terça-feira, 28 de junho de 2011

My new kitchen :)

A while back I promised I'd post some pictures of my kitchen after all the work we had done there. 

We had an infiltration to the appartment downstairs (nasty stuff :( ) and when we began fixing things up I thought it was time to redo it--it was my least favorite area in this entire house! 

And now you'll see why...

This was my old kitchen. As is traditional over here, tile flooring and walls, but I absolutely hated them--how ugly could they be?! 

But then there was no real reason to change, it was still functional and it was expensive to redo it... but the insurance company chipped in too :) The stove was in desperate need to go as well as the water heater...

A lot of work, replacing all of it...

But it was worth it!

I kept the top cabinets to reduce costs (they were still in reasonable shape) as well as the table and chairs and liked the idea of a slightly separate laundry area, so we created that glass wall that keeps the clutter of folded-clothes-waiting-to-be-put-away-in-the-closets out of sight while letting all the light come through. 

I chose a neutral shade of tiles for the floor and walls (yeahhhh!!! got rid of those ugly ones!) and put a granite counter top--is that what it's called?--that matches both the cabinets and the walls and is VERY sturdy... That way I can create different looks by varying the dish towels and curtains without having to redecorate the entire thing again!

Most people were a bit sceptical with my decisions, especially keeping the top cabinets, but when they saw the final result everyone had to admit it looks good :) (don't you just love the splash of color that beautiful potholder gives it?) Nothing hanging on the walls so far, I dread making holes on the new tile lol...

Now I just have to find time to get the fabric for the curtains to add a bit more color...

What do you think, do you like it? 


segunda-feira, 27 de junho de 2011

40ºC yesterday...

The hottest day so far this year, yesterday we had 40ºC by noon... so we decided to refresh ourselves a bit at the beach.

Portinho da Arrabida, a tiny, beautiful little bay and beach nested in front of the Serra da Arrabida, one of the prettiest around the Lisbon / Setúbal area and a National Park due to its unique vegetation...

I just love this little island sitting right in front of the beach!

Cristal clear and calm water (we actually saw an octopus wondering by and a lot of fish :)) We had to leave before noon because I still can't sit out in the sun (but I did go for a quick swim!) and it was quickly getting too hot!

These were taken earlier this year, yesterday the beach was a bit crowded... but it's always gorgeous!

Another beautiful picture of it I found on internet

...as well as this one, that gives you a clearer view of the fishing boats.

So... how was your weekend?


quarta-feira, 22 de junho de 2011

Is it just me...?

I finally got a bit of time to myself and... I can't post any pictures :-(  and there are so many pretty things I'd love to share with you!

Oh well... I guess I'll have plenty of time to go blog-hopping and checking out what you've been up to while I've been busy elsewhere...

Be back soon (I hope!)


sexta-feira, 17 de junho de 2011


It's such a lovely day out that I decided it was too nice to stay indoors. 

So what should I do? I feel like working, and should stay out of the sun... That's it, I'll camp out on the balcony! It's a bit of a garden, there's no sun right now but a lot of light, and I can enjoy my work while not feeling trapped indoors. 

It took me a little while to bring everything out--the chair, the stool pretending to be a side table with my lunch, the laptop, the camera, the crochet bag...Did I forget anything...? Hmmm... easy enough, I'll just step in to grab it.

Now, the next question... what shall I work on? I brought a few things along... my knitting (oh I soooooooo love those colors! Can't wait to finish and wear it!) an old crochet magazine and a few balls of cotton yarn... 

Probably one of these lovelies, for a change of pace! 

Pantera thought this whole situation was a bit odd... she's not used to seeing me here for a long time!

... but then decided to help out with the gardening and started trimming the lemon grass :)

Well, off I go to start something new, hopefully something pretty. Catch you later!


quinta-feira, 16 de junho de 2011

A surprise in the mailbox :)

When I started this blog about 3 months ago I didn't know how important it would become for me. In fact, I created this almost 3 years ago, started writing a couple of posts and couldn't bring myself to let them out in the open and ended up deleting them. It just wasn't the right moment. But I liked the name and kept the blog (closed to all but to myself).

Then one day, it seemed right. I can't tell how or when I decided to reopen this and start blogging about my little things--my creations, my life, my illness and getting back to being healthy. Yes, because even if it's only been a week since radiation ended I know my health is coming back.

