Styling Challenge - VITA Silvia Create
Have you thought about Mother's day gifts yet? I have. For some time now. Because you see, although I told my mom Happy Birthday last year, I totally forgot that it was her big (shhh....) 60th. She didn't seem to mind, to her it was just another number. But to me, it felt like I should have done something special for that day.
Being away from her, as she lives in sunny Greece with my dad and little sister, means I don't get to see her half as much as I would like. Sure she visits us often and we go back for our holidays too, but it's not enough for her and it's not enough for me. When she's over here she spends ages (seriously, AGES) on the phone with my sister. It makes me wonder, what do they talk about? It's only yesterday that she left my home town to visit us, surely she can't have THAT many things to talk about?
Then it hits me that I don't get on the phone to her as much as (I should and) she expects me to. The excuse I have is that since I talk so much at work, when I get home I don't want and don't have the time to talk to anyone. So, this Mother's Day, I need to send her a special message. It's not going to be a message in a bottle. Rather, a message in a lamp.
What does all this have to do with an interiors blog, you ask. Well read on.
I have been swooning over VITA Copenhagen for some time now. Having seen their packaging during London Design Festival last September I knew instantly that they're on to something big. Design led products with minimal packaging and a lot of recyclable material. Their packaging is so good, it makes perfect gifts. I never focus on packaging, but theirs was REALLY good.
So I reached out to them to see if they would like me to style one of their products, the Silvia Mini Create in a styling challenge with award winning blogging pal and DIY Queen Melanie, of Melanie Lissack Interiors.
VITA were delighted to have their Silvia Mini Create, made of white watercolour paper, coloured and styled by us. Scroll to the end of the blog for a link to Melanie's post!
The high quality paper is perfect for using anything from acrylic paint to water-based markers or spray paint. In addition, you can download ready-made templates (shown below) from VITA's website and print them onto the leaves. You also get extra leaves, just in case anything goes wrong - personally, I didn't have to use them.
Because the Silvia is a lampshade, you also need a base, right? So I also chose their VITA Tripod which lets you turn your VITA lampshade into a floor or table lamp in just seconds. The ingenious construction of the Tripod ships in compact packaging and snaps together automatically in a few seconds upon unpacking. The VITA Tripod comes in two sizes, both in matt black and matt white versions. It also includes a special "pop in and click" adapter for UK plugs.
Before my Silvia Create arrived, I thought about ways to decorate it and experimented a bit with watercolour paints. Watercolours come in pencils and water soluble cream as well as the traditional tins where you can use the lid as your palette. The drawing here is made with watercolour pencils.
My lamp arrived a few days later, so I sat one Sunday morning to paint the leaves in watercolour. The technique I used was to put a lot of water on the leaf first before quickly adding bits of colour and letting it run around the paper freely. I then mixed colours up.
To ensure that lots of light would come out of the lamp, I painted the bottom leaves darker than the ones on top. You also need to remember that the denser the paint you use (e.g. acrylic vs water colour) the less light will come out. As shown is the photo below you can decorate only part of the shade as well.
I would recommend painting only one side of each leaf. They have different texture on each side - smooth or patterned. I experimented painting the side with the most texture, but did not like it as much as the smoother side. Here's the finished lamp using green, purple and pink. Use the tip of your brush to splatter paint (for this use one with shorter and very dense hair).
On the leaves towards the bottom (or top, depending how you position the lamp) I added very light pink and yellow for a soft glow.
The lamp is very versatile. Not only can it be positioned facing down or up, you can use it as a table or ceiling shade. It's great in the bedroom or in the office. I just had another brilliant idea seeing the lamp in my office: doing a marble effect on the leaves! Next time maybe!
Ok, but I was talking about a Mother's Day gift and then it was about the lamp, what's going on? Right, as a Mother's Day gift this year (and don't worry, my mom doesn't speak English so there's little chance I am spoiling any surprise here), my plan is to pack the lamp back in it's box and send it off to Greece.
However, inside a few of the leaves, I have now written messages to my mom, so as she assembles it, she will come across things she's likely to want to forget like...
"Thank you for not being mad at me when I crashed the family car.
I hope I have your patience with my own child. And he's a boy!"
Yes, I am shamelessly going for tears with this one. I think it's a lovely way to put a smile on her face and it will prompt her to pick up the phone. This time I promise to stay on the line as long as she wants.