Today's guest post was written by Alan Farragher
There are a number of architectural marvels scattered across the globe. From modern skyscrapers to ancient structures, from homes to workplaces and from the ancient to the ultra-modern, there are so many buildings that have become landmarks for cities and countries. Architects all over the world seek inspiration from nature, from life, from animals and from much more and that is often reflected in the amazing structures which they bring to life. Here, we take a look at six of the world’s most beautiful but most unusual buildings.
The Great Mosque in the city of Djenne is the largest mud brick building in the world. The first Mosque was built on the site in the thirteenth century but the current structure standing here today dates from 1907. It is one of the most famous landmarks on the entire African continent.
Dominating the Dubai skyline is the impressive Burj Al Arab, the world’s tallest hotel. Rumor has it that the hotel is the worlds' only seven star hotel but this is a myth as the official hotel rating doesn’t go beyond five. It stands on an artificial island, connected to the mainland by a bridge that launches fireworks to announce the arrival of VIPs.
Completed in 2006 at a price tag of forty million euro, this quirky building is like a giant billboard, with famous television images plastered all over the building’s exterior. Sunlight shines through the colored glass to fill the wonderful cathedral hall within.
This UNESCO World Heritage Site is technically not even complete yet. The church has been under construction since 1882 when the Sagrada Familia began working on the project. Gaudi became involved a year later, transforming the building by combining Gothic and curvilinear Art Nouveau forms. When Gaudi died in 1926, less than a quarter of the building was finished. Through private donations, building slowly continued halted only by the Spanish Civil War, the current estimated completion date is 2026.
Most temples in the Land of Smiles are centuries old but this modern-day temple was only built in 1997. An unusual building, it appears from a distance to be glistening, as if made from porcelain but on closer inspection one can see that this is in fact due to a coat of whitewash and clear-mirrored chips. It really is quite a sight to behold.
Located in Bilbao in northern Spain, the Guggenheim is a museum housing contemporary and modern art. It was designed by a Canadian-American architect, Frank Gehry, and is considered one of the most admired exhibits of contemporary architecture in the world. It bends and twists in ways that seem almost impossible for a building of its size and holds true to the original design concept of ‘daring and innovative’.
Alan Farragher is a freelance blogger and travel enthusiast. This article was written on behalf of GNet 3D a 3D architectural visualisation company with offices in London, Manchester, Cork and Dublin.
Disclosure: I got this product as part of an advertorial.
Above: Rainbow Bandz Organization Box
I like to do many different arts and crafts: fused glass, jewelry making, sewing, beading, scrapbooking, macramé and more. I used to have a bead store so I have tons and tons of beads laying all over my craft room. I'm always looking for storage solutions to better organize all the different sizes of beads I have.
Rainbow Bandz was kind enough to send me one of their Rainbow Bandz organization boxes. The box is meant to store the different colors of Rainbow Bandz rubber bands, but I thought it would make a great bead storage box. The box has 20 adjustable dividers so you can customize the size and number of storage compartments.
Above: Craft Diva used the Rainbow Bandz Organization Box to store African trade beads
I decided to use the box to store some of my vintage, glass African trade beads. I had them in some old, thin plastic containers that were starting to fall apart so the Rainbow Bandz storage box arrived just in time. I'm including a picture of part of the box so you can see how it looks - it's a nice way to store some colorful beads!
The Rainbow Bandz Organiziation Box is a clear plastic organizer case for rainbow loom and rubber bands with adjustable compartments. It has plenty of room to fit the rainbow loom kit and other connectors. Each compartment is 2 inches wide x 1.9 inches deep and is 13 1/2 inches long max. You can buy the storage box and rubber bands from Rainbow Bandz on Amazon.
Above: use the Rainbow Bandz box to store your rubber bands and loom.
I received one or more of the products mentioned above for free using Tomoson.com. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers.
Above: my former craft space when I was living in a house.
Do you have a separate area in your home or apartment where you like to work on arts and craft projects? I've gone from a 10' x 20' space in a home to a dinning room table in my apartment. Not the idea set up, but it's what I have to work with for now.
I like to leave my projects on display until I'm finished working with them. It's kind of inconvenient to have to pick everything up at the end of the day. Luckily I have 2 bar stools by the breakfast bar in front of my kitchen so that's where I eat most of my meals. In fact, I think I've only eaten in my dinning room 1 time since moving in back in July. That was my birthday dinner meal with my son, daughter and best friend.
So I'm lucky that I can dedicate my dinning room to my latest creations. My current projects have been altered art and artist journals where I use a bit of paint, ink and glue which are a bit messy. Before starting a new project, I make sure to first remove the tablecloth (another craft project I made) and cover the table with a layer of cardboard from a couple of old boxes. That way anything I spill stays on the cardboard and doesn't make a mess of my wood table.
Where do you spend most of your time working on your craft projects? Do you have a special room, studio space or a table in your living room dedicated to arts and crafts?
Lynn Smythe AKA the Craft Diva
Many years ago I was a manager for a So-Fro Fabric store in Connecticut. I grew up seeing my grandmother and mother sew a variety of clothing and craft projects. In Middle School I took Home Economics and made a skirt - I think it was an A-line style with a zipper made of a light pink canvas-type material. Too bad I don't have a picture to share, it would be a pretty interesting blast-from-the-past.
I still sew craft and clothing projects every so often. Since moving to my new apartment in July, I've made a couple of throw pillows for my couch and made a table-cloth to cover my ANCIENT dinning room table. Both my couch and dinning room furniture are FREE donations from friends, so they needed a bit of fabric bling to make them slightly less frumpy.
