Miniature Garden Ornament Trinket Box

Last week Tim Holtz sent me a pack of his new idea-ology Decorative Deer, just one of the exciting new products in his 2016 Christmas product release. These tiny, adorable resin figures, in two sizes, have a million and one applications, holiday or any day!cathe-holden-garden-deer-08To transform the deer, I utilized products from the studio I use in my assemblage art  to turn items from plastic to metal or concrete in appearance. And in this case, turning a little resin deer into one resembling a vintage garden ornament.cathe-holden-garden-deer-10Project ingredients include: Tim Holtz idea-ology Decorative Deer, J-B Weld KwikWeld, Sophisticated Finishes Rust Antiquing Set, a wee bit of moss, and a few tiny pebbles from the ground outside my studio.cathe-holden-garden-deer-09J-B Kwik is a fast setting, two-part epoxy cold weld system that I use frequently for connecting metalwork in my art, but can also coat small objects or areas quite nicely to give them a metal surface. cathe-holden-garden-deer-07Once mixed the J-B Kwik becomes solid and hard in 6 minutes, so one needs to work fast keeping projects or project sections small.cathe-holden-garden-deer-06Using a flat wooden sandwich pick (which I also use to stir the two-part epoxy) I coated one of the smaller of the two deer, set it atop the tin lid of a 1-ounce metal favor tin and added more epoxy to secure it, creating a textured surface to simulate the ground.cathe-holden-garden-deer-05Within minutes the surface was dry and hard and ready for smoothing with a narrow Crafty-Cat sanding needle for any areas that needed it.cathe-holden-garden-deer-04I then coated the entire deer and lid with the instant iron base coating, and once dry followed with a few coats of the rust finish. A good amount of detail in the deer is lost when coating with the J-B Kwik, so if you are going for a less rounded look, that step can be skipped and the following step used directly on the resin deer figure.cathe-holden-garden-deer-03I attached a small bit of moss and some tiny pebbles.cathe-holden-garden-deer-01Now I have a sweet little container for notes, what-nots, money gift, or party favor.cathe-holden-garden-deer-02

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CaNibble for Art, Craft and DIY: Nibbler Tool Giveaway

At a recent racing and automotive event I saw for the very first time a nibbler cutting tool being used and sold in the exhibition center. Thinking this might be a good gadget for cutting vintage metal tins and other found objects for my assemblage art projects, I spent a bit of time researching nibbler tools.  The best reviews I found were for the CaNibble Professional Nibbler. It’s a fascinating piece of equipment, used by engineers, builders, plumbers and other construction professionals, but also a fantastic tool for art, craft and DIY enthusiasts. This tool can cut through flat or corrugated material, mild steel, stainless steel, brass, aluminum, Formica, chicken wire, cardboard, leather, and plastic. The CaNibble is best demonstrated in the full-length informational video below.

I contacted the good folks at CaNibble Tools and they sent me their Bundle to use and review. The Bundle includes:

  • CaNibble-Professional Nibbler
  • Two spare punches
  • Set of two bench mounting clamps
  • Spare Die
  • Straight and Circle Cutting Attachment

Cathe-Holden-CaNibble-BUNDLETo utilizie the CaNibble tool you will need electric or air drill with a 9mm chuck capacity and a speed range of 1,500 to 2,500 RPM. Though you can use the CaNibble freehand, for accuracy and small projects I prefer it mounted to my workbench allowing my hands to guide the material. The CaNibble drive shaft inserts into the drill the same as a drill bit. When using the mounting clamps, the collar of your drill needs to measure 43mm in diameter. It was necessary for me to take one of my clamps shopping with me to Lowe’s to find a drill with that exact collar size. I ended up with the Hitachi D10VH 6-Amp 3/8-in Corded Drill, which is now a permanent fixture on my workbench. Cathe-Holden-CaNibble-01When in use the drill and tool cutting sounds can be quite loud, so some may prefer ear protection when using. Keep a bin or box below your work to catch the millions of tiny, sharp pieces (who’s shapes remind me of baby fingernail clippings) that will fall from the project you are cutting. And ALWAYS WEAR EYE PROTECTION when using this tool! With metal cutting it is important to apply a lubricant such as WD40 or light oil along the path of cut. Please visit the FAQ page of the CaNibble website for many more details and specifications for setting up and using.

