September 30, 2009

Bruges: Day 1

Day 1:
Arriving at the train station.
Brugge is the Flemish spelling.

Swans by the canal and the Beguinage.
I am amazed at how long their necks are! And, they can do the most outrageous moves with their necks.
This guy is just showing off.
At the Beguinage, the trees all seem to grow in one direction ~ towards the church.
And, they only sell one kind of mint:
Even though this nun is wearing shades, she too is looking towards the Beguinage.
I know what you're thinking, "So, Lydia, what's a beguinage?"

Basically it's a city within a city for the Beguines of the Roman Catholic Church. They are beautiful, quiet places.
We stopped in for a pint at an old brewery.
Founded by Henri Maes in 1856, Brouwerij De Halve Maan is the only brewery in Bruges' town center.
In my glass is Brugse Zot, or fool of Bruges. To learn why it's called that, click here.

That was nice and refreshing, but we still haven't seen the city center.
We ran by the Church of Our Lady.

Hurry! If we make it by 4:30, we can go to the top of the Belfry!
Shoot! Too late. Let's just walk across the Grote Markt (Grand Square) and find something to eat... After a proper Belgian meal, beer and coffee, we continued our walk. Taking pictures of whatever we pleased, because that's what we do.

A beautiful Bruges street, just before dusk.
A Baroque church, with, wait... Are those, hands? Yes! Yes! They are hands sticking out of a church! Crazy! I'd never seen anything like that before.

Taking pictures sure does make you thirsty.

What's this? A bar in the cellar of a church! Cool! By far, the best bar I've been to in Belgium, this is 't Poatersgat, or The Monk's Hole.
My favorite Belgian site, and today's special on ze bord:

Soon we were on our way, walking and taking photos.

I stopped on a bridge to take a picture. Then I turned around. Gorgeous.

Walking along, we heard choral music coming from another Baroque style church. So we walked inside. It was the most beautiful church I had ever seen.

Walking around Bruges at night...
Time to go home.

Today's Letter of the Day Is...


A few weekends ago we went to Bruges for the weekend. We had a great time and ended up spending the day in Brussels on the way back. It was so much fun, so beautiful and ancient. Well... medieval is more like it.

A few facts about Bruges before I begin:

Bruges is a medieval wonder as most of the architecture from this time is still intact, therefore the historic city center is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, an internationally noted place of cultural or physical significance.

It's pretty interesting stuff. Read more about it here, learn more about it here.

Bruges is located in west Belgium, but don't say that, say Flanders. Because it's a city built around a canal system, Bruges is often referred to as the "Venice of the North."

Some little known facts about Bruges:

  • Bruges had a lot of wealth during the Golden Era (12th to 15th centuries).
  • I love this quote from Lonely Planet, "When Philip the Fair, King of France, visited Bruges in 1301, his wife, Joanna of Navarre, was so surprised by the inhabitants' wealth and luxurious clothes that she purportedly claimed: 'I thought I alone was queen, but I see that I have 600 rivals here.'"
  • Bruges used to be a port city, and the major export were textiles.
  • Woollens, weavers and spinners were thought to be the best in the world in Bruges during the 12th to 15th centuries.
  • The first English book ever printed was published in Bruges.
I have lots of pictures...

I will post them all...


Did you happen to see this movie?

You might like it.


September 28, 2009

Your Time Will Come...

I just looked at my dashboard for Skirt Project and got very excited thinking I was about to publish my 500th post! Woo-hoo! Joy!

Then disbelief, seriously?

Let me get out my pen and paper.

481 published posts, 499 posts I've started, and 18 I have not published.

Alas I am only at 481, but still 481!

That's worth something right?

I think so, I will celebrate it anyway.

481 posts and my story snakes and winds. Look at all the places I've been, all that I've done ~

But it's what I haven't done that nags me more. (Like those 18 posts... and then some.)

