Sunday, May 31, 2015

One Little Thing - My Favourite Song

Music plays such an important role in our lives. It punctuates our celebrations. It comforts us. It makes us shake our booties.

Your challenge this week is to create one little thing based on a favourite song.

I think the hard part will be picking just one song!

Friday, May 29, 2015

Faerie Dust Specimens

Continuing the examination of faerie artifacts found at Pixie Hill, today we take a look at several varieties of Faerie Dust.

Faerie Dust Specimens - Nichola Battilana

While not all of the little people distribute or use faerie dust, it is used by many and worth examination.

Faerie Dust Specimens - Nichola Battilana

Fig. 1 Common House Faerie Dust: The most common of all magical dust distributed by brownies, house elves and other home dwelling magical creatures. Frequently mistaken for ordinary house dust. Fastidious distributors of this dust will simply replace dust that has been 'cleaned' by the human inhabitants.

Faerie Dust Specimens - Nichola Battilana

Fig. 2 Trooping Elf Dust: Found in mossy areas where trooping elves are known to parade. Difficult to find due to camouflage. Is distinguishable only by slight iridescent flecks.

Faerie Dust Specimens - Nichola Battilana

Fig. 3 Geancanach Dust: This dust is particular to faeries who guard or live near hearth fires or fireplaces. This dust is named after one such faerie, the Irish Geancanach (not to be confused with the completely different creature, Gancanagh). This dust resembles fine soot and is prized by witches who recognize it's magical potency. 

Faerie Dust Specimens - Nichola Battilana

Fig. 4 Piggywiggins Garden Dust: Utilized by a species of garden faerie (the Piggywiggin) to promote garden growth. It is a fine mixture of pollen, seeds and some sort of a golden magical substance. Piggywiggins will freely distribute their dust if kept content and happy and on good terms with the farmer/gardener.

Faerie Dust Specimens - Nichola Battilana

Fig. 5 Fairy Godmother Dust: This particular dust is comprised mainly of glitter. It is often more potent as a theatrical devise than magical tool. It is a favourite of Fairy Godmothers (who adore showmanship) to add pinache to their flamboyant spell weaving style.

Faerie Dust Specimens - Nichola Battilana

Fig. 6 Frost Faerie Dust: One of the most difficult types of faerie dust to collect. This dust is mingled with snow and samples must be collected grain by grain. Distributed by cold climate faeries when temperatures reach a freezing point.

Faerie Dust Specimens - Nichola Battilana

Fig. 7 Night Faerie Dust: Unique in its dark shimmering colour, night faerie dust is used sparingly by nocturnal faeries. The main magical uses for night faerie dust are to facilitate human sleeping and to protect dwellings from bumps and other naughty nighttime occurrences.

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Side Show Ballyhoo Stage

This month's theme at Alpha Stamps is "Join the Circus". I've been a little cheeky with the miniature trunk parts that were sent to me and created some Side Show Ballyhoo platforms instead.

Let's be serious, how could I resist making something called a 'Ballyhoo'?!

Side Show Ballyhoo with Tutorial - Nichola Battilana

1. a noisy, confused, or nonsensical situation or uproar
2. sensational or blatant advertising or publicity
3. to advertise or publicize by sensational or blatant methods

Not only are these pretty dang adorable, but they were fairly easy to make too.

Side Show Ballyhoo with Tutorial - Nichola Battilana

AND to prove it, I have a tutorial for you! 

You can check out the Snapguide tutorial for all of these pieces HERE.

Side Show Ballyhoo with Tutorial - Nichola Battilana

And here is your full supply list:

Run Away and Join the Circus Add-On Kit
Thin Fleur Dresden Borders - Black
Thin Fleur Dresden Borders - Gold
Thin Looped Dresden Borders - Black
Tim Holtz Long Mini Brads
Vintage Magician Posters Collage Sheet
Circus Folk Collage Sheet 
Sideshow Folk Collage Sheet 
Wooden Stir Sticks
Paint/pencil crayons for colouring

Or if you're lazy (like me) all of the pieces can be found in one handy place HERE

A miniature hutch in progress

I'm showing off a project that isn't exactly complete today. Gina's Designs Lasercuts asked me if I wanted create a sample for their new Miniature China Cabinet and of coarse I said "Heck yeah!"

Gina's Designs Miniature Cabinet - Nichola Battilana

Cute, right? Here's a peek before being all gussied up. 