Above: find great fabric deals on sale at local fabric and craft stores such as Jo-Ann Fabrics.
I like to shop the bargain bin at local fabric stores - you can find fabric remnants at fantastic prices. I've bought quite a few scraps of home decor fabric, perfect for turning into Ren Festival costumes, for 50% to 70% off the regular price.
I've also bought some fabric bundles from various sellers on Etsy. It's so pretty I didn't want to keep it jumbled together in a storage box. I saw a photo on PInterest on storing fabric on hanging file folders. It's a pretty nifty idea, if you have an extra file drawer like I did.
Do you have lots of fabric and patterns waiting to be made into your next work of art? I would love to hear how you store and/or display your fabric, patterns and notions.
Lynn Smythe AKA the Craft Diva
I've been off the grid for awhile. Just moved back to Boynton Beach, Florida less then 2 months ago and getting everything set up at my new place. Now that I'm only 6 miles from my job (used to have 60 mile daily commute) I finally have some time to get back to posting to my Diva blogs.
1. Wall of mirrors. This is a really inexpensive decorating idea. You can find little mirrors at garage sales, dollar stores, thrift stores, etc... Start collecting them whevever you find them on sale for a good price. You can keep adding to your collection. This is one of the first things I hung up when I moved into my new apartment. The mirrors are very lightweight so I was able to use a small nail to hang up each one, no need to drill a hole for a molly bolt.
2. I have this fabric covered cork board hanging above my desk in my home office. I wrote up the instructions on how to make this item in a previous Craft Diva post: Make a Fabric Covered Memo Board. This is one of the first things I hang up when I move into a new place. I hang mostly inspirational items on the board and a few business cards. Makes me happy everytime I look at it and it's easy to rearrange items as you add new stuff.
Although the items I display on the board are lightweight, the board weighs a few pounds so I use picture hanger hooks rated for 20 pounds each to hang it up. The back of the board has two hooks so the weight is evenly distributed across the board and not just a single hanging area.
3. This is the small section of wall in my kitchen which is directly over my oven, underneath the vent fan. It's normally a pretty boring area. The cutting board on the left was painted years ago by my Great Aunt Dottie. The item in the middle is a nutmeg grater, freshly grated nutmeg tastes great in a variety of culinary creations including baked squash and sweet potatoes. The copper mold was a $1 find at Faith Farm in Boynton Beach - one of my favorite thrift stores!
The wood display on the right has 3 of my fused glass creations. Now that I live in an apartment my glass fusing days are probably over. Don't see how I can turn on the kiln in my garage with the smoke detector without getting caught. The kiln heats up to around 1500 degrees and takes about 8 hours to cycle a compete load of glass. So, I would love to be able to move into my own condo or townhome or small house within the next few years so who knows, I might be able to get back into glass art in the future. I have TONS of glass just sitting around.
Future Decorating Projects
I have been working on a few more projects for the apartment and will take photos and add them in another blog post. Money is a bit tight right now so I'm always looking for ways to decorate on the cheap including a lot of projects I make myself.
Lynn Smythe AKA the Craft Diva
Consider Home Staging For the Next Home You Sell
By Megan Gates
Staging a home for sale is a significant investment, but worth every penny. In fact, sellers stand to lose a lot more on a home if it is not staged. The staging investment is an exclusive service that can help sellers earn as much as 17 percent more on a sale than an un-staged home. Hiring a home stager to improve the value of the home and reduce the number of days on the market is a beneficial and highly recommended choice.
1. Stage a Home to Reduce the Time on the Market
Staged homes spend less time on the market than empty homes. In a study published in the New York Village Voice, a staged home will spend an average of 13.9 days on the market compared to the 30.9 days a non-staged home will spend on the market. Since home sellers lose money as long as the home is on the market in real estate, home stagers are hired to increase the chances of reducing the time on the market.
For most home sellers, home staging is effective. Sellers save money on mortgage payments, advertising, marketing and any additional expenses. Staging a home can cost nothing if the home sells quickly. Most sellers can recoup 200 percent of their home staging investment.
2. Buyers Will Think the Home is Well-Maintained
When the home is staged, the home looks its best. Staged homes make the buyers think the sellers were conscientious about the appearance of the home, the appliances and the maintenance. This will encourage homebuyers to purchase homes faster because they assume that every appliance and structure is as well kept as the furniture and design. The illusion alone will sell a home faster.
3. Provide Home Sellers With a Competitive Advantage
If it is a buyer’s market, home sellers need a competitive advantage. A staged home is memorable and can give sellers a competitive advantage. A lived-in home does not quite have the same effect or “wow-factor” as a staged home. A staged-home will sell faster because buyers place a premium on feeling like they are the owners of the house. If the house is lived-in, homeowners visualize the current owners in the home and not themselves. This will ruin a sale.
4. Staging Makes the Home Appear Larger
Staging can help even the smallest home. When the rooms are small, most homebuyers cannot visualize how to arrange the furniture to maximize the space in the room. For example, when looking at small spaces in high demand, like Brooklyn real estate, home stagers can accentuate the positive points of the smaller spaces and show prospective homebuyers how to utilize the space most constructively. When the room appears larger, prospective buyers, most especially in areas like New York, are more likely to buy.
About the Author
Megan Gates is a Web Relations manager and creative writer for Prudential Douglas Elliman New York. Constantly developing pieces for the betterment of the common homebuyer, designer or agent, focusing her efforts most especially on Hamptons Homes. For more information feel free to visit http://www.elliman.com.