Monday, 26 November 2012

Relationships, asking for help and a little DIY

Planning a wedding forces you to stretch your resources. And I’m not just talking finances (though those will be thoroughly stretched, my wallet misses money *sigh*). You’ll also be stretched emotionally, physically (because of all the running around...but sadly in my case I've also stretched width-wise) and relationally, for lack of a better term. I'm pretty self-reliant and my biggest challenge in this whole wedding planning process is realising that I can’t go it alone… I actually have to RELY on people. Some people will let me down and some will go over and above anything I’d ask of them, but like it or not I have to let people in.

So for the woman who HATES asking for help, in this season of my life I find myself calling in a lot of favours/making several withdrawals in a lot of my relationship love banks. It’s been hard for me to do but I have been pleasantly surprised by how much people are willing to help. I’m glad I took the plunge and reached out. Thanks Girro, Dj Panda, Director Chrome Dome, the Village, Japanese Songbird, the pub formerly known as the Black Pearl and all other people who've taken up stuff/ agreed to be bullied/ volunteered to help out. You guys are AWESOME and I shall revenge appropriately.

That being said, today’s quick DIY is a gift/bribe for a group of people who are going to deal with a lot during this season…my bridesmaids. PS I made them agree to formal terms and conditions (wink wink Mad Genius); they are now contractually bound to love & accept me even if I’m infected by bridezilla-coccus; a viscous bacteria that for some reason commonly affects brides. Symptoms include mild panic attacks, the delusion that everything revolves around the patient, obsessions with colour schemes and emotional outbursts. They are also contractually bound to help me craft my various DIY projects- case in point the flowers they'll be helping me make.

Anywho, since we are meeting next weekend to craft things, I thought I’d give them a little…“I love you now get to work” present (you know I love you girls). It’s pretty simple; we did this with the 4H club yes 4H not 4K, and saw it recently on Pinterest. What we called wavy band back then I now find out is called rick-rack. 
You can check out the tutorials that inspired this: thecraftingchicks prismrosedesigns and missfancypants.

What you’ll need

  1. Rick-rack: found in a variety of colours and are very cheap. I got 7 meters for Kshs 150/= on Biashara street.
  2. Felt- again you can buy a small roll for Kshs 150/= there is no point buying it by the metre that’s too much.
  3. Scissors
  4. Needle and thread/Hot glue/ fabric glue or if you have one, a sewing machine
  5. Alligator clips- or any kind of hair clip you think can work3. I got these on the street for Kshs 50/=

Step 1
Interlock the rick-rack

Step 2
Glue/ stitch it in place so it doesn't move

PS steps 1 & 2 are optional, you can still make a flower with the rick-rack as is but I prefer how this one turns out.

 Step 3
Cut out a felt circle slightly bigger than your alligator clip.

Step 4
Roll the glued/stitched rick-raw. You’ll begin to see the flower immediately. I dabbed a little hot glue between layers to secure it in place as an extra precaution. It will now kind of resemble a closed rose, so use your fingers to open out the outer edges.

Step 5
Glue your flower to the felt then glue your clip to the other side of the felt. You can also glue a safety pin and make it a brooch instead.

 I added a fake leaf on some because the back looked pretty messy… mishaps with my glue gun.

And the final result…. Tada! (sorry I took these on my blackberry, didn't come out so clear, will try again and post new pics later)

Step 6
Get gorgeous model, let’s call her mum, to put one on and pose for you.

PS this is very easy to do, did 4 flowers in one episode of Castle…love that show! Then again I've loved Nathan Fillion since he did Dr. Horrible's Sing-Along Blog and would watch anything he's in. 


Monday, 12 November 2012

It's a Shoe in

So last week Wednesday I got a call from the lady making my dress asking me to go in for a fitting on Saturday. She asked me to carry the shoes I’d be wearing on the big day so that we could determine the right length of the dress.

Panic ensued seeing as I hadn't given much thought to my shoes (the horror!). I knew I wanted comfortable shoes, a low heel, something cute (that really narrows it down right?) but hadn't taken time to shop around. I should add at this point that I hate shoe shopping (mirror shatters and a French woman standing in the corner faints)…Sad but true. I've only really enjoyed it once when Mr. Right treated me to a spree. I have short wide feet and ladies shoes are designed on the premise that no girl in the world ever inherits her dad’s feet *sigh*.  So I spent my Wednesday lunch break looking around and was reminded once again about my bitter rivalry with the shoe industry (a fierce war that has resulted in a lot of sore feet, broken heels, sweat and tears).

