Thursday, November 30, 2006

wip (lots of)

My huge wip piles at the moment

Do you think I'll be able to get all of this finished before x-mas ? I'm hoping to, let's see how that goes. On the other hand, I've done most of my x-mas shopping already, just a couple of things missing (the 'difficult ones' ... my dad and my brother's gifts, I never know what to get them because they seem to have everything already). We haven't put our x-mas tree up yet, but we will once we get back from vacation. I love x-mas decorations, so I'm planning to make a few handmade ones this year. Maybe Stephanie's soft trees ? Or a few stockings like these or these ? Or maybe something in paper like Laurie's paper houses ? These just to name a few of the x-mas ornament ideas I've been loving lately.

Anyway, I have to go and finish packing now ... have a great week :)


Wednesday, November 29, 2006

packing books

Two days before we leave on vacation, and I haven't packed our bags yet but I've already made a selection of what books to take. It's always a dilemma, I don't want to bring too many because we like to travel light, but also I don't want to run out of reading material, which is something I hate.

Anyway, here's what I have so far, if you have any other suggestions just let me know:
* Extremely loud and incredibly close and Everything is illuminated by Jonathan Safran Foer. After reading these reviews by X. and A., I just had to get them.
* The devastating boys and In a summer season, by Elizabeth Taylor, reading suggestions by Jane
* Notes from a small island by Bill Bryson, recommended and gifted by friends and which (I hope) will be good for some laughs.

Since my TBR is huge enough to contain a wide variety of books, I also considered taking others like Diana Gabaldon's latest (anyone read this yet ? I'm curious to read more of Claire and Jamie's story, but the size kind of scares me), Amy Tan's Saving fish from drowning or more fantasy books by Patricia McKillip, but unless we get really bad weather and get trapped in a snowstorm, I think these will be enough for now.


Friday, November 24, 2006

grammaire du crochet

I was going to post a photo of my multiple WIPs of the moment (dispatching those much delayed orders finally) but the weather is so gloomy that there wasn't enough light this morning. So instead, to brighten this day a little, I'll post some pictures of a vintage crochet magazine that my friend S. has lent me a few weeks ago. It's called La Grammaire du crochet (#75) and it's a swiss magazine, so it's bilingual. Some patterns are not so bad, but others ... well, let's just say I hope there won't be a revival of those.

I'll let you judge for yourself. These are some of the nicer ones ...

but for a sexy outfit, how about this ?

and la piéce de résistance, this one just cracked me up

somehow, I don't think I could convince A. to wear one of these ...


Thursday, November 23, 2006

inspiration (part II)

a few months ago, G. asked me to make her a backpack, something I had never done before, but she was so enthusiastic about it that I accepted the challenge. When I'm about to start something new, I always struggle with the design for a long time. And backpacks are something not that easy to make, if you're looking for something different than the usual. I eventually found inspiration in this cute little design over at Flickr, and just made a couple of changes, like patchworking the body for more resistance, and adding an extra button for better closure and balance. G. loved it, so it's now on its way to Germany where I hope it will get a lot of use.

Still on inspiration, I'm still thinking about this post from Manda, on which I totally agree. I always try to name where my inspiration comes from, but sometimes I don't remember (not intentionally, of course, just really bad memory and forgetfulness which comes from trying to make too many things at the same time) so I apologize if I ever offended anyone in that way. That said, a lot of what inspires me does come from japanese crafts books and other magazines, like Manda has said, so I sometimes find it inevitable that I might make something similar to what another crafter has done (on concept, anyway), so for now I've stopped worrying so much about it.


Tuesday, November 21, 2006

inspiration wallpocket

I have long been an admirer of Sally's work. She's a most talented crafter (and super mom), and when I first saw her wallpockets (more here) I knew I'd have to make one someday. I just needed something to act as my inspiration board, so I ended up with a mixture of wallpocket and rick rack memo board. I used a couple of the fabrics and trims I got in S. Paulo, plus a tiny piece of the cutest fabric I got from Mariko (photos of that swap coming soon), cream rick rack and simple linen for the background. I didn't do the patchwork effect (was feeling too lazy), but instead just two strips of fabrics and trims combination.

Up on the board right now are some of the beautiful illustrations by Ricardo, Elo, Ashley G. and Rachel Solomon. The origami fabric keychain and hairpin are by Isabel, the origami paper rose by Marta and the gorgeous gift tag and collage in the center is by Dawbis (which just arrived yesterday, by the way - thanks Dawn ! - so it's staying up here until I have it framed)


Friday, November 17, 2006

vacation planning

ok everyone, time for requesting some traveling tips here ... as you might have noticed, this year we ended up not taking any summer vacation, due to the house move and all, so instead we're taking a few days off in the beginning of December for (hopefully) some travel vacation. We didn't want to travel far and we're not particular fans of beach only vacations - we only did that once, our honeymoon in the Seychelles, and it was unforgettably beautiful, but also quite expensive. We'd like to go back one day, who knows maybe in our 20th anniversary or something.

