Monday, November 30, 2009

Sophie and Paris (turn 3 and 5)

Sophie turned 3 in November and Paris will be 5 in December. So my dear friend Lina (another American who married a Brazilian on a white horse) decided that (while she still can) she would throw a birthday bash for the two together at a children's party center. I got hired to do the cookies and the goody bags.

Theme: Fairies

Goody Bags: Felt Flower Barrettes for the Girls and Squirt Guns (I don't know many boys into fairies so went with plastic "made in China" and repackaged a surefire hit/squirt.)

Cookies: Flower Cookies to match Flower Barrettes

Biggest Challenge: Scissor blister from cutting all that felt.

Defining Moment: Georgia agreeing to model the hair dazzle and getting an invitation to her older play dates' bash. Plus the festivities begin tomorrow at 3 pm so there will be many a moment to come.

Happy Birthday sweet girls!

Last Weekend of November

If I wasn't with Georgia, I was sewing felt and frosting cookies about every second of the weekend--sleeping little and feeling my body's influenza resistance slipping away. But I think the results were worth it (stay tuned).
A few thanks:

1. Felipe--for threading my needle well past midnight and not reminding me that he is younger and I am now officially not just far-sighted .
2. In-laws--for feeding lunch to Georgia and getting her to nap (for the first time without me) somewhere other than home.
3. Georgia--for understanding that the television is a good babysitter in rare (but desperate) situations

Hope everyone had a lovely last weekend of the month. Time is slipping away fast. Sigh.

Saturday, November 28, 2009

The Tree

The only place I could have squeezed a Christmas Tree in my apartment(s) in NYC was the tub. And although it may have been the perfect solution for never forgetting to water it, I didn't really want the hassle of moving a tree every time I took a bath. And I certainly didn't have underbed storage for tinsel, balls and lights. So I spent twelve years not stepping on pine needles in my winter woolen socks.

Then I moved to Brazil where I've spent the last five years wearing flip flops at Christmas time and writing July on my checks in December. It doesn't feel like Christmas. The mall Santa's underarms have red balls of sweaty wool and I certainly wouldn't want to be his dry cleaner. The Northern Hemisphere idea of winter wonderland a la North Pole has been imported in its entirety to Brazil. And now that we have a roomier apartment we could have gotten the tree. But it just never felt quite right to me.

But along came Georgia. And I felt like I was shortchanging my kid. So when G and I were walking down the street and I saw the tree, I called Felipe and proposed we spend more money on the credit card. And now my family has the perfect tropical tree. It is light and airy. The balls are made from a typical Brazilian tropical floral cotton called Chita which was brought from India to Brazil some 200 years ago. In the 60's, the fabric was a symbol of the avant-garde art movement called tropicalismo.

So the tree is up. We now have a version of the symbol that represents the holiday season. And it represents our alternative (sorry Georgia) family. Plus we aren't stepping on pine needles. I think Georgia likes it (She is dying to pull at the balls.) And of course I know that Grandma and Grandpa (on both sides) will have a pine tree.

I'm still a bit worried about the stocking part. Maybe next year...


Cupcakes for APAE (Associaçao dos Pais e Amigos dos Excepcionais or Association of Parents and Friends of the Exceptional) a non-for-profit dedicated to assisting those with developmental disabilities.
Ordered by the lovely volunteer, and my friend, Arlene.
Pink and white to match their uniforms.
Some sweets for those that donate their time.
And their hearts.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Vivienne Westwod at Urban Outfitters

If I were in the Northern Hemisphere right now, these three pieces would be my winter uniform.
But I'm more in the market for a black bikini these days.

Pilgrims and Indians Party

I had to be reminded by a Brazilian friend that it was Thanksgiving Day back home. And while I will certainly miss the jump start on the holiday eating season, you can bet I'll miss having my family around the table even more. Perhaps that is why it slipped my mind?

So let us enjoy the day and remember all there is to be thankful for...xo.

Happy Thanksgiving Day!

Wednesday, November 25, 2009


I've shopped on Madison Ave. in NYC, Faubourg St Honoré in Paris, Ginza in Tokyo, Daslu in São Paulo...and many other expensive addresses in many other cities . Well, actually, I've mostly browsed in these high end shopping destinations, with an occasional splurge here and there. And don't get me wrong (husband), I like beautiful, expensive things.

But I love a good bargain. And I love junk stores, 99 cents stores, wholesale clubs, and outlets even more. Not only do the salespeople totally ignore you, but most of these stores have carts and piles. Blissful. And I have patience. Because you need patience to find that diamond in the rough. And imagination to see said product in a new environment. Because in the junk store it looks like junk (especially when next to other junk). But outside the shop your find can look like it came from Paris, France. You might have to take it out of the Made in China packaging or tweak it a bit. But, believe me, your friends will be asking, "where did you find that?" (And please don't belittle your treasure when asked. Be proud.)

