Giant Monopoly in the Square

Last weekend my sister and I took the chance to go to Trafalgar Square to play Monopoly – a giant version of the game, that is. The Giant board was installed for a short-term by the London Games Festival team to promote the festival over the week, and also get some of the public to join in with the fun.

Although the board wasn’t as huge as I expected (I expected it to be literally the same size as the square!) it was still a fun idea and people could still play the game by downloading the game app on their phone or with the game organisers. There also weren’t many pieces (just the cat and the racing car, no top hat which is always my piece!) they made nice pieces for display.

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We were able to have a quick round on the board before it got really busy – there were a lot of tourists who loved the idea! I also liked that fact that the colours and the ‘properties’ were put together pretty well, but as a game version rather than road names.

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It was a pretty sunny day out so perfect for some gaming, and afterwards my sister and I climbed up the lions next to Nelson’s Column (which was scary because my shoes were not climbing shoes!) and took in the view of the Square.

You can see more pictures here on my sister’s blog as well – let me know what you think : )

Giant Paper Flowers: A Tutorial

I came across a tutorial a while back about making giant paper flowers, and thought they were beautiful. They make unique bouquets for brides and they look striking, big, pieces of colour which can make a whole picture and also add a bit of fun.

I found the idea of giant paper flowers pretty inspiring, and my hands itched to try making one for myself, so I did and here’s how it turned out. I didn’t realise how fiddly the whole thing is though, so be warned! And you also need a LOT of floral wire and glue, and lots of patience, as it took me a few hours to make this rose (mainly due to waiting for glue to dry, pieces to be lined up etc etc.)

So here’s my tutorial on how to make a giant rose, although I can’t take all the credit as there was a very good tutorial here by Green Wedding Shoes, which was easy to follow, as well as the original step-by-step by the Martha Stewart blog. Please ‘scuse the carpet background, pictures were taken in the Spare Oom (which is currently unoccupied in my house and has decent lighting), it’s a good thing you can’t see the mess all over the floor and the newspaper scattered around.

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You will need:
• 1 Roll of floral tape (I found mine on eBay)
• 6 x 18-gauge floral stem wire (again, from eBay)
• 4 x sheets of doublette crepe paper for petals, size is 10 x 49 inches per sheet (I bought mine here, but you don’t HAVE to use doublette paper because it’s not cheap, plain crepe paper works just as well if you don’t want the two-tone effect)
• 1 sheet of Doublette crepe paper in green for leaves, calyx, stem
• 1 round pencil (any colour, I don’t mind)
• Craft glue (I used a standard crafts glue which seems to work on everything, including my fingers)
• Crepe paper templates (download from Martha Stewart)
• 3 x copies of teardrop template
• 8 x copies of the heart-shaped template
• 2 x copies of the leaf template
• 1 x copy of the calyx template (the zig-zaggy one)

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And here’s a baby for scale, and my finished rose. She wouldn’t let go of the carrot, too busy nibbling it, but I like to think that it adds character to the whole picture.

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Let me know if this is something you ever end up trying – I’d love to know how your attempt went!

Weekend Pretty…Rainbow Silhouettes

I’ve been playing around with sunlight and glass (mainly my jewellery at the moment!) to see what kind of results I get, particularly because I love the beautiful, vibrant rainbows which are refracted onto the surface. These are just some pretty rings with crystals and stones which reflected onto the plain surface that I positioned in various angles to get the best light from. Here’s a few of my better shots of the silhouettes and the rainbow colours:

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I played around with these to combine the shadow images in one picture so that there was a complete montage of silhouettes and rainbow reflections. I’m not sure if the end result is better combined or rather than with each one separate, but I still kind of like it. While this has given me an interesting exercise to play around with, I think I have a lot more to experiment with in terms of lighting, colours and using different objects – so perhaps more pictures coming soon!

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Paul Friedlander’s Beautiful Kinetic Light Sculptures

Paul Friedlander is a scientist, artist and extraordinaire – just look at his beautiful light sculptures to see how he has managed to merge science into beautiful art. Friedlander focuses on kinetic light art, which primarily uses spinning strings and something called chromastrobic light, which is light that changes colour faster than the eye can see, so that it creates moving shapes.

