Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Vintage Color

I came across some interior decorating magazines from the 70's (or as some would say, the 1900's). They were on their way to the garbage pile when I grabbed them. I find them amusing and at times a bit I feel a bit of sensory overload. I think I will put these on my etsy shop for some cheappo price. 

I know I have seen those plexi-glass tables somewhere recently. The cover of this mag gets a "Whoa!" from me. It says Ikea married grandma on the beach. 

This magazine came with two torn pages- not right down the middle, but out of place. Can you see the little chickens below? I think I will give this one for free if someone buys the other two.

This one is by far my favorite.. COLOR. Its from my birth year. I like the psychological test that is included. I guess I like Ming Green and Chocolate?!

This is from one of the mags above. I like this best of all:

As a universal donor, I can tell you that in HS I was continuously harr… I mean,  approached by blood banks to give blood. I have since changed my number. After many years, I donated last year and I gotta say, it felt good... nope, great to help  others. Which brings me to this:

What have you done for others lately? Its not always about us or our own. Investing in others is part of a strong mental health plan. I hear the excuses all the time at work: lack of time, lack of talent, illness, financial stress, no time for myself hence no time for others... I hear ya!

But it doesn't:
--- take much money to write a letter to a soldier to say thank you
--- take much time to open the door for someone else
--- costs a penny to smile and say good morning to a stranger
--- take too much space in your garden to plant flowers to give the neighbors
--- take too long to wipe the snow from your coworkers car
--- cost a penny to write short encouraging words to a coworker in need
--- take much to come to quiet and genuinely listen to someone else

The best part of investing in others is not the smile and thank you that you get back. Its the spreading of this goodness that continues to give long after you are done. Its amazing to think how far your random act of kindness will reach.

We must not, in trying to think about how we can make a big difference, ignore the small daily differences we can make which, over time, add up to big differences that we often cannot foresee.
Marian Wright Edelman

You don't need to donate blood to feel the greatness of giving to others. Take a second and invest in someone else. Do it anonymously and its even better! You brain and heart will thank you.


Thursday, January 26, 2012

Owl in a Cage Paper Craft

I came across some darn cute bird cages here at The Bride's Cafe. They are absolutely adorable and the tutorial is fantastic.

I grew up in a lower middle class environment so being crafty meant using our imagination to get things done. Ignore the hot-glue mess you can see in the owls cage below.
Anyhoo, I wanted to see if I can make this. If I can make it, the little ones can too. Here it is:

I did my best to follow the pattern and details but I don't own a tiny hole puncher so I used a pen, am fresh out of double sided tape so I used a hot glue gun and instead of using my card stock I used kiddos craft paper. I also preferred to use an owl (I just drew and cut out) instead of the bird provided. The result was not as professional looking but darn toot'n cute. This was so easy that A made one too. This little something hangs in her room.

Secrets: 1) I used the lid from a coffee can and didn't rinse it. Why? A loves the smell of cafe con leche although she cannot have any just yet. 2) This little guy has two sides to him. One side is wide awake and the other is dozing off (just draw lashes on him or glue another color of flat triangles on the eyeballs to give him the look of dozing off). 

I have always chosen owls as one of my favorite birds. Lately they seem to be everywhere and this makes me happy. Reading up on these awesome birds I found out that the Barred Owl makes a wonderful hoot sounds that sounds like it is saying: "Who cooks for you, who cooks for you all?".

Available at Etsy.com/Shop/Gabli
I told G about this and now every time he wears his owl hat he hoots this non-stop. My answer to this is always "Daddy does honey". Which brings me to this :

Thank you God for one awesome husband. I don't have to tell him that the laundry needs sorting, he just does it. I don't have to tell him that we are fresh out of yogurt, he just keeps us stocked. I don't have to tell him that the movie is not kid friendly, he just knows to change the channel.  I don't have to tell him that trash needs to be taken out, he does it automatically. Thank you God for this angel you have sent my way.  He is a powerful provider, a man of faith, a fantastic father, a pillar of patience and the love of my life. Most importantly he knows that real men help out with the housework. Thank you God for a man that cooks!

Who are you thankful for today? Sometimes its hard to find the things in others that we are thankful for. But if we just stop for one second, we all have something to be thankful for. I dare you to NOT find at least one thing in one person you are thankful for. It's impossible. 

Inspiring Thursday.jpgGabli
Available at Etsy

Sunday, January 22, 2012


Our first winter snow was rather light; So light that within a couple of days we hit 47 degrees and the snow began to melt. Anything above 35 degrees is spring like around here and so we thought that this winter would not be a repeat of last years. Last year we had blizzard.  For a short person like me and all sorts of little creatures, blizzards can be a menace. I could not get out my front door and our shed was partially buried for a couple of weeks.