Gina's Designs Miniature Cabinet - Nichola Battilana

The size is is 5" x 7" but it 'feels' larger. The shelving space is massive and if you were putting very teeny weeny things inside you might just be able to add an extra shelf or two. It IS larger than most mini-hutches I've come across, but I think people who aren't comfortable with teeeeeeny tiny might appreciate the extra space.

Gina's Designs Miniature Cabinet - Nichola Battilana

The ornamental scroll-ish bits I've adorned this with are made with Paperclay from this Silicone Mold - Architectural Flourishes. The little lock on the bottom cupboard doors is a Prima Shabby Chic Metal Door Lock. For the feet I've used 12mm Wooden Drawer Pulls stacked with a 3/4 Inch Wooden Wheel.  

Gina's Designs Miniature Cabinet - Nichola Battilana

As for the hinges, well I used what was on hand and it wasn't perfect. You'll want to find hinges that swing freely and attach with very short screws. Trust me... use the screws. Depending on the size of your hinges, you'll need at least two for each top door and one for each bottom door for 'larger' hinges or three for each top and two for each bottom if you can find some great tiny ones.

Gina's Designs Miniature Cabinet - Nichola Battilana

And now comes the fun part: filling it! I do have an inkling what will be placed in my cabinet... but my plans seem to have a mind of their own lately so I'll keep it a bit of a secret before showing off the finished piece.

What would you fill this tiny cabinet with?

Supply List:
Miniature China Cabinet
Creative Paperclay* 
Silicone Mold - Architectural Flourishes
Prima Shabby Chic Metal Door Lock
12mm Wooden Drawer Pulls 

3/4 Inch Wooden Wheel
Acrylic paint

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

A Bent Needle Box for Petaloo

A few months back I came across a post about "The Festival of Broken Needles", or Hari-Kuyo, a Japanese custom honoring broken sewing needles. As someone who sees the beauty and worth of ordinary objects, I was immediately captivated. Broken, bent and worn sewing needles are saved, then honored on a special day by placing them in cakes of tofu and offering them thanks before they are laid to rest. It's a bit more complex than that, but that's it in a nutshell.

Bent Needle Box - Nichola Battilana

I wanted to honor my own bent needles and so I've created a little mossy box for them to 'retire' in. 

Bent Needle Box - Nichola Battilana

I've covered the box with paper from the 6x6" Junque Gypsy pad from Marion Smith and fussy cut some butterflies for embellishment. The corners are dotted with Petaloo Chantilly-VelvHydrangeas. I've also included an Embellishment Brad to finish things off.

Bent Needle Box - Nichola Battilana

Supply list:
And be sure to stop by Petaloo this week. They have a whole week of projects created with Petaloo and Marion Smith papers and there's prizes to be won!

Artisan Style card for Graphic 45

Handmade cards are so handy to have around. Artisan Style is such a perfect collection for creating‘any time’ cards. The designs and colour pallet are sophisticated, making it easy to create stylish cards suitable for Thank-you’s, hostess gifts or any number of occasions.
Artisan Style card w/ Graphic45 - Nichola Battilana

Artisan Style card w/ Graphic45 - Nichola Battilana

Artisan Style card w/ Graphic45 - Nichola Battilana
Supply List
There's more handmade cards on the Graphic 45 blog today, so be sure to hop over and have a peek.

Monday, May 25, 2015

Wand Specimens

Faerie Wand Specimens - Nichola Battilana

Wands are often lost, misplaced or discarded by the fair folk. Their size, and the natural materials with which they are made, provide excellent camouflage making them difficult to uncover. Today we will take a look at several varieties of faerie wands found at Pixie Hill.
Faerie Wand Specimens - Nichola Battilana

Fig.1 The 'Thorned Goblin Rod' provides all of the magical qualities of a wand and may also be used a weapon. Created from a young black locust branch, the thorns aren't just dangerous in appearance, they are poisonous. A scratch from the sharp points will cause pain that may last for several days.

Faerie Wand Specimens - Nichola Battilana

Fig. 2: The 'House Brownie Wand' is completely utilitarian. It is free from excess embellishment or flamboyance. The wood used in its creation is maple, a good all 'round magical wood. This specimen has a handle of well worn cotton. (Note: If you find a similar wand near your home do not pick it up. Your house brownie likely put it down momentarily and will return for it.)

Faerie Wand Specimens - Nichola Battilana

Fig. 3: This natural bone wand has a moss wrapped handle. Bone wands are far less common than wooden wands but not unheard of. Found in on the mossy ground beneath the big pines on the back lawn, it is likely that this once belonged to a forest dwelling faerie. Possibly dropped by a migratory Duwende.

