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Gratefully Grateful *20*

17 Jun

It has been a while since I published a Gratefully Grateful post.  I’ve sat down several times to do it but for some reason just couldn’t.  And it’s not because I haven’t had anything to be grateful for lately.  It’s actually quite the opposite.

I’ve spent time with wonderful people (Mom!), visited beautiful places, eaten delicious meals, read interesting books, taken lots of memorable photos and planned exciting future trips.

But I’m happy to be back here today and share some of my favourite images of the last few weeks.  I really do love looking back on these posts and remembering the little moments and details behind them.

So…

Here’s to the end of the school year which is (slowly) coming to an end.
Here’s to sultry hot summer days and melted gelato dripping down my kid’s arms.
Here’s to the copious amounts of fresh local seasonal fruit that has taken over my entire fridge.
Here’s to upcoming rock concerts that we’ve been waiting for ages to attend.
Here’s to soon being able to spend lots of homework-free days and nights with my three favourite little (big) people.

IMG_7880The perfect combination of bright yellow farm equipment and vibrant red poppies.  With the addition of the world famous Barolo vineyards in the background.  IMG_7981A dapper young lad on his way to lunch at the famous Slow Food restaurant Boccondivino in the small city of Bra (Piemonte).  He loved it by the way.IMG_7816Another gorgeous rose arrangement in the beautiful Villa Porta Bozzolo. IMG_7810I give her less than a year before she’s taller than me.

IMG_7904Now this is my kind of chapel.

Have a great week folks.

Gratefully Grateful
*1**2**3**4**5*,*6*,*7*,*8*, *9**10**11**12**13**14*,*15*,*16*,*17*,*18*,*19*

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Blago 2014

2 May

IMG_5870-001One of the things that I love most about blogging is the community of like-minded fellow bloggers that I have met over the years.  I have blogger friends all over the world who write about everything from design to food to fashion to sewing.  These creative souls have become an important part of my life and a support network that inspires and encourages me to no end.

So you can imagine how ecstatic I was when a few of them arrived in Italy a few weeks ago to attend a little face-to-face event called Blago that I organised.

I came up with the Blago concept after attending The Hive Blogging Conference last year and realising that I really loved spending time with all these creative and amazing women that I have been friends with online for years. It’s great having these online friendships but even greater when you can take it into “real life”.

So a few days after arriving home from The Hive I sent out the first Blago pitch to some of my favourite blogger pals. Luckily I received really positive and enthusiastic responses from all of them immediately.  My idea was for us all to meet up here in Italy to spend a few days visiting Milan Design as well as the lovely lake region that I live it.

And because I’m a big nerd I named the event Blago which is a mix of the words lago (lake in Italian) and blog.  I figured if you’re going to organise an event with fellow bloggers you’ve got to come up with a catchy title (and hashtag too – check out #blago2014 on Instagram!).

IMG_5869-001And of course being a blogger also meant I needed to come up with a cool official invite to the event.  Luckily, I LOVE that kind of stuff.  Like seriously love it.

After a lot of contemplating and looking through my stash of craft and sewing supplies I decided to make a linen envelope (the leather version failed miserably).   I used a really pretty Max Mara linen with map print for the outside and a gold linen for the inside.  I even added a little tag which I always find makes a hand sewn item look a tad more professional.

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Inside the fabric envelope I included an invite with the official Blago logo (designed by the talented Judith who was an attendee) and a little bag of my favourite Italian candies.

I’m a lover of anything to do with snail mail so I was so excited to get these into the mail and to their destinations (which actually took longer than expected due to the fact the local post office accidentally sent half of them back to me).

I’ll be back soon with more details about the actual event (which turned out to be a big success).  And yes, I am already mentally preparing the next Blago get-together (and it’s going to be a good one!).

 

Gratefully Grateful *15*

23 Apr

Radio silence over here for the last week.  I’ve been enjoying time with family and friends in the land of chocolate, waffles and square pillows (Belgium in case you hadn’t figured it out).  I can’t even think about how much chocolate that has been ingested into my body the last 7 days (or french fries for that matter).  But it has been good.

Easter was a large family affair with a house full of happy cousins running around my mother-in-law’s house and garden.  And (as I mentioned on IG) it has been sunny EVERY SINGLE DAY.  Now that my friends is not normal.  Not in the least.  But I’ll take it and am extremely grateful.

This (last) week I’m grateful for:
IMG_7024…beautiful hiding spots for the Easter Egg hunt.
IMG_6886-001…a day visiting the cemeteries from World War One in Flanders Fields. And teaching my kids that ever important poem that all kids in Canada have to learn by heart.IMG_6377…fancy cocktail umbrellas that I put in my flower bouquets and mocktails. (yeah, I prefer mocktails over cocktails)

Enjoy your week everyone!

