Monday, 28 November 2016

Things I have made.

During the month of November I have finally completed the crochet project I had been working on since September, the Nordic Shawl by Annette Ciccarelli. I have known how to crochet since I was thirteen or something, but this was my very first big project. The thought of making a sweater was a bit daunting and hats don't really suit me, so I opted for a shawl. 

I chose the wool carefully (it's undyed Bluefaced Leicester by West Yorkshire Spinners) and really thought about how I could make this shawl really mine. That meant choosing a muted colour palette as opposed to using six contrasting colours as the pattern called for, and skipping a few rows to make it a bit smaller. 

Of course it's not completely perfect - far from it, in fact. The DK yarn makes it a bit too bulky and slightly stiff; I bought the wool online and so I didn't realise two of the yarns I picked for the accent colours were almost identical, but as you can imagine my yarn budget is not unlimited so I had to roll with it. Oh, and I'm pretty sure I made tons of mistakes along the way... but it's so cosy and I made it. I absolutely love the fact that I was able to control everything about it, and most of all I love that it will make me think about all the hours spent making it every time I'll wear it. 

The other project definitely wasn't as time-consuming as the shawl; I'm pretty sure it didn't take more than an hour to make. I was inspired by this Flea and Bear post to make my own Autumn wreath, so a couple of weeks ago I used my very precious lunch break to go foraging around my neighbourhood. It didn't take long to find myself completely immersed in the moment, observing and not just looking, while I was trying to find the prettiest branches and leaves for my wreath. I shortly realised how little I know about even the most common plants and I definitely want to fix that in the future. I am already planning to do a Winter wreath... maybe with pinecones and dried orange slices. 

Have you made anything this month? Are you planning to do any Christmas DIYs? :)

Sunday, 20 November 2016

Things I'd like to do.

 A golden hour | Things I'd like to do

- Start some kind of daily embroidery project in 2017. I've been following Blue Peninsula's Stitch Journal on Instagram for months and lately I have stumbled upon Rachel Piso's tapestree project. Maybe a daily thing would be a bit too demanding, though. I'll think about it.

- Buy beautiful books. Books that are not only interesting but beautiful to look at, too. Right now on my wishlist there are A Year Between Friends: 3191 Miles Apart (crafts, seasonal recipes, slow living... it has my name written all over it) and I doni di Irene. Irene owns a dreamy B&B near Florence, which is at the top of my travel wishlist, and recently published a beautiful recipe book. Her instagram is one of my absolute favourites.

- Make a quilt. I go through phases with Pinterest - right now I'm in a 'pin all the things' phase. My quilting board is bursting with beautiful patterns and palette ideas, but I have always been a bit scared of actually trying! Maybe it's because quilting almost seems like a science to me. Also, I don't have a sewing machine so I would be sewing everything by hand. I really want to make it happen though - I have some pretty fabrics in my stash that are desperate to be used!

- Give sustainable Christmas gifts. I really would prefer not to fill the Earth with rubbish this year. My friends and family already have everything. I was thinking of making a donation in their name to charity, but what if they don't understand? What if they feel offended that they bought me a 'physical' gift and I didn't? Then I thought I could give food as a gift, maybe some nice homemade jam or sweets. But I'm still dubious - for some reason I feel like 'perishable' gifts are considered less important.  I don't know. Another thing to think about.

- Find sewing patterns that are easy but don't make me look like a sack of potatoes. I've been stalking the #bpsewvember hashtag on Instagram all month to no avail! I just can't pull off the unstructured trend, my dresses need to have some shape to them. Have you got any tips for me?

Tuesday, 15 November 2016


Today I want to share with you a few moments from last week where I felt truly grateful. Like, full to the brim with gratitude. Actually about to explode from gratitude. I'm sure you get what I mean!

On Thursday I woke up at 6.30 and like millions of other people I felt like the Earth had fallen apart. I felt my heart sink deep and my throat close up. After incredulously scrolling down Twitter for a while, trying to absorb everything and obviously not being able to go back to sleep, I rolled out of bed and opened the blinds. After three days of almost non-stop thunderstorms, there wasn't a cloud in the sky and the sun was shining. And I instantly started sobbing. The Earth always knows how to console us.

Fast forward a couple of days; I'd been experiencing some sharp pain in my ovaries all day, but the episodes were very short and far between (TMI? I don't care).  I've been having very painful ovulation at least once a year for the past three years. It's really, really bad. Go to the ER by ambulance bad. IV painkillers won't work bad. Incidentally last year's episode and the year before both happened around the beginning of November... I'm not superstitious, but when I started having these mild pains I began to think the worst things. I went to bed and woke up in the middle of the night with very distinct, sharp pangs. I thought 'This is it. The next three days are going to be a nightmare. The painkillers won't work and I'll have to go to the ER again'. When I woke up the next day feeling fresh as a rose and with zero pain anywhere I just couldn't believe it.  

I felt SO HAPPY and genuinely grateful for my health that I jumped out of bed at 7.30 with a huge smile on my face, and decided to go on a walk around a very pretty neighbourhood that's near to my house. I knew that in the afternoon I would have to leave the city to go back home, so I thought that would be the perfect way to say goodbye to the city. Especially considering I basically won't see it again for the next 6 months, as I'm leaving for my Erasmus in January! The inhabitants of the beautiful villas were still asleep on that crisp Saturday morning, so I felt like I had the whole area to myself. Despite having lived three whole years in Rome, I had never explored this part of the city that is so embarrassingly close to my house. I don't have a very good relationship with Rome and I am extremely excited to go live in another country for five months, but while I walked through these beautiful streets I was a bit sad to only have discovered them now.

But the thing I am most grateful for is the overwhelming feeling of love and kindness and care all around me on the days following the elections. It's really true that every action has an opposite reaction, and it's heartwarming how people all around the world reacted to the hate that seems to have been at the root of the result of the election. There was an abundance of words of hope and solidarity everywhere. I have never seen so much beautiful poetry going around on social media as on Thursday morning! (Especially this one by Wendell Berry). How beautiful is that? Poetry against hate. We should do that more often, not just when catastrophes happen! I feel like people feel a bit more determined to fight for our future now. I surely do.

What are you grateful for right now?

Monday, 7 November 2016

This afternoon.

 This afternoon | A golden hour 

I couldn't focus anymore on what I was studying and was starting to feel a bit hopeless, 
so I closed the textbook and ran a bath.

I lit up a candle and made a playlist while the tub filled up.

and then Nude by Radiohead (no playlist is complete without a sad song.).

I danced the blues out.

My hair is soft and it smells of honey.

I take the dinner out of the oven and for once having to eat it alone doesn't weigh on me so much. 
I have a slice of the apple and raisin cake I made this afternoon. 

It's all good.

(I had another post planned which I've been writing for days, a minute here and a minute there, slowly adding word after word; then I sat down and wrote this thing in five minutes. I love when things like these happen)