Wednesday, January 2, 2019

Ojo de Dios - "Eye of God"

Classical/traditional crafts can be one of the best things for kids to make, it is a source of learning a little bit about history and another culture or even language. One of the popular crafts we would make in art class in the 1980s or even in Girl Scouts during our day camps, was a God's Eye, also known as Ojo de Dios, which in Spanish is "Eye of God". 

We would use our variegated yarn, and single colored yarn to make these wall hangings. Most of the time we would use craft sticks, other times we would make them out of twigs that we found in the woods when we were hiking. 

  

They are a lot of fun to make. We even exchanged them among ourselves the different designs and of course our family and would give them as birthday and Christmas presents. Little did I really realize the history behind the handicraft.
  
The Huichol Indians of western Jalisco, Mexico are thought to have originated the artwork. The Ojo de Dios, or God's Eye, is a simple or complex weaving made across two or more sticks which means "the power to see and understand things unknown." When a child is born, the central eye is woven by the father, then one eye is added for every year of the child's life until the child reaches the age of five. Original Huichol Crosses are extremely rare to come by. There are many that are being made for the tourist market, but they do not carry the same traditional and spiritual significance. 
  
How to make a God's Eye 
The materials that you need include: 
  • 2 sticks about the same length and similar thickness (about 5 inches). Can also use craft sticks, etc.
  • glue
  • Yarn (variegated and solid color yarn) 
Directions
Place both sticks on the table and cross them over each other forming an "X". In the center of the bottom stick, place a bit of glue and then place the second stick on top of it, forming a cross. Let it dry. OR if your child is older you do not have to use glue and just cross them over and hold in one hand. 

Gather one end of the yarn you have selected and tie the loose end of the stick as close as possible to the place where the two sticks come together (the center). 

Leave around 7 inches of "tail" hanging from the knot. Hold the sticks (in the cross), in one hand and with the other hand bring the yarn under one stick, around, then over to the next one, under it, around it, and over to the next one, repeating the pattern to the desired size you like.

If you would like to change colors of the yarn, cut your yarn and tie it to the new piece of yarn. Trim the section ends that are hanging and then continue weaving.  

When you are done with your weaving cut the yarn, leaving a tail of around 12 inches. Tie the two together where you can hang your project. 

Monday, December 31, 2018

Families in the Kitchen: Sausage, Kale and White Bean Soup


One of our favorite meals is soup, salad and bread sticks. They just go good together anytime. The recipe below is one of our all time favorite soups. It has been a staple for when we have taken meals to families or to potlucks. Just all round good.

Sausage, Kale and White Bean Soup

1 large onion, diced
3 T. olive oil
1 pound of smoked sausage or kielbasa, cut into bite-sized pieces (we also have substituted turkey sausage)
2 cloves of crushed garlic
4 carrots cut into small cubes
3 cups of white beans
5 cups of chicken stock
3 cups of chopped kale (our family uses roughly about 1 ½ cups and sometimes we have substituted spinach)
Salt and pepper

Chop and sauté your onions and garlic (until they are golden brown) in olive oil in a large stock pot. Add your sausage and cook until it is the desired tenderness that you like. Add carrots and sauté so that they are incorporated into the onion and garlic mixture. 

Add the chicken stock, white beans and kale. Simmer for roughly for one-hour. 

Enjoy

Sunday, December 30, 2018

January the Month of Weaving

It is hard to believe that 2018 is almost to a close and the beginning of 2019 us coming upon us. It just seems like yesterday that school was starting and we were sitting outside on the deck.

In January we are going to be featuring the art of weaving. If this is one of your joys we would
love for you to share a tutorial with our readers. If you have any projects that you have worked or currently working on with your family, grandchildren, students, etc., we would love for you to share as well.

Weaving can incorporate a variety of different mediums. It could include nature (leaves, twigs), yarn, paper, ribbon...really the ideas are endless...but we would love for you to contribute. Contributing could include sharing a photograph, tips that you have learned and future ideas and projects.

Does this sound interesting, please feel free to email us at michelle@himamma.com to share your photographs and tutorials. We would love to hear from you. We will give you credit and if you have a website/blog we will mention it as well. The vision of MHC is for us a community, to share the love of handmade in learning and growing together.

We look forward to kicking off MHC with the theme of weaving and wish you a Happy New Year!


Friday, December 28, 2018

Join Us in Creating Artwork for Partners With Ethiopia - Deadline February 20th

Help us in reaching the goal of drawing/coloring 500 pictures for Partners with Ethiopia. It is a great way to spend time with your children, grandchildren and friends. Many of the children who receive these coloring pages place them in their room to remind them that others care. ou 

Join us in creating artwork/coloring pages for Partners with Ethiopia. The holidays are a great time where families can get together and help others. What you create is really up to you. It can be a coloring book page, a personal drawing that you have created, it can be done with watercolor, paint, markers, crayons...the only requirement is that the artwork is on 8.50 X 11 paper. The kids that are going to be receiving the little surprises do not necessarily live in orphanages but could be living with a relative, some have lost one parent and are with the living parent, and some actually live with both parents, but the situation is so dire that they need help. 
On the front or even on the back write a message…something as simple as “we love you”, “we believe it you”. It can be a verse, a poem…something to let the children know that you care. We ask that everyone write only their first name on the artwork.

