Friday, April 3, 2009

Easter Cookies

I baked a few cookies for Vicente's Easter party at school today.
I prepared my trusty rolled sugar recipe from Wilton, cut them out in egg shapes and baked them until golden brown.

Next, I prepared Royal Icing and decorated them in a teal, orange and white color scheme. It was very useful to first read the technique explanation at the website, because as anything you want to make nicely, there's some tricks of the trade.

I hope the kids enjoy them, I sure loved making these and will definetely make them again!

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Cake Disasters

Today I stayed at home, feeling a little bit sick to my stomach.
So what do you with your time when you are sick and you can't stand food? Well, you read FOOD BLOGS! I know, that's not what normal people would do, but that's what I did.

Anyway I ended up in this HILARIOUS blogspot: wreckcakes, you gotta check that out! I laughed my heart out and went back like 10 pages in "older posts"...Made my day definitely.

And now, after looking at all those cakes, I don't feel as bad for my own cake wreck, and so I will share it with you. HINT: It's supposed to be a lightsaber... What? What do you think it looks like? awww c'mon! ;)

Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Easter Bunny Placemats

A few years ago I made this placemats for my kids. I saw the idea at a Pottery Barn catalog and decided I could pull it off, so I got to work. I decided this will also be a good example for my first attempt of a tutorial, even if I don't have a pattern to share on PDF right now. But let's make a deal: if I get any replies to this post I will post that pattern for you guys.

Now, this is what I did:

The first thing I did was trace the outline and details of the bunny in cardboard, I hired my husband for this.

Then I used this as template to cut one piece of muslin, one piece of batting and one piece of contrasting fabric (for the backing) for each.

I cut out an ear center, a circle for the tail, and the nose from the contrasting fabric and set them in place with some "heat n bond".

I made a fabric sandwich by placing the fabrics right side together and the batting on the back and then I sew around the edges, leaving a small gap for turning.

I turned the bunny out and topstitched around with some nice stitches from my very basic sewing machine. I also stitched around the apliqué.

I hand embroidered the whiskers and the paw detail with a running stitch, going through all the layers of the placemat, and then I hand embroidred the eye, being careful to catch just the muslin and the batting.
I made one for each of my kids, and they sure enjoy them every Easter Sunday when we sit down for lunch and thank Jesus for His sacrifice and the miracle of resurrection.
God Bless you all!

Monday, March 30, 2009

Chat Amour

Today, my girl has been a little bit under the weather with an upset tummy...and guess who has kept her company? The cat, yes ,the cat, who as if it were a dog has stayed by her side and wouldn't let her be alone.

Now who says cats are aloof and self-centered? Not me...Certainly, not me.

Friday, March 20, 2009


Sometimes you have one of those days when you just feel that even with some troubles and tribulations, you still have so much to be thankful for.
Today is one of those days...
Thank you Lord for my family: my husband, my healthy children, my sister and my parents.
Please keep them well.

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Busy and a new Venture...

I have been so busy lately! No time to craft anything special in more than a month.

I am making some "entrepenurial experiments", that's what's got me tied on...

Even with the global economic crisis my interior design business is good, but I got so freaked out that I started some other things just in case... Some friends and I started a small event planning company and I am very happy about that. My first carreer is P.R. so I get to use those skills long forgotten in a corner of my mind, with the added pleasure of adding my crafting, and of course, decorating skills in the mix...
Please, if any of you stops by and can lead me to good party planning blogs and sites (besides Martha, of course) please drop a note, don't be scared, I won't bite you...

Friday, February 13, 2009

Puppy Love

I had a request from my son... He said: I want a special Valentine for my girl friend at school, I want something that has a heart in it, or is a heart.

And I was happy to deliver the request even though the one who was asking for this was my youngest son (age 6) not my eldest son (age almost 14).

With a smile of my face I made this very nice pony tail holder I had spotted in this tutorial a few days ago, even though it was late at night after a hard day's work, I think it came out nice, don't you? The tutorial was great and it was very easy to make.

