Monday, April 21, 2014

stuff we did in Brasil

The continuing saga of my recent trip to Brasil to see my ex-pat BFF and do fun stuff. That's her in the picture there^, she's the blond with awesomesauce glasses. I'm the brunette looking tired after my red-eye flight (can't sleep on planes ever, ow my neck). If you missed it, here's the previous list of things I learned in Brasil. So, back to stuff we did in Brasil:

 We ate a lot of food.
This is how I absorb local culture. Via calories.

After living in Rio for two years Robyn knows a lot of great places to eat (like Confeitaria Colombo). And - this is key - she can translate the menu and order for you.

Oh my word, breakfast at Escola do Pão.

Hey, there's Audrey. Hi, Audrey! She is a super roommate. More mature than some college roommates I had. No, not you, Traci!

Waiting for beef stew in Ipanema. Please come soon, Mr Waiter, the craft fair awaits.

Mmm. Fish balls with lime.

Moqueca and rice after a day at Prainha Beach.

Bruschetta and people watching in Paraty.

 If you order any kind of juice (sucos) in Brasil it comes freshly squeezed. Try them all!
 Ok, enough about food.

We did some sightseeing around the city. Rio de Janeiro Cathedral, which is like a very mod volcano from the outside and has these beautiful soaring windows on the inside that converge in a cross at the ceiling.

Lots of driving in the car and looking at graffiti. That's Wander (VON-dare) driving.

 Oi, Wander! Hey, let me take your picture while you are trying to drive. Rio doesn't scare him, he used to drive taxis.
A stop at Escadaria Selerón in the city. So many pretty tiles.

 This is a (not so great) photo of a small part of one of the many favelas you'll see driving around Rio. It makes me sad that so many in the city live in these conditions. There is a curious beauty created by the shape, color and line of so many houses crammed in such a small area. You'll find many paintings of favelas for sale around town.

 This is the view of the city waaay down there after the steep train ride up to Cristo Redentor. We are not to the statue yet. We have a few (hundred) stairs to climb.

This is the view down Asher's throat.

Almost there!

 Here's a photo of all of us! Thank you, friendly American couple on honeymoon! That's my roomie on the left (sorry about the sun in your eyes), there's handsome Gage in the middle, and that's Mr Robyn wisely hanging on to Asher, whose epiglottis you met earlier. Mr Robyn's name is really Rich, and he is the one workin' hard for the money in Rio so the rest of us can goof off. Thank you, Richie!

 Yay! We made it to the statue. There were only about five thousand other people there at the top, all trying to get award-winning trick shots of themselves with the statue on their iPhones. You have to be careful not to step on people who are lying down.

 A mini Carnival samba dancer was there too. I wonder if her headdress gets heavy?

And back down the stairs we go.

Simultaneous pictures of each other! Because we are edgy like that. See me rockin the bag I made for Zakka Style? I had never thought to use it before but it came in very handy on my trip. And yes, that is the Grainline tank. I think between us Robyn and I have about ten handmade woven tanks and we probably wore all of them during this week.

 Sightseeing takes it outta you.

 Ok, next stop: Botanical Gardens of Rio. Which is where they filmed Jurassic Park. Not really, but it looks like it. Check out the size of that palm trunk.

It's deeply green and jungly and beautiful. You feel at any moment that a party of Na'vis will ride across your path.

 Ok, sheesh, I'm not even halfway through the pictures I'd like to share. Next post: Stuff We Did In Brasil Part II!

