Friday, August 21, 2009

English Rose Cast Ring

I've always admired this Royal Adderley English China floral bouquet my mom had in her bathroom. The dainty delicacy of the flowers would be hard to recreated with anything but china. I always wondered how I could wear those pretty flowers. With this truly amazing putty called Amazing Mold Putty and a little resin I figured it out a simple way to make a ring. Plus, once you have the mold cast, you can make as many as you want for friends!
What You Need:
  • Amazing Mold Putty (available at Michael's)
  • English Rose (I've found these at Goodwill lately but ebay has quite a selection as well)
  • Casting Resin
  • Resin Dye
  • Glitter (optional)
  • Ring back with flat disc attached
  • Super Glue
Directions:
  1. Mix two part putty then cast rose getting as much of the head of the rose as you can.
  2. Mix resin according to directions. Make sure to stir for long enough and pop bubbles that may arise. Add dye as well. I added a drop of red and a smidge of blue for a purple-y pink.
  3. Fill the amazing mold with resin. Drop a dollop of glitter in the middle. It will sink in to the top middle of the rose, which will be the bottom of the mold. Let cure overnight.
  4. Glue the rose to the disc on your ring using super glue or jewelry glue. Vive la rose!

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Macaron Magnet


Macaron Magnet vs. the real thing






 Everywhere I went in Paris there were lineups for the melt-in your mouth desserts invented by Pierre Desfontaines (grandson of Louis Ernest Laduree) at the beginning of the 20th century.  There was even a song on the radio called "Ca M'enerve" that complained about said lineups at Laduree.  Of course, I had to see what all the fuss was about.  Macarons are French desserts made of a delicate almond paste and sugar shell filled with ganache, usually butter or cream based, but sometimes jelly or caramel as well.  They look like little hamburgers.  They are pricey, ranging from 1.5 euros to 2.5 euros each (about $3).  Laduree, the most famous of the macaron toting patisseries, is located conveniently (and dangerously, I might add), on the very street where I was staying.  There, I found exotic flavors such as licorice, violet black currant, orange blossom, and their two most popular flavors- caramel and rose.  Up the street was Gerard Mulot, another famed patisserie, with even more daring flavors including ginger-pineapple and sage, tomato-poppyseed; bright yellows, creamy browns, deep plums, and rich cranberry colors filled the shelves in every flavor imaginable.  Even McDonalds got in on the macaron action with it's version the McMacaron served in it's McCafe.  I tried one in pistachio which was totally disgusting- freezer burnt and stale, but I had to give it a shot.  Then, my friend from high school, Alexis, brought me to Art Macaron on Boulevard Monparnasse, a totally different experience-  heavier and creamier with more filling yet still with a light as air shell.  You really only needed one to feel totally satisfied.  In the end, I'm not sure which was my favorite. I might need more time to research the subject.  I'll keep researching here in Venice.  With such fine macaron establishments as Jin Patisserie right around the corner, it won't be hard!

Macaron Magnets

What You'll Need:

  • Hot glue gun
  • Crayola Model Magic
  • Acrylic paints 
  • Brush
  • Lightweight spackle
  • Magnets                                                       
  • Directions:
  1. Make the macaron shells out of model magic.  Work quickly to form balls, then flatten into shells because Model Magic sets up really quickly- (within 10-15 minutes).  They will look like little sugar cookies at this stage.  
  2.  Wait for the shells to dry, then slather one side with the spackle.  Add the other shell to make a macaron.  Let dry over night.
  3. Paint shells and spackle with acrylic paints.  Let dry for 1 hour.  
  4. Hot-glue magnets to the back.  Voila!

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Antoine et Lili Bib



If you've ever been to an Antoine et Lili boutique, you would be struck by it's lively, colorful, ethnic, fun, yet somehow very Parisian style.  It makes you want to paint every wall in your house a different color and ban black from your wardrobe.  They sell only  women's clothing at most locations but at the location on the Canal St. Marten in Paris' 18th district there is a whimsical children's store where they sell children's clothes, great toys, geese lamps, and this yummy vintage car-print cheese cloth by the meter.  I had to get some.  It cost 4.5 euros for half a meter and is so wide that I would say it's a pretty good deal.  Check out this fun bib I made for the little angel baby complete with toy car!

What You Need:

  • Cheese Cloth (1/4 meter)
  • Clear Vinyl, (I used a package that a bed sheet had come in)
  • Sewing Machine
  • Toy Car
  • Velcro
Directions:

  1. Trace or freehand draw a bib.  Make it a little bigger than you imagine the final bib being- say 1/4- 1/2 inch bigger  all around depending on how much leeway you need for when you fold under the edges.  You could also use bias tape, but I find that it's easier to clean a bib without it because food gets stuck in the seam.
  2. Fold under edges and sew with the machine using a straight stitch.
  3. Sew the Velcro to the bib making a square around the edge of the Velcro.
  4. Cut a piece of vinyl that is wider and longer than half the bib and zig-zag stitch the top edge of the vinyl across half way down the bib across making a lane.
  5. Place a toy car under the vinyl and stitch the vinyl to the sides and bottom of the bib.




Friday, August 7, 2009

Catacombs

I learned French partly through a program called French in Action.There is an episode where they go to the Catacombs of Paris.  I'd always wanted to go and finally got my chance this trip.  It is a series of tunnels where they mined for the stone that many of the buildings are made of in Paris.  The tunnels are endless and cover a huge area below Paris.  A part of the the tunnels are dedicated to storing bones of overflowing cemeteries in the 1800s.  The bones were arranged in artful patterns and stacked into tapered pillars and curving walls.  Quite haunting and beautiful.



Sunday, August 2, 2009

Moschino Windows




Paris is not the city to be a window display artist in.  The approach is no frills- just merch and prices- truly uninspired for a city that is all about inspiration.  Except for one place- Moschino at 33, rue de Grenelle in the 7th district.  Feast your eyes on these amazing windows. They first photo where it is a room made out of fabric is so expertly sewn even the buttons on the phone were sewn on.  In the next windows, the life-sized marionettes are all made of wood.  Bravo Moschino!