Well, I finally got around to trying out the last hopeful contestant that I had around the house, in the search for a clear spray finish for my papier maché bowls.
I tried out Krylon’s “Crystal Clear” finish, using the same kind of coverage as I had in the previous experiment.
The results were disappointing, to say the least. I had thought the polyurethane and Rustoleum sprays were yellow. This was slightly more yellow than the Rustoleum, and not much less so than the polyurethane.
I love botanical gardens. I love miniatures. I love recycling materials. And I love creative uses for found objects.
So when I found out from a friend (who also loves miniatures and gardens) that there would be a fairy garden exhibit in the local Roger Williams Park Botanical Center, (more photos there) how could I resist? Thanks for being on the lookout, Cindy.
In the intro photo, notice the campfire, using bark with an orange lining made to look like flames. In the middle ground, there's a bowl made from an acorn cap. And of course, the moss. I want to lie down on it!
Fairy home with polished wood
Fairy home with "bird feet"
Fairy home looks like an owl
Fairy city with 3-tiered planter
Fairy home with pistachio shells
Fairy home with rope ladder
Fairy home with old doorknob and seed pods
"Fairybrary" - library with miniature books
Fairy home with Tinkerbell and butterfly
Fairy city toll booth
There were dozens of fairy homes and other environments, made of everything from bark, pine cones and moss (another fave) to fabric, beads, paper and twigs.
The builders also had so many unusual ways of creating a homey atmosphere for the fairies.
Someone even made dresses for them and hung them on branches all around a twig ball.
The ambience was made even better by the number of small kids wearing fairy attire. Adorable!
Several sections of this filled up in no time, since it was school vacation week, but it was still worth the trip.
There was a scavenger hunt, looking for items in and around the fairy environments, that everyone could join. My 10 yr. old partner in fairy garden love and tiny home creation, Alana, took part in it and we all joined in the hunt.
The center had an activity called Make a Gnome Home, encouraging kids to use whatever the staff (I assume) found around the greenhouses.
Between the gorgeous, varied and mature plantings throughout the greenhouses and the use of materials, there's plenty of inspiration for artwork and jewelry making - from shapes to palettes to material ideas.
The new series of polymer clay earrings in the ChirpHop Studio Etsy shop had its beginnings in the idea of Spring, fairy gardens and fairy-sized plants.
Stay tuned for Part 2, with more photos. There were just too many interesting houses to pass any up.
I’ve been waiting for the weather to be warm and dry to seal my papier maché clay bowls and put them in the ChirpHop Studio Etsy shop. It’s been either warm or dry, but not both.
In the meantime, the notion of changing the color of the clay got into my head. If it was built into the bowl material, rather than applied to the surface, I could save some steps. Applying paint also sometimes has a “fake” look, almost like the bowl is made of molded plastic.
Sometimes it pays to clean out your closet, even if you’re avoiding something you should be doing instead (preparing tax info).
So, I’m pretty sure what possessed me to do my more-or-less annual computer/office supply closet purge and reorganization. If it hadn’t happened just after I made the alcohol inks from Sharpies, this idea would probably never have occurred to me.
Always looking for ways to recycle household packaging (and a huge fan of my sacred morning ritual), one of my favorites is the plastic lining in cereal boxes.
They get a lot of use during gardening season, being a great way to store greens like lettuce, kale and arugula.
Liner bags can be rinsed out easily, closed with a chip clip and seem to keep produce fresh for a fairly long time.
The kitchen is always well-stocked with them, but after a certain point, the line between saving and hoarding gets a little blurry. Throughout the winter months, it seems like a such a shame to throw the liners away. Kale and arugula grew through November, but in the last few months, you wouldn’t be able to find them under the snow if it survived.
Today they got a chance to stay out of the trash a while longer.
When you work with papier maché clay, it can take awhile to get a feel for how thick you’re spreading the mixture over the mold. Too thin and it’s fragile, most likely with weak areas and pinholes. Too thick and you lose some of the delicacy of it.
A thickness of about 1/8″ (.125 cm) is sturdy yet not clunky. The photo above was taken before patching, when the sides were a bit too thin and there were pinholes in the bottom from flattening the base.
No wonder there are issues… it’s like spreading really wet tuna salad! Thankfully there’s an easy fix.
Since there are some substantial changes from the recipe on ultimatepapermache.com in the paper prep, mixing and molding the form with the new papier maché clay mixture, I put the entire process here. It includes my recipe from an earlier post, so you won’t need to jump all over to follow it.
Cast paper bowls are fun to make and I’m a self-confessed container and paper lover. I’ve been making them for a few years, but was sometimes disappointed in the strength of the finished product, especially with larger bowls.
Then one day, I came across ultimatepapermache.com, which has a wealth of wonderful information. Jonni Good offers recipes, clear, helpful videos and the site has an active forum full of even more ideas. It’s obvious that she’s always coming up with ways to improve her techniques.
For my purposes, the recipe needed some tweaking, but it transformed how I make my bowls (and how satisfied I am with them).