Monday, June 06, 2016

A Tin Can Kingdom

I have a new project.

It's cute. Really cute.

AND there's a tutorial.

Are you ready?

I think you're going to like this.

Recycled Tin Castle Towers with tutorial - Nichola Battilana

Can castles! Tin turrets! Recycled fairy garden towers!

Recycled Tin Castle Towers with tutorial - Nichola Battilana

The biggest struggles setting up the summer fairy garden have been the battles with the weather and the critters. This year I was determined to come up with something a little more sturdy to survive the summer and the squirrels. These are the result of all that thinkin'.

Recycled Tin Castle Towers with tutorial - Nichola Battilana

I'm kinda in love with them and want to make them in all the colours to dot around my garden. Just look at those blue beauties next to the tall poppies.

Recycled Tin Castle Towers with tutorial - Nichola Battilana

Some are topped with roof top gardens (which fairies love btw). Others have really simple pointy cone roofs which are just a bit of burlap sewn into a cone shape, then spray painted. The paint adds some stiffness and helps to prevent fraying. Pretty sure that any stiff fabric would do. My initial thought was to use reusable grocery bags (reusing the reusable!) but the burlap was on hand so I'll do that next time.

Recycled Tin Castle Towers with tutorial - Nichola Battilana

And speaking of 'next time'... 

I've made a video tutorial for the basic version of this project so if you haven't already, hop over and subscribe to my Youtube channel.

Recycled Tin Castle Towers with tutorial - Nichola Battilana

The video tutorial is below, and below that you'll find the supply round-up. If you're inspired to make your own tin can kingdom and show it off, tag me in your post! I'd love to see what you made. Want to recreate this project for your own blog? Have at it! Just be sure to link back here please-and-thank-you. The credit for the inspiration is appreciated, and it encourages me to share more free projects.

Here's everything you'll need:

Tin cans of all sizes and shapes
Spray paint (I recommend using a paint w/ primer)
Bits and bobs for windows & doors

Stir sticks
Plants and moss

*GooGone for removing label glue from tins
*Nail polish remover will remove SOME ink stamps

Friday, June 03, 2016

A Midsummer Faerie Theatre

"Tis almost fairy time"

That line is from my favourite Shakespeare play, A Midsummer Nights Dream. It's the inspiration for my project for Gypsy Soul Laser Cuts this month, A Midsummer Faerie Theatre, perfectly timed for the upcoming summer solstice (in the Northern hemisphere anyway).

Midsummer Faerie Theatre - Nichola Battilana

I haven't used glitter in the past couple of projects fir Gypsy Soul *gasps!* so I made up for it on this one. Even my little Titania, Queen of the Faeries, has glitter encrusted on her wings. The image I've used here is from The Graphics Fairywhich is an excellent source of quality free images btw.

Midsummer Faerie Theatre - Nichola Battilana

Inside the chipboard Stage there are glittery branches, moss, flowers, leaves, toadstools... all the good stuff.

Midsummer Faerie Theatre - Nichola Battilana

This month Gypsy Soul is pairing with Altered Pages, who supplied us with these Muse Dragonfly rubber stamps. Now, I've got to be honest, I am not a stamper. I rarely use stamps so including them was a challenge for me. I've stamped the image on to thick card, cut out, then applied some gold embossing powder to the body of the dragon and damselflies. They're finished off with some glitter and tucked into those sparkly branches.

Midsummer Faerie Theatre - Nichola Battilana

Gypsy Soul is also partnered with Xyron and I used their 3" Sticker Maker to not only add the trims you see on the piece, but also as an adhesive to apply embossing powder to the top bunting and moon.

Midsummer Faerie Theatre - Nichola Battilana

If you'd like to see how this piece came together there's a video walk though of it's creation HERE 

Thinking of making your own version? Here's a round up of all the supplies used:

Banner Border Strip
Stars and Moons Cutouts

Altered Pages Muse Dragonfly Rubber Stamp
Xyron 3" Sticker Maker
Flat-Back Gold Star Studs - 12mm*
Mini Floral Dresden Borders - Antique Gold
1/2 Inch Pale Pink Paper Roses*
1/2 Inch Red Paper Roses*
Demon Box Feet*
Medium Pine Cones
Small Pine Cones
Art Nouveau Winged Women*
Nouveau Goddess - Raw Brass Stamping
Leaves from Petaloo Botanica Sugared Blooms
Vintage image from The Graphics Fairy
Acrylic paint
ColourArte Twinkling H2O's
ColourArte Radiant Rain Mist
Embossing powder

Midsummer Faerie Theatre - Nichola Battilana

Wednesday, June 01, 2016

Early Pixies

The past few days have been exhausting in the very best way. I've been busy, working and tinkering, yanking weeds, putting laundry on the line. My minutes have become precious. But there's something to be said for being tired at the end of the day. There's a sort of goodness in weary feet.

Yesterday morning I discovered a gang of stone goblins beneath the shrubbery. By dusk more wee folk revealed themselves. A little village of pixie cottages popped up between the trunks of the maple and locust trees in front of the house.  

I'm sure they think they are clever with their polka dotted roofs, hiding near the toadstools.

And they are rather clever! They've picked a spot where they will be protected by the elements but able to spy on all of our visitors. They've tidied their little plot neatly and have even done a little landscaping. I'm sure they will be fine neighbours. 

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.