Friday, May 27, 2011

Remember the swimming pool?

So, yesterday morning I went up to the orto to water my happy little tomatoes and let the dogs have a swim. It's a really nice way to start the day.

Yesterday evening, the dogs told me that swimming is also a really nice way to end the day, so up we went...

Yep, in one day that sucker was emptied.

So I guess that means that summer has officially begun in Maberga -- summer 2011, also known as Water War 2011. Let the fun begin!

By the way, we can tell that it is the peak of summer when there is no water coming from the spring to replace the water everyone is hoarding. Since we're not at that point yet, I'm not freaking out. Look, the vasca is refilling already

Yeah, right. Any one want to place a wager on how long it will take that trickle to refill the swimming pool?

I'm going to say two weeks...assuming that no one empties it again. And I can tell you that Mr. No One will NOT empty it because I'll be watching. (Yes, I know who did it.)

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

nice weekend

What a great weekend! My tomatoes and peppers have come home and are growing their roots.

Yeah, those are my peppers in little pots in the garden. I didn't have it in me to expand the orto after the tomatoes took up the whole space.

Plus, when Augusto gave those pepper to me he made a particular point of letting me know that they are special peppers...CALABRIAN peppers. You can't find them around here...unless you have connections, obviously. Unlike the tomatoes he gave me, which he dug out of the ground in huge clumps, telling me to just throw away the extras, the peppers came from little pots. I protested, saying, "you didn't grow those! You bought those from some special source of Calabrian specialties!" To which, he simply said, "mind your own business and take the peppers." David could really learn a lot about shutting me up if he spent more time with Augusto. So anyway, I put the peppers in the garden so I could keep a closer eye on them, because, you know, they are special.

You may be wondering why my little pepper lovelies are in pots and old wine boxes instead of directly in the ground. Well, that's because of my little furry lovelies who like to give attention to anything I give attention to.

The same lovelies who had a heck of a time swimming in the Maberga pool all weekend.

I'm really so glad that the Maberga Swimming Pool is no longer the source of water for my bath and my kitchen sink any more. It's really sweet having those images in my mind of the dogs frolicking in the fresh spring water, but not so much when I'm soaking in that same water, or washing my veggies for dinner with it.

It was such a nice weekend that when I woke up yesterday morning I thought, "uhg, Monday."

Then I remembered that my job looks like this

And my office like this

Speaking of jewelry (nice segue, no?), a while ago I set up a discount code for OliveKnitting readers in my Etsy know, in case any of you are looking for some Italian bling. Then I forgot to tell you guys about it, which, well, kind of defeats the purpose. Anyway,I'm telling you now -- if any of you should happen to see something you like in my shop, you know, like it enough to buy it, be sure to enter the discount code "OLIVEREADER" and you'll get 20% off. If you are new to the Etsy shopping experience, don't be afraid, it's not difficult. Just drop me a line if you have any questions about it.

Have a good week.

Sunday, May 22, 2011


Are any of you still here? I am. I guess god thought I was of more use staying home than going home.

If I'm honest, I've had a long time fear of the rapture. When I was a kid, the pastor of my church got the inspired idea one Sunday to show a movie about the Rapture. From what I can tell from my limited research, it wasn't "Left Behind" but the premise was the same. I don't know exactly how old I was when I saw this but I distinctly remember a few scenes, all involving people going missing and those left behind looking for them - lost and scared. A particularly powerful one was of a child wandering the streets alone after her parent, or sibling, or nanny, or grandparent (I don't remember which) was taken as they were enjoying a Sunday stroll but she wasn't. Wow. Nothing like that to scare a kid into cleaning their room and not taking the lord's name in vain (The two commandments - child's interpretation). As an adult thinking about it, I kind wonder what kind of kid she was.

In defense of my parents (I feel the need to do this because if I were you I'd say "what were you're parents' thinking?!"), that I also remember a heated discussion on the way home from church that day in which my parents were, trying not to further traumatize my sister and me, clearly expressing disgust at what had just happened at the church. Our church. The place we went, as I was taught by my parents through their example (and a lot of verbal convincing), for the spiritual community and to practice love, caring, forgiveness and giving.

Yeah, ok. I didn't, in my adult and rational mind, think anything would happen yesterday. I have my own idea now of spirituality. Organized religion is not part of it, although, I must say, I find a lot of comfort in their rituals -- I happily join my mom at her church when I'm in the States and go to baptisms and masses here in Italy whenever I'm invited. And still, I found myself thinking about it.

As it turns out, if the Reverend Camping was right, the only worthy candidates for heaven were Augusto's strawberries.

Yesterday I passed by pal Augusto's to pick up some tomatoes and pepper plants for my orto. "Lina! Don't buy them! I throw away plants each year!". So I went by and he harvested some seedlings for me from a corner of his land. It is the "temporary" corner of his orto. You know, where stuff gets planted when it will get replanted or maybe just be there for a short time. There were also some strawberries in this little patch. Plants that were already full of fruit.

This morning Augusto stopped in front of my house while I was watering my new peppers. He called me over to the truck. "Lina, remember my strawberries? They were right next to the baby tomatoes and peppers I dug up for you? They're gone."

There was such a look of sadness on his face. At first I didn't understand. I mean, there were like 3 strawberry plants, each with like 6 fruit on them.

"What do you mean they are gone? An animal took them?"

"Yeah, Lina, an animal with two legs." And he wasn't talking about a chicken.

I still didn't totally understand. Why was he so distraught about 18 strawberries gone? I mean, come on, this guy produces food in quantity that could keep several third world countries alive.

