Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Creative Challenge #65



This week's challenge was a guest challenge from ElementsByDawn. It was to be inspired by space-stars, comets, rockets, whatever.

I had immediate inspiration for this one! I beaded up six colorful stars and paired them with some brass beads with suns & moons on them to make wine charms. I was really happy with the result. They will be in my Etsy shop later today.

Saturday, August 25, 2007

Finished my custom order



I just thought I would share how my second custom order came out. I was contacted by someone who was making an art bra to be auctioned to benefit breast cancer research.
I was pretty excited when she said she found me through my website! That contact directed her to my etsy shop and there she saw two of my miniature french beaded flower arrangements.

I made the requested number/styles all in pink to go with her theme. They were left with bare wires & single flowers & leaves because the customer intends to push them through the fabric of the bra to attach them. The result is above! I really enjoyed making these for such a great cause!

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Creative Challenge #64



The challenge this week was to use a color or colors of your choice from the Fall color guide. I chose jet black and peacock. The result is the panda above.

I formed the head, neck, arms & legs from polymer clay. I lightly textured them with a very sophificated tool, a toothpick, to simulate fur. I used antique metal beads for the eyes & nose. The body is done in black seed beads and I tapped my vintage stash for these cut crystal beads with a rainbow finish. In his hand I attached a piece of beaded bamboo in case he gets hungry! Oh, yeah...he has a peacock colored heart!

His name is Buffy, and he will be available a bit later in my Etsy shop.

Have a great day! If you've been following my vacation posts, stay tune for our next stop--Switzerland!

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Magnificient Germany!






Leaving Amsterdam, we headed to Cologne, Germany. We visited the Cologne Cathedral, and I have to say, I could have looked at it all day. A twin spired, Gothic cathedral adorned with beautiful stained glass windows. The inside was equally magnificent. The picture does not do it justice. It took 600 years to finish this catholic church. It is the largest Gothic church in Northern Europe and one of the largest churches in the world.

We took a cruise along the Rhine River for a few hours. The scenery was incredible, and the castles up in the hills were amazing! Some of them have been bought and are in the process of being renovated which is nice to see. We started to see houses decorated with beautiful lattice work and window boxes filled with flowers--although this was much more evident in Switzerland.

On the way to Mannheim, Germany we passed Wisebaden which was the town where Elvis was stationed when he was in the Army. (Just had to get that in!) We saw the ruins of the Heidelberg Castle (photo 4). You can just imagine the iron gate coming down and a moat around it!

Passing through the Black Forest we stopped at an adorable (basically gift shop) life size cuckoo clock. We arrive just in time to see the show--Music plays and the figures come out and dance around. The Black Forest is mostly pine and other fir trees, so called because if you go into the forest, after only a very short distance it is so dense you cannot see--it's pitch black! Amazingly beautiful!

I hope you are enjoying! Keep watching for the next installment.

Saturday, August 18, 2007

Creative challenge #63


I just squeaked in under the wire for this week's creative challenge. Although there is no official deadline, new challenges are posted every Monday; and if I'm not done before then, I begin to panic! :) I'm already a few behind because of vacation.

So this week, it was be inspired by pirates! I love pirates--in fact my favorite Disney World ride is Pirates of the Caribbean! I have even been caught singing, "Yo Ho (A Pirate's Life for me!), and not necessarily in the ride!

This pin took me the better part of a week to construct once I had the actual idea. I first drew the rough outline on beading fabric and then fine tuned the picture as I went along. When it was done, I added a thin wash of glue to the back and let it dry. No beads are falling off this baby! Then I glued on the pin back & let that dry. Finally, I added a velour paper backing and once dry, cut around the shape. It is now available in my etsy shop.

Whew! Bring on Monday's challenge-I'm ready!

Friday, August 17, 2007

Holland




We visited two cities in Holland, and they could not be more different!

