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.