Vagablond Views

A Travel Blog with a Twist


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Custom Icelandic Sweaters. You can have one!

At the Reykjavik flea market, Kolaportið, you can get all manner of things, from garage sale leftovers to military memorabilia to frozen eels. But in my opinion, the best deal of all is the hand-knit sweaters, lovingly created by some of Iceland's most talented crafters.

We went to buy one in one of the several stalls selling knitware, and almost found exactly what we were looking for. But the men's sweater we liked best was too small, and the neckline pattern was a little busy, and darn! We really were ready to buy.

You can get anything you want

Arna in stall E16 told us, "No problem. My mother-in-law, Magga, will knit you exactly what you want." And because most Icelanders speak excellent English, we were able to communicate, exchange emails and get confirmation that by Tuesday, our new sweater was being knitted. Two and a half days later it was ready.

Lovely, Enchanting Gifts!

On Where Pianos Roam

While I was away in Seattle, a wee little package arrived for me.  It took a couple of days for someone at my house to tell me that it was even waiting to be opened.  Surely enough, I was baffled as to who might have sent me anything at all.  That is, of course, until I opened it up. Inside was a little treasure trove of goodies from the hugely talented artist Gretel Parker.  She lives out in the UK (in rural Cotswolds, England actually), and we got acquainted with each other last year when I chose her as one of my featured visual artists. Her gifts traveled all the way across the pond to get to my little nook here in Tennessee.  In the bundle, she included a set of her cards .  .  . Along with a few other items from her Red Flannel Elephant Designs .  .  . From the first moment I saw her work, I connected with it all instantly.  There is a playful, yet melancholy, quality to her art that is beautiful and endearing.   There is a richness of character, candor, and warmth in all that she does.  I actually subscribe to her blog and twitter feed. For anyone interested in learning more about Gretel and her work, a great place to start would be her official blog "Middle of Nowhere".  Just click on this link to take you back across the pond to her neck of the woods: She can easily be found all over the world wide web, but you can also purchase various products (including her adorable new line of Needle Felt Toy Sculptures) by clicking here: By all means, visit her websites and stay a while, you'll find so many charming and enticing treasures.   You'll also notice how wonderfully  imaginative she is.  I can only hope that my own body of work will be as prolific as hers has become. I plan on displaying these cards as soon as I can find the perfect frames for them.  They are so incredibly delightful! -gordon

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