Simplicity is the Key

You might already know of the brightly coloured, often symmetrical floor patterns called Rangoli, made by Hindus during the Festival of Lights – Diwali. It is believed that these beautiful patterns encourage and welcome the Goddess of Wealth – Lakshmi, to enter their homes and bless them with Her presence on this auspicious occasion.

Customary materials used to create Rangoli are flowers, coloured flour, lentils, pulses and food colour, all of which are readily available.

Even more basic than these materials is the next – sand.

Ilana Yahav’s expression of emotions through the shifting of sand is utterly mesmerizing. She uses just her fingers empowered by her soul to portray a vast range of human emotions and feelings in her creations.

But wait. There’s more…

I came across one other artist – Huang ZhuLin –  who paints on water, using Chinese Ink.

 

Evidently, creativity knows no bounds. It flows from within.

When you are artistic at heart, you don’t need to go out and buy expensive materials to produce a piece of art. Some of the most exquisite art can be produced using the most basic and natural materials at hand.

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Roll it up!

Other things that we happen to stock up a lot in our houses are newspapers and magazines.

Picked up at the Sky-train stations, in the morning, they find their way home in our bags or purses with the excuse to be read later in the evening. This is how you can upcycle those newspapers and magazines and convert them into beautiful accessories for yourself.

Materials I used:

  • Magazines/newspapers
  • Liquid paper glue
  • Scissors
  • Toothpick
  • Clear nail polish

Process:

  1. Cut up various lengths of strips from the colourful magazines and newspapers, tapered at one end (You’ll end up with various sized triangles)
  2. Place your toothpick at the broader end of the strip (triangle) and begin rolling it very tightly towards the tapered end. You’ll end up with hollow tube-like beads, except they will be wider in the center.
  3. Apply just a spot of glue on the tapered end and stick it to the wide belly of the bead.
  4. Repeat process to make all your beads.
  5. Finally when you’re done, apply 2 coats of clear nail polish on each of your beads to make them water proof and let them dry for about 15 minutes.
What your bead will look like, when complete

What your bead will look like, when complete

Once dry, string them up to make necklaces, bracelets or earrings.

 

Here’s what I made:

P1030572-001P1030576

Capture and Re-capture Memories with Coasters

Living in such a fast-paced world, it’s almost impossible to see someone who DOESN’T own a smartphone. With smartphones, come hundreds of free apps! Needless to say, Instagram is one such app that simply cannot be resisted.

I am one such Instagram fiend and I found an alternative way to post my photos, and get 10 times the followers 😉

Materials I used:

  • Pictures from Instagram
  • 4”x4” tiles (I had a few extras at home, but you can easily get them from Home Depot for under 30 cents each!)
  • Mod Podge (from Michaels)
  • Paint brush  (which you probably already have)
  • Felt stickers
  • Water Proof Sealant  (also from Home Depot)

What I did:

  1. I got my photos printed at my nearby printing store (London Drugs) to fit the tile size (4”x4”)
  2. Applied a layer of the Mod Podge with my paint brush on the tile
  3. Pressed a photo firmly onto a tile
  4. Painted a layer of Mod Podge on the photo and let it dry for about 25 minutes. Mind you, initially the Mod Podge appears white, but don’t worry, it dries clear
  5. Sprayed a thin coat of Water Proof Sealant on the photo
  6. Finally, I stuck on felt stickers on 4 corners of the underside of the tile

 

As eye-catching as these coasters are, I find them to be such amazing conversation starters. Not only that, they also are a great way to re-live some of your most cherished moments.

Bagging your groceries has never been greener

So once again, it was the weekend, which meant chore time. Yes, ACTUAL chores…

Grocery shopping and dropping off a heap of old clothes at The Salvation Army were on the to-do list. That’s when inspiration struck!

3 items and 3 easy steps.  That’s all it takes.

What you’ll need:

  1. an old t-shirt
  2. a pair of scissors
  3.  a sewing machine

What you’ll do:

  1. Turn the T-shirt inside out, pin it and sew it along the hem.
  2. Flip the T-shirt right side out, flatten on table and cut along the neck to make a larger opening for the bag.
  3. Line up the hems on the front and back side of both sleeves, and cut the sleeves off to make the handles.

And there you go! You have made yourself a reusable grocery bag.

Not only are they “green”, but they are a clever way to upcycle your not-so-favourite- t-shirts-anymore. You can use different sizes, materials and alternative styles to make them. You can even accessorize them with bead work, embroidery, brooches or simply paint them. What’s not to love about these?!

Here’s mine:

:P1030565

If you, too, have a large heap of t-shirts lying around, like me, you might want to try these projects.

