Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Another year

I had a very special day yesterday.
It started with the last of the very tasty cinnamon buns I bought at the farmer's market this week

Some help opening my first birthday gift

A super sweet mom-made card, and a handmade felted purse which I received in the mail.

A beautiful potted plant of Calla Lilies, yellow of course, brought home to me by my wonderful husband along with A SERGER!!! A long time dream of mine - I think I'm going to need a bigger sewing room ;)

Too many birthday wishes, a lovely card from my in-laws, a dinner with great friends, and to finish it off a snuggle with my little boy.

Another year gone by in a flash! It has been a very busy one full of amazing memories.
*The birth of our son
*A Christmas in Alberta with my family - the first with everyone in 4 years.
*The revival of my love for sewing, cooking, writing, & baking
*The beginning of this blog
*My little boys many, many milestones
*And a month long fabulous trip around Italy showing us that, yes, we can travel with our little one.

Definitely a good one. I have good vibes about this next one too. I think the older I get, the better they get.
So Happy New Year to you!

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

A sneak peek

2 days until our little ones FIRST Birthday!
I'm excited for my baby boy to have the best day ever celebrating his first whole year of life *sniff*. I am so proud of him and can't wait to see the growing he does in his second year!

Monday, June 28, 2010

Board Books

I love 'em. The little guy can find interest in books (his own way i.e. chewing and throwing) without me being all uptight about it, and there are just so many awesome ones. He has all his board books on a shelf that he can reach, and as soon as he is in his room he races right over tears them all off the shelf and then sits and turns the pages. It's one of my favourite things to watch.

Some favourites so far

Four new ones will join the shelf this Thursday (the First Birthday Extravaganza) :

These little hands love to flip through a good book

Any favourite board books to share?

Friday, June 25, 2010

Pizza Time!

Just had to show my 2 commemorative pizzas (before oven), and of course (let's not pretend) the mess that ensues when one takes on a kitchen project such as this.

Last week I was where??

I can't believe that one week ago today, we were sitting in Trastevere, Rome enjoying an amazing Margherita pizza, which I learned is made to honour the Italian flag with it's red tomatoes, green basil, and white mozzarella cheese.

We'll need to have homemade pizza tonight to commemorate the day. Just looking at that pizza is making my mouth water.

Thursday, June 24, 2010


Pancakes are one of my most favourite things, for any time of day. Here is the recipe I use most often from my trusty, old, food-coated, Betty Crocker cookbook:

1 egg
1 cup all-purpose flour or Whole wheat flour
3/4 cup milk
2 Tbsp veg. oil
1 Tbsp granulated sugar (with all-purpose flour) or 1 Tbsp brown sugar (if using Whole wheat flour)
1 Tbsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt - I leave the salt out and they are just as tasty.
Beat egg until fluffy; beat in remaining ingredients until smooth. For thinner pancakes, stir in additional milk (according to the texture you like).
Use 1/4 cup measure to scoop out batter and pour onto hot griddle. Cook until puffed and dry around edges (I flip them as soon as bubbles appear and pop in the center). Turn and cook other side until golden brown.
Smother in maple syrup!

This little guy approves, especially with a touch of applesauce on top.



A great friend emailed me yet another link to something that would hit me in the wallet, God bless her. What a treasure to be found. This gorgeous antique had been in this family for years and I bought it (through Kijiji) for 60 smackers!

Could it fit more perfectly in that space?? Now, what to keep in it?...

*The cute little embroidered pictures I picked up at a thrift store for a dollar each while browsing downtown Orangeville.

This afternoon involved another trip to the thrift, which I have missed while in Italy. It is a bit of an addiction, just ask my husband. Todays adventure gathered more of the usual - books and fabric with a few little extras.
I scored a galvanized container which I had wanted to arrange a herb planter for my balcony (a project maybe for tomorrow...). It was only 4 bucks. I had seen them for $20 so I think that was a success.
I believe this button is worth mentioning

This little treasure came in a small bag for 50cents which I had grabbed because of 2 magnetic hooks that I wanted to hang aprons from the side of my fridge.

This little magnet was in the bag as well

It has already found it's space on my fridge. It's one of those things that are funny and make you feel strangely uneasy at the same time. hmmm...

More for the stash...

More for the shelves...

That's it for today. Now let's see if I can make it until the weekend without spending another cent. There are people with books and blogs dedicated to their year of no shopping. Yikes!
I just can't seem to pass a second-hand shop without going in, and I just can't seem to go in without picking up just a couple little things. I guess everyone needs a vice though right??

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Creative Human Power

Something amazing which I forgot to mention earlier, was that when we were in Lucca, Italy about 3 weeks ago (Wow, it seems like ages more!!) there was an old world crafts market celebrating human powered creativity. It was so cool to see.

Shoes whittled by hand

Baskets woven

Tools sharpened with leg power

Corn Brooms being tied and sewn

Textiles woven with foot power

There was also an artist using a hand cranked drill to create useful things out of copper, several more artisans weaving baskets, and two women exhibiting their talents in embroidery and other stitchery. Everything was purposeful and beautifully made. It just made me think about how much you can accomplish with the power of your own 2 hands (and feet!) and how our idea of "need" has been so altered by the consumerist world we live in - but that is a blog for another day...

So, speaking of human powered creativity, a treadle or foot powered sewing machine has been on my wish list for a long time. I used to see them all the time in thrift shops. When I do see one now, which is rare, they are quite costly. From what I have read though, if you are able to find a Singer treadle it is worth the buy as they are still regularly used in Amish communities, making parts and maintenance information still available. I am sure that special machine is looking for me too and it's going to be very soon, I can feel it. Here's hoping when I find it that it doesn't join our table soccer in being a drying rack for clothing!

