Sew Your Own Stuff!

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Sewing is Fun

Whether you’re a newbie to the world of stitching or a seasoned pro when handling a needle, there’s no doubt that making something with your hands is a huge accomplishment! Moreover, when sewing a garment or a blanket, you have the amazing opportunity of creating something that’s also useful. While I’m not arguing that other crafts (such as painting, miniature making, or paper crafting) aren’t worthwhile, there’s a special sense of pride that comes with wearing something you made with your own two hands. Plus, sewing gives you the chance to ‘shop your wardrobe’ instead of spending money on new clothing. That colorful shirt that perfectly complements your skin tone, but bulges unflatteringly around your waist? Just take it in a few inches. The dress you love, but never wear because it’s too long for you? Hem it for a more tailored look. Or, you could turn it into a maxi dress by adding a strip of fabric at the bottom! Don’t worry about having the material match perfectly. In fact, go ahead and choose a contrasting color for a more color-blocky style. You can mend holes, reattach buttons, shorten your curtains; all using a handy-dandy sewing machine! Don’t think for a second that sewing machines are just for avid tailors or seamstresses – everyone can learn the ropes and freshen up their wardrobe all by themselves! You can spend a ton of money on an outfit, but it will never look polished and put-together unless it fits you like a glove. A sewing machine can take any basic old garb like a little black dress or a white shirt and transform them into bespoke pieces, tailored especially for you.

Where Do I Start?

Well, the centerpiece of any sewing project is, you guessed it, the sewing machine! There are countless makes and models out there, so you’re free to choose the one that perfectly fits you and your needs! Maybe you’re just looking to do some basic mending and tailoring – nothing too complicated. On the other hand, if you’re looking to learn, you can choose a nifty gadget with hundreds of stitching patterns and tons of functions. Maybe you’re looking to sew thick materials – like denim or wool – so you need a machine with a bit more horsepower. No matter what you require, when it comes to sewing machines, two brands are miles ahead of the competition: Singer and Brother. Singer is one of those old, well-established American companies: they’ve been manufacturing sewing machines for almost 200 years! These guys know what they’re doing! No matter what stitch or sewing program you’re on the lookout for, it’s bound to found on a Singer machine. Buying a new sewing machine can get a bit confusing (not to say expensive), so make sure to check out some great Singer machines here!

Brother is another very well-known name in the sewing community. Not quite as old as Singer, this Japanese company still has 120 years of experience under their belt. Their machines are more aimed at the average consumer, so it’s impossible not to find one you like! If you’re in the market for a sewing machine, check out the best ones from Brother! Have fun stitching!

How to be cozy during winter

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For many, the winter season means finding ways to combat the unforgiving cold. Not many can afford to crank up their air conditioner to summer temperatures and I know some people who wouldn’t do it even if they could. An essential part of winter is making yourself cozy while watching the cold season pass by through the frosted windows. If you like the warm and fuzzy feeling of coziness at your own home then winter is the perfect season for you. It’s also a great time to try out some new ideas to bring things to the next level. Here are just a few ideas of what you can do to warm yourself up.

Hot beverage

Even people who are not regular tea drinkers find themselves reaching for this hot beverage when winter comes. Drinking tea is a great way to spread warmth to your entire body from the inside. Ginger or black tea with lemon are popular choices that will also help you combat any illnesses associated with winter. White or green tea is also very popular and their taste isn’t that strong so you can easily drink a few cups a day. For something you might not have tried before, how about Oolong tea? This Chinese tea not only tastes delicious but also has many health benefits.

And for an additional level of warm coziness, get a cup of hot cocoa!

Electric blanket

We all have tried to make ourselves comfortable on the couch with a cup of tea in hand and a nice wool blanket covering our legs. But sometimes even that isn’t enough to make us feel adequately warm. On especially chilly days, we recommend you take advantage of the wonderful technology that is an electric blanket. You can check out the best electric blankets on Brooke Roberts website.

However, remember to take certain safety precautions when using an electric blanket. Modern ones probably won’t cause you any problems but experts still advise that you should not leave one on for the whole night.

Create cozy interiors

No matter how many sweaters you put on, you probably won’t feel too cozy unless you are sitting in cozy surroundings. You don’t have to renovate your whole home. Simply add a few cozy items here and there to completely transform how the inside of your home feels.

