Pablo Garcia – A Brief History of Drawing Machines, Since 1425

Although I haven’t watched the entire talk as it’s quite long, I found this to be very interesting which allowed me new insight to the concept of drawing machine.

Having employed this idea in some of my work, and still considering exploring drawing machines further, I found this video to allow me to analyze the concept while also questioning why I am so interested in them in the first place. What is so attractive about them? Why am I so intrigued by something that produces something else?

http://video.mit.edu/embed/26876/

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Making Scented Candles

Candle wax is a fascinating substance. I used to spend hours playing with a lit candle, dipping my finger into the hot wax, feeling it cool and then peel it off. On the assumption that candle wax would be a fun and interesting material to manipulate, I had done a couple of candles way back when I was much younger.

Lately my interest in candles has been rekindled (pun intended), mostly because of this blog. For the purpose of this post I decided to make a scented candle. The process was as follows.

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Things needed:

a clean empty jar,

some candles,

essential oil (your preferred scent),

a toothpick,

a piece of string.

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Method

Tie a piece of string to a toothpick and let it rest on top of the jar. Make sure that it touches the bottom from the other side.

Fill a pot with water and heat. Place the candle wax inside another pot, and place inside the pot of water. Heat until all candle wax has melted. Add essential oil and stir.

Pour the melted wax into the jar. Once the wax had set and started to cool, I sprinkled some beads on it. Allow to cool entirely, and then trim the wick. Use the lid to close the candle when not in use.

Always remember to be extra careful when working with candle wax. It is an extremely flammable substance, and it should never be left melting unattended.

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Mid-season wardrobe therapy

“Chunky and cosy” no longer sounds as good as “light and summery” during this time of year. Time to get those blacks and grays out of my sight and bring out the summer dresses.¬†But before packing my winter clothes away and taking out my summer ones, my aim for this summer is to get rid of a large chunk of my wardrobe, for peace of mind’s sake. I am donating some to friends, and the rest I will give to charity. I dream of a minimal wardrobe with only the things I love, and a little extra space for newly purchased clothes.

Getting rid of your clothes

When you’re in your teens you buy anything you fall in love with at first sight, whether it fits your body style and whether it is good or bad quality. It really doesn’t matter. As you start to reach your late twenties (like yours truly) you start to cringe at some of your purchases. I have been removing excess clothes year after year, but this year I want to outdo myself.

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You hear a lot of advice about how to throw away stuff from your wardrobe, but unfortunately you cannot stick to one equation. If you really love your clothes, you have a story attached to each and every one of them. You know the exact time and place where you got them, and even the places that you wore them to, so it can be difficult to get rid of them (unless you’ve never worn them!) Then there are emotional attachments such as clothes belonging to family members, vintage clothing, clothes bought from awesome holidays abroad etc.. etc.. Emotional clothing that you never wear should just be stored away in a box somewhere. These are memories, not practical clothes, so they’re only taking up space in your wardrobe. As for other clothes that have no emotional attachment, I usually store them away for a season, or more (if I really cannot depart from them). If I don’t miss them, I donate them. If I miss them (and so far, I never did) I bring them back to the wardrobe.

My mum told me recently, “Don’t buy any new clothes unless you remove an item you already have.” I actually think this is one the best advice I’ve heard with regards to throwing away old clothes, plus when I get the courage to remove something, I end up removing more than one, which is good of course.

This year I have accepted that certain clothes that won’t fit me now will have to go. If I lose weight, it’ll be an excuse to buy new clothes. I have also accepted that clothes that do not suit my shape, no matter how expensive or beautiful they are, will be given away to friends who have a more suitable body type. Plus it’s nice to see one’s unused clothes being loved and worn by someone else!

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My wardrobe mid-organisation.. still a long way to go

Organising

Prior to organising your wardrobe, make sure you have good storage boxes and good quality hangers (I like the wooden ones). It’s no use buying high quality clothes when you cannot take care of them properly. I usually treat my everyday / indoor clothes differently from the rest. Although I still fold them and store them neatly, I don’t like to show them off. I want to feel good when I look at my closet, so I want to look at my best clothes, not my crappy ones! A good idea is to put clothes that need fixing aside, this can be anything from missing buttons, broken zippers, even ironing.. and don’t hang them before they’re good to go.

