Tuesday, November 17, 2009

You say Tomato.. I say tomato... What the hell? It's spelled the same!

Some say "toe-MAY-toe", others say "toe-MAH-toe", either way you're never sure if it's a fruit or a vegetable... you just eat it. That happens also with people. Some are very practical and others thrive for functionality. And I, as a person that doesn't like confrontations or imbalance (ohhh Libra) do my best to please everyone. This brings me to my favorite project "fun with fruit"(cheesy title...get it?).
I was looking through books at Borders when I found this one that had only crochet food. From fruits and vegetables to junk food, anything you can think of. Then I saw one of my favorites food groups: PopTarts. I still buy them for my girls (yeahhh right) and they haven't changed a bit. The only one that has, thanks to them, is my waistline. Flipping further, one of my daughters saw her favorite: Sushi. Right there I discovered my next project. I read along and hurried home to start right away. They turned out super nice. But then, my functional side said: "Now... they are good for....? Nothing? I won't believe that! So I started brainstorming and figured that the PopTart would do a nice iPod cover... that one was easy. Minor alterations were needed and soon the first PopTart was being used by my daughter. Go figure. But then I took a long look at the sushi. It turned out beautifully; I had a blast making them; my daughter loved them but since I didn't like sushi I didn't know what to do about it.  The only thing I knew was that my daughter wanted them. That's when I had to put my foot down. I'm creating items for my Etsy store (Yes it's OPEN... Yeahhh!) and she wants everything. I felt so used.

But something funny happened days later when I go to my favorite metaphysical store GAIA* to get some crystals for my crochet crystal bags (Listing # 34102206 , # 34099824). I proudly showed my friend Tere, the owner, all the things I've done and the ones that I'm working on. She gave me compliments one after another until I took out the sushi. "Ohhh it's sooo cute " she said, great, but the next thing that she said would floor me. "What's it for?" she asked. I went blank. I started to look around the place and around my body looking for places to put it. Then my transparent being opened my mouth- "I'm not sure, but I had a blast making them and I don't even like sushi" I said with a smile.

Probably, I looked like a weirdo, but I truly had fun doing them, and when you create things you love doing, they become impregnated with great positive vibrations. I know somebody will love them (Thanks Mellissa : sushi)  as much as I (and my sushi less daughter) do. That's the secret about my work. No matter if it's a functional PopTart lover (Thanks Jill) or a slice of crochet pizza that hangs over your desk, there's plenty of love to go around.

FYI: To•ma•to is a pulpy fruit that is typically eaten as a vegetable. They must be Libra.

Shameless plugs: Yey! My Etsy store is now OPEN! Go to Craftingjunkie store Thanks to all the people that have shopped, stopped  and looked for supporting this craftingjunkie. Stop by frequently because new and old favorites item will be added shortly.

Also, my Apple Green Tarot card bag have been featured in the Treasury Tuesday Elite Eight blog from C and O productions. Read the blog at: http://sandoproductions.blogspot.com/2009/11/treasury-tuesday-elite-eight_10.html   Thanks a lot Olivia!

*And my favorite Metaphysical store : Gaia... movimiento positivo : Ave. Hostos #432, San Juan, PR. 00918 Tel: 787-405-2971 email: gaiasanapr@hotmail.com

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Saturday, September 19, 2009

I felt it........ and it felt good.

Ohhhh yes... I felt it, my knitting! I finally reached the culmination to my felting experiment. After being frustrated by a lack of real wool (and very expensive) in this island of mine, I gathered the wool I bought at a Michael's store on a trip to Miami. Yes, I brought in my suitcase skeins of wool. I had to. After I "felt" so stupid when I didn't purchase any wool in Delani (Alaska), this was the closest I was going to get to nice real wool. I thought I'd give fate a chance. So, I started knitting away a nice 8"x 6" piece, nothing fancy, just knits and purls. It was a paradox by itself, I was knitting anxiously but at the same time trying to keep my knitting loose. The only difference was that I was using a smaller needle (just one size) which I thought wouldn't make much of a deal. Nicely knitted, casted off and felting time is here.