Once more we are blanketed in some 7 inches of white. What is it about snow that makes everything so calm, clean, slow, sleepy and cozy?  It took the hubster nearly 4 hours to get home from work this Friday but he didn't seem bothered by it. The big chunks of snowflakes calmly falling from the sky helped him pass the time.  We went to the big busy city this weekend for a family event and even there life seemed to slow down; the streets were empty, no whistling sounds from the big trailers and city buses, no people hailing cabs, and none of those other city noises. All was calm.

We stayed in our pj's all day today (Sunday) and had breakfast for lunch. In stark contrast to the outside world, color abounds in my home thanks to the little ones at play.  I love A's imagination and her little fairy world near the vent in her room. Those little dogs below are guarding something special behind that green gate...

They are the guardians of the sleeping princess. She is about 1 inch tall!

My daughter has always been capable of bringing joy and color to my world. While I have been busy for the past couple of years fighting off color and trying my best to transform our home into a neutral colors home, she has been busy doing the opposite in her room. I have to admit that on some occasions her room feels like a sensory overload to me. Yet, more often than not, it is a thing of joy. Her fairy scenes scattered about make me smile. Her bright curtains glow with the sunshine and her bed covers are not only super soft as she demands, they are cute too. She is a brave one. She is not afraid of color.  And, as she decorates her room, she decorates her body. I love this stage in her life and I hope she never changes her bravado for color. I wonder if she gets this from her grandmother and her love of color?  I guess for the most part, islanders are not afraid of color. A's room reminds me of my roots. 
G is simpler: dinos, cars, trains, orange, red and blue. 

So the hubster and I have bought G about 15 of those small cars. The rest have been hand me downs and gifts from our awesome friends and family members. We counted over 120 cars (not counting the 15 or so in my car and hubsters car, the other 10 in the family room, the other 5 under the sofas and the ones he keeps at my work for emergency play). 
How could we not know he had so many little cars? (larger cars are another story!)
 I also came to the realization that he has not one, not two, not three, not four, but 5 train sets. I wish they would somehow all connect but they are different brands. Again, we bought one $12 train set and 
have been blessed by hand-me downs and gifts! 
 This makes me wonder how many dinosaurs this kid has… I will leave that for another snowy hibernation weekend. 

What a wonderful world of color we have been given. 
Thank you God for allowing me to live in a home where color is as plenty as love. And, where two little angels remind me that not everything has to be perfect, not everything has to be neutral and that color adds imagination and spice to my life, 

What a Wonderful World:
I see trees of green,red roses too.
I see them bloom for me and you.
and I say to myself what a wonderful world.

I see skies of blue and clouds of white.
The bright sunny days,the dark sacred nights,
and I say to myself what a wonderful world.

The colors of the rainbow are so pretty in the sky.
Are also on the faces of people walking by.
I see friends shaking hands sayin' "how do you do?".
They're really saying "I love you".

I see babies cry,I watch them grow,
they'll learn much more than I'll ever know.
And I think to myself what a wonderful world.

Yes I think to myself what a wonderful world.
And I think to myself what a wonderful world. 

written by Bob Thiele (as George Douglas) and George David Weiss
First recorded by Louis Armstrong in 1968.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Crochet Heart Tutorial and Valentines Day Spruce Up

            I am sprucing up the nest for Valentines Day.

While yes, this is a mainly commercial holiday, it really does not have to be. We make our own Valentine Cards and keep it simple as you can see from the pic above. These are paper hearts mixed with orange peel hearts and hung to scent the door in the kitchen. I find that smaller handmade decorations and gifts hold more meaning to the giver and receiver than anything you can buy prepackaged.
God Bless you Heart as you Enter : Bought this in San Juan PR, painted by by a local artisan. The tile itself, from Mexico. I think that is very funny especially since that same month someone asked me where in Mexico was Puerto Rico! Hay Dios Mio!!!
Remember all of those little hearts I was making with the great different patterns online (you can find a list of fab sites with patterns under Transitions),
I made them into a mini-bunting and added a few I came up with. 
My sister made these little orange hearts out of orange peel during a family dinner. I was going to throw the peels in the compost and she came up with this instead. You can use them in tea too! I used needle and thread and made a mini-bunting with paper hearts in between. Smells great!

