Thursday, June 30, 2011

who doesn't like freebies?

Few days ago, I stumbled upon wholeport and I was immediately hooked!
They are having a Create-a-thon contest... (unleash the creativity, unleash the competitivity !!)
means that if you want to participate, you can receive FREE stuff !
You can select one of these nine samples:


(1. White Cotton Embroidered Lace Trim- Happy Music Notes, 2. Black Cotton Embroidered Lace Trim- Happy Music Notes, 3. Vivid Pink Rose Lace Trim, 4. Green Leaf Embroidery Lace Trim, 5. White Cloisonne Round Copper Beads with Floral Pattern, 6. Smiley Face Wooden Beads, 7. Gold Crystal Round Circles Beads, 8. Multicolor Polymer Clay Round Beads, 9. Origami Paper)




So you want to PARTICIPATE?
  1. Like wholeport on facebook or follow them on twitter and then send them an email at create@wholeport.com saying that you have done so. Make sure you mention in your email which of the nine crafting supplies you would like to receive and include your mailing address.
  2. Create your masterpiece :D
  3. Admire it for a moment.
  4. Then take a picture of it and post it on their facebook wall along with a description of which supply package you used and what you intend your creation to be. They will upload your picture and description into the Creativity Expo Contestants facebook album. Each person to upload a photo of his or her creation will also receive a $2 coupon to www.wholeport.com!
  5. The top 10 creations with the most likes on facebook will each win a $50 cash coupon for www.wholeport.com. So tell your friends, your family, your acquaintances, EvErYOne! The more people that see your lovely work, the merrier!
That pesky little FINE PRINT…
The deadline for requesting one of the nine crafting supply packs is July 9th 2011.
The competition to receive a $50 coupon to www.wholeport.com will continue until August 1st 2011.
Any QUESTIONS?...
...Please quickly check out our Creativity Expo FAQ section. Or if you have even more questions or comments onWholePort, the Creativity Expo, crafting, or life in general, please don’t hesitate to list them in the comments section below or to contact them at create@wholeport.com .

I asked for a trim (not telling you which one!) 
and they immediately responded 
that my package is on its way!
Can't wait to get to work have fun making something!

xox, d.


Wednesday, June 29, 2011

color that makes me happy

In my rainbow, orange is the "IT" color

makes me happy and energetic

I've been having orange in my everyday life since... I don't know, probably since I can remember.

Here's an ORANGE parade, for the joy of your eyes!



That's why when I get a present, it's usually in this color. People know that I will like it. A LOT :)

from the top left:

* ikea Bastis dog tail hooks (I do smile every time that I hang my keys onto these little dog's butts)
* part of my glassware collection I Diversi by Carlo Moretti and a single flower "apple" vase
* Gideon Dagan Design orange puzzle wine rack
* Craighton Berman's DIY Coil Lamp
* Ron Arad Tom Vac Chair
* Nike exercise pants and hat
* fake Crocs (Frocs... ahah) rainboots & Nike Shox (some advantages in having small feet!) 
* laptop case Pylones, star keychain Furla, iPad2 w/orange cover, planner + pens + calculator


Do colors influence your life and choices? 
I found myself getting things just because they were in the 'right' color ;)

xox, d.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

McQueen inspiration

When I went to see the McQueen exhibition in May, 
I saw a pair of sandals that got me right into DIY mode.

I knew I had a pair of creamy sandals (bought ages ago) that were right for the job.

left picture took by me at the exhibition - right one from the book 




All I needed were two rosary necklaces 
(and the will power to argue with the streets vendors in Canal St.).


a pair of strappy sandals
two rosaries
strong upholstery thread - needle - pliers
total time required: 30 minutes
haggling with the street vendor: 40 minutes


--> HOW TO:

* buy a rosary that will be slightly longer than the circumference than your sandals
* remove the clasps with pliers
* start sewing few small stitches where you want the cross to hang down
* go all the way around - because there is an elasticized side, i left the stitches very loose on that side and the chain too
* stitch all the way around until the two sides connect 

Dear Alexander McQueen, may you R.I.P.  

xox, d.


