It's almost Christmas

Karl Blossfelt
Have a beautiful Christmas


So, as you can see, I started my list of stuff to do before 30! Not the most original idea, but a fun one! I figured, in 3 years I'll be 30 (not nice) so I might as well get everything off my chest and set my mind to accomplish this "very hard to come up with" list. I'm not big on planning but it helps me to set my mind and constantly remind me of all the different things I truely want to do before 30. It's not finished yet but I'm getting there.
What will I do after 30? I don't care, like I said, I'm not big on planning.

Red and white Christmas

Guess what Sandra brought from across the Atlantic?

Oh holy night

This is going to be a very special Christmas.
At first I thought it would be hard to convince my matriarchal family about the idea, but in fact, I was wrong! Everyone is excited and pitching in to make it magical!
After 30 years with the Atlantic separating us, we are finally going to be all together at the same table for Christmas dinner. We are 19 family members and a Brazilian couple. (Helena's roommates living in Portugal and have nowhere else to go...)
As was 30 years ago, Christmas will be at my grandparent’s house. There will be a real pine tree (we haven't cut one down in decades, so this year we are excused from an environmentally friendly tree) and instead of plastic balls, we are hanging up chocolates and there is no such thing as Santa... its Baby Jesus who's handing out presents. And the best thing is that each family member only has to buy one gift for another member, so this means no crazy Christmas shopping to worry about!
But since I can’t resist, I’m preparing a little special something for everyone… I’m sure they’ll treasure it!

In the mail

From Lamberto in Italy. A painting of a mountain village scenery in Montagne.

The walk

The walk

1st. Lisbon photo walk
While everyone else had digital cameras, I was the only old school "photographer" with my Canon A1 and 2 rolls of film.
At the lab I have only printed out this photo for which I have to thank James and his eye for detail!


Weddings are a long term planning pastime. You have to plan the date, reserve the church, book the reception, buy a dress, decide on who to invite, catering, flowers, hair, nails, invitations, giveaways, honeymoon and the list goes on. If you make it through all of this without getting your hands around your loved one's neck, them you'll manage a lifetime of morning breath, headaches and deciding on which table cloth better matches the kitchen tiles!

Marry and Alex are getting married! I think they'll manage...

On my way to work

Praça das Flores

In the mail

As a recent postcrosser, I have received about 15 postcards from different parts of the world. The part I enjoy the most is discovering who will be the next person I send a card to.
When I speak of this to people, the first thing they ask is:
"Hum... so... you send postcards to people you don't know?"
This card is one of my favorites. It's a handmade card from Erika Jean of a cotton field. She took the photo herself and stapled it to a shiney cardboard.
It's up on my wall!


When we were kids, Sunday morning breakfast was special! My mom would prepare the most delicious stuff, we would set the table and everyone had the longest breakfast of the week. Most of the times my mom would make oatmeal with biscuits and fruit or bagels with all the toppings in the fridge! This healthy habit has followed me ever since. Normal people get up in the morning and the first thing they do is head off to the shower. Well, the first thing I do is head to the kitchen to prepare myself the first meal of the day: coffee and milk, toast, cheese, ham, jam, butter and (this is a must) cucumber! Sometimes I have fresh cheese, yogurt, fruit, and a muesli mix. On the weekends it’s brunch with scrambled eggs, pancakes and maple syrup (of course)! I recently discovered this blog and I thought to myself: finally someone that understands my craving for a delicious breakfast!!

oatmeal. raisains. waltnuts. sesame seeds. banana. cinnamon.


For the past two years I have helped as a volunteer at the Banco Alimentar (Food Bank) in Braga. My job was to coordinate volunteers for a major supermarket. I really enjoyed doing it, though a bit stressful at times but since everyone is always glad to help out for such an important cause the two day campaign would go smoothly and I still would have some spare time to actually be a volunteer handing out plastic bags at the entrance of the supermarket and repeating the phrase “Hello, would you like to participate in this campaign?” about 500 times!!

