Monday, 9 July 2018

Lost in the Pipework Maze - a Calico Craft Parts Project

Hi, servus and welcome to my usual invite over to the Calico Craft Parts Blog, where I (almost) got lost in a pipework maze again ;)

My last project HERE was a pipework maze project as well, but with this new one I used different products and techniques to achieve a different effect and look. Maybe, if I do a third pipework maze project one day, I will try to go for a rusty and weathered look...the possibilities are endless.

Well, obviously I found my way out, so I can write this post to lure you over to the Calico Craft Parts blog to find out about the whole project and the (quick and easy) steps. I hope to see you over there soon!

Hugs and happy summer crafting!

Monday, 2 July 2018

A Little Lodger - Part Two

One and a half weeks ago my son brought home a little swallow he had found unharmed but dehydrated on the concrete ground in front of our apartment building.

Swallows have been nesting at our house for several years now, which is great as their number has halved in Austria during the last twenty years or so. Now they are coming back, founding new nesting colonies. For me their return after the winter always is something very special that makes me happy. I have been used to having swallows around in summer since I can remember (having spent almost all my summer holidays on a farm in the Austrian lake district, where swallows have their nests in the cow barns and around the farm houses). For me summer and swallows just belong together.

Well, this little fellow had fallen out of its nest obviously - maybe it was an accident, maybe it happened when it first tried to spread its wings and fly. As it was one of the hottest days of the year so far, it was very weak due to dehydration.

We fed it water with dextrose which helped immediately. Then my son went out hunting for insects - grasshoppers mainly (as we had read in the internet were the best food for swallows). As he only managed to catch six grasshoppers in about forty minutes, we switched to buying house crickets in the pet shop, which we deep-froze and brewed on demand. Our little guest was very hungry! I guess it ate about twenty crickets per day!

We put it in a plastic container...a small one during the day (so it could climb the edge and have a look around or get its food), a larger one during the night.

My son had it sit on his shoulder most of the time (where it learned all about Hearthstone and Overwatch), so it could train and spread its wings (which it did quite often), but it felt especially cosy and safe in the hood of my son's hoodie shirt ;)

When it started to flutter really hard, we took it out into our large living room with the open kitchen...just in case it decided to fly around....

....which it finally did on Saturday evening. So we took it out on Sunday morning, so it could join the flock again.

It needed some minutes, watching the other swallows do their acrobatic flight manoeuvres, but then it gave a little call, fluttered, spread its wings...and flew with the others as if it had always been doing nothing else than that.

I went out several times that day, just in case it had returned or not found a nest for the night, but everything was okay as no swallow was left out in the cold after the sun had set. (I admit it wasn't easy for me to let go ;). It's heartwarming though, knowing that one of these cute little agile acrobats is "our" little lodger, when watching them now do their helter-skelter rounds in our courtyard and around the building. 

As the swallows' nests are quite close to our flat, I wake up to the sound of their calls. I will miss them (even more this year) when they will be gone - heading south to warmer countries. 

Sunday, 1 July 2018

SanDee&amelie's Steampunk Summer Special Challenge 2018

Hi, servus and welcome to this year's "Summer Special"  at SanDee&amelie's Steampunk Challenges! As every year we are having a two months long challenge throughout the months of July and August, so our players and the design team can enjoy the holidays and have a great time outdoors!

My wonderfully creative design team ladies have done their best as always to inspire and spark new mixed media steampunk and industrial style ideas! There's a link to the challenge at the bottom of this post and I hope to see you over there and play along with us!

In summer my husband and I enjoy sitting on our balcony in the evenings and having a good glass of wine, candle light and some relaxed chatter. I have plenty of tea light holders, but as you can never have enough, I decided to make an industrial style one. The idea comes from a most wonderful tea light holder my friend Kerstin made last Halloween (see her project and post HERE) and I immediately had to buy some wooden tea light holders right after reading her post (thinking of X-mas themed holders mainly)...and then I forgot about them...until now!

 I have used nothing but a wooden tea light holder, matte DecoArt Decou-Page. Metallic Lustre, a few DecoArt Americana premium acrylic paints and some of Calico Craft Parts' really cool Steampipe Maze sheets.

It is great fun to build a steampipe maze around the entire holder - connecting pipes across edges and along corners and using taps and valves from the add on sheets! It is especially great fun if the pipe maze goes round corners and across the edges, including even the top side of the tea light holder!

I played around for some time before I started gluing the first pipes in place (with matte Decou-Page). I started on one side, trying to lead the pipe maze from there across the top to the next side.

Where I had to shorten some of the longer pipe pieces to make them fit, I covered these junctions with taps that I glued on top:

Once the glue had dried, I stippled on some Burnt Umber DecoArt Student Acrylic paint with an old bristle brush.

Once that had dried, I dry brushed the pipes, taps and valves and the edges of the tea light holder with thin layers of DecoArt premium Quinacridone Gold Hue, Transparent Yellow Iron Oxide, Vermillion Hue and Diarylide Yellow until I was content with the look. (the picture sadly doesn't show the subtle rusty tones - but they're there! You will see them with the images of the finished holder). 

