Awesome Steampunk Train BBQ Grill- A True Piece of Art

steampunk-train-bbq

A look at the steam engine takes you back the memory lane, when steam loco chugged along the tracks and small children ran after it, listening to its signal bell toll merrily. Electric locomotives have replaced the old era charm, yet many still hold a fascination for the steam engine. Look at it, it is a magnificent piece of art, so intricately put together and still exuding that Victorian era charm. I just love it!

Man and machine always go together. A vintage item always holds a place of pride for the possessor. This steampunk train is a blend of modern and olden times. Well, it may be a thing of the past on rails, but is sure a thing of great use and pride in the modern world – especially when made into a backyard BBQ grill.

The engine is made to perfection and last detail and its steam power place is aptly used as a barbeque grill. The engine is used as the primary cooking area and the chimneys serve their purpose well. The driver’s compartment doubles up a resting place as well as a place for storage of BBQ tools. This incredible piece of artistry has three cooking bays and a brick-lined furnace. See how well the two sides have been extended that act as shelves to place things. One side extension is railed to hold maybe items like plates or glassware. The side at the furnace end doubles up as working table top.

This massive piece of art weighs 4 ton and was cleverly crafted by Ryazan Deulino. It is an envious model that adorns the backyard and is so unique for a barbeque grill!! Well, how I wish I had one to show off. It would be perfect in an Aussie backyard. The practicality of the engine is amazing. It is so convenient to cook a bigger batch of meats. More so since there are three cooking bays.

The outdoor barbeque experience with this Steampunk engine grill will not be complete without a rugged western look. So just grab your cowboy hat and pull up your boots and we will be off on a gastronomic journey. Oh, the heavenly aroma of smoked grills is sure to make anyone drool and crave for more. How man succeeds in teaming his imaginative brain, knowledge and creativity to create a super gadget has always stumped me. But it sure works fine when it is related to his stomach. Else, who would even think of converting this redundant piece from the tracks of yesteryear to a full functional backyard barbeque grill?

This stunning steampunk train barbeque grill is modern day sculpture that is a unique blend of artistry and practicality. I have always admired the steam engine back then and its modern day avatar has made me its biggest fan. Who says that discard the old as it is out-dated and hopeless or a piece of junk? Here is a live example that indeed, old is gold! There never is a necessity to call an object “junk”. All that you need is an artistic outlook and a practical mind and together they create something unique that can be well termed as “neighbour’s envy, owner’s pride”.

It is never too late to set that artistic mind on roll and who knows? Maybe even you can create a masterpiece like this.

A Little Obsession with Fine French Paper

vintage-french-paper

OK, so while I have been on the subject of France, I might just have a slight obsession with these stunning, delicate french postcards. I came across them at a market near the Arc de Triomphe, and just had to buy them.

The question is, do I keep them all to myself or do I send them to people I love? I shall think about that over a coffee and croissant…

An Escape to the Louvre

louvre

France is a beautiful and romantic city. There is no doubt about this. For artists who want to feel the difference, Louvre is the place to go. This was once a royal palace and has held a high historical reputation of France for a long time. In fact as early as 1793, Louvre was already in existence. It is divided into an eight fold wing.

The finest arts cherished all over the globe can only be found here.  Ever heard of Mona Lisa and Venus de Milo?  Then this is the right place to check in.  Louvre has been recorded as the world famous museum of all times with over 9 million visitors by the year 2012. Touring this magnificent structure will give you a real look at the cultural heritage of all ages.

It has to start from the famous paintings, and sculptures such as the dying slave, ship of fools, the fortune teller and the like. Amazingly, the Louvre is located in a serene place that would add much taste to the tour.  Seine River is a tourist attraction that hosts the world famous museum.

Some of the ancient collections to expect in this place include Roman sculptures, crown jewels, and old materials from the French nobles, Islamic arts, decorative structures, drawings and prints. Your tour will never be complete without giving a daring glance to Leonardo da Vinci’s collections particularly the mysterious Mona Lisa paintings.  This is seemingly a small picture that has been cushioned by glass and has been well secured by guards to prevent any occurrence of thefts.

