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Thursday, February 28, 2013

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Crochet along cupcakes

Lame I know, funky looking frosting and funkier looking sprinkles!  I am just not too happy with the scalloped edge it's like too tight and looking down, maybe I needed to add more filling?  and the fact that the yarns I used are different tickness does not help a lot either. 

Sophia asked for white cake and pink frosting.  Xavi just picked the blue one after I have done them I really didn't give him a 

He is always a good sport at posing for my pictures.
He said I should make an army of cupcakes.  And sure enough he started battling them.

In no way I support military conflicts and actions but I just could not resist taking pictures.  Even after the photo session when it was time to do homework he kept on battling the cupcakes. Boys will be boys I guess :/

I am glad he found a use for my weird looking cupcakes.

Come check out the link up party


Googly eyed cupcakes.  Sophia swears the pink and the green are her new best friends.

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Things that made me happy last week

I had been toying with the idea of a desk space for quite some time now, way back really.  The kids have their computer desk.  Meanwhile I keep wrapping my etsy sales and writing notes on top of the washer and dryer.  Lately the idea came back to me and I started a board on pinterest(pinterest is fun isn't it??) anyways the back to the board I titled it:
I need my own desk, in red italics underlined and bold print because this time I really wanted a desk.

I started searching my local thrift shops and nothing really caught my eye. Really nothing.  Plus I didn't want to spend 20 dollars on a desk.  Last week, we went to our tax preparer and in her office she had a cute desk as soon as I saw it I fell in love with it.  She said she bought it for $40 and would sell it for $40.  My husband gave me the a $20 dollar bill and said if I liked it I should get it.  So I put in the other 20 and the desk is now mine.

Initially I had envision a white desk, and I would have painted it but I love the color of this one. It's missing a knob, but who cares, not me.  It's the perfect size.  I paid way way more that I really wanted too, but I am not good at negotiating.  I could have said I give you 20 for it.  But that is just totally not me I am not good at that.  I liked it and I bought it.  Now I have to hunt for a chair and personalize it :)

Another thing that made me happy last week is my niece Ailani.  Finally, finally somebody looks like might follow my footsteps.  She was in my house last week as I was going to drive to San Diego with the kids to visit my mom.  She came up to me and asked if I could teach her how to crochet.  What??  She is asking me???  I tried teaching my sister 20 some years ago, my stepdaughter Valeria 10 years ago, my dear Sophie some years ago and Ailani comes to me asking!  Delighted I was.  I taught her how to finger crochet in a quick moment and she started doing basic chains.  She asked for more yarn for the way "1 1/2 hours is a long ride she said." 

Do you spy her crocheted necklace and her hairband? 
I love this girl (Insert Happy dance here♫ ♪)

Sunday, February 24, 2013

Featured Artist Anabel from MiracleInspiration

Hello Dear friends today I bring to you Anabel from MiracleInspiration.  In her own words here are the answers to my 10 questions:

I'm mother of 2 years old sweetest boy Platon (there he comes).

Now I'm in maternity leave, before that I worked as accountant for a couple years after graduation from economic university. And now I realize that accounting is not what I really want to do in my life.

I learned to sew from my mother. We made clothes for everyday wear and for parties for me. And I'm so much thankful to my mum that I can make almost everything I like about clothing. And now I sew for my son and husband.


And once I discovered tilda toys and felt crafting. All these fabric bunnies, angels, cats, elephants - great pleasure to make them and my son is very fond of my fabric cats and felt finger puppets.

First I made toys just as gifts for friends, but friends are so much delighted with my creations so that they inspired me try myself at any online marketplace.


Actually I run two shops on etsy fabric toys and felt creations www.etsy.com/shop/MiracleInspiration

And when my toys crafting inspiration leaves me for some time I always find ideas to do something about textile jewelry.
In five years I'd like to be mother of two kids :) May be I'll try something new like crochet or knitting, cause there are so many adorable things I'd like to knit. And of course I want to develop what I'm doing now.

ways to find you:

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Mailboxes for February week 3

Letter writing is the only device for combining solitude with good company.  ~Lord Byron

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Time to come clean

My kids have the whole week off school but gosh!  It's already Wednesday!!
Sophia shared something with me that I thought I'd shared with you.

