Beautiful Ballerinas

When I think of the word ballerina, a few images come to mind. Beauty. Poise. Grace. It is no wonder so many parents enroll their little girls (or boys for that matter) in ballet classes. For the child, it’s a chance to play dress-up and dance around the room to music. For the adult, it’s the opportunity to live vicariously through those moments. Go on, admit it.

My mom was a dancer until her late teens. There are several pictures of her en pointe, tulle tutu sticking stiffly out around her. I too was enrolled in ballet; mom took me to buy the shoes and she patiently worked with gauzy chiffon to sew me my first dance skirt. I remember wearing these to grandpa’s house because I was insistent in showing him my steps. He was so proud, but maybe some of that pride was remembering another little dancer – my mom – when she was young.

I ended my ballet early on though; I told my mom the change room was stuffy and stunk and I didn’t want to go back. So we focused on ice skating and swimming. But every once in a while I think about trying an adult ballet class to improve elements common in dancers of the genre: Poise and Grace.
Even the word Ballet contains a certain degree of beauty in the height and rhythm of the letters: up for b, down for a, then two stilts in the middle like dancer’s legs for the l’s, down again for e and finally up for the t. Up, down, up-up, down, up. Sort of like skipping along.

Now say it with me….”Ballet…I’m going to the ballet.” You drew out the second syllable and gave it a slight French air at the end, didn’t you? 
This week I found some lovely ballerina fabric in two colours: yellow and purple. It also comes in pink, but it wasn’t in stock (not surprised). And so I’m working on designing a dress that showcases both the fabric and those three hallmark elements: Beauty. Poise. Grace; while still being functional enough for every day wear.

Because if I were still a little girl, I’d want to feel like a ballerina as often as possible.

Another Beautiful Idea - September 25, 2012

Loving the colours and grouping of this series of photographs. The way they are formatted around the corners remind me of drink coasters.
Making your own drink coasters is not difficult to do. First, decide on your images. They should be ones that work well as square shapes, since the coaster itself will be square. Then, gather the following:
  • good quality paper. This doesn't have to be photo paper, but it should be colour fast and sturdier than regular every day printing paper. Opt for a matte finish though instead of a glossy one (unless you want super glossy coasters). 
  • paper trimmer. You can use scissors, but I find a paper trimmer works easier and gives a straighter line (mine is laser guided).
  • Modge Podge for outdoors. This is specifically made for moisture, which drink coasters tend to attract.
  • foam brushes for spreading on the Modge Podge.
  • spray adhesive. This is optional, but if you spray the tiles first and press the photos on before applying the Modge Podge, they stay in place better.
  • spray sealant. Again, this is optional. Modge Podge for outdoors has a built in sealant, but it doesn’t hurt to give them an extra coat. I use a matte finish, and it helps cut down the sheen that Modge Podge sometimes leaves behind when it dries.
  • square tiles from a home improvement store. Home Depot, Rona and Lowe’s are have a good section of square tiles. The best ones I’ve used are a non-glazed, porous stone tile. I find they absorb more of the Modge Podge and sealant.
  • fuzzy feet. Okay, they’re not really called fuzzy feet. They’re those little fuzzy felt sticky things you peel and stick on the inside of your cupboard doors so that they close softly, or on the bottom of a jewelry box so that it doesn’t scratch the top of the dresser. They also come in clear acrylic.
There are several photo editing tools available. I use Picasa by Google to crop my photos and muck around with border options. Once you have your photos set up, print them out. Be sure the ink has dried thoroughly.
Trim down any white edges and bits so that all you’re left with are your photo squares. Lay out your tiles and lightly spray with the adhesive. Carefully place your photos onto the tiles and press down, ensuring there are no bubbles. Following the label instructions, coat the surface of the photos with the Modge Podge. You may need to do more than one coat.
After the tiles have dried, spray a thin coat of the sealant to the backs of the tiles and allow to dry. Add the fuzzy feet to the bottoms of the tiles and turn over. Lightly spray the tops of the coasters and allow to dry again.
Once dry, smile and admire your handywork. Then pour yourself a glass of wine and test run the coasters. To ensure quality, you may need more than one glass of wine.

Adding Sparkle to your Tresses

I have long dark hair, much to my partner "Mr. Dashing" (just call me "Rather" he says with a charming grin)’s delight. He takes great pleasure in running it through his hands and wrapping it around his fingers. And truth be told, I take delight in this too.

For the most part, I am content with my dark, rich, waves and locks. However, there are often days when there is not enough time (or not enough energy) to spend on my hair each morning. Having a background in hospitality / food services originally, more times than not my hair is tied back and off my face. I just think better that way. At which point I promptly forget about it for the rest of the day.

But that can be boring. As a creative person, boring is not optimal. So here are a few ideas on how to bring some sparkle to your summer tresses, whether they be long or short.

Little Bit of Lovely - version 2.2

look what's blooming in the garden!

I hadn't been out to for a walk-around for a couple days. But this morning a leisurely Sunday saunter with a cup of tea seemed like a nice idea. what a nice surprise to see a favourite rose bush putting on a beautiful display.

This rose bush produces tight, buds that open fully. The flowers usually last quite awhile but the petals fade from the true pink to the soft blush shown in the picture. I like them when they are fully open, and I'll pick three or four to arrange in a shallow bowl for the table on the veranda, maybe with a little ivy or some variegated hosta leaves for greenery.