Since my washing machine is not connected to hot water, I decided to, again, put my HGTV & DIY knowledge to a test. I remembered watching a show where a girl that was felting using hot soapy water, a heavy duty ziplock bag, a bamboo placemat and lots of brute force. Luckily, I had one of those placemats stored in one of my cupboard (for a nice place setting emergency) which I cut more or less to size and wrapped the piece inside like a tasty burrito. Added the soapy hot water and started the abuse... I mean, agitation. I hit, I rolled, I scrubbed and I felt it...... I felt the pain in my arms and burn in my palms. Took it out of the bag to take a peak with slow results. D@#&n it! It said on the label: GREAT FOR FELTING... not fast felting. So, I sat comfortably on my seat and like Ghandi, started a non violent demonstration. After much violent acts, I started rubbing it. It was strange.. soothingly strange.
Being a child of instant gratification I wanted to see faster results. After all the rubbing, rinsing and pleading with it I wasn't going to wait until it dried. Nooooo. I thought, if heat makes the fibers flare and get all tangled and needs agitation then, why not... Why not put it in the dryer. It's going to shrink anyways. So, with my blessing, I put it inside the pocket of one of my husband's trousers. And in silence I waited for the storm.To my surprise, the piece came out the dryer (and the trousers) soft and felted. OMG! I did it. Like Grissom (CSI) would've done, I inspected the sucker out. It almost blocked the light and was thick and super soft. Now comes the second part of the experiment.  What should I do with it?

Something will come up. I was told that I could cut it just like a fabric. So I took the sharpest scissors I had and cut a small edge of it. It still looked as a knitted piece. I continued cutting hoping it wouldn't disintegrate in my hands. I kept it simple. I was going to stitch it nicely and make a pretty small, very small purse.
I secured the edges with blanket stitch and fastened a dorset button for closure. As always, it is never enough, so I tested further more with a little bit of embroidery. Yes, I kick a couple of stitches here and there. I "felt" like they where supposed to be there.

Voila! I gave birth again and it didn't hurt a bit.


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Saturday, August 29, 2009

My favorite time of the year isn't Christmas anymore..

Some people are elated when spring have sprung. Some can't wait for a tasty Thanksgiving dinner. Some start planning for the next summer vacation as soon as they come back and put some aloe on their sunburns. Not me. My favorite time of the year is when school starts. I don't mind waking up at 5:00 am, running frantic around the house looking for missing shoes or homework (sometimes both), getting stuck in morning traffic or even last minute supply shopping (when they remember, usually 5 minutes before the store closes). Not me. I celebrate the first day of school, but I shouldn't start Mom's Happy Hour too early. That's the time when stay at home moms (or dads) have therapy time. You can watch your favorite show while folding the laundry or even not turning on the tv at all and just enjoy the silence. Sweet silence.

This summer has been very busy, didn't go anywhere. Had a graduation in May, recuperation and preparation for out of town guests in June and entertaining those guests in July. But before school started I managed to redecorate a teenagers bathroom (with thing I made, watch for my next post!) and transform a "catch all" room into a classy teenagers bedroom, all of it with a recession budget. The need to separate sibling was imperative. By the time school started, she had her bedroom and I needed a vacation. I am very proud of what I did. Finally I could put to use all those home decorating programs I religiously watch and at the same time save some money.

Now, I can enjoy a bird chirping filled morning producing cool craft project and on my graphic design business. By the time I have to pick up the kids at school is like a bucket of ice water splashed on my head. Me time is over. Snacks/check, homework/check, after school sports/ohhh boy check, dinner/ahhhggg check, showers and being on bed by 9:00 pm/Thank God! check. I dvr my shows (Project runway.. a must) because by the first half hour I'm in lalaland on a deep sleep. But you know... I like the structure. I feel like I'm accomplishing more in the morning than any other time of the day. Me time is invaluable time. Once I evaluated the idea about home schooling because I spent more time doing homework with them, but that would result in 0 time for me. And if mamma ain't happy, somebody's gotta pay. And in this economy... that's not gonna happen.