But I always wanted to help out at the warehouse where all the goods are shipped to for separation and shelving. And on my third year as a volunteer I got the chance! Here is where all the action happens: dozens of happy helpers all frenetically processing tons and tons of goods in an extremely well setupassembly line, listening to loud pop music to help stand the cold and keep the rhythm and cheerfulness! Its amazing how thousands of people get together and work together to help feed their community!
I helped to clean out the trucks that arrived with the goods and helped out at the first clearing phase where milk, oil and olive oil are separated from the rest of the goods which are placed in a treadmill. Here is where the assembly line comes in: each team must grab their specified goods and pack them in boxes for shelving.
But what I most recall from the thrilling experience were the sounds: aside from the Macarena, the top Shakira songs, the every other song that no one admits listening to but everyone knows the lyrics and the steps, was the shouting out of OIL… MILK… OLIVE OIL…

Sweet November

... December, January, Febuary, March...

Feira da ladra

Even though I have my very own rise and shine rooster, it took me awhile to get up Saturday morning, crawling from the bed to the couch. We had thought it through the night before: wake up early and do as much things as possible on the weekend.
But, Saturday mornings in Lisbon always mean one thing: a walk to the Feira da Ladra. You can find the most amazing things amongst other people's junk!
And negotiating the prices is always fun:
- how much?
- it’s 15€
- I’ll pay you 8€
- 8€? (#%&*... ???) ok, take it!
I have a list of stuff I always look for: scarves, a sugar bowl, old photo albums, picture frames, linens, tin cans, vintage cameras, film, and anything nice that might catch my eye.
This Saturday I bought a beautiful hand embroidered handkerchief from Madeira and a tin can just like the one my mom puts all her buttons in. It now holds walnuts and almonds.
Since I’m always on the lookout for old photo albums, this time I got lucky and bought someone else’s family album, filled with black and white photos from the 40’s and 50’s. It’s a family vacation album. I still don’t quite know what I’m going to do with it but, for now it’s just the curiosity of looking at another family's special moments and trying to recognize the places they were taken.

Peter Piper bought stuff he had been looking for, a Swiss knife, a small moleskine notebook and a black ink pen that came with a bonus: a bottle of shampoo!!
On our last visit, we came home with a bunch of things: an old fashion toaster (the type with flaps that open to the side) cause the one we had burnt to melting point, stencils, a traditional blue head scarf from Viana, a salt and pepper mills, a black paper photo album, which got me a name for this blog and black and white photos Pedro is going to transform into lovely postcards.
The stroll back home is always the same. Maybe next time we’ll stop for an urban picnic with bread, pumpkin jam and cheese… what do you say Peter??

A work with a view

Weather forecast for tomorrow: clear skies and sunny day.
My grandfather is always right. He looks up and can easily tell what the weather will be like for the next day or how much it will rain depending on the wind if it’s from the north or south. 

The persimmon thief

A weekend away from the city and the only thing I can think of is how am I going to get my hands on some ripe persimmons? Climb the wall, crawl around the wires into someone’s property and feast myself with the treat! I have this thing for stolen fruit… I just can't help myself.

Sisters in crime

This is my sister Helena (the one on the right). She came over for Halloween and this is what we looked like… I think the pictures speak for themselves… but if you are looking for further information as to what exactly occurred that night it best be told by a third party member: the red head with the briefcase.
By the way, we are 3: me, Helena and Luisa.

It's a date.

May 1st, 2010
My two dearest friends are in love and getting married!
They have this thing for nice pretty bicycles... it’s going to be a wonderful ride!

My name is Persimmon

This Friday 13th has given me a linguistic pleasure: I have finally discovered how to say “diospiro” in English!! Persimmon...
It sounds like a name from some greek tragedy... but I don't care, they are my absolute favorite fruit! And only being able to enjoy them this time of the year, makes me love them even more!

