Made by hands, expressed from the heart.

Sunday, December 23, 2012

Gingerbread House

Growing up in a tropical country, Christmas was one of the hottest times of the year. Taking several showers was the only way to cool off, since we had no air conditioner. And I think that is the reason a gingerbread house is not so feasible and not a tradition there.
So making one was my desire every holiday. I tried the kits last year, but I wanted a bigger one. I remembered my son's kindergarten class made one using a box, and sticking graham crackers on the sides. Using this idea, I searched for different ideas, and grabbing all different candies available to decorate my house.
I stacked boxes until I got to the shape I wanted. Then wrapped the whole thing with aluminum foil. The roof was made with frosted mini wheats. The sugar already makes it look like snow. Then the sides I used graham crackers. For the tree I stacked mini pretzels and used green sugar frosting. And every candy I had I put it on the house, to make it colorful too.
It is a great way to keep the kids busy, and the mother too. Get prepared to pick up candy off the floor.

Friday, December 21, 2012

Dessert anyone?

When I am about to think I am very original, there comes Google to steal my thunder. Rice Krispies treats are an easy material to work, and to make pretend sushi rolls would be so creative. The only thing is there are hundreds of people that already made them. But that is no problem for me, because the people I served this dessert saw this for the first time, and they think I am a genius. But here I confess I am nothing without the web. So I found this page, how to make sushi candy, that explains how to make them. It is fun to make, and sure impress everyone at a party.

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

A unique gift for a special person (or vice versa)

What to give to someone who has everything? A person who has unique taste, exclusive personality, and is your BOSS? Every year I really have to use my noodles to find her a Christmas gift. And it has to be something special, because every year she puts together a big party for all the staff of Animal general, and every single person gets a big, special gift.
Since she helps saving and treating wild birds, I decided to go with this theme. I first saved a tiny bone from the toe of a pigeon that had surgery. It sounds a little creepy, but I thought it was interesting, and nobody else would have this idea.
So I found enough information in different web sites, on how to clean and dry bones. It was a very delicate piece, because it was a small bone attached to the nail. I cleaned as much as possible, then it soaked in hydrogen peroxide for 1 week.
After that, I went to Michaels and found an embellishment for a necklace. I painted the bottom with black nail polish, to give contrast.
Then finally I used a clear cast epoxy called Easy Cast cast (also from Michaels). It takes about 3 days to dry, so the whole process took a couple of weeks.
And that is called a unique gift.

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Sugar Rush!!

This weekend I had to recruit husband to help make and pack Christmas gifts. Between teachers, assistants, school administrators, principals, school staff, bus drivers and anybody else that deserve a thank you (not only during the holidays), there was a lot to do. Since it is so many people, the best choice would be some treats. And the winner choice was fudge. We made three different types of fudge, all using this basic recipe from my cousin's blog, Chocolatria (if you don't understand Portuguese, I'll be happy to translate).
In one of the recipes, we incorporated marshmallows. It made fluffy and sweet.
The second one we put a layer of shredded coconut.
And the other one we mixed rice Rice Krispies cereal (I even found a brown rice box), very crunchy.
Of course mixing nuts make much tastier, but we are not allowed to send nuts to school, because of allergies.
These cute boxes are all from Michael's.
It is a small thing, but a simple way to say thank you. For the people that devote their lives to help our kids learn, grow, and build their future (and ours too).

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

One of my favorite people happens to love eagles, and the color purple. So for her gift, I made this eagle using felt and purple eyes. I started with the head, cutting the shape in white felt and hand sewn around. Same with the beak, then the body. The feet were also cut separately, sewn and stuffed. The wings were just cut out brown felt pieces, then attached to the body. The eyes I got at the craft store, and eyebrows I painted with 3 dimensional fabric paint. It is a simple gift, but I am sure will make her happy.

Friday, December 7, 2012

Countdown to Christmas

This year my gift factory is starting late, and I am not sure there will be enough time for handmade gifts. My first accomplishment is a little doll for my friend's baby. I used to make these dolls about 2 decaces ago, so I tried to rely on my memory and the power of Internet.
The arms and legs are pretty straight forward, using pink stretchy fabric. The body is a rectangle made with any fabric, leaving a hole for the neck to be connected.
For the head there are a few steps. First you make a head with a neck using any fabric. After stuffed, put a layer of cotton to shape the face, putting extra for the cheeks. Then use a big piece of the pink fabric, place it on top and sew in the back of the head, pulling and shaping the face. With a separate piece of pink fabric, cover the neck and sew on the back (these areas will be covered by the hair).
For the hair I used the sleeves of a knitted sweater. I thought the knitted pieces would undo after being cut, but depending on the direction you cut, they don't come apart. Pull it to make it longer, and it will curl a little. Then it can be attached to the head.
Finally the head, arms and legs were sewn to the body. Then I made the dress, and painted the face with a paintbrush.
So now I am relieved, that something was done. Let's see if I have energy for more.

Friday, November 30, 2012

Old sweater, new hat.

