Monday, 2 March 2015

#urbanjounglebloggers

DIY geometric hanging planters for air plants


 I'm a little late to the party, but this is my first URBAN JUNGLE BLOGGER post, and February's task was to create some hanging planters.

Urban Jungle Bloggers is a monthly series hosted by two bloggers: Igor(of Happy interior blog) and Judith (of Joelix). Every month they and many other bloggers from around the globe share ideas to create an urban jungle through styling ideas, DIYs, and green tips & tricks on various social media under the hashtag #urbanjounglebloggers. And each month they set bloggers, like me a different creative task to showcase how we can all live with plants and make our life's a little greener.


I've chosen to use Air plants for mine, as I have been fascinated by them for some time now! 
I decided to use some polymer clay to make some small geometric "vessels to keep mine in, and today I am sharing how I made them:

I got my air plants and the silicone glue to attach them to my hanging planters here
Then I used some white ovenbake polymer clay
A sharp knife
Something tubular, like a candle or similar
Oven
Sandpaper
A wooden curtain ring
Some brass screw eyes and brass chain
You will also need a drill with a 2 mm drill bit 
and a pair of pointed pliers
MAKING THE GEO-SHAPES:
-Knead your polymer clay until its soft and pliable, then roll into a ball shape
 (I varied the size and shape of the ball to get a variety of different shapes)
-Place your clay ball flat on your work surface, then press your candle (or similar) 1cm or so into the top of the ball.
-Use a sharp knife to cut the clay into geometric and angular shapes...experiment! 
I made 4 different shapes, as I had 4 air plants.
(don't worry if they are not "perfect" at this point)
-remove the candle


Place the clay-shapes on a lined baking tray, and cook in the oven at 150 degrees for 15-25 minutes...
The rule of thumb when cooking polymer clay is 15 minutes per 1 cm thickness...so just keep an eye on them: If you see the edges turning brown they are cooked!


If you are using your normal cooker for the polymer clay, like I did, it is important to cook out any fumes after, before preparing food in it again: Turn up the heat to maximum, and after 10 minutes, turn off the heat and open the oven door to ventilate the cooker. Repeat a couple of times!
Open up your windows, as the fumes can leave you with a sore throat!


-When the clay has cooled down, use some sandpaper to sharpen up the edges of the shapes (and get rid of any brown marks from cooking the clay)
-Then drill a small hole in the top (opposite the cavity created by the candle ) and insert your screw eyes!

-Use your pliers to cut the chain to length and to open up the screw eyes a bit.
-Attach the chain through the screw eyes to one of your geo-shapes, then thread it through the curtain ring, before attaching another shape on the other end of the chain.


Now it's time to attach your air plants:


-Apply the silicone glue into the cavities of your geo-shapes, then gently press the air plants in place.
The glue takes 24 hours to fully cure, so leave everything safely to the side overnight:

The next day, your air plants in their geometric hanging planters are ready to hang!


I was planning on hanging mine in my kitchen windows, but as it is very tricky to photograph against the sunlight, I've hung mine in the hallway for the purposes of taking these pictures....and I think they look so lovely, I may just keep them there!


A little note about air plants: They should be very easy to look after and only needs the occasional mist of water, as they pull all the moisture they need from the air!

I am notorious for having a black thumb, so I will keep you posted as to how they get on....but I have set myself a challenge this year to keep (and NOT kill) more house plants, as it is very beneficial for your home's (and YOUR's) health to keep plants....and it also makes your interior come alive!!
So I am planning on doing one #urbanjungleblogger post every month, where I will of course share with you all any creative ways to keep and display house plants!

Saturday, 28 February 2015

Let's make some great art....

Introducing the inspirational work of Marion Deuchars

Some children are sporty, some children love to play....My daughter,Little Miss Moo, is more the arty type: Give her some pens and paper....or even better: Glue and glitter and she is happy!!
Recently she's started showing a real interest in design and art; pointing out patterns she likes and putting together colours that "goes"...and she loves hearing about different artists and types of art!
I love that she seems to have found "her thing" and want to encourage the aspiring artist in her....

