Friday, January 30, 2009

cloth wipes

cucicucicoo products for sale

Who the heck am I?

Howdy! My name's Lisa and I'm an American wife and mamma living outside of Naples, Italy. I'm a crafts-, photography-, plant- and anything-ecological-loving gal. I earn my keep by teaching EFL, translating and selling my hand-sewn mother baby articles. If you are interested in ecological, washable diapers, menstrual pads, baby wipes and so much more, please take a look at the cucicucicoo products for sale! For more information, please e-mail me: I hope to see you back here soon!

Monday, January 26, 2009

Tea Time

This afternoon the inevitable happened: Raffaele asked me to cut his hair. About 3 years ago he got sick and tired of his barber giving totally different haircuts than what he was asking for, and he convinced me to do it for him. Since then I've become the whole family's hair stylist, including for myself, which is a pretty good explanation why my hair's always a big mess. I'm always happy to save the money and it's a great satisfaction when it turns out well, or even when we get complimented on our hair, but it always stresses me out. So today, before the big event, I prepared myself a nice ginger and tangerine herbal blend.

I really love tea and blends, even if I'm not English and I only last month saw a tea cozy in use for the first time (which our English hosts were aghast to hear). Two friends of mine introduced me on two different occasions the joys of Rishi Tea, a fair-trade company selling tons of teas, herbal blends and chais, many of which are organic. Tons and tons! They are super yummy and I suggest that anyone who even slightly appreciates a good tea go immediately and order some. They also sell very cool teapots and cups. A friend gave us two jade-colored porcellain cups in three pieces: the cup, the part with a bunch of holes to brew the tea, and the cover. This way you put the loose tea in, brew, and take out the holey part, thereby straining and leaving the leaves inside to use another time (Rishi claims their teas can be brewed three times, but I think that's a bit much. The third time is a bit weak for my liking). A good hot tea in one of these cups never fails to put me in a good mood!

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Plants, wonderful plants!

Macchia, our poor cat stuck in the house since we moved into this apartment without a yard or garden, is super happy to once again have a little fresh cat grass. As soon as I took it out, she can running to munch on it.

I love plants though I must admit that I'm not particularly expert. I hardly ever know what their names are nor the specific care instructions, but generally I get by pretty well. I do a plant and cutting exchange with a few friends and I love giving people plants instead of regular store-bought gifts. Seeing green leaves, delicate sprouts, soft flowers makes me feel at peace and I love to give this serenity to my loved ones. Because of my anti-consumerism, I've decided to grow my own plants for future gifts. I took a bunch of cuttings from my plants, split large plants into smaller ones, and repotted babies growing off of their mommies. We'll see how they grow.

Here you can see how our veranda is transformed into a greenhouse during the winter. This is just one corner and is quite full, enough so that I hope I will never need a book in the bookshelf hidden behind dozens of pots. There are african violets with unusual two-toned flowers, an aloe that has grown at an amazing rate and that gave of tons of baby plants, a begonia and a geranium that looks dead
but which comes back to life in the summer with gorgeous flowers.

There is a long piece from a friend's succulent and a little palm that was growing off the base of a palm tree in the courtyard. It hasn't grown even slightly since I potted it, but then again, it hasn't died either. I'm still hopeful.

Then there are babies of a succulent whose name I don't know, one of the many aloe babies, and another cutting from another succulent.

Last week at Auchan I saw this very cool little greenhouse in painted tin with 6 little pots inside to get seeds or cuttings going. I used it for 3 african violet leaves and 3 cuttings of yet another succulent, given to us from friends who moved to Bogotà. It is very cute and cheap....

...though not as cheap as what I used for the begonia and lavender cuttings. You can make a free greenhouse using the bottoms of plastic water or milk bottles, yogurt containers or whatever else you have in your trash. A few holes punched in the bottoms, a transparent plastic bag around it, and the plants are happy as can be with perfect conditions until they start growing a little. A bit less aesthetically pleasing, but who really cares?

My mother gave me a kick-butt old book called "Look, Mom, It's Growing." One chapter that got me really worked up is called "don't throw it away-- plant it!" and describes how to grow plants from produce, for example carrots
, avocados, peanuts. I tried out the pineapple one. Nobody thinks that it'll actually do anything. But then again, nobody thought that the lemon and persimmon seeds I planted would've done anything either, but just you look what I found the other day!

Monday, January 19, 2009

Gifts without spending

I have decided to buy as few things as possible. I'm getting pretty sick and tired of consumerism, not to mention all that packaging that gets thrown out. For Epiphany (celebrated in all self-respecting Catholic societies) I made paper stockings which Sofia decorated and filled them with homemade cookies. Southern Italian kids don't get stockings from Santa on Christmas, but from the witch la Befana on Epiphany. And I'm happy to say that they were much appreciated by young and old alike. For Christmas Sofia got her Clifford hat and mermaid costumes for a couple of her dolls. I got the idea from one of my favorite blogs, Angry Chicken. She made hers with nicer fabrics, like velvet or something, while I used pieces of fleece I had left over from the Christmas stocking I made a couple of years back.

They're basically fabric tubes closed at the bottom by the fins and an elastic at the top to keep them on different sized dolls, simple and easy to take on and off a gazillion times a day. My husband found the shell-shaped bras a tad excessive for a 2-year-old, but Sofia's already pretty obsessed with nudity and underthings, so who really cares? In any case, she prefers hanging them around her own neck like necklaces. The bras close with velcro at the back. These lovely mermaids can do whatever normal dolls can, such as taking a stroll or having a healthy (or not) meal.

Sunday, January 18, 2009


Yesterday was Sant'Antonio, otherwise known as Saint Anthony or Sant'Antuon' here in Campania. Besides being protector of animals, he also protects everyone who has anything to do with fire, apparently because of a story in which he descended into Hell to try to save the sinners' souls from the Devil. In fact, Italians call the illness shingles (herpes zoster) "il fuoco di Sant'Antonio," Saint Anthony's fire. Every year on January 17 in Marigliano, our little town, people make these gargantuan bonfires with old furniture and other junk they have hanging around to celebrate the saint. These fires go really high up, sometimes higher than the apartment buildings around them, and look like a sort of geyser of flames, with chunks of ashes that fly up in the air and come down even hundreds of meters away. Pretty impressive! Here's one that they made outside our apartment, photographed from our balcony. It was nearly impossible to photograph, but you get the idea. You can see the windows lit up in the apartments behind the fire.

Friday, January 16, 2009

Welcome to my bloggy blog blog!

I've always loved crafts and bit by bit have added more crafty things to my repertoire. People don't always get the chace to see my work, though, which is why I've decided to start a blog to share my journey through the stuff I do. It's a terrible shame that crafts and do-it-yourself is not at all widespread here in Italy, which is why I've decided to write this blog in two languages, to help diffuse the joy. There isn't even a good word in Italian for "craft," go figure. The closest I can come to is "artigiano," but that's really more of a professional level, not for someone just hving fun. Maybe someone out there can give me a hand with that translation. If you're a fellow Italian speaker and want to laugh at my shoddy Italian writing (I am a translator, but only from Italian to English because my Italian's obviously not perfect!) , you can click on the link to this blog in Italian at the top of the page.

I sell my hand-made mamma and baby articles, such as cloth diapers, baby wipes, nursing pads, bibs, changing mats, wet bags, menstrual pads and other similar stuff. There are also other goodies, like reusable and washable produce and shopping bags. Hopefully I'll soon figure out how this blogging thing works and can put up some pictures and information about them.

Please keep checking back here for lots of fun and excitement (or something like that....)!!