Pumkins, Starbucks and Instagram

Pumpkins, Starbucks and trying to get stylish…

Recently I was asked to come up with some fake pumpkins for a photo shoot for a rolling campaign for Starbucks and Instagram, promoting the infamous Pumpkin Latte’s which they make in the autumn.  I was asked to make 3 pumpkin heads for actors to wear in photographs.  They were to be photographed around London at a distance, in various situations, in a documentary style.  These will come up on the Starbuck’s Instagram feed throughout this month.

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We could not use real ones with the innards scooped out as they would be pretty gross,as in heavy & slimy for the actors.  So I then had a go at making one from plaster and wire so that a head could easily sit inside.  It started out fine, but the weight of the plaster made it sag overnight and it looked like a giant Physalis by morning… hmm…

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FAIL!!!!!  A really ultimate fail actually.

Not to be deterred, and always the optimist, I turned to the wonders of the web, and managed to get some speedy shipping of Funkins sorted out.  These are incredibly lifelike fake pumpkins, that can be carved, lit from within and so on.  They are actually made from a moulded hard plastic foam, and then hand painted on top.  Unluckily for our budget thought, they had to be shipped from the USA in a hasty and expensive dispatch mode.

The client wanted them to be able to sit on the actors heads, not wobble and look incredibly lifelike.  Oh and they also had to fit in a full adult sized head and cover the whole neck as well.  I measured a lot of startled adults locally to check head and neck sizes, and then ordered the biggest I could find.  They are actually really hard to carve, sort of tough and chewy, and my knife was in a sorry state by the time I had finished.  I started out by carving out the space for the head to fit in.  We then ummed and ahhed and decided not to add typical carved faces, but to leave them totally plain.  Then off they went to be filmed across London in a variety of poses.

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Definitely one of the weirdest things I have been asked to do recently, but it was great fun and the pictures looks fantastic.

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Easter Flower Ideas

These brilliant ideas come from Catriona Summerhill at Homes & Gardens.

DAINTY EGGCUP DISPLAYS

Hollowed-out eggshells make naturally beautiful containers for the smallest of flower arrangements. Selecting blue hen’s eggs adds a pretty touch to this simple idea, which requires just a few hallmarks of spring, such as delightfully scented lily of the valley and tiny sprigs of blossom. The diminutive displays can be used to brighten any corner or as a lovely addition to the place settings at your table. Choosing eggcups with an Easter theme will add to the charm.

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STATEMENT PIECE

For those looking to bring character to their Easter celebrations, experiment by filling a vintage wire cage with a bed of moss, speckled quail’s eggs and a floral arrangement displayed in a ceramic bowl. This design can be easily customised with flowers to suit your decorating scheme, while the eggs can be replaced by chocolate ones for guests of all ages to enjoy.

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POTTED EASTER BULBS

No special flower arranging skills are needed to create a display of fresh potted blooms, so children can be easily involved in the project. Planting up a selection of spring bulbs, such as muscari and anemones, in attractive pots is a great way to make the season come alive indoors. The pots can also be tied with ribbon and presented as Easter gifts.

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SCULPTURAL DESIGN

For an eye-catching seasonal arrangement with a contemporary edge, glue stems of pussy willow around a plant pot and fill with a tightly packed assortment of coloured tulips so they are just visible above the top of the pot. To complete the display add thin branches of blossom, which will be held in place by the tulips, to give the arrangement height and introduce a modern, sculptural feel.

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TABLE DECORATION

If you fancy bringing a touch of whimsy to the dining table, why not try this artful display using a selection of freshly cut garden flowers. Choose blooms in soft, complementary hues, such as pale pink roses, deep pink astrantia major, miniature white narcissi, vibrant green viburnum and black and white anemones. Trim the stalks so the flowers sit happily in a selection of pretty eggcups and tiny vases, then intersperse with stems of pussy willow and foil wrapped chocolate eggs. Water daily for a long-lasting centrepiece.

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Tassels by the hundreds – Passementerie in Marrakesh

I have just returned from a break in Marrakesh, one of my most favourite places, where I spent a few days wandering the souks and Medina and taking a lot of photographs of the Islamic and Moorish architecture.

By chance, I found the most wonderful shop buried deep in the Medina where they sell only tassels.  Every size, colour, type and style was catered for.  Materials were mainly silk but they had some very cool leather ones as well which I have not seen before.  The owner was lovely, and can make me some to my size specifications and ship them to me.

I usually only use tassels for either curtains or as key tassels, but these got me wondering what else they can be used for?  I found these ones used as lights which are quite different:

Here they are used behind picture frames:

Paper Flowers and Wreaths

IMG_7950 I saw this idea online, and decided to have a try.  They are really easy to make, and look beautiful.  I sold a load at a craft fair at Christmas, and people now commission them with specific central ornament colours to match their home decor colours.

IMG_7963You will need: 120 pages of a standard sized old book.  The older the better as the pages are yellower and have a great patina.  I only use books from junk shops that are falling apart as I do not feel guilty when cutting out the pages. Scalpel and ruler Sellotape Stapler Foam Board Hot Glue Gun Decorations  – These can be baubles, natural cones and dried fruits, shells (lightweight), feathers… anything light and that you like.

INSTRUCTIONS:

  • Cut a square piece of foam board slighter larger than a dinner plate.  On the board, draw circles decreasing in size in pen or pencil, (I use a dinner plate, bowl, side plate & mug turned upside down and I draw around them).  Then draw through the circles 2 x lines forming a cross, so you have a graphic resembling a target.  This is your guide for when you stick on the paper cones.
  • With a scalpel and a ruler, cut out 120 pages from the book.  Try and keep them equally sized.  At this point I normally settle down in front of a good movies and start making the cones as it can take a while.
  • Roll each piece of paper from the bottom left inwards into a cone shape, use a small piece of sellotape to secure the wide back of the roll so that it is unseen, and then staple once across the bottom point horizontally.
  • Once you have all of your cones ready, heat up the glue gun.
  • Start attaching the cones to the board, put small blob of glue at the back bottom part of the cone where the back of the staple is.  Use the widest circle as a starting point and stick a circle of cones around it.  Then moving inwards, repeat the circles.  The trick is to keep it neat and uniform.  Once you start nearing the middle, you may need to trim the bottom of the cones so they are shorter and re-staple before attaching.  Leave a space in the middle the diameter of a mug base.  Once all of the cones are stuck on, just glue in the decorations you want to use.
  • That is pretty much it.  To hang, I use a bulldog clip attached to the top of the foam board with a ribbon attached, as it is all paper and foam board, the flower wreath is very light.

IMG_7945 I also been working on versions with folded paper sheets rather than cones. The central area is shredded paper rather than decorative elements: IMG_0097 IMG_0098