Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Tabletop Steampunk Fairy Garden in a Cricket Box

After crafting the Woodland-inspired gift boxes
from paper-mache,
I believe I'm on a creative roll.

I've had a couple of brass cricket boxes for a while now, that I aged with bleach, because I very much prefer dark brass with patina, versus shiny and bright.
I had intended to sell them empty after I darkened them,
but reindeer moss was sitting nearby,
and started a chain reaction.

Plain ol' brass cricket box is now a tabletop 
Steampunk Fairy Garden.

So many materials that are fun to play with,
look great together,
and just plain make an instant statement.
Chartreuse reindeer moss & Tamarack cones
equals natural elegance!
But I couldn't stop there.

I added a homemade toadstool,
created with pulpy paper, a piece of twig,
and brown German glass glitter.

After that step, I decided the background
looked dark and empty,
so I created a rustic fence using more twig pieces.

Finally, the coppery brass was whispering 
"Steampunk" to me,
so I dug into my chain stash for this
textured chunky perfection.

As for the construction,
I secured styrofoam to the base
to hot glue everything to.
I wanted the lid to be fixed at just
the right angle, so I twisted some semi-stiff wire, 
wrapped it with brown floral tape,
stuck it into the foam,
then hooked it to the lid through a cutout.

I enjoyed making this so much, that I'll craft another one
with the smaller box.

This treasure is now available in my Etsy shop.

Join me on Instagram!

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Saturday, July 18, 2015

Woodland-Inspired Paper Mache Gift Boxes

Finally, I've crafted something new to show! 

I went to an outdoor wedding recently, and the color scheme was crisp pesto green and brown. The brown element was represented by thin tree slices as plate chargers, with the pesto green being silk napkins. I was so enamored by the design, that it inspired some creations
out of me.

I had some small paper mache boxes on hand, so off I went. With brown and green in my head,
here's what resulted......

I gave both the same treatment. Painting the lids green, then haphazardly in dark brown to look woodsy.

Attached crisp olive green seam binding, then added reindeer moss and Tamarack cones. The best part came with an epiphany to "pool" dark brown German glass glitter around the moss to give the effect of elegant "soil".
I love how it looks! 

Then I covered the box base in crisp moss green crepe paper. 
Cutting curvy chipboard, attaching to the bases, then coating in the same brown glass glitter,
to finish the soil effect.

Painted the insides in a coordinating green, and adding tiny dots of citrus green German glass glitter to the moss
to look like dew drops.

These will make fabulous presentation boxes, and are now available in my Etsy shop. 

Join me on Instagram!

Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Auctions and Painting and Auctions and Painting.....

What I've been up to....

Went to my first on-site auction
with my new Instagram junking buddy Joyce.

We each won some rusty treasures,
including old tool boxes,
loaded to the brim with old tools.
More on that later....

We try not to miss our Friday night
auctions at Estate Sales Unlimited
in Hillsboro.
This night I won a lot of over 40
vintage die cast pencil sharpeners
in some of the cutest shapes!

And the following Friday,
I scored this lot of old medicine bottles.

And in between all that,
I was painting a client's entire house,
including some high-wire acts.
Oy Vey, those walls are tall....

And if I must sit on top of a coat closet
to reach those high spots,
then so be it!

But at least I had my client's kitty Rafiki 
to entertain me....

Now that the house is done,
I can focus on getting my accumulated
auction wins listed on Etsy & eBay.
So no creative genius projects to show
until that's caught up!

For my latest Adventures
Join Me on Instagram

TTFN, Maria

Sunday, May 31, 2015

Soft Kitty, Warm Kitty, Little Ball of Fur.......

I've been M.I.A. on the blog......Again, but when you pick up new painting and pet-sitting clients, 
and all at once, time has a way of getting away from you!

First up: My newest Kitty client, Trixie. 

Isn't her face fabulous!

This is her fainting couch.......adorable!

At my current painting gig, I am painting the entire 2 story house/condo, save for a couple of accent walls I painted there last summer. 

This client has a very elegant diva cat named Rafiki, which is Swahili for "friend", and yes, it is a character's name in The Lion King. An apt name, since her human
hails from South Africa. 
Rafiki is a British Blue, and she is truly
 the Queen of her jungle.......

Last, but by no means least, is Charlie. She and I have been keeping each other company for the last 6 weeks, while her human  is in Italy. Charlie and her mamma will be reunited on Friday, and I will miss Charlie kitty dearly. We've had a million wonderful moments together, and she's come a long way socially and doesn't even mind getting kissed and snuggled within an inch of her life.......

