21 May 2015

Early Spring in Wiltshire

Finalmente, con l'arrivo di Aprile, come vi accennavo nello scorso post, é arrivato anche il sole, temperature un pó piú umane, e la voglia e l'energia di tornare la' fuori con i nostri scarponi, zainetti, macchina fotografica e panini.. a respirare a pieni polmoni questa primavera tanto attesa e che come sempre nella campagna inglese (ma direi ovunque!) non delude mai.
Per il nostro primo assaggio di Primavera abbiamo scelto, ormai quasi un mesetto fa, di fare un giretto non molto lontano da casa nostra, nel pieno del Wiltshire, una bella passeggiata che parte da Ramsbury, che un pó come moltissimi villaggi di questa contea, é pienissimo di adorabili cottage con i tetti di paglia.. quelli che ti fanno pensare che il tempo si sia fermato e che ti fanno sentire come dentro una fiaba.
Un villaggio, come tanti, immerso e sperduto tra le verdi colline e i saliscendi di questa bella contea.. un villaggio dove una domenica mattina di sole incontri persone a cavallo che si fermano a chiaccherare con conoscenti seduti fuori dalla panchina del pub locale.


At last, with the arrival of April, as I had told you in my last post, the sun arrived too, and some decent springlike temperatures, and the desire and energy to go out there again, with our mountain boots, rucksacks, camera and panini, to breathe, deeply in our lungs, the scent of this Spring we had been waiting for so long, that in the British countryside (but I am guessing pretty much everywhere!) never disappoints.
For our first taste of Spring we chose, almost month ago, to have a walk not far from where we live, a trail that started from Ramsbury. Here, like in many typical Wiltshire villages, you can find plenty of adorable thatched cottages.. the kind that makes you feel like time stopped and you are living in a fairytale.
A village, like many, surrounded by beautiful green hills and slopes typical of this pretty county.. a village where, on an average Sunday morning, you can meet people horse riding stopping to chat with some other people sit on some benches in front of the local pub. 

Abbiamo passeggiato avanti e indietro per le vie di questo delizioso villaggio, abbiamo assaporato le atmosfere e il silenzio, abbiamo goduti di mille alberi in piena fioritura, con quella marea di boccioli rosa e bianchi che sembravano dei dipinti contro il cielo azzurro turchese. 
Ci siamo poi avviati lungo un bel footpath che costeggiava a lungo un fiume, abbiamo incontrato cottages dove son sicura vivono Biancaneve e i Settenani e i topini di Boscodirovo e abbiamo passeggiato fiancheggiando immensi campi di colza colorati di un inconfondibile giallo intenso che sono la visione piú tipica di questo periodo dell'anno da queste parti..


We walked up and down the lanes of this quaint village, we savoured the atmosphere and the silence, we enjoyed the view of so many trees in full bloom, with all those pink and white flowers that looked like paintings against the deep blue sky. 
We then headed along our trail that was firstly running along a peaceful river, we then met many cottages where I am pretty sure Snowhite and the seven Dwarves and the little mice from Brambly Hedge live and we walked alongside beautiful rapeseed fields, with their strong yellow shade that is such a typical landmark of this time of year around here..

Spero il giretto vi abbia fatto piacere... e conto di portarvi ancora a spasso se il tempo metereologico lo permetterá!
Grazie per passare di qui (e GRAZIE grande come una casa per tutto l'affetto nel darmi il benvenuta nello scorso post... io lo dico: mi avete un pó spiazzata e anche commossa, ecco...)