Some of the memories that will come in your mind include the Napoleon coronation which has been simplified through symbolic sculptures and paintings.  The grand Louvre has undergone a series of renovations that has contributed to its irresistible beauty, not to mention the Louvre pyramid which appears to be more sophisticated and enhances the penetration of natural light within the lobbies.  It is not possible to view the entire Louvre within a single visit.

In this case, the first thing you will be given is a visitor’s trail that has a combination of some of the famous works. This museum is ever open apart from some exceptional holidays like Christmas and worker’s day.

The Louvre arts are unique and will help you mind race back to the old centuries.   This place is truly a symbol of wealth and decadence in relation to French monarchy. There is enough to feed the eyes and if you doubt, the 70,000 pieces of fine arts and more than 500 paintings are there to confirm all the details.

For those who want to have a glimpse of the French history, this is the real place of satisfaction and the truth remains that you will never have enough. The vast ghostly corridors and the striking barren walls are the best platforms for the sculptures. The permanent art collection in this place is amazing.

Homeware Shopping in Melbourne

Oh for the joy of hunting and shopping for homewares!! I guess all women are equally crazy about this stuff like me. Well, stores in Melbourne keep some real  stunning products – some contemporary and some funky too. It is a matter of your choice and mood as to what I end up purchasing, but it is hard to go wrong at any of the many home décor stores. Some that I visited had exquisite and unique pieces. I just can’t get enough of shopping for products to decorate my home.

I often wonder why are there so many things to tempt me to part with my money. I know I can’t have them all, but wise buyers know exactly what to pick. I spotted some real cute stuff at After Store on Therry Street. They have a unique collection of handcrafted items collected from around the globe as well as sourced locally. There is a variety of houseware, jewellery, gifts and knick-knacks and furniture. Pan After on Franklin Street stores an excellent collection of internationally sourced homeware. They have exciting gift items too.

Have you ever popped into Rap on Little Collins Street? Oh my!! They have a fabulous collection of color-coordinated homeware, aromatic candles, body products and eye catching linen in vibrant shades. Rap Products have contemporary household and lifestyle products. You just can’t stop admiring their beautifully fresh and lively colored items.

Do stop by Urban Attitude. They have really some cute kitchenware. I really flipped for their oh-so-cute egg warmers. Their oven mitts are cool too – I loved that gingerbread man. Another interesting thing is the Dreamfarm Savel Food Saver. I must say, it makes sense to buy one. It keeps your cut fruits fresh and safe for next use. Their stock of funky huggable pillows is sure hit with kids.

Another store that intrigued me was Spoilt Gift and Homewares. Well, the gifts are not spoilt, but the store is all out to spoil and pamper you with their goods. They have 4 outlets in Melbourne and they keep everything under the sun, related to home and person. From accessories for fashion, travel, men, body care, etc. to gift books and stationery, they have it all. They have a fantastic collection of kids’ gifts ideas, food items, and sale items.

One unique thing that I found there were Ecoya aromatic candles. They are available in many perfumes like Vanilla Beans, Lotus flower, French Pear and Coconut-Elderflower. Their specialty is their soy wax candles, delicately poured in contemporary glass jars and beautifully packed in colorful boxes.

The glass jar holder renders them a burning life of almost 18 hours. In their kitchenware collection, I found the Index Advance Chopping board useful. It comes in a set of 4 different colored boards with a holder and has each board marked for different use to avoid confusion. But the thing that took my breath away was that cute heart-shaped mini pan.

What a perfect way to say “I love you” to your dear ones at the breakfast table by serving them their favorite eggs in a heart shape! Spoilt Gifts and Homewares store have the sweetest collection of enamelware. Colourful and trendy forms make for a perfect home décor.

For the camera enthusiasts, there is the perfect gift in the form of Into Focus mug. This cleverly designed mug in the shape of a camera lens is every photographer’s delight. Don’t miss that colorful tree in metal craft from Urban Products. It makes an interesting wall piece.

After having visited many stores, I realized that the more I see, the more I will be tempted to splurge. So as far as I am concerned this was enough of a homeware shopping spree in Melbourne for me.