Girro, aka big sis, suggested I check out the wedges at Mr. P. Granted nothing in there looked remotely ‘weddingy’ but they were super comfortable and I spotted a pair at a great price (Kshs 1,600/=). I then got the brilliant idea (yeah all my ideas are brilliant, deal with it) to buy them then change them up to something more befitting the occasion. I'm a musical gal and had wanted either ruby-slipper inspired shoes (bring out the red glitter) or sparkly –silvery-Cinderella shoes (confessions of a girly musical-holic).

So welcome to an exciting episode of PIMP MY SHOES. (Do you think I could get Xzibit to endorse this post?).

 What you’ll need:
  1. Acrylic paint- they come in all kinds of colours, can be diluted in water but once dry become water resistant. I used fabric paint which is basically acrylic paint with a kind of binder that makes it better adapted for cloth). I couldn’t find silver L but bought a pearl white and pearl steel grey and think together I can make the colour I want. You can get these from Kshs 100-150 at Sciencescope, TBC, all those shops on Biashara Street that sell thread, buttons etc.
  2. Paintbrush/sponge
  3. masking tape
  4. any kind of embellishment you want to add and fabric glue ( I added lace appliqué and diamante and used my trusty wood glue).

The fun thing about this is you can pimp out any shoes you have, wedding or no wedding. So how I did it…

I took off the bow on the front of the shoe (saved it because I decided to use it on the back instead).


Stuck masking tape on the parts I didn’t want t get paint on.

Applied my first layer of paint and left it to dry overnight. I used the pearl white on the outside of the shoe and a mix of the white and steel for the inner sole.  Painted the bows the same colour as the inner sole.

I added another two more layers of paint (didn’t want the blue to show through) but with a darker colour you need less layers (e.g the steel grey hardly needed a second layer). Let the shoe dry before applying a new layer. 

I then cut up some lace to get the flowers. You can buy a meter of this stuff for anything from Kshs 50/= to Kshs 750/= depending on the design you want in a store called Scooters on Biashara street. Or you can buy individual flower appliqués in Buttons& Bows at Yaya Centre. I got my meter of  lace for Kshs 120/- and it has lots of flowers so I’m happy. I also got some blue bling (a pack is Kshs 75/=) to add on. These come in a variety of colours. I really wanted the clear bling but for some strange reason ended up picking the blue one.  But I think it turned out nice. I smiled at the shop attendant and he threw in 2 butterflies for me, woop woop! Who says charm won’t get you far in life?

I applied the glue on the flowers/bling and stuck them on the shoe. You should probably plan the layout but I just went with the flow. I only did it on one side of the shoe, think it looks better that way.

I then stuck the bows I’d taken off the front (which are now painted silver) and stuck them on the back using my trusty hot glue gun…I’m sure you could stitch them on but that would be too much work J.


And there you have it…a pimped out shoe. Hardcore! Hehehe. It’s not the hottest shoe out there but I kinda like the idea of wearing a comfy custom-made shoe that is signature-me.

Still haven’t decided what to do with the sole/wedge. Either going to cover it with a silvery lace or silver glitter…only time will tell. But for now let me show you a fun way you can customise any shoe you have…I saw a sticker like this on a shoe and thought it was adorable. Decided to replicate it using glitter glue. You can get a bottle for Kshs 120/- at Sciencescope or TBC…and it can fulfil your something blue quota J

So my parting shot…


Monday, 5 November 2012

Paper Trail

Flowers can be a major expense at your wedding and when I first saw how much they cost I wondered whether I want them at all. I get it, flowers are pretty...the colours, the smells, the bees...How can I NOT have them right?! But for some crazy reason I decided I don't want to be broke after the wedding so chose to let go of non-essential expenses and were the first things to go. Say what?! 

"But Acutie! What will you hold when walking down the isle?

 Great question, thanks for asking (you know you wanted to...inception) . It is one I asked myself as well and great minds...

Anyway, in theatre we are always substituting 'real things' with stage props that look like the real deal and I figured I could do the same thing at my wedding. So today I'm going to show you how you can make all the flowers you need at your wedding for less than Kshs 5000/= . The Magic word is.... Paper. (Ok I said the magic WORD and realised there are other words just as magical like fabric and buttons etc but it isn't as dramatic when you say magic words so let's stick to word for today)

Now before I begin I must put down some caveats:
  1. This will take time- DIY brides who want to go this route, start early to avoid stress. The great thing about paper flowers is that you can make them then store away for months.
  2. Get help. Once you get an assembly line going you can be done in no time. A huge chunk of my flowers are done thanks to the help of an incredible woman, let's call her Maua, who committed to make just 3 flowers for me everyday in October. She's amazing!
  3. This will be a two part post because there are soooo many different types of flowers to make. Some super easy some difficult but if I put them all in one post it will go on FOREVER!
But you know what, as much as I have addressed would be brides, anyone can churn out a paper bouquet for their home. They are easy to make and would be a cool addition to any room or as fun accessories at parties e.g. I made these boutonnières/hair thingys for the choubobo's aka the Deeva's birthday from cupcake (ie queencake) papers. 

