Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Breakfast guests

This morning a couple of pileated woodpeckers enjoyed breakfast behind the house.

(Now with video that actually plays!)

Gave me quite a startle when this fellow took flight!

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

This weather, Mr. T and fairy mail

It snowed yesterday. SNOWED! I was lounging on the deck with a drinky-poo just the day before. This weather is nuts.

This guy thinks the crazy weather is somehow my fault. Just look at that stink-eye!

I'm fairly certain this is the first red squirrel that has decided to make Pixie Hill his home. He's very cute but is as mischievous as they come, and very grumpy. Our dog, Padfoot, chased him up a tree and he was so mad! He chattered and squeaked and made a huge fuss, thoroughly confusing poor Paddy who looked at me as if to say "What's this guys problem?"

Anyway we've named him Mr. Tibbles M. McNutt... or Mr. T for short.

A quick photo from last night. A small batch of fairy mail on it's way to Mrs. Butcher's kindergarten class.

The wee folk here were very excited to hear that the children were learning about fairies. They jumped at the chance to send some notes but Cecil, the mail room hobgoblin, sent them to the wrong department and the letters went on a misadventure. They look a bit ratty... hope the kiddies don't mind.

It's raining here, which means I'll go through my pot of tea in no time at all.

Have a beautiful day, no matter what the weather.

Sunday, April 24, 2016

Clay, clay, clay

Just a quick post today.

I bought myself a whole whack of clay a short while ago. Last night I tossed a few pieces into a pit fire and then ran out in my pyjamas this morning to dig them up. These are my favourite bits that came out, some pendant types pieces and some holed stones. 

I really like primitive pit firing. I'm terrible at it... but it's fun. It reminds me a lot of darkroom photography. There's a sort of magic that happens when you submerge your paper in the developing solution and the image just kind of comes alive. The same thing happens when you dig up your pieces. You ave no idea what's going to come out.

I also bought some air dry clay by Laguna. $25 for a 25lb bag... which is an outstanding price if you consider the price of the tiny blocks of air dry clay you get from most craft stores. AND this stuff dries so hard! It's not crumbly and brittle like some others I've used. You DO have to seal it to protect it from moisture/waterproof, and I don't think it's suitable for foodstuffs, but if you want to fart around with some clay it's an option.

Here are some teeny bits of pottery I created with it.

Finally, I've been working on two new tutorials and my camera has not been cooperating. Have I ever told you that my camera is so noisy when it focuses that you can hear it on the recording? Seriously, that's why I changed my format to voice overs! Anyway, I think it might be time to invest in something a little more reliable.

What have you been up to?

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Sleeping Stones and a Water Goblin

Today I painted rocks. 

Well, what I actually did was reveal what was already there with faint washes of white and black paint.

Many believe that nature spirits reside within rocks and trees and earth. I think there is an extraordinary relationship between stone and the wee folk. But I digress...

Today I uncovered this fellow. He seems to me like a sort of 'Green Man', but he was pleased to sleep soundly under the water.

Sleeping Stones and the Water Goblin - Nichola Battilana

And there was a sleeping stone, who found a spot nestled on the bank. I've called her a sleeping stone because her eyes are closed, but she isn't sleeping at all. She's listening.

Sleeping Stones and the Water Goblin - Nichola Battilana

Finally, this stinker. A water goblin! He was quick to splash himself into the water and was positively giddy at the prospect of frightening someone, or getting a nibble at a toe or two.

Sleeping Stones and the Water Goblin - Nichola Battilana

And it's seems good timing, with that fat full moon outsides, to share today's adventure with you.

Important side note: Yes, the paint on these will wear off over time. The amount of paint used on all these stones could be held on a penny. It is also non-toxic craft paint. If you are considering painting your own stones, please make environmentally responsible choices.

Monday, April 18, 2016

Little Landscapes and a Tree with Bad Intentions

The windows have been thrown wide open and the birds are singing. It is a glorious day.

I took a walk around 'the hill' the other day and snapped a few pics. It never ceases to amaze me that a few little inches can become an entire landscape. That a patch of moss no bigger than your hand could double as hilly pastures.

There's overgrown jungles in old rotting stumps. I wonder if one of the wee folk will chop this mess down and cultivate the spot as their homestead. Or maybe there's a gnomish sort hibernating beneath that moss, so still for so long that his whiskers are growing up through the green tuft!

These wee mushrooms took me quite by surprise. Taking pictures of a particularly interesting tree, I took a pause to adjust my camera and noticed a funny texture on its bark. There were 1000's of these itty bittiest mushrooms growing on it! I like to think that they were planted and will be made into goblin ale.