A Weekend Retreat for Some Recharge

I love weekend retreats. I think my creative soul needs it. My body needs it too. I use them to draw inspiration when I have reached those phases in my creative life when I feel I am a little bogged down. In most lines of work, you probably refer to this as burnout. I call it being bogged down because you feel a sense of mental and physical paralysis that totally draws life out of you.

A weekend away for me is a perfect way of taking some timeout, not because I am facing a crisis, but because I need it to keep me a little grounded and in touch with humanity. My artistic endeavours sometimes draw me too deep into my soul.

art retreat

I like to immerse myself in a place that connects me to the things that I love. As an artist, everything is a theme for me and I am always looking for meaning in things. So I just don’t settle for a destination. I have to verify with my artistic soul whether the retreat destination is really the ideal one. Because a retreat for me is something spiritual and more than just leisure time, I generally pay very close attention to where I plan to spend my time.

Going on a retreat means ensuring I have had enough preparation. After all, art does not just come from desire and passion but the knowledge of various materials, as well as the available techniques and patience. It’s true that you will always learn more through observations.

There is much to expect on an art retreat and this has to range from the drawings, paintings, and the exploration of brushes, pencils, and pigments. There are both traditional and modern approaches as well as techniques that can help guide all the travels and bring you into the silent world of artistic magic.

Whether you are a photographer, teacher, executive homemaker or painter, the fact remains there you will need some solitude and time for introspection. For an artist like me, I think that is indeed essential in fueling my creative energies so that I can approach my upcoming projects with new perspectives. It enables me to see things from a whole new perspective. Timeout helps me become more creative as well as a better artist.

There are times when you can opt to have a retreat in the desert and learn new things that will change your life forever. Before you sign up for an art retreat, it is important to decide if you wish to share a room with another person or not. There are some people who don’t like sharing rooms while others prefer to have roommates around them. Whether it’s a lunch or dinner the impact of the whole thing should be felt.

This is the best moment of learning and unwinding; every opportunity for a retreat brings forth new ideas and opportunities for collaborations. If you have the art ideas that would help to raise awareness, it’s even much better. Nowadays, you can even use online tools to fashion an art retreat that is uniquely customized to your creative needs.

Why I want a Tiny House

tiny-house

OK, I have a slight obsession. Other than my love of gypsy wagons, I also happen to desperately want to swap my old house for a tiny house. Something like the tiny in this picture would do me just fine – only the painting would be deep blue. Of course at the moment it is just a pipe dream, but how amazing would it be?

It would have a mini gourmet kitchen because I love cooking. Whilst I don’t want or need something of the size of the one below, one of my non negotiable inclusions is a full length window splash back. In a small home, this would bring in so much light and allow for a beautiful view of nature outside the window.

kitchen

One design idea that I have fallen in love with is this one below. It is from a container home from New Zealand, and I adore how she has put the bed below the lounge room in this. What a super practical idea.

container-house-living

Do you see how amazing this concept is? Both the lounge room and bedroom are two places that you are not standing up generally. Though in this design, she was easily able to stand in the lounge area. What you can’t see in this image fully is the long windows adorning each space. See a theme here? I just love the amount of light this lets in to the area and the outlook it provides.

For me, my bedroom is a place of absolute relaxation. It must contain a super high quality, latex mattress. After sleeping on one of these for the past 15 years, there is no substitute – and it is the main thing I miss when I am travelling through Asia. Their beds are insanely hard. So latex mattress – check. There is something you need to know about me. I can’t stand bad, cheap bed linen. You know the type that scratches and pills? For me, my sheet of choice is Egyptian cotton. I buy them from www.egyptiancotton-sheets.com.au online here in Australia and have them delivered to my door. As for a blanket, I do go cheap and cheerful. I love microfibre blankets and have a gorgeous black one. I top it off with a tablecloth that I bought during one of my trips to Thailand that is large enough to fit a king bed. I use it on my queen size and it drapes beautifully. It reminds me of Thailand every time I get into bed – except my bed is soft!

