Category: around the world

2015 in embroidery

My last post was a roundup in pictures of my year of 2015. Today’s post is another kind of roundup: it’s 2015 in embroidery. These were the projects I created for the air Embroidery Club. Most come from sketches on my sketchbook, some are observation sketches, some are patterns borne out of doodles. But they were all ways for me to learn and experiment new techniques. If you’re curious about the Club, click here. If you want to learn how to embroider (free!), register here.


air Embroidery Club - Jan-2015

This sketch was made during a trip to Mexico, where VW Beetles are a common presence. Mexico was a treat for the senses, with all its colors and spices.


air Embroidery Club - Feb-2015

This embroidery was made on a typical “chita de Alcobaça”, and it is based on a sketch inspired by my hometown of Lisbon, Portugal.



air Embroidery Club - Mar-2015

This floral design was made to remind me that Spring was just around the corner. And it came early, as soon as I started embroidering this project.


air Embroidery Club - Apr-2015

An animated view of the process to complete April 2015's air Embroidery Club project.
An animated view of the process to complete April 2015’s air Embroidery Club project.

This was one of my favorite projects to date: although challenging (working with metallic floss took some trial and error), it was very fulfilling to both my mind and my senses, as it created a delightful texture on the fabric.


air Embroidery Club - May-2015

In May, I tried to create a deep, full texture with very few elements: one color, one stitch, one element repeated. I loved how this project turned out.


air Embroidery Club - Jun-2015


In June, I repurposed a tunic that was bound for the recycling bin.


air Embroidery Club - Jul-2015


In July I dreamed of childhood summers, with endless days at the beach, playing with the waves and building sand castles.


air Embroidery Club - Aug-2015

In August, I embroidered a sketch made in Sortelha, Portugal, one of the historical villages along the border with Spain.


air Embroidery Club - Sep-2015


In September, I played a bit with cross stitch and other filling stitches in this door I sketched a few years ago in Casco Viejo, Panama.


air Embroidery Club - Oct-2015


In October, my embroidery took me back to the sunset on my friend’s balcony back in Macau, where I spent my teenage years and revisited in April 2015.


air Embroidery Club - Nov-2015


November’s project was based on a sketch I made right outside my studio.


air Embroidery Club - Dec-2015

You know how there is “comfort food”? Well, this was my “comfort embroidery”, to be shared with members of the air Embroidery Club in the month of December.



Discovered this unfinished #embroidery from years ago. It was made after a #Swedish postage #stamp, in #cross #stitch. I think I love it.

And the #template! #embroidery

One of the good things about moving (actually, moving back home) is the opportunity to look at stored boxes as time capsules. Today I happened to open my old – let’s call it vintage instead – embroidery bag. I found inside an unfinished embroidery project, probably about 20 years old.

When I saw it, I felt taken by emotion. I remember it exactly, I remember why it remained unfinished (just a few stitches to go, actually). I think I realized, after all this work, that I started it too close to the border. The pattern was taken from a stamp my friend R. sent me from Sweden, when both of us were teenagers and I can’t remember how the design ended in the original source.

What I know now is that I want to finish it and do something with it. Do you have any suggestions? Maybe apply it on a quilt? Maybe make a border out of another material and frame it?

What do you think?

Uppercase #17: Stationery around the world

Uppercase #17: Stationery around the world

Uppercase #17: Stationery around the world

A few months ago, I had the honor of collaborating with Uppercase Magazine. Janine, the fantastic founder and editor, organized a feature around stationery around the world, and kindly asked me to contribute to the Latin American section. (Thank you, Janine!)

I loved researching, talking to artists and writing the article, which you will be able to read in issue number 17. It is now available online and on selected distributors.

But, better yet, subscribe to Uppercase! I am happy to share with you that you can get a discount off the subscription price by entering “contributor17” as a discount code. Enjoy!

I want to thank the following artists for their help:

Corrupiola (Leila e Aleph)
Alpharrábio (Ana Roberta)

La Casuni (Valeria)
Toshisworld (Nieves Pumarejo)

I leave you with a couple more spreads from other parts of the world:

Uppercase #17: Stationery around the world

Uppercase #17: Stationery around the world

My country is beautiful






These images are not recent; they were captured in December 2010, when we all visited Madeira, Portugal, for New Year’s. I don’t recall why I never posted these pictures; I think I have just been busy.

Today I was cleaning up some files and folders in my computer and found these. Such beautiful landscapes are too beautiful to stay confined, aren’t they?

Have a good week, everyone.

Day 15

Day 15

Happy Saturday, everyone!

Today’s pattern mixes handmade shapes with formal repetitions. It would work well on a tote bag, a notebook… Where else would you use it?

Agora, em português: a todos os que saíram à rua para se manifestarem contra a política de austeridade que este governo (mais troikista que a troika!) nos quer impor a todos, agradeço o terem saído. Com muita pena, estou longe e não posso comparecer (nem vale a pena mencionar o nosso consulado honorário). Sigo atentamente, ainda que de longe, a situação que é de todos nós, presentes e emigrados.

Una palabra también a mis amigos argentinos: vaya cacerolazo! Muy bien!


#algarve #portugal

This was quite a long hiatus: first, summer break and a trip to my lovely Portugal – words cannot convey how much I am in love with my hometown Lisbon – and then an impromptu trip to Argentina and Chile, to meet old friends and revisit the place where I lived for three years.

La Parva, #chile #andes

I’m happy to be home now, and back to my regular routine, but these two trips were certainly very revitalizing and appreciated.

Have you been to Lisbon, Buenos Aires or Santiago? Would you like to? Come and share your thoughts below.