Monday, June 27, 2011

un-cute-ized ruffle

When we think "ruffles" 
we immediately think to something 'cute' and 'girly'
...well, as always, it depends.




I'm not into that cute-girly-frou frou kind of clothes,
but I've seen so many ruffles around that I wanted to give it a try.
But not too girly of a try...

I had some military green/ beige / brown camouflage mesh.
Cut some 1-1/2" strips and ruffled it.

Sewed it around the neckline of a grey tank top.
I like the way the softness of the ruffle contrast with the roughness of the military print.


Something that Demi Moore could have 
worn into 'G.I. Jane' movie? ;)




I like to wear this top with my military green cargo pants.


The rule of the thumb for ruffles is: you'll need about 3 to 4 times the length of the desired length you want to cover.
And, again, it depends on how much you want your ruffle to be 'rich'.
Also, if you don't have a long enough piece of fabric, don't worry, you can cut several strips and while you'll sew it on, just overlap the two ruffles just about 1/4" and you won't notice the jointure since the beauty of ruffles is... they forgive any mistake!! ;)
What's not to like?

xox, d.

Sunday, June 26, 2011

fabric paints review

So far, for my painting on fabric projects I've used only three different kind of paint

* Pebeo Seta Color for almost all of my painted projects
* Tulip for the flamingo beach tote
* Deka Permanent for my curtain and towels
(in the craft store where I've been in Italy I couldn't find the Pebeo one, but I know it's been sold in Europe, since it's a French brand)

I've got several requests on which kind of paint I've used, 
so here's my "not expert opinion".



Pebeo Seta Color:
I'm in love with all their colors, plus they have metallics, pearl, and a glitter finish!
I've used this brand on different t-shirts, some pure cotton, some cotton & lycra (thisthisthis), cotton thicker knit (for the Missoni necklace), and linen (the powder bathroom towels).
The paint can be diluted with water  if you want a more transparent and watercolor kind of effect (I used it for the Antonio Marras shirt and the 5 minutes t-shirt refashion) and still hold onto the fabric well and doesn't get too runny.
Since I like painting on fabric, I bought the bigger containers on the primary colors, plus black and white, and when I want a specific color I make my own mix until I'm happy with the result (this was a mixture of blue, yellow and white).
The white is thicker than the other colors.
After the project is done, let it dry for 24 hours and press on reverse for 5 minutes.
Colors can be machine wash, and I put the items in the dryer in a warm cycle, in this way the paint loose its  stiffness and the garment turns out nice and soft.



Deka Permanent:
I found that Pebeo Seta color and Deka have the same behavior, nice thick paint that you can dilute with water if you want to have a less coverage on your fabric, the paint needs to be fixed with a hot iron after 24 hours and you can machine wash it.
I painted with Deka on 100% cotton fabric (for the towels's border) and on 50% cotton and 50% polyester for the curtain, with the exact same result in terms of brightness and stability.
Both the curtain and the towels have been washed and dried and I'm 100% satisfied with the result.



Tulip:
When I was in the making of the flamingo beach tote, I didn't want to mix and match the colors to create the hot pink, since the surface to cover was quite big and if I would run out of paint and in need to make another batch I wouldn't be able to match it right, so I head out to Michael's to buy a bottle of hot pink.
I discovered that they don't carry anymore the Pebeo brand, so I bought this Tulip in neon pink.
oh, boy...
It's very watery and even if you stay right into the lines it tends to bleed a little.
I'm happy I tried it on this project and not in something where the smudges would drove me insane.
Also, when I got to the end of the first strap, the paint was finished, Normally a bottle of this size of the Pebeo brand would have given me plenty of extra mileage.
So, I had to run out (literally) to Michael's and get another one... the last bottle in this color. 
Came back home and the fabric was almost dry, but very disappointing, once dried it turned so much lighter. 
The neon pink turned in a sort of just a tad darker than a baby pink. 
Yes, some swearing all of the sudden happened... such is life.
I finished the first coat... and decided to see what would have been the result with a second coat. 
So I had to paint the whole thing twice.
In fact, with the second bottle, I could do the whole bag, but I had to leave out the inner side of the straps because I ran out of paint again (and this was the last bottle in the store...)
The Tulip paint needs to dry for three days (W.T.Heck???) and doesn't need any press to be fixed.
But when I rinsed the tote to get the water soluble markers off... there was A LOT of pink stuff in my tub. NOT GOOD.

