para la cocina

Para la cocina or for the kitchen is a selection of beautiful ceramic pieces from talented artisans that I just had to share. The small pitcher with the great colors is from Melissa Older of  Miss Pottery . 
At 4 1/2 " high it's the perfect size not too small and not too big.

 Next is igotumatcha's set of four tea cups handmade from porcelain clay with a clear glaze. The neutral color and smooth surface give a serene feel and I love the simple curved design. 
These little cups are simple but sturdy measuring 3" x 3".

Speaking of love, the two heart shaped bowls in a delicious raspberry color make a sweet addition to any table setting. They are hand thrown in speckled stoneware with a hint of purple inside 
by Christine from Red Hot Pottery.

  Do you have a mortal and pestle? Clamlab has a nice small one with the end of the pestle and the outside of the bowl glazed but not the rest for an optimal grinding surface. This size is great for crushing seeds and dried herbs into powder.

Like to take more of a peek, just click on any of the colored links to visit these shops.


Eco chic pods ~ Swiss Alps

I'm a big fan of yurts so I know I would absolutely l-o-v-e hybernating in these beautiful pods. They look so cozy, rustic and modern, a great way to enjoy the snow. The Whitepod resort has 15 geodesic-dome pods surrounding a central chalet called the Pod-house. It's located in Switzerland, where the Swiss Alps begin in the village of Les Cerniers only a 45-minute drive from Montreux.  Very eco chic 

* click on the colored links for more on yurts and pods *



Silvia Gándara's whimsical world

Silvia Gándara is from Salamanca Spain and creates charming illustrations. Her characters adorable and sweet appear on a variety of handmade items by Silvia, jewelry, stationary, bookmarks, keepsake boxes, dolls and more. To see her work visit her Etsy shop or her blog . She also has a shop on envelop where you can purchase pillow cases, aprons and tote bags all with her delightful illustrations. Just click on any of the colored links above.

     Here's a peek at her studio, muy bonito Silvia 


Trail Blazers ~ high fashion in the Andes

Here are some beautiful pictures taken by famous Peruvian fashion photographer Mario Testino. The photo shoot titled Trail Blazers was done in Cuzco Peru for 2008 UK Vogue.  These pics caught my eye since my husband and I will soon be heading to Cuzco ourselves. I especially like them because it's not your typical Inca princess theme or high fashion peasant girl (cholita) instead it's high fashion trekker girl !  My inspiration for this trip is the trekker girl part, a little style wouldn't hurt either  : )

click on the heart to see the complete photo shoot  


La Buena Vida ~ Fava bean salad

Another great recipe from La Buena Vida blog, sounds familiar ? Yes, I shared a wonderful recipe by Nicole Franzen in a previous post - roasted baby artichokes !  Well here's a simple, quick and refreshing salad of  fava beans with mint and mustard greens. Click on any of the colored links to visit Nicole's blog to be inspired her recipes and photos.


2 pounds of fresh fava beans
1/2 of a lemon
fresh mint
mustard or mesclun greens
parmesan cheese
sea salt & pepper
olive oil


Remove fava beans from their pods. Bring a pot of water to a boil and add a pinch of salt. Add fava beans and cook till tender about 3-4 minutes. Shock fava beans in an ice water bath. Allow to cool then remove the outer shell of the fava bean. You will see the bright, vibrant green bean. In a bowl mix the juice of half a lemon, olive oil, sea salt and pepper. In a bowl add a few handfuls of greens, mix in fava beans, leaves of fresh mint, parmesan cheese, and dressing. Toss well and serve.


Ciaffi ~ eco paper goods

I think this small eco notebook would make a great little travel journal. The vintage image of the Eiffel Tower in the Exposition Universelle de Paris de 1889 definitely stirs the traveler in me. Ciaffi is full of so many  interesting eco paper goods. The creative team behind Ciaffi are sisters Mariana and Paula from Buenos Aires, Argentina. They use all kinds of recycled paper products for their handmade stationary.

