Sunday, July 31, 2016

Pocket Preacher

I've been watching Preacher and have really enjoyed it so far. Tonight is the season finale and I wanted to try out my new super teeny tiny brushes so I made a matchbox diorama with Tulip, Jesse and Cassidy.

Pocket Preacher Matchbox Diorama w/ Tulip, Jesse, Cassidy - Nichola Battilana

My hands are like a 10 year olds so here's a nickle for better size reference.

Pocket Preacher Matchbox Diorama w/ Tulip, Jesse, Cassidy - Nichola Battilana

And for those asking about the wee people, I'm going to put together a few blank sets and pop them up in my etsy shop tomorrow. which can be found HERE.

Friday, July 29, 2016

Pocket Sized Zombie Apocalypse Practice

A load of tiny little plastic people arrived in my mailbox yesterday.

I wanted to jump right in for a bit of practice and my friend Paula Mould suggested zombies. I couldn't resist!

Pocket Sized Zombie Apocalypse Practice - Nichola Battilana

I stayed up past my bedtime to make the teeniest zombie apocalypse you ever did see.

Pocket Sized Zombie Apocalypse Practice - Nichola Battilana

And these wee things are TINY. I didn't really have appropriate brushes (all of mine look like they've been chewed on) but all things considered they didn't turn out half bad.

Pocket Sized Zombie Apocalypse Practice - Nichola Battilana

But it does look like a trip to the craft shop for some supplies is in order. New paint. New brushes. My life is soooo hard sometimes ;) 

Pocket Sized Zombie Apocalypse Practice - Nichola Battilana

P.S. That locker tute IS coming. I filmed it and then realized that the footage was crap and that I hate my camera. *sigh* Fingers crossed the camera fairy visits me this weekend.

P.P.S. I've popped a few sets of little people up on my etsy shop if you're inclined to join the dark side and lose your eyesight painting minis too.

Thursday, July 28, 2016

'Fairy in a Jar' with Tips and Hints

My lovely crafty friend Amy Love hosted a Fairy in a Jar Swap over on youtube. I jumped in and made this wee thing for my dear partner. (*waves* Hi Kim!)

Fairy in a Jar with Tips and Hints to create your own - Nichola Battilana

There are loads of tutorials available for this sort of project. Instead thought I'd put together some helpful hints and tips instead. Here's the whole list, but you can hop over to the video version if you like

• To make sure your fairy and wings are sturdy. I've had some professionally printed on very thick card but if you're printing your own, glue your printout to a sheet of thick scrapbook paper to add a bit of heft.

• The back of my fairy (and her wings) have a subtle black pattern. This gives a nice clean finish and isn't visually distracting if someone peeks at the back of the piece.

• Ink your edges. I run a lining brush loaded with black paint around my cut edges. This camouflages cut edges so you don't see the white core of the paper.

• Apply wings on an angle to help give the impression of a 3d figure rather than a flat image.

• Many jars have a seam in the glass. Try to be aware of where this is and embellish your jar so it is hidden from view.

• Use sheet moss rather than loose moss. It comes in clumps and will be cleaner and easier to apply than the loose variety.

• Take care to position the paper fairy in such a way that it is not distorted by bend or bevels in the glass. If this means a little surgury, and chopping off feet, have at it!

• Hot glue dries fast and hard and is a good choice to keep your fairy in place.

• Use embellishments to provide additional support to your fairy.

• You can use scissors as tweezers for larger items. You don't want to squeeze too hard or you'll leave cut marks, but with gentle handling they can be incredibly useful for items too large for regular tweezers.

• To deal with wispy hot glue strands, give a little blast with a hot glue gun.

• Use a clean, dry brush to tidy up inside the jar.

• A pinch of glitter can go a long way to adding a magical effect.

Thick Fairy Jar Collage Sheet Set

Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Reminiscing and grotty fingers

I'm working on a locker tutorial. Hopefully it'll be ready in a day or two.

The more I thought about it, the more I liked the idea that it's a project that could be deeply personalized. Filled with shared memories, photographs, movie posters, miniaturized mementos, it could make a great a sentimental gift.

For my tutorial sample I decided to fill it with things that brought me joy in my teenage years. To be completely honest my teenage years were not my happiest... far from it... like, really, really fecking far from it... but those bright points of joy, the music, and books, and movies, those are worth reminiscing.

Miniature record collection - Nichola Battilana

So I created some miniature album covers from my teenaged-self collection. I'm pretty sure I still have the original vinyl for most of these kicking around in a crate somewhere. Did you have any of these?