Live to learn, right? yeah, I'm not buying this stuff again :(


xox, d.

Saturday, June 25, 2011

NYC by me #1

I'm heading back to New York City today.
So I thought to start something that I will update periodically: NYC the way I see it.
I asked on my FB page if anybody would be interested in, and seems that you would.

and NYC... it's not always "as seen on tv" in Sex and the City... ;)

Nearby from my home there is a weird, abandoned building that used to be a candy factory.

If you ask me, it's just a messed up building.
Apparently, it is the 'must stop' for many artists, photographers, models, 
photo shoots, wannabes, 
tourists, and random people.



The prettiest thing that happened on or around the building is now totally gone, and it was written in a nice handwriting on the sidewalk (spray paint in a nice calligraphy isn't easy!).

I took this picture few days after we moved to New York:
I was stressed out, sad to leave my life behind in warm Texas (ok, HOT)
and exhausted of packing & unpacking for the past month.
But something on a sidewalk was there to remind me that...
Life is Wonderful
with pretty ♡ hearts ♡ on the 'i'




On the side of the building there is a huge pasted paper by Shepard Fairey.
Not my cup of tea... As a matter of fact, I never took a picture of it while they were installing it, nor while finished.
I might regret it, or not. (probably not)
If you're a fan of this artist, google Candy Factory New York Shepard Fairey: you can't miss it, that thing is HUGE.

I would like to see this building remodeled, keeping it own lofty personality, but cleaned up, and eventually up for rent or for sale.
I know it has potentials (in my previous life I was in the building business).
Looks like it won't happen any time soon, though :(

Every now and then something pops up at the candy factory that makes me smile, and I too, take a picture (I'm not changing my mind it is still a messed up building, I would trade for something not as 'edgy' but cleaner and without graffiti, and be happy to give up a smile or two ... but this is just me.)


These are my all time favorites, clockwise from the top left:
- crocheted lock with rainbow pastel yarn (it's NY: the yarn turned brown/grey in a day)
-... lost liberty silhouette
- the old vacuum cleaner painted in pastel colors hanged on the pole 
(I didn't take a good picture, but it has eyes and mouth)
- Andy loves soup, oh, well: we all know that ;)

At some point this building was just a messed up building 
with random graffiti.
What is the switch that turns 'abandoned building' 
into 'urban cool icon'?
(I'm not asking myself 'why', just scared of the answer)

The fine line between vandalism, fashion and art.
(but for me art and beauty is something that 
should have a connection,
and this building as it is now 
can be anything BUT beautiful)

xox, d.

Friday, June 24, 2011

powder room complete!

I have this cabinet that has 8 small glass doors.

I've got on a hunt and found on ebay 8 coral branches knobs (they used to sell these at Anthropologie until a couple of years ago), I couldn't find the red ones anymore, but I bought them anyway (gotta love ebay, paid 8 knobs for the price that Anthro used to sell one!) and spray painted them red.
Since these knobs are metal, I bought a spray paint that is used to touch ups for cars.
These cans are much smaller than usual spray paint, so I ended up having to go to the store twice.
...crafting whooops...



To spray paint these knobs, I dig a hole into a styrofoam piece of something that i found in the garage, and place the screws of the knobs in with the heads down, then screw the knobs in, so I could paint without having 'blind spots' on the parts and having to turn them up and down.

