Crocheting away

Ando numa de crochet. Não de o fazer pois, infelizmente, não me lembro como se faz. Mas de ter alguma coisa em crochet cá em casa: uma toalha, uma manta, uma fronha rematada com renda... um quadro!! Há tantas hipóteses de utilização de peças feitas em crochet que a lista é infindável... Deixo-vos algumas dessas hipóteses, sempre com a minha habitual curiosidade... qual é a vossa favorita? :)

I'm on a crochet mood. Not making it, because unfortunately I forgot how to, but to have something in crochet at home. A blanket, a tablecloth, maybe some crocheted pillowcases... maybe a wall hanging doilly! There are so many things made of crochet that the listing is endless... I leave you some suggestions, always curious to know which ones are your favorites. :)

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Eggplants and What to do With Them

This year has been my most successful season ever for growing eggplants; a combination, I think, of hot weather plus more summer rain than usual.I am growing two varieties: long purple and black beauty.

Eggplants are definitely one of those vegetables that taste much better when home-grown.  I think this is because home-grown eggplants can be picked smaller when they are less bitter and have fewer seeds.

By the way, if you look closely at the eggplant photo below you can see my reflection in it!

At present I have an eggplant glut, so we are eating them at almost every meal.  Apart from adding eggplant to curries, risottos and other dishes wherever possible, my three staple preparations are:

  • Marinated, grilled eggplant: I either fry or grill the eggplants then marinate them as I did zucchinis in this recipe;
  • Eggplant parmigiana (no recipe: just egg-and-crumbed, then fried, layered in fresh tomato sauce and baked with grated parmesan or other cheese on top)
  • baba ghanoush (I'll publish a recipe in the next few days) 
 I always salt the black beauty eggplants before I cook them to draw out any bitter juices, but I don't bother with the long, skinny ones.

    What I would like to do is bottle some eggplant chutney or preserves.  I'm still looking for a recipe, so if you have one you can recommend I'd be delighted if you would share it with me!
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    Cath in the Spring

    Olá, queridos amigos! Venho aqui de fugida para vos mostrar mais umas recentes paixões: num dos catálogos da nova colecção da Cath Kidston (e que são sempre de delirar, acreditem que, por vezes, até evito vê-los para não cair em tentação), não consegui deixar de fixar estas carteiras tão vintage e aquele delicioso serviço de café... O resto da colecção continua ao alto nível a que a marca já nos habituou. Tem lá uns pratinhos em esmalte que eu adoro! Já foram espreitar ao site? De que é que gostam mais?

    (P.S.: O pelinho que vêem lá atrás é aquele de que vos falei no outro dia e que está em cima de um dos bancos da sala!)

    Hello my dear friends! Here I am in a hurry just to show you some of my recent passions: these pictures are from one of Cath Kidston's latest magazines and I am smitten with those bags and the coffee set! I'm also in love with the enamel kitchenware that they have, it's too cute! Everything's gorgeous as usual, just take a look at her site and tell me what are your favorites.

    (P.S.: the white fur that you see on the back is the one that I have told you about!)

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    Mad March

    March often seems to be a crazy month here at our red house.

    To start with, three of our six family members have birthdays in the first two weeks of March.

    Last year Tom had his accident on the first of March, then we had all those difficulties later in the month as we attempted to move house.

    This March has gone more smoothly, although young Will's head had a collision with a metal school bench two weeks ago that led to a visit to a plastic surgeon to get him mended.

    The big news for me this month is that I left my old job two weeks ago and started a new one on Monday.  The hours could not be better for a mother of four school-aged kids.  They are 9 until 2.45 from Monday to Wednesday, and 9 until 12 on Thursdays.  I'm still hoping to buy a bike and start riding to work, but at the moment I'm driving part of the way and walking the rest.

    I'm looking forward to having more time to get the house under control; more time for the garden; more time for friends; and more time to cook up a storm.

    Stay posted!