Coziness is all about warmth so make sure that the lighting is yellowy rather than white. You can change the lightbulbs in your usual lamps or opt for simply adding a few candles or twinkle lights. The real fire of lighted candles provides the ultimate level of coziness. Even better if they are scented ones. Choose fragrances that feel more wintery, like cinnamon or pine, rather than scents like lemon or flowers.

The Brooke Roberts website has articles about many other useful household items and appliances. For example, you can check out these reviews of side by side refrigerators. It is always a good idea to read expert reviews before you buy products online.

How to purchase the best mini blow torch

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For those who love spending time in the kitchen trying out new things, a mini blow torch is the best tool for refining your meals and desserts. Whether you want to caramelise the top of your dessert or quickly roast some vegetables, you need to make sure you choose an affordable product, without trading quality for price.

What to look for in a mini blow torch

It is really important to know what features a high quality mini blow torch possesses, in order to make a smart choice.

A good quality that most blow torches have nowadays is the incorporated anti-flare technology. It is usually attached to protect the top of the torch, as well as to help make sure you cannot burn your skin while using it.

If you want a torch that does the job quickly, then you should also look at the maximum temperature reachable by the product. Most blow torches reach only about 500 degrees Fahrenheit, but there are some high quality products that can reach even as high as 3000 F.

When buying a mini blow torch, you also need to pay attention to the type of butane canister the product needs to function properly. Not every blow torch works with the same type of gas canister, so it is best to properly research the topic beforehand.

What products are the best?

There are plenty of offers online on this product, but how can you make sure you choose the best one? On websites like Amazon or Currys, there are several options which have been highly positively reviewed by customers.

The first one is the Eddingtons Brulee Torch, well known for its unique design and high quality features. The flame on this torch reaches about 1300 F, and it also has a button to adjust the flame to various sizes and temperatures. It has a rubber grip that makes it easy to hold, as well as makes sure there is enough friction between your hand and the torch, to avoid dropping it.

Another option with great reviews is the german product Rosle Kitchen Torch. The blow torch is made of stainless steel with plastic attachments, materials which are known to be high quality in a blow torch. The flame can reach up to 2400 F, and flame adjuster button makes sure the flame matches your preferences and needs. It also contains a button which activates a child safety feature, so it is extra safe to use by all family members.

The Dunelm Culinary Blow Torch is one of the best options if you are on a tight budget. The small size makes it incredibly portable and easy to use, as well as easy to store in the kitchen. The smaller sized canister also makes sure it is easier to refill than most blow torches.

If you are looking for a more professional choice, then the Messermeister Cheflamme Culinary Choice is a great product for you. Its sleek, stainless steel design is highly praised, and it can reach a high temperature of 2700 F, while consuming very little gas.

The Skadarsko Lake and Rijeka Crnojevica

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The last habitat of the pelicans in Europe, the biggest bird reservation in Europe, one of the last freshwater marshes in the Mediterranean, the largest lake in the Balkans, one of the biggest natural and historical attractions in Montenegro! All these superlatives are ascribed to Skadar lake.

The lake is located in the Zetsko – Skadarska valley 7km far from the sea. Two thirds of it belongs to Montenegro and 1/3 is located on Albanian territory. Depending on the water level, the lake surface varies from 370 to 530km2. A Montenegrin part of the Skadar lake, with 40 000m2 surface together with the coast, was proclaimed national park. The lake has crypto-depression which means that some parts of its bottom are below sea level. There are around 30 such places and they are called “oke”. The deepest “oko” is Radus, at least 60m deep. The average depth of “oko” is 6m.

While cruising along the lake, one can notice its jagged coastline with many bays, islands and peninsulas projecting into it. The coast is swampy, covered with high reeds, while the lake surface is covered with a carpet made of swampy plants with yellow and white chestnuts, and a special plant called kesoranja. The southern part of the lake is rocky and it contains the forests of the horse chestnuts.

By Ramsar convention in 1996, Skadar lake was included in the swamps world list as an important habitat of water birds. The trademark of this lake is the curly pelican. Around 40 fish species live in the lake and the most interesting among them are autochthonous species such as carps and bleaks. It is interesting that even some saltwater fish might be found here – eel, salmon and many other species.

In the basin around Skadar lake, there were around 20 monastery complexes. That is why this area was called “Zeta’s Holy Hill” (Zetska Sveta Gora). Lesendro and other fortifications bear witness to battles fought here between Montenegrins and Turks. Monasteries, churches, fortifications and sacral monuments recall memories of the old rulers, the Balsic family and the Crnojevic family.

