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I spent the first two hours of my day (yes two whole hours) cleaning up my office. After mentally organizing how my Monday would be during the weekend, it was enough to step into my office room and decide that I needed an organized environment to get me thru the week!

There is something extremely soothing that comes from actually seeing the floor! In my defense I can say that I had to disassemble several pieces from the magazine photoshoot, including an oh so amazing party decor!

I can do my creative/project-design work in more less chaos. I survive on such an environment for as long as I need to finish the task in hands. But once I have completed it I simply need an organized environment to work. Period!

Since this week involves a lot of desk work, I need my surroundings to be more or less pristine……So, in spite of all my preparation and scheduling on how today was going to go, I just had to stop, organize and start again!

One week away from my supposed vacation, I already know that I am taking work with me. At least for the first week, I just have to tackle some still not tackled subjects. Although I don’t like it, I have learned that it is what it is and worrying too much about it is simply not worth it!

In the meantime and updating on our Craft for Nepal venture, we have made 25 quilts. YES, 25 QUILTS!!!!!! We are going to sell raffle tickets for 1 “brick” each and we will draw out 25 winners, one for each quilt. We hope to raise 6.000 “bricks” for this cause. If we manage that, we will be able to support two families and give each of them a new house. Isn’t that worth all of our efforts?

Because Life is a story worth sharing…..please share and join in to help if you can!

(I wrote this article for the second issue of Love Crafts, here in it’s English version)

I have always liked pretty things! And well done too! Simple details that sometimes escape the common eye. Realizing that someone actually went the extra mile to turn a simple meal, a casual encounter, into a memorable occasion.

My husband’s grandmother used to say that the linen towels at our house were always perfectly pressed. And although ironing is not a task I treasure at all, the truth is that I love a straight linen table cloth, a sea of pure white stretched out on a table.

Lined silverware, glasses in their position, linen napkins folded into place. All signs that someone had or tried to have time. In an era where life is a constant race and Time is what we lack most, there are moments when it is so very worth it to make an effort to stretch it up, to make each unit of time, two or three times worth it’s value.

The reward for such efforts come almost in disguise most of the times: a kiss you hardly feel, a “thank you Mum” softly whispered, a hug more or less tight and a smile. A smile from someone who knows that on that day, on that instant, such a moment was only possible because somehow, someone had time!

I often wonder what legacy I will leave one day for my children, what is the one thing they will remember me by. That is probably the main reason why I never say no to a last minute request for a chocolate cake to take to school, even when the time units are already stretched to infinity or to a one on one conversation, when it’s everything but the moment to have it.

A message when they least expect it, a small treat on their backpack, a small gift in their room after work abroad. Signs that there was time…that I gave them even what I didn’t have.

But believe me, my time is not bigger nor more than any other of you out there. It just looks like it…

Few things in this life grow without being nurtured, taken care of. Love doesn’t grow without dedication, friendships don’t blossom if they are not promoted, cherished. Encounters don’t take place if we don’t remember ourselves that it is important to give those we care for the gift of us, the gift of time.

Being something to someone is no longer enough. We have to work to achieve it, to actually be! Family, friends deserve our effort, our race against the odds, our probably non existent time!

It is so worth it making that effort! Going out with friends, being with ones family, making a piquenique with our children, going on an adventure with ones nephews, making a hiking trip with the grandparents! Dating with our other half, going to the beach just to watch the sunset…

Take a chance! Make that leap! I promise you it is worth it! In the memory of those to whom you give yourself and your time, forever will remain the memory that it was much more than just any other Summer day….

Because Life is a story worth sharing….

Everyone knows I am a little biased when it comes to Scrapbook products! I shouldn’t say it, but I am! I have had a crush for Crate Paper products for a while and somehow they are so easily workable in my hands!

I specially like to make mini albums. Not that I don’t have enough photos to make big ones but I like the sense of a beginning and an end not so far away from each other!

I made this one for the first issue of Love Crafts magazine. It is actually the project that appears in the cover. I honestly like the simple binding I used on it and the mix between the wood, vellum, sequins and tassels. It is also very inexpensive to make the binding like this!