Which reminds me ...while we were there we met a really nice English couple, already retired, who were visiting for the first time also. It had been the husband's long time dream to visit the Seychelles but they never had the opportunity before. That year they had planned to take a vacation to some European city which I now forget (Rome ? or maybe Paris ?) but as a surprise to her husband, the wife booked a trip to the Seychelles instead, packed separate clothing bags (this was in late October so it was chilly in Europe) and he only found out when they were at the airport. Wasn't that a lovely surprise ? And they were such a nice couple too.

Anyway, we're the type that like seeing things, either nature wise, breathtaking landscapes, interesting places, culture and food experiences. And we love to take road trips, meaning getting into a car and just drive around to visit the smaller villages and off the beaten track corners. Our best experience of that kind was in Italy a couple of years ago. Everything was perfect: the scenery, the cities, the tiny villages, the people, the food, the monuments ... and best of all, the ice cream.

Earlier in the summer we had thought to go to Tunisia, but as it happens the available tours end in October so we had to search for a new destination. Several people I know have been to Croatia this year, and have recommended it, and since we've been curious to go there for a while now that's where we're headed. These days budget airlines make traveling a lot cheaper, so we are flying to Milan as our starting point, and driving to Slovenia and Croatia from there. X. has already given me a few tips, but I would appreciate any suggestions or advice if you have them. Our traveling schedule for now seems to include stops in Verona, Ljubljana, Bled, the Plitvice natural park, Zagreb, Zadar, Trogir, Split and Dubrovnik. And my colleague J. has recommended that we visit these caves, which look quite amazing indeed.

A decade ago I would probably buy a couple of travel guides (my favorites at the time being the let's go budget travel guides), but now it seems we can find everything online. I especially like checking the virtual tourist site, tripadvisor, frommers and forums like traveller's point. What about you ? What sites do you usually use when planning a trip ?

If I hadn't been curious to visit Croatia already, these Flickr photo sets would definitely convince me to go there



Wednesday, November 15, 2006

patchwork ♥ (II)

Patchwork or "pieced work" is a form of needlework that involves sewing together pieces of fabric into a larger design (...)

like G. and T. I've been having a serious love case with patchwork lately. I decided to use one of my favorite fabrics as a base for several pieces I made for swaps with Glá and Babs: a small pouch, a quilted bag and a matching bookcover. Can you tell that one of my favorite colors is dark red ? Next on the project list: some cushion covers, maybe some softies and definitely starting on my x-mas presents (I'm late already, where has time gone so fast ?). Oh, and finishing all those late orders, I want to start 2007 with a clean slate.

More patchwork ♥:
. curiousbird's obis
. patchwork giraffe


Tuesday, November 14, 2006

patchwork ♥

of course, a trip to S. Paulo is never complete without a quick stop at Fonomag, one of the Japanese bookstores at Liberdade. Their crafts book section was a bit poor this time, but still I managed to find yet another patchwork inspiration book. Just take a look at these pictures ...


Monday, November 13, 2006

back !

back from S. Paulo, where it was colder that we had anticipated (summer in Brasil is definitely not the same as summer in S. Paulo) and busier than ever. Besides work, I had just enough time for catching up with friends and family, and also some shopping.

I met Glá and R. for dinner at Piola, a really nice pizzeria in the Vila Boim area. We had agreed yet another swap, so I brought home these wonderful soft toys. Just adorable, aren't they ? This cat is one of my favorites ever (I'll show you what I made her on my next post)

S. Paulo is a fantastic place for eating out, we had great meals everywhere we went, but I must single out this bar where we had the most delicious picanha and mandioca frita: Bar do Juarez. Definitely a place to go back.

On crafty shopping, I went back to the crazy 25 de Março where I was most disappointed to find out that the usual fabrics shop is now closed on Saturdays. I went into Niazi Chofi instead (a more popular place, usually crowded like mad, like all the shops in this area) and ended up getting this gorgeous selection.

Some more shopping:

* hello kitty indulgence * havaianas *

* origami paper (from Tenman-Ya) * lovely trims (25 de Março) *


Monday, November 06, 2006

marie claire

Before I leave, I just have to show you my favorites from the latest issue of Marie Claire Idées. Not as good as the previous fall edition, but still one of the best craft magazines around. I particularly enjoyed the feature called "l'histoire est dans le sac" .. so many lovely bags, made by MCI readers to help a children's charity.

Not sure if I'll be able to blog while in Brasil (and now that I had almost caught up with my posts) but I'll try. If not, have a great week, and hopefully some photos of crafty shopping when I come back.

*l'histoire est dans le sac*


Sunday, November 05, 2006

maize, you spoiled me

For those of you who don't know Maize, she makes the most amazing jewelry from recycled silver. Her mommy tags are world famous, and her work is truly inspiring. A while ago I received one of her weekly crafty karma giveaways (yes, and she's also one of the most generous people I've ever met online), and we quickly agreed to a swap. Handmade items mostly, but also a few other surprises. Oh boy, had I known what was coming I would've stalked the mailman everyday. This has to be the most perfect swap package ever. As I said.. Maize, you spoiled me rotten. I can't list all the wonderful things she sent, so instead I'll leave you with a few photos (I'm still admiring everything, just can't help it).