Islands

These numerous island are not only interesting as bird paradises but also as cultural and historical monuments that bear witness to the earlier importance of this area.

Vranjina island is a picturesque fishing colony. St. Nikola’s monastery, recently restored by father Nikola, who was a treasurer in Hilandar for ten years, is situated here. King Nikola’s daughters used to spend summer vacations on the island, in a palace which was destroyed.

Grmozur islet is called “Montenegrin Alcatraz”. It is the islet with the remains of an old Turkish fortress used as a prison for King Nikola’s political opponents who were non-swimmers. Grmozur is also a “bird island”.

On Starcevo islet, there is a renovated church from XIV century, renovated tavern and the tomb of Bozidar Vukovic – Podgoricanin, the printer of the first Cyrillic books.

Krajinski archipelago is comprised of a series of around 50 islands and crags along the southwestern coast.

Golubovo lake (Dove’s lake) is the biggest nesting area of the silver seagull in Montenegro. It is interesting that the saltwater birds build their nests on this freshwater island. It is possible to photograph the nests and birds, but one should not touch the eggs because seagulls are a protected species.

On Beska island, there is a memorial church of Jelena Balsic. If you are lucky, you might see flocks of rock doves or little owls.

Fifteen minutes southeast from the seagull island, there is a heron island known as Omerova gorica. Among the laurel trees, there is a colony of 40 nests of gray herons described during the 70’s as the only known colony of herons built on laurels. In recent years white herons might be seen among the gray herons. As an endangered species, herons are protected by the law.

The best place to finish your visit to the island is Muricka beach, the only sandy beach on the island which can be compared with the most beautiful Adriatic beaches. On the island, there is a restaurant where one can enjoy carp from Skadar lake served under the open sky. If you want to visit bird island, the boats can be rented from local fishermen. If you do not like long cruises, you may reach the beach from land.

Rijeka Crnojevica On the lake coast, there is a place known as a metropolis of Montenegrin medieval state, Rijeka Crnojevica. This small fishing place used to be a very important trade center. The Montenegrin rulers enjoyed the climate here. Here the first book in Cyrillic script was printed. The fishing places on “oke” were of great importance for this area. There are many of them in this area and they abound with fish. Prior to Balkan wars, Rijeka Crnojevica had many workhouse, and the first pharmacy in Montenegro was open right here as well as the first arms workhouse. In the “Marica” factory, pearls from fish scales were made.

The tourist agency MONTENEGROEXPRESS organizes cruises, lake visits, lunch in Montenegrin ethno style and many additional excursion programs. Tel: (381 81) 245–470.

Perast

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Perast is  situated  12 km  west  from  Kotor  and  represents  the  best  preserved  baroque  area  in  the  Adriatic. The  town  reached  the  highest  point  in  it’s  development  in  the  17th and  18th century  along  with  the  strengthening  of  it’s  own  navy. At  that  time  the  most  beautiful  buildings  arose  in  this  fortified  town. The  palaces  of  the  famous  naval  captains  from  this  area  belong  to  the  baroque  style  and  they  were  built  at  the  time  of  the  navigation  flourished. The  most  famous  of  them  are: The  Bujovic  from  the  year  1693, The  Zmajevic, Badovica  and  Smekia.

Perast

The  most  prominent  cultural  monuments  are:

– The  Church  of  St. George’s
– The  Parsons  Church
– The  Lady  of  Skrpjel
– The  Church  of  St.George’s is founded  in  the  period  from  15th -17th century. It  has a rich  church  treasure.

The  Parsons  Church, whose  building  started  in  the  year  1740,  by  the  project  of  the  Venetian architect Gisele  Beati. Only the belfry  and  apse  were  built  whereas  the  shape  of  the  church  as  a  whole  is  known  thanks  to  well-preserved  wooden  schemes.

The St. George’s church erased up  in  the  islet  in  front  of  Perast. It  belonged  to  the  Benedictine  moister  built  in  the  12th century.

The  Lady  of  Skrpjel, the  baroque  church  built  in  the  year 1630, in  the  artificial islet  in  front  of  Perast, in  which  there  was  the  small  chapel  in  1452. It  owns  a  rich museum with a collection of paintings of the famous  Italian  artist. The  church  has  been  decorated  with  68  paintings  by  Tripo  Kokolja  a  painter  from  Perast the  most  famous  name  of  our  baroque  painting  art  from  the  end  of  the  17th century.