10 things that once in your life 
you have made.

1. Try to eat like a dog. via pinterest

2.  Walk without stepping on the lines.  via pinterest

3.  Close the refrigerator slowly to see how it turns out the light from within.  via pinterest

4.  Argue about who will be pressing the elevator button.  via pinterest

5.  Down all the pen points at the same time. via pinterest

6.  Eating the cake batter via etsy

7.  Tie in your neck a towel and pretend you are a super hero.  via pinterest

8.  Talk near the fan as a robot or Darth Vader. via pinterest

9.  Sing the music of 20th Century Fox when the movie starts.  via pinterest

10.  Climb and sit in a stack of plastic chairs.  via pinterest

It's time to be honest and come clean.  Yes I've done them all except I repeat except number 1 which is eat like a dog.  Unless it was way way back in the day that I've blocked it for my mind (Please God let it be that I blocked it...)

Sophia, Xavi and my niece answered yes to all of them.

How about you??

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Boxtops 4 Education

Please accept apologies if you saw a preview of this post a couple of weeks ago, it was still on my drafts and I accidentally published it :(  Sometimes my fingers are faster than my mind!

I am sure most of you have heard about Boxtops 4 Education and in case you haven't let me tell you a bit about it.  It is a wonderful program that can help you earn cash for your schools by clipping boxtops from hundreds of participating products such as Cheerios, Hamburger Helper, Kleenex, Ziploc, Hefty, Betty Crocker, and many many more. You can check out the rest of the products here.

We all go grocery shopping right??  and if you buy any of the participating products and have not clipped the boxtops well let me tell you that you have been trowing money away!!  Ok, so you tell me you don't have school kids any more I understand that but you can also give them to your nieces and nephews or the neighbors kids' or take them to your local school.  You can also shop online over 250 retailers give eBoxTops to the schools when you shop online.  Their website also offer coupons for many products.  In my kids' school they are offered little rewards when the kids bring boxtops!   how easy is that?? 

On a sad note, I opened up a can of vegetables that had a boxtop the other day and could not get it off as it was glued in such a way that it ripped when I tried to take the paper off the can and sadly I just could not put it back together.  I was so upset.

On funny note, once I went to my brother's house.  He has a school aged kid and I knew that him and my sister in law sometimes forgot to clip boxtops.  So that one day I razed through their pantry and clipped every boxtop I could find of course he was there.  Later my sister in law told me that she figured it out "Of course Claudia was here."

I'd love to hear from you, You've never heard of Boxtops?, Do you clip them?, Did you used to?, Will you start clipping them?  Tell me I am eager to know!!

Sunday, February 17, 2013

Featured artist Roberta from Mairi Tales

Happy Sunday my friends today I bring to you Roberta from MairiTales she sells dollhouse miniature, jewelry, shabby chic accessories but do not be fooled  MairiTales also has a dark side(it's really a section in her shop)  :)  Enjoy!

1. Tell us as little or as much as you would like about yourself.
I'm Roberta and I live in Rome, Italy, with my husband.

Dollhouse Butterflies shabby chic shutter in 1/12 scale
2. What do you sell?
I sell little items handmade by me, mainly miniatures for dollhouse, fantasy polymer clay jewelry, home decor items.

3. Why handmade?
Because I think handmade is the best way to bring to life an idea, a dream. Another way I use to create is writing, I've written some poetry and short novels, but handmade creations are more immediate than writings.

4. Where does your inspiration to create come from and/or your inspiration in life?
Mi inspiration comes from my dreams, from books, role playing games, nature, internet, from all the world around me. It is a necessary way to create miniatures for dollhouse, to reproduce the world in 1/12 scale I have to watch and study all sides of reality.

5. Besides creating what else do you do? Do you have a full time job?
Despite a Natural Science degree and a Web Designer certificate I've done a lot of different and sometimes illogical temporary jobs and after the last one I've decided to use my time and my energy to create a job for myself. It is hard, I know, but at least it is not illogical.

