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Jul 29, 2014

3D Origami Hearts Garland

I made these lovely origami hearts from a video tutorial that doesn't seem to play anymore. I couldn't find any other instructions online for this super great design, so, while I can still remember how to make it, I thought I would put together my very own step-by-step photo tutorial. It's the perfect decor for so many occasions!

Jul 25, 2014

Kusudama a.k.a. Origami Balloons

I have commented on here before about my somewhat origami-themed wedding, and how we created and handmade a lot of the decoration. Looking back, these are one of my favorite memories from that time, when our family and friends would gather for many evenings of folding papers, sitting together, and talking for hours (and I can't thank them enough for all their love and dedication!). Everything we made looked beautiful, but the biggest hits were these big and colorful origami balloons, which are called Kusudama.

Jul 17, 2014

Folded Passport Case

Traveling is one of my favorite things, and it defines much of my life. My passport, thus, has been an inseparable companion, and now it is dressed-up to fly! For this project, I used a handmade cork stamp (see Bon Vivant Cork Stamps for tutorial) and acrylic paint on a white cotton fabric. Once the paint was completely dry, I stiffened the fabric and left it to dry again. Finally, I folded the fabric using the Fabric Origami Card Holder pattern. The tricky part was to modify the dimensions of the origami pattern to fit the passport. Mine fit nicely with a 21 1/2" X 11 1/2" piece. Also, make sure you stiffen it well to provide it with structure, otherwise add card stock pieces to the inside of the pattern. 

Jul 15, 2014

Cookie Bowls and Ice Cream

I will have Mondays everyday if ends with cookies and ice cream! Even better if I can give this beloved dessert a gourmet look. 

I love perusing in kitchen stores for novelties, and last week at Sur La Table, I saw this cookie bowl pan. My first thought was: cool! My second thought was: I can make this with the muffin pan I already have at home! Because I love seeing all the novelty tools, but I prefer to have just the multi-functional basics. More often than not, there is a way to adapt, be creative with what we already have. 

Jul 11, 2014

DYI Surprise Card

I was looking through some old letters yesterday and I happened to find a birthday card that I made for my husband many years ago, when we were still just friends. Alright, he was also already the love of my life, and has been since the day we met, but we weren't so open about it just yet. ; )

Jun 12, 2014

Saint Valentine or Saint Anthony?

Today is "Valentine's" Day in Brazil. Except that it's not related to Saint Valentine, like in most countries, but to Saint Anthony (Santo Antônio), who is considered to be the wedding Saint in that neck of the woods. 

Now, to me the most interesting traditions happen tomorrow, June 13th, which is the actual day of Santo Antônio. Tomorrow, many people in Brazil, religious or not, will take their little statues of the Saint and hang it upside down, or lock it in a dark closet, submerge it under water, or ever steal the baby Jesus from his arms. And Santo Antônio will remain hostage until he finds the kidnapper a new boyfriend or girlfriend. Wicked, I know! And also a little disturbing...but hey, if it helps! LOL.

Jun 5, 2014

Quilt: Stitching Together a Life for Two

My husband and I had three wedding ceremonies, one in Brazil and two in the United States, two symbolic and one official. The first two were so beautiful that by the time the third one came along, I thought it may not feel as special anymore. But we had Claire, a high school history teacher who had become ordained to perform the wedding of a former student first, and of her niece next. Ours would be her third. Claire listened to our stories, hopes and dreams, sifted through old pictures, and with mastery she created a beautifully unique ceremony. Using 'quilting' as a metaphor for stitching together our new life, she prompted us to do it with care, patience, and originality. This imaginary 'quilt' that we build is one of a kind, tells our story, and will keep us warm and united.  

Lately, I decided to give 'real' quilting a try. My first project was a pair of Christmas stockings, which I based on this video. They turned out pretty great and I love the idea of hanging them side by side, year after year.

My second project was a house warming / engagement gift for a very dear friend. The placemats were very fun to make, especially with all the colors and patterns. I first watched this video for the quilt-as-you-go technique, but adapted it a little to fit my design and the materials I had available (I didn't use any glue, just pins). Now I want to make some placemats for myself! Or maybe take on a completely different project... maybe a travel bag!

Apr 29, 2014

Thank You From the Heart

Nothing says 'thank you' like a handmade card. This design is a favorite of mine and I have been making it for years: just a simple origami heart on the center. A video instruction for the origami heart can be found here

Mar 4, 2014

Mardi Gras Masks: Venetian With a Hint of Fruit

In 2010, my husband and I decided we would be in New Orleans for Mardi Gras. We were living in a small town in Texas at the time and used any excuse for a road trip. It was the only time we ever owned a car and every weekend we would drive somewhere, close or far - it always felt like vacation. 

So, we were going for Mardi Gras! But being us, there had to be something more to it. We weren't going for the beads... we wanted to be part of the traditional carnival! So, we decided we needed costumes. Hand-made. Original. And together we came to the idea that the we would be fruits. Venetian fruits.

Feb 28, 2014

Carnaval de Salvador

Where I come from, Carnival is the biggest party of the year, and according to the Guinness Book, also the biggest party of the world. It's common to hear people say that the year doesn't really start until after Carnival, because until then it's all that occupies our minds and hearts. I've always enjoyed the unique way my town celebrates Carnival: millions of people on the streets dancing and singing, following trucks playing music for days. It all started in 1950, when two friends called Dodô e Osmar modified a Ford 1929 to drive through the streets of Salvador and play live music. Although it has grown enormously and become less 'egalitarian' than it used to be, Carnival is still just about the need that we all have to let loose to the sound of music.


Feb 5, 2014

'You & I' High Contrast Pillowcase

Finding the perfect Valentine's Day gift can be a challenge. Ideally, we want something romantic, unique, creative, useful and long-lasting! Not an easy task! So, here is an idea that in my opinion fulfills all these requirements: a 'You & I' Pillowcase! If you have the time and are feeling inspired, you can paint a different picture on each side of the pillowcase for versatility. ; )

It's a pretty fun project. First, choose a few close-up pictures, and using your photo editing tool make the pictures black and white. Then, increase the contrast level until all the grey is gone and there are really only black and white on the picture. While doing this, you will notice that some of the details will disappear, so make sure you still like how the pictures looks! That's why I suggest choosing a few photos to experiment with. Once you have prepared and chosen your picture, it's time to print the high contrast image. You might want to split it into two sheets of paper for a larger image, and tape them together. Next, use carbon or wax paper to transfer the outlines of image to the pillowcase, remembering that every little details, every black dash and dot is important to keep the picture looking accurate. Now, all that is left to do is paint! Use any color of fabric paint to fill in the image (black areas only!), always referencing the high contrast image for accuracy. If you are painting a small area, with lots of details, I recommend using a fabric pen (just make sure it matches the color that you are using in the larger areas).

So, this year's gift is covered! Should we start thinking about next year's already?

Jan 29, 2014

Souvenirs from the Fall: Felted Acorns

Last fall I went hiking in the beautiful surroundings of Cold Springs, NY. It was one of these gorgeous Fall days, when the soil is covered in a bed of crispy colorful leaves and the sun is shinning warm through the trees. As souvenirs, I brought back a handful of acorn caps that I collected on the way... I was thinking craft project!

Jan 15, 2014

Slick and Concise Year in Review

I always get over-sentimental around New Year's. It's a mix of nostalgia for the wonderful times that have passed, anxiety to achieve the things I think I should already have, and a biological need to be at a warm beach in my hometown, jumping seven waves in one foot while making wishes (yes, that's one of our New Year's great traditions!). To me, New Year's in the cold just doesn't make sense!