Friday, August 15, 2008

Have Umbrella, Will Travel

I'm so excited. One of my nine nieces, the oldest one,


is leaving for Brussels today to study for a semester abroad.


When not traveling to Brussels, she is studying journalism at the University of Wisconsin.

Jack and I were trying to figure out what we could get her as a "Bon Voyage" gift?? We decided that we should learn a little bit more about Brussels before deciding so we turned to the all-knowledgeable Wikipedia.

As we were reading about Brussels, we learned that the climate is quite rainy.
Brussels is relatively near the coastal areas, and its climate is therefore influenced by marine air masses from the Atlantic Ocean, as well as nearby wetlands. On average (based on measurements the last 100 years), there are approximately 200 days of rain per year in the Brussels-Capital Region.

Oh boy, that's a lot of rain. In fact, she's likely to experience 5-6 inches of rain/month while she's there!

Holy smokes, this girl is going to need a travel umbrella. There were tons of cool pics on Flickr of Brussels in the rain and even a picture of this cool umbrella shop in Brussels!

Photo courtesy of Squonk11

So off Jack and I went to the Mall to find a cool travel umbrella...Well, to make a long story short, the only cool travel umbrella we found was this number from Coach...


All the other ones were ugly or black...but this one was $88 and we could NOT afford that. Plus, you tend to lose umbrellas. After two hours of looking at every travel umbrella in the Mall, Jack says, "Hey Mom, why don't you buy a black one and decorate it?"

Ahhh, what brilliance! You've got to love his confidence in his Mommy...but that got me thinking....and the rest is history.

We bought a black umbrella with a good mechanism and we were finally released from our quest. Jack was very thankful to be out of the Mall...

Upon getting home, I got out my fabric paints, different size drinking glasses to outline the circles, and began to paint. The work really went very quickly...


We took the umbrella to her Going-Away Party and had family and friends write her notes and sign them with a fabric paint pen.


We painted the inside only and I added this saying:

"It's raining on the outside but you have friends who love you under here..."

Because the umbrella had a double fabric, the paint did not bleed through to the topside. I even got a chance to test it out in the rain...


And how about this sweet little Stitchette pattern by Wee Wonderfuls I bought not too long ago...


Maybe I'll stitch this cutie while feasting on another Brussels creation...Belgian waffles...Yum!

Photo courtesy of CxOxS

I'm hoping to travel to Brussels this Fall so if you have any travel tips or experiences, I'd love to hear about them!

14 comments:

Debra said...

A very cute and personal umbrella! You are the Best! Did she squeal with delight?

Heather J. said...

Wow! What a wonderful gift. I know it will make her smile every time she uses it.

Do you mind if I link to this post for my show and tell on Sunday?!

Elmsley Rose said...

An absolute treasure for her!

Judy S. said...

She will love Brussels, and you definitely need to plan a visit. Go to Brugge also! Cities in Germany and the Netherlands are an easy train trip away....Go, go, go!

Your niece should love the umbrella, but we had gorgeous weather both times we were there. The waffles were yummmy, too!

Judy S. said...

PS Oh, silly me, I forgot to mention the lace. If you need/love lace, you will go nuts here. It's fun to watch the lace makers, too.

Rebecca said...

Very cool! :) (I'm here from Heather J.'s blog.)

Kristin said...

Heather pointed me this way and I just have to say WOW! That is one of the coolest gifts I have ever seen.

Cassandra said...

Here from Heather's Show and Tell...

What a great gift! My recommendation for Brussels would be to spend some time in Grand Sablon. The best chocolates in Brussels are at Pierre Marcolini, beautiful pastries at Wittamer, fun antiques market in the square, and just a great place to spend a few hours. Don't bother with the Atomium, unless you are on the Hop On Hop Off bus. If you're bringing your son, there is a comic book museum and an auto museum, depending on what he's into. And if you like beers, there are so many (email me if you want specific recommendations).

If you feel like a day trip, I'd recommend Ghent. Antwerp and Bruges are great too, and they all have wonderful waffles, chocolates, mussels, fries, beer...

Have a great time!

Annie said...

I arrived from Heather's Blog...that umbrella is fantastic! What a great gift idea. I bet she loved it.

chicklet said...

Here from heather - very very cool idea.

battynurse said...

What a fantastic gift. I love it.

Allison Ann Aller said...

I LOVE YOUR BLOG!!!
What a delight to catch up on all your posts now that I am home.
The umbrella is just wonderful...your niece will so love that when she's away from her loved ones. Great that it is only personal on the inside too...something special about that.

I read a historical novel series by Dorothy Dunnett once that so made me want to go to Bruges...you might enjoy the field trip. It was the dye capital of the world in the 1400's, which made it a world trade center!
The books are fantastic. It is the House of Niccolo series and you will learn so much history and get lost in the storytelling, too. Excellent writing and research evident throughout.

Lucky Susan, going to Europe!

marie said...

Heather said this gift was a must see....she was right! Wonderful idea.

jessie said...

i visited your site n was good enough then othere site that i visited last month



study abroad

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