Made by hands, expressed from the heart.

Saturday, January 24, 2015

That beautiful, ITCHY sweater...

I have this cute sweater from the 1950's, that belonged to my mom. She bought it in Brazil when she was young. And no way I would give it away. But it is so itchy, and besides is about 4 sizes smaller than me.
I kept it all this years, always trying to wear it, to walk with this piece of history with me. But it has been sitting in the closet for almost two decades.
That is when I was thinking how I needed another pair of leg warmers (they have been helping me a lot this winter). So I decided to transform the sweater into leg warmers (but still afraid I would ruin it).
With a pair of scissors, and a little bit of fear, I cut up the front and back of the sweater to make two big (not perfect) squares.
Then after wrapping around my calf and see the size was good, I closed the sides with my sewing machine.
I also used a zig- zag stich on the edges that I cut with scissors, to finish so the knitting won't undo.
To finish I used the pom- poms and hand sewed each on on the sides of my leg warmers.
Now I can carry this piece and remember my mom every winter.

She will continue to protect me and keep me warm.

Thursday, January 22, 2015

Spring flowers, please...

It is still January, and Spring is a few months away.
So if nature won't bring me flowers today, I can make some.
I got on this flower making frenzy, and watched, downloaded, and bought tutorials about fabric flower making. I fell in love with this flower artist called Elena Bain
(she has some very good tutorials), and she makes gorgeous flowers. Her web site is Silkflowerartist.com.
The first technique I learned was by burning the edges of a silk petal (I learned from THIS VIDEO. When in contact with heat, the fabric will curl.I was able to use these pieces of very fine Satin fabric. And I made two flower tiaras.
I made red roses using Silk, and glued them in a claw hair clip (I just learned this term). Another way I learned was curling the fabric using a round hot tool called millinery tools. I guess they can be only be found online, so I tried to use my melon baller, which resembles the shape. You can see this technique CLICKING HERE. Since I didn't use the proper tools, the result wasn't the way I wanted. But the flowers were pretty, anyway. The last type I learned, and the one I liked the most is this Japanese style technique. They are called Kanzashi flowers, and they are hair ornaments for traditional Japanese hairstyles. These I got very excited about, and made different types.
I learned from this very good video here: Basic Tsunami Kanzashi Tutorial. And she teaches these different types of flowers.
It takes a little more patience to make, but they come out very cute. They were all made using 1 1/2 inch Polyester ribbons, from Michaels.

I made a couple of hair clips.
And as I improve my flower making skills, maybe some more adventurous crafters can try... and we all be making beautiful flowers by Spring.

Thursday, January 8, 2015

Mini lugagge bag for the Tooth Fairy.


My youngest child lost his first tooth, and just because this is one the "last firsts", I decided to make something extra special for this occasion.
I always loved miniatures, and one of the ideas I found on Crafster.org was a matchbox luggage bag.
I had no matchboxes in the house, so I adapted for a bigger version, with 2 boxes of Sugar free Je-llos. I cut the inside parts and made the two parts of the bag.
To make it neater, I cut two pieces of fabric to cover the inside. I used my hot glue gun for this project.
Using a nice print card stock, I covered the outside.
A brown construction paper was ideal to make the parts resembling leather.
The two parts got connected in the bottom with two pieces of paper.
To make the bag close, I used little hooks for clothes, tied to a stretchy string, and glued to the bag.
The glue was covered with pieces of gold paper, and the handle on top also helps cover this area.
Then to decorate, I printed the stamps also from Crafster.org, on this link (it printed full page, so I had to copy in a smaller scale).
The details imitating the seams on the leather were painted with acrylic paint.
So I placed the tooth inside the bag, so Tooth Fairy can carry tonight.
And, Tooth Fairy will leave a letter tonight, together with some change.

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Pastry Fail . My sad Manju.

A lot of times things don't go how I plan. Today I had something in mind, and what suppose to be cute pastries in the shape of bunnies, ended up melting, cracking and getting deformed.
It might be the fact that I change recipes, try to substitute ingredients or eliminating others, in order to make it a little healthier. But I thought they still deserve a picture for everyone to see.
My attempt was to make this Japanese pastry called Manju, which is filled with a sweet red bean paste, and covered with a rice flour dough.
I first cooked the beans in a pressure cooker for 10 minutes after soaking. Then made the paste in a food processor and sweetened with Stevia.
After cooled made into balls.

