Wednesday, January 31, 2007

pencil sleeve ♥

remember my love for notebooks ? well, this year, like so many others, I couldn't resist getting the limited red version of the 2007 moleskine diary. It's been years since I used a diary of any kind (I keep most appointment reminders on my outlook) but this year I thought I'd try to be a bit more organized.

so when I saw ann & dabney's fantastic idea for a pencil sleeve (via my friend S., who feeds me all sorts of useful crafty links), I knew I'd have to make a few for myself. Don't know if this happens to you, but I keep misplacing my pens all the time, so this will hopefully prevent that from happening so often.

oh, and if you need one badly, check out ann & dabney's mogo etsy shop where they have some really cute ones for sale.


Tuesday, January 30, 2007

porque SIM

nunca tive dúvidas que iria votar SIM, mas dito desta forma ainda menos ...

saturday morning walk

ok, so I spend a bit more time in traffic now than I used to before we moved to our new place, but when the weekend comes it all seems to be worth it when I can easily take a few walks like this.

oh, and I bought a pair of inline skates last week. During the ski trip a few people have said that inline skating made all the difference in their skiing abilities, so I'm willing to give that theory a try... Never tried this before, so any tips I should know of ? I'll probably be spending all my time on the floor anyway ;)

new blogger

If you haven't noticed, I've switched to the new blogger version last night. However, if you're reading me through bloglines, there's a chance you probably didn't notice because it seems that one of the feeds isn't working anymore. I lost the feed for several of the blogs I usually read after they switched, and had to subscribe again (it took me a couple of weeks to notice, though). So I apologize for the inconvenience, and just hope this new blogger is worth it.

Monday, January 29, 2007

three little kittens

were born this weekend and came out to play ...

Dotty was the first of the litter, she's a bit shy and quiet so will be staying at home for the time being. Amélie and Sushi are still getting used to her, but I think they'll get along well.

Poppy is a flower kitty, she loves to meet new people and is very outgoing, and will be traveling soon to Patricia's new shop.

Violet is the youngest, she's very playful and is looking to find a lovely new home where she can play at her heart's content. She'll be available at the shop later today.


Wednesday, January 24, 2007

on books and tv series

I've always loved historical/period tv series, especially the ones from BBC, and like many women out there, my favorite one has been the P&P adaptation with Jennifer Ehle and Colin Firth. I thought nothing would top that, but after watching the adaptation of Elizabeth Gaskell's North & South last Sunday I have to say it comes pretty, pretty close (and R. Armitage has certainly gained another member for his fan club). I've read the novel a long time ago, and couldn't remember many of the details, but had to re-read the final part immediately after I finished watching the series. And although the adaptation is quite different from the original, those last scenes at the station were so romantic that I can't say which version I like the most.

Anyway, after I chatted with my friend X. for a while about it (and to whom I have to thank for this great recommendation) we started to talk about what other BBC series of the kind were worth watching, so now I'm compiling a future shopping list and would appreciate any input anyone might want to give. I've watched most of Austen's adaptations, and have Sarah Water's Fingersmith to watch this weekend (I've watched Tipping the velvet already, btw).

So far, I have (in no particular order):

- Wives and daughters (1999) - an adaptation of another Gaskell novel (this one I haven't read, though)

- Jane Eyre (2006)

- Our mutual friend (1998)

- Bleak house (2005)

- Middlemarch (1994)

- Sparkhouse - a modern version of Wuthering Heights ? or so it seems

- The mayor of Casterbridge (2003) - just because I'm a fan of Ciarán Hinds

- The impressionists

- Charles II (2003)

These all seem to have great reviews. Also I only found out today that there's an adaptation of "The other Boleyn girl", my favorite P. Gregory book, but I don't seem to be able to find the DVD available anywhere.
Anyway, any more good recommendations out there that I should know of ?

On books read, it seems that 2007 started better than 2006 so far. I borrowed K. Hosseini's "The kite runner" from F. during vacation, and have to admit that I cried my eyes off. So, so sad, but a wonderful read nonetheless. Amy Tan's latest was a bit disappointing, it didn't quite strike the same chord with me as all the previous ones, but McKillip's fantasy in "The forgotten beasts of Eld" was very enjoyable (thanks for that, T.)

Elizabeth Berg was an author on my TBR for a while now, so I finally read one of her books, and it made me want to read some more. And a note on Murakami's "Kafka on the shore": I love his books, the writing is always so brilliant, but the storyline can sometimes be too confusing and far fetched. I can't say I understood half of what was meant here, but then again, it's Murakami so maybe that's the whole point. A final note on one of the books I'm reading now, J. Safran Foer's "Everything is illuminated" - maybe I just need some encouragement, but has anyone enjoyed this book ? I can't seem to get past the first chapters, but I don't want to give up, especially since I liked "Extremely loud and incredibly close" so much.

That said, the books on my "currently reading" list seem to have been there forever, and I'm having trouble finishing those, but I hope I'll be able to tackle them soon. To keep me going, I've started another Madeleine Wickham (actually, it's a double issue containing both "The tennis party" and "Swimming pool sunday", the ones I hadn't read yet), which is a sort of chic lit, but not the rosy kind, and as always, a very easy going read. What about you ? What are you reading today ?

(By the way, thanks to everyone who has e-mailed me or commented here with book recommendations before, I really appreciate it)


Tuesday, January 23, 2007

#15 #16 afonso & beatriz

I was catching up on blog reading last night, and Jane's post on favorite colors reminded me of my own strange choices on this subject. For a long time, I favored darker colors only (black, brown, navy blue - didn't we all go through such a phase ?), then went through a period of neutrals (white, beige, caramel) to settle finally into brighter colors when I reached my 30s (red, turquoise, purple). Although those are my favorite (single) colors for now, there are others that, like Jane said, work so much better in a combo. Like pink and grey, or light blue and chocolate brown, lavender and aqua green, and so on ...