Partners With Ethiopia, works with a partner organization in Ethiopia, called FOVC (Friends of Orphans and Vulnerable Children). They do all the fundraising and deliver the services such as a hot meal, tutoring, hygiene training, medical care, etc. 

If you are interested in learning more please visit our Facebook page and DM us and we will share more details. Please remember the deadline is February 20th. 

Happy New Year!

Saturday, June 16, 2018

Dyed Flowers: A Fun Summer Science Experiment

Science…we love it. Many times when we have gone past the floral area at the grocery store and smell the sweet scent of roses and dainty daisies the girls have been fascinated with the array of colors and speculate if it is a "true" color or a "dyed" color. 

The scientists that they are...they love to create an experiment. 

Our flower dying experiment was over a course of several days. We started out using older daisies that we had purchased later the week before. We trimmed the bottom of the flower stems and placed them in the colored water glasses. The older flowers did not dye as well as we had hoped, but we knew that might be the case going into the experiment. A few days later we purchased new flowers and this time they did much better and the color was obvious and vibrant. 


One question the girls had asked was how soon do you think we will see the color in the petals? Within two hours, it was amazing to see the colors showing in the white petals. By dinner time, the flowers were fully dyed and in a brilliant shades of yellow, blue, red and green.


We even wondered if certain colors would dye the petals quicker than others. It seemed to us, the blue and the green food coloring dyed the white petals the fastest. I know in the printing world, that when you print with blue ink, it takes longer to dry than any other color just due to the pigment. I know it doesn't relate to the experiment but it is an interesting fact that makes you wonder about inks/coloring in general.


What kind of flowers can you use?
  • White carnations
  • White daisies
  • White roses 
  • White carnations 
  • White mums
The Experiment!
  • First place water in the bottom of your jars or glasses. Fill them so that they do not tip over. A nice solid glass. 
  • Next drop in food coloring until you get a nice, rich color. You can even add to the experiment by color mixing your primary colors, or even other colors that are in the food coloring box. Then mix your desired coloring in the jar so that it has dissolved. 
  • Take your flowers and at the bottom of the stem, cut at an angle. 
  • Remove the leaves that are near the bottom to keep them from sitting in your water.
  • Place your flowers in the jars.
Remember, the longer you keep your flowers in the dye the darker they will become.






Friday, January 19, 2018

Families in the Kitchen: Keylime Cheesecake

Whenever we travel to Florida for vacation, one of the most sought after desserts for our family is to split a slice of key lime pie. Then at each restaurant we visit, we will get a slice of pie...split it...then at the end of the trip we will decide which slice of pie we liked the best.

Not too long ago, our family each brought one of our favorite dishes. Our daughters love to cook and are always watching different cooking videos, reading different magazines and cookbooks, glancing through Instagram for different ideas to bake, make and create. So the girls decided they wanted to make key lime cheesecake. It threw me for a minute because they said cheesecake rather than pie...but my oh my this recipe was very good. 

Below please find one of our family favorites!

Keylime Cheesecake
1 1/4 pounds cream cheese, softened (2 ½ package – 8oz)
3/4 cup white sugar
1 cup sour cream
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
3 eggs
3/4 cup key lime juice
1 teaspoon vanilla extract


Make your favorite graham cracker crust in a springform pan.

In a large mixer bowl, add cream cheese and 3/4 cup sugar until smooth, beat in the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Add the sour cream, flour, key lime juice and vanilla. Mix the batter until it is smooth and no lumps.

Pour the filling over the crust. Bake the cheesecake in the preheated oven for 15 minutes, reduce the temperature to 250 degrees F (120 degrees C) and bake for 50 - 55 minutes longer, or until center is barely set.

Let the cheesecake cool on a rack, then chill, overnight. Remove the cheesecake from the pan and transfer it to a cake stand. You can add a thin slice of lime and whip cream to the top of each cheesecake slice, or even sliced mango. 

Happy cooking!

Friday, January 5, 2018

Families in the Kitchen - Share Your Favorite Recipe.

We are going to be starting a series for 2018 of "Families in the Kitchen". Where families can share their favorite recipes and tips. Many times, children fix their own after-school snacks, and/or help pack their school lunches, or better yet surprise their parents with a special evening meal. After all, children are in the kitchen and what better way than families sharing their favorite recipes and cooking together. 

Children learn a lot from their parents when they are cooking. You talk about how is the best way for example, to peel a cucumber...to sautéing onions and other items that are included within a dish. It is a way for parents to share special recipes that are near and dear to their families traditions and hearts.

If you are interested in participating or have any questions please email michelle@himamma.com. Please include your recipe, a photograph in a jpeg format and any additional information that you would like to include. 

We look forward to launching "Families in the Kitchen".

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