Today I was answering an e-mail from one of my friends, thanks Michele for giving me inspiration, and as I was writing her back, I thought perhaps other people might be interested in some of the same kind of questions. So due to the magic of cut and paste... here are a few questions and my answers. I would love to have a little more interactive blog going here, so if any of you can think of questions, leave them on the comment section or e-mail me. I would love to try to answer them.
I was wondering what you have there for sewing? I know you're a genius with that sort of thing, but I can't imagine sewing machines are readily available? Do families there sew?
We have an ancient dinosaur of a sewing machine that belongs to the humanitarian department. We inherited it from the previous missionaries. So far I've only used it to mend and last Christmas our children sent us a down comforter so I made a duvet cover for it. It's so heavy,(the sewing machine) that Jim has to carry it to the kitchen table for me, seriously, I think it was made 50 years ago! I keep telling Jim that before we leave we need to get the humanitarian department to flip for a new machine. We have found a shop or two that sell sewing machines, so I know they have them, but most families can't afford them. And fabric availability is another subject all together. They have shops for fabric, but nothing like JoAnns. They're just tiny little shops with VERY expensive fabric, mostly it's curtain or drape fabric, I think that's what most people make. It's interesting to me that they don't sew more, but I think it's not cost effective when you consider the price of fabric and electricity for them. I remember buying sheets to get cheap yardage at a time, but not here, it cost me almost $80.00 to make a duvet cover. I had to look high and low to find two flat sheets big enough for a king size comforter to sew together and when I did, they were $40.00 each! The situation is the same in Bosnia, but I have noticed that the shops there don't carry any notions at all, at least here in Croatia they carry a few. In Bosnia you have to go to an entirely different store that sells notions. Pretty nuts if you ask me. A bright spot in the sewing department, I have found a lady in Bosnia that will do whatever I need done for really pretty cheap. She made button holes and sewed buttons on my duvet cover, did I tell you my machine was old? , for about $5.00.
And what about yarn? Do they knit or crochet?
Wow! that has been one of my hardest hunts! Because we do so much traveling I have decided to knit. It's something I can do in the car. Now at one time I knew how to knit, but pretty much I've had to teach myself again. I found good quality yarn last winter in a little grocery store here in Croatia and made several scarf's for gifts. But when spring came the yarn supply at that store dried up. It's a German owned chain store and I think that's why they had it. There is a shop here in our little town of Varazdin that has yarn, but it's very expensive so I haven't bought yarn there at all. I'm too cheap, I've heard there are good sources in Zagreb but I haven't taken the time to go look. I'm not sure how much the women knit here in Croatia, but in Bosnia they make THE BEST wool slippers you ever want to wear! Our Bosnian translator took us to the market place in the center of Banja Luka and helped us buy some for us and for the missionaries for Christmas presents last year. They really are the warmest, best slippers I have ever worn! You have to wear socks with them because the wool is so scratchy, but wow! on these tile, no carpet floors over here they really have been a life saver. A couple of months ago I was walking and I kept seeing people come out from behind a hedge carrying all sorts of bags with produce in them, so I, being the inquisitve person that I am, proceeded to investigate! What an amazing thing I found! It was the wholesale produce market!!!! So now that I found where to buy cheap produce, I also found a yarn shop for the Bosnian wool. Because we are always trying to find things that will help our Tadic family become more self sufficient, I bought about $15.00 worth of yarn, it was a ton of yarn, and asked the grandma in our family, Nada, if she would start making me slippers to take home for all the kids and grandkids. I am going to pay her as she completes each pair and it will give her a little bit of income. I gave her a list of 37.... that should keep her busy for a while! If you are one of my children or grandchildren reading this, please act surprised when we get home with your gift!
As far as crocheting, here in Croatia they are famous for their lace making, it's soooo beautiful, but it really isn't crocheting, they make it with very thin thread that they have on little wooden bobbins. The piece of lace is fastened with pins onto a ball like thing that they put in a basket. It really is fascinating...a dying art. Not very many people still do it, but our translator in Croatia is the grand daughter of one of Croatia's most famous lace makers. She has learned how to do it from her grandma. Last Christmas she gave us a small piece and I can't wait to come home and have it framed. This is a 10 minute piece about lace making in Croatia. Our translator, Tihana, is from the secound geographic area called Lepoglava. Her grand mother still lives there.
I loved the part of your blog about the catsup. Do they can peaches? Do they grow apples? Make zucchini bread?
I'm glad that you enjoyed the blog about catsup, we really had a great day making it and sure are enjoying the eating of it! Locally grown produce includes apples, potatoes, cabbage, lot's of peppers, onions, tomatoes, and berries in season. They do grow watermelons and almost anything that we would grow in our climate in Utah. I have not seen too many peaches, but our catsup making friends gave us some wonderful peach jam, so they must have them. We have seen some zucchini, but not a lot which makes me wonder if they ship them in from Greece. They sell cabbage, peppers, potatoes and onions at the markets in huge net bags. I wondered what any one would do with that much cabbage, but found out that they put it in huge containers and make sour cabbage, we would use it cut up to make sour crout, but they make sour cabbage leaves to make their traditional Sarma dish. It's like a cabbage roll made with rice, pork, beef or in the southern part of Bosnia where most the population is Muslim they make it out of lamb. Sarma recipe
Bread is varied and amazingly wonderful here. I can't tell you that I've seen much sweet breads like banana or zucchini bread. They don't eat a ton of sweet things like we do. Even the beautiful pastries that we see in the bakery windows aren't really very sweet. They are a little disappointing to my taste buds, so it's easy to look the other way. But ohhhh the bread! Really my down fall!
I love the story of the pig project. Do they have chickens too?
The pig project is moving along. A little slow, but the pig barn is being built and we hope it will improve the life of the Tadic family. No they don't have chickens. They used to have a pretty going concern, having chickens in their yard by their house, selling eggs and doing pretty well at it, but one of their neighbors complained and the city made them stop. Their piece of property is about 3 miles away from their house which makes it hard to take care of chickens clear up there and I think they got a little burned by it all. When Yugoslavia broke up and communism was no more, every thing that was state owned at the time became privatized. The little piece of property that they farm was given to Grandpa by the government. They grow tomatoes, potatoes, onions, apples, cabbage and pigs! They can tomatoes, mostly sauce, and juice. Also they bottle grape and apple juice. Their canning jars are much different than ours. Where we have a two part lid and ring system, they have only a lid. I don't see them doing anything that needs processing, perhaps that's why. None of the stores have jars or lids like we have at home.
Two of my girls are taking classes in American Sign Language (ASL). Do you know anything about how the deaf people communicate there? I know there are a couple different sign languages, but I don't know what is used where.
That's a really good question. We have not seen anything in either country as far as as the deaf. That would be a good project....we'll look into it.