Girl Meets Bulgaria

Musings of an American expat in Bulgaria (with detours in Utah and Alaska)


Done with Winter

Surprise, surprise it’s snowing like mad again in Smolyan (and southern BG in general).

I am beginning to feel like a broken record with all these updates and complaints about the snow and crummy weather.

I’m finished with winter and am kindly asking it to take its leave.

It doesn’t help to hear from family and friends back home that Salt Lake City has had near zero snowfall this winter and the days are getting warm and spring-like.

Vince and I have plans to spend out first Valentines Day as a married couple shopping, dining, and watching a movie in Plovdiv. But we don’t want a repeat of our nightmare driving home from Sofia, so we may put our V-Day festivities on hold until the sun finally decides it wants to grace us with its presence–I am thinking sometime in March, probably right as I am flying out of Sofia!

As I write this the thick, heavy fog is obscuring everything more than a few feet from our living room window. Combine that with the huge snowflakes, and I almost feel as if I am trapped in a giant snow globe that someone has shaken up, with bits of ice swirling all around me.

It might be a lovely scene if it wasn’t one that I have experienced for nearly the last two months!

Keeping my spirits up these days is the thought of Baba Marta (Баба Марта) and my first martenitsa. I plan on making some to give to family and friends (an excuse to finally let out some creative energy). Martenitsi signify the coming of spring and, hopefully, the arrival of warmer weather.


Until then, I will be found wearing any number of my fuzzy socks, drinking what feels like my billionth cup of piping hot coffee, and gazing longingly out the windows for those first few glorious signs of spring.



I’ve Caught the Bug

…the fall crafting bug!

There’s just something about this time of year that makes me want to put on my best Martha Stewart act, shut myself up in a warm house and create something pretty or useful!

(I can’t wait until I can have my own studio/crafting space one day.)

Heaven knows I have enough supplies on hand f0r projects to last throughout winter, but of course I have my eye on some things that require a trip to the craft store and/or some online shopping.

Thanks to Pinterest I am able to “bookmark” ideas that I want to revisit. That website has definitely rekindled my love affair with a glue gun and acrylic paints (among other things)!

A few ideas at the top of my list:

*click photo to link to tutorial*

Earring display

Upcycled Tshirt Scarf

Ruffled Camera Strap

Zipper Bracelet

Recycled Light Bulb Vases (no link to source)

Ruffled Infinity Scarf

Giant Granny Square Blanket

And oh so many more!

I’m also a font addict these days! I love handwritten type fonts and can’t seem to stop downloading them! The memory on my laptop is starting to wish I would slow down. If you want to grab a bunch for yourself, check out a few of my favorite free-font websites: dafont and kevindandamanda. Amanda (of kevinandamanda) is one crafty lady and her blog is a must-see! The first three crafts above are actually hers!

I have had a lot of fun lately making new blog headers using lots of different fonts.

Lastly, I am itching to be elbow deep in floury dough and sweet batter. So many fun fall recipes out there.

Does autumn make you want to create? Have your eye on some fun projects?

Comment and let me know!



Recent Craftiness: Paper and Vinyl Wallet

As much as I’d like to make this a detailed post (maybe even a tutorial), I just don’t have it in me at 1:10 am!

But, I wanted to get these (rather poor-I apologize) pics up or I knew I’d never get around to it.

My friend A. and I have wanted to make these “long wallets” for ages and we finally got around to it this weekend. Man, are they HARD! The idea of using paper and vinyl sounded easy enough. Sewing the two together in a straight line, however, turned out to be a nightmare (don’t even get me started on putting the snaps on!).

This is my first one and I think it turned out ok. I love the houndstooth.






We got the idea from Etsy seller, Dear Sukie and her segment on Martha Stewart.

To be honest, the video, written instructions and supply list are pretty useless (maybe so people can’t duplicate the exact design and sell their own?). They don’t show even the most basic steps.

A. and I just learned from our mistakes and tweaked the design to fit what we wanted.

We have lots more paper and vinyl and we plan on making a few more, including some passport holders and other wallet styles. Hopefully our sewing skills improve with more practice!

I might put up a more detailed tutorial in the next few days for anyone that is interested ( if I find the time and motivation, that is).



Честита Баба Марта (Happy Baba Marta)!

Today is another one of those days where I really wish I were in Bulgaria.


Because it’s Grandma March Day (Baba Marta)!

The holiday, celebrated on March 1st, is usually marked by the gifting and wearing of Martenitsa.

Martenitsa are always red and white

For some reason I really dig this holiday. Maybe it’s the crafter in me.  A few weeks ago I bought some red and white yarn to make some Martenitsa. I especially wanted to make these:

The little dolls are known as Pizho (male) and Penda (female).

