Oct 30, 2008

baby llara kaye's first complete "art"

a couple of weeks ago, my 3 year old came to me and showed me this. "mommy... this... little einsteins, leo" she looked at me earnestly seeking approval. i stared at the drawing for quite a while. Gobsmacked must be the perfect word to describe my feelings. i asked her, "did you draw this baby?". she gave me a mischievous grin and ran away... "yessss. baby draw!"

i was the proudest mommy in the world! to me this is the greatest artwork of all time :)

craft ideas brewing in my head

since i became a blogger in blogspot, i've been visiting so many gorgeous and inspiring blogs that my mind feels like some sort of tsunami! ideas ideas ideas!... keep whirling in my head... which is great! :)))))

i have a new craft idea just about brewing in my head... i'll start on it tomorrow and if it works out, you'll see it here plus the instructions to create it. but first i have to make sure this thingy is 'createable' :p ... p/s inspired by jen of technicolor cottage :) thanks!

for now, i'll just post some more of my decorative art projects, since i've taken fresh pictures of them :) here are some pansies :)

some sort of tray that i found in the bathroom section of ikea :) for this one, i toyed with a bit of gold paint to give it the 'guilding effect'

this file holder is also from ikea. i painted the whole item in red first, then applied one layer of jo sonja's decor crackle medium. after that, i applied the light beige color as usual and waited for the crackle effect to appear. next, i applied a light sealer over the crackle surface; you can use either the all purpose sealer or the clear glaze medium as sealer. then i painted my pansies on. and finished off with 2 coats of satin varnish. (remember to thoroughly dry between layers)

tip : the sealer is applied prior to painting the pansies design to avoid crackling on the pansies. if you prefer to have your designs crackle, then you don't have to apply the sealer.

ikea again ( i just love ikea!) :) this pansy design is painted using the one-stroke technique. the most tedious part is not painting the pansies... it's painting the lace! the lace is a combination of comma strokes, dots and line work... and some solid measuring ability to get the proportions just right!

this last one i gave away as a house warming gift to a friend :)

now... back to the brewing :)

happy pimping! :)

Oct 29, 2008

decorative art - in the beginning

as usual, this morning i was awoken by my 3 year old jumping on me. she was in a happy mood and so was i :) after being satisfied that her mommy is definitely wide awake, she proceeded to watch tv. i was in a whimsical mood so i went in search of some galvanized tins i stored away in a box... perhaps i should do some painting. rummaged through and found a familiar bundle which i had forgotten about.

i smiled as i pulled out my first ever project in decorative art :) this was the first tangible thing i painted (otherwise it was just practicing on art block!) and it must be about 5 years old. that's when i started taking some decorative art classes at a local art shop. but stopped just at the beginning of my pregnancy because i could no longer take the smell of mediums and paints.

also found quite a number of other later projects i did. i've stored most of them away to protect them from prying toddler's hands :) brought out the camera and took some pictures... again. i use to take pictures every time i complete a piece. which was a good thing because i don't own many of them anymore. friends have bought them or they've been given away as gifts. but there are a few (well... quite a few :) ) which i can't bring myself to give away or sell. one being the first piece i made.

it's not much... but it's my first work-of-art :))))))
(faux wood grain background, sunflowers using one-stroke painting technique)

my second project.
(daisies, also with one-stroke painting technique)

after this two, there was no turning back :)))))

this planter was one of the later projects which i managed to sell. this was the picture i took with the old camera. :))))) should have taken close ups ... but i didn't know better then :(

Happy Pimping! :)

Oct 28, 2008

my attempt at a video blog ..... er...

the story goes like this. i've been wanting to get a handycam for 2 years now and yesterday, i finally bought one! Yeah!!!!! .... at half price! double yeah!!!!!! it was the last unit in the shop and it was a display unit... that's why it's half price :) but the dealer told us that we still get our 1 year warranty, so that's alright.

presenting the sony HDR-SR7E :)))))

so last night i decided to do a video blog (or vlog) to address one of request made on my recycle glass container post. my hubby was the camera man :) (that's what hubbies are for :))))) ) did the 'professional' thing and put some make up on :), organized the work space a little, got all the materials ready, got all my 'script' in my head and... began shooting at 1 am (when everyone else was asleep :) )

after each recording, we played the video back and took a look at it... arghhhh!!!! big time embarrasment!!!!! ah well... i had fun and a lot of laughs with the cameraman :D

finished recording at about 6 am this morning and went straight to bed... the crazy things i do sometimes :p

this morning ... well late morning, we found out that there were not very many editing software on the net which was compatible with sony :( but managed to trick windows movie maker into 'accepting' the clips. so... the fruits of my labour is on the cutting board now... if it turns out alright after being 'cosmetically' treated, you will see it here... if not... be-byeeee!