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    Weekend projects

    Projectos de fim-de-semana: montamos o candeeiro, finalmente! Fiquei tão contente por ver a luz distribuída na sala de forma mais homogénea - já aqui estamos há mais de 8 anos e estas coisas têm que se fazer gradualmente, pelo que cada avanço é uma pequena festa! :) Ali estão os bancos novos, ainda sem almofadas e sem o pelinho. Com esta melhoria de tempo, espero que só usemos a pele falsa no próximo Inverno! :) Os tecidos que tenho para fazer as almofadas ainda não são os meus favoritos por isso, para já, vou aguardar até encontrar alguma coisa de que goste mesmo. Aquela linda grinalda também não é definitiva, pois vou por umas bandeirolas brancas- assim, será mais fácil de conjugar com os diferentes estampados das toalhas-de-mesa. 

    Na foto de baixo está um peça de metal para pendurar na parede, mas que aguarda uma pintura azul. Em princípio, consigo fazer isso hoje. Depois mostro-vos o resultado final.

    E quais são os vossos projectos de fim-de-semana? Sol e mais sol? :)

    Weekend projects: we finally hung the new lamp! I was so happy when I saw the way the light was distributed around the living room - you know, we live here for more than 8 years, but these little improvements take their time, so every time we have a new thing, it's a small celebration! :) You can also see the new benches, still without the cushions or the faux fur. I guess that if this wonderful weather stays for good, we'll use the fur only next winter! :) The fabrics that I have for the cushions still aren't my favorite, so it will take a little longer before I find the right ones and have them made. That beautiful garland isn't the one that I'll be using, as its length isn't long enough and I'll be hanging two other ones, all white, so that it's easier to match them with the different patterns of the tablecloths.

    In the photo bellow I'm showing you a metal trivet to hang in  the wall that I'll paint in blue. I'll show you when I have it done - hopefully, this weekend.

    And what are your weekend projects? Laying out in the sun? Are you having good weather from where you are reading this? :)

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    Spring flowers

    É por estas e por outras que eu adoro a natureza e tudo o que ela traz: estas flores da Primavera, o bom tempo que esteve hoje, a luz do sol e o ar do mar, o regressar a casa e plantar no jardim. Este ano estou de amarelo, adoro mudar de cores!E gostei tanto destas flores que amanhã vou buscar outras belezas para o meu jardim - passear no horto é dos meus passatempos favoritos.

    Espero que estejam a ter um bom fim-de-semana, vemo-nos amanhã!

    This is why I love nature and everything it brings: spring flowers, the good weather we had today, sunshine and the sea air, gardening a litlle after getting back home. This year I'm all yellow, I love to change colors! And I liked these flowers so much that tomorrow I'll bring more of these beauties from the garden shop - one of my favorite hobbies.

    I hope you're having a wonderful weekend, we'll see each other tomorrow.

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    Getting the House Ready

    Katy worked with a will for the next two days.  Twenty times, at least, she went into the blue room to make sure that nothing was forgotten; repeating, as if it had been a lesson in geography, "Bath towels, face towels, matches, soap, candles, cologne, extra blanket, ink."  A nice little fire was lighted in the bedroom on Friday afternoon, and a big, beautiful one in the parlour, which looked very pleasant with the lamp lit and Clover's geraniums and china roses in the window.  The tea-table was set with the best linen and the pink and white china.  Debby's muffins were very light.  The crab-apple jelly came out of its mould clear and whole, and the cold chicken looked appetising, with its green wreath of parsley.  There was stewed potato, too, and, of course, oysters.
                                                  From Susan Coolidge, What Katy Did at School, (first published in 1873)

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    Baked Cheesecake

    Yesterday was my eldest son's birthday and he requested baked cheesecake for his birthday cake.  He even chose the recipe.

    This cheesecake comes from our well-thumbed copy of Sweet Old-fashioned Favourites ("Australian Women's Weekly" Home Library). My edition was published in 1996.


    250g plain sweet biscuits
    125 g butter, melted

    3 x 250g packets cream cheese, softened
    1/2 cup castor sugar
    3 eggs
    3 teaspoons grated lemon rind
    1/4 cup lemon juice

    Grease 20 cm springform tin.  Blend, process or crush biscuits finely, stir in butter.  Using a flat-bottomed glass, press crumb mixture evenly over base and side of prepared tin, refrigerate 30 minutes or until firm.