Gratefully Grateful *1**2**3**4**5*,*6*,*7*,*8*, *9**10**11**12**13*, *14*

Gratefully Grateful *11*

24 Mar

I’m going to be brutally honest and tell you the thing that I was most grateful for this week.  It wasn’t the gorgeous sunny hot weather or the plethora of breathtaking spring blossoms or even scoring a stack of beautiful vintage photos at my local mercatino usato.  It was actually take-out Indian food.  Yes, after living here for 13 years and only having pizza as an option when I’m not in the mood to cook, a fabulous Indian restaurant opened less than 10 minutes from my home.  On Friday night I popped in, ordered enough food to feed an army and walked out with my brown paper bag full of tasty Indian goodness.   It was scary how excited I was.  I love living in rural Italy but I have missed foreign foods and the convenience of having delicious food cooked for me (again, besides pizza which I also love).  Sometimes those little things make such a difference.

This week I’m grateful for…

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…my husband who agreed to fold 20 origami rabbits with me.  Okay, for me (I was busy watching New Girl).

IMG_5640…the fact he still comes up and sits really really really really close to me.

IMG_6046…forsythia bushes covering the local landscape.  They’re on their way out now but those almost fluorescent yellow bushes covered in blossoms sure know how to get a girl’s attention.

Have a great week!

Gratefully Grateful *1**2**3**4*, *5*,*6*,*7*,*8**9*, *10*

Gratefully Grateful *10*

16 Mar


Spring has definitely sprung here in Italy.  There are blooms and blossoms in every shade of just about every colour as far as the eye can see.  Bright yellow forsythia bushes, magnolia trees with massive paper white blossoms, lemon yellow daffodil flowers, dusty pink cherry blossoms, fuchsia camellia bushes and soft violet crocus flowers that the cover lawns and fields of grass.  It’s totally worth the itchy watery eyes and constant sneezing that started last week and will most likely continue for the next few months.  Being a lover of colour makes Spring my favourite season of the year.  Thank goodness for antihistamines.

This week I’m grateful for…

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…these delicate pink Camellia flowers in my friend and neighbour’s yard.  I look forward to seeing them every spring.

IMG_5946…getting to celebrate the Danish Fastelavn (Carnival) with friends.  Although I don’t want to think about those poor live cats that they used to put in the barrel years ago.
IMG_5901…online art courses that my daughters can enjoy in between the hours and hours of homework and studying that they have to do every single day of their little lives.

Wishing you all a great week ahead!

Gratefully Grateful *1**2**3**4*, *5*,*6*,*7*,*8*, *9*

Moroccan Snapshots *1*

12 Mar

A few images of my latest trip to Morocco…

IMG_4819-001Arriving at Menara Marrakech Airport.IMG_4840-001Lovely little carpet shop along the side of the road. Regretting not buying one.IMG_4854-001Handmade Berber carpet with Berber sheep (in the wind)

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Delivery truck that was teetering back and forth from the height and weight of those sacks.  A bit scary to drive behind.IMG_4861-001

My dream car.  Pink back-window curtain and all.IMG_4869-001

He wasn’t as sweet as he looks in the photo.

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Our first tagine of the trip.  Eaten on a quaint little outdoor terrace under the hot sun overlooking the atlas mountains.  Nice.

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Typical Moroccan painted metal door (with small stone village in background) 

I’ll be back with more snapshots soon!

Days For Girls

6 Mar

IMG_5806A few months ago I was poking around online and came across a site for the grassroots non-profit project called Days For Girls. From the second I read their action plan, and subsequently their entire site in that first sitting, I knew it was something that I wanted to be a part of.

Days For Girls was founded in 2008 by Celeste Mergens after working in a Kenyan orphanage and noticing that the girls weren’t educated about their menstrual cycles nor equipped to deal with it (no feminine hygiene products available to them).

This feminine hygiene program’s motto is: Every Girl. Everywhere. Period.  Their vision is for every girl and woman in the world to have feasible access to quality sustainable hygiene and health education by the year 2022.  Like I said before, I’m on board 100%.

Days for Girls volunteers produce reusable menstrual cycle kits.  The program has already sent kits to over 60,000 girls in over 60 countries worldwide.  These kits last approximately three years and have literally changed the lives of many girls and young women who before had to skip school and/or work due to their menstrual cycles.  This in turn has resulted in lower school drop-out rates in many areas as well as a lot less lost income for days missed at work.IMG_5817

Days for Girls is also very active in helping set up local sewing cooperatives and teaching the local women how to make the kit components themselves.

After writing back and forth with their International Chapter Liaison Cindy Murdock I started up one of Europe’s first Days For Girls teams.  So, I’m now official and couldn’t be prouder!  I’ve been busy cutting, sewing and gathering supplies for kits and luckily I have a fantastic group of friends who are happily getting involved and helping me out.

A project that helps girls and women in need and that involves sewing?  A match made in heaven for me.

If you are interested in becoming involved or donating supplies contact Days for Girls here (or look here for a team or chapter near you).  If you’re living in Italy or even Europe and would like to help out my team by sewing kit components or donating supplies (cotton, flannel, ribbon, miniature soaps, new cotton underpants or facecloths) contact me at VareseItaly@daysforgirls.org.  I’d love to hear from you.

 
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