There's plenty more painting for me to do, before my schedule winds down, but hopefully I can get back into a creative rhythm to get more crafty projects completed!

Be sure to join me on Instagram, where I chime in more frequently with my latest projects!

TTFN, Maria

Wednesday, May 6, 2015

Jewelry Chest Makeover in Aqua Turquoise Chalk Paint & Italian Paper

After many months of distraction, I finished another chalk-painted jewelry chest. After conquering some Putz houses, I was wondering when I would finally commit to the time and patience of designing more chests. 

Obviously, I never tire of Aqua, Turquoise, & Gold 

Layered in 2 shades of custom-mixed Aqua, the top layer being similar to Tiffany Blue.
The darker accent color is a rich, slightly muted Turquoise/Teal. 

I highlighted the hardware and trim with metallic gold and bronze paint, given more luster with the addition of gold pigment powder.

The hand-painted graphics I designed, as well as the paint colors, were dictated by the interior paper.

I wanted graphics that complemented the interior, without competing with it, so I designed simple rosettes, in gold & bronze, highlighted and shaded for a 3-dimensional appearance.

The drawers are lined with a stunning and vibrant Italian paper in deep Turquoise/Teal, light and dark French blue, cream, and metallic gold. It is sealed with satin water-based varnish.

And as always, I distressed all the paint, then finished with clear and dark wax.

Up next? I think maybe I can finally finish another fabulous spice chest!

TTFN, Maria

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Monday, April 27, 2015

Glass & Wooden Curio Box Makeover: Verdigris and Rust

I've been working on a little paint makeover for months now.
Every time I started working on it again,
something would come up and I'd set it aside.
Now that I've finally finished it, the Before pics are 
nowhere to be found!
I hate it when that happens.
In any event, just try to picture one of those 
glass and wood display boxes
with a lid, and dusty dried flowers glued inside of them, 
and you'll have the right image in your head.

So without further ado, here is the After.....

Since I gravitate so often to verdigris and rust 
for my paint treatments,
it seemed like a good idea for this curio box. 
I felt it could just as easily have been
made out of bronze/copper/brass instead of wood,
and I chose to make the lid and interior base 
look more like rusty iron.
All the paint colors were dry-brushed on in a stippling motion, 
using bristle brushes, as in chip brush.
Not a stencil brush, because the bristles are too close together, 
and would cause a pattern;
something you don't want with faux finish.

One of the things that kept making me put this project aside, 
was that I wasn't happy with the lid's knob.
It was a low profile, and flat on top, and I really wanted
to make it look more eye-catching and grand.
There are lots of wooden finials for purchase,
but I kept stalling to find something I already had.

When out and about thrifting one day,
I found a bag of porcelain knobs, 
and knew it would be more to my liking. 
Not to mention the fact that I grew weary of stalling.....
After sanding the shiny porcelain surface 
and the metal mount, I applied layer upon layer of chalk paint,
in black, chocolate brown, brick, and rusty orange, 
continuing those colors all over the lid.
I stippled the paint on, so there is some texture
reminiscent of rust on iron.

The more challenging part of the project was painting the 
inside. At first I considered masking, 
but I soon realized it would take less time
to scrape the excess paint off the glass 
than the time it would take to mask.
Especially since I wanted to mimic the same faux finish inside, 
and to do it well, you need to be random and a little messy.
All I can say is, it's a good thing I have small hands!

For the verdigris finish, 
I again started with a warm black layer, then chocolate brown. 
The next layers were stippled on randomly,
using rusty orange, brick, dark turquoise, and aqua.
I did one color at a time, allowing each color to dry first.
I found out quickly that if you don't let them dry first,
to risk blending the colors and it will just look muddy.
That's not what verdigris looks like. Some of the rusty color
may blend in with metal it's growing on, 
but the verdigris aqua colors have some contrast and 
drama to them, which is the part I love.

The wood had chips in it, and I chose to leave them,
to add to the weathered and corroding metal appearance.
When everything was finally done, I sealed inside and out
with matte varnish, rubbing it while it was drying to keep
it from looking too new and smooth. I didn't want anything to
mess with my weathered look I was going for.

Now that that's finally finished,
I'm itchin' to paint something in an old Jadeite-ish green.
Let's see what I'm patient enough to finish next!

Now, back to my Adventures in Kitty-Sitting!

Follow me on Instagram:

TTFN, Maria


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