Wednesday, August 22, 2018

Disaster and a Sudden Frida

I mentioned that my Montreal trip was a bit of a disaster. The highlight of the trip should have been seeing the amazing light show at the Montreal Basilica, Aura.

Instead, we spent a lot of time getting lost and frustrated. I cracked my phone. There was stress. There were many, many, many deep breaths and counting to ten.

I kept saying to myself. "It's okay. We'll go to the basilica. It'll be great. It will make this ridiculous trip worthwhile."

But... we went to the basilica and could not get tickets. Disaster. It was the final straw in a long string of unfortunate events and I had a short but very ugly cry meltdown back at the car. I am not usually a big baby, but this trip was a big deal for us. Our first sort of grown up vacation as a family and so much seemed to go wrong.

In the end we wandered around a really cool area of Montreal, bought some drinks to take back to the hotel, and sat in the hottub for a bit. It wasn't the end of the world. How could it be with a hottub?!

A Sudden Frida - Nichola Battilana

Next month I'm heading to the UK and using the Montreal disaster as a lesson in pre-planning. I'm not filling every minute, I'm allowing for spontaneity, but I have a long list of possible things to see and do and plenty of maps and routes.

A Sudden Frida - Nichola Battilana

One of the things on my list is an exhibit at the Victoria and Albert Museum in London, Frida Kahlo: Making Her Self Up. It's a collection of personal items belonging to Frida. This mixed media Frida piece sprouted suddenly in my excitement.

A Sudden Frida - Nichola Battilana

I've included a little mirror, a sort of nod to her theme of self portraiture.

A Sudden Frida - Nichola Battilana

Old odd bits and a butterfly.

A Sudden Frida - Nichola Battilana

I've included hummingbirds, a symbol used in her work.

A Sudden Frida - Nichola Battilana

I'd really love to make the exhibit, I'm planning on it, but this sudden Frida is also a reminder to not get so caught up in that 'to-do list' that I forget to enjoy the experience and miss everything else if things go tits up.

"Nothing is absolute. Everything changes, everything moves, everything revolves, everything flies and goes away." ~ Frida Kahlo

Everything changes.

Plans change. 

This time I'll be ready to revolve too. I'll fly rather than fight against the changes.

Thanks for the lesson, Montreal.

Monday, August 20, 2018

Pretty Bird Matchboxes

Little boxes, fussy cutting, and pretty papers... swoon!

Pretty Bird Matchboxes for Graphic 45 - Nichola Battilana

You can absolutely make your own matchboxes, but I totally cheated and bought a bunch from the dollar store. I covered them in papers from the glorousiously gorgeous Graphic 45's Floral Shoppe (seriously, I cannot get enough of those papers).
Pretty Bird Matchboxes for Graphic 45 - Nichola Battilana

Inside are fussy cut flowers, birds and butterflies from Floral Shoppe and Seasons

(Disclaimer: a butterfly or flower might have snuck in from another collection. I was a flurry of paper and scissors and my memory is a total blur.)

Pretty Bird Matchboxes for Graphic 45 - Nichola Battilana

I lined the inside of the boxes with vintage dictionary pages that have been given a wash of white acrylic paint.

Pretty Bird Matchboxes for Graphic 45 - Nichola Battilana

Depth is created by using layers foam squares.

Pretty Bird Matchboxes for Graphic 45 - Nichola Battilana

What is it about small things that make them precious? Holding these in your hand is like a little bit of magic.

Pretty Bird Matchboxes for Graphic 45 - Nichola Battilana

Here's an even better look at these pretties.

Pretty Bird Matchboxes for Graphic 45 - Nichola Battilana

Pretty Bird Matchboxes for Graphic 45 - Nichola Battilana

Pretty Bird Matchboxes for Graphic 45 - Nichola Battilana

Pretty Bird Matchboxes for Graphic 45 - Nichola Battilana

Want to make your own? Here's what I used:
• matchboxes

• old papers (dictionary pages)
• acrylic wash
• glue
• foam squares
• self adhesive nail heads

Saturday, August 18, 2018

Leftover Bindrune Earrings

I am not a jewelry maker. I am only just finding my jewelry wearing self to be honest.

