Action Pack, as Kathreen describes it, is an e-magazine aimed at 7-12 year olds, full of DIY projects for both boys and girls -- science and art and adventure all in a colourful, beautifully photographed and designed pack. A major point of difference between this magazine and others is that it's completely ad-free, meaning no annoying ads trying to sell things to impressionable kids. It also means that all 40 pages are brimming with content, not advertising space.
The new Action Pack issue is the first part of the 2013 Elements theme, and is the water edition: "So versatile and so necessary for life. In this issue we have 15 contributors, and more than 20 projects, these wonderful contributors from around the world walk us through arts and crafts, science, experimentation, adventure, cooking and play — all related to water."
I had the pleasure of working with Kathreen a year ago (here), and saw how committed she is to the spirit behind this magazine, "a magazine for kids who want to do stuff." In fact, Kathreen has wholly embraced this spirit in her own life, and her family of four has embarked in a year of traveling around Australia - camping, catching crabs on the beach and cooking them on camp fire, practicing piano on borrowed instruments here & there, occasionally having to dig their vehicle out of sand ... they're living an 'action pack' all their own! (you can follow her family adventuring here)!
If you'd like a chance to win a copy of Action Pack, please leave a comment, and I'll announce two winners on Monday.
Thank you for entering Action Pack giveaway - the winners are: Mousy Brown and Dana (please contact me with the email address where you'd like to have your e-magazine sent).
I love going to Milan, the city where I come from and where most of my family lives, during the Christmas holidays. The city is all dressed up, tastefully glittery, and festive - a joy to walk around - and the streets are quiet and almost empty of city-folk, many of whom are vacationing on the very beaches and hills in Liguria where I live - which I've just left for the holidays.
I've put a few more photos from our days in Milan on Instagram. Speaking of which, since I already have a photo sharing account in Flickr, in an effort to simplify my "technological footprint", I've been considering posting my cell phone snapshots there as well, and letting my Instagram account go dormant. However, the new Flickr app (used for the above photos) isn't as good as Instagram: the filters are far too saturated to my taste, and there isn't an option to tone them down. There is also a question of privacy: while Flickr doesn't seem able to prevent third parties (like Google Images) from combing through one's account and using their photos, as far as I can see, Instagram can (though Instagram perplexed and irritated many of its users by instituting questionable new terms of service, and then retracting them). So for now, until Flickr improves its app, I'll be keeping two photo sharing accounts: Instagram for quick cell-phone snapshots, and Flickr for photos that I post on the blog.
Kristin kindly asked me to answer 11 questions about myself. Why not? Please feel free to continue the game if you like, answering the questions yourself and passing them on to friends across the blogosphere.
(me - waiting at the hospital for Rebecca's test results the other day)
1) What's your favorite meal? Any meal that's cooked for me (yes, I do find the task of daily cooking for the family a little tedious), shared with family and friends.
2) What would you do if someone gave 1 million dollars? Why not Euros?! I would buy time, and health, for my family. You can't buy time and health? Then I'd buy a house for my family.
3) Where do you see yourself in the future? I'm not that kind of planner, really... How about in a million-Euro-house overlooking the Mediterranean, surrounded by an olive grove, with two donkeys grazing the weeds, and two goats for chevre? Oh, yes, I can definitely see myself there!
4) Which country/place do you want to necessarily see in your life? Istanbul would be lovely.
5) What moment made you very happy? One single moment only?! I'm not good at these games, because I can't choose.
6) What's your favorite author? My husband!
7) What do you want to necessarily do in your life? Find the time - or is it "make the time", as I suspect? - in my week to do something for myself, and go back to yoga and meditation.
8) What movie made you happy? I went to see The Rocky Horror Picture Show with friends when I was about 14-15. That was a long time ago, but I still remember that night with a huge smile.
9) What are you afraid of? Sometimes I go to sleep afraid of the night.
10) What moment in your youth do you love to remember? A trip to Paris I took on a whim: I had a free week while in between jobs, I'd made no plans whatsoever, I just hopped on a plane and spent some unforgettable days there.
11) Which season do you like the best? Summer!
Thank you Kristin, that was fun!
Mending is so accessible to everyone, and once you get the basics down you can share the skill with others, broadening this somewhat solitary activity into a social one. Mending can be simple or complex. It can be technical or creative. It saves money and preserves the favorite parts of your wardrobe. Sewing has existed long before cloth was ever woven, and along with sewing, came mending. Welcome to the practice of an ancient form of creative expression!
Kristin Roach, Mend it Better, Storey Publishing
I was honored when Kristin Roach, the creator of the website Craft Leftovers, wrote me just over a year ago, and asked if I would contribute a project to her upcoming book on creative mending - the basic techniques of fixing, upcycling and rejuvenating clothes that are getting run down and are sitting at the back of your wardrobe. In fact I think mending is not only a vitally important activity but fabulous creative fun as well, so I was thrilled to do my bit for the book, and to receive my contributor's copy the other day: Mend It Better (Kristin created a new site dedicated to her book: Mend It Better).
Mend It Better covers a fascinating range of skills and ideas for mending, upcycling, and preserving clothes, with step-by-step instructions and generous images and drawings. Among the topics covered are: basic hand-sewing skills, hemming, patching, darning, tricks for bead-work and other accents, decorative stitching, and fabric care. Mend It Better is a useful reference and inspiration to sewers, crafters and people who aspire to live greener.
