Friday, December 31, 2010

Adieu 2010 and "HELLO" 2011!

My philosophy up until now has always been that the best New Year's resolution is to have NO resolution. I find that I usually work harder when I am not under pressure. I work more efficiently if I set short term goals as I go along. So far this has worked really well: I have always been able to accomplish many small goals throughout the year, every year, as well as at least one major goal a year.

This year I am going to try something different. I have made a small list of the things I would like to improve on and even accomplish in 2011. For those of your who missed it, click here.

Some of my accomplishments in 2010:

Went to the gym on a regular basis at least twice a week
Changed my eating habits - I feel so much healthier now
Maintained my weight while increasing muscle and lowering my body fat percentage
Got my wisdom teeth removed
Got in touch with old friends
Became a Certified QuickBooks Pro Advisor
Joined the blogosphere and I am loving every minute of it!!!
Worked hard but still found time to craft
Saw Buddy Guy and BB King in August
Saw Shakira in October
Saw my nieces and nephew in July <3, <3, <3

Major goal: Started my own line of unique dish towels, kitchenware and trendy accessories: Ooh Leela! 

I can't believe how fast this year has gone by. I am however looking forward to 2011 (my brother is getting married in January and I am going on a trip in March :) :) :) I am also working on a 2011 goal (as we speak) and trying to come up with something really cute for my brother's wedding (it is a surprise, pics will be posted after 01/07 - stay tuned).

For now, have a **WONDERFUL** New Year.

If you have some time, show me some love on Facebook, will ya? Xoxo's!

Thursday, December 30, 2010

I took the handmade pledge, will you?
If you would like to be a part of this amazing movement, click here.

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

New Year's resolution

Hello readers! I hope you had an amazing Christmas! We had a great family get together... There was so much food... I All of us ended up eating a bit too much as usual. My favorite dish was the pineapple upside down cake my Mom made! What about you? What did you have for Christmas?

2011 is just a few days away and I wanted to take a moment to write down my goals and resolutions for the new year:

1. Visit my family more often
2. Spend some quality time with my grandparents (they are getting old and I feel I have so much to learn from them)
3. Volunteer at a kids hospital or a convalescent home
4. Grow Ooh Leela! and make it a profitable business by the end of the year
5. Learn how to make candles and soap
6. Add gift cards to the shop
7. Offer gift of the month club membership options
8. Post more regularly
9. Travel (Italy, Greece and Spain are at the top of my list)
10. Read more books
11. Keep my self-criticism in check

I am sure I will continue adding to the list, but this will do for now.

Have a great eve!

Friday, December 24, 2010

Santa Claus is coming to town! Yay!

There is no time like Christmas time. It warms my heart and it makes me feel all cozy and fuzzy inside. Oh, and giddy too. I must say that yesterday was one of the best days I have had in a long time. I still got up early and went to the gym and got my behind kicked (it feels awesome though).

Then I went to Chipotle, bought Leela (my silky terrier aka little princess - thus the name Ooh Leela!) a beautiful Christmas sweater, and spent the afternoon making beautiful jars full of cappuccino and hot cocoa mix. I plan on giving these to my family members, but they turned out so cute that I think I have no choice but to post them on Etsy as well. This was one of the first times I played with paper and it was magical. I did not feel the need to eat or sleep (even though it was past midnight by the time I was done) and I dreamt of these jars all night long. I hope they bring as much happiness to the recipients as they did me.

May you have a blessed Christmas and don't forget to thank God for all the good people and things in your life. Sure, giving gifts is fun but it is not what Christmas is all about. May you get to spend it with your loved ones, and may your heart be filled with joy!

Here are some snaps of my latest project! Enjoy!

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Last minute gift ideas

Whew! This has been one super busy month, on so many levels. Work has been super crazy, but I am happy to say that I am officially on vacation (or staycation if you will) until the 3rd of January! Hooray to that!

For those of you who have been following the blog, you know that I am always on a budget and looking for good and sensible deals.

Here is what I have come up with for people on my list (I think it is a well balanced mix of handmade and store bought things):

Luggage set from eBay (highly recommended, super fast shipping and the bags are absolutely awesome!)
Handmade luggage tags (a new item for my Etsy shop - coming soon)
A Sharper Image foot massage thingy I found at Costco 
Beautiful gloves found at Target (they are on sale)
Jars of homemade cappuccino and hot chocolate mixes (a new item for my Etsy shop as well, pictures coming soon).
Handmade coffee sleeve (new item for the shop too - SO cute! pictures coming soon too)

What is on your Christmas list? Share all your handmade secrets! Xoxo's

Monday, December 13, 2010


Ok, so I must admit that sometimes I give in to self pity... Ever since hubby got laid off last week I have sort of felt a little sad, especially because it happened right before Christmas. The lesson I was reminded of today is that I need to focus on positive things, and remember that I am loved and healthy and there is no money or job in the world that can buy family, love or health.

