26th April 2013
Recently I had the unfortunate experience of catching my favourite cactus as it plunged from my windowsil to an almost sure death amongst the shoes and clothes on my floor. Although I shouldn’t complain (I know exactly amongst which ‘world’ this brand of problems resides) it made me inexplicably angry at my little cacti friend – not least when I had to spend the next two hours tweezing the spores out of my fingers (and lips when they were subsequently transferred due to an ill thought out paw paw ointment application). A few days later I was web slacking and spied a bell jar sheltering a cacti and immediately realised how genius this set up is – I say keep those tricky little buggers on lock down! And although the bell jar represents yet another not-quite-necessary addition in the home, they look so right perched over the top of a crystal, feather or indoor plant, and I’m pretty sure I could justify one if it meant keeping my fingers cacti spine free! And so with that in mind I’ve pulled together some bell jar inspiration – what would you put inside yours?
24th April 2013
There are often days when I really want to style my hair in messy curls but don’t have time to fire up the curling tongs (read: every day… I’m lazy), and so a few years ago I devised a method of curling my hair without using a curling wand at all – admittedly a throw back to when I was 12 and we crimped our hair this way but hey, it works. What I love about creating these messy curls is that it’s a hair style that you can do on the go – perfect for those of us who never leave enough time to do their hair in the morning! Oh and if you would love to create some messy curls for yourself but don’t have the right products, read on for how to enter my Vidal Sassoon Pro Series Giveaway!
1. Have a shower and wash your hair. Towel dry afterwards so it is only slightly damp.
2. Squeeze a dollop of conditioner/combing creme into your hand. I’ve been using the new combing creme by Vidal Sassoon Pro Series because keeps frizz at bay – essential if you have super frizzy hair like me!
3. Distribute the creme evenly on your fingertips.
4. Work the creme through the mids and ends of your hair, staying away from the roots.
5. Starting at the front and working your way around the head, roll your hair back into rolls. A few tips here: the thicker the roll the larger the curl, and the tighter the roll the tighter and more ringlet-y the curl. Go for large loose rolls around your head if you want a relaxed, beachy style curl.
6. Using bobby pins, loosely secure the rolls at the back of your head. Repeat until all your hair is rolled up – I only need to do two or three rolls because I like my curls large and bouncy and my hair isn’t too thick, but match the number of rolls to the size of the curl you want, and also the thickness of your hair.
7. Give your head a blast with the hair dryer to start the drying process, focusing around the part and sides of the head to reduce frizziness. Leave your hair to dry for at least a few hours. I often leave mine in all day so while I am working and let it out in the afternoon in preparation for an evening out. This works perfectly because the rolled hair looks a lot like a simple up do so you don’t feel too silly. For a more relaxed style, and to stop any crimping effects, I usually let my hair out of the rolls a few times during the day, loosening them to get the right casual looking curl, and even put it in a bun for an hour at the very end so it relaxes even more. Might sound like hard work but it only takes a few minutes!
8. Once your hair is completely dry, you can take all the pins out and loosen the curls with your fingers. To create extra body, put your hair upside down and shake.
9. This final step is optional, but if you find your hair is a little frizzy on the ends (this will depend on your hair type), you can straighten the ends with a few licks of straightening irons. This helps give that ‘straight wavy’ look I love so much.
10. You can also do this for the hair around your part if required and also the sides of the head (you know, that area above your ears where you get ‘whispeys’ that stick out if you’re not careful, or is that just me?).
11. Finally, finish off with some foaming mousse or hairspray.
WIN THE PRODUCTS I’M USING!
Because getting the right messy curl is as much about the products you use as it is about the process, I’m excited to have partnered with Vidal Sassoon to offer 10 readers super fun prize packs including Vidal Sassoon Pro Series shampoos, conditioners and styling products so you can create some messy curls for yourself! All you have to do to enter is tweet a picture of your DIY hairstyle (or your favorite hairstyle if you don’t have one of yourself), making sure to tag it with @VidalSassoon and @apairandaspare and the hashtag #YouKnowYouLookGood – it couldn’t be easier. I can’t wait to see your pretty do’s!