This brings me to a new and exciting venture. I will soon announce my grand opening of my new etsy store.
I have a couple of great needs. The need to be creative and the need to produce money. You will see more reviews of items I've made and currently on sale on etsy.com. So if you want to try make them.. please be my guest. I love sharing information and tips from other crafters. Long live school days!

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Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Sunny side up!

Wow! Who says daily routine is boring? I'm so sorry I haven't been able to write for a while, but Hey! I cannot please everyone. I wish I could, so to be able to keep up with them, I have to keep ME up. That's when I go out for a couple of hours and spend them by myself, hooked on my iPod, staring at peoples faces as they pass me on the mall. At least is an economical way to have therapy.  I love to listen to podcasts. I have a nice collection of audio and video podcasts that go from how to manage your money to how to manage your honey, from crafting to cooking (and I need help with that one) and many radio shows from popular authors from Hay House publishers. One of my favorite authors is intuitive Colette Baron-ReidShe is a intuitive counselor who's just came out of the "medium closet" (as she says) who is very down to earth on her advice but also has a very knowledgeable way to teach you how we are connected (in everyday common occurrences) to a higher power or spirit (whichever your religious denomination may be). She devours many books by many authors in her quest for knowledge. Plus, she's a very funny gal. I met her on a conference in 2007 and I've listened to her podcasts ever since. 

One thing that has a playlist by itself on my iPod is her meditations. I would do them on those hours I spend on myself at the mall, but I'm afraid people would think I fell asleep on the bench. So, I treat myself at home. There's a big variety of free guided meditations that leaves you wanting for more. 
But recently she made a beautiful meditation in conjunction with David Sereda called 
"Sound of the Sun Meditation", 
(available at the music store on her website).  Mr. Sereda is a well known scientist, engineer, ecologist and mystic who contributed in trying to test a hypothesis (with Saida Medvedeva, Producer of the russian film “Water, The Great Mystery") by exposing water and the human body to the sound of the sun recorded by NASA. This is quite parallel to the studies made by Dr. Masaru Emoto  in the projection of intention and feelings on the water and studying their crystals before and after. The purpose in these studies is to enhance the well being of living organisms since we are basically made out of water. Imagine the possibilities! Both studies are very, very interesting.  

Did I mention that Collette Baron-Reid is a recording artist? Sorry for that ADD moment. Well, this meditation was created as a total relaxation tool and has beautiful music (created by her) so refreshing that is just like you were in a spa.  My girls love it when I use it. They know is my sacred "time out".  They look at me, trying to figure me out. Then I smile, they smile back.... now they know that is safe to talk to me and they have to thank Colette for that.

Click here for more information on the Analysis of the Sound of the Sun water crystals and meditation.

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Monday, February 9, 2009

No Paparazzi! Please!

Kids are wonderful. I just love to replay all the things that my mother did for me. Sew her dresses, make costumes, teach them how I learned from my mom (and grandma). Those make for what we call "Kodak Moments".  And in the first chance we get to embarrass them, we definitely go for it. So, I was going to show the crochet cap I knitted over a couple of "school duty " days but my model was a tough one. Impatient and cranky, she fled the shooting. "No more pictures! No Paparazzi please!..".  Those were the words of my Miley wannabe when I was trying to get my 25th shot of her head. So, what was I going to do? The obvious... chase her around taking flash pictures in her face and making her life miserable. Like the paparazzi she secretly fantasize with.  What? I will only have her home until she goes to college! 
Well, in the other hand I have to thank her, she's the one that will wear everything and anything (sometimes at the same time) if it's pretty and chic. Don't get me wrong.. she's got style... it's just, too forward. 
Anyway, this cute hat was made with regular crochet thread 
(Fushia) starting with a circle made of chain stitch and double crochet, adding 2 stitches per stitch 
for about 3 rows. After that I continued double crochet in every 3 stitches and when you 
are starting to get to the hairline, on every stitch, reduce (evenly distributed) 4 stitches in each row until you reach the length desired. On the last 2 rows I used single crochet to make kind of an edge to the rim. I really eyeballed this piece so no complete set of instructions are included here. 
Sorry. I'm one of those who skips the manual until completely confused. Then I open the instructions. If you want a complete set of instructions go to this link: http://www.lionbrand.com/patterns/BK4K-0612011.html?noImages=   where you'll find a pattern for a similar crochet hat. Remember that this is an open stitch for a cool hat. Cool like in light, fresh, not cooking skulls here hat. The pattern in the link is made of wool and is a close stitch for the winter type of hat.  Much of the wearables knitted here (in the island) are open stitches so it's breezy and cool. I'm lucky. If there is money involved, she'll wear it, at least for a moment. But I don't care if I get blackmailed. There are pictures taken, videos filmed, ready to resurface at any given time, whenever she least expect it.  Maybe to a future boyfriend. Sweet Karma.

