Monday, August 30, 2010

I won! Twice!

I had the pleasure of winning two giveaways recently from two very nice people that I met through the world of blogging.

Many of you know Marie from her blog, Art from my Heart, but did you know she openned her own Etsy shop? If you haven't been there, you are missing out on some extraordinary clay work! I, myself, visit it regularly! Anyway, on to the beautiful piece I won from Marie, selected just for me....
I hope you can see from my less than perfect photo just how pretty this heart really is. The rose is two-toned & the heart has the sweetest black & white dangle! Thanks, Marie--I love it!

The second item was made especially for me by Connie from the blog, She Dreams Big! I won big! She made this lovely bag just with me in mind--I love the color & pattern, and the quality is outstanding! Not only did she make the bag, but she added in lots of tags, ephemera, stamped images, and a cute heart for me to enjoy! Thank you, Connie! I adore everything! Her blog is interesting & funny. Stop by and say hi!

It has been said many times over, but bloggers are among some of the most generous people I have ever met. Generous, not only with material things, but with their time & friendship.

Friday, August 27, 2010

Vacation Dreams-Crete & back to Athens-Finale!

Our last port of call on the cruise portion of our trip was to the largest Greek island of Crete. Unfortunately, due to heavy headwinds we got to Crete late. One & a half hours was not nearly enough time to explore this beautiful island.
We walked around the man made lake to get to the town area.
There was a small Byzantine church built into the rock. We had just about enough time to do a little shopping before returning to our ship to set sail for our overnight trip back to Athens.

We had the whole day in Athens & decided to take one more tour--this time to Delphi. In ancient times, Delphi was considered the center of the world. It was an area that was dedicated to the god, Apollo, and there resided the Oracle of Apollo. People traveled far and wide to consult the oracle (priestess) who supposedly had a direct channel to Apollo. Her answers were always ambiguous and could be interpreted several ways. Once at the ruins which we climbed ever higher to view, it was almost understandable why the ancient Greeks thought this was the connection to heaven. I am going to end this journey the way it began...with a video montage. All photos from Delphi, the last is a Greek Sphinx in the museum. Enjoy!

Thanks, for coming along on our vacation. Hope you have enjoyed! Have a wonderful weekend!

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Vacation Dreams-Egypt Part 2

After visiting the museum it was time for a lunch cruise down the Nile River. That's our vessel on the left.

It was decorated outside and in in egyptian figures & symbols. We had a nice buffet lunch & enjoyed the band playing. There was entertainment--a belly dancer & this...???

Oh, here's a better picture! This man did a dance where part of his outfit lifted up and he spun it around and around!

After lunch we were off to see the only remaining wonder of the ancient world--the pyramids at Giza! What was once a secluded area in the desert, is slowing being encroached upon by civilization as you can see in the above photo.

Here are two of the three pyramids-The great pyramid or Pyramid of Cheops is on the left & is the largest of the three.

This is the entrance to one of the smaller pyramids.

No visit to the pyramids would be complete without a visit to the Sphinx! Head of a Pharoah and body of a lion it is thought that they were built as guardians of the tombs.

So now I know you are thinking, "Where is dream #2?" Coming right up! Before we left on vacation, I had a dream (the real kind you have while you are sleeping), that I rode a camel. Didn't say anything but the next morning my daughter says to me, "I want to ride a camel in Egypt". It was too coincidental not to follow through, so while we rode, my husband got some photos and tried not to get run over by a camel!

Yes, we screamed like two little kids the whole time! As you probably know, camels get up hind legs first so you feel like you are going to fall off. When they walk, they sway side to side, so you feel like you are going to fall off. And, when they go down it is front feet first, so you feel like you are going to fall off! Plus the animal we were on was about 7ft. tall! Needless to say we had a great time!

I hope you have enjoyed our vacation and maybe had a chuckle or two. Just two more places to go!