Oct 25, 2008

left over fabric improvized into "blinds?" another simple pimp :)

one of the factors that made us decide to buy this condo was the lovely view of the sunset. every evening we still enjoy the sight of the magnificent orange colored sphere disappearing into the horizon. but sometimes on a really hot day, the same sun that gives us so much pleasure can be a really painful experience... especially on the eyes.

the problem : the angle of our balcony sliding door gives us the perfect view of the sunset. our tv is placed perfectly facing the balcony sliding door, therefore our tv screen gets a perfect reflection of the sunset in this perfect alignment! and that... can be annoying. so we decided to put some sort of curtain across the balcony sliding door. but we didn't want to cover it up totally because that would be a shame... we do get a lot of pleasure from looking at our plants in the balcony :) anyway the sun is only a bother when it's sitting at the top half of the sliding door, beyond that it would be blocked by the balcony's wall anyway.

now, i didn't want conventional blinds that's for sure... curtains? well... sheers? maybe... but whatever it is, it's gotta be just halfway down, it's gotta allow light in and allow us to see our plants :) so we did some shopping but nothing really fantastic came to our attention.

we endured the sun for a bit more and nearly decided on sheers, until one day i found bits and pieces of unused fabric in my store. i bought them for costume making a year ago and there were quite a bit of leftovers. then i came up with an idea... to combine a piece of plain black sheer (it was with the leftovers) with the other fabric leftovers. this is what i came up with :)

it's such a simple pimp but adds so much dramatic value to the room :) just choose the correct fabric and color combination and put a bit of braiding work in.

tip : first, i cut my leftovers in strips wide enough to give some 'plumpness' when you roll them up. of course how wide will depend on how thick the fabric actually is... thinner fabrics like satin will required a wider strip. test by rolling up one strip first and see if it's the 'plumpness' you want, then proceed to cut more strips :) and don't forget... to make one braid, you'll need 3 strips. don't bother about the length because when you run out of fabric on one strip, just grab another one and weave it into the braid :)

tip : i tied a knot at each end of the braid (no need for needle or thread!) and simply used curtain clips to clip them up together with the black sheer on the behind. i cut the sheer just about 2 or 3 inches wider than the sliding door width so that when i clip the braids on the sheer, i can actually space out my braids quite accurately. if you take away the sheer behind, the braids will be out of place and moving along the curtain rail... but of course if you pack the braids up very close together, they wouldn't have space to move :) but i had to work on a quota of leftovers... ah well, beggars are not choosers... :)

and there you have it! recycling leftover costuming fabric into a dramatic "blind?" "curtain?"... with a taste of bohemian :)

happy pimping! :)

Oct 21, 2008

faux stone finish for my DIY pine cabinet

you all know that i had to DIY my art cabinet cos i couldn't find a ready made one ...

now, i have a gigantic, stained white, not-so-beautiful but definitely practical cabinet in my possession. i love the storage and the space that it provides but i don't love its looks very much. so of course my hands have been itching to no end to do something. and as a result of the spring cleaning i did on my painting stuff, i discovered a pot of half used texture paste by jo sonja and another pot of unopened alpha artist's modeling paste (which comes up to about the same thing...texture paste, modeling paste...). hmmm... my brains are storming once again :)

i envisioned something of old, of magic, of runes, of stone carvings, of elves and ... of lord of the rings *sigh*...

design was important. knowing that if i were to do something with texture paste, the designs would definitely appeared embossed (raised) from the surface. since the cabinet is sat halfway into a table, with doors made to open downwards (see pic above), the embossed details shouldn’t prevent the doors from lying flat on the table, otherwise my work space is as good as zilch! therefore my designs are concentrated on the top 2/3s of the doors leaving the lower part of the doors free to lie flat. phew… that was difficult to explain!

here are the steps I took to turn a wooden cabinet into stone. well… sort of… i gave it a stone effect actually. my first attempt at making faux stone … good thing it didn’t look too bad :)

step 1 is of course to design the motifs that i want to put on the cabinet doors (pic above). i drew the motif on several pieces of transparency stapled together so that i can flip the design the other way for the other side of the door. then i transferred the motifs onto the cabinet using transfer paper.

next was the laborious task of applying the texture paste on layer by layer. i did this until i was satisfied with the thickness of the design. a palette knife was used to apply the texture paste on and to smooth it into a curve.it took about 5 days to get the motif to appear nice and plump :) i let each layer dry overnight before applying the next layer of paste on.

tip : to get rid of texture paste smears, use a wet brush (paint brush) to swipe the smear off. that's what i did when the paste smeared out from the edges of the motif.

