• Essay,  Travel

    Photo essay: Kraków

    I came a long way in my approach to travel as it was during the last few years. Obviously, 2020 put an abrupt end to it all. All of a sudden my mantra became “work with what you have”, or better yet, improve it! Let’s face it, it was not a choice, it was a necessity. More on that later. It allowed me to evaluate my entire photo collection and to move away from essentially just collecting them and always looking to the next trip, to working with what I have, and distilling what I want, moving forward. It was a turning point when I settled, with intention, on telling…

  • Food,  Holidays,  Table Styling

    Cosy and festive at home

    Celebrating New Year’s Eve at home this year, with intention. The “recipe” is quite simple: boxes and envelopes stuffed to the brim with vintage family photos, something freshly baked and something moody and smooth to sip. Few easy ornaments to test the creative spark of the day,  and off we go into the stories of the past. The brandied dried fruit of Christmas time made its way into homemade scones and vintage inspired concoction. The photos create stories and mysteries to ponder on. Who was the your woman climbing  the trees in one photo, and looking like a poet’s muse in another? Who was Clara?

  • Essay,  Food,  Holidays

    Home for the holidays

    Home for the holidays, as in “staying” not “going”, “making” not “buying”, “planning” not “head-spinning”…The year of the pandemic brings on a different kind of Christmas and a deeply personal story. Call it looking for a silver lining, perhaps, but this is the celebration of the handmade, the slow, and the meaningful. The celebration of small measures, imperfection, joy of finishing a project started few months ago, or another two weeks ago. Brings the memories of collecting color tin candy wrappers all year long with my Grandmother to wrap large walnuts to hang on a Christmas tree on December 24th. The memories of cutting straw and delicate tissue paper for…

  • Garden

    Summer flowers in urban garden

    Summer flowers or summer blooms? Could I include a blooming cucumber plant in my “flower” list? What about blooming basil, thyme or mint? The mood, and objective, of our backyard has certainly shifted this year. I was aiming at creating working city garden for a while now, but this year gave me the final push. Halfway there model no longer worked. When spring turned into summer backyard turned chaotic, completely lacking any colorful annuals unless self sown, veggie producing container garden jungle. Here are some of my favorites, all grown from seed this year, most saved from last years plants. I am missing names on many of them. What started…

  • Ceramics,  Travel

    Japan inspired ceramics

    This blog post has been planned for a while…The story was going to start like this: ” Last year, I was planning a trip to Japan that was going to end in a remote Japanese ceramics village, but I ended up in a remote Polish village creating a travelogue of the exquisite Japan inspired ceramics. Does it mean that this year, 2020, I will end up in Japan while planning a trip to Poland?” That draft was written in January this year. The world has been ravaged by the pandemic since, and our travel remains, for the time being, an armchair traveller’s one. I cannot help though, but to share…

  • Travel

    Roadtrip: The impossible charm of a small Czech town

    One particularly rainy evening in October last year brought me to Starý Plzenec, a small town in west Bohemia. Little over an hour from Prague, it is decisively off the beaten path, and requires a detour from the highway (and detour around its much bigger neighbor Pilsen). Another words, perfect. My brother and I were taking a road trip through Czech Republic on the way to Germany. Small town vibes and old world charm were definitely high on the agenda, as we left rainy and moody Žižkov district of Prague (my enthusiastic “new favorite!”, just brought a confidently restrained “I knew it” smile on my brother’s face). After all, he…

  • Food,  Table Styling

    Gathering around autumn table

    This is the season that I have been preparing for since early summer. How is that for slow living, or a ‘slow project’, because living, well, has been anything but slow recently. I started by sowing pink and white strawflowers this year in my container garden. I managed to harvest only a handful, some of them very tiny, because they disappeared among the ever overbearing purple basil. Then, I dismantled every farmers’ market bouquet I had bought this year, and meticulously separated the strawflowers to dry. They are not making appearance at this table, as I am keeping all the orange hues ones for another occasion. I have also picked…

  • Food,  Garden,  Table Styling

    Garden Story 2019

    The end of gardening season is almost here. Sure, there is still baby spinach and red mustard that may or may not bring harvest before the frost, and a lone Tuscan kale plant, that I am half heartedly guarding against the critters…The days are short, shadows are long, and there is only enough warmth and direct sunshine to sustain less than an hour of sitting in a garden with a good read. Before the backyard disappears into a soggy and eventually a frosty, entangled mess, here is a reflection of what did well, and what was only a tease in our city backyard this year. I now strongly believe that…

  • Portuguese countryside - Totally by Design
    Food,  Table Styling,  Travel

    Portugal – countryside food tales

    Beyond my, now well documented, love of Lisbon there is a little secret. The countryside outside of Lisbon, all within less than 2 hour drive. Looking deeper, past the veneer of maybe little too perfect home renovations, there are still captivating stories to be told, with colorful local characters, oblivious to the demands of instagrammable perfect shots. Moments that unfold into stories, and only take time and curiosity to develop. Enter the village of Ericeira, on the Atlantic cost. While my traveling companions went into the cave looking for elusive sea urchins (elusive mostly because they were not in season!), I opted for the above ground vantage point, mesmerized by…

  • Food,  Garden,  Table Styling

    Raspberry cordial and rhubarb cake

    It is late June as I write this, but it happened to be the same moist, lush green and heavy on a drizzle day as month ago when I set off to photograph the Raspberry Cordial and Rhubarb Cake afternoon treat.  You would think that only children get restless when it rains for 48 hours non-stop…Think twice.  On day two of the rain deluge in the southeastern Poland, a town tucked away at the foothills of the Carpathian Mountains, in the region called Beskid Niski, I opened wide my parents’ garage  door, set up my trusty prop table stored there just for the occasion, and set up an afternoon tea. …