March 31, 2014


It's week 13 and it is finally nice-ish and warm outside! we have enjoyed a family weekend and some mother's day celebrations, spending lots of time outside and making the most of the sunshine. 
Olivia: She knows what food she likes and dislikes, and we now know that too! it took us a while to understand while she was not eating properly at times and devouring her dinner some other times. She has acquired her own taste for certain foods; her favourites are still walnuts and pistachios, blueberries, sweetcorn and raw carrots, and we can't really complain about that! And after this weekend, we can happily add ice cream cones to the list.

March 28, 2014

A list // March

I am...
making: a painting a month.
cooking:  lots of cereals.
drinking: decaf tea and coffee. And it’s going to be like this for a while.
reading: La banda Sacco(Camilleri).
wanting: to move to Rome.
looking: for signs of spring.
playing: with stickers' books all day long.
wasting: time at work.
sowing: creative seeds.
wishing: for a slower paced life.
enjoying: planning for our move.
waiting: for the clock to change.
liking:  my effort for sticking to my plans.
wondering: how things will be when baby #2 will be out.
loving: the me time during my lunch breaks (still!).
 hoping: that everything will fall into place.
marvelling: at my growing belly.
needing: a new passport.
smelling: the spring air.
wearing: flat shoes.
following: my fellow expecting mamas (@krugthethinker, @sagerchatter and @peoepea) on Instagram.
noticing: the days are getting longer.
knowing: we will be a family of four.
thinking: it will all be ok.
bookmarking: lots of botanical painting workshops.
opening: the windows to get the warmer air in.
giggling: when Olivia sings to herself.
feeling: a bit clumsy and overweight :)

March 27, 2014

12/52 + 23/40

It's week 12 and posting a bit later than usual! I got the spring bug this week, and felt a bit lazy with regard to basically everything, but laying on the couch and playing games on my phone.
Olivia: She surely is a 2-year-old toddler in full swing! she has learnt how to push the right buttons to get what she wants, but when she is in a good mood she is just the best kid a parent could ask for! we have been enjoying playing with sticker's books, singing out loud and reading stories (she does that by herself at bed time!). And started to ask, especially me, to remain alone in the room while playing, apparently I distract her too much!
Baby boy: It's 23 weeks, weighting just over 1/2 kilo and measuring more than 28cm...apparently the size of a large mango! Not sure I follow babycenter's fruits comparisons, but that is what it says.

Camellia sinensis

Back in November last year I got a request from a potential customer, and tea shop owner, to draw an outline of the Camellia sinensis, whose leaves and flowers are used to make tea. I wasn't quick enough to respond to the email and didn't get the job, but had at go at it anyway. The outline is based on an old illustration by Franz Eugen K√∂hler.

March 26, 2014

Spring in a jar

March's project has been all about bulbs and spring flowers. I love looking into gardens and parks, and roadside edges to spot little green leaves sprouting through the ground and colourful flowers peeping through. This time of the year is full of surprises if you know where to look and what to look for. I have been indecisive for a few days on how I would create a spring garden, and then it finally hit me. I have fallen in love with Jeninne Zlatkis's terrarium, and tried to recreate something similar.
Of course the results are not as pleasing as her illustration (nowhere near!), and I'm still thinking this painting is missing something, but so far I have not been able to figure it out. Maybe is the colour scheme or that red-ish frame (which I'm thinking of taking out). What do you think? Suggestions are very much welcome!

March 25, 2014

Under the weather

I haven't been feeling like my normal self over the past two days. Is it the pregnancy? Is it that I'm eagerly looking forward to maternity leave? Is it that I feel I'm wasting my time? I don't know exactly what it is, what I know is that, as it stands, my daily routine has gone out of the window, and that the stuff that normally keeps me going is not enough anymore. I can blame the weather as much as I want, but that doesn't change the way I feel, lethargic, moody, uninspired. This has happened to me before, and I know that it will go away at some point, even without me doing anything about it. But when I'm living it, it sucks and I feel stuck with this grey cloud over my head and not a sign of sunshine on the horizon. I just need to stay still and wait, breathe slowly and take things one at a time. And keep thinking that is my body and brain asking for some rest and quietness.

Corita Kent's Art rules

You have probably seen these before, but for me it was a true revelation. I got introduced to Sister Corita Kent's art rules by Aslinn Adams, a talented artist and author of Nature Trails 2014 (a natural sketchbook exchange worth visiting!). And I was smitten. Not all the rules apply to my personal situation, but there are a few I simply adore. My current favourite is Rule I - Find a place you trust and then try trusting it for a while. It fully embraces the purpose of my creative awakening this year as I tend to try one thing and switch to another very quickly without giving it any chance to soar into something great.
I copied all the rules on my sketchbook using my brand new calligraphy set as an easily accessible reminder, but all the rules can be found here.

March 21, 2014

Pick of the Month: March // My favourite online shop

I casually discovered this amazing shop on Etsy, and I have fallen in love since! The first time I went through this shop I was very tempted to buy almost everything they had in stock, but that was because of my pregnancy hormones, and so glad I closed up the page and went back to it the day after with a much clearer mind (otherwise we would have been bankrupt by now!). I ordered a few essential pieces in one go, much needed because of my 4-month-pregnant belly! And if you are wondering if this is a maternity shop, my answer is NO! but because of their loose designs, most of their dresses can easily house a growing belly and to me it is a relief buying clothes that can be also worn after the baby is out.
So far I have ordered quite a few pieces, dresses and blouses, and I’m so pleased with the tailoring, the fitting and the price. Just check the size of their model before ordering to make sure it fits your height (I’m petite and the length of the dresses was perfect).

