Thursday, December 29, 2011

Season's Change Second Edition...Winter Week 2

 
For a whole year I will try to find the awesomeness included in all four seasons,
perhaps the weather or a nature shot...
maybe display the holidays in turn
who knows?
The sky is the limit.


This is our local park.  It is within a walking distance. I ride my bike early Sunday mornings while everything  and almost everyone still asleep.  The yellowing grass freezes overnight until the weak winter sun warms it during the morning hours.  Sometimes I see shy rabbits trying to find a warm spot.  No other sign of a living thing, no kids playing, no cars passing by.  I can't deny that sometimes I wish I wasn't an early bird so that I could stay in my warm bed...but I can't.

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Naked or Sleeping Beauty?



Today I am linking up to Alycia's Would you rather?  For me today's question is an easy one!  No way in the world I would go about my day naked!  I repeat no way!!  I often wonder why men although not totally naked can walk around the house in their underwear :/  (by men I mean  my husband and my son).  So my other option is to sleep for a whole year being an early bird I can use some sleep!

via

What would you choose??

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Season's Change Second Edition...Winter week 1


As promised my dear friends I am back with seasons change
Truth is:  I like it. Hope you do too!

For a whole year I will try to find the awesomeness included in all four seasons,
perhaps the weather or a nature shot...
maybe display the holidays in turn
who knows?
The sky is the limit.


I took this picture after a rainy morning.  Snow is still an amazement to us being used to mild winter weather in San Diego.  Living in a valley surrounded by mountains feels like we live in a refrigerator but I thank God we don't live in the freezer ah!!... truth be told these mountains aren't really full of snow, yeah they got some snow at the very tips but the lighting, and clouds in the sky made this little wonderland possible for us!  Or as Xavi said "Look ma the North Pole"  hmm...not quite I said!

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Ghost of Christmas past


Personally I believe that one of the best presents
a parent can receive are school pictures!
Yeah you know those school pictures that they themselves hand paint or decorate and then wrap in pretty paper and lovely bows.  I love looking back at them and see how much my kids have grown.

This is Valeria my stepdaughter in kindergarten.  
She is now in the 10th grade!

This is my little Sophia in kindergarten.

This is Sophia back the second grade. She is in the fourth grade now!


 This was taken at our house about three years ago if I recall correctly. Not a school picture but I take it out every year! 

And here is my little Xavi 1 1/2 yrs old 
sitting next to Santa at Target.

I love looking back at the Ghost of Christmas past :)

My wish came true last Friday on the last day of School.  
Xavi brought home his Kindergarten picture.

See what I mean we can have fun for many years to come looking at this face!

Do you love or hate the ghost of Christmas past??

Monday, December 19, 2011

Featured artist: Elena from ElenasLoom

Today I'd like you to meet Elena from ElenasLoom where she sells lovely and colorful handcrafted items.

1. Tell us as little or as much as you would like about yourself.
My name is Elena, and I live in Milano, Italy, with my two teenage children and our cat Minu.
I have a university degree in computer science and I worked for nearly 20 years in the telecommunication software field, until my company decided to move their research center from Milano to less expensive countries. I considered it an occasion to start something new and different, and dedicate my time to things I love to do...I didn't like office work, but would have never had the courage to try and change otherwise!


Orange Cat plush
 2. What do you sell?
In my Etsy shop I sell colorful felt plushes, fabric ornaments, iPod cases and small pouches to store phone chargers (an idea I had because I was tired to waste time to disentangle our charger cables..When you put 3 or 4 of them in a drawer they have the ability to become inextricable) ..I'm especially happy with my "monsters in a bag"s, small monster plushes that are all different, decorated with embroidery, beads, metallic threads....Everything I can think of while I'm making them, so they are really all unique and very different from each other. They come in a specially designed zipper pouch, so that you can store them or carrying them safely in your bag.

I'm also selling my handwoven (scarves wall hangings) on Zibbet, as I don't like to mix too many kind of products in the same shop ...And I have a second Etsy shop where I'm selling a few Italian books on embroidery....But only momentarily (to help get rid of books from an embroidery supplies site I'm closing down, called Italian Needlecrafts ); with the beginning of 2012 it will become again a shop where I sell prints, as it was until a few months ago.

