The Kira Nichols Etsy Shop

Plenty more to see at! Bookmarks, planner clips, digital stamps, ornaments, and many more unique gifts. Thanks for supporting this artist!

July Art Calendar Page

I am still a little bit incredulous that I have actually been keeping up with my daily calendar journaling for the entire year! Here is July's page for the Kathryn Wheel challenge. I'm also pretty proud of myself that I'm actually posting early this month! No catching up for me, this time. 

I drew and watercolored this chubby kitty, recently having been hypnotized and inspired by Snoopy the Exotic Shorthair. I couldn't stop looking at this cat... He is like a cartoon... A puffy, adorable, real cartoon. I'm a bird person, but if I ever got a cat, I'd want it to look just like this one.
And here is a collection of all my pages so far to show you all the different colors of my calendar! February shows twice, but you get the idea.

 Oh meow meow meow. This is the painting before I cut him out for my calendar page.

Happy Saturday! I hope you're all having a beautiful weekend.

Owl Felt Badge and Others

I just got back from Girl's camp today, and I am one tired lady. Little women and little sleep sure can tucker a person out... But I had a good time, and I'm not too tired to share some crafts with you :) I made these felt badges for round 2 of the felt badge swap.
This beaded birdie felt badge will make a superb hair clip. I was sorely tempted to keep it, but I ended up making another similar one. It didn't end up as good-looking as this one, however. Still cute, though. The felt I used for this one was a nice thick felted sweater, The pink wing is the same material as my rotund cannonball monster. I had an itty bitty scrap of it in my felt scrap bin, and that gave me a little happy.
This little sequined fish badge was pretty fun to make. The little sequins are iridescent pink/white, but it's hard to see that in the pic.
Favorite of the bunch. I have had Totoro on the brain since I made those cardboard cutouts last week, so you may be able to see this owl channeling some of that bug-eyed Japan flair.
And finally a little house scene! I used a double blanket stitch to finish the outer edge, and it ended up a little lumpy, but I liked the effect anyway.

I came home to lots of goodies in the mail today, too. So expect some projects! After a week away from my craft room, I am so ready to make some serious THINGS! Happy Friday! Have a wonderful weekend.

Craft Wars!!

Um, yeah, some readers and friends already know my healthy obsession with Mythbusters, and I not-so-reluctantly admit I can't tear my eyes away from Kate Plus 8, Toddlers and Tiaras, and What Not to Wear. And I grew up on a steady summer diet of Trading Spaces and Wild Discovery. What is it that makes these shows so dang entertaining? Whatever it is, I hope TLC/Discovery sprinkle some of that TV-Crack on top of their new series, "Craft Wars." Shows fully dedicated to crafting are few and far between, so I'm SO looking forward to the combination of TV and crafting! "Craft Wars" will put 3 crafters to the test with pop challenges and their work will be judged by some big names in the crafting world (Jo Pearson, Stephen Brown, and Erica Domeseek.)

So, TLC/Discovery contacted me and asked if I wanted to do a short interview with a couple of the judges, I kinda flipped out a little, because oh, the knowledge I WISH I HAD! I had to jump at the chance to ask a few questions that will help me grow in my crafty endeavors... Stephen Brown and Erica Domeseek shared some WONDERFUL advice and some hilarious stories of their adventures in making stuff! Click through to read more and learn some stuff you aughta know!

Bunny and Monster ATCs

 I recently had the opportunity to swap a couple of ATCs with one of my Craftster homies, Zombie Lili, and here is what I made for her! She has an affinity for bunnies (who wouldn't?), so I thought this little gentlemen bunny was appropriate. It's acrylic, ink, paper, chipboard & book page.
This second little guy is a watercolored monster with real cicada wings. Fear not, I didn't go hunt the cicada and steal his wings. They are really common around here, so occasionally you'll find a dead one in a parking lot or someplace, and the wings are easy to...acquire.

Anyway, I hope everybody had a wonderful weekend! Have a super week! I'm off to girl's camp tomorrow!

Japanese Cardboard Cut-Outs

These! These are what I've been working on for the past few days. They're Japan-related things cut out of cardboard boxes and painted with craft acrylics! Girl's Camp for church is rapidly approaching, and this year each age group has a country theme. I was assigned the 2nd year girls and I picked Japan, so I've been trying to think up cute Japanese things to decorate our room. So I've got three Koinobori, a lucky cat, Kokeshi Doll, Totoro and Pikachu. I've still got a few more to make, along with treats and stuff... And I've been folding tons of paper cranes to make a garland. For now, these cut-outs have been gathering on my guest bed, and they make me grin a little each time I walk by the room (especially Totoro!)

I hope everyone had an splendid weekend!

Birdhouse Shapes! Birds in Hats Wall Hanging and Tunnel Book

I mentioned in my Birds in Hats Coasters post a few days ago that I was chosen to be a guest designer for Alpha Stamps this month. Here is the link to my feature on the Alpha Stamps Blog. I'm just tickled! Here are a couple more projects featuring supplies from AS.
One task was to create something using chipboard birdhouse shapes. There are so many possibilities with blank shapes...So I had some fun, as you can imagine. The first project is a wall hanging that says "Welcome to our party!" And life is a party, so you can hang this thing every day, right?

The theme for this month is "Birds in Hats" as you might remember from a previous post! 

The bottom of the wall hanging is embellished with old rusty keys from my stash and tiny lightweight keys, along with a chunky metal pendant. It's the cool round one in the center. I got it at Michaels when they were having a crazy clearance event a few months ago. 