On a final note, a couple of books I would love to mention that relate to old world crafts, and creating a handmade life for yourself are :
Made From Scratch: The Pleasures of a Handmade Life - by Jenna Woginrich
Lost Crafts - by Una McGovern
Country Living Handbook - by Carla Emery

Power To The People! xo

Monday, June 21, 2010

Jet Lag

Here we are working through this process of getting our poor babe back on Canada time. It has been a rough couple of nights.
Last night he woke up crying at 2am and was awake and/or upset off and on until he decided it was time to get up at 6am.
One thing about L though, he may have a bad night but once it's day time he is a pretty happy little guy.

I read Arnica is very good for jet lag so we have been giving him that. Making sure he is well fed all day so that it isn't hunger he wakes for in the night, and giving him lots of space to be active during the proper time. Any other ideas for dealing with jet lag?

His early nap has been as normal as before we left, but the afternoon nap is where he gets confused and thinks it's night time. :(

Anyway, here is as far as I go today because I feel a little like a train wreck. I think the two of us need to get out and enjoy some sun, and I have to TRY and nap when he naps. That is one of the most difficult things to do, I think. I always have so many things I would like to accomplish and do for me that it is hard for me to give up that chunk of time to sleep.
It may not be quite so hard today!

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Open Top Bus!

{this moment} Inspired by Soulemama-"A Friday ritual. A single photo - no words - capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment I want to pause, savor and remember. If you're inspired to do the same, leave a link to your 'moment' in the comments for all to find and see."

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

A Few Tidbits

Real Men Don't Wear Shorts
You can tell a tourist by his shorts. Really. Local males do not wear shorts and that seems to be true of most countries outside of North America, Aus, and NZ. In East Africa it was thought to be a habit of only boys, and I think the Italians would agree.
Seeing as locals can likely spot a tourist from a mile away anyhow, it's your call when you're sweatin' it in 35 degrees C.

Big Man in Vatican
The pope spoke to us. Well, us along with several thousand others. We just happened to walk up as it was all happening, and as a matter of fact we were kind of excited about it despite the fact that we couldn't understand a single word.
Our apartment is very near the Vatican, so we pass through Piazza San Pietro everytime we head out. Always busy with loiterers, snapshot takers, and the reverent, the piazza is a great spot to people watch.

In Awe
Yesterday we paid a visit to The Sistine Chapel. It is on the top of my list for things I have seen, ever. When I had a chance to pass the babe to my hub and really stand and take it all in I, in fact, became very emotional. It is massive, first of all. I can't even imagine the dedication involved in this 4 year undertaking. I can't even imagine how it only took 4 years!?
You feel like God himself had his hand on Michaelangelo's brush.

Change of Food Scenery
So, it happened. We finally tired of cheese, panini, pizza, and pasta. For one evening we dipped in to a rare Japanese restaurant for a little break from tomatoes and basil. It was tasty and enjoyable, but I admit there was a slight twinge of eater's remorse afterward as we passed little restaurants with the most amazing looking food.
It isn't that I have tired of the food entirely but sometimes, for the good of my health, I gotta have a salad that isn't a ball of cheese with oil on it! How do Italians stay so thin??

Eating Light
They eat dinner very late in Italy. Most restaurants close for the afternoon and re-open at 7pm. This doesn't always work well with a baby. In Positano, we went looking for an open restaurant at around 5pm and found only one. The waiter said to us "I am sorry but Restaurant is closed. If you like I can make you a light snack?". Curious at what was available and knowing it was likely our only option to fill the voids in our bellies, we inquired. "Light snack" options were lasagna, panini, salads, or pizza. Lasagna and pizza, a light snack?? hmmm... Again, how so thin?!? We were stuffed! And beautifully, for once we didn't get an eyebrow raise for ordering pasta as our meal instead of our starter course.

"The Italian's Spinach" or "How to grow hair on your baby's chest"

Ostrich meat? Possibly. Horse? I don't think so.

Italy really is a classy place in every sense of the word. I mean, I walk in front of a guy on his scooter and completely cut him off causing a slight teeter, and he says "oh Signora!" to me in a way that is intended to reprimand but feels more like a kiss with words. No kidding!

...And then, you get...

Anyone in need of an apron?

What would Michaelangelo have to say about this??
(That is an image of his statue of David in case you didn't know).

So, Ta ta for now! Last full day in Italy tomorrow :(

Monday, June 14, 2010

Enemies of the stroller...

Italy has not been a very stroller-friendly country, but sometimes you just need to grin and bear it, so you can see the sights and your little one can squeeze in a couple semi-normal naps.

Here are just a few of our most recent encounters:

Sidewalk or is it?

Well, we definitely can't take the stairs, but...

maybe we could take the ramp??

Are they trying to tell us something?

I believe Venice was the worst. Speaking to our host, we were told that older residents who need a wheelchair and live anywhere past the very main strip are forced to move. I can definitely see why. We really worked our triceps and biceps on that island carrying the stroller up and down flights of stairs.
My arms need way more than 3 days there though...

Sign, sign, everyhwere a sign...

A photo blog of Roman signage

Friday, June 11, 2010


{this moment} Inspired by Soulemama- "A Friday ritual. A single photo - no words - capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment I want to pause, savor and remember. If you're inspired to do the same, leave a link to your 'moment' in the comments for all to find and see."

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

When Life Gives You Lemons...


Is that like an inch of pith??

What a courageous guy, tackling that lemon without any zucchero to tame that sting!
That enormous head sized lemon scented our entire room! Just awesome.
Next we will try lemons in the locals favourite form - homemade limoncello!