Monday, September 28, 2015

DIY:"Copper" Tropical Napkin rings

I know that summer is over but I'm still in a tropical/pineapple mood and I had some unused cookie cutters in fruit forms that were screaming for attention, after thinking for a couple of days I came up with the idea of these Tropical Napkin Rings.

  • Air dry modeling clay
  • Cookie cutters in the form that you like, I used a cutter with pineapple form.
  • Copper Acrylic paint
  • Black Acrylic paint
  • A couple of paint brushes
  • X-acto knife
  • Any napkin ring that you have (to use as model for measures)
  • A water glass 
  • A ruler
  • Resistol (I used Resistol FlexGel 911 but you can use any instant glue you have)

 These are the instructions:

1) Take a good portion of clay and form a ball.
2)With the aid of the glass start rolling until you get a uniform 1/4"thick clay surface.
3) Using the ruler and the x-acto knife cut 4 strings as wide as you wish (mine are 6/8") and put around the napkin ring until a band is formed, remove the napkin ring and put these bands away.

4)  Use the cookie cutters to get 4 pieces and put them with the bands in a cool place for at least 24 hours to allow the clay to dry.
Talk about creating the nicest pineapples!

I had a little too much fun with these...

5) Once dry,  paint all the pieces with the copper acrylic paint, make sure to clean your brush after working at it for a while with dish soap or it will get too hard you won't be able to use it later. Let the pieces dry.

6) Brush all the pieces with a light coat of the black acrylic paint, don't allow the paint to dry and quickly wipe away the black paint before it dries (you can use a wet paper towel).
While you are wiping the black paint you'll see how the texture will change and will leave a nice patina.
(If you feel like it got too black  just put gold paint on it until you feel satisfied with the results)

Can you see the difference?
7) Let it dry again and if you want you can use some clear lacquer spray paint to give it a shiny finish.
Use the Resistol to put together the bands with the pineapples and voilá!

Isn't they lovely? And I bet you that just by looking the picture you wouldn't imagine they were made of clay. I hope you liked this DIY project and even better, that you are now thinking in giving it a try, is really easy and it won't take long to get done.

Which cutter figure would you use to create napking rings?


Monday, September 21, 2015

Michoacan: 4 Cities & 3 Islands in 5 days (1st Part)

Caminos de Michoacán y
pueblos que voy pasando
si saben en donde está
porque me lo estan negando
díganle que ando en Sahuayo
y voy pa´ Ciudad Hidalgo."

Back to the roots

I've always been very proud to say out loud that I was born in Michoacan,  to me this is the most colorful state of the country with the kindest people and the yummiest food, so when we realized that we could take some days out of the office it was very easy to decide where to go and as we were able to do plenty of stuff this will be the first of two posts related to this amazing trip.

City #1- Morelia

Relationship Goals: endless kissing like these 2
We started our journey in Morelia which is the state's capital city (and the place where I was born!), it's located between Mexico City and Guadalajara, you'll travel less than 300 kilometers to go from Morelia to any of these two cities that are the largest in the country.
We spent a good amount of time visiting family and friends so we really did not have a lot of time to go around, but just being there, admiring the beautiful monuments and buildings (that make this city an UNESCO World Heritage Site) and inhaling the fresh air can change anyone's mood. We made sure to at least stop by the zoo where we met some new friends and confirmed that the alpacas really love to spit!
Ozziel, the not too friendly alpaca

We just couldn't stop looking at each other

City #2- Patzcuaro

Corn Ice cream!
We moved to Patzcuro that is only 60 kms far from Morelia, Patzcuaro used to be the capital city for Michoacan until 1580, this is a very small city where all houses and buildings look-alike, the walls are painted in Red and White blocks and not matter if the building belongs to a bank or to a 7/11, they all have to keep the Red/White design.
I have been in love with this city since I was a small kid, asking my parents to take us there to eat some enchiladas and to buy us some of their famous ice cream cups, so I got very nostalgic now that I was there with my bf sharing the best corn ice cream in the world. 
We visited a lot of places: the Main square, the Gertrudis Bocanegra Square, some churches, craft factories, galleries and we got in trolley tour that took us around the city with a local guide that explained all the history and legends for the 22 points of interest visited that I admired with the same emotion as when I was there a long time ago.

The Dance of the Old Men

I left my heart in Patzcuaro

Here we go!

The house of Eleven Patios

Island #1 Janitzio

Janitzio is located in the Lake Patzcuaro (A lake that belongs to city number 2), you can get there by taking a boat in any of the 3 docks located in one of the entrances to Patzcuaro, it will only take you 20 minutes to be at Janitzio's dock.
The most popular attraction is a (40 meters) statue of Jose Maria Morelos, who was an Independence hero, that has become a museum and that can be climbed to get a nice view of the entire island, the lake and the small cities surrounded by the lake, it's also a good way to exercise because there are hundreds of steps in the stair that takes you from the dock until the top of the island, you'll probably be teased by the locals that will keep telling you how far you are from the last step but once you get to the top you'll feel that the view worth the effort.

