Creative Projects

Arts / Media / Literature

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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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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My Work at Milkshake; the Exhibition

Two weeks ago there was the opening of the long awaited exhibition, MILKSHAKE, in which several artists exhibited works that discussed topics such as the queer body, gender and sexuality. It is a very sensitive subject which is very easily one of the biggest taboos in Malta, partly due to the conservative catholic influence on the island. However, it was for this very reason that there was a need to have this publicly discussed.

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I am very glad to have taken part in this show, and for the first time I exhibited serigraphy (silk screen) prints. It is a set of 8 different prints, which all are tied to past experiences relating to my own sexuality. They are one of the most intimate body of work I have ever made, both because of content, and also because of the images.

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The development of this body of work was a long one, about ten months to be exact. However it was this process which led me to a much better understanding of the subject, thus enabling me to produce this work. It was important for me that the work would not reflect the subject from the outside in, but rather from the inside out. I did not want to give my thoughts on the topic, but rather how it affects me and my life. I felt it was better to record my experiences by working with my partner and record our experiences which although not experienced together, both of us can relate to.

After coming up with a lengthy piece of writing, I selected particular phrases and started building images around them. This allowed the pieces to evolve into an intimate record of both our experiences.

MILKSHAKE: The Exhibition at St. James Cavalier is opened until 1st of April 2013

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Project Deconstruction: Digital Illustration

You know besides being bloggers for Design Sorbet, we are first and foremost creatives. Ruth is a drawing ninja, Eleonora is a media guru, Sarah has kickin screen printing skills, and I do animations and digital illustrations. So project deconstruction is an excuse for us to show you our work, but because we’re a design blog and because we want you to be able to take something with you from our blog, and do your own thing, we want to show you the process & development behind each project.

Today I will guide you through the process of digitally colouring and adding light to one of my favourite illustrations that was created for a friend of mine. But before I want to give you a bit of background info on the subjects that are central to my drawings. A digital designer that I admire once told me ‘When you get good at something, let it go and do something else’. He wasn’t referring to dropping drawing and become a construction worker of course, but to challenge oneself as an artist. When I started drawing I was never fond of children and animals, I found them harder to draw than anything else, and also slightly boring. You can guess what happened next; I started putting (especially) children at the core of my illustrations. The focus was not just children however, I was (and still am) interested in children and their sexuality. Finding a subject that interested me of course, helped me to want to undertake this challenge more than ever.

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A project that I did with fellow blogger Ruth Ancilleri. This was a part of a collective exhibition against censorship in Malta. The viewers were invited to look through the hole in the box…

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…Inside they would see what looked like two girls undressing in a girl’s room(this is actually not how the box was inside originally, this picture was taken later when some of the items had broken due to their fragility).

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An illustration of a girl standing naked surrounded by various objects symbolising childhood and adolescence.

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This is the illustration that we will be deconstructing today; two boys holding hands in one of the boys’ room. One of the boys is moving the curtain to the side and they are both looking out, perhaps to see if there’s anyone watching, spotting something outside or simply to wonder at the world. That’s the poetic side for you, now let’s get down to the technical stuff! Since my work is semi-digital, the deconstruction is mainly what happens during the digital stage. Please note that this is not a Photoshop tutorial, however if you are interested to learn Photoshop (a visual graphics application) Mashable have compiled 12 Beginner tutorials right here. If you have any other questions about technical details, feel free to ask in the comment section.

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This is the original illustration with a hint of water colour. The boys’ clothes and their rooms are all inspired by real clothes and objects in children’s rooms that I find online and in books.

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The image is opened in Photoshop and the extra background cropped. I always keep a copy of the original in case I want to revert back to it.

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Pencil usually loses some of its sharpness when it’s transferred into data. The first thing I do before I start any colouring is adjust the levels to make the dark areas darker, and the light areas lighter.

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Time for some colouring. I tried to stick to colours that are low in saturation; mostly blues,beiges and hints of orange and yellows. In this case I have done the colouring all on one layer and using a very rough technique.

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After the colouring, I usually add highlights and shadows on separate layers. Here the black was added roughly and then erased depending on where the light hits the subjects and environment.

