Friday, November 25, 2016

A Floo Network Fireplace

I interpret "Do you want to play with a fireplace?" as "OMG, MAKE A FLOO NETWORK THING!"

That's exactly what happened.

Floo Network Fireplace - Nichola Battilana

I've made a number of pieces inspired by the Weasley's (my favourite magical family) lately, so I wanted to do something a bit different with this piece. It occurred to me that it might be fun to create a something as if I lived in that magical world! And so, here is what I imagine my floo network fireplace might look like...

Floo Network Fireplace - Nichola Battilana

I'd have framed pictures of my magical relatives above the mantle. Stacks of books with magical titles, a Round Tin of tiny buttons, Cookies and a big bunch of Rose Buds too.

Of course I would read the Daily Profit regularly, and there's a stack on the floor. (Hint: A google search will provide you with several printables.)

Floo Network Fireplace - Nichola Battilana

You can't have a Floo Network fireplace without Floo Powder. There's some of that sparkly green stuff ready to go in a Tiny Glass Jar. And, because I'd be a mess even in the magical world, some powder has spilled and swept into the corner.

Floo Network Fireplace - Nichola Battilana

There's a lot going on this piece, but it's not ENTIRELY jumbled. It really does remind me of home with it's just-the-right-amount-of-clutter but not hoarder-level mess.

Floo Network Fireplace - Nichola Battilana

Even though it's not in complete disarray, there are loads of details to be found. Little stories within the scene, like this mouse keeping watch over the biscuits. That tea cup on the mantle and haphazardly placed pair of sparking red shoes clearly show what a busy witch I would be. (BTW I would wear those shoes every single day.)


I am quite smitten with this piece and think I'll keep it in view to remind me to strive for magical living in this world, and as evidence that a little mess is just fine and dandy.

Want to make your own? HERE is everything listed in one place and below is a list of the supplies I used:

White Undecorated Fireplace
Dark Blue Porcelain Tiles
White Porcelain Tiles
Blue Ceramic Urn
Corner Room Box
Coal Scuttle Set
Set of Miniature Books
Tiny Glass Candy Jar
Tiny Grey Mouse
Mini Silicone Mold - Cookie or Biscuit with Filling*
Mini Rose Buds - Red*
Mixing Bowl Set
Chamberstick Candle with Glasses
Doll Buttons - 6mm Mix
Domed Apothecary Bottles*
Miniature Round Cookie Tins
Simple Cups & Saucers Set - Set of 12
3-3/4 Inch Wooden Posts
Pumpkin Pods
Blue Damask Wallpaper Scrapbook Paper (outside of piece)
Wonderfully Wicked Haunted Scrapbook Paper
Little Library Collage Sheet
Something Witchy Collage Sheet
A Witchy Encore Collage Sheet
Glitter
Handmade shrunken head
Tiny sparkly shoes!
Paint
Glue
A crap-ton of love


Thursday, November 24, 2016

A Little Christmas Shrine

It really and truly is beginning to feel a lot like Christmas. There's a month of making and baking ahead, but this little elf is getting her holly jolly on. (We did get snow btw and that helps the holiday spirit A LOT.)

I'v been making loads of little things and this little Christmas shrine popped up on my work table this week.

I've used this House Shrine with Doors for the base. If you know me at all, you know how I feel about doors (or rather how I struggle with hinges) so those suckers are glued wide open. Why would you want to close it up anyway? You want to be able to see all the cute inside!


I've embellished with papers from this month's House Ornament Kit, Gold Ric Rac Dresden Borders Set, Glass Christmas Seed Bead Garland and Flat-Back Gold Star Studs. For the little legs I've trimmed down this Set of Wooden Table Legs.
All the wee things tucked inside can be found HERE. And, while all of my little boxes are just decorated cubes... wouldn't this be the most darling way to present a small gift?! A tiny bauble perhaps, with a love note tucked into that little drawer would be perfection!

Here's the full list of supplies from Alpha Stamps:
House Shrine with Doors
Christmas Delivery 6x6 Paper Pad
Tiny Christmas Windows Collage Sheet
Gold Ric Rac Dresden Borders Set
Glass Christmas Seed Bead Garland
Flat-Back Gold Star Studs
Set of Wooden Table Legs
Fancy Gold Holly Berries Mix*
Fancy Red Holly Berries Mix*
Santa Sleigh Silver Charm Set**
Tim Holtz Adornments Pinecones
Wired Pine Needle Stems*
Woodland Tree Lot - 5 Tiny Trees


P.S. I hope my American friends have had a great Thanksgiving! I am grateful for you.