I hope you enjoyed the little walk... and I am planning to take you around many more, if the weather will allow!
Thank you for reading (and THANK YOU truly, for all the lovely welcome backs to my previous post, I was really touched by all those lovely comments)


5 May 2015

Days of sun and tulips

Ho scelto una giornata che di sole ne ha davvero moooolto poco ed in cui i miei poveri tulipani in giardino sono martoriati da un vento incredibile e potentissimo, per tornare online e raccontarvi, con qualche foto, di giornate di sole, di cieli azzurri, di tulipani rosa e rossi e di cose belle.
Dopo piú di due mesi di assenza mi sembra un pó come scrivere un post per la prima volta (son anche un pó agitata.. mi sa che ho perso l'abitudine a scrivere qui).. sono tanti i motivi per cui mi sono allontanata dal blog, alcuni belli, alcuni brutti, ma l'importante é che dopo un lungo periodo in cui avevo voglia e necessitá di starmene per conto mio, ora ho sentito la voglia di tornare. Non so quanto saró presente ne' con che frequenza.. ma di cose belle da mostrare e da condividere grazie al cielo ne ho tante... quindi per il momento dovrete sopportarmi ;)


And so.. eventually... I am chosing a day, that definitely doesn't have much sun at all, and in which my poor outdoor tulips are actually battered by a crazy and scary wind, to come back online and to tell you, with some of my pictures, of days of sun, blue skies, red and pink tulips and good things.
After more than two months away from my blog it seems a bit like writing a post for the very first time (I feel a bit nervous too.. I am not used to this anymore!).. there are many reasons why I haven't been here, some are good, some are bad, but the important thing is that after a long time during which I really felt like staying quiet and on my own, I finally felt the desire to come back here. I don't know how often I will be around yet.. but thanks goodness I have plenty of happy things to share... so for now you will have to bear me ;)

(ricette favolose e straconsigliatissime trovate nel delizioso blog "Rosso Fragola", in particolare qui e qui)

Dopo un lungo lunghissimo inverno (mi é sembrato davvero infinito quest'anno) che é stato pesantissimo e difficile da affrontare in tutti i sensi possibili immaginabili, aprile ha portato con se' settimane di sole meraviglioso, di caldo anche un pó fuori stagione, di buone notizie, di bulbi che fioriscono, di voglia di fare, cucinare, sistemare, cucire, fare l'uncinetto, lavorare in giardino, camminare, camminare e camminare grazie ad un energia finalmente tornata dopo un periodo in cui non sono stata proprio al top. 
Una primavera in tutti i sensi.


After an extremely long Winter (it honestly felt never ending this year) that was very difficult and hard to bear for every and any possible reasons, April finally brought weeks of sun, of out of season warm temperatures, of good news, of flowering bulbs, of willing to do stuff, to cook, to sew, to crochet, to work in the garden, to walk, walk, walk, thanks to a newly found energy after a long period, in which I hadn't definitely been at my best.
A Spring in each and every way.

Con il sole che entra dalle finestre e rende tutto dorato e con le porte finalmente aperte, con i tulipani in giro per casa, di cui non mi stanco mai.. e di cui continueró a godere fino a quando non sará il momento (conto i giorni, i minuti.. ) di iniziare a sostituirli dalle mie amate rose inglesi a km zero ;)


Days with the sun that brings inside warmth and a golden shade through the windows, and with the doors open, with tulips all around the house, I never get tired of them, and I will keep on enjoying them up until the time (and I am counting the days, the minutes..) when they will be replaced by my english roses directly from the garden :)

Un aprile che come ogni primavera che si rispetti porta con se' voglia di cambiare, nuovi progetti, aria di grandi cambiamenti e un pódi positivitá, anche se io sono famosa per essere l'eterna pessimista (o realista, come invece amo definirmi :P). Mentre la' fuori le clematis pian piano colorano i recinti, e gli alberi di melo del giardino della mia vicina mi regalano tutte le sfumature del rosa possibili, io coltivo e faccio crescere semini, pianto, sposto, lavoro come una formichina in attesa di un estate che spero sia bella come quelle appena passate, anzi magari ancora piú bella.


An April that, as every proper Spring month should do, brings with it that feeling of rebirth, and new projects, and makeovers, and big changes and a touch of positivity, even if I am know as a constant pessimist (but I'd rather consider myself a "realist" :P) . While the clematis out there begin to paint the fence, and the apple trees in my neighbour's garden give me the gift of all the shades of pink, I grow little seeds, and plant, and move around, and work like a little ant waiting for a Summer that I hope will be as beautiful as the last ones, or hopefully even better.

