DIY Fun: Toy Camera

Homemade toy camera

I remember a simpler time in my life, I must have been five or six years old. I would walk about with this camera around my neck. It belonged to my mother, who in a fit of mad generosity had given it off to me. It was love at first sight, I took it everywhere with me! I don’t know which brand it was or what kind of lens it had, but it was a film camera with a slim, steel and black body. It had a view finder that made everything look so much more beautiful, and the lever to click pictures made the perfect ‘click’. The thing was encased in this gorgeous tan leather case.

If my memory serves me right, I usually wore a hat when I was clicking – one of the floppy variety – and I’m certain I felt pretty professional in my gear. Alas! There is no picture of me with the camera, so I cannot produce proof.

I would potter around the house, garden and terrace peering at quizzical things through my lens. Once I was lucky enough to be able to observe a garden lizard for quite a while…I lay prostrate in the yard, gazing away, comfortable in the knowledge that the camera was there to protect me.

Back to the present-ish, I was looking for toys to buy for little Mr. K close to his birthday. We had already decided to get him a balance bike as the big present – he was turning two after all – but I had saved up a little to be able to splurge on his big day. And toddler cameras were a real thing! It made me wonder if that vintage treasure from mum had fostered my shutter love. But whatever was available in the market was either too ‘flashy’ (I abhor light and sound toys) or was for older kiddos.

The next best thing was to make one. Thankfully, crafty and inspirational parents out there have shared their DIY tutorials on building cameras ranging from simple to actual working models. I chose to keep it simple given my child’s age and my low level of expertise.

I’m a bit obsessed about re-purposing cardboard, so the natural choice for me was to start with a small cardboard box as the base. The shoe box of Mr. K’s  first shoes was the perfect size. I then collected other bits and bobs to put together our funky little camera. You could come up with your own version depending on what you can corral together.

Here’s what I used:

  • a small shoe box for the base
  • a cloth kitchen-towel to cover the camera so that it lasts longer. You can go with a paper cover too
  • a cardboard circle cut out for the lens edge. I painted it black to add a punchy contrast
  • a ‘viewfinder’ – a plastic piece from a ‘dismantled’ bubble gun
  • a cap from a shampoo bottle for the magical ‘click’ sound
  • a strap/belt from an old satchel
  • a needle and some thread
  • a bottle of Fevicol MR General Purpose

You can create a cute camera with just these supplies. The lens just adds some flair and makes Mr. K feel very important. I also like the fact that it adds a bit more scope for interactive play.

For the lens:

  • a 2-inch piece from the cardboard of a kitchen paper roll
  • 2 plastic caps from the cans of a bottled-water dispenser
  • acrylic paint
  • a 3-inch bit of string

Armed with these supplies, I began my project. First, I stuffed the shoe box with some newspaper and bubble wrap to prevent it from collapsing when stress tested by the said toddler. Then I covered it with the kitchen towel and sewed up the edges that gave me a neat, rectangular box to work with. Then I glued on the black circle to the center of the front face of the box using Fevicol. To this, I stuck one of the caps from the water dispenser can to create a holding point for the ‘lens’. Then, I sewed on the ‘viewfinder’ and stuck the shampoo bottle cap on the top face of the camera. Since the bottle cap was plastic, it refused to be held down by Fevicol…I heated the bottom edge on a candle flame and pressed down firmly to fuse it with the cloth. The pictures below try to capture the key points.

diy toy camera

Now, on to the lens. Since I was working with a yellow kitchen towel and had found a bright vermilion strap for the camera, I decided to go with a similar colour for the lens. I painted the piece of kitchen towel roll a sunny vermilion and left it to dry for a few minutes. Once it was dry, I pierced a tiny hole near one edge and inserted the bit of string. The second cap of the water dispenser (I painted this white with acrylic paint) became the ‘lens cover’ once I had strung it through and knotted off the tiny bit of string.

Ta-da! Our homemade, simply adorable little camera was ready for a test drive. After attaching the strap to the sides, I adjusted the length to fit my bub. It had been a major task fending him off until I had completed the task, so he was thrilled to bits when I finally handed the camera to him. And he went shutter-happy in an instant!

I steal it when he’s not looking just to go, “Click, click, click.” Okay, I might be too much in love with it. I hope Mr. K enjoys it for a long time.

Super Easy Paper Bows made from Sticky Notes

Easy paper bows

I am a big fan of gift toppers – ribbons, flowers, bows – bring them on. It’s always wonderful to receive a gift, and seeing that special touch of an embellishment is really nice too.

Sometimes you may have so much going on that crafting a fancy topper or making that run to the stationery shop may be out of the question. While looking for quick options to create a bow, I came across this one from the inspiring designer at How about Orange. Since I didn’t have a printer on hand, I decided to use the inspiration to make my own version with sticky notes.

These paper bows have come to my rescue often, making that simple gift a wee bit more endearing. And the best part is that they don’t need any elaborate printing or cutting. Just use your trusty sticky notes to give a gift added flair.

I’ve used sticky note prompts, but you can make these from pretty much any size or shape of sticky notes.

supplies for paper bow

Supplies from your desk

• sticky note prompts – 3 per bow

• a glue stick or Fevicol

• a pair of scissors

• a pencil (optional)

 

How to make the paper bows

Crafting the Bow

1. Take one note prompt and create a loop by sticking together the narrow edges. Now repeat with the second note.

2. Slide a pencil into the loop and pinch the glued edges as shown above. Glue the pinched bits to create a gentle crease. Do this for the other loop as well.

