Friday, April 28, 2017

6 Free Crochet Flower Patterns


We have a prolonged weekend in front of us and what better way to spend those free hours in the day than to crochet flowers.
These are free flower patterns I have made during the years - they are all easy and fast to make and quite eye-catching if I may say. Perfect for small projects like headbands, bobby pins, earrings and necklaces. Or maybe you can use to freshen up old clothes, pillows or blankets. Happy weekend!

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

6 Free Knitting & Crochet Shawl Patterns


Since that unexpected severe temperature drop that shook Europe last week, my mind has been wandering over to warm, woolly stuff shaped as cardigans, shawls and wraps and I took a leisurely stroll through ravelry's street and found these beautiful and free knitting and crochet patterns.

Choose your next project please.


Monday, April 24, 2017

Ruta Naujalyte - a Micro Crochet Artist

It was one of Ruta's heavenly birds that captured my attention and it opened the gates to Ruta's amazingly mind-blowing world of micro crochet. I invited her over for an interview, so let's find out more about this masterful designer.

Hello Ruta and welcome to the blog!
Please introduce yourself to my readers- who is Ruta privately and professionally?
I am a crochet loving caffeine junky. Sewing thread hoarder. Princess on a bead.

You earned your bachelor and master’s textiles degree at the Vilnius Art Academy, Faculty of Arts in Kaunas. Who was most influential in your work /inspiration and how did your artistic career develop through the years?

All of my teachers where and are very strong personalities, incredible artists. Of course, some of them had more influence, but I think it would be politically incorrect to exclude any of them:)
I am just glad to have studied in the period they were professors at the academy.

I've come to understand that you participated in the costume making for theater plays. What did that engagement require and what kind of costumes did you make?

Yes,  the theater is always in my life, even though I hate it. :) Just kidding. Although, even if I don't actively pursue work in the theater, somehow I end up there. Just finished one in Oslo where I was a scenographer.

Your micro crochet jewelry is dazzling, unique and extraordinary, made out of the thinnest sewing threads. How did sewing threads enter your life and enchant you?
My grandmother is a seamstress, her house was full of sewing threads and fabrics. It was natural. Later during my studies I remember I bought an old box at a flea market where I accidentally found a 0,75mm hook. And I was hooked.


Besides sewing threads that are your signature tool for telling your stories and expressing your world, what other materials do you enjoy using and incorporating in your pieces?
For me the most favorite place in the world is a hardware store, when I get to one I feel like a child in a candy store – I go nuts - I want to buy everything and implement in to my work. Of course I have some preferences, my number one favorite material, after sewing threads of course, is beads. But for now they are stored in large quantities under my bed waiting for their turn.     

Your portfolio looks like a wondrous, colorful storybook. As a motif, paradise birds seem to be your signature pieces. Can you please share the process of creating one? What does the birth of a bird look like? It looks like a lengthy process because your work is immaculate to perfection and extremely detailed.

There are a few stages: first of all I gather all my threads and I stare at them Oo. I decide on the type and figure out the gamma. I begin with the feather. Since crocheting is a long and sometimes meditating process, by the time I finish the feather I usually contemplate the rest of the bird.

Apart from birds, what other motifs do you like to work on?
I would like to work on many things. I always have tons of projects circling my mind but  given the limited amount of time we are given only few materialize. At the moment I'm obsessed with victorian sentimental mourning hair jewelry. What comes next – only my doctor knows :)

Your participation in exhibitions is extensive and admirable. What exhibition had the greatest impact and influence in your promotion as a micro crochet artist ?
I only recently started to actively participate as a crotchet artist, so it's kind of hard to pick one, but I think the honorable mention award I got from the Triple Parade exhibition   gave me a boast.

Can you describe an ordinary day working on your crochet pieces?
TV's on, 1th cup of coffee, squirrel turning the wheel making electricity for my TV. Nothings on. I prefer to dive strait into work while I'm drinking my first cup of coffee but it all depends on the light and the time of the year. For crocheting I usually need good lighting. In the summer I can work from early morning to late at night.

What part of the process is the most enjoyable? Is there a particular place where you like to work?
I would say manual labour – the actual crocheting – when I contemplate new ideas.

What do you do in your free time?
Drink coffee extensively and enjoy being lazy.

Your plans for the future? Any upcoming exhibitions?
I am opening my studio for Oslo Open festival this weekend. One of my birds is in France right now, another one in the Netherlands and soon it will be traveling to Ukraine. So my birds are pretty busy at the moment.

If you like Ruta's work, you can follow her on her  social media: WebIG FB.