My brother has been living with me for the past 8 years and he is moving to a different country early next year. To make a long story short, he got my name tattooed on his arm today! When he showed it to me, he said with tears in his eyes that no matter where he goes, he will take me with him... I guess everyone has a way of showing their feelings. I love you little bro and wish you all the best on this new journey. You have taught me a lot and I could not have done it without you.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

More DIY holiday decor ideas

This week was a bit rough around here. Hubby was laid off and I had all 4 of my wisdom teeth extracted. Ouch! The good news is hubby is in really good spirits and we truly believe that when a door closes two more open. Funny enough, this happened a day before my surgery and I must admit that I have never been so pampered in my entire life. He makes a great male nurse and I am loving every minute of it.

I came across two beautiful and super easy holiday tutorials this week and I wanted to share them with you. I have not had a chance to try making these just yet, so let me know how it goes.

The first one is a Christmas wreath, by Tania Willis of whatchu talkin bout willis? Tania is an amazing scrapbooking artist as well as super mom.

                                           Source: Tania's blog

For step by step directions, click here.

The other tutorial I came across this week was made by Monica Ewing from the Crafty Nest. Monica is a web designer and a crafter.

                                                     Source: Crafty Nest

Find the tutorial here.

Have an amazing weekend everyone!

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Tutorial: holiday/winter DIY centerpiece

Hello Ooh Leela friends! I know it has been a while since I last "saw" you, but this past week was absolutely crazy! Work was extremely demanding and I have a huge to-do list: more tutorials and material for the blog, I have been working on some nice projects for Ooh Leela's Etsy shop, I need to increase traffic to the shop, holiday shopping, etc etc.

I read a few blogs on a daily basis and it seems that everyone is on the same boat as far as to-do lists go. If you have any survival tips, PLEASE share (can you read the desperation?).

I don't know about you, but hubby and I always end up overspending during the holidays. We were at Costco last week and hubby wanted to buy me some flowers (isn't he SO sweet?), but I had an idea I had wanted to try for a few years and since we had already spent way more than our budget allowed, I said no.

I put this centerpiece together the other day and he loved it! He thought it was the coolest thing ever! So did my mom and friends. And the best part? It did not cost us a thing! And it makes such a huge impact!

Tutorial: DIY holiday/winter centerpiece

Material list:

Red maple tree leaves or any red leaves you manage to find in your yard
Pine cones (smaller ones are better): this can also come from your backyard
1 tall vase
Tree branches: I got mine at Michael's a few years ago


1. Clean your vase, and add the pine cones to the bottom (appr. 1/4 of the vase).

2. Arrange the red leaves nicely, so that the red part actually shows. Mixing smaller and bigger leaves works really well.

3. Play with the branches. See what works best.

4. I chose to display a couple of candles on both sides of the vase because I think they compliment the design quite nicely.

And because the leaves are red, you can leave this up until Christmas. The only thing I would change is the candles. Perhaps use red candles, or Santa/Frosty? 

Next up: Christmas baskets, decor and chair covers. A MUST see.

Sunday, November 28, 2010


Be sure to visit my Etsy shop tomorrow. Type BLOG10 during checkout for 10% off.

There are lots of cute stuff, totally handmade and unique. They would make a great gift this holiday season!

Thank you for supporting handmade!

Be sure to stop by this week. I will be posting a series of holiday decorating tips.



Saturday, November 27, 2010

I am on Twitter everyone! Follow me!!!

Woo-hoo! Follow me on Twitter for the latest updates, specials and sale!

Friday, November 26, 2010

Tutorial: learning the basics of cross stitching

As promised, here is a step-by-step guide to cross-stitching. Enjoy! 

In case you missed the free pattern the other day, click here.

Material list:
  • Embroidery floss: DMC and Anchor are the most popular brands. This is your project, so you get to pick the color you want to use. I would recommend a deep red or fuchsia. Floss has 6 strands, but we will only use 2 in this particular project.  
  • Fabric: there are different materials in different colors available. We will use a small piece of 14-count Aida fabric and we should choose a color that works well with the colors chosen for the design. I think white or ivory would be best.
  • Needle: 1 tapestry needle, size 24
  • Scissors

1. Print the pattern I shared earlier this week. This particular graph has colors. Some graphs have symbols. Each symbol represents a color. 

2. Count the little squares. The pattern above is 9 squares wide by 9 squares long. Find the perfect place for your pattern on the fabric you are using. In the photo below, I chose to leave 3 squares on the right side and 2 squares at the bottom. You may choose to mark the area you will stitch with needles (like I did), floss, taylor's chalk or a marking pen. 