Dollhouse mint pudding

6. When did you start thinking you were an artist?
I don't think to myself as an artist, maybe as an artisan, yep, I think it is a better way to consider me, for the time being.

7. Who has been most influential in your craft work?
Too many artists and artisans to make a list here. Anyway I really have to thank two of them: Daniela Messina and Silvia Cucchi, two great Italian artists.

Dollhouse Hyacinth in bloom

8. Where would you like to be in five years?
Here, in this very place, to create and write and dream.

9. Is there anything you'd like to try doing that you haven't done?
crafts, sports, life in general?
I'd like to finish to write a book. And have a child, finally.

Silver Dragon Pendant

10. Besides online where else do you sell?
I sell only online, via my Etsy shop or via email, four years ago I participated in Miniaturitalia, the only (and too far for me) Italian show for dollhouse miniaturists.  I did in four years in a row 2005-2008

Ways to contact you:
email : mairi71@fdsoftware.it

Friday, February 15, 2013

{this moment}

A Friday ritual inspired by  Soulemama

In her words: "A single photo - no words - capturing a moment from the week.  A simple, special, extraordinary moment.  A moment I want to pause, savor and remember."

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Mailboxes for February week 2

To send a letter is a good way to go somewhere without moving anything but your heart.  ~Phyllis Theroux

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Paper bookmark tutorial

By popular demand I am back with another simple tutorial, ok ok so only a couple of you guys asked for more tutorials (thank you ladies)

This time I am making paper book marks only because Sophia keeps misplacing hers and because really she grabs a random piece of paper and writes on it "this is Sophia's bookmark" or she uses a comb, or her ipod, the remote control, the floss container, a straw... I could go on and on.  I decided to make a few bookmarks for her and for Valentine's sake I made a few more for my nieces and nephews.

Materials needed:
paper cutter or scissors
scrapbook paper  with pretty designs
whole puncher
different kinds of ribbon

Step 1:   cut out paper rectangles.  Mine are 6 x 2 inches. You can make them any size you want. You will need two pieces of paper per bookmark, one card stock and one scrapbook paper.

Step 2:  Pick two pieces one card stock and one scrapbook paper.Glue the back sides together, only a little bit of glue will do, this is only to keep them together when you sew them in the next step.
Step 3:  Sew around the edges.  I didn't even attempt to sew straight  because I knew I wouldn't achieve it.  Besides an uneven stitch looks lovely on paper :0
Step 4:  Punch a hole in one end and thread the ribbon. Ta da!

These are so customizable, and surprisingly hold up real well.  Now the next thing is to figure out how make it so that Sophia does not misplace them.

Sunday, February 10, 2013

Featured artist Jonathan from Sawyer Ceramics

Today I bring you Jonathan from Sawyer Ceramics.  He has an etsy shop full of  wonderful crafted kitchenware among other goodies.  Enjoy the interview and don't forget to stop by his shop and facebook page.

1. Tell us as little or as much as you would like about yourself.
I grew up and currently live in San Diego, California. Before becoming a potter my first interest was playing Soccer. I played at the club level and continued to play in high school, college and at the semi-professional level. My first experience with pottery wasn’t until my senior year of high school. I took a beginning ceramics class and really enjoyed it. After high school I attended UCSD where I continued taking beginning and intermediate ceramics classes . As my interest in ceramics grew I began investing in my own equipment and eventually obtained everything necessary to create pieces from home.

2. What do you sell?
I specialize in making functional pottery. Some of my common items include, mugs, bowls, jars, platters and vases. All of my work is formed on the potter’s wheel and high fired to 2,350F in a gas kiln. All of my glazes are mixed by hand from bags of raw materials. All of my glazes are lead free.

Ceramic Colander
3. Why handmade?
 I enjoy the feeling of accomplishment after making something on my own. All stages of the production process are very hands on from the forming of a piece to the firing of the kiln.

