Wednesday, October 31, 2007

on books (and bookcovers)

see what's arrived here ? my latest bookdepository order ! And in it, my long awaited copy of Ken Follett's World without end.

Since Pillars of the earth is one of my all time favorite historical novels ever - I first read it more than ten years ago - I've been really looking forward to reading this. I've already started it, covered about 200 pages the other night, but I'm slowing down so I can savor it properly ... it is about 900 pages long, so it should last me until the weekend at least.

Also on this pile is Jane's book. I've always loved reading her blog, and planned to purchase the book way before all the uproar it generated. I can't wait to get started with this either. I know it will be an amazing read, Jane has a way with words that never fails to impress me, and her projects are always an inspiration. As for the rest, well, I'm so glad I live in a time and age where women can actually choose what they want to do with their lives and not be confined to restricted standards of society anymore. So if I enjoy being a career woman (most days, anyway) but I also love sewing and knitting and baking, and actually make the time for it, don't you think it's possible to have it both ways ? I'd say it's a question of balance, and lifestyle and life choices and to each its own (Yvonne recently made a good point here)

Still on books, and replying to a couple of comments and e-mails I got, here's a short review of a few things I read recently:
* Julie & Julia: I should've known better than to purchase a book based on all the hype and buzz. I really tried to enjoy it, I did, but the author was whining so much all the time I couldn't stand it. Some of the cooking parts were interesting enough, but that was it.
* Ysabel: I usually love Guy Gavriel Kay's books, but this one was much of a disappointment. The setting was promising (Provence, although in modern times) but the story not that engrossing and too predictable, especially when compared to Lions of Al-Rassan (my favorite one) or the Sarantine books. I hope the next one gets better...
* Moonshine and The girl's guide to kissing frogs: for chic lit, I think that V. Clayton does it quite well (thanks to my friend T for lending these to me). Moonshine is my all time favorite now of all her books, a romantic story with very captivating characters. The other one is not as good, but still it makes a good read.
* Stick Figure: anorexia in an 11 year old girl. It's scary to think how this is possible, but the book is quite well written, funny and very believable.

Anyway, how did this post get so long ? What I really wanted to share with you today was my new bookcover design. This idea came to me while I was stuck in traffic the other day. It's a mix of all previous designs into one, actually. The elastic rubber closure loop and the couple of buttons ensures that I can use this for several book thicknesses, like the wrap around covers. The outside patchwork strip holds the cover together and the inside strips are used for not letting the book slip. This way I can actually read without having to take the cover off.

I used the linen and japanese cotton fabrics mix here, but I'm thinking on a few variations on that. So what do you think ? I'd really love to get your opinion on the several bookcover types that I usually make, so I can plan better for my next shop updates. For example, my first covers all had felt appliqué designs on them, but I've stopped doing so much of them because felt doesn't really hold very well with time (and it's terrible for washing). So tell me what's your favorite, will you ? I really appreciate the feedback.

I'm signing off early this week, since tomorrow we have a holiday so I'm having a long weekend ahead. Lots of knitting, sewing, reading, bike riding, planning to go see this exhibit, or maybe just doing nothing for a few days ...

(Before I go, did anyone watch the "Truth about food" BBC documentaries these past sundays ? I thought they were very interesting, now I'm ever so glad I enjoy eating tomatoes, and spinach and berries, among other things, and I don't need to feel so guilty about not drinking enough water anymore. I was surprised about the detox diet results, I really expected there would be a difference. I only caught the last two episodes, but the book is already on my wish list)

Monday, October 29, 2007

shop update

As promised, a couple of messenger and pocket bags available at the shop now.

Friday, October 26, 2007

kitty ♥

I bet you missed seeing these cute faces around the blog, didn't you ?
Have a great weekend :)

the knitting bug

A couple of weeks ago I was bitten by the knitting bug real bad, so I went through my yarn stash and proceeded to start four new knitting projects all at once. Plus, I've restarted an old project that had been sitting on the side since last year. Maybe because Fall has finally come, I'm not sure if that's why, but it feels good to be knitting again. With a cup of tea, some dark chocolate (hey, did you know that Cacao Sampaka is finally opening a store here in Lisbon ? guess where I'm going x-mas shopping this year ...) and watching my huge backlog of historical tv series on dvd, I'm all set for this Fall (and Winter) evenings.

Anyway, here's what I have on the needles right now:

* my first pair of socks ever, Hedera from knitty

* the sweetest tank top, Ms. Marigold (you can't tell from the lousy photo I took, but the yarn color is fuchsia)

* a very cute vest, and a return to the SKC knit-alongs, Juliet, another Zephyr Style pattern. I'm knitting it in grey, using a yarn that I had in my stash since forever it seems.

* a hat that reminds me of Fall, Foliage from knitty

* and finally, restarted working on Maggie (from Rowan mag #31) simply because I love this yarn and could not see it going to waste.

