December 04, 2012

Letter to my almost one year old

Dear Olivia,
This time last year you were about to join our family. We knew you were arriving but didn't know when exactly.
It all started after lunch on Sunday, the 4th December. We went to the garden centre with your grandparents because your mum wanted to get a nice winter plant to put outside the front door. Everything was ready for your arrival except that one thing! They didn't have the plant that your mum was looking for, but your grandma, knowing how important that was, suggested we take a red was almost Christmas after all. And so we did, we took the plant home and left your grandparents planting it outside while we went to the gym. And there it happened, you decided that it was time to get ready, you had enough of hearing muffled voices, of floating around, of not be able to see a was time you start to get ready to come to this world. It was 4.50pm when I heard you complaining for the first time. We headed back home, excited and scared, oh so scared! We sent your grandparents to the hotel and we started to get ready ourselves....bag for mummy-check!, bag for papa-check!, bag for baby-check! All set then, what's next? We watched some tv, until we had enough of waiting at home and headed to the hospital. I will skip what happened between 2pm and the time you were born, let's just say that it was intense and that I don't remember all the details. But one thing I do remember, your dad was next to me the entire time helping me through the hardest part, nervously waiting to meet you. And there you arrived, at 8.17am all squashed and red, screaming with joy or disappointment, we'll never know. And we loved you straight away, you were there, within our arms, filling our hearts with joy. It has been almost a year since that moment. And we do love you even more. You are our biggest, and most successful, accomplishment. Thank you for choosing us, little Miss O. We love you. Your mum and dad xxx.

October 30, 2012

Pumpkin, pine nuts & honey cake

My mum got us a big pumpkin from the farmers market last week. The intention was, as one would expect, to carve it, make a pumping soup with the flesh and maybe toast the seeds, in time for Halloween. But life had other plans, so the weekend passed and by monday morning the pumpkin was still waiting for some attention on the kitchen table.
Then yesterday I went to the supermarket after work and grabbed one of those promotional booklets which had an entire section dedicated to pumpkin recipes, and there it was...a new recipe for a pumpkin cake. But best of all, I had all the ingredients needed at home (except for the eggs, which I realised half way through the baking process and had to rush to the off licence!). So, after putting little miss O to bed last night, I did some long due baking and enjoyed a slice while watching the new season of Revenge. 
This recipe will definitely go into my book!

September 30, 2012

Us in pictures

We didn't have any picture of us in our house until 10 months ago. We never had, even in our previous flats, even when we weren't living together. It's one of those things with no reason at all. It was just us as we were. Us as we were before Olivia was born. And then things started to change, in many ways. One of the things that happened is that we started to print out photos, get canvases printed out for us and all of them went on our walls. There is a narrow corridor in our house, outside the kitchen. We hanged all of our pictures there and O loves looking at them. She smiles at her own pics and tries to grab the other ones. 
And I just put some more up this morning! I printed out these new pics (the ones in the white frames) for G, before he went to SF back in June. Hidden some in his wallet and some in his luggage so he wouldn't miss us too much. And now are on display, to fill our little narrow corridor with more of our memories!

September 17, 2012

Back to work!

And the day has eventually come, the day I go back to work after the most eventful year of my life! I wasn't really looking forward to it and now that it's here, I feel even worst than I imagined. The only consolation is knowing that little Miss O will be spending a lot of time with her dad, having fun and bonding with him even more than she has so far. I miss them terribly! I'm just glad that the walk to the office is a short and enjoyable one, making my day a little easier. And of course there is always the lunch break when I get to see them and kiss them, making the morning hours moving a bit quicker.

August 19, 2012

30 drawings in 30 days - first 10 drawings

#1/30 - Municipio - Pescina, Italy

#2/30 - Various plants from the garden - Pescina, Italy

#3/30 - Pescina (old town), Italy

#4-5-6/30 - Various subjects - Catanzaro Lido, Italy

#7/30 - La Tonnina - Catanzaro Lido, Italy
#8/30 - Pineta - Roccelletta di Borgia, Italy

#9/30 - Strada per Pescina, Italy (from photo)

#10/30 - Colline sopra Roccelletta di Borgia, Italy

And the first 10 drawings are done, almost as planned! I have been using my Moleskine watercolour notebook (21 x 13cm) as I'm planning to complete all the sketchbooks I have lying around the house by the end of the year. I have used different page layouts, so far: portrait, landscape, landscape with 4 horizontal inserts and landscape with 3 vertical inserts.
The first batch contains different type of sketches, some of them were done on the spot, some others were done using photos I had taken with my phone. I managed to do one drawing a day, except for drawings number 4, 5 and 6 that were done on the same can tell by the size of the drawings and the lack of details.....

Note: In the UK the hash # isn't printed on the Apple Mac computer keyboard, so just press "alt"+3.