Miniature favourite books - Nichola Battilana

I also made some of my favourite books. I was an avid reader all my life (until recently when time seems to slip away and I just can't sit still to crack one open) and these were my favourite teenage reads.

I noticed that Aldous Huxley was trending today. It's his birthday. Suddenly I remembered that he had a hand in my husband and I hooking up. I stopped by his place and he lent me a copy of Brave New World. That was almost 25 years ago! He still doesn't trust me when I borrow his things ;)

Anyway, just a little sentimental post. Excuse my gross fingers (they almost always look like that but the bandaid is a bonus). I'll have the tutorial available soon.

Hope your day is a happy one.

Saturday, July 23, 2016

Imaginary Boyfriend - Joseph Gilgun Edition

This is all Ramsay Bolton's fault.

A couple of weeks ago I started watching Misfits because someone said Ramsay Bolton was in it, and, in fact, very sweet. I was sure that could not possibly be true. That bastard?! No way. But it IS true! Iwan Rheon is great and I didn't feel an ounce of loathing toward his character Barry Simon. (Acting!) I was hooked and binged all five seasons.

At some point in the series, this vulgar, childish character is introduced and you really just sort of roll your eyes and don't want to like him but he says something outlandish and swears in all the right places and he has tattoos on his bottom and his voice sort of cracks when he's emotional and before you know it you're smitten and have a new imaginary boyfriend covered in doodles.

Then it's all things 'This is England'... then 'Preacher'... then naturally a crafty ode to Joseph Gilgun just sort of happened.

Miniature fan girl locker - Joe Gilgun / Rudy Wade / Misfit / Preacher/ Cassidy Edition - Nichola Battilana

I had toyed with the idea of making a Preacher church but I recently mentioned needing a locker to house my ridiculous, and with a locker room being a major part of the Misfits set, creating a mini-mash-up shrine seemed just the thing.

Miniature fan girl locker - Joe Gilgun / Rudy Wade / Misfit / Preacher/ Cassidy Edition - Nichola Battilana

The locker is made from thick card, glue and paint. Shock of shocks, it's in actual 1:12 scale, measuring 7" tall x 1.25" x 1.25". The hinges are just cardboard with extremely small brass dots as grommets. Note: If I can figure out a good hinge system I'll post a tutorial so you can go a little loopy making a locker shrine too.

Miniature fan girl locker - Joe Gilgun / Rudy Wade / Misfit / Preacher/ Cassidy Edition - Nichola Battilana

I read an interview in which Joe said he liked watching Time Team so there's that logo on the side. The locker number is the same that appears on his character Rudy's forehead, indicating how many sexual partners he has had (yeah, I know)

Miniature fan girl locker - Joe Gilgun / Rudy Wade / Misfit / Preacher/ Cassidy Edition - Nichola Battilana

Inside the locker are photos of the man himself *swoon* and a penis doodle on the door for good measure.

Miniature fan girl locker - Joe Gilgun / Rudy Wade / Misfit / Preacher/ Cassidy Edition - Nichola Battilana

Misfit references include: orange community service jumpsuit, 'Men are from Mars, Women Love Penis' misquote book, Curly Wurly bars, Cornetto wrappers, a computer science certificate, movie posters for ET and Face Off. 

Miniature fan girl locker - Joe Gilgun / Rudy Wade / Misfit / Preacher/ Cassidy Edition - Nichola Battilana

The 'Men are from Mars' book has a new author, Rudy Wade. Yes, the book opens, but the pages are non-sense.

Joe is in the new show Preacher (which is pretty dang good btw) and there's a bottle of Ratwater Whiskey, an umbrella, and a brown paper bag that probably contains very naughty things, in reference to his character Cassidy.
Miniature fan girl locker - Joe Gilgun / Rudy Wade / Misfit / Preacher/ Cassidy Edition - Nichola Battilana

There are a few accessories I'll add later as a nod to This is England, in addition to the photo and "Lol" written on the door. I'd really like to include a pair of miniature Dr. Martens. I remember my first pair of Doc's. I slept in them the day I bought them. My family was certain I'd wear them down the aisle when I got married. I almost did!

Miniature fan girl locker - Joe Gilgun / Rudy Wade / Misfit / Preacher/ Cassidy Edition - Nichola Battilana

And there you have it! Once again I have lost my ever loving mind, jumped off the deep end, danced a jig and embraced my inner fan girl. Clearly the adoration of a funny, foul mouthed, Englishman, trumps all good sense and housework.