 

Mimosa Festival

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For four decades, traditional festival of mimosa has been organized in Herceg Novi from the end of December till early March every year. Tourist representatives of this town and a group of journalists founded this festival in honour of the first winter flower – mimosa – the herald of spring. The Mimosa festival starts in carnival atmosphere, and ends with public trial to the carnival at the main City Square.

Mimosa Festival

In the meantime, during the eight-nine weeks of the festival, many theatrical, music, literary and sports events, as well as fine art exhibitions, are organized in the town. Still, masked balls for children and adults, organized in the “Plaza” (“The Beach”) hotel, fishing festivals and mimosa picking along the Herceg Novi Riviera, are the most attractive parts of the festival, as well as a several day long exhibition of flowers in the “Topla” hotel.

Herceg Novi winter art salon, gathering only the artists from former Yugoslavia for the time being, is also organized within the festival in gallery Benkovic every year. Three most successful artists between two Salons are awarded for painting, graphics, and sculpture.

During the Mimosa festival, special caravan with girls (“mazoretke”), trombonists and masks, carrying first mimosas, are guests in bigger towns of Montenegro, Serbia and abroad. At the same time, the caravan is an original way of promoting attractive tourist offer of Herceg Novi Riviera and Bay of Boka, and Montenegrin seaside in general.

Kotor Carnival

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Every year in February, during the season of carnivals, there is a carnival in famous Promenade of Kotor, which gathers hundreds of local residents and guests in masks. Apart from the traditional procession down the city streets and squares, the main “culprit” for all last year problems – the Carnival, is burnt in the Promenade.

Kotor Carnival

Especially for this occasion, the owners of small boats redecorate the boats, contributing in that way to this interesting happening. The event ends with traditional evening masked ball in the hotel “Fjord”, where the most successful carnival masks are awarded.

www.kotorkarneval.com

Theater City Festival

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An international, worldly known festival of theater, music, literature and fine arts, is organized outdoors in Budva every summer, from July 1, till August 20. Numerous plays, dominant in theater life in Montenegro and Serbia, have been created on Budva’s stages. Owing to the visits of distinguished theatrical ensembles from the neighboring and other countries, this metropolis of Montenegrin tourism becomes an international capital of most distinguished artists during summer.

Theater City Festival

Apart from the plays, numerous concerts of domestic and worldly known ensembles and most prominent performers of classical music, are also held. Often, the artists give a performance in very acoustic ambiance of ancient sacral buildings in Budva. There are also many fine arts exhibitions in Budva’s galleries. Already affirmed painters, as well as those just graduated from the Cetinje Academy are presented here.

Within the Theater City event, the famous Square of Poets also has a long tradition, and gathers the most eminent writers from Yugoslavia and other countries. The most successful authors are awarded the prize of the Square of Poets. On the same occasion, the prestigious Stefan Mitrov Ljubisa prize is awarded for literature.

www.budvatheatre.cg.yu

Film Festival

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Since 1998, every year, early in August, Yugoslav Film Festival has been organized in the Kanli tower in Herceg Novi. It has a competition character, and it gathers many domestic filmmakers. Almost all segments of film production are assessed, and a five-member jury awards the most successful ones festival Grand Prix, as well as golden, silver and bronze “Mimosas”.

Film Festival

Except for nominations and presentation of domestic films made between two festivals, numerous shows and discussions on the film production, as well as on other topics related to this subject, are also organized.

The organizer of the Yugoslav Film Festival is JUK Herceg Novi, supported by the Ministry for Culture of the Republic of Montenegro and the Assembly of Herceg Novi Municipality.

Muzika

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Istorijske prilike u Crnoj Gori i vjekovne borbe za oslobodjenje, nijesu pogodovale intezivnijem razvoju muzičke kulture. Arhivski podaci o kotorskim orguljama iz 1488. i “Oktoih”, “Psaltir” i druge crkvene knjige, stampane na Cetinju ili Obodu izmedju 1494. i 1496. najstariji su značajni tragovi muzičke kulture u Crnoj Gori.