"I had promised them to Camilla." Camilla is his granddaughter - the complete and totally love of his life. Ah, that's why he was so destroyed.

But I still didn't understand why someone would go to such trouble to get 18 strawberries. It doesn't make sense. These plants were not by the side of the road or anything. You had to know they were there and pass a Rottweiler to get them. Who would do that? I mean, it's a big risk and a lot of work for 2 strawberry shortcakes (individual size potions).

The only explanation... The strawberry rapture.

If a grandfather who is so distraught by renigging on a promise to his 4 year old granddaughter about some ripe fruit wasn't taken to heaven...well, the rest of us can just go on with our daily sinful lives for now.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Check these out!

Friend Christine and I are working together on this project...yeah yeah, ok, she's done all the work so far. Those adorable, minuscule drawings are hers.

The other day we got together to make those little beauties into jewelry charms with some sterling silver frames and resin.

Tomorrow we are going to make them into wearable art. Stay tuned.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Table Forests

So when I was at my new friends' house in Monaco last week, I noticed an artful flower installation they had set up in their formal dining room. One couldn't help but notice it when entering the room. The gorgeous dining table was a veritable forest of individual orchid plants in white porcelain vases randomly covering the surface of the table. It made you want to be one inch tall so you could wander around in this white magical blooming woods.

I decided we needed a magic table-top forest in Maberga. I went to my florist (the terraces on the mountain) to see what was on offer. Today there was an abundance of sweet peas

Presenting the Maberga Dining Room Table Magic Forest

I'm sorry I don't have a photo of my friends' orchid forest...I thought about bringing the camera so I could share the experience with you all, but well, then I thought twice about it. Anyway, if I had made a photo of my friends' orchid forest you'd notice some differences. Namely:
1. their table is round, mine is rectangular
2. theirs seats 16, mine, 4
3. they had potted orchids, I picked, or rather plucked sweet peas
4. they had a collection of white porcelain vases, I'm using a lovely collection of former aperitif drink bottles

The resemblance between their table and mine?

When I walk into my kitchen now, I want to be one inch tall so I can wander in the Maberga Magic Table Forest.

Since I'm not one inch tall but I can knit...and hold a camera that would be way too heavy if I were one inch tall, I used my sweet pea forest to do a photo shoot of my newest knitting.

This is the Maaema Scarf

from my talented and creative blogger friend, Denise, at Lost City Knits. I'm knitting with cashmere in a raspberry wine color (does that color exist? I just made that up). The very user-friendly and totally satisfying pattern can be found here.

Thank you friends in Monaco for the table forest inspiration and many many thanks to Denise for the scarf pattern.

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Here's a little something I'd like to share with all you kniters to knit for the favorite Dude in your life. You can bet that David will be donning one next winter whilst we sip white russians.

have fun

I might even crochet him a rug too, you know, just to tie the room together.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

A little advice...

If you are ever invited to lunch at a friends' home in the luxurious heart of Monaco, wear sensible shoes. If not, toss a few band-aides in your purse. You don't want to have to buy them there.

Presenting the world's most expensive plasters:

6 euro for those babies. That's about 9 dollars with the current exchange rate.

Another bit of advice, if you didn't follow the first bit and need to buy them, choose the transparent ones instead of the regular brown ones. This way, if you happen to notice that your dress has a tear in it, you can stick one of those puppies on the inside of the rip, and voila' -- dress mended.

So, David and I were invited to the home of some clients of his, who happen to live in the luxurious heart of Monaco. Lovely people, lovely lunch. After lunch our gracious host accompanied us to the garage where we had parked our car. We took the elevator down to the parking level. When the doors opened we were in the residents' parking area. Walking pasts Bentleys, Jaguars, and Ferraris in rainbow colors, we exited to the guest parking. Standing there with our host, he looked out into the cars assembled. "Is that you there?", he politely asked. We all had a little giggle, and David said, "yeah, that's our Fiat 500 there between the silver Mercedes and the black Ferrari. How did you guess?"

Tuesday, May 03, 2011

Any of you ever cut and stacked wood?

Yeah? So then you guys know how hard it is.

No? You guys, it's really hard. First, you have to fell a tree (or get a really nice guy like Augusto to do it for you). Then you have to cut the tree into bite-sized pieces with a rather scary piece of loud machinery that requires protective eye and head gear (unless you want to cut a 6 inch slash in your head...that's another story). Then these pieces, depending on their girth need to be chopped into halves or quarters with a tool that isn't loud but requires a better than minimum level of skill and muscle. Now when you have a nice pile of hard earned potential heat source, you want to stack it so it doesn't rot away on the ground - that and so that your neighbors will think you are organized, prepared and just very cool in general. For you non-wood gatherers, I have to tell you that the stacking part is the most difficult. Ok, maybe not, but that's the part that I do so, for me, it's the most difficult.

Now that you all are sufficiently knowledgeable about the art of wood collection...CHECK THIS OUT!

Wanna see it again?

Yeah, ok. That's my boot in the photo but I'm just posing by the neighbor's pile. I have wood envy. Actually, I have wood stacking envy. Now that the weather is warm, I've quickly forgotten the heat value of a nice pile of wood. Right now, I'd just like to have a beautiful pile like that sitting out front of my house - you know, for the cool factor, not the heat factor.

After rereading what I just wrote there, I'm thinking that I'm probably not a real country girl.

No. You can't see a photo of my stacking ability.

To be fair (to myself) and because this is supposed to be a knitting blog I'd like to say that cool-wood-stacking-neighbor-pal probably can't do this***...

I wonder if he'd have wool envy?

***I can't show more of that knitted garment because it's the surprise piece that I'm working on ... so don't tell anyone.