Tuesday, May 26, 2009

matching WIPs

Slowly getting back to some sewing, and planning the next knitting projects.
I'm thinking summer dresses ... and some cardigans to match, maybe ?

And these below .. hummm, will probably end up as skirts .. or maybe summer tops. Not really sure, but I love the fabrics. They came from Dot Quilts, a recently opened store in town (nice fabric shops in Lisbon are so rare that it's quite an event when a good one opens up, and this one is definitely a keeper)

Friday, May 22, 2009

Piódão, Serra do Açor

Another place I really wanted to visit but never had the chance before was Piódão, one of the most famous historical villages of Portugal. So being in the area we decided to go there for lunch before heading back home. I'd heard stories about the terrible road conditions to get there, but I have to say we really enjoyed ourselves. And the sights on our way there and back (we took a different road on our way back) are quite stunning.

The village itself is indeed beautiful, especially seen from afar.

And up close is also very charming.

We spent a good couple of hours going up and down all those stairs, and although the day had started out rainy, the sun finally shone through.

We had lunch at the restaurant in the main square (Piódão XXI), and although the food was good, the service not really, and the restaurant building itself doesn't really fit into the local architecture. It surprised me that something like that was allowed to be built there in the first place.

On our way back to Lisbon we stopped at a couple of other places that caught our attention: Chãs d'Égua, another charming little village, and Foz d'Égua, with the beautiful suspended bridge.

Chãs d'Égua

Foz d'Égua

And of course, thoroughly enjoyed the beautiful sights around the Serra d'Açor.

Definitely these are places we want to go back to.

Aldeias do Xisto, Lousã

During our Easter break last month we spent a few days in this part of Portugal. We'd never been here, so it was a really nice surprise.
Our main purpose was to visit a few of the Aldeias do Xisto, beautiful restored villages with traditional houses made of schist. Apparently there are 24 of them in this region, but we only managed to visit 4: Talasnal, Casal Novo, Chiqueiro and Gondramaz. My favourite was Talasnal (wilder and more rustic) but Gondramaz was definitely the most beautifully restored one.




We stayed in Lousã, at this place, which was nice but a bit overrated.

Their restaurant is quite good, although not as good as this one here, where the food was outstanding to say the least (and huge servings too). The restaurant is outside of the city, up near the castle and the ermida (and the fluvial beach) and it's worth making a reservation ahead. We didn't, so had to wait around for an hour or so, which gaves us the opportunity to explore the surrounding area.

Restaurant "O Burgo"

Ermida da Srª da Piedade

And if you feel like having a nice cup of tea and yummy cake, a lovely place is the Casa de Chá "Solar do Adro", located right next to the church downtown. I also suggest the Pastelaria S. Silvestre for purchasing some traditional pastries to take home (can't remember the name now but we got some amazing ones made of chestnuts and honey)

Igreja da Matriz

Casa de chá "O solar do Adro"

More photos at Flickr here

Saturday, May 09, 2009

strawberry picking ...

This is what we were doing last weekend ...

This weekend is not so nice (it's actually raining outside right now) so I started a new knitting project - the first one for spring/summer - in the color of strawberries instead.

The hectic project at work seems to have slowed down a bit so I think I'll actually have some time for crafts and blogging again (and I have a bunch of photos to post from our short break over Easter as well ...)

Minimalist cardi

I've been meaning to knit this since last year, then changed my mind because I didn't think the style would suit me. But after I got this lavender yarn some months ago I started re-thinking that idea and finally decided it would be a nice match.

The yarn was a dream to knit with (I'm sure it's going to pill terribly after some use, but it's so soft right now I don't care) and the pattern is quite straightforward and easy. The final result is not too bad, not something I'm crazy about but I like to dress in layers so it fits perfectly into my wardrobe.

Pattern: Minimalist cardigan, by Ruthie Nussbaum (from Interweave Knit Fall 2007)
Yarn: Debbie Blish Cashmerino (9 skeins)
Needles: 4 mm
Size: 34 ''

Changes: Not many. Just lengthened the body by an inch or so (it lenghtened even more after blocking), and didn't make the sleeve increases. And if I'd ever do this again I would probably add some slight waist shaping .