So this is the end of post number 1, enjoy the pictures that I'll be drinking a delicious hot chocolate (from the one that we bought there) and thinking of our afternoons seated at the main square listening to the music and watching the local dancers.
Isn't it nice to get back to the places you love?

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

DIY: "You again" placemats

"It's been a long day without you, my friend
And I'll tell you all about it when I see you again
We've come a long way from where we began
Oh, I'll tell you all about it when I see you again" 
There is nothing that I enjoy more than having friends coming to my house to laugh, eat and just have fun, so I though in creating something amusing that could be regularly used and then bang! Placemats were the solution.

We did a couple of designs with just a few materials:

Plain placemats (we created 2 for each design)
Printed phrases
X-acto knife
Acrylic paint
Small brushes
(Optional) Clear lacquer

This is how we did it:
1) We took our printed phrases and used the x-acto knife to create a "stencil"
2)Once we had the stencil ready we put it below the placemat and marked the silhouettes with the aid of a sharpie, then removed the stencil.

3) Using the acrylic paint and a small brush we painted each letter and let it dry  

4)Clear lacquer can be used to prevent paint to fade, although I have been used for a while some placemats that don't have the clear lacquer and they still look like new after all the times I have cleaned them.
These are the finished placemats waiting to be used as conversation starters for my next gathering, hope you liked them too because I'm still smiling thinking of my guests reaction to the "You again?" design.


Monday, September 7, 2015

From Prada to Nada: A reformed shopaholic

"She gotta Gucci fetish
She gotta louie problem
She gotta shoppin problem,
Dat gurls a shopaholic"

You see the shoes in the picture below? I just finished counting them after my 3rd cleaning cycle resulting in 54 pairs, go figure how this used to be.

The yellow and red flags

I can’t even remembered when this shopaholic thing started, I recall been a fashion enthusiast since I was very young but it wasn’t until my college years that it started being a problem when somehow I managed to wear something new EVERY Monday: a blouse, a purse, a pair of earrings, it really didn’t matter, the point was that Mondays were awful and the only way to deal with them was by buying new stuff (insert yellow flag here).
I’d visit the mall regularly and just buy whatever seemed to be trendy I wasn’t really worried about the price, if I wanted I had it and when the number of bags with new stuff were too evident that my parents started asking questions I would start hiding my new stuff in the trunk of my car, in my closet or just telling them things like: “this was a gift from (friend/boyfriend/…)” or “I had own this for a long time, I just wasn’t ready to use it” (insert red flag here)

And then everything went nuts 

After college I moved to a new city and started living by my own, things just went nuts, I’d go to all of my favorite stores sales and would get out of there with bags and bags of stuff that I didn’t even bother in trying out, even worst I’d go to international trips with friends with the solely purpose of buying, I had the idea that if I bought something in an outlet/factory store I was not spending money, I was SAVING it: “If I pay 100 USD for this dress, which original price was 150 USD and that I would probably find in Mexico in the equivalent to 300 USD, I’m actually saving 200 USD”, what a moron.

I got to a point when I didn’t have space in my house to store more stuff, what did I do? Start using my suitcases to keep seasonal garments: during summer I’d keep my coats there, in winter I’d switch coats for shorts/light dresses, etc., but it got even worse, I started borrowing space in my sister’s closet, I’d buy an armoire to store coats and dresses, I’d keep clothes in my friends closets, this just got ridiculous.

Worst part,  I never had anything to wear, my house was full of clothes but I wasn’t able to put together an outfit to go out without suffering,  I had a lot of things but I was buying without any idea of what I really needed, why on earth would I use those pairs of 4-inch heels if I was walking all day between meetings at the office and don’t even let me start with the number of coats of a person living in one of the sunniest cities in the world, I wasn’t thinking and I ended up with a bunch of useless clothes.

The Breaking point

I’m not sure which was the breaking point, I just remember that the joke about me going to shop in my own closet was not funny anymore and having my family and friends teasing me about my buying habits just starting being offensive, I was more than a mall-rat but I needed to get my priorities aligned and to start doing something with my massive load of things.
I started by trying in everything, every single item, and it was no surprise that a good amount of things were not flattering at all, I have gone through a number of “Scrub” cycles resulting in tons of bags going away of gifted, donated & tossed items, I’ve reserved a small number of things to be fixed and finally got to a final quantity of stored things that works for me matching with my current lifestyle.
As any former addict, Relapsing is something that I’m very concern about  because this was a way of living, not a hobby, so this required a whole change: I started occupying my time in more productive things like enrolling to study a second major in design, practicing other sports besides tennis, cooking  etc., and by the other hand I cut ties with people that was against my journey, and I got it, they have their own battle and needed someone to be an enabler of that kind of life but that wouldn’t be me anymore.

Why to share this?

Why am I sharing all of this? Reality is that I’m a very reserved person and I’m not the most comfortable sharing my flaws for everyone to know, but if I can help someone else to make a change to a more rewarding life like I did, then something good will come out of this.

The idea behind this blog is to share Travels experiences, DIY projects and useful info so I’ll write more posts about my self-imposed golden rules to live an intentional happy life and BTW I’m still gifting unused shoes so if your size is 5.5 I probably have a nice pair calling your name, just let me know.