Saturday, December 31, 2011

New Year...

As I said yesterday no resolutions this year, although I could think of about a hundred that I could make!  This year after much deliberation and contemplation my word is....wait for it.............drum roll please........CREATE. 

Lots of words have come to mind including energy, joy and determination but CREATE wins out - perhaps I need to create joy and energy!!!

Walking around the orchard today I went on a bud hunt.  I felt sure that one somewhere would be starting to open up - but with no luck.  Just a little too early even for Italy.  I did however see lots of colour on the orange and lemon trees, which when looking up to a blue, blue sky makes you feel like the sun is not far away.


Friday, December 30, 2011

Hello again!


Ahhhh a lovely Christmas break...but great to be back.  I love the New Year..full of possibilities...who knows where the next year will take us?  To be honest I am not a great fan of seeing the New Year in as such - by about 10:30 my bed begins to call...however...I do love the plotting and planning that seems to rattle around my head at this time of year.

Not one for resolutions...I always break them anyway....I am opting for a word for the year....something to inspire or represent my hopes for the year...........not sure what it is going to be yet but will let you know.

We had a lovely, lazy Christmas (just as it should be)...other than little G being down with a virus of some kind....things went as planned.  Little L was given a beautiful quilt made by her Godmother...a really special gift I think she will treasure forever (photo to follow - sorry disorganised!).    

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Cooking Class


A very lovely friend arranged a cookery class this week and we held it at my house.  It was lovely not to have to organise very much but to have such fun.  We made lovely Gnocchi, Cannelloini and then Struffoli (which little L loved!).  Great fun to share the lesson with lots of lovely people and then to eat delicious food.


Struffoli is simple to make.  The dough is just eggs and flour, which is then deep fried and covered in honey and sweet confetti whilst warm.  Lovely.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Christmas cakes and Kenwoods.


Over the past few days there has been a sale locally where I must admit to buying the odd bargain.  One item kept calling to me in the store - a red KitchenAid.  If I walked up and down once I must have gone past them 20 times.  On Saturday I even took my hubby to walk past and admire the lovely lovely boxes.  However, I did resist (wow they cost a lot!) and I really do not need one.

Sitting at home, feeling a bit abandoned was my Kenwood.  Today I got it out to make my Christmas cakes (four - we do like Christmas cake!!) and I realised that actually I quite love it!  It is over 40 years old and still mixes beautifully.  It made my hubbies cakes when he was a boy...it mixed our wedding cake (we made it ourselves) and it has mixed our Christmas cakes for the last 12 years...it really owes us nothing....and I would never swap it....even for a very lovely red KitchenAid!

Friday, November 25, 2011

Hookey time....

Over the past few days I have been having a go at some new squares using the book Crochet Motifs.  Some have worked and some are not looking so good.  One of my problems has been starting with a sliding loop - just can't seem to get the hang of this and so have reverted to starting my square with a chain??? Anyway I will have another go sometime. 

Still working away on my two blankets.  It's G's blanket at the moment but this stage of the blanket involves working lots of the same colour squares - mmmm-which is why I keep getting side tracked!



Not so much a square but I like this one.






This is G's blanket.  I love the circle in a square pattern and it works well with the nautical theme as G wanted her blanket to be made in sea colours.


Lovely Blankets......just need to get on with it!!

Thursday, November 24, 2011

AnnieMay's Merry Christmas Mincemeat



 
Over the past few weeks I have been making lots and lots of Christmas mincemeat.  This has been one of the more successful items that I have sold locally, but that may be because you cannot buy it here in Italy.  I use my mother-in-laws recipe from her lovely hand written book.



I love looking through both my mothers and my mother-in-law's recipe books, they are very important to me.  There is something very special about reading all of those things in their handwriting (especially since they have both passed away).  Also I can remember eating many of the things in my own mother's book as a child - fond memories. 

In line with my other modern equipment???!!! I even use my mother-in-law's old mincer - my girls love turning the handle to help (well at least for a minute or two!).  Check out my page for the recipe for Merry Mincemeat - enjoy!





Tuesday, November 22, 2011

And Breath..........



Wow what a busy few days!  I hardly feel that I have had time to breath.  An interview on Friday (goodness I have a new job!!), a lovely lovely weekend in England, back at lunch time to bake and clean for my Christmas Shopping evening at home which although lovely was not ideally timed.  Lots of things in the diary which is sort of making me panic - so big deep breath - Ahh.  I need to stop, collect my thoughts and breath!!!!

Tonight (after Rainbows of course!) I am going to ignore the pile of things to do and snuggle up on the sofa with little L.  May even get my little hook out and blanket! 

