Tag Archives: panama

Mola Pillow For The Nursery – Yay for Owls!

Remember the Mola I bought in Panama? I made it into a pillow for the nursery. Here are some progress shots and a sorta tutorial (I’m not very good at measuring, so maybe it’s not best to follow my lead =)

I started off with a pillow insert I had at home already. The mola fit perfectly to cover one side.

I also had some fabric on hand to use for the back. I chose the dark brown. The orange was too matchy (made up that word just now) and the green was too much of a contrast.

I wanted the back to form a pocket, so I could slide the pillow insert inside. So, I guesstimated the size I’d need and cut two pieces of the brown fabric appropriately. Again, probably better to measure exactly here, so don’t follow my lead. Then, I sewed the right sides together on one side of the pillow (to be more specific, I sewed the mola, or the front, with ONE of the back fabric pieces…you can see my other piece in the background of this photo).

I wanted to have a cord to frame the edges of the pillow. So, I found an old shoelace (from the Boston Marathon…what what) and sewed it in to place. It was my make-shift filler for a cord.

Once in place, I folded the shoelace in half and sewed a line down it again. This made it thick enough to be a good filler.

Once the shoelace filler was ready, I folded the fabric back over so it was right-side out again and sewed along the edge to create the cord.

I then created a hem on the first back piece of fabric.

Now, time to add the second piece of back fabric. Same process. I sewed right sides together first. Just on one side of the pillow.

Then, I repeated the same shoelace-cord process.

After the cord was in place, I repeated the same hemming process for the second back piece. Now, here’s where measuring would’ve been good. I guesstimated the lengths of the back pieces just by laying them over the mola. They overlapped quite a bit, so I thought I’d be covered (or it would be covered…haha, love those puns). Well…I forgot the small little part about the pillow insert. Turns out they wouldn’t cover it after all.

Ho hum. Time for some stitch ripping. I hate stitch ripping. Maybe I should’ve measured.

So, once I repeated the process for the second back piece, I then started paying attention to the sides. I didn’t take any pictures of this (not sure why), but here was my basic process to sew the sides together:

1. I used the fabric from my botched attempt at the second back piece to create cords for both sides. To create the cords, I took 2-3″ wide pieced of fabric and sewed the shoelace to the fabric as shown above. I left about an inch of fabric past the cord so that I had room to sew it to the very edge of the mola.

2. I then turned the entire piece right-side in, and sewed along the edges of the pillow to gather all of the loose ends.

3. I then trimmed/tucked the corners.

And, bingo. Pillow for the nursery.

The last picture gives you a sneak-peek of the nursery. It’s pretty close, but it’s not quite done, so that’s all you get to see for now. =) I love the how the geometric pattern of the mola syncs up with all of the other bold geometric patterns we have going on in the nursery.

Well, there’s your sorta tutorial on pillow-making with cords and folds (not sure what official terms are). Hopefully I didn’t thoroughly confuse you.

UPDATE: Piping! It’s called piping! Not cord or cords or cording…


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Casco Viejo – My Favorite ‘Hood in Panama City, Panama

Yup, it’s been a month since I posted something. I’m just going to pretend that gap of time didn’t happen, and continue blogging with some thoughts about our trip to Panama…

Our impression of the city was unexpected. I imagined a booming metropolis. I had read a New York Times article from April 2011 that said there were 30 skyscrapers under construction. I also thought the American influence/presence related to the canal would have heightened development. Then, after flying in and seeing the skyline, I really thought this would be a mini Chicago or New York City.

Turns out, I was wrong. Yes, the skyline is impressive (mostly residential), and there are lots of buildings under construction. However, I didn’t find the city to be that dynamic. With the exception of Casco Viejo (which I’ll get to later), there were no cute neighborhoods or shopping districts to explore. Getting around the city on foot was not possible. The only mass transit system was the bus, and it was way too hot for us to want to attempt that. Apparently they’re building a subway.

So, all in all, it seemed like Panama City might be on its way. But it’s definitely not what I would consider a booming metropolis at the moment. It’s a very large Central American city that is going through a growth spurt.

We did enjoy spending some time in the Casco Viejo Neighborhood. They call this the “old city.” Architectural character galore. Like the “new city,” it’s going through its own rebirth. There’s a huge contrast between old and new.

