Saturday, December 17, 2016

It's that time of the year...

when I do things that are done only once a year, like....

write a blog,

and play the viola,

and put up the Christmas tree

Yeah, ok.  It's more of a Christmas installation than a tree. But, well, what is a Christmas tree anyway?  It's a plant formerly growing outside brought inside decorated with lights and ornaments assembled whilst listening to Christmas carols.... check, check, check and check.   As I was saying, today we put up our Christmas tree.  This is actually our 2nd tree since the first tree, a replica of last year's tree made by son-extraordinaire Graham, 

experienced a fatal encounter with my broom leaving the entire upstairs of our house flooded.  Looking now at this photo from last year, I see my mistake.  Just because that demijohn CAN hold 52 liters of water doesn't mean that it SHOULD.  Slightly over-aggressive sweeping led to a ever-so light tap on the belly of the bottle, which led to an explosion of glass and water, which, ultimately, led to the cleanest floor this house has ever seen and a Christmas installation

If you'll excuse me now I need to go practice Oh Holy Night.

Thursday, September 22, 2016

somethings just sound cooler....

in French.

The other day we went dinner at the famous Kate and Ralf's.  When we arrived, just after the welcome kisses, Kate handed me a big bag, "this is for your atelier".  Inside was this...

The candelabra, not the squash.  Kate went on to explain that they used that it in their house when they had no electricity.  Now they do so it needs to move on.  How very thoughtful of them. 

Have I mentioned that I have a new studio?  Well, new to me, that is.


english - studio

italian - laboratorio

french - atelier

Yeah, ok, in any language it's pretty cool to have one, et's look at it again...

Wednesday, August 10, 2016

So here's the thing....

Unsolicited advice makes the receiver look and feel like an asshole.

I went to the Cooperativo the other day.  The Cooperativo sells everything a country-living girl could want from plants to chicken feed, pet supplies to fashion-forward green rubber garden shoes.  They also sell a bunch of other stuff that I don't even know what to do with.  Which brings me back to my story...

So I was at the Cooperativo the other day to buy some tomato plants.  The first round of tomatoes are pushing out their last fruit. It's only the beginning of August. And I have some free time to putter around in the Orto.  Why not try another batch, I thought to myself pulling into the parking lot.

Immediately I see a pal who is a great gardener.  He knows what all those things are for that they sell at the Cooperativo.  He says he's buying chicken feed and asks what I'm doing. 

"I'm getting some tomatoes to plant," I say feeling kind of proud to be able to add "I've already made all the sauce I can from the May plants".

My friend makes a few grunting noises and then says, "no.  It's too hot.  You can't plant tomatoes now.  No.  You should wait a few weeks.  Too hot." I have a dilemma.  I'm standing there next to the rack of beautiful little cuore di bue tomato plants looking for a home, that I was just about to reach for when I got this unsolicited advice.  I have 2 choices: 1. thank my garden expert/friend for the advice and for saving me from making the foolish error of wasting time and money planting tomatoes the first week of August and then go home bummed out because I don't get to plant tomatoes in my garden like I wanted to, or 2. smile politely and thank the gardener expert/friend for that gift of his advice which comes from the wisdom and knowledge gained through years of experience and explain that I'm going to ignore it and plant them anyway .....and then look and feel like an asshole.


Actually, there's a 3rd option:  linger in the store, pretending to be interested in the green rubber garden shoes (which I'm not because I've already got a pair) until the friend's got his feed and has left.  Then grab as many plants as possible and go home to putter....

PS.  check out the Sear's-Freakin-Tower of trellises I've built for these little babies

Sunday, July 31, 2016

The Chicken or the Egg?

We're having some Germans over for dinner so we got some potatoes...

Or maybe it was that we had the potatoes so we invited some germans?

Nah, it's just a coincidence that Mila and family are coming for a visit the day after David and Franco did the potato harvest.

Feel free to send creative potato recipes our way.  Yesterday I had a boiled potato for lunch and David made au gratin for dinner.  I have a feeling that eating potatoes will be a bit like harvesting potatoes....seriously awesome for the first couple and then some rapidly diminishing returns.