And yes I have become sort of addicted to sewing on paper. If you haven’t tried it yet, you must! Just remember that you should keep a separate needle to sew on to paper. Just stack it in a labeled box, and use it just for this purpose.

When I started building the album, I honestly didn’t think of the title first hand. But somehow as I kept putting the photos into place the “This makes me happy” title made so much sense!

If nothing else, this Mini album contains some of my all time favorite photos. They capture fun, relaxed moments, where I can see how my children have and are growing ever so much faster than I would wish!

This photo is almost a year old! We always have photos of the four children taken during our summer vacations. I can’t wait to take some this year and compare the change!

All the others are just collected moments, turned into pages of an album. Captured moments that somehow were immortalized by a lens!

In a time that goes by ever so much faster and where smart phones have taken a special position, I am still found, several times actually, carrying my camera around. It’s been my ally for a few years and I love to see the world thru it.

Photos and images are printed (even if only on screen), collected seconds of a time that has passed. They should be cherished and cared for, for many years to come because when our mind will no longer be able to remember the days gone by, the photos we took will for sure remit us to those perfect, wonderful and happy moments captured by our cameras.

You know that question, if your house was on fire and you could only choose one possession to take with you  (of course assuming all human lives were already in a safe place), what would it be? My answer to that has always been photo albums. That I think goes to show how much I cherish them.

Photos give us the opportunity to travel in time, to happy days, to moments we believed were worthwhile to capture. If we loose them we also loose the opportunity to take such a ride down memory lane. I know, without any doubt, that I will forever treasure such bliss!

Because yes, it is a bliss, to be able to take photos of these precious moments…it means they actually existed!

Because life is a story worth sharing….

 

I have lost count on the number of times I have a post outlined, even word by word, and then fail miserably at actually posting it!

So I decided to make a quick update of the last four or so months of my life! As usually I will fail miserably and forget to mention something important but well, it is what it is!

May begun with two very important things in my life: the scrapbook event Hot Chocolate XL and the launch of my magazine Love Crafts!!!!

 

I look really strange in that photo with the rest of the designers that came to teach here in Porto! I was so honored to receive Diane Schultz and Jeff Filimoehala from Graphic45, Manoli Picatua and Shimelle Laine! The event was a huge success and everyone left happy and with a bag full of projects and memories!

 

This was the cover of the first issue of the magazine, my magazine, Love  Crafts! It is definitely a labor of love turning up for ideas for this beauty every two months but it is so worth it!!! That dresser can now be proudly seen in my bedroom!

Then I went with Manoli Picatua and together we were Te & Chocolate at a consumer show in the north of Spain. Oh boy did we work our b… of those two days!

My new and gorgeous nephew Frederico was born, Leonor completed 4, with an all over Mickey Mouse party (yes Mickey, not Minnie!!!!), Filipe had his confirmation, which gets us into June!

Call me a chicken Mum, but this boy is going to crash some hearts when he grows up!!!!

Not bad, right? I made all the paper decorations, the cupcakes and cookies!!!! And a million other things not seen in the photos!
The two sisters in love with their baby brother!!!!

With June it was time for the anual Ballet play at our school. And when I say ours, I mean mine and Leonor! So on the 9th we both stepped into the stage at Casa da Musica! It was a very important moment for both of us!

It felt so good to give my ballerina her first bouquet!

Then it was time to prepare the second Love crafts, Gonçalo turned 16 and had the right to a special birthday party with his friends and family, Filipe finished the 6th grade and we organized a get together with parents, teachers and students and that….got us into July and the second number of the magazine was launched!!!!

I know I am biased, but doesn’t it look gorgeous? To celebrate it’s launch I taught two days of free classes at FIA in Lisbon. Two very different projects, two scrapbook mini albums, that I have come to notice I don’t post enough of!

This one is an envelope mini album that is great for a made to measure album, because you can put as many or as little envelopes as you like. And it is so adjustable in terms of theme! The instructions on how to build it are on the second issue of Love Crafts!

