Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Italian Dreams

Frances Mayes wrote a new book recently and I have been savoring it. Like her other books, Every Day in Tuscany gives me a glimpse into what it would be like to live in Italy. What bliss!  What food!  What wine!

I love to travel and Italy has a special place in my heart. A sense of dolce vita pervades my mind just thinking about sun-drenched hillsides and I am transported to a region of the world where family and relationships are more important than things. My connection with Italy is intimate. I feel it in my soul. I would move there in a heartbeat if I didn't need to make a living. What struck me as amazing as we poured over our photos from the last trip is that we have only been on Italian soil twice. Twice.

Then why does it feel like we have been there countless times?

Friday, May 21, 2010

Stitch Me a Yummy One

Creativity abounds the world over and with the Internet, we are now able to see the plethora of things talented people have come up with. It is mind-boggling. There are a series of studios in England called The Make Lounge where women can meet up for fantastic workshops - even events. It looks really cool. Wish we had something like this here in the States!

Lavender Bakery made these cupcake cuties for a cross stitch event at The Make Lounge and they struck my fancy. Cupcakes sure are a thing right now, aren't they? Funny how something catches someone's eye and grows into into a phenomenon. Remember popcorn stores? All those flavors? And bread stores - not just bakeries which have been around for eons, but bread stores. So specific. I think they are still doing well but there are none around me so I am not sure. I go to the bakery.

The absolute best is Mike's Pastry in Boston's North End. Yum. A trip into the city usually means a stop at Mike's for bread, a lobster claw to share and a few cannolis. Must plan a trip there soon.

Friday, May 14, 2010

The Siren of the Sea

The ocean has been calling me. Sinewy sea grasses, rocks tumbled smooth be eons of waves and undercurrents...some are perfect ovals in varying shades - Easter eggs from the sea. Hundreds reside on a secluded beach in Gloucester. Rocky shores to the north and south, this unique spot had been the source for the rounded stones used as ballast for whaling ships heading out to hunt far from shore.

I found this outdoor dining room at Sia Home Fashion and it feels so invitingly coastal. Refreshing and cool - inviting cushions close to the ground and plates uneven like polished seashells open and ready for an exquisite meal. Sea urchins play as being vases for tiny blossoms.
We are cooking a birthday dinner this Sunday for a close friend and, if the weather warms up just a bit more, I can create a waterside setting on the back patio for our meal. I came across my seashell collection one night this week - extra scallop and clam shells that would be perfect for making candles to gather down the center of the table. My fairy house in the garden with its shell roof needs a bit of housekeping and repair, but will only take a few minutes. Hmmm...what else can I do to make the meal special?

Wednesday, May 5, 2010


Now that summer is showing its glowing face around here, I am stretched like a cat soaking in the warm rays. Stretching time, stretching limbs, stretching my mind. I feel it in every fiber.

I finished my granddaughter's raspberry sweater a few weeks ago and have started an orange (by emphatic request) cardigan for my grandson. He absolutely loves orange. It is an easy pattern - perfect for my infrequent sitting spells. I'll look thru my books tonight to find a nice stitch to do across the chest to relieve all that stockinette-plainness.

I helped pick out a screen door for my studio for my birthday last week so have been priming and painting trim so we can install it. All windows have screens to keep the bugs away - now the door will be protected to keep them from feasting on me while I paint. I am so excited! Simple pleasures...

So, now that the sun shines and the boat needs scrubbed and plants fertilized and brush cleared and and and...I am stretching time as well as my limbs.

While the want-to-do-list grows, I was reminded this morning about the pleasure of being still. When I left for work, I glanced towards the beach and a heron was standing sedately near the dock. Never in a hurry, herons always prompt me to skid to a stop and drink in the wonders around me. Here. Now.

Sometimes I need the reminder that I don't have to do everything - often considerable pleasure is derived from just moving slowly thru the water.