22nd April 2013
Ever since I can remember I’ve loved beautiful handwritten notes, so you’ll understand my excitement when typography guru and self confessed font fanatic Gemma O’Brien (aka Mrs Eaves), offered to give us a lesson in hand lettering. Gemma rocketed to fame 5 years ago as a uni student with her viral youtube video Write Here, Write Now and has built, in just a few short years, an impressive body of work including hand drawn pieces for Canon (a favorite of mine) and Woolworths as well as a huge number of other creative projects such as developing the masthead for Peppermint Magazine, refreshing the title sequence for children’s tv show Playschool and designing 80th birthday invitations for ex-aussie Prime Minister Bob Hawke (see more of her work here). Today she’s going to show us the basics of hand lettering by making an exquisite hand drawn card – perfect for a friend or lover. Take it away Gemma!
Cast your mind back to primary school cursive practice and the quest to acquire your pen licence. Unless it’s a shopping list or a quick scribble… the hand written word seems to be a dying art these days. Lettering is different to calligraphy – it’s more like “drawing” letters – as opposed to creating them through the strokes of a nib or quill. For this reason, it’s quite accessible to all. You don’t need special tools … just a little practice. Once you’ve mastered your own style you’ll be beautifying the labels on your storage boxes and making hand lettered cards for every occasion.
Today, we are going to create a small card to accompany a bunch of flowers…with hand lettering that will read “Happy Days!”.
Step 1. Make a trip to your local art store or newsagency and gather a few supplies. You will need some nice paper with a bit of texture (watercolour paper can be quite good or Mi Tentes has a beautiful selection of cream and pastel papers available in A4 sheets), a 2B pencil, rubber, ruler and a variety of thicknesses of fine black markers… and of course some flowers.
Step 2. Select the size of card you wish to work with. My card is going to be A5 folded in half.
Step 3. Let’s start by drawing some guidelines just to help give our lettering a bit of loose structure. Eventually, after practice, you can draw the lettering freely without guidelines but initially its a good way to maintain consistency and balance to your work.
We are going to draw a baseline (this is the line upon which the letters sit), an x-height(this is the height of the body of the lowercase letters) , a cap height (the height of the capitals) and a stress guide line (this is an angled guide that you can use to give your lettering a certain degree of slant.) If you wish to do a little more background research into the anatomy of letters you can find a great source here. Make sure these guidelines you are drawing are quite faint so you can easily rub them off later.
Step 4. Once you have your guidelines in pencil you can roughly sketch you your letter shapes. Do not be disheartened if they don’t look great immediately. I think for this particular tutorial I wrote out “Happy Days” at least 20 times before I felt happy with it! Let the rhythm of your hand dictate the flow and start by simply drawing the “skeleton” of the lettering. It’s often helpful to look at existing examples of cursive and scripts. They can vary quite dramatically. Sometimes you can luck out and find some old books about scripts in second hand stores otherwise online font foundries have a wealth of reference and inspiration – check out this one.
05. After you are happy with the shape of you pencil skeleton you can start to add width with the strokes. This is where looking at reference comes in handy. Because you are “drawing” in the stroke width (rather than letting pressure or a brush stroke define it) it is helpful to look at examples of calligraphy and fonts to see where the contrasting thick and thins exist. While it’s important to keep the thicknesses relatively consistent across all letters, the nature of hand lettering is that there is always an element of human error… sometimes little mistakes can add character and interest. Once again … practice…practice … practice.
06. Lastly, trace over your sketch with one of the fine black pens and rub away the pencil with an eraser. If you’re working at a small scale like this it’s good to have 0.05 – 0.8 pens on hand. If working at large sizes using a brush pen or brush and ink is more appropriate. Now punch a hole in your card, and tie it to your flowers with a piece of twine…. Happy Days!