Sunday, April 30, 2017

Travels: Sicily, Italy

Just came back from our week vacation in Sicily, Italy. We looked forward to it for months, but vacations are always over in the blink of an eye, so after a night in my own bed I can't even imagine I was away for a week. 

Sicily is beautiful, really beautiful, the food is in one word great, people are very friendly (far more than on the main land, in my opinion, but my opinion is based on just one other trip to Italy, to Florence and Pisa to be precise). All ingredients for a great little trip, but there was one big downer.

Before we took the plane, we had hired a car on internet. We would arrive in the evening, so plans were we just had to pick it up at the airport and could drive to the house we had rented. In theory, that was. When we arrived, the car rental had canceled our booking, because our arrival time wasn't filled in. Although they had our flight schedule (which is what I would look at as I rented cars, because flights can be delayed), they just canceled it. 

So after a long wait for our turn, we had no car. All cars were hired! We were addressed to another car rental, that probably would have a car for us. And they did. But we had to pay double the price and had to wait two hours before it was available. Bad option if you're with two kids that are already crying because they're tired. Then, alas, all they could do for us was rent us a BMW station wagon.

We had already spend two hours at the car rental now and just wanted to go. So my husband accepted the BMW, for even more money. As soon as he said we had a BMW I felt my anxiety levels rise, uneasy as I felt by driving a car this big and pretentious on an island where most people don't have lots of money to spend. 

But we were finally on the road. That night I dreamed about scratches on the car. So first thing I did when we stepped in the car the next morning, was check the car for damage. And that was what I did every time, after every trip we made with the thing: checking for damage.  That's why I know somebody must have brushed our car when we parked it (our first day on the island!) while doing grocery shopping, because before we went into the store the car was spotless. Scratches all over the front bumper. After that I didn't have one relaxed moment. And I know it's me, my character, but I find enjoying myself very difficult when in the back of my head the BMW that might be scratched again flashes on and off all the time. 

After that first brush four days later followed another one, while our car was parked on a parking lot near the beach. Maybe the brushing wasn't on purpose, I don't know, but a day later I found scratches on both sides of the car hood. Brushing the car while leaving can happen by accidence, maybe, but what can possibly make lighting strike formed scratches on top of the car hood by chance? 

Soooo, just one tip when you go to Sicily: hire a indistinct car, preferably a ragged one, so people don't feel the urge to damage other people's property. And if they really can't control themselves, you don't see the difference anyway. 

Only after returning the car at the end of the week I got back my peace of mind. And just now I can enjoy our time away with retroactive effect.


So now: some pictures of this beautiful island!!

On our first day in Sicily we went to see Taormina with her narrow streets, lots of little shops and the unevitable gelaterias. The last we visited every day, because no country can match up to the Italian ice!

Behind Taormina lies the little town of Castelmola, which can be reached by climbing a lot of stairs, that end at the cutest little church, that's build in a cave.

When you walk out of the church, there's a great view on an old Greek amphi theater.


Of course we rode up Mount Etna. Although we went to a lot of places with volcanoes before (my parents actually live on the volcanic island of Lanzarote), and we have seen the lava flows on Big Island, Hawaii, we never actually saw one erupt. Etna smoked all the time we were there. One evening I saw some orange glow at the top and one morning I saw smoking lava roll down one of her flanks, but that's about it. So seeing an erupting volcano is still on my list.


The day we rode to Milazzo and took a ferry to the Eolian Islands, I personally found the best day. The islands are located north east of Sicily. We hopped off on the tiny island of Vulcano and hiked to the top of the Vulcano Crater. I especially loved the laid back atmosphere of the island, which is very different from the aggressive driving and more hasty way of living at the 'main (is)land' .

Beside the great views on the other Eolians, it was not only an experience for the eyes, but especially for the nose. Do you see the smoke coming from the crater rim? Smells like rotten eggs that are rotten (yes, rotten eggs that are rotten, double rotten, to accentuate how bad it really stank). The smoke coming from the so called fumeroles is actually poisonous.


Of course we had to visit the little town of Savoca, where a (small) part of The Godfather was filmed. In the little church above Michael Corleone married Apollonia.


