Saturday, January 21, 2012

Working On James Rizzi

I volunteer at my boys' school, teaching what little I know about Art. Actually, that would be nothing I know about art but they just want parents to come in during school hours to give children some sort of enrichment. I stuck my hand up for both my boys' classes and it has been an amazing learning curve because I have to research artists who are new to me and I learn so much about them.

Recently, I found out about James Rizzi, who sadly passed away in 26 Dec 2011. His work is so easy for children to relate to and he is well known for his "buildings with faces".

I gained a lot of ideas from this wonderful lady's blog and had an idea to put together all the children's work onto a piece of canvas, and to auction it off during the school's annual Silent Auction Night to raise funds for the school.

Here is a test run of what my boys and I did (I wanted to see how it would work on canvas, it seems to be fine) Some of the buildings were cut out from watercolour boards and some were cut out from foam core.  Foam core is difficult to work with. Cutting them needs a very sharp knife and a metal ruler.  My oldest, snuck in a Paul Klee inspired bus, can you see it? James Rizzi's work was inspired by the same artist too.

So excited, can't wait to post pictures up once everything is completed!

Copycat Friday: Leather and Red

Tonight, thousands of families across the world get together for a reunion dinner. Basically, it is the last dinner of the year for the Chinese and the sons of families have to return to their parents' homes (daughters go with their husbands' families) to feast. This is probably the most important meal of the year for families and I am sad that I cannot be with mine back in Malaysia.

In the spirit of ushering the Year of The Dragon, which falls on Jan 23, I thought I would wear some red.

I was inspired by this image on Pinterest:

We got up this morning with the first "real" snowfall for this season. Unfortunately, that meant the Chinese New Year Parade we were going to was cancelled. It was freezing outside and my fingers were curled into my sleeve to keep warm. (I did not realise this until afterwards)

I found this DKNY leather jacket (in the right size, yay!) in a consignment store for $56.

I love that it is very fitted around my waist, it has got to be one of my favourite leather pieces I own.

Here is my lovely husband, getting ready to go outside to take my picture. It is about 28 degrees F outside (minus 1 C) so you can see how warm he is staying while I am not layered enough! :)

Happy weekend all, hope you stay warm and cosy!

Jeans: From a flash sale site, purchased after Thanksgiving 
Top: Route 66 from KMart
Shoes: Etienne Aigner
Bag: Coach

Linking up to the fun blog, Frills For Thrills!

Frills for Thrills

Friday, January 20, 2012

Fun In The Snow

My husband and I took my two boys out of school yesterday to go up to Pennsylvania to ski for a day. They have never been skiing before so this was met with a lot of excitement. Especially skipping school for a day,  anything was exciting compared to going to school, right?

I had gone skiing once before, in Australia, where I went to this huge mountain area called Falls Creek. I was a newbie - first time experiencing snow, I had jeans on, which quickly became wet but that did not stop me. I hired some ski gear, went up the chair lift to the top and didn't notice the signage. Took a wrong turn and I was going down such a steep incline, then I was faced with a cliff. I flew off the cliff and down this ravine, fortunately, there was lots of snow but I could not get back onto my skis again, I kept sliding down. It was so frustrating and upsetting I had to take my skis off and struggle back up again. I was alone, wet, very cold and I vowed that I would never ski again! It was later that I learned that I went down the black diamond, which is for advanced skiers, whoops.

Fortunately, no one had that sort of experience yesterday and we all took lessons. My 10 year old and hubby took snowboarding lessons while my 8 year old and I took ski lessons.

I found out that people make their own snow here! I have heard of companies doing that, but never in such a large scale that it covers mountains! My husband told me that they spent $20 million on the snow making equipment and they pump water from their dams to turn it into snow.  Wow!

When we arrived, this was what we were greeted with. You can see that there are two huge blowers that make the snow. They were all over the mountain. That pod like building is the ski lift up the beginner's slope.

Cameron trying his ski legs for the first time. He surprised all of us by taking to it like a duck to water. We were so amazed because if you know Cameron he has gross motor issues, when he was younger he used to see an occupational therapist to address these issues. He LOVED it so much and was flying down the slopes! I had my mouth halfway open most of the time, I was so impressed!

