Friday, August 31, 2012

Challenge of Travel: Romania

I do not know why, but I have always imagined Romania as being an incredibly mysterious and completely fascinating place.  It is a country with a long and sadly often war-wracked history, but despite its difficulties it is a country full of natural and cultural beauty.

To read a quick overview of Romania's history, you can go here:
http://www.facts-about.org.uk/history-and-events-timeline-romania.htm

Now to get a quick visual of some of the beauty Romania has to offer, courtesy of Flickr and their respective owners:


Romania 3 092

Romania

Romania

Alba-Iulia, Ighiel,2006 Romania 009

and this collage is just amazing!

Romania

As I looked around at all of the beauty in this country, I felt a little overwhelmed... what could I create as my tribute to such an incredible place?  I decided to use the almighty Google and try to discover if Romania had some secret jewelry techniques I could pick up on, or some commonly used motifs... anything.  What I finally found, that sent my mind working, was something that is sometimes called "Romanian macrame", but is more commonly known as Romanian point lace :).  Here is an example (not my own):

blog20080323a

I was reading this lovely blog I found (http://sunshinescreations.vintagethreads.com/) while looking up this type of lace making.  As I read, I realized that the base of this, was a crocheted cording (which, fortunately, the lovely Sunshine included a tutorial on her blog).  Now, I warn you, I learned to do a very basic crochet about a million years ago.  My mom taught me how to make granny squares, a knowledge which I had since forgotten.  But, this being a challenge, I decided to truly challenge myself. I wanted to make a wrap bracelet, using this fabulous method of crochet.  This required much patience on my part, which is one of the reason I didn't stick with it in the first place I think lol.  From her video and notes I was able to get started though! I started out practicing trying to use waxed Irish linen thread, which turned out beautifully, but was so difficult to use for me.  My hands ended up very sore after.

I ended up doing three little crochet wrap bracelets in the colors of the Romanian flag (blue, yellow, and red), they can be worn together or separate.  As aforementioned, my skills in crochet are a bit erm, lacking.  I got better as I went on, the first bracelet (red) has the most "wobbly-ness" and the last (yellow) has the least lol.  All in all, even with my goofs, I am very proud of these.  It took me quite a while to make these, but it felt wonderful when I finished each one :).  The yellow one's clasp attaches to this absolutely gorgeous bit of filigree work from Fallen Angel Brass that reminded me of the ornate lace designs and embroidery you will find in Romania's cultural dress.  Without further ado... my Romanian pride trio:

Travel Challenge: Romania

Travel Challenge: Romania

Travel Challenge: Romania


And if any of you are interested in learning, here is the link to Sunshine's wonderful tutorial :)
http://sunshinescreations.vintagethreads.com/2008/07/romanian-lace-tutorial-video.html

My little girls (6 and 4) love these bracelets and are begging for them in pink and light blue, I might just do them!

Other fun links to check out:

One of the ladies in their history I found fascinating:
http://lostinthemythsofhistory.blogspot.com/2011/10/princess-elisabeta-of-romania.html

Postcards of the Romanian royal family (historical), these are amazing!
http://postcardscollection.wordpress.com/tag/royal-family/

Romanian Culture in 101 Photos:
http://goeasteurope.about.com/od/romania/ss/romaniaculture.htm

And my personal favorite... Romanian fairy tales!
http://top-topics.thefullwiki.org/Romanian_fairy_tales

I hope you enjoyed this whirlwind taste of Romania with me :)  Thank you SO much to Erin for hosting this wonderful wonderful challenge!  Now onto other countries you go!  I tried to copy and paste the list but my blog decided not to cooperate, so here is a link to Erin's blog where you can find the list!

http://treasures-found.blogspot.com/

Happy Travels!  :)

~Jenn


44 comments:

  1. Those bracelets are such fun items. Can understand why the girls want their own. Have granddaughters who would agree completely!

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    1. Thank you so much, Marlene! :) I've had such fun!

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  2. Your bracelets were a great idea and look great together and with the filigree. Good on you for perseverance..I am sure you will be whizzing up more in no time! Thanks for showing me around Romania.
    jenni

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  3. Sweet little bracelets. I love the fact that you challenged yourself to try a new to you technique.

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    1. Thank you, Cece, I am proud of myself for trying. Now to perfect the technique ;)

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  4. I like your journey of experimentation! It all came out fine in the end! And thanks for the links, they look very interesting...

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  5. I love the bracelets you created. The colors of the flag are wonderful together and I love the focal.

