Friday, July 01, 2005

C'est bon!

I picked these up during my trip to Brussels:

Why is it that craft magazines in other languages are so cool? I will have to break out my English-French dictionary for these. When I was in Amsterdam there were a few publications that looked enticing but they were in Dutch and I don't have a dictionary. Many of the European magazines are published in multiple languages, and some, like Burda are in English. But here in the US we miss out on a lot of interesting looking magazines.

Fait Main (on the left) is a French magazine with sewing, knitting, and craft items. There are some patterns included for a few regular and plus-sized women's clothing and also children's and baby's clothing. I would really like to make the cardigan on the cover so I asked my friend's mother (who knits!) to help me translate the instructions. She helped me figure out a few of the words: wrong side, right side, rows, etc, but the instructions are very different from what I'm used to. They write out in words what to do and don't use the abbreviations like we do in US and UK patterns. This could be difficult.

The Burda publication in the middle is a special one for France and perhaps some other European countries, from what I can figure out. It's a 4-part series of sewing instruction. I bought issue #2 and haven't had any luck finding #1 since it was for sale earlier in the year. I may asked my friend in Brussels to pick up #3 and #4 but maybe not. It's all in French and may prove to be more difficult to understand than worth the effort to buy and ship them here.

The Marie Claire Idees is actually available in the US via subscription! But it's still in French. This magazine has a lot of wonderful crafty-type items in it with instructions in the back for all of them. That subscription is tempting...

I looked at and nearly bought a few other European sewing magazines, Diana Couture was one of them, but ultimately decided that Burda I get through subscription was still the best. And it's in English. The clothing in Diana was just ho-hum and I wasn't all that impressed by any of the other magazines either.

My lone sewing purchase outside of the magazines were five shanks of drawstring (cording). I have had a tough time finding drawstring in the US except through mail order (and even then it's a Canadian site!) and usually in only black or white. I like to use drawstring in the waistband of pull-on pants and in hoodies but perhaps drawstring is so scarce due to fear of toddlers choking on the strings. As we were walking back to the hotel, in our last hour of being in Brussels, I stumbled upon a sewing shop. Finally! And within a few hundred yards of my hotel! My husband graciously offered to go to the hotel by himself and pack up our things while I checked out the store. They had a small selection of notions, a few bolts of fabric and a selection of yarn and cross stitch supplies. Not much. The rest of the store was filled with RTW socks and accessories. I didn't see anything among the notions that I didn't already have or couldn't get easily in the US until I spied the drawstring. I scooped up a handful of colors, not caring what they cost. I was delighted when the 3 meter lengths each rang up at only 1 Euro each (about $1.20). Bargain!

Of course I couldn't leave Belgium without buying some chocolate. Neuhaus is the oldest and supposedly best Belgian chocolate. No, it's not all for me.

And our friends gave us regional cookies to take home. Yum.

The Jules' Finest really are fine.

Of course not much is regional these days. I looked up and found the Neuhaus website and they also sell their chocolate in a store in Union Square in San Francisco. Go figure. Ah, but it's much more fun to buy it in a shop in a Belgian "mall" from the 19th century

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