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.