I was standing by the edge of the stream at the bottom of our hill and a flash of colour caught my eye on the opposite bank. Just look a the colour of those roots! It was actually quite jarring. Spooky, even! And I am not too easily spooked. 

"Oh, that's just a red cedar" 

But my mind turns to all those stories with trees with ill intentions (Evil Dead, Sleepy Hollow,The Guardian) and I can't help but wonder if I've stumbled on a murder tree.

No matter, I'll be giving this particular timber a wide berth.


Wednesday, April 13, 2016

Mothering ATC's in pink and golden floral glory

"Who wants to make some ATC's?"

ME! ME! ME! (I'm a keener)

And maybe I'd like to make some sort of Mother's Day thing-a-ma-doodle? You know, for people who like to plan ahead and not do everything last minute. I have no idea who these 'think ahead' people are, but sure!

That's how I ended up making this pretty batch of Artist Trading Cards for my friends at AlphaStamps.

Mothering ATC's - Nichola Battilana

There's 9 of the pretty things all together which means you could make your favourite motherer a pocket letter. Be sure to include a gift certificate, a sweet note, photograph, mementos or charms in there if going this route.

Mothering ATC Pocket Letter - Nichola Battilana

I've made some of these little darlings as ATC sized cards. Perhaps you'd prefer to distribute a little love to all the great motherers you know.

Mothering ATC's - Nichola Battilana

The cards were a cinch to whip up, but here are a few of the steps you may find useful

• Using papers from this month's kit I cut out the appropriate ATC size 2.5" x 3.5" OR 5" x 3.5" for folded ATC cards, then rounded all of the corners.

• I applied some acrylic gel medium using a doily as a stencil and sprinkled some gold embossing powder sparingly on top and set it with a heat gun. I really liked the way these worked together!

• I applied fussy cut images from Mother Knows Best Collage Sheet (which I printed in black and white)

• All of the winged things are from this Butterflies & Moths Collage Sheet. I printed one sheet full size and a second sheet at 50% to give me an even wider variety of sizes.

• When gluing the butterflies into place, I only glue the centre body part. This way the wings can be folded back, giving a 3D effect.
Mothering ATC's - Nichola Battilana

Easy peasy and all the bits came together nicely. Soooo, if you feel like making something pink, floral and feminine, (or are one of those amazing people who want to get a jump start on a mothers day project!) here's your supply round-up:

Baroque Dresden Borders - Gold
Mother Knows Best Collage Sheet
Butterflies & Moths Collage Sheet
House of Roses Old Letters Scrapbook Paper
House of Roses on the Porch Scrapbook Paper
Prima Tales of You & Me Notre Jardin Secret Scrapbook Paper
Prima Tales of You & Me Jardin de Fleurs Scrapbook Paper
Gold Embossing Powder
Acrylic Gel Medium

Friday, April 08, 2016

Fairies, Frocks and Godmothers Revisited

I was looking through some old projects and I realized I didn't post the second part to my Faires, Frocks and Godmothers post. That was almost a year ago (!), so I'm using the old adage 'better late than never', which seems to be my life motto at the moment.

To review: fairy godmothers are basically the flashy aunts of the fairy world. While most fair folk dress for comfort and function, they love to dress in over-the-top gowns and wear shoes that aren't in the least sensible.

You would be forgiven if you thought the above dress was worn by a fairy godmother with butterfly duties. No, Pebble Waterstone, the owner of this gown, has absolutely no affiliation to with those winged creatures. Pebble is actually in charge of wells, keeping them full, maintaining water quality. She has played havock with the pipes in my little town over the past year or so.

The final frock I have to share belongs to Beryl Eventide. She is an elusive Godmother who, unlike her peers, prefers solitude and only appears in those magical blue hued moments of twilight as day officially turns to night. If you find yourself pixie-led at dusk, she may lead you to safety. If she likes you.


To the creatures of Pixie Hill

If the door is too small, it's not meant for you! This is a bird house, not a squirrel bungalow. 

Thank you,
The Management

Tuesday, April 05, 2016

From funk to funky - Disco Lyric ATCs

There are things that make me happy. I'm sure you know some of them: fairy tales and daydreams. Others might surprise you: Pee-wee Herman and disco.

If I'm in a funk, I slide the Saturday Night Fever soundtrack onto my music making doohickey and in no time at all I'm dancing in my kitchen. (Warning: Don't ever peek in my kitchen window.)

Fed up of being in a glum slump I decided to use that funky music and create a set of ATC's with disco lyrics.
I won't give a true and full supply list (some of the supplies used are pretty well hidden/covered) but I will say that I used these as an opportunity to experiment with some Radiant Rain mists and daubers that I was sent, and that most of the ladies on the cards are from my Blushing Ladies Collage Sheet.

