Wednesday, June 18, 2014

DIY: Jazzed up terra cotta pots

A month odd has gone into propagating my pineapple tops. Only one has sprouted roots. 
The other has grown a few new baby leaves, but no roots. I thought maybe it's time to have it potted.

I'd purchased a couple of terra cotta pots a while back.
On a whim, I'd decided to spruce it up this afternoon.

So here's a simple DIY on how you can make one of your own too:

First, have a pot ready.

Plot up a design and stick tape onto areas where you don't want paint to go on.

Next, in a well-ventilated area, spray paint your pot. 
I don't have a picture of that process, but I reckon is straight forward enough. 
Once dried, you can start peeling off your tape to reveal your design.

Easy peasy and so pretty.

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Upcycled planter

You'd remember I'd two batches of rosemary I'd experimented with propagation. On the right, was my very first attempt. On the left, my second.
You can see how they're almost comparable in their root growth. I found it surprising how it took virtually less than a week for roots to propagate on my second attempt.
Must be how these clippings are less woody than my first.

Since they are ready to be potted, I thought to do a simple tutorial on how to upcycle the useless metal tins I have lying around the house. 

I chose this odd looking shaped one this time, which had a really horrid teddy bear motiff on it.
So obviously, I'm spray painting it gold - taking it from yucks, to lux.

If you, however, have a really good looking container, please feel free to keep it the way it is.
If you don't like gold, you can of course spray paint it any other colour you please.

You would want to do this outside as the fumes can be noxious.
Don't forget to line the ground you'll be spray painting on with newspapers, tarp, or the like.
Spray paint in layers, allowing each coat to dry before spraying on a new one.

The next tools you'll need are a hammer or a mallet, and a phillips head.

The idea is to punch holes through the base of your tin to allow for drainage.

Once you end up with something like this, you're ready to fill it up with soil.
Go ahead and punch more holes through if you like too. A little bit loud, but a very enjoyable activity.

I chose to place some charcoal at the base before piling on the soil to add to drainage. You can add stones if you prefer.

Once you're near the top, create a hole in the middle of your soil and carefully place your plant in. After that's done, cover your roots over with more soil and do a thorough watering to help your plant ease into its new environment.

Voila! Your plant has a new home.

Friday, May 23, 2014

Golden Hour

There was quite a sunset, couple days back. It bathed the entire flat in the most brilliant of golds. In fact, it bathed everything out of the flat too in gold.
The trees, the streets, the people, the vehicles, the everything. No other colour existed that evening. 

Got up to embroidering more couples' portraits. 
I'm not exactly sure what it is either but there's something about this medium that highly appeals to me.

As I've mentioned, I'm very thankful for May. There's finally some down time where I could work on my personal projects.
Can't say I've completed all that I had on my list (the list is ever growing), but I have definitely caught up with now that work has picked up again. 

Two items on that list are these new dresses:

Shapes Dress

Eyes On Me Dress

Expect them up on my etsy soon.

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Studio stills

It's a little bit more complicated than this, but let's just say I did some work for ACRE last week and got these Flensted mobiles as payment.
Two beautiful mobiles for making one of their clients a noren - pretty sweet deal if I should say so myself. 

I love the way they softly change and take on different shapes. Mesmerising to watch.

I thought to show you this side of my pretend studio too, since I hardly. This is my very first plant nook, before I'd decided to have another one nearer my sewing machines.

Current state of my machine table: Messy

Current state of my studio assistant: Slack/Cute

I'd also worked on an illustration commission for another wedding.
This time was something simpler;  thank you cards the couple wanted displayed on their reception table for guests to take home.

What thoughtful words and how cute of them to have stuck it on coloured popsicle sticks!

Thursday, May 15, 2014

Propating Propagation

Making roast for dinner tonight and I have all these rosemary and thyme left over. So obviously, I'm propagating them. The clear glassed ones are gonna be kept in my pretend studio, while I'll leave the brown mugs in the kitchen. Will be exciting to see which ones develop roots first.

