Wednesday, September 29, 2010

The Wedding Photoshoot...

Jud, Kat and I were asked to join Petar and the wedding party at the photoshoot. We felt very honored. Petar is a professional photographer and asked his friend, also a professional photographer, to shoot the wedding party in an abandoned paper mill. 
Very interesting, I think, and very artistic. Jud followed the photographer around and took digital pictures at each scene. I know, I was a little mortified at first but no one seemed to mind. Things like this are a little easier in Croatia. It had been pouring rain but the show went on...

Here are Petar and Jelena in front of some graffiti, which translated roughly to, "You make me so happy."

Here are the beautiful couple in the same setting. Jelena had the most elegant dress!

Kat got carried away with some great graffiti and ran off with the camera...

Here they are again. Notice Jelena's great red shoes peaking out. 

This is the wedding party, which included the best man, Zoki, Petar's friend since kindergarten (and the kind person who transported us from Venice to Rijeka) and Tanya. She was a beautiful woman and lived in Dubar. Isn't that a "WOW" of a dress?

Even when it was raining, the light shone on our beautiful friends.

Jelena was getting pretty drippy by now but she was still smiling. If I could pick a work to describe her, I would say, "spirited."

This lovely couple, spunky, beautiful Jelena, and our kind, handsome Croatian son, Petar. 

So much in love!

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Jazz at the Tunnel...

There is a tunnel in downtown Rijeka where the young people go to see jazz at night. Jelena (the creature with half-blue face at the right side) and Petar (the shadow next to her) seem to be enjoying the music. 

Kat, Petar and Jelena say the group was excellent. 

Excellent and the setting very cool...and maybe a teeny bit eerie!

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Yes I Craft...

 (Silver Bella Sachet Spoiler)

I don't think anyone in my sachet swap comes to my blog so I think I can safely print these. I have had a lot of fun working on these. I owe a lot of thanks to Patty (Magpie's Nest) for helping me choose a new printer (we really needed one and this one if known for good graphics) and telling me about the greatest transfer paper, Leslie Riley's TAP. 

These are only in process. I brought supplies for each person with me in a plastic bag and worked on them in Prague. Nothing is sewn yet. I think I am going to do some bead embellishments but all my tiny seed beads flew together into one mess (in the divided case) and I can barely see them anyway!!!) 

These are done on damask napkins. One of my favorite things is dyeing cloth, especially damask that I get at estate sales. It is often very inexpensive, especially on the second day. The design shows up in the most incredible way (you cannot see on these pictures). I had tried many dyes but good old Rit does well. I also used a new Procion Dye on some. 

We were asked to tell the others things that we liked and we made them according to favorite colors and themes. The sachets will have real botanicals inside and mine will be rectangular with a ribbon on the top to hang on the door. The lace at the bottom will be sewn onto the front and back of the bottom seam. I will show you when I am all done.

This woman likes yellows, aquas and teals and she loves Jane Austin. I especially love the ribbon around the picture. It is very old and so pretty

This woman was difficult to plan for but I am pleased so far. She likes teal and collects odd things, such as shells. The graphic is an Art Nouveau underwater scene. I think I will rough up the lace on the bottom and hook a few shells to it. Mo mitered corners yet (if there ever will be!). The waves are giant ric rac. I dyed the lace at the bottom with the napkin. I think I may use a darker doily. I coffee dyed some doilies and do they ever smell good. I also put vanilla in the coffee. 

This woman loves pictures with an Asian theme. She also loves various shades of blue, including royal blue. I love the graphic. You may have to click on this to see it. The lace behind the picture has a beautiful Chinoiserie effect, as does the hankie. The pink ribbon is beautiful old think satin in perfect condition and the brown is velvet. I think I will dye the hankie when I get home. Any ideas for colors? The flower was dyed with the napkin to get the same color family.

This woman likes old photographs, children and anything but primary colors. I love the ribbon around the little girl. It looks even older than the first one! There is a piece of dotted swiss behind the portrait. The lace is very old. I took the flowers out of a flower girl headpiece.

I will have six or seven more to show you. I may do one for Teresa MacFayden who is the Grand Poobah of Silver Bella.

So, these are a little rough but I wanted you to see them in process. Thoughts and ideas are welcome. I am anxious to get home and work on them some more! They seemed like they would be so difficult to put together and so far, so good.

Ah, so good to be creating again! 

Friday, September 24, 2010

At Home In Croatia...

Ah, is is so good to be here. This is like "family time." This familly is so special to us because they are Petar's family.

We are in Croatia and are at Zrinka's home. Zrinka is the mother of Petar our exchange student. She is a delightful woman...the director of a puppet theater and an actress. The last time we were here, she won the equivalent of a Croatian Oscar. On Monday, she will be in a soap opera for the first time. 

This is the reason we are here...for the wedding of this handsome young man and his bride-to-be.  This is Petar, our Croatian "son", and his mother, Zrinka. Petar was our exchange student the year that he and Kat were both Seniors. We are so happy to see him again. We have been together three times since he lived with us. I love this young man very much!

