October 30, 2013

Autumn wreath

This year, for the first time, I had plans in decorating our front porch. Since we moved to our place a few years ago, I have dreamed of flower baskets hanging outdoor, seasonal wreaths and various decorations. Sadly, none of this has been possible to date; our front porch is literally falling off. So, last summer we finally made the decision to get a builder in September to fix it. Needless to say, that September became mid October, and that has now become mid November. But last week, in the middle of a DIY withdrawal, I made a simple and small autumnal wreath which will be hang outside to inaugurate our new entrance, once is ready. 
I used a small wicker wreath as a base, about 25cm, and covered it with a burnt orange wool yarn. I then sew some felted ball in various colours, but you can easily use a glue gun. I didn't really follow a pattern, just made decisions on colour and position as I sew along. I then made a hook on the top using some matching yarn and did a little testing, to see where it would sit best on our door. But for the time being is hanging in our living room, out of reach from my little who’s obsessed with felted balls!

October 28, 2013


It's week 43 and you are becoming funnier every day. It is amazing how many changes you go through every week. And the more you change, the more we like you.
Loving playing squirrels in the nursery ground and collecting acorns
This week you:
  • Added many new words to your vocabulary. But the most hilarious one is "uovo" (egg), as you make such a funny face when you say it, we want to kiss you all over.
  • Kept playing over and over with your puzzles. I think it's time to get you new and more challenging ones.
  • Had a temperature on Friday and I had to pick you up from nursery before lunch. And although you weren't feeling great you had so much fun playing with mama's craft stash.
  • Had a playdate on Sunday and loved going around, chatting and playing with your little friends.
  • Adjusted to clock change instantly, and slept even more than ususal.
And from last week, I love the seasonal pictures of Rianna, from A.k.a Chymecindy. So much happiness in just being a kid and playing with simple things. It reminds me a lot of my little squirrel above!
If you are curious about this project and want to know more, you can check Jody's blog @ Che and Fidel.
All my previous posts can be found here.

October 23, 2013

DIY Rubber stamps

A few weeks ago I came across a beautiful and captivating book on rubber stamps. The front cover was enough to make me buy it, and after flicking through the pages I was totally hooked. The book is Geninne D. Zlatkis "Making an impression", and it's about making your own rubber stamps, with lots of tutorials, ideas, templates and so on. She gets inspiration from nature and translate her interpretation of it into beautiful stamps.
The process of rubber carving is quite straightforward, as long as the design is simple and not too intricate. There are many tools and materials available, of higher quality and more professional than the ones I used, but as I didn't want to wait, I just used what I had handy.
This is what I used to carve my own stamps.
  • small cutting mat
  • some scrap paper to try out my designs
  •  HB pencil
  • craft knife ( I used a Jakar swivel knife)
  • retractable knife
  • Some plastic erasers
  • ink pads in various colours
The first thing I did, was to ink the eraser surface, let it dry for a few minutes, gently wash it with water and let it dry again. This preparation process will become handy when cutting the design.
While the eraser surface was drying up, I tried various designs on a piece of scrap paper, bearing in mind the size of my plastic erasers. Once I was happy with the design, I copied it onto the eraser's surface. This is the easiest way of trasferring your picture. For more complicated ones, I would suggest using tracing paper.
Using the craft knife, I marked the outline of my design and with the retractable knife I started cutting deeper and taking out the rubber around the picture. This is the most delicate part of the entire process; the more careful you are, the better your rubber stamp will be, especially if you are dealing with round surfaces. The coloured surface of the rubber will help showing the cuts. Now, the best way of doing this would be to use a lino cutter tool, if you have one.
You can try out your stamps during the cutting process, to see whether you need to cut more or make adjustment.
Once you are happy with the results, just ink it and start stamping. I'm telling you, it's addictive...I'm stamping everywhere!

October 21, 2013


It's week 42 and only 10 weeks to the end of the year! Thinking about Christmas already, and a certain someone turning two very soon.
This week you:
  • Spent two days with papa all alone, and had lots of fun.
  • Went to your nursery friend's birthday, but was more interested looking at the older kids playing with guitars than playing with your peers.
  • Still going to bed easily in the evening, but your sleep has been a bit disturbed and we can't figure out why.
  • Loved repeating every word we said. Your favourite has been "uovo" (egg).
  • Started throwing more tuntrums than usual. I guess you learned the trick already; you how to get want you want. We still haven't learned how to deal with it!
And from last week, I love this little fitness lover from wendieland. She seems so very at ease with the move!
If you are curious about this project and want to know more, you can check Jody's blog @ Che and Fidel.
All my previous posts can be found here.

