Friday, May 06, 2016

The Tale of the Crow's Clock

Clocks have always fascinated me. Mantle clocks, wall clocks, clock towers, grandfather clocks. They give measure to the passing of time, keep us in order, but there's something quite mystical about them too.  

The Tale of the Crow's Clock - Nichola Battilana

I thought of making a cuckoo clock for a while. Shortly after making the 'Goblin Throne' last month, a crow perched outside my window and nudged me to make a 'Crow's Clock' instead of a clock of the cuckoo variety. Who am I to argue with a crow?

The Tale of the Crow's Clock - Nichola Battilana

The base of the clock is one of my favourite products from Gypsy Soul Laser Cuts, the 3 Story House. It's a great size to work with and I think it's practically perfect as a clock body. I carved out an arch on the front and framed it with an Reliquary - Tower Top.

The Tale of the Crow's Clock - Nichola Battilana

Lace and Shell Border Sticks are used as edge embellishments and shingles for the roof.  For the
Little Bird House at the top, I used Dresden borders to repeat the patterned edge. At the tippy top you can see a wooden round thing... that's a vintage French lottery number, but don't worry if you don't have one of those in your stash, you could easily trade it out for one of the pieces from the Faux Typewriter Keys Symbol SetThose cute leafy frame and filigree bits are these Fanciful Elements.

The Tale of the Crow's Clock - Nichola Battilana

The clock does work and I've used the mechanism from the Desk Clock Standard. I did replace the hand with this Clock Hands Shape Set and swapped out the numbers with a frame from this Hanging Clock SetTotally not necessary to replace all those parts, but I like the way all these pieces fit together.

The Tale of the Crow's Clock - Nichola Battilana

Cuckoo clocks have weights in the shape of pine cones that drive the clock. Although my clock isn't weight driven, I wanted to include this traditional element by adding some real pine cones on a length of chain, along with some oak leaf charms.

The Tale of the Crow's Clock - Nichola Battilana 

This is a such a great project if you like adding embellishments and borders and you could go totally over the top if you wanted. If you'd like to make your own, check out my video that tells "The Tale of the Crow's Clock" and how it came together. 

Here are the supplies I used in my Crow's Clock
Clock Hands Shape Set
Little Bird House
Faux Typewriter Keys Symbol Set *alternative suggestion*

Old music papers
Brass chain and charms
Masking Tape

Monday, May 02, 2016

Clay houses and a noisy friend

The Canadian weather does a number on the fairy houses in our garden. We bring them in in the fall when our fairies move into their wild winter residences, but between the rain, the heat, and the squirrels... they take quite a beating throughout the summer.

So I'm trying to add some more resiliant clay houses to out fairy sanctuary. The grey clay is a raku clay that will be pit fired. The terra cotta coloured ones are an air dry clay that I'll seal and we'll see how well they endure. (Both of the clays are from Laguna)

I have been working on other things too, like these strings of sparkly glass beads but everything seems to be 'in progress' at the moment and not quite ready to show off. 

Ah well, it'll be a crafty celebration when everything is complete and ready to be shown off all at once. It wouldn't be so bad if I had some self control and posted little by little, but I get too excited and want to post all the pictures at the same time!

Perhaps I have a little bit of patience. After all, this guy and his friend have been swooping on the deck for the past couple of weeks. They've refused to sit still and I haven't managed a picture until now.

Blue Jays are a great reminder that it's ok not to have it all. They are stunning lookers, but that singing voice. Oy! No matter, they continue to sing anyway.

By the way, have you heard of Florence Foster Jenkins? Look her up!

"Some may say that I couldn't sing, but no one can say that I didn't sing."

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.