Kat joined us in Croatia. This is Kat and Jelena, Petar's beautiful wife-to-be. She is perfect for him. Jelena is a third grade teacher and sings in a jazz/gospel group. They are terrific. We have one of their CD's now. They won a Croatian "Grammy" for their version of "Hallelujah." 

Here we have Roxy, Petar and Jelena's dog. We told them about "fur-babies" and how they were preparation for real babies ;-). Next to Kat is Sven and Ema. They are the children of Ana (Petar's sister) and her husband, Igor. We will get better pictures of them later, as they will both be in the wedding. We brought them a picture dictionary and a face-painting kit.

At the left of this picture is Igor, wife of Ana and father of Ema and Sven. We were also joined by Maria and Zlato. Zlato is Zrinka's brother.   
Zrinka (and Maria) fixed us a FEAST! They had been up since the early morning cooking. After hors d'oeuvres (cheeses and meats of great flavor),  we had a traditional Croatian dinner. Homemade chicken and pasta soup, followed by beef and mashed potatoes and parsnips. Then had another course of roast turkey and baked potatoes. We had lots of wine. The cherry wine was delicious. We also had a very good sweet Croatian wine and many wines similar to what we have in our country. There was a lot of toasting, "chin-chin" and "giveli"! Then we took a break from stuffing ourselves.
The food here is fantastic. Everything is fresh and nonprocessed.  

The kids had a good time with the face painting kit and painted on the best palette they could find...Jud's bald head! This is Jud, Ana and Ema. The kids are so cute, fun, and very well -behaved. The last time we saw Ana, she was pregnant with Sven!

After we had rested our very full stomachs, we had some fantastic dessert. Ana has a baking business. This is a picture of her wonderful chocolate torte! You can't see the delicious homemade cupcakes she made for us. Oh dear, I see a few slices left.
Beware of the Chocolate Monster!

Zrinka has some incredible art in her home. This was a wooden picture, given to her for thirty-five years in the Croatian National Theater. Kat took a final opportunity to ham it up a bit before we left for our hotel.

Then it happened...the Chocolate Monster came and ran away with the torte! We let him have it because he is so frightening...he even has fingers growing on his head! We certainly did not want to aggravate him!

Thus, a warm and loving meal with our favorite Croatian family came to an end. 

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

It is time to go...


It is time to say goodbye to Prague. We will miss your many architectural wonders (the Astronomical Clock)...

We will miss your delicious food (Suz savoring her final glass of Moak hot chocolate...pure chocolate bliss!)...

We will miss the tremendous beauty of your tiny houses and your immense churches...

We will miss the kindness of your people (Suz and our kind and helpful landlord, Kresimir)...

Goodbye from two people who love you (Jud and Suz at statue of Franz Kafka)...

Goodbye Prazsky, goodbye dear Prague (the Tyn Church through the stone window),
Goodbye for now...

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Highlights of Prague Castle...

In a hill above the city of Prague, lies one of the largest castle grounds in the world. There are beautiful gates covered with scrafitto as we approach the castle. This pattern is called the "Envelope Pattern" (easy!)

Many embassy buildings have their headquarters nearby. 

This is a picture of the President's home which is on the grounds. Lea told us that he really didn't live her but lived in a house located in the beautiful gardens.

We are going through the gates. The guards are very serious and don't move a whisker!

There are many, many buildings within the castle walls. One of them is the beautiful Gothic Church of the Virgin Mary covered with religious art...

...and, if we focus in just a wee bit, we can see that the architects had their carved their pictures in the building, too;-) They want to be sure no one forgot them!

Within the church is an exhibit which shows how the builders have preserved the walls of the original church (built in 882-82) right within the newer building. Amazing!

Ah! Many Mucha stained glass in the nave. The colors are incredible!

Even Mucha, though, wanted a bit of himself saved for posterity! You can see one of his Art Nouveau ladies in the middle of this picture. Look closely! 

Jud wants a funny picture taken of the himself and the guard...then...BAM! The guards pound their rifles to the platform, then point them up in the air. I was terrified. We were warned this would happen if we got too close to the guards! All of a sudden, two black Audi's roll by on the road to the left. It's the President of the Czech Republic! We are only several feet away!

Jud relaxes on the wall after his little scare and I take his picture for the final view of this beautiful site.

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Windows and Doors...Doors and Windows...

I love the windows and doors in Prague. Check this window. I admired it soon after we arrived, and found out later that the lion is a symbol of Prague. This appears to be on the window of someone's home. Note the lion crest to the left.

This one is very special, I think. The building is the Museum of Cubist Art. Cubism is carried out in each window at each level, though all the designs are different. Apparently all the details in the Museum follow Cubist principles, down to room size and furniture.

This is a fun aside at the Museum. If you look to the right, at the end of the first row, you will see a Black Madonna, encased in metal. There have been several Black Madonna's appearing throughout history. According to our tour guide, researchers began a serious study of her and were slightly chagrined to find out she got her black skin from being burned in a fire.

The frescos and carving of this magnificent door actually extend over the top of three doors...well, maybe two and a half! I know nothing about them and cannot find them in either of our guide books but they appear to be very old.

