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Monday, August 27, 2012

My Georgia: Henri Cartier-Bresson In Georgia

Picnic near Telavi
I'm so excited to have found Henri Cartier Bresson's book About Russia on eBay for a very reasonable price ($20).  About Russia was published by The Viking Press, New York in 1974. 

Henri Cartier-Bresson  traveled around the USSR (by the way, the title of the book is very misleading, as the book is really about the different Soviet Republics) in 1972 (the year after I was born).  This book is like some surreal time-traveling machine for me.  It even has several shots of my hometown, Rustavi, where I was born and graduated from high school before moving to Tbilisi in 1989.  I literally get goosebumps just thinking that Bresson was shooting in my hometown in 1972 when I was one.  I simply had to have this.  Amazon.com sellers offer the book as well, but unfortunately their prices start at $80.00 and up.  I was shocked to learn that Bresson was allowed to freely roam in the USSR in 1972.  This book is truly amazing and so special to me.  It will be treasured by me and hopefully by my children as well. 

Workers in the iron and steel complex in Rustavi

Rustavi: the old town was destroyed by invading Persians in the 17th (?) century, the new town has been built around the iron and steel complex (this is from HCB book, but I think old Rustavi was destroyed much earlier)


Tbilisi: the old town
Here is what Bresson says himself:
"I am neither an economist nor a photographer of monuments, and I am not much of a journalist either.  What I am trying to do more than anything else it to observe life".  
"I leave it up to those who leaf through these pages to answer the questions the photographs may pose or those that may arise in their minds as they look at them; in other words, the photographs should serve to stimulate the viewers' own reflections."



Speaking of books ordered online, I just received my own copy of Diana Vreeland: The Eye Has to Travel.  So far I have just looked through it.  Can't wait to actually read the book.


Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Various

Nina and our puppy Louie

Just a quick post to show (off) some of my latest DIYs :)
The school has finally started last week and I painted Nina an apple shirt to match her mini-Boden apple skirt.  I painted free hand but you can make your own stencils using freezer paper or Contact Paper.




Also, here is another metallic Con-tact paper DIY of mine...  I got my roll of stainless steel Con-tact paper at my local HomeDepot, also available online here.  Thin strips of Con-Tact paper attached to the heels.  This is a "reversible" or temporary DIY which is even more appealing to me. 


thrifted black velvet slipper shoes with DIY metallic heels
J. Crew Janey flats $298

Dorothy Perkins $59



Several days ago I went for a walk with Louie (our puppy).  We live in a cul-de-sac and one end of our road ends at this area kids and I call "wilderness".  The area is mostly covered with brush and weeds but thankfully there is a walking trail. 

Louie leading the way

Can you spot five wild turkeys in this picture?

Broken but Still Standing.  Can you see the spider web as if supporting the broken stem?


DIY: Red Tray Embellished with Lion Head Drawer Pulls


red tray embellished to resemble Chinese red doors
About a year ago I bought a shiny red wooden tray at Ross ($9.99).  The red color is so bright it reminded me of red doors in China.  According to this site, many doors in China are painted with a fresh coat of red just before Chinese New Year to invite good luck and happiness.

Chinese Buddhist temple door in San Francisco via

The lion head on my tray is actually a drawer pull from this hardware store online.  To imitate little golden knobs I looked for large upholstery tacks, but with no luck.  Had to settle for these white plastic furniture tack glides from HomeDepot.  
cut the nail part off

and spray painted with Krylon's Metallic Gold
The lion head drawer pulls and the spray-painted knobs were glued to the tray (two sides)  using Aleene's Jewelry and Metal Glue.  Warning: this glue is very strong but is also messy.  It is of gel-like consistency and is hard not to overdo and make a mess.
 
in the foyer to hold family photos...

or on the coffee table to hold large art books or any knick knack

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Monday, August 13, 2012

My New Shoe "Collection" on Etsy

I've been trying to update my Etsy daily.  Please take a look at my modern vintage shoe "collection".  Do you have a favorite pair? 

how cute are these slipper shoes?!

black velvet slipper shoe with silk trim

bone (or off white) oxfords

I love these Granny boots, wish they fit me :(

black leather ankle boots

the ultimate color-blocking shoes

sporty chic + neon trend, DKNY tennis shoes

baby Cowboy boots (how cute would these be as a Country Western nursery decor?!)

