Friday, December 6, 2013

Flowery art installation in the Flat Iron Building

My walk home the other night took me past a wonderful installation in New York's famous Flatiron Building, giving me my daily dose of inspiration. The building is home to the Prow Art Space, a public art space where work is visible 24 hours a day, in a small dimensional glass triangle. The space is as unique as the art inside it and was recently home to a 3D version of Edward Hopper's Nighthawks.

The current installation called Flora Sutra L=T-V, by artist Serena Gidwani Buschi, couldn't be more different. Dozens of lotus flowers appear to be floating in the air, suspended from string or perched atop glass tubes. The style of each varies, and together creates a wonderful, colorful garden in the urban space.  Here are a few of my pics, and you can read more about the artist and the work here.

Some onlookers check out the space

Pretty flowers

These are see through, not sure of the material 

Close up of one flower, covered in flower patterns 


Saturday, November 9, 2013

Easy Crochet Red-Nose Reindeer Baby Hat

The holiday excitement has hit me early this year, so I'm taking it out on crochet.  Knitting and crochet are winter activities for me—I just can't get all tangled up in wool yarn in the hot summer months.  Last year I didn't do much crochet, but now that I've got some little muses in the form of my friends' kids, I'm back with a vengeance.  First project of the season: reindeer hats!

Image via JTeasycrochet

I sucked it up and bought an instant download pattern from Etsy, which was totally worth it.  I usually try to find something for free but there's a lot of sorting through the very cheesy junk. Plus this has easy instructions and pictures.  I made two, one for 0-3 month old Julia, and the other for 3-6 month Arianna. I wanted to get them done in advance so they could be worn throughout the Christmas season.

You need 4 yarns altogether, and I strayed slightly from what the pattern suggested so I could use what I had instead of buying an entire skein to make two tiny eyes. I used:
-For the head, Lion brand silky twist, super bulky #6 in Oatmeal
-For the antlers and ears, Lily Sugar 'n Cream #4 worsted weight in Ecru
-For the nose, some leftover maroon worsted weight, not sure of the details
-For the eyes, Lion brand Wool Ease #6 in Charcoal

Baby hat, minus the baby

You can crochet this pretty fast since baby heads are so small.  The pattern was very easy, beginner level, the trickiest part was attaching the ears and antlers.  I recommend using a tapestry needle to sew them on.

Sew them tight so they stand up

I don't have a baby to model it on, so here it is  eating a lamp, and looking a bit like Fozzie Bear.

Again, if you want to give it a shot you can pick up the pattern at the JTeasycrochet Etsy shop

On another note, happy 111th post!

Saturday, October 26, 2013

DIY Glittery Spiderweb Halloween Cards with template

Last October, Hurricane/Superstorm Sandy prevented most Halloween celebrations, and although I don't usually get too into the holiday, having a year off may have been just what I needed to get the spirit back.  For my cards this year, I'm going all the way with glitter. 

Using some regular Elmer's Glue and black glitter, these spiderweb cards are a synch to make. You can freehand a spiderweb design, or download and trace the template I've created from my sketch. Obviously you could glitter up anything, for any occasion, but hey, let's focus on the coming holiday.

Step 1: 
Create a spiderweb design freehand, or download and trace the template I've created from my sketch. Remember to keep your pencil marks light.

Step 2: 
Trace over the drawing with white glue.  I used a toothpick to get in small areas or to clean up any slips (there will be some).  Hold the bottle at an angle to prevent it coming out in globs and work in small sections so that glue doesn't dry before you can add the glitter. Superfine glitter will work best on these thin lines.

Step 3:
Sprinkle glitter over top. Let stand about 30 seconds, and then tap off excess.  You can go back in with a toothpick and clean up any smudges.  I like how non-uniform the lines are, it almost give the feel of water droplets on the web.

Optional: To keep glitter in place, cover the card with 1-2 coats of acrylic spray.  I used Krylon Crystal Clear Acrylic.  Make sure to spray in a well ventilated area. Right outside your front door with the door open so all the fumes go back in the house is not considered a well ventilated area (I'm telling myself this).  

Have a spooky Halloween!

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Layer on the good times: Making a terrarium

There's a great boutique in my neighborhood that not only has cool clothes and housewares, but also offers the occasional craft class!  This month at Kanibal Home, Tim Ilch of JC Aquaria ran a workshop on terrarium building.

