The wish flower

Foreword

I am the sun in sky of green 
I am the golden summer queen
I’m the friend to every child
Because I’m strong, bright and wild.

Grown-ups cut me when they mow-
Forget they loved me years ago.
But when I’m gone, then don’t you sorrow.
I’ll be back again tomorrow. 

This is a poem about dandelion flower from the poetry book “The Winds that Come From Far Away and other poems”,  by Else Holmelund Minarik (the author of the Little Bear books).

dandelion_big_book

Dandelion is known as the wish flower. The plant flower is yellow and when the flower matures you see the white fluffy seeds. Some people say, that when you see the first dandelion of the season, you should make a wish and others say you should blow on a dandelion puff and make a wish. After that, you are supposed to say:   “Dandelion, puffs away, Make my wish come true some day.”

Refreshing lemonade

Now that summer is one month away and the weather here in Cyprus is getting warmer, it’s time for a refreshing home made soft-drink! It is ideal when you will have friends coming over your house! They will love it. This lemonade  is so simple that I  wasn’t going to post it, but sometimes simple is good.

refreshing lemonade ingedients

Ingredients:

  • 1,5L sparkling water (or soda)
  • 200ml squash lemonade (home made preferable)
  • peppermint leaves
  • 1 orange
  • 1/2 lemon
  • ice

Instructions:

refreshing lemonadeRinse well the orange, lemon and peppermint leaves and slice them into small pieces.

 

 

refreshing lemonadePour the 200ml of squash lemonade into a big pitcher with  ice, and add the sliced pieces of orange, lemon and peppermint leaves.

(If you want you can add the ice before you serve)

The last thing to do is pour over the sparkling water,  stir slightly and serve. Your refreshing lemonade is ready. Quick and easy!

refreshing_lemonade_new_1Note:

Before you serve  leave it about 15minutes in the refrigerator. If you want the lemonade  sweeter add more  lemonade squash. Also you can create your  own variations and add other fruits or syrups.

Photo frame decoupage

Decoupage is a well known technique that everyone can use and create beautiful decoration for their homes. You can use old things you have at home.  For  this craft project,  I used an old photo frame.

photo frame decoupage

Is good to know that…

Decoupage derives from the French word découper (= to cut out ). It is the art of decorating surfaces of an object by gluing colored paper cut-outs onto it. Each layer is sealed with several coats of varnishes until  the result looks like painting or inlay work. The traditional technique used 30 to 40 layers of varnish which were then sanded to a polished finish.

Decoupage may seem like a new trend, but the technique actually dates back in 12th century. Actually the first origin of decoupage is supposed to be East Siberian tomb art. From Siberia, the practice came  to China,  where by the 12th century, cut out paper was being used to decorate lanterns, windows, boxes and other objects. The history of modern decoupage,  starts from  the 18th in Europe. This art form  was also known as  arte povera – poor man’s art,  because in the olden days those who couldn’t afford to hire an artist to decorate their furniture could obtain quite elegant effects with cut-outs pasted on and covered with multiple coats of varnish.

 Materials for decoupage

  1. Objects to decoupage onto like furniture, trays, boxes, photograph albums, plates, ceramics, shelving, frames, mirrors e.t.c.
  2. Pictures such as newspapers, magazines, old books, printed clip art or photos, wrapping paper, fabric, tissue paper,  paper napkins and so on.

Materials that I used:

  • raw_photo_frame_decoupage_2aold wooden photo frame
  • tissue napkins
  • white glue
  • varnish(optional)
  • paint brush
  • scissors

Additional materials for the flower:

  • orange color fabric -petals
  • green felt – leaves
  • needle
  • thread

With a  pair of scissors you cut out long pieces of colorful paper napkins. Apply the glue  on the wooden surface  with a brush and paste the cut out paper napkins. Then cover the object and pasted paper napkin with a few coats of glue to protect it.  At the end you can apply a layer of varnish.

Paper wasp

On Easter time we were invited by family friends to a village called Melini, in Cyprus, that is close to the forest. The house is built on a hill and the nature there is beautiful,  so I went for a walk around the house and I found a lot of things to shoot. Something  that attracted my attention was a wasp trying to get into his nest. So I spent a lot of time there taking as many shots  as I could from different angles. As soon as I got home  I searched  the web for more information.

Some information from Wikipedia

paper wasp
photo by karafc

Paper wasps are 1.8 to 2.5 cm long wasps that gather fiber from dead wood and plant stem, which they mix with saliva, and use to construct water-resistant nests made of gray or brown papery material. Paper wasps are also sometimes called umbrella wasps, due to the distinctive design of their nests.

Unlike other wasp species, which can be very aggressive, paper wasps will generally only attack if they themselves or their nest are threatened. But if they attack their stings are quite painful and can produce a potentially fatal anaphylactic reaction in some individual.

Most wasps are beneficial in their natural habitat, and are critically important in natural biocontrol.  Paper wasps feed on nectar and other insects, including caterpillars, flies, and beetle larvae. Because they are a known pollinator and feed on known garden pests, paper wasps are often considered to be beneficial by gardeners.

photo by karafc
photo by karafc

In my effort to get  better shots I had  to get closer.  I am so glad that the paper wasp  didn’t think of me as  a threat, or else I would have  been stung!