Guess I have enough to keep me busy till next Spring, at the very least ...

fabrics from Turkey

Monday, October 22, 2007

pay it forward

Argh, reading Camilla's post just now reminded me that I had totally forgot to post my PIF entry since July.

Mine is a follow-up from Kristy's blog, and the rules are simple: I will send a handmade gift to the first three people who leave a comment on my blog requesting to join this PIF exchange. I don't know what that gift will be yet and you may not receive it anytime soon, but you will receive it within 365 days, that is my promise! The only thing you have to do in return is pay it forward by making the same promise on your blog.

(and now, just a few things I hadn't posted before)
pocket bag #121, for a friend

pencil sleeve, for another friend

and a few not so recent orders

fabric addiction

(images from Nunoya)

As you might know, Nunoya has been one of my favorite fabric shops ever since our visit to Barcelona last February. Well, I'm pleased to announce that they now have an online store where we can buy their wonderful fabrics and other lovely items. I'm really excited about this, because I usually buy most of my fabrics online from the US or from Japan directly, and there are very few good online fabric shops based in Europe. I've beta tested the site, and it looks great, and I'm sure with more fabrics being added as I speak. And if you have any questions, just contact the owners Sean or Nanako, as they're extremely helpful. I've made my first order this morning, and now I can barely wait for it to arrive.

(and for those who asked, yes I will have some new messenger pocket bags available at the shop very soon)

Thursday, October 18, 2007

new bag

A new version of my pocket bag model, I think I'll call this the messenger pocket bag, what do you think ?

The idea for this bag has been brewing on my mind for a while, but I only had time to actually make it now. My normal pocket bags are medium sized and usually good for my everyday use, but sometimes I just need to carry a few extra things and there's not enough space.

So this is a large bag (about 35 x 26 cm), has the same pockets in front (for moleskine or notebooks) and one large in the back (for carrying books or magazines) like the old version.

It's made of corduroy and japanese cotton fabrics, and it even matches my tunic.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

catching up

And resuming normal blog posting now ... but first, for those of you coming through TripAdvisor and looking for the trip reports, they're now listed on the sidebar. I've also taken out the list of links I had down there, and will put it on a separate page soon (it was quite outdated)

It's been hard getting back to crafting since we returned but last night I finally shook the dust out of the fabric pile and started cutting some new bags. A few of these will be available at Patricia's shop soon, along with other items. I'm also planning a shop update in a couple of weeks, so stay tuned for that. My goal is to have a regular shop update every month from now on, not sure if that's realistic but I'm going to try my best. A few people have written to ask about x-mas orders already, but I'm afraid I won't have time to take any. However, if you're from around Braga, I'm pleased to announce that I'll be sending a big batch of bookcovers to be sold at the Centésima Página bookshop for x-mas (available from December 1st).

One reason I'm a bit strapped for time is because I'm going to Macau and Hong Kong for a few days in November. My friend S. is finally getting married on Nov. 10th and I'm to be the maid of honor (actually since I'm married I guess the correct term is matron of honor ? geesh, that makes me feel so old).
Anyway, since it was pretty much last minute, and I don't have many vacation days left, it's going to be a very rushed trip. I'll be leaving on a Thursday and coming back the next Tuesday, which will be just enough time for the wedding, meeting some old friends, meeting some new ones too, and hopefully some shopping. The last time I was in that part of the world was about ten years ago, so I'm sure a lot of things have changed since then.

(This little bunny was a custom order made sometime ago, and is now in the company of Celine on the other side of the Atlantic, making a little girl very happy)

Monday, October 15, 2007

part VII - and back in Istanbul again

The last couple of days back in Istanbul were spent walking around Sultanahmet and shopping ... and walking some more and shopping again. We visited the Rustem Pasa mosque - my favorite one of all - where we sat through prayer and chatted with the Imam for a while, saw the train station where the Orient Express stops, went back to the Spice and Grand Bazaars where I got my second mixed scent and twelve meters of fabrics from a dear old man, ate more baklavas and tried the gullaç (special dessert only available during Ramazan), and visited the night stalls around the Hippodrome which was so festive I never wanted to leave. And for our last meal, lunch at Hamdi again. It was the perfect ending for one of the best trips we ever had.

I think it shows on all these posts I made how much we loved it there. Before we went I had read somewhere that Turkey is a country you can't visit just once. I now understand why :)

blue mosque
blue mosque

blue mosque
blue mosque

sultans tombs
sultans' tombs

rustem pasa mosque
rustem pasa mosque

rustem pasa mosque
rustem pasa mosque

rustem pasa mosque
rustem pasa mosque

at eminonu

the orient express station
the orient express station

at the hippodrome stalls
the blue mosque at night

at the hippodrome stalls
the hippodrome stalls at night

carpet store
carpet store in the baths of roxelana

carpet store
carpet store in the baths of roxelana

outside the spice bazaar
outside the spice bazaar

lunch at hamdi
lunch at hamdi