I've always wanted to make a terrarium but was super turned off by the though of all the things I'd have to acquire, including charcoal, as some sources recommend (which seems like a huge mess).  Turns out it's quite simple. For the container, we were given the most giant mason jar I've ever seen. Building the terrarium simply involves layering rocks and soil, adding plants, and then embellishing with mosses, sticks, leaves, and other natural and non-natural trinkets.

Pictured: The rare exotic styrofoam bird

Go for texture as well as color.  Tim had foraged a lot of the ingredients he gave us, which sounds more fun and unexpected than going to the store and buying them.

Natural neon green. 

As it turns out, terrariums don't have to be covered (news to me), so I left the lid off since I had some plants sprouting out the top.

Looks like a long way down

We even got these cute little booklets with graphic instructions and room to take notes.

You know I loves a handmade book

In conclusion, terrariums—a mini world that's fun and easy to make.  I love giving plants as housewarming gifts and a homemade terrarium like this could be made so personal.  Also check out the cool stuff from JC Aquaria and Kanibal Home, who has an online store in case you're not local.

Sunday, September 29, 2013

Goodies from the Peter's Valley Craft Fair

Being a native of Sussex County, NJ, it's a wonder that I've never been to this craft fair before.  Peter's Valley Craft Center is a non-profit art center offering classes and workshops for both adults and children in a variety of mediums including ceramics, jewelry, photography and glass. Located near the Delaware Water Gap in Layton, NJ, attendees can even stay on the grounds of this beautiful rural area while they take longer workshops.  The annual craft fair is held at the Sussex County Fair Grounds because it's so large, and I was blown away by the quality and quantity of work.

The majority of goods there were pottery, jewelry, knits, and photography, with a few others crafts thrown in there.  Though I couldn't take photos at the event, I did restrain myself to buying a few things.

This first one is an adorable plate from Natures Nest Pottery, featuring Russian nesting dolls, that I went loco for and had to have.

Gorgeous colors

Awesome detailing
I picked up a few of these whimsical brass ornaments from Aurna Enterprises.  They have a zillion and there all adorbs.

Verdigris finish like the Statue of Liberty

And lastly, one of these beautiful leaf bowls from The Clay Cellar pottery.  I can't reveal which one, since it's a gift for someone who reads this blog!

Image via

Be sure to mark your calendar for next years fair! Until then, check out a few more of my favorites from the show.

Diarama-esque shadow boxes from Working Birds Studio
Everything from the artists at the Potters' Guild of New Jersey
Lawn decor from Iron Art Studio
Gorgeous stones in the jewelry of Hudson Valley Goldsmith

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

DIY Quick and Easy washi tape bunting

Here's another quickie garland to add to your repertoire, adding to the 20 minute paper button garland I posted a few months back. This project is very simple and doesn't require much instruction at all. Just fold small pieces of washi tape over a thin cotton string and snip the ends. I chose to do little Vs at the end of mine, but semicircles, fringe, patterned craft scissors—really anything will work here. Here are a few tips.

Pick washi tape that coordinates a little better than mine.

More cheery?

Tear off your tape ahead of time and line it up so that you can work quickly.

Mise en place

It will be easier to put the tape on the string if you have it at tension, so tie or tape it between two stable things.

Tighten up!

When you reach your desired length, find a pretty spot to put it, like a mirror or picture frame.  You can even tape each end to a skewer and pop it atop a cake!

Thursday, August 29, 2013

Houses, signs, and quirks of Old Town Alexandria

Last weekend, I spent a little time in Old Town Alexandria, a quaint little town just south of Washington DC on the Virginia side of the Potomic River.  Old Town seems to have escaped much of the strip-malling of the DC metro, although it does have an H&M, and many of the area's houses have been around since the revolution.  This lends itself to adorable buildings full of character, fine detailing, and placards to read.  I assume all the houses are haunted. 

Here are a few pics to inspire your colonial style. Unfortunately they were taken with my phone as it dies a slow death, so excuse the clarity.  It was a gorgeous day, and I'd love to go back for an afternoon with my DSLR.

Little row houses

Lovely brick detailing

Old colonial home

Sunbathed courtyard full of potted plants

Hidden dream house, except for the ghosts
that probably live there

Excellent use of hanging lanterns

Love the color of this door and the knocker

Rusted shop sign

Government building where I once posed wedding party photos