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Light was the focal point in this project seeing that my light source is in the middle of the composition. I really wanted to get the highlights right here. I started adding while colouring on a separate layer to emphasise the areas that are directly hit by the light.

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Still wasn’t happy with the light, so added even more light in a circular motion coming out from behind the curtain to imitate the radiance of the sun (notice the back lighting on the characters as well)

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and still messing around with light! The final touch was adding a lens flare effect (something I rarely use) but I wanted the light to really blast through the window, to give the feel of when one has just woken up and is blinded by the sun. The lens flare effect was then retouched through lots of erasing (to avoid the fakeness of it)

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Now I was thinking I wanted a slightly nostalgic environment, so I lowered down the saturation slightly.

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With me so far? Hope so 🙂 The final touches are basically getting the overall colour balanced and to my liking. I added an overall brown layer using the soft light transparency option. This obviously gives the drawing a brownish tint.

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…and finally, another layer but this time a greyish light blue/green once again using the soft light option, to make the overall colour slightly colder.

Forget the winter blues and prepare for springtime

With all the special moments that winter time brings now I am getting a little bit fed up of chunky scarves and heavy clothes. I am craving for longer and warmer days wearing just a light dress and maybe a cashmere cardigan, and going for long walks by the sea or sipping cold white wine somewhere outdoors on the island. Here we prepared for you a playlist that makes you forget the winter blues and prepare for springtime. Click here or the image below to be directed to the Groovessehark Playlist.

Milord – Edith Piaf

The Winner Is – Mychael Danna

What Sound- Lamb

Again – Lenny Kravizt

Black Cherry – Goldfrapp

Mad About You – Hooverphonic

Pink Fluffy Dinosaurs – Hooverphonic

Smashed Bird – Soley

Taken By Trees – Lost and found

Riverside – Agnes Obel

Clap Your Hands – Sia

Magic Day – Lou Rhodes

Summertime Sadness – Lana Del Rey

We Won’t Run – Sarah Blasko

Arms – Seabear

Il cielo in una stanza – Mina

Aqua e Sale – Mina and Adriano Celentano

Come Away With Me – Nora Jones

La Bambola  – Patty Pravo

Fine and Mellow – Billie Holiday

I Just Want To Make Love To You – Etta James

I Put a Spell on You – Nina Simone

Che cosa c’è – Giusy Ferreri

Bone Shaped Biscuits

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When I saw this sweet little bone shaped cookie cutter set I immediately knew I had to have it. I could imagine how good the different dog cookie recipes would look. It was an impulse e-bay buy, and as quickly as I bought the set, I also quickly forgot about it. That is until I received them in the mail.

I decided to make this particular recipe, because it is quick to make and does not require a lot of preparation. Lately I am being really lazy to wash the dishes, so the amount of preparation actually makes a difference for me.

This particular recipe makes use of carob powder, which can be found in every health food section. I like to use carob powder because, first of all it is safe for dogs, and it is also a good replacement for the chocolate flavour which they (and me) adore so much. This recipe does not include anything which is fattening such as butter, as I do not like to introduce such ingredients to my dogs diet. The reason why I always use whole wheat for dogs is that its much easier for them to digest, while also being the healthier option.

Ingredients (Makes 20)

1 egg lightly beaten

1 tablespoon carob powder

1/4 teaspoon cinnamon

1/4 cup milk

1 cup whole wheat flour

Method

Preheat oven to 350 F. Mix dry ingredients together. Make a well in the centre. Add egg and milk and mix well. Knead well into a ball. On a heavy floured surface roll open and cut with the cutter. Place on a baking tray lined with baking sheet. Bake for 10 minutes.

And that’s it. Now wait for them to cool and then give one to your dog, who has definitely been lurking in the kitchen for the last 15 minutes.