    Place springform tin on oven tray, pour filling into tin.  Bake in moderately slow oven about 50 minutes, or until firm.  Cool in oven with door ajar.

    Cover cheesecake, refrigerate several hours or overnight before serving.  Serve with whipped cream, sprinkle with ground nutmeg, if desired.

    Blend cheese and sugar in medium bowl of electric mixer until smooth.  Add eggs 1 at a time, beat well between each addition.  Add rind and juice, beat until mixture is creamy.

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    Comme il faux

    Hello!! Hoje passo por cá rapidinho só para vos mostrar a última moda cá em casa: faux fur. Vi estas imagens e achei que um pelinho destes ficaria mesmo bem nos bancos novos! A primeira coisa que o meu marido comentou em relação aos bancos é que eles eram desconfortáveis e precisavam de umas almofadas. Não os acho desconfortáveis, mas até já tinha mandado vir os tecidos para as almofadas (chegaram entretanto) e o pelinho está a ser tratado! Gosto destas coisas macias e nórdicas, são mesmo aconchegantes! Só vou usar num dos bancos, caso contrário a minha casa parceria um iglo. No outro ficarão almofadas com tecido às flores.

    Que tal? Lindo? Feio? Piroso? Também quero?? :)

    Just a quick hello to let you know the latest trend around here ("here" meaning "home"):  faux fur. I saw these pictures and I thought: "This would look great on one of my new benches!" First thing my husband said when I bought the benches was that they were uncomfortable. I don't think so, but I had already bought some fabrics for cushions (they have arrived in the meantime) and I'm having the fur thing arranged. I like these soft and fluffy furs, they're so nordic and warm! I'm using it only one of the benches, or else my house would look like an iglo! :) The other one will have floral cushions.

    Well? Is this too much? Pretty? Ok? Do you want some as well? :))

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    Last Night of the Fringe

    One of the things I like most about living in Adelaide is the fabulous festivals and community events.  However, this month has been so busy it took us until tonight, the last night of the Adelaide Fringe Festival, to see a show.

    Our choice was Tom Tom Crew, an energetic mix of male acrobatics and beat boxing.  After a picnic in the Garden of Unearthly Delights, some members of the family rode on the Dodgems whilst others chewed away on long liquorice straps observing the sights.

    Next year I will be more organised and book more events at the Fringe.

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    Sing little bird!

    Gosto de passarinhos como elementos decorativos. E gosto de gaiolas antigas, para decoração - com velas, acho que ficam lindas! Não gosto de ver o animal preso, por isso os únicos pássaros verdadeiros que vejo são aqueles que visitam o meu jardim e me deixam ficar a vê-los bicar na relva.

    Aqui estão alguns exemplos de uma das minhas 724.396 wish lists, esta relacionada com aves. Coisas  lindas, não são? Eu estou fascinada com aqueles espelhos-gaiola. 

    E vocês, têm preferência por alguma?

    I like birds as a decoration item. And I love old birdcages - with candles, I find them gorgeous! I don't like to see the animal on a cage, so the only real birds that I get to see are the ones who stop at my garden and let me watch them pick the grass.

    Here are some examples of one of my 724.396 wish lists, this time under the subject "birds". Beautiful stuff, isn't it? I am totally smitten with those birdacage mirrors!...

    And what about you? Which one of these items do you prefer?

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    Weekend beauty

    Então, meus queridos amigos? Preparados para mais um fim-de-semana? Eu estou preparadíssima e feliz da vida, como habitualmente! :) Para além da normal rotina (trabalhos-de-casa da Carlota, bebé, festas de aniversário dos amiguinhos, arrumações e supermercado...) quero ver se consigo tratar de algumas coisas para a decoração da minha casa e para as quais só consigo ter tempo disponível nestes dois dias maravilhosos que, felizmente, ainda conseguimos ter livres após uma árdua semana de trabalho.