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

things I learned in Brasil

  1. Portuguese words are pronounced exactly unlike Spanish words.
  2. As you drive for the first time around Rio you will be continually boring your companion by saying “Wow, look at that beautiful mountain. And that mountain! WOW! Look at that exotic plant I’ve never seen before in my life with tentacles and blooms as big as my head. WOWEE ZOWEE, look at that gorgeous perfect crescent beach with artfully placed islands in the distance!”
  3. As you drive for the first time around Rio you will also be continually covering your eyes and saying “Holy cow, is it legal to drive like that here? Holy COW watch out for that suicidal pedestrian! HOLY COW look at that guy on a motorcycle who is texting and simultaneously driving over the hood of that taxi!”
  4. Carry extra batteries for your camera. You will want to photograph everything.
  5. Say bone JEEuh, not bom dia, Gringo.
  6. Do not miss the Hippie Feira on Sunday in Ipanema. If you're crafty like that. (You are.)
  7. Toilet paper is not supposed to go in the toilet. Let me say that again. Toilet paper. Is not supposed to go in the toilet.
  8. Eat. Much. Fruit. Stuff it in. And then eat more. And then order it in the form of fresh juice. In short, you will miss the fruit.
  9. Say HAY-eyes, not reais, Gringo.
  10. Do not expect central air conditioning anywhere you go. Dress for the Sahara. But fabulous.
  11. The elaborate graffiti murals will provide much interest and opportunity to discuss man's inhumanity to man while you are stuck in traffic.
  12. All plant lifeforms have been supersized there.
  13. Acquire a best friend who has taken two years of Portuguese lessons.
  14. You will need to purchase many pairs of Havaianas.
  15. The water at Prainha Beach is very very very very bracing.
  16. You will be going around humming Astrud Gilberto and Barry Manilow songs to yourself a lot. This is OK.
  17. Brazilians have perfected the art of beans and rice. Enjoy whenever possible.
  18. If a vendor offers to puncture a chilled green coconut for you say 'SIM, por favor'.
  19. Wall outlets look like smiley faces. They are cute. But they won’t fit your plug. Bring adapters so you can plug in your curling iron.
  20. But seriously don’t even bother plugging in your curling iron. 240% humidity.
  21. There is a curious lack of pepper in Brasil. Salt. But no pepper. Por que no pepper?
  22. Say deshCOOLpuh not desculpe, Gringo.
  23. If someone offers to treat you to breakfast at Escola do Pão, thank your lucky stars, skip dinner, clear your morning, and wear your stretchy pants.
  24. Thalita's new house is beautiful and gives me many ideas for decorating. Her babies are beautiful too. Obrigada, Thalita! So wonderful to finally meet you in person.
  25. Many interesting and sparkly minerals are mined in Brasil. Go see them at Legep.
  26. Lizards are no longer cute when they are near your pillow at night. Not even a little.
  27. Yes, absolutely ride up those mountains to Cristo Redentor and Pão de Açúcar. So awesome. Mind the gap.
  28. Say cah-FAY comb LAychi, not café com leite, Gringo.
  29. Beautiful black and white mosaic tile artwork? Yeah, that's just a sidewalk in Rio.
  30. Sunscreen. Sunscreen. Sunscreen. All over. Two layers. Including your tongue. Not really. But yes.
  31. Papaya ice cream with cassis? Duh.
  32. If you stand still for too long in Centro you will be spray painted. And possibly mugged. Very probably mugged.
  33. Highway lane markings are more like lane suggestions.
  34. 'I drink your milkshake' t-shirts exist.
  35. Despite the chaotic freestyle driving, I never saw any road rage. Take note of that, Atlanta.
  36. Monkeys the size of squirrels. Let me say that again. ADORABLE, tufted, stripey-tailed monkeys the size of squirrels.
  37. Make sure your fingers are holding some banana if they get anywhere near the squirrel sized monkey.
  38. Do not fail to go to Paraty if at all possible.
  39. Say PadaCHEE not Paraty, Gringo.
  40. People from Buenos Aires named Maximilian and Noelia are awesome and will give you their cool pink fedora to protect your gringo head from the sun because they are super nice.
  41. Lumpy milk does not necessarily indicate a problem.
  42. If you hear the entire neighborhood screaming from their balconies do not be alarmed. Flamengo just scored. 
  43. 'Tudo bem' is both a question and the answer to that question. 
  44. That's not how you say it though. Haha.
  45. Keep your disk on the green side and nod YES to whatever skewered creature the waiters bring to your table at Barra Grille. You can diet later. 
  46. Rio is big. No, like BIG big. No, like BIG BIG big.
  47. Brasil has more natural beauty than any place I've ever seen ever.
  48. People named Wander and Dora are wonderful, good hearted, giving folks, and will bring you to tears by praying with you in Portuguese before your flight home. Muito obrigada, Wander.
  49. Despite economic problems, the people of Brasil are fiercely patriotic and loyal to their country. The Brazilian flag is flown everywhere and is on everything and people proudly wear it without irony. Let's take a page from their book, USA.
  50. Robyn Howe is not only my best friend and the world's most generous hostess, she is an unparalleled travel/sight-seeing/entertainment/dining planner. How can I thank you enough, Bob? Not possible.
I'm tired, tanned and very thankful to God for a safe journey there and back. More photos to come.