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Beautiful storage boxes to store away the little things.

Organise your clothes by occasion rather than by shape and item. It makes choosing outfits easier when you’re in a hurry.

Decide what to hang and what to fold wisely. Items such as jeans for instance, are good for folding, so don’t waste any hanging space on them. Other items might need ironing if folded, and certain tops lose their shape when hung. You usually know what to hang and what to fold by the way they are displayed in the store, but this is not always the case, and with online shopping it’s a complete guess. Although common sense should tell you whether the clothing material will wrinkle quickly or not.

accessories

The top drawer is great for organising accessories (although I still need to go through mine, sorting through accessories is another story altogether!) Bottom one is great for trousers that tend to crease, and delicate scarves.

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Got most of these sunglasses for around 50 Euro cents form a car boot sale, old luggage/box also from the car boot sale, and it seemed the perfect place to store these.

Decorating

Some people like to decorate their closet and wardrobe by hanging¬†jewelry¬†and scarves to make it more feminine and decorative. I would be very careful because this process is exactly like setting up a still life or designing a display. When you see these kinds of things on magazines, they are done by a professional, so if you’re the kind of person who is prone to clutter, just put it all away, save for an item or two.

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This is my decorative corner, where I keep a fresh water pearl necklace; a gift from my mum, some purfumes, a Man Ray postcard and a frame that I got from ‘Patches’ a local hand-made & vintage market.

I’ve read tons of articles about how to organise one’s wardrobe and the phrase I keep reading over and over again is ‘Keep what makes you happy, throw away the rest.’ I think this sums up everything nicely; if you find yourself being annoyed at certain items, put them away for a while. It will clear your wardrobe, and your mindūüôā

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http://health.wikinut.com/img/2bmwf6h3kk71jgbn/vegetable-juices

Detoxifying Drink: Cleanse and detox your body with this delicious and easy to make juice

This juice does not only cleanse your body but it is also packed with beneficial vitamins and minerals.  A   perfect drink for the  warm coming days, due to its colour, freshness and sweet taste.  The carrots and grapes provide plenty of natural sweetness, which match perfectly with the mild  pungent taste of the celery and the  crisp scent of   parsley. When juicing your herbs, do not remove their individual stalks since they are full of flavour and nutrients.  We suggest that you drink this juice regularly to give your system a complete clean-out and to  keep  light and fit, so you can feel more comfortable in  your favourite summer dresses and swimsuit.  Serve this drink cold and decorate with some celery sticks (to stir). Sip it on a deckchair by the pool while enjoying the sun and a favourite book or a magazine.

To make 1 large or 2 small glasses

Ingredients 

1 celery stick

300g/11oz carrots

150g/50z green grapes

several large sprigs of parsley

celery or carrot sticks, to serve

Method 

1. Using a sharp knife, roughly chop the celery, carrots and grapes through a juicer, then add the parsley sprigs. Add the remaining celery, carrots and grapes in the same way and juice until thoroughly combined.

2. Pour into one or two glasses and serve with celery or carrot stick stirrers.

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Enjoy other juices and smoothies recipes in this book: Juicing smoothies & blended drinks by Suzannah Olivier and Joanna Farrow

Other related links: http://my.blackmores.com.au/fitness-nutrition/detox-juices.html

http://www.thekitchn.com/5-healthy-juice-recipes-to-kickstart-your-new-year-182093

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Festa Frawli : A Feast of Strawberries!

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Sunday 14th April was a very special day, not in the sense that it was anyone’s birthday or anniversary, but special in the way that it attracts a great deal of locals, and no wonder!

Festa Frawli (translated into Strawberry Feast) is literally a feast dedicated to one of everyone’s favourite fruits. During this day long celebration one can find all sorts of things made from strawberries, including ice cream, jams, cakes, and weirdly even sushi! There was also a stall selling candles and bath soaps made from strawberries, which is a refreshing different product from the abundance of food.

My only disappointment is that I could not find the delicious strawberry wine I love.