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Saturday, January 24, 2009

My iPod's got back!

Now you can show off your back side!  Your iPod's back. 
I was looking for a nice and different gift for my husband and since he couldn't get his hands off my iPod classic, it was time he got his own (and leave mine alone). While shopping the online Apple store I notice that you can engrave a message but your limited to 2 lines and no fonts to choose from.. lame... plain... plain is not in my vocabulary. So I started searching for something to make my gift special. I stumbled upon this site that makes custom etching for iPods, computers, cell phones... you name it.  It's called Etchstar.  You can choose one of the hundreds of designs they have or you can upload your own design.  I decided to buy the iPod with them since the price and warranty are the same as the Apple store.  But if you just want the etching, they send you a prepaid shipping kit, you send it via FedEx and they return it with the shipping you chose. 
There are 2 finishes for etching, brushed metal etches are light and the for the shiny polished metal, they have to use a special method that makes the etching black.  Different charges (from $40-160) apply for different types of items, service and uploading. 
I decided to make a drawing (they need it to be vector based) of my girls on the back.  It turned out gorgeous!  But that's not the best thing (at least for us artist) you can get paid for it. Yes. If you contribute with an artwork, they pay you 10% of the etching fee if somebody etches your artwork.  Hey , is not about the money (...yeah right) it's about exposing your art and some self promotion (again... the money). But also, the service is excellent, they made everything happen. Check out the artwork in this site, you'll want everything etched. 
So, now I have my iPod safe and secured in my hands, without a scratch in it. His iPod, also safe, for now...   yes I threatened him with murder. 

Friday, January 9, 2009

If only Alpacas didn't spit.

I'm truly thinking of getting an Alpaca or a sheep as a pet. You know why? Because I'm trying to get 100% wool in a tropical island. No, I'm not crazy, I'm mad, I just like to knit... a lot. Right now I'm conducting an experiment in wet felting. I always wanted to try it but couldn't find wool unless I go to a specialty store, which there are very, VERY few here. Well, I decided to go on a mission. I had my 3 addresses on hand, a tankful of gas and blackmail money so my girls would come with me for the ride. First store was about 45 minutes away, in a place where I had not been in ages. Turns out it is a business out of a home and it was closed that day, go figure! Second shop, cozy little shop in which the owner had some aura static and poor communication skills. You should have seen her face when I asked for felting needles. I know I sometimes come through a little coocoo, but I started to check myself to see if I had something coming out of my nose. There I found ($20 for an Alpaca skein!!!!!!) a $8 (50% Acrylic, 50% Wool) which I thought would be a nice subject for the test. The third store..... gone, turned into a bar. Why didn't they keep the shop and put a bar in it. Now that's a niche.  I felt so abandoned. Other stores like Capri (locally owned department store) and Walmart are packed with craft goodies for every taste with a nice knitting and crochet section but all fibers are artificial. Nothing natural.. or close. So I guess that I'll have to do my shopping online... that just takes the fun out of the hunt. I must say that the prices are much, MUCH, lower and the variety is huge, so that makes up for it.

