Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Celebrating Spanish Culture: 4 Festive Fiestas

Do you like to party? Because...we do! You can’t visit Spain without experiencing at least one Spanish fiesta! 

That’s right, the Spaniards definitely know how to throw a party! In fact, it’s quite likely that there’s a festival happening on either a local, regional or national level during each and every day of the year!

We’ve decided to give you the scoop on four of the most popular annual festivals in Spain.


In terms of extravagance and over-the-top fun, the Spanish Carnival atmosphere is only second to Brazil’s Rio de Janeiro. This celebration lasts for several days, so if you stop in for the festivities you are sure to experience parades, music, fun political parodies, and elaborate costumes.

via Flickr by Isidre Monreal
When: At the end of February, during the few days leading up to Lent.
Where: This is a National festival, although Cadiz and Tenerife are especially famous for their festivities.

San Fermin

Of course we can’t talk about Spanish festivals and not mention San Fermin. This is also known as Running with the Bulls and draws thousands of spectators and participants each year from all over the world. Every morning during the festival at 8AM sharp the world’s bravest, craziest and most daring run in front of a group of angry bulls.  The running only lasts about 30 minutes as the kick-start to the rest of the day’s partying.

via Flickr by Chris
When: Early July
Where: Pamplona, which is the capital city of Navarra

Festa Major de Gràcia

This week long festival held in the small community of Gràcia is a fun collaboration between attendees and locals. The residents of Gràcia work for many months prior to the festival to create beautiful handmade decorations that hang in the streets. Long tables are set up during the day for attendees to enjoy lunch and board games, while at night everyone enjoys outdoor concerts and lots of food!

via Flickr by Jaume Meneses
When: Approx. August 15th – 21st
Where: Barcelona

La Tomatina

While the origins of this festival are unknown, nobody really cares! This festival is just a great excuse to participate in what is perhaps the world’s largest, most fun, messiest food fight. There are no winners in this fight...it’s just a really fun chance to throw overripe tomatoes at friends, family and complete strangers!

via Flickr by Graham McLellan
When: 4th Wednesday in August
Where: Buñol, outside of Valencia

Friday, March 27, 2015

Weekly Market Round-Up: March 28th - 29th

Well, today is the last Friday of March...how is it almost April already?!

via Flickr by Guillaume Speurt

Here are our top picks for craft and farmers' markets happening this weekend:

Saturday, March 28th    

9AM-1PM, Fawkner Drive, Benalla, Victoria, Australia

11AM-3PM, Highfield Church Centre, Southampton, Hampshire, England

11AM-5PM, Creekside Community Recreation Centre, Vancouver, Canada

10AM-2PM, Nat Bailey Stadium, Vancouver, Canada

11AM-3PM, The d.@rt Centre, Southampton, Hampshire, England

via Flickr by Neeta Lind

Sunday, March 29th

10:30AM-4PM, Marshalls Row, Brighton, England

11AM-4PM, The Waverley Function Room, West Sussex, England

9AM-2PM, C.ex Coffs, Vernon St. in Coffs Harbour, NSW, Australia

11AM-5PM, Creekside Community Recreation Centre, Vancouver, Canada

9AM-4PM, Queen Street, Melbourne, Australia

10AM-4PM, Stable Yard, Hatfield House, Hatfield, England

via Flickr by Graeme Churchard

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Cute, Crafty Things: Macrame Bracelets (for Grown-Ups!)

A little bit artsy-chic, a little bit summer day camp - these adorable macrame bracelets have got us wanting to dig out some knotting cords and get to work!

Photo by HonestlyWTF.

Erica over at HonestlyWTF has created these gorgeous grown-up versions of our most favourite nostalgic summer-time activity. Her DIY tutorial is complete with step-by-step photos and links to some of her favourite materials for this project.

Click here for the complete tutorial.

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Fun Food Creations: Jacon Mecier Puts Food All Over Celebrity Faces

We're always on the lookout for intriguing food creations...and boy do we have some good ones for you today!

Jason Mecier is a clever (and rather cheeky) mosaic portrait artist that likes to play with his food...and faces - specifically the faces of celebrities. Whether it's Rachael Ray or Barack Obama, Mecier thinks up clever ways to depict the faces of celebrities and pop icons. As his biography says:
"While his artwork may fool the eye, there's no fooling about his artwork - no gimmicks...no trick shots...no studio touch ups. They are one of a kind hand-crafted mosaics Mecier has created with painstaking care."
While his food portraits caught our eye, Mecier also works with junk, candy, beans, yarn and other miscellaneous objects. Definitely check out his gallery to view his impressive collection of works.

Drumroll please! Here are a few of our favourite food masterpieces:

Kevin Bacon (made out of bacon!)

Barack ObaMEAT

Rachael Ray

Jerry Seinfeld (made out of breakfast cereal)

All photos by Jason Mecier.