Delicious strawberry ravioli

Delicious strawberry ravioli

I had to try the ravioli with some strawberry sorbet

I had to try the ravioli with some strawberry sorbet

Strawberry jam

Strawberry jam

Strawberry soaps and candles

Strawberry soaps and candles

Strawberry memorabilia

Strawberry memorabilia

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The shoemaker – beautifully crafted shoes made by my late grandfather

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My grandpa Joseph Scerri working in his roof garden…I love the 60s-style orange shoes which is lying on the floor..

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One of my fondest memories from my childhood is the time I used to spend with my grandpa in his workshop. I¬†couldn’t¬†wait to leave my mum`s house to escape her obsession of playing Barbara Streisand‚Äôs songs all day long, and go to my grandparents, especially during the holidays. Between the smell of my grandma`s baking and the scent of wood, glue, leather and clay, this was a perfect playground, compared to my mum`s boring routine. I used to spend hours ¬†trying to make small furniture for my doll house with the help of my grandpa,¬†and sculpting small statues with his clay casts. I learned so much from him and I am sure that my love for practical work and maybe also drawing evolved from these playful experiences. He used to let me paint his workshop door in all sorts of colours; can you image leaving a paint job to a seven year old, given their colourful taste? Sometimes pink, sometimes orange and maybe with some flowers and suns on it as decorationūüôā. ¬†As long as I was enjoying myself and learning something he¬†did¬†not complain. I used to come up with something new every day; sometimes I wanted a bed for my doll, a handmade present for a friend or a wooden frame for one of my drawings. I used to drive him crazy, but he was so patient. He used to ask me “What`s new today Ruti? What are you going to come up with today?” all with a suspicious sweet smile.

Losing him when I was nine years old was one of the most painful experiences in my life, however all the experiences and discoveries continued to grow with me. He did not leave just beautiful memories behind him but he also left a lot of beautiful shoesūüôā

My grandfather was a shoemaker. He used to make and fix all kinds of shoes. He was one of the few shoemakers left in the Cottonera / The Three Cities. Actually there was a time when he was the only shoemaker in Birgu. Although he made some shoes for me as well, I was not lucky enough to have him alive when I was growing up, you can imagine how many shoes I would ask him to make for me. My mum on the other hand was an extremely lucky girl. He used to make her a pair of shoes for every new outfit, including that of her wedding. I am sure that this is a dream come true for most women. Now I am the new owner of all these shoes and I also wear them for special occasions. Apart from shoes, he used to make leather belts, jackets, bags and other accessories. It is a pity that trades like this are becoming very rare. I am very grateful that my grandpa had shared all this talent with us. He was a person who was gifted but  humble at the same time, given that his trade, although requiring skill, patience and creativity, was just a common job that was already dying at the time.

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An interesting detail of one of the shoes…I still wear this one..it is one of my favourites

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Some of my grandpa`s Sketches and scribblings

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My mum`s wedding shoes also made by my grandpa

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last moodboard

Different photos of my mum during the 70s wearing my grandpa`s shoes..she looks so proud:)

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A beautiful leather camera bag made by him in the early 70s

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I couldn’t believe my eyes when I discovered these. One of my greatest treasures..my first shoes made by my own grandpa. Super cute.

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my grandpa when he was 20 years old

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Food Journal: Quinoa, Prawns and Mexican Salad

The first time I tried quinoa I was quite impressed with its flavour and also its versatility with various dishes. Today was my second try and I started by looking at Food Gawker ‘s mexican salads for inspiration. I started seeing beans, peppers, corn, quinoa.. hmm something was brewing in my head. At one point I saw prawns in one of the recipes and that’s when I knew I could do something with these ingredients.. Here’s some pan fried prawns cooked in garlic and paprika, served with quinoa and a mexican salad. It tastes amazing.. and it’s also super healthyūüôā (Serves 2-3)

Ingredients:

Bag of frozen headless prawns

1 cup quinoa

3 medium tomatoes

3 small green peppers

Can of corn

Can of red kidney beans

2 cloves of garlic

bunch of parsley

1 lemon

1 1/2 tablespoons paprika

butter / sunflower oil

Parsley-flavoured white cheese (replace with feta cheese if you wish)

2 eggs (optional)

Method:

Cook the quina by putting 1 cup of quinoa in a small saucepan, add 2 cups water.. bring it to a boil, lower the heat & cover for 15 minutes. Then turn off the hob and leave to set (covered) for 5 minutes.