I couldn't wait to try and felt the darn yarn so I diligently started knitting a nice generous piece (that I could turn into anything if failed) and started the wet felting. I took my Ziplock bag, hot water and my soap, stretched my arms and started taking the place of the washing machine. I agitated, I massaged, I rubbed that piece for almost one hour. Good workout. Bad felting. I took it out to dry and tomorrow, will see how it turned out. From what I see, it didn't felt a lot, but it's nice. I'm guessing it's the 50% acrylic, but hey, " a falta de pan.. galletas"*. I had to work with what I had.  

Right there, when I saw the price of the Alpaca wool, I thought of them as pets right away. I live in a rural-almost-urban part of Trujillo Alto in Puerto Rico where an Alpaca or sheep would love to live. Just one, as a pet, or supply. I wouldn't mind at all. The crazy lady with the alpaca. My lovely llama-like pet. I could call him Cusco. But there is only one problem, they smell and they spit. AAghhh.  For me that could be a dealbreaker, and also the fact that has to be approved by the rest of the family. I guess I will be shopping online for now. There goes instant gratification.

*Puertorrican popular saying: "when there is no bread, use crackers". Use whatever you have.

Monday, January 5, 2009

3K Day or El Día de los Reyes Magos

As the night progresses my 2 girls are getting more excited and wondering if they ever will fall asleep tonight. Nope is not Santa. Santa came and went, tonight is January 5th, the night when the 3 Kings arrive and leave presents to puertorrican children under their beds, but we have to remember to leave some grass for the camels. Another excuse to eat more, drink some, try every dessert available and start school a little later than in the US. This tradition in Puerto Rico is considered more important than Santa Claus and some leave the best presents for last. What a way to empty our pocket. That is why I go for the homemade goods when I have to give presents 2 times. This only works with grownups though. There is always the tasty and tipsy taste of the "Coquito" (which is our version of Egg Nog, but better), Arroz con dulce, Tembleque and my favorite dessert, the Coconut and Cheese Custard (Flan). All of this wonderful things qualify as a gifts. A good gift. A gift that is appreciated. A delicious gift. For all the Boricuas reading this (or whoever wants to try it) I give you, my "Coquito" recipe :

It is very simple.... no grated coconut or nothing. Some people put coconut pulp in it, but i like mine very simple.

1 can of condensed milk
1 can of evaporated milk
1 can of coconut milk or coconut cream (Coco Lopez)
Cinnamon to taste (I like a lot of cinnamon)
2 cups of rum (The cheaper the better) to taste

Mix all the ingredients but the rum on a jar. Start mixing one cup of rum at a time to taste. Add more rum and cinnamon if you like.  Store in the refrigerator and serve chilled. In no time it will be gone. But I must give you a warning: it has tons of calories so don't drink the whole thing!

I put them in decorative glass bottles and give them as "Thanks for inviting me" gifts.

This is going to be a long night. I will now try put to bed  my daughters (for the third time) without driving me crazy. It's wonderful that they are excited and all but I have to do "you know what" with the "things" and try not to wake them when I put them "you know where" because then I will not get any "you know what" (meaning sleep, thank you).
Have a Happy Three Kings Day and a Feliz Dia de Reyes a todos.

Triki triki triki...

Saturday, January 3, 2009

Happy New Year

Starting the New Year with a bang!!! I wish you all a Happy New Year filled with health, love and prosperity. As I start the new year with such much energy I decided to delete my old blog and start anew with my real passion, crafts. Either way, I cannot decide which is my favorite so I'll make a big 'ol soup with all my favorites. Yes, that includes the iPod. I'm always on the lookout for new and elegant ways to wear my iPod (so I don't look like Batman and his tool belt), while I'm doing my thing.  So you have an idea of what you may find : Knitting, crochet, sewing, paper arts, graphic arts, felting (I can't wait to try it), purses, whatever teenagers are wearing today (and what I can make), iPod jackets and the many ways to decorate it, photography, house crafts (lamps, backboards, anything that can be made), loom weaving (if I can get my hands on one) and some schoolwork craft.... so you see that my hands can't stand still.  I hope you like it.