So today I want to tell you all about a fantastic book I picked up for Little Miss Moo whilst we were in Norway last week:
Marion Deuchars's "let's make some great art"
(I got the Norwegian version, pictured above)

"there are people that makes the sun to a yellow spot , others transform a yellow spot into the sun" Pablo Picasso
Marion Deuchars is a Scottish born, internationally acclaimed,
award-winning illustrator that has created a number of inspiring children's books which focuses on art.
"Let's make some great art" is an interactive colouring and activity book, where Marion Deuchars covers the broad canvas of art ....and it's filled with drawings and engaging activities. Aimed at children aged eight and older, the emphasis is on fun and making the creation of art an integral part of the way you express yourself....But I found this book to be equally inspiring for adults alike, And Little Miss Moo, at just 5 years old loves it!!
"Learn what art can be, how it can be made, what it can mean for you and what it has meant for people through the ages."*




Marion starts by introducing us to the tools of the trade, with a beautifully illustrated guide to any arty equipment you may want to use in your arty endeavours! 


Throughout the book there are short introductions to some of the worlds most famous and ground breaking artist, From Leonardo Da Vinci to Jackson Pollock, often accompanied with a fun fact (Did you know that Leonardo Da Vinci used to write all his notes in mirrored writing??) and a little exercise in how to make your own art in the style of the artist:
"You can complete the Mona Lisa’s simile or design your own Jackson Pollock inspired work with a marble, a tray, some paint and paper."*


The book also covers basic drawing techniques, from how to draw a face....



...to teaching you how shading works!


Marion also covers basic colour theory and the colour wheel, as well as delving into the historic significance of certain colours and how they are made....all done in a fun and interactive way, making it interesting for kids and adults alike!


There are pages for colouring in, pages that encourage you to get creative with patterns, "blank pages" that encourages you to come up with your own ideas...




This book will also teach you fun methods, like using card to make patterns and art....
Or about the ancient Chinese Tangram puzzles:


As well as being highly educational, there are also some "just for fun" exercises to do:



Like making little fingerprint creatures or making hand prints into elephants (??)




I am so pleased I picked up this book for Little Miss Moo, as it has not only captured her imagination, but also mine! It encourages creativity at the same time as it educates the reader on the history of art and teaches various simple and fun techniques to inspire you to make your own art!


LMM drawing her fantasy house, using patterns and techniques shown in the book!
Marion Deuchars makes the world of art seem more accessible in this book, and her easy and fun instructions encourages you to try making your own art!
"Let's make some great art" has certainly struck a chord with Little Miss Moo, and if you have a little aspiring artist in your family (Or even for your own inspiration) I can highly recommend it! You can buy it here **, or even visit Marion Deuchars' interactive website for some fun, arty activities that will keep the kids amused for hours..... or you can visit her blog, here,  for more creative ideas!

*extract from the Marion Deuchars website
**Affiliate link

Wednesday, 25 February 2015

5 Interior tips from a pro....

...meet Lisa Reid of Room Design

Hi guys!
I know, I went AWOL last week...
I've been back in Norway for a little holiday! Now, the plan was to keep blogging while I was away, but too much fun and a nasty cold left me with little energy spare, so I figured I'd give myself a little blogging break!!
But that doesn't mean to say it was all play and no work!! I spent a lot of time in Norway seeking out inspiration for future posts, but best of all, I managed to invite myself around to the offices of Lisa Reid of RoomDesign for a spot of lunch and a chat!

Room Design
Click on the image to check out the RoomDesign website

You see: It's been bugging me for a while, as nostalgiecat has become more and more interior focused, that I feel like I am blagging it a bit! I mean as passionate and informed as I feel I am about interior design, I am NOT (yet) a trained interior designer.....and I'd hate to give you guys some dodgepot advice: After all interior design should be fun and creative, yes!! But it is also serious business!!
So I wanted to consult with a professional!

So, when I knew I was going back to Norway for a week, I got in touch with Lisa Reid that runs her interior design and consulting  business from her offices in the center of Bergen and arranged a meeting.


Lisa set up RoomDesign in 2010 with a vision to help people create their optimal rooms, where both functionality and the clients dreams and visions would be equally considered!
I fell in love with this ethos when I first came across Lisa's website, as I feel that far to often the dreams of how you want a space to look gets compromised for the sake of functionality (and it needn't be!!)....and I have been following Lisa's interior adventures on facebook ever since! 
Lisa also runs short interior design courses where she generously shares her knowledge and expertise, and helps people get more confident using colours and finding their own interior style.

Needless to say; I was absolutely thrilled when she agreed to see me!

I'd had a feeling we would gel, but had not anticipated Lisa's warmth as she welcomed me into her beautiful offices, where she'd laid out a wonderful lunch spread!