August 18, 2012

This week in pictures

So like everyone else on the blog sphere, from time to time I will be sharing a summary of my life through pictures. I take most of my pictures using my phone, it's always with me and it doesn't require much effort. The only phone app I sometime use is Instagram. I do love Instagram and its filters, the vintage feel is quite cool and you can easily turn uninteresting pictures in more appealing ones. My Instagram pictures are posted on twitter as soon as I take them, I usually give it some thoughts before shooting, trying to catch more interesting subjects. The phone camera is for everything else, including videos, and the pics stay on my phone until needed.
This week I'm sharing both Instagram and phone photos.
The Instagram topic for this week is the beach! We are having an unbearable heat wave and spending most of the day at the sea.
The rest of the time is spent having fun watching Miss O doing new standing up holding on furniture and trying to climb out of her much fun!
The photo layout has been edited using a free iPhone app called "photosplit" does what I need and it's easy to use. Shame about the app tag on the final layout.

August 03, 2012

Back to the roots

It has been a while since I shared my thoughts on here. Although my head has been busy with ideas, projects and various topics I seemed to never find the right time to write about it. It's the lazy part of me that prevailed over the past few months (two, three?? Has it been that long?). Maybe, or it's just that all those things didn't excite me enough to find the time to actually do them/write about them. So after two days of ups and downs, lots of reading and lots of talking to G, I figure out that sometimes you need to go back to what made you start in the first place. It all begun (or better said resurfaced) back in 2005, about a year after moving to London when I enrolled in an evening art class at the local education centre. My childhood memories resurfaced and I rediscovered that sensation of fulfilment that I had lost along the way. Back then it was just a way of relaxing the brain from my daily job, but it soon became a necessity, something I would miss if I wasn't doing it. And after 7 years it's still the same...when I'm not painting or drawing I'm thinking about it. So here it comes, a new challenge for the rest of the summer: 30 drawings in 30 days! There are plenty of groups around the blog world that are taking up similar challenges; I might join some of them, just in case my motivation runs low along the way. But I will be doing it just for me, to make sure I do find the time every day to escape into my personal space if only just for a few minutes. Depending on the time available, I'm aiming to post three batches of ten drawings, hopefully with some accompanying text. And all starts today!

May 25, 2012

A mini book for Miss O


Exactly one year ago we announced to our families and friends that we were pregnant. It was a magic  nine-month wait, with lots of ups and downs, joy and tears, excitement and fear (a lot of fear!). But it was all truly forgotten by the moment Miss O was born; there was no time to even think about how life was before. And so I'm glad I did have the time to put together a little book documenting how we spent the nine months before, what we did and how we prepared ourself to embrace her to our world from the moment we found out we were expecting. 
The idea of the mini book came reading elise blaha's blog (the mini books guru!); I put it together using a variety of plain and pattern paper, cut to 4"x6" and bounded using two 25mm rings. The front cover was made using a letterpress machine (I talked about it here) and the title, well, it speaks for itself...we did think about her for nine months (if not before!).
I managed to squeeze nine months in about 50 sheets, above are a selection of random pages from the book.
It will be our 'how we were before you were born' memory and a nice little gift for Miss O when she will be old enough to appreciate it.

April 24, 2012

Out and about

I've started to do things on the move...I had to! With a little one your time is not yours anymore. It took me time to realise it. I was fighting it at first, trying to do things as I used to, trying to fit her needs into mine. Well, after four and half months I finally gave in, and you know what, it got better, much better! I learned how to make the most of my time when baby O is asleep and getting organised so I can do staff easily. I started to take photos with my phone, so I can send them to friends and family or post them online straight away...there is no more time for downloading pics on my laptop, do the editing, creating folders, etc; this is now a monthly task! I put together a very small sketching set, easy to carry around and ready for whenever...if I want to post a sketch I just take a pic of more time for scanning! And now the blogging task. I was hoping to increase the number of posts on the blog, but that didn't happened either... so now I'm posting on the go using an app on my phone. Fine, the results are not the same, I admit, the app has a lot of limitations (a lot!!), but while waiting for google to make it better, I'd rather post as it allows rather than not posting at all.

January 20, 2012

2012 plan

Not much of a plan this year! The Moleskine diary arrived early January and it took me almost a month to write a post about this year goals and plans...not a good start I would say. I'm still adjusting to my new family life and oh boy if it's hard! But I have good intentions to slowly fit my old daily routine into it, at least until I got back to work after the summer. The plan is going to be a mix of DIY projects and things I've been meaning to do for a long time. So here it is:

Finish the Striped Baby Blanket
This is an ongoing project which I started back in October 2011 (you can read about it here and here). Half way through the project I realised I had to buy more yarn to make it the size I wanted, so ended up using three 50g balls for each colour. I'm taking notes of how many stripes I'm knitting in each colour and if does turn out well  I'm planning to post a tutorial on Ravelry.

Learn how to use my camera properly
G bought me this camera (Canon Powershot SX120 IS) for my birthday a couple of years ago and still haven't managed to learn how to use the manual settings! Since I take rubbish photos all the time, I thought it would be nice to have some nice pics of my little one for a change taken with a real camer rather than the camera phone.

Buy few, but good!
This will be my 2012 mission, no more shopping spree to Primark (...not that I'll have the time to do it anymore) or "I'm buying this because it's on sale"! After the arrival of a certain someone, I had to make space for all of her things. While tidying up I realise I collected a lot of rubbish during the past years, and not just clothes! so for this year I'm planning to buy only things that I really need and not just because they are on sale or don't cost much. I'm also planning to buy more quality, handmade things, things that will last and that don't bore you after a while. LESS IS BEST will be the motto!

January 01, 2012

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