October 18, 2013

Pick of the Month: October // Toddler Nursery Essentials

1. Shirt with lace from Zara / 2. Fine-knit cardigan from H&M / 3. T-shirt with floral applique from Zara / 4. Corduroy trousers from Zara / 5. Leggings from H&M / 6. Checked trousers from Zara / 7. Desert Boot s in Black Suede from Clarks / 8. Wellies from Mothercare/ 9. Etnies Visor Beanie Blue/Grey from tkmaxx.

Another month, another wardrobe update for my fast growing girl. Shopping is fun when you buy clothes for a toddler girl; there is so much to choose from and prices are still manageable. She loves patterns, like her mama, and comfortable clothes to run around and climb on things (I caught her jumping on a chair last week at nursery!). There are still a few things she's going to need for the winter, but these basics will keep her warm and cute.

October 17, 2013


I keep making lists, afraid I will forget the millions of things that I want to do, the ideas that come to mind and that I physically don’t have the time to do straight away. I would need a day of at least 48 hours and enough energy to accomplish everything I want. Will I ever have enough spare time to play with ideas, try new things and just slow down? Probably not for the next foreseeable future. For what I know, I can only make the most of the very few hours a week when a spare moment just happens unexpectedly. And that, believe me, requires a lot of energy and concentration and determination. I always have to be prepared, spend no more than 5 minutes thinking about how much time I’m more likely to have and what’s the best way to use it.
As it stands, and if I’m lucky, my happy time consists of 3 lunch times a week, about 30 minutes each, 2 slots of about 2 hours over the weekend, during Olivia’s nap, and the evenings, when most of the time I’m too tired to do anything but watch TV or fall asleep on the couch. That would give me a maximum of 5.5 hours per week, excluding the evenings. Is this enough? I don’t think so. But that’s what’s available to me right now, and that’s what I have to work with. And it’s ok if my to-do list will keep growing and things will have to wait. I do get frustrated sometimes, but I’m managing my spare time to the best of my abilities and living hoping that this 5 hours per week will become 5 days per week one day.
Do you have enough time in your day to do your things? How are you managing your time? xxx

October 14, 2013


It's week 41 and still very glad I'm keeping up with this project.
This is you, waiting for the train while munching on nuts
This week you:
  • Waited impatiently at the airport for papa to come back from his trip. And when he finally arrived, you were more interested in showing him the cheese crackers you were eating.
  • Kept dancing during dinner time at Nando's. They had the music on and you couldn't help it. So cute, but also so distracting.
  • Learned to drink from a water bottle with a sports cup. You managed to pour water all over yourself at your firts attempt, but then mastered the technique like a pro.
  • Collected all the acorns we could find on the nursery playground. Forty minutes later we managed to leave and go home.
  • Enjoyed going around town using the public transport. And asked if it was our stop at every single one; you couldn't wait to get off!
And from last week, I love the marvel on Everdeen Kate's face from You and I. And those blue eyes (and super cute drees)!
If you are curious about this project and want to know more, you can check Jody's blog @ Che and Fidel.
All my previous posts can be found here.

October 11, 2013

Plum cake

What do you do when you've got tons of fresh plums recently picked at the farm? You bake a delicious plum cake! I did the baking while my little was having dinner the other night, and that should prove to you that this recipe is very easy to do, as per my usual standards.
What you need:
2 eggs
160g sugar
1 lemon (juice + zest)
2tbsp olive oil
2tbsp water
250g self raising flour
1tsp baking powder
10 plums (diced)
What you do:
Mix all the liquid ingredients, then slowly add the dry ones, apart from the plums. Pour the mixture in a silicone cake tin (I used a 20cm round one). Add the diced plums on top. Preheat the oven at 175degC and bake for approximately 45min.