3. Why handmade?
I think handmade adds a personal touch to our lives...Or maybe I shouldn't say "handmade",because actually most of the things we buy are _not_ machine made...It's not that clothes of shoes with important brands stamped on them are made by machines! They too are "handmade"... But by people who are obliged to work very, very quickly, and therefore have to put little care in their work (how carefully can you work when you are given two minutes to sew a shirt?) . They have no control over the design or materials they can use...This is a big difference with things handcrafted by people who are in control of the whole creative process and love what they are making, from design, to choice of materials, colours, etc...Up to the packaging and shipping to the customer!
I love following the whole "life cycle" of my items... Every phase is important and interesting: designing them, sewing their parts, taking photos of the finished item, preparing the packet to be shipped. I realize this is a big privilege in the modern world: most jobs nowadays are so specialized and show such a small part of the whole process, that they often become boring and repetitive...To be able
From a customer's point of view, I love to know that something I bought was made by a definite person, who has a name and a story, rather than come from a huge factory where thousands identical things are made every day...

Small bag pouch for power charger
4. Where does your inspiration to create come from and/or your inspiration in life?
Oh, that's difficult to say! I love art in all its forms, and I especially notice details; I'm the kind of person that in museums, in front of a painting portraying someone famous, rather than looking at the person looks at the tiny details in the background...Such as floor tiles, the patterns of fabrics, the everyday objects that appear in the painting...
When I go on holiday I always return with several hundreds of photos of architectural details..But I don't think they manage to get into my work, anyway (maybe in the future...I'm working on that)
I think I'm mostly inspired by everyday life, and by what I would like for myself...Many of the things I'm selling were first created because I needed one....And I thought that maybe someone else would like them too.

5. Besides creating what else do you do? Do you have a full time job?
Yes and no...I have/had a website selling Italian supplies for embroidery and that should have been my "full time job", but after trying to for nearly two years, I could only acknowledge it will never work, and I'm closing it down in a couple of weeks.
I knew embroidery was a small market, but I didn't expect it to be _that_ small...
At least I'll be able to concentrate only on my handcrafted items!

Plush monster zipper purse
6. When did you start thinking you were an artist?
Never, actually... I consider myself a creative person, but I don't think this is enough to qualify me as an artist! I have no artistic background, except for my personal interests...But I've always liked to make (or fix!) things, ever since I was very young.

7. Who has been most influential in your craft work?
Oh, I think my daughter is the most influential person currently, and the most supportive...I made my first plush for her (a yellow and purple bunny which became the first one in my Etsy shop) and she loved it so much that I decided to make more of them.
Then I enjoy when people appreciate my work on Etsy; people adding my shop or my items to their favorites, or writing to me just to say they love my works! In addition I always find stories and blogs of other crafters very inspiring and helpful.

8. Where would you like to be in five years?
I would like to have a successful crafting activity! I would like to diversify my production, and maybe include something different from fabric or felt items, such as prints, drawings, etc... But we'll see!
Ten years ago my life was "settled"...I had a family, a stable job in a big company, my life was mostly a routine and I thought it would have gone that way forever... Then my husband left me, my job vanished and suddenly realized I had to rebuild my life from scratch...Now my life is completely different from what it used to be, and I've learned so many new things that I really consider myself as another person...I could have never imagined myself, ten years ago, driving for 4000 kms (I, who had always hated driving..) to visit WWI battlefields in the Somme, or learning tapestry weaving... So who knows, maybe in another 5 years I'll be doing something that now seems totally unlikely!

9. Is there anything you'd like to try doing that you haven't done?
crafts, sports, life in general?

Oh, yes, lots of things! I've been fascinated by most crafts, but life is short and I realized I can't learn everything. I'd like to learn watercolor painting...And maybe learn a bit of Japanese. I love languages; I speak English and French, and I'm slowly learning Spanish and Hindi too... Japanese has started to interest me recently, and I'll probably give it a try! One important thing I've learned is that it's never too late to learn something new!

