Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Strappy sexy black

Ohh I am so happy to be back to blog world! My free time has been shrinking rapidly with a part time job taking away my craft time - well, at least the photo-taking time. I am going to use this as an excuse for my c-r-a )((*y (crafty that is) photos that follow ...

So boys and girls, I thought I had already posted THE simplest necklace to make in the world, but I was wrong! This new creation needs no talent, no skill and no time - seriously, the emphases is on NO TIME. Once again, I'd like to claim it to my name and in some way I guess I can, though it suspiciously  looks like a necklace for 400 USD I found somewhere on the internet :). Keep on breathing and reading ... this one will cost you only about 10 USD or less.

The 400 USD inspiration:

This is what you need:
A chain about 3 (2.5) feet (depending on the length you like) with links big enough for a ribbon or fabric to pass through
1/4 inch ribbon

Cut your ribbon to 6 inch length strips, fold in half, loop through the links. I did 2 loops per link but if you want a bushy necklace, go crazy looping! Attach clasp as usual.

I seriously did everything today to post a photo of me wearing the necklace like you see in those professional looking blogs and the kind I turn green reading :) I covered our standing mirror with a sheet, dressed up and down for the shoot trying headless (and headful) poses, built a tripod from cook and craft books, used a timer for the first time on my camera, ran back and forth into the shot and it all ended up looking like roadkill on a way to a red carpet event. So with that said, here is the end product displayed on my brand new Guatemalan coffee sack bag: 

Now run and buy some chain and ribbon (though I think pretty torn fabric pieces would look amazing also) and start looping! And if you make one let me know ok? 

I am hoping to be back at least once a week again.
LoLoVie to you all,

Saturday, May 7, 2011

Crafts of Guatemala

We spent a short week during Easter in Guatemala and I fell instantly in love with the country, its people, culture and of course, their crafts.

Guatemala is a country of endless colors.
Mayan women wearing their traditional huipils (traditional tunic) is not meant to be for tourists' cameras, but for daily use. Every village, every area of the country prides itself with patterns unique to their area.
As I learnt, weaving has a long history in Mayan culture. According to legend, the goddess of medicine and childbirth, Ixchel invented weaving. In traditional backstrap weaving, the loom is tied to a body and a tree or a pole thus the weaver becoming integral part of the loom. Young girls learn to weave around the age of 7 and carry on the tradition, which becomes an important part of their entire life. It may take two to three months to finish a traditional "huipil" with intricate details.

Below are the photos I took in Antigua and the highlands of Chichicastenango, the place of the largest Central American outdoor market. Enjoy ...

At the market 

Backstrap weaving

On steps of the church

Notice the detail on the clothing ... 

Other crafts ... antique shoe forms 

My misconceptions about being a MOM

You know how people say “it’s the small things in life”? I agree, though I also realize that it would be a full time job to wake up in the morning,
marvel at the raising sun,
be amazed at the fact that Geoffrey put his socks in the laundry basket the night before,
be grateful (as I am every single day) that I am healthy,
enjoy the tantalizing aroma of the morning coffee,
compliment a strangers outfit on a subway (I often do),
stop and smell the flowers of the blooming cherry tree on Park Avenue,
be grateful that I have a job that pays the bills (well sort of) and
remain being content recognizing the privilege of the life I live.
I do.

