Saturday, May 10, 2014

Bead Soup Reveal Day

Welcome to the 8th Bead Soup Blog Party reveal day! My partner this year was the sweet Noemi Baena from sunny Spain. Go see what she made with the soup I sent her at fuego, metal y color

As a quick reminder, the photo below shows the soup Noemi sent me:

and the finished soup:

The charm bracelet features clear quartz nuggets from Noemi mixed with mother of pearl chips and a focal  ring with black diamond nuggets.

I actually wanted to use labradorite instead of mother of pearl and I did order some but since they didn't arrive in time for the reveal day, I went with plan B. There's still a really good chance I'm going to redo this bracelet once the labradorite beads arrive. The clasp is identical to the one I sent Noemi.

The necklace with tubular pendant from Claire Maunsell. This necklace was actually the first one I created. It was in my beading box half unfinished when Noemi's soup arrived, the caramel mother of pearl square beads were just what this necklace was missing.

Star clasp that Noemi made herself made my heart skip a beat! I knew immediately I was going to use it with beads from my "special" stash. I used hexagonal howlite beads from a necklace Mr. C bought in Mostar, Bosnia while on a business trip, the amber glass bead was given to me by my cousin and the tiny turquoise spacers were some of the first beads I ever bought.

Winter earrings were made using a pair of quartz nuggets from Noemi's soup paired with snowflake charms I won in a giveaway years ago.

The cream mother of pearl beads and glass teardrop beads were combined in this delicate asymmetrical necklace that doesn't photograph well but looks great when worn.

Since Noemi sent such a colourful soup combining warm caramel with coral, a combination I've never used before, I really wanted to try and use the two colours together. All of the jewellery created to this point was made using components in colour combinations I was comfortable with.
The necklace using the antique clock focal combines both colours in what I hoped was a dynamic and playful design.

I was just about to publish the reveal post when I noticed I was missing a piece. The Mary Poppins bracelet! It's what I'm calling it because of the colourful mix and the umbrella pendant.

And that's it. Final count:

- 3 necklaces
- 3 bracelets
- 1 pair of earrings

Hop over to Lori's blog Pretty Things to see what our hostess created and to view the list of all the participants of this years BSBP.

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Second honeymoon: Netherlands Part 2

The second part of  of our December / January trip to Holland covers our daily excursions to the Beer Brewery de Konigshoeven, Breda and Amsterdam.

The entrance to the Trapist Monastery Konigshoeven
Second most memorable sight on our entire tour: the Microbrewery of a Trappist Monastery in the outskirts of Tilburg. The tour ended with the obligatory tasting session of their potent but delicious beer.
I'm not really a beer fan but Le Trappe with its wonderful aroma and wonderful sweet and sour taste is a treat. Mr. C and I bought some in their gift shop and enjoyed a bottle in the evenings after long days of sightseeing.
As a rule I don't like to buy souvenirs a.k.a. dust gatherers for friends and family but a sixpack of the Trappist beer was greeted with delight by everyone.
Inner courtyard of the brewery

Entrance to the old brewery now turned into a museum

Housing complex that was renovated at some point with the old roof line still visible

Monastery gardens

Inside the brewery

Tasting session
The gardens inside the Monastery complex are open to the public and there is no entrance fee. There is a very special atmosphere of calm and inviting energy that made us walk around for a whole hour.

Breda is a small town West of Tilburg and a leisurely 30 min drive away. The town is similar to Tilburg in appearance, architecture and layout only it's a bit more condensed and there are less open spaces then in Tilburg.

The gigantic sculpture in the middle of the roundabout intrigued me.

Grote of Onze Lieve Vrouwekerk - The Church of Our Lady

A typical street intersection

The love doves greeted us early in the morning on the day we departed for Amsterdam.

First sight in Amsterdam: the Metro station next to Heineken Music Hall where we parked our car.

Amsterdam Metro station
I relied heavy on Trip Advisor and their comments and guidelines when planning the trip. Among other things it suggested we park the car in one of their Park houses with the daily rate of 8€ + free return tickets for the Metro.
The Metro line took us directly to Central Station in the city centre where we switched transportation for the ubiquitous boat tour. Like the Fiaker ride in Vienna - a cheesy tourist attraction that is still immensely satisfying.
The mandatory boat tour

Palace of Justice - throuh the window of the tourist boat
 I guess falling bycicles and mopeds are a common sighting in Holland (check previous post).

The queue in front of Anne Frank hours was long. I've never seen so many people forming a procession and the hugely surprising thing: we were all calm and relaxed. It took us about two hours of standing in the cold and windy street, the museum rewards the patient visitors with free Wi -fi access and there is an attendant making frequents rounds distributing brochures in 6 or 7 different languages.
The coffee kiosk across the street is making a lucrative business selling disgusting watered down overpriced coffee to the people standing in line. After drinking it I considered drinking canal water to wash the taste down. Luckily Mr. C packed a bottle of water in his backpack!