Yellow ornament
10. Besides online where else do you sell?
I'm just selling online currently. I've never tried to go to a craft fair, because people here expect to find very cheap items at such fairs...I don't think it's the kind of public who would appreciate my items (either handwoven or of other kind). I keep my prices as affordable as possible, but crafters cannot compete with prices of mass-produced items made in China... And many people often expect that kind of prices in fairs or markets too. So I prefer to sell only on the internet, on Etsy, Zibbet, Facebook....




ways to contact you:

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Risky adventure

Alycia from the The Curious Pug just started a new feature called  


and the first question she threw out to the universe is:



I would rather live out of my car for a year!  Without a doubt...at least I would be free, be able to go to new places, meet new people.  I am not saying it would be an easy thing to do but given the choice jail or car I'd definitely go with the car ;) 
I will just take it as risky adventure and if you know anything about me you know that I am not up for risks or adventures!!

via

So go ahead and link up!  It's fun.

Etsy Finds...Let's think outside red and green!


Let's think other than red and green!
Christmas can be any color

etsy can help!
Christmas Sky Fairy tale

Fused glass ornament
Christmas tree ornament
Embroidered Christmas ornaments
Silver and teal glass ornament LalaDangerous offering code CHRISTMAS to save 20 %

Christmas Winter Wreath
 
Twine and tulle ornament
Don't you think that sometimes it is wonderful to be different and think outside the box!
What are your favorite colors for Christmas?

I might just think teal next year!!

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

I've struck Gold!!


He's up at 6:00am down at 8:00pm
He is non stop
He talks, he yells, he laughs 
He screams, he whines, he walks 
He jumps, he skips, he falls 
He rolls, he smiles, he laughs 
He plays, he eats, he counts
He fights, he asks, he nags

he is also a contradictory machine
(meaning I say white he says black!)
...and so much more in between!
the only thing he does not do is nap :(

and finally last week he started Taekwondo classes
Ninja class he calls it, he wants to become a real ninja

Mixed feelings :/
It is so hard to let them go
but I can also say it is easier going to Walmat without kids

Sometimes I wish I could bottle up all that energy and sell it.
Then I could say I've struck gold!!

Or at least some eco friendly energy ;)

Monday, December 12, 2011

Featured artist: Pia from piabarile and piabarilejewelry

Today I'd like you to meet Pia.  She runs two wonderful shops piabarile where she sells knit and crochet accessories as well as eco friendly up-cycled and re-purposed accessories and piabarilejewelry where she sells jewelry and gemstones.  Hope you enjoy the interview!

1. Tell us as little or as much as you would like about yourself.
I am 45 years old, Italian living in the Netherlands, married to a Dutch guy, Erik. We have a terrific 11 years old kid, Pascal and a grumpy very old ex-stray cat that we all adore, called Matteo.

arm cuff
2. What do you sell?
I have 2 online shops.
One selling knit, crochet, felted and recycled accessories. The other selling jewelry.

3. Why handmade?
Because it's unique, personal, genuine....Because I like things that have a story behind them. As most of the people making handmade, I also buy handmade, as much as I can.





 4. Where does your inspiration to create come from and/or your inspiration in life?
Necessity, I guess. To begin with, creating keeps me sane LOL.
And for me it became "my job" when I moved to the Netherlands, a decade ago, as I couldn't use my education or previous work experiences to find a job and I had to learn a new language, I decided to invest in my creativity. I started my own business in 2004 and have been active on craft markets for 6 years. In 2010 I started selling online.
Besides that, everything inspires me. My family. Grumpy old Matteo. Nature. Art. Things I see...



Scarf necklace


5. Besides creating what else do you do? Do you have a full time job?
No, this is my full time (60+ hours a week) job!

6. When did you start thinking you were an artist?
I do not see myself as an artist. I just do what I do as good as I can and enjoy it. I try not to label myself and not to take myself and what I do too seriously. I noticed that that makes my life a lot simpler and more joyous... the few times I succeed in doing that at least!

7. Who has been most influential in your craft work?
I think my life experiences in general, my home country, Italy. Traveling. My art history education, I could name a few artists I love here, but I won't.
But there is ONE person that really taught me and inspired me and influenced me more than anybody else, and that is my grandmother. A tiny woman from the South of Italy that passed away 2 years ago, at age 94. She kept crocheting until a few days before she died. We shared the passion for making, and the name. I am named after her, Pia. Still, now, I use her crochet hooks and knitting needles.


