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Sunday, July 31, 2011

Versatile Tie Dye Skirt

Inspiration: Michael-Michael Kors Tie Dye Skirt


skirt - NOT Michael Kors (Stein Mart)
top - Vivienne Tam (via Stein Mart) 
neutral vest - N.Y. & Co
foldover clutch - thrifted (Goodwill)
neutral wedges with elastic straps - Ross
wooden bangle - from JoAnns + plus I handpainted the neon tip

I actually bought my Michael Kors look-alike skirt from Stein Mart awhile back.  Last year, I enjoyed wearing it with gray and khaki tops as well as with my navy and white striped shirt.

Last year: with gray Target top; DIY chandelier necklace

Monday, July 25, 2011

My Georgia Monday: Paintings by Gia Loria and Feltworks by Nato Tschikvadze

Untitled, Gia Loria
Untitled, Gia Loria
A Stranger, Gia Loria

The Annunciation, Gia Loria

The Return of the Prodigal Son, Gia Loria

Originally, I wanted to post another eggplant recipe of mine today.  But eggplant caviar will just have to wait, because something great happened last week (well, great to me at least).  I finally got in touch with my art tutors from Georgia, husband and wife Gia Loria and Nato Tschikvadze
When I was little I attended an Art School in my hometown of Rustavi, Georgia.  That's where I met Nato.  She was my art teacher there (my favorite one!).  Years later, I met her husband, Gia Loria, who graciously agreed to give me private art lessons in his Tbilisi studio (this was in early 90's).  Then, in 1994 I immigrated to the U.S. and lost contact with this lovely family.  So nice to have found this talented family once again...




Nato has beautiful paintings of her own, but I am unable to find any photos of those.  She now works with felt.





And one more photo...  This is a watercolor by Gia hanging in my house.
New Argonauts, Gia Loria, 2000


Saturday, July 23, 2011

DIY: flower pin from silk flower bouquet

 thrifted straw purse with a DIY poppy pin
black leaves are simply cut out from craft felt

I have purchased several used straw clutches and purses sometime ago and was thinking of making poppy flower pins to embellish my new straw accessories (a la Chanel S/S 2010).  I was so inspired by Bromeliad's posts on making a poppy flower pin here and here, that I decided to try for myself.  Bromeliad made hers from scratch. I am not as skilled, so I cheated using Hobby Lobby poppy bouquets (purchased with a coupon printed from their website).  I was so pleased to see different kinds of poppy flowers at Hobby Lobby (this purchase was made about a month ago). 



There are two ways you can do this.
First (easier) way is just to leave all that plastic stuff in the middle of the pin.  That however came out looking bulky.  So I decided to take the flower apart and then re-assemble it gluing or sewing petals together and making my own middle part (whatchamacallit it?).  Actually, it took petals of three flowers to make one fluffy flower pin.
Here is my photo-tutorial...

Disassemble and then reassemble silk flowers' petals leaving out all the hard plastic parts.  Sew or glue petals back together.

Cut a small oval or a circle from a sheet of black felt with self-adhesive backing.  Peel the backing and attach your black felt oval to the back of your flower.  Glue your metal pin to the felt piece.  As you see, I am hopelessly messy working with glue, so I covered up my mess with another piece of black felt. 



Now the back of your flower pin is ready.  
To make the front middle of the flower (whatchamacallit?), I cut out (once again) a round piece of black felt.  For "eyelashes" I used some leftover black fringe cut up in about 2" pieces (or you can use any heavy black thread).  Then glued "eyelashes" first, followed with round felt.  



Bromeliad's breathtaking DIY poppy pins she made from scratch

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Fruit Salad Trend

fruit jewelry available on my Etsy

If you have small children, chances are you know The Wiggles' Fruit Salad by heart.  That pesky song's been stuck in my head for days now.

Handmade (by me) blackberry dangle earrings - $4.00 on my Etsy.