Then I made the dough, with rice flour, oil, egg whites, baking powder and sugar- much less than in the recipe(I guess I won't write the recipe here, since it didn't come out good).

The dough is used to cover the little balls, and I intended to make then in the shape of bunnies, or a nice shape ball.
But the poor things melted in the oven, then cracked in the end.

And no amount of nice props or photoshop are able to make them look nice.

But in the end they tasted very good. And they are full of proteins, low in sugar, a very healthy snack.
But I shall try it again, another day!

Saturday, January 3, 2015

DIY Fortune Cookies

It is always hard to decide what to bring to your friends house, for a relaxing movie evening.
So then my son reminded me of the fortune cookies we had made before. I thought this would be a good surprise.

We wrote some fortunes in paper, some of them inspired from the wise Google.
It is fun because you can write whatever we think it is funny, and you can make the phrases age appropriate.
.
I adapted the recipe from Fifteen Spatulas, which has a very good video on how to make them (click on the highlighted name to go to their site). I substituted a portion of all purpose flour for rice flour, to make it crispier. So in the end I used:
Fortune Cookies
3 egg whites
3/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup butter, melted and cooled
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
3 tbsp water
3/4 cup all purpose flour
1/4 cup rice flour
Heat oven to 375 F degrees.
Whip all the wet ingredients, then mix the dry ingredients.
Place the dough on a silicone mat preferably, a teaspoon at a time.
I found a few tricks on their video on how to make the shapes of these cookies.
First of all, bake 2 to 4 at a time, or they will cool too soon and you won't be able to shape them. Also spread the layer with the back of a spoon, to make it thin.
Bake for 5 to 7 minutes.
Placing the piece of paper with the fortune right after is out of the oven, while they are hot.

then bend them on the edge of a cup while hot,

and let them cool in a muffin pan, to keep the shape.

When one batch is ready, I quickly place another tray in the oven, time for 5 minutes, and fold the ones that are ready before they cool. It takes a little while master the technique, and some of them break. But in the end there are enough cookies perfect and ready to package.
They make a cute plate to bring to a friend.
And it is a nice snack to bring for kids. They think they are hilarious.
You should try.

Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Happy 2015!

This New Years I decided to make something simple to have fun for New Year's Eve , and the "Photo Booth" idea seemed to be ideal. Just paper, some straws and the camera.
I cut out different colors of card stock paper in different shapes: mustaches, bow ties, lips, and New Year's signs. Then I attached each one to a straw with scotch tape.
I had some glue glitter and decorated a little. I also had some holiday card stock, to make more colorful.
And some holiday decoration stolen from the tree for the background makes a great picture.

And the whole family can celebrate...

...even those who don't like to dress up. Happy 2015! I made a printable sheet so everyone could use this idea and print, but unfortunately Google thinks that is a problem with my file, so is not letting me load to print.
But I have faith you guys can use your crafty side, and make your own mustaches and signs.
Enjoy this idea and have fun!

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Holiday Statement Sweater, not Ugly.

At first I had no idea when people mentioned "Ugly Sweaters".
We do celebrate Christmas in Brazil, but I just understood about this concept in the recent years. And to tell you the truth, I think they are cute.
So I decided last minute to make one, with whatever I had in my house.
I wanted to make a Christmas tree, but there was no green felt in my cabinet. I had a big piece of blue, and that is why I ended up making a penguin. I also found some small pieces of assorted colors, different sizes pompoms, and a couple of black beads (for the eyes).
So first I cut up all the pieces.
With the help of my hot glue gun, I started place the pieces together.

I used an old sweater I had, and sewed in a couple of places, enough to attach the piece, but not too many to damage the sweater (I still plan to remove everything so I can wear my plain sweater).
Then I stole some of the decorations from my tree, and tied in a few places.

They made it look more colorful.
Then all done and ready to party.
Now I also have a cute sweater too.