Ho tanto altro da raccontarvi.. di un pó cosine create in questo lungo inverno, di bellissime camminate fatte in questo Aprile profumato di sole, di un giardino che riprende vita e colore come ogni anno.. e pian piano torneró sicuramente, come detto sopra,  magari con ritmi diversi, ma ci vedremo di sicuro presto.
Grazie a chi pazientemente ha atteso le mie noiose chiacchere e foto e a chi in queste ultime settimane mi ha spronato a tornare online. 
Grazie davvero 
Buona primavera a tutti voi dall'altra parte dello schermo!


I have more to share... some crafts made during this long winter, beautiful walks during this April that smelled of sun, a lovely garden that is coming back to life again like every year... and slowly I will come back for sure, but maybe at a different pace.
Thank you to all of you who patiently waited for my boring words and pics and to all of you who pushed me to come back online.
Thank you truly 
Happy Spring to all of you on the other side of the pc screen!


ps: nel caso non ve ne siate accorti, qualche giorno fa ho inserito un link alla fine del post precedente con la traduzione in italiano del tutorial per la oversize tote bag! (meglio tardi che mai....)

3 March 2015

Me + Susie Watson fabric = a cute oversized bag (and a gift for you!)

When lovely Jenni, from the Susie Watson Designs team, contacted me a few weeks ago and proposed me a little collaboration on the occasion of Mother's day, I got really excited straight away! It happens to me every now and again to receive proposals similar to this but I usually regrettably have to always say no to anyone and everyone due to my severe lack of spare time and difficulty in committing to any kind of activities, deadlines and collaborations like this. 

But this time.... I mean... Susie Watson!!!

You have to know that I am absolutely crazy for that brand, I love their handmade pottery (and I am lucky enough to have been treated with some gorgeous pottery pieces from hubby and from some special friends in the past as everyone knows how much I love them) and I am a frequent and loyal fabric buyer, in fact you've probably been reading me mentioning their  fabric in some of my old posts, as I tend to use them quite a lot (for instance my utility room and my family bathroom are entirely furnished in handmade items created using Susie Watson fabric). 
So yep, it's clear to see that I couldn't possibly say no this time.. plus I took the occasion to also make a little gift to all my lovely and loyal readers and so here I am with this cute project! 

Jenni offered to send me a bundle of matching different pieces of Susie Watson Designs fabric for me to create a little (or large in this case!) project and then share the tutorial for my readers and their customers to be able to make the item themselves

..and I had such fun designing and making this project (a little behind the scene down here ^_^!) and I have to thank again and again the lovely Jenni for choosing such a pretty selection of fabric for me, as that made my job soooo much easier ;)

So as you have guessed by now (from the first pic above), I decided to make a very cute oversized tote bag which you can create as a treat for yourself or as a gift for someone really special... like for instance your mum, being Mother's day just behind the corner. This oversized tote is just perfect for grocery shopping, running errands, short weekend getaways, an afternoon at the beach, a spring pic nic, it can be filled with toys for your kids play dates or with craft materials for a crafternoon with a friend or... well.. whatever really! For me it's just perfect for my frequent post office trips overloaded with packets and parcels and I can't wait to proudly show it off next time I'll have the occasion to.

Ready to make your own??? 
Here we go!


Oversized tote bag

(final size: approx. 55cm x 33cm excluding handles)

♥ ♥ 

What you will need:

- fabric for exterior 
- fabric for lining
- fabric for pocket
- fabric scraps for heart applique and bow
- webbing/belting tape for handles ( I used a 4cm wide cotton one) 
- medium weight fusible interfacing
- a scrap of fusible applique paper
- some cute buttons
- cotton tape
- embroidery floss

All seam allowances are considered to be 0.6 cm (or the width of a standard presser foot) unless otherwise stated.