But I had leftover bits from my AlphaStamps design kit and they demanded to be used. 

So I made these earrings from Patina Brass Narrow Feather CharmsWide Feather Charms and
42mm Bronze Key Charms.

The top bit is a bindrune combining the runes Fehu and Perthro. A bindrune is a symbol which combines two or more runes and sort of joins their meaning. Here I'm mixing luck and new beginnings with magic, hidden knowledge and feminine power. I'm hoping these give me a little boost when I where them. (There's some debate about the meaning of Perthro but I like that particular interpretation.)

Simply connected all the bits together with jump rings and the attached the top bezel to an earring post. Easy peasy!

Here's my supply list for this unexpected extra project.

Earring posts
Jump Rings

A Little Big Fat Nature Journal

This month's AlphaStamps kit has sprouted an ATC sized nature themed junk journal.

Little Big Fat Nature Journal - Nichola Battilana for AlphaStamps

I separated the panels from an ATC Ticket Journal as a base for many of the pages and used some Water Media ATC Cards for others.

Little Big Fat Nature Journal - Nichola Battilana for AlphaStamps

Really I just made a whole bunch of ATC's and then stitched those suckers together. They make a lovely fat little book.
Little Big Fat Nature Journal - Nichola Battilana for AlphaStamps

To bind the pages I simply poked three holes in one side, and tied them together with Bakers Twine which I've muddied up with a wash of brown paint.

Little Big Fat Nature Journal - Nichola Battilana for AlphaStamps

The interior pages are a jumble of collage sheets and papers and fussy cut bits and bobs. Check the bottom for the complete list of supplies used.

Little Big Fat Nature Journal - Nichola Battilana for AlphaStamps

Little Big Fat Nature Journal - Nichola Battilana for AlphaStamps

Little Big Fat Nature Journal - Nichola Battilana for AlphaStamps

Little Big Fat Nature Journal - Nichola Battilana for AlphaStamps

Little Big Fat Nature Journal - Nichola Battilana for AlphaStamps

Little Big Fat Nature Journal - Nichola Battilana for AlphaStamps

Little Big Fat Nature Journal - Nichola Battilana for AlphaStamps

I'm really pleased with how all of those wee ATC's came together to form a cohesive bookette. If you'd like to make your own, here's all the bits and pages and papers I used.

Thursday, August 09, 2018

Saintly Shrines

I'm back from my family jaunt to Montreal. It was a disastrous comedy of errors worth a post of it's own, so look forward to that shortly.

Until then, I have a few new shrine thingys to show off.

Saintly Shrines - Nichola Battilana

A little something for my dude, St. Expedite.

I've talked about this guy many times before. He's an excellent saint to turn to when you have an urgent cause... and I am often in urgent need. If you're interested in learning more about him, you can find some information here.

St. Expedite Shrine - Nichola Battilana

Within my little shrine I've included a bottle of beer, prayer candle, paper flowers, breads and cake and the tiniest little prayer card.

St. Expedite Shrine - Nichola Battilana

I made two of these guys and they are available HERE.

I also created two little shrines for Our Lady of Guadalupe.

Virgin of Guadalupe Shrine - Nichola Battilana

The Virgin of Guadalupe kept coming across my path and I figured it was high time that I learn more about her. 

The Virgin appeared to St. Juan Diego in a vision in 1531 requesting a shrine be built on the spot that she appeared. Before agreeing to build the shrine, the bishop told Juan Diego he required proof of her appearance. The Virgin appeared again, directing Juan Diego to collect flowers from a barren area. He collected the flowers in his cloak and took them to the bishop. When he emptied the flowers, the image of the Virgin of Guadalupe appeared on his cloak. The cloak is housed at the Bascillica of Guadalupe.

Virgin of Guadalupe Shrine - Nichola Battilana

There is a great deal of symbolism attributed to the imagery of the cloak. The sun at her back, the moon at her feet, the stars on her robe, the position of her feet, the reflections in her eyes... there is SO MUCH to discover! It's all fascinating and well worth a bit of research if you're interested in that sort of thing.

