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Dec 28, 2013

Our First Christmas of Two

Christmas this year was nothing short of wonderful. For the first time, my husband and I decided to stay in New York instead of joining in the hectic traveling to spend time with family. That got me very excited to try some new craft projects and decorate our home. My favorite accomplishments were a funny looking Santa, made with felt and yarn, and our new quilted stockings. They were both very easy to make and I mostly eye-balled everything. 

Oct 30, 2013

Halloween Craft: Bat-Shaped Hair Accessory

Halloween has something for everyone and it's a great opportunity for some fun crafting. My level of commitment to Halloween varies every year, but I always need to acknowledge it, even if it's just with a little something. This year, I made a bat-shaped hair accessory, simply fashioned out of felt, cotton pads and thread. I wanted a piece that I could wear to work, without being too flashy, and this will be just perfect.

Oct 23, 2013

Beautiful Mess of Knots and Beads

We crafters have a big ego. We think that we can learn to make anything ourselves. We are averse to buying things that “are so easy to make”. The problem with this is that we always miscalculate the time and effort needed, and realize too late that it wasn’t easy after all. Sometimes we’ll get frustrated mid-project and say sinful things like “I wish I had just bought it ready!” But we don’t really mean it, because the true crafter loves challenges and is mostly interested in the process over the result.

Aug 29, 2013

A Dash of Fascination


Crafting is always fun. But crafting with an excuse is even better! This past weekend I had the perfect excuse to wear something we all secretly, or openly, adore: a fascinator. The opportunity came in the shape of a beautiful English Garden wedding in Toronto. With a mix of Mad Hatter fun and royal family flair, I was determined to be very literal and, well… fascinate. 

Aug 28, 2013

The Month We Built an Entire Cabinet

This is definitely the biggest project I have undertaken so far. It started with a simple premise: this year I wasn’t moving again. Since we’ve been married, we have led some sort of nomad life, hanging on to just the things we can carry in suitcases and never looking back. Thus, I was surprised when the time came to sign the lease renewal. We did sign it, and I was suddenly dazed by desperation that kept echoing in my head: we NEED to move! The constant change of environment was part of our lives and we enjoyed it. From one day to the next, my mind turned my cozy apartment into boring and ugly. So, the only solution was to move… the furniture around. In a couple of hours, everything belonged somewhere new, and received different purposes too. The apartment suddenly looked much smarter! We freed this whole corner, which is great when you live in a tiny apartment in NY, but it was now staring at me blank. Faced with this new puzzle, we decided to build. We designed and built the cabinets from scratch, which was a lot of work, but loads of fun.
It looks amazing and we are so proud! How great it is to create something with our own hands.

Apr 29, 2013

It's Your Lucky Day - Scratch Cards!

This week was the birthday of my always wonderful husband!!! We usually try to keep it simple and personal. Over the years we've learned that the right gift for each other is the planning of a special moment or adventure, rather than the purchase of a needed or wanted object.

Apr 15, 2013

Heart-Shaped Book-Marker

My father always says that a good book has to be thick enough to stand on its own. My father is a wise man, and before I became his best arguer, as a kid I was always eager to agree with him. However, I couldn't on this point. I had read plenty of wonderful books that perhaps had the inner strength to stand straight, but no physical robustness to match it. And I loved these books too much to agree with my dad.

Apr 1, 2013

Easter Weekend in NYC

In New York, Easter is for some a time to celebrate - while for many other folks it's a weekend worth celebrating just like any other. In a place where the term "diversity" is not simply a mix of differences, but rather an expression of identities, everyone is welcome to build their own traditions. As my extended family is far away in Brazil, my husband and I got to do Easter our own way. This year, we enjoyed some creative bunnies, interesting history, adventurous baking and an NYC quirky parade.

On Friday evening we folded origami bunnies to hold some treats and decorate the place. The video (see link) is very clear and it was a fun activity to start the weekend with good spirits and creativity!