Every year I spend money on hats that end up getting lost somewhere. So this year, to keep my head warm, I decided to recycle and make my own. I found this great site that gave me this idea of making hats using old sweaters. Make it and love it shows the different hats for kids, and tels the steps on how to make (my kind of stuff). It feels cozy and I could make it to fit my head.

Thursday, November 22, 2012


We don't carry the Thanksgiving tradition in my country, but now the more I live here, more I feel the importance of celebrating. We are greatful for our lives, and we want the kids to appreciate it too.
So I grabbed some tree branches from my tree (they fell from the hurricane), and placed them in a vase. The color was very unattractive, so I used a glitter craft paint from Martha Stewart. When it was finished, I hang all the school projects the kids made for Thanksgiving.
I'll try my best to teach my kids about this tradition, also because when they grow up to be in college, I want them to come back to spend the holiday with me.

Monday, November 19, 2012

Happy Birthday Lilyan!

Our little friend Lilyan is a big girl now, turning 5!! I wouldn't miss this opportunity to make a few things for her celebration.
First her mom asked me to make a few thank you cards. So a couple of drawings later, she chose the design. So I scanned the illustration and painted in Photoshop. For a personal touch, I asked the birthday girl to sign her name, and we put in the card.
As a gift I made a little doll for her, just using flannel and painted her lips with 3D Paint Pens.
Her card was made with scrapbook paper, a cute sticker and a ribbon to decorate. Making gifts it is always a pleasure for me. Making for people who you care, is a blessing.

Monday, November 12, 2012

Pajama pants

The last two weeks weren't what we call the most inspiring days for arts and crafts. Between a hurricane, snow storm, no power, people who lost everything they have, the priority was try to help people, and be grateful for what you have. Making sure that neighbors weren't hungry or cold, asking if people needed to do their laundry, or donating some money to the Red Cross. We were the lucky ones that only lost power for 24 hours, and didn't have any major damage in our house. So now that the community is a little better, schools on and I can at least go to work, my brain is working better and I feel that I can make something again. Since my kids were in need for pajama pants, I figured this is one way I could save some money. Considering each pair would at least cost 5 to 20 dollars (the cute ones cost more), and that I found some adorable fabrics for 2.99/ yard (enough to make one for my 7 year old), I decided to give it a try . JoAnn Fabrics have super cute flannels and no cost shipping for a minimum order. Just to remind that I am no seamstress, even if I made a mistake, nobody but us would see it, as long as they were comfortable. So the best tutorial I found on line was on this web page. It shows all the steps on how to take a pattern, cut the fabric and make the pants. I was able to make all of those pants in one weekend, and with leftover fabric, I was even able to make a little dinosaur for our baby friend Leandro.
It is a big satisfaction when you can dress your family for less money. But even more when when you can say your loved ones are safe, and able to enjoy life.

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Still Halloween...

The town is still recovering from the effect of hurricane Sandy. And with no schools for the week, and streets still damaged, Halloween for the kids has been put aside. No lights and no trick or treaters.
So one thing I could do for the kids was to use the one thing we had home: a pumpkin (or 2). So we decided to carve a pumpkin .I had them choose a pumpkin face, them I cut the design.
It was so much fun to carve it (it was my first time), that I wanted to try a more complex design( I did copy this design but I can't find the website now).
And because we are on a situation that we can't waste fresh and healthy food, I scooped the pumpkins with a melon baller, cooked with a little bit of water until soft,and made a base for food. One thing I can make to feed my picky child is pancakes.

Here is how I made:
- 1/2 cup of cooked pumpkin
- 1 scoop of vanilla protein powder
- 1 egg
- 1 tsp baking powder
- 1/3 cup apple sauce
- 1 cup cake flour
- 1/4 cup maple syrup Mix everything and cook on hot griddle until fluffy.
My ninjas ate the pancakes, and reminded me of how fortunate I am in so many levels

Monday, October 29, 2012

Finally! Halloween Party.

I have been making Halloween decorations on the past few weeks, and today was the time to put everything together. My cupcake topper was full of cupcakes, my Head Hunter had strawberries dipped in chocolate as heads, and more Frankestein lollipops were displayed on the table.
My Frankenweenie head was used to have his own table. The "dirt" to make his grave was made from Oreo cookies (without the filling)that had been pulverized in the food processor. The skeletons and coffins were made with chocolate molds from Michaels. I also placed some of the skeletons on top of brownies, and used the same Oreo "dirt" on top of it.
The little tree branches o top of the caramel apples were a creation from my book Glitterville.
And the marshmallow popcorn was a recipe from Giada's Halloween show from food network( I added purple food coloring to the marshmallow after melted).
Thank God Halloween is just once a year. The kids were so busy playing that they hardly ate. It looks like I'll be eating all of this for the rest of the week.

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Mini Samurai.

