Santi, 4. Paper airplane party.

Posted by sol in craftulence, cuisine or at least food on the plate, designer, images, life, my sons are smarter than me


4 years ago I made a baby and he was the chubbiest sweetest thing in the world. Now he’s a big boy who still wishes he could wear nappies, who loves food and cars and pink. He’s quick to scare (Santi the cupboard!!!) and also quick to console. He loves his big brother probably more than anything else, and also to twirl his fingers around my hair, especially at 3 in the morning.

Since next year we’ll be in England, who knows if we will have time for a party, and since he’s seen Damiano’s party, a bash of his own was mandatory.


The invitation was a trace for a paper plane, of course.


The cake was a whipped cream cake base from the usual book, layered with strawberries and strawberry compote and frosted with 7 minute frosting. It’s a slight variation on the one cake my grandmother used to bake when I was little. For the lettering, I piped his name with melted chocolate on a piece of parchment, froze it for a few minutes and carefully placed it on top of the cake.


We had around 18 kids so we sealed our parking lot with construction tape.

He got a ton of presents. His favorites? This (he will go to sleep hugging it), and this. (yep, that’s right) oh, and this.


And tattoos. (I don’t think I’ll ever throw a kid’s party without them)


Besides folding around a hundred paper planes, mostly taking inspiration from this kit, I folded tiny ones to put in the favor bags. Very relaxing. My favourite pen (White ink!!!)



tic-tacs in the favor bags=happy kids.


For the bags I used my tracing paper and I sewed them into pyramids, which was very satisfying.

I don’t have many photos of the actual party because I was too busy taking kids to pee, making sure nobody threw themselves in front of a car, and keeping the wind from blowing all our cheese-puffs away, but my friend Chrissy did so I’m waiting…



Quick coptic stitch weekly planner

Posted by sol in craftulence, designer

Soooo…. I’ve got a ton of things to do and surprisingly a ton of enthusiasm, too.

The new semester started and it’s called SUMMER SEMESTER. That means winter will eventually end and the sun will shine on us. Don’t get me wrong, I love winter, especially since I discovered my favorite thing in the world which is cross country skiing. But I’m still a depressive piece of work, so summer is very welcome. Also, this semester is awesome because I pretty much adore all the courses that I’m taking. It’s very hard work and very hard fun.

I wanted to be prepared to hustle like a real nerd, so on the train ride this morning I whipped out a little weekly planner in inDesign. I printed it when I arrived at the uni, and I bound it just now. It’s pretty banal, but it does the trick of having a lot of space to write ideas and stuff, and it’s so simple and cheap that I don’t have to worry too much about my awful handwriting, which makes me sad on those posh moleskines.

The design is pretty simple: It comprises the 19 weeks from next Monday until the end of the exam session. I used one of my favorite typefaces which is Caecilia, by Peter Noordzi. The signatures of the book are made of a single A3 sheet of paper, printed on one side. On every A5 quarter there is one week and the coptic stitch binding is done on the inside only, so the paper can be unfolded revealing a whole A3 blank space to work on.

I had never tried to bind a book using the coptic stitch method entirely by hand, so I tried and it worked pretty well.

It’s one of those things that give instant gratification.


If you want to try your hand at this lovely book-binding method I found this tutorial extremely good.



anything can be a cushion

Posted by sol in craftulence, my sons are smarter than me

snowy day yesterday, so after indulging in a sushi lunch we got back home and Michele had some nap credits to use up so I was left to entertain the kids all by myself. Damiano said he wanted to sew, and I thought: why not. We did a little bit of stitching, he made a wee blanket for his stuffed bunny, seen here: (or here if the Vine embedding doesn’t work for some reason: )

Then, since I needed to involve Santi more, I told them to draw a pattern for their pillow. They did, and then we sewed and stuffed them together. Santi’s is the one with eyes, and Mano’s the one with numbers. The boy is obsessed with numbers (clearly not something that comes from my share of genes). The tiny one is also bunny’s.



Gingerbread house 2012

Posted by sol in craftulence, I wanted to be an architect, images

The lengthy celebration of Jesus’s birthday at our house starts traditionally on the second Sunday of December with the waste of otherwise perfectly good ingredients in the shape of a too-hard-to-chew cookie house.