Beside the church and the famous Bar Vitelli, where another part of the movie was filmed, we visited a little monastery. In the catacombs were a couple of well preserved mummies to be found, which my daughters (and honestly, me too) found quite haunting. Taking pictures wasn't allowed, so nothing to show to you here.

The most famous cat of Sicily lives in Savoca. In the short while I was sitting next to his balcony, eating pane (bread) with Edammer Cheese (Edam actually being a place in The Netherlands; my grandmother always bought cheese from Edam, so I chose this filling just for the memories, but just as you do I wondered how this cheese ended up here in Savoca), there were at least fifty people who took pictures of this cat.


 Great island views


Another beautiful place we visited was Gola Alcantara, a trench of basalt stone and ice cold water, flanked with tiny beaches where you could spend some time in the water. 


The duomo of Ortigia in Siracusa


 The most popular fruit on Sicily: lemons!


Saturday, April 22, 2017

Bare Foot Sandals

In just a couple of days we will take off to Sicily. I hope temperatures will be a bit better than here, because it's rather cold around here. When summer approaches I always feel like making hippie-like clothes (very convenient when you like to crochet). Today I made bare foot sandals, so hope there will be at least one day we can go to the beach.

Update: for you people who were expecting to see a picture of bare feet and crocheted sandals, I hope you weren't that disappointed. A couple of days before we left for Sicily my laptop broke down, so I couldn't post pictures, text, nothing. Hope you're still with me, because today, tadaaaaah, I'm back in business! With the picture!


My Triangle Shawl was featured by Oombawka Design!

Thank you so much, Rhondda!

Friday, April 21, 2017

Made It #16

~ I love Pinterest and would like to make one thing every week that I find on Pinterest. Since I have lots of pins (that, until now, I've just pinned and only that), I hope this will be a way to reduce the amount of pins on my boards. It can be anything, from cooking to crochet and from sewing to paper crafts. Just small projects that don't take weeks to make ~

As said last week I would love to make the beautiful felt swan I found on Pinterest a while ago and although mine hasn't the dreamy beauty of the original one, I'm pretty content with my own swan. Too bad I couldn't find the speckled white tulle the designer of this swan used, because that makes it even more beautiful.


Another idea that's on my boards for a while now, is this clay hand of fatima. For some reason it gives me a summery feeling. Would be nice to have some of them sitting around the garden with scented little candles in it. 

The idea was originally pinned from the instagram account of Denise Alice.


The Octopus I made last week for Made It #15! is featured by Pattern Paradise!!


Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Triangle Shawl

A while ago I saw this beautiful yarn from Durable, called Colourful. They had a great color combination with glaucus, gray and black, so the purchase was made very fast.

Today I finally finished the shawl. The result is beautiful, I think, but making the shawl required all the patience I had in me, because I had to unravel the yarn all the time. It's made of four loose strings (not twined), and to get a nice turnover in colors one of the strings changes color after several meters, then another one turns color and so on. But in my hands one or two of the strings were pushed forward the whole time, so they became uneven and every now and then I had to cut of the strings because they were so entangled. But...., now that it's finished I really love the result!!

I used this free pattern for the shawl

Saturday, April 15, 2017

Palm Sunday Crosses and Easter Bunnies

When I was a child, in the village where I grew up were two schools. One was for Catholics, the other one was a public school, for all other kids. Kindergarten classes were all in the same building and maybe that was the reason the public school kids also decorated a cross for Palm Sunday. After the crafting part all kids together went in a sort of procession through our village with the crosses.

Since Kindergarten I never saw decorated crosses again, but I thought it was nice to make them with my daughters last week. So my husband made three crosses, we made figures from salt dough and decorated the crosses with the figures, chocolate eggs and crepe paper.

Do you know about this tradition for kids? Of course I know about the great processions, especially in Spain, but beside in my own village, I've never seen them for kids.

On the first day of Easter I have duty in the OR, but the second day my whole family will come over for a brunch. While the salt dough figures were baking I made some polymer clay bunnies to decorate the brunch table with.

Friday, April 14, 2017

Made It #15

~ I love Pinterest and would like to make one thing every week that I find on Pinterest. Since I have lots of pins (that, until now, I've just pinned and only that), I hope this will be a way to reduce the amount of pins on my boards. It can be anything, from cooking to crochet and from sewing to paper crafts. Just small projects that don't take weeks to make ~ 

And here's the octopus I made for my colleague's baby. I used other colors and gave its face another expression, but it's the same free pattern as shared with you last week. Another pin I can scrape off of my boards.