4. Where does your inspiration to create come from and/or your inspiration in life?
Most of my inspiration to create new pieces comes from other potters’ work. There are limitless possibilities with forms and glazes. I constantly feel challenged to learn new techniques to create new and improved pieces.

Spoon Croack
5. Besides creating what else do you do? Do you have a full time job?
Aside from my pottery business I spend 10-15 hours a week coaching youth club soccer. Over the last year pottery has taken over as my full time job.

6. When did you start thinking you were an artist?
I don’t think of myself as a very artistic person but the more experienced I’ve become with pottery the more ideas and inspiration I get to make more creative pieces. I think being artistic is like any other skill set that will grow with time and practice.

Ceramic Yarn Bowl
7. Who has been most influential in your craft work?
The internet has been a great learning resource for me and has had a major influence on my work. I learn a lot from other potters in online forums as well as through educational YouTube videos. My mom, Linda has also has a strong influence on my work. Along with helping run the business she provides me with new ideas and gives me feedback on my work from a different perspective.

8. Where would you like to be in five years? In five years I hope to be more settled with the type of work I want to be creating. There are so many options I want to explore in the ceramic field before I decide what I enjoy creating the most. A dedicated home studio would be nice too.

Handmade mug
9. Is there anything you'd like to try doing that you haven't done? crafts, sports, life in general? I’d like to learn how to weld. As I mentioned, I like to work with my hands. Welding is a very useful skill, especially for a potter.

10. Besides online where else do you sell?  Other than online sales I sell at farmers markets, craft fairs and other similar events. I’ve also done custom orders for restaurants, retail stores, weddings, etc.

ways to find you:
email:  sawyerceramics@gmail.com

Saturday, February 9, 2013

that is how it happened!

While having my second glass of wine, I looked at my child who has been sick and missed school for 4 days in a row this past week. He had a nasty cough and fever. I can't help it but feel a lot of love for him, although sometimes he drives me crazy! I looked at him and asked him "did you really come out of me??" (I remember I used to ask Sophia the same thing when she was younger) He answered yes (Sophia answered the same thing), "really I asked, why??" "because your tummy hurt and you pooped me" "yes, Xavi that is how it happened!"

Friday, February 8, 2013

{this moment}

A Friday ritual inspired by  Soulemama

In her words: "A single photo - no words - capturing a moment from the week.  A simple, special, extraordinary moment.  A moment I want to pause, savor and remember."

Thursday, February 7, 2013

Mailboxes for February week 1

I am so excited to let you know my new challenge for the rest of the year.  As I did on Seasons Change and Seasons Change Second Edition I will post a picture every Thursday, but this time I will have a monthly theme, I will also try to pair it with a poem or a quote or some words of inspiration.

I will start with mailboxes for the month of February.  I am fascinated when I see old and rusty mailboxes, it makes me wonder what kind of mail do they get, do they ever get a love letter, a Birthday card or just bills?? or they get any mail at all in this digital age?

 Ah!  It's so weird how I am always coming up with my own challenges right?  I hope you enjoy this journey with me.

A letter always seemed to me like immortality because it is the mind alone without corporeal friend.  ~Emily Dickinson

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Cake Flags tutorial

A couple of weeks ago an etsy customer told me that she wanted to learn how to make cake flags with fabric and asked me to do a kit for her.  I instantly thought  'gosh but it's so easy!!'   Lots of thoughts came to my mind as I struggled thinking " I can just cut the fabric for her and sell it but that is so easy to do :/ I would feel guilty selling the cut fabric ",  and she also said "she wanted to learn how to do them" so I decided to give tutorials a try. I sent her a couple of pictures with the instructions and also offered to make the kit for her if she wanted me to.  She later thanked me for the tutorial.

I realized a lot of people don't have the craft in them, or are not interested or just don't have the time.   I am one visual person and sometimes get lost reading long directions so pictures are important for me and of course basic instructions come in handy too.  A lot of the time I improvise on the materials or the steps and I think that's where the beauty and uniqueness of handmade comes in.