    Como decidi por bancos na sala e tirar as cadeiras - visualmente, aumenta o espaço da nossa pequena sala, estou mesmo contente - vou finalmente arriscar e pintar algumas das cadeiras que agora arrumei na garagem. Gosto daquela cor lá em baixo - lá vou andar eu à procura de tintas, mas acho que vão ficar lindas! Acho que na CIN eles ajustam as cores à medida do que queremos, espero conseguir chegar a este resultado.

    Vou pedir ao meu maridinho para pendurar o candeeiro na sala - o abajour branco de baixo. Adoro aqueles candeeiros industriais em esmalte, acho-os lindos! Branquinho e com umas bandeirolas brancas, vai ficar um luxo! :)

    Finalmente, quero ir ao horto, comprar mais hera para tapar as paredes do jardim e também uns bolbos e relva, que é preciso manter aquele pequeno pedaço de natureza que eu tanto adoro! Olhem-me só as florezinhas da cerejeira japonesa que temos - estas pequenas coisas enchem-me de espanto e respeito, pois não há nada como a força da Terra e desta coisa imensa que nos envolve a todos...

    Tenham um bom fim-de-semana!

    Last photo credits: Helmentalo

    Hello, my dear friends! Are you ready to enjoy your weekend? I surely am, and happy as usual! :) Besides the usual chores (Carlota's homework, the baby, kid's parties, supermarket and cleaning some stuff), I want to finish up some decoration issues and for which I only have this time available. So glad we still have two days after a hard work week to enjoy and relax - who knows what the future brings, with this crisis and all.

    Well, I decided to switch the living room chairs for white benches and, believe me, I'm so happy with this decision - my room looks definitely bigger. So I'm planning on painting some of  the remaining chairs, maybe in that blue-green bellow - that means that I have to look after that color, which I hope I can find.

    Then I hope that my husband can hang that white lamp that I love so. I adore these industrial enamel lamps and I think it's going to look gorgeous with an all-white garland on top.

    Finally, I want to go to the garden shop and buy some more ivy to fill up the walls in my garden. I also need more grass and a few bulbs - my little haven requires high maintenance! Just look at the lovely flowers from our japanese cherry tree - these little things never cease to amaze me and fill me with awe and respect for Nature and all the beauty that surrounds us...

    Have a very happy weekend!

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    Emma's French Toast

     This morning my daughter got up early to make her Dad French toast for his birthday breakfast.  I think she's fantastic: shamefully, I don't think I've ever cooked him a special breakfast on his birthday.

    Not only did Em make French toast; she also poached apples to go with the toast and made a cup of tea to wash it all down - and all before she walked to the bus stop to catch the 7.50 am bus to school.

    French Toast

    4 thick slices white bread, crusts removed
    1 egg
    1 Tbsp water
    2Tbsp sugar
    30g (1 oz) butter
    good pinch cinnamon

    Beat egg, water and 2 tsp sugar with a fork.  Heat butter in medium frying pan until melted and turn to medium heat.  Dip slices of bread into the egg and then straight into the frying pan.  Cook slices for about 2 minutes on each side.  When cooked, sprinkle with remaining sugar and cinnamon.

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    Duck Egg Sponge Cake

    ducks' eggs and hens' eggs
    This morning I came home from the March Essential Edibles Food Swap with three beautiful, grey duck eggs.  I had never cooked with duck eggs before but remembered reading somewhere that duck eggs make the most wonderful sponge cakes, so that is what I decided to do with them.

    The recipe below for Victoria Sandwich comes from The Country Women's Association Cookbook: Seventy Years in the Kitchen.  I like this recipe because it doesn't require the eggs to be separated or for the flour to be sifted multiple times, yet the result is a beautiful, light cake.  The recipe is, of course, for hens' eggs, but I substituted my three ducks' eggs with no difficulty.

    I used an electric mixer to beat the eggs, but you could use an egg beater as the recipe suggests.  I filled my sponge with raspberry jam and whipped cream and dusted it with icing sugar.

    Victoria Sandwich

    Beat 220g (1 cup) sugar and 3-4 eggs in a bowl for 10 minutes using an egg beater.  Sift together 150g (1 cup) plain flour and 1 teaspoon baking powder and add to the egg mixture.  Melt 1 teaspoon butter in 4 tablespoons boiling water and stir into the cake mixture to combine.  Spoon into greased sandwich tins and bake in a 180 degrees C oven for about 20 minutes.  Ice or fill as desired.

