Friday, May 6, 2016


Happy May everyone and welcome to my blog!

This month at Creative Carte Blanche, the lovely and talented Cheryl Grigsby is hosting our latest art adventure.  She is challenging us to stretch our creativity to include 3 W's ... using something WOODEN, WILD and WORD.

I have created a vintage shabby chic style miniature cabinet that I call "The Bird Chest".  This is a view of the chest with the doors open.

Here is a view with the doors closed.

And here is a side view of this sweet little chest.  

The 3 Ws for this challenge include:
  • Wooden - the chest
  • Wild - the birds
  • Word - "Fly" on the top of the chest and "Soar" on the back of the chest
Now I will happily take you through my steps in creating this new Spring home decor piece I already have found a spot for in my guest room.

The chest is approximately 6" tall.  I found this plain little chest at Michaels for $1.00.
I wanted to add some detail to the sides of the chest and I knew that I wanted it to be bird related so ...

I measured the sides of the chest, found an interesting feather clipart image on the internet and sized it to fit the sides of my chest.  Next I rolled out some Paper Clay and cut out around the feather image.

I added more detail to the feathers with my cutting tool after I cut out the shapes and set them aside to dry thoroughly overnight.  

In the meantime, I painted a light coat of DecoArt Burnt Umber acrylic paint over the wooden chest as a basecoat.

I have the most wonderful pieces of old German book text.  So I measured, cut and tore pieces to lay onto the shelves of the chest.  

And I loved that look so much that I decided to add more text to the back of the chest.  I glued them all in place using Matte Medium as a glue and then as a sealer.

I also tore a piece and adhered it to the back of the chest using Matte Medium as a glue and then sealer.  Let all of the text dry thoroughly.

Next I mixed Decoart paints and their Crackle Paint to get a soft salmon or peach-ish color.  I was hoping that I had not added so much paint to the Crackle Paint that I messed up the ratio and the paint would not crackle.

It didn't crackle a lot but it did still have some nice crackling and I loved the texture it produced.  I sanded off the rough edges and I was ready for the next step.

I added a layer of Raw Umber Antiquing Cream to the chest and wiped off the excess.  I rubbed most of the antiquing cream off.  I just wanted to leave a hint of "age" from the cream.

Next I began to add my complimentary color to the chest; my favorite ... teal!  Using a small brush, I began with the feathers on the sides of the chest.  I also added some black accents to the tips of the feathers and around the edges to make them stand out.

Then using my fingers, I rubbed a mixture of Cobalt Teal Hue and Titan Buff and began applying the teal color to the chest itself; creating the shabby chic appeal.  I love working with my fingers because I get a much better feeling for the project when my fingers are gliding over it rather than a paint brush.

For the back of the chest, I created a "skin" using Matte Medium and a bird image I sized and printed off of the internet. I added the sentiment and printed out a couple of copies using an inkjet printer and regular copy paper.  If you have words on the image, be sure that you reverse them before you print them out.  

To do this "skin" technique, you simply brush a generous amount of Matte Medium over the image; brushing in one direction and removing all of the brush strokes possible.  Let dry.  Then add another coat of Matte Medium brushing in the opposite direction and let dry.  Finally, brush one more generous amount of Matte Medium over the image in the original direction and let dry thoroughly.

Once dry, wet the image and begin gently rubbing off the paper backing of the image. Continue this process until all of the paper backing is removed.  You will have to do this two or three times.  

Once as much of the paper backing as possible is removed, brush Matte Medium over the book text on the back of the chest.  Lay the "skin" in place over the book text, burnish out the air bubbles and brush Matte Medium over the image to glue it in place.  Then brush over the image to keep the pulpy backing from returning once the image dries again.  It is called a "skin" because you can still see the book text underneath the image.  It gives the image sort of a ghostly appearance.

To blend the bird image into the back better, I added some of my chest colors around the edges of my skin.

Next I finished up the exterior by adding more of the teal top coat using my finger.

Finally to the back of the chest, I added some Scrabble tiles that I had distressed much in the same way I did the small dominos below (see technique with next pictures).  I added the teal paint mixture over some of the tiles then edged them with DecoArt Carbon Black acrylic paint.  I also ran my fingers along the edges of the bird chest with the acrylic paint to better define the edges and age them.

Here is the completed back side of the chest.  I added a little bit of color to the bird using my Neocolor II watercolor crayons and a Detail Water Brush.  