Bib necklace crocheted
8. Where would you like to be in five years?
In Italy, somewhere in the wine region close to the city I was born, in a country house, growing my own veggies, with my family, lots of cats and a couple of dogs. Still making and selling stuff.

9. Is there anything you'd like to try doing that you haven't done?
crafts, sports, life in general?

For crafts, plenty!
One thing I didn't succeed doing yet is making glass beads. A real pain.
In general...A trip to Island and one to India. Tattoos. I love tattoos but I don't have any as I cannot decide what and where...But knowing myself, if I ever get started, I'll continue until I look as a comic book!


Fingerless glove

10. Besides online where else do you sell?
At the moment I am only online. I also do a little wholesale for shops.
I do not exclude I'll do a few craft fairs in the future again.


where to contact you:

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Happy Mail

Happy Sunday!  I hope your weekend is going smooth.

I'd like to share some more Happy Mail
although...
I should be ashamed of myself :(  
This time outgoing mail is less than incoming mail.
But I'd like to share anyways because I don't want it to pile up!


OUTGOING MAIL:

 A post card to Arizona

 Some Christmas cards and I also sent a couple of packages that I didn't get photos of!

  INCOMING MAIL:

 Postcard no1 from Kathya in Australia from the

 Postcard no2 from Kathya

 Postcard no3 from Kathya


Postcard no4 from Kathya

A thank you card from a 9 year old pen pal from Bolivia

A letter and two cards from Maria my pen pal!

 
A lovely Christmas card also from Maria!!  Lovely card!

A lovely Christmas card from 15 yr old Hannah, 
my partner for a Christmas Card swap also from 

 Also, from Hannah, two blank cards for me to use and a small chocolate treat! Isn't she sweet??
*note:
Xavi ate the chocolate and I did not even glance at it!!

 And what do you think!  she also sent a thank you note for the one I sent her.  I think she is a sweet girl!

A surprisingly Birthday present from lovely Priya! 
Hey I can celebrate all year long can't I??? As long as I don't
add more yrs :/
*note: 
Xavi has not seen this chocolate
...I want to share it with my husband watching a movie!

Happy mail can really make your day happy.
Let me know if any of you would like to be penpals with me
or exchange postcards once in a while ;(

email me at claudiaaguilar_99@yahoo.com

 Greetings!





Friday, December 9, 2011

{this moment}

A Friday ritual inspired by  Soulemama

In her words: "A single photo - no words - capturing a moment from the week.  A simple, special, extraordinary moment.  A moment I want to pause, savor and remember."


Thursday, December 8, 2011

Christmas tree

 On Sunday we bought our Christmas tree.
We decided to make it as stressful as possible...
because it can really be a pain comparing prices, full parking lots, long lines to pay, kids whining etc.

We went to Lowe's early in the morning.  We quickly checked out the size and prices for our budget and we checked out two or three trees.  We picked one (now I realize it wasn't the prettiest one lol!), we paid and voila!!  Out in 20 minutes!

And as soon as we got home we decked the tree.


Last year I donated most of my Christmas decorations because I 
was tired of them!  We bought them for our very first Christmas tree
when we were newly weds.  We also added more decorations over the course of the years.
But it was time for a change!
What I usually do is I buy decorations on after season clearance.
So last year I bought lots of gold ornaments  and new lights.
Because really don't you just hate it when you have saved the string of lights for a whole year and
when you unpack it for the next year it just decides not to work again :/ frustrating!!

I also went to the 99 cents store and bought the poinsettias a couple of weeks ago to have them ready!
Did you know this plant originates in Mexico??

This time I also wanted to make it less stressful because I can be bossy. 
Not like this, not like that!! 
Do this! Do that!...be careful!
Hey! I am their mom right??

and now that Xavi is older he can really help instead of play!

So I sat while we listened to Christmas music and the kids put the ornaments. 









and yes...I later moved some of the ornaments!

Family picture next week as Valeria was not here with us this weekend!
 

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