Pumpkin jam

Every year, while sowing corn in the fields, my parents plant the pumpkins seeds they had put aside the year before. I don't usually participate in this process. My part in this play comes along around October when I make pumpkin jam!

Secret recipe:
1 kg of pumpkin chopped into small squares
700g of sugar
1 sliced orange
2 cinnamon sticks
A bunch of chopped nuts (I used my grandma’s walnuts)

Mix the pumpkin, sugar and oranges in a large bowl, cover it up to let it settle until the next day. By this time the sugar will have melted and became a sweet sap. Squeeze some of the oranges slices into the sap and then throw the oranges away. Drain the liquid into a large pot, toss in the cinnamon sticks and bring it to a boil for around 30 minutes. Next throw in the chopped bits of pumpkin and let that boil. Now this is the part you have to stir every once in a while so it doesn’t stick to the pot. You should remove it from the heat when the jam is at a point where it’s not too liquid but also not too solid because it tends to harden up as it cools down.
Throw in the nuts and fill up jam jars.
Now the secret to conserving the jam is to boil the jars in a pot half filled with water so it creates an air tight condition and the lid slightly rises, then it goes “pop” when you open it!

How many frames per second?

A zoetrope is an optical device that produces an illusion of action from a rapid succession of static pictures. Its the earliest type of projected moving images.
My only close encounter with a zoetrope was at the Cinema Musuem in Melgaço when I went on a "let's go see snow" trip with Bea, my 3 year old godchild. I'm sure I had more fun than the kids playing around with the "special spinning toy" watching a couple dance a valse or a monkey hanging from branch to branch.
I thought this would make a great gift... I'd love to have one myself someday... or even make one... it shouldn't be that hard.

A live optical device...

But last night we saw another Zoetrope, not in a museum... this time it was a live projection of moving images and electronic sounds: Micro Audio Waves!!
So, the most frequently asked question is "how many frames per second?" Who cares! Let's watch a movie!

Meet Jack

A soon to be pumpkin jam.

Madrid in technicolor

A trip by myself to Madrid. The idea was no digital cameras! So, I brought along 3 friends: my Canon A1, my apple juice pinhole (which I will be dedicating some time to latter on) and Diana F+, and just have some fun taking pictures.

I had only taken two rolls of film with her since June, so I’m still getting the hang of it. Diana works much better in sunny conditions when it brings out the best colours. So these aren’t exactly the most fantastic pictures. I have to spend some more time with her by my side....

Slide film is definitely one of the best options. I got these pictures cross processed, which plays around with the colours and makes them look old school. I mean, my dad has a whole bunch of photos from the 70’s that today have the same effect!

Even Arantxa, one of my hosts got hooked on Diana so fast that duing my 3 day passage through Madrid, she went off and bought her very own Diana and flash! I felt like a preacher from some religious "Diana cult" spreading the holy word!


Today is very much an autumn day. Planeta Tangerina

One photo a day

In September I started a photography course at NAF. It began with the basics: how to load a camera, how it works and a few simple procedures into aperture, film speed, light, etc. After developing our own film negatives, now comes the fun part: darkroom photo development. My fingertips are still entrenched with the smell of fixer!
Here is the latest result: it only took me about 45 min to get this photo printed out, after testing with gray scales and trying out exposures, but it is worth the wait. This may seem anachronic to many but I enjoy every minute of it! Tomorrow I’ll have another photo.

Getting started

The hardest part of any project is getting started.
I had been searching for a black paper photo album for some time now. The type of album my dad has from his time in Guiné Bissau and when he and my mom were dating. I got lucky last Saturday when visiting the Feira da Ladra and bought a small black paper photo album with corner stickers still in it, a bit worn, just as I like it! I want it to be a unique place where I can hold the very best of my memories.
So the first page is a remembrance of the day I bought the album: a black and white photograph, bought by Pedro on the same day, of a tree that reminded me of Mondrian’s apple trees. And thus accomplishing the second pending thing on my list: finding a name for this blog…