See You Later Alligator

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Not my usual picture of Utrecht or the Domtoren. This one’s a bit grey and gloomy, especially when you look at the Domtoren’s clock and see that it’s 12:30, as in midday. That’s about as bright as it got yesterday, though at least it didn’t rain.

This past weekend was the seemingly citywide Christmas market festival. Mariaplaats, Stadhuisplein, Neude, Janskerkhof, Twijnstraat and other locations were hosting a variety of festivities. I usually enjoy it, but it didn’t seem as fun this year. The Zelfgemaakte Markt at Mariaplaats was great, as always, but the Stadhuisplein was pretty empty, while Twijnstraat was bigger and busier than ever, to the point that it was too crowded. We got our traditional cup of gluhwein and headed away from the crowds to sit and enjoy the mulled wine by the canal.

Perhaps the grey weather and the not-quite-so-enjoyable Christmas markets were Utrecht’s way of making me feel a little less sad about leaving.

Yup. We’re moving on. It’s not really what we had expected or planned, but it is what’s happening. After eight years in Utrecht, we’re now moving to Italy. In one month exactly. Stressful, depressing, and by the way if you need any furniture, kitchen odds and ends, it’s all for sale and we still have to pack and get the pets’ passports and ahhhhhhhhhhh!!!!

We’re heading to Bologna next, where I plan on doing some more blogging. After all, I have a degree in art history with an emphasis on Italian Renaissance architecture, so if you think I did a lot of research on stuff here in Utrecht, you can imagine what I’ll be like there!

Still, I’ll miss Utrecht and the Domtoren and the Domtuin/Pandhof and the Spoetnikkijker. I certainly have plenty of photos of them all to remember them by, but it won’t be quite the same. But Bologna is a stunning city and I’m sure I’ll find some new favorite spots.

I certainly hope to do a little more blogging here, as there’s stuff I’ve yet to get around to posting about and a few things I want to see one last time or see before I leave. I’ll keep this blog up, too, as it still gets its fair share of visitors. And hopefully some of you will follow me virtually to Italy. Last time I was there I was using film and not a very good photographer. I can’t wait to improve on all of my grainy photos!

Ciao!

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More Goodies from the Zelfgemaakte Markt

Zelfgemaakte Markt
I’ve posted before about my love for the Zelfgemaakte Markt (Handmade Market), so I was thrilled that it was back in Utrecht this weekend. This time, it was in the Domplein, instead of its previous spot at Mariaplaats. It was also paired with a food festival of sorts, with one side of the square filled with food stalls selling food to eat then and there, as well as food to take home. Tempting, but I was there for the arts and crafts.
Zelfgemaakte Markt
I continue to be impressed with both the quality and the cost of the items in the market. Everything is appealing and made by lots of talented people and surprisingly affordable. Ceramics, t-shirts, prints, drawings, and so much more … I wanted just about everything! Way too often, you go to markets like this and there are only one or two stalls with things you’d actually be interested in looking at, much less buying. Here, everything is of interest!

I did a quick run through to see what was really catching my eye (and to see what I could afford, since I had limited cash and not everyone takes PIN). My mental list was getting pretty long! Then I saw the Toepas stall and had to stop.
Zelfgemaakte Markt
It was at the market around this time last year that I first saw the Toepas Creaties stall and the fantastic items she makes from reclamed/recycled items, including ad banners and, of course, wine bottles. We ended up buying a number of her wine bottle candle holders for Vino Veritas and they remain real eye catchers. I stopped at her booth to say hi, but also to get a look at the necklaces she has started making. I’d seen them on her Instagram account and wanted to see them myself. They were just as cute in person and I made my first purchase of the day, buying one of the fox pendants.