here is the near complete motif. note that you can still see the pine knots on the cabinet because at this point i hadn't thought of texturing the base yet... which was a mistake. i should have textured the base first before doing the motifs.. ah well... trial and error... it still worked out quite well :) )

after doing the main design of the cabinet, i thought it needed a bit more. so i drew up another motif and put it in the middle.

tip : for the larger design above, i actually transferred the motif onto the cabinet doors then 'painted' on the texture paste. for the smaller design, i cut out a stencil and stenciled the first layer of paste on then added the other layers freehand. i must say the later method of stenciling is easier because with stencils you can easily create a neat and no-smear motif. but then again, to cut out stencil for the larger design would be horrifying, so i chose to do the large design freehand

ahem... note the runes? my name translated in elvish :D. this is a direct translation of the alphabets of my name... so if you can read elvish, you'll be able to figure out what my 'real' name is ;)

now coming back to the cabinet... you'll see that the base is no longer pine. i have spread a layer of paste on at random so that the surface will not appear too smooth.

tip : i use an expired credit card to spread the paste on in random directions.

next step was to make it look old. how could a design like this not have 'age'? (would aragorn have believed if it didn't look thousands of years old?) so i made a patina by mixing 3 paint colors (paynes grey, antique green, burnt umber all from jo sonja) with some kleister medium. kleister medium makes the paints transparent without diluting them. alternatively you can use brown wood stain to achieve the patina effect. but because i wanted the color of the patina to be greyish green, i mixed my own.

then i used an old cloth, dipped it into the patina mix and slowly rubbed the mix onto the cabinet. the parts which are smoother will take less patina. in parts where the texture paste is uneven, the patina will flow into the nooks and crannies therefore creating the effect of age. (then i cleaned the extra patina mix off so that the 'old' effect won't look 'soiled')

from the picture, the left half has not yet been aged, while the right half has had its dose of the patina mix. click on the picture for a closer look.

tip : use a gel retarder to slow down the drying time of the patina mix so that you have more time to spread the patina mix into the design and clean off whatever that's not needed.

more pictures below to show the details of the faux stone and the aging process. (click on them to get a closer look)

and below is the finished product in tungsten light.

texture paste is an extremely interesting medium to use in craft making. you can use it to create faux finishes like i did, you can put it into a piping tube and squeeze it out like you would do with icing, it can be imprinted with stamps, and you can also use it in painting... mix a bit of texture paste with your paint to give your art some added dimensions. :)

on a different note... the best comment i had for this cabinet was from a friend whom i communicate with in another blog... this was the comment he wrote : "Aragorn would think it most excellent :)))" well... i sighed... and then melted :)

i hope i have given you some ideas to start playing with texture paste :)

happy pimping! :)

Oct 17, 2008

rugs - a very easy pimp

i've always preferred rugs to carpet. they are inexpensive, nice to the touch, homey, cosy, unassuming and easy to wash.

so, when i needed a flooring for my study... an inexpensive one, i thought 'rugs'. but how do you make rugs into flooring? they come in little pieces.

like this?

assemble them like a jigsaw puzzle and sew the edges together. simply bohemian! and since my furniture and fittings were already there, i worked the rugs around them. as for the extra edges here and there, i cut them off and use the cut-offs for something else. worked out quite well for me :)

if one day i decide not to use them as flooring anymore, i'll just unpick the thread that holds them together and get my pile of rugs back :)

happy pimping! :)

recycle and pimp 2 - lamps and shades

when a friend of a friend was leaving the country for good, friends were allowed to go to her house and take/buy the things that she didn't want to take along to her new home. and that's the story of my lights.

jo was prepared to part with almost all of her stuff. the tall reading light was one of them. an ikea lersta in black (like the example below i took from ikea), a little scratched and dented otherwise in perfect working order... was waiting for me to bring home. and i did.

jo even threw in a couple of lampshades for me, for free.. though the lampshades were a little yellowish from use. (looks something like the example below only slightly smaller)

i went home with a couple more things and was quite satisfied with my loot. and now i was thinking of how to make my loot more delightful to look at.

to the very black reading light ... i give you color!

first, i scuffed it from head to toe...quite vigorously, then i sealed it and gave the shade and the base a red for base color, and painted the stand white because i wanted contrast. then i proceeded to transfer some whimsical patterns onto the shade and the base of the lamp. painted those in white as well (it could have been simply stenciled on)

tip : the little dots you see bordering the base and the shade... use a stylus or the back of your brush, dip in paint and proceed to stamp the dots on :) dots are really easy to do because you don't have to 'paint' them on and they are beautiful as borders.

end of story for the reading light :))))) and now, for the free lampshades...

at that time i actually didn't know what to do with them. i didn't want to spend too much effort doing them up. they were, for a fact, quite old. i sat and looked at them for quite a while before deciding on black... one of the simplest choice of colors (the other being white). i simply painted whatever that came out of my head... no designs, no templates, just whatever my hand wants to do... the only condition was to keep it simple.

