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Thursday, November 28, 2013

Thankful.

I am so very grateful in my heart for countless things that I'd need pages and pages to just start to enumerate... 


I am thankful because I feel so, so deeply loved, because of my dear ones that are so loving and supportive, because my wildest dreams do come true, because of the synchronicities happening in my life that make me stare at the sky in wonder each and every time, with teary eyes. I am thankful because of the amazing beauty of the place where I have the opportunity to live, and all of the people I have encountered along the way. Each and every one has enriched my life.


I am so very grateful because of the gifts and abilities I have been given, for being different and having accepted that, for being able to touch hearts, for having said "yes" to what I've been called to do in this life. I am grateful because of the strength I have been given right when I needed it, and the difficulties I have encountered along the way didn't block me- on the contrary they made me a stronger woman and challenged me to spread my wings and fly.


I am grateful at heart for all the connections I made through this little blog of mine, you are so very important to me! Thank you for being there for me, for cheering me on, for your trust, for your words, for your friendship! I have been tremendously blessed in so many ways by my blog, and will be forever grateful to those who encouraged me to start one (even if it was scary at that time!).


I give thanks every single day for every single breath, every rain drop, every breath of wind that caresses my face, every petal that make me feel part of a magnificent, divine design.
I give thanks because life is a painting, and I feel like paintbrushes are extensions of my fingers. I give thanks because I'm an artist and a creative to the core, as I couldn't imagine any other way of living... even among a crazy mess and chaos most of the times, piles of creative stuff everywhere, and me screaming somethimes because I am tired of it and I'd wish more order! But truth is, it's what keeps me alive and it's what I am, and you cannot be anything else that what and who you are.


My heart is so full... I feel so very blessed!

Happy Thanksgiving everyone, wherever you may live!

Monica x

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

From my English Country Diary: Public Footpaths.

Public footpaths are one of the great things that this Country has to offer. I have discovered them this past summer, and enjoyed them throughouly.
They are "public rights of way" open to everyone, and can be roads, paths or tracks, and run across towns, countryside or private land.

Usually, they are signed with green arrow- shaped signs, so you can spot them from the road.
They are fenced, and the entrance is marked by a wooden gate or a "step" (stile), as you can see below. I remember the first time I met those, I was a little puzzled and had to ask if I could enter.

Users of the public footpaths, are invited to follow the Country Code, a list of rules that was published and often revised by various organizations in the UK, but the most widely accepted version is the one published in 1981.
Though these are just "common sense" rules I have been known since I was a little girl in Italy, when my Mom and Dad used to bring me to walk in the mountains, anyway I'll quote the main rules here:
  • Enjoy the Countryside and respect its life and work
  • Guard against all risk of fire
  • Fasten all gates
  • Keep your dogs under close control
  • Keep to public paths across farmland
  • Leave livestock, crops and machinery alone
  • Take your litter home
  • Make no unnecessary noise



Gates.

Stiles, or "steps".


Entering the public footpaths may be awkward, so it's recommended to wear comfortable clothes and shoes. Acrobatics are often required ;) but in the end, it's so worth it.



The views you can enjoy walking along the paths are always breathtaking. You feel like you stepped out of time, and what you perceive around you are just peace and silence. I always come home with a ton of fresh ideas after a walk like that.



They are all well mantained by the owners of the land (public footpaths often wind through private lands), but there may be times when the grass is not mowed, so wearing wellies or boots is a necessity.



A cross body bag is recommended!

During Autumn and Winter, better to wear Wellies! ;)

Finally found a way to wear Wellies (because I cannot fit my trousers into the boots if they don't have adjustable calf, and with short Wellies trousers keep coming out)... 

... Wear a pant skirt or breeks! No more muddy trousers. Yay!

You may get acquainted with the local dwellers, too!
Never enter a public footpath when there's a bull in there, or cows with little ones.



... and naturally, come home with gorgeous posies of country flowers!
Never damage plants (better to have a secateur with you if you plan picking) and never pick protected species.
Monica x

Monday, November 18, 2013

100 Ideas of Christmas Wonderful: my Guest Post.

Also this year, I've been invited to be part of 100 ideas of Christmas Wonderful hosted by Toni of Design Dazzle, and I gladly accepted.

This is my project, simple yet fun to make and nice to display in your home or give as gift.
Find the step- be- step instructions at Design Dazzle.
See you there!



Monica x

Saturday, November 16, 2013

From my Kitchen: Marinated Olives.


This is my own recipe for marinated olives, created just playing around in the kitchen and mixing flavors. I had seen something similar at the market, and tried to recreate my own mix at home.

This is not a preparation from scratch. You may learn how to preserve olives and other veggies online or on recipe books. I make this with store- bought olives, while artichokes and mushroom may be home preserved in our kitchen or store bought like those in the above picture.
Dried tomatoes are store- bought as well.

Ingredients:
- 1 small jar (250 g.) herb infused Kalamata and Amphissa pitted olives, you may use just black and green olives of all types and then add oregano and thyme to the finished preparation
- Extra Virgin olive oil
- 3 dried tomatoes
- half a jar (125 g.) artichokes preserved in vinegar, parsley, mustard and olive oil (I used this one)
- 3 whole large cloves of garlic
- ( optional: 1/4 a jar (70 g.) mushrooms preserved in vinegar and oil)

Mix everything in a bowl, and then transfer in a clean jar. Cover with oil. Close and wait one week before using.

Can be served as antipasto with a yummy handmade bread, on bruschetta, with ham and cheese.
I use this, or just oil from this jar, to add flavor to a scrumptious potato salad.

Makes a great Christmas present too. It takes just a few minutes to make, and it's sure to be appreciated!

Enjoy!
Monica x

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

More of my Products.

Thank you all for your super nice and kind comments and emails about my new paper products!
So happy you like them!

While I'm finding my way through the house that's still a total mess and no room left (and still some boxes and stuff I want to keep to be put somewhere, anywhere!), home decorating, Christmas shopping/making/thinking, my studio with piles of skecthes and new paintings growing by the day, several posts for the blog in the making (... famous last words- everything-is-under-control-over-here!)...  for those adorable people whose "suspence is overwhelming" to see some other products of my "Snow People Collection" manufactured by CRGibson, here there are some pics for you! :)

The light is not so good today in cloudy England, the colors are more vibrant in person.








Have a nice Tuesday!
Monica x

Saturday, November 9, 2013

Where to Find my new Christmas Paper Products.

Happy Weekend dear friends and readers!

I'm still finishing the unpacking, and I'm super busy preparing Atlanta 2014, but wanted to let you know that my new "Snow People" Collection manufactured by CR Gibson for TJ Maxx is available for purchase! 

You'll find dinner plates, napkins, towels, gift bags and adorable boxed cards in a cute box with hinged lid to spread love among your dear ones. Handwritten cards are always such a delight to receive, and these spread the love for sure with all of the hearts that I love adding to my designs :)

Unfortunately, living abroad, I'm not able to see these products on the shelves, but I've heard from someone who has already seen them!




Celebrating the very first time I receive artists samples in the mail! Oooh what a thrill it was! :)

I only have this sample to show you but you can find all of my paper products in stores!

Love the clear glitter and red ribbon ♡

Find all of them at TJ Maxx, Home Goods, Marshalls stores across the US.

These designs are available as art prints in my etsy shop, too.
Hope your weekend is sweet ♥

Monica x