Thursday, June 15, 2017

Hearts & Flowers: Creating a new mini-birdhouse

Hearts & Flowers Mini-birdhouse
   After a few days of amazing weather when it was hard to concentrate, the heat is on in Palm Springs. All day long now my phone beeps that we are under "An Excessive Heat Advisory." Well, after all, this is the desert. So, while I was getting my gift birdhouse ready, for once I am ready for a birthday a month away, I also started working on a series of small birdhouses.
   I have too many and truth be told they are more difficult to work on than a much larger one. Don't let that $1.00 cost trick you. It takes as much time on one of those little devils as the $5.00 + versions. When you're craft painting, from my experience, bigger IS better.
  So as the big one dried, I put on the base coat of 5 small birdhouses. Of course they were different colors ... cobalt blue, sand, granite grey that was distressed and one, painted on a whim, pink.
    I had already painted a small round birdhouse with a Naphthol Red roof. The bottom was still raw wood. What color, what color? Suddenly I looked at the pinks and picked one that was almost a rose color rather than bubblegum and thought it went well with the red. I would distress it anyway so pink it was.
     The next step was, well, now what? I was tired of hearts and tulips and hit upon making the front and back a wide vase full of calla lilies. I sketched them in and realized it was perfect. The white lilies stood out from the pink but not too much. Since just about all of my pieces have a heart on them, somewhere, I dug into the packet of metallic hearts I got in Hong Kong. There were hearts with the heart center punched out leaving a heart shaped hole. The parts punched out were in the same packet and placing a few at the base realized their shiny shape complemented the flowers and so it was chasing tiny hearts with tweezers as I tried to get them in place on top of the SuperGlue.
Adding details helps
   After the flowers were in place and painted in, a "V" design went around the base and the tiny hearts were glued at the tips. Its a feat not gluing your fingers together or to the birdhouse!
   One idea was to create faux tiles on the roof. I have tried and liked adding a design on the roof, something that goes along with the theme of the design below. I tried calla lilies draped hanging down from the peak. I liked it and felt it worked with the vases of flowers below.
   The final touch was adding screw hole plugs to the base, as feet painted gold that lifts the birdhouse a bit from the floor.  Finally I added a deep burgundy to the base, darker than the roof.
   Design wise its a departure for me. No Pennsylvania Dutch flourishes, no Rosemaling swirling "C" or "S" shapes. Just a simple vase with a few calla lilies, front and back.
   The majority of the painting was with either a liner brush for the small details or a small round brush to fill in the areas after they were defined with the liner. If you make a mistake, let it dry and go over it again.
Gold feet, shiny red hearts
compliment the vase and lilies
   To tone down and get all colors to "agree" with each other, I used a burnt umber wash. It adds a bit of family heirloom look even if its brand new and the colors aren't too garish allowing it to be used as a decoration in just about any indoor setting.
   Adding all the items together, the cost is minimal. However, as we all know, the value of the time it takes to create an item is many, MANY times the value of the materials used.
   I hope you like it. It started out as an albatross to me as I don't like pink. Yet, that said, pink and rose pink items have sold in my Etsy store and that may have been the incentive to add yet another one to see what kind of a response it gets.

   Here is the working list of items used in this birdhouse:

  •    Birdhouse - Michael's, $1.00
  •    Paint: 
    • Birdhouse base - Old Delta Pink Quartz
    • Roof - DecoArt Traditions Naphthol Red
    • Calla Lilies - Traditions Opaque White (and one coat usually works too!)
    • Leaves - Folk Art Hauser Green Light
    • Leaves - Old Delta Dark Forest Green   
    • Perch and feet - DecoArt Dazzling Metallic Gold
    • Vases - DecoArt Dazzling Metallic Festive Red
    • Stamens - DecoArt Americana Cad Yellow
    • Shadows - Liquid Shadow
  •    Chinese reflective hearts
  •    Screw hole plug feet (4)
  •    DecoArt Satin Finish
If you are interested, this will be offered on my store. Check it out at

Thank you for reading my blog. I invite you to take the time to read earlier blogs where the emphasis here is to explore the ways art and design affects our daily lives ... and always has. I share with you what inspires me with the hope that it will inspire you as well. Comments are always welcomed! Be sure to check my re-opened ETSY store ...

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