I do, but in a way I also take it for natural and well-deserved, as I believe life should be this way for us all. (I know it’s not)
It’s the same exact way I used to think about my mom and being a mom. It was one of those “natural” things.  A woman got married, had children, and raised them; that’s just the way the world worked. It was only expected that breakfast was ready at 7am – warm cocoa and bread with butter and jelly on the table; that my snacks were neatly packed for school; that my clothes were washed, ironed, smelling of lavender; that I got birthday gifts and a cake with candles; that mom was next to my bed every night reading a story till my eyes closed from exhaustion and that she was unconditionally “there”. Moms weren’t supposed to go out unless it was work related and were to take “us” children on all their trips. I earned my new clothes and toys, I loved so much by being a good girl and getting good grades.
My mom’s job was to make money and raise me, at least that’s how I interpreted her devotion. This was also what our culture dictated. I was lucky to know only children with moms as dedicated as mine.  (Dads came in all shapes, sizes, personalities and levels of dedication. Mine went “missing” from my life from the age of 6). Moms worked for us, children without much of acknowledgement, without complaints. From time to time, I overheard adults talking about some mom “If she can’t take care of them, she shouldn’t have had them!” but it was very rare and I never knew who they were referring to.
            As I grew older, my appreciation for my mom also grew. I now recognized much of her sacrifices, though still retained the naturalness of it all. Traveling through South and Central America I admired women sitting on a square selling their handmade goods while a content baby was latching onto their breast and another two siblings were running around. This is the way I imagined my motherhood, although in a New York City version.

As I flipped through the pages of “People” magazine resting on my big belly with twins kicking inside, I couldn’t help not noticing celebrity moms and their brood. They all looked happy and content. Angelina Jolie walking the streets of NYC with her six children, Tori Spelling eating ice cream in Beverly Hills with her two kids and Kate playing in a park with her sixtuplets. None of them looked tired, unhappy or miserable. By the look of it, their life hadn’t changed a bit since having kids, at least that is what the photos portrayed. From time to time I’d watch interviews with women on TV and roll my eyes when many claimed that their biggest achievement in life was being a “mom” and that they raised their children “right” … “Surely there are other things in life to be proud of ”  … I thought …    
Two years ago in May I became a mom. Disregarding all warnings from experienced moms, who cautioned that doom was approaching and told us “your life will change so much.” I felt prepared for the change and consoled my fears by recognizing that even those whom nobody could ever picture in this role did rather well as “mom”. I always wanted to have children and thought I would make a great mom, even if I found it hard to imagine that my wake up time over the weekends would be pushed up to 7 am rather than the usual 10 am. Gushing from happiness I took on the role and worked as hard as I ever have in life. As in my jobs before, I expected a pat on a shoulder, a praise, a raise … There was none … Everyone during those hardest first three months worked to their fullest capacity including grandma 1 and 2, grandpa and dad. We rotated nap time, which was now worth gold that could have been traded on Wall Street, as far as we were concerned. When my mom left after two months living in tight quarters with us, I cried at the airport for the first time in a long time. “Mom, you did all this for me???” I now truly recognized that being a mom while natural is also a huge sacrifice.

On my first night out with friends I wore high heels and a pretty dress; I felt promoted. I stood in a circle of girls clutching martinis, most of whom I knew and some of them I just met.
“What do you do?”
“I am a stay-at-home mom,” I said shyly, almost ashamed of my non-money making social status with hugs and kisses as benefits. There were no follow up questions …

Two years later, I feel that the job of a mom is more resume-worthy than anything I have on that one page of life achievements. I no longer roll my eyes at moms, whose greatest accomplishment IS being a good mom. I am one of them …
I bet you're a wonderful mom :) Line

It's so amazing how we all believe that 'we can handle it' when it comes to motherhood. No amount of preparation, advice, books, gadgets, etc., can prepare us motherhood. Motherhood is earned by love, sacrifice, dedication, honor, caring, respect and desire for our children. This is not something that can be purchased or found. It is a miraculous occurrence that cannot be explained or dissected. When that tiny little wonder of awe is placed in your arms.....then and only then.....can the real magic of motherhood begin. It's inexplicable, you can't explain it to someone who has not experienced it. It just is...... it is the most awe consuming, magical, heart felt moment of your life that overtakes you in such a way that it changes your life, heart and soul forever. Cheers to all the Mothers out there....we are all truly wonders of the universe!!!! Amazing article Elvi, Truly Amazing!