 I finished off my piece with adding Orange Flicker DecoArt Metallic Lustre with my fingertip to the pipework and holder edges. 


I love the subtle rusty tones from the dry brushing against the hints of metal sheen from the Metallic Lustre and the golden glittery tea light was the perfect addition! 

As promised: HERE is the link to our summer special challenge! I hope you like my pipework maze tea light holder and I hope you will like my teamies' makes as well! If you want to make them happy, please, take a minute and leave them a short comment on their blogs. Thank you!

Have a great summer holiday
and don't forget to play along! 


Tuesday, 26 June 2018

Anchors Aweigh! at Calico Craft Parts

Hi, servus and sorry for being late with my usual "every other Monday" invite over to the Calico Craft Parts Blog, where I am sharing a little boat shaped shrine I made.

I love Calico Craft Parts' little "Boat and Oars" kit - it is just perfect to showcase little treasures from your latest holiday at the seaside, isn't it? It also comes with a shelf so you can showcase even more treasures in it!

While I am writing this post our little lodger is sitting on my shoulder, spreading its wings for the first time and tickling the skin on my neck. I guess it will be just a matter of days before it will finally fly and join the flock again. It eats well - extremely well if you ask me. It is just amazing how a little bird can eat so much! We feed it three to four grasshoppers about every two hours and I am sure it would eat even more!
My son and I have to chop off the grasshoppers' legs as these have barbs that would harm the swallow's throat and stomach. The left over legs on the chop board always looks as if a massacre has taken place... lol Call us the grasshopper choppers! ;)

Hugs and happy crafting!

Thursday, 21 June 2018

A Little Lodger

Something totally different today...

Just when I was about to head to my studio to do some design team "homework", my son brought a little swallow. He found it totally exhausted on the hot concrete ground in the patio of our apartment building. It obviously fell out of one of the many nests we have here, which is one of very few places in and around Vienna where swallows breed.

We've already had bird experts come count the swallows' nests and swallows here and our patio has recently been on local TV as well. Having swallows nesting in our patio is so special, because statistics say that their population in Austria has halved during the last 20 years - so their return to newly founded breeding areas in some regions of Vienna is a good thing! 

Our little guest has already had some dextrose and four grass hoppers. It seems it has no injuries - so there's a good chance we can help it regain strength and maybe even start to fly before we send her back to its flock.

My son is out right now, hunting grass hoppers and other insects for his little guest...let's hope our little fellow will make it!

Wednesday, 20 June 2018

Celebrating the 4th of July/Canada Day at Emerald Creek Dares

Emerald Creek Dares are all about "4th of July" and "Canada Day" celebrations this month. This means bright reds against blue and white, stars and stripes or maple leaves and the Canadian flag's colours red and white on cards and tags or other paper crafts.

I admit I do not relate to any of these holidays - being the Austrian chick on the DT - but I DO know that working with bright colours and striking shapes like stripes and stars can be quite a challenge, because these all ask for strong composition and lay outs to fuse all the elements used on a format.

I struggled with this theme for quite a while and finally decided to tackle card making again. Those who know me, know that card making is something that scares hell out of me...but honestly I didn't have a clue what else to create for this challenge, please, be gentle with me and my card.

So here's my CAS (well, more simple than clean to be card, done using Chinese New Year, Steel Sapphire, Ultra Puff White, Ultra Thick Chunk Gloss Enamel and Glacier White Emerald Creek embossing powders alongside some washi tape, salty ocean and blue china Distress Inks and Tim Holtz's Alphanumeric Thinlits dies set.

There's not much to show or tell about the how-to. I used Tim Holtz's so-called Wrinkle-Free Distress Technique to create the blue background. Then I dabbed on some embossing ink through a stars stencil and heat embossed the stars with Glacier White embossing powder. The Calico Craft Parts MDF Star Shapes were heat embossed as well and glued in place using Tacky Glue.

To glue the heat embossed die cut letters in place, I used a special glue pen with a fine tip and tweezers. 

I wasn't too happy with the outcome and had several tries that went to the bin. So when my husband asked, when seeing the finished card in the evening, how on Earth I managed to create the shape of the United States with the Distress Inks, I felt a little bit reconciled. lol 

While preparing this post I already think of all the beautiful and well done cards I will be seeing around the internet and being entered to our Dare - and once more I know that I will deeply and sincerely admire all those creative and talented people out there who know how and are able to create truly beautiful cards. Know that I hold you in high esteem! 

And don't forget - by playing along you may well become our $25 voucher winner!!! 

Hugs and happy crafting!

Tuesday, 5 June 2018

"The Voice of the Sea" Tag Duo

Servus, hi and welcome to my little creative spot!
Thanks for stopping by today!

Today I would like to share with you a tag duo I have made using some of the wonderful new stencils and rubber stamp sets by lovely Samantha Braund from Samantha Braund Arts.

Samantha recently messaged me on facebook and we had a lovely and inspiring chat. We talked about her doing all her demo projects for the selling shows on craft TV herself and she said she would love to see what someone else - for example I - would come up with using some of her new stencils and stamp sets. This was so very lovely of her and I feel very honoured by this and when she suggested that I could have some of them to play with, my answer was of course a loud and happy "Yes, please! I would LOVE to!"