To have a perfect coverage I needed three coats of spray paint, being careful of spraying in between of the branches and underneath.






I can call my powder bathroom complete now!

brighten up in blue, white and coral red - AFTER 
very much blue - BEFORE

brighten up in blue, white and coral red - AFTER 

- the big red vase in the left corner is an old Ikea
- check up here  the curtain & towels pattern
- and here the soap dish and other ceramic decor
- I already had the coral candles, just put them together to make my 'own reef'
- the silver turtle it's a friend's present, and she's pretty happy now with the whole 'under the ocean' theme going on ;)

This whole bathroom redo was a lot of small but time consuming projects.
... glad it's over!!


Well... almost over: my mom has a leftover roll of nice white and blue paper that I would like to use to cover the inside of the eight doors cabinet. It would bright up and look much better, I know.
But I measured the inside of the doors and they are all slightly different.

Which means... It can wait. 
Maybe until next year :)


xox, d.



Thursday, June 23, 2011

I'm in business, am I?

In the past few days I've been working non-stop for my first batch of accessories... 

that are now in a store!

A real store, with walls, windows and pretty stuff inside!
Oh my, I can't believe it! 

My friend poses in front of her store:
Elisa Boutique - Bergamo - Galleria Fanzago
"If you want to be unique
You have to be different"

I did have the idea to open a virtual store on Etsy, but you know, at some point, maybe in the winter.

When I've got here in Italy few weeks ago my best friend saw one of my necklaces and she wanted one for herself (yes, I packed few supplies to keep me busy while here, and good thing I did!!).
Well, my best friend happens to be the owner of one of the best boutiques in my hometown, so she asked if I could make some pieces for her store... needless to say the answer was a capital YES!

She picked the stones that matched the clothes of the collections, and I've got very busy.

Yesterday it was delivery day!





- TUTORIALS -
for the colorful bracelets here 
the yellow/black/white necklace here 
the agate slice necklaces here

She loved every single one. 
As a matter of fact, she put them all on display in the windows and on the dressing forms already.


I have to say that see the pieces adorning the beautiful silk dresses, in a beautiful store, in the center of town gave me big butterflies in my stomach!


xox, d.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

door stopper

Fact: 
Here at home in Italy we don't have a/c. 
For about 11 months of the year it isn't really a need.

Routine: 
First thing in the morning, I open the window and let the fresh air coming in from the nearby mountain.
I need to mention that my windows are also not provided with bug screens, therefore the curtain does a double duty of keeping my bugs friends on the outdoor where they belong.
If it really gets hot, I open several windows at once to get some air flow, which means that now and then the windows are slamming, and curtain ripping... (and me coursing...)

Need: 
Door stopper(s).
Pile of books isn't an option anymore ;)

scale is in kg
Action: 
Got a big stone (roughly 3.5 lbs), wash it and dry it.
 Got busy with my crochet and cotton and start working on it!

The rock I used is heavy enough to keep the window from slamming, and in case the window would move it, I crocheted the whole bottom as well, so won't scratch the wood floor.



I don't have a pattern, since the stone is an irregular shape and I had to improvise to get it to fit.

It's a series of double stitches and chain stitches to form arches, and when I've got to the wider point of the stone, I wrapped it and keep crocheting with the stone in place decreasing at every round, until I've got to the end at the center.



My attempt was inspired by the the beautiful crocheted pebbles 
created by the super-talented Margaret from 'resurrection fern'. 
We all know her creations (I could bet on it) and  love her eye-candys pebbles.


As you can see, the top part is slightly more regular than the bottom. 
... good enough for the first trial :)
resurrection fern
.. Mine is definitely not as pretty as the originals, but is way better than the pile of books :)


xox, d.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

more coral decor

Are you the kind of person
that when you start updating a detail you get the fever to redo the whole room?

... because I am this way, maybe worse.

So, after being done with the curtain and the towels, I wasn't happy enough and grabbed my brushes and  had to do something more in my powder bathroom.