I have about 100 pictures to share ~ pictures from Bruges, Brussels and Leuven. And I have 4 or 5 things I need to complete and share. It's a little daunting, seems like a big mountain to me.

I promise myself to come up with a solution today, maybe after I eat some cake...

September 27, 2009

Thing #33

Joy, illy tin can with tools and another find from Spit.

#33. List 100 uses for a tin can.

I need help with this one...
  1. Telephone - like when you were a kid
  2. Stilts - like Ramona Quimby
  3. Tool holder - pens, pencils, brushes. etc.
  4. Bird feeder
  5. Circle template
  6. Planters
  7. Bread baking tin
  8. Drum
  9. Shaker - made with beans
  10. A "hole" for putt-putt golf
  11. A gift container
  12. A bank
  13. Time Capsule
  14. Pin hole camera
  15. A place to shake glitter on things (use the lid)
  16. Building blocks for children
  17. Geometry, math assignment (find the radius, volume, surface, etc.)
  18. Rust collector
  19. Dust collector
  20. Secret stash container
  21. Candle holder, like a luminaria
  22. Art project I - make a robot
  23. Art project II - make a person
  24. Art project III - make an animal
  25. Sort of tripod for a camera
  26. Wish holder
  27. Make some pudding
  28. Kaleidoscope
  29. Diorama
  30. Megaphone
  31. Earphones
  32. Campfire pot
  33. Weight - fill it with sand
  34. Salt and Pepper shakers
  35. Drinking cup
  36. wheel
  37. Rolling pin
  38. Colander /sieve
  39. Sand pail
  40. Cookie cutter
  41. Reflector
  42. trash can
  43. Measuring device
  44. Definition of Pi - π
  45. tin can
  46. Kick the can
  47. hat
  48. cuff
  49. bracelet
  50. Target practice - with a BB or pellet gun.
  51. Sewing kit container
  52. Etching place
  53. Magnet holder
  54. Make a radio
  55. Spot light
  56. Fun lens for a camera
  57. Home for a bug or two
  58. Rodent trap
  59. Decoupage it
  60. Wrap colorful yarn or string around it
  61. Jewelry, like this lady makes...
  62. clock

Thing #79

79. Find a photo. Alter it by drawing over it.

I found this photo at the market. I knew I had pulled this idea from my little jar the other day, and needed a photo that would inspire me.

Isn't it sweet? According to Google translator, at the bottom in French, it says, "but I prefer my Lisette."

I colored over it with colored pencils. That counts as drawing, right?

I wanted to keep going, so I watercolored around it. I don't think it's finished, but I'll add more to it later.

The red heart is confetti from a wedding. I was chasing it all over the street in Leuven.

September 25, 2009


I'm in need of a few household items and wanted to check out Spit, the Goodwill of Leuven. Located in Haverlee, just outside the ring of Leuven, it's a short bike ride and borders a very beautiful forest.
Haverlee is Loverlee.

I thought I had taken more pictures than I did, but realize as I put this post up that there is not a shot of the interior or exterior of the building. Something very important for reviewing and documenting places. In addition to being a second hand store, it's also a social organization that helps low-income families find and furnish homes. Giving them a hand up, and not a hand out.

Here are some funky finds at Spit:
I think this is a compost tumbler. I liked it's primitive texture from the moment I spotted it. At first I thought it was something to make beer from... Maybe from a trappist abbey.

Record bowls:
(Don't they sell these at Urban Outfitters?)
Spit has lots and LOTS of record bowls, but I don't think I can scramble eggs in that...

Anyone need a sequenced kitty? There's a brown one available too!

How about a disco mirrored duck?
C'mon now! These were someone's precious items, or heinous gifts.

One thing Belgium does have a lot of are glasses.
Every beer that's brewed here has it's corresponding glass. It's very important. Don't serve a beer in the wrong glass.

Look at this pristine typewriter!
I don't think I could use this though, if you notice the keyboard is not the same as a North American one, or a Spanish one for that matter...

