Monday, September 15, 2014

How to make a scraps of fabrics garland

I think it is not a secret that I absolutely love garlands (in fact I'm a bit obsessed with them, always have), and I really like coming up with new ideas to make them.

Recently I've been thinking about a present I needed to make and thought of this garland which I'm sharing with you today (a garland born out of necessity). I'm also selling them on my Etsy shop just in case you don't feel like making any. (wink, wink).

Either way, I would also like to touch (lightly) on a subject that I find a bit frustrating; I don't mind a bit sharing my ideas, also that you make these or the other things that I've made for the blog to share with friends or family, is the reason why I share my ideas in the first place. But from this to actually find someone selling the exact same things on Etsy is quite annoying, frustrating, maddening … In the end people will do whatever they want, and I think this is a battle I will never win. I just needed to get  that out of my chest (sort of)!! ok, pheewww!!!

These are quite easy to make once you decide on the fabrics and colors you'll choose, which is always the hardest part for me.

What you'll need:

  • 7 pieces of fabric
  • 2 ribbons or lace
  • 1 piece of thick thread
  • button, safety pin and charm
  • threads in your favorite colors - I used 2 different ones per garland
  • a favorite word, and some glue

How to:

-Cut a 65 cms piece of thread and start from the lower part.
-Attach a charm so it gives weight to the string.
-Embroider the first piece of fabric directly to the piece of thread so it won't allow any sliding or
 moving. Each piece of fabric measures 1x1 or 1x2 cms (aprox).
-Glue your favorite word to the first piece.
-Leave between 3 or 4 cms of space between each piece.
-I embroidered a word on the next piece, but you can omit this part
-Then add a piece of lace
-Followed by another piece of fabric, then 2 bias bindings, then a ribbon, and 2 other pieces of fabric
- I attached a button and a safety pin
-The final piece is a piece of old paper with a type written word

There is not a right or wrong way of doing this, which ever way you prefer to place or add things, will look great (I think). I simply followed the same pattern in all the garlands as I didn't want to think too much.

So what do you think? Do you think my friend will like the one I made for her? I surely hope so.

These end up being really light and would be perfect as snail  mail gifts. Even if I say so myself, I think they are quite happy garlands.

I wish you a very creative week ahead,
Giova

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Pasa y Sientate

I usually don't go store searching in my city, but as it happened, this beautiful and colorful store (that I've heard so many good things from my sister) was next to an ice-cream place that I was visiting with some friends.

I couldn't waste the opportunity to have a look and meet the lovely owner. Everything in the store is either made by her or her mother with so much love, that you can't stop looking. We almost didn't leave!

From the biggest details as in the animal papier mache masks to the cutest mouse in a box of matches, everything is filled with detail and craftsmanship.

If you don't happen to have any girls (like me) you are going to wish (for an instant that is) that you had them, so you can buy their clothes and crowns, necklaces and teddy bears here.



If you ever find yourself in Cali and more precisely in the barrio el Peñon, I suggest you stop by so you can fill your suitcase with lots of colorful gifts.

If on the other hand you happen to live there I suggest you run to the store and start ordering your favors for your next party (we Colombians take our parties very seriously).

Pasa y Sientate can be found here for all opening hours and other very cute ideas!!

Have a very relaxing and crafty weekend,
Giova

Monday, September 8, 2014

Traveling to the Colombian Pacific Coast : Part 1

We visited this part of Colombia for one reason only (which I will share next time). With very little time, we could go for one night only. Everything about this short trip ended up being an adventure in it's own way, especially for my children who have now become city kids (?).  I'm so, so happy we had the chance to be here.

Just in case you ever find yourself in this part of the world.

This is what we did:
  1. Woke up at the crack of dawn
  2. Drove for 3 hours from Cali to Buenaventura

     3.  Got on a taxi boat for an hour (more like a bus than a taxi) until we reached our destination

      4. To Playa Juan de Dios, and I really can't recommend it enough...

    5. This is a bit of paradise. I mean it in every way. With very few others, you have the entire beach to
        yourself. **Don't forget the insect repellent. Mean little tiny things that will rip you apart.

    6. We took an amazing walk through the jungle (rainforest to be precise) to reach Playa Dorada
        (Golden Beach)...

   7. Where we could swim yet again, because (YES) the temperature of the water was just perfect (I
       mean warm).

   8. I leave the nudity entirely at your own risk

   9. Then walked back again to watch the sunset, have dinner and watched the most spectacular night I
       had ever seen in my life. At least it was the first time we had ever seen such a perfect starry night.
       Did I tell you there is no electricity here?? Why would you need it anyway?

I promise more pictures next time, especially since we got to see some very special creatures!
I hope all is well on your end,
Giova

Thursday, September 4, 2014

My first mammogram, plus some birds and orchids

First let me just say sorry for disappearing last week and part of this one. It was a pretty hectic last week in Colombia, and I didn't manage to write what I wanted. As always, I managed to leave for the last minute lots of things that needed to be done. Now that I am back, I hope to share with you some of the wonderful things I saw there.

In the meantime let me get back to the title; my first mammogram. It did feel like a big milestone for me. Granted it was one I had been dreading for quite some time, but a milestone nonetheless. There is a history of breast cancer in my family so I knew the day would come (it should have come a bit sooner actually, but I kept postponing it).

My visit with the gynecologist went smoothly, except the part where he opened his eyes with a questioning look while doing my breast examination, and said; "I want to make sure that there is nothing wrong with what I am feeling, so just have a mammogram."

I should have panicked with thoughts of cancer, cysts, tumors, anything, but I didn't. The only thing I was panicking about was the exam, not the result. See, every time the word mammogram had been uttered among the women I know, lots and lots of faces were made, and lots and lots of bad words were said. Faces of discomfort and pain, words of complaint and basically every bad word you can imagine.  So this was one of those exams I wasn't looking forward to doing.