Monday, April 14, 2014

interview with Danielle at limefish studio

Danielle of Limefish Studio contacted me recently to do a quick email interview about my Etsy business and I was happy to oblige!


Danielle dabbles in just about anything creative including graphic design, painting, photography and handmade crafts. Her blog features an Etsy spotlight once a month and I was delighted to be asked for April. Thanks, Danielle! Follow this link to read the interview.

Monday, April 7, 2014

making a self-drafted top

I've long wanted to try a top similar to ones I've made for my girls from a Japanese pattern book. I drafted an adult-sized version that will hopefully work and am busy sewing it up in this light and floaty Amy Butler voile. Crossing my fingers.

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

mr wormy apple gift tag tutorial

Cute gift tags are fun. Y'all know I love making gift tags that double as cards (like this and this). I'm all about two birds with one stone. This is my latest iteration for kids' gifts, and includes a bonus -- a cute, poseable toy worm to play with after the party is over. Here's a how-to for you.

You'll need:
  • This template
  • Letter sized 8.5 x 11 in. red card stock
  • scraps of green, black and white card stock
  • paper glue and fabric glue (like Fabri-Tac®)
  • a toothpick
  • a standard 1/4 in. hole punch and a 1/8 in. hole punch
  • scissors
  • bone folder or butter knife for scoring
  • two pipe cleaners, one green and one yellow
  • one small green pom and one red mini-pom
  • two 1/4 in. googly eyes
  • piece o' tape
  • gel pen
  • string for tying tag (I like pretty baker's twine)

1) Print the template at actual size (no scaling) on your red card stock. You'll have enough to make two tags. Cut out one rectangle and set the other aside for later. Cut out the leaf template and set aside.

2) Use your bone folder or butter knife to score the fold on the apple card. Fold the rectangle in half and cut the apple shape out, being sure to leave the connected parts uncut so your card will open and close. Then flip it inside out so any stray toner marks will be on the inside.

3) Use the leaf template to trace a leaf on green card stock. Use the bone folder to score a line down the middle. Cut out the leaf and erase any stray pencil marks. Fold it along the score.

4) Use the standard 1/4 in. hole punch to make a nice worm hole in the top apple layer only, as shown.

5) Cut out a small rectangle from black card stock to use as a stem. Glue the stem at a jaunty angle to the back of the apple.

6) Dot a small amount of glue to the bottom corner edge of the leaf and place it as shown.

 7) Use the standard 1/4 in. hold punch to make one circle of white for a nice shiny highlight. Use the toothpick to dot on some paper glue and stick it toward the top right as shown.

8) Now for Mr Wormy. Cut a 5 inch piece from both pipe cleaners. Set the extra pieces aside to make another Mr Wormy later. Twist the pipe cleaners together to create a stripey body. On the tail end, fold over the very ends and crimp firmly so they will stay wound together and there will be no sharp wires poking out.

9) Add a nice dot of fabric glue to the green pom and stick the sharp ends of the worm neck inside the pom through the glue. Hold in place for a minute so it will set.

10) Use a toothpick to add dots of fabric glue to the other side of the pom so you can attach the red mini-pom nose and the two googly eyes. I like to say googly eyes. Googly eyes!

11)  Now's the time to write a name on the outside of the card and a greeting on the inside. I like to use a white gel pen. It looks nice.

12) Punch a 1/8 in. hole in the top of the stem for the baker's twine or string.

13) Feed the tail end of Mr Wormy through the worm hole until you have just the right amount showing outside the card. Have fun bending his head into a charming angle. Tape the end of the worm to the inside of the card so he stays in place until the gift giving is over.

That's it! All that's left is to tie your awesome, handmade, googly-eyed Mr Wormy gift tag to your present and congratulate yourself on saving a trip to the card store. (high five self)

Thursday, March 27, 2014

guess where Larissa is going?

That's right. I'm going to go to there. Me. Soon.

Overly excited here. Also freaked out a little, I have to admit. It's a whole other hemisphere. I began my packing panic weeks in advance. If you are going to do a thing, do it thoroughly I always say. See you soon, Robyn! EEEEEEE!