Mar 25, 2013

A Kissing Hummingbird

"Don't be surprised if one day
A hummingbird invades
Through the door of your home
Gives you a kiss and leaves...
It was I who sent the kiss
To kill this desire
It's been too long since I saw you
And ah! how I miss you..." 

My project this week was a needle felted hummingbird, inspired by one of my favorite songs from back home. I should explain, too, that in Portuguese, a hummingbird is called "beija-flor" (flower-kisser). This was super fun to make! Choose a combination of bright colors and let your hands play until you get satisfactory results. See Needle Felted Gnome for more details on how to sculpt with felt.

Feb 25, 2013

First Attempt at Cake Decorating

For a while now I've been excited about trying out cake decorating, and this week I finally had the help I'd been waiting for. When I was 17, I went to study abroad in Germany and I was very lucky to stay with a family that immediately became my own. They visit me at least once a year and we always have lots of fun being as much of ourselves as we can be. It’s some kind of magic how well we fit together.

So, we planned a messy day of butter and sugar (it’s essentially what baking sweets really is).  For the cakes, we used my aunt’s simply delicious recipe. For the frosting, we decided to try buttercream (but there are other options, such as glace or marshmallow icing). We got some food coloring, chocolate bars, decorating bits, and zip-lock bags for improvisation.

Feb 16, 2013

Ceramic Painting for Family Fun

So, I missed the Wednesday deadline for my post this week. But I have the best excuse: my parents were visiting all the way from Brazil! They left a land with one-sun-for-every-person for a cozy snow storm in NY. As I tried to maximize my time with them, the only way to have a post this week was to incorporate a craft afternoon into the program, and it was the perfect idea!

Feb 6, 2013

How to Craft the Weather - Crochet Snowflakes

I was 17 when I first saw snow; and although I have seen it plenty now, every time feels like a moment to remember. I love how it makes the air smell fresh, how it makes the busiest city quiet, and how it delicately rests on my hair. Above all though, I love how it makes everything look like a big, sweet cake with powdered sugar on top! This winter I missed the few snow falls in New York. Thus, I decided to add snowflakes to my life by crocheting some, perhaps as a means of emulating an indigenous rain-dance ritual to help make it snow.

Jan 30, 2013

Bon Vivant Cork Stamps

This week I was focused on learning how to carve my own stamps. I’ve been very excited about this idea, perhaps because now I am old enough to play with knives, yay! I started with the wine corks. They have so much character and, of course, an irresistible bon vivant concept to them. Unfortunately, my favorite wine is not sealed with a cork, so I didn’t have any lying around at the house. Not to worry - I stopped by the BYOB place in my neighborhood to ask for some corks and left with a handful. I had two kinds of corks: natural cork and some kind of spongy fake cork. Both worked great for the stamps, though they cut differently. The natural cork will make a more “rustic” stamp, which I love.

Jan 25, 2013

Fabric Origami Wallet

I was so pleased with the result from my Fabric Origami Card Holder that I decided to try something a little bolder today. Most paper wallets you see cannot be considered origami, because they use scissors. The true origami art does not use scissors or glue, just creases. So, I found this really nice design online of a true origami wallet and I decided to try it with fabric! 

Jan 23, 2013

Fabric Origami Card Holder

I’ve always been fascinated by origami; this timeless technique of folding paper into something admirable, elegant and unique. So much so, that my wedding invitations and decorations were made of origami (more about that in a later post). And had I known then, that I could do the same on fabric, maybe my wedding dress would have been origami-styled as well. ; )

So, this week’s project was the suggestion of a dear friend who got me very excited to try origami on fabric! The project is a little, versatile card holder. You can use it to store your business cards, or as a wallet that will fit anywhere from coat and pant pockets to that tiny party purse you love.