Miniature fan girl locker - Joe Gilgun / Rudy Wade / Misfit / Preacher/ Cassidy Edition - Nichola Battilana

I have been in the studio prepping all sorts of work, tinkering away, waiting for ideas to gel and feeling a little disjointed lately. So, even though this is a bit silly and ridiculous, getting exited about something (anything!) and completing a project has been invigorating and whole lot of fun.

If you ask me, we should celebrate the things we love a little more often.

P.S. Hope you're safe and well and having a splendid day. Here's a big fat hug and a sloppy kiss from me to you XO

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Tea cups towns and the very dry summer

One of my favourite 'to-do' items is creating a big fat bunch of these mossy little teacup gardens.

I've been making them for a good number of years now, watching them slowly, steadily improve over time.

I'm itching to make a big fat fresh batch with these little pit fired clay houses.

Unfortunately, the crispy, dry, summer has put a hold on my plans. There's a burn ban in effect, so no fires for this gal. 

But I won't be held down for long! There's always Paperclay to the rescue... and those wobbly mossy cottages do tug at my heart <3 p="">

Anyway, I hope you're keeping hydrated, and that your lawn is lush and not nearly as crispy as mine.

If you'd like to make your own teacup town (that does not require a burn pit!) a step-by-step tutorial is available HERE.

Friday, July 15, 2016

Dragon Eggs

I thought I might get into dragon breeding. Unfortunately it turns out it's a bit like hatching Sea-Monkeys; not an entirely advantageous venture.

Dragon Egg - Nichola Battilana

It's a lot of hard work and time looking after dragon eggs!

Thank goodness I have the perfect person to send this one too. I'm sure she'll take good care of it.

Wednesday, July 13, 2016

A Bell Jar Fairy and English Fairy Garden Collage Sheet

A couple of weeks ago these two imps helped me out during preparations for my open house.

Imp and Fairy Jar - Nichola Battilana

This week I have a new little helper.

Bell Jar Fairy - Nichola Battilana

She prefers a bit of space to prance around, so she has a large bell jar to play in and keep her safe.

Bell Jar Fairy - Nichola Battilana

Of course she can get out whenever she likes, but it's cool in there and she's not a fan of the current hot humid weather. (Neither am I to be honest.)

Bell Jar Fairy - Nichola Battilana

If you're thinking you might like your own winged darling, I have two new collage sheets available. 

Little People and English Fairy Garden Collage Sheets - Nichola BattilanaThe Little People Collage Sheet and English Fairy Garden Collage Sheet are currently available as digital downloads or printed sheets from

Bell Jar Fairy - Nichola Battilana

I mean, who doesn't need a little winged fairy to play with snails between the toadstools?!

English Fairy Garden Collage Sheet
Tiny Embossed Gold Dresden Borders
Tiny Paper Roses*

Graphic 45 - Enchanted Forest > Sumptuous Floral
Petaloo - Anenome flowers 1176-103

Friday, July 08, 2016

Padfoot, Poop and Good Neighbours

This is my dog, Padfoot. I love him. He's pretty great... most of the time.

Padfoot has this shtick where he thoroughly embarrasses me. While I chat to our lovely neighbours, he completely ignores the two pooable acres he calls his own, and makes a deposit on their greenery. It's horrifying. Mortifying!

Last week my poor neighbour was showing us the amazing work they had done in their back garden, and that stinker of a dog promptly squatted and did his business right there. I felt like giving him the
Cersei Lannister "shame! shame!" walk all the way back home.

A peace offering was in order.

"Sorry my dog pooped on your lawn" card w/ Raining Cats and Dogs from Graphic 45 - Nichola Battilana

"Raining Cats and Dogs" from Graphic 45 seemed like a pretty perfect choice. And on the inside....

"Sorry my dog pooped on your lawn" card w/ Raining Cats and Dogs from Graphic 45 - Nichola Battilana

I think we're still on good terms ;)

Graphic 45 - Raining Cats and Dogs Collection - Cats Meow
Graphic 45 - Raining Cats and Dogs Collection - Animal House
Graphic 45 - Raining Cats and Dogs Collection - 6 x 6 Patterns and Solids Paper Pad
3mm Brass Flat-Back Studs*
Gold Dresden Langette Borders*

1/8 Inch Black Satin Ribbon

Monday, July 04, 2016

The fairies are finally settled

Our open house was this past Saturday. The fairies were mostly behaved, and although we had a small surprise shower, Mother Nature was good to us too.

