Applying art to real life (or Crafting a birthday party)

25 02 2014

So, some of you might be aware that I have two little boys and that my youngest just turned one. I was chatting a few days ago with my friend Pierre Carles and he asked me to document everything in photos for the creative folks like him. So I did, and this post is written specially for him.
As usual I started thinking of a theme, because that helps me focus and choose a palette. For my first child I chose pandas and a palette based on three colors, and we had a lovely party outdoors. Since my little baby’s birthday is in winter, and what a winter we had this year! we had to do everything indoors, and our apartment is smallish, so I would not have a lot of room to play. Because of this, I decided early that I was going to use the food itself as decoration and to bring in some color to the place (we rent, our walls are too white).

So the theme was frogs, my kids love frogs and they are fun, right? And then I thought “hey, frogs and lily pads go together!” so frogs and lily pads it was. I spent some time looking at cupcakes online and deciding on what colors to use. I chose green and light blue (because of the water).

cupcake tower with #1 candle.

cupcake tower with #1 candle.

So, frog cupcakes: my design, easy stuff, I used glace (confectioner sugar and water) and green food coloring, I used green Wilton candy melts for the eyes and candy eyes that I glued with royal icing, I cut a red candy melt in half for the mouths.

Happy frogs (next time I'll get better quality liners)

Happy frogs (next time I’ll get better quality liners)

For the lily pad cupcakes I followed the instructions here, I made my own yellow sugar using these instructions (beware, you do not get edible glitter, just colored sugar!) I used blue icing instead of white, to give a water look, green would have worked for the leaf idea.

These impressed all the moms!

These impressed all the moms!

Then I made flower lily pads with a flower cookie cutter and a large circle cookie cutter, I took a segment off of it. I later decorated them with royal icing, and placed the flower on top of the leaf.

place one cookie on top of the other to give a dimensional effect!

place one cookie on top of the other to give a dimensional effect!

As I was doing all this, my dad was helping blowing balloons, I asked him to make groups of three balloons and use curling ribbon to give a dynamic effect. The added the tableware in matching colors, and voila! The place was ready to party!


The palette was cool, I thought it gave a nice effect in the winter time.


I am by  no means a professional, so things did not look super polished, but the kids loved them!

Applying what I’ve learned in art

25 05 2012

It never really crossed my mind that some day all the art reading, color theory, composition, etc. was going to be useful in an applied setting other than a canvas. Well, I found that when you  need to decorate, art theory comes in quite handy. I did part of my baby’s room decoration following some lessons learned from critique I got from awesome people, and recently I applied some of that knowledge to decorating for my baby’s first birthday.

The first thing I did was to pick a theme, which helped me to define a palette. As we all know the palette can make or ruin the piece by enhancing the mood or by clashing with it. Since Ignacio loves pandas, we chose a panda party and based the colors on that concept, also because it is preferable to focus on a few colors than being all over the place we decided on black and white (panda), green for bamboo and red as contrast. After some discussing with artist friends I noticed that dark green was very Christmasy so I went for a kiwi green, which is also brighter and neutralized a bit the black.
Next step: decide location. We have the blessing of living in a good apartment complex that has a lovely park with a gazebo for us to enjoy, so we decided that the gazebo was going to be our central spot. And then we had to think of the decorations themselves… being on a budget made the choice simple: cheap stuff. You can get a lot of balloons for close to nothing and we also got a few paper fans (at $2/5 pieces) the rest was food 🙂

Decorating the trees with paper fans.

Balloons and paper fans made for a fun yet cheap decoration.

Keeping a black, white, red and green theme. The white was amply provided by the gazebo itself.

Panda cupcakes! Cream cheese for the icing, chocolate melts, chocolate chips for the nose and store bought sugar eyes.

I kept the last cupcake plain and added one red candle.

The inside of the gazebo. We finished the look with a black and white table cloth.

Some flowers to add life!