budapest / snowday / travels.

sipping coffee this afternoon and looking through my calendar. thinking and planning. i very easily filled all of my vacation days for this year with plans already. a week in greece in the summertime to camp on top of a wild mountain. a few extended weekends in the hungarian hills. to spain in may to revisit my old spanish stomping grounds: granada, malaga, karma guen. spain will never leave my heart alone. in the fall i plan to spend more time in vienna, more time in austria. a weekend in romania. i love just roaming around to visit friends and inevitably make strangers into friends along the way too. there is no time to go to canada this year. no money either. 

i told my family to come here instead. send my things in boxes i want to stay here. making life work here.

this is what i came up with when my coffee cup was finally empty and i was thinking about budapest and hungarian life:

hungary is in a perfect location. it sits on the line between east and west.. central europe they call it. austria and germany are within hitchhike distance away and from here the east is very near. 2 hours to romania. 2 hours to vienna. even this city, budapest, is a strange romantic city. its a little mysterious. graffiti tags everywhere, some good but most are really bad. its a strange composition with the stone lions and bridges that reach across the danube, castles and old palaces and forgotten synagogues really give this city a peculiar character. 

i read recently in an english event guide someone describe budapest as an italian roast coffee: it is bold, has a great aroma, tastes good but still leaves a sting in your mouth afterwards with its bitter aftertaste. 

apart from its history, this city is still one of the undiscovered treasures on the infamous eurotrip and im kind of glad. budapest is ours still. i like this a lot. its not long though, its still cheap to visit but you can feel the prices rising and the pressure to take the euro on instead of the forint. 

some even feel the need to spray-paint snowmen with their tag..

this snowman lives in front of our house
the joys of living on a pedestrian street


etsy update and a night around town.

last night i finally got my act together and listed three red heart brooches on etsy. i really need to spend more time crafting and sewing but it always gets pushed away since there is always something else to do around here.. you know that feeling? but i should really set some time in the evenings to sew around a little bit.

last night some friends and i went around kiraly utca (king street) to hang up posters for a valentines buddhist lecture  going on in a couple of weeks and just popping our heads into so many bars and cafes to see if they had an events board. i discovered so many cool places last night just around the corner from my house here! i am always impressed at the grungy underground scene in budapest. there is a really great creative feel to this neighbourhood and in the day time you would never guess there are bars around, all gated up with the iron shutters down but in the night, lights and beats pour out in the street with eccentric artist-type kids hanging around outside. we found a few really cool places to go back to, at some we couldnt resist hanging around for a beer to warm up before continuing the postering and flyering.

excuse the camera-phone quality of the photographs, but i think the grainyness is suitable to the ambiance of the bar, mumus (boogey man in english)...

a very old bicycle in our stairwell


thursday already / not yet!

i have a hard time coming to terms with the passing of time. sometimes it is just too quick and sometimes it is unbearably slow. i guiltlessly await friday from the start of monday morning. and then i panic when the end of the week comes along and i cant think of 4 productive things that ive done with myself. i realize that i need to discover the beauty on monday mornings.. but next week. because now i am basking in the loveliness of thursday, my favourite day of the week. not yet the weekend but still past mid-week. it is the perfect middle day to have one last chance to do something unique and memory-worth with this week. i just need to change my view. pick out what i find abhorring about mondays and turn it around. next week i will find something excellent and inspiring about monday morning, waking up early after a weekend of sleep-ins and pancake breakfasts (without maple syrup).

i finally put myself down on the sofa to sew some heart brooches which will be up in etsy tonight. promise promise. this time i tucked a little clove inside to give it that hint of spice which i love. there are three and i hope they can arrive in time for sweethearts day next month.


muffins for breakfast.

slowly i am buying things for our kitchen here. we survived with one pot for two months and finally we acquired another one from granny so that we can make tea and soup at the same time. its really revolutionized our cooking. so now i picked up a muffin tin yesterday night and i am hyped to make the first batch tonight for breakfast tomorrow.

any favourite muffin recipes? i found a simple oat and date one that looks promising but i have a freezer ( albeit a very small one) full of frozen cherries that id like the make a dent in.

i havent had any time to sit down and write or sew since being away for the weekend put me waaaaay out of my usual loop and i finally have a chance to catch up now. its incredible how quick time goes when you keep yourself busy.. it is already wednesday tomorrow. is it possible i have slept the last two days through my office work? it just seems like a blur of word documents, spreadsheets and some html codes i didnt understand.

i love this photograph from unruly things , i am excited for valentine's day already. just the thought of chocolates and cooking a special dinner makes me excited. and little holidays like this always sneak up way too quick on me that i never have time to plan anything special. but this year i will be prepared!

