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!

Wednesday, February 04, 2015

Big Fat Succulent Lies

UPDATE: Living Art has updated her site and has 'removed' the gallery containing the images listed below. The images currently being used are usable under the creative commons... but they still aren't her work. It's been almost a week now. Just make some awesome stuff, take your own pictures. Geesh.


Warning: this is a long one.

First things first.

I don't sell succulents, arrangements, terrariums, or even know anyone who does. I'm not a jealous overseas distributor. I'm not a jilted ex, a far-away psychopath, professional pain in the ass, or any other lie about to be fabricated about me used to explain this post.

Let's begin...

A facebook page, Living Art (aka Living Art by Sarah / was attempting to sell these paper dreamcatchers for a 'friend'

Dreamcatcher by Miranda Edney for Graphic 45

Beautiful, no? The problem is that these were made by Miranda Edney for Graphic 45 and Miranda is, in no way, shape, or form, her friend. When confronted, Living Art denied they belong to Miranda and stated that the maker was 'not a social media type'. Due to overwhelming pressure she removed the photo. It is worth noting that Living Art maintains these exist in her garage... Miranda still owns at least one of them.

A very quick search revealed that every image posted by Living Art prior to January 31st did not belong to her and were not representative of her work. Being the helpful sort, I posted the links to the original images on a handful of photos. The links were removed by Living Art.

Apparently, by this time, the original makers were requesting that she cease using their images.

Again, she simply deleted the comment and continued to use the image to solicit sales. This item remains for sale on her website. The REAL creator of this piece is etsy seller PaperDame.

I then shared the images, directing people to the originating sources, which seemed to get her attention, and a messy exchange ensued. She called everyone 'idiots' and claimed the images were given to her by customers to recreate, that she never said they were hers. Funny, because she's still using every one on her website, with prices, using them as a fraudulent means to solicit sales. (See end of this post for links)

She maintained that the dreamcatchers where made by her friend who had a shop being opened by Sir Richard Branson of Virgin! I'm not exactly sure how poor Sir Branson got dragged into this... but whatever. She said that she directed people to Miranda's site. Miranda confirmed this was not true and provided screen shots of Living Arts stating outright that they were not Miranda's work.

She said that she provided links to the original sources. She did not. She removed any links directing people to the origins of the photographs.

She said she knew her rights! I would be facing a hefty legal battle! I told her that a visit to a lawyer would be enlightening and still encourage her to do so that she might be made aware of copyright and intellectual property laws.

Somewhere in this mess two points of note happened. This article was circulated. It appears that this person has a history of serious fraudulent online activity. She also began post that she had/has brain cancer. Gods forbid she does have cancer, it's no excuse for fraud and in extremely bad taste to play on peoples sympathy for sales. If she doesn't... well I think it's a clear illustration of her character.

Living Art is now using her own photographs on her facebook page, but still distributing others work as her own via private message and her web page. When questioned about the missing photographs she said that they were removed "after constant heckling by other terrarium companies". 

If I have nothing to gain from this, and wasn't personally slighted, what's the deal?

As an artist this ticks me off. It's not a good idea to copy other peoples work. It is NEVER ok to use someone else's images to sell those copies. Any artist with integrity will not copy the work of another. They might offer an inspired alternative, but they definitely won't post the inspiration image as their own.

This person has made sales from these photographs. Those sales should have gone to the rightful designers and growers. She has had ample time to remove the images but has chosen not to.

She continues to use images from etsy sellers, bloggers, manufacturers, private individuals, personal wedding images, professional photographers, legitimate gardening centres and floral artists, Better Homes and Gardens, well known authors and experts.

She is being promoted by other businesses who are very likely unaware that this is NOT her work. It is possible that this wedding planner is unknowingly setting a bride up for disappointment.

I made it clear that if the photographs were removed, if she just stopped, no one would care about the issue anymore. She continues to unabashedly lie and is unrepentant. That's too bad. She is the coordinator of her own undoing.

If you're still on the fence about this, find the gall a little unbelievable? here's a list of the original sources for every one of the gallery images on her website.

Gallery photo 6 

Gallery photo 7
Taken from SucculantWonderland
See link:

Gallery photo 10 

Gallery photo 11 

Gallery photo 14 

Gallery photo 26
Taken from:

Gallery photo 27
Taken from:
See link:

Gallery photo 28
Taken from:
Credited to Sue Matyszak

Gallery photo 29
Taken from:

Gallery photo 31
Taken from:

Gallery photo 32
Taken from:
See link:

Taken from:

P.S. Pinterest is not an image free for all. Copyright and intellectual property laws still apply! I like pinterest and don't mind that my images are distributed when it's used properly. "Properly" means that the originating link and credit remains intact. That's kind of the point of pinterest, to be an easy way for people to find the original source of awesome stuff. Many artists and makers want their art shared... please give them their due credit.

Sunday, February 01, 2015

One Little Thing - Fruitful

This week we're thinking about the word "Fruitful".

You can take this literally and include lush imagery of figs, grapes and pomegranates, or you can think upon the other meaning of that word: "producing good results; beneficial; profitable"

Remember, there are no wrong interpretations!

Enjoy your creative time