Paula and Mariana use paper that is produced with bagasse pulp of sugar cane along with recycled ECF paper (Elemental Chlorine Free). The Parisian notebooks or journals are spiral bound and have a convenient pocket page at the front and back.

This lovely set of 12 handmade small envelopes with white folded note cards with rounded corners. The envelopes are made with kraft paper and have the Eiffel tower, Paris, a dove, a crown and a Parisian postal seal stamped on them. They come nicely packaged in a mini-corrugated box.

Or you may prefer to have 4 sets of  the 12  handmade small envelopes with folded note cards. The same envelopes made of  kraft paper with Parisian motifs stamped and folded white cards. Packaged  in a mini-corrugated box. A total of 48 envelopes with cards.

Ciaffi is only one of Mariana and Paula's creative shops on Etsy, they have three others. Branda is where you can find hand knitted items, Diasyflores for colorful stained glass work and MacraMe for unique macrame owl necklaces. Visit their blog The4inONE . Click on any of the colored links for more information or just to take a peek at their shops. Watch the fun video below for a little sample of their work.



Nuk ~ colorful treasures from Lanna

I love to travel, especially to far a way places ! I am always in awe of the beautiful handmade objects that are distinct to each culture. That is why I immediately was attracted to Nuk's shop Luxury Lanna crafts. Her wonderful bags of bright colors and detailed fabric designs are very special. Nuk uses handmade vintage tribal fabrics which she recycles with love from places such as Hmong (Miao), Karen, Banjara, and Kutch, India. What inspires her designs ? She explains, " Lanna is a place of outstanding beauty and inspiration, it is where I live, and where I continue to feel inspired by the culture and crafts of tribes people."

The bags come in all shapes and sizes and many are one of a kind due to fact that the fabrics are handmade and vintage. One of my favorites is the Travel bag pictured above. The size is definitely great for travel and I love the detail on the wide leather straps, little felt flowers with the centers being metal studs keeping them firmly in place.

The Oversized Boho Bag is made of a vintage Hmong baby carrier in hemp with a large embroidered applique in front. Nuk's designs come with so many nice details. A unique adjustable leather strap with a beaded like tassel and small metal beads along the side. My favorite part of this bag is the detachable charm that hangs in front, small colorful pom poms and beads with an adorable crochet doll. The doll is a female figure dressed in traditional clothes.

Another vintage Hmong baby carrier was used to make this large rectangle shaped hobo bag. The simplicity of this design works perfect for the fabric. A detailed pattern of  leaves, flowers, butterflies and hearts in soft happy colors. Shades of pink, warm yellow, red and light blue, a colorful but soft palette. The wide comfortable straps are finished off with a fun long fringe on each end.

Again, the fabric alone makes the bag ! This wide tote is also made of a vintage Hmong baby carrier with gorgeous large blooming flowers in red and pink and a delicate detailed border pattern. It has sturdy braided like leather handles with buckles making them adjustable. A lovely embroidered daisy is the perfect little snap closure.

If your preference is for smaller bags there are lots of those too. This one I adore! The purple and red colors of this vintage Indian fabric are brought out by the wonderful tassels on the front of the purse that hang at the end of each strap.

Multiple red cords are intertwined with embellishments ending in clusters of bright colorful felt spiral like pom poms. The front has a decorative pleat and a flower closure.

I hope you enjoyed my picks from Luxury Lanna Crafts, visit the shop to see the new Autumn / Winter bags by clicking on any of the pictures or links. 


Black Rice & Purple Carrots

I can't wait to try this recipe that I found on Maria's blog Scandi Foodie from Australia. Maria, originally from Finland, takes beautiful photographs to accompany her wonderful recipes. This Black Rice and Purple Carrot Salad recipe really caught my eye. Not only is this salad an amazing color but it's full of super foods. The black rice, once known as the forbidden rice, has more health promoting properties than blueberries and is better than brown rice. Purple carrots are packed with antioxidants and anti-inflammatory properties. See the recipe below for all the other good ingredients.

