April 30, 2009

quinoa flowers

The quinoa is a food plant which was extensively cultivated in the Andean region by pre-Columbian cultures some 5,000 years ago and was used in the diet of the settlers both of the inter-Andean valleys which are very cold high areas, and of the high plateaus. After maize, it has occupied the most prominent place among Andean grains. Quinoa grains range in color from ivory to pinks, brown to reds, or almost black depending on the variety.

The quinoa's flowers are visible across the Altiplano during the growing season. These quinoa flowers are cultivated by a cooperative of women in Oruro, Bolivia at an altitude of 4,000 meters above sea level. Most of the women in the cooperative are single mothers who support their own nursery with proceeds from the sales fo the dried quinoa flowers. They also use part of the quinoa harvest to feed the small children at the nursery.
This group of women are being assisted by a USAID funded effort in Bolivia.

Dried flowers are used to make beautiful arrangements. The topiaries like the one she is making in the photo are long lasting and so beautiful!!!!! 

 The flowers of the quinoa are brown, red and green, but here they treat them with glycerin and dyes to intensify the color. 

April 29, 2009

treasure hunt

more like bead hunting.... it was dark and dirty, but I have never seen so many beautiful beads. From Ghana, Mali, Nigeria, Congo and all in one tiny room. I spent hours trying to make up my mind on what to buy. 
Not only beads but chairs, masks, traditional Nigerian beaded baskets and chairs, blankets, lamps. 
But I was there to buy beads!!! Will go back next week to buy some more.
Cannot tell you the name of the place because there is no name. A man greeted me and my friend at the front door and guided us through stairs and doors... it is a place in downtown Nairobi.

photos are not so great this time. Had to take them with phone as I did not know where I was going and did not take the camera with me. Next time!

April 28, 2009

zen for my birthday

It was my birthday yesterday and my good friends Euri and Siw Chin took me out for lunch at a lovely place called Zen Garden. It is around the corner from my house.
This place has wonderful food and more than one restaurant to choose from.
These are only a few photos of the many details they have.
Thank you my dear friends for making my birthday a special one!!!

Mix of textures and colors for decor and table settings.

The espresso machine matches the color of the rest of the decoration.

the 7 things I love

Yesterday I got a lovely surprise from Denise Kiggan at Freshly Found. I am so thankful that she thought of me for the Kreativ Blogger Award. Denise writes a great blog from her home in Durban, South Africa. Thank you it is an honor to receive this award from someone as creative as you!

As I accept this award, I must list 7 things I love and then pass this award along to 7 other well deserving and kreativ bloggers. This is hard because I love so many things...

The 7 things I love:
1. My family and friends. They are always there by me and I am blessed to have them in my life everyday.
2. I love Africa. The colors, the people, the contrasts.

3. I love baking. After moving so many times in the past five years I learned that I cannot go anywhere without my mixer.

4. I love knitting. It is a passion I enjoy since I was 10 years old. Thank my grandmother for teaching me how to knit and crochet.
5. I love what I do. I have a wonderful job that gives me the freedom to create beautiful things for little people and help create jobs for women in Bolivia.

6. I love the rain. For the past 9 years I lived in countries where it does not rain very often. I miss the sound of the rain and the smell of the ground after it has been raining all night long.

7. I love alpaca. It is warmer and softer than cashmere and a great wool to knit with... just perfect.

I pass on the award to:

Each of the nominated blogs should list seven things and seven blogs that they love.

April 27, 2009

at the fair

I had a wonderful time at the Renaissance Fair yesterday. I thought it was going to be a terrible day because it was pouring with rain when I arrived at the International School of Kenya to set up my stall... but as many people were saying, we were blessed. It was a great success! Luckily my friend Siew Chin was there to help me most of the day.
These are some photos of the things I had for sale.

Baby stroller blankets and soft toys.

These are my new giraffe kids t-shirts. They were a hit!

I embroidered elephants on the toy bags on Saturday night.

April 25, 2009

getting ready

I have not slept in a week getting ready for the Renaissance Fair tomorrow. I finished printing kids t-shirts yesterday and today I had to print gift bags, aprons, cotton tape for labeling... and of course add embroidery to the animal toy bags I made and some of the aprons. Will take photos at the fair tomorrow and post next week, because I think I'll be too tired tomorrow night. Have a great weekend!!!!! 

Still crocheting flowers this morning for bags.