My love with martial arts comes from a long date, so I was just amazed when I saw a picture of a samurai costume. This guy made his costume using Rubbermaid trash cans, and the details he added made it so beautiful that I had to try my own. Using different materails from the craft store to look more realistic, I also saw several pictures to inspire me.
The hat was made from a kid's safari hat, painted in black. Then I cut out the front, and added that big horn on top using a golden paper from the scrapbook section.
The body is made with black foam sheets. The red details are made using red piper cleaners. The shoulder pads were also cut out from a safari hat, painted in black and sewed into the neck part. Then to the shoulder pad I attached more pieces of black foam paper. The red circle is made of a pipe cleaner, and the little metal details are hooks from the sewing section. And the sword was bought also at Michaels, painted in black and strings cut out from a black T-shirt.
Finally to dress up, just a black outfit underneath and snow boots.
Well, maybe my costume doesn't look as good as the Rubbermaid Samurai guy does. But my son thinks it is pretty awesome.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Zombie Dog

As Halloween approaches, the pressure is on to make more decorations. With a few plans in my head, one of the ideas was to make the dog from the movie Frankenweenie (or at least the head). I was lucky enough to have my friend slash relative Geralda to help me with ideas on how to put the dog together. So she first showed me how to make the head with a balloon and cover with papier mache made with paper pulp, a technique new to me.
After dried, we put the head on top of a little plastic bucket, and covered with paper clay. The surface of the face became a little bumpy, and I guess to get a better finish, it should be covered entirely with paper clay. But for lack of time, money added to a little laziness, I left like it was. I guess it looks more rustic, which will go with the theme. Then the whole thing was painted with white acrylic paint, details made with black 3D paint pen, black marker and black make up. The nails on the neck were made of a wooden stick glued to a water bottle cap, painted with black acrylic paint and glued with hot glue gun.
Still trying to figure out how to use him in the table, but I have a few days to think about it.

Monday, October 22, 2012

Witch Cupcake Topper

This is my favorite craft to make. A cupcake tower, or maybe can be called a centerpiece too. It is just so easy and fun to use pretty paper to cover stirofoam rings rings, stack together, and add stickers to it. Everything from one trip to Michaels. Easy and fast, anyone can put it together. By the way, to save some money, I used my round cake pan in the middle part.

Friday, October 12, 2012

Not so scary door

The wonderful thing about having house guests is when you find something in common with them. My husband's distant cousin, who he hasn't seem in about 30 plus years came from Brazil with her family. It was nice to know that she was the person who first introduced him to art, and has loads of practice with crafts.
So I took her to shop at my favorite place MIchaels, and she helped me pick items to make a Halloween wreath. I wanted do have dark colors, and I fell in love with all the black and purple flowers (they are hair clippers). From them we choose everything that would match colors, and had a little bit of glitter.
At home everything was glued with a hot glue gun, and placed around to make a rich decoration.
So my door is all dressed up for the trick or treaters now.

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Sugar levels increasing!

Now that I see everything Halloween, there are some ideas that I had to test. One of them is this wonderful cake created by Sugar, and her blog Cooking with Sugar. She shows how to make this awesome Halloween cake step by step, and also explained by video here.
And I added these little decorations, that I learned how to make in my new book Glitterville's Handmade Halloween. They are all made from paper clay, and painted with any kind of paper paint.
We are gradually consuming more sugar, as October 31 approaches. And the fun increases too!

Friday, October 5, 2012

Countdown to Halloween!

I patiently waited for the month of October to stat my Halloween crafts. Looking for quick and cute ideas, I found some adorable Frankeinstein pops. The idea came from Kitchen Fun with my three sons. She shows step by step how to assemble this pop. But I didn't have all the material she used. I made mine using the same Graham crackers, but using a knife, I cut around to give a little shape to the head. For the filling I had some chocolate, so I melted and made a little sandwich (it also helped to secure the stick for the pop). And for the hair, I used my new best friend, ready to use Cookie Icing (since I have a really hard time making my own icing). For the eyes, mouth and his scar, I used my food coloring pen. It didn't take long to finish the whole thing. The hardest part was to take a picture with my kid.

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

We love coca cola and mentos

If you like to get messy with your kids, a fun project to do is a geyser with Coca Cola and Mentos. I first saw this in one of our favorite shows, MythBusters. But last week I saw a live presentation of this at the Maker Faire in Queens, and these two guys dressed like scientists create a show with explosions of Coca Cola and Mentos. They encourage the kids to do the experiments, and explain how it happens. Their web site is, and they have the step by step of making these geysers. Let's get messy!

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Halloween is coming

I found a new craft guru, more of my style than Martha Stewart! I got so excited to get this book called Glitterville Handmade Halloween, that taught me how to use new materials and techniques to sculpt. The author Stephen Brown uses paper clay for sculpting, and I found out it is so much easier than Fimo clay, for my purposes. So I made this head hunter to decorate my table, and we will have some delicious heads for our Halloween Party. Wait and see.

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Hole in the Knee

I saw this great idea on one of my favorite websites, Living Locurto: how to sew monsters in the holes of those still good to use pants. They show the tutorial here. So, it gives a little longer life to pants that are still intact, except for the knees. And the kids enjoy them!