Made by hands, expressed from the heart.

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Totoro Box.

I was still confused about how to display the Totoros I made. A basket would be good, but I really didn't want to buy another item, adding to the cost of my materials.
Since I had a cardboard box with a perfect size, I decided to use it. I also have and a bunch of water color paper and paint, that I could use to paint my illustrations.
It was a little time consuming, but I was happy the way it looked.
I found different images on the Internet, and painted on all the sides of the box.
I hope people appreciate my work.

I definitely enjoyed making it.

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Cherry Blossom Festival: final preparations.

Spring always brings a good energy, and this year I am especially exited to be part of the Cherry Blossom Festival at Stony Brook College.
Me and my family will be performing Taiko (Japanese drumming), and we have been working on different Japanese souvenirs.
We made little dolls in wood called Daruma, which is a good luck symbol. He comes with white eyes, and you paint one asking for a wish. When the wish comes true, he gets the other eye (I used to feel bad for the Daruma, so I always gave him both eyes regardless).
We made a bunch of Taikos, that we like so much.
And we also have these little Japanese sandals, called Getas.
To make a display, I almost bought a bracelet display at Michaels, but my husband said he could make one. After brainstorming, I suggested a Torii, which is a gate that "symbolically marks the transition from the profane to the sacred" (according to Wikipedia). He said he could make it in wood, and the results were very nice.
I also made my Kanzashi flowers and placed them on a display.
Now I think we are all ready for the season, and start the Spring festivities.

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Earth Day and every day, recycle, plant and make it a gift.

This year we decided to start our garden from seeds, since I stay home and can take care of them.
After a seminar about seedling, I learned how to start seeds indoors and care for their transition outside. So then I planted peppers and tomatoes in the little greenhouse they advised me to buy.
But when it was time to plant my basil seeds, I had no more place to plant them. So I recycled a cardboard egg carton, and made a dome with skewers and plastic film. The reason to cover the seeds is to keep the moisture inside.
I kept them in my window, and placed water in the tray underneath. The seeds sprouted in 2 days, and after a week, they looked like little plants.
About 2 weeks later they were getting too big to stay in the egg cartons, so I transplanted them into bigger containers. The paper from the carton detached very easily when moved, because it was soaked in water, making easy to remove. Plus this type of container is very good for the soil.
I placed a few plants in a big container to place in my deck, some to plant later in the garden, and all the others I placed in all different little containers I found to recycle.
The next day the plants still looked happy and healthy, so I was happy I didn't kill them in the process.
And they became very nice, simple gifts to my friends.
Fresh basil for everyone.

Saturday, April 18, 2015

Decoding the pattern to find a way to a new dress.

I wanted to have a new dress for this Summer, and of course the ones I like are the ones I can't afford.
I saw this designer from Australia, and I loved this dress with a Japanese fabric cut and placed on the front of the dress. I would love to buy if I had U$200 to spend. But that is why I decided to make my own, with the risk of failing miserably.
The first step was to find a pattern that would resemble the design. I found Kwick Sew K4098 at Joannes fabrics, and it looked like something I could work with.
I decided to make a simple black dress, so I could place a fabric with a more fully detailed pattern on top. I found this piece on Etsy and it came from Hawaii.
I started to do the work in a quiet day, with no one else in the house to disturb.
Cutting a pattern is like working with a puzzle, or putting an Ikea furniture together: I had to read the instruction like a map, and decode the pieces to form the dress. After I cut the fabric, I had to label each cut piece with the same number as the pattern.
After making the front part, I cut and sewed my patterned fabric to the front of the dress. I found out it is a good way tho use more expensive patterns, because you don't need a lot and it gives a special touch.
After a full day of work and a completed dress, I realized my size is not the same size as the models they use for the patterns. I had to make a large to fit on my waist, but then the top looked gigantic.
But then I realized that is why fashion gurus tell you have to tailor your clothes, and make it fit to your body. So I pulled, and tugged, and cut excess fabric, to fit on my body.
So after a day and a half of work, I was satisfied with my new piece, even though it is not the finest tailored fabric.
But hopefully I will get there.

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Spring in Paris Cake.

My favorite store Michaels had a contest for arts and crafts, and the theme was Springtime in Paris.
Unfortunately I did not win, and they chose this beautiful painting named First Time in Paris. It is a beautiful painting, and the winner did deserve a trip to Paris.
And for me what was left, was the calories of this cake.
But it was fun to make, and the family enjoyed it.

Thursday, April 9, 2015

What to do with a empty can? A pirate adventure.

I used a large can of tomatoes to make some tomato basil soup, and my son wanted to use the empty can. So we decided to make a little toy.
Before anything, I made sure there were no sharp parts (I used those cans that the top pops up to open, plus I covered with a paper tape).
We decided on a pirate ship. So first I started drawing the ship in the water, some sea creatures, and a treasure island, cutting then up next.
I covered the can with a blue paper (I only had tissue paper) for the background sky.
Then I glued the sea creatures and the island around the can.
And for the outer part that moves, I cut two pieces of clear paper ( I used acetate sheets) that had the measurements of the outside of the can.
I glued the pirate ship with the water in one piece, then placed the other one on top.
Last I placed the clear part around the can, loosely, closing with scotch tape.
So then it can be moved around, to change scenes.
You can see in this video:

Saturday, April 4, 2015

My bread doesn't look like bread anymore.

Now that I am always making bread, they start coming out in different shapes.
What I tried to make here are bunnies. I saw several pictures of bunny breads, but mine ended up shaped like cats (I was rushing and cut the ears too short).
So what I did was use my food coloring pens, and make their little faces.
And I really liked the mistake.
And they are round and fluffy.
We even made a catwich.
Pretty fun, right?

Friday, April 3, 2015

Pancakes in fun shapes.

Here is another idea I wasn't sure how it was going to work.
My cousin sent me a video o someone making a Peppa Pig pancake, using a squeeze bottle. It looked too simple to work that well, to look like a drawing. But...for my surprise, it does work (or at least my kids think it works)!
It is just a regular pancake batter in a squeeze bottle.
My son is here demonstrating, altough he wasn't sure what to make, and it didn't work out. I just took his picture because he couldn't hold the camera.
But the secret is making the outer lines first, and the details you want to show in the drawing, so they will cook first and you can see the lines better.
Also spray cooking spray every time you make a new one, so it will flip easier without breaking.
Once in a while the squeeze bottle would clog with flour, so I had to unclog quickly with a toothpick.
It wasn't that messy, except for washing the bottle. But tell me if that is not fun?