On top of the toilet there is a box that i really don't like to see (inside the wall there is the container filled with water for the flushing), so I have a picture to hide the hideous plastic cover. 
The picture was an old (and cheap) black and white print. Time for a change.

- got a canvas
- draw a coral branch on it
- painted red (I used some acrylic paint I already had)
- once dry, I glazed the whole thing with two coats of glaze

Drawing coral is really not hard.
Since there is no right or wrong, you'll be always right ;)  (at least, this is my point of view!)
The only thing to keep in mind is some balance, if you want some (but, again... in the ocean there are plenty of un-balanced coral reefs and they are still beautiful!)




Last, but not least...
Some ceramic details with my "friend" Pebeo Porcelaine 150: a soap dish, the top of a reeds diffuser, and two small square bowls (that I turned into candles by pouring some melted wax and a wick.

Tuned my owen on at 300 F, baked for 35 minutes and let cool down.

I have my very own line of bathroom accessories :)




--> making candles... this was my first attempt. I used some small leftover candles, broke into pieces, and melt the wax in a double broiler - that will be only used for was from now on ;) 
I used the wicks of the candles that I broke down in pieces since my bowls are pretty short.


Done!!

... I'll show you the whole ensemble tomorrow, but you've got the idea, right?

xox, d.



Monday, June 20, 2011

natural mosquito fighter: bats

We are fortunate enough that don't live in an area too bad for mosquitoes, but when summer approach, we do get bit every now and then.
Also, this summer is been raining so much that in the first day of sun we could see clouds of baby mosquitoes flying around.

We could go the spray can way, but of course, we didn't.

image: myfreewallpapers.net

My dad bought a bat box and we are now hoping that the few bats that we can see at sunset will come and stay with us... not that I'm a big fan of rats with wings... but hey, these guys can eat up to 1000 mosquitoes per hour!




We  my dad put the bat house under the roof of the house, in a quiet spot, and we're hoping they'll like it.

If they will, knowing myself, these bats will need names, because if they're protecting us from bugs they are as welcome as pets, I'm thinking to go with the names of the characters from Bat-man :)

Few rules to have a successful populated bat house:
- the bat box need to be mounted on a wall, pole or tree about 25 ft above ground
- a water source near by  (we have a creek at one side of the property, yay!!)
- trees and flowers
- place bat box in a full sun area, the temperature inside the box should be between 80 to 100F during summer (unless you're in an extreme heat area)
... last but not least... be prepared to clean up some guano... eeewwwwww...

xox, d.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

my dad's vintage pics

Happy father's day!

Although it is not father's day in Italy today, but March, 19th. But because now I'm splitted between two countries, we just do it twice :)
I'm showing some of my favorite pics of my dad, from the 50's!

How cool is this picture?
...should I send it to The Sartorialist for his 'vintage photos'? 



In case you're wondering, he was trouble! Lots of girls and stuff, if you know what i mean!


That kind of badass face, 
here again with his buddies showing a physic book "theory of the appearance". 
I know for a fact that the picture was intended a double meaning!


Anyway, and there it was, my mom. And that was IT. 
Pretty hot couple, uh?!

After being together for more than 50 years, they are still pretty cool.
But they look better in these pictures ;)

xox, d.

Saturday, June 18, 2011

coral: curtain & towels

I liked my powder bathroom here
but...
I wanted to spruced it up a little.
guess what?
C O R A L 
...again...



Well, the first thing that needed to be updated was the curtain. 
The sun bleached it and it wasn't a pretty blue anymore, but turned in some kind of indigo-ish/lavender with some lighter and darker areas.

I draw a border with coral branches in a in the same style of these other towels.



... got a white plain curtain,
... draw the border with a water soluble marker on the top of the curtain, 
... repeated the design three times,  
... painted in a bright red (used Deka Permanent fabric paint)
... let dry for a day, 
... press to fix the color, 
... and rinsed out to erase the marker.



The bathroom looks so much brighter with the white curtain!
Love it!

