Monday 9 January 2023

2023 Topic 01: Shrines {by Renata Peley} with Elizabeth Borer stamps

Hi everyone, it’s Peley Renata with you today, and I am here to share with you a fun project that I made using a bunch of little paper scraps, trinkets that I had laying around and some gorgeous stamps designed by Elizabeth Borer.

As the topics “Shrine” and the theme “Tracks” came, they left me with a lot of thinking to do. But as you know, sometimes it is enough to have one thought, object or an image to start up the creative engine. For me, that spark was the stamps from Elizabeth Borer. With these stamps in my mind, I got an idea about how to incorporate both of the topics in a single project.

As a child, but also in my adulthood I always enjoyed the concept of fairies, these magical and beautiful creatures that are here around us just hidden out of plain sight. Weather they are mischievous, kind and elegant, or joyous child shaped little creatures, I just always wanted to be the lucky one to find them. So, the idea behind my project was to make a box which will contain some little tracks and clues to finding fairies.

Sometimes when I work on a project, the whole process might look a bit chaotic for others, as I don’t always start from the obvious starting point. It was so in this case as well, but I will do my best to sort out my mess of thoughts for you.

As the idea to make a box containing fairy related items started to formulate, it was time to start scavenging in my “one day I might need this for something” box. I have two of such boxes and they contain so many various goodies. I have some paper flowers that I bought, some old book pages, tea-stained book pages and papers, acetate from various packaging, bill envelopes, metal charms, some stickers, cut-outs, little glass bottles, pebbles, printed vellums, pieces and bits of who knows what, etc. And after some rummaging, here are a few treasures I found, together with the PaperArtsy products that I have picked out.

Of course, this isn’t all. As the project was developing, I was going back to my supply box and slowly adding some bits. But when it comes to my choice of PaperArtsy Fresco Finish Chalk Acrylics, I imagined my box to be feminine and elegant with a vintage touch, so I thought that with this color choice, I can express just that.

To be honest, I mostly feel comfortable with doing art journal pages, but everyone says it’s good to step out of the comfort zone from time to time, so that’s what I decided to do. And to do that in the best way, I felt like I need a bit more inspiration, so I first went onto coloring and stamping my faeries. At this point, I knew that I wanted my box and its content to have a somewhat vintage feel, so I decided to stamp the images from the Elizabeth Borer stamp sets EEB04 and EEB06 on a tea-dyed paper. For coloring the images, I have used Prismacolor Premier Colored Pencils.

I bet it’s because all the holidays that we had lately, but in my recent projects I felt a need to implement some gold accents. And you know what? In fairy and magic world, I felt gold is even more needed. Anyway, I used Windsor & Newton Ink in gold color and added just a tiny detail to the fairies’ hair. Something like golden hair straws.

With all my fairies stamped and colored, I felt my inspiration kick in and I was ready for the next steps of my project.

As I previously said, the idea was to make a box full of little fairy-related items, but what kind of box that is going to be is something entirely up to you. At the very start of my creative journey, I was doing decoupage, so I still have some pretty wooden boxes in my stash, just waiting for me to get inspired. And one of those I am going to use for this project. But truth be told, you don’t need a wooden box for this project at all. Anyway, reusing some old household items, recycling or upcycling is a much more rewarding feeling. You can repurpose and redecorate an old box that you have but don’t like any more, use a tin, plastic or a cardboard box. Or why a box at all? It can be a small textile sack or a pocket. I know that all of you reading this blog have that spark of creativity and can find some other solutions and containers for such purpose.

Also, as you can see on the image below, I noticed that I will have enough space for some more trinkets, as my box wasn’t that small, so I gathered a few more items that fit my fairy clues box concept. I won’t use all of them but most, as you will soon see.

When I started doing mixed media, I didn’t have the habit of keeping the original packaging of my products, so I can’t tell you where I got some of these items. For instance, I truly don’t recall where I got those paper flowers, but if you look to the left of my image, right under the box you can see a real little white flower that I had pressed in a book. It’s a wild flower that I got from my daughter. She gave it to me as a “cheer up” when I was feeling sad, so I felt that if I incorporate it in my project, it will always remind me of that moment. Anyway, the point of this story is that you don’t need paper flowers, as I think that home pressed flowers look even better for projects like this one. I just feel sorry that I don’t have any more. Lesson learned, I guess. Next spring, I go for a flower picking and pressing séance.  😊

Anyway, with all of these supplies gathered, it was time to make the container for them. I took my plain wooden box, removed the hinges and lock from it, in order to paint it easier and neater. My box was wood, an absorbant surface, so I went straight for applying the acrylics dirct to the wood, this is fine for Fresco paints as they are a multi surfacce paint. But it is quite common to use a primer first if you choose to work with a non-porous surface like tin or plastic, otherwise your paint might peel off after a while. But PaperArtsy paints will cope going direcct onto those surfaces, especially the opaque colours, being a chalk paint they grab onto most surfaces very easily, even metal, plastic and glass!

As mentioned, I wanted my box to be feminine, so for the inside of the box I chose two lovely purple-pinkish shades. The colors of my choice were PaperArtsy Fresco Finish Chalk Acrylics – Sugar Plum (FF114) and Byzantium (FF152).