Above is the crochet heart bunting I have been working on in between resting my swollen and painful hands. They are really easy to make if I can make them. And, while I never ever believe that I am the sole creator of a pattern (I strongly believe that two people living miles away can have the same idea in mind at the same time), this one I made up. The first ones I made with a 4 cluster granny square scared me a bit. They looked like they had holes for eyes, nose, mouth and a beard. A thought they were excellent so, I hung the few I made up in her room.
Can you see the eyes, nose, and mouth holes? I am sure there is a nice way to hide or fill these in.
The yarn really makes this bunting look so cute. Below is a pattern for this. I hope it makes sense since it is…wait for it…wait for it… MY FIRST PATTERN that I write down that is. I always change things up in each item I make and am horrible about writing down what I did. Ok … just plain lazy! However, this allows me to rediscover crochet ideas every time (a nice way of saying that this only leads me to frustration since I forget everything and have to start fresh every time).

So without further ado, here is the pattern (in American terms):

1) Get yarn, crochet hook, a beverage, find a cozy spot and smile for you have some time to yourself
2) chain 4 and join with a slip stitch to form a ring
3) chain 2 (we will count this the first HDC)
4) 2 HDC in the ring (try and catch that tail from the beginning of your ch 4 since its easier to hide it now then to try and weave it later)
5) ch1, 3 DC in the ri
6) ch1, 3 DC in the ring
-- you should have 3 clusters by now--
7) slip stitch into the top of the first chain 2 that formed the first HDC
--now we need to make our way over to the last HDC, so lets slip stitch
8) slip stitch into the space between the third and second HDC in the row below
9) slip stitch into the space between the second and first HDC in the row below, stay there
10) 5 DC in the chain one space that follows
11) 1 DC in between the first and second DC of the row below
12) 1HDC in between the second and third DC of the row below
13) 3 DC, CH2, 3 DC in the ch1 space of the row below
14) 1 HDC in between the second and third DC of the row below
15) 1 DC in between the first and second DC of the row below
16)  5 DC in the chain one space that follows
17) slip stitch into the slip stitch of the row below (this is that last slip stitch found in step 9)
---you can finish it here, but lets make that top of the heart a bit more defined
18) SC into the middle HDC post in the first row (make it as tight you can when you pull up a loop to define the heart a bit more)
19) keep a longer loop on the hook to hang or add another color around your heart with SC
20) cut and weave ends…
---crochet a chain to your liking and add your hearts with slip stitch or sc...hang and smile. This idea from  Polly at helpinglittlehands.blogspot.com  is adorable!

You may find that I am missing a step, your heart looks like a circle, your heart looks broken, or I am just not making sense with this pattern. Just send me a comment and I will try to help. I also am promising myself to take pics of the step and post them here before V-Day is here.

Valentines Day:
-- a day to stuff yourself with chocolates and feel ok about doing so
-- a time to slow down and tell someone you love that they are the leche to your cafe


Tuesday, January 17, 2012

A Crafty Weekend

What a weekend! After their retirement, I have not seen my parents in about 2 years. I was blessed to have them for the weekend as they came to town to celebrate the holidays with us and their 44th wedding anniversary. From accordions to zero gravity, no subject was ignored. I find that they stay up way later than what I can stay up and sleep in pretty late….hmm…. they sound like teenagers. They also drink a ton of coffee! My heart could not take anymore strong caffeine, so I switched it to one of my husbands favorite: Abuelita Chocolate (FYI Abuelita ( ah-boo- el- ee- ta) means grandmother in Spanish).  Mom and dad like theirs with marshmallows. When they did start eating sugar again?

During dinner this Saturday evening with them and with my older sister, I came to the realization that my family has been upcycling and recycling for many many years. I am not sure if this was done out of necessecity or an insane drive to create.

While enjoying dessert at the dinner table, my older sister got to creating. We were sitting at the dinner table chatting away about our childhood and I had just finished an orange. She grabbed a pair of scissors and cut up the orange peel into little hearts, squares and triangles. She then placed them in the middle of an opened napkin, tied the napkin with DMC floss and went at the napkin with the scissors. She created cute little orange potpurri in just a few minutes. I had to smile at this. It came so naturaly to her as she chatted away with mom and dad. I questioned if she even knew what she was doing. Was she doing this consciously or not? It just came to her! It reminded me of the long strands of orange peel that my mother and grandmother used to hang in thier kitchens. They would use these for baking, in thier tea or just for scent. When the sun hit the peel, it was a wonderful comforting smell. My sister is so crafty and does it so naturally. She even saved a couple of larger cute orange peel hearts for me for my tea. Or, maybe I will take her advise and thread them into a mini heart bunting for my window. When the sun hits it- the smell is heavenly.

