garland

I was going to take a nicer photo and show you this in all its glory, but I have a plane to catch and simply no time! I’m a last-minute person, I am. So you get a crappy artificial-light dark photo…

Yesterday I was in a frenzy of finishing a million different things so that I could have a guilt-free and work-free extended weekend once I get off that plane today. At some point, however, I somehow decided that making a felt flower garland was also absolutely necessary. I blame Mags and her comment to my felt-flower post.

Something to look forward to at least for when I have to come back home from my trip… :) Happy weekend everyone! Make some garlands!

Advertisements

twisted stitches

I did a tiny little bit of knitting last night. Mmm, twisted ribbing! This is your standard p1, k1tbl in the round. And such a gorgeous effect!

Whenever I do twisted ribbing, I fall in love with it all over again and get the urge to use it on every single project… But, as a friend agreed with me today, it’s best not to over-use it and save it for those truly special occasions. :) At the moment, I think it’s the prettiest thing in the world (I’m not as convinced about the lace motif the beginnings of which you can also glimpse, but we’ll still see about that).  It’s even more beautiful stretched out, but it was cold outside, sorry! I could barely keep my hands from shaking to snap this!

p.s. I’ve given this colour the pet name Midnight Blue. I, the enemy of all things dark, have completely fallen for it.

placebo crafting

I’ve had a crazy busy week with barely any time for crafting. The fact that most of my works in progress are in stages which really require time and attention doesn’t help. I’ve got sleeves to rip out and figure out a completely new (half-made-up) technique to rework them, I’ve got a neckband which created holes in an otherwise gorgeous vest that also needs to be redone, I’ve got stitches to be picked up on several projects, and so on… None of which I really feel like doing when I crash down on my sofa after spending the day at the computer translating or running around town for errands. So today, when I desperately needed a break, I came up with a quick ‘placebo’ crafting project, to tide me over this busy time.

I recently picked up some felt sheets at the craft store but didn’t really know what to do with them (apart from “try something with felt”). But then I saw this little tutorial. Exactly what I needed.

I used some embroidery thread which I had lying around (god knows why or how) and the needle I use for weaving in ends. Seriously, I didn’t even get up from my desk for this.

Please don’t mock my cutting skills. I’ll cry if you do.

Voila!

It asked for a little button. How could I say no?

Phew, I have crafted. I feel alive again. :)

How’ve you been this week? :)

 

Zagreb shopping

The weekend is almost here! I hope you get plenty of opportunity to relax, have coffee with friends, go for a stroll, laugh, and buy yourself a little treat! If you were in Zagreb, here are some good places where you could do that… :)

Start off at the Hobby Art shop near the meridian… It’s a kind of warehouse-y space into which every imaginable craft has been crammed. Silk painting, ceramics, jewlery making, scrapbooking… You name it – you’ll find it here! They’re not really focused on the textile crafts (hm, don’t know what else to call them) such as sewing, knitting and crochet, but you can find some accessories for that too. Such as lovely ribbons to adorn your cardigans with, for example…

Most of the stuff is imported from Germany and sometimes you need to know what it is in order to, well, know what it is. :) While the shop assistants try to stay abreast of developments in various crafts, the shop gets extremely busy, and there are so many knick-knacks that they just can’t possibly understand it all perfectly. The other day, I bought some stuffing to put in toys, but when inquiring as to whether that was really what I thought it was and whether it would handle machine washing, all I got were apologies and shrugs… Well, it was still at a good price and I haven’t been able to find anything that had looked like it anywhere else, so I took my chances! On the other hand, I didn’t need anyone to tell me what this was:

Adorable, that’s that it was! :)

After you get your craft supplies, you might want to think about doing some grocery shopping too. If you’re of the strictly-organic type, bio&bio is a good choice. (Though you might be reminded at the entrance that not everyone can afford to make such choices…)

Their shops are relatively small, but well stocked with various things that may be difficult to get in ‘regular’ shops. It’s also a good place to try if you need some exotic spices or herbs…

If all that food-shopping makes you hungry, grab a snack at this house on wheels (? :D) selling home-made pies (the sign says “Grandma’s pies“).

After that, snack in hand, you can do some window-shopping for replicas of old Croatian jewlery (this is most likely from the Dubrovnik region).

While you may not feel ready to indulge in such a treat for yourself or for anyone else, do remember that a certain cheesy date is coming up… Cheesy or not, I’m sure no lady in your life (including yourself) would say no to a nice bunch of flowers. Luckily for you, there’s “a flower square” in Zagreb with about 6 little florists all crammed together. You can’t go wrong there!

And if you did pick up a gift for someone, you might need to send it off quickly. It won’t be a problem, as long as you remember – the colour of post in Croatia is yellow.

Finally, after all that hard work – you deserve a proper reward. Zagreb doesn’t have a cupcake shop (yet), but that doesn’t mean we don’t like our sweets. The drug of choice here is definitely icecream, and for that, there is no rival to Vincek. Conveniently located at the beginning of the main shopping street, this place is always overflowing with people, and fighting for a seat is quite normal. Not because of the location though. The icecream is magnificent, the scoops are huge (you can get mixed scoops if you like), and if you prefer to avoid the chill there’s cakes too. Vincek is a family business, which is perhaps why it sits in a little house crammed between two buildings full of shops… If you ask me, that just adds to the charm!