When the rose is completely open, it has a delicate fragrance. In the evenings, framed by a few low candles or tea lights.....just lovely.

Unfortunately, after several moves around the garden, the identification tag has gone missing. So I can't tell you the name of the rose bush. It may be a peace rose of some sort, but I can't be 100% certain. However, not knowing the name doesn't make it any less lovely. "What is in a name? That which we call a rose by any other name would smell as sweet". Ah yes Juliet, you were onto something there.

Hope you are enjoying your Sunday as well.

Today on Etsy - September 15, 2012

Have you ever received a simple card for no particular reason? It's not your birthday, it's not Valentine's Day or Mother's Day or any of the other "days" that Hallmark feels we need to give a card for in order to celebrate. It's just a simple, ordinary day. You're going about your own business. And then someone hands you an envelope. And inside you find one of these sweet little cards, perfect for "just because" or "thank-you for being you"; brought to you by factorygirlashli.
Sometimes, there doesn't need to be a reason.
Sometimes, less is indeed more.

Today on Etsy - September 14, 2012

What a great idea ! Perfect for when you want to carry your laptop in a backpack or bigger bag, or if you want the protection but not the hassle of a huge laptop bag.
I think there are two ways to go about making one of these. The first (and I think what's been done here by multidimentionality) is to actually knit the pouch to fit the laptop. This allows you to choose colour and pattern.
The second (and what I ended up doing for mine) was to take an old sweater and sew one together. I found (bought) a nice medium grey one at the local thrift store, washed it and cut off the sleeves. Then I opened up the sides and shoulders and took off the neck. Essentially, this left me with two big squares. On the wrong side of on of the squares, I placed the laptop in the center, folded the bottom part up and over the laptop so that the sides met and the laptop was just covered. Then I measured how wide I wanted the pouch to be. Still working on the wrong side on the square,  I attached a hot pink satin lining. Next, I pinned the sides in place and machine stitched the sides to make the perfect sized laptop pouch. Turned the pouch right side out. The top part of the square I folded under a bit and then down to make the flap. Attached a button to the outside of the pouch and pushed it through the flap so that it closed.
It doesn't look exactly like the one in the picture, but I still get lots of compliments on it and it was a great way to use an old sweater.

Today on Etsy - September 12, 2012

okay, maybe this came from Etsy...maybe it didn't. I can't remember. I can't find it on Etsy under my "Favourites"...I've searched through all 45 pages.
But I like the rustic-ness (is that a word?) of the linen fabric in contrast with the delicate elegance of the buttons and lace-like embroidery.

And the neutral colour would go with a number of different springs to mind. Or navy blue. Or sage green and cream.

So enjoy, be inspired...see you tomorrow !
* * Update - March 13, 2013...... I found it ! the pillows pictures are offered by Urvi Agrawal of The Home Centric. And I am happy to report I have bought a few pillows from this online Etsy store now (both for my place and for friends as gifts), and they are all beautiful. I have linked the included photo back to the item available, but hurry before it's gone...or I decide it needs to come live at my place.
And so again, enjoy!

Today on Etsy - September 08, 2012

Today's Etsy find is the fine leather craftsmanship of EightSeasons and their beautiful floral leather bags.

Each bag is made by hand and takes 2-3 weeks to complete.

There is also one offered in red, if you are looking for something or dramatic and in a cheerful fall colour.

Gorgeousness !

Today on Etsy - September 05, 2012

Today’s Etsy find is the SUPER adorable Dr. Seuss inspired knitted hat from sweetpeatoad. Great for photos, for dress up, for Halloween.

All together now… awwwww !

All a Twitter

Today I'm having a look through some images I've saved. I'm in the process of cleaning up my computer to get ready to transfer everything over to a NEW computer.

Here is a really cute idea I found it on Pinterest. No recognition was given to the original post, twenty links later.

I like this idea for several reasons. The bag in itself is a great gift. But use the bag as a way to give another gift inside and you know that scores big bonus points with me. The bag can be used as a book bag, to carry a pair of slippers (am I the only one who still does that? Has a pair of slippers in the car for when visiting? Then again, I also have a pair of flip flops in the car for impromptu pedicures).

I'm inspired to make some of these bags to put baked goods in; of course wrapping the baking first in cellophane so that it won't stain the cloth bag. This idea would also work well in a Christmas theme to give away treats at the office, to the neighbor, the postman, the piano teacher..... oh, think of all the possibilities.

I will see if I get around to making some this weekend. If I do, I'll be sure to post photos of the process so that you can make your own.

Today on Etsy - September 02, 2012

Today's find is this set of adorable magnet buttons by misschief. Made from beautiful patterned washi chiyogami papers from Japan. They have me dreaming of spring!

Several different styles and patterns are available. What a great little hostess gift.

Today on Etsy - September 01, 2012

So it's the start to a new school year. Well, it will be on Tuesday the 04th, anyhow. To celebrate, I am starting a new feature called "Today on Etsy". Essentially, it will be a short post with something lovely that I have found on Etsy. Some of these items will be coming to live with me, some of them I will just crave and covet from afar.

Some days I will add text and talk about the item and the story behind it. Some days I will just keep quiet and let you enjoy. I welcome your comments. Thumbs Up? or Thumbs Down? AND....if you purchase the item, leave a comment below about the item once you receive it.

And of course, some items will be more popular; which means an item might be sold before you are able to get to it. While this will not be my fault, I do feel your pain.

To start, here is a sweet little hat from happydayvintage.