Black rice and purple carrot salad 
(Serves 2)

1 cup non-glutinous black rice
grated zest of 1 lime
juice of 1/2 lime
1 tablespoon brown rice vinegar
1 teaspoon tamari
pinch of salt
1 teaspoon pumpkin seed oil
3 tablespoons sesame seeds, toasted
5 small purple carrots, coarsely grated
1/2 pomegranate, seeds
2 shallot greens/spring onions, finely chopped
2 tablespoons fresh coriander, finely chopped
peppery greens, to serve

 Cook the black rice in boiling water until soft (30 minutes). Drain and place in a large bowl.
       Add in all ingredients and toss well to combine. Serve with peppery greens (rocket, mizuna, etc.)

visit Scandi Foodie for more beautiful recipes 


Decora tu alma ~ workspace inspiration

I have recently made the goal to organize and make my workspace a place that will draw me in and inspire me. Decora tu alma blog from Spain ( which means decorate your soul ) had a post with several pictures of some home workspaces. The above is my favorite, I'm in love with that little red chair ! If you visit Elisa's blog you may see one that inspires you. Just click on the link or picture, enjoy !


Papas Andinas ~ Parque de las Papas

I want to share an interesting article that I came across on the Gourmet website "Peru's potato park ~ an eco-preserve that is a living monument to the descendents of the Incan empire—and their most prized food." The Andes is the birth place of the potato which makes it fitting that six Quechua communities came together in Peru to form the Potato Park.

" The qhachun waguchi is one of 200 varieties on display in the visitors’ center at Peru’s Parque de la Papa, a relatively new and little-known attraction near Cusco. The 22,000-acre potato preserve grows more than 1,300 varieties."

The Potato Park offers multiple tours a one-day driving tour, a three- and five-day trekking tours and a one-day cooking class. The park’s English website offers more details. What is a visit to the park like? Visit the Living in Peru site to find out.
to learn more about the Andean potato and conservation efforts in Peru click on any of the above links, for english version click HERE



Snail Love

OK it's true, looking in the garden at a snail who has been munching away at my tomato plant doesn't bring the word cute to my mind. But that's the odd thing about snails, when inspired by them creatively they take on a wonderful appeal. They're cute little feelers, delicate spiral shell and slow easy going style. I know I'm not the only one that feels this way, a perfect example is Joo Joo !

When I came across Joo Joo's art blog I immediately fell in love with her snails ! Made with polymer clay and real shells she decorates them with beautiful flowers, leaves, clouds and other fanciful motifs.

I've included a few pictures of my favorites.

She also shows on her blog how she creates them and her inspiration for a particular snail design.

 She explains, "The inspiration for these snails is a Korean historical drama that I'm watching called "Yi San". The colors that they use in their paintings, clothes and decoration always draw my attention."

To see more delightful snails and to learn more about Joo Joo's art blog you can click HERE or on any of the photos or links.


Pica Pica ~ making empanadas

Pica Pica Maize Kitchen is a Venezuelan Arepera or take out style restaurant run by a father and daughter team. This is the first of it's kind in California with one in Napa and one in San Francisco. Adriana Lopez, the daughter, has a blog where she shares information and recipes for Venezuelan dishes. My husband and I have visited the Napa location and have enjoyed everything we've tried. So I thought I would share Adriana's photos and video instructions for making empanadas from her blog.

for more instructions on how to prepare empanadas click HERE to visit Adriana's blog


La Fuerza de Frida ~ Vogue Mexico

This beautiful fashion editorial appeared in Mexican Vogue for their March 2011 issue. I think they have done an excellent job interpreting the strength and unique style of the famous Mexican artist Frida Kahlo. What makes this homage to Frida so special is that it was photographed in la Casa Azul, her private residence in Coyoacán, Mexico. The title of the editorial "La Fuerza de Frida" means the strength or force of  Frida. I have also included below the video of the making  of this colorful editorial.

photographed by Michael Filonow /  model - Renata Sozzi



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