Pixie Wallow ~ Pixie Crafting with Little Cobs

At my Grandsons, Little Cobs, school they have a ‘project’ which involves a teddy bear called Barnaby.  Each child in the class gets to take Barnaby the Bear home with them for a few days, and Barnaby gets to spend time sharing the family outings, games, toys, meals, visits etc., and the children (with the help of parents, guardians, grandparents) write the story of what Barnaby has been doing while he’s been staying with them.

Little Cobs Daddy (Son in Law) told me about Barnaby, and suggested that perhaps Barnaby Bear would like to come with Little Cobs to visit Grammy and Grandad, and maybe Grammy could do some crafting with Little Cobs and take photographs, print them out and they could then be included in the story book of Barnaby’s time spent with Little Cobs and all the things he did.

And this is the [mostly pictorial] story of how Barnaby Bear came to visit Grammy and Grandad and joined in with some crafting with Little Cobs and his Grammy.

I’ve made little tiny things for years (and years and years – more than I care to own up to)I love small detailAnd ... I used to make little houses, paint and attach them to various items and used to sell them for just enough money to cover the costs of actually making them.  Now about a month ago, Pinterest (that well known joyful time-waster) sent me an email with pictures of things it suggested I might like.  Among those photos were some little Fairy Houses which reminded me of the Fairy homes I used to make many years ago.  This gave me an idea for what I thought Little Cobs, and Barnaby Bear, might like to make, and the following photographs show you what happened, how it happened, who made it happen, and how it all turned out in the end.

Once upon a time, two and a half weeks ago, there was a boy, a bear, a mug and some clay….

2 Making Pixie Houses for Pixie Wallow
I showed Little Cobs how to make a tiny Pixie House using clay.  My bright little chap got the idea first time and, using just two fingers, he made two perfect little houses, while Barnaby Bear watched and learned.
3 Look what I made Barnaby Pixie Wallow
The little boy then made some Mushroom Caps, and held them up for Barnaby Bear to pass his expert eye over.  Barnaby, as it turned out, is an expert at all things Fairy and Pixie.  What a stroke of luck that was!
4 Pixie Houses and Mushroom Tops
Progress  …  Two expertly created Pixie Houses, and two miraculous, magical, Mushroom Caps.

5 Painting the Mushrooms
We put the newly made clay pieces to one side and filled the chosen mug and fixed moss in place, to give the feeling of being in Fairy/Pixie Land. (see the Mug Garden over to the left of the photo).  Next came PAINTING!  The little boy – aka Little Cobs, is pretty expert at using a paint brush now and I’m wondering if perhaps I could get him doing a bit of decorating around Cobweb TowersFree child labour – and at my favourite price. lol
6 Barnaby helping with quality control
As you can see, Barnaby Bear was definitely taking his job as Quality Control Bear, very seriously indeed!

It’s a really pretty plate – but not one we use for food.  It just sits around waiting for some passing crafter to blob paint onto it in order to give it a use.  

7 Pixie Houses and mushroom in a mug
Once all the paint was dry, and after the artist had had an afternoon snack and a bit of a play, Little Cobs placed all his beautiful handmade pieces in the places he wanted them to be so that he could check for position.  Once perfect, he gave the go ahead for everything to be fixed in place.

A few small resin flowers were added, just for artisticness, (not a real word but it’s so ‘juicy’ that once I’d made it up I simply had to use it), a couple of teeny tiny pine cones and some general florestry bits – just to make it feel like home to any passing Fairy or Pixie who might be looking for a place for the summer.

Pixie Wallow Houses Mushrooms and Barnaby Bear
Barnaby Bear suggested that the whole scene needed a name, so Little Cobs and I came up with Pixie Wallow, and Grammy built a name label on the computer and printed it out for Little Cobs to fix it to the outside of the cup, so that everyone knew what it was.

I’m reliably informed that Barnaby was very happy with Pixie Wallow, and it passed the Inspection Test with a gold star!

7 Pixie Houses and mushroom in a mug

8 Close up of Pixie Houses and Mushrooms
It’s ready for a close up, Mr. Demille …  (those who’ve watched Sunset Boulevard will get that one).

All the painting is Little Cobs own, apart from tiny bits where I showed him what he needed to do before I handed over the paint brush, and two spots on one of the Mushroom caps, just to show him how to get that magical ‘dot’ in the right place, in the right size.  He made the houses, the mushroom caps and was the ideas man for how the whole scene was to look.

Little Cobs, Barnaby Bear and myself had an absolutely great time making this.  Lots of laughs and lots of stories about who would eventually live in the Pixie Houses, and who would come and sit on the mushrooms and play in the garden.

Before I go may I share a surprise that I had a couple of days ago.  I got sent an Anniversary Achievement by WordPress . . .