3. Stick the two loops to each other by overlapping the pinched edges.

4. Set aside for the joint to dry.

Tidying it up

5. Now take the third sticky note and snip off a narrow piece from one end.

6. Wrap it tightly around the pencil to curl it. Hold for a few seconds and unfurl the curly strip.

7. Cover the joint with this sliver of paper; glue the edges to the bow.

8. Hold the paper in place with your fingers until the glue dries.

Adding finishing touches

9. Fold the remaining piece of the third sticky note in half.

10. Snip off a triangle from the open side to create the ends for the bow.

11. Unfold and cut along the crease to get two pieces. Glue each piece to the back of a loop of the bow so that the edge with the ‘V’ sticks out over the loop.

12. Ta-da. Your pretty, chic bow is now ready to adorn your gift.

These super quick, easy bows look great on gift boxes, paper bags, books and can even cheer up a brown paper bag. So go ahead and make some right away!

BOOK HUNT FIND: HOME BY STAFFORD CLIFF

Have you ambled into a book shop without any particular title in mind? Just given in to the bookworm instinct, prepared to pour over book covers and blurbs, to discover a gem quite by chance? That’s exactly what happened to me a few moons ago on a trip to a mall in Delhi. They (Landmark) were having some sort of a sale, and books were piled almost from the floor to the ceiling. What joy!

I pottered about and found this simply brilliant book – Home: 50 Taste-makers Describe What it is, Where it is, What it Means by Stafford Cliff. I loved the cover, the title and a quick flip through revealed that this was worth having on my bookshelf. However, it has never made it to the bookshelf since I brought it home. I love having it within easy reach just so I can flip through the pages, stare into beautifully captured homes, get lost in childhoods and the different interpretations of a home.

It’s one of those books, that teach us so much about personal style, photography and the meaning of spaces we create. A home is so much more than a place to park your stuff. As my world-view evolves, I see my need for a place to call home change.

There are so many things that endear this book to me. As the taste-makers talk about their homes or special places they reveal so much about who they are, how they think and sometimes, it completely changes the way you have perceived them earlier. That is an exciting promise, don’t you think?

Kenzo Takada’s home in Paris

The photography is a different trip altogether. Some pictures add visual elements to enhance a narrative while some spin a new tale all by themselves. Designing is always subjective, but the sheer personality it imbibes from owners or designers is enchanting. Just looking at the pictures gives you so many ideas to transform your home into a reflection of its occupants.

Beautiful kitchens, the bottom one is Donna Hay’s. So very her, isn’t it?

A busy living room wall, with great character

What I have learnt, from this book so far:

  1. Things that endure through the years, the many abodes and phases of your life are the ones that serve some purpose with an element of delight to the eye. So I’d suggest you don’t buy things unless you see yourself living with them for a long, long time
  2. On the other hand, it’s perfectly okay to include a few things that aren’t functional, but have an emotional connection for you. So that recipe your grandma gave you, can be printed onto parchment paper and framed to inspire wholesome meals in your kitchen
  3. Experiment, blend, get inspired by the trends and the design rules of your era, but leave some room to add your personal touches. A bottle filled with sands from all the beaches you enjoy may not come for a heavy price tag, but is a delightful reminder of fun times
  4. Bring in the light, let it dance around. Most beautiful rooms become even better when you throw in a good mix of light, natural or arranged
  5. Find a place for things that you love doing, make time to personalise it. Enjoy the after-effects. Donna Hay’s kitchen, Paul Smith’s office, Kenzo Takda’s pool in his living room all inspire to carve out spaces where happiness is easy to find

I’d definitely recommend this fat little book of treasures, in case you like the stuff I’ve been raving about in this post.

If you have any thing to add to this list (whether inspired by this book or elsewhere), I’d love to hear about it. Share with us, your go-to inspirations for building a home that you love.

Infectious Creativity: The Third & The Seventh

Directed by Alex Roman
CG | Modelling – Texturing – Illumination – Rendering by Alex Roman
Postproduction & Editing by  Alex Roman
Music | Sequenced, Orchestrated & Mixed by Alex Roman (Sonar & EWQLSO Gold Pro XP); Sound Design by Alex Roman

The Third & The Seventh is one of those films that inspire me every single time I watch them. In this one, each shot is pure perfection. Every angle is pure genius. Tread with caution, not all of us are equipped to handle such beauty – the gorgeousness of it all will steal your breath, it will sting, you will feel a dull ache in your heart, and then you ‘ll just surrender to the power of the artist’s craft. The interplay of light with natural and man-made is surreal.

These are my picks of stills from the film.

You can find more inspiration on the website The Third & The Seventh.
All images are by Alex Roman.

A Little Relish Magazine: Recipes, Restaurants, Cafes

A Little Relish Issue Two is something I just have to share with all of you. If you haven’t seen it already, I suggest you do it as soon as you’ve had a bite to eat, because this gorgeous magazine is a treat for the eyes but punishment for your tummy! The second issue covers quaint cafes and fresh food markets in Montreal alongwith a bunch of delectable recipes that are easy to whip up.

Created by Chantelle Grady, the magazine gives you an interesting peek at the life and culture of Montreal. I have spent a couple of magical afternoons just flipping through the pages covered with beautiful shots of food, bicycles, people, buildings and boulangeries. Montreal is now on my list of places to go to before I kick the bucket.

Just go here to find something to drool over! Don’t miss the recipes for a day-long binge in the morning, noon and night section.