I created a sweet little element to add to the top of my chest by first distressing a small domino with various acrylic paint colors and my fingers to give it an aged, distressed look.  Once that was dry, I added an image of small birds sitting on a branch that I sized to fit the domino.  I glued it in place using Matte Medium.  Once dry, I sanded off the edges to make them meld into the domino.  Then I brushed Matte Medium over the image to seal it.  Super easy to go but really a nice element to add to my bird chest.

After distressing a mini domino, I stamped "FLY" on it using small letter stamps.  I used black permanent ink so that the ink on the letters would not smear.  I gently heat set it and edged the domino with black paint using my finger.

Next I created some little bird books to put on the shelves of the chest.  These are so easy to do.

I found some images of bird book covers on the internet and sized them to fit my shelves.  Then I printed them out using my ink jet printer and left space to the left of the covers so that I could fold them over to create a "book".

I inked the edges of the book covers with a dark brown ink to age them.  I also cut little strips of paper to fit inside of the book covers.  I folded them in half, to represent interior pages of a book.  I inked the edges with the dark brown ink and then glued the pages together at the center fold using Glossy Accents.  Once I had glued 3 or 4 pages together, I glued them to the center fold on the book cover.  Wha-lah!  Instant miniature book!

I glued the two dominoes some miniature eggs I colored with a mixture Cobalt Teal Hue and Titan Buff using my fingers and one book on to the top of the shelf along with a little excelsior grass with Glossy Accents.  Pretty cute!

Here is a closer look at the inside of the little bird chest.  I love how all of these elements are so sweet and fill up the shelves.  They were all glued into place using Glossy Accents.

Thanks so much for stopping by my blog to check out my 3Ws project for Creative Carte Blanche.  I hope you'll join us by stretching your imagination to create a piece made of wood, something wild and including a word.  Then post it to our blog so that everyone can share in your creative process.

Have a great week!



  1. maybe not speechless, wink.
    You rocked this...Candy you NEVER cease to amaze me with your creative process! LOVE your piece!

  2. Wow, Candy! You did it again! I always look forward to seeing your creations and you absolutely did not disappoint with this project! What a beautiful way to use the 3 W's - you nailed them all! I love the bird theme and of course you do an amazing job with those DecoArt paints!

  3. Wow, Candy! You did it again! I always look forward to seeing your creations and you absolutely did not disappoint with this project! What a beautiful way to use the 3 W's - you nailed them all! I love the bird theme and of course you do an amazing job with those DecoArt paints!

  4. Absolutely fantastic. I adore the skin created to add to the side of the chest, I thought the co,our of he chest was fantastic with just one coat of paint but then you added the teal and that really does add the magic touch. Adore your little books. Being a nature/garden lover this is right up my street. Magical piece Candy. Tracy x

  5. Oh my goodness, Candy. You are so stinkin' amazing! I adore this little chest. (what a great find for only a dollar!) The skin treatment of the bird is my favorite step. You aced that technique! I love the mini domino too. And, oh, those tiny bird books. So clever! Clearly, I love EVERYTHING about this piece. And, hey, it's small enough for the suitcase of a clumsy house guest such as myself who would likely bump into it accidentally. ;)

  6. Oh Candy what an amazing little chest!! Your attention to detail is always incredible, but with this project you have once again surpassed yourself. Just stunning inside and out! I absolutely love those little birdbooks you made, such a clever touch!!

  7. Oh Candy this is sooo ducky ( no pung intended ). The thought and detail is just amazing, just beautiful X

  8. Wow! This is sooooo cool! I love how you made the books and used the dominoes! Creative genius for sure! :)

  9. Oh my Candy your miniature cabinet is utterly delightful. Your amazing attention to all the little details is incredible and as always your creative inventiveness never ceases to amaze me. I've just got to go back to the top of the post to go look at and take in more of this fabulous bird chest and pin it.
    Have a great weekend.
    Hugs Brenda xxx

  10. What a fabulous alteration you have made here Candy......the chest is gorgeous and for $1.........wish we had a Michael's here in the UK x
    Love the exterior details, particularly the image on the back. Love the adornments you created for the interior too......a fabulous project for the CB challenge

    TFS and best wishes
    Annie x

  11. Completely pinned!!! I LOVE the clay! I LOVE the whole alteration to this...beyond fabulous!!!

  12. CAndy this is amaaaaaaazing! It's incredible, full of wonderful ideas and techniques! Love your works! barbara

  13. Love everything you've done with the cabinet Candy, the colours are really lovely. I must try your technique for distressing dominoes!