Friday, November 18, 2016

Altoid Advent Calendar

Are you ready to be bombarded with pictures? This is a biggun'. Well, the actual thing is quite small... but it's almost epic in it's awesomeness!

I've thought about creating an advent calendar in an Altoid tin for a very long while, and finally set my mind to it. I'm really, really proud of how it turned out and I'm so excited to share it with you.

Altoid Advent Calendar - Nichola Battilana

The outside is sweet and jolly lovely. A wee wreath made with a snip of Wired Pine Needle Stem with the teeniest bow and Star Sequins. The corners are frosty with layers of glitter and faux snow. That little gnome can be found on this Santa is Outside Collage Sheet.

But the inside... oh the inside!

Altoid Advent Calendar - Nichola Battilana
*Gasps! Claps hands! Jumps up and down* LOOKY AT THAT! Can you even stand it?!

Get a load of all those little drawers. Each one with a little surprise tucked inside.

Altoid Advent Calendar - Nichola Battilana

I'm going to be honest. This was an enormous pain in the bum to make. It took a gazillion times longer than I had anticipated. I'm a disaster for measuring and straight lines, so those little boxes were a nightmare. And, because it's sooooo tiny, any wobble or imperfection throws everything off (and believe me, there are imperfections a-plenty here.)

Altoid Advent Calendar - Nichola Battilana

But let's not focus on the rump pain. Let's look inside... 

Altoid Advent Calendar - Nichola Battilana

Once the drawers were created, the next issue became what the heck would fit inside them. Some of the drawers contain dollhouse miniatures like the tiny tankard above. 

Altoid Advent Calendar (detail) - Nichola Battilana

One of the drawers contains a small collection of lucky charms. (Three is when something becomes a collection, right?) If you decide to tackle a similar project, charms and beads are a great option for filling those small spaces.


Another drawer is filled with shiny stars.

Altoid Advent Calendar - Nichola Battilana

There's an itty book of sketches.

Altoid Advent Calendar - Nichola Battilana

And a chocolate kiss made with a chocolate chip and snip of foil! 

(Confession: in reality I'm distraught because it's a butterscotch chip inside. The horror! The fairies must have eaten all the good and proper chocolate ones.)

Altoid Advent Calendar (detail) - Nichola Battilana

Of course I couldn't not include glitter. This glass vial was from a vintage set that contained the tiniest watchmaker gears you can imagine. Even though it was already so very small, I still had to cut and file it down to fit it in the drawer!

Considering the recipient is helpful for ideas too. This piece is on it's way to a fellow who once made a giant circus peanut, so I've included handmade fairy sized versions.

Altoid Advent Calendar - Nichola Battilana

Jim also happens to create work using Altoids (and other) tinsso I absolutely had to include this...

Altoid Advent Calendar - Nichola Battilana

Perfect, no?!

Finally, on the last day of the count down, the little doors are popped open to reveal a message of seasonal glad tidings.

Altoid Advent Calendar - Nichola Battilana

What do you think? Do you love it?! I love it! I'm so damn pleased with myself it's obscene. Ha!

Thinking of making your own? I don't have a tute, but here are some pointers:

• Give yourself a lot of time.  A LOT. I mean it. This thing was nuts to make.
• Be as organised as you can be with your materials.
• Keep your working area clean (ha! I know.)
• If possible, gather more items than you need for the drawers. Having many options is really helpful.
• A small snip of tissue tucked into the drawers helps to keep small loose items in their place.
• Creating drawers of differing sizes not only adds visual interest, but allows you to include items of various sizes.
• Tweezers. Get some. Use them. Love them.

Other supplies used in this piece:
Narrow Gold Fleur Dresden Borders*
Tiny Dot Dresden Borders - Gold*
Wallflower 12x12 Paper Stash
Flat Brass Drawer Pulls - Set of 16
Old Fashioned Grocery Rectangular Tins

Be sure to let me know if you create your own version of this project and show off your mad skillzzzz. Start now and you may be done by next Christmas ;)

I love you THIS much!

