Thursday, July 31, 2008

Ornament Project

As featured on Craft Gossip!

I made a couple ornaments the other night. If you want to try making some, here are the instructions!

  • two pieces of felt
  • embroidery thread
  • thin piece of cardboard (I used the side of an empty cereal box)
  • about 15 inches of ribbon
  • a 2 1/4" worry doll
  • a little llama or animalito of your choice
  • needle
  • scissors
Instructions for llama ornament:
  • Cut two circles from felt, approximately 3 1/4" in diameter.
  • Cut a circle from cardboard, approximately 2 1/2" in diameter.
  • Cut a piece of ribbon, about 7 1/2" inches long.
  • Using embroidery thread, sew the llama onto one circle of felt.
  • Sew little lines to make snowflakes/stars or the design of your choice.
  • Sandwich the cardboard circle between the two felt circles (the cardboard gives it some stability).
  • Beginning at about "11:00", use blanket stitches counterclockwise to sew the circles together until you reach "1:00".
  • Fold the ribbon in half, places ends inside circles, and finish sewing the circle.
Instructions for worry doll ornament:
  • Cut two ovals from felt, approximately 4" long.
  • Cut oval from felt in contrasting color, approximately 3" long.
  • Cut an oval from cardboard, approximately 3" long.
  • Cut a piece of ribbon, about 7 1/2" inches long.
  • Using embroidery thread, sew the wory doll onto the 3" felt oval.
  • Stitch the 3" oval onto the front of one 4" oval.
  • Sandwich the cardboard oval between the two felt ovals (the cardboard gives it some stability).
  • Beginning at about "11:00", use blanket stitches counterclockwise to sew the circles together until you reach "1:00".
  • Fold the ribbon in half, places ends inside circles, and finish sewing the circle.

Wednesday, July 30, 2008


I've created pages on Facebook for La Chapina Huipil Crafts: the shop as well as this blog. If you'd like to join the network or become a "fan", check them out! Leave comments, product reviews, etc. And best of all, you can post photos of the crafts you've made using scrap bags, scrapbooking embellishments, beads, fabric squares, etc! I look forward to seeing your creativity.

La Chapina Huipil Crafts shop page.
La Chapina Huipil Crafts blog page.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

I Love This One!

This collar is machine-embroidered and cut from a huipil from Almolonga. Check out all the animals!

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Lovely Hand-Embroidered Collar

I saw a small huipil yesterday in the sale pile and had to bring it home; the huipil itself was nothing special, but the collar was beautiful! It's all hand-embroidered, which is relatively uncommon. It features roses and three little people.

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Market Scene Fabric

I went to the mercado yesterday to buy polyfill and ribbon, and I came across the neatest fabric, featuring scenes from a Guatemalan market. There are buildings and volcanoes in the background, and people buying and selling in the foreground. I bought 5 yards so I could keep some and sell some on Etsy.

I may use this fabric to try my first big sewing project. Need to find some online patterns first, though!

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Sewing Progress

I was having real problems the other day with the sewing machine, with all these loops appearing on the back of the fabric, like this:

So I called my mom! She said the tension wasn't right and that I needed to adjust it and make sure the machine was threaded correctly. I thought it was, but then I looked at the manual again and I'd done both the upper thread and bobbin wrong :) So I fixed them and got started on my first sewing machine project, making four ginormous 5" bows: one for Azucena and three to sell. They still took a long time, and they also used a heck of a lot of fabric. I think I'll stick to small bows in the future.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

My First Sewing Machine!

Sales were really good last week, so I decided to invest in a sewing machine to make some of my work more efficient. I'd never used a sewing machine before, much less owned one! Machines are more expensive here in Guatemala but I decided it was worth it. So on Saturday I bought a Brother XL 2600i.

I can be impatient when getting something new, wanting to just jump in without reading the manual. That method didn't work this time :) It is pretty complicated and I need to do a lot more practicing before I'm comfortable with it!

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Featured on a Blog

If you'd like to read the article about La Chapina Huipil Crafts on the DZ Fantasy blog, here's the link!

Kiva Loan

As mentioned in a post earlier this week, I bookmarked all proceeds of a particular item in my Etsy shop to a Kiva loan for a small businessperson in Central America. The item just sold! So I've loaned $25 to a woman in Chinandega, Nicaragua. Thank you to new customer "S" for your purchase! Here are the details:

Mrs. Argentina Aguilera is dedicated to selling basic staples and grocery products, as well as meat and all things associated with a general grocery store. She has a great deal of experience since she has been running the business for four years. She has two children and is responsible for maintaining them and providing for all of their needs.

Currently Argentina is asking for a loan through Kiva from the micro-lending group Ceprodel in order to purchase products that she can sell in her grocery store. It is important to emphasize that her dream is to improve her business and thereby distinguish herself as an important businesswoman in the Somotillo sector of Chinandega, Nicaragua, where she is from.

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Day Trip

My friend and I took a day trip to the towns of Zunil, Almolonga, San Andres Xecul, and San Francisco El Alto yesterday. It was interesting to visit these places in person because I've worked with textiles made in the first three of them. I enjoyed seeing the huipiles - that previously I'd only seen in shops - actually being worn by the women who live there. The tzutes, or utility cloths worn on the head or in baskets, were very common in the mercados, where women needed to keep the sun off their faces or carry produce in baskets on their heads.

at the mercado in Almolonga

Almolonga (L), Zunil (R)

Orders Shipped

If you purchased something from me prior to 7/16, your order shipped this morning from Maryland. Thanks a lot!