 For the second project, I cut a window out of one of the birdhouse shapes and constructed a tunnel book. This little sucker was hard to photograph... From straight on, you can't see the dimension, but from the top, you don't get the tunnel effect!
At any rate, it's really cool in person. All of the birdies have their own little hats. It's flexible like an accordion and can be squished flat if you wanted to mail it or something. The yellow feathers were donated by my sun conure :) 

Happy Tuesday!

June Calendar Page

Here is my art calendar/journal page for the month of June! (the Kathryn Wheel Calendar-Along. So cool.) Better late than never, right? I actually remembered and started to make this page at the end of May, but I couldn't work up the spirit to finish it until last night. I usually like to do lots of different papers for the squares, but my laziness got the best of me, and I just cut squares from 2 kinds of paper. It looks fine. Meh. 

And this month's calendar focal point is a pink flamingo! That just screams summer, doesn't it? And as you can see, I caught up on filling in days, except last Friday. I can't remember anything I did on Friday, most likely I sat watching shows all day long. I've had a lot of lazy days recently.
...And just for fun, here's all 6 of this year's pages. Yes, I have kept up with the journaling, too! I think this is going to be the longest continuous journal writing I'll ever do in my life. 

Anyway, I hope everybody had a great week! Enjoy the weekend :)

Tin Can Flower and Feather Fascinator (With Pattern!)

 So I ordered some new tools... Because I'm wanting to start doing some more metalwork in my jewelry making! I bought some gemstones while we were up in North Carolina, and I really want to learn how to create silver pieces and set stones and whatnot. While I wait for my silver sheets to come in the mail, I'm itching to use some of my new tools! So after making some tasty dip for lunch today, I saved the can from the diced tomatoes and green chiles and used some of my new things to make this fascinator hair clip :) I'm really excited with how it turned out!
 I wore my hair with a french braid in front yesterday, and surprisingly, it made it through the night intact, without hair frizzing up crazy everywhere. Otherwise, I don't think you'd be seeing any action shots.
These are rooster feathers. My best pal picked up a giant bag of them at a yard sale for me, so thoughtful, she knows what I like. 
Here are the tools I used. You can't tell, but the inside of that tomato can is GOLD! Well, not real gold, just in color. I only used the top and bottom circular parts of the can, which I removed with a regular ol' can opener. Then I cut out 4 layers of flower shape with my new german metal shears . They're made specifically to cut metal. I've used my regular scissors on tin can before, and it sucks. These shears make it SOOOO much easier. 
Once the pieces were cut and filed a little on the edges (can be sharp!) I pounded a hole through the center of each piece with the hammer and nail. 
See that wood block and other wood thingie? That's a tamping block, and you put the pieces in the round dimples and hammer them so they round out a bit, and aren't so flat. 
Next, I connected them with a jewel brad through the center holes and then shaped the petals with the pliers. I think I should have riveted them together, but I'm not at that point yet! 
See the ridges on the biggest petals? That's just the ridges that already come on the top of the can, so I didn't even need to shape those. Score!
The next step was the easiest part, arranging feathers and hot gluing them to the back, then gluing the whole shebang to a hair clip.

So here is a pattern for the metal flower pieces if you have a tin can lying around and you feel like making a pretty flower fascinator for yourself! If you run into any problems, go ahead and comment and I'll get back to you.

On a side note, my hand-eye coordination has been stupid lately and I've accidentally deleted a couple of comments :( They put the "reject comment" directly below the "approve comment" link, and it immediately deletes the comment when the reject link is hit. I'm trying to be eeeeextra careful now, so I apologize if your comment is missing! I appreciate each one and I literally bellowed with frustration when I deleted them, especially when I did it the second time. Sorry! 

Well, Happy Thursday! Until next time!

Birds in Hats Coasters

 I had the lovely opportunity to be a guest designer for Alpha Stamps this month! I had a lot of fun playing around with lots of cool products including these 4x4 coasters and the theme "Birds in Hats". What a perfect theme for me, huh? :) This pink, fancy bird is my favorite...
 I used the "Parrots" Collage Sheet for all of these coasters. I flippin' love this collage sheet. So colorful!
 10 gold stars if you can tell me where this quote comes from.
And my second favorite, because I love budgies. Happy Monday, everyone! More Alpha Stamps projects coming soon, too :)

If you're interested in joining the Alpha Stamps "Birds in Hats" Coaster Swap, more details can be found here!

Wee Button Books and Unique Crafter's Challenge!

Happy June, everyone! Here comes summer... And nothing says summer like ice cream sandwiches. Speaking of sandwiches, these button books kind of look like button sandwiches (Yes, that WAS an amazing segue{segway}, thank you for noticing). This month's challenge for Unique Crafters is "Buttons"!
These wee colorful button books are accordion style, so they fold out to reveal the pages. To make the inside piece, I used a round button of the appropriate size to trace circles. Make the circles overlap just slightly, the same distance each time. Be sure to have an even number of circles, otherwise your button book won't close properly. I learned that the hard way... 
After carefully cutting out my pieces, I used watercolors to brighten up each circle. I did front and back, so the book would look nice in back, too. Then I used some little inkpads to accent the edges. The little boys on the smaller book are cut from a vintage kids book, and the birds on the bigger button book (alliteration!) are snippets from Alphastamps Collage Sheet "Parrots." Fold them up and then glue the outermost circles to the insides of your button covers. Voila! Cute!

So, if you're inspired to do some button-related crafts with that giant jar of buttons you have squirreled away someplace in your craft room (I know you have one), enter it in the June Challenge for Unique Crafters this month. 

Go on over to the Unique Crafter's Challenge Blog to see the awesome projects the other DT members have come up with, get inspired, then enter your project! Have a splendid June!