Sunday, July 03, 2016

Do you remember your first time?

your first ride down the block on a bike without training wheels
the first meal you cooked in your own apartment
signing the mortgage on your first home
planting the first garden in your first home
your first beer
receiving your first pay check
your first time behind the wheel without your dad sitting next to you
your first road trip with friends

remember that feeling? Yeah, awesome....choir of angels awesome. 

Today, I experienced the mother of all firsts....

sticking a fork in the earth and finding

a potato.

Yeah, I know.  Just like all the other firsts in one's life (except for maybe one, that I can think of) the experience has diminishing returns the more you do it.  But for today, I'm going to bask in the afterglow.

Tuesday, June 07, 2016

So I was just sitting there in my studio today working away on a painting and thinking, "Dang, I wish I had something to blog about, " when....

a tank rolled past my door.  A tank followed by two half naked men.

'Ask and Ye Shall Receive!'  


'be careful of what you wish for'

Saturday, May 07, 2016


Sometimes I mention things to you guys and then just leave you hanging there with no follow up. 

I know you've all wondering about our potatoes

As far as the eye can see...potatoes

 Wanna see them again....
ahhhh, potatoes.

Maybe you all have been up at night wondering if we got our tomatoes in. Yep.  Sure did.  All 60 plants ALREADY with trellises!

Any of you guys been obsessing about what David's put in the upcycled garden beds? Cornwell strawberry patch, baby!

 And it can't just be Mila who is dying to know if I've finished the just-like-Mila's shawl.  Yep.  AND the long-teal-jacket-that-needs-a-better-name

Given that I only seem to finish things when I've mentioned them here and therefore feel obliged to follow through, I'd like to tell you guys about my plans for restaining our doors.....

Thursday, April 28, 2016


or up-cycling or re-purposing, reusing, reclaiming, recovering, rescuing, salvaging, or taking-some-piece-of-shit-you-find-lying-around-and-doing-something-else-with-it....whatever you want to call it, I LOVE IT.  As was recently pointed out in an article sent to me by my brother-in-law, artists and poor people have been doing this for all of time.  And it's genius.

Now I'm not talking here about getting your empty wine bottles into the right bin.  That also is a good idea, but that's not what turns my crank.  I like this kind of recycling....

Yep, that's an old bed frame made into a fence.  I might have complained about those in the past since our neighbors have them everywhere but now, I get it.  I find them beautiful in their simplicity, practicality, and they're easy on the pocket book.  Isn't that better than, say, this purchased fencing

I think so. 

This re-purposed material fence might have passed that line between brilliant reuse and squalor....

But that's probably the fault of the reuser not the reused.

Some more good salvaging....

those frames that I saved from the neighbor's pyre which David will soon make into raised garden beds. 

I came home the other day to find this on the side of our house....

Yeah, looks like a pile of rocks because that's what it is....NOW.  But just wait.  Guess what we've got going on here

Yep.  David and our friends Franco and Gino are making us a grill from stuff we've got just lying around every where. That's awesome.

Why buy pots when....

you have loads of empty wine boxes?  Yep!  Upcycling.

And the best recovery yet....

GRANDMA'S OREGANO!!!!!  It's sprouted.

Sunday, April 24, 2016

Good Morning from Italy....

It's a long weekend.  Tomorrow is Liberation Day.  I love Liberation Day, it always feels so, well, liberating.

Some blogging friends have organized a virtual craft and reading circle day.  We participants are, well, virtually crafting and reading together (real crafting and real reading, virtually together).  Awesome.  So I will be posting regularly throughout the day as will these folks:

Oh my god.  What am I doing inside right now!

Ahhh, that's better.  More later, friends.

Midday Update....

Seems at though the weather is fully on board with my plans to read and craft today.  Just after this**

came these

and a piss down of rain.  Perfect.  No guilt about staying inside to knit instead of weeding this

Nope. No weeding.  Just dodging rain drops, grabbing some mint, making some tea (grandma's tea cup....nothing but the best for my virtual friends),

and back to the couch to cast on the front....

In case anyone is wondering, I'm working on this sweater.

It comes from one of the first knitting books I ever bought.

I've made this sweater once or twice before....

more later.....

**thanks to David for that photo.