Handmade necklace, watermelon slice $2.00 on my Etsy.
Watermelon slice brooch, $1.00.  Mmmm, I'm getting really hungry for watermelon right now... 


Also, you can purchase strawberry stud earrings or banana dangle earrings.

Monday, July 18, 2011

My Georgia Monday: Eggplant with Cheese and Yogurt

Last week's eggplant medley kick started my eggplant craving and since then I made three more eggplant dishes (will post each in my Mondays series).  Again and again, I am using Darra Goldstein's recipes (with slight variations) from her book The Georgian Feast.  By the way, this book won The Julia Child Cookbook Award Book of The Year in 1994.  

Eggplant with Cheese and Yogurt

2 medium or large eggplants
olive oil
8 oz feta cheese, crumbled
1 hard-boiled egg, mashed
1/2 stick butter, softened substitute with olive oil, it even tastes better
yogurt to taste




Preheat oven to 500 F.  Trim the ends from eggplants, cut them lengthwise, and scoop out the seeds (save the seeds for eggplant caviar- the recipe coming up next Monday).  Place the eggplants in a greased baking dish and brush the cut surfaces with olive oil.  Bake for 15 min.
Meanwhile, stir the cheese and the hard-boiled egg into the softened butter.
Remove the eggplant from the oven and reduce the heat to 350 F .  Stuff the cavities of the eggplant with the cheese mixture and return to the oven.  Bake 45 min more.
Serve with a pitcher of beaten yogurt to pour over the eggplant.
I like Fage Total 0 % yogurt.  For this dish, I added little water and salt to my yogurt (Fage is very think, almost like sour cream). 



I topped this with a slice of tomato and served with Awesome and Easy Creamy Corn Casserole from allrecipes.com.
here is an updated photo: eggplant with cheese and yogurt served on crackers with a slice of tomato
(8/1/11 edit)

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

DIY: metal cuff with feather trimming

 DIY feather and metal cuff bracelet styled with chain bracelet
total cost - about $7.00

I've been trying hard to stay away from the feather accessories trend (except for my DIY feather tassel necklace I have not made anything with feathers)...   That's until I saw Jill's street photo of a girl wearing Givenchy black feather and chains cuff.  As Jill said it screamed "DIY!" at us.

Nia wearing Givenchy cuff $738.50

What I used:

metal cuff by Rebel Shine (I believe I purchased mine at Walmart, but could be from any craft store;  check the link for the online option), about $4.00
black feather trimming with adhesive backing - sold at Hobby Lobby in 1 yard packages for $2.99
(don't forget your 40% off coupon when you go)
any chain bracelet you might already own (I used a chain necklace I had as a bracelet)
though this feather trimming had an adhesive  backing I used hot glue gun just to be sure (optional)




This was so easy, anybody could do it.  My cost was only about $7.00.
Cut the feather trimming to match the length of your cuff.  Peel the backing off the trimming and press against inner cuff.  You're done!  Wear it with a chain bracelet.  Does anyone have any good tips on how I could attach chain trimming to lets say metal cuff or fabric?  Using glue is messy and shows.  Any tips? 


black leather cord bracelet - Forever 21
silver spikes stretch bracelet - local boutique
rhinestone bracelet - Target, old
metal cuff with feathers - DIY

Once I got started I could not stop.  I also, embellished an old purse from Goodwill using the rest of my feather trim, zipper trim, studded trim and an old chain necklace.

this purse has handles that can easily be tacked inside and Voila! - a fancy clutch!

As I mentioned earlier my only feather project in the past was this tassel necklace below.  Now I got myself a new feather cuff, clutch...  next are feather and chain earrings ;)

blue tee and tribal clutch - Target, old
feather tassel necklace - DIY.

 Be sure to check Jill's version.  She made it with things she already had at home. 

