Tuesday, June 30, 2009

and from undies to...

God knows what in the world I was thinking when I bought these pairs of underwear a couple of years ago. Apparently I was under the delusion that my behind had miraculously gone back to what it had been maybe when I was 18, a most improbable possibility. And I obviously couldn't wear them more than once or twice thanks to the quite unpleasant sensation of.... Well, I really prefer not to be vulgar here. You know what I mean anyway.

Seeing as I'd already trasformed something into underwear, I decided to do the opposite and transform underwear into something else. However, no matter how cool the fabric of these undies is, there wasn't a whole lot of it, as you can clearly see. And so I did the only thing I could think of: to cut and dry the flowers and leaves of my lavender plant and make some nice lavender sachets for the drawers.
Though I will come clean, stretchy fabric like this (which is like t-shirt fabric) isn't really the best for this type of project because the pieces of lavender stuck to it and wouldn't go down nicely into the sack. And sometimes they sort of stick out through the fabric. Regular cotton would've been much better. Though certainly less fun and satisfying! I did this instead of the gazillions of things I really should be doing. Sunday we're leaving for a one day layover in Madrid, then 3 weeks in Boston area (where I'm from) and then 3 more weeks in Colombia (to visit friends) and I've got tons of gifts to sew, bags to pack, Spanish to try to miraculously relearn....

award II !

I've gotten another blog award! Cool! Thank you so much Barbara from Mi racconto!

Seeing as I not only a week ago did a whole bunch for another award and I really have no extra time right now, I'm going to pass it on just to a couple of blogs which I discovered after the last award that I just love:

la bottega di amrita
Made By K

You're both awesome!

P.S. Can anyone figure out what's written in the second line of the award image? It's already a small image so enlarging it is totally pointless. All I can make out is "Friendships are like diamonds (something...) Easy to love but hard to find." How poetic!

Wednesday, June 24, 2009


This is the first time that my blog has gotten an award and I feel quite honored! Thanks so much Giuly from La Stanza di Miss Lizzie for having thought of me and given me this award!

Ok, people who get awarded must
  1. list 5 wishes
  2. list 8 things that he/she absolutely wants to do in the future and
  3. award another 10 blog.
Ok, so my wishes and hopes are:
  • health and well-being for friends and fam, but in particular for my dear daughter and hubby
  • to soon be able to make another addition to our family
  • to manage to make just enough money to pay off my school loans and to travel a bit more often
  • that people would start respecting the environment a bit more and stop destroying the earth
  • that my daughter will grow up to be cultured and self-confident
and the 8 things to accomplish are:
  • start taking yoga classes again
  • start sewing clothes for me and my family
  • finally learn Spanish well enough to speak it
  • learn to recognize different plants
  • travel in all the corners of the world
  • see all those great classic films
  • ditto for books
  • learn to be more patient with myself and to accept my shortcomings and limits
And now the hardest part. Since I've started checking out blogs, I've found so many really great ones. I wish I could award them all, but that can't be done! So 10 of the blogs that I really like are:

Angry Chicken
//Between the Lines//
Cut Out + Keep
Filth Wizardry
Folding Trees
Roberta Filava Filava
The Object Project

Obviously there are a lot more and I took those which had already been given this award out of the running. Congrats to you all! You're all so cool! :)

potty seat sack

Saturday, June 20, 2009


sorry...again! doh!!!

I'm asking all of my readers to be patient with this blog. Unfortunately the problems I had last week with Blogger have come up again worse than before. I can hardly ever save posts, add photos, leave comments (even in other blogs) and access certain Blogger pages. I'm looking for help everywhere, but I can't figure out the problem but not for lack of trying. I must have spent at least 10 hours in the past two weeks trying to fix the problem. I have tons of things I want to write about (and comments to leave other bloggers) but I can't! If I keep having these problems, I will probably move this blog to wordpress. I'll let you know!

And now I hope that I can at least publish this little post....

Friday, June 12, 2009

pesto x 3

For me the summer is pesto time. I recent saw a facebook friend's status about sundried tomato pesto and obviously I had to ask her how she made it. She told me to toss basil, pine nuts, sundried tomatoes, olive oil and salt in the food processer. But that she sometimes makes it with parsley, walnuts and olives. Seeing as my poor basil plants are still tiny and I love parsley, I mixed up parsley, pine nuts, sundried tomatoes and olive oil in my immersion blender (I don't have a food processer). There wasn't any need for salt because the tomatoes were already very well dressed. You only need a little for each plate of pasta and it's so good!