Take orange, for example. I've always hated orange - always - but lately I've been loving it when mixed with brown. Which is how I ended up dressing these latest softies, by the way. I just couldn't help myself, the colors just looked so nice together.

They were made specially for a shop that is opening soon, by talented Patricia, so if you happen to be in the neighborhood, please drop by to visit them, I'm sure you'll enjoy it.

Also available at the shop will be these bookcovers, these pouches and this bag (more of the orange-brown combo... when I get an idea into my mind, it's hard to let go).


Monday, January 22, 2007

back !

Physically exhausted, but mentally rested, that's how I'm feeling today. We arrived on Saturday evening, and were so tired we slept for 12 hours straight.
And yesterday we didn't feel like going out, so instead we stayed home, cuddled with the cats and watched some tv: the first episodes of 24 season 6, and the whole of BBC's North & South, which has become one of my favorites (X., I have to agree, it is almost as good as Pride and Prejudice)

The vacation itself went great, the slope conditions weren't too bad after all (it snowed a bit, and rained too, during most of last Thursday), the group was fun, and I managed to fall only a few times.

more photos here


Saturday, January 13, 2007

thinking of snow

la plagne

yes, it's that time of the year again :)
We're leaving for our usual ski trip, again to La Plagne through UCPA. This time with quite a large group (17, if I'm not mistaken), including my friend F. who I hope will not hate me too much after this trip, since I was the one who convinced her to go. Most newbies love it, so I'm quite confident.

la plagne

The start of this season was terrible regarding snowfall, as you might have heard, so
we're not going to catch the best conditions out there, but I'm excited all the same.

So I'll be back in a week with (hopefully) all my limbs still intact.

When I return, I'll share the rest of Croatia's photos and some recent crafty items (so you wouldn't think this has suddenly transformed into a travel agency blog all of a sudden. No, I've been crafting, just can't really share those yet).


Friday, January 12, 2007

zadar, dubrovnik

Zadar center

outside our hotel

The next day was somewhat brighter, so we went back to the centre of Zadar and explored it again by daylight. You can practically see everything in a couple of hours, including the busy market, the round church of St. Donat and the roman ruins close by, the Church of St Chrysogonus, the square of five wells, the old gates and the Sea Organ.

So I didn’t see the sunset, but sitting on the steps of the organ, listening to the music made by the waves, and looking into the sea, I have to agree with my friend X. and say that it’s now also a favourite spot of mine.


From Zadar we started off to Dubrovnik. The motorway stops at Split, so we had to take the normal road by the coast. After driving down this road, I understand now why so many people going to Dubrovnik prefer to fly there instead. Not that the scenery is not beautiful sometimes, but it’s the only road and a very busy one, which means that if you’ve done it once then it’s enough, otherwise the trip seems to take forever.

The dalmatian coast

That said, it was a sunny afternoon so we enjoyed the views off the coast.
We stopped for a lunch break in Makarska, a small but charming town by the sea, with very nice restaurants.


It was almost sunset when we reached Dubrovnik, so we decided to find a nice place to watch it. After walking around for a while, we reached a spot where we could see the fortress and this fantastic view

You’ll see why on my next post, but trust me when I tell you that Dubrovnik is one of those must visit places, the perfect holiday spot. We took advantage of the low season prices and checked into the Grand Villa Argentina Hotel, which was perfect in every sense, including a fantastic view from the breakfast terrace. For dinner we went in search of the
Rozarij, which was as good as all the reviews I’d seen. If you happen to go there, try the shrimp risotto, you won’t regret it.


plitvice, sibenik, zadar

The next morning we woke up really early to explore the rest of the lakes. Gate 2 is located right below the hotel Jezero, but because it’s low season the tickets can only be bought at Gate 1. We took the ferry to cross to the other side, and it was like entering a magical kingdom. I didn’t think it was possible, but the upper lakes were even more beautiful than the other ones. Waterfalls gush out of everywhere, and because we were the only ones there (we didn’t see anyone else during the whole morning) it was indeed magical. The sound of water just follows you around, and at every corner there’s a different and more stunning view.

It took us around 3 hours to walk all the way up to Gate 4, where we caught the bus back to the first gate. We stuck to the main trail, but there are secondary trails that you can take if you feel like exploring the park a bit more or do some serious hiking. It was raining that day, so our photos don’t do justice to the beauty of the park, but if you’d like to see how it looks during a sunnier day, just see here.



From Plitvice we started our drive down to Zadar. There’s only one motorway in Croatia, so there’s no way to get lost. Because we had some time, we drove down to Sibenik to have lunch, and explore the historic centre a bit.

All the larger coastal cities in Croatia have nice historic centres, usually near the sea, but to get there you usually have to get past the busier and more industrial areas. A huge contrast to what we saw in the countryside, the coast is quite crowded and busy. If you look closer, you can still see the signs of war, like the bullet holes in the walls, or the plaques that remind you of the bombings.

Zadar centre

Zadar: steps by the sea organ

We arrived in Zadar during the afternoon, and I was all ready to watch the sunset from the Sea Organ, but unfortunately it was raining quite hard so we explored the pedestrian streets of the centre a bit and listened to the organ and the fall of the rain together. There are no hotels in the centre, and Zadar is quite popular during the summer so most hotels are located in Puntamika, near the beaches. We stayed at Villa Hresc, the closest one to the centre, and although I had booked a double room they gave us a whole apartment for the same price. The restaurant at the hotel had great reviews, so we decided to try it. Their specialty is fish and seafood, and indeed the food was delicious.

raining in Zadar