and i must say that i'm quite pleased with the result :)))))

and because the paper used on the lampshades were textured, the effect of the zebra stripes were even more interesting. in places where the paint doesn't go on as well, and the result is a lighter shade of black, giving the stripes different tones.

sometimes just letting your instincts run lose can be a good thing :) and the great thing is, you don't have to be an artist to create something like this. anyone can do this ... you can even use a permanent marker if you didn't have paint and brush :)

Here are the patterns for the reading light. Just click on the image to go full screen and click 'file' > 'print' from your windows menu :)

reading light - shade pattern

reading light - base pattern

happy pimping! :)

Oct 16, 2008

recycle and pimp 1 - glass containers

an empty kraft cheese bottle sitting on my kitchen worktop. i love collecting empty glass containers especially jam containers with embossed details on the sides. it will be a shame to throw them away just like that. so i recycle them. me being me, how could i ignore the chance of pimping them as well :)

there was a time when i was crazy about sunflowers.

and then there was the daisy craze... :)))

pimping covers are very easy to do. it needn't be a complicated design. it needn't be a sunflower. it needn't be daisies. it just has to be you :)

i use waterbase acrylic paint on these.

tip : since the bottle tops are metal, you must first scuff them with medium grit sandpaper. then wash all the dust away and make sure it's really dry. otherwise the insides might rust. paint a coat of 'all-purpose-sealer' and let it dry. i use a hair dryer to speed up the drying process. then mix your base coat with the sealer 1:1 and proceed painting. dry between coats and if you are a perfectionist, sand between the coats with fine sandpaper for a smooth and perfect base.

after you are satisfied with your base coats (usually 2 to 3 coats), proceed with your personal design. i recommend you draw it on a paper first to make sure the design fits the bottle cover. then transfer the design with transfer paper onto your bottle top. you can even use a stencil and just stencil your design on :) easy!

after you are done and is totally satisfied, let your work-of-art dry (usually overnight), then apply a coat or 2 of varnish over it. varnish is to protect your design from wearing and tearing. it also somewhat enhances it. varnishes come in 3 types, gloss, satin and matte. i personally prefer satin varnish because it is not too glossy but still gives the art work some 'glow'.

happy pimping! :)

Oct 15, 2008

DIY a simple cabinet

ikea shelves, untreated pine, come in all sorts of sizes. you can actually pick and choose from these various sizes, combine them and make something out of them. they are easy to work with since pinewood is soft and because they are untreated you can choose to stain, paint or simple varnish them.

my diy adventure began when i couldn't find a suitable cabinet to store my painting stuff. so i decided to do-it-myself.

first, i made a rough sketch of the dimensions i needed, taking into consideration the width, length and height of the things i wanted to store in this cabinet. in my case, my paint tubes, paint mediums, my brushes etc etc... i also thought 'future expansion' :)))

then i went around to see if there' was a cabinet similar to what i wanted (of course there were none, that's why it was diy using ikea shelves :))))) )

this huge thing is the cabinet i diy-ed from the shelves. it may not look very pretty but it serves my purpose. i used 4 large shelves (broder L79 cm x W36.5 cm) for the 2 front doors and the back panels. the pieces sandwiched inside are 6 smaller pieces (fabian L70 cm x W24 cm). you'll notice that the front doors and back panels are slightly higher than the cabinet proper. but that would be remedied later by cutting 2 pieces of wood to fit the gap. (or i could have just chopped them off... but i wanted to keep the length for valid reasons :))) )

the reason for keeping the length of the front doors becomes apparent here. i had the doors to the cabinet open downwards instead of outwards to the side. by having the cabinet doors open downwards, i can double the doors as extra workspace (see below). inside, in-between the cabinet shelves i cut smaller pieces of wood (also from ikea shelves) to make little dividers just to divide my paints. oh... by the way, if you are wondering about the hasp and staple, that is to keep the doors up and my naughty 3 year old out :)

this has been a real blessing for me because now i have a comfortable size work space to paint on. and i am just an arm's length from my paints :))) furthermore when my husband takes over the main computer on my lord-of-the-rings-inspired worktable, i can even use this space to blog on my laptop :)))))

i am quite happy that i decided to diy my paint cabinet and it was easier than i thought. i put this cabinet together in 1 day. because pinewood is so soft and light and so easy to work with, i could hold the panels together quite easily with only a couple of screws and nails.

i later stained it white and pimped the front panels up. i shall blog about that another time :)))))

tip : here are some drawings of how i put the ikea shelves together
6 pieces of 70cm x 24cm
4 pieces of 79cm x 36.5cm
1-2 pieces of shelves more for dividers and other miscellaneous

happy pimping! :)

also see "faux stone finish for my DIY pine cabinet"