Made by hands, expressed from the heart.

Saturday, January 31, 2015

I have Spring in my head.

I wrote a few posts ago, that I have been making silk flowers. So today i finished a few hair accessories, and made them available at my Etsy store.
Here are my Japanese inspired hair accessories, called Kanzashi flowers, and silk flowers made using the burning technique I discussed before.

Sorry for some of the blurry pictures, I am still learning. And also for having so much of my own face on today, I don't have any models to display my work.
All the techniques to make these flowers, I posted 3 blog posts ago, and have all the links for videos that show how to make these flowers.
Have fun!

Thursday, January 29, 2015

Snail Cinnamon Rolls.

I have been using my new bread machine, and Cinnamon Rolls are one of the recipes I wouldn't be able to make without it.
Sometimes I feel I am cheating using the bread machine, but I love because I don't need to be nervous about measuring temperature, or slave after the clock to control the time. And it kneads to make the dough perfect.
I bought an inexpensive Kenmore Bread maker. It was on sale at Sears for 39.99, and with this price it was worth bringing home.
I followed this recipe: Cinnamon Rolls, but the snails can be made with a regular recipe, or for a even faster baking time, use the Pillsbury Cinnamon Rolls, that come in a can.
And here is how I made:

Cinnamon Rolls into Snails.

To make the eyes, I used toothpicks and marshmallows, painting the eyeballs with a food coloring pen.
I skipped the frosting, because I feel like is sweet enough, but feel free to use the frosting the recipe gives
The kids were happy to sing Happy Birthday to Dad, play with the food and eat the rolls.

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
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 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, 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.