I’ll have to post some pics of my epic failure in making them. I did crochet some regular bracelets, however. I don’t really know what the rules are for making Martenitsa for yourself. From what I read you should never buy them for yourself but I can’t find anything about making them.

Martenitsa are typically worn until the end of March or until the wearer sees a stork or a budding tree. Then, you take off the Martenitsa and tie it to a tree. Vince says some people also put them under rocks.

What a colorful holiday!

I can’t wait to be in Bulgaria next year celebrating my first Baba Marta!




Christmas Crafts

Well, my lofty goal of making all my Christmas gifts this year didn’t go quite as planned.

I got caught up in making a massive amount of these instead:

Dishcloth galore!

I haven’t knitted in a couple of years, so it felt nice to get back into it. The pattern for these is called “Grandma’s Favorite Dishcloth,” and I got it from Ravelry, although it can be found all over the web as it’s probably the most popular dishcloth pattern.

I did give some away as gifts, but I still have tons leftover and lots of yarn to make more. Anybody want to put in an order? 😉

And now that I am in the knitting mood, I have a few things I’d like to make and have bought the yarn for one special project in particular… More on that in a future post.

In addition to the dish cloths, I also made a necklace for my friend E. (hope she doesn’t read this as I am a slacker and haven’t shipped it to her yet!):

Necklace for E.

She loves pearls, so I knotted some freshwater pearls, quartz crystal and silver spacers on silk cord. It was my first silk knotting project, and I think it turned out really well so I am excited to make more.

Hopefully I can take some better pictures when my new camera arrives, some of these didn’t turn out so well.

And finally…

For my office, I made some snowflake decorations:

Paper snowflake

Keaton posing with my handiwork

I didn’t get around to making a few things that I had originally planned to, but I’m pretty happy I finished anything!

I just love crafting! Can ya tell?


And just because I think it’s pretty, one more pic of the dish cloths:


Cougar Town necklace and other jewelry projects

I am finally getting around to posting my jewelry pics.

I made all this stuff ages ago, but I couldn’t find my camera at the time to take pictures.

I have made jewelry for years and I usually draw ideas from jewelry pieces I see on TV, movies, or in my day-to-day life. A few months ago I saw an episode of “Cougar Town” on TV. I instantly fell in love with the necklace that Courtney Cox’s character wears in nearly every episode (the long one with the little discs). I went online to try to find/buy it. Ha! Well, I found it alright, too bad it costs $3500!


As time went on, the necklace became more and more popular and now it’s easy to find knock-offs, especially on Etsy. Still, I wasn’t willing to pay the $75+ that people were charging for it, so I bought all the supplies (the little circles took me forever to find) and got to it. I also made the gold leaf necklace she wears and I’m thinking about making a replica of her turtle necklace. Basically what I am saying is that the show stinks, but seeing her jewelry alone makes it worth watching!

It was easy to make and so far, the gold-plating is holding up well. In addition to the 44″ circle necklace and the leaf necklace, I made a necklace with organic-shaped circles, two bracelets, and a pair of earrings.


Here is a not-so-flattering pic of me wearing the leaf and circle necklaces:


All together, I probably spent $20 on the supplies, and I still have lots left for future projects.

I even gave some supplies to my pal A. and she made the necklace too!

If you are interested in where I got the stuff needed to make the necklace, check out these Etsy shops (again, the gold discs were tricky to find, but with some work searching, it can be done!):

I have other pieces in the works, so I’ll post those soon as well.



Year-end Updates

Oh, December. I can’t believe you are already gone. Time flies.

I am not intentionally slacking on my blogging. I promise!

I actually have about 4 posts worth of stuff but most of it involves crafts that I have made for people for Christmas, so I don’t want to ruin the surprise by posting before gifting.  I have tons of time off in the next few weeks, so expect a few posts out of me.

Just a few updates:

  • Vince went to Plovdiv today and paid his tuition for his Masters (this will be his second). He also went to the agency that handles his Alaska work visa and applied for this summer. I am SO happy we have the ball rolling. I can almost taste the Lynx pizza and Estew (inside AK joke for my 2008 peeps).
  • I haven’t officially been hired by Princess yet, but I know the manager is asking around about me and I got an email saying there were reviewing my application. I applied for a Housekeeping Supervisor position, something totally new for me, but I am very excited to get some experience in that area of hotel operations (assuming I get the job, of course!).
  • I am lame and didn’t know that my personal days at work expire at the end of the month, so I get two extra days off for the holidays! I only work 3 days this week and two next week. Should give me plenty of time to finish up gifts, clean, and blog.


That’s about it.

Merry Christmas, everyone!