Friday, December 16, 2016

German Stollen

There cannot be Christmas holidays without the beautiful flavors of home made cookies and cakes! One of my favorites is the German Christmas Stollen: 

For the dough:
1,2 kg all purpose flour
120 gr. yeast
200 gr. sugar
1 pinch salt
3/8 l milk
3 eggs
1 pack vanilla powder
300 gr. butter
For the filling:
200 gr. whole almonds, blanched, peeled and chopped
500 γρ. raisins blonde
200 γρ. raisins black
100 γρ. candied orange peel
100 γρ. candied lemon peel
Zest & juice of a lemon
1/4 tsp cardamon, nutmeg, ginger, cinnamon
100 ml rum
1 bitter almond extract
For the frosting:
250 gr. melted butter
250 gr. icing sugar

The night before baking, mix in a large bow; all the ingredients for the filling and let soak. 
Dough: In a large bowl, sift 1 kg of the flour and make a pothole in the center. Dissolve the yeast in the warm milk and a pinch of salt and 1 tbs sugar. Add the yeast to the center of the bowl. Carefully take some flour and mix with the yeast, until you have a liquid porridge.

Spread some sugar and flour over the porridge and cover the bowl and leave it in a warm place, until the yeast has doubled in size. 

Knead well. Mix eggs with sugar and vanilla and add to the dough. Knead again and leave the dough covered to rest in a warm place, until it has doubled in size.

Add the rest of the flour and the sugar and knead again.

 Add the filling to the dough and knead again. From 2 oval shapes and fold each oval piece in half. Carefully lift the dough onto the baking sheet and leave to rise for 45 minutes to 1 hour, until nearly doubled in size. Preheat the oven to 180ºC/gas 4. Bake the stollen for 60 minutes, or until golden.Cover with foil if it begins to brown too much. Brush warm loaf with butter and dust thickly with powdered sugar. Cool on ​rack.Wrap tightly in foil.

Friday, November 25, 2016

Handknitted dresses Part II

The project dress is in progress:

And my mind is already in the next project!

Here are some more dresses for inspiration:

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Handknitted dresses

Winter is coming and lately I flirt with the idea of knitting a dress! It's going to be a big difficult project, because I'm thinking of making it long with turtleneck, but I think it's worth the work! There are fascinating designs for inspiration:

junko shimada

urban zen

Wednesday, September 14, 2016

The bag ladies

Do you have any plastic bags floating around your home? Many of us use them as garbage bags, doggie bags or extra lunch bags.

Janice Akin says she and her friends are using them to make mats for homeless people to sleep on. She says they've already sent a bunch down to families in Louisiana who lost their homes in last month's flood.

"It's addictive," says Akin. "It gets to the point that you do two or three and you see, 'Hey I'm actually making a difference in someone's life,' and you want to do more."

They call themselves the Bag Ladies. Patty Arnold says they met as a group for the first time in January 2015 at Second Baptist Church in Union City, Tennessee. Since then, she says they group has doubled in size.
"It's wonderful that it's growing, that others what to help all these people," says Arnold.

Arnold says the mats aren't that hard to make; they just take a lot of time. She says they cut the bags into strips, tie the strips together, roll them into a ball and crochet the plastic like it's yarn. Arnold says it takes 600 to 700 plastic bags to make one 3 foot by 6 foot mat.

So far this year, Akin says the Bag Ladies have made 88 mats, which means they've recycled more than 52,000 plastic bags.
"This is not young ladies doing this," says Akin. "This is older ladies with arthritis. And believe me, I have it. It hurts."

Akin says it doesn't stop them, the Bag Ladies can work through the pain, especially if it's for a good cause.

You can be a Bag Lady too. The group meets from 9 a.m. until 12 p.m. every Thursday at Second Baptist Church in Union City, right across from the Discovery Park of America. They're also accepting donations of plastic bags.
Contact the Bag Ladies by emailing Second Baptist Church at
Source and photos:

Sunday, August 21, 2016

A collective project in Valverde de La Vera

Collective project. A production process is performed during the year completed with an installation of elements produced in the public space of Valverde de La Vera, a small town in Cáceres. We started the activity in 2013, and we continue preparing a new edition.

We produce solar protection by crochet technique to be installed in the village streets.

The act of weaving becomes a metaphor for daily life, and also a tool for building space, build groups and communities, activities and ideals that would otherwise remain hidden, forgotten or lost”. Hemmings, Jessica. In The Loop, Knitting now (2010). Londres: Black Dog.

Valverde is a town of around 500 people located in Sierra de Gredos, in the region of La Vera, Cáceres, Extremadura. It has been declared a Historical and Artistic place, with traditional architecture in stone, adobe and wood houses with courtyards and narrow streets with balconies. 

One goal of the project is to improve the environmental conditions during the summer on the streets of Valverde. We generate shaded areas during the summer. 

The solar protectors are also used as elements of festive expression. We welcome in this way to family, friends and visitors who return to the village at that time.

We produce the solar protectors reusing plastic shopping bags. We transform them into long strips that we weave. So, they are lightweight, waterproof and allowed to be stored in a space from year to year.

The organization of the activity is conduced by the Youth Cultural Association of the town. Once a month we meet in the town square to share experiences and knowledge. 

