Made by hands, expressed from the heart.

Thursday, June 30, 2016

Chocolate Peanut Butter Bonbons

It is always nice to bring something if you are invited to a friend's house. And today I happened to have the ingredients for a dessert from a book we just got called The Unofficial Harry Potter Cookbook.
The kids get excited to try the recipes, because they use passages from the book and they give recipes from the food they mention.
This recipe is called 1-2-3 Chocolate Peanut Butter Bonbons for Kids.
You just mix 1 1/2 cup of confectioners'sugar, 1 1/2 cup of peanut butter, 1 tsp of vanilla extract and 1 cup of Rice crisp cereal.
Use a electric mixer for the first three ingredients until it becomes a dough, then combine the rice crisp. After that we made little balls.
Last melt 10 oz of chocolate to dip the balls. I was surprised that the kids did all this process, without major messes or upsets.
After about 10 minutes in the refrigerator, it was ready.
To make a better presentation, I had only a few baking cups that looked like flowers. I figured I also could used some squares of tissue paper to fold like these cups. The squares can be placed on top of a small round surface. I happened to have a Yakult bottle..
If you fold the sides carefully, it will shape like a flower.
And the bonbon will look nice inside.
I had a pretty cookie tin I was saving, I knew I would need one day.
They taste great and now they look very nice.
I can't wait to try other recipes from this book.

Monday, June 20, 2016

Kawaii bento lunch.

Today is Monday, and I treated myself to a kawaii lunch.
I always wanted to try to make a cute bento box, and with the leftover rice and vegetables I had in the garden, I put together a little cat. To mold the face I used a sandwich cutter, and the details were seaweed cut with scissors. I used a heart mold to shape the belly.
The vegetable cutter was good to make small flowers.
And I collected some more vegetables in my garden.
The vegetables were steamed with a couple of dumplings I had from yesterday.
Probably it was unnecessary work to make this just for me to eat.
But for sure it is so cute, it made my Monday better.

Sunday, June 19, 2016

Real wood art from Dad.

My father worked all his life in a automobile factory, as a tool maker. After he retired, he started working with wood in our backyard in Brazil.
He would make beautiful furniture, well finished and very detailed. But nobody wanted to pay for something made by hand, at least at that time, and preferred to buy something made in a factory.
Since he was very good at playing pool(or billiards), he started making pool sticks (I think they are called cues).
He made everything by hand, using only a few tools, like his drill and made other tools with wood or metal to help him finish these pieces.
What was impressive was that he eyeballed them to be perfectly straight, hand carved the wood and cut different pieces to be fitted with precision in surfaces that were not straight. Then I remember he sanded his pieces attaching the to his old drill.
He also made the bags to store them, cut and sewed them.
They were made with care and perfection, and like other handmade pieces nobody would pay for them. People often said:"If you make them at home, you should give them for free.".
But he continued to make them, until his hands could not work anymore, and because he had to care for my mother, who had alzheimer's disease and passed almost 10 years ago.
These pictures were taken a few days after he passed, about 5 years ago. My sister and I had to donate most of his belongings, and most of these pieces were not allowed to leave Brazil, because the wood was indigenous to the country.
We gathered all our cousins and uncles (we have a lot), and each one kept one piece, including us.
Today I am lucky enough to have these pictures, to have in my memory his technique, the way he executed his craft, and hopefully to inherit and pass along the eye for detail, patient hands, and the love for art.
Thank you Simone Izumi for the pictures.

Wednesday, June 1, 2016

Raijin, the God of Thunder.

In my recent obsession for Japanese art, I came across the image of Raijin, the God of Thunder.
I found the description of this spirit beating drums to create thunder so fascinating. That is why I needed to have him. And as always, on the verge of buying an already made t-shirt, I wonder if I could make my own.
So I decided to try this technique I tried before, using freezer paper.
First I draw my Raijin in paper, and transfer to the freezer paper, shiny side down (this will be the part that sticks to the fabric).
Next step was to use an exacto knife and cut the image all over. This part took me more than a day because of the details.
Placing the shiny side of the paper down, I used the iron to stick the paper to the fabric.
Then I used my fake silk screen, made of a piece of sheer silk attached to an embroidery hoop.
I had extra help to hold the hoop in place, and applied the paint with a spatula.
This was done on top of a pillow.
After I spread around the whole area, I gently pulled the paper.
The next day, after this part was dry, I used the same technique to make the Japanese characters. It says Raijin in kanji.
And after this part was also dry, I had to use fabric markers to make the details I couldn't get before.
And finally I got my Raijin t-shirt.
Maybe it is a lot of trouble to get a simple t-shirt, maybe I should just had ordered it when I saw it online.
But I guess I like to do it the Japanese way: more complicated.

Raijin in my shirt.