No photo of the icecream I had, though. Sorry, I got a little distracted by it… :)

Enjoy your weekend, everyone! :)

Zagreb – the things you could(n’t) miss

Usually, when browsing through a guide through a foreign city, people look for those special details, the ‘hidden gems’, the things that ‘the annoying tourists’ haven’t discovered yet. I’m no exception to that rule. I love to ‘discover’ stuff I believe no-one has ever noticed, though in all honesty I know I’m not the first one.

But have you ever thought about the stuff that’s impossible to miss?

Like the chimney of the heating plant, with its ugly, bad, polluting, visible-from-any-spot-in-the-town smoke?

Or the hills that peak just behind the city (they’re accessible by tram!), giving it healthy lungs that can fight back the smoke?

Or the cathedral (ever scaffolded), towering over everything…

It’s precisely because these views are so ubiquitous that they can always be new. This is the first time I realize there’s a clock on the back of the cathedral tower. And I’ve seen it millions of times, just not from this particular angle.

And yes, there are the hidden gems too. So here’s a few hints from a local.

Zagreb is a city where you have to remember to look up. At ground-level, it might just look like a building full of shops on a busy street, but if you look up, you could be surprised by some elaborate artwork (even if it is in decay).

It might be a bank you’re seeing on the corner there. But if you look up, you could notice a fairy-tale turret.

It might just be an ordinary house with an ordinary modern-style window… But wait, what’s that little thing underneath?

It’s a remnant of a time when not everything needed a purpose. Some things were there just for the sake of beauty. Of making this town of ours a bit more interesting…

Just keep your eyes open – you’ll find plenty more…

Zagreb

Yesterday was sunny, the air smelled of spring, I had completed a big endeavour and I felt I deserved a treat! So I grabbed my camera and went for a walk! I used to do that kind of stuff in London very often, but here, at home, it seems somehow sillier, unwarranted… You’re just going for a walk? Just like that? No reason? wondered my mom… I knew what she meant, but I decided I wasn’t going to care. And once I was out, I caught myself wanting to take a picture of everything. Most of them will probably seem drab, grey, insignificant. But they’re scenes I know so well, scenes that are part of me on some almost biological level, and I couldn’t force myself to skip them in this tour I prepared for you. So get ready to see Zagreb, not only the Zagreb from postcards, but the everyday Zagreb, the year after year after year Zagreb, the grey and dull, the whimsical and impossible to understand, the loved Zagreb.

When I stepped off the bus at my tram stop, I decided to walk under a bridge to get directly to the river. Zagreb doesn’t really live around the river like other cities do, it’s more of an obstacle that needs to be crossed (which can get annoying at rush hour), and at most, people use its vicinity for jogging. As such, it’s not the most manicured of environments, and not a place I’d necessarily go to at night. So I was kind of surprized by how the structure of the bridge and the ubiquitous graffiti created what looked like a nicely arranged gallery!

And the city authorities have been working on making the river area more attractive. This park here used to be a big swamp full of dangerous waste… Now it’s a wonderful breezy space with a very elaborate (and well-visited) children’s playground, lake and cafe!

And off the bridge, a view of the river itself. Not terribly impressive, though it did show its impressive might a few months ago, when it flooded the area around my house. Luckily, it’s well within its bounds now.

When I crossed the bridge, I decided to skip a boring part of town by hopping on the tram. Trams are getting kind of outdated worlwide, but here in Zagreb we can’t imagine life without them. A few years ago the city introduced a whole series of super-modern new trams, but some of the old ones (like the one in which I knit yesterday) are still trudging along. The new ones are very smooth and shiny, but the old ones keep your bum really warm in the winter (yes, the seats are heated! I think they were imported from some really cold country!), so I kinda prefer them.

There are maps around to show you which tram to take, but, hmmm, sometimes they’re a bit tricky to read…

In any case, I know my way around! I hopped off the tram at a place I find very special. It’s a mark of the exact spot where the 16th geographical meridian crosses Zagreb. I never went to the prime meridian in London, but it’s still on my list. For now, here’s me standing on the 16th…

The spot it’s in isn’t anything special, it’s by a small supermarket on a very busy city intersection, but I kind of love that! From there, the meridian flows into the city…

And I went from there to the very centre – the most important place in our little town of half a million. This is the main square, where it’s all at, my friends! :) This photo shows the big clock around which people meet for dates. People simply say, “I’ll meet you by The Clock”, and everyone knows what that means. It’s one of those special things about belonging to somewhere. :)

The square is named after this feller. The Ban (sort of like a count) Jelačić. He used to face north, with the point of his sword showing the Hungarians (who tried (and succeeded) to invade us a few times) where they should stick it (erm, the official historic lingo is a bit different, but you get my gist), but in the nineties there were some other historic developments and we turned him the other way. (Ok, to stop you thinking that we’re crazy people who rearrange their main squares as often as some rearrange their living rooms, they didn’t just turn him around – the statue had been removed for a while during the Yugoslavia period, so when they were putting it back after independence, they changed the direction too.)

And finally, when you’re on the main square, you have to stop by this little fountain. It may be unimpressive, but it makes wishes come true if you flip a coin inside! ;) And there’s legends that the city was founded because of a natural spring that was in the same spot, and which made some travellers stop here awhile…

Have you made your wish? Good! I hope you liked this little tour, and I have a lot more to show you so stay tuned! :)