Tuesday, October 16, 2018

Butterflies, Specimens and Inspiration

There was a butterfly exhibit at the Natural History Museum wrapping a few days after I landed in the UK. So, I jumped on a train and travelled across the country to the big city. I literally made it just a few hours before the exhibit closed.

The exhibit was in an exterior tent and it was all sorts of magic walking through the fluttering winged things.

Inside the museum there were loads of old school specimens.

Did you know that there are no real Dodo specimens? None! Not a single one! Every Dodo bird specimen found in museums is a reproduction.

But, what I really want to show you is this...

This Victorian display stands over 6ft tall and contains over 100 hummingbird specimens. It looks like chaos in photos, but in person it is absolutely amazing. I was trying to find additional information on this piece and it seems it's history is a bit of mystery. I think that adds to it's appeal.

Inspired by my visit to the Natural History Museum I've made a little butterfly "specimen" display.

I've used an inexpensive cubby box as a base and covered it with papers from Steampunk Debutante.

The butterflies are fussy cut from Butterfly Specifics from Olde Curiosity Shoppe.

I've added some small metal feet, Antique Brass Stamped Metal Brads, and an Antique Metal Door Pull to finish it off.

I have so many other interesting and inspiring things to share with you that you're going to be sick to death of me! But first I've got to get back to gluing stuff to other stuff and splashing paint on things.

Waiting for the train to London. Fun fact: you cannot get cream for your coffee in England! You can have your fill of milk, but delicious thick cream for your black gold is a rare treasure. I was gasping for a creamy cup of joe when I returned.

Wednesday, October 10, 2018

Five Halloween Mini Shrines

Before I jetted off across the pond I was playing with these 5 Halloween mini shrines from AlphaStamps.

I went a little mad scientist and used a few different techniques on the wee things.

I used everything from a simple crackle glue finish (instructions here) to a glitter smothered facade.

The Cat on Pumpkin Mini Shrine was painted in a vintage halloween style, and the Big Cat Mini Shrine was turned into into a toothy monster.

I think that both the simple finishes and painterly pieces look spookadellic and despite not being completely matchy-poo look well grouped together.

Note: that nose? A lump of paperclay applied and dried to the chipboard before painting.

Want to create your own mashed up collection of halloween goodies? Here's a list of all the bits I used:

Halloween Countdown Kit - September 2018
Cat on Pumpkin Mini Shrine
Raven October Mini Shrine
Haunted House Mini Shrine
Big Cat Mini Shrine
Cat in Moon Mini Shrine
Spooky Boo Scrapbook Paper - Eek
Spooky Boo Scrapbook Paper - Speech Bubbles
Vintage Halloween Pumpkin Time Scrapbook Paper
Vintage Halloween 2x2 Number Squares Scrapbook Paper
Pumpkin Pods
Mini Halloween Costumes Collage Sheet
Creative Paperclay
Acrylic Paint
Fake Teeth

Let the Happy Haunting begin!

Monday, October 08, 2018

The Elfin Oak

Just arrived home last night from my three week adventure in England and Ireland. It was an absolute whirlwind and I will never take my bed or quiet life for granted for as long as I live!

I've got so much to share with you, so many bits of inspiration that I can't possibly do it all at once. Instead, I'll share things here and there over the coming weeks.

Today I'd like to tell you about the Elfin Oak, a magical old oak stump in Kensington Gardens.

It's easily missed and doesn't look like much from afar: an old tree in a cage behind a fence.

But, if you look closely, there's a whole lot happening on that stump.

It is covered with animals...

... and faces...

... and activity...

There are elves, fairies, witches and imps carved all over the old oak.

Mystics peek out from the bark.

An old fox sits at the base.

The entire surface is covered with figures hiding, sneaking, playing.

There's even a bit of kissing!

Originally carved in 1911, the tree underwent restoration in the 1960s, and then again in 1996.

It's such a fun thing to look at and explore.

So many wee folk with stories to tell. The makers wife wrote about the stump and had this to say:
"for centuries now it has been the home of fairies, gnomes, elves, imps, and pixies. In the nooks and crannies they lurk, or peer out of holes and crevices, their natural windows and doorways. It is their hiding-place by day, their revelry place by night, and when the great moon tops the bare branchless tree the Elfin Clans come out to play and frolic in the moonlight."