A while ago I saw this picture of a beautiful swan on Pinterest. It didn't come with a tutorial or a pattern, but I want to give it a try to imitate this one. It looks a bit dreamy and fairy tale-like, don't you think? I just love it!

Monday, April 10, 2017

Swan Trophy Head

For my daughter's birthday I found a great idea: a crochet swan trophy head. So I bought the pattern book, written by Vanessa Mooncie, bought yarn and started to crochet. I've made something from a book by Vanessa Mooncie before (maybe you remember this flamingo) and although I consider myself an advanced crocheter, I found her patterns a bit difficult to read. But in the end I had all necessary pieces and could put them together. Unfortunately the piece of feathers was much too small for the swan's body and because I didn't feel to start all over again, I made something up. Instead of making a new, larger piece of feathers (crocheting the feathers I found taking the most time to make), I bought white feathers in the craft store and attached them one by one to the swan's body.  Also quite a job, but it takes less time than crochet. Here's the result.


Both my Crocheted Lanterns and Sicilian Pistachio Cake were featured this week. The Lanterns were featured by Creative Jewish Mom, by Sum of Their Stories, by Oui Crochet and by Creating My Way to Success. Thanks, Sara, Julia, Susie and Jill.

The cake was featured by Scrapality. Thank you, Andrea.

Saturday, April 8, 2017

Crocheted Lanterns

The last couple of weeks I see crocheted lanterns everywhere and since I had a pattern on my Pinterest boards, I thought it would be nice to make two of them, now that garden days are upcoming. Tomorrow it will be around 20 degrees Celsius around here, so they're finished just in time to decorate our garden while we are bbq-ing.

So, you can find the free pattern here


The Unicorn Cupcakes that my daughters made, were featured by City of Creative Dreams! They're so proud to be chosen!

Thank you so much, Shanice!

The Stroller Toy is also featured! Thanks, Sara from Creative Jewish Mom, Pam from Threading My Way, Anna from Strawberry Butterscotch and Ali Rose from Two Chicks and a Mom!

Friday, April 7, 2017

Made It #14

~ I love Pinterest and would like to scrape off one thing of my boards every week. Since I have lots of pins (that, until now, I've just pinned and only that), I hope this will be a way to reduce the amount of pins on my boards. It can be anything, from cooking to crochet and from sewing to paper crafts. Just small projects that don't take weeks to make ~ 

Last week I shared the recipe for a Hazelnut Sponge Cake with you. What I like most about the recipe, is that there isn't any chocolate in it, because I think that makes it taste like Nutella and I wanted to have the pure hazelnut taste. 
The recipe was just as good as I hoped it was! Well, better yet!

You can find the recipe here.


One of my colleagues asked me to make a little octopus for her baby. On my Pinterest boards I had pinned one as a part of different sea creatures, so I want to use that pattern for this little project.

You can find the pattern here, in case you want to make one, too.

Wednesday, April 5, 2017

Sicilian Pistachio Cake

My daughters almost have vacation once again and we have planned a short trip to Sicily. It's an island belonging to Italy, as most of you probably know from movies like The Godfather. And if you don't know these movies (there are three of them, actually) I would highly recommend them.
 It was on our list for quite some time. The last couple of years we planned trips in the direction of the equator in spring or fall, because summers are just too hot nowadays towards the south. In the summer we rent a house somewhere in the country we live in (The Netherlands, which is a bit more northern). Much better, temperature wise. 

Anyway, when it comes to vacation trips, I think a lot of fun comes from planning beforehand. Besides reading about nice places to visit (but what can beat the sight of Mount Etna, erupting this moment, now, as we speak!), I thought it would be nice to cook some local dishes. One of them is a pistachio cake.

I found the recipe here.

Take a look at Mount Etna! Can't wait to see this for real!

Sunday, April 2, 2017

Stroller Toy

This week there's a baby shower I have to visit, for the wife of my husband's cousin (do you follow?) and besides a store bought cute little dress, I made this stroller toy for the baby girl.

I found this idea here


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...