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I hope she’ll be a fool—that’s the best thing a girl can be in this world, a beautiful little fool

This time in our mystery literature box you will be discovering a world of dazzling beauty and sophistication.  A world which will be experienced again in one of the most anticipated films of this year. Finally it is time to drink champagne and dance on the table;) Enjoy…

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Have you guessed? It`s of course The Great Gatsby by F.Scott Fitzgerald

Full Description: 

“Jay Gatsby is the man who has everything. But one thing will always be out of his reach …Everybody who is anybody is seen at his glittering parties. Day and night his Long Island mansion buzzes with bright young things drinking, dancing and debating his mysterious character. For Gatsby – young, handsome, fabulously rich – always seems alone in the crowd, watching and waiting, though no one knows what for. Beneath the shimmering surface of his life he is hiding a secret: a silent longing that can never be fulfilled. And soon this destructive obsession will force his world to unravel.”

(Source for Book Description and Purchase)

Other books by F.Scott Fitzgerald: 

The Beautiful and Damned 

This Side of Paradise 

Related material that you might like:

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The Great Gatsby Movie. Release date: May 2013
http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1343092/?ref_=sr_1

Suggested place to read: outside in a garden or a veranda 

Suggested time: tea time or a on a clear breezy spring evening 

Suggested food/drink:  a glass of  Veuve Clicquot or Moët & Chandon champagne

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http://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=10152422915720593&set=pb.240462150592.-2207520000.1359377308&type=3&theater

Things to wear while reading it: white pearls

Fabulous Photos of Famous Flappers (3)

Layering ink, a Passion for Printing

Sometimes there are things which make us dream, make us wonder how far they would take us and the new possibilities they would open. I used to have this feeling about silk screen printing for many years, however after failing to find supplies and tutors in Malta I decided to let it go. That is until last May, when I decided to jump in and spend (the only money I had) on screen printing equipment.

I have been long interested in the technique. I was always fascinated by the method of producing photographic prints, mainly as the process was always so clouded in mystery to me. This printing technique also allows the use of block colours, sharp lines, and layering. It was the exact aesthetic I am interested in, so this attraction towards the process was very natural.

After contacting several art shops in Malta, I concluded that no one really imports silk screen material, at least not for commercial sales. I was left with the only option of ordering from abroad, facing extraordinary shipping costs. However it was all worth it, as it provided me with not just a new medium, but a new way to make my work, and a new way to think.

The design printed on a transparent film, part of the preparation for making the stencil.

The design printed on a transparent film, part of the preparation for making the stencil

Silk screen is a printing process which makes use of a prepared ink blocking mesh, while forcing ink through the stencil using a squeegee. It allows for various colours in a single image by the use of multiple screens. Nowadays it is industrially replaced by digital printing, however it is still used for printing on T-shirts, especially those which are custom made. However my interest in the process lies solely as an art form and book making.

The origins of silk screen lie back in the Chinese Song Dynasty, but the process used today was developed in the Europe over the 20th century. It was made popular as an art form by several artists including Andy Warhol and Roy Lichtenstein.

I decided to make a design which represents this blog by taking several elements from various past posts, and also adding some from my own imagination.

After printing the black part

After printing the black part

Printing the blue
Printing the blue

Mixing the red

Mixing the red

The finished print

The finished print

Sketchbook Chicks

I have to admit that from the four Sketchbook Chicks, the internet addict is probably the one I can relate to the most. The Internet addict can be many things because a lot of people are addicted to various areas of the internet. I guess I fall under the social-networking, blogging, article-reading, meme-loving kind, rather than the facebook-immersed socialite or the gamer 🙂 The internet addict is indeed a bit of a technophile, with various quirky items in her inventory, the latest gadgets always at hand, and of course buys 99% of her things online. Certain things in the sketch are based on my own personal items such as the sharpener-shaped pencil holder, the iMac, and the wooden headphones from Modcloth that I AMOST got, but then they were out of stock, so I got similar retro ones from HMV 🙂 Then there’s the Oatmeal book, Dvds, iPad, cookies… and the beautiful Cambridge Satchel that I sadly cannot afford at the moment, (if you’re going to click that link, beware… you will want one too instantly!). Anyway enough from me! This is the final Sketchbook chick, but I have more Fashion-related illustrations for you in the coming weeks, I can’t wait to share them with you! 🙂

Sketchbook Chick 1: The Fashion Blogger

Sketchbook Chick 2: The Art Professor

Sketchbook Chick 3: The Foodie