Mexico in my heart

"...and your address is, please?" #méxicodf

A city with a local "cafebrería" has to be one of a kind. So is #méxicodf

"tout chocolat". Need I say more? #méxicodf

Inside Mercado Medellín, #méxicodf

There's beautiful type everywhere. #méxicodf

I´m back from Mexico, but I guess my heart is still there. When I need inspiration, I look at the images I caught of beautiful buildings, streets, fountains, type, pattern, you name it. I loved it so, so much, what a beautiful place.

Now, I´m no longer accustomed to that crazy low humidity level, people! 🙂 (Which makes me think of my friend J., who, no longer in Mexico, could not picture washing hands without immediately moisturizing them – now I get it.)

Mexico City


I´m in love with Mexico City and I don´t think I could be more surprised about it. Maybe my expectations were too low; all the stories I had heard were of crazy traffic, terrible insecurity, awful air quality. And I don´t intend to say that this does not happen, because it probably does in other areas of the city. But so far I have found a city where one of the biggest avenues is closed for motor traffic on Sunday mornings; where bicycle tracks exist and bikes can be rented at convenience, using a smart card; where public transportation works – specially the Metrobus, which in my opinion is the best system of public transportation ever designed. (By the way, it was designed in Curitiba, Brazil, and then exported to many cities such as Bogotá and Mexico City. It is a surface “subway” system, with buses instead of trains, running on dedicated lanes with intervals of about 15 to 30 seconds between consecutive buses. Absolutely fantastic.)

Em San Angel, #MéxicoDF

People are so kind here: instead of transactions, there are conversations; I love talking to people and asking them for their advice when I buy things – fabric, for instance – and this time around I had a wonderful conversation with the shopkeeper, who was so nice as to have her son prepare the goods while she took her time to talk to me. I´m not used to this type of kind service anymore, so it was such a treat.

Alambre de arrechera.

Mango season in Mexico. #méxicodf

And it´s mango season! There are mango vendors on street corners, peeling and selling mangos ready to eat. And the food? Sopa de tortilla has been on the menu every single day, and I don´t think that will change for the remainder of the trip. Alambre de arrachera, tacos al pastor, tacos de pescado al pastor, ceviche… the food is delicious everywhere, either the most humble street place or the chain restaurant. Food is central to the culture, and it is great. Meals are enjoyed slowly, without rush, which is something that I deeply enjoy and miss so much. I know that it is customary in many countries to receive the bill, unsolicited; but here that´s just rude. Meals are not to be rushed.

"Frida and Diego lived in this house", Coyoacán

A Rua da Amargura afinal existe (em San Angel, Cidade do México)

Oh, Mexico, I didn´t know I would fall in love this way.

(Click here to see the full flickr set.)

I´m still here.


I have been a bit quiet over here, but for good reason. Some new projects fell onto my lap and therefore am dedicating a good amount of time to them. It´s good to have work.

April´s issue of “We´re in Panama!” will likely be launched tomorrow, if all goes well, but here´s a bit of a preview. Hope you like it!

On another note, I´ve been slowly writing my account of our visit to Guatemala, on my life blog (in portuguese). If you´re keen on reading the corresponding posts, here they are. Also, a link for the flickr set, if you want to see some of the photos we took. Guatemala is out-of-this-world-beautiful (or maybe it was the soup).

Back from Guatemala

Antigua+Volcán del Agua from cerro de la cruz.

"we're in Panama!" now at Ay Robot! in la Antigua Guatemala. #zine

Jacarandá season in Antigua Guatemala

Sunrise en route to Acatenango volcano, Guatemala

Walking on clouds (almost). #acatenango #guatemala

Lake Atitlán, Guatemala

Changing the topic, Ciudad Vieja's church, Guatemala

Temple V, Tikal

At this point, a group of monkeys was above our heads, in #tikal #guatemala

We climbed two of these volcanoes. :)

Our vacation in Guatemala was wonderful. It is a country of contrasts, not only in nature – with its 14 volcanoes peaking above the clouds, the beaches and the hot, hot jungle – but also in the people. What is common and runs through everyone is an amazing kindness (not while driving, I suppose).

Guatemalan food is wonderful and I cannot believe how happy I was to discover that this is a soup-country. There´s always soup on the menu and I had, for the first time, sopa de tortilla negra. Frijoles refritos, guacamole, banano, tomato, corn, rice and meat are also very common – and delicious.

We climbed two volcanoes, the Acatenango and the Pacaya. Having climbed the Acatenango, up to the crater at 3976m, is something that I feel as an accomplishment and makes me very proud. I won´t lie: it was very, very difficult. After the first 30 minutes climbing, I felt the altitude, the lack of oxygen, my heart beating wildly in my throat. I thought I wouldn´t be able to breathe or even move. I was considering to stay behind and wait for the rest of the group to come down, but then something happened. I found my rhythm, my heart was calm, my legs were sore, but obeying my will. It took us six hours to cover a distance of 15km, climbing from 2200m up to the crater at 3976m. And then three hours to come back sliding down, hoping that gravity wouldn´t be stronger than my knees. It was an exhilarating experience, intertwined with the utter exhaustion of all the effort.

We stayed in Antigua Guatemala, a beautiful colonial city surrounded by three volcanoes, and then flew to Tikal, in the jungle, to see the Mayan site. I think the pictures speak for themselves.

If you want to see the whole Guatemala trip flickr set – still being updated – click here.

The trip to Guatemala was wonderful, but now I´m very happy to be home. I´m taking my first e-course, Stephanie Levy´s “Creative Courage”, which starts today. I´m super excited to meeting all my new e-course mates and seeing all the ways it will impact the way I face my work. If you´re taking part too and got here through the link in introductions, please say hi!