Storey Publishing is offering a copy of Mend It Better to one reader of FuoriBorgo. If you'd like a chance to win, please leave a comment below - I'll announce the results on Monday.
Thanks to Storey Publishing for the giveaway, and thank you for participating and for your comments. The winner is MELISSA, please send me your address at fuoriborgo at gmail dot com!
The Action Pack Magazine for Kids - Celebration issue is out! It's a wonderful issue: 80 pages of tutorials, craft projects, recipes and more aimed at kids 7-12, with contributions from different corners of the world (see here) ... including remote middle of nowhere, Italy! I'm excited to have contributed with two projects: a Nativity scene project which uses uniquely nature finds (I can't even begin to tell you how much fun we had working on this), and a Christmas cookie tree tutorial (inspired by the cookie tree we improvised last Christmas).
Working with Kathreen has been great: she's a fantastic editor with all the right ideas on how to make projects better. Back when I first started working on this, I asked her whether she thought it was appropriate to have a project for kids that required the use of a saw. Her reply was: "we are all about enabling kids to do more stuff, not less!".
Yes, Action Pack is truly about enabling kids to do more stuff, and, I dare say, your kids will love this Celebration issue.
Action Pack Celebration issue is available here - and as a reader of FuoriBorgo you can get a 10% discount off everything at the whipup.net or action-pack.com store, just use the discount code: WPContributor
Thank you all for entering my gift-away! I'll be hosting another made in Italy gift-away soon - the winner of this handmade set of olive wood spoon & spatula is Elizabeth A, happy cooking (and please contact me with your address)!
A giftaway, a gift from me to you - or to one of you, anyway!
~ My gift-away: a handmade set of olive-wood cooking spoon and spatula, about 29 cm long, hand-wash only ~
They're a spoon and spatula, hand-made by an artisan in Imperia from local olive wood, one of my favorite kinds of wood. Olive wood is quite difficult to carve: it's very hard, and it's often hollow. But it has gorgeous, intricate grain, and is the best kind of wood for cooking utensils. Because it has a high content of olive oil, it tends not to absorb cooking flavors, and holds up to wear and tear and washing extremely well. If you like the look of olive wood, and the feel of hand-made utensils in the kitchen, this is a great gift for you.
If you'd like a chance to receive this gift from me, please leave a comment by Thursday morning, when I'll announce the winner!
"Since when has food been (culturally) devalued so much as to become expendable? What happened to the concept of food as something precious that nourishes our body and souls? I say "souls" because food is not just about a bunch of nutrients that we gulp down, it is also a matter of taste, and consuming food is a daily ritual that connects us with the land and the people who produce our subsistance, and the loved ones with whom we share it around the table. I suspect that the fact that food has become cheap stuff that we pick from the shelf, often unaware of where it comes from, has something to do with the fact that from precious, food has become expendable, and liable to be wasted in colossal amounts."
These are some of the questions I ask today in my post at the co-op here.
Thank you for entering my gift-away, and for telling me how you found my little space here - it was very interesting to read about the intertwining connections in this blogging comunity! I'll be hosting another made in Italy gift-away soon - in the meanwhile, this lovely terracotta pot from Umbria will go to la ninja, happy cooking (and please contact me)!
A giftaway, from me to you, to thank you for taking the time to come here, read my words and look at my photos, and share you thoughts in the comments when you're inspired. The other day I saw from the stats that I have visitors from 100 countries - pretty nice! And I received an email that made my day from someone who wrote that she's been reading me for two years - quite a while! So, here's a thank you gift from me to all of you (or one of you, at least this time around).
~ my gift-away: a terracotta pot with lid, made in Italy, diameter 21cm, capacity 2 liters. It can be used on the stove top, oven, and microwave. It's dishwasher safe ~
It's a gift I've chosen with care - a classic Italian terracotta pot, made in Umbria, perfect for the slow cooking that dishes this time of year require: the warm and warming soups and stews in the piping hot pot at the center of the table, that make sitting down to share a meal in the cold season so much cozier. Terracotta pots come from the traditional country style of cooking: they're made of a simple material that is healthy, and efficiently retains and distributes uniformly the heat. They're made to cook very slowly, allowing the ingredients not only to be cooked through (which any pressure pan can do much quicker), but to give that harmonious flavor to a soup or a stew that only comes with slow cooking. There's nothing better than a lentil soup - made with simple and genuine ingredients: lentils, garlic and herbal salt, and a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil - cooked in a terracotta pot at the end of a chilly day!
If you'd like a chance to receive this gift from me, please leave a comment (I'd love to know how you've found FuoriBorgo!) by Thursday morning, when I'll announce the winner.
The press conference at the Slow Food Cheese festival we went to a few weeks ago, was quite an eye-opener for me in many ways, and a call to action: 22,000 tons of edible food are thrown away every day in households in the United States, and 4,000 tons in Italy. The results of this massive waste, coupled with the widespread industrialization of the food supply, are far-reaching and severe. We need to stop wasting food, and buy less food overall. And we must spend proportionately more on the food we do buy, in order to get high-quality food that's healthy, safe, and priced to give the farmer a fair income.
I'm writing about Slow Food: buy less, spend more, don't waste! at the co-op today.
Family life at the edge of an ancient rural community near the Mediterranean
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