These are the doors to the different passageways through the winding streets of the neighborhoods of Old Town. The are extremely solid and built to stand the challenges of weather and time (and that is our excellent guide, Lea, standing in front of the door.)

This was once called the house of the five crowns (See the crowns above the window?) Someone who wanted to make some money, perhaps, bought it for an Italian restaurant. It is now known as 
Restaurante Le Cinque Corone!

OK. One final set of windows. Just some pretty little ones on some flats. Look how many different designs there are: different window designs, different designs under the windows, and different designs over the windows. I think this artist had a low tolerance for boredom (actually I think they are charming!)

Have a lovely Sunday. I will bring back more "treasures" soon. 

On The Adriatic...

We arrived in Rijeka about two hours ago and Jud is softly snoring next to me. Thank God our mattress is a little thicker than the last one! I loved our place in Prague but I think I will sleep a little better tonight!

Have you ever noticed how hotel rooms and houses are a little bit different in every country? It's the oddest little things. The beds are a little shorter, the chairs are a little narrower, the bath tub is tall and narrow has tiles around the sides and the shower head is on the side instead of the front! Kat's hide-a-bed is like nothing I have seen. It is leather and lovely...just very different!

We are on the third floor (which is just above the floor we entered) and our room overlooks the Adriatic Sea. As I am writing, the sea gulls are calling to me as the sun is setting and I can see two ships in the distance. I opened the door for a little air and I can smell the salt water. As I look down to the sea, I can see some steps where I could walk down into the water and go for a swim but that doesn't sound very attractive at sixty degrees! What I need is a glass of wine and a long sit on the balcony! 

We were picked up in Venice by Zoki, or Zora, Petar's best friend since kindergarten. I remember the stories of "wild and crazy Zoki" and was told by Petar that Zoki had been warned not to drive too fast or too recklessly. Petar assured me that they had both "grown up" and did not drive and party like they did in their younger days. I remember Kat and her cousin, Adam, singing as they walked up the hill to our vacation home during out last trip to Croatia eight years ago. It was usually at about six in the morning, after partying at the local bar with Petar,  Zoki and all of their friends. Then the two of them would sleeping the day away.

Zokie has grown up. He is taller and older and was so thoughtful to make this three hour trip to get us. He has always been a sweet man and was the person Petar sometimes called when he was a little bit homesick. 

Zoki drove beautifully (I didn't gasp once!) and took us to dinner at a restaurant along the road outside Opatia, the resort town of Rijeka. The food, incredible. I had pork stuffed with Italian ham and cheese with grilled eggplant, yellow peppers. tomatoes and zucchini (sliced very thinly and tasting freshly picked from the garden). The best part, though, was the olive oil and homemade bread. The oil was incredibly fruity and better than any I have ever tasted.

We saw about four people along the road, selling something they had sitting on tables. I thought they were perhaps selling apples. They turned out to be truffles! As in, the pig- sniffing kind! I hope we can buy some on the way home but I am not sure you can bring them into the country. 

Petar will arrive soon and Jud is arising. I can't wait to see him. They will be leaving to make the trip back to pick up Kat at the airport. It will be great to see her!

Until later...

Friday, September 17, 2010

They Dined On Champagne and Kisses... the Sarah Bernhardt...

(vintage illustration from Susan at  A  great blog!)

...then danced the night away on the streets of Prague!

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Rain Doesn't Stop Us!

Our area of town is known as Old Town and is full of labyrinthine streets (five roads often meet at one corner).  It is a perfect place to hire a guide. We found wonderful Lea through Accessible Prague (I have a pain disorder) and I was so happy to rent a scooter (not the motorcycle type!). I took to it right away because it drives just like the carts in Target! The weather has ranged from grey to drippy to mildly rainy but we are still a happy crew. See me in the lower left hand corner? 

Jud found this lovely piece of sculpture and took the time for a photo opportunity. See the sun on the top? I think it might be God's Chair. He sure looks young and happy, doesn't he?

So many of the doors have stone carvings above them. Can you imagine the time it would have taken to carve this? Add to this, the fact that they are centuries old. This sculpture has many angels and cherubs, some of them holding gold trumpets. The doors are huge and often carved. This one is quite typical, carved out of a beautiful dark wood.

This is the church of Jakuba, the Cathedral of St. James. As you walk into the church, you look up and see the Stations of the Cross, which are painted along the full length of the church. Amazing! Many of the statues are of Mary ( as opposed to Jesus) who is very much revered by Catholics. Crosses often have huge golden star bursts behind them, as does Jesus and other saints. However, according to our guide, Lea, Czechoslovakia is considered one of the most nonreligious countries in the world.

This is a better picture of Lea (pronounced like Princess Laia. I need these memory aids to help me!) She is lovely and just the age of Kat. I look a little the worse for wear but I don't care because no one knows me! Ah, the joys of travel!

I will check in again tomorrow with another episode of "The Reaneys go to Prague." We are having a great time, despite rain and dreary weather. Prague has quickly become one of my favorite cities.

And now for a nap!