Thursday, November 17, 2016

Sweet Little Peg Fairies

*gasps!* How cute is this years batch of peg fairies?! I made these ones with embellishments and trims from Shabby is Chic Boutique.


I'm so smitten with them. This Folded Tulle Trim is absolutely perfect for the little skirts. The little flatback pearly embellishments are also from Shabby is Chic Boutique. I didn't include them here, but these Silver Fairy Wand Charms would be a super cute addition!


I just love their floofy hair made from real wool roving.


In all different colours.


They're such happy little things.


With their acorn caps and their butterfly wings.


I hope you'll make some too!


And spread a little sweetness to those around you.


Love you this much!

xoxo

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

Shabby Chic Ornaments

Holiday making is in full swing. Yay! I'm hoping that all the glitter, and glue, and pretty Christmas pictures, kick my spirit in the pants so that I'm cheery as all heck this year. 


Last year was exhausting and I think aged me about 10 years. This year I want to enjoy myself. There are rumours of snow for this Monday, fingers crossed it comes and I'll be the holly jolliest mo' fo' you ever did see!


Until then, I'll settle for fake snow and glitter... which isn't so bad. This shabby set of ornaments is covered in the stuff.


They are made with laser cut wooden frames (last years post-christmas clearance, bought for pennies, hells yes!). I prepped the frames with blue paint then slopped those suckers with glue, white acrylic paint, glitter and faux snow. Add fake berries, burlap, snips of lace and tulle, vintage buttons and ta dahhh!

These lovelies are already on their way to their new home (hiya Ms Amy Love!), but if you'd like some Pixie Hill magic to arrive on your doorstep, skip over to my facebook page and enter my holiday giveaway.

Love you more! 
xoxo

Tuesday, November 15, 2016

Naughty or Nice Facebook Giveaway

I'm having a holiday giveaway ON MY FACEBOOK PAGE



I'm not entirely sure what the prize will be... but it's going to make one lucky winner very happy ;)

To enter, simply hop over to my facebook page and let me know if you're on the naughty or nice list. Share and like too, thank-you-very-much.

REPEAT: DO NOT ENTER HERE. Please enter HERE

Good luck!

Squiffy Fruitcake

My auntie said I looked 'squiffy' the other day. I wasn't sure what she meant, but I was fairly certain it was true because that word sounds exactly how I feel most of the time. When I looked it up I discovered that it means to be tipsy or slightly drunk. So yes, if not actually squiffy, I do look squiffy most of the time.

ANYWAY... 

I've been at the Christmas making and managed some fruitcakes. I know, I know... bleh! But cross my heart, homemade fruitcake is pretty dang scrummy. And these fruitcakes are perfect for me because they are totally squiffy too!


I've had a number of requests for the recipe. Just jumble it up as you see fit. Want to add pecans instead of almonds? Go ahead! Just keep it quite heavy on the boozed dried fruit. This made enough for 6 small loaves (extra large muffin size) and two shallow loaves.


Ok, here's what I used:

1 cup dried cherries (seriously, these are delicious)
1 cup dark seeded raisins
1 cup dried currants
1 cup candied peel
1 cup chopped dried apricots
1 cup chopped pitted prunes
1 cup brandy
1 cup chopped walnuts
1 cup slivered almonds
3 cups flour
1/2 cup  butter, softened
3/4 cup granulated sugar
3/4 cup brown sugar
4 eggs
2 tsp vanilla
1 tsp baking powder
1 1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp ground allspice
1/4 tsp ground cloves
MORE BRANDY!!!!

In a huge bowl mix all of the dried fruit with the brandy. To be honest, it's A LOT of fruit and I used more brandy than what the recipe calls for. Cover and let that fruit get tipsy overnight and soak up the booze.

Mix the nuts with 1/2 cup of flower, then toss with the dried drunken fruit.

Beat the butter and granulated sugar. Beat in brown sugar. Beat in eggs one at a time. Beat in vanilla.

Sift the dry ingredients together. Add to butter/sugar/egg batter and mix.

Combine everything together. It's a lot and it will probably be a sticky mess. Yum!

