August 12, 2013

Summer Vacation Swap

Are you wondering what this photo is all about?  Well, one of the groups to which I belong was having a finished item swap I just couldn't resist - the theme was Summer Vacation.  And the twist was that after partners were assigned, we revealed where our favorite vacation spot is or dream vacation spot would be.  Then we were to make a piece of finished jewelry for our partner based on their destination and find little gifts and/or treats to go along with it.

My partner was Lennis Carrier of Windbent.  If her name sounds familiar to you, it's because I LOVE her stuff.  Remember those little beach hut beads?  (Jog your memory here if you don't.)  Lennis made those.  She also made the little penguin bead here.  Suffice it to say, I'm a fan. 

Lennis said her dream vacation would be a trip to Germany.  I've never been to Germany, either, so I did a lot of research.  From what I could find, Germany appears to be a very modern country with very old roots.  The countryside is beautiful and you can have your pick of weather, depending on your location.  Germany has been called"the land of poets and thinkers" and has played a major part in the development of Western culture.  Some of the most well known classical composers were German, including Beethoven and Bach.  There's just a wealth of things to see and do there:  museums, zoos, castles, parks....  How to narrow that down?  Oh, are you still wondering about that first photo?  Well, hold on to that thought - we'll get there!

Lennis likes old things, so I decided I'd make her "vacation" center around that.  We'd start at the Imperial Baths of Trier, the ruins of a Roman public bath complex constructed in the fourth century AD.  Holy cow, people!  That's cool.  Yep, old naked Romans hung out here.  I think it's amazingly awesome (the fact that it still remains, not the naked Roman butts thing).  When I see places like this it makes me think of what it must have been like for the people who frequented the place.  What sort of lives did they lead?  Did they have families?  Were they happy?  What did the eat for meals?  How did they fill their days?  When they invent a time travel machine, I'm going back, folks.  I have no desire to know what the future holds, but I'd dearly love to peek in on our ancestors.

Imperial Baths of Trier in Germany

Ever wonder where Walt Disney came up with the design for Cinderella's castle?  The iconic castle we Americans picture when someone mentions the word castle?  That would be Neuschwanstein Castle.  Have a look:

Neuschwanstein Castle

Oh.  Em. Gee.  Now that's incredible.  Breathtakingly beautiful.  (Oh, and if you're wondering where I got these amazing photos, I found them at Wikipedia Commons and they are all public domain.)  Just makes you want to bring your suitcase and stay forever, doesn't it?

The Altes Museum and would also be on my Lennis' itinerary.  Sadly, the original museum was destroyed during WWII, but it has since been rebuilt.  The Altes is home to the Ancient Worlds: Greeks, Etruscans and Romans Exhibit, which sounds fantastic.  Here's a snippet:  " Right from the outset, the visitor's gaze is drawn towards the next rooms containing archaic temples and tomb monuments dating from the 6th century BCE, in the form of a 'Holy Way' that leads to the colossal kouros of Didyma, where the colourful 'Berlin Goddess' can also be seen looking the 'Sabouroff Head' straight in the eye."  See what I mean?  I would dearly love to be able to see that - I mean, I'm sure Lennis would love to see that!

And the Neues Museum is right next to the Altes - connected via a tunnel, if I read correctly.  Now, Lennis' dream vacation is Germany, but I've always wanted to go to Egypt.  Clear back to my childhood when I'd pore over the National Geographic magazines and dream of pyramids....  And the Neues Museum just happens to have an amazing collection of ancient Egyptian artifacts, including this iconic bust of Nefertiti:

By Nofretete_Neues_Museum.jpg: Xenon 77 derivative work: Smalljim (Nofretete_Neues_Museum.jpg) [CC-BY-SA-3.0 ( or GFDL (], via Wikimedia Commons

 I also think Lennis might like poking around in dusty old antique shops in Germany.  I spent some time doing a little "virtual" antiquing and came up with some fun gifts for her.

This button is from the Kingdom of Prussia, which existed from 1701-1918, and has a Kingdom of Prussia coat of arms on it.   I just love the crusty patina.  This next button is even better - you can tell it has spent some time underground because it's really crusty.  It is an Imperial German Navy button and comes from the period between 1871 and 1919.

I also picked up with picture postcard just because I thought it was cool. 

  I sure wish I could read it!

And for Lennis' finished jewelry piece, I chose to make a micro macrame bracelet based on a palette I made from an old photo I found when I was researching - a girl from the Black Forest and .  AHA, you say!  THERE'S the tie in for that first photo! Something about this picture spoke to me.  I used Paint Shop to pull a palette of softly muted, misty colors.

Black Forest lady circa 1900 with color palette

And then used those colors in this micro macrame bracelet.

I hope Lennis likes it.  I hope she likes everything, actually!  And I hope it will hold her until she actually gets to make a trip to see Germany for herself.


  1. Beautiful bracelet. Wonderful colors!

  2. The braclet is beautiful :) And if you want to have the postcard translated, I can give it a try. It is not the reading itself that is problematic, rather the little bit worn script.

    What is quite funny: At the address the job was also mentioned:

    An (to)
    Herrn (Mister) Erugen Kappert
    Hifszugsschaffner (very old job, not used in this term anymore, like a attendant/help train conductor)
    Waldstr. Nur.2

    At a first short glance it says that she arrived quite well in (for the details I woudl need more time)... "name" picked her up from the train station and whothey then greeted. From half past nine they were (and the next word would took me more time)

    They are three persons writing their greetings, two at the bottom next to each other and one at the side. Even if the first two are still in use, it means something like regards, affectionate regards... but like in most languages there is not a one to one traqslation for the regards at the end of a letter... something I always found someow strange and funny :)

    Viele Grüße...

    Seid herzlich gegrüßt...


    1. Thank you!!!! How appropriate that the postcard would be about a trip when I bought it for a travel/vacation swap :)

  3. I love the research you undertook for this challenge, the amount of care you have taken is fabulous. Love the nostalgic feel to the whole post right down to the interpretation of the postcard and the design of the cuff, such beautiful sentiment.

  4. I really enjoyed reading about your swap, and all the research you did for it - how creative!! I know your swap partner is in heaven. If they ever invent that time machine, give me a call - I'll go with you to the past (as long as we get to come back to where there are bathrooms, LOL).

    1. Wouldn't it be GREAT to get to do that? I'm definitely off to research the bathroom situation, though. LOL

  5. I enjoyed reading the whole research you did, everything is put so nicely together. To be honest I was attracted by the first photo, because I already new where it comes from :)I worked for a couple of seasons in Schwarzwald and it is realy very beautiful region and the people there realy preserve their culture. All kind of souvenirs reminiscnet of that hat and other traditional stuff could be found all over the place...and the cuisine is amazing. I recommend you post a picture of a Scwarzwaelder Kirschtorte as a finishing touch of your story.
    And at last but not least the bracelet is very beautiful, I like the way you extract the color scheme and combine the colors at the end :)
    Greetings from Bulgaria :)
    (One day I hope I'd read a story like this for Bulgaria too)

  6. A wonderful travel, I guesse : my husband is German and I discovered his country whith him everywhere.
    Many thoughts from south of France, between mountains and sea.


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