Wednesday, February 27, 2013


I know it's still February but it already feels like March because of the crazy weather. In Italian its affectionally called marzo pazzo. Sunny mornings morph into heavy rains that turn into mottled cloudiness. Rainbows are not uncommon nor are several hour stretches of completely cloudless skies and brisk sunshine. On those days the sea is a solid mass of motionless blue, a tantalizing tease since its temperature is still too frigid for swimming.

Cloud watching is fun this time of year. The 5 year old imagination has identified clouds shaped like entire cities, huge castles and floating worlds. 

All this (and this) is great inspiration for painting your own clouds. Making your own cloud paint is easy and fun. Just mix together some shaving cream with white glue and you'll have a fluffy substance  that will dry with a texture and puffiness that really resembles clouds.

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Noa - I don't know

Loved seeing Noa live last night. This woman has a phenomenal voice and a beautiful spirit. Her energy just radiates off the stage and her voice rings pure beauty. Just listen, enjoy and tell me if you agree.

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Polenta playdough and spaghetti

"I want to do some mixing, you know, like I always do, but with something new, something I've never tried before!" 

We were talking about making some playdough, or experimenting with "powders". Now I had a challenge to find something "new" to add to the usual mix. 

"How about some spices?" 

This was not exactly new, since he often likes to add spices to the mixture. 

"Are there any new spices?". 

There were not. So I pulled out the step stool and moved over to the pantry. 

"Let's see, anything new up here?" 

A large bag of cornmeal used for making polenta caught my eye with its rich golden yellow color. I tried to make the offer as appealing as possible:

"I found some magic yellow powder!". 

"No it's not! Is that cornmeal?"

So much for my attempt at pretend play. "Yes, it's cornmeal, and it's new, we've never tried it before." I was in:

"Okay good, give it to me!" 

The result was a gritty golden-hued playdough, perfect for making pretend spaghetti, cakes, and even sushi. We just added some cornmeal to replace some of the flour in the usual recipe (1 cup flour, 1 cup salt, 1 cup water). No need for food coloring - the yellow color was gorgeous.

An hour later, it was time to start thinking about dinner. I made the offer: 

"Would you like to make some real spaghetti, you know that we can eat for dinner?". 

It had been ages since I'd pulled out the pasta maker, and the device felt like a novelty. 

"Yes, but I want to do it!" 

"Of course we'll do it together".

And we did!

Friday, February 15, 2013

Mystery Muse 1

My intention to be more creative lead me to Artella's Annual Mystery Muse Exchange. It's simple, you commit to making two artistic gifts for your muse during the month of February, and in exchange you will receive two offerings from your assigned muse-e. The gift can be as simple or elaborate as you wish. There are absolutely no requirements other than the act of making and giving. I know very little about my muse other than her name, address, and the word she chose - CREATIVE - to guide me. But still, having a muse has been really inspirational. My idea was to make something to honor her commitment to being creative. I have always been attracted to simple symbols, and hands are one of my favorites, so that's how I ended up making a sort of miniature devotional shrine to the power of the creativity she possesses as symbolized by the hands, a loving and whimsical reminder that she is the creative spirit she intends to be.

Thursday, February 14, 2013


May this day (and every day!) be full of love
here's a smooshed heart for you

Wednesday, February 13, 2013


 The town of Bormio

View from the ski slopes at 2000 meters

A week of wintery fun in Bormio, a ski town in the Alps of Lombardia.

We skied
Wind whipping, deep breathing, heart lifting fun.
Chapped lips, numb noses, red cheeked fun.
Up to the clouds panorama at 3000 meters high (and also -22 C but no matter!).
Little boy learning, medal winning, ski school fun.

We indulged
Valltelina = strong cheeses, bresaola, porcini mushrooms, taranga, and pizzoccheri.

We cozied up at the Genzianella 
Homey. Great meals. Comfy rooms. Fireplace in the lounge. Cards and checkers. Family friendly vibe. Short walk to the gondola. 

We made friends.

A great week. 
A place to go back to.  

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Carnevale in Como

It was like the sun had set the duomo on fire and I just had to look up even though the brilliance of the white stones against blue sky hurt my eyes. Looking up in the tight piazza wasn't easy. My neck craned as I tried to squint into focus the busy maze of sculptural features. I wanted to see the details of the faces nestled in the arched niches. 

But then the noise of the piazza drew me away and I had to look around, and down. The ground was a sea of color covered with tiny pieces of paper. My son was trying to get my attention: "Look at the cornflakes". I smiled and tried not to laugh. "You mean confetti?" (In the background I hear Sicilian hubby repeat the word in Italian, coriandoli). He smiles back with a grin realizing the mistake. "What are cornflakes"? "Cereal you eat for breakfast" I reply. We belly laugh together and start to move through the crowd. "I want some confetti, too".  "Yes, lets find a vendor".

Families with kids dressed in store bought costumes filled up the piazza, huddled together in tight circles trying to keep warm or else running back and forth to avoid being showered by fistfuls of confetti or squirts of foam.

It was carnevale and the town of Como was having a party.

We headed away from the crowds to wander the pretty side streets full of medieval buildings and sgraffito covered facades. 

Out of nowhere some tall lanky figures crept up on us and shouted out an invitation: "Run between my legs!". A nudge or two of encouragement was all that was necessary before the 5 year old was through and out the other side. 

Happy Carnevale!!!

Monday, February 4, 2013

Departure: getting there is half the fun

The night before departing for our settimana bianca ("white week", aka ski trip) we spent some family time bonding over the 5 year old's favorite board game, while our cat, who also happens to be called Bianca, joined in on the fun as best she could. After playing around with the plastic Monopoly pieces for awhile, she decided to curl right up in the center of what she perceived to be the action for a nap. That's her in our Monopoly box. She has loved squeezing into cozy spaces ever since she was a kitten. Doesn't look very comfortable, does it? But sure is cute. 

A few days later we were driving along Lago di Como surrounded by beautiful scenery en route to our final destination, located somewhere in the distance among the snowy peaks.  

We stopped at the pretty little town of Menaggio to stretch our legs along the narrow pebbly beach thanks to the 5 year old's prompting. 

He was doing the best he could on what for him felt like the never ending drive. By the second hour it had started to sound like this: "Can you be quiet I'm lying down now!! I feel car sick!!! This is such a long drive!!! Can you stop saying beautiful mamma!! Yucky mountains, why do you have to be so far away? Can we stop now? I'm hungry!!!"

Along the lake there were lots of ducks and swans to greet us, fighting over cornetto crumbs offered by the 5 year old. It was sunny and clear, but the air was chilly and breezy.  

Now that we've reached our snowy destination, the mountains aren't so yucky after all, but I'll save that story for another day...