DIY gift wrapping paper

For this DIY gift-wrapping paper, you just need some markers -I use microns from Sakura and a calligraphy pen- and plain paper.

I had to prepare two very special gifts so for the first one, I chose a Beatles song lyric.

I started writing a phrase in the center of the paper and after that, I completed the empty spaces using different hand-styles and sizes of the lettering.

IMG_4270_2“Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds”

Then, I just used it as a regular gift-wrapping paper.

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Another option that I like to create a special paper from a plain white paper is to draw botanicals on it.

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Finally, I added the name of the person who was going to receive the gift using a calligraphy pen.

IMG_4281_2Hydrangeas are one of my favorite flowers.

Calligraphy pens and markers are always a good idea. They add a special touch to your everyday lettering even when you don’t know much about calligraphy. I encourage you to try it!

Here’s another DIY gift wrapping paper idea.¬†

DIY cars play table || mesa de juegos para autos

L√ČELO EN ESPA√ĎOL
Marco is with an awful cold so we have to create different things to play while staying at home.

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I thought of sharing one that can also be useful for those terrible weather days.

You’ll need:

  • Packing paper
  • Tape
  • Markers

Attach the packing paper to a coffee table using the tape.

Use your markers to draw routes, houses, parks…¬†Let your imagination and¬†your little one guide you.

Play and have fun!

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ESPA√ĎOL
Marco está enfermucho con un resfrío horrible así que tuvimos que inventar muchos juegos para entretenernos mientras estamos en la casa.

Pens√© en compartir uno de ellos, que puede ser muy √ļtil tambi√©n¬†para los d√≠as de lluvia.

Necesitar√°s:

  • Papel de embalar (pero al final de cuentas, cualquier papel grande puede servir)
  • Cinta scotch
  • Marcadores

Adhiere el papel a la mesita de caf√© usando la cinta scotch. Utiliza los marcadores para dibujar casas, rutas, parques… ¬°Tu ni√Īito puede indicarte¬†y pueden dejar¬†volar la imaginaci√≥n!

A jugar y divertirse!

DIY: wrapping presents idea

A calligraphy pen, some blank paper and a piece of ribbon can add some magic when you need to wrap a present.

Write the name¬†of the person you’re giving the gift to¬†all over the paper, then wrap the present as you would normally¬†do it.

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You don’t need to know how to make beautiful lettering, the calligraphy pen will help your letters to look lovely just by writing with¬†it.

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You can even add a finish touch with a colorful ribbon.

*What do you think of this idea?

christmas in a jar

Maybe I went too far using the same¬†jars for decorations in my home this year but I just can’t get enough of how lovely they look!

You’ve already seen how I used it for Halloween and for Thanksgiving… But this time, I decided to try using the jar in¬†a craft¬†project with Marco.

We used, of course… a jar, sea salt, a small ¬†plastic pine branch that I cut it from our plastic christmas tree with some play dough on the base,¬†a snowman candle that I had from previous years and one of the chalkboard tags with a new message: Be Merry! * (This time I used a white Sakura Gelly Roll to write the message).

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This jar project was fun, cute and easy to do. You just put all the elements inside and close the lid.

The only issue is that I don’t know how much time it will last on our coffee table since this little toddler grabs it anytime he goes by the table and start shaking it constantly! Anyway, it was fun!

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PS: I’d love to know about your¬†DIY christmas decorations! The season is just starting!

thanksgiving 2014

Hope you all had a great Thanksgiving, friends!

Since my kid (and husband) are Americans, we’ve decided to celebrate this holiday preparing a traditional American meal. Then on Christmas, we can cook some delicious and traditional¬†Venezuelan recipes and on New Year’s eve we can prepare some traditional Argentinian dishes. In that way, the culinary cultural heritage of each member of this family can be¬†present on¬†a special holiday.

It was fun to celebrate Thanksgiving with my family and one of our dear friends, Lorena. She also happens to be a great Bay Area photographer, you can see more of her work at ByLorena Photography. In fact, all the pictures featured on this post were taken by Lorena so I also want to say a big thank you to my friend who kindly shared with us these beautiful pics!

Now, let’s talk about recipes.

