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


Spring Has Come To ChirpHop Studio – New Earrings Came With It

Spring is finally here!!

And so are the first of a new group of earrings in the ChirpHop Studio Etsy store.

Take a look at the slideshow for a taste of what's new.

Some of them were inspired by a fairy garden exhibit at a local park, some of them were inspired by chance.

All of them were influenced by the light and color of Spring (my favorite season).

Stop by the store and get a breath of the new season.

Mother's Day and graduations are right around the corner. What better gift than handmade one-of-a-kind earrings or a pendant?

Coming soon... handmade decorative paper bowls. You've seen them undecorated in other posts. Now they've got their new coats on.

Papier Maché Clay – Testing “Clear” Spray Finishes

Papier maché clay testers for "clear" spray finishes
Papier maché clay testers for “clear” spray finishes

There have been shelves full of decorative papier maché clay bowls just waiting for the weather to be warm enough to spray a finish on them. The time has finally come!

To make sure any finish worked well before I use it on the bowl that I’ve put time and effort into, some testing seemed like a reasonable idea.

The spray finishes were some I already had from other projects and wanted to make sure wouldn’t do something funky to the surface, like discolor it or react strangely (bubbles, stickiness, etc.)

I also have a few bowls with a white painted surface, so I wanted to make sure they’d stay white.

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Black Papier Maché Clay Experiment

Black papier maché clay mixture
Black papier maché clay mixture

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.

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New line of earrings added to the ChirpHop Studio Etsy store!

We're excited to announce that we've expanded what we have to offer at the ChirpHop Studio Etsy store, by adding a line of earrings.

There's a variety of colors and styles, from long multiple dangles to short geometrics, soft spring colors to bright ones and everything in between.

Choose from shiny and matte finishes, translucent and opaque beads, recycled vintage jewelry beads and findings and handmade polymer clay beads.

Check out the slideshow above for a sneak peek. Then drop by and give us a look. If you like what you see, feel free to pin them, favorite them or spread the word.

You'll make that little bird very happy!  ChirpHop Studio favicon

Translucent Polymer Clay Hollow Bead Experiments – Part 4: Translucent Liquid Sculpey

Cornstarch and baking soda beads covered with Translucent Liquid Sculpey
Cornstarch and baking soda beads covered with Translucent Liquid Sculpey

Sad to say, the photo above is the best one to come out of the session where I tried to create translucent hollow beads with Translucent Liquid Sculpey (TLS).

I had read (where exactly escapes me now) about a polymer clay artist getting better translucent effects by painting liquid Sculpey. There wasn’t any further information than that, so out come all of the supplies.

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Translucent Polymer Clay Hollow Bead Experiments – Part 3: Return of the Cornstarch

Cornstarch and baking soda bead cores for polymer clay
Cornstarch and baking soda bead cores for polymer clay

After crossing paper off the list as a useful hollow bead core material, and realizing there was a crucial piece missing from an option I had come across earlier, it was time to take a second look at cornstarch as a contender.

I found a recipe for the traditional cornstarch and baking soda “play clay” of childhood. I remembered it as being heavy and cracking a lot when trying to make Christmas ornaments years ago. With any luck, neither of those factors should be an issue for this purpose.

What I’m looking for in my dream bead core is the ability to dissolve quickly and easily, so the bead won’t take forever to transform from filled to hollow.

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