I know, I’ve been away for a while and haven’t had much chance to post anything new. I’ve been so bogged down with coursework and midterm exams lately; project after project, deadline after deadline. I feel like a hamster on the wheel…

Buuut! I’ve got a few fun DIY’s that I will be posting. Be sure to check them out and probably even try them for yourselves!

Click, click, click…

Once again, I was fishing for an idea for another one of my projects. Now, a college student studying Interior Design, ideas are required left, right and center. In some cases, they’re based off of an existing one, only developed further and other times, it’s a totally brand new one – a light bulb moment – no, really…literally.

I was messing around with my camera and a magnifying glass, trying to refract light and maybe catch the reflection too, that was given off by my desk lamp.

The task was to design a reception for a company whose name was based on Onomatopoeia [\on-uh-mat-uh-pee-uh/. The formation or use of words such as buzz or murmur that imitate the sounds associated with the objects or actions they refer to.] The word I chose to work with was ‘Click’. And pretty much every idea that followed leafed out from here:

The Light Bulb moment...

The Light Bulb moment…

Everything. From the objects, to the materials down to the colour scheme.

Although, wait. There is a little modification. The magnifying glass in the initial idea was replaced by lens filters which have been used to subdue the lighting on the ceiling panels.

Check it out! Leave me a comment on what you think about it 🙂

Plan View

Click – Office Plan View

Click - Reception Desk

Click – Reception Desk

Visitor's Lounge area

Click – Visitor’s Lounge area

Giriama Jazzed

In the next few weeks, the opportunity to take this new fascination a step further arose, and excited as I was, I took it up and decided to explore it for myself, all in the name of a high school art project. Coincidentally, I was recycling a couple of ideas that I had touched upon, earlier in the course. I was already looking at African art and how the human figure was such an important aspect of it. With that came the notion of shape and form, which I was going to represent using different waste or otherwise recyclable materials.

Consumed by imagination, equipped with a few tools and backed with research, I came up with the idea of creating  contrast and comparison between two musical bands – A Giriama (local tribe) band versus an African American Jazz band. During research I came across the ‘African Drums Painting’ and really liked the idea of the exaggerated shape of the human form. This style of art brought such amazing energy and flow into the painting.

Some of the materials I used were: nuts, washers, binding wire, solder wire, soda cans, sisal rope and dried banana fibres.

Here, have a look at what I was able to create:

Giriama band

Giriama band

The Xylophonist

The Xylophonist

The Dancing lady

The Dancing lady

Soda cans (drums) wrapped in painted sisal rope

Soda cans (drums) wrapped in painted sisal rope

The Cellist and Pianist

The Cellist and Pianist

The Drummer

The Drummer

The Saxophonist

The Saxophonist

Inspired by simplicity

I used to be one of the grumpy ones too, until I found my inspiration from a little child and his self-made toy with which he played on the sidewalks of Moi Avenue. As you might have read, I’ve been born and brought up in Kenya and moved to Vancouver a little less than two years ago.

I was just about to cross the road, with two large grocery bags in my hand when the little boy caught my eye. He was joyfully pulling behind him a little car made out of Kellogg’s Cornflakes cereal box with wheels made out of circles cut out from rubber flip-flops, a flattened plastic bottle for the windshield with two little match sticks attached as wipers. I hurriedly crossed the road, hopped into the backseat of my car and quickly turned to see the little boy’s creation once again, before my mom would drive away. I got home and began sorting the groceries and  just as I pulled out my Kellogg’s Cornflakes cereal box, I smiled to myself and wondered if it was remotely possible that this box would end up in the little boy’s hands from which he would be able to make a second car for himself.

I was only going to recycle, but this little kid creatively recycled.

Recycling – Chore? …Nope, not really.

Recycling… Ha! Funny how when we think of it, we typically see it as a weekly chore of rounding up empty pop bottles, beer bottles, the cereal and cookie boxes buried in the dark corners at the very back of our pantry shelves, a bunch of newspapers lying casually around the house, and ultimately dumping them in the “renowned” blue bins that sit at the end of our driveways, eagerly waiting to be emptied every week, ready to perform their noble services to Mother Earth, once again, in the following week.

Tell you what, look at it with a creative eye and it won’t seem like a chore anymore. In fact, it’ll be lots of fun! You’ll surprise yourself with how just a little bit of enthusiasm and imagination, you were able to transform things, which in any other circumstance, would have ended up in the bin.

In my next few posts, I’ll share some of my own ideas and inspirations. Try them for yourself or see if you can come up with some of your own. Get started and I promise you’ll be so hooked, you’ll literally go junk-snooping around the house.P1030476