Sunday, 30 November 2014

Weekending... and the giveaway winner!

It's been yet another rainy, dark November weekend; we spend most of it at home. But I can't really complain: it feels somehow comforting to be indoors, warm and cosy, while gray clouds outside are heavy with rain. Today we had an earthquake too. Though it was short, it scared me to bits- I'd never experienced an earthquake before.

We managed to catch up on some works on the house. Kids' bunk bed that we've been building for the past two weeks or so is almost done. The progress is slow because we have only time over the weekend and there are so many things to do that sometimes it feels overwhelming. Today C. was able to make bookshelves for kids' books while I was making Christmas cards with G. I can't believe it is already this time of year...


 And it's also time to reveal the winner of Knit Bake Sew Giveaway! :-)
Thank you all who left their comment under my previous post. And the winner is: Monica!



Congratulations! Evin, the author of the book, will contact you shortly to gift you a free e-copy of her fabulous book.

***

Saturday, 22 November 2014

Bake Knit Sew by Evin Bail O'Keeffe blog tour.

Have you heard yet? The very talented Evin O'Keefee has published her first book and let me tell you: it is a treat to enjoy. 

 © 2014 Evin Bail O'Keeffe

I met Evin through Raverly few years ago and have been admiring her award-winning blog ever since. I'm very excited to be taking part in her blog tour and happy to share some of my thoughts on her book here. 

© 2014 Evin Bail O'Keeffe

I received my copy of Evin's book few weeks ago and since then it has been my daily companion, my daily source of inspiration. During these dark and cold November days all I want to do is knitting beautiful things and baking delicious treats for my family and Evin's book provides so many ideas for both. 

The book covers a whole year of crafts. You'll find a delicious recipe and a knitting or sewing pattern for each month of year. As an active knitter I was curious about the knitting patterns and I quickly fell in love with them. Cupid's Arrow Cowl, Falling Petals Lace Shawl, Keating Hat and Sugar Maple Vest are my favorite. I'll be making them for myself but, since Christmas is just around the corner, these patterns are perfect for gift-knitting too. 

© 2014 Evin Bail O'Keeffe

The book is filled with beautiful images and the photos that accompany the recipes make my mouth watering. There are twelve delicious recipes for cakes, cookies, scones and pies. I want (and I will!) try them all. Not only they are a real treat for you and your family, most of them are easy enough to make with your kids. I've already made Lime Poppy Seed Scones and they turned out wonderfully. They tasted great with maple syrup and a cup of tea on a rainy afternoon. Now I'd love to try Snickerdoodles, Monster Cookies, Aunt Nell's Blondies and this tempting Strawberry Mascarpone Tart:

© 2014 Evin Bail O'Keeffe

And if you're not sure what to do with all that pumpkin abundance this season, there is a lovely recipe for Grandma's Pumpkin Pie too.

The book also includes few sewing patterns and although I'm not into sewing as much as into knitting, I found them very interesting. Princes Street Market Tote makes me want to dig out my long forgotten sewing machine and get to work. So does On the Green Picnic Mat... and Mary's Hostess Apron...

© 2014 Evin Bail O'Keeffe

What I really like about Evin's book is that it is simple in its beauty: each pattern and recipe seems achievable and you instantly feel you want to make them all. She also tells a story that stands behind them. Also, the ingredients  in the recipes are given both in cups and grams- it's a small detail but so helpful as I often give up on some recipes if they provide measures in cups and ounces (can't be bother with converting them into grams...).

It is also worth to mention that Evin, living in beautiful Ireland, for her projects she shares with us in her book, selected her supplies carefully and obtained them locally from independent businesses owned by women. 

For more information about Bake Knit Sew book, you can visit Evin's blog, here. You can find her on her Twitter and Instagram too.

The book is available for purchase in two versions: as an e-book and as a paperback

Evin is kindly offering the readers of my blog a 10% discount on Bake Knit Sew. Simply use the discount code BLOGTOUR for 10% while purchasing form Raverly or AnchorandBee. This offer ends on the 27th of November. Thank you Evin!

You can visit previous stops on this blog tour, here:

Mon, November 10 – Reckless Knitting (Liz) http://recklessknitting.com 
Tues, November 11 – Live and Let Pie (Rose Anne) http://liveandletpie.net/ 
Wed, November 12 – Jen’s Kitchen (Jeni) http://www.jenskitchen.ie Thu, November 13 – The Dublin Knit Collective (Diane) http://dublinknitcollective.wordpress.com 
Fri, November 14 – Crafty Tails (Jenny) http://craftytails.com 
Saturday, November 15 – The Writer’s Journey (Markie) http://writermarkiemadden.blogspot.ie 
Sunday, November 16 – Lisa Bogart Thoughts (Lisa) http://www.lisabogart.com/thoughts/ 
Mon, November 17 – Glass of Win aka Moonstruck Quaint (Rachael) http://www.glassofwin.com 
Tue, November 18 – TanisKnits (Tanis) http://www.tanisknits.com 
Wed, November 19 – Lilly Higgins (Lilly) http://lillyhiggins.ie 
Thu, November 20 – Calso Cooks (Paul) http://thesustainablelarder.blogspot.ie 
Fri, November 21 – By Eline (Eline) http://byeline.no 
Sat, November 22 – Yarn Poetry (me :-) ) http://www.yarnpoetry.blogspot.ie
Sun, November 23 – Live and Let Pie (Rose Anne) http://liveandletpie.net/?s=and+let+pi


~ ~ ~ GIVEAWAY ~ ~ ~

Evin is also generously offering a free copy of her e-book to one lucky reader. To enter leave a comment below by 4:00 p.m. GMT Saturday, November 28, 2014, telling me which of the designs you would want to make or recipes you want to bake to be in with a chance to win an ecopy of the e-book. 