As I won't belittle today's finds. This afternoon, I found myself in one of those establishments. I was actually sourcing some ideas for goodie bags for a party next week. (I found what I needed.) But on the way out, two items caught my eye. I wouldn't say these particular pieces look like they came from Paris, France. But they have charm. They have meaning. And they were both for Georgia.

1. Santa Snow Globe. Georgia and I have been watching Pixar's short film Knick Knack all week. She has learned the concept of a snow globe. And we've been visiting a Santa wonderland on the way to the playground just about every day. And, believe me, I am not one for those traditional Christmas decorations and I've never mounted a tree. But add a toddler to your life and watch yourself change. So when I found a Santa Snow Globe for US$2, I quickly deposited it in the cart.

2. Pint sized sparkle purse. Yesterday I shortened the strap on my (too big for G) tote bag and let her carry her own necessities to Grandma's house. It was a pivotal moment in her life. She just kept looking at the bag and repeating her name with immense pride (as in Georgia can carry her own stuff now.). Obviously the mini purse (and I am not a sparkle type) at US$2 was a no-brainer.

I practically ran home to show Georgia what I unearthed. My child beamed, kissed her snow globe numerously, and kept that handbag strapped across her chest all day.

Now let me tell you how beautiful these bargains where outside that junk store. And imagine how thrilled she was when she discovered the globe fit perfectly inside her new purse.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Thank you, Gi!

Have you ever impulsively asked a gigantic favor of someone? Usually your mouth or fingers (email) take on a life of their own and do the asking. And when your rational self assesses the situation you squint your brows, raise your shoulders and cringe in horror at your audacity.

I'm cringing.

The other week when my camera jumped out of Georgia's stroller, my better judgement skipped town. And I fired off an email to Gisela asking her to smuggle not one but two cameras into Brazil for me on her next trip to town. Naturally, (because she is so kind) she agreed to travel thousands of kilometers with my goodies in bubble wrap in her carry on, shuffling through customs with more than the allowed quota and hauling them across this thief ridden city. For me...what gull.

So today, in thanks, I baked her some double-chocolate-almond-raisin biscotti and housed them in a pretty package.

Gi, I hope I can repay the favor in triple. (Oh and my carry on is usually pretty big.)

Thank you. And thank you some more. xo

Monday, November 23, 2009

Mrs. Claus

Mrs. Claus (my mom) asked me what I wanted her to bring in her suitcase come December. Since I know space is limited. (She is, after all, spending her first Christmas with her Granddaughter/"Inter-neta" and really believes she is related to the Claus family.)

My list:

1. Cupcake liners. Since it isn't a cupcake culture here, I've used liners that were meant for other
edibles. This resulted in cupcakes not nestled in liners but rather afloat on pleated plates.
2. Twist ties. Since Hefty brand trash bags never made it South, neither did those stripey twisty ties. I found white but there is no charm in that.
3. 100% Cotton string. I again, found only white and very thick.

Sourcing has to be one of the biggest time consumers down here. I love the challenge and the lack of material leads to some creative solutions.

And lots of late night internet drooling.

Working from home

I've been wanting a real home office/craft room for years. But there was always another priority, like a nursery or a trip to the USA. So I settled for big tupperware boxes organized by subject (sewing, paper, cookies...) and a laptop.

But now that I have a business card, I need an office. And although my workspace is a work in progress, it is starting to take by supply and doodle by doodle. Each new project adding to the patina.

Best part: I have an assistant (quite literally) at my feet.

Sunday, November 22, 2009



It was a holiday weekend in Brazil. And we were supposed to travel to the beach for the weekend.
It didn't happen. Here's what did:

1. I got rid of the circles under my eyes from last weeks insomnia.
2. Georgia threw her first "consumer fit" when I didn't buy her some junk plastic toy in the supermarket. I think she is starting to grasp the notion of credit cards and kickboxing. And I'm thinking of shopping in a wig and dark glasses.
3. I didn't take a single photo even though my sister-in-law lent me her camera.
4. Joined Facebook....not sure I like the popularity contest feeling of it all. I thought I left that behind with my high school yearbook. Maybe (now that everyone can find me) I will get invited to a class reunion. Its only been 21 years.
5. Georgia has learned to sing the Barney song in Portuguese.
Felipe has taught Georgia how to back the car into our garage parking spot while on his lap--one hand on the wheel the other on the radio dial (song of choice today, Foxy Lady by Hendrix).
7. We had the best intention of getting together with other friends who bailed on the long holiday weekend. But we just couldn't motivate.

It seems we just weren't up for much.

Posh Party Proposal

If I got hired to decorate a mansion or lived in one myself.

Los Abrazos Rotos (Broken Embraces)

Felipe and I went to see Two Lovers last night. Recommend.

The ticket price also included a trailer of Almodóvar's new film Los Abrazos Rotos.

Can't wait...

Friday, November 20, 2009

Whilst Walking

When I still had a camera.