... so much that I decided to paint a couple of borders on plain white cotton fabric to be sewn onto two plain terry cloth towels.



Yes, I'm a matchy-matchy kinda person :)

...there's more coral in this bathroom coming up !

xox, d.

keep in touch! 


Friday, June 17, 2011

monogrammed towels II

When my mom saw my monogrammed towels, she wanted a set too :)
And I let her pick the monogram she liked.
She's more on the romantic theme for her bathroom...
She picked these roses with leaves pattern.
  "G": her name is Giovanna.


These are the pattern I used.
with these color codes on DMC mouliné
green 368 = •
grey 415 = X
grey 317 = 
pink 776 = o
pink 889 = Z

By clicking on the image, you should have a good enough view to print and get your pattern!
sorry, scanner is dead :)





xox, d.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Bergamo (and a t-shirt, too)

Since I came over to visit my family in my home town in Bergamo, the weather has been b.r.u.t.a.l.
Rain and cold for the past two weeks. 

At least I've got so much stuff done around the house, but believe me, my mood was paying the toll.

Yesterday, I woke up early and there it was: the perfect blue sky and nice warm sun.

I've got to my favorite spot in the city and took pictures, just like a tourist :)

The City of Bergamo is divided in two areas, the old town, which sits on top of a hill, called Città Alta (High City) and the newer part, on the flat side, called Città Bassa (Low City).
The old part of town is surrounded by antique protective walls (called Le Mura) and there are four big "Doors" that in the past used to be the entrance to the town and custom and duty purposes.

This square is "Piazza Vecchia" the bell tower is called "Campanone":
every night at 10:00 pm, 365 days/year the bell goes on for 100 times 
some people says 80, I honestly never counted :) 
In the old ages it was a reminder that the doors of the city were about to be closed and people had to return home from their jobs (mostly in the fields)


It was early enough that I could get this picture without people walking around... I couldn't avoid the delivery truck, though... otherwise this picture would have been perfect :)

Here some more of my favorite spots around the old part of the city:




I know I'm living in New York now, and it's the pulsing heart of America. 
I know... but you can take a girl out of Bergamo, but can't take Bergamo out of a girl ;)

and when I get homesick... I get into t-shirting :)

image courtesy of bestofbergamo.com

I downloaded a picture of Bergamo's skyline... and used as a template for a t-shirt.
It might not be as popular as the NYC one, but hey... 

outlined the silhouette of the skyline with black fabric paint,
let it dry
and filled the rest in silver, 
leaving the bottom part with free brush-strokes

t-shirt by me, image on the right from bergamo2000.blogspot.com



If you're planning a trip to Italy, you might want to stop here for a day or two.
You won't be disappointed.

For more information about Bergamo, its history, what to see, what to do, visit:
wikipedia ,
bergamo2000.blogspot.com , bestofbergamo.com 

xox, d.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

tea stain: a success!

Well, I'm so happy to report than the tea stain I tried on my shorts has been a success!
Not only the stains aren't visible anymore, 
but the shorts are darker now and lost their 'peachy' color.
Yayyyyy !!!

Here's how they look like after being pressed.


It doesn't look that much different from the 'before picture', but blame it all on the photographer (moi)... the color is much darker, is now a light hazelnut and I was actually surprised to see that there aren't any darker or lighter area.

I left the shorts in the basin with the tea for the whole day and night, I did check every hour or so until the evening to be sure that they won't get too dark, but saw that the stain was working its way very slowly.
I believe it has to do with the fact that the shorts are 95% cotton and 5% elastane.
In the morning, I rinsed them several times in warm like water, until the water came out completely clear.
Then, hang to dry. 
I could see once dry that the spots that I was trying to cover up didn't show up, therefore made the effort of plugging the iron and press them.... and...

I'm now in full action refashion mode... I can give you only a little tease because this is all I have done so far.
I'm into so many different projects these days that I really hope I'll have enough time to complete them. 

For now, this is what's going on - on my kitchen table :)




xox, d.

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