Saturday, August 4, 2012

DIY: Silk Screen Printing vs. Painting on Fabric


Nina's DIY tribal tee
Several weeks ago I received a package from Samantha of Bromeliad blog.  She had sent me her Plaid's Simply Screen Custom Silk Screen Kit (available at HobbyLobby).  I already knew from her  December post that the product was kind of a hassle to use but still decided to give it a try.  Samantha has graciously included the Navajo inspired screen design she made for her pillow (once you make the screen design you can reuse it multiple times).  Here is Bromeliad's pillow made using the Silk Screen Kit: 

via here
Learning from Bromeliad's experience she talks about in her post, I used only one color (black) and made my daughter a tribal print tee.

tip: make sure to tape all the sides of the design all the way to avoid messy spots like mine

Once I felt a bit more confident, I went ahead making my own silk screen design using the photo source below.  My children's school mascot is Bison and their color is burgundy.  The kit comes with three screen print inks: black, red and blue.  To make burgundy I mixed red and blue and a touch of black. 

bison image via here
I'll be honest with you.  The whole process is kind of a hassle.  First, print a black and white image of your choice on regular printing paper.  Then, tape paper to the special screen provided in the kit (it's that blue screen you see below).  Next, process the image in the light box (the box and light bulb are included in the kit).  Rinse the screen in warm water and wash off the processed areas using sponge provided in the kit (actually, the image I've chosen was so detailed that I had to literally scratch my screen using lots of "elbow grease").  I recommend using not-so-detailed image.
And the final step is actually applying your ink to the shirt (through the screen) using squeegee (also, included in the kit). 






OK, so would I buy this kit myself?  No, I'd much rather just hand paint using fabric paints.  Actually, here is my secret: instead of fabric paints which dry hard I use regular craft acrylic paints mixed with 1 or 2 parts of Fabric Medium.  More fabric medium -softer the image when it dries.  I don't claim to have any exceptional skills but I'll be honest I did attend an art school in my childhood and my dream was to become a real artist (I ended up becoming an Accountant, go figure!). 
So if you are absolutely sure you can't paint, then I would use silk screening kit.  But painting to me is so much easier and so much more creative and fun.  Here are some of my own hand-painted holiday designs:




my kids wearing my designs back in 2007
August 9, 2012 EDIT
I've just made a pleasant discovery.  Fabric paint (or acrylic paint mixed with fabric medium) can be used instead of silk screen ink to print with the Bison screen I made (see the original post above).  The kit does not come with lots of ink (three colors only).  Since I already had a large stash of fabric paints, I tried them and it worked!

Bison image screen printed using fabric paint

Friday, August 3, 2012

Kids Activities: Rainbow Volcano and Rainbow Ice "Sculptures"



Seems like this summer flew by in a blink of an eye.  I looked through our summer pictures and decided to highlight two simple but fun activities. 

Rainbow Volcano
What we used: 

empty plastic water bottle
baking soda 
white vinegar
dishwasing detergent
water
liquid food coloring (any color combination) - ours came in squeezable little bottles which was really handy


When making home-made volcano, usually you build a play-dough "mountain" around an empty plastic water bottle.  We've never done that.  You can set your bottle in the dirt, sand, or small rocks  or find some other way to keep the bottle sturdy.  We have a volcano looking plastic base (salvaged from some other toy) that we use for all our home-made volcanoes.  I usually instruct kids to place the ingredients in the bottle in the following order: soda, vinegar, 2-3 drops of dishwashing detergent, water.  When volcano starts "erupting" add desired food coloring drop by drop.  I give my children a whole package of backing soda and let them experiment with the quantities.  This activity is cheap and lots of fun.  



Rainbow Ice "Sculptures"
What we used:

several balloons filled with water and pre-frozen overnight
large plastic containers to hold your "sculptures" 
salt
water
ideally, only other thing you need is a package of liquid food coloring.  since we ran out of food coloring we used craft washable paint mixed with water and a pipette (dropper).   


Rinse frozen balloons with warm water and peel off the balloons as shown below:


Let the children pour salt:


and start coloring drop by drop:


Have fun!


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