To top off my tiny house, I would NEED an indoor bathroom – fully plumbed and working. A shower with decent water pressure and a working toilet. The other reason for the bedroom below and the lounge on top is that I often visit the toilet after reading for a while. So the idea of not having to go up and down stairs or a ladder to get into bed is really appealing. As far as bathroom design goes, I still haven’t found one I have fallen in love with. This is kind of close to what would work for me.

bathroom

As you can probably tell, I really like modern styling. Add to that beachy elements and you have my style all over. Another style I don’t mind is a beachy shabby chic look. Not quite as shabby as the original, but definitely reflecting a life by the ocean. Now to find a little peace of beach side land and build that tiny house.

My Niece’s Christening

gown

It is nice to be back home for a change and it is even nicer that our family had a chance to get together though Thanksgiving is still so far away. Although I still have a ton of work to do, I knew I would not miss my niece’s christening for the world. Moreover, it’s a good thing I made it in time, too. I can only imagine how stressed my sister would have been if I was not around. More so, I could not bear the thought of our family’s bundle of joy wearing some random outfit for her first big event – oh, the horror!

It’s not to say that my sister and my brother-in-law are drab people who have no fashion sense at all. It just so happened that I know a little better, well, a lot better actually. And boy, am I relieved I had time to shop before I came back home. I found the perfect ensemble for the niece!

Oh, how cute she looked in her christening dress! She looked like a little angel embraced in the comfort of lightness and grace with the lace trims and bows. It matches so well with the dainty hair band and tiny designer shoes. I am so glad that my sister liked the dress enough to let her little darling wear it to her christening day. And I am doubly happy that the church is no longer strict about the colour and design of christening outfits or else my efforts would have gone to waste. When she grows up and takes a look at her christening photos, my niece will probably be happy that she looked like royalty. What can I say, this little cutie is lucky to have a stylish aunt and godmother like me!

My niece’s christening is just the beginning. You can bet she’ll be donning style and inheriting my fashion acumen as she grows up!

My Lifelong Love Affair with Gypsy Wagons

Gypsy Wagon

I have a bit of a crush I am afraid. Actually it is more than a crush. More like a lifelong love affair. With gypsy wagons.

There is something about a gypsy wagon don’t you think? They represent freedom on the road, a lifestyle far away from the normal bricks and mortar house in the suburbs with neighbours we don’t really know. The gypsy lifestyle is one of new surroundings on a regular basis, a large community of people who talk to each other (and sometimes fight with each other too), drinking wine around an open fire in the wilderness and lovely, flowy clothes.

There are some amazing pieces of gypsy wagon art. I am a huge fan of beautifully manipulated, magical looking photoshop work. I also love the intricate carving and decoration on the actual gypsy wagons. There aren’t, however, many actual artists painting images of these beautiful wagons. An artist’s style can come in many forms. There are artists that go into amazing detail in their paintings, there are abstract artists and there are also whimsical artists. I took a particular liking to this whimsical art piece (shown above) by Caroline Rose Art.

Why do I love it so much? Well, it reminds me of my scrapbooked photo albums. This image is very similar to the styles of papers I use in my scrapbooks. They can be hard to come by, but I just love their simple, clean lines. See, scrapbooking is one of my personal hobbies. I adore telling the stories of my life through this medium. My photos mean everything to me. They are snapshots of my whole life. I never have enough time to actually finish them, especially my overseas holidays. I think I might be up to 2008 in my timeline. But hey, I just do my albums for fun. And this style of art is right up my little scrapbooking alley.

Dream Location

Longtail boat in Ao Nang Thailand

I have always wanted to spend time in Thailand. It is my dream location. Imagine spending a sunny day on a long tail boat such as this one. It would be such an amazing experience. I can see myself snorkelling in clear blue waters, watching tropical fish just float by me. A delicious Thai lunch on a secluded beach with not a soul in site. It makes me want to jump on the next plane over there. This picture is from the Ao Nang area in Southern Thailand. It is about 2 hours from Phuket airport. I can see myself wandering along the ocean at sunset, watching the sky light up like Christmas in front of me. Millions of colours dancing above me. Palm trees swaying in the breeze and the smell of delicious food filling the air.

One day I will get there. In the meantime, I will have just dream about that day sometime in the future.