This year I went to town and tried to replicate our actual house in gingerbread. Of course, the key word here is simplification.

With the remaining dough I made also some regular houses,

and invited some friends to help decorate and help eat the candy.

happy Christmas!





robots and pirates

Posted by sol in craftulence, my sons are smarter than me

I had some fun screen printing the other day:

The boys have become rather picky in the morning regarding clothes to wear, refusing plain shirts. Well, the other day I simply took every single garment that could be printed on from their closet and prepared three screens in their favourite things: Fiat 500, VW Bus and a little robot. Now we don’t have a single plain t-shirt in our house.





summer’s end

Posted by sol in craftulence, images, my sons are smarter than me

I’d never thought I’d say this, living in this part of the world where winter starts on the 1st of September and goes on till the 1st of July, more or less, but as things are, I’m soooo glad this summer is finally over – done – fertig – finito! The bottom line of this summer is good: we’re all alive, we had fun, and our change in plans is not permanent, but it was painful nonetheless. And it was also fine. And I’m fine with everything. I’m at peace. Here’s how it all went down:

We grilled fish.

We played pingpong. (We tried)

We made new friends.

We tried to operate incognito.

We mowed the lawn.

We made paper airplanes.

And finally someone someone had his first day at preschool (kindergarten). He loves it. He wakes up excited and is the first one to be ready to go in the morning.

I made this little bag for him, since the children are required to keep a full change of clothes at the kg in case they have “accidents”. One of the handles is very short and the other one is longer. To hang the bag you pull the long handle under the short one and as if by magic you see the name of Santi appear. So clever.


And almost as to mark the end of summer our friends came back from their holidays and we celebrated by walking up to a meadow and grilling while the children ran around naked. And on the next day we went to a different mountain and we came by down with these kart-like thingies. It was bumpy!



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bakers helper and typecooker

Posted by sol in craftulence, cuisine or at least food on the plate, designer


Here’s the new, and definitive (in case I manage to pull the prints on Friday, if not I might tweak the design further) version.

Here’s a little something I made while locked up in the hospital.

I digitized my typecooker sketches from typo Berlin (a monospaced-no descenders-short ascenders-slab serif-flared stems kind of thing) and made a little conversion chart for bakers like myself, who prefer to weigh ingredients and who own books with ingredients listed mostly by volume. I’ll clean it up when I have time (when kindergarten starts next week! HURRAAAAH!) and then I’ll screen print some tea towels with it. Let me know if you’d like one. Also, when I have time I’ll make a proper font and I’ll put it here for free downl0ad.



The couch!

Posted by sol in craftulence, designer

Lo and behold! It’s finally here! In record time, judging by my past performances, in only 4 months from idea to finished product.

I wanted to make a couch for the boys’ room since we got rid of the changing table more than a year ago and were left with a sad mattress on the floor that was fun for the kids but not exactly comfy for either of us to sit down and read books. Then there was the usual dilemma that I face: make or buy? Luckily I went for make and made a pretty good grade in the process.

First I bought the stainless steel pipe for €75 . Seven meters of it. I made the structure bending said pipe with a small electric pipe bender and welded the parts together. My initial idea was something similar to the Alcove couch but not exactly the same. In fact my couch needed to accommodate 3 people in a very small space. That’s why I decided to ditch a perfect rectangle and went for the trapezium (I think I’m a bit of a trapezoid). That way one side of the couch is deeper and it gives me the feeling of becoming more of a cocoon. It’s quite comfy let me tell you.

I then cut some plywood and bought foam rubber for the seat (100mm) and side walls (40mm). €95.

I bought the material for the upholstery. I chose this fabric for a few reasons: the color is very Mad Men, very 60′s. Its dark enough that it will bear up well. It’s heavy but not so much that my sewing machine wouldn’t make it (shout out to my Bernina which has served me so amazingly well these 4 years). Last but not least, I made this couch for my kids room, and apparently they plan to grow into big tall men sooner than I wish and I want the couch to be suitable for them when they grow. That’s why I eschewed anything too kid-dy. This was the most expensive part of the project, at almost €350 for 7 meters of material. How many couches could we have bought with that money? MANY. Here’s the cutting layout of the material: NOTHING was wasted.