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Abrakadabra!

my friend Inna in Natasha Zinko's dress

When I saw this photo of my friend Inna I HAD to ask who made her dress.  This elegant yet bold design is by Natasha Zinko, a designer and creative director at Abrakadabra Creations and Natasha Zinko Jewellery.  Originally from Odessa, Ukraine Natasha now lives and works in London. 
This video makes me crave pastel pinks, blues and yellows.  Yum!


Sunday, July 10, 2011

My Georgia Monday: Vegetable Medley (Adzhapsandali recipe)


When I was little, I remember Mom and Dad hosting parties and  Mom fixing most delicious eggplant (or aubergine) dishes: fried eggplants with herbs; eggplants stuffed with walnuts, herbs and pomegranate seeds; eggplant medley and so on.  Mom was considered the best eggplant cook among her friends ;)
"Natalie's eggplants" were always in demand.
Those memories may be the reason I love eggplants so much.  Yesterday I cooked Vegetable Medley with eggplants (or Adzhapsandali in Georgian) for my family here in America. Similar to French Ratatouille, yet spicier.

Ingredients:
1 large eggplant*, cut into 1" cubes
1 large (or two medium) boiling potatoes, peeled and cubed
1 medium onion, peeled and chopped
3 garlic cloves, peeled and minced
olive oil
15 oz can diced tomatoes
10 oz can Rotel ( I use Mild since my kids don't like Original flavor)
2 Tbs each dill, cilantro, parsley, basil
salt, black pepper and paprika to taste
1/4 tsp cayenne (I usually omit this)







Saute onion and garlic in oil. Add eggplant and stir-fry (for 10 min?).  Add potatoes, diced tomatoes, Rotel and seasonings.  Cover and simmer for about 30 min.  Serve with Garlic Texas Toast. 

Several years ago I discovered a wonderful cookbook The Georgian Feast by Darra Goldstein on amazon.com.  When it comes to Georgian dishes this is THE BOOK for me.  I have slightly changed Darra Goldstein's Adzhapsandali recipe here.  I honestly don't know how many copies of this book I have purchased throughout the years.  This is my standard gift for anyone from Georgia or for anyone who is remotely interested in or connected to Georgia.  By the way, word adzhapsandali in Georgia is used the same way as American hodgepodge, or British hotchpotch. 

*It's recommended to salt the eggplants after slicing to allow the bitter juices to drain for about 20 min to two hours, but I always omit this step.  I actually don't like cooking especially when there is some prep time involved.  However, this really is an easy recipe even for me!

Edit: I also like serving this dish with brown rice or quinoa.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

DIY: straw placemat clutch with sequin

Inspiration: Kate Spade Lawn Party Raine Bag $390
What I used:
one black straw placemat (Walmart $2.00)
golden and black sequin trims (the length will depend on the size of your clutch/bag or whatever you're embellishing) - I bought mine at JoAnns
Fabri-Tac glue (Walmart, any craft store)
1-2 sheets of black craft felt
purse zipper in desired lenghth
gold acrylic paint - optional

I am purposely not writing up my own step-by-step tutorial for this since I used this wonderful tutorial from Crafter.org.  The link has great photos too.  The only thing was... I can't sew...  so, I partly hand-stitched partly glued (Fabri-Tac)...  Anyway, was quite messy inside, but outside of the clutch is OK.  What do you think?  Also, I am not writing up a tutorial, because there are so many wonderful ones online.  If you Google "placemat clutch DIY" you'll find many versions of this.
Also, please visit beautiful Anne of Wobisobi blog who had made various placemat clutches.

started gluing sequin trim to the placemat

secured the ends by hand-stitching them down


hand-stitched black felt to the purse zipper

I glued the black piece with a zipper to the clutch (not recommended, but had no choice since I can't sew)
Also, in the picture above you see how I painted the inside in gold (optional).




As I was working on this project I thought a black straw hat would look cute with sequin trim on it.  Just a thought.

Lorri's Raffia Hat $18
I know this post doesn't make much sense (it's past my bedtime).  Hope to make it up to you in the future.


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