Sunday, April 23, 2017

Things to Eat & Drink in Budapest


Another great way to get a better understanding of a nation is through its cuisine. Being geographically close, certain dishes have become popular throughout the Balkans, so in my country we also make goulash and chicken paprikash which are traditional Hungarian dishes, and we found out that we have in common several types of bread and sweets.
Hungarian cuisine has deep roots into Hungarian history. The importance of livestock and the nomadic lifestyle of the Hungarian people is reflected in the prominent use of meat in their dishes. In the period of the Renaissance spices and vegetables such as garlic, onion, ginger, saffron and nutmeg enter their cuisine. During the Ottoman rule, certain Turkish dishes are added, while during the Austro-Hungarian Empire, their cuisine is enriched with dishes and cooking methods borrowed from the Austrian one. In a word, Hungarian cuisine is a synthesis of ancient Asiatic components, mixed with German, Italian and Slavic elements. As such, it is a divine experience for every palate.
Goulash, the most popular comfort food, is attractively served in a bun and it contains chunks of beef, potatoes, and vegetables, plus plenty of paprika and spices.
Chicken paprikash, is chicken in a creamy paprika sauce and pasta.
Below you can see pork and chicken Hungarian fast food, as we were told, served in a bread  that resembles a tortilla. Hubs had the pork one, I opted for the chicken and they were mouth watering tasty! Note that one serving includes both pieces which is quite enough/even more than enough.


It is funny that they press it with an old-fashioned iron before serving it!
Langos, deep-fried flat bread with varieties of delicious toppings.

They have many delectable sweets and cakes, so you won't be disappointed whatever you choose. There was a spring festival taking place at the main square and in front of a sweets selling shop we saw a miles long line waiting to buy what Hungarians call a Kürtőskalács (also called a chimney cake - see the images above), and they come in two sizes, big and small. We couldn't wait for the big one which was actually sold there and bought such (small) cakes elsewhere where they filled them with ice cream and various toppings. Don't buy such - they were extremely expensive - 4 times more than 1 big one.

Hungary has a variety of alcoholic beverages that are made exclusively in the country. For a small country, they sure love their alcohol with plenty of wines, beers, liqueurs and brandies that are unique to the country.

Their national pride is Palinka which is a fruit brandy and they have many good varieties of wines. We tried Dreher beer and Lovassy wine.

Friday, April 21, 2017

Things to See in Budapest


Phew! Writing a post while actual travelling is taking place is hard beyond words. Wherever we are, we usually start the day at about 9 in the morning - meaning we are already out and about, and we return in the early evening, exhausted and thoroughly worn out. However, I tend to let go of sharing stories from our travels once we return home, because we get back to normal life, right into the hub and the freshness of impressions and the feeling of fulfillment and adventure is not as intense as right then and there, hence I'll do my best to share the highlights of this trip.

Accidentally while browsing the net for the city's most popular places I found out about the Budapest card which is amazing to have because you've got tons of free things to visit and discounts for tons more. The best of all - free transport in the municipal boundaries of Budapest which includes buses, trams, the metro (the underground) and the boats. We are talking national (public) transport, not the privately owned, though with the card you get discounts for many of those too. We chose the 72 hours card and we used it to the fullest. Highly recommend it.
We love learning more about the countries we visit, so paying a visit to the National Museum is a must for us. The Budapest National Museum is a fantastic one, with head spinning collections, relics and artifacts. We also added the History Museum on the list, which is  in the Buda Castle and while there, you can see the hospital in the cave,  Matthias Church and the Fisherman's Bastion as well. A bit further south, on the Buda side, you can go up the Gellert Hill and see the cave church, go up to the citadel and see their controversial Statute of Liberty.
On the Pest side is the St. Stephen Basilica, a basilica dedicated to the first king of Hungary, whose right hand is mummified and kept in the reliquary. The interior is quite impressive and noteworthy as it is decorated by famous artists and sculptors. An interesting fact is that it is 96 m tall and current building regulations stipulate that no other structure in Budapest can be taller than that.
In this picture you can see how the Basilica towers over the other buildings (look behind the Ferris Wheel)

Only the Parliament has the same height, which symbolizes the balance between the church and the state. The building of the Parliament is as if taken from a fairy tale  (as many of the buildings actually) with its decorative façade and we recommend visiting it at night too because it is illuminated and presents a fantastic view (as well as the whole promenade with the bridges). Then there is the Jewish Quarter and the famous (shopping) Vaci street, the Memento Park, Magrit Island, the spas.
We went to St. Lukacs Spa yesterday because the last two days there was a severe temperature drop and we even had sprinklings of snow, so we decided to spend the day somewhere inside and after museum visits we ended the day soaking in the bath for hours on end. It was divine. One important thing though - the entrance to this bath was free with the card, but do take your own towels and flip flops because they are going to charge you royally for them!
I hope I made this short and sweet. I have another post about what to never miss eating in Budapest coming soon!
Also you can see more pictures on my instagram account.

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

We Are in Budapest, Hungary!


We are waving to you from Budapest guys!

This is our fourth day and we have already seen lots of things. We have four days more to further explore the city and feel its heartbeat.  You know I love to share our travelling adventures here, but I promise this travelogue is not going to be overwhelming and tedious.
I'll try to make it short and sweet. Bye, bye for now!


Monday, April 17, 2017

Insta love: Mirdinara

Dinara Mirtalipova is a self-taught folklorist illustrator originating from Tashkent, Uzbekistan who now works and resides in snowy Ohio. Raised in Soviet Uzbek culture, Dinara inhabited folklore that is the solid foundation onto which she builds her charming illustrations and powerful folk images and patterns. All of them  being nurtured by folk tales and old-world charm.
Let her spells work on you on instagram and her site.