From May 2015

Some Decorative Drawing Materials For Black Papier Maché Clay

Test sheet for black papier maché smooth finish with pastels, colored pencil, oil pastel and chalk
Test sheet for black papier maché smooth finish with pastels, colored pencil, oil pastel and chalk

After making and putting a smooth finish on bowls from the black papier maché clay recipe, the next thoughts turned to “How will I decorate these?”.

One of the ideas involved making a series of black and white bowls, with chalk or chalk-like designs on the outside. That (such a surprise) begged other questions…

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More Fairy Gardens For Your Viewing and Imagining Pleasure

Fairy garden with mushrooms and paper lanterns
Fairy garden with mushrooms and paper lanterns

Here are some more photos from the recent (very popular) fairy garden exhibit at the Roger Williams Park Botanical Center in Providence, RI. A fun time was had by all the little (and big) fairies and gnomes during school vacation week.

So much wonderful inspiration can be found in the shapes, colors and textures of the botanical materials. It also helps you realize just how many innovative and attractive ways excess gardening materials and found objects can be put to use.

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Finish Coat for Black Papier Maché Clay

Black papier maché clay bowl with smooth finish coat applied
Black papier maché clay bowl with smooth finish coat applied

Why Add a Finish Coat?

I was very happy with the look of the black papier maché clay when it dried. But of course, more possibilities for it came in to the picture.

It’s nice to have the option of either the handmade paper look, with all its nooks and crannies or a super smooth finish. This coating acts as something of a spackle, filling in the low points.

It also minimizes sanding, which is not my favorite part of any project.

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Spray Finishes for Papier Maché Clay: The Sequel

Krylon Crystal Clear - satin spray finish
Krylon Crystal Clear – satin spray finish

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.

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Inspiration And Recycling Ideas From Fairy Gardens and Gnome Homes

Fairy garden with mushrooms purple flowers and stick fence
Fairy garden with mushrooms, purple flowers and stick fence

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!

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.

Fairy drops - pink and green
Fairy drops - pink and green polymer clay and small crackled marbles