Below mini cakes cooked for our lovely 12 little girls in Rainbows (part of the UK Brownie organization).


Saturday, November 12, 2011

Mini Naan and Toasted Muffins

Don't you just love plod days - where you don't do very much but somehow manage to do a lot!  Today was one of those days.  With a sniffy little miss we decided a sofa day was in order, but it was not long before I had a helper in the kitchen making naan bread for the freezer.  Little L came up with the great idea of making mini naan and they came out really well - a definite for future lunch boxes.  I have added my naan bread recipe on my pages if you want to have a go.




Showed my ironing pile some love this afternoon (the job a hate the most in the whole world).  Feeling virtuous I then lit the fire just to toast some muffins....well sometimes it has to be done.  This evening I am going to settle down with a new crochet book and try some different squares - I will let you see the results soon........ 

Friday, November 11, 2011

Blue sky

Once at school many many moons ago I was told off for painting a picture with a totally blue sky.  It is funny how these things stay with us but every time I see a blue sky I feel like shouting....see a totally blue sky.  The sky here in Italy is wonderfully open and bright.



Thursday, November 10, 2011

Cosy nights and sunny days............


Last night was an early night to chase away my sniffs and sneezes, but not before lighting the fire and settling down with a good book.  Really enjoying The Book Thief at the moment - a can't put it down read. 

Today feeling better I set off on a snake hunt.  With the sun shining I felt sure he would be there on the wall having his daily vitamin D shot.  Sadly, it was not to be.  However, the little lizards were out in force so I did manage to get a shot or two.


Out walking it amazes me how it is never really winter here. Sometimes it's wet and sometimes cold but there is always something growing.  At the moment the lemons and oranges are beginning to colour, and it will not be long before pancakes with fresh lemon are on my menu! Yum.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

And relax....

I am having such a lovely day today, despite being under the weather with the latest snuffle sneeze cough thing doing the rounds.  Having shown my house a little love (which it really needed) I have given myself the afternoon off! 


Summer (the dog) and I ambled around the orchard in the watery sunshine.  I took my camera in the hope of catching my little snake who sunbathes on the wall, but with a little chilly wind I think perhaps it was too cold for him.  However I did find a four leaf clover, so not all bad luck :)



These celandine's add some much needed colour to the walk.  


Yesterday AnnieMay had her first outing and it went quite well.  Although I did not make very much for the event (small and simple) I enjoyed setting my little tables up and making it pretty....

My mincemeat sold well, with lots of orders too, so getting up at 6.30 to make mince pies was worth the effort (which is good as I am NOT a morning person and so it really did take quite some effort!)


Maybe need a slightly larger selection next time!


Monday, November 7, 2011

Love this


Oh how I LOVE this picture.  I want to buy it and put it on my wall. 

Reindeer food and rain.


This week I have been putting together bits and bobs for my first stall.  One of my favorite things has been my Reindeer Food.  Little L has been very excited at the prospect of throwing some on the grass come Christmas Eve.  Having racked my brains to figure out a way of making cool labels - something a little different - I hit on the idea of typing them on our very old type writer.  Needless to say Little L had loads of fun but did make me laugh when she asked 'can it draw things?' - clearly too used to the computer.  That said a type writer of her own is now top of the Christmas wish list and she had great fun hitting the keys.  I had forgotten how hard it is to type on one of these things...my fingers where hurting after a while, but I did love the tap tap noise. 



As for the rain...we had a 12 hour storm over the weekend, with water features springing up all over the house!  When it rains in Naples...it really, really rains.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

AnnieMay steps out.............


In a few days time AnnieMay will be stepping out to her first stall...eeek.  Having had a bit of a panic about what to make for the event I have decided to settle for a Christmas theme (as it is only 7 weeks to go).  So over the next few days I am going to have lots of fun making and getting into the Christmas spirit - oooohhhh so LOVE Christmas.

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Yum Yum and BOO!



After quite a few attempts I have at last managed to find recipes for both Naan Bread and Mango Chutney I am happy with.  Thanks to a friend's tips and even a cooking lesson I can now claim to have it in the bag!  Yum, yum.  I will put the recipes on here as soon as I write them down - as with all things I had to have my own tweak so I need to work out what actually went in :)

Sitting here watching Muppet's Christmas Carol whilst little L makes Hamma Bead Christmas decorations you may be forgiven for thinking that we are in December - but never ones to miss a celebration we have also carved our pumpkins and they are looking suitably whoooooaaahhh.

Boo!



Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Bazaar Days.....