We work about 40 people of all ages, women, a man for the time, and we have also had the participation of children in the village. The call is open to all who wish to participate, regardless of their prior knowledge. More experienced teach gilts. 

The technique we use is the traditional crocheting adapted to a larger scale. Patterns are the typical ones of the work done in the area, it is already in the drawings collective imagination of the place. Likewise, the weavers make their own new personal designs.

It is important to recognize the value of traditional tasks historically performed by women for self-management of their own homes. In Tejiendo la Calle these self-produced household items become a collective work for the whole community.


Source & photos: &

Friday, July 29, 2016

Summer inspiration

The boho trend is back this summer!! Crochet blouzes, dresses, bags, but swim suits as well! Get inspiration from Tommy Hilfiger's gorgeous designs and crochet you own summer creations!

Saturday, July 23, 2016

Magnificent shop window

Gorgeous crochet panel at a shop window near Piazza del Spagna, in Rome.

Tuesday, July 12, 2016

Summer lace

The ethereal pattern of this gorgeous summer top that was published in the summer edition of Brave best troubled a dear reader of the magazine, so I thought to make a video and a chart showing the pattern.
Personally, I always prefer charts than written instructions, I find them  more easy to help me understand and execute the given pattern.
The published pattern is knitted with large needles to create the ethereal result. In the sample I prepared, I used small needles. 

The pattern is formed in 4 rows that are repeated throughout and the number of the sts must be a multiple of 6sts + 3sts.
A perfect pattern for summer blouses and shawls!

p = purl
k = knit
RS = right side
WS = wrong side
st = stitch
skp = slip a stitch, knit the next stitch, pass the slipped stitch over the knit one
sk2pslip1, knit 2 tog, pass slipped stitch over
k2tog = knit 2 sts together
p2tog = purl 2 stitches together
p2tog tbl = purl 2 together through the back loops
p2sp = p2tog, move the p2tog back to left needle, pass next stitch of left needle over the p2tog

The only difficulty of this pattern is that it is worked on wrong sides also, wheer the flow of the pattern is reversed and there is a chance of making mistakes.

Alternative suggestion:

The following pattern resembles a lot the initial, but is easier to knit, because on the wrong sides the sts and yarnovers are purled.The pattern is formed in 4 rows that are repeated throughout and the number of the sts must be a multiple of 6sts + 3sts.

Saturday, June 18, 2016

New design - crochet clutch

I was invited from the group plexi-class in ravelry to participate at a creative journey around the world, with the wonderful idea of Kostas, the group moderator, creating something inspired by Asia!
Traveling with my fantasy to Asia, I admired the amazing cherry blossom trees of Japan

and was inspired to create a crochet clutch! This was the first time I tried Tunisian crochet for the body of the clutch and I embellished the front side with a branch full of flowers and buds, while for the back side I choose stripes and two flowers for decoration. The clutch has cotton lining and closes with a zipper which is embellished with a tassel.

Friday, January 22, 2016

Might crafts such as knitting offer long-term health benefits?

Crafters have long recognized the therapeutic value of activities such as knitting and crocheting. (A 2013 survey of more than 3,500 knitters worldwide, for example, found that 81.5 percent of respondents rated themselves as feeling happier after knitting.)
But could crafts such as knitting offer more far-reaching, long-term health benefits?
Mind-stimulating activities such as these have been used by occupational therapists to alleviate symptoms of depression and to help improve motor functions in people with illnesses such as Parkinson’s disease, says Sharon Gutman, an occupational therapist at Columbia University in New York.
In a 2007 review paper, Gutman and Victoria Schindler surveyed the scientific literature that analyzes the neurological basis for how hobbies and activities relate to health and well-being. They found that engaging in such activities as arts and crafts, music, meditation, home repairs and reading stimulates the mind, reduces the effects of stress-related diseases and slows cognitive decline.
But researchers are beginning to understand the neurological basis for why these activities are good for the mind.
In a 2012 study, Mayo Clinic professor of neurology and psychiatry Yonas Geda and colleagues studied the effects of activities including knitting, quilting and playing games in 1,321 seniors, nearly 200 of whom had mild cognitive impairment, an intermediate stage between normal aging and dementia. The researchers found that those who engaged in crafting, computer activities, playing games and reading books were 30 to 50 percent less likely to have mild cognitive impairment than those who did not.
Geda notes that activities such as crafting may help build up “cognitive reserves and the ability to buffer and withstand lots of assault by bad chemicals in the brain and bad proteins accumulating.” He points to animal studies showing that mice and rats living in enriched surroundings — such as with running wheels, toys and complex environments — are less likely than others to develop cognitive problems such as dementia and Alzheimer’s disease.

Source: The Washington Post

Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Black and white is a classic color combination always trendy and helps for creating a fairly effortless wardrobe.

The crisp contrast of this classic combination is always in style, it’s classic, simple and very sexy and look good on every woman, no matter what is her hair colour or skin.

This season, black and white prints, checks, stripes and bold geometric designs have entchanted the catwalks.

This is my new design inspired by the gorgeous geometric black and whie piecew of the season.

Take a look at the fascinating knits in black and white and draw inspiration for your own creations:

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