UPDATE: here are the tasty muffins...


weekend trip: vienna

the calm morning after

last night a friend offered two free spaces in her car to vienna for the weekend. i couldnt possibly think of a reason not to go. so here we go, off to vienna for two nights and a little break from the sometimes dreary, salty, and muddy wintery budapest. i dont doubt that vienna is the same in wintertime but we are looking forward to practicing our german with hopeless austrian accents, meeting some new friends and visiting the ludwig museum. its been almost two years since i was last in vienna, so i think there is some major art i need to catch up on. i have a hunch there will be an etsy update early next week. here are some photographs from the last time i found myself in this city

matisse - man with many pipes

old shoes in a mirror's reflection


starting to sew a little this and a little that.

i drew up these little instructions for a felt heart brooch for valentine's day that i came up with while watching a darling little film/documentary on love. if you haven't seen paper heart i definitely recommend it. i am certain you will laugh and learn a thing or two about love.

last night after work i took the metro down to the yarn shop i often visit just before it closed to pick up some nice felt and some brooch clips. i got talking with the owner there, who speaks very good english which is why i like to go there now, and he told me that they offer quilting classes upstairs. i though, cool! sign me up! he told me quite quickly that there is a 6-month waiting list to get into one of their classes. either quilting is excessively popular in budapest or their class space is too small. i put my name on the list anyway and we'll see if what happens in half year from now.

so i sewed up the first version of this little felt brooch. and this is what i came up with. i cringed as i really cut up a doily i brought from canada, just in case a cool project came up. it seems a little sacrilegious to cut doilies or lace but i only spent 50 cents on it at a christian benefit shop so i didnt feel so terribly bad.

for the sake of valentine's day!



putting these new rubber stamps through their first round.

stamp // stamp

the owl is so cool. i wish there were owls around here. maybe in the zoo.

new recipe night.

baked butternut squash gratin with tomatoes and pine nuts (which are already expensive and i wouldnt even know where to look to find them in budapest) so walnuts instead

since its still in the oven, its hard to say but it smells delicious. butternut squash doesn't often make it to my plate apart from thanksgiving but a toothless grannie was selling it by the half at the market this weekend, so squash it is for dinner tonight.

find the recipe here  at epicurious.com.

later: a completely satisfied belly.
and ella fitzgerald is the perfect dinner guest.


the other switzerland

i can never fight the glare at museums, especially for photography. it is very tricky. on top of trying to be as casual about it as possible since i didnt purchase a photo-ticket, sometimes the museum guards are still about it. today i went out for a walk to enjoy one of the seldom sunny and clear, albeit it a bit bitter, and went by the mai mano haz, the hungarian house of photography. i figured i would go in and see what new exhibits were up.

hans peter klauser's collection of documentary photographs of alpen rural life in the twentieth century. incredibly beautiful and genuinely provoking. there was another one i really liked, a scientist trying to photograph a giant man and so he was standing on a wooden stool. the guard was standing near it so i couldnt get a shot of it.

 i hope you see this one clear though because it is the most darling photograph of a swiss grandma embroidering. i like her round spectacles, her small scissors, and the potted plants on the sill. i find it romantic in that simple cottage life-style sort of way.


mail day today

i love coming home from work through a big wrought iron gate and peeking in my metal mail box to the left if there is even a letter, just one letter waiting for me that doesnt come from the bank or the tax office. today there was more than a letter, there were the stamps  i bought off of etsy a couple weeks ago. safely arrived from the us of a. they are lovely. rubber glued onto sanded pieces of wood. i just have to find an ink pad now, which won't be too hard when there is a stationary store underneath our apartment. it will be my first stop tomorrow morning.

