Sunday, March 23, 2014

Vrana Palace

Today was our first visit to Vrana Palace, which opened its gates to the public last summer. The park is beautiful even as early in spring as today, but it will be magnificent in early summer and autumn - so we'll come back soon. Hopefully the palace itself will be restored by then and open for viewing too. For our first visit we chose a guided tour - a charming young student from the University of Forestry told us about the history of the place, the various trees and plants, the architecture and landscape designs. Although the park is excellently marked and labeled, viewing the place with the help of a guide made it so much more alive and memorable. After the end of the tour we went around the park once again, trying to recognize and recall the names of the more interesting trees and plants.

The central plane-tree alley 

The lakes are still empty and the lilies are hibernating

The big rockery

The dog cemetery

The palace

Friday, March 21, 2014

Two Birthday Cards

When my major hobbies - knitting and cross stitching, are at a standstill, I seem to turn to miniatures - small crochet projects, beading and as of this year - cross stitch greeting cards. The stitching of a card usually takes two to three days, which in terms of time-consuming cross stitching translates into instant gratification. I think I'm hooked and all of my relatives and friends are "doomed" to receive a cross stitch greeting card from me :)))

Canvass: Aida 14
Floss: a mix of DMC, Ariadna and Rosace
Aperture cards:

Monday, March 17, 2014

Zeleznitza - Bistritza

After a fortnight of cold, rainy and even a couple of snowy days we finally had a warm weekend again. This time we decided to hike the well-trodden path between the villages of Zeleznitza and Bistritza on Vitosha. We've made that hike many times, catching a bus to one of the villages and then returning by bus to Sofia from the other village. The eternal problem with non-circular routes - how to return to the car :) Hubby was emphatic that walking the route twice - back and forth - was out of the question, so this time we went to Zeleznitza by car, walked the path to Bistritza and caught the bus there back to Zeleznitza. Turned out quite doable, the public transport connections between the two villages are pretty good.

The northern slopes of the mountain and the higher grounds are still covered with snow.

We walked the southern slopes, where the snow had already melted and the air was quite warm. However it was rather muddy :)

Lots of spring flowers along the path - hellebore:

Birch buds

Unknown to me super-cute purple flower:

Willow buds:

Saturday, March 15, 2014

Cracow Puzzle

The second Castorland puzzle we bought around New Year's eve - not quite my style - I prefer paintings to pictures, but still beautiful and interesting enough.

Puzzle: The Old Town, Cracow, Poland
Make: Castorland, 1000 pcs.
Time to assemble: 2 days

This one I assembled again by myself - the boys are keener on their tablet games and the girl is a busy bee. The tree and sky parts could have been a bit tedious, if I hadn't found that listening to an audio book and assembling the puzzle made for a perfect combination :)

Wednesday, March 12, 2014


My first lace triangular shawl ever! I was so excited choosing the pattern and then the yarn, having no experience with lace. In the end knitting it turned out so easy and pleasant that I'm ready for a second shawl :)

Pattern: Haruni by Emily Ross
Yarn: Alize Cashmira Fine, 450 m, 100 g exactly
Needle: 3.5 mm
Time to knit: 7 days

For the second part of the lace I applied slight beading with dark red beads. I inserted them in the course of knitting, using the crochet hook method and I improvised a small hook out of this resistor. The legs of the resistor are a bit too bendy, but I couldn't think of anything more suitable for a hook replacement, and I don't know of any real crochet hook that could pass through so small beads.

I had bought two skeins of Alize Cashmira Fine in this gorgeous scarlet red and I was really surprised that one skein was just enough to the last span of yarn. I knitted the shawl without any major modifications, with crochet bind off.

A very beautiful yet easy free pattern, excellently written. I would recommend it to anyone - beginner or experienced lace knitter.