The best (and perhaps simplest) way to explain the way the science works would  probably be this: “The vibrating string becomes invisible, but the white light that’s being reflected off the rope becomes visible in an exchange that lets our eyes see magic, as real as science can make it.”

The end results are beautiful, giant rays of lights which become beautiful sculptures. Friedlander has taken this further over the years by manipulating the colours, shapes and sizes over the years, in his exhibitions and tours to various countries. I love how spectacular these sculptures look, and how fluid and colourful they are. I’m waiting for Friedlander to announce an exhibition in London so I can visit and ooh-and-ahh at them, but in the meantime I suppose I’ll have to swing some ropes around and see if any sparks come off them!

You can visit his website for more images from his various tours and exhibitions in the last 14 years, or otherwise have a look at some of his videos to see how the light sculptures look like in motion – or read his bio and more about Paul Friedlander on his page here.

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All images belong to Paul Friedlander

Harlequin Oddities Found About Town: Crouching Robot, Hidden Wooden Giant

I saw this giant hidden away in Canning Town area, hidden behind some very high fences, which made it slightly easy to overlook unless you happen to look up (or through the fences and boards like I did). The Canning Town Giant, as it’s known is a giant art sculpture made from re-used wood, and made by a group of artists known as ROBOTS>>>>,who created this with a team of sculptures, set builders and art directors.

The purpose of this sculpture is to draw attention to nature, to highlight the idea of recyling and and to transform ugly areas into beautiful ones. This certainly makes sense, as Canning Town is a regeneration area which has been worked on for several years as a project to re-build, re-beautify and bring up the standards of the area – so something like this would make a great attraction.

When I saw this giant, I was quite charmed – I like the idea of a crouching gentle giant bending down to pick flowers (or trees, more like) and peeking at you from over the high fences and billboards. Think of it as East London’s very own BFG.

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Giant Straw Haberdashery Mondays

I’ve been seeing these pretties placed around my local area, huge straw flower features which are advertising a competition (and some pretty flowers). I’m partial to the giant freak, just because I like funky shoes, but I do also love the huge perfume bottle. I may love miniatures, but something about the idea of a huge perfume bottle appeals to me – imagine having one in your room and needing to take a dab out of it – it would last me all year!

I’m keeping an eye out for more, but I do like how cleverly these have been made, and I like how artfully the flowers have been used to accent the objects. I’m keeping my fingers crossed for a giant top hat, next.

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The Lego CP30

It’s been a while since I posted some nonsense about Lego, so here’s CP3O on top gold form (plus a silver leg, they must have run out of the gold), looking like the butler-esque robot that he is. Best of all, he’s life-sized too, so you can stand next to him and hook your arms through his, like he’s your robot bride and the Apocalypse has just come. Y’know.

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The French Kiss Statue at King’s Cross Station

The French Kiss/Lover’s Embrace statue at King’s Cross Station is a huge piece of bronze art created by sculpture Paul Day (although I have to admit, the Valentine’s handbag is the best bit about it). Although it’s been there for a few years, I haven’t seen it before, and the smaller engravings at the base was added more recently to the giant model.

I like that there’s a commuters theme to the statue, of trains and travelling, and of French meeting English, especially as the King’s Cross Station is the train station to get a direct train from London to Paris. There’s plenty of other art/pieces in this station (like the 9 and ¾ platform, which I have yet to gain access into), but I like this one because of how much it stands out (and because of the handbag).

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An Annual Flower Parade in Zundert, Netherlands

With floats made entirely (and very cleverly) from flowers, these huge floats for the Annual Flower Parade in a small town in the Netherlands are a beautiful sight. This one took place just a couple of weekends ago, and looks seriously impressive. The amount of effort and detail which have gone into these are spectacular, it’s no wonder that more than 20,000 people turn out to see this every year – I’d go!

I can’t decide which one’s my favourite, although I’m leaning towards the majestic looking elephant and the crooked houses, but really, I love them all!

And for those of you hoping to see it next year, stick around the town of Zundert next year September and you’ll be able to see some beauties like these.

Images taken from here, here and here