Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Out of order

I apologize for being a bad blogger. My posting has been infrequent of late and unfortunately this will continue for some time to come. I am currently finishing my bachelor thesis and things have been really crazy.

Our computer desk is currently overrun with all things feud related. I apologize but I simply do not have the time or energy to crank up posts for my blog after a whole day of sitting behind the computer typing.

Friday, June 24, 2011

Friday night film selection: The prestige

By now my readers probably got a general idea of the kind of movies that fascinate me. This one has all the qualities I look for in a good drama. A complex plot, rich, well developed characters, great cast and a story that can carry my attention to the end. Another Christopher Nolan film, it's a very dark drama set at the turn of the 19th century London. A dreary and foggy backdrop just perfect for this story.

Prestige is a film about a feud between two magicians who resort to unthinkable actions in an attempt to destroy one another. The driving force behind feud, as is so brilliantly portrayed in this film, is the need to assign blame and retaliate, get even. An event that might easily be a tragic accident ensues a violent and bloody retaliation that quickly turns into a tic for tac strategy between the two main characters. They become so obsessed with destroying one another, their methods of retaliation escalate to unthinkable measures.
In my research into feuding culture I was lucky to stumble upon a book by Nils Christie, A suitable amount of crime. Among other things the author, who has dedicated his life to the study of criminology, explains that he conducted a study into the psyche of the convicted collaborators of the Nazi regime. He said he found no monsters while visiting prison facilities, just nice young men with whom he conversed quite amicably. I wondered, how did these nice, amicable men commit such atrocities. I came to the realization their behaviour is much like the lines in the (proverbial) sand we all draw. We have a set of established morals and a pattern of behaviour and when we deviate from it, we set a line which we won't cross. In time our whole set of behaviour shifts towards the line and we move it once again, and again until we are so far away from our starting position that the set of morals we end up with has changed drastically. But because this transition is so gradual, the shift is imperceptible.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Precious things /7 Ballerina clutch

This particular clutch has been my constant companion for three whole years. I'd carry it all year long from casual outings to formal affairs. It has come to epitomise me. And I've worn it to rags. It was just the right size, the bronze colour of the faux leather was ideal, it went with everything. And it was so easy to care for.

That's not the real reason why I got so attached to this bag. It's the ballerina pictured in the front that had me so enthralled. I came to identify with the image. As you can see, this isn't a very good ballerina: her stocking is slipping off and one of her shoes is untied. I imagined her as a shy, slightly clumsy and not graceful at all kind of ballerina. She probably lags behind in her class, feeling very much like an ugly duckling amids beautiful, graceful swans.
I feel just like this little ballerina most of the time. Slightly klutzy, feeling lost and not fitting in with the dazzling and successful people who instinctively know what to do or say the right thing at the right time.
Even though she might not be the best at dancing, I imagine the ballerina doesn't give up. Ever. And she has a big heart and is kind to all people and animals. And she may not quote Shakespeare or other famous poets, but she does genuinely love and care for the people around her.

The purpose of this post series is to show you some of the things that surround me. This isn't about bragging in the sense of: look how many pretty expensive things I have. All of these items are important to me out of various reasons. What they all have in common is that they have come to define me and my life in some significant way. In the end it's all about the story. And I love a good story.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

It will all end in tears

We all make mistakes. I've learned to deal with this inevitable fact, that even if I try very hard, I will still sometimes make mistakes. But it irks me when said mistakes could have been avoided.

Sunday night I cut out a pattern for a summer kaftan dress. It was late and I was tired. Instead of calling it a night, I stubbornly insisted on finishing up the pattern. When I tried to baste together the front and the back panel I realized I must have traced the wrong pattern pieces and ended up with mismatched front and back.

Not only is the back piece considerably smaller than the front, but the positioning of slits is all wrong as well. So yesterday, much to my annoyance, I had to run into town to see if I could find some more fabric. I was very lucky indeed, there were some remnants left.
This particular fabric wasn't very expensive, so my mistake didn't cost too much money. Still I managed to ruin almost two meters of fabric. A mistake that could easily have been avoided. Maybe next time I'll know better.

Monday, June 20, 2011

Why I can't make the bed on most days

Because Rufus likes to sleep until well into afternoon and I haven't got the heart to wake him.