We ate, drank and chatted for more than 2 hours, mostly about interior inspirations and how to create a space that is personal, beautiful.... and functional....and how to achieve a dream look when the budget is tight and space is at a premium....
and Lisa has kindly allowed me to share her top 5 tips when it comes to interior design:


1
Paint the ceiling and walls the same colour

Image from Elle decor Espana
This may sound wacky, and is a fairly new trend that interior designers all over the world is embracing....but it is actually a really neat trick if you are decorating a small space: It creates an optical illusion by diffusing the outlines of the room, making the room seem larger and more cohesive. It looks elegant and is relatively easy and cheap to achieve!

2
Make your furniture dissappear

Image from Entrance

No. of course you shouldn't chuck out all your furniture, but if you have a small space there are a couple of visual tricks to furnish a room yet still make it look spacious!

Lisa suggests using wall shelves and sideboards in the same colour as the walls to make them visually disappear and become part of the back ground.
Another trick Lisa uses often to free your gaze and enhance the feeling of space, is to keep as much of the furniture as possible off the floor. This will make the room seem airier and bigger. Think shelves and floating credenza's...or even a coffee table in glass....The more you can see of the floor the better! Which brings us nicely to Lisa's next point:

3

Layering rugs


Photo by Amy Bartlam via SFgirlbybay

Like me, Lisa is a big fan of a good rug!!

Describing them as "the jewels of the floor" Lisa  tells me she loves the trend of layering rugs!
Adding rugs to a room design will help define the room and the different functions of the areas within it!
 So what's better than one rug?  A few! 
 Here's a few of Lisa's tips on how to get started with layering rugs:
Decide on the size of the area that is to be defined by the rugs, Start with a neutral sisal or jute rug for texture(bang on trend for now!!) as a base, then add smaller, more decorative rugs on top with patterns and colours that compliment each other! Don't make it too matchy-matchy...the point is to bring in different patterns and textures....even shapes...mixing it up to create a truly personal and unique, fresh look for your floors!

4
Level lighting


Image via desire to inspire

The importance of good level lighting of a room can not be underestimated, and like Abigail Ahern, she recommends having between 6-8 different light sources in each room: From overhead lighting to task lights, like a lamp by your favorite chair for reading or a spotlight on a favorite piece of wall art...Good level lighting helps create an ambiance in a room and makes sure no corner is left dark and dingy, ensuring maximum enjoyment of the whole room!

Build up lighting sources on all levels, from the floor and up. Think floor lamps, table lights as well as candles and decorative lamps. Lisa suggests grouping lamps together with low wattage (energy) bulbs on a sideboard...and having one white and one pink bulb will give a very natural light!

5
Fill your walls


Image shows one of my favourite graphic designers, Nynne Rosenvinge's home via Femina

Lisa's last tip is to NEVER leave your walls bare! There are loads of different ways to fill an empty wall, and I am planning on delving further into this subject in a few weeks, but for now, here's a few suggestions:
Display family photographs grouped together, hang a rug to cover a big blank wall space or use wall shelves to display collected items and artwork.
 Nothing makes a space quite like the right artwork!
A big piece of well chosen art is a real statement , that helps bring personality into your room!!
Or how about creating a gallery wall with loads of different sizes art?
Top Tip:If you want to hang a piece of art behind your sofa, but it looks a bit too small for the wall space, a trick is to hang it a few inches off center, so that the negative space next to it becomes "part of the image"(Like in the "pink ceiling" picture above)!



I think you'll all agree that Lisa's tips are great for creating an creative interior that shows off your personality and uses the space to it's maximum....


I adore her commitment to sharing her passion and knowledge of interior design, and her uncompromising desire to achieve a look that suits her client's personality and dreams!



«A room shouldn't scream the name of the designer but more the personality of the client»


-Lisa Reid-

Please check out Lisa Reid's blog to keep up with her tips and tricks, or follow her on Facebookinstagram or pinterest to get inspiration for your interiors





Tuesday, 10 February 2015

DIY wood and concrete candlestick


So this last week I've been all over everything wooden!
I love the look of wood, it adds an authenticity and warmth to any interior!
So I spent ages trying to figure out what sort of DIY with wood I was going to try out for myself!
In the end, a little and worse-for-wear stump of two-by two that I found in the road (????) on the school run sparked my imagination!
So capturing the trend of mixing materials, I've made this concrete and wood candlestick, and today I'll show you how!


You will need:

2x2" stump of wood
Wood saw
Drill with spade drill bit (size of the diameter of a candle)
Candle
Foam board
Rapid set Concrete or cement
Stanley knife
Tape
Sandpaper

First I sawed my little stump of wood to size, then I Used the spade drillbit to drill a 1cm hole in one end to hold the candle....I also drilled some little holes all around both ends of the wood, so that the concrete has something to grip on to....