Jan 16, 2013

Needle Felted Gnome

This week’s project was so much fun! How come I've never come across needle felting before? Sculpting wool into form is quite challenging, but oddly relaxing. You get to prick your stress away…! I started by trying to sculpt a strawberry, but quickly decided to switch over to a gnome instead. Gnomes are fascinating characters that have often been reinterpreted to suit the needs of different story-tellers, even as creatures fond of crafts! So, whether you want to decorate your plant pot, carry it around the world when you travel (“roaming gnome”), mischievously hide it around the house, or protect yourself from evil sorcery, this felted gnome will do it all! But be aware - gnome kidnappers may be around. ; )

Jan 14, 2013

Thank You Card - Dinner Stamp

This card was sent to Florida to thank my husband's aunt and uncle for their lovely Christmas gift: dinner in NYC! It would also be a nice design for a personal thank you note to hosts of a dinner party. As always, I advise to do the writing first. On this card, the lettering was done by ink pen. I love the results of ink pens, but it can be challenging to make it look nice on a first try. I have to wonder how hard it must have been in the past to write with feathers! The fork and spoon stamp I purchased at Michael's and I use it also for recipe cards, especially when I am giving it to someone. Everything else is just card stock paper and you can use the colors you think the recipient may like the most. It is worth noting though that the stamping does show better on light colored paper.

Este cartão foi enviado para a Flórida para agradecer aos tios do meu marido pelo carinhoso presente de Natal: um jantar em Nova York! Também acho um design leagal para uma nota de agradecimento aos anfitriões de um jantar, por exemplo. Como sempre, eu aconselho começar com as letras. Neste design, as letras foram desenhadas com caneta tinteira. Eu adoro o efeito da caneta tinteira, mas aviso que pode levar um tempo para dominar o processo. Nem imagino como deve ter sido difícil no passado escrever com canetas de pena! O carimbo "garfo e colher" foi comprado na Michael's e eu utilizo-o também para cartões de receita, especialmente para presentear a alguém. O resto é apenas papel cartão e você pode escolher as cores que o destinatário mais gostar. 

Thank You Card - Christmas Lights

I made this card for my very sweet parents-in-law, to thank them for a wonderful Christmas Holiday. They always put so much care into organizing a great time for all of us! My husband and I made this together and it was fun and easy. The light bulbs were cut-out of card stock and the thick black lines were drawn with water-pencil. By the way, the later is so impressive! I've had this set of water-pencils for at least 15 years (seriously!) and I never knew how amazing they were. There's no way they are lasting another 15 years - I'll be using them like there is no tomorrow!

Jan 8, 2013

Personalize Your Mat Strap!

For my first project of the year, the Yoga/Pilates Mat Shoulder Strap, the first thing I wanted to do was try some embroidery work. As a kid I learned some cross-stitching with my Grandma, and I remember thinking how wonderful it was that I could "draw" with yarn! For this project, I chose to embroider the word "breathe" because, being a longstanding Yoga and Pilates enthusiast, I know what difference this little reminder makes in our everyday life as well as while crafting! Breathe... and every challenge will be easier. Truly though, I also chose this word because it carried enough meaning by itself, making my embroidery work short! ; ) If you go to one of those studios that allows you to store your mat, it might be nice to embroider your own name or initials.

Jan 7, 2013

Yoga/Pilates Mat Shoulder Strap

I have decided, 2013 will be my year to pursue new craft skills! I am creative and crafty enough, but it's time to finally build some skills. That being said, I am committing myself to completing a craft-related project every week. It can be anything, really, as long as it requires me to explore and learn something new. This will be an adventure and I'll try to keep it as varied and fun as possible! If you find yourself inspired to try some of these projects with me, please do and let me know how it goes!

So, my craft adventure is beginning with something practical that I have been in need of for a long time: a strap for my yoga/pilates mat. After going through several rubber bands (I know, I'm frugal) that snapped on my fingers every time, it is time for a more permanent and pretty solution. Here we go!