Friday, June 17, 2011

Friday night film selection: My best friend's wedding

A golden oldie and one of my all time favourite romantic comedies, though this one runs a bit deeper than your average sugar coated predictable versions we see on screen these days. The entire cast is superb and I feel that whoever was behind the selection process did an outstanding job. Cameron Diaz is just so perfect for the role of perky, preppy Kimmy. She's so obnoxiously cute it's infectious. I also loved Rupert Everett as the gay friend who provides moral support and (at times) comedic insight.
The reason I like this film so much is because it varies from the standard format of a romantic comedy. Other than some fine acting there is also a lot of music and singing and in that aspect this movie resembles very much Love actually.

This is my absolute favourite scene, where Julianne realizes for the first time that she might actually not win Michael back. There is a beautiful imagery and symbolism as the tour boat goes under the bridge into darkness and as it reemerges into the light so does our heroine come to understand that her moment passed her by. The sunlight symbolizing knowledge and clarity.

Sunday, June 12, 2011


From blossoms to ripe delicious cherries in less than two months. The top photo was taken at Easter and on Saturday we had our first cherry harvest since we planted the tree eight years ago.

I remember my mum jokingly asking me to bring my own baskets to the first "harvest." The first year the tree produced only three cherries. Eight years later it's more like 20 to 30 kilos. Not bad.


Our walnut tree is also getting taller and taller every year, bestowing us with delicious walnuts. I picked some green walnuts for my cousin who is going to make walnut liqueur with schnaps.

Friday, June 10, 2011

Friday night film selection: Inception

Inception is the work of Christopher Nolan. A director who's become world renown for Memento, a movie that has reached cult status with lightning speed. Though it might not be obvious at first glance, Inception and Memento are more alike than it would appear. The basic premise ob both movies is the same: the relativity of our reality. Nolan explores this issue in both stories: his basic claim is that our lives, everything that defines us, is based on our memory. Our perception of reality is therefore left vulnerable to the frail, unreliable and easily corrupted data stored in our brain.
Leonardo di Caprio plays Cobb, a man haunted by his past and willing to go to any length to rectify a mistake he had made. Leonardo, though not my cup of tea, portrays Cobb remarkably well. However, the true revelation of this film is undoubtedly Joseph Gordon-Levitt, who plays Arthur, a sort of Watson to Cobb's Sherlock Holmes.
My favourite part of the film was when someone asked Cobb how he could distinguish between the real world and the dream world. To which he replied that it was only his guilt that kept him grounded. That it was his moral compass and as long as he held on to the guilt about his mistake in the past, he would always be able to separate reality from dream. The sentence mirrors Milan Kundera's epic novel, The unbearable lightness of being. Here the author claims that it is our own misfortune and unrealized dreams that keep us grounded. As opposed to achieving happiness, the realization of our goals, which will make us feather light so that we simply float away from our lives.
As is typical for a Nolan film, the ending is left open to the viewers' interpretation. The optimists will claim Cobb succeeded in his quest and is reunited with his family. The pessimists will say he failed and got lost deep in his subconsciousness, forever stuck in a dream world. I think what Nolan was trying to say is that it doesn't matter either way. That there are more realities than one and that Cobb finally reconciled with his guilt. In doing so, he is no longer grounded to his linear view of real life vs. dream world and accepts the reality as is, a dynamic, ever changing concept not meant for us to tame.

Inception received numerous bad reviews with everyone eager to pitch in their two cents. Inception is a complex film with multiple plots, subplots and twist hidden amids numerous fast paced action sequences. The complex nature of the plot demands an intelligent viewer who's able to stay focused throughout the film. Either way it's not a film that will leave you feeling neutral. If you do decide to see it, watch out for the scene with the paper windmill. A true teary eye moment!

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Today I covet...

This Little Woodland Critter. An adorable polymer clay bead designed by the talented Rebekah Payne from the Three Wings Studio. It's amazing what some people can create with polymer clay. I'm thinking of buying one of these oh so cute sleeping animals and use it as a focal for an autumn inspired bracelet.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Precious things/6 Modern love letters

This red envelope holds a transcript of all the SMS messages Mr. C sent me when we first started seeing each other. Yes they are both cute and corny and sometimes ridiculously over the top.
But each one of them is a little piece of history. I look back on what was written and the words make me smile.

