Monday, February 17, 2014

A Few Days in Prague

In January my partner and I took a train into Prague to explore for a few days.  While the focus of our trip was primarily sightseeing, the idea of finding Czech glass beads was ever-present in my mind as we watched open fields, small villages, larger towns, wooded hills and narrow river valleys roll by.  Thankfully, Tim is no stranger to bead shops, bead shows, garage sales or junk shops where I search out makings for jewelry.  On more than one occasion, it has been his discerning eye that found something which became a treasure to me.  I often joke he is my quality control - he willingly looks for the best strand while I continue to peruse.   Even so, we did not look for beads until our last day in Prague.  We did not plan far enough ahead to make it to the factories where the beads are made or where one can buy in large quantities.  Instead, with the help of the front desk staff at our hotel and the internet, as well as by chance, we found some shops and market stalls that sell beads.  The first was a boutique shop that sells finished jewelry and individual beads.  While I wanted to buy EVERYTHING in this store, I limited myself to a large handful of lamp work glass.

The link to the artist's website is here.  I have no connection to the artist, Alena Chladkova;  I simply loved her work and hope to integrate these beads into jewelry pieces.  I also think it's important to give credit to artists whenever possible. 

Additionally, we found a shop that is authentically Czech in that all of their products are made by artisans in the Czech Republic - ceramics, soaps, lotions, wooden toys, dolls, candles, ornaments, jewelry, etc.  I did not know going in that I would find glass bead mixes too!  Pink, red, blue, green, brown, white and clear, green and yellow, purple - in  huge glass bowls, each with a wooden scoop for filling baggies with glistening gems of glass.  I had found treasure!  I may have let out a little squeal of delight because Tim glanced my way and then quickly disappeared into the nook with ceramics.  Here are some photos of what I brought home:


Again, I have no connection to this store or website.  I'm just passing along where their products can be found, and it's here.

This post is about beads, but the city of Prague itself was stunning.  We found ourselves in awe of the beautiful buildings and bridges, the jazz musicians in Old Town Square, the many churches, the red-tiled roofs aplenty, the friendly people, the excellent food and the history.  I will write again about our visit to Prague, but next time it will be about the sights.  Meanwhile, here is a photo Tim took of St. Vitus Cathedral and Charles Bridge at sunset.  What a romantic setting!  Who knew there would be a gondola too?


Saturday, February 8, 2014

The First Post

I am beginning this blog today of all days because at midnight tonight, Lori Anderson, author of the blog Pretty Things will be posting a sign up to join her 8th annual Bead Soup Blog Party.  (You may click on the gadget below my profile to link to her blog.)  In years past, I have spent countless hours ogling the bead soups and jewelry creations of the many artists who have taken part.  I uttered lots of oohs and ahhs and said "wow, how creative!" over and over.  This year, I became determined to join in the fun and therefore spent a good chunk of my day setting up this blog in order to participate.  Tweaking to follow, I am sure.

My profile gives the basics, but the focus of this blog will be to write about what I find interesting, important and inspiring, things that I create and even more things that I appreciate.  I may post about an adventure past or present, the latest piece of jewelry I designed and put together, a craft project that I believe turned out well or a house for sale that I have fallen in love with that day.  The sky will be the proverbial limit I do hope, and keeping myself and any readers entertained will be my goal.   

Thanks for visiting and happy reading.  This first photo is a view from one of my favorite walks in Vienna, Austria.  It was taken mid-January of this year.