Monday, March 23, 2015

Cute, Crafty Things: A Floral Twist on the Classic Easter Egg

Guilty! With Easter just around the corner, it's simply far too tempting to ogle cute bunny crafts and secretly stash away delicious chocolate eggs to munch on later.  The Robin Street Market desktop is practically overflowing with Easter-inspired projects!

Photo by Honestly YUM
But today, instead of an adorable bunny, you get gorgeous découpage eggs! Honestly, these have got to be the classiest DIY eggs we've ever seen. And they're easy...so very, very easy.

Honestly YUM has put together a fantastic tutorial, complete with step-by-step photos and links to vintage botanical images. We can just imagine these incorporated in a brunch centrepiece, or sitting atop a little side-table...

What do you think? We'd love to hear from you in the comments below!

Shopping in Spain: 3 Stellar Markets to Visit

There’s no better way to soak up the local culture and cuisine than by visiting the best markets that a city has to offer. Lucky for us, our Country of The Month, Spain, has so many markets to choose from – flea, food, flowers, antiques, books...the list goes on and on.

via Flickr by Marika Bortolami

It was a tricky task, but we’ve managed to narrow down our choices to a list of three “must-see” markets. Here they are!:

Mercado de San Miguel 

Where: Off of Plaza Mayor, Madrid
When: Monday through Sunday
What: Mercado de San Miguel is the only remaining iron market hall in Madrid. Wandering through this market you will find a beautiful selection of produce, as well as a variety of tapas bars with tasty treats to sip and nibble. While the prices in this market are higher than most of Madrid’s traditional food markets, we’ve heard that the festive atmosphere and delectable goods are well worth the extra cash.

via Flickr by Herry Lawford

Mercat Del Encants 

Where: Plaça de les Glòries Catalanes, Barcelona
When: Monday, Wednesday, Friday, and Saturday
What: This is one of the largest and most beloved flea markets in the city of Barcelona. Shoppers can find practically anything in this market if they look hard enough – this means anything from power tools to cosmetics! Be sure to arrive early if you’re looking for a bargain, and try to avoid this market on Saturdays if you’re just simply looking to browse (it’s too busy!).

via Flickr by Oh-Barcelona.com

Plaza del Dos de Mayo Flea Market 

via Flickr by Juan Antonio F. Segal

Where: Plaza del Dos de Mayo, Madrid
When: Saturday
What:  This plaza actually packs in two markets for a truly remarkable shopping experience. On Saturdays only the Plaza del Dos de Mayo is home to the Collector’s and Bargain Market as well as the Dosde Market. If you’re looking for deals, steals, and rare gems (like records and books) you’ll want to check out the Collector’s and Bargain Market. On the other hand, Dosde Market is a local gathering of handmade clothing and goods by young designers.

Do you have a favourite Spanish market? Let us know about it in the comments below!

Friday, March 20, 2015

Weekly Market Round-Up: March 21st - 22nd

It's Friday! Do you know what you're doing this weekend? If not, we've got a stellar selection of local and international artisan markets for you to choose from.

via Flickr by Beckmann's Bakery
Whether it's home-grown produce or vintage clothing...there's a little bit of something for everyone!

Here are our top picks for this weekend:

Saturday, March 21st   

8AM-12PM, Undurba State School, Murrumba Downs, Australia

10AM-3PM, Flinders Street, Adelaide, Australia

11AM-4PM, Shanghai, Xuhui District, China

11AM-6PM, Phoenicia Hotel, Valletta, Malta

11AM-3PM, Westminster Quay, New Westminster, B.C., Canada

10AM-5PM, Alderley Road, Wilmslow, Cheshire, England

Sunday, March 22nd

10AM-4:30PM, Pavilion Gardens, Derbyshire, England

10AM-3PM, Flinders Street, Adelaide, Australia

11AM-4PM, Biltmore Cabaret, Vancouver, Canada

10AM-3PM, Kinglake Murrindindi Shire Office, Victoria, Australia

11AM-6PM, Phoenicia Hotel, Valletta, Malta

via Flickr by Karlis Dambrans

Are you planning on visiting any craft markets this weekend? 

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Fun Food Creations: Christel Assante Thinks Outside the Shell

We’ve found another artist that likes to play with her food...or perhaps more accurately, the leftovers! We always think of a delicious egg as fried, scrambled or poached, but these gorgeous creations by French artist Christel Assante are pretty incredible.

According to an interview with Art et Artisanat du Monde, Assante uses knives, vinegar, a mini-drill and paints to create her very intricately designed works of art. She prefers using nandu eggs for their thicker shells, but also works with duck, emu, goose, pheasant and quail eggs. She doesn’t use chicken shells though, as they’re too small.

There is no way to reinforce the shell during carving, so this becomes a very delicate and fragile process. Christel is said to keep the shells in her hands while she’s working with them to decrease potentially harmful vibrations, but other egg carving artists opt for fabric protection.

When asked by Art et Artisanat du Monde which work she is most proud of, Assante said “the work I am the most proud of is, of course, always the one I am working on.” What a wonderful approach to artistic creation!

Here are a few of our favourites:

Click here to check out more of her carvings here.