Friday, August 20, 2010

Vacation Dreams-Egypt

I have decided that I need to divide Egypt in two--well, not really, just my post about it so hopefully you won't be bored, lol!

Ever since I was a child I have been fastinated by Ancient Egypt--the Pharoahs, heiroghyphics, and the Sphinx; but I was awed, amazed & entranced by King Tut. I read all I could find about this boy king and was right there (in my mind guys, I'm not that old!) on November 4, 1922, when Howard Carter found his tomb. I devoured books of the excavation and couldn't hear enough about the curse that seemed to follow those involved. So once again, my dreams came true (yes, dreams as you shall soon see!)when we docked at Port Said, Egypt.

Our caravan of buses, including two empty ones in case one of ours broke down, was escorted under armed security forces (the 2nd military)from the port to Cairo. There were security guards on every other bus plus a jeep with 3 armed soldiers (one facing each direction) that went up & down the caravan keeping all vehicles away from us. Once there, whatever perceived (or real) danger was apparently passed & we were free to travel on our own.

Our first stop was a place I've heard about all my life, in every movie I saw...The Egyptian Musuem of Antiquities. Once inside the door you begin browsing over huge statues, sarcophagi, stone vessels & boats, but I couldn't wait to see what I had come for.

To whet your appetite are the four shrines that fit one inside the other and which held Tut's sarcophagus. There were beds, chariots, chairs, gloves, but the room devoted to King Tut & filled with 3000 artifacts was amazing! Here we saw 2 of the 3 coffins that held Tut's body-one solid gold & one encrusted with jewels. We saw more jewelry than a woman can ever wear! Of corse, the highlight for me was finally setting eyes on King Tut's funeral mask--25 pounds of solid gold inlaid with colored glass and gems!

Of course, no cameras were allowed, so I found some links on the web for you.

I'll end part 1 here. But wait you say, what about dream #2? Stay tuned for part 2--I guarantee you will be laughing by the end!

Have a great weekend everyone!

Wednesday, August 18, 2010


We celebrated our 19th Wedding Anniversary! It was a beautiful cool day & we took our 3 mile morning walk around the lake. We spent a nice day together and went out to dinner at our local Greek restaurant. My husband wished we were back in Athens, but I told him the plane ride was a little too long to just go there for dinner!

I almost never post photos of me or my family, but here goes...19 years ago, on August 19:

I have also loved this particular photo as our shoulders down to our hands form a heart. I made my veil & incorporated pearls from my mother's veil. Again, I took a photo of a photo so the quality is not great, but at least you can see what we look(ed) like. We actually look very much the same, maybe 10 pounds heavier & a lot grayer!

Monday, August 16, 2010

Vacation Dreams-Israel!

Jerusalem is a holy place to the world's Christian, Jewish & Muslim populations. From this panoramic photo you can see the walled old city. Just to the right of the midpoint you will see a gate in the wall. This is know as the Golden Gate. It is the gate through which it is believed Jesus Christ walked out of the city on the night of his arrest & where he will enter the city on his return to earth. The Gold dome is called, The Dome of The Rock. It is sacred to the Muslims who believe that Mohamed ascended to Heaven from this spot. The Rock is sacred as it is said to be the spot where God asked Abraham to sacrifice his son. It is a very complicated place to say the least and one can understand all the heated emotions of that area.

We walked the Via Dolorosa, the path Jesus took to his crucifixion. Sadly, today, most of the stations of the cross are obscured along the way by shops.

The last 4 or 5 stations of the cross are within the Church of the Holy Sepulcher which is another very complicated place. The church is claimed by the Catholics, Orthodox Greeks, Coptics, Armenians, and maybe one or two faiths I forgot. Each religion has its own sector inside where the others do not dare to cross into. Because of all this strife, the keys to the Church were given to 2 prominent Muslim families who open & close it everyday. The Church was built over the spot where Jesus was crucified, contains the slab his body was laid on, his tomb, and many chapels.