Deviled Eggs. For this appetizer I used one recipe that I’ve found at¬†HelloTruelove, Katie’s cute, lovely and inspiring blog about city life, travel and cooking.¬†¬†The recipe is¬†delicious as it but I added a little bit of Valentina sauce, just to make it spicy and hot, so this is¬†optional ūüėČ

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I used this recipe for the sweet dinner rolls but since I don’t have a bread machine I just kneaded all the ingredients¬†together using my Kitchen Aid. Once the dough doubled in size,¬†I shaped them as buns and left¬†them cover on a non-stick cookie pan for another 30 minutes. Then, I¬†baked the buns for 30′ at 350F.

In fact, they were so good that I used the leftovers buns the day after for some Benedict Eggs that I made for breakfast (I threw them in the toaster for a few seconds just before serving).

20141128_Thanksgiving_byLorena_13 Specially delicious if you serve them warm.

Being honest,¬†I didn’t want to risk too much with the main dish¬†so I bought an already Stuffed Turkey Breast from Trader Joe’s. I just baked it and it turn out fine. I added a tablespoon of butter and a teaspoon of maple syrup on¬†the last 5 minutes of oven to get a nice golden color and taste.

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Israeli Couscous. Ok, this side dish has nothing of traditional on this day but it still was a great¬†one. I cooked¬†the couscous¬†as directed on the package (I got it at TJs) then,¬†I mixed it with roasted¬†brussels sprouts, dried cranberries, braised¬†fennel and onions. I made a vinaigrette using apple vinegar, olive oil, salt pepper and a little bit of honey… It was delicious!

20141128_Thanksgiving_byLorena_6Hey you! On the right bottom corner… You’re not traditional! What are you doing here, Israeli Couscous? ūüėõ

Now,¬†I have to tell you something about the¬†Pumpkin Pie. I’ve never ever tasted a Pumpkin Pie before in my life but anyway I tried to make one.

I headed to AllRecipes and looked for the recipe with most reviews… and¬†I made a few changes. I used organic sweet condensed milk (available at Trader Joe’s) and a¬†frozen crust¬†that I got at the same grocery store and that I baked for 8 minutes before filling it.

I didn’t use cream to garnish it because, as you now may already know, I am not a fan of heavy cream but anyway, the pie turned out quite good.

Do you remember the jars that I used on Halloween on my coffee table? Well, they found a new role on my dining table. This time, I¬†used some (popcorn) corn that I had, a candle and a new message on the chalkboard tags: “Give Thanks” and “With a Grateful Heart“.

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We haven’t bought new glass cups after moving from¬†Brooklyn, so we¬†used¬†plastic ones. Marco enjoyed so much using the same cup that we did that I think this issue turned out great! (Of course, as the¬†neurotic mom I am,¬†I still kept the sippy cup on the table “just in case” he made a mess!)

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I’m so grateful for my family, I’m the happiest person I’ve ever been. I love Victor with all my heart. I love being a mom and I love my son so much that words are not enough!

I’m grateful for my friends. Moving to the other side of the country and already have some friends there, makes¬†the new life much easier and comforting.

Even-though this is a non-religious holiday, as a person of faith, I cannot pass it without feeling and saying thanks to God for everything in my life.

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Our plates and hearts full. Give Thanks… With a Grateful Heart.

PS: You can also follow Lorena on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.

homemade chirashi sushi

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Chirashi sushi is one easy recipe, yummy and pretty healthy. You can use a variety of fresh, raw fish and the veggies that you have at home. What’s key in this recipe is the rice.

After trying several recipes for the sushi rice, I’ve arrived¬†to this one that everyone in my family loves (yes, toddler¬†-approved!)

1 cup sushi rice (I use Nishiki or Kokuho Rose)

1 1/2 cup water

1/8 cup rice vinegar

1/8 cup organic sugar

1/2 teaspoon salt

First, you’ll need to rinse the rice well in cold water about 3 times until the water is no longer milky white. Drain it.

Add 1 1/2 cup of water and take it to a boil. When the water of the rice starts to boil, reduce the heat to minimum and cover the pot with a lid. Let it cook for 15 minutes.

Remove it from heat and use a clean cotton cloth to cover the rice. Cover it also with the lid. Allow it to stand for 5 minutes.

In the meantime, mix together the vinegar, salt and sugar on a small pot. Bring it to a low heat and stir with a wooden spoon until the ingredients are dissolved the turn off the heat and let it cool.

Put the rice on a bowl. Stir in the vinegar mix and stir with a bamboo spoon until it’s incorporated. Any wooden spoon but it’s better to keep one just for the rice.¬†Let it cool.

For my chirashi sushi, I used slices of fresh salmon and slices of an organic avocado over the rice. I decorated my plate with some seaweed and sesame seeds as garments.

