Monday, October 14, 2013

One trick pony..

Totes are the flavour of more than the month with shelleyberelli

I'd say they are the flavour of the year. So enjoyable to sew and so handy to use. 

I've had customers tell me they use them as book bags and market bags - no surprise there - but others find they are a perfect fit for their laptop (and they love the handles for ease of carrying) and others use them for their sheet music when they go to lessons. 

How would you use a shelleyberelli tote?

Saturday, July 6, 2013

shelleyberelli's totes ready ...

...for the next BrisStyle indie Market. 

Have you got the date in your diary? 13th July, in the newly refurbished Brisbane City Hall.
 More market maps, directions and details here.

In my last post I wrote I was hoping to have some totes made after busily sewing a few handfuls of purses - and I will not disappoint. It was quite a production line. 

Fabric selection, pattern cutting, pinning pieces and then, between *everything else* sewing many of my creations. 

I think there's a design there for everyone!

Friday, June 28, 2013

2013 BrisStyle deb..

It's been a quiet year on the BrisStyle market front for shelleyberelli, but that's all about to change with my market debut! And what a debut - the July 13th BrisStyle indie Market in the newly refurbished Brisbane City Hall.

I've been beavering away in the shelleyberelli sweatshop.

As you can see here, all variety of coin purses are making their way off the production line,

with my penchant for bright colours, 60s styling and up cycled fabrics definitely shining through.

I've also been shopping at the Woolloongabba Antique Centre, gathering new wee tables and plant stands for bag and purse displays with a difference. Once the paint dries I might do a practice-run-stall-set-up in my lounge and share progress shots here a bit later.

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

The last place I, ahem, Ghent to on my holidays

Kim and my trip to Ghent was almost over before it even began. I thought I'd seen enough snow to last me a lifetime when I was in Sweden. The weather had taken a pleasant turn for the better in the week I was in The Netherlands. 

After the mercury hovering around zero (and very much further below) in Jonkoping and Kiruna, a mid-teens temp was decidedly pleasant. I was watching a low creep across from the North East as I headed west into Bruge, then Brussels. And then it hit - snowing solidly for a night and a day. Luckily Kim's flight could land and I only nearly slipped over once on the walk to the station to pick her up at the end of that day. 

The station was noticeably absent of passengers and full of anxious, waiting friends. The arrivals/departures board was full of delayed and cancelled trains. It seemed one of the only lines running was the shuttle to the airport.

Kim eventually arrived and we were assured at the information window that most trains would run the following day - our plans were firming up nicely, with a day trip to Ghent on the cards - we bought our return tickets to save time the following morning.... although, walking away from the station we had that, what was to be a recurring doubt of, 'should we have done that?' (should we have got off at that station? should we have caught an earlier train? do you think this train is even heading back to Brussels or are we going the other direction?)

The snow flurries stopped through the night. We marvelled at the snow that had fallen, carpeting the ground and covering statues and buildings in what, to me, was picturesque and novel, spending most of my life in a sub-tropical city. Then, at the station we realised the shortcomings of this photogenic winter wonderland, with the majority of trains cancelled.

Our patience paid off, with our line to Ghent leaving only 45minutes later than expected, but the journey of about 30cm a minute was longer than expected (on a clear day, Ghent is only a half hour trip), but our speed increased a little out of Brussels and we made it to our destination about an hour later than expected.

Ghent rivalled Bruges in the photogenic stakes, especially in its snow-covered splendour. Bruges still pipped it at the post for my favourite Belgian destination due to the time I spent there, the adventures I had, and the lovely hotel (Oud Huis de Peellaert). 

After navigating the railway and then the bus/tram systems, we were deposited in the small town centre and were greeted by the imposing Het Gravensteen ('Castle of the Count'), built in 1180.

We loosely followed a fab street-by-street guide I had, looping around the town, ducking into shops, museums and buildings that took our fancy.

I imagine that the Vrijdagmarkt (below) would be quite spectacular on any day, but a snow covered square added to its beauty.

Our clockwise loop of the town bee-lined us towards The Belfort (below) and St Baafskatherdraal, as I'd climbed Bruges' belfry and got a wonderful sense of the town's layout. However, luck wasn't on our side with it closing just before we reached it. 

There was still plenty to see, including this incongruously shaped building that we could not determine its name or purpose - but a google on my return reports it to be a 'covered space for popular games'. More investigation reveals it resulted from the winning of a competition to invigorate a long neglected part of the city. 

