christmas shopping at subtle details

November 6, 2010 § 3 Comments

This afternoon, I’m off to see my dear friend, Karen Pasieka, and her new little bundle of joy.  Karen is my muse and happens to be the very talented owner and artisan behind Subtle Details.

Li'l Décor ornaments: Trees and wreaths. Photos courtesy of Karen Pasieka, Subtle Details.

It is an inspiration every time Karen and I convene.  My love-turned-obsession for paper is understood by Karen in her equivalent passion for polymer clay.  Long, animated conversations often ensue about our latest creative endeavors.  And as always, I am captivated by the sight of every gorgeous little thing she makes out of polymer clay.  Her work is so original and delightful!

Li'l Décor ornaments: Sledding Snowmen "1st Christmas Together" and Snowman "Presents for me?". Photos courtesy of Karen Pasieka, Subtle Details

Christmas is around the corner and Karen is just the right person to meet for all the whimsical décor, trinkets, and gifts for some holiday shopping.  I wish you can have the same privilege as I do of being able to meet up with Karen in person, but if you are not in the Toronto area, you can pick up her creations at her Subtle Details Etsy Shop.  There you will find the most fun and creative ornaments, jewellery, and framed art that you’ve laid your eyes on!  You can also find her beautiful work at various retail stores across Canada.  For a full list, you can visit her website:

Li'l Bouquet pendants: Rose Medallion and Butterfly Blooms. Photos courtesy of Karen Pasieka, Subtle Details.

Li'l Art: "Poppies Pop!" and "Poppy". Photos courtesy of Karen Pasieka, Subtle Details.

Li'l ABC's. The Alphabet and the letter C. Karen is also happy to make custom framed names using her Li'l ABC's. Photos courtesy of Karen Pasieka, Subtle Details.

bean-by-number: turkish tiles

November 5, 2010 § 12 Comments

I hope you enjoyed the pictures of Istanbul’s İznik tiles in the previous post and can make sense of how my crazed bean art adventure last night resulted in the following design.Iznik tile-inspired bean art

As I mentioned in the previous post, I would like to create, over time, an assortment of crafts based on childhood art techniques.  What I didn’t mention is that, for a fraction of that assortment, I would like to design various bean-by-number crafts.  It’s exactly like paint-by-number, but with beans!   So, owing it to inspiring Istanbul, here is my first design of bean-by-number.  Go wild!bean-by-number turkish tile

Here is where you can download the bean-by-number sheet I’ve designed for you.  Listed is the sequence of beans I used, but it’s just a suggestion:

1. Red beans

2. Black turtle beans

3. Mung beans

4. Black-eyed peas

5. White navy beans

I reversed the red beans and mung beans for the second round as an alternate color scheme.iznik tile-inspired bean art

inspiring istanbul

November 5, 2010 § 13 Comments

I went a little crazy with yesterday’s corn kernel and pasta craft.  I had forgotten just how much fun it was to do those things.  An idea occurred to me that, over time, I should do a series of crafts based on childhood art techniques.  But I was so inspired, I couldn’t wait for the next time.  My enthusiasm caught me going wild with another bean art project before the day ended yesterday.  Before I show you the product of that adventure, I want to first show where the inspiration and adventure originated: Istanbul.Iznik Tile Topkapi Place

I had the privilege of visiting Istanbul with O.T. in August.  I had gotten adequately acquainted with Turkish culture long before planning the trip.  O.T. has schooled me on Turkey’s rich history, splendid sights, tempting culinary fare, and exotic language .  Even with all that homework, I was wide-eyed in awe as I witnessed it all firsthand. Iznik Tile Topkapi PalaceWhat took me most by surprise were the İznik tiles.  I had previously read about them in preparation for my trip, but reading books can no way  allow one to gauge the opulence and scale of these decorative works of art.  They are lavish!  There are buildings covered in every inch with these tiles, wall-to-wall, floor-to-ceiling.  I was so awestruck, I wanted to take pictures in front of every İznik tile pattern I crossed (to O.T.’s dismay who had gotten tired of taking pictures of me and tiles).  Here’s only a few of what I had seen at Topkapı Palace.  Now if you can imagine these tiles being multiplied a thousand fold, pattern after pattern, everywhere you look.  If these beauties do not inspire, I don’t know what would!Iznik Tile Topkapi PalaceIznik Tile Topkapi Palaceiznik tile Topkapi Palace

art of autumn grains

November 4, 2010 § 4 Comments

I teach several after-school and lunch-time programs throughout the week and have the good fortune of being in the company of young children on a daily basis, even just for an hour or two.  One of the many things I love about teaching is the free access pass to a labyrinth of art-clad school halls.  There’s nothing as refreshing to the eyes as beholding children’s work.