After chatting, as I was walking away, I heard someone go up to the booth and clearly say “Vino Veritas”. Whether customers or someone who had seen the candles in our window, it was great to hear someone recognize them and make the connection!
Zelfgemaakte Markt
Next up was a stop at IsaBella’s stall. As soon as I saw her flamingo print, I knew I had to have it. That said, I would have happily bought one of everything. I really like her style and the whimsical nature of her prints. The hot-air balloon print would also go nicely with the new sofa pillow covers I recently bought. And though it wasn’t intentional, I love that I caught her in much the same pose as the girl in her print!
Zelfgemaakte Markt
My final stop was at the booth of another artist, Julie. As well as a fondness for flamingos, I also have a thing for dodos. When I saw her “Je t’adore” illustration of a dodo, I couldn’t resist!

I really wanted one of the Domtoren silhouette prints by Lucas van Hapert, but funds were running low at that point. But hopefully the opportunity will arise again. I picked up his business card as a reminder.
Zelfgemaakte Markt
It was a perfect day for the market, with the sun shining, and temperatures pleasantly warm. The square was filled with people, many of whom were clearly foreign tourists. On the plus side, yay, more people are learning about Utrecht! On the down side, it’s definitely getting more crowded and manoeuvring around all the tourists (who don’t want to move out of the way) is bringing back memories of New York.Zelfgemaakte Markt Hopefully, some of these tourists picked up a few items at the market to serve as lovely souvenirs. I’m certainly happy with the items I picked up! (The book was from a second-hand book shop and ended up being a story on its own. Not worth going into, but it seems I have an American laugh.)

Style and Inspiration at Zelfgemaakte Markt

Toepas Candles at Vino Veritas
I’ve written before about the fantastic Zelfgemaakte Markt (handmade market) held a few times each year in Utrecht at Mariaplaats. Every time I go, I discover something new that I fall in love with and I’m constantly impressed by the quality and talent on display.

Last year, I discovered the wonderful Studio Ellessi and her exceptional ink drawings of various spots in Utrecht, including the Domtoren and Café Orloff (both now in my collection).

This year, at the market in May, when I went to pick up the Orloff print, I noticed the work of Toepas Creaties. Among the items on display were vases and candle holders made from wine bottles. As we were weeks away from opening our wine bar, I couldn’t help but think their work may be perfect for us. Unfortunately, G wasn’t with me that day, so I held off on purchasing them, but when I told G about them, he was definitely interested. Fortunately, you can also find some of Toepas Creaties’ pieces as Spring Stores on Voorstraat. It’s a great concept store that gives smaller designers an affordable place to show and sell their wares. That’s where G had the chance to see the wine bottle candle holders in person and agreed that they’d be ideal for Vino Veritas.
Toepas Candles at Vino Veritas

We ended up getting in touch with Toepas through Instagram and recently placed our order. The wood bases are made from cast-off wood from a wood factory and the wine bottles are all recycled. I love how they have upcycled these materials into something fun and stylish. They also make bags, lamp shades and such from recycled banners. With the candles (although I forgot to take pictures), the diamond-shaped bases allow for the pieces to be put together in fun shapes, as well, so the potential for display options are extensive. They also come in different colours, so you can mix and match or go for all one colour.
Toepas Candles at Vino VeritasThey had some additional designs with them when they came to deliver the candle holders and we couldn’t resist getting a few for the front window. These are taller, round, wood bases, mimicking the bottle base, and they come in various heights.
Toepas Candles at Vino VeritasIf you’re interested in seeing the candles for yourself, come visit us at Vino Veritas. Or if you want to purchase some for yourself, visit Spring Stores, or come to the next edition of the Zelfgemaakte Markt, which is taking place this Saturday (30 August)! Seriously, go to the market if you can. You’re sure to find something that you’ll absolutely love.

Zelfgemaakte Markt Returns to Utrecht

DSC06666One of my favorite markets is back in town this Saturday and I highly recommend you check it out if you’re in Utrecht. The Zelfgemaakte Markt (handmade market) usually splits its time between Utrecht and Den Bosch, but will be popping up at Mariaplaats a few times this summer, although this is the last opportunity before August.

The market has some truly beautiful, stylish items and usually at surprisingly affordable prices. I saw some pieces by Toepas at the last market that I’m particularly interested in for the wine bar, so I’m hoping they return.