As for James, I have a video of him snowboarding but somehow only the end bit where he falls over can be loaded on Youtube. He was a bit of a perfectionist, wanting to get it right the first time, so there were tears of frustration and he wanted to quit halfway. I could understand it but I made him go back up again. I am a tough mum, I don't allow my children to quit unless they have tried at least three times. I live by this Japanese mantra, "You fall down seven times and you get up eight times." I was so proud of him at the end when he was snowboarding with better ease.

At the end, we signed up for the whole season so we will be going back there on a weekly basis!

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Antique Shopping in Maryland

My husband has every two Fridays off and we have been looking for a dining table since last October. We ordered and returned tables from various shops because when buying online, you don't really get a sense of the table, how it would look in your dining room. Fortunately for me, in the USA, everything can be returned at a very small fee.

Yesterday we drove up to Hagerstown and ended up in this huge antique warehouse. Not only that, there was another one next to it, equally as huge! The two stores were so amazing, we found our dining table but we also picked up three original artwork.

Here are some images from my trip.

I love these three paintings, just something about the colours that speak to me. I also like the nude form, there is something very mid-century about it. We bought all three of them for just a touch under $150.


Lovely leather butterfly x -wing chair $385

 I loved the lines of this settee $685. The slim legs (I love all furniture with dainty legs) and the toile fabric, ooh lovely! It was in perfect condition but I didn't know where it would fit in the scheme of things for our house.

This dresser is one of my favourites. It does not go with the style of my house but there is a name for this type of detailing.  This furniture is quite rare and usually quite expensive. It was no surprise it was $1450, which is still a great price. If I could have made it work in my house, I would have bought it as it is in such good condition.

A look up close. It is not just painting on it, but it seems to be engraved and painted over. 

Thonet chairs, love them but not sure if the back is comfortable for prolonged sitting periods.

I spotted this wheat sheaf table. I am looking for something like this for my entryway but I wanted it to be more of a butler's table height. This was more of a coffee table height. I would paint the base gold, like the pictures below. This was only $195. 

This is a pair in excellent condition, picture from for what it will look like touched up, and the seller is L'Enfant from DC. $1,100 for the pair. Beautiful.

I saw a pair of Victorian boots, and I was mildly interested in them because last week, I was playing dress up and pretending to be Laura Ingalls Wilder. These boots would have been so appropriate for that moment. Actually, I bought two vintage skirts and I don't know how to wear them - I love the length and can't bear to cut them!
So here is a picture of me trying to style one of the skirts, hair and all. I husband and kids sometimes take out the popcorn, sit back and just watch me take off when I am in one of my creative moods. This is actually my back yard and I was collecting firewood. The farm behind me is real, and we have cows walking up and down everyday. I think the shoes above would have been great. Not quite Laura Ingalls but I had to make do with what was in my closet. You would not think that it was freezing outside, it was around 0 deg C (31 deg F) that day, hence the pained expression.

I love antique shopping, you can glean so much history from the things that people throw out of their houses.

Copycat: Dots On Dots

I came across Frills For Thrills' blog and decided to take part in her CopyCats challenge. One learns so much by copying others, just like art, students are encouraged to copy the works of masters.

I am a big big fan of Atlantic Pacific's blog and love how she is so daring with pattern, colour and I love how stylish she is. When I saw her wearing this combination I bought everything except the shoes because they were sold out. However, my favourite piece has got to be the Madewell sweater. I had never heard of them, being new in the USA, but I ended up buying a few other items on that site because it happened to be after Thanksgiving sales. The sweater was so popular that it sold out within days, I was keeping track of it and had to call around stores in DC to find out if they still had it. Fortunately, I was able to get a hold of one.

My outfit:

There are many things I do not own such as sunglasses and those two bracelets are the only accessories I own at this stage. Bree from Atlantic Pacific loves over accessorizing with chunky jewellery, a look which I also adore. The sunglasses are my husbands and they are his sports ones.  My shoes are making a re-appearance since I blogged about them previously. They are the only strappy heels I own.  Handbag is from Frye.

