Thursday, October 31, 2013

October like Fall-leaves and pumpkins

October is the month that mostly reminds me of fall. Yes, the heat is gone and so are long hours of light; the weather gets back to be rainy and the days colder. 

But autumn also brings many beautiful surprises: nature gets back its bright colors after the drought of the summer months; trees fill their branches with gorgeous orange, yellow and red shades; in the morning, dew decorates leaves and flowers with its shiny, crystalline drops while making the air crispy and clean.

So, when in the fields it is the time of harvesting crops, we can start enjoying the warmth of our homes, but also still spend nice days outside delighted by the little gifts that nature presents us with during this beautiful month. 

It is now time to wish everyone a happy harvest and prepare for a spooky Halloween, without forgetting that “Autumn is a second spring when every leaf is a flower” – Albert Camus


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Friday, October 25, 2013

Romantic treasure chest

Hi everyone! 

As you probably know by now, little sparkling treasures are my passion: I love tiny earrings, colorful bracelets, elegant pendants…but all of these beauties deserve an adequate container to be stored in.

I already had a small jewelry box, but, of course, space for my little gems is never enough, so when my eye was caught by a beautiful mdf box at a craft fair, I couldn’t resist. Once I got home, I decided I would immediately turn it in a romantic treasure chest worth of holding my little creations, so I started working. 

First of all, I used some acrylic gesso which would prevent the permeable surface to drink all paint. Once the surface was dry, I sanded it and brushed it with a cream acrylic color. After about 30 minutes of drying time, I used a sponge to apply some brown paint (thinned out with water, in order to get a slightly transparent coat). 

Lastly, I decorated the piece attaching lace, ribbons and a cute heart charm. I then cut some small squares of felt, which I inserted to protect the bottom from any scratch. 

And here is my romantic treasures holder! 

Have a lovely day!

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Thursday, October 17, 2013

Tutorial: Autumn sparkle (variation of pattern by Lisa Kan)

Hi everyone! 

I am very excited to show you this new creation I made some days ago. It is the first time I use Swarovski Rivoli in a pair of earrings…and I love them so much, it will surely not be the last!  

The design was inspired by the gorgeous Netted Rivoli Chain pattern I found in the beautiful book Bead Romantique by Lisa Kan (page 24) (full review of the book coming soon). As you could easily guess by the lack of chain in my piece, I changed the design quite a bit. First of all, I decided to incorporate in the creation the charming green rivolis I recently purchased. I therefore substituted the red and golden colors of the original pattern with olive and dark bronze shades. 

I then also modified the pattern, as I wanted smaller pieces that could be used everyday…If you would also like to try this alternative design, here are step-by-step instructions on how to stitch you own pair of sparkling little treasures:
  1. Complete the bezel as suggested by the book (finishing round 8).
  2. Weave back, reaching round 6 and exit from one of the size 11/0 beads inserted in round 5.
  3. Insert 5 15/0 rocailles and pass through the next 11/0 from round 5. Repeat around the pattern 9 more times, for a total of 10 picots. 
  4. Pass though the first bead added in the previous round. Add 4 size 15/0 rocailles. Stitch back into the last bead added in the previous round and through the 11/0 bead next to it (you will add the erring finding in this loop you just made, so my advice is to pass through all the beads of this round once or twice more in order to reinforce it). 
  5. Pass through the next 5 picots you created in step 3 of this tutorial, reaching the opposite side of the round. Then, pass through the next 11/0 bead and through the first 2 15/0 rocailles in the next picot. 
  6. Add 1 size 15/0 rocaille and pass through the last 2 15/0 rocailles of the previous picot. Pass throught the 11/0 bead next to them and the next 2 15/0. 
  7. Pass through the bead added in the previous round. Add 3 size 15/0 rocailles, 1 glass drop, 3 more 15/0 rocailles and pass through the bead again in the opposite direction. 
You can now weave back through the beads and close the work. I however decided I wanted to cover all the back of the rivoli adding some netted rounds. I tend to like this solution, because these crystals have a foil on the back and, even if it is very well made, after a bit of wearing, it might get chipped and the sparkle of the stone will get affected. I therefore like to cover it with beads in order to ensure longer durability. If you wish to do the same, just have to keep netting, reducing the number of beads you add on each round (see the last picture below). 

I hope you will have fun creating these small earpieces…and come back soon! 