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    1. Thank you!! I agree, those three colors are so vibrant together :)

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  6. your bracelets are beautiful.. great job.

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  7. Very cool that you researched a TECHNIQUE that is relevant to Romania!!! And, boy do I remember crocheting granny squares with my mom! It was the only stitch I could learn and I made an afghan from my mom's scrap yarn - every color of the rainbow (my goodness it was ugly!!) These bracelets are totally awesome and love how you incorporated the colors of the flag! Great job!

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    1. Ha! Patti, thank you so much, I hated those darned granny squares so much lol! Always gave me a headache ;). I think Romania is amazing and am so happy I was able to find a technique that came from there!

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  8. They turned out very cool! I can see why your girls would want some in their colors. I love that you found this technique and took the time to learn it to create something special for this challenge :)

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  9. Your bracelets are fabulous, I love how it includes a Romanian technique, in Romanian colours and with a filigree that also fits the theme!

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    1. Thank you! I had a wonderful time! It is an incredible country :)

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  10. Great background info and inspiration. Your bracelet turned out beautifully!

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  11. Wonderful info on a country and region that are not well known at all. Thanks for the links. Of course, I had to visit the fairytales link! What a great trio of bracelets. You have taken an ancient technique and given it a modern trendy look that anyone would be happy to wear. You have emphasized the combination of the old and the new and captured the colors of the old traditional garb. Well done!

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    1. Thank you so much, I feel privileged to be able to sit here and have all of this information at my fingertips. It felt so wonderful to be able to really dive into their culture and do something that has been a part of it for so long (even if I did it a bit badly LOL).

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  12. Oh what fun, I love how the filigree piece picks up on the complexity of the inspiration lace. I can clearly see why two little girls are wanting their own!

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  13. I've always thought of Romania as a romantic, rich, and fabulous place--but that's because I read too many paperback novels in my young adult years. Still I think it would be a great place to visit.

    Your inspiration piece is incredible. I love your modern take on this technique, with the bright colors and the filigree piece.

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    1. Thank you so much, Alice! I, too, read far too many novels ;).

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  14. Jenn, your post is filled with such beauty, and also honours the many fascinating aspects of Romania's difficult history. What a wonderful idea to link to those sites expert in different specialities!

    Bravo for teaching yourself that crochet variation, Jenn. I think your bracelet is the right combination of intricacy and texture. I loved the postcard link, also. Something about those serious long-ago faces is very wistful and sad, isn't it?

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    1. Thank you SO much! I really enjoyed this challenge! Doing the research just filled my mind in such a delicious way and then forcing myself to do something out of my comfort zone... felt pretty darn good in the end! :)

      I agree, the postcard link is amazing. Wistful is exactly the word I would use to describe them, I feel as if I am touching upon their history as I look at them. It's a humbling feeling.

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  15. Good job on the bracelets - crochet is one technique that totally eludes me. The clasp pulls everything together.

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  16. Those bracelets are cute.. I'll have to check out the tutorial... Whne I think of Romania I always think of Dracula... so my jewellery would probably have been red & balck with a sharks tooth hanging of it!

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    1. LOL! Dracula is a completely valid image to have ;). Thank you for the compliment and enjoy that tutorial!

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  17. Awesome bracelets! I love how you chose something so different from your normal stuff and tried it...really rising to the challenge! And thank you so much for taking us on your journey through Romania :)

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    1. Thank you, Holly! It was really hard, truly a challenge, but it felt really good to do. I had gotten a bit stuck in a rut and this really pulled me out of it and got my mind working again. And I have a new love for Romania!

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  18. What great bracelets! And I love how you challenged yourself and found a whole new skill set.

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    1. Thank you, Shaiha! It was a challenge and I am so excited to have done it!

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  19. Such a great tribute! I love that you chose to represent the flag. I am a fan of 'wonky' as that shows that a real hand made it! ;-) And I love the bit of the filigree. That has a romantic touch to it. Thank you for joining me on the journey around the world, Miss Jennifer! Enjoy the day. Erin

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    1. Oh Erin, thank you so much for this. You always help me think in new ways, discover new things, inspire me! I loved every minute, even the painful ones ;) And I am so glad someone likes "wonky" :D

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  20. Beautiful post! I really like your interpretation!

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  21. nice surprise to discover this blog! i think is an homage to my country, thanks for it! best regards from Iasi (Jassy - the old calligraphy)
    Anca ieseanca - ieseanca comes from Iasi :)

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