Faerie Wand Specimens - Nichola Battilana

Fig.4: This very small wooden wand has a decorative carved handle. Although it's carving suggests elf or gnome origins, its size is more indicative of imp ownership. More exploration may be warranted to see if pygmy elves are inhabiting the grounds.

Faerie Wand Specimens - Nichola Battilana

Fig. 5: This small wand has a webbed grip indicating that it's owner was in good standing with spiders and other insects. Flower faeries are known to have an excellent relationship with arachnids, often working together to aid in the maintenance and care of gardens.

Faerie Wand Specimens - Nichola Battilana

Fig. 6: It is well known that most creatures with fae blood are repulsed by iron, steel, silver and other metals. There are a few examples to the contrary, dwarfs, ogres and some trolls, creatures who mine and forge are less affected by some metals. This delicate tiny wand seems unlikely to have been wielded by a troll so one must wonder.... to whom did it belong?

This collection of wands and other faerie artifacts will be on display at the studio throughout the summer. Please check the events page for open house dates.

Sunday, May 24, 2015

One Little Thing - Rain

Ok, crafty people, this week your prompt is 'Rain'

Spend just a few minutes reflecting on this weeks theme, then create one little thing. Easy peasy!

Have fun!

Saturday, May 23, 2015

A Gift / Memory Box for Dad for Petaloo

In our household we celebrate simply. A small token gift, maybe dinner out, or a trip to the movies is standard gift fare. Just because our gifts are small and sentimental rather than large or elaborate doesn't mean that we can't gussy up the presents!
Gift box for dad with Petaloo & Marion Smith - Nichola Battilana
This year for Fathers Day I'm planning a night to our local drive-in to see Mad Max (woo hoo!). Using Cogs & Gears from Marion Smith I created a simple gift box, then topped it with an image from Portfolio. I've finished off the exterior with Embellishment BradsBurlap Trims and a Spring Berry Cluster.
Gift box for dad with Petaloo & Marion Smith - Nichola Battilana

Inside the box I'll wrap up those tickets and add a little floral touch with a little Chantilly-VelvHydrangea
And even better, after our drive in adventure we can store photos and ticket stubs, in the box to remember our 'Dad' night together.

Friday, May 22, 2015

Gina's Designs Birthday Blog Hop!

Welcome to Gina’s Designs 3rd Birthday Blog Hop!

The Birthday Blog Hop will run from today, May 22, until May 29 at 8pm CST.  You should have just come from Diana's Crafts Blog. If you didn't, don't worry! Just pop over to Gina's Designs Birthday Blog Hop post and follow all the blogs in order.

We are having two great giveaways associated with this blog hop.

The first one is the Birthday Prize Giveaway!

The Birthday Prize package includes:

To be entered into the Birthday Prize giveaway, you need to:
1. Stop at all 15 designers’ blogs for a secret word.
2. After you collect all of the 15 words, create a sentence.
3. Email your answer [email protected] for a chance to win the Birthday Prize!

 This is why you will want to make sure you stop at each blog. That prize package is fantastic!  

Now the second giveaway will be done on EACH of the designers blogs. The shape set I am giving away is  
the Steampunk Shape Set which is filled with really amazing and useful pieces. 

I used this set in the piece I showed off the other day.

To be entered into my blog's giveaway,
1.  Subscribe to my blog. 
2.  Leave a comment on this blog post.
THAT’S IT! So easy!

So many great ways to win some fabulous chipboard pieces! My word for the Birthday Prize giveaway is PROJECTS.

The next blog you will want to visit is Carla's Creations.

If you get lost along the way, here is a list of all the blogs you need to visit to collect your word.

Thursday, May 21, 2015

Shop Updates

This toadstool house (and its neighbour) have been sitting in my studio for an age. 

I've always had a soft spot for the pair them but it's time to find them some new homes. If you think you're up to a little fairy mischief you can find them here and here.

I've also 'discovered' a fresh batch of fairy thimbles sprouting and listed those too.

Finally, just a few Pixie Dust pendants were added to the shops roster and there are still a few Fairy Dust Shrines available also.

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Faeries, Frocks and Godmothers

With the arrival of the glorious spring weather the faeries have come out of hiding and hibernation. I thought it might be a good time to talk about them, the fair folk, and share some faerie truths.

When one thinks of faeries they often imagine tiny winged pretty ladies either scantily clad or clothed in frilly frocks.