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    Sunday at home

    Domingo enevoado, mas com boa-disposição! Bom-dia!

    Já aqui falei dela, mas é natural que o faça mais vezes, pois quando as pessoas nos inspiram, acabamos por lhes fazer referência de uma forma recorrente. Tal é o caso da Yvonne, do Yvestown, cujo blog não prescindo de visitar quase diariamente. Quando vi uma das compras de Natal que fez para ela própria (aqui), fez-se luz na minha cabeça... é que isto de andar atrás da Conchinha a tentar evitar que dobre ou rasgue as minhas revistas de decoração, tem muito que se lhe diga! Então, pensei: em vez de as ter em cima da mesa da sala, porque não transportá-las de um lado para o outro? E mandei vir um porta-revistas como o da Yvonne. Adoro, e é feito em material reciclado de piso de court-de ténis - ajudamos também o ambiente.

    Já dizia Charles Colton: "imitation is the sincerest form of flattery". Couldn't agree more.

    O meu (mais gordinho):
    Mine (a little fatter):

    O da Yvonne (mais magrinho):
    Yvonne's (a little thiner):

    Last image: The Yvestown Blog

    Vou ainda deixar-vos uma foto de outra toalha-de-mesa, para alegrar os vossos corações e começarem a pensar em optar pelos motivos floridos em vossas casas. Depois não vão querer outra coisa! :)

    Hi everyone! It's cloudy today, but I'm in a good mood!

    I already wrote about this lady, but it's only natural that I will do it many more times again. She's Yvonne, the writer behind Yvestown, a blog that I visit on a daily basis. When I saw the Christmas present she bought to herself (here), light came into my mind! After chasing Conchinha and trying to avoid her damaging my magazines, I thought this would be a great solution: instead of running around after her, I could carry along the magazines with me. And so I bought one of these collectors - you know I love green. It's made of recicled sports-felt. 

    Well, as Charles Colton would put it, "imitation is the sincerest form of flattery". Couldn't agree more. 

    I also leave you an image of another floral tablecloth, for you to get inspired and start using some at home! You won't want something different from this afterwards! :)

    Have a nice Sunday!
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    Bed of roses

    Olá, queridos amigos! Espero que estejam a aproveitar bem o fim-de-semana e a prepararem-se para o Carnaval!

    Tal como prometido, hoje vou mostrar-vos alguns pormenores da nova decoração do meu quarto. Apesar de eu não ter tendência para os encarnados, optei já há alguns anos por contrastar os brancos da parede com o guarda-fatos vermelho e rosa (aqui). E, depois de ver estas fotos do quarto da Tif (Dottie Angel, essa fonte inesgotável de boas ideias), fiquei inspirada e decidi renovar algumas coisas no meu esquecido quartinho... Optei pelas fronhas de almofadas com padrões de rosas (muito anos 50 e que eu adoro!), o edredon, também ele antigo, e que é uma perdição, as ilustrações chinesas com  pássaros vieram da Holanda e, como complemento final da decoração, arranjei um bebé chamado Conchinha e que acho que combina lindamente com o resto do conjunto! :)


    Soft clay peony: DK Designs

    Hi everyone! Hope you're enjoying your weekend and getting ready for Mardi Gras!

    Well, just as I had promised, here are some photos of my new bedroom decoration. A few years ago, I chose to paint the wardrobe in pink and red (here) and after seeing Tif's bedroom (of Dottie Angel, that endless fountain of good ideas), I became inspired and decided to change my forgotten bedroom... I chose those 50s vintage pillowcases with roses (I love those patterns!), added a wonderful vintage eiderdown, found those chinese birds prints in the Netherlands and, as a final touch, incorporated this cute baby called Conchinha - I think she really complements the rest of the decor! :)

    Do you like it? 