3. Thread the needle with 2 strands of floss. Do not pull both ends so that they are even with each other; instead leave a small tail at the end, close to the eye of the needles. Also, do not tie the ends into a knot. The idea is to make the back of the design look as professional as the front. 

4. As shown in the pictures below, place your needle behind the fabric and insert the needle into a hole. Hold the longer tail behind your fabric and stitch over this tail while you make the next several stitches.

5. Cross stitching is a combination of // and \\. Always stitch in the same direction. For instance, we will stitch from left to right. So, according to the pattern, we will go /// skip one ///. Then, we will go back doing the same thing, but from right to left: \\\ skip one \\\. The important thing is to always make sure the stitches face the same direction, which in our case is /// then \\\.

6. Consistent tension is key. You don't want loose stitches, but you don't want tight stitches either. They should be flat against the fabric. 

7. Finishing your work: once again, remember: we don't use knots. Once you have finished stitching, weave your needle through the existing stitches and use a pair of scissors to cut the ends. 

And VOILA! Our beautiful heart is ready! This particular one will become a hand towel, and it will be a Christmas gift to my husband's grandma!

If you have any questions, please post a comment and let me know. I will be happy to answer any questions you may have. 

BTW: how was your Thanksgiving? Mine was wonderful, full of family, good friends and delicious food.  

Speaking of wonderful, I have just finished some wonderful dish towels. I will be posting them in my Etsy shop tonight. Be sure to check them out and tell me what you think.

Have a great weekend!

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Happy Thanksgiving Folks!

May you have a blessed Thanksgiving, full of love, family and friends! 

Be sure to come back tomorrow for a step-by-step guide on how to cross-stitch. It looks SO good, I can barely contain myself (giggles...)!

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Be good this Holiday Season

                            Source: MS Office Clip Art collection
Good day readers! Tomorrow is Thanksgiving and I am so excited! It has been a tradition since I got married to have Thanksgiving dinner at our place. Not to worry! I have a **WONDERFUL** mother-in-law who not only emanates light and happiness but who also helps me so much. She in fact prepares everything, so all I have to do is organize our place and prepare some finger food. I am thinking about making some clam dip and pesto bruschetta. If you would like to see those recipes posted here or emailed to you, let me know and I will be happy to oblige :)

Now on to more important things. This morning I woke up thinking about my art, how to improve my photographs, new products for my Etsy shop, etc. And I admit that I was also thinking about my favorite drink in the whole wide world - a Grande, non-fat, no whipped cream, 6-pump white chocolate mocha. I am picky like that ;) As I parked my jelly bean of a car (my prius) I saw the familiar face of a nice man who is always sitting in front of my neighborhood Starbucks. The jelly bean said it was 33 degrees outside. As I walked in, I greeted him as I usually do and I added "It is so chilly outside!" The poor man responded: "Try sleeping outside, that's chilly!" I was so disconcerted I did not know what to say. I had seen and greeted that man on a regular basis and it had never occurred to me that he was homeless. 

But all the signs were there, if just I had stopped worrying about my life and what I needed to do that day and paid more attention to people around me... So readers, my advice today is: pay more attention to things, places and people around you. Chances are you have been missing out on a lot of things. 

And be kind to others. Although our first instinct might be to think that the reason someone is in a precarious situation is because they did it to themselves, try not to be judgmental, and do know that regardless of the reasons someone is where he/she is today, he/she may not deserve to be there. 

While I was waiting for my drink, I was thinking of the things I could do to help the poor man. After all, no one deserves to be cold. So I went home, packed a blanket, a comforter, some old clothes and a pair of gloves and drove back to the coffee shop. Needless to say, my friend, the homeless guy, was so grateful and happy. Be good this holiday season and remember: if you give the world the best you have, the best will come back to you. 

I have done some research and compiled a list of charity organizations in the San Francisco Bay Area that are accepting donations this holiday season:

1. Society of St. Vincent de Paul in SF. They accept cash donations as well as donations to their thrift shops:

2. San Francisco Food Bank: 

3. Bay Area Kids Charity:

I will be back over the long weekend to post that tutorial, I promise.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Free cross stitch pattern

I taught myself how to cross stitch when I was about 8 or 9 years old.I find it so relaxing and good for the soul. Not to mention that it is a lost art. You don't see it very often anymore and when you do, more often than not, the design is very vintage looking. I enjoy working with designs that have some nostalgia to them but that also have a modern touch. This way I can incorporate most of my designs in my everyday life and proudly display my collection at home. 

I have created this simple and yet charming heart pattern and I wanted to share it with you. I am still new at this, so if you want to receive the pattern in PDF, please leave a comment with your email address and I will be happy to email it to you. 

What else would you like to see on this blog? Your comments are definitely appreciated!

Please come back. I will be posting a tutorial to teach you how to cross stitch soon. 

Be sure to visit my Etsy shop at