Now you may think: Why not just drill a hole in the wood for the candle and leave it like that??
That's nice, but....
There is two reasons why I decided to use concrete to make this candlestick:To capture the trend of mixing materials, but more importantly, to make sure the candlestick would not be a fire hazard! The concrete shields the wood from the flame of the candle!!

SO....

Next up I made a case out of the foam-board that would fit snuggly around the wood:
 I made it about 2" longer than the wood on both ends, and taped it tightly around the wood...
 Then I mixed up some rapid set concrete (cement would also work here!) and poured it in on the bottom half of the wood first....when that had set, I turned it over and did the same on this side.... 

...only this time I set the candle into the wood first, and poured the concrete around it!
Then I left it all to set overnight!
The next day I removed the foam-board casing, and left to air-dry for a few more hours!


Then I just tickled it with some sandpaper to remove any rough edges....and that's it!


I love the mix of that battered old lump of wood with the concrete "melting" into it... and I am so pleased I managed to give that old stick a new lease of life...
The rustic-ness  of the wood is the perfect accompaniment to my Glass and concrete accessories displayed on my living room bookshelf!

I have some more wood based DIY's in mind for the future, but for now I am taking a little holiday, as I am off to Norway for a week! But I am starting to think about Spring....hint hint!!

Saturday, 7 February 2015

15 creative ideas using wood in your interiors


Image from improvised life

I have fallen in love with all things wood this week!
I have been spending a dangerous amount of time on pinterest exploring different creative ways to use wood in your interiors, and today I am sharing 15 of my favorite pins.

From simple and rustic coffee table ideas , like the wood-slab table , above, and the easy Pallets-on -castors idea, below for your living room...

Image via vtwonen

To this neat little bedside table from one of my favourite DIY bloggers, Francesca from Fall for DIY:
Image from Fall for DIY
Wood is such a stunning and versatile material: Perfect for DIY projects!

Use it in it's rawest form; Bring in whole branches and twigs....


Image via living vintage co

...make a lamp stand, like above....


Or suspend a branch from the ceiling for a unique take on wardrobe storage, like the branch clothing rack Rae of one of each made, above!

image via wabisabi style

Or how about making use of some tree branches, and make some useful wall hooks, like the ones above?
Image from luxurya ccommodations

In the bathroom , pictured above, they've used a tree-trunk to create a little stool, they've made a ladder from branches to hold towels and used a slab of wood across the bath tub to keep lotions and potions on....ingenious!! Not only is the use of wood here very practical, but it also adds a natural warmth to the whiteness of the room!Beautiful!!



I just love the organic shapes of these stools from Nordic house, and if I ever come across a fallen tree, and happen to have a chain saw on me....I will most definately try to DIY one of these....
LOL!
image from Petit and small

In all seriousness though, there are inspiration for DIY's to be had everywhere!!
How about these gorgeous and simple wooden table lamps, above? Sand back a log, hollow it out using a drill and add a cord kit and a fabulous bulb....and Bob's your uncle!!

Or these wooden coasters by anthropologie, also easily DIY'able...maybe using Plywood??
Image via An ordinary woman

As mentioned in my previous, wood-inspired post HERE, Plywood is very useful when it comes to DIY projects: It's relatively cheap and extremely versatile, but it also possesses that beautiful wood grain effect...Use it to build your own furniture, like those cute hexagonal shelfs ,below, or even just attach some on to the wall, like they've done in the picture above, for an instant and simple  statement with artistic flair!
Image from Luona shop

Raw timber is also an easy option for DIY projects:
Image via apartment therapy

How about making a fun floor-bed/play house for the Kids room!??
Image from Maria Nichols

If yo don't feel confident enough to take on any such structural DIY's, the easiest thing to do, would be to use something you already have,Or a junk shop find, like an old crate or wooden box: Turn it on its end, stick some castors on, and you have made yourself a nice little side table, like the one above!
Image from Carolyns homework

Lastly, I had to include this cute little photo holder from  Carolyns homework....with valentines coming up, this would be a perfect little make for the one you love, non??

If you'd like to see more creative ways to use wood in your interiors check out my Pinterest board wood....it's packed full of inspirational images and links to handy DIY tutorials, so that you can get creative using wood in your home!!

I will be back with a tutorial on a little wood -based project I've been working on next week, so please pop back then!!