The last two times I’ve gone, I’ve ended up buying prints from Studio Ellessi. I bought a print of the Domtoren at the Christmas Zelfgemaakte Markt last year. It was love at first sight. I’d also fallen for her print of the Orloff café (located at Donkere Gard), but didn’t have enough money on me at the time to get it too. So when the market returned last month, I was hoping she’d be back and have the print. I was in luck! DSC06663I still need to get a frame for it (and for some of my photos I’ve had printed), but I have a spot all picked out for the Orloff print. She also does drawings of interiors and I’m hoping to be able to get one done of Vino Veritas at some point in the future. orloffSo, if you’re looking for things to do in Utrecht this Saturday, go to the Zelfgemaakte Markt. It’s a fantastic display of some truly talented people and its in a beautiful setting. Utrecht at it’s finest! And then come to Bilstraat and visit us at Vino Veritas and tell me what you bought. 😉

Caturday: The Dog Edition

bullThe Zelfgemaakte Markt was back at Mariaplaats today and I was hoping to pick up another print by Studio Ellessi, so I found myself walking down Zadelstraat. That means two things: Domtorentje chocolates from Theo Blom and the bulldog(s) of De Koperen Bel.

As I approached the shop, I was worried, because I didn’t see any dogs in the usual chairs. But then, lo and behold, there were two squat legs and a white tush staring up at me (yes, it turned out I approached him from behind). When I got to the front end, I knew I’d have to take a quick picture. Sadly, I should have used my proper camera instead of the phone to get a few closer shots. His tongue was sticking out on the left, adding to the whole look of wanton abandon. Fortunately, Nico Arkesteijn, a fantastic photographer here in town got another shot of the dog in the same position, just from a different angle. Go check out the photo and then check out more of Nico’s photos and/or follow him on Twitter. He gets some really wonderful photos of Utrecht.

The title of this post was a bit tongue-in-cheek, but before ceiling cat comes down and smites me, I should probably throw in at least one cat photo, just to be on the safe side. I only saw one cat while I was out today and he zoomed past me before I could even think of taking a photo, so I’ll leave you with a photo of Lola sunning herself in the front window, distracted for a moment by the satellite basket she sees and sniffs daily.
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A Trip to the Handmade Market

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The winter market season is in full swing, it seems, with the Zelfgemaakte Markt (Handmade Market) today, the Christmas edition of the Streekmarkt tomorrow, and the Christmas market that runs from 19-22 December around the Ganzenmarkt/Stadhuis area next week. Lots of great stuff to be found for last-minute Christmas gifts (or for yourself).

The Zelfgemaakte Markt is held a few times each year, but I keep missing it, so I was determined to finally go today. I’m so glad I did! So many pretty/funny/cute/useful/gorgeous things for sale! I saw some decorative plates and bowls that I almost bought, but then I came across the Studio Ellessi stall and I knew that was where I’d be spending the small bit of cash I had with me.
Studio Ellessi
She does these wonderful line drawings of various Utrecht locations and I wish I’d had more money with me, because I was having a hard time making up my mind which print to get! In the end, I went with a view of the Domtoren along the Oudegracht/Vismarkt, since it’s a favourite view and also goes well with one of the vintage prints I’ve purchased recently. Along with the Paushuize print, I’ve now got a nice little collection of Utrecht prints to frame and hang somewhere.
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At some point, I’ll probably be ordering her print of Orloff at the Donkere Gaard, another favorite of mine. In fact, we walked past there today and I couldn’t help but stop to admire their Santa decoration.
Donkere Gaard KerstmisSantaSo the next time the Zelfgemaakte Markt is in town, definitely make a point of stopping by. There’s a fantastic mix of stuff and much of it is really affordable, on top of being well made. I was particularly impressed by the variety of items on offer, too, as sometimes it seems like the bulk of stuff is for children. There was plenty on hand for adults — of all maturity levels. There’s also food and drink for sale, including gevulde speculaas and cranberry gluhwein, and a few spots to sit and enjoy them there in the market.
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