Wordpress 4 year Anniversary

…  four years!  FOUR YEARS I’ve been blogging, and yet if you’d have asked me I would have guessed about…  maybe 2 to 2 and a half years tops.  I can hardly believe it.  Four years,  and I’ve loved every single day of it, and that’s because I’ve shared it with you.

I’ve made so many lovely friends via my blog and have and am enjoying so many blogs which are owned by others.

So thank you, dear reader, for filling my last four years with joy and fun.  I’ve loved getting to know you and hope to continue doing so, and also hope to get to know all the new people who join The Cobweborium Emporium,  or that I find in blog land.

Thank you so much for coming today and sharing Pixie Wallow.  Have a truly blessed rest of your day.

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Babooshka, Babooshka, Babooshka-ya-ya! No not the song, it’s a Cup Mat Make-over!

To be true to the art work,  real Babushka’s are spelt just as I’ve just typed it: BABUSHKA,  and not as in the Kate Bush song ‘Babooshka’Or to give them their usual name that we mostly all know them as Russian Dolls.

I had a set of Russian Dolls when I was about 8 or 9 years old.  It had 8 nesting dolls altogether – each of them getting smaller and smaller, and I loved it.  However, at some point in my life it went missing and I’ve thought about it off and on as the years passed.  Then something really weird but totally wonderful happened last year.

Our neighbours went away on holiday, and when they go away we look after their cat for them.  They’d gone to Russia.  When they came back they called round with the gift of a set of genuine Russian nesting Dolls.  I was absolutely beside myself with joy. My neighbours didn’t know about my lost dolls.  I was in a state of total joy for days on end.

The set is so lovely and every now and again I take them apart and set them up as their individual dolls, just so I can look at them and enjoy them.  Then I very carefully pack them all back into each other and pop them back where they ‘live’ on top of my grandmother clock – out-of-the-way of cats, dogs  and Little Cobs!

Anyhooo...  regular readers will remember that I did a make-over on a rather tired cup-mat last week, painting a Goose on it.  Today is the turn of a Babushka, a Russian Doll, to grace a cup mat in the craft room.

Babushka Cup Mat 2
The ‘half way mark’ of the make-over of the cup mat.

Just like last weeks cup mat,  this mat was rubbed down,  painted with a coat of white Gesso, then two coats of black acrylic paint.  I don’t normally draw a detailed drawing when I’m going to paint, I generally just go straight in with the paint.  But I had to get the proportions of the big round body and smaller round head right, so I used a pencil to draw gently on top of the black acrylic and ‘place’ everything where I needed it to be.  Once I’d painted her, and took the above photo, I decided that the colours weren’t quite as I wanted them to be, so I re-mixed some paints and painted her scarf and apron a slightly warmer colour.

Babushka Cup Mat 1

If you compare the two pictures you can just about tell the difference in her scarf and apron.

So … you might be wondering why I haven’t shown you a photo of my Russian nesting dolls, the gift from my neighbours.  Well I wouldn’t because these are different from the Russian lady dolls . . . . . .

Russian Dolls

They’re cats!   Five beautiful, fabulous cats – and the biggest has just come back from a fishing trip where he caught a rather pretty fish.  I’m certain that he caught it as a pet for them all.  [I totally refuse to believe anything else].  The Dog in the photo, (on the left as you’re looking at it), is a sculpture, and he really does actually have two ears … it’s just that the one you can’t see is on the other side of his head and I didn’t notice when I took the photo that it wasn’t showing.  I only realised that he looked like he had an ear missing when I was re-sizing the photo to post here, and by that time …. well … it was a case of ‘Oh sod it.  I can’t be bothered to set it all up again’.  LOL.

Soooo  Happy Monday!  Got anything planned this week?  Birthdays?  Anniversary?   Holiday anywhere?  Visiting somewhere which you’re looking forward to?  Someone coming to visit you?  Orgoing back to the theme of re-cycling or doing a make-over .. have you or are you planning to do a make-over on something?  If you’ve done one and posted on your blog about it, then put a link to it, here in the comments below, so that we can all come and visit your blog!  (Who knows, you may pick up one or two followers in the process!)

Have a truly lovely day today I know that traditionally Monday can be Misery Monday because it’s the first day back at the daily grind … but look … it’s a Monday.  A brand new day.  What if this was going to be the very last Monday ever?  Wouldn’t you make sure that you had a darn good, memorable last Monday?  Go and have THAT darn good day!  (Then come back and tell me about it!).

Sending big squidges, from my corner to yours

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There’s more to make-overs than surgery, clothes and cosmetics!