The purpose of this post series is to show you some of the things that surround me. This isn't about bragging in the sense of: look how many pretty expensive things I have. All of these items are important to me out of various reasons. What they all have in common is that they have come to define me and my life in some significant way. In the end it's all about the story. And I love a good story.

Monday, June 6, 2011

DIY and leftovers/ 6 A decorative flower

Today I'm going to show you how to make a decorative flower that can be used for a number of things: wrapping a present, as an accessory be it a brooch or a hair pin or even as a simple decoration for your home.

You'll need some organza, mine was a remnant piece of 50x50 cm rectangle and some tulle, a rectangle of 20x20 cm; some string and a bead.

Cut the tulle and organza in rectangles, it doesn't have to be perfect. Just make sure that all the pieces are roughly the same size.

Then start placing your rectangles in a clockwise direction:

After you've arranged all the pieces, place your bead in the middle.

Here comes the tricky part: Fold the flower in half and grab hold of the bead through the layers.

Hold the bead firmly and manipulate all the layers of tulle and organza until the edges are all facing away from the bead.

Give it a little twist and tie it firmly with the string.

Now position your flower on a straight surface and begin pulling layers apart. Imagine you're pulling petals of a rose apart, trying to get the blossom to open.

At this point I take my scissors and give the flower a little trim. I decided to go all out and attach faux pearls with a hot glue gun.

And there you have it, a perfectly kitschy fabric flower. I plan to make lots of these in green and red and use them for Christmas presents or decorating the tree.

Saturday, June 4, 2011

Road trip: Trieste and Lipica

Yesterday Mr. C took a day off and we decided to go on an excursion. The weather was what I can only describe as moody: raining one minute and the sun blazing the next. But since we never let the weather get in the way of our plans, we were adamant to go out and have a great time. We considered a lot of options but finally settled on Trieste. Trieste is just on the other side of the border and with the highway covering most of the route, we arrived in less than an hour and a half.

Trieste used to be part of Slovenian territory before WWII, so we expected to see a lot of Slovenes as well as tourists. I've never been to Trieste before, but I listened to countless stories from friends who pop over on a monthly basis, that this is a vibrant and exhilarating metropolis filled with countless prospects of shopping and partying.

The reality was a lot less glamorous and I was very disappointed. Frankly, the city was dirty and smelly with cars and motorbikes parked all over. There were no parks or any kind of greenery anywhere. And worst of all, the city was flooded with cheap Chinese shops selling the most appalling merchandise.

We sat down for coffee and Aperol Spritz, a cocktail that's all the rage now. It's made with Campari and it's quite refreshing.

Cutting our trip to Trieste very short, we decided to visit Lipica. Lipica is a stud farm where the world renown white Lipizzaner horses are bred. The contrast between Trieste and Lipica couldn't possibly be wider.

The entrance to the stud farm with a golf course in the distance
The grounds were well kept and immaculately clean. On our tour we saw many different trees and flower beds of roses, lavender and herbs worthy of a botanic garden.

The linden tree or lipa as we call it, is the Slovene national tree. It is very common in the Karst area and even gave the name to the Lipica stud farm and the Lipizzaner horse.

Linden tree

Silver linden
We were lucky and saw the mares just as they were returning from pasture.

Such gentle and mild creatures. It was truly wonderful to be able to get this close to them and even run my hands through their smooth white coat.

Male foals remain with the females until they are sexually mature, which is around the time they reach the age of one year.

But they are still too young to begin training. Lipizzaners are world renowned for their high dressage training which includes a number of difficult and strenuous jumps and steps. It takes up to eight years to train a Lipizzaner in this spectacular and mesmerizing form of art.

Lipizzaners are actually born black and they gradually loose their pigment and become white. The process takes about 4 to 5 years. One in about a hundred how ever doesn't loose pigment and remains black.

The stable reserved for the most highly decorated studs

Maestoso Steaka XIV

The stud farm even has a small flock of ponies. They are used to train young children in the art of dressage. At Lipica they believe that the proper age to begin training children is around 5 or 6!

We had lunch at the hotel in Lipica. More like a feast actually. A four course meal nobody, no matter how hungry, could eat. And it was delicious and absurdly cheap. The lunch and the guided tour of the farm costs a little over 17 € per person.

Gnocchi with Gorgonzola followed by stuffed squid and vegetable pie with a side dish of salad and a chocolate coconut pie for dessert. Yummy!