Self assignments

pattern chairsWhen I was taking photography lessons,  our instructor would always stress the importance of going out to implement what we learned.  A great way to enhance  your photography skills and your creativity is to give yourself assignments –  something  to focus on.   Sometimes  you venture out without having any  idea what you are going to shoot. However,  it is better to decide before what your daily assignment would be.  This way you will be more aware of what you are looking for and will be focus on that. Create a variety of themes by choosing a different assignment each time, for example, one day shoot  ‘patterns’,  another day ‘color’ etc.

colors and shapesThemes of the assignments can be:

  • repeating patterns
  • lines, shapes, colors
  • moving objects
  • reflection
  • shadows
  • silhouettes
  • texture
  • rule of third
  • depth of field
  • angle and much more

These kind of assignments will help you boost your creativity, improve your composition and  your photography skills.

 

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My assistant or else the bag holder

path B&WWhen  you go out for a project you need an assistant to carry your things, so it can be more comfortable for you and you can be focused on taking pictures. My main assistant  is my lovely husband and I should  admit that he is good at his job; well, most of the time. While I’m shooting, he carries the empty camera bag and my purse that’s filled with my personal belongings. So far so  good.

However, he is always  in the visual field and as a result he is in most of the photos. So I have to retake the same photo without him and sometimes it is time-consuming. At other times, he is not always around especially when I need him. For example, if  I need something from the camera bag, lets say the soft cloth to clear the lens, he is far away. I ddevin  B&Won’t know how my assistant will cope, when I will acquire more  gear, like tripod or different types of lenses! I am not complaining that much, am I? Ok, maybe  just a  little! There’s also a positive side to this. For example, he enjoys being in nature and he doesn’t complain when it takes me too long when shooting things and, plus, he keeps me company. I should also admit, that sometimes,  when I think that the composition looks good, I include him in the picture on purpose.  But that’s only a few times!

Yarn wrapped bottles

glass bottle yarn - love Another hobby of mine is crafting. And this project is one of my favourites.  I decorated my living room with these yarn wrapped bottles of ‘LOVE’.  We  had learned this technique   at elementary school in art&craft. It’s probably a kid’s craft so if you have children, this is a another way to spend some creative and quality time with them and have a good time yourself.  Plus, It is very easy.

Materials you will need:

  • glass bottle yarnglass bottles or jam jars
  • yarn or thick thread
  • white adhesive (mod podge)
  • paint brush
  • scissors
  • for the details – leather cord, ribbons, buttons, zips, piece of cloth, flowers, wire e.t.c

Apply the adhesive  with the paint brush on the bottle. Start wrapping firmly the thread/yarn around it, until the bottle is completely  wrapped. At the end you can decorate your bottle with flowers,  letters, butterflies and other things you like.

Be creative and have fun!

My first steps in photography

As photography is one my passions, buying a good dslr camera has made the bucket list. There was nothing wrong with my Nikon coolpix s2600, but I wanted to take it  to the next level. I wanted to be more creative and it was about time.  For the last year, I have been taking intensive online courses in order to get better and learn in depth the world of photography.

As of January 2015, I am  using my new DSLR Nikon D3300 with nikkor 18-55mm  kit  lens and I am very satisfied.  Most probably I will need  more types of lenses and some additional gear.  The good thing is that we are  a ‘Nikon family’ – my father, my sister and I – we can borrow and use each other’s gear.   At the end I will see what gear I will use or need the most  and I will write it first thing in my bucket list!

No offence to other manufacturers; I’m pretty sure that their cameras are as good as the Nikon but as I said above – it’s a family thing!

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Corn husk dolls

Every time I am visiting Slovakia or Czech Republic, I always buy these handmade traditional corn husk dolls. Not just for me, but I give them as small gifts to friends and family. I like them very much. They are cute, interesting, small and very light-weighted, so its easy to carry them with you home. You can use them as a home decoration and a small souvenir to remember the country you had visited.

A little bit of the background

I didn’t find much information. Just that during the second half of 20th century, the production of corn husk dolls had developed and turned into a traditional industry in former Czechoslovakia. As the name implies corn dolls, are made of dried corn husks which are joined together with thread – all made by hand. Some of them  even carry small objects like flowers, basket, bread – made with real dough e.t.c. Slovak rural life  was a big  inspiration when creating the dolls, so it became the main theme. They are sold in souvenirs and folklore shops.

My mum has a lot of corn husk dolls. She created a small miniature village with corn people on a shelf in her living room! These photos are from her collection.

I don’t have space in my apartment to place them – as small as they might be – so I keep them in a drawer. I know, not a good place to keep them. They should be in plain view. Some day I will find them a place! But I have a corn lady bookmark that I use  when I am reading a book.

A small memory of Slovakia!

Best tea ever

I should admit that I’ m not a big fan of tea! I only drink tea when I’ m sick, when I don’t find anything else to order or when I  visit friends and they offer tea. However, if I am going to have tea, I do prefer herbal green tea or fruit flavoured.

image

We are often going to this cafe – Coffeeshop Company – close to our apartment next to a shopping mall. I think is an austrian cafe branch here in Bratislava.

The other day we went there for a coffee and I saw a leaflet  of their new fresh herbal tea. It looked fantastic and it seemed like the kind of tea that I could drink. I was curious  so I gave it try. It was savouring!

Of course the same evening I had a sore throat and I got a flu. So I realized that this was the reason why I wanted to have tea at the time.  Needless to say that I passed the next days at the Coffeshop drinking tea! Without a doubt, it was the best tea I ‘ve  ever had! 

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