The fairies had a little picnic of cherries and tea next to the house. Some of our guests were kind enough to fix the tea, adding milk and sugar, just how the wee folk like it. A LOT of tea was sipped and all of the cherries eaten.

There was a game of find the mushrooms, with two little spotted toadstools hiding in the fairy ring.

There was fairy quidditch too! Blowing bubbles through those hoops was much more challenging than you would believe!

Just like last year, the most popular challenge was stone stacking. This year we offered a prize for the biggest stack. Victoria was our champion, stacking 26 stones! I think we'll need more rocks next year ;)

And finally, I'm happy to report that our libatious gnomes found a more suitable camp. They are now located by the old maple... but this means that the mailbox has moved and we've no idea where to pick up the fairy mail! I'll have to send out an impish search party.

It was a nice day, with nice people and that's the best you can ask for. The fairies will be staying for most of the summer if you're near and want to visit. Just shoot me an email because otherwise you'll catch me covered in glue and glitter and in my pajammas.

Friday, July 01, 2016

Under the Sea Matchbox Shrine

Some people have sea water in their blood. They love the sea like I love the moon. While those waters may not run quite so deeply for me, I appreciate the beauty of the barnacled. For Alpha Stamps this month I've made a matchbox shrine full of texture and unwater colours.

The base of this piece is a Tiny Matchbox Theatre. I do love theatres (and an underwater one would be amazing!) but instead chose to make mine into a sort of underwater pocket shrine.

Now about that texture! I've glued pieces of a 6x6 Gears Texture Sheet to the surface of the box and splashed and sploshed paint and gesso and whatever else was on hand. I also layered some Seashell Sequin Mix which give a sort of wonderful fish scale texture. The sentiment on the front is from Voyage Beneath the Sea - Steampunk Splash Scrapbook Paper which I've simply tinted to match the colour of my box. A Brass Patina Seahorse Charm* and Conch Shell Charms* then a dash of crusty glitter (because why not) and the front is complete.

Inside I've used an image from the Mermaid Garden #3 Collage Sheet. He was a sort of surprise... I wasn't thinking of this sort of interior at all... but he fit so well and seemed quite at home in his sparkly cove of Coral Chipboard.

A Rotten Smelly Dragon Jar Tutorial

This wasn't the tutorial I had planned for this month. A string of unfortunate events led to my planned project to sit in a state of disrepair. What's a girl to do? Scramble!

If you visit this blog often, you'll know I came up with these rotten smelly dragon jars about a week ago. I was planning a tutorial in the future, but circumstances put a 'RUSH' on those plans.

Rotten Smelly Dragon Jars with Tutorial - Nichola Battilana

The Dragons Shape Set used is pretty handy. There are two designs in three sizes so you can create a both quart and pint sized jars with just one set. The wings need to be bent to fit them in the jar, but they are sturdy things and will survive the ordeal ;)

Rotten Smelly Dragon Jars with Tutorial - Nichola Battilana 

These are made using a different technique than the fairy jars and, believe it or not, I haven't even added lights to these.

Rotten Smelly Dragon Jars with Tutorial - Nichola Battilana

Those shadows are entirely from backlighting. Pop them up on a window sill, or in front of a light, and you should see your small smelly dragon in it's stinky jar quite well.

Rotten Smelly Dragon Jars with Tutorial - Nichola Battilana

Now, I know that people are going to say they want to use these as nightlights, but really, dragons like their sleep and dark places. Best to let them rest at night rather than keep them up past their bedtime!

Below you'll find how to make these terrible things. Or watch it on youtube here. Just a couple of additional notes:

• To soften the streaks/drips you'll want to mist with water while still wet

• Apply several layers of brown wash to get a really dirty grimy look

• Why add glitter? It adds texture and give the paint something to grip. Plus, a little sparkle isn't a bad thing. But if you want to skip this part, go ahead.

Inspired to make your own dragon jars? Be sure to tag me when you show them off. If you try your hand at this project for your own blog, be sure to link back and gimme a shout out, please and thank-you!

Here's what you'll need to make them:
Dragons Shape Set
Glass jar
Acrylic paint
Clear glitter
White glue
FlowerSoft-Ultra Fine
Charm & embellishments

P.S. Once again, a note about fire safety. DO NOT put live flame candles in these jars. I like you, you're a good egg and I don't want to see you hurt.