One of my first projects using the CaNibble included cutting out the printed design from a vintage can that probably once held popcorn or potato chips. It worked GREAT!Cathe-Holden-CaNibble-02Cutting from the outer edge of your material is pretty straight forward, but if you need to cut a window from your piece you will need to use the CaNibble sheet drill attachment, or 1/2″ or larger drill bit to drill a hole within the window area in order to place the material over the top of the CaNibble tool for cutting.Cathe-Holden-CaNibble-03Here is a window cut through the lid of a vintage candy tin using the CaNibble. As I am getting the hang of using the CaNibble I have been guiding my work slowly while cutting small shapes, therefor my finished edges have been slightly ragged. In those instances I simply smoothed out the edges by sanding or with a small rotary tool with a grinding attachment. For the project below I inset the framework of a vintage metal automotive gauge into the window for a nice finished look.Cathe-Holden-CaNibble-04There are so many uses for the CaNibble in art, craft, and DIY projects and I’m excited to have it as a tool in my studio allowing me so many more options for creating assemblage art. There are still features I’ve yet to try, including the circle cutting attachment. Keep an eye on my Instagram feed for updates as I hone my CaNibble skills here in the studio! You can also check out the CaNibble LIVE next month at the Maker Faire in San Diego! CaNibble is currently offering FREE SHIPPING on all orders over $100. Follow them on Facebook to keep up to date with all things CaNibble and the many uses and creations by others!

The CaNibble Bundle Giveaway

A $188.85 Value!

CaNibble Tools is giving away a complete CaNibble Bundle (full contents shown above) to one Just Something I Made reader! The lucky winner will receive a CaNibble, Spare Punches, Spare Die, Clamps, and a Straight and Circle Cutting Attachment.


  • Entry open to US residents only.
  • One Entry per person and household.
  • Please leave a kind, relevant comment below.


  • Enter by noon (PST) Friday, September 9, 2016. EXTENDED DEADLINE: Noon (PST)Monday, September 12, 2015.
  • The winner will be randomly chosen, notified and posted her shortly thereafter.
  • The CaNibble Bundle will be shipped to winner direct from CaNibble Tools

Congratulations to #95 – Marsha Wigren


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Assemblage Art: Part 5

This assemblage art is messy business I tell you. That is, my studio is constantly a complete yet wonderful mess. In order to create my best work, I want to have available to me all the best stuff, right out in the open, to choose from. This means my enormous collection wood and metal boxes, and cardboard boxes full of bits, pieces, hardware, junk, scrap, vintage goodies, are set out everywhere- not to mention nuts, bolts, adhesives, paints, brushes, and well I think you get the point. I really don’t have the nerve to show you what has become of my beautiful studio. This process of having it all out and about has actually kept me from scheduling in-studio workshops lately, though I hope to find a nice break-point soon to pack it all up and make room for fun with others. But really, I’m having the most wonderful time ever creating art.

My latest work is entitled “Circus”. Cathe-Holden-Assemblage-Circus-JSIMI wrote a little poem that essentially describes the struggle with creative chaos in my head.Cathe-Holden-Assemblage-Circus-Detail-JSIMThis piece was created using a vintage red “in” box, that I’ve been kicking around my studio and home for over 10 years, a favorite cigar box, a vintage British lead toy clown figure on stilts, a tiny cotter pin tin, and an old, wooden ten-pins bowling ball.Cathe-Holden-Assemblage-Circus-Make-JSIMI’m happy to say that this was purchased within 24 hours of completion!Cathe-Holden-Assemblage-Circus2JSIM

After creating the piece “Scotch” (a second art purchase by Mary Engelbreit herself!), I was commissioned by another to make a similar piece. I found the perfect old red lantern flashlight on ebay to start.  Cathe-Holden-Scotch-in-Red-make2-JSIMI used this sweet scottish terrier I picked up on a recent hunt in Nashville, and gave it a tiny dog tag made from the winding crown of a ladies watch from my stash of old watch parts, most of which were passed on to me by my watchmaker dad.Cathe-Holden-Scotch-in-Red-make-JSIM When focal-point objects are set deep into a container of sorts, they can often become a bit too dark to see, so I like to create little skylights. This one is made using an aluminum and glass slide stereomount.Cathe-Holden-Scotch-in-Red-make3-JSIMThe finished piece.Cathe-Holden-Scotch-in-Red-JSIMYesterday,  I loaded up a dozen of my assemblage art pieces to deliver to the fabulous Fulton Crossing Art Gallery where they will remain on display until purchased. Of course you can still find all my art for purchase on my website at and contact me for shipping rates.

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