PS: This is not a sponsored post in anyway. I just love this shop and wanted to share it.

March 20, 2014

fruits of the womb // week 22

Yes, I'm using a pack of pasta for this week's picture as I couldn't find a spaghetti squash anywhere in the UK!! Also Babycenter says at 22 weeks the baby should be close to 28cm and about 1/2 kg, which is exactly the size and weight of a pack of spaghetti! And yes, I'm wearing my pyjamas, and yes my two year old doesn't seem too happy in the photo, but she was singing and laughing and moving so much while taking the pictures this was the only which was not blurred. 

Italian sketches

Every time we get to go on holiday I always make big plans on things I'm going to do, especially related to sketching outdoors. Every time I pack my bag with too many colours, pens, sketchbook, and all I can think I might need. And promptly, most of them remain unused and never see the light. This time, I took advantage of the fact that we were travelling just with hand luggage and took with me only the basics: my tiny  homemade watercolour box, my tiny concertina book, one water brush, a pencil and a gel pen. And it worked. The weather hasn't been great and the time I had to sit and draw was very limited. I only managed to do two very quick sketches, one in Rome, while waiting for the tram, and one in Pisa, while waiting for my girlfriends. Talking about killing time while waiting...

March 18, 2014

Sketchbook #1 // Roots

This is a sneak-peak at my sketchbook from February. I'm carry on with my intentions of choosing a subject a month. Last month I went for roots, being fascinated by the many bulbs and tubers sprouting around this time of the year. It is very much a botanical subject and probably not really in line with this sketchbook (and its thin paper), but I loved it and regret I didn't have much time to paint some more. My inspiration book was an old botany book that was used in the seventies by the pupils of the local grammar school. It's full of inspiring illustrations and descriptions.
I'm currently working on a slightly related painting and hoping to get that done before spring arrives!

March 17, 2014


It's week 11 and we have been enjoying a glorious weather, lots of sunshine and longer days!
This is you carrying your wellies to the car in a bag bigger that you.

Olivia: Her appetite was coming and going all week, but she asked for raw carrots every single day! And thankfully her red raincoat still sort of fits; it will be very difficult to replace...she's is totally in love with it. 

Linking up with Jody from Practising Simplicity.

March 14, 2014

The Vintage Garden

My 2014 intentions of creating one painting a month is going well so far and I have managed to paint a lot lately, which makes me overly happy. This has been my labour of love for the entire month of February, and I love how it turned out! I like the symmetry of the topiary, the details of the garden furniture and even the colour scheme, with which I struggled a bit at the beginning. I'm getting more and more accustomed to this style of painting, and I think I might have found my perfect match. Hope you like it to!
The original painting will be available for purchase in my Etsy shop, but I'm planning to add postards and prints as well.

March 13, 2014

Taxus Baccata

On a bright sunny day, a little branch from a massive yew caught my attention. I brought it home, I looked at it closely, then made a little watercolour out of it. So simple, and so complex at the same time. And next you know it, I got to use my calligraphy set for the first time.

March 12, 2014

ONE LITTLE WORD // February reflections

I went through the meaning of my word over and over during the past month trying to get a deeper understanding of the overall process and reviewed my intentions several times as a reminder of what the purpose of this word really means to me. But where I really made some progress was answering to two simple questions Ali set into the February handout: What did I learn about myself last month? And How did I best connect with my word? 
One of the biggest discoveries this past month has been the realisation that I can really achieve the goals I've set for myself if I keep my mind focused on my word, at any time, in any occasion.
Thanks to an IG artist friend, and fellow mama-to-be, I discovered a wonderful book called "Creating a life worth living", and the more I read it, the more I can see things clearly.
The physical and emotional side of my word is not really going as planned. But a 5-minutes-a-day meditation time and a brisk walk to/from work are small reminders of the actions I set to accomplish.

March 11, 2014

is it a boy or is it a girl?

After months of waiting we finally found out yesterday we are expecting a baby boy! we were very much convinced it was going to be another girl, we had even picked a name, and now, after the initial disbelieve, we are ever so thrilled about the news. 
And since I have been vary lazy lately, I'm posting the last three weeks of my growing belly too.

The Vintage Garden

This has been my labour of love for the entire month of February, and I love how it turned out! I like the symmetry of the topiary, the details of the garden furniture and even the colour scheme, with which I struggled a bit at the beginning. I'm getting more and more accustomed to this style of painting, and I think I might have found my perfect match. Hope you like it to!
The original painting will be available for purchase in my Etsy shop, but I'm planning to add postards and prints as well.

March 10, 2014

9/52 + 10/52

It's playing catch up again this week! but this time I have a very good excuse...we have been to Italy for 10 days and despite my intentions of carry on with my daily/weekly routine, I hardly checked my emails, Instgram feed, let alone publishing a blog post. So here we are, the best of the past two weeks.
In Rome, eating a slice of pizza at every corner
Olivia - week 9: She got very excited when we told her we were going to Rome. And screamed with joy when she saw her trolley ready to be packed in our living room! 
In Pisa, wearing zia Marty's handbag after her graduation
Olivia - week 10: She loved spending time in Italy and seeing family (lots of it!) and friends. She has been a joy to be around and made our stay there very enjoyable and relaxing.

Linking up with Jody from Practising Simplicity.
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