I realize, despite all of the technology and gadgets and gaming and software at a child’s fingertips, when it comes to kids, art doesn’t change.  In fact, it isn’t at all different from the art I used to make years back (okay, more like two to three decades back).  Kids are still making art from beans and pasta, as we did when we were kids, and as our kids’ kids will be doing.

I thought it would be fun to make bean art with a theme for fall —  appropriately, the harvest.  Now when it comes down to children’s art techniques, the subject is often forced to be as irrelevant as possible to the medium.  I remember when I was six years old, my bean art was of a galloping horse, its mane spiraling with mung beans.

For this craft, I felt it apropos to abandon our childhood paradigm of obliging imagination and, instead, make things out of what they really are.  Corn art out of corn.  And wheat art out of wheat (well, more technically speaking: pasta.  Semolina is really just a fancy name for wheat flour!).

I really had fun with this one!  It took me back decades.

carved squash centerpieces

November 2, 2010 § 42 Comments

Just when I thought I’d seen enough squashes and gourds adorning a Thanksgiving table, I came up with an idea of carving butternut squashes into beautiful flowers.  I’ve always fancied the butternut squash for its shape, color, and density (apart from being so incredibly delicious!).  Butternut squashes are adorably unique.  They also happen to have a substantial amount of flesh, are considerably less hollow than most gourds, and make for a divine base for carving.

What’s best is that butternut squashes are overly abundant and inexpensive this time of year.  I got mine at thirty-nine cents a pound.  I spent a miserly $2.40 on this entire centerpiece arrangement.   For a couple of bucks, half an hour of time, and a striking conversation piece, you absolutely cannot go wrong with this beautiful project.

You will need as many butternut squashes as you’d like and a paring knife.  I bought three medium-size squashes weighing two pounds each.  It takes only ten minutes to carve each one, so carve as many as your table and schedule can fit!  Just make sure these are carved on the morning of your party and kept in the fridge until your table is ready for setting.

1. Using a paring knife, peel the skin in six sections at about 1/8″ in thickness until you get to the bulb of the squash (about 3/4 down) and the peels are hanging.

2. Continue carving a second layer of six slices (petals).  It’s best to carve in such a way that the  peaks made by the previous cuts are now in the middle of the new cuts.

3. Carve a third layer of six petals.

4. Carve a fourth layer of six petals (by this time the petals are much smaller).  Cut the center flesh into a short stump.

5.  Carve the center until it is rounded.

harvest candy corn favor boxes

November 1, 2010 § 22 Comments

candy corn favor boxI started my blog days before Canadian Thanksgiving and agonize at having missed the opportunity to post some crafts for the holiday.  It’s a blessing that American Thanksgiving is still to come!  I like entitling myself to the double celebration of Thanksgiving each year, considering that three of the four most important people in my life live in America.  Every American Thanksgiving weekend has been spent at my parents’ in Michigan.  Having said that, my next few crafts may regrettably be a few weeks out of date for my beloved Canadians, but for my American family and friends, the crafts are just in season.

I hope you have an a-maize-ing time creating these delectable candy corn favors!

You will need scissors, good quality double-sided tape (I always use the ones with backing), and the following:

a. Corn patterned paper.  Don’t worry, I’ve done the designing for you!!  I am happy to provide the sheet here for free for you to download and print on cardstock.  Each sheet has two yellow corn patterns and two Indian corn patterns.  Kindly note that this sheet is only for your personal use. *Edit: I’ve had a special request for a black & white version of the corn pattern so that your little ones can color the kernels in, so you can upload the b&w version, too.  Thanks for the great suggestion, Bridget!*

b. Green and yellow crepe streamers.

c. Candy corn.

d. Yellow tissue paper.  Cut each sheet into quarters.  1 sheet (4 quarters) makes 2 favor boxes.

Now, to make this fun and easy project:

1. Using double-sided tape, roll the corn pattern into a tube.

2. Take the quarters of tissue paper and roll into balls.

3. Plug one end of the corn tube with a ball of tissue paper, then fill with candy corn, and plug the other end with a second ball of tissue paper.

4. Cut your streamers into 5-1/2″, 6-1/2″, and 7″ strips and shape into husks.  Each corn will need two 5-1/2″ strips, two 6-1/2″ strips, and one 7″ strip.  I used green streamer for the yellow corn and yellow streamer for the Indian corn.

5. Using double-sided tape, arrange and adhere the husks to cover the bottom of the tube entirely, the sides of the tube, and the top of the tube partially.

Where Am I?

You are currently viewing the archives for November, 2010 at paper, plate, and plane.

%d bloggers like this: