Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Goblin stone infestation

I was in the garden this morning, day dreaming as you do, when I heard a rustle and tittering coming from the shrubbery. I pushed aside the lower branches and found this gang of hooligans hiding in the mulch.

We've always had goblins, but never this close to the house and never so open about their presence.

Because they are stones of the goblin variety I am concerned that they are up-to-no-good... but I suspect they are just really excited about this years open house and curious about tea-parties.

I do hope they behave.

Monday, May 30, 2016

Preparing for faeries and a moony shrine

It's that time of year again when I venture into the heat and bugs, get covered in dirt, then complain about my sunburn. BUT it's all for a good cause... the faeries!

Preparing for faeries - Nichola Battilana

Little by little over the next few weeks we'll add a bit of pixie dust to the garden in preparation for our annual summer open house and the arrival of the summer wee folk that visit us. Above is a 'before' shot of one area of the garden, over-run with weeds, and below an in-progress picture after a bit of gumption and elbow grease.

Preparing for faeries - Nichola Battilana

There's loads to do, and this year will be a little different than our past fairy tours, but I think you'll like what we have planned.

Moon Shrine - Nichola Battilana

I also managed to finish up this little happy moon shrine that has been waiting patiently for attention for MONTHS.

Moon Shrine - Nichola Battilana

The moon is free sculpted from polymer clay, the toadstools handmade with Creative Paperclay. The interior was lined with vintage book pages then painted and glittered. The wee house was pit fired in our own back yard. The moss and bark collected from our garden. Phew!

Moon Shrine - Nichola Battilana

If you're interested in this fellow, he is listed HERE.

Hope your week is off to a great start! I'll have a new tutorial this Friday so be sure to pop in for another visit.

Thursday, May 26, 2016

Toot toot! That's the sound of me tooting my own horn.

Ok, I know I mentioned this just a few days ago but today is new issue day and I have a proper cover image from Dolls House and Miniature Scene magazine and I'm pretty excited about it. My 'Wandry Room' is smack dab on that cover AND there's even a wee tea cup garden tucked up in the corner too!

If you haven't seen the 'Wandry Room' you can hop over HERE to see the original blog post.

Other than that, it's been a load of cleaning, tinkering and packaging here. We're slowly, SLOWLY, starting to prep for the open house in July but I'm easily distracted by all the spring blooms in the garden.

White violets! We have a few little patches of growing next to their purple cousins.

The lilacs are starting to bloom. I adore lilacs. I do wish cuttings would last longer when I bring them inside, but they seem to wilt easily. At this very moment I can smell them, along with the apple blossoms, from indoors!

Hope your week is being kind to you. I seem to have lost all sense of time and have been playing catch-up for days.

Monday, May 23, 2016

I'm not quite famous and more lanterns

I did an interview on Friday with a fella from the local paper. We talked about how I'm a weirdo (although I think everyone is in their own way) and how my husband may be an ax murderer... at least the interviewer thought so because he used to be a butcher many moons ago.

Pixie Hill is also being featured in Dolls House and Miniature Scene magazine! I'm sort of excited about that because they feature some amazing artists and it's excellent company to be in. So woo hoo!

ALSO in the good news department, my Youtube channel has reached over 1 million views! Can you believe it?! I can't even get my head around that number and I'm sure it's a mistake ;)

Not bad for a dorky hermit living in small town Ontario.

Finally, a fresh batch of lanterns is listed in the etsy shopThere probably won't be any listed in June because I'll be out of my head busy with visitors and preparing for our annual open house BUT if you want to make your own I've tossed up a handful of the laser cutouts. I know some international customers were having troubles getting their fingers on them, hopefully this helps spread the fairy love a bit.

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Looking Glass Mini-Shrine with Faux Plaster Tute

I've created two "Alice" projects for AlphaStamps.com this month. First there was Alice's Altoid Manor House and now a second little tin shrine inspired by the mirror that inspired Lewis Caroll to write "Through the Looking Glass". If you peek to that link, you'll see they look nothing alike, but it's that lovely old ornamentation I was after, not really replication.

The base of this piece uses one half of a Small Hinged Tin and one panel of this Small Altoids Tins Triptych FrameIt's quite small, with the base tin measuring just 2-1/2" tall.