Of course, the first thing I did when I picked the kids up at school today was ask Vicente what happened with the gift, and with a smile in his face he said: mom! she wore it right away...
Ahhh, may I say that I love the Super Mom feeling you get from that?

Sunday, February 8, 2009

Leftovers in a "gourmet" twist

It is Sunday again....I wake up early- before even Vicente, the smallest, gets up-. I am on a mission...I need to have an answer for my kids, they will ask me, I know...

Quietly I open the fridge and check out what I have left from the week: two chicken breasts in sage sauce from Thursday's dinner, some andouille sausage, some ham and some salami, cheese leftovers: gouda and a lucky block of mozarella that didn't get eaten I don't know how, two apples, lots of onions, a can of sweet corn, leftover zuquini from Friday's sidedish, some leftover tomato sauce from Tuesday's pasta, a bunch of spinach and the basics: flour, eggs and milk.
I need to come up with a plan, the clock is ticking, they will soon ask me the dreaded Sunday question...Mom...what are you making us for lunch?
And this Sunday it will be "Leftovers a la Crepe"!!!
Yes, and they were pretty good, let me tell you.

I used a savory crepe recipe from one of my books, but you can use this one, they are all very similar.
I sauteed the apples with the onions in some butter until they caramelized, and separated that.(the french use leeks, but I had to make do with the onions)
Then I mixed the ham and salami and sausage and sauteed that a little bit, too.
Then grated the cheeses.
I sliced and heated the chicken.
I heated the spinach and the zuquinni
I heated the tomato sauce (you could open a jar)
Opened the can of corn.

You are suppossed to add the filling while at the pan, but since there are so many of us and so many different choices, I just placed the crepes and the fillings on the table and everyone filled theirs with whatever they liked.
Mine was a very good concoction of chicken, onions, apples, zuqinni, spinach and cheese. Tomato sauce on top...voilá. C'est trés good!

The good thing about this is that you don't need a whole lot of anything, just some variety.

Another good Sunday lunch for us, it was.
I hope you can repeat the idea at your own house.

Monday, January 26, 2009


Sunday's all about food in Casa Chat Fancy.

I like to bake a special something for breakfast (if I get up early enough) and this Sunday was Jiffy Cinnammon Rolls from my trusty Company's Coming recipe book. These books are great! I love the easy recipes that you can do, well, in a jiffy...It is possible to bake something very easily even on a Sunday Morning!
Another good thing is our lunch, we like to cook our own meal on Sunday (and that was even before the difficult economy) and one of our favorites is homemade pizza. We buy a couple of packages of pizza dough at our grocery's store bakery, roll it out and then we top them with our favorite ingredients.
We usually make one with tomato sauce, ham, pepperonni and a mix of mozzarella and gouda cheese. As a big family we need two pizzas to get satisfied and the second pizza will always have some pineapple in it. We looove pineapple in our pizza. Our Hawaiian pizza has tomato sauce, ham, pinneapple, coconut flakes and cheese. Another good one is made with BBQ sauce instad of tomato, shredded chicken (usually leftovers, better if the chicken was grilled) pineapple and cheese...hmmmm yummy! These pizzas are much better than take out, and with the prepared pizza dough they are at the table in about the same time they would deliver them.
After all that eating I still have to think about food, because Sunday is the day I plan the menu for the rest of the week. This has been a proved time and sanity saver as I shop only for the things I need from a list, and there's no what's for dinner rush at 5:00 in the afternoon.
And what would be dinner in a typical Sunday at my house...well, cold cereal. Of course!

Friday, January 23, 2009

Scrap Sheets

As a designer I am always attracted to things and details that show beautiful combinations of color and design.
The other day, while shopping for school supplies for the kids I stumbled upon these beautiful scrap sheets and just couldn't get enough of them. I came back home to search the Internet for more and found out that they are very rare, and there is only one big publisher of those in England: Mamelok Press.(that is were these came from)
My mom remembers playing with scrap sheets or chromos-as we call them-when she was a little girl and my sister in law says she had a big box full with those lovely images (too bad my husband thought they were junk*gasp*and threw them away in a sibling rivalry fit)
I know I don't have much readers just yet, but if someone stops by and knows where I can find a source of these lovely scrap sheets in the U.S please, please let me know!! Shipping from UK costs 10 pounds, and as much as I love this beautiful reliefs, I don't think I want to pay that much....
In the meantime I will go back to my local store and get many more of these!!!