Faerie Frocks - Nichola Battilana

While it is true that in the throes of summer many fae opt for minimal covering (they don't have air conditioning after all), I am assured they do not pose with arched backs nor push their bosom forward seductively. That said, please beware that there ARE several varieties of faerie who like to lure men into harms way. Long story short, if you happen upon a sexy faerie, tis best to run in the opposite direction.

Now, about those frilly frocks...

Faerie Frock - Nichola Battilana
Five inch frock worn by Miss Gwendoline Twinkle during the strawberry harvest festival of 1913.
Frilly frocks and pretty dresses are rarely worn by the fair folk. The little people usually prefer clothing that is comfortable and practical. The above dress and slippers fit neither category. There is an exception to this general rule: Fairy Godmothers.

Faerie Frock - Nichola Battilana
Full 6" dress, boots, hat and wand from the closet of Miss Mulberry Threadbare.
While Fairy Godmothers are soft hearted and mostly very nice and down to earth, there is a recent trend among the younger faction to wear large ornamental dresses and completely impractical footwear. The appeal seems to be gaining momentum through the ranks of Godmotherhood, extending as far as the matronly Eldermothers.

While many faerie folk believe these dresses to be ostentatious and showy (some rolling their eyes at the mere mention of them) they also know that there is no harm in it. 

The general consensus is "So long as their job is done, let them look as silly as they like."

The frocks pictured above will be on display at Pixie Hill throughout the summer. You can find the current "Open House" schedule HERE.

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

The Meaning of Life with Graphic 45

The Graphic 45 window shadow boxes just beg to display collections. And collections should definitely be displayed! What use are those little tid-bits we hold dear if only to be shoved in a box in the back of the closet?

The Meaning of Life with G45 - Nichola Battilana

So I gussied up a Black Window Shadow Box with Craftmanship and This Old House from Artisan Style, added some chipboard gears and wings, topped it with vintage ‘junk’ and then finished it off with a Door Knocker for a bit of ‘rawr!’.

The Meaning of Life with G45 - Nichola Battilana

On the little shelves I’ve tucked new and vintage treasures.

The Meaning of Life with G45 - Nichola Battilana

 It may seem like a jumble of miscellaneous bits but there is a loose theme here: the meaning of life according to The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy. The number 42.

The Meaning of Life with G45 - Nichola Battilana

And you should defo hop over to the G45 blog today to peek at more amazing work by my teamies and a chance to win some 'Raining Cats and Dogs' papery goodness.

The Supply List:
Window Shadow Box
Artisan Style Craftmanship

Artisan Style This Old House

Door Knocker

Steampunk Shape Set
Faux Metal Number PlatesFiligree Corners

Acrylic paint

Monday, May 18, 2015

The May Two Four

It's a holiday here, the Victoria Day weekend, or 'the May Two Four' is the slang name that is most often used. Originally intended as a celebration of Queen Victoria's birthday, it's really the weekend gardeners start their planting in earnest and bend a few elbows to enjoy a tipple or two of their favourite summer beverage. It's kind of the Canadian kick off of summer.

While Mr Pixie has been over exerting himself in the garden I've been puttering and picking boughs of lilacs. I LOVE lilacs and their pretty perfume. My kitchen smells divine because of these beauties.

And one little bit of magic to share... this guy. 

Isn't he a beauty?! I found him peeking though our kitchen window last night. I grabbed a few shots then hurried to find my tripod but when I returned he had already left. He must have been called back to the fairy party.

Sunday, May 17, 2015

Before chores

Most Sundays are about chores around the Pixie house.

After I put the laundry on the line but before the floors and cleaning I went about the garden and took a few snaps. Everything is coming alive and the springtime greenery is starting to be dotted with colour :)

Inside a tulip in the Pixie Hill garden - Nichola Battilana

No wonder the dogs allergies are acting up. Check out all that pollen inside our tulips!

Bleeding Hearts in the Pixie Hill garden - Nichola Battilana

The white and pink 'bleeding hearts' are doing their dangly thing.

Lily of the Valley at Pixie Hill - Nichola Battilana

I'm sure the faeries had something to do with the Lily of the Valley popping up all at once.

Apple Blossoms in the Pixie Hill garden - Nichola Battilana

And those beautiful apple blossoms... *dreamy sigh* 

Apple Blossoms in the Pixie Hill garden - Nichola Battilana

Hope your Sunday chores get done... but that you take time to notice the nice things going on quietly around you too.