Then there's obviously the traditional pesto alla genovese, not all that genovese (from Genova) when made by an American near Naples. Normally when the weather starts getting nice, I buy three basil plants and I put them in a huge pot and let them grow, grow and grow until they get to be something like a bush. Then I harvest and blend them with minced garlic, pine nuts (or walnuts, almonds, pistachios), grated pecorino (sheep's cheese) and olive oil, and voilĂ ! Seeing as I make a good amount, I freeze it for the winter in little portions in those plastic cups for espresso covered with aluminum foil. But I hate using that disposable stuff so this year, if my poor little basil plants ever grow (they were given to me by a friend who grew them from organic seeds), I'll freeze them in ice cube trays and then, when well-frozen, will put the pesto cubes in a closed container so they don't lose their nice smell. This is what I did when preparing food for my daughter before she could eat "normal" food like the rest of us.

And lastly there's zucchini mint pesto, which that same friend of the basil plants taught me a few days before my daughter was born. You steam the zucchini, but not too much. In the meantime, put the almonds with their skins still on in a bit of boiling water for a little, just long enough so the skins peel right off. If you have almonds without their skins, you can obviously skip this step. Then into the blender go: lots of fresh mint leaves, the almonds (or pine nuts or whatever nuts you want), a little olive oil and a bit of the water from steaming the zucchini. When it's well-blended, add the zucchini, parmesan and pecorino (sheep's cheese) and more oil. You can also put in a little salt, but it's better to just get the right saltiness by adjusting the pecorino. But usually it's good to put the same amount of parmesan as pecorino. You can freeze it as with regular pesto or put it in a jar, cover with more olive oil and keep in the fridge. I wouldn't suggest keeping it frozen for very long, though, because with time all the flavor goes away.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

missing in action

I'm sorry that I haven't been writing. I have been insanely busy but I'm also having technical problems with signing into my google account and getting blogger to work properly. Please do come check in again soon, I promise to work it all out soon! I will soon be writing about my cloth diapers, both the AIOs that we already use (that you can see hanging out with a nice view of Vesuvius) and my new pocket diapers that I'm now working on. And a bunch of other stuff. Don't miss out!

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

mint syrup

So I've already written about the wonderful elderflower syrup I made a few weeks back, which you dilute for a lovely summer drink. And I thought, there MUST be some way to make homemade mint syrup, like the ones you find in every Italian supermarket when it starts getting summery. I have a wonderful mint plant on my balcony that supplies me with more mint than I can ever possibly use. I googled it and found a good recipe on a great blog that I'd never seen before. Basically boil 1 liter of water with 100 grams of fresh mint leaves and 450 grams of sugar until it's reduced by half. Let it cool and put it in a bottle, straining the leaves. You can put a few extra fresh leaves in the bottle, but I find them annoying when I'm pouring the syrup. I actually made mine with only about 75 grams of mint leaves because it already seemed like an insane amount. But it really does need the whole 100 grams and after just a minute or so they wilt down so they don't fill the pot anymore.

Yes, I do realize that it's been raining constantly and is once again quite chilly and nobody's in the mood these days to drink a refreshing drink. But let's all hope that the good weather comes back soon!

Monday, June 1, 2009

new types of pads

Up until now I've made my pads with a top layer of microfleece or suedecloth (except for pantyliners). They're fabrics that you can't find in Italy (or at least I've never found them there nor have I ever heard of anyone else managing to) but they're great for cloth menstrual pads and diapers. They are wicking materials, meaning they pull whatever liquid that gets on them down into the absorbent layers below, leaving the the top surface much drier. It's really incredible to see how much a pad (or diaper) can get wet without feeling wet.

But quite often people aren't totally convinced because these materials are synthetic. In theory, fleece is made at least partly with recycled plastic bottles, so it's a little more ecological in this sense. But most people who use cloth products don't want to use synthetic things if at all possible. Their biggest worry is that they're imagining jackets and other things made with thick fleece. Microfleece is a totally different product. It's very thin (and suedecloth even more so) and really soft. It doesn't irritate the skin at all, nor does it make you feel too hot in the summer. Actually, disposable pads are much more irritating first because they're full of chemicals (read here for more on that) and, being made of plastic, they don't let the skin breathe and it can feel quite sweaty "down there."

But I decided to see for myself and try some pads without these wicking fabrics. After all, lots of pad makers don't use these special fabrics, including most of them at Cloth Pad Shop, where I am also a seller. So I made three new pads to try out personally. They are, from left to right, with cotton flannel, regular cotton and bamboo velour. And I found that they do absorb quite well and the bamboo velour one is super soft and makes you feel really spoiled. The velour is also organic and naturally anti-bacterial. But when these types of pads get wet, they stay damp on the surface. I still prefer pads with microfleece and suedecloth, but I've decided to start producing some pads without those materials for those who still really prefer not to use them.