Here's a good look at my 'disco diva's' and where their sentiments originated.

Disco Lyric ATC - ABBA "Fernando" - Nichola Battilana
ABBA "Fernando"

Disco Lyric ATC - Bee Gees "More Than A Woman" - Nichola Battilana
Bee Gees "More Than A Woman"

Disco Lyric ATC - Gloria Gaynor "I Will Survive" - Nichola Battilana
Gloria Gaynor "I Will Survive"

Disco Lyric ATC - Bee Gees "Night Fever" - Nichola Battilana
Bee Gees "Night Fever"

Disco Lyric ATC - Bee Gees "How Deep Is Your Love" - Nichola Battilana
Bee Gees "How Deep Is Your Love"

Disco Lyric ATC - ABBA "Chiquitita" - Nichola Battilana
ABBA "Chiquitita"

Disco Lyric ATC - ABBA "Fernando" - Nichola Battilana
ABBA "Fernando"
Disco Lyric ATC - Rod Stewart "Do Ya Think I'm Sexy" - Nichola Battilana
Rod Stewart "Do Ya Think I'm Sexy"

And there you have it! A batch of funk fighting ATCs.

I know that some of the songs listed aren't exactly disco and, honestly, where the heck is Donna Summer? But I think these will do for now ;)

Saturday, April 02, 2016

The Bird House for AlphaStamps

A while ago I created a set of mixed media chunky houses with bases I had the hubs cut from mdf. I still had one of those housey shapes kicking around and I decided to put it to use for this month's project. And so, here is 'The Bird House'.

There's nothing too complex going on here. Some fussy cutting, some embellishing, painting and gluing and Ta Da! a pretty shabby thing-a-ma-doodle to hang on the wall.

I restrained myself and didn't use a spec of glitter. To make up for it I did paint a golden egg and add some Narrow Gold Fleur Dresden Borders* (which I think is just about the prettiest thing ever). And topped it with this Fancy Silver Birdhouse Charm* 

Normally I avoid using gold and silver together but I think they're getting along on this piece. Maybe it's because they're just sitting delicately, and are too buy being pretty to compete against one another. 

Note: Yes, my supplies have personalities.

While going off the deep-end, buying buckets of supplies, and throwing all you've got at a project can be fun, sometimes a 'simple' something is just the thing for your soul. Sometimes you only need a little this and that.

"The Bird House" supply round up from AlphaStamps
Silver Bead Caps
MDF board

Friday, April 01, 2016

The Goblin Throne

Spring is finally creeping into our neck of the woods. My faithful furry buddy and I have been taking advantage of the nice weather, wandering through the dried grasses and meandering next to the little stream that edges our property.

The Goblin Throne and tutorial - Nichola Battilana

While these conditions are ideal for fairy sightings, it was a goblin we first encountered on our stroll the other day. Normally I don't mix with goblins (I don't have anything against them in particular, but avoiding them seems like the best practice) but we regarded each other respectfully and engaged in a little chatter.

The Goblin Throne and tutorial - Nichola Battilana

He shared his ideas with me for a sort of goblin throne. I agreed to make one, in exchange for permission to share the project with others. He grumbled that he didn't much care, so long as the throne was made, and here we are.

The Goblin Throne and tutorial - Nichola Battilana

There were four elements of utmost importance to be included:

1) It must not look out of place in the goblins den.

2) The seat must be well cushioned, because even goblins do not like sore bottoms.

3) It should be embellished with poisoned berries and pointy things. (Note: The design didn't have to BE dangerous, but if it looked as though you might prick your finger that would be a very good thing indeed. And poisoned berries because goblins like to nibble throughout the day.)
4) It must contain a secret chamber for goblin treasures.

The Goblin Throne and tutorial - Nichola Battilana

As soon as he mentioned the secret chamber my mind turned to this Trinket Drawer Stand and I gathered up some bark and moss and set to work.

This isn't a complicated project, and the supplies are few, but our goblin acquaintance was well pleased with the results. If goblins aren't your cup-of-tea, add flowers rather than spikes, and hide jelly beans in the secret drawer to make a regal chair for a fairy queen.

Here's the story of the Goblin Throne and how I put it together.

And here is a list of all the goods used:
Trinket Drawer Stand
Black acrylic paint
Faux berries and leaves
Sticks and twigs
Large metal crown
Metal bee
FlowerSoft in "Moss" and "Sage"
LOADS of glue

The Goblin Throne and tutorial - Nichola Battilana