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As you may know (since I’ve alluded to it here, here and here), I’m heading off to Italy for what may very well be a vacation of a lifetime! My sister, Kirsten, who recently graduated from the University of Nevada – Las Vegas with her doctorate in Physical Therapy, decided that seven years of school was enough and planned a two month trip to Europe to celebrate! When she invited me to join her on the Italian leg of the trip, I was ecstatic! I leave tomorrow and am so excited to join her as we peruse through northern Italy experiencing a place which has thousands and thousands of years of history and who’s culture is so distinct and far-reaching.

Image From Lonely Planet - Italy

In addition to the regular vacation preparation of procuring a backpack, arranging time off with work, chugging Airborne, and making reservations at hostels, there was one little corner of my life which glaringly needed to be accounted for and that was this: Homewares By Hand. HBH will celebrate it’s six month anniversary at the end of this month (and at the tail-end of my trip) and it has been such a fun blessing so far! The comments I receive both here in written form at HBH and face-to-face with you when we share life together are so constructive and supportive. As such, it seemed almost neglectful to take two weeks off. Then, I had a thought…

I have so many wonderful friends. I have so many crafty friends. I have so many friends who have been to Italy or at least act as if they have. Why not have them lend their creative talents? And so, I’m thrilled to announce that the following came to life:

So what does this mean? It means five, Italian-focused posts that will take you along side my sister and I as we tromp through northern Italy. It means a breath of fresh, creative air as the HBH Guest Posters share their tips and tricks. And, of course, it means a:

GIVEAWAY

But first, let me give you a quick introduction to the wonderful team who has been so generous with their time to make HBH Goes Italian a real-deal series:

Moira | Espresso Basics in Milan: Moira has been featured here before on HBH under the code name M (you may recall her baby shower or the fact she’s my common day lord-ess). We met through our community group at Mars Hill Church and her influence in my adult, Seattle life has been priceless. The mother of three, beautiful and life-loving children, she’ll be showing you how to pull the perfect shot at home.

Kelly M. | Gelato in Venice: Kelly M. and I met at my former place of employment and I cannot get enough of this girl (she’s always up for trying a new Everyday Food recipe)! The coauthor of a wonderful blog with her husband, Jonathan, Kelly never ceases to amaze me with her domestic skills (true story: Upon arriving at Kelly’s house to babysit her beautiful daughter, B (who’s been mentioned here and here at HBH), I complimented Kelly on her dress. “Oh this?” she said, “I made it… super simple.” Enough said right?). Tune in later this week as Kelly and her wonderful family show you to make gelato, a sweet treat that has caught the USA’s attention in recent years.

Kelly W. | Wine Cork Board in Florence: I love the story of how Kelly W. and I met each other. At a mutual friend’s get together, said mutual friend brings Kelly up to me and says, “I know this is weird but you two have to meet each other. You’re meant to be friends.” All I can say is that she was right (seriously, thanks Jules!)! Kelly is fun, resourceful, and a DIY-er by nature which is evident in her tutorial of creating a Wine Cork Board. The first of two craft projects comprising the HBH Goes Italian series, tune in and send pictures of your project should you find yourself inspired to make one (trust me, you’ll want to)!

Carrie | Fresh Pasta with Filling in Rome: Oh Carrie… Truly, the state of Washington is permanently indebted to Iowa for allowing this gem of a woman and friend to grace us with her hip presence. You have all met Carrie before as she’s been mentioned here and here and here and here (do I owe her a royalty check?!). I’m thrilled that she’s transitioning from third-person-in-narrative to first-person-writing-her-own-post to share her recent experience making a dish that conveys Italian cuisine for so many people. Tune in next week for Carrie’s Fresh Pasta with Filling (and a sweet surprise too!).

Sally | DIY Card Tutorial as we say ‘Ciao Italia’: I can only grin as I recall how many times Sally, owner of la Happy, and I have run into each other over our lifetime: same college, same visual merchandising class, same campus ministry, same summer project, same church, same campus, same serve team. Gosh! Do you think we were meant to collaborate and work with each other? Sally’s beautiful work has been featured here at HBH before and it’s her handiwork that came up with the perfect HBH Goes Italian banner above too! Tune in to HBH in early July (check in on Friday before you leave for your Independence Day weekend) where Sally has generously shared a special DIY Card Tutorial just for HBH readers!

Now, that you’ve met Team Impressionante (Italian for awesome), let’s talk about the:

GIVEAWAY

The prize will be Italian. It will be sweet (perhaps not in taste but in overall character). Participating will be easy breezy. At the end of each guest post, there will be a GIVEAWAY QUERY which will take less than thirty seconds to answer and all you have to do is leave a comment! Entries are limited to one person (your e-mail’s required so I can contact you should you win) per post so have fun, participate, and tell your friends (unless you really want to win and keep the pool to a minimum). A special thanks to my friend, Emily (the coolest science teacher in King County), who will be moderating comments according to HBH’s terms while I’m away from e-mail! The drawing will occur the first week I’m back and we’ll use the date/time stamp of July 5th at midnight (PST) to qualify entries.

While I wish you could join me, I hope that you enjoy the Homewares by Hand Goes Italian series while I’m gone! I’ll “see” you back in July – until then, arrivederci gli amici!

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