Thank you for letting me take part, Thrills and Frills!  Linking up here:

Frills for thrills copycats

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Inspired By Pinterest: Reptile Skirt

This skirt caught my eye on Pinterest because I have 3 yards of pink snake fabric that was given to me by a friend. I was intending to make them into pillows or decoupage a whole console with that but never got off my behind to do that. Until this skirt came along.

Let me tell you that sewing this skirt was a lot harder than I expected. I had never worked with such stretchy material before so it took me three cuts of the fabric to get it right. The first time, I put an old skirt over the fabric and cut it out. It resulted in a very poorly shaped skirt so I ditched it. The second time, I forgot to add in seam allowances. The third - oh I had to unpick the zip because the lining got caught in it. In the end, I am too tired to fix up any faults because there isn't anymore fabric left! I made the waist too loose so it will be on my agenda to fix.

I wore it with a black top at first and realised black is a difficult colour to photograph in. When I wear this skirt, I would very likely wear it with a black top.

I wanted to highlight the skirt more too so I swapped to a white top. 


In the picture, the gathering near the top of my waist is actually caused by my arm against it, but it is hard to tell what you look like when you put your camera on self timer.

My shoes - are new, another splurge during the Black Friday sales. I can't remember what I spent on it.

And just because I enjoy being a goof ball, here is my now customary "freak shot". Here I am a contortionist. I notice that in magazines, models like to pose like this and sometimes it makes them look double-limbed. I quite like that pose, crazy as it might seem.

Materials: free (except for the zip and interfacing)
Shoes: Joan and Circa
Top: Mango (white)

Thank you for reading, I enjoy sharing my projects with you!

Inspiration Monday: Blue and White Polka Dots

I am trying to be disciplined about my blogging but very often, life gets in the way. :) I turned 42 on Sunday but was down with a bout of food poisoning from Friday night. My youngest son was also sick, so we were recovering at home.

We had one very cold day where it went to minus 12 degrees Celcius (10 deg F) and it was so awesome to experience it. I had the fire going and the heater too but we might as well have been outside, it was freezing inside the house as well.

This week's inspiration photo is this: (Love Emily Blunt, by the way!) I like how she is so casual, and it looks like something I would wear on a warmer day.

I actually wore this out today to see a friend.

I am not too thrilled how my faux leather pants wrinkle horribly - what does that mean, that it is too large for me? I have been wearing a lot of these pants because they keep me so warm. My jeans alone do not help, I can feel the sting of the cold through them.

Shirt: Ebay $8
Sweater: Old Navy, bought during a sale and with a Groupon coupon $15
Faux Leather Pants: H&M $24
Boots: Ferragamo's, old, thrifted $40

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Inspiration Monday: Black, White And Red

I found out about Inspiration Monday, a fun challenge from Two Birds that a blogger friend of mine who lives in rainy sunny Singapore, mentions in her blog. Check out Mong's blog, I love her style of writing, and her creations are just so inspiring!

I have been too "active" in the shopping malls and one of my new year resolutions is to be more creative with my wardrobe in order to stop spending.  I was quite pleased with the outcome in the end because I forgot that I had this faux leather skirt that I bought over 20 years ago in Singapore. I have only ever worn it once or twice because the weather is too hot for heavier materials.  The challenge made me think about putting pieces together that I would have never otherwise considered.

Without further ado, this is the picture from last weeks' Inspiration Monday.

And here is my version:

The lighting is difficult indoors but it is so cold outside these days. This was taken in my bathroom! Shooting on a self timer is also not easy because you can't really see how you are standing which is why my eyes are elsewhere! It was below freezing the day I shot this. I like how Ashley Tisdale broke the black and white monochrome with a little pop of red.  At first I wanted to wear my red shirt outside but that would mean that red would be the dominant colour of my outfit. I don't know if I would wear this combination again because the shirt inside makes me look boxy and I had to define my waist with a belt.

One of the reasons I held on to this skirt was that it had a longer hemline at the back which I love.

Skirt - old
Top: Gap bought in 2008
Red Shirt: Thrifted $5
Belt: Came with a thrifted skirt
Shoes: The shoes are new, they arrived a day earlier and they are my first pair of black pumps, $24 Eitienne Aigner from (I also do not own a black handbag -  that is on my list of things to acquire this year)

I had fun doing this and I can see it being quite addictive!