my grandpa is a train engineer, well at least he used to be. now he just runs a train museum in saskatoon. i never really much paid attention to the rails until recently. now that i live in a city with a metro system, i ride it sometimes four times a day to get to and fro, to work and home from work. from one side of the danube to the other, just to see what buda is up to. maybe i am old fashion, or just lacking an engineer mind, but i am sincerely fascinated by this underground train and if it does not run on coal, then how does it get from deak ter to arpad hid to keleti? electricity? for the first time in maybe ever, mechanics and systems are sparking my interest. i think a very long distant phone call is in order to grandpa and grandma in probably snowy saskatchewan.


tuesday mornings

morning jackets and cotton nighties
natural sunlight in the morning with coffee in my tea cup. extra milk and satin sheets. silk soy. dreams that end in unicorn rides. a rainbow will do.
double bass in the background and melodic jazz notes floating up to the ceiling, staying there like helium balloons / bounce
knitting needles in my hair, long long hair and analogue everything.
jade plant casting shadows. shapes on my wall. i trace them with my pencil.
notions for the past and an open view for the future. one one two three four.

sipping in this moment, one sip, two. coffee / done /
niagara / missing days at frog pond farm

call display gives me away when i call old friends with skype. its really too bad. i almost had her, jen coorsh. but i cant fool her. even if there was no display, somehow she always knows.


saturday rain / sunday clouds

i went walking near the danube on saturday to re-appreciate the city and the river side. the boat bars are really something that i never noticed and they sit there docked for casual drinks waiting for the dining room to fill at dinner when they will embark for a dinner tour of budapest's bridges. romance but terribly over-priced.

sometimes i miss what is on the ground but i did manage to look down at the right moment, noticing this honeycomb grate in the pavement. another image to add to my collection.

trying to see more museums on weekends, this week's choice was the hungarian museum of trade and tourism. at the toy exhibition on the toy trade in budapest from the nineteenth c, there was an interesting collection of communist board games and toys that really we could laugh at but were serious brain-wash for kids... fulfill the plan, with flag, wheat, and scythe in hand.

upstairs was a large collection of socialist posters and ads dating from 1945 to 89. nice styles and drawings from a time when poster design was an actual art and it is really clear how many artists tried to go against the socialist formula for advertisement. a funny quote at the exhibition was that advertisement was a necessary evil against the socialist regime. an interesting education in hungarian print design and communist history that i never paid attention to in high school.

eat fish, the best mouthful!
buy fish from kozert shops!



so far stitching of the honeycombs i mentioned before. slow but goes definitely faster when watching back episodes of the big bang theory. the comb itself is simple but completely perfect. it is stable and strong and it is no wonder that bees chose it for their hives. i find it everywhere in design, textiles and architecture right now. maybe it has always been there but i am running into it all over budapest.

one could say this might be an ode to a single shape.


mardi soir

tired eyes and tired fingers. i think i can finally feel a slight titch of carpal tunnel setting in by the end of the day after slouching in an office chair and typing day after day. maybe its just my body telling me it is having a hard time readjusting to a work schedule and office life again.

in the mean time, the yarn shop at kalvin ter is finally open again after the holidays so i can get another skein to finish the wrap around cowl ive been working on and also im stitching some honeycombs on muslin for a small piece im working on, for the sake of arting and producing.

is it too late to make some new years resolutions? i am working on a short list...
listening to belle & sebastian


pierrot le fou // dimanche soir

pierrot le fou for evening entertainment tonight. whimsical and dangerous i love the thin line between story and reality that these characters walk. it is a nice contrast between childish games and serious murder crimes as mariane prances through forests with her stuffed puppy and holds the rifle steady and doesnt even flinch at the shot.

qu'est ce que je peux faire?
je'sais pas quoi faire.

after watching godard i always want to go into film, not in the camera film but behind the film and edit and write. i always want to learn french again. lines from his films find ways to linger in my mind for days afterwards. sometimes pure poetry other times pure absurdity.

the sign of a good film.

tomorrow work begins again, i am both excited and frustrated by this thought.