Phew it has been a very long few weeks and there has been no time to update my blog, but this weekend at last was our International Bazaar.  After a lot of hard work from lots of people the British food stall went very well and we raised lots of lovely money for charity.  It has been (mostly) a very enjoyable experience...but has completely finished me off.  Even now a few days after the event I am struggling to return to normal.  My house is a tip (more than usual!!) and at 8pm I feel ready for bed.  Sooooooo looking forward now to half term with my lovely girls and getting back into making and doing.  I feel a crafty week coming on - once I have cleaned my house of course.

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Little Hands



Having announced last night to my little L that we were going to have a make and do morning tomorrow she could not get to sleep and then woke me up at 6:10 full of excitement to get started!  I suppose I should be grateful that she has such enthusiasm for making and doing!  After a little looking in some sewing books we chose some heart lavender bags out of felt.  Little L managed the sewing machine well and soon got the hang of moving her fabric. 

As the sun shone we moved outside to complete some first class floor art!!
 


Friday, September 30, 2011

Floppy Bunny

Today I finished Floppy Bunny (see Greedy for Colour blog for the pattern!).  I am not sure about the stripes and so think I might make an all white or all brown one next time.  Sort of looks like a rabbit  (ish).  Lottie my little girl seems keen to adopt this one!

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Tea Cup Candle


It has been ages since I used my candle making bits and bobs but today I dug them out.  Having just committed to my first Annie May stall at a coffee morning in November I thought I should get going with a few ideas (slight feeling of terror about this).  I had forgotten how much I enjoy candle making, the lovely wax colours and smell of the oils.  Above is my tea cup candle scented with strawberry (probably would look better in a tea cup with strawberries in but I don't have one!) - kitchen smells lovely now - happy days.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Pinterest

Dreamy bedroom
Just found Pinterest - a lovely site full of beautiful pictures - this is my dream bedroom - Love It !
(see pinterest.com for more)

My Heart ♥


I could have been cleaning, or washing, or even ironing this afternoon....but it seemed like a good time to make a lavender heart.  My lavender came in the post a few days ago and is now making my house smell beautiful.  It is sooooo satisfying to make something so small and sweet in such a short amount of time, and love it at the end.  Something tells me I might be making quite a few of these for Santa!  Happy sewing xxx

Monday, September 26, 2011

Harvest Time

A very busy few days, but today I managed to get back out walking.  In the orchard today they are beginning to harvest the pumpkins and so the routine continues.  It amazes me that so many different pumpkins - long, short, thick, thin, orange, green - all grow in the same patch.  Soon the field will be empty and a new crop will begin. Love that the year just passes and it all goes on and on.....

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Pumpkin Patch


Just over a year ago we arrived in Italy.  Almost everyday since I have walked around the local orchard with my dog.  At first glance it is an unkempt place but as the year has gone by I have seen the most amazing fruits, and the farmers work in a wonderful yearly routine - one I suspect that has been going on for generations.  Now is the time for pumpkins in the fields near the fruit trees.  The field is full of pumpkins of every size, shape and colour you could imagine.  Beautiful.

Monday, September 19, 2011

Blanket day ♥


We awoke this morning to a thunder storm and what felt like a good day to blanket.  How lovely to feel the cool wind today and see the first rain for months.  I am a winter girl or at least Autumn, and the thought of lighting the fire and snuggling up on the sofa (still too warm to do this yet) makes me very excited for the coming months.  From now until Christmas is definitely my favourite time of year and hopefully my blankets will move forward a lot as they seemed to have stalled a little over summer.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Colours of an Italian Summer


The colours of Italy in the summer are amazing.  The beautiful blue sky, the shining sea, boats of every colour are all around and I thought I would share my favourite with you. 




Saturday, September 17, 2011

Rabbit and the hot day!

Another hot afternoon and a chance to begin a crocheted rabbit.  It seems to be taking quite some time, but I think that is probably to do with me rather than the pattern!  Also managed a couple more squares of my little girls blanket (which is also taking forever - but is an ongoing project - the ta daaa moment for that will be a while yet.  Another hot day in Naples...but think the storms cannot be far away. 

Friday, September 16, 2011

Ta daaaa...............


Bunting is so easy and looks fantastic!  Spent an hour or so making this and it is now being saved for my patio.  On to next project.  So hot here this afternoon I gave up sitting on the patio as it was too hot even in the shade - miss the change of seasons in England, much as I love Italy.  

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Blissful Afternoon

My lovely sewing machine which is just fantastic! It has a smell which reminds me of my childhood. We had an old singer with a foot treadle and little draws on either side filled with interesting things. This one came from my husbands family, and sews beautifully. Made a start on my bunting and had a lovely afternoon sewing and listening to Norah Jones.