SO what you will need:

  • Paper- and I'm talking anything, newspaper, old magazines with really cool people on the cover, serviettes, crepe paper, tissue paper, origami paper etc. You can get a pack of 5 tissue/crepe paper sheets from textbook centre for Kshs 100/=
  • Scissors
  • Glue (for some flowers)
  • Floral tape (unfortunately I have run out of mine but will buy some today and update the post with a pic. I get mine for 150/= at a floral boutique in the CBD near city market  that's been around forever!). This stuff is VERY useful and makes your flowers stalks look realistic.
  • Wood skewers/ mshikaki sticks; (you can get a pack of 100 for Kshs 150/= or less in the supermarket. 100 skewers= 100 or 200 flowers depending on how long you want the stalk).
  • Floral/jewellery wire-optional (Kshs 200/= a roll)

So today i'll be making 4 types of flowers that are fairly simple.

Poppies- tissue paper- total time 8 mins

  1. Trace and cut out circles from your crepe paper
  2. fold paper in half then quarter and snip the corner (just a bit) to create hole in centre of the papers)
  3. Roll piece of foil and place in centre of black crepe paper
  4. Wrap black paper round wood skewer. Secure with floral tape or wire.
  5. insert skewer through centre hole and secure with floral tape. 

Peonies type 1/Pompom flower- tissue paper. Total time 5 minutes

  1. Stack your paper and fold it accordion style. I did mine in a hurry and you can tell (shame on me). The neater your folds the better the look of the flower so take your time after all haraka haraka huharibu maua. I'm pretty sure it went something like that.
  2. Fold your accordion in half and secure the centre with a little floral wire (you can staple it instead or use thread).
  3. Cut the corners into either a triangle or a rounded edge (i did both but prefer the sharp edge).
  4. Very carefully and GENTLY (tissue tears easily), separate the layers of the tissue paper from one another and begin pulling them apart. I put total time as 8 mins because of this part. Don't rush and be done in 5 minutes like me. You should take time froofing them (froofing is a highly technical term not present in most dictionaries due to its use in only highly sophisticated circles. Welcome to the club). 
  5. Once your flower is properly froofed, attach it to your skewer using the hanging floral wire/string and secure it with floral tape. 

I realise my tutorial is over-simplified. For more details check out this tutorial from Martha Stewart  It's for paper pompoms but picture the flower as half a pom pom :-)

Origami Kusudama flower- total time 10-15 mins
If you don't have a cool Japanese songbird who can send you origami paper from Japan, fear not! You can make these from any paper cut into 3" or 6" squares.  Ok for this one the best thing is just follow the folds. It's a hard tutorial to describe in words. 

  1. Get a friend in Japan or find a piece of paper and cut it into a perfect square.
  2. Get a pedicure so that any pics of your nails appearing in a tutorial look good and not...well like mine.
  3. Fold in half- corner to corner, and crease firmly. A Triangle is formed.
  4. With the open end facing away from you, take both bottom corners of the triangle and bring them up to the top-centre point forming a diamond on each side.
  5. Fold the centre edges (both sides of the paper that meet in the middle of the diamond) in half to meet the outer edges, creating points that protrude from the diamond to the right and left sides.
  6. Open these folds completely, and  flatten then in the middle to form another diamond shape.
  7. Bring the top points of your outer diamonds down into your fold tuck them into the back of the diamond.
  8.  Bring the edge folds together to meet in the middle- don’t fold to form a crease rather a rounded edge. Put glue on one side of the inner folds, and then hold them together (using pegs, paper clips etc) while it dries.  
  9. Once those are relatively dry, you can glue them one at a time to the wood skewer.  I made four petals but this looks better with five.

I think that's it for today...happy crafting. 

I should come up with a signature sign off like umm... To artistry and beyond! or until next time snip snip snip (sounds wrong). Ok how about until next time look around and find the artist within (profound? yes-no?). Ooooh how about bye guys! You know keep is simple...but what's signature about that? hmm... go ethnic Kwaheri Wasanii! This definitely needs work.

By the way my paper flower craze started when I saw this newspaper bouquet. Check out the tutorial here

Enjoy making the flowers.

Craft awaaaaaaay! - Yes?