And I'm so glad that I did!

Have you ever heard of Synchronicity? I first read about it in Jean Shinoda Bolen's book "The Tao of Psychology - Syncronicity and Self". It's a fantastic book, like all her other books, definitely worth reading. To make a long story short, I think this is what happened here. 

I started blogging at the right time.  When I needed something to hold on to, that would make me feel good.

Remember this post?

Yes, you're right. Today I got mail again!

I thought I recognized the handwriting on the envelope and the Royal Air Mail stamp rang a bell and when I opened it there it was, MemeRose's beautiful potholder!

My mouth dropped open when I saw it, this totally inexpected gift... of course I recognized it at once!

There it was, perfectly wrapped in lavender tissue paper and with a sweet card with a cat  on it (made me think of my Smartie...) and some lovely words on finishing my battle again. 

And doesn't it look perfect in my new kitchen, next to the "Lenço dos Namorados" dish towel I just got?

Do I need to say anything? My heart is completely full, right now.

With this blog I have met the most wonderful people, people I would be so happy to meet in person one day--people I hope to meet in person, some day! 

From all over the World, from close and from far, I've had so much support and encouragement throughout these past few months. Thank you all, my dear friends! I like to think I've been able to support someone too (my dear friend Marjo). If this isn't synchronicity working, I don't know what it is...

I have learned and seen gorgeous things you all make and share with all of us. And hopefully will be able to make a few of my own, too.

So... thank you, MeMe Rose, this is a most treasured gift and I will think of you every time I see it (nooooooo I don't dare use it!!! lol) and than all of my e-friends who have been here with me for the past 3 months.  You're precious and I'm such a lucky girl! 

And I promise tomorrow I will be sharing some more pictures of my new kitchen :)


terça-feira, 14 de junho de 2011

Baby blanket tutorial

Well, my dear ladies, you asked for it so here it is! Please let me know if you find anything unclear, ok?

These were the 2 colors I used, white and an almost lavender pink and a size 3 crochet hook (sorry, I don't know what this translates into your sizes). 

It's 100% cotton, Mississippi Tex by Katia--I don't know if you can find it where you are but I'm sure you can find a lovely cotton yarn that will produce the same results.

Off we go!

Make a chain as long as the width you want your blanket to be. The finished size of mine is about 50cm x 70cm, so I made a chain of 140 and made 64 clusters of 2 double stitches. 

Now what's that?! 

That means I turned around after I made the chain and stuck the hook in the 4th chain, to make a double stitch. 

Then one chain and a cluster: stick the hook in the next chain, pull the thread once, twice, and leave the other 2 loops in the hook. Stick the hook in the next chain, pull the thread up again, one, twice, and all 3 loops together at last. That means the 2 double stitches will be joined together at the top, forming a cluster of 2.

*Cluster of 2, chain, cluster of 2, chain**...repeat from * to ** for as long as you want it to be.

Still with me?

Good, then all you have to do is repeat this until the end of the chain. As I said above, I made 64 clusters. That means I had a few chains left at the end of the row, but that's ok, you can pull them apart later. 

Now that your first row is ready, it's time to join the other color. I used pink because it's for a baby girl, but it looks great in blue and I can imagine it is lovely in aqua too!

So here's what you do at the end of the row: just pull the ball of white through the last loop as if you wanted to bind of, but don't cut it. That way you won't have to tuck in a bunch of little tails when you're done :) 

Then attach the pink. Or the blue or acqua or whatever color you chose.  Just pull it through the beginning of the row, as you would with the previous color. And then you do a short stitch over each chain of the previous row and a chain over each cluster. 

Easy, isn't it? 

And at the end of the row. pull the thread through too, so that it doesn't come undone.

Next row: back to the clusters. 

Just pick up the white thread wherever it is (either left or right) and work it as it is. It doesn't matter if the pink row goes left to right or right to left. You just work the next row as you would if you didn't have a pink one in between. 

Make a cluster over a chain and a chain over a short stitch. Each cluster ends up on top of the one you made before, see?

So now... just keep working! Make it as long as you want--I made 51 rows of white with 50 rows of pink in between. 

It's easy and really nice to work on!

When you want to finish, you will work the other way, that is, instead of making clusters you'll be making simple double stitches. I tried it both ways and decided this way looked nicer.  