I consider the trip successful, I only spent 6,75€.

I won't show you all of my purchases, but these are the two I am most excited about.
Excuse the bad lighting, but I took these early in the morning before the sunlight streams in the kitchen. I even had to use a flash. (Cringe.) But I had to show off a few of my choice wares in use: new glass carafe, perfect for two people and my teeny tiny dorm sized fridge, and my glass juicer! Each was only 0,50€!

Fresh squeezed OJ put me in such a great mood this morning!

Yesterday I learned that there are Oranges à jus and oranges de table. Guess which ones these are? I also learned that 4 oranges = OJ for two.

September 24, 2009

What to Do With a Muesli Box?

A quick post here. My where does the time go?

I need storage here in my tiny place. But, I don't want to spend money, and this is all potentially stuff I will have to take back or give away later. So here is a quick solution.

Museli Magazine Box

You will need the following:
Scissors, cereal box, and optional bowl of cereal.

Whoops! Also forgot about these guys...
Also important: metal ruler and your favorite marking instrument.

Mark a diagonal line from a top corner of the box, to a mark about 10 cm from the top of the other corner, like so:
Make sense?

Do the same on the other side of the box, but make sure that your lines meet 10 cm below on the same side.

Still with me?

Carefully cut along your lines:
Instant magazine/storage box.
It's eco-friendly, colorful and a great way to enjoy local ephemera and design.

Incidentally, I made this dinner tonight.
It was delicious!

(I'm trying to learn Dutch.)
That's how you say "Do It Yourself."

100 things and thoughts...

I have lots to update and not enough hours in the day. I was looking for a link to Keri Smith's 100 things* and came across this article in It's about this blog which is one man's challenge for himself as he lives with just 100 things for one year. His year is up sometime in November. It's pretty interesting. It makes me think about all the things that I brought with me. It's funny to think about what you think you need, versus what you actually use. And the temptation to buy things is so great here! Namely because it's a comfort to me. ?

As my Euros slip through my fingertips, I am trying to be more conscious of what I spend. This news didn't help though.

It made me want to go shopping...
Maybe you've heard of the blog Obsessive Consumption? Kate Bingaman-Burt started this in 2002.

I have started a little place on this blog to share what I read with you. It changes from time to time, and I'll be adding more as time goes on.
It's just what I'm thinking about today. What are you thinking about?

*I've learned that it's not Keri Smith's 100 things, but Keri Smith's 100 ideas.

September 22, 2009

Things 13, 6 and How to...

I have four projects in the works for 100 things.

In this post, things #13 and 6. More to come... alas, there is always more to come.

Today's Thing:
#13. Draw a map of the creases on your hand, (knuckles, palm).

Start with the shape.

Then, focus, focus...

Draw what you see.
My friend drew her hand but also drew a diagram correlating a palm reading. She found her information here. I took the pictures this weekend, because a spider bit me while I was sleeping, right smack dab in the middle of my palm. A stigmata.

Yesterday's Thing:
#6. Glue an envelope into your journal. For one week collect items you find on the street.

How to Make an Envelope

Tools you will need:
scissors, some kind of adhesive and a folding tool.
I prefer Fiskars for scissors, Kolo adhesive tape (glue works fine too), and a bone folder (try a credit card or your finger.)

Find an interesting piece of paper. I thought this small map of Leuven would be interesting, and it is made of a heavy weight, like card stock.
Cut a rectangle, and fold in half.
Cut out a tiny part off the end, this is where you will slip items inside.
At the half mark, cut about 1/2" on either side. Then using a folding tool, fold a tiny selvage on either side.
Apply tape (or adhesive of your choice) to one half of the sides (2):
Next, use your folding tool to ensure that the sides stick together.
Finally, add strips of tape along the back so that it will be secure in your journal.


Items collected so far: (from top to bottom) a claim ticket of sorts, a teeny-tiny daisy, and a piece of red confetti. I'll post all the items on the 28th, next Monday.