Mark and cut (fig. 1):

- two 60 cm x 42 cm pieces from exterior fabric
- two 60 cm x 42 cm pieces from lining fabric
- two 60 cm x 42 cm pieces from interfacing
- two 23 cm x 16 cm pieces from pocket fabric (for main pocket piece)
- one 12 cm x 25 cm piece from pocket fabric (for pocket flap)
- two 72 cm pieces of webbing tape

{fig 1}

Apply the fusible interfacing onto the reverse of the exterior fabric through ironing. 
Cut 7 cm x 7 cm squares at the bottom corners of the exterior and lining pieces as in fig. 2.

{fig 2}


Lay the two pocket pieces, right sides together, and sew all around the edges leaving a gap at the top to turn the pieces inside out. 
Turn the pieces inside out through the gap. Iron carefully. 
Close the top gap with some hand slip stitches.
Finally topstitch the pocket a few mm from the top border (fig. 3).

{fig 3}

Create the heart applique (download pattern here) using some fusible applique paper following the instructions of the manufacturer.
Iron the heart applique on the front of the pocket placing the bottom of the heart 1.5 cm away from the bottom edge of the pocket. Sew all around the edge of the heart using a satin stitch (a very short zig zag stitch) as in fig. 4. Decorate the rest of the pocket as you prefer using your creativity! I added a little piece of cotton tape where I hand stitched the wording "Love" and some little cross stitches but you can also add some little buttons, some lace and trimmings etc.

{fig 4}

Fold double the 12x25cm piece of pocket fabric right sides together and draw the pocket flap shape (you find it in the file you previously downloaded for the heart shape). Sew all around the markings leaving a gap at the top. Turn the flap inside out through the gap. Iron carefully and close the gap with some hand slip stitches.
Topstitch a few mm from the border on the bottom rounded edge of the flap as in fig. 5.

{fig 5}

Lay the main pocket piece with its bottom edge approximately 15 cm away from the bottom edge of one of the exterior pieces. Topstitch a few mm from the border around the sides and the bottom of the pocket to fasten it to the bag exterior (fig. 6).
Lay the flap with its top edge approximately 2.5 cm away from the top edge of the main pocket piece, so that it partially covers it. Topstitch a few mm away from the border along the top edge of the pocket flap to fasten it to the bag exterior (fig. 6).

{fig 6}

Finish the pocket, again making the most of your creativity, with some cute buttons (maybe some fabric covered ones too!) to be handstitched on the flap.

Bag construction

Lay the two bag exteriors right sides together and sew along the sides and the bottom but leave the square corners open (fig. 7). Repeat the same with the lining pieces but this time use a wider seam allowance (approximately 1 cm) so that the resulting bag lining shell will be slightly smaller then the exterior one and will fit properly inside it.

{fig 7}

Fold the bottom corners of the exterior and lining bag shells to create a squared base (fig. 8). Sew along all of the corners.

{fig 8}

Fold back the top edge of the exterior bag shell and of the lining bag shell, wrong sides together, by approximately 1 cm and iron to set.
Place the lining bag shell inside the exterior bag shell, wrong sides together, and sew them together along the top edge, approximately 2-3 mm away from the border.


Take the two pieces of webbing tape previously prepared and mark them at 14 cm from both the ends. Fold double the handles lengthwise between the marks and stitch them along the free edge (fig. 9). Remember to strengthen very well the beginning and the end of the sewing line, stitching back and forth for at least 4-5 times, because these areas will be subject to a lot of stress.

{fig 9}

Fold the handles ends twice by approximately 3 cm and pin them in place on the bag laying them 16 cm away from the side seams (fig. 10). Sew a square shape twice around the handle tabs to fasten them to the bag.

{fig 10}

Add a little bow made using a scrap of contrasting fabric and iron very carefully all the bag.
Enjoy it yourself or give it to someone you love as a very special gift!!!

♥ ♥ 


{Clicca qui per scaricare le istruzioni in Italiano}