DIY MARBLE PHOTO BACKGROUND

Is it just me or is there just something about photos with a marble background? Call me romantic (or ridiculous) but for some reason marble evokes a sense of elegance, of misty castles and vaulted ceilings, and is able to elevate an average afternoon coffee to a somehow whimsical experience, even if it’s just me, myself and I in a roadside cafe. It’s for that reason that I think marble makes such a perfect background for photos, but who has the dollar bills or bicep strength to use actual marble? Even if you’ve being doing your pump classes and carrying marble isn’t an issue for you, you’ll find that it’s actually quite a very brittle stone and is likely to crack when not treated really carefully. Enter a well kept secret of the instagrammer/blogger out there – the faux marble background created using marble paper. So simple to create and such a neat trick!

To be honest I wavered as to whether to share this or not, it’s really such a good trick and I use it all the time – and I’d hate to think you know it’s just a piece of paper and not real marble, but thought you might appreciate this little behind the scenes!

DIY Marble Photo Background www.apairandasparediy.com

Daniel Wellington Watch, Necklace from a street side stall in Williamsburg (like this)

#shitbloggersdo

DIY Marble Background www.apairandasparediy.com

Vintage camera, Gorjanna gold necklaces, Grown Alchemist lip gloss and face cream, Pure Earth Face Mist, Body Oil, Face Sand and Face Cream, Nick Campbell Sunglasses, Daniel Wellington Watch

You need:

Marble photo background

How to:

1. Measure out the paper on your piece of plywood.

Marble photo background

2. Trim to size, making sure to leave at least 2.5cm (1 inch) along the edge.

Marble photo background

3. Starting on one side, press the contact paper onto the plywood, working your way carefully and removing the backing as you go so that you don’t have any bubbles. Use a tea towel to press the contact paper down well. A neat trick if you find a bubble along the way, use a small pin to prick the surface and squeeze the air out and then smooth down the bubble.

Marble photo background

4. Turn the plywood over and fold the edge over.

Marble photo background

5. To finish the corners, trim the folded edge to the corner as shown below.

Marble photo background

6. Fold the other edge down into a triangle.

Marble photo background

7. Fold that edge up and over the create a clean fold.

Marble photo background

Voila! I said it was easy didn’t I?

Marble photo background

Although when you KNOW the background is faux it might be a little more obvious, I’ve used it a lot and not once has anyone asked if it was faux. If you feel it might need a boost, increase the brightness of your photo and then also the contrast (I use Afterlight app on iPhone to do this) and you’ll find the marble looks more genuine. And if you make sure to put focus on the items in your photo (whether it be a coffee, a macaron or a necklace) rather than a marble itself, I promise people won’t notice.

Marble photo background

TRAVEL: A QUICK GUIDE TO KYOTO

Every year my mother and I travel to Japan, first she visits her friend who lives there and then we meet and see a new city. This year it was the beautiful Kyoto that was the focus for our annual mother/daughter trip, and I have to say, we could’t have picked a better place! Last year Tokyo captivated us with its intense energy and nightlife, but Kyoto was a whole different ball game, more subtle and relaxing than Tokyo,  a lesson in zen and the art of imperfections – and a few bottles of wine! Guide to Kyoto www.apairandasparediy.com

Go

Apparently the best time to visit Kyoto is during Cherry Blossom season (March/April/May) or during the Autumn when the leaves are a flaming red. We visited at neither of those times, instead went in August (i.e. high summer) which was still gorgeous. Although I expected to, I actually didn’t find it too hot to explore and enjoy ourselves, with the help of a shaved ice every now and then.

Stay

We stayed in a traditional Japanese house (via Airbnb) in the Nijo area, which was lovely because we got to experience a neighbourhood in a way you wouldn’t if you stayed in the main area in a hotel. This sort of accommodation does come with its own cons – locks that get stuck when you arrive, a loooooong list of instructions which makes you feel a little more like a prisoner than a guest – but overall I have to say it’s a great way to understand a place better. Although, TBH I was reminded how bad my posture is when forced to sit and eat on tatami mats with no couch in sight. However, if you are after a more atmospheric experience, I would recommend a traditional Ryokan, if I ever go back with my boyfriend that’s what we’ll do.

Do

Walk the Philosopher’s Path: We did a walk around and along the Philospher’s path (Tetsugaku no michi), a path alongside a gorgeous canal in the Northern Higashiyama district, on the first day we arrived and visited all the different temples (including the Silver Pavillion) and surrounding gardens and shrines.

Visit the flea markets: We were lucky enough to time our visit when the biggest flea in Kyoto is held at Kitanpo Tenman-gu Shrine. You guys know how much I love a flea right!? The market is held on the 25th day of the month every month, and is well worth planning around with lots of gorgeous antiques, and piles and piles of kimonos at much better prices than in other places. 7:00-16:30.

Delve into Gion : Made famous by the book Memoirs of Geisha (although as many of your pointed out in this post that book is disputed as to how accurate the portrayal is ) this picture perfect area is a series of weeping willows, lanes and canals, with small doors leading into Kyseki restuarants and drinking house. A great place to spend sunset and watch the Geisha come out to play.

Visit Kibune & Kurama: This day trip was the highlight our visit to Kyoto, and I’ll definitely writing it up on its own, but for now know that taking a day out of the city to do this is well worth it. Your itinerary will include visiting an outdoor Onsen, hiking the gorgeous mountain paths from Kurama to Kibune and dining on the platforms over the water. A must!

See the temples: Kyoto is famous for its amazing temples, shrines and gardens including the Golden and Silver Pavillions and Fushimi-Inari-Taisha Shrine (a must). If you feel like you just want to see a few, know that you’ll get a good glimpse of them along the philosophers path.