Virgin of Guadalupe Shrine - Nichola Battilana

I was raised Catholic, but the images I was exposed to were mostly glum. Even as a child I could never reconcile the messages of celebration with the grim images we were exposed to. The vibrance of the shrines, altars and imagery devoted to Our Lady of Guadalupe seem much more reflective of  message of love and joyous celebration.

If you're interested in my happy little Lady of Guadalupe shrine, they can be found HERE.

And one last even littler addition...

St. Expedite Matchbox Shrine - Nichola Battilana

There are 10 of these tiny matchbox shrine available in the etsy shop. Created using a standard matchbox as a base, the wee paper shrine comes with a miniature 7 day novena candle, and the itty-bittiest laminated prayer card! They can be found HERE.

Friday, August 03, 2018

Little Doodle Matchbook Notelets

It occurred to me that this project might be too simple to share. I know the amount of time and effort that go into the beautiful, amazing, astounding projects shared on the Graphic 45 blog and this project is so easy it almost seems silly to show off these matchbook notelets.

But everyone starts somewhere, and inspiration often sprouts from the simplest of ideas.

The only materials you’ll need are 8” scrapbook paper, white printer paper, a stapler and double-sided tape. That’s it! You can add stickers and other embellishments if you’d like to gussy them up, that’s all you need to get started.

I spent an afternoon making loads, with a bunch of different Graphic 45 collections. I also made a super quick video to show you just how easy they are to make.

I love this paper from the Little Women collection. These matchbooks are finished off with coordinating stickers.

In case I need to take notes while sleuthing I’ve made these from Master Detective

I think that Sherlock would approve.

For keeping track of daydreams and doodles Imagine seems the perfect choice.

And finally some very pretty notelets with Floral Shoppe. How perfect would these be for favours at a ladies tea? I’m tempted to pretend to be a lady and host a tea just to prove it!

I love Floral Shoppe and there was something that caught my eye when I first saw it.

It is filled with Hogwarts house colours!

I found these Harry Potter printable house banners, printed and applied them to the covers. Somewhere to keep my potions and herbology notes. Too perfect, right?!

I don’t know about you, but I suspect there are some non-muggle types working at Graphic 45.

Graphic 45 Supplies:
Floral Shoppe 8x8 Pad
Imagine 8x8 Pad
Little Women 8x8 Pad
Master Detective 12x12 Pad

Other Supplies:
White printer paper
Double sided tape

Measurement list:
White paper cut to 2” x 2.75”
Scrapbook paper cut to 2.25” x 6.75”
Scrapbook paper scored at .5”, 1”, 1 ⅛”, 4”, 4 ⅛”

Sunday, July 29, 2018

Paper Zeppelin Tutorial

I'm not going to sugar coat it, there are things about this project that are a pain in the rump... but the end result is super duper cool. I mean, who doesn't need flying zeppelin boat sky vessel?

I came up with this project a fair long while ago after watching Stardust a million times. Sky pirates? Heck yeah! How could I resist the inspiration?

I've updated the project by adding some chipboard elements from Gypsy Soul Laser Cuts. They add amazing detailing without adding bulk or weight. 

I've used pieces from the Gears Shape Set along with Propellers, painting these elements a sort of coppery gold for a metallic effect.

But it's the addition of the chipboard Hinges that I think really add something to my sky vessel. They help to give the impression that this zeppelin is way more ornate with their addition.

Finally, I've added some bits from the Keys & Plates Shape Set.

I'm sure my sky pirates feel rather posh with all those additional bits and bobs!

If you'd like to try making your own paper zeppelin, I've created a video walk through HERE. I highly recommend doing a dry run of the balloon and boat elements before cutting into your 'good paper'. There IS a learning curve to fitting the bits together and this is NOT a beginner project.

But! If you're feeling adventurous and looking to make something really nifty, here are all the supplies you'll need:

Balloon and Boat Template (below)
12" scrapbook paper
(I've used papers from Graphic 45's Master Detective Colletion for the sample)
Brass Brads
Thin doweling or wooden skewars
Acrylic Paint
White glue
Hot glue