My first batch of rosemary propagation experiment reveals it takes close to 2 weeks for any roots to sprout. I've put three branches in, and only this one took root. Even then, as you can see, it has only slightly developed.

Earlier in the week I'd received the wedding invite I did illustrations for.
The illustration is for the front of the invite and it came out absolutely beautifully on print.

P.S. I'm taking illustration commissions!
If you would like for me to illustrate your wedding invites too (or whatever, really), just hit me up at hello(at)graciechai(dot)com

Thursday, May 8, 2014

Still life

About work:

I embroidered a portrait of a couple who got married on Labour Day

 And dyed some silk yardage 

Then turned it into a custom dress 

I really like working with silk and feeling it against my skin as I sew.
I also really like dyeing yardage. It's the same method I'm doing, but results are unique every time.

 Here, keep me making more of these one of a kind dresses, guys

About plants I'm regenerating:

Carrot, Day 1
This was scrap from making stew last night. Just thought to give it a go. Greens are already growing, which is great.
I love fast growing plants. Sits well with my lack of patience.

Pineapple, Day 0
This is definitely on a whim. While running errands today, I came across a corridor garden and there was a pineapple plant with a tiny baby pineapple growing out of it.
Let's just say I was inspired and wanted one of my own.  

& Loki's little face watching me groove to MØ.
She's my new jam. Give her cover of Spice Girls' "Say You'll Be There" a listen.

Monday, May 5, 2014


I'm so glad May is here, because April was a killer busy month for me.

With work finally caught up on I can pick up my list of never ending personal projects again. Yippy-hurrah.

One of the items on that list is to learn how to photograph properly. So far I've just been winging it. But I think it's high time I actually understood all the dials and buttons / aperture and shutter speed business.

So I worked out a pretty ace deal with this talented friend of mine. I'd teach him how to hem his pants and he'll impart me some of his mad photography skills. I have yet to fulfil my side of the trade, but that's not my fault. Alex is a busy bee. He's so busy I can't even hyperlink his website/portfolio on here to show you how good he is cause he's yet to set it up real sweet.

Another thing I've been doing lately too is something like plant hoarding. I am serious about transforming my pretend studio into some sort of a jungle. This anthurium is my newest. I've also gone about the house collecting all sorts of useless metal tins lying around and spraying them gold and copper, repurposing them into planters.

Besides going out to nurseries/flea markets to purchase them, I've started regenerating plant scraps from our meals' preparations. You know, to save money. So far, I've got some beautiful sweet potato plants and garlic shoots sprouting up. Gave propagating plants a shot too. Mint has been wonderfully easy to do so. Within a few days, roots sprout. Rosemary is testing my patience a little. And I think I'm having no luck with seeds Jian and I've been given as a wedding present. Planted basil and dill for two weeks now, but nothing has happened. Do seeds die?

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Pretend Studio Life

1. This is what my workspace looks like, for those who ever were interested. It's a section off our bedroom, which I call my pretend studio. I've been filling it up with lots of plants lately.

2. Lights hang out with me quite a bit in my pretend studio. She's currently standing on the spot where I normally do my printing.

3. I bought a Siamese fighting fish to keep me company too recently. His name is Loki. He has a bigger bowl now and I've moved him from my plant shelf to my work desk (see first pic). I've even stuck a picture of Canada, which my friend has taken and given me on his trip, behind his bowl. It looks like he's swimming in the Green Lake. He's very happy in there blowing up a bubble nest.

4. This is Sybil. She's a prototype I made out of fabric scraps I'm left with. The wavy chevron dress is her favourite frock.

5. Lights and Sybil are buddies.

Saturday, February 15, 2014

Flowers everyday

The hubs got me some flowers today from the nursery down the road. I think I'm going to be filling my pretend studio up with lots of them from now on. They really light up a room.