Queue in front of Anne Frank House
Photos aren't allowed inside the museum, as is customary with such sights. I was pleasantly surprised to see people were strictly adhering to the museum policy.

Canals in twighlight

De Nieuwe Kerk
The one that got away... As I've mentioned in the previous post the Dutch have  an early closing times policy for their stores unfortunately the same policy applies to their museums and tourist attractions. De Nieuwe Kerk closes at 5 p.m. and to my great disappointment I wasn't able to see the Ming exhibition.
What made it all the more irritating that the Peek & Cloppenburg 5 storey department store  across the street was open till 9 p.m. to accommodate the busy tourist schedule.

We left the Dam with the Royal Palace and Nieuwe Kerk quickly, the mass of tourist with their flash cameras and loud yelling wasn't on our itinerary. We strolled casually and found a small boutique with interesting interior design pieces designed by Danish new wave of designers.
Another excellent place to spend as much as you could afford to. I ended up buying a tea light house designed to represent a typical Amsterdam house: tall and narrow with distinct roof ornamentation as a present for my mum.

Light instalation in the middle of a canal
We took a quick stroll through the streets of Red light district which proved to be anything but shocking or inappropriate in terms of revealing ladies of the night. Instead we discovered a romantically lit bed with canopy in the middle of the canal, an art piece designed for the Amsterdam Light Festival.

And to finish our tour of Amsterdam in glory we did the following: got back to the car using the free Metro tickets and drove it to the city centre for another tour of the city through the windows of a moving vehicle thus completing the Amsterdam trinity: metro, boat, car :-)

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

The beads are here!

The annual Bead Soup Blog Party will take place this May and as always it's something I really look forward to. Every time I think I've given up on making jewellery the images of spectacular and ingenious jewellery created by hundreds of participants from all over the world remind me that I really love making jewellery.

This year my partner is Noemi Baena, a mother of three living in sunny Spain, as she put it. Her life is colourful, vivacious and full of daily activities: her family and her hobby keeps her busy. You can read more about Noemi and see her lovely pieces at her blog: fuego, metal y color

Noemi sent me a colourful and cheerful mix of beads. I'll have no difficulty coming up with ideas for my soup!

The biggest challenge Noemi's pack provides is the colour combination: red and caramel mixed with pink. It's a colour combination I've never used before and I'm really looking forward to it.

The reveal day is May 3rd, feel free to peak in on that day to see what I've come up with.

Monday, March 17, 2014

Second honeymoon: Netherlands Part 1

Wilhemina park
I finally got round to start writing a very belated series of posts documenting our December vacation in the Netherlands. It partly took so long because of my hectic schedule, but mostly because I find it impossible to write down my impressions immediately after returning home. It's too fresh, too raw and  it refuses to be packed neatly into a rounded post. I have to let the memories, experiences and feelings mature.

As for the title: Second honeymoon. While we were on vacation Mr. C jokingly remarked that the secret recipe for a successful marriage consists of a few simple ingredients:
- listen to what she says
- never forget an anniversary or birthday
- buy her some nice jewellery
- take yearly vacations together

Out of this list an idea was born. Since we love to get away during the December holiday season,  and it was what motivated us to plan our honeymoon for the last week of December, we're going to try and make a tradition of it and go on "honeymoons" every year.

Silver maple planted in 1898
Netherlands was beautiful and what I'll remember most is the feeling of calm, relaxed atmosphere where everything was neat, organized and beautiful in a very distinct humble and understated manner. People were kind and eager to assist us but not extremely outgoing or pushy.

Silver maple planted in 1898
We stayed in Tilburg  for most of our vacation - our base camp and we made daily excursions to the outskirts of Tilburg, Breda and Amsterdam. Netherlands is relatively small, very similar to Slovenia. So in that regard it felt very familiar to the daily road trips we're used to.
The distance between Tilburg and Amsterdam is only about 120 km by car. Similarly Rotterdam and Hague are only about 150 km from Tilburg, yet we chose not to go since I felt that we would exhaust ourselves trying to see everything.

Art sculpture in the middle of Tilburg's canal
The Textile Museum is housed in a converted AaBe Factory that manufactured wool blankets. It was a must see for me!
Textile Museum

Textile Museum

Textile Museum

Wool before processing

The video shows an original mechanism that distributed power to the machines used to process the wool. The power was derived from a huge machine housed in a separate room.

Spools of wool yarn

Old poster for AaBe blankets

St. Dionysos Church

St. Dionysos Church
Appartment building complex positioned over the street

King William II

St. Joseph's Church
St. Joseph's Church is situated right next to the city centre also known as the Heuvel. The Heuvel was a central meeting point in the middle ages and the only source of fresh water for the citizens of Tilburg until 1898.

A replica of the water pump

Tilburg's walk of fame

Interestingly Tilburg also has its own walk of fame. I love that they've chosen to fill it it footprints and signatures of prominent citizens: mayors, artists, writers,...

Tilburg's walk of fame