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    Over 5 Kilos of Goodness

    According to one of my cookbooks, Kent or jap pumpkins grow to between 1 and 2 kilograms in weight.  Yet this pumpkin, which we picked on Thursday, weighed well over 5 kilos (close to 11 pounds).
    As is so often the case, the pumpkin vine was a 'volunteer'.  It grew out of the worm castings I spread around our new plum tree not long after it was planted last winter.  Naturally, none of the pumpkin seeds I intentionally planted have been so fruitful.

    So far about half the pumpkin has been used, transformed into an enormous pot of pumpkin soup.  Some will be roasted to accompany tomorrow's roast chicken.  
    And the rest?  I haven't decided, but am thinking perhaps a pumpkin pie or pumpkin scones or spiced pumpkin and raisin cookies.

    What is your favourite way to eat pumpkin?

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    Life's a party!!

    Gostei tanto desta grinalda feita com forminhas de cupcakes - nothing new, mas chamou-me a atenção  a combinação de cores, os vários tipos de forminhas e quis mostrar-vos porque acho que é uma ideia fácil de concretizar e com impacto numa festa. Os enfeites de tecto alteram completamente o ambiente de uma sala, por isso gosto tanto de os usar e os aconselho sempre que me pedem a opinião na decoração de festas.

    E, como hoje me sinto em festa (por dentro!), deixo esta imagem para transmitir isso mesmo e também como forma de agradecer a atenção que me deram no Birthday Girl (donde tirei as minhas primeiras inspirações para festas - bem, a Becca faz uns moodboards fabulosos!), no Gathering Spriggs, da Heather (esta senhora tem um bom gosto incrível e particularmente especializado em peças vintage - dêem também uma olhadela aqui e não percam a loja no Etsy) e no IDA Interior Lifestyle, que é o blog da Ilaria e que é, apenas,  uma das pessoas que conheço na blogosfera com melhor olho  para design e decoração.

    Thank you all, you've made my day!

    Credits: Handmade Weddings

    I really liked this cupcake liner garland - nothing new, but these colours and different shapes look great together! So I wanted to share it with you, as it's an easy way of brightening your party. I really like ceiling decor, as it enhances the wow factor in a room, so I always recommend using some if possible, whenever I'm asked for party inspiration tips.

    And today I'm feeling like I'm having a party (inside!) and I want to thank these 3 lovely ladies for giving me their attention: Becca at Birthday Girl (where my first party inspirations came from - I mean, she does the best party moodboards!), Heather from Gathering Spriggs (this lady has an amazing taste, especially where vintage is concerned - take a look here as well and don't miss her Etsy shop) and Ilaria from IDA Interior Lifestyle, who has one of the best taste in decor and design that I know of.

    Thank you all, you've made my day! :)

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    ♥ Make my dreams come true ♥

    E sempre que regresso a casa do trabalho, sozinha no meu carro, vou sonhando...
    ...que um dia vou ter uma casa assim:

    When I'm driving back home from work...
    ... I dream that I will have a house like this:

    com umas traseiras assim
    with a backyard like this

    e era bem menina para contrariar todo este azul e ter uma porta de entrada assim:
    and I might as well have a pink door, just to contrast with all that blue

    que o azul e cor-de-rosa até combinam: ora vejam na "minha" sala
    because blue and pink go well together, as you can see in "my" living room

    ... uma espreitadela ao meu quarto...
    ... a sneak peek at my bedroom...

    Sempre tudo arrumadinho, como eu gosto!
    Everything tidy, just the way that I like!

    ...e uma casa-de-banho divinal (a tal com luz directa) - {só tirava o Buda}
    ... and a heavenly bathroom (the one with direct light) - {I would take the Bhudda away, though}

    Esta poderia ser a cozinha, onde faria os lanches para comermos no jardim...
    This could be the kitchen, where I would bake some delicious treats...

    ...estes lanches (gosto de ver bolos nos armários)
    ... that we would have in our garden (I like to see the cakes in these cabinets)

    Credits / Via: Beautiful Portals Tumblr; Martha Stewart; Seacottage;
    Urban Farm Designs; Phugs-News Tumblr

    ... and we would live happily ever after...

    E os vossos sonhos? Quais são?
    And what about your dreams? What are they?

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