I sewed and sewed and sewed and cursed and cursed. I also took some photos of the process, but they were lost when my iphone bailed on me.

It’s not perfect, and part of my daily therapy is accepting and rejoicing that nothing is. This couch makes me happy.

view from above. Don’t you love that diagonal? I do. It feels so nice to finish projects!




the summer of the steeplechase.

Posted by sol in craftulence, cuisine or at least food on the plate, designer, globe-trotting, images, life, my sons are smarter than me

Olympic Steeplechase 3000. Please! That’s nothing, compared with what life threw at me this summer. But I’ve been winning, so far. (fingers crossed).

Things done this summer, more or less chronologically:

1.Took the kids to the lake:

2.Took the kids on a hike, by myself, they both walked for 1 hour both ways. Heroes.

3.Made a couch! Here’s the frame once I finished it. Now it’s all set and it’s great.More pics to follow.

4.Got accepted into university for an amazing Master’s Degree

5.Attended a lovely wedding (Santi wasn’t having it)


6.Avoided widowhood (recommended).

Michele’s bill of health isn’t clear yet and we’re keeping our fingers crossed. I never thought a broken leg could become so bloody dangerous (see: thrombosis).

7.Made sushi with Nahoko.


8.Travelled to London during the Olympic Games, and I haven’t a single photo because I also managed to trash my iphone the day before leaving.

9.Got a deferred entry for said Master’s Degree: YAY, we’re going next year!

10. Made elephants (from this book)

10.Had breast reduction surgery (I’m currently in the hospital): no photos of that, that would be gross.



Summer, so far…

Posted by sol in craftulence, cuisine or at least food on the plate, I'm not proud, images, life, my sons are smarter than me, prattle

*ushhhhh* I’m blowing off the dust of this blog (and emptying the shit out of my iphone as you can see)… sorry I’ve been rather busy. We had a bumpy summer start this year, my husband breaking a knee playing football on no other day than summer solstice, and all that endless fun that follows:

Today we got the results of the MRI, and basically it’s pretty broken and we have to decide on a date for surgery. Three weeks in and Michele already took a couple of steps without the crutches. It’s going to be a long summer for him. Children, learn the lesson: don’t play competitive sports.

The amount of gadgetry in this house is ridiculous, but ensures that there’s something for everyone when this mama’s had enough.

Ice-cream makes us all happy. And moustache-y.

And sushi, even more so.

When Santi was serving his last days ever at the nursery (the boy starts pre-school in Autumn), Damiano and I splurged and hit the posh sushi place in Innsbruck one day. The boy is crazy about makis.

Lately it’s been raining ALL THE TIME, but two weeks ago the only thing we were doing was hanging out at the pool. Last year I bought these terry cloth robes (dresses) for the boys, and they loved them. You might have heard me say to someone asking why the BOYS have DRESSES: they’re boy-dresses. We love them.

Damiano does this and it cracks me up. I never thought of doing that. I was too fat.

I love this photo. Damiano looks a lot like my father in it. And Norah is happy, Damiano finally decided he wants to marry her.

We’ve been also celebrating. Nothing in particular. Just that it’s summer and we can be together all the time. Which is nice.

Some guys prefer the batter.

We made vanilla and chocolate cupcakes from this book (which I fully recommend because everything just turns out fantastic) and the kids helped out. It was messy but fun. Also, dinner.

Santi, scientifically proving that I and I only am his mother, ate off all the icing first. (powedered sugar, butter, that’s it). We used liners from Ikea that were wide and low, so more than cupcakes they looked like boobs.

Oh yes, let me show off. I’ve been sewing quite a bit lately (and much much much more to come), and last night I whipped up this skirt. The photo sucks but the light is what it is during our frequent cloudbursts. I’m very proud because: a) it fits like a glove b)I didn’t use a pattern, just improvised. c)the waistband is 100% shirring d)it’s black silk taffeta, so it’s comfy, has a lovely texture (and sound), goes with everything (you just need to pretend you’re a J.Crew model and suddenly the most bizarre combinations look glamorous) and it’s fresh in summer and great in winter with a pair of tights. Seriously, this fucking deserved a blog post of its own. Oh well. oh and it cost about 25€

Ok, that’s all for now. To infinity, and beyond!