Your comment also counts as entry to win one signed paperback copy of Bake Knit Sew being given away on the 28th of November to one lucky reader on this blog tour.

***No purchase necessary. Void where prohibited. Winner must have a valid email address or Ravelry account. Value of the prize is $16.00. No cash equivalent will be offered.***

Good luck!

Monday, 10 November 2014

Rainy days.



These past few weeks have been very rough, weather-wise. Rain, rain and more rain on its way. We are tired, we are worried. This huge amount of water, accompanied by strong winds has already caused some damages and the worst part of it is that this rainy season has only just begun. There have been landslides, the roads are a mess, some impressive waterfalls have appeared on the hills. We have been having second degree warning for the past few days now. It's all a bit scary. 


The schools remain closed, so we stay at home, trying to organize our daily activities. It is not always easy. With a two year old toddler who doesn't stay still for a second and an active first-grader who gets bored very easily. a whole day indoors can be pretty challenging for one busy mama. But we're doing fine and, frankly, I'm possibly the only mom around here to be happy that the schools are closed. It's somehow sweet to be with my kids at home, even if at some point my patience is pushed to its boundaries. 



This rainy weather made me feel like baking today. I just needed something comforting for the kids, for us, so I decided to try out a new recipe: Lime Poppy Seed Scones. They turned out delicious! They are exactly what I crave on a day like today.


The recipe comes from "Bake Knit Sew" book by Evin Bail O'Keeffe, a fellow, talented blogger whose blog I've been admiring for years. The book has been published recently and Evin is currently having a blog-tour. I'm honored to be a part of it- I will be writing about her beautiful book soon, hosting a giveaway too, so stay tuned :-)


Saturday, 11 October 2014

From the city to the countryside.

It's been a very long time since my last post... Again, all I can say is that we have been very busy lately but I'm willing to get back on track with blogging. A quick look back at the past months:

In the end of June we left our flat in Genova that we had sold back in February. We rented a small house in the countryside and in that moment our urban life ended. Our dream (and plan) of living in the countryside finally came true. The house was situated on the hill, immersed in greenery, surrounded by olive groves and woods. It was a magic place, a huge change for us after of those years of living in big cities.

Casa Rossa, as we used to call our temporary home.

There were only few other people living there, mostly elder farmers who initially welcomed our presence with curiosity but then very quickly became our friends. Their friendliness and generosity was very touching and, again, something new for us. We felt a part of that small community from the very beginning. 

Countryside people are very generous. Every time I went to visit Signora R. she wouldn't let me leave without a bag full of treasures: vegetables from her garden, eggs from her hens, home made jams, tomato passata and limoncello.

In Casa Rossa we spent half of the summer that was pretty rainy this year.

Our everyday views.

And within one or two weeks of our new life, we found our dream house, a final destination in our journey from the city to the countryside. After few months of an intense search we slowly were losing our hopes and than it suddenly happened: we went to see a house without any expectations and we fell in love with it instantly. It had almost everything that we were looking for so we decided to put an offer. It was accepted and within a month we moved in (lucky us, as the procedures usually take much longer; the ex-owners were very flexible in our case though).


The house it's old, built in 1900 and has already gone through many changes and renovations. There are things that still need to be done but we love it even with its small imperfections.

And it's surrounded by breathtaking scenery: Ligurian hills and the sea in the distance.



A little corner of the world that we longed for and we can call our own, finally.

Wednesday, 21 May 2014

Catching up...



I haven't been a very active blogger lately but I'm willing to undust this space a bit and bring it back to life. If I have anything to say in my defense it's that life has been pretty overwhelming as of late and I don't seem to be able to find a quiet moment to catch up with it. This month has been particularly overloaded with events, family celebrations, school activities, dealing with some personal issues, planning for a trip to Poland, preparing for a removal as we need to leave our flat to its new owners in the end of June and on the top of everything- our house search adventure continues. It's been a lot to deal with but we're slowly getting there (wherever it is that we are heading too ;-) ). 

Happy Wednesday!

(The photos are random, taken during our last trip to the sea last weekend)

Friday, 2 May 2014

...

These past few months have been up-and-down road for me and now I feel I'm speeding straight down with no brakes. Few days ago my beloved Grandad passed away and I still can't come to terms with his death. I wish I could say he died peacefully but I can't. It happened so suddenly and I simply feel shattered. The fact that I cannot be with my family in this difficult moment makes my heart ache even more. So many words I didn't say to him... I feel empty.
We told G. that he grew wings and flew to the sky and that now he lives in the clouds. "Isn't he cold out there?", she asked with concern. I hope he's not. I hope he's safe and warm and in peace.

Saturday, 12 April 2014

getting back on track

It's been a while since my last post... but I'm hoping to get back to more regular blogging. Last few weeks have been a bit overwhelming for us due to never-ending illness and other health issues. G.'s been sick on and off; at the moment she's stying at home with scarlet fever and I'm anxiously waiting for little F. to catch it from her (let's hope it won't happen). 


Meanwhile... the spring has blossomed and bloomed around us. Ligurian hills are so beautiful this time of year- covered with different shades of green, that very fresh, the very first green of the season. 

We've been on a house-hunting adventure since late February; we managed to sell our flat in Genoa and that gave us green light to change our dream into reality. It also means that we have to pack our belongings once again- it seems that for the past few years we've been living a sort of Nomadic life but we're really close to the the point where we will be able to unpack for longer (or so I hope).

So far house searching proofs to be a very exciting and at the same time very exhausting experience but I have a feeling we are just about to find a good place for our little family. Fingers crossed!