I have a couple of cup/mug coasters (mats) in my craftroom.  One to the right of my computer (no-one can sit at a computer without a coffee or a tea to one side), and another on what I call my ‘work desk’ – where I do the majority of my crafty things.  BUT … both of these mats are rather, umm…  old and grubby looking.  Bits of paint; spills – which although I’ve wiped up, have still stained;  little bits pull off where I’ve sat some Sellotape (well-known brand of sticky tape in the UK – yes, I know that Sellotape is the name of .. erm .. something else in another country).  Well look … why don’t I just face the shame and show you what one mat looked like.  Are you ready?  ……

Cup Mat Make-over 1

When these were new, I absolutely adored them.  I have some  Cornishware  storage pots and other bits and pieces in my kitchen, and my dining room (in our previous cottage) linked to the kitchen and was very English country cottagey in style so these mats fitted in perfectly.

But …  years later . . .  they really aren’t good for man nor beast, as you can see,  hence the reason they’re in my craft room.  However … I looked at them a couple of days ago and said [to no one in particular]  … “those really need to be thrown away”.

A voice boomed over me like it came from out of the Heavens.  “WHAT DOES?”  (made me jump I can tell you!) … “Uh?”  I swung around on my chair to see Mr. Cobs stood behind me.  “Ohh… these.  <picking up the cup mat>  Look at these . . .   they really have seen their day and I sadly think it’s time to go.”   “No!  Don’t throw them away … paint them!  Paint something on them.  Flowers or something.  Paint something, like you used to!“.

Hmmm… Ok, I could see where he was going with this.  “That’s a good idea, you clever chap.  I shall do that very thing.  But … would you rub them down for me?”  (He knows I hate sandpaper.  It makes my flesh recoil.  <shudder>).  So he did … and this was the result:

Cup Mat Make-over 2

The top layer was actually a paper/card layer, so rubbing the top down wasn’t difficult, but it did leave ridges which were impossible to totally get rid of.  Since the cup mats were only for me in my craft room I thought that I could get away with a few ridges.  So I set to work with some paints.  I first did two coats of Gesso – to help give it a ‘base’ to work on, and also to kind of help smooth out the ridges a little.  Then I gave it a coat of good quality black acrylic.

Cup Mat Make-over 3

If you look carefully at the above photo you can see some of the ridges.  The coat of black paint was done in order to dull the next coat a little.  Kind of ‘knock back’ the colour I was going to apply next – a deep blue colour which I’d hand mixed –  and the black would ensure that the navy stayed ‘flat’ or kind of dull, in colour.

Once the navy was dry I could then begin a ‘picture’ of some description.  ….  Can you tell what it is yet?

Cup Mat Make-over 4

Well I’m committed now so I’d better get on with it …

Cup Mat Make-over 5

Now can you see what it is?  🙂  Yeah, it’s a Goose!  But … the chest is a bit flat there, isn’t it?  Aw, don’t worry … that bit is going to be hidden anyway so I won’t trouble myself about it.

Cup Mat Make-over 6

This photo (above) I took with a flash, with the blind up, and two craft lamps on, so that you can see some of the details which I’ve added … like the shading under his/her chin, shading under the tummy and some detail to the feet.

Cup Mat Make-over 7

I realised that I hadn’t shown you the colours of paints I’d used/be using on this project, so I took the opportunity of adding in the pots of colours while showing you that I’d changed his/her bow from looking like a Christmas red, into a tartan bow.  (I didn’t want anyone to think he was the fatted goose which we were all going to feast on at Christmas!  eeek!).

Cup Mat Make-over 8

Surrounded by a vine, and four freshly laid eggs.

Cup Mat Make-over 9

Finally … three LIGHT coats of a spray varnish and it’s finished.  You can see  from the background in this photo –  that the ridges from the sanded paper were still there … but they really aren’t that noticeable anymore.

Cup Mat Make-over 10

Want to know the funny thing about this?  I am scared of geese (and horses, but we’ll talk about those another time)  … and what’s more … they KNOW IT TOO!  If ever I go anywhere where there are geese  … they surround my car until they’ve discovered the door which I need to get out of and then they  gather around the door and stand there LAUGHING AT ME.  They know I’m scared silly, and they mock me with their gaggling honks and giggling laughs.

If I visit somewhere – a lake, a walk with a stream running along side … and there are geese … those little bu&&ers make it their ambition to get to me and chase me. Honking all the way.

And yet … here I am painting a goose on one of my cup mats.  AM I CRAZY???  Obviously so.

Cup Mat Make-over 8

 

When I’d finished painting this mug mat, I did have a little wonder to myself if perhaps this sort of thing would make a rather nice Christmas present for someone.  You could buy some MDF (Medium Density Fibreboard – sorry folks outside the UK but I don’t know what you call this where you are) and if you’re handy with a saw (or have someone handy with a saw) you could cut the MDF to size and paint a set of four/six coasters for someone special.

OR … if you have a child at school … how about a personalised mug mat for the teacher, as a Christmas present? (or present for anyone at any time).  Just a thought.  🙂

Happy Wednesday all.  Make it a good memory day.

Sending squidges your way  ~

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