This Baby Mini Album made with Graphic45 papers is a little bit more complicated to build. The spine is built with an accordion fold and the double sided pages are then glued to it. The really good thing about it is that you can make it boy or girl themed!

See those three big smiles? Yes, the three girls were lucky to go to Disney with their Grandmother and I went along to help. Funny enough there isn’t one single photo of the five of us. The only one we took all together…actually doesn’t have all of us in it!

It was so much fun to see their smiling faces! And of course, Leonor was specially happy with her all time favorite character Mickey Mouse!

I always admire the fact that a photo can capture the nano second where something spectacular is happening. The sweetness of this image is not lost on me….

Relationships, of all sorts, are built of memories. Piled up tiles that remind us of good and sometimes bad moments. But in order to build these memories, we must make the time to nurture, care for the ones we love, show them we are there. I know for sure these girls will forever cherish and remember with sweetness the moments we all spent together! And the thousands of photos I took will for sure help with that!

And July could not finish without another special day in my life. It I often lack time, I also often forget how fast it flies by! So the 29th welcomed our 20th wedding anniversary! Yes, 20 years of marriage, 25 years dating my gorgeous husband!

More than the gifts we gave one another, the time we managed to push into our agendas to have a day off to celebrate this date, was the best thing we could have given to one another! The views of the Douro valley made this a day to be remembered when rainy days come by!

One last thing in July made it a very special month indeed! 40 km walk/run during the blue moon night, from Guimarães to Gerês! My legs are slowly regaining the conscience of existence!

In the midst of all this, me and my sewing bunch (and friends who also gathered) are making quilts to raise money to send to Nepal. So far we have 25 quilts almost ready. Yes, that many! We hope to raise enough money to build two solid houses that will provide two families with a roof over their heads.

I was never a big fan of Alice in wonderland but somehow when I seem to be lacking time for, well, everything, the image of the rabbit running around with the clock in his hands, resonates to me as so familiar that it hurts! Maybe I was that rabbit in another life…. and nothing changed!!!

“Alice:How long is forever? White Rabbit:Sometimes, just one second.”
Lewis Carroll, Alice in Wonderland

Because life is a story worth sharing…..

Do you know when you have something so precious that you store it so you can dedicate it the time it deserves? And then time goes by and other things come in the way and that treasure you have stays hidden away for a little or a not so little time….

And then by some coincidence of faith and time you stumble upon it.

That happened to me yesterday! I was organizing Leonor’s room, which was in deep, deep need when I found a box. I new that box had fabric no doubt, but after taking it all it’s content out and making two piles, a to keep and a to give I came across my treasure!

Yes, a real treasure! It may not seem much to you: some bits of fabric sewn together but it is not just the what it is more the who.

I had a friend, yes had, because she is no longer with us, that had amazing hands, exquisite taste and a knowledge about patchwork like little in Portugal. Cancer took Inês in 2012. But besides the memory of her broad smile and huge talent, she left me this treasure…

For most, this might not look special: a small piece of apple core sewn pieces and some squares that were destined for a sampler. Well, maybe they don’t look like much but they mean the world to me!

They are a reminder of what is good and beautiful. And yes the photos are not much but I so wanted to share my good fortune I just didn’t wait to get them at their full potential.

Because I am a firm believer of paying it forward and because I know that Inês would join me in this cause if she was here, I decided to use these pieces and transform them into two small quilts that are destined to raise money to rebuild houses in Nepal (craft for nepal). I have decided to share my treasure with others.

The work is already on the way and by now we have 24 quilts in the making. Yes 24! Spread between a lot of talented and good willing ladies, they are slowly but steadily coming together.

I am proud of the work we are doing. No matter how much money we raise in the end: we have been working hard and dedicating our time to help others.

That is why I just couldn’t keep this treasure for myself. Why? Because it is giving that you receive but most of all because I know somehow, these pieces, cut and sewn by Inês three years ago were destined for this cause….

Because Life is a story worth sharing…