  14. What an utterly gorgeous springtime cabinet, Candy - every detail is perfect. I love the distressed book text in the the background, wonderful weathered woodwork, and gorgeous assemblage of springtime bits and bobs inside. Brilliant!
    Alison x

  15. My jaw nearly hit the floor when you said it was 6" tall !! You have packed so much into that tiny space and it really is an absolute delight, the little books, the gorgeous feathers, the colours and that fabulous skin technique, I love it all so very much!! A totally brilliant transformation Candy. Hugs, Anne xx

  16. Incredible Candy! i love the tiny-ness of this!! The feathers on the sides are just perfect additions!! So sweet! hugs,Jackie

  17. Oh, my workd, Candy! Can you believe I have had this open on my laptop for two days, just taking in the details! I adore this little chest for it's mini-ness and for details, colors and the BIRDIES! This is so bookmarked for future admirations! What a brilliant makeover! Hugs! And Happy Mother's Day!

  18. a truly gorgeous project, packed full of wonderful elements and details x

  19. Lovely work Candy. I must try your technique with the dominoes!

  20. Brilliant, my dear, just brilliant! I love the little books!! I'm feeling tiny these days myself and this miniature piece is fabulous. Your DecoArt tutorials are so helpful and inspiring. I've got some studio time this week and I can't wait!

  21. Oh my gosh Candy! It's brilliant! The gorgeous distressed paint layers are yummy yum yum! And your little books are such a delight! How utterly adorable and creative! So happy get all of these views of this spectacular project. Hugs, Autumn

  22. If this isn't just the SWEETEST creation EVER... I don't know what is - dear me... it's just PRECIOUS. And to go even further... if this isn't just the most ingenious take on the WWW, Creative Carte Blanche challenge - I don't know what is. (But then before the month is out your teamies will come up with more - for sure!!!) Meanwhile - I'm sticking to it - SWEETEST CREATIONS EVER and MOST INGENIUS TAKE for sure. The little cabinet is beyond amazing but those little books and all the birds and tiny decorations - blows me away with delight. YOU are such a great inspiration dear Candy. XXj.

  23. This is full of charm and magic, Candy!
    As Joi said: one of the sweetest projects I have seen in a long time! I always admire and love your attention to detail! Your project made me smile. Will for sure visit this post again if I need something to cheer me up or inspire!

    Claudia x

  24. Oh my gosh Candy, this may be my favourite bird creation EVER!!! So many amazing techniques to absorb, handmade clay feathers...WHAT!!! Those little bird books are so clever, and your nest of eggs is completely charming! I just love every inch of this one!! Thanks for the inspiration! hugs :)

  25. So loving this Candy, it's gorgeous. All the brilliant tiny details! Have a great crafty weekend, Angela x

  26. Gorgeous project! A great job.

  27. I don't know that "cute" would encompass all my thoughts but that was the first word that came to mind. Oh so very creative, love the back and the techniques you used. Your 3W's deserve a 4th W... WONDERFUL !

  28. The imagination you have, you never cease to amaze me! I agree with everyone else, this little chest is absolutely amazing! I love how much detail you always put into your work. LOVE the tiny books, the little nests and signs ~ every single detail!


  29. Thank you so much for your wonderful comment on my project for the Creative Carte Blanche Call, Candy!
    Honestly it took me a while to start it after I had seen your fantastic project (how could I ever compete with it? It's so freakin' awesome, imaginative and well done!)...but of course it also inspired me to just follow my heart and create for the sake of it! Thank you so much!

    Claudia x

    1. are making me blush. Thank you so much for these super kind comments. šŸ’—

  30. Candy, this makes my heart soar! It's so classically "you" and filled with such wonderful details. Those mini books you created are too lovely for words. And the altered domino is amazing! I love the texture you added with your paper clay leaves, and they are oh, so gorgeous! The little nests, the lovely finishing on the wooden chest...what a treasure! It's as though the beauty and wonder in your heart spilled out through your very creative hands and created a masterpiece! I so love your work...and your beautiful spirit, too! Hugs!

  31. Ohhhh dearie! This is so Fantabulously gorgeous! So many wonderful elements and wonderful added details! The feathers turned out beautifully and the little books of the birds is genius! I have learned so much from looking at this design. Thank you for sharing this lovely gem! Wowzers and wowzers! Hugz! ~Niki


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