Some of the details on my aprons.

My gift bags for Fournier dresses and baby sets.

Another one of my aprons with rope detail on the pocket.

April 23, 2009

environmentally friendly

This is just a glimpse of the bags I am working on these days.
The bags are made with Kenyan sisal and the embellishments are made with pima cotton for a great combination of textures and colors. All materials are environmentally friendly and hand made. I bought this bag at the Masai Market a few days ago and today I made these flowers in raspberry color.

April 22, 2009

down under

I am very honored to have been interviewed by Angela Anderson for her website KidStyleFile. It is the premier resource for kids style in Australia. 
I had the chance to meet Angela at the Bubble show in New York last month and tell her about my line of hand knit children's clothing.
Please read more here...

April 21, 2009

pink beads

I promised a friend in South Africa that I will post some photos of the pink recycled glass beads. They are not very easy to find but I think they are the nicest.

April 20, 2009

renaissance fair

Lots going on here. Mostly getting ready for the Renaissance Fair next Sunday. I'll be screen printing madly this week to get a bunch of bags and kids t-shirts ready for the fair. I'm also crocheting flowers and other embellishments for my new line of sisal bags.

April 19, 2009

friday market findings

Last Friday at the maasai market I walked around for about an hour and a half searching for unique beads to make a necklace. I didn't find what I was looking for but took some photos of what was for sale.

April 18, 2009

a piece of cake

For my kids birthday party I decided to make the cakes myself and use all the glucose and food coloring in my pantry. Made chocolate and vanilla cakes and covered them with rolled fondant. Then made the animals for the safari cake and hawaiian girl with gumpaste. It was lots of fun.... and some stress, but I'm proud to say that the results were great... no leftovers.

We had one hawaiian vanilla cake, two chocolate safari cakes and animal shaped sugar cookies decorated with royal icing.

These are my Land Rover's.... 

April 17, 2009

bone & khanga necklace

For this necklace I used ivory colored bone beads from the maasai market and strips of khanga cloth. I just ripped the fabric and made some knots next to each bead.

bone beads

These handmade beads are bone, and some are individually dyed with henna using African motifs and geometric shapes.
The bone is a highly polished gloss, with a rich mellow ivory color, along with the deep chocolate of the henna.
Bone beads are a natural fit for ethnic-inspired projects. They are one of the oldest adornment materials ever used for durability, availability and canvas for carving.

April 16, 2009

knit & purl

These are the two scarves in my knitting basket. Thought I would finish both of them before my trips last winter... Now I will have to wait until next winter or wear them when I go to Bolivia in July.

I'm knitting both scarves with my bamboo needles in cable stitch. For the ivory scarf I am using a cotton blend and for the rust scarf a thick baby alpaca wool. 

April 15, 2009

my pendant

I made this pendant with the help of Julieta Odio (see my previous post). It is the only piece I completed in my jewelry making classes with her. Soon after that we moved from Costa Rica to Kenya.
It looks like a pear, but my inspiration was a drawing my daughter Daniela made in her art class when we lived in Cochabamba, Bolivia a few years ago. She was only four years old then.

When Julieta gave me a piece of metal sheet and a tiny saw I honestly did not think I could turn it into something like this... lots of sanding and polishing!

the feel of handmade jewelry

Julieta Odio produces innovative handcrafted jewelry at her studio in San Jose, Costa Rica. She is one of those people oozing with creativity from every pore and expresses it in so many different ways through her wonderful pieces. 
I had the chance to take a few classes with her before moving to Kenya and was always amazed by her studio and detail of her work. It was a pleasure to witness and something to be inspired by.
Julieta attended the Alchimia and Perseo schools in Italy where she mastered the art of jewelry making. 

This bracelet is a combination of florentine paper, resin and white-silver metal. First time I saw it, it reminded me immediately about the Murano glass candy you can buy on the streets of Venice.

Created in 925 silver from a real starfish mold. 

This "ticklish" ring is a mix of turquoise feathers, resin and silver.

I love this one!!!!! It is called "Collar para el Coleccionista" and is made out of miniature glass bottles, plastic bottle caps and dark metal chain.

This amazing necklace is called "Pelea de Gallos" and is all 925 silver.

It takes a deft hand to understand how to work all these textures and materials into complex yet beautiful and comprehensive forms that flatter the body. Inspirational? Absolutely!!

Julieta can be contacted at julietaodio@hotmail.com

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