So here is my first tutorial (by the way they can be made out of paper also)

Material needed:
fabric (you'll feel better is you recycle as I did I used some of Sophia's old pants)
*triangle template

*my template's base is 1 inch and 1 1/4 inches tall, it does not have to be perfect like I said improvise.

Step 1:  Fold the fabric and pin the template making sure not to cut the folded base of the triangle.  You will end up with a rhombus shape.

Step 2:  Place the toothpick in the middle and put some glue, fold the fabric in half and press with your fingers making sure the toothpick is glued tight between the two layers of fabric.  The fabric will get wet so just let it dry.  The flag will dry a bit stiff but it's a good thing.

Step 3:  Repeat as many flags you need.

If you are using paper instead of fabric use only a little bit of glue.

I am a rookie at this tutorial thing but hope you enjoyed it!

Go ahead and bake some cupcakes for your Valentine :)

Sunday, February 3, 2013

Featured artist Cynthia from Antiquitiy Travelers

Hello everyone after a whole month of being challenged with the photo a day challenge in January I am back to regular programming.  Today back with the featured artist I bring you Cynthia from Antiquity Travelers a fellow blogger whose source of inspiration is travel and exploration!  Enjoy the interview.

1. Tell us as little or as much as you would like about yourself.
I don’t think any one of us define ourselves by any one thing. But perhaps where I grew up does give an insight into who I am. I grew up in the Pacific Northwest in a small coastal town where fishing and logging are a way of life. Most people are employed in the mills, canneries, or as fishermen and loggers. I think this simplicity of life grounds me.

Wanting to travel is something that came later. I didn’t travel much until I was out of college, but once I started I just could not stop. Luckily both my husband and I share a love of travel; to see another culture and to explore the history of the place. We always look for a good local museum, and if I can find it I look for an exhibit on jewelry. You can tell a lot from a people by what they valued. For example, one of my favorite books on jewelry is one on Native American beadwork which gives such rich history to the traditional stitching. I blogged about this awhile back describing a Native American tradition of using a Spirit Bead:

This tradition dates as far back as 800 A.D. and served as talismans against threat.  The spirit bead is one that stands apart from the rest of the pattern; sometimes a bead of a different color. Native Americans believed that each piece should contain an intentional mistake (or spirit bead) somewhere within the pattern because humans cannot achieve perfection. If we attempt perfection it could be bad luck. And the spirit world would not enter into anything that was flawless. So a spirit bead was sewn in among the others to provide a flaw where the spirit could enter and flow through the beadwork. A spirit bead is a reminder anything created by human hands cannot be perfect. These Native American beaders would intentionally include a wrong colored bead as a way to honor the Great Spirit and express humility. 

I first started making beaded jewelry as a girl. I think I was about 8 years old. My family took a trip to Crater Lake and I was fascinated by the Native American beadwork I saw at the park stores. My grandmother bought me my first beaded necklace, and I was hooked. Once I got home I begged my mother to take me to the local bead store to buy seed beads. I guess beading and making jewelry has turned out to be a life-long passion for me.

Beading in Native American Tradition (book): http://books.google.com/books/about/Beading_in_the_Native_American_Tradition.html?id=7HYAAAAACAAJ Blog post: http://antiquitytravelers.blogspot.com/2012/07/freedom-fridays-peyote-with-spirit-bead.html

Earrings:  Vintage Adventurine and Onyx
2. What do you sell?  I sell jewelry. It is all handmade using items like semi-precious stones, pearls, shells, art glass, enamels or the occasional beachcombing item like seaglass. I use gold and silver earwires as I have allergies to base metals and so I swear by not using them for the items I create.  I rarely duplicate an item as I create each piece as an artistic outlet. I’m lucky that this is a hobby for me, and I don’t need to focus on the margins. I am just trying to afford my bead-a-holic tendencies so I can buy more beautiful beads! But in all seriousness, handmade is labor intensive. I have such respect for the artisans on sites like Etsy and Artfire who have dedicated themselves to making a business with their craft. I recently joined an Etsy team call Blogging Business Artisans (BBA). This is an amazing team of people dedicated to handmade. They are very hard working, putting in long hours to create their items, and all for the love of their craft and running their own business. I have been so impressed by the dedication they have and how supportive they are to each and every person on the team. 