Bamboo Forest: An utterly breathtaking vista greets you at the Bamboo forest, and although you’ll spend hours trying to get a photo of it nothing will compare with what you take away in your head!

Visit  an Onsen: Visiting a gorgeous Onsen is a great way to understand Japanese culture and what binds them together (i.e. a need for zen and relaxation as well as a deep respect for etiquette and rules).

Eat

Omen – This traditional noodle house located along the Philopspher’s Path (with another at the back of Gion) is the perfect way to end a day of wandering the gardens, temples and shrines. Order a tempura set and sit back and relax.

Okonomiyaki  –  We absolutely fell in love with this traditional, savoury Japanese pancake with a multitude of fillings that is cooked directly at your table. One place we visited and loved was Nishiki Warai, within the Nishiki Markets.

Kaiseki Ryori – This is a traditional Japanese multi-course dinner and is a must for at least one night you are in Kyoto. It’s not something you’ll forget easily, although they tend to be pricey. We visited Yoshikawa for the most memorable tempura experience, it was utterly amazing.

Wander the Nishiki food market: Check out this mile long enclosed  food market in the Downtown area with more then 100 stalls for all the weird and wonderful delicacies that the region is known for.

Kazigen: A gorgeous tea room with delicious sweets in the Gion area, it was the perfect mid afternoon break.

The Cat Cafe: Ok so this was a random thing for us to do but we just had to visit a cat cafe – it was actually kinda creepy and more like a cat play school where you could stumble in and have a cup of tea.

Sangano-yu:  A gorgeous cafe in an old bathhouse, we had a delightful iced chai here prior to going to the nearby Onsen.

Kyoto guide www.apairandasparediy.com

Lunch on the water at Kibune (heaven much?)

Kyoto guide www.apairandasparediy.com

Lanterns in Teramachi Arcade

Kyoto guide www.apairandasparediy.com

The gardens of the Silver Pavillion

Kyoto guide www.apairandasparediy.com

Our neighbourhood bakery in Nijo.

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The Canals of Gion

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Visiting the Gardens of Nanzenji Temple

Kyoto guide www.apairandasparediy.com

Lunch at Omen

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The Bamboo Forest

Kyoto guide www.apairandasparediy.com

The Silver Pavillion Gardens

Kyoto guide www.apairandasparediy.com

A simple travel outfit

Kyoto guide www.apairandasparediy.com

The gardens behind Nanzenji

Kyoto guide www.apairandasparediy.com

Wandering the streets of Gion and peering into people’s gardens. As you do.

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Nanzijen gardens

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Lunch in Kibune

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Evenings in Gion

Kyoto guide www.apairandasparediy.com

The flea markets stalls

Kyoto guide www.apairandasparediy.com

Eating all the yummy Japanese sweets

Kyoto guide www.apairandasparediy.com

The cafe Sangano-yu in the Arashiyama district set in an old bathhouse

Kyoto guide www.apairandasparediy.com

Everything was so cute!

Kyoto guide www.apairandasparediy.com

One of everything please, at the flea markets.

Kyoto guide www.apairandasparediy.com

The shrine in Kurana (more on this soon)

Kyoto Travel Guide

The Philospher’s Path

Kyoto guide www.apairandasparediy.com

Ahhhh serenity… Can’t help but get a district monkey magic vibe!

Kyoto guide www.apairandasparediy.com

Shaved ice, every hour on the hour.

Kyoto guide www.apairandasparediy.com

Yummy!

Kyoto Travel Guide

DIY HANGING BASKETS

Woven bamboo baskets are an iconic element of everyday life in Hong Kong and Asia in general, obviously they were the vessel of choice prior to plastic knocking them off the top spot when it comes to holding stuff. But even so, there remains a tradition of hand made bamboo steamers (see what you can do with one here), bamboo pillows (yes really) and baskets of all sizes. My favourite stores literally heave with woven bamboo baskets of all kinds, many of them the perfect blank slate for a DIY enthusiast. So in this second (or third, or it is fourth?) episode of ‘fun with bamboo’ today I’m going to show you how to make a set of tied hanging baskets. Read on, it’s super simple!

DIY Hanging Baskets www.apairandasparediy.comDIY Hanging Baskets www.apairandasparediy.com

You need:

  • 3 bamboo baskets, it’s best if they are tiered in size (i.e. fit inside each other like russian dolls)
  • Rope (I went with dark pink rope to add a bit of colour to the design).

DIY Hanging Baskets www.apairandasparediy.com

How to:

1. Cut your rope into three equal sized pieces. Starting with the biggest basket, push the rope through the sides and them underneath and bak up in the middle.

DIY Hanging Baskets www.apairandasparediy.com

2. Do that with all pieces of rope and them tie in a knot in the middle.

DIY Hanging Baskets www.apairandasparediy.com

2. Take a piece of rope and add another basket on top, making sure to leave enough room so there’s space between the baskets.

DIY Hanging Baskets www.apairandasparediy.com

3. Loop that rope through the top end of the basket twice to secure it. If you feel yours might slip down at all, simply tie a knot inside the basket at this stage – I didn’t have to because my holes wedged the rope and kept it secure.

DIY Hanging Baskets www.apairandasparediy.com

4. Do that for all of the rope. Done-zo!

DIY Hanging Baskets www.apairandasparediy.com

Now fill with whatever you like – fruit if you put it the kitchen or spools of rope and hanging plants if you put it in the corner of your studio because craft.

DIY Hanging Baskets www.apairandasparediy.com