If you're ever in Hyde Park/Kensington Garden, you'll find this treasure next to the Diana Memorial Playground. Be sure to locate it on a map and get oriented before you go because we had a heck of a time finding it. Kensington Garden staff had absolutely no idea what I was talking about, but it was well worth the search.

Glad to be back to home to my bed and the quiet, and I'm looking forward to running with all of the inspiration I've bottled up.

Hope you've been well and not tooooo well behaved.

Saturday, September 08, 2018

Matchbox Fairy Collage Sheet & Tutorial

The countdown is on! I'm leaving Wednesday to begin my big fat trip. I'm so excited (and a little terrified) of going on my UK adventure. Things may be quiet for a few weeks on the blog while I'm away, but I'll be posting up a storm on instagram, twitter and facebook (if you prefer the sweary version you can friend request me).

The etsy shop will only sell digital items while I'm away, but I do have a new pretty thing in there.

Matchbox Fairy Collage Sheet and Tutorial - pixiehill.com

I've created a sweet little downloadable collage sheet/tutorial package for creating matchbox fairies.

Matchbox Fairy Collage Sheet and Tutorial - pixiehill.com

The collage sheet is jam packed!

There are six different tiny vintage ballerinas that are repeated and reversed to give you some extra options. There are a SLEW of butterflies and wings to choose from. I've also tossed in some sentiments and words and crests. AND there's also a template for making the matchbox and everything is perfectly sized to fit together. Plus there's a 2 page instructional pdf (not that you need it, you clever thing!)

Matchbox Fairy Collage Sheet and Tutorial - pixiehill.com

And... for no other reason other than it's pretty dang nifty....

Six leaf clover - pixiehill.com

Looky at this gorgeous 6 leaf clover I found in the garden today! I'm pressing it in a vintage book on being a gracious hostess.

Wednesday, September 05, 2018

Graphic 45 Floral Shoppe House 'Pins'

I am in love with Graphic 45's Floral Shoppe. It's just so.... lush, gorgeous, beautiful, pretty. I can't say enough good things about it. Every sheet is a dream. Today I'm showing off some wearable art I created using this collection and the House Jewelry Pieces from Gypsy Soul Laser Cuts.

Graphic 45 Floral Shoppe House 'Pins' - Nichola Battilana

I've used various Floral Shoppe papers for the backgound keeping some pretty elements (like those pretty birds) nicely framed as a focal point on some of the pieces.

Graphic 45 Floral Shoppe House 'Pins' - Nichola Battilana

I randomly stamped the base corners and frames with a floral design from Gilded Lily and applied gold embossing powder before gluing the frame and base together.

Graphic 45 Floral Shoppe House 'Pins' - Nichola Battilana

A few sweet words snipped from vintage books. 

Graphic 45 Floral Shoppe House 'Pins' - Nichola Battilana

Paper butterflies are added too.

Graphic 45 Floral Shoppe House 'Pins' - Nichola Battilana

Tiny eyehole screw is added to the bottom edge.

Graphic 45 Floral Shoppe House 'Pins' - Nichola Battilana

Pretty charms and beads are added.

Graphic 45 Floral Shoppe House 'Pins' - Nichola Battilana

What is it about those Antique Brass Ornate Metal Keys that is oh so appealing? Must have something to do with the possibility of opening new doors, or hidden treasure boxes.

Graphic 45 Floral Shoppe House 'Pins' - Nichola Battilana

I really like the range in size. From statement piece, to delightfully wee!

Graphic 45 Floral Shoppe House 'Pins' - Nichola Battilana

I was in a bit of a pickle when it came to finding pin backs for these pieces. The small house shapes are quite tiny so I wanted to use butterfly clutches rather than long pin backs but I couldn't find them anywhere! But I did find magnetic 'buttons'.

Graphic 45 Floral Shoppe House 'Pins' - Nichola Battilana

These won't hold in place on a thick sweater or coat, but these little magnets are quite strong (they were trying to stick together when I was shooting the group photos for this post!) and will absolutely pull together through thinner materials. Not exactly what I was looking for, but hey, now they can be used as magnets by those who don't wear pretty pins, buttons or brooches.

Graphic 45 Floral Shoppe House 'Pins' - Nichola Battilana

Want to make your own? Here are the supplies you'll need

Gold embossing powder
Acrylic paint
Beads, charms and jumprings
Small eyehole screws
Discarded books
Magnetic buttons