Actually I remember using a lot more words than just these few, because I was so excited... ;)

I have been admiring Samantha's beautiful jewellery designs and drawings for quite a long time now. So being asked by her really is such an honour and I feel truly blessed. Thank you so much, Samantha! Mwah! XXX

I hope you like my "The Voice of the Sea" tag duo!

You know me - I love the sea and the magic of underwater worlds. So I had a lot of fun using Sam's stencils and stamps to bring some of my ideas to life.

I have used stamps from the Voice of the Sea, Starfish and Barnacles and Coral Reef Fish Medley stamp sets alongside the beautiful Fan Coral stencil (and mask) and the Curly Seaweed stencil.

I die cut two tags from heavy mixed media paper and used DecoArt Americana paints and DecoArt stencil brushes to create the backgrounds.

Then I stamped on the images from the stamp sets to create my scenes using black archival stamping ink. Once that was dry I painted them with watered down DecoArt media fluid acrylics using a detail brush. 

Final details (mainly highlights) in white were added with a white gel pen....

...before I finished off the tags by adding quotes and bits of text from the stamp sets.

The hints of blue in the backgrounds were done by first spreading water with a wet brush in the spots on the tags and then bringing only a little paint to these areas with the tip of the brush. This way the paint pigments spread beautifully and created lovely subtle shades.

I hope you like my two underwater tags as much as I do!

Hugs and happy crafting!

Holiday Memories - a StencilGirl® Creative Team Project

Hi, servus and welcome to my second project and post for StencilGirl®!

This month it's all about "Favourite Craft/Art Books" for the Creative Team and if you hop over to the StencilGirl® Talk Blog, you will find out about my current fave among my huge collection of inspiring and informative art and craft books (shhh! There's also an amazing give-away you should check out!!!)...and about the project it inspired me to do.

Those who own the book too, may recognise it here on my studio desk alongside one of the fab StencilGirl® stencils and a holiday picture I took some years ago when doing a round trip through Turkey...

....and here's a detail shot of the finished project.

To see the whole project and a detailed how-to (including my second video!), click HERE to get taken to the blog post over at the StencilGirl® Talk blog. Hope to see you over there! 

Hugs and happy crafting!

Friday, 1 June 2018

Teabag, Wired - Mixed Media Canvas for SanDee&amelie's Steampunk Challenges

Hi, servus and welcome to a very special post for SanDee&amelie's Steampunk Challenges this time! Special to me as this is the first time lovely Maura is hosting our challenge over at the steampunk challenge blog and I cannot tell you how happy I am to have her by my side as a co-host from now on! Please, give her an especially warm welcome when you hop over to the challenge blog to find out about the teamies' makes and the current steampunk challenge!

I have been on a wonderful cultural trip to Bregenz and its impressive "Kunsthaus" with a dear friend this weekend and have enjoyed some amazing art by Mika Rottenberg there and we also visited another gallery with stunning video art from German artist Susann Maria Hempel.
Both exhibitions have made me want to get more playful and intuitive with my creative process and I guess this already shows a bit with today's make for our June challenge.... (I have embedded a video with an interview and parts of Mika Rottenberg's art for those interested at the bottom of this post).

My little 4''x4'' canvas started out with a teabag that I stuck to it by simply placing it into wet DecoArt media white Modeling Paste. From there I just ran wild and combined assemblage, rubber stamping and collage techniques and hat a lot of fun.

The rubber stamped teabag, pressed into the wet Modeling Paste. 

DecoArt media Mister paints Orange and Turquoise (Shimmer) spritzed onto the still wet paste and watered down with water from a spray bottle. 

Electronic parts and watch parts were glued to the canvas with Heavy Gel Medium. 

Black archival ink was used to partially stamp the images onto different spots on the canvas. 
(the originally stamped on image on the teabag had been painted over while being carried away with creating texture on top of texture..)

DecoArt media white Crackle Paint was scraped on here and there with the tip of my palette knife. 

Fixing the watch parts to my canvas with the Heavy Gel Medium.

White mark making and doodling with a gel pen around the glued on die cut (a Seth Apter design) metal parts. 


I love how "big" my mini canvas looks. It's always amazing to find how much you can do on small formats like mini canvases or ATCs...

Maura is awaiting you over at our steampunk challenge blog, where you will find more inspiration from my amazing teamies! The challenge is - as always - open until the end of the month. From this month on we will present all the teamies' makes on the 1st of the month and only announce the Top5 and prize winners from the previous challenge on the 15th. So stay tuned and I hope to see you play along this month! 

Hugs and happy crafting!

Here's the promised video about Mika Rottenberg and her art. I have also included a picture I took in Kunsthaus Bregenz, so you can see how the videos and installations were presented. 

I have also found this video showing the trailer to Susann Maria Hempel's "Seven Times a Day We Bemoan Our Lot and at Night We Get Up to Avoid Dreaming" (which won several renowned art prizes and got me deeply impressed as well).

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