Sedam velikih liturgijskih inkunabula venecijanskog izdavaca L. A. Djunte s kraja XV i početka XVI vijeka, sačuvanih u samostanu Sv. Klare u Kotoru, kao i 15 orgulja gradjenih kasnije na crnogorskom primorju, ukazuju na kontinuiranu crkvenu muzičku praksu u nasim krajevima. Osnivanje franjevačke “skole pjevanja” u XIX vijeku u Kotoru, uslovilo je i prve pokusaje stvaranja na području duhovne muzike. I pored njegovanja horske muzike i povremenog okupljanja grupa tamburasa i duvača, svjetovna muzička praksa gotovo do polovine XIX vijeka najvise zivi u narodnoj pjesmi i igri, a naročit udio u njoj ima guslarska pjesma.

montenegro attractions

Najstarije pjevačko drustvo, kotorsko “Jedinstvo” osnovano je 1839. godine. Godine 1870. na Cetinju su započele pripreme oko osnivanja Prve crnogorske vojne muzike. Sa regrutovanjem kadra islo je veoma tesko jer se u Crnoj Gori vise cijenila puska, nego duvacki instrument. Druga crnogorska vojna muzika osnovana je 1889. Muzičkom obrazovanju najvise paznje poklanjano je u Djevojačkom institutu na Cetinju (1869 – 1913).

Prvi crnogorski skolovani muzičar bio je Jovan Ivanisevic (1860-1889). Ovaj pasionirani stvaralac, autor horova, minijatura za klavir, za orkestar i solo pjesama koje su se sa uspjehom izvodile u Pragu tokom njegovih studija na Orguljskoj skoli, tragično je zavrsio zivot prije svoje tridesete godine. U XIX vijeku nastalo je nekoliko operskih djela prema libretima inspirisanim Crnom Gorom. Drugoj generaciji crnogorskih muzičara skolovanih u Pragu pripadaju Aleksa Ivanovic (1888-1940) i Jovan Milosevic (1895-1959). Kao pedagozi i horovodje, oni su svoju dugogodisnju plodnu djelatnost najvise vezali za Podgoricu i Cetinje.

svjetskog rata bile su u Crnoj Gori dvije muzičke skole: na Cetinju od 1929. (pri pjevačkom drustvu “Njegos”) i od 1937. u Podgorici (pri pjevačkom drustvu “Branko”). Poslije Drugog svjetskog rata, naročito se ističu kulturno-umjetničko drustvo “Njegos” na Cetinju, “Nikola Djurkovic” u Kotoru i, naročito, “Stanko Dragojevic” u Titogradu (Podgorici), koje nastavlja crnogorsku muzičku tradiciju, učestvujuci na festivalima i takmičenjima amaterskih horova u zemlji i inostranstvu.

Bisernice Boke: www.bisernice.cg.yu

Posebnu ulogu u muzičkom zivotu Crne Gore odigrao je Radio Titograd, koji je svoju prvu emisiju dao 30. IV 1949. godine, a u okviru kojeg tada djeluje vise zapazenih vokalnih i instrumentalnih ansambala i čija se redakcija narodne muzike uspjesno bavi sakupljanjem i ozivljavanjem narodnog melosa. Visegodisnji saradnik Radio Titograda bio je Ilija Lakesic (1908 – 1973), autor jedne simfonije i vise orkestarskih djela. U okviru Radio-Titograda, 1959. je obnovljen Simfonijski orkestar sa kojim saradjuju, kao dirigenti ili solisti, eminentni crnogorski i evropski umjetnici.

Godine 1946/47. na Cetinju je osnovana muzička skola koja je 1949. prerasla u srednju muzičku skolu (od 1951-58. djelovala je u Kotoru, od 1958. u Titogradu). Nize muzičke skole osnovane su: 1947. u Titogradu, 1948. u Kotoru, zatim u Herceg Novom, Niksicu, Tivtu, Ivangradu (Beranama), Pljevljima, Budvi, Baru, Bijelom Polju.

Geografski polozaj i kulturno-istorijski razvoj Crne Gore bili su vazni faktori u oblikovanju narodne pjesme i svirke. Razlikuje se nekoliko muzičko-folklornih područja” centralno, sandzačko, primorsko, plavsko-gusinjsko itd. Takodje, ima nekoliko različitih skupina crnogorske vokalne narodne muzike, a sto se tiče vokalno-instrumentalne, osnovni i najčesci oblik je pjevanje uz gusle i nesto manje značajno, pjevanje uz diple u predjelima oko Durmitora.

Danas su u Crnoj Gori prisutni svi savremeni muzički tokovi.

Dva velika muzička festivala, Festival mediteranske pjesme (koji se odrzava u Budvi od 1992.) i Festival “Sunčane skale”(Herceg Novi, od 1994.) predstavljaju krunu popularnih muzičkih desavanja u Crnoj Gori.