There are several squares, some nice restaurants, heladerias, boutiques and coffee shops. There are also buildings in complete ruin that are nearly crumbling to the ground, saved by the steel beams that support their collapsing walls. There are some streets that give you a very sketchy vibe. Not unsafe, but maybe not comfortable.

We traversed the neighborhood on cobblestone streets and narrow roads/sidewalks and ducked in to a few shops and restaurants.

Here’s a cute boutique we visited. It’s called Espacio Vintage, and it’s adorable. I would’ve bought LOTS of things if I knew I 1) didn’t have room in my suitcase and 2) didn’t have a huge list of baby stuff to buy. If you go to Casco Viejo, visit this shop. It was off Avenida A, but I’m not recalling the cross street.

We got Emily one of these bracelets, which was painted by a local artist. Same artist that painted the murals on the walls of the shop (inside and out).

We also went shopping at Diablo Rosso, which is off Avenida A and Calle 7. It’s another good stop if you go to Casco Viejo. Cute boutique, art gallery and cafe all in one.

A dress made out of felt balls! =)

We got a shirt here for Matthew, as a thank you for taking care of our Lola girl.

And then, lunch. We ate at La rosa de los Vientos, off Calle Octava. It was a very nice Italian place that looks out over the waterfront. Great pizza. They had an outdoor patio, but we opted to eat indoors since they hadn’t lifted the umbrellas yet.

This little guy entertained us during lunch while playing with a balloon in the street outside.

And then, more walking through the neighborhood. This area was probably my favorite spot in all of Panama City, and I’d highly recommend visiting if you go to Panama.

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Adventures in the Pearl Islands

We went island hopping today. We’re staying on Isla Contadora, in the Pearl Islands off the coast of Panama. Today, we got to see a few of the other islands nearby. Here’s a pic of Barb and Jim on our boat.

Our first stop was on Mogo Mogo island (I think that’s the name…), where season 7 of Survivor was filmed. We snorkeled there for about an hour. The island is uninhabited, except for a police (aka coast guard) station. The coral was really pretty, and we saw a ton of fish…including a porcupine puffer and an eel. One cute little fish was tagging along close to Brady’s hip for a good 10 – 15 minutes. Here’s a picture of the bay where we snorkeled.

Then we stopped on another nearby island. I forget the name. It didn’t have any trees, and provided good picture opps. We walked around and collected some shells.

Here’s a pic of Brady and I on our third island stop. More exploring and shell collecting. We also swam a bit on the beach here. The water was perfect. By the way, I’m loving swimming in the ocean. I’m weightless and love it. As soon as I get out of the water, gravity hits and my back starts hurting again. Boooo.

Not sure what I’ll do with the shells yet. I collected orange and white ones…maybe they’ll go somewhere in the baby’s room.

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Mola From Panama

At the market in El Valle de Anton (El Valle), Panama, I found an awesome mola for the nursery. Molas are traditional garments that are made by the indigenous women (the Kunas) of Panama and Columbia. They are hand-stiched cut-outs with many layers and vibrant colors.

We had passed many stands with molas during our first few days in Panama City. I love buying unique things from places we visit, and I was thinking a mola would be great to bring back, but I didn’t know what I’d do with one at first. The colors are so bright and vibrant, which is what makes them beautiful, but they don’t really go with our style or decor.

In El Valle, we had some time to kill, so we visited the local market and I took some time going through a stack of molas. The women who made them showed them each to me. She was very sweet and I tried my best to communicate with her through broken spanish.

I tried to tell her I was looking for an owl. I had no idea what the word for “owl” was. But, through some hand motions and hoots, I finally got it across. =) I had a few options to choose from, and ended up picking this one.

Not a great picture of the one I chose, but hopefully you get the idea. I like the abstract/geometric design and that orange is the main color. I’m going to turn it into a pillow…probably with a chevron pattern backing. It’ll go with all of the other geometric patters that we’re putting into the nursery, and it’ll be a story to tell Baby once he/she understands. We hit the third trimester mark tomorrow, and this baby has already been to two international locations (plus many others). =)

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Hola From Panama

Hello from Panama! We’ve been here since Saturday. Spent the first few days exploring Panama City, and now we’re on Isla Contadora, part of the Pearl Islands off the Pacific Coast of the country.

Here are some pics from the first few days.

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