3. Why handmade?  My common response to this is ‘because I don’t knit.’ It is a relaxing hobby to me. Some people like to knit the hours away; making scarf after scarf. That isn’t me. I like the uniqueness of handmade jewelry, and challenge myself to create in a way that ties to art, history or culture. 

One other reason for handmade is that I hope to pass on a legacy to my girls. My Grandmother taught me how to crochet and to sew. It is a lost art really. I want my girls to understand the value of making something with your hands. They both bead as well, although I’m not sure that they’ll really dive in. But that isn’t the point. I want them to understand the time that artisans put into a craft. They see that with me and the jewelry I make. 

Gold and Onyx earrings
4. Where does your inspiration to create come from and/or your inspiration in life?  
My inspiration comes from pretty much everywhere. One of the things that I’ve enjoyed most about starting to blog about jewelry making is meeting other people who share my passion. The blog hops the beading community regularly sponsor are a way to get everyone together to try something new. For me it has been a fun challenge to use inspiration in my jewelry creation I probably would not have thought of. Sometimes it is a new technique (a particular bead stitch), a new material (sequins) or a color pallet (color ways as beaders call them).  At this point in my jewelry making journey I will try just about any technique. Some stick, some are complete disasters. But the journey really is the fun of it all. 

5. Besides creating what else do you do? Do you have a full time job?I do have a full time job. I work in Advertising, in New York City. But I live in Connecticut, so I commute into the city everyday (90 minutes one way – or 3 hours a day). That is a lot of time on a train. But it is when I get the chance to read blogs, and I read a lot of them.   
The funny thing is that I always knew I wanted to work in Advertising. As a kid when people asked, it was my answer. I’m not sure how I knew, but I can tell you that once I ‘arrived’ in advertising I wanted something else. It was fun at first – a small town girl moving to the big city. But I think as we grow older, we realize that we want more out of life.

6. When did you start thinking you were an artist?
I’m not sure that I think of it that way. I see all these amazing artisans in the beading community that I hang out with. They make glass lampwork beads, bronze components, pottery beads. The work is truly amazing. I love taking these artisan items and using them in the jewelry I create. But I guess I feel more like a jeweler than an artisan. Perhaps it is because so much of the jewelry I actually sell is commissioned. 

Tahitian Pearls
7. Who has been most influential in your craft work?
This is a tough question for me as current people aren’t my influence. If I consider what one thing inspires me most it would be history. I am completely fascinated with ancient cultures; where they lived, how they lived, what they wore. Generally what life must have been like to live a day in their shoes. Jewelry making is an artistic outlet for me, so I try to just let the ideas flow. And I guess my imagination just gets going when I think of some of these ancient civilizations. 
Blog post: http://antiquitytravelers.blogspot.com/2012/11/bba-gratitude-challenge-indian-carnelian.html

8. Where would you like to be in five years?
Retired! And traveling the world. Sadly, I have quite a few more years before that can become a reality for me. So in the meantime we try to do as much travel as possible as a family in between the kids’ school breaks and my work vacation time.

9. Is there anything you'd like to try doing that you haven't done? crafts, sports, life in general?
I think this list could be endless for me. Maybe in another life I would have been a museum curator or perhaps an archeologist. When I think about what I’d love to try my hand at in the world of jewelry it would be metalwork and how to set jewels. For travel, the list is a crazy long one; I’ve got an entire Pinterest board created as my bucket list. There are just so many places I still want to see in my lifePinterest board:  http://pinterest.com/antiquitytravel/oh-the-places-you-ll-go/

10. Besides online where else do you sell?
I sell quite a bit offline. I have a lot of people who know I make jewelry at my office, friends (who find my work on Facebook) or from my train ride each day. Blog content label (Train Jeweler):  http://antiquitytravelers.blogspot.com/search/label/Train%20Jeweler

Ways to contact you:
Email: cynthia.machata@gmail.com

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