Inside is filled with moss and Mini Rose Buds with some sweet Flower Soft blossoms.

While I am usually all about tiny floral elements, it's the fake plaster details that are my favourite this time around. Can you guess what they are made from? Hot glue!

Normally I'd make these elements with Creative Paperclay but I was feeling impatient. Some leafy silicone molds, hot glue, layers of gesso and white paint, and voila! Held side by side with resin, you can't tell the difference, and adding additional layers of gesso and paint softens the details and makes it look quite like plaster.

AND because I love you (and Leslie asked so nicely) I've made a video of that technique HERE.

Just look at this plastic frame with 'faux plaster' leaf embellishments! I can't wait to see what you make with them :)

Supply round up:
Small Hinged Tin
Small Altoids Tins Triptych Frame
Large Leaves Silicone Mold*
Multi-Sizes Leaves Silicone Mold*
Flower Soft - Sweet Pea
Mini Rose Buds - Red*
Pink Rose Garland* (leaves)
Small Round Silver-Plated Pendants (not shown, applied to back of shrine for hanging)
Hot glue!
Gesso and white acrylic craft paint

Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Another garden walk

I'm working away here and my space filled with shipping boxes so there's nothing grand to see indoors. Instead I'll share cheery pics from the garden this morning.

You know I'll never understand why some people can't stand to see dandelions on their lawn. I love the yellow things and think they look so happy and lively. AND they turn into wishes! 

Everyone is looking toward the sunshine this morning: the dandelions, the robins, and me.

This picture isn't the great but I thought I'd include it because it gave me a laugh that even animal mums look frazzled and grumpy in the morning without a cup of coffee.

Hope you're having a great day and looking toward the sunshine too.

Saturday, May 14, 2016

Fairy blessings after a very bad week

This past week has been a shit show. (Pardon my french.)

News of heart attacks, cancer, deaths, the Fort Mac fire, then amoral asshats, contemptible copycats, and a million little things, like a million little stinging pin pricks, taking their toll. There's only so much 'chin up and stiff upper lip' or 'count to ten and breathe' a girl can endure.

At one point I considered taking everything I've built, and taking it down. All the posts, all the projects... poof! But then what?

I thought of the people who tell me my work inspires them in some small way, the sweet stories, encouraging words and the thanks. All of those kindnesses that make this the very best job in the world... and it made me even more irate to know that some think so little of it.

So, I went to the garden in search of a bit happiness.

Pixie Hill Garden Faerie - Nichola Battilana

I chanced upon a blue fairy sitting in the forget-me-nots. There were few words exchanged, but she was kind and sympathetic. "Just a little longer, and all will be right as rain." she said. I felt a little better.

Pixie Hill Garden Faerie - Nichola Battilana

Continuing on my walk, I encountered a tiny scouting pixie in one of the mossy old stumps on our hill. She said she was keeping an eye out for any trouble or foreseeable mischief. She assured me that although she looked quite young, I would be safe under her watch. And immediately, I felt more secure.

Pixie Hill Garden Faerie Fairy - Nichola Battilana

The next little fairy didn't say anything at all, but was so sweet that I could feel my heart lighten after watching her beneath the dandelions for just a few moments.

Pixie Hill Garden Faerie Fairy - Nichola Battilana

This fairy didn't speak either, but motioned me to follow her to the back garden, through the moss and clover. I'm fairly certain she was some sort of fairy godmother because her frock was impractical and she gifted me with pockets of glitter. She handed me a dandelion puff and encouraged me to make a wish.

Pixie Hill Garden Faerie Fairy - Nichola Battilana

After making my wish, I opened my eyes and saw this fellow leaning against some fresh yellow dandelion heads. "Did you wish for more wishes? Because these ones won't be ready for another week." I sat next to him on the grass and we talked for a very long while. We looked at the blue sky and watched the clouds. The little fellow winked at me, and I found a bit of happiness.

EDIT: Thanks for all the kind words. I wasn't fishing for pity, but you guys totally made my day. Sometimes things just pile up so high it's hard to see the point of continuing the climb. It happens to everyone in some way or another. I'm extremely fortunate to have so many people cheering me on. I hope you know that I'm rooting for you too. Don't worry about me, I'll keep tinkering.