IMG_3315Enjoy it!

DIY play kitchen

Today I want to share with you an idea of an easy, cheap and super fun project to do at home on a weekend: a DIY play kitchen.

We used cardboard boxes (free), non-toxic craft painting ($1 each at Michael’s), Silver Sharpie marker ($2.99), blue dot stickers, tons of moving tape ($2.99), and a piece of magnet (free) to keep the door of the oven and microwave¬†closed.

There are tons of tutorials online¬†but… I want to encourage you to¬†do it without the tutorial,¬†give it a try at home with your kid¬†and¬†let your imagination guide you. You’ll see that even it gets messy, it will be FUN and at the end, you will¬†feel great!

This was the way we did it.

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First, I made the oven and then the microwave using the cardboard boxes and a lot of tape.

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Then -this was the fun moment for Marco- we painted the oven and microwave and let them dry for about 30 minutes.

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Afterwards, I attached the microwave to the oven/stove part using a lot of tape and some staples (on the oven door bar).

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Finally,¬†I painted the details with a silver sharpie marker…¬†et¬†voil√°!

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DIY Play Kitchen Done!

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Try it at home and let me know how it went ūüôā

halloween home decor

Hello friends! Today¬†¬†I want to share with you our¬†“Halloween home decor”. First,¬†I used a fall¬†wreath and a stretchable spiderweb on our main door.

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I used the same stretchable spiderweb on a sculpture and on a bookshelf. Plus I added a big spider which Marco loved (I think it’s because his favorite book is “The Very Busy Spider” by Eric Carle).

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I¬†added¬†some crows to our living room to give a more “scary” feeling.

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One jar, a led candle and a chalkboard tag made a nice decoration of our coffee table.

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Marco was fascinated watching the led-candle.

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I also bought two small pumpkins for the coffee table.

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As you see, with a just a few details you can create a “Halloween atmosphere”¬†that can even last for a while with a toddler around the house.

Happy Halloween!

tablecloth

Hi folks! This is another *super* easy sewing project: a tablecloth.

I chose this red and white fabric to give my dinner table an “italian trattoria” style.

For my small, rectangular, IKEA dinner table, I used 2 yards of fabric.

You’ll need to place the fabric on the wrong side over a flat surface and fold the edges over about 0.5”.

Then, fold it again and pin around the edge of the hem and start sewing along the edges, removing the pins as you sew.

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After less than an hour, I got a beautiful tablecloth for our dining table. ¬†I’m no expert at sewing, but trust me when I tell you go ahead¬†and try it! You’ll feel great finding out the¬†beautiful projects you¬†can¬†do for your home!

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baby crib sheets

I found this great fabric with the world map on sale at my local fabric store and I thought it would be nice to have it at home and teach Marco where some of our friends and family live.

I’m still a beginner at¬†sewing but¬†I discovered¬†that I can actually sew anything… as long as it has a rectangular shape. That’s how I thought about using this fabric to make some sheets for Marco’s crib.

I followed this tutorial and I were amazed at how easy it actually was to sew sheets, even using an elastic band one the edges.

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It’s nice to wash the fabric before, in case it shrinks. Also, measure the crib mattress to customize the pattern. I used a 12″ square instead of the 9″ suggested by the tutorial.

This project took about 2 hours but it was a lot of fun and I felt so good after seeing it done!

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During¬† the weekend, when I put him to bed, I told¬†him where some of our dear friends and family live. He didn’t get much yet because when I asked for his aunt Barbarita -who lives in Barcelona- he pointed to Moscow… but we’ll get closer with some more practice!.

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happy holidays everyone

I do like Martha Stewart and all the fancy, lovely ornaments that you can find everywhere during the christmas season.

The thing is that, since we moved from NY and for a few more months, we’re living in a small one bedroom apartment with some still unopened moving boxes around and… with a toddler.

But I still wanted to make something for the most wonderful time of the year at home.

So, let’s get started telling you what I did.

First of all, the tree. We bought a little tree at our local Trader Joe’s and we hope to have him with us for some more christmases. We named him Pinono and Marco says goodbye to him and to Ludmila -our orchid- every night before going to bed.

Since I also was on a budget, I took advantage of the dollar spot at Target and got some ornaments there.

As you may see in the pictures, this is how a christmas look at my place. In between the mess, the moving boxes, the guitar, the printer‚Ķ But it‚Äôs real, it‚Äôs christmas and I love it ūüôā

Happy holidays everyone!