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Doll from San Ildefonso Ixtahuacan

This is the other Utzil doll I purchased in Guatemala City in May. It is dressed in the traje from San Ildefonso Ixtahuacan (you can see a photo of an actual huipil here). I love the cinta wrapped in her hair and the painted details on her clothing. Her collar makes it especially clear where she is from.

Again, sorry for the quality of the photos - The doll is still wrapped in plastic so I can't use a flash!

Monday, July 14, 2008


Update 7/20: Sold and loan made to Kiva!

Kiva is a microlending organization that gives small loans to entrepreneurs in developing countries. It provides a wonderful way for people to build their own businesses and raise their family's economic status.

I will give the entire sale price ($24) of this fabric collage to Kiva to help an individual somewhere in Central America. (When the loan is paid back, I will re-loan to another of their entrepreneurs). Click on the photo to see my full description and purchase!

When it sells, I will post information about the individual who will be receiving the loan.

Saturday, July 12, 2008


We were in a store tonight, and -- being the two-year-old she is -- our little girl was touching everything despite our insistence otherwise. She grabbed a necklace off a table and put it on, and when she tried to take it off, alllllll the beads went rushing onto the floor. She thought it was hilarious! She also had fun finding all the beads and putting them into our basket. It wasn't quite such an enjoyable experience for us ;)

The good news is, there were some pretty cool beads on that necklace; they're all handmade (aren't the hummingbirds cool?). Some of them I'm going to put on Etsy, and some I'll probably use in a future craft project.

Friday, July 11, 2008


I like the huipiles from Tactic because they so often have people or animal designs. Two of the first huipiles I bought were from Tactic; the size of the little characters made them perfect for Christmas ornaments. Here's a nice colorful one:

Thursday, July 10, 2008


If you purchased items from me and on Etsy and were satisfied with the transaction, I would love to get Etsy feedback from you! As a new seller there I'm trying to build up my reputation. Thanks a lot!

First Bows for Sale

After some experimenting, I felt ready to list several bows in my Etsy shop. They are still taking me a long time to make because of the hand-sewing, so they're not very profitable yet. However, I hope to become faster as I go along! I may try to make some barrettes for us grown-ups, too. Any comments or criticisms are welcome!

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Slight Departure from Guatemala

But not too far, still in Central America! I found molas, which are textiles from Panama, for sale here in Antigua and thought they would make cute ornaments. The amount of handwork in these small pieces is amazing - tons of tiny, tiny stitches! The birds are so cheerful - Wouldn't these be great in a sunroom or on a Florida-theme Christmas tree?

Monday, July 7, 2008

My First Bow

Today, thanks to the lovely Holly G of Da Holly G Bow, I had the supplies necessary to make my first hair bow! I'd been wanting to experiment with making hair bows out of huipil fabric, and I'm pleased with how this one turned out. The fabric is from Tecpan.

It's a bit time-consuming because I have to hand-sew the fabric to felt (for stability as well as appearance) and apply fray-check before getting started with turning it into a bow. I'm sure I'll get more efficient as I go along, though.

So what do you think?

Saturday, July 5, 2008


In addition to the scrap samplers, fabric squares, and worry dolls in the shop, I've been adding quite a few sets of beads I've found here in Guatemala. Anyone who's been to Antigua will remember the cute little girl beads on the necklaces women sell in the streets. Well, I've also found matching boy beads!

In addition to these, I'm offering handpainted turtles, butterflies, fruits and veggies, and other cute things like soccer balls. I think they would be adorable as children's jewelry or embellishments for picture frames and other decor! Take a look at the bead section in my Etsy shop for these as well as beads more suited for jewelry for adults :)

Thursday, July 3, 2008


For those of you who purchased something before 6/27: Your items shipped from North Carolina yesterday. You should be receiving them soon!

Next items purchased will ship the week of 7/16.


I've had fun making these over the last couple days, and most of them are already available in my Etsy shop!

Bebitos are little hanging dolls very similar to my simple baby dolls, but they are just under 4" long and have a ribbon for hanging. I wanted to think up another type of ornament for this year, and I realized that they really aren't just for the holidays. I think they'd look really cute hanging on a little key rack or on pegs under a shelf, year-round!

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Utzil Doll: Xelaju

I love the "Utzil" collection of handmade dolls from Quetzaltenango, Guatemala. The base of each papier mache doll is a soda bottle, which is covered in fabric and then painted. There are well over a hundred styles, both male and female, decorated to represent the traje from various parts of the country.

These dolls are getting harder to find. There used to be a web site for them, and they were available in several places around Antigua, but I haven't seen any here in about a year. I saw several at the gift shop in the Guatemala City Westin in January, but they were priced very high. I understand one can still buy them in Quetzaltenango.

Then when I was at the textile museum in Guatemala City, I found some and purchased two for my daughter ( for when she's older). One of them was this doll in ceremonial dress from Xelaju. I love the birds on the collar and the ring of cinta (handwoven ribbon) on her head with the pom-pom details. She carries a candle. The photos aren't great because the doll is still wrapped in its protective plastic, but you can still see how cute it is.

I did find an article about the dolls online, if you'd like to see more photos.

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Ceremonial Huipil from Patzun

This huipil was embroidered by Yolanda's mother and given to my daughter as a present for her second birthday (along with the lovely corte). The huipil is a child's size one from Patzun, in the size and style meant for special occasions such as weddings and important holidays.