Thursday, January 22, 2009

How to make a Valentine's Garland

Three years ago I was going through a difficult time with my health. As Valentine's approached I decided I would celebrate the "glue" that held me together: the love of my family and friends.

Here in Costa Rica we don't do much of a celebration for Valentine's, and nobody decorates the house for that day, but I decided I would make myself a simple garland to show at the front door and celebrate my feelings.

I just cut up some heart shapes in different coordinating fabrics and sizes and I embroidered some words in a couple of muslin shapes.
I sewed the pieces right sides together, leaving a space for turning, stuffed them, closed the opening and attached ribbons so they would hang at different heights.
My sewing skills were not very good at the time (they still aren't!) , but I appreciate the imperfection of the piece, knowing that love is never perfect, it comes in all shapes and sizes, and it always gives you joy and peace, no matter what's at the door for you.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009


I remember when I was a teenager I had a sign on my door: A tidy bedroom is a symptom of a sick mind. It had a big fat Garfield in it, and I thought it was hilarious.
Well, how do things change in 20 years!!
I wouldn't say that now I am a control freak, but I like my things organized because if they are all in its place I won't spend my scarce and precious time looking for them.
That's why I loved the Bella Dia list of free tags
I chose the ones made for canning goods and I organized my spice rack. I don't like to throw away my money, and as a child who learns from her mom (my mom even saves aluminum foil when she sees that is reusable) I buy most of my spices in packets and I use those cute jam and jelly jars to keep the bigger spices such as cinnamon sticks and anise stars, and the long skinny olive jars for the leafy spices such as sage and rosemary.
All of them are different jars as you will see, but they seem to tie in all dressed up and pretty with those labels, don't you think?

Monday, January 19, 2009

Books and tools and fabric

My name is Vanessa and I am a fabric-book-tool-oholic...

I just can't resist them!!!! Even living where I live, where supplies are not as easily available as you can get in other countries...

Oh no, there is no Jo Ann's or Michael's one stop shopping here! I have to pay about $5 for a yard of fabric, can you believe it? and it's not even of the latest collections, I can only have what is left over from them...There is always the Internet, but I hate waiting...

To buy books I have to go to Amazon, which I love, by the way...But I can't go through the pages of a book before I buy it, and so many times I have been disappointed of what I got.

Even so, I just can't resist going into my local fabric store and browsing and finding treasures, so many times I have bought something just because I liked the feel and color of it...For example: I don't even crochet or knit (I have tried several times, but I just can't get it) and I have a full range of needles and yarn and patterns just in case I finally learn how to do it, because I love what people do with yarn!

There's this book I got from Amazon: Stitched in Time...I loved it! My husband asked me What are you reading? and I answered that a book from a person that could be me...

Anyway, I just finished my first project, and I want to show it to you. I will give it to my sister Guisella who is one year younger than me and I am very close to. I was pretending to give it to my niece, but she already told me that she wants it for herself, so this one will be for you from yours truly

Sunday, January 18, 2009


This is my first attempt as a blogger, I am no computer nerd in any sorts, so I hope this comes out fine...

I have been working in some projects and while looking for inspiration I found so many "twin souls" out there...that's how I was inspired to write my own blog. There is so many people that share my passion for handmade things, and good cooking and domesticity.

I have always been creative, and I keep my own journal the old fashioned way, but I think technology really helps out a lot nowadays...Being able to enrich what I am saying with pictures is great! Better if so many people can get a look at what I am thinking, feeling and doing...

The project I have been working on lately is my "Felt Food Restaurant" I am attempting to create some nice things I have found in the Internet so I can give as gifts...I am so tired of plastic! Everytime I shop for presents at the store is the same old same old! One of my new year's resolution is to choose handmade whenever possible, better if it is handmade by me!
Now, as for how to keep a blog, I don't know much yet...but I am sure I will learn soon.
Please, keep with me as I go.