St Baafskathedral and our icy friend.

Between the Belfort and St Baafskathedral was a long stretch of open ground. Generally a square that would have been filled with milling tourists, although on the day we visited it was being utilised by some daredevils on skis, with a retractable cable, ramp and filming crew to catch their jackass-style stunts, in between trams passing...

We also spent some of our time invading the privacy of the Ghent locals, tapping on the glass windows of their street-front rooms, befriending their cats.

Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Brussels in pictures

When visiting for work in the Netherlands I mentioned I was off to Belgium before heading home. More than once I was asked, "why?". True, I could have travelled a little further on the train and scoffed a couple of croissants in Paris, but it was one of the only countries in Western Europe I'd not visited when living in the UK.

The picturesque Bruges and Ghent were a must, but I must admit I was ambivalent about Brussels until I learnt about the Hotel Metropole. Accommodation AND a tourist 'must-see' with its own entry in the guidebook, being one of the 'oldest and grandest' in Brussels was my lure. Initially commission to be built in a pre-existing building by a wealthy brewing family in the late 1800s, no expense was spared creating this grand Art Nouveau hotel. 

I will admit it was a stunningly extravagant hotel, with sumptuous decor, but the staff were off-hand, unhelpful and it lacked an inviting atmosphere - it paled in comparison with the warm and elegant, Oud Huis de Peellaert I had just left in Bruges.

Luckily there was plenty to see in Brussels and, guidebook in hand I started my exploring in the lower town, not moving far from the sensory-overloading Grand Place (Grote Markt), once the medieval trading centre of Brussels. Gilded buildings line each side of the square and perseverance and an eagle eye had its rewards.

Le Renard was built in 1699 as the guild house for haberdashers and the details in the facade included cherubs  playing with haberdashery ribbons!

Hotel de Ville, the town hall of Brussels, was built in the 1400s. With more time I would have liked to have taken a tour to explore the tapestry rooms, to climb the belfry and poke around in the council chambers.  

Further around the square was Rue Charles Buls, featuring an 1899 gilded Art Nouveau plaque dedicated to the city from its appreciative artists. 

Maison du Roi

Le Roi d'Espagne

The streets leading off the square are named reflecting the trading centre it once was.

Rue au Beurre 

Leaving the Market I ventured passed The Falstaff, one of the Art Nouveau cafes dating from 1903.

Crossing Boulevard Anspach, which used to be the route of the River Senne, I looped around to Eglise St-Jean-Baptiste-au-Beguinage. A this baroque church once stood in the heart of a beguinage - the religious order of lay nuns, who 'opted for a secluded existence devoted to charitable deeds, but not bound by strict religious vows' on the death of their husbands. What wonderful ladies.

Galleries St-Hubert is notably the first covered shopping arcade in Europe, opened in 1847. It remains lined with cafes, a cinema, theatre and lots and lots of chocolate shops.

No visit to Brussels is complete without a trip to visit Mannekin Pis. This wee (ha ha) guy has been in place since the early 1600s, although, like the Little Mermaid in Copenhagen, he has been abducted a number of times. There are many rumours as to his background which include that he was the son of a duke from the 12th century, caught taking a leak against a tree, mid-battle, and was commemorated in bronze as a symbol of military courage.

He also receives outfits from visiting dignitaries, usual a miniature version of a national costume. However, he does own an Elvis and a Santa Suit.

Only two remnants of the city walls still stand in Brussels - this is the Tour Noire (The Black Tower), built in the 13th century.

The second, under restoration, can be found in the Upper Town,  

above the Dame de la Chappelle.

A deliciously tart (no pun intended) raspberry pastry and one of the best hot chocolates I've ever had in my life was at the original Le Pain Quotidien as I rested my weary bones on my afternoon wanderings.

Crossing the road took me to a beautiful garden, the Place du Petit Sablon, surrounded by statues of medieval guildsmen.

The Rue de la Regenceregent took me towards the old Art Nouveau department store, Old England, that is now the Musee des Instruments de Musique, 

and down through the Mont des Arts carillion clock  that includes figures from Belgian history that move on the hour.

Back-tracking, I looped back up to the Musees Royaux des Beaux-Arts de Belgique and the national library, with its impressive gardens and boulevards.

Place Royale Konings Plein, with the royal family in residence, was strangely desolate, 

as was the Parc de Bruxelles. I would love to return here in Spring or Summer to see the trees and gardens in their full splendour.

And back to where we started, the Grote Markt, with a turn in the weather.

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