The first was Amsterdam, the capital, filled with canals and bridges. We took a cruise and admired all the beautiful canals. Many people actually live on the canals in houseboats. The buildings along the way were very interesting; each roof had a different gable profile. Some buildings still had roof winches which were used to move furniture in and out. We cruised past Anne Frank's house which was her hiding place during WWII and where she wrote her diary.

The other parts of Amsterdam were a bit depressing and distressing. It is a very permissive society and a very open society. There is a sex museum with items in plan view right on the main street. I felt bad for our daughter--this was the place she so looked forward to visiting, and she was so disappointed. It also was very crowded, not particularly clean, everyone smoked, and I just never felt safe. Sorry, and apologies to any Dutch readers out there.

We also visited the village of Volendam. Nestled along the water, this was a lovely picturesque place. En route we saw one of the few remaining windmills. We actually went to Volendam for dinner and were treated to our first taste of eel--not bad until I found out what it was! We were especially thrilled to visit Volendam because last year on our Holland American Alaskan cruise, our ship was named Volendam! HA, a Dutch line, names all their ships after ports in Holland.

I uploaded the photos in the wrong order, so the first is on the way to Volendam and the last two are Amsterdam.

Stay tuned for our adventure into Germany!

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Elvis

Well, today is the 30th Anniversary of the death of Elvis Presley. It's no secret that I am a big fan and even all these years later still enjoy listening to his music and watching his movies. I'll let you in on a little secret--I'm getting a collector's set of 8 of his movies on DVD for Christmas! Yes, I know the plots are thin, they are repetitious and exploit his musical talent-but I still cannot get enough of them. When he sings and dances, it takes me to another place!

I listen to his music nearly everyday...whether it be records, a chance song on the radio, or the all Elvis Sirus Satellite Radio channel. Our wedding song was, "I can't help falling in love with you". To this day, whenever (and where ever) he hears it, my husband grabs me for a quick waltz! Our wedding anniversary is tomorrow, and no doubt, that song will fill our home several times. 16 years and it just gets better and better.

Whether or not you are an Elvis fan, I think you have to admire the staying power of this American Icon. More and more young kids are becoming fans-exposed by their parents I am sure. I heard a trivia contest on Sirus the other day--and it was won by a 15 year old!
It just proves that Elvis is timeless.

Check out my blogs of May 7 and June l to see some of my Elvis collection.

Have a great day!

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Dog days of Summer

I see the end of summer coming over the horizon. I smell school supplies-sharpened pencils, new notebooks, and the regrettable expensive calculator that we will undoubtedly have to buy. We were never allowed to use calculators when I was in school--now kids can't function (pun intended!) without them!

It has gotten very busy here as Summer draws to a close. Volleyball Camp has started, which means making 2 trips 20 minutes away to a school in the next town to drop off and pick up. Next week is open gym at our school-a "voluntary" chance to go in and get some pointers from the coach. The last week of August begins tryouts followed by practice starting on the Thursday for those who make the team. I have not learned all the ins and outs and protocol, but I think my daughter is assured her spot on the JV Team.

Add the all this, the necessary shopping trips to get school supplies, new clothes, and sneakers. When did "cool" sneakers start costing so much?! I guess all my years of bargain shopping are over! Lol!

Somewhere I will have to fit in time for myself. Last night I received a custom order for 3 bunches of miniature french beaded flowers. The buyer is making an art bra to be auctioned off to benefit breast cancer research. Despite her submission deadline of Sept. 1-which makes mine much earlier!-I am thrilled to be a part of such a worthy endeavour.

I hope to return soon to take you to the next country on our journey, Holland!

Sunday, August 12, 2007

Next stop, Belgium!





Our drive took us through the hills of Canterbury and on to Dover where we boarded a cruise ship sized ship to cross the English Channel. As we watched the White Cliffs recede in the distance, I could not help but think what this crossing must have been like in 1944. For us it was exciting-to have our motorcoach driven right onto the ship for the crossing. After about 1 1/4 hours we landed in Calais, France where we passed through a passport check and made our way to Belgium. This would prove to be one of only two required passport checks-since the creation of the European Union travel between countries is much easier.

