Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Cheery, Cherry Signs of Spring

Vienna's cherry trees are bursting forth with pretty pink blossoms. Ahhh. These little flowers certainly do their part to make the world a better place. They never fail to make me smile. Cheers, cherries!

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

La Schachtula's Beautiful Bags from Mühlviertel Fabrics

One of the huts at Vienna's Freyung Easter Market is sure to catch your eye for the beautiful fabrics it features. Ulrike Eckerstorfer, her mother, Anna, and others at La Schachtula sew these traditional fabrics from Upper Austria into gorgeous handbags, towels, pillows, toys and other items. The quality of their sewing is superb.

Historically, Upper Austria's soil was of rather poor quality for growing many foods but was excellent for growing flax used to make linen. Farmers would make fabrics from the flax during the winter when there was little work to do in the fields. This Mühlviertel area of Upper Austria is known for its beautiful textiles but the mills producing them are closing rapidly. "Twenty years ago, there were twenty mills producing beautiful fabrics," said Ulrike. "Today there are three." It's hard to believe these gorgeous fabrics are in danger of extinction.

Some of La Schachtula's handbags from beautiful Mühlviertel damask linen:

Other traditional Austrian fabrics:

This is an historic Austrian pattern, here shown with combined colors to make children's bags. The dark blue fabric was traditionally used for workers' towels. I love the combination of colors.

If you'd like to contact Ulrike for more information or to purchase an item, see her website at:

If you'd like to go to the annual textile market in Upper Austria next July, see this link:

Patterns in a Construction Site

Now for something a bit different: the geometric patterns of a construction site in Vienna.

Monday, March 29, 2010

Something is Wrong with Blogger Today

Sorry, there seems to be something wrong with Blogger today; my photos are not appearing when I upload them. Others seem to be having the same problem. Please check back again tomorrow; perhaps the problem will be solved.

Hope you are having a good day/evening/night.

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Keukenhof: One of the World’s Most Beautiful Gardens

Keukenhof in Holland is truly one of the world’s most spectacularly beautiful gardens. As you walk beside millions of velvety, swaying tulips in thousands of colors in this magnificent setting, it easy to understand the centuries-old Dutch passion for this flower. The gardeners and designers at Keukenhof certainly know how to plant tulips and other flowering bulbs to show them at their best.

Thirty years ago, when I lived in The Netherlands, I would tell our visitors to come in mid-May in order to see Keukenhof and the vast rainbow fields of tulips at their peak. Today, the tulips and other bulb flowers are blooming earlier. We visited a couple of years ago at the end of April and, while Keukenhof was still spectacular, for most of the tulip fields around Haarlem the show was over for the year. Piles of cut flowers beside the rows were proof we were too late.

Check with Keukenhof about the timing, and if you ever have the chance to see this fabulous garden in bloom, do! It will lift your heart and fill you with awe.

Friday, March 26, 2010

A Single Tulip Field Near Keukenhof

Seeing the massive, colorful tulip fields in Holland—or even the pretty wild onion flowers growing in my yard (when I lived in a house with a yard) or a small bunch of daffodils blooming around my mailbox (when I had a mailbox in a yard)—fills me with a sense of exuberance and inspiration that makes me feel so grateful to be alive...and grateful that I’ve got a reminder to be grateful. Here is just one small field outside of the famous Keukenhof Gardens, not far from Amsterdam. More on Keukenhof tomorrow.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Parrot Tulips in the Morning Sky

What’s not to love about the swirly, curly colors and the frilly, feathered edges of parrot tulips? I thought this pastel bouquet looked lovely against the soft blue of the morning sky.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Eggs, Eggs and More Eggs: Vienna’s Freyung Easter Market

Vienna’s Freyung Easter Market has a few eggs for sale. There are plaid eggs, polka dotted eggs, striped eggs, pastel eggs, glittered eggs, pearl eggs, flowered eggs, faces eggs, musical note eggs, Mozart eggs, globe eggs, lamb eggs, rabbit eggs, chick eggs, lace eggs, cross stitch eggs, folk art eggs, abstract eggs, wooden eggs, stone eggs, Vienna landmarks eggs...need I continue? Just about any pattern, design or color you want is waiting for you on an egg right here.

Remember, you can click on a photo to enlarge it.