Sorry this only has 3 rows of white but I was running out of yarn and needed to show you the border!

So now you're ready for the border. That's really easy too! Just like you did for the pink row: one short stitch, one chain, repeat until the end of the row. 

That's very easy, right? The only tricky part is in the corner: you make a short stitch, a chain and another short stitch in the same hole to turn around. Then you make the side of the blanket. I made 2 short stitches separated by a chain per set of 2 rows (white and pink), that was the way it worked best for me. Just keep at it until you have made a full round. 

 "Jump" up to the next row. Just make a short stitch over a chain and a chain over a short stitch... and always a short stitch, chain and short stitch for a corner. 

 3 rows done, this is what it looks like. I made 4 on my baby blanket.

 Finally, the last row. It's just like the previous ones. 

But now you're going to do a little variation. *One short stitch, one chain, one short stitch. Then 3 chains, attach to the short stitch to form a picot**, that little loop you see, over the next short stitch. Then back to * and repeat to ** until you've done the entire row. 

Bind off... you're done! And as you can see, no "icky" nasty little loose ends to tuck in except for the last one... 

And it looks just as nice from the back side as it does from the right side.

I really hope I was clear enough--but if you have any questions, just let me know!

And let me know if you've started something with this pattern :) baby blankets are so nice to make! Have fun and have a great week :)


Oh, I almost forgot! The flower... is just a variation of a Japanese flower, with 8 petals :)

quinta-feira, 9 de junho de 2011

Today I won a battle

Today I won a battle. At least I feel like I did.
I finished radiation therapy, last battle I had in my war against breast cancer. In fact, the last battle against any type of cancer, because I do not want to go through this again. Twice is enough for a lifetime, in fact twice is enough for several lifetimes. I will still have a bit of a rough time recovering from radiation, but that's peanuts compared to all the rest that I've left behind this past year. Yes, because it's been almost a full year (July 1st) since I was diagnosed with breast cancer again.

My Grandfather died 31 years ago, on June 12th, of cancer. I was almost 17 then, I lived with my Grandparents and that was my first and most traumatic enconter with the "Beast", until I had to face it myself. I loved him dearly as I know he loved me. 
Grandpa Barata and Grandma Maria (the survivor)
Granpa Arteiro and Grandma Lourdes
In fact, I lost 3 of my Grandparents to the "Beast". My Grandmother, his wife, survived it. She had breast cancer (twice, too) and she survived to be almost 95. She was a frail though tough woman. I inherited the bad gene from her, I like to think I also inherited her stubborness and strength and will to live. 
Grandma Maria at her 94th birthday
So today I like to believe I defeated the "Beast" for all of them. And for my Mother and my Son and for all the ones I care about.

For them, for myself, for Marjo, for Annette, for Meredith, for all the Women and Men out there who face cancer, whatever shape it takes when it shows up, I won.

It is not stronger than we are! 


(PS I had to edit this... I was so happy that I even forgot to add a title :-) )

quarta-feira, 8 de junho de 2011

Baby blanket Ta-dah!!!

Baby stuff is so much fun to make... so relaxing, so calming, so rewarding... I have this thing about making baby stuff and that's gotten me in "trouble" sometimes--people thought I was having a baby. And when I said no, they asked who I was going to offer the things to and I answered "I don't know", they thought I was a bit odd...

This is my latest creation. The baby blanked I showed you a while back.
It's made of Katia's Mississipi Tex, 100% cotton, pink (almost lavender) and white, and took exactly 4 balls of yarn (3 white and 1 pink). I got the idea from this one I saw in Flickr, by Carla M.
 Super easy and a pleasure to make and see grow, row by row
and I couldn't resist adding a little variation of a Japanese flower :-) 
Oh... and this one was meant for a specific child. One of my nurses is having a baby in August, a girl. This is for her. 
Would you care for a little tutorial? It's oh so simple...


domingo, 5 de junho de 2011

Just a quick hello...

So much going on around here these days I haven't had a minute to stop by to check on everyone... so while we go through elections and my radiation treatments are about to come to an end (HORRAYYYY!!!!) and the kitchen is finally finished (leaving me with all the tidying up and reorganizing and all) and we are moving back and forth from one place to the other, I just wanted to leave you a little bit of sunshine and sand by the Tagus River :-)

Be back soon, my friends!


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger... Pin It