I managed to miss my first appointment, so it was postponed for the next one. Of course the day arrived, and there I was again, with no body lotion, perfume and deodorant. I told the woman who was doing the exam that it was my first time, and we just started talking about her first time. I decided to breathe and be grateful for my breasts (I am flat as a board in case you were curious), but I have always been grateful with what I have.

In the end, it took no more than 5 minutes and absolutely pain free. Nothing that I heard about this exam applied to me. I will tell you very bad words about the gastrointestinal endoscopy (I've had 8 or 9 of those done), but not about this one. All I will say is; Don't postpone a very important exam for fear of it, even if it hurts a little, early detection will be your greatest strength.


The things that helped me with the exam:

- Talk to the person who is doing the exam, listen to her story.
- Think happy thoughts. I thought about all those times breastfeeding my kids and it made me happy.
- Be grateful.
- Breathe. I had to remind myself to do it.
- Think about the millions of other women that have gone through this exam.
- When they tell you to stay still, stay still! Otherwise they have to do it again.

Have you done this exam before? Was it a good or bad experience? I'm glad mine was over. I am also glad that nothing that I thought about it was true. I'm also happy the result was fine, I just have to keep getting regular check ups, and hopefully they will all be like the first time (I'm crossing my fingers just in case).

Wishing you a most relaxing weekend,
Giova.
Fun fact not involving mammograms: Colombia has the largest number of orchids in the world, and the biggest diversity of hummingbirds of any country (147 recorded species).

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Colombian Fruits (some)

One of the things about visiting the place where you grew up is that you get to revisit your past through food.
Fruits is such a case since they are everywhere you look. For example, if I go to the bank there is a huge mango tree outside it´s door, and just one meter from the door, there is a woman selling whatever is in season, which means mostly everything.

We not only eat the fruit but we constantly drink the juice (or jugo) from the fruits every single day and from morning until night. To be honest I am not an eater of fruit, but a drinker of juice.

I´ve been trying to get my oldest to taste the typical  fruits (especially the least common ones) and learn their names. Even if we don´t live here I still want him to know and understand why Colombian fruits have quite a reputation, and it is not everyday that you get to taste so many tropical fruits in one sitting.

From top (clockwise, sort of ): Chirimoya (white pulp, black seeds), Granadilla, Lulo (mostly for juice), Zapote, Mamey, Guayaba Coronilla, Guayaba (guava), Pitaya (dragon fruit), Curuba (mostly for juice), and Tomate de arbol (literally translated as tomato from the tree, and also mostly for juice).

Zapote is one of my favorites to eat, not only do I love the taste, but it brings my childhood instantly back.


I hope all is well, and I wish you a wonderful weekend ahead,
Giova
P.S: Sorry for the blueish tint from the pictures, I´m not used to a windows computer and I have no idea where to fix that problem!!

Monday, August 18, 2014

Holding on to bits of the past

Being back to the city where I was born has brought back quite a big load of memories. Things like flavors, sights and scents.  The things we tend to forget when we are no longer exposed on a daily basis to them, simple things that make you feel you have arrived, that you are back, that you belong.

I have always struggled to understand where I belong. Even if I was born here, I never felt I belonged.  Ever since I can remember, I always wanted to leave this place. Eventually I left and even if I still feel like I don´t belong anywhere, I reached a safe place in my heart where I don´t need to belong to a place anymore.

If I let those memories of my adolescence come afloat then I can go back and hold on to those bits of the past that are still inside of me (which to my relief are plenty). Coming back here doesn´t feel like "coming home" anymore, but I still get to enjoy the wonderful things this place has to offer, and walk a bit down on memory lane.


This is a beautiful place despite the terrible reputation it has gained throughout the years. People are warm and welcoming, the food is glorious, and the sights are breathtaking. Like any other country in the world it has its good and bad things, it just depends on where you look or the perspective you take.

So far I´ve been taking it all in, as if I was seeing it all for the first time.Enjoying every single second so it will last me another fours year or more before I get to come back again, and holding on to those bits of the past because I don´t want to forget.

I wish you a very wonderful day,
Giova

Thursday, August 14, 2014

The Best book I read this summer

I've been reading quite a lot lately, it is summer after all. A bit of catching up was long over due, just me and the books (my husband was starting to worry I might get stuck to the sofa).

I read all sorts of genres, I'm not picky at all when it comes to books. I even read quite a lot of youth fiction which I don't tend to admit openly, simply because every one in this house makes fun of me (except of course, the little one).

I try to avoid recommending books because I think you need to know the person you are recommending the book really well, but I do love when people give me books or talk with passion about them. I usually tend to read what people recommend.

Everything I Ever Done That Worked is such a case. Tina, a blogging friend who I happened to meet for lunch some months ago told me about this book. Now I must tell you about it as well. I liked it so much that I'm breaking the rule of no recommending books.


It was really the perfect summer read. It is not a work of fiction, and I don't want to put it in the self-help category. It is simply what the title explains, and it is written in short stories. I found it inspiring, a sort of handbook for enriching your life. I couldn't put it down because I was so curious to read the next story, that I read it rather quickly, but I think it is meant to be read slowly.

I'm looking forward to re-reading bits and having it on my night stand so I can read it when I need inspiration or encouraging thoughts.

I hope you get it to read it, and I'm crossing my fingers that you like it as much as I did.

Thank you Tina for telling me about this lovely book!

** We travelled all day yesterday, and have arrived safely to our destination. The time zone is not the same so bear with me this next 2 weeks. I will tell you where I am on monday.

All the best,
Giova



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