December 24, 2009

joyeux noël

These are the cookies we baked and decorated for Santa this morning. We made snowflakes, christmas trees, leaves and acorns and iced them with snow white royal icing.
We also made a cookie garland for our chimney mantel which we decorated with golden beads and forest green silk ribbon.

I want to wish everyone a beautiful Chrismas & a Happy New Year!!
Thank you for making this such a wonderful and surprising year for me. It was only 9 months ago that I decided to start this blog {diary}. I have made some wonderful new friends and read some very nice comments on my daily posts.
I have also been inspired by so many talented designers, and branched off into creative areas I never thought I would go in.
I am already working on two new projects for the new year and will share them soon with everyone.
I'm signing off for the holidays and will be back on January 7th.

December 22, 2009

stylish khanga

I picked up this fabric in Zanzibar, where khanga is commonly worn. This traditional East African cotton printed fabric is used by women as wraps.
Muslim women use khangas as head scarves or wrap them around like pieces of clothing to add to their modesty. Other women can be seen carrying their babies in khanga cloths on their backs, just like the "aguayo" is used in the Andean countries.

This is a classic top with bold and bright colors in a flower print. Hard to live in East Africa and not fall in love with this fabric. I also have lots of "kitenge" that I will be making into dresses, tops, skirts and accessories for a beach collection mixing it with organic cotton and linen.

khanga wear

Just a glimpse of a new style. Colorful khanga from Kenya transformed into a beautiful tunic. The sleeves are bias cut for movement and flow.

Cutting khanga is not an easy task because the fabric is not wide and most of the time the design has a thick edge that has to be incorporated into the piece.
It takes planning and a careful hand to cut it right and allow the beauty of all the design to come to life in the garment.

To complete the look I am also making khanga necklaces and accessories. More to come...

December 21, 2009

handmade goodness

Soft and warm heather baby alpaca yarn...

Comfortable, easy to use, strong and durable Japanese bamboo knitting needles... {my favorite kind of needles}

First 10cm. of a new scarf...

new, new {scarves}

I have been making scarves and shawls these days. These are some of my new styles and colors.

December 20, 2009

muffins {and pom-poms}

My weekend looked like freshly harvested peaches, "peanut butter & banana muffins" baked on Sunday morning and many, many pom-poms for some Christmas gifts I'm still making.

I'm using the new alpaca yarn I bought last week. Some pom-poms have two or three colors mixed together.

December 18, 2009

our GiNgErBrEaD village

Today looked like the photos below - my kid's are on Christmas vacation since yesterday, so since early this morning we baked and decorated our gingerbread village. It is basically Santa's workshop and Mr. & Mrs. Claus' home. We used lots of royal icing, mini candy canes and sour candies for the colorful decoration.

happy weekend!

December 17, 2009

christmas around the world

Last night we went to see the Christmas concert at the kid's school. The theme was "Christmas Around the World".
Daniela's class was representing Africa (the whole continent...) so she wore a khanga, maasai necklaces and bracelets and beaded leather sandals from Kenya.
Sebastian's class was Spain and the teacher asked us to find a "torero". Finding the suit suit here was a real struggle. The girls wore ruffly "Sevillana" dresses.
It was real fun to see all the kids singing in different languages, even Russian and Kiswahili.

December 15, 2009

christmas shopping + new colors

Yesterday I went Christmas shopping which means I went to one shop to buy alpaca gifts. Even those who live in Florida get something made in alpaca every year... ha ha! My grandmother loves the alpaca socks, so I got her some in different shades of brown and beige. She wears them in Costa Rica year round.
While I was there I could not resist to buy some skeins of yarn in bright colors for my embroidery. My collections are always in muted colors, but for next season I am planning to include some details in colors like these.

December 14, 2009

hand loomed

For a few months now I have been taking machine knitting classes. The first two weeks were a complete disaster... I dropped the stitches so many times that I ended up in tears most of the time and hardly completed the stitch catalog.
Now I have a machine at home and try to knit at least one piece a day to practice.

These are some scarves I've knitted over the weekend. The one in the middle in ecru pima cotton with an open stitch is finished, it just needs to be washed and ironed. The other two are still in pieces.

December 13, 2009

weekend bits

Last Saturday I finished the first part of my photography course. We spent all morning taking photos with macro lenses, talking about Douglas Kirkland, trying tripods and monopods with different cameras and just enjoying the last day of class.

With this macro lens we took photos of water drops on a CD. The result below is amazing! We arranged it on my coffee table and books and just played with the light and with some reflectors in different colors and sizes to create different effects.

With the same lens and technique we took photos of some painted recycled beads I have.

These are the cookies I baked on Sunday afternoon. Soft and chewy chocolate chip cookies {more like chocolate chunk...} Hope you all had a wonderful weekend!

December 10, 2009

busy day

Today it has been a very busy day. I had my machine knitting class all morning and then spent the afternoon taking photos for my photography class tonight. There are not many flowers in the garden because it has been very dry until today... so I could capture some raindrops on the flowers. The light was perfect for taking photos outside because there was not much direct sunlight. These are some of my homework photos.

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