Have a creative day! 

p.s. Your feedback is very precious for me, so if you are using this pattern, please leave a comment to let me know if you liked it (or not)! Thank you!

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Thursday, October 10, 2013

The beautiful side of Belgium

Hi everyone! 

Today a little off topic conversation about my little trip to Belgium last spring (I saw places which were so beautiful, I really cannot keep all the pictures on my computer only ;-) )…well, I already visited Bruxelles about 1 year ago, but I have to say I wasn’t particularly impressed. Don’t get me wrong, it is a nice city, but besides for the beautiful central square (Grande Place) and the cathedral, nothing was able to  amaze me. 

This time, however, I had a very good guide, as my boyfriend was spending 4 months in the Belgian capital for an internship and he organized my stay, carefully picking three stunning places to see during my three days of vacation. So here is my little journal, with some (of the over 400) pictures I took. 

The first day, we went to the Serres Royales de Laeken, just outside the city. It truly is a magical place, not only for people who like flowers (which I, of course, love), but also for anyone curious to see a majestic glass structure and magnificently cured lush nature. I cannot describe my astonishment while walking around and seeing the number of plant species which every square meter cherished. Each corner I turned was a breath-taking surprise full of colors and shapes carefully organized in gorgeous masterpieces of elegance and balance…you don’t believe me? Here are some pictures to convince you! ;-)

The second day, we visited Gand, once capital of Flanders and major European city. The town still treasures imposing churches, a medieval castle, beautiful promenades on the banks of its canals and some unexpected glimpses in its central neighborhood called Patershol.  A precious gem is then the Sunday flower market, taking place in a big square of the center: an explosion of colors and blooms accompanied by live music (and I, of course, had to buy a couple of little plants, which I fit in my Ryanair carry on bag…and yes, I am still wondering how I managed to do that).

Last, but definitely not least, we took a train to Bruges, a charming town in the Flandres which keeps all the beauty of small village streets and exquisitely combines it with the majesty of its churches and steeples. In Bruges every corner is somehow able to amaze you: canals framed by their romantic bridges run around the town, presenting you with endless unexpected views; lovely houses with windows full of flowers accompany your promenades, while old churches and refined buildings complete the gorgeous puzzle.

Bruges is filled with tourists, but it is still able to treasure the harmony of a small village. When you move away from the most famous streets, silence fills the air and you are left in charming alleys simply surrounded by beauty. Here, you can truly enjoy its peace and wonder at the hidden gems the village exquisitely cherishes. Golden prize to this beautiful town, and special thanks to my fantastic guide for bringing me there!

Hope you enjoyed the pictures…and come back soon!
P.s. If you don’t want to miss any crafty project, remember to follow the blog by clicking on the “join this site” button in the right column ;-)

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Vintage flowers clock

Hi everyone! 

Today I want to show you one of my first creations embellished with decorative painting. I approached this technique totally by chance: I was going around a Joann store with a 40% off coupon and sparkling eyes (the two things usually happen together!) looking for something worth spending such a fantastic gift, when I was attracted by the beautiful cover page of Donna Dewberry’s Complete book of One-Stroke Painting (full review coming soon).

I automatically took the book in my hands and started browsing through it. Having never painted before, I was extremely intimidated by the complex designs, but the text promised that even people who never held a brush in their hands before, would be able to make gorgeous blooms with only a little practice. Furthermore, glancing through the instructions I realized they just looked incredibly easy, so I decided to give it a chance. 

Once I got home, I started practicing. It took a bit of trial and error, but I was soon able to paint my first flowers…but let’s now (finally) talk about the creation! It’s an MDF clock I found at a hobby fair, brutally thrown in the sale section with other old and broken merchandize. Even if it didn’t look that nice at first, I saw a lot of potential in this 3€ piece, so I decided to buy it.

Once I got home (ok, I confess…about a year later) I started to work. I first used some acrylic gesso (a white thick acrylic  primer)  to coat the raw surface. When it dried, I sanded and painted the clock with a light cream acrylic color, before using a sponge to apply a very thin layer of liquid bitumen (bee careful, as this is very smelly, so make sure you open your windows when using it). 2 hours later (drying time), I decorated the sides, front and back of the piece with blooms and leaves before applying 2 hands of sealer to protect my creation… 

And here it is, my favourite vintage timekeeping piece!

I hope you enjoy the pictures…and have a lovely day!

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