My garage sale find owl gets to enjoy the lovely scent: This was so easy that my 7 year old made the one pictured below without my help! Gasp! Without my help? Wait a minute, she isn't suppossed to grow up...

On Sunday after dinner, my father found inspiration from my kitchen curtains. He was telling me that he bought at a craft fair, a rooster crowing can. He wanted to try and make one and we gave it a go. Below are the steps, but PLEASE BE CAREFUL IF YOU ARE DOING THIS WITH A CHILD. If you are not using the correct can opener, you will end up with sharp edging on the can. We use a can opener that does not leave sharp edges. Instead, the top of the can be used as a cover and there aren't any sharp edges. PLEASE be careful. If you do not have the correct can opener, then just don't do this.

Supplies for rooster crowing can :
hammer/ nail or screw /2 beads /different types of string/ rubbing alcohol or any oil /a can (the smaller the can the better)/ a small piece of cardboard (about 1 inch X 2 inches)/ stickers, the label off of the can you are using, markers, paper and anything you wish to use to decorate

Now to the steps for rooster crowing can:

  1. clean an empty can 
  2. keep the label to use the back of it to decorate your can or use it as a template for another sheet of paper to wrap around the can 
  3. With a nail or screw, and using your hammer, make a small hole on the bottom of the can
  4. thread your string through the hole
  5. hold the string in place inside the can by tying it tightly with a bead (here we used a small wood rod) 
  6. add another bead to the end of the string outside of the can 
  7. dab oil or alcohol onto a piece of cardboard 
  8. wrap the bottom piece of cardboard around the string and pull the cardboard down and across the string
  9. as you pull down, the can will resonate with one loud and rather annoying sound- down pull down too hard or you will break the string
  10. to make the rooster crowing sound go down the string but stop in between 
  11. with time and practice, you will either annoy yourself and those around you, or come up with a sound that resembles that of a rooster crowing (it may sound like a rooster with a sore throat- this is why smaller cans are better).  
  12. Try with different strings/ different lengths until you get the sound you think a rooster makes
  13. decorate the back of the can's label - or make your own- with your sticker or other items and cover the can with it
  14. make two small holes using your hammer, across from each other near the top of the can
  15. thread string onto the can through the holes to create a holder for hanging or carrying your can 
My father tells me that in Puerto Rico, they decorate the top of the cans with roosters, horses or other animals and paint the cans with tropical colors. He also tells me that some folks can get a horse neighing sound out of those cans. I will be using mine to wake up stubborn folks around here so that we can be ontime for church. Right now the kiddos are having a blast using it as a dinner call and to sneak up behind each other for a good scare. Its also prompted them to discover more about roosters and chickens. Did you know that hens lay eggs regardless of fertilization of the egg?

I plan to place my can outside in the summer to call in the kiddos for dinner. And, I have just the right spot to hang it from…

Well I was certainly blessed by my crafty family this weekend. 
May you find inspiration in anything…orange peels or curtains….and may it be wonderful!

Friday, January 13, 2012

Winter's Arrival

After a very mild start (50 degrees in December) winter has finally descended upon us. While we did enjoy the fact that we didn't have to deal with a slushy, slippery work commute, here at Casa de Gabli we were worried about our bulbs thinking it was spring. So welcome winter! Its nice to have you here. You make us cuddle closer, give us a reason to stay in, drink hot chocolate Abuelita, and blanket everything in a wonderful crisp and clean white (at-least until Monday when it becomes slushy gray). Most importantly you make us slow down and muse over what really matters right now.

He is all snuggly inside… he is a Christmas ornament but his color is great for Valentines Day

Last year, the neighbor's icicles reached the ground! As kids we used to tear these off and stick them in sugar and eat… I DO NOT recommend this! How crazy were we as kids?

These are my garden clogs, but they work well in snow too!

Making snow angels

Add some point before spring I must remove these lights

They were playing catch with snowballs! 

These hang in a corner of our 3 season room… memories of his first clogs and reminders that gardening season is not too far away
Play time outside for my first owl hat

Hot coco after a showers

The tablecloth is a gift from my dear mil. I don't like that plastic but with imaginative little ones, I have no choice. I hope to one day pass this on to my little A. 


The after-math

Getting cozy in a pair of mary janes I whipped up in December for A. Yarn stretches and I have tiny feet so I get to wear them too!

"It was You who set all the boundaries on the earth;
You made both summer and winter."
 Psalm 74:17

Welcome Winter… you have been missed.