure to check out the Graphic 45 blog for more great projects by my talented team mates!