October 09, 2013

Simple Stripes Cot Quilt

This year’s approaching change of season has posed a dilemma in our home; should we buy Olivia a bigger sleeping bag or should we buy proper bedding, meaning a duvet, for her cot? She moves a lot when she sleeps, sometimes we found her in the morning with her head where her feet should be or, even worse, with her legs trapped within the bars on the side of the cot. Bearing that in mind, we opted for a bigger sleeping bag, and when I say big I mean 18-36 months! It’s huge; I can almost fit in it. But that made me realise that she has quickly outgrown all of her handmade blankets and quilts that we’ve used and loved so much during the past almost two (!) years. So that so, I was determined to make her a new quilt for the coming winter.
The first ever quilt I made was done from a baby quilt kit that I had bought back in 2011 (posts and link hereherehere and here). I did make a few changes, like the colour scheme and the appliques, but the basic instructions were pretty much followed.
For this new and bigger quilt, I’m going more freehand. The pattern I have chosen is very simple and I got inspiration from Diary of a Quilter by Amy Smart. Her tutorials are so very well written and easy to follow. The one I picked is a simple stripes quilt tutorial (here). As tradition demands, I only used the tutorial as a general guideline.
First of all, I had a few scraps of fabric from previous projects. I put together the ones that I thought could go well together and quickly realised I didn’t have enough of them to make a cot quilt. So off I went to our local fabric store for some shopping.
I picked a bundle of 4 fat quarters in matching spots and stripes fabric in yellow and pink, 120x200cm of flowery fabric in a dark antique pink for the backing, the binding and some of the front stripes, and 150x150cm of wadding.
Because I’m always afraid I will not have enough fabric, or more likely I will make a mistake, I picked a bit more than needed. The idea was to make a 120x100cm cot quilt, but ended up with a 125x105cm quilt.
Overall I used 9 fat quarters each of which was cut in 4 equal pieces. I then cut 4 stripes out of each: 4cm, 6cm, 8cm, 10+cm. And rearranged them, varying the pattern, to make a total of 30 blocks (with 6 blocks to spare…just in case!)

The initial design was to use vertical strips for each block, but after a laid out the entire quilt, I didn't like the overall effect. And also realised, mistakes and imperfections would have shown more this way. So I went for a vertical+horizontal arrangement (as shown in the hand drawn picture below).
Then the fun part began! The sewing of each block was done following the pattern: 8cm+4cm+6cm+10cm. The best trick I learned from professional quilters was to try and be consistent with the seam allowance. In this way, errors and imperfections are minimised. I used a 1/4" seam allowance, using the outer edge of my pressere-foot as guidance. Once the blocks were sewn, I squared them using a square template I cut from a sturdy brown paper sheet and ironed each block, making sure the seams were pressed in the same direction.
Once all the blocks were sewn, I arranged them in a 5x6 matrix, varying their position (vertical and horizontal), and also with seams pressed in alternating direction, for a smoother finish.

Once the top layer was ready, I sandwiched the batting between the top and the bottom and pinned the edges. As a note for next time, it would have been easier to used some washable spray adhesive to keep all the layers in place considering the size of the quilt.
Due to my inexperience and the simple features of my sewing machine, I went for a simple quilting pattern: crossed diagonal lines.
After sewing everything together and trimming the excess from each side, I started planning the final and most difficult step, the binding. Initially I wanted to directly use the fabric from the back (folding the excess to the top and sew it), but it wasn't enough to do that. So I went for a simple machine binding technique using the same fabric I used for the back. The steps to do that are beautifully explained here, and this time I followed the instructions thoroughly.
The result is a beautiful, although imperfect, cot quilt which my little loves (she did pick the fabric with me after all!). 
Cold nights we are ready!

October 08, 2013

nature + patterns

I'm reading Taking Flight once again and working on myself to become a possibilitarian. And once again, I'm discovering new things about me and new things I love.

Leaves pattern

I've started putting together two of my favourite subjects: nature and pattern. Let's see where this will go.

October 07, 2013


It's week 40 and now it feels we are quickly reaching the end of this project! It has been an easy week, even if it was just the two of us for almost three days.
This week you:
  • Talked during your sleep, a lot!
  • Learned how to do the puzzle by yourself, but being stubborn, you got upset if we'd come and help. But then got frustrated if you couldn't do it right. There is no easy fix to this.
  • Enjoyed our walks in the mornings.
  • Loved playing in the cot with your new handmade quilt, pretending you were asleep.
  • Had a fun playdate at the playground and loved burying your feet in the sand.
  • Ate a lot and slept a lot, this week was magic.
From last week, loving the pics of the two Mummy Karma's boys. The light at sunset makes everything shine with magic.
If you are curious about this project and want to know more, you can check Jody's blog @ Che and Fidel.
All my previous posts can be found here.

On a sunday afternoon

The good thing when my little falls asleep in the car, is that I have time to sketch, read and do all the relaxing stuff that would otherwise be neglected and replaced by cleaning, tidying up and so on. As long as I have what I need with me, which is fortunately 99% of the time, I enjoy these rare moments very much.
Yesterday afternoon, we were on our way to Heathrow airport to pick up a certain someone from his weekend away in Rome...
We left home early, she felt asleep, so I stopped in a residential road nearby the airport and did some sketching. Apart from the constant noise of plane engines (I do wonder if people who leaves here are used to it!), it was a perfect sunny afternoon.
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