I first painted two layers of the Sugar Plum and put Byzantium on the inside edges of the box. For the outside of the box, I used Paper Artsy Fresco Finish Chalk Acrylics - Toffee (FF74) and Chocolate Pudding (FF42). I was mixing these two acrylics directly on the box. While painting these, I thought to place some floral motifs on the top of the box. Once again, I went back to my decoupage days and decided to decorate my box with a paper napkin. In order to make the motif on the napkin as vibrant as possible, I painted the top of my box with PaperArtsy Fresco Finish Chalk Acrylic - Snowflake (FF15), as the beautiful napkin paper is rather translucent.

You have to be careful in case you decide to try adhering the napkin, as you have to be aware that usually napkins are made of three very thin layers of paper, and you must remove two unprinted layers and adhere only the top layer with the desired motif.

After the napkin was adhered, I went all over the box with a glossy decoupage lacquer. PaperArtsy gloss glaze would also work for this step. Now my box was done, and it was time for the most fun part of assembling the clues on finding faeries.

Let me first prove that faeries do exist by showing you some fairy dust. For this, I needed glitter, fairy wings (mine are from the Tim Holtz Idea-Ology Transparent Wings pack), mini glass bottle, some metal charms and a bit of thread or decorative wool. In my glass vial I have put pink and white glitter powder and a pair of acetate wings. After that, I closed it with a cork which came with the vial. Since I wanted to decorate it further, I wrapped the decorative wool around the part of the cork which stayed outside the bottle, and I have attached two acorn charms to it as well. For the label, I went simple and I just hand-wrote “Fairy dust” on a piece of a sticker. And that’s it. Now we know it for a fact that fairies do exist. 😊

Now time for some research. As I said at the start, I have always enjoyed myths and stories of fairies and because of that, I read some books and appreciated many illustrations from Brian Froud. His interpretation of faeries is somewhat different to what some people might imagine but I find it very inspirational. So now I wanted to make a mini journal of a sort in which I would copy some quotes on faeries from Brian Froud’s books “Faeries” and “How to See Faeries”. The notebook itself was made from a small piece of a scrapbooking paper and my tea-dyed paper. For binding the mini journal, I used the same decorative wool that I used for decorating the fairy dust vial.

Later on, inside the book I hand-wrote a few quotes from the previously mentioned books and stamped a few flowers from the Elizabeth Borer stamp sets. You will have the best preview on the inside of my journal in the PaperArtsy Instagram reel.

The other author that inspired me to make this project is Cicely Mary Barker and I couldn’t imagine making a fairy box without a touch of her magic. So, what I have done is to take a few handmade papers (sadly bought and not made by me) and copy a few of her poems from “The Complete Book of the Flower Fairies”. On one of those papers, I have also stamped an image from the Elizabeth Borer stamp sets (EEB06).

You know when you watch costume movies and a female protagonist takes a stack of letters wrapped with a thread, with a wax seal and a flower? Well, I so much love that that I had to try to make something like that for my box. I folded my papers with poems in half and wrapped them with a pretty thread. Now, sadly I don’t have a wax seal set (it’s something on my birthday wish list), so I made one using paper. You can find dies on the market for making such, my particular one is from Studio Light. And remember the pressed flower I already mentioned that I got from my daughter? Well, I also tucked that in and I think it turned out very pretty.

You know that feeling when you want to add something more to your project, but you just don’t know what? This was the point for me to turn to my trusty friend: Google. Then I realized that perhaps for a clue box, I don’t have enough written material. So, after some research, I found a little text from an unknown author titled “How to tell if Faerie is nearby”. I thought that this was perfect as a clue on finding faeries. But I also stumbled on a small poem from William Shakespeare called “If you see a Fairy Ring”. In truth, this was a very pleasant surprise to me as I didn’t know Shakespeare wrote about faeries at all. Anyway, I wrote these two texts on my computer and printed them out. I cut the papers to a small size and subtly aged my paper using Ranger Distress Oxide Inks. The size of these two papers was supposed to fit in a mini envelope that I had from before.

Oh, and I have just noticed, on the picture above you can see two pages from my mini journal that I wrote about a bit earlier. On one side, you can see a stamped image from the Elizabeth Borer stamp and on another, a quote from Brian Froud’s book.

The time came to gather up all my tracks and clues for finding faeries. To summarize, I had fairy images from Elizabeth Borer’s stamps, fairy dust, a mini journal of clues on finding faeries, a stack of poems about faeries and an envelope with a poem and a clue. Looking at this, I felt like I just missed a few bits and trinkets. So, what I added is a metal key charm to which I added a very, very tiny tag that I had, a small transparent crystal (quartz), paper flowers, printed vellum, a fairy metal charm and a quote “Believe in magic”. Oh, and I almost forgot, at some point I additionally decorated my mini journal with a metal charm and a piece of lace. You can see what I mean on the picture below.

When I tried placing all of these items in the box, it seemed a bit plain, so I also took a wide piece of lace in which I can wrap it all. On the following image, you can see the full content of my box of clues on finding faeries.

Looking back at this project, I must admit, it was somewhat challenging for me, but in the end, I had a lot of fun. As someone who loves the idea of faeries, having a fairy box is really making me happy. And I think my daughter enjoys it too. If she was a bit older (she just turned 5), this would have for sure been a project that we would have done together. I hope the way I explained my process, doesn’t make it sound too complicated because it really isn’t. And perhaps you can try it out with your daughters and granddaughters, and see what kind of clues you can find on the existence of fairies.


Facebook: Peley Renata
Pinterest: @peleyrenata


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