Grease your baking tins or use parchment (I like the parchment method!) and fill with the batter. Like I said above, I used x-lrg muffin tins and two loaf pans (filling about 1/2 way). I like smaller cakes because they bake and set more quickly. FYI this batter doesn't rise very much. Also, I used a wet spatula to sort of smooth the tops... because I'm a picky bugger ;)

Set oven to 300. Place a shallow pan of water on the lowest rack. Loosely cover prepared pans with tinfoil and bake on the middle rack. Bake for 1 hour then then check on those bad boys. A toothpick/skewer should come out clean. My small ones took an hour, the larger ones about an hour and a half. It really depends on what pans you're using. I'm soooo helpful, I know.

When done, remove the cakes from their pans, and brush with brandy. Dip some cheesecloth in brandy and wrap the cakes with it. I store them in a large Tupperware container, removing once in a while to brush with extra booze.

You'll want to let these sit for quite a while before they are good and settled. I've made mine about a month in advance. And while I've avoided those horrific glace cherries and candied fruit... if that's your thang, feel free to include it in your own version.

Enjoy!



Friday, November 11, 2016

Bottle Brush Trees and the Power of Glitter

It's been a rough week.

Really rough.

Somehow, a shiny glistening forest of white and pink appeared on my work table.

Bottle Brush Trees and the Power of Glitter - Nichola Battilana

I love them. They are pretty and serene... and there are a lot of them!

Bottle Brush Trees and the Power of Glitter - Nichola Battilana

But what's the use in pretty glittery things when all seems bleak?

I think, perhaps, now is when shining is most important.

A glimmer of hope. A smidge of beauty. A spark of something sweet.

Bottle Brush Trees and the Power of Glitter - Nichola Battilana

My dear friends, strive to be glittery. We're tiny, but we can catch the light and reflect it back out onto the world. It's a small thing, but small things are oh, so important.

Bottle Brush Trees and the Power of Glitter - Nichola Battilana

Let us do what glitter does best, be tenacious and hold fast! Shine!

You know as well as I, once you spill a little glitter, you'll never ever be rid of it.

Bottle Brush Trees and the Power of Glitter - Nichola Battilana

Keep sparkling, my sweeties and don't underestimate the power of your twinkle.

I love you dearly.





Retro Bottle Brush Tree Set - Dyeable
I used vintage spools but...
2 Inch Wooden Spools
Medium Spools
1/2 Inch Pale Pink Paper Roses*
Real red rose buds
Laces and other embellishments from Shabby Is Chic Boutique
Vintage buttons
Mirrored stars from the $1 store
GLITTAHHH!

Monday, November 07, 2016

The return of the cheeky snowballs

They're back!


I started making cheeky snowballs almost 10 years ago (what the?!). Last year I took a break from them. This year they are back in all their full glittery glory!


I gotta say, I'm really happy with this bunch. I spent a little extra time on them, adding eyebrows, and the glitter on them is really pretty.


I've made quite a big batch of these and I'm not sure if I'll manage a second batch before Christmas. There has been a lot of pre-season interest in them this year so you might want to snag one quickly if you have your heart set on getting them.


I have two listings set up for these. 




I've got loads of stuff on the go at the moment and I can't wait to show it all off!

Have a great week, my lovely. Remember, I adore you.

Friday, November 04, 2016

A Timeless Grandfather Clock

This month for gslcuts.com I've created a 'timeless clock' with Gypsy Soul's Grandfather Clock.


I've used a pretty floral scrapbook paper to cover my clock. Just one sheet will do the trick. The little drawer at the bottom, and interior of the clock, have been lined with a page from an old, discarded book.


The top section of the clock does not contain a time piece (although you certainly could add one), instead being home to a nest of little eggs.


The top has been decorated with moss, flowers, an acorn and some wee mushrooms.


Inside, a butterfly garden, with moss, paper roses and pretty flying things.


This particular clock measures 11" tall. It's a nice with a goodly amount of space to play with inside for creating a little scene or diorama.

If you're interested in making your own, I have a video of the construction of this piece HERE.



And here is your supply list:

Grandfather Clock 11 Inch
(psst, there is also a smaller 1:12 scale version)


Sheet moss
Floral scrapbook paper
Paper Roses
Plastic Eggs
Flat back pearls
Twig Vine Garland
Red Mushrooms on Wires
English Fairy Garden Collage Sheet
Mini Floral Dresden Borders - Antique Gold
Narrow Gold Fleur Dresden Borders*