We spent the rest of the morning admiring the beautiful medievel city of Bruges. Once a very important port, Bruges is the home of 13th century architecture, works of art by Flemish Masters, and beautiful churches.

Our next destination was Brussels, the capital city of Belgium where we spent the rest of the day exploring the central market square. The square was framed by Gothic Palaces and Baroque buildings that were breathtaking! Off each corner and side of the square were narrow streets-about a car wide-with lots of shops and small restaurants.

Our last stop on the way to our hotel for the night was to visit the Atomium-a huge steel sculpture that looks like molecules conected together, originally built for the Brussels World Fair in the 1950s.

Already we are beginning to understand the rich history waiting for us as we continue our trip.

Photo 1 Bruges
Photos 2 & 3 Central Market Square in Brussels
Photo 4 The Atomium

More to come....

Wednesday, August 8, 2007

Our Vacation Saga-First Stop...London!






I have to preface this by saying that I first visited London, Paris, and Rome nearly 30 years ago, and when I returned to these cities, it was like visiting an old friend.

So we started out our mega tour of Europe by sitting on the runway at JFK Airport in NYC for nearly 3 (no, this is not a typo)hours! There were 60 planes ahead of us for take off, delayed because of bad weather across the country--just not in New York! At least they started the food service! We finally took off enroute for our first destination--London. The flight was 7 hours, smooth going, and we arrived and transferred to our hotel uneventfully.

With the rest of the day to ourselves, we set off on a double decker bus tour of the city. Since we were basically exhaused, we plugged in our headsets for the commentary & just road around "sightseeing". We saw Parliment & Big Ben, Picadilly Circus, Trafalgar Square,St. Paul's Cathedral, Westminster Abbey, the London Eye, & went over the Tower Bridge. The city seemed very crowded & there were some road closures--it rapidly became evident that something was going on--and that was that the Tour de France Bicycle Race for the first time ever was beginning in London. When we got to Buckingham Palace, we actually got to see some of the time trials. The team vans were all parked in an area where you could get pretty close & see the bicycles & mechanics.

The next day, after a morning tour with our group, we set off again to see some of the sites & Tour de France events. We had the most fun watching a parade of Tour sponsors along the route. They threw into the crowd promo stuff-hats, pens, candy, etc. So our suitcases became heavy even before we bought souvenirs!

Soon it was time to return to our hotel for the evening. Unfortunately, we missed our stop beacause it was also the time "someone" decided to create a bomb scare and the area was evacuated. So we road around the city circuit again until we were able to get off in the proper location to catch a city bus back to our hotel.

The next morning, we left to begin our tour at the crack of dawn--which turned out to be a good thing. We took the last road open out of London-all roads out were closed due to credible threats on four major landmarks.

Despite the security threats and road closures we all agreed that we loved London and felt fortunate to have visited on such a momentous occasion as the start of the Tour de France!

Have a wonderful day and watch for our next stop!

By the way, the last photo is my Creative Challenge #62 to be inspired by a garden or nature. We toured lots of gardens on our trip and alway saw beautiful butterflies.
It is available in my etsy shop.

Monday, August 6, 2007

Happy Monday Everyone!



By now you have probably figured out that I was on vacation. Sorry for the little white lie...but security and all. The part about the internet was true, however, it seems to be working well now. Maybe we just have to threaten to change services every now and then!

My husband, our daughter & I went on a 24 day trip to Europe. It was an organized tour, leisurely paced--10 countries in 24 days! It did get quite hectic at times, but needless to say we had a wonderful time! I hope to share some stories and photos in my upcoming blogs.

It took me quite a bit longer to catch up when I got home with all the laundry and putting away that had to be done. I did manage to slip my creative challange piece in (shown above), to use the colors of the rainbow. It is listed in my Etsy shop.

Unfortunately, upon our return, we learned of the passing of a close friend's wife who had been ill for many years. The family will be in New York for another week or so (they live in North Carolina)so we will have a chance to spend some time with them.

I hope you are all enjoying summer and I look forward to catching up with all of your blogs and news!