In the meantime put the headless prawns in a bowl with cold water to defrost (unless they have defrosted already) this should take between 30 mins – 1 hour.. change the water every now and then when it becomes too cold.

In a salad bowl mix together: chopped peppers, chopped tomatoes, kidney beans, corn, chopped parsley and a squeeze from half a lemon. Season as needed.

Fry 2 cloves of garlic in butter / oil, then add prawns & sprinkle with paprika.

In the meantime, serve the quinoa on the plates, and in the same saucepan cook the eggs until hardboiled (if you wish to serve eggs).

Leave the rest of the lemon on the plates so one can add more lemon juice if they wish.

Finally sprinkle white cheese/ feta cheese on your mexican salad and you’re done!

Enjoyūüôā

Ways with blocks

RunWays with Block Colours

The Spring/Summer wardrobe is normally associated with florals whether subtle and dainty or bold and dramatic. Pretty dresses and decorative accessories are also a typical staple for the sunny months. When I was looking through this spring/summer designer collections I was in fact expecting to find the usual patterns and florals, and I did, however I found myself being attracted to block colours, structured geometric shapes and lots of texture.

Block colours are fantastic because they are so much more flexible than patterns, so for someone with a budget, I find it’s better to splurge on something that can be worn in a multitude of ways. Some might argue that they are not as daring as graphic prints and patterns, however I do feel that this really depends on the shape of the piece of clothing. An¬†asymmetric¬†or unusually-shaped outfit can still be bold and daring, and with no graphic distraction from the form of the outfit. Block colours allow for the focus to be put on the lines and curves, the fabric and its texture.

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Dior Femminine & Bold Blocks, vogue.co.uk / topshop.com / modcloth.com / asos.com

As I’ve just mentioned, the great thing about blocks of course is that they can be worn with almost anything, so you can go for a mix of patterns this season, and then get a really cool block-coloured piece of clothing that can be worn with any of these patterns. Of course, choose your colours wisely, and this doesn’t necessarily mean stick to one colour scheme or go for safer colours, clashing colours offer interesting surprises if you know what you’re doing.

Blocks can be understated & elegant in simple pastels, or bold and over the top in neon colours and matched with hip prints.¬†Curvy girls might shy away from these kinds of straight-cut dresses and tops, however not all of them are shapeless. Waist clinching block shirts and dresses are ¬†a great way to flatter a curvier figure, whilst the so called ‘shapeless’ dresses are better suited for slimmer boyish shapes.

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Waist clinching blocks, vogue.co.uk , topshop.com , asos.com

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Chanel’s chunky accessories, Stella McCartney’s laid back shoes, and a variety of beautifully simple & elegant bags

Below: Block inspiration from “Style’s Inspiration” Board on Pinterest by Chiara Bollecchino

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A Very Special Treat

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I love this time of the year, and not just for the weather, the picnics, and the overall happier mood from everyone around me. One of the things I always look forward to are the fresh desserts and¬†fruit¬†that there are around this time. I love to have fresh fruit with dessert, probably because it’s the ultimate way to make myself not feel guilty for having fattening food.

Having bought an abundance of strawberries, this obviously called for some creative preparation. I was always fond of mixing them with fresh cream, blending them into an ice cream or eating them with pancakes. This year I wanted to try something new. As I have just bought a new waffle maker I thought I should give it a try and make waffles with strawberries.

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Ingredients:

2 cups plain flour

1 cup chocolate chips

2 teaspoons sugar

1 teaspoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

1 2/3 cups milk

1/3 cup unsalted butter melted

2 eggs beaten

Method:

Mix the dry ingredients together.

Melt butter and leave to cool.

Add milk and butter to the dry mixture.

Add eggs.

Pour into the waffle iron, and cook until firm.

These glorious treats ended up being so delicious that I could not resist not having an extra portion. They can be served with fresh strawberries drizzled with maple syrup, honey, or even fresh cream to make it even more special!

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