We next crossed over into the Jewish quarter where we saw from a distance the Western or Wailing Wall. This is the only wall left from the second destruction of the temple built by Solomon--the first Temple built in Israel. We were not able to approach the wall because the day we visited happened to be the anniversary of the destruction of the temple, and therefore a very sacred day for the Jewish people.

After a short lunch break we were taken into Palestine to Bethlehem, the birthplace of Jesus Christ. We visited the Church of the Nativity which holds the exact site of Jesus' birth & an area where it is believed the manger was located.

It was a life-long dream to make our pilgrimage to these sacred spots. Thanks for taking the time to read this long chronicle. I am enjoying sharing our trip with you. Just a few more stops to go!

Friday, August 13, 2010

Where did the week go?

Phew! I'm exhausted! I never realized what goes into sending a child off to college! I commuted to college as did my husband who actually picked his college so his parents would have to buy him a car. Sneaky kid!

I knew she needed special size bedding, storage bins, & the everyday toiletries, But really, I had no idea of all the little things she would need. Yesterday, we left the house at 10 am & didn't get home until nearly 9 pm! It wasn't our first day at this either. We are still not done! The biggest problem is a laptop bag which she insists cannot look dorky or like a man's bag or like an old lady bag, or "insert any phrase here" --don't laugh, wait, go ahead & laugh, I did! She insists it can't ruin her outfit. I think she is getting nervous because she is really not this neurotic, I swear!

So, what am I getting at here? I haven't had much time to blog, therefore, haven't had time to take you to the next stop on our vacation which I promise will be on Monday. There, I said I have to do it.

I do have some pretty rose corsages to share that are a custom order for a wedding.

Have a wonderful weekend everyone!

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Thank you, Thank you!

I want to thank my friend, Nicole aka Beadwright for bestowing on me the versatile blogger award. I know that many of you already know Nicole, because I have found many of your beautiful blogs via her posts & blog. If you don't, be sure to stop by and see her gorgeous bead work and meet this kind soul.

Now I am supposed to tell you 7 things about myself...

1)One of my goals is to visit all 50 states--I've been to 32 so far.
2)When I was a kid I started collected stamps & dreamed of all the far away exotic places I could someday visit.
3)Although I started my "working career" right out of college as a Medical Assistant, I have always, always wanted to be an artist.
4)One of my favorite dishes is Eggplant Parmigiana.
5)I have only lived in 2 different cities thus far in my life.
6)I love to read.
7)I have one sibling, a sister 2 1/2 years older than me.

Monday, August 9, 2010

Vacation Dreams-Myconos, Greece

Next stop...the Greek Island of Myconos! This is one of the windiest places I have ever visited! At times you could hardly walk, and you definitely could not wear a hat to shade you from the hot Mediterranean sun.

By day, this is a quiet, beautiful island with white washed buildings & bright blue shutters.

As we walked into the town, our first sight was of a fishing boat with a string of octopi drying in the sun.

The town is a labrinth of twisting, turning, alleys filled with shops & cafes. I must admit I got us pretty lost, but we eventually found our way out. We thought we would be escaping the wind, but it whipped through those alleyways just as strong as out in the open!

Myconos is known for its windmills; 5 of the original 10 remain which have now been turned into apartments.

The water of the Agean Sea was gorgeous shades of blues & greens and so clear! Our daughter & I waded around before we headed back to the ship. We found some neat rocks & beach glass that I'll show you another time.

Stop by again & join me on our next stop.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Vacation Dreams-Istanbul, Turkey

All ashore who's going ashore! Our next adventure on vacation was to board the Cristal, our home for the next 7 days. The ship held about 1000 passengers--so not as large as previous cruises we had been on--but it was certainly the means to be able to visit some of the next exciting places on our itinerary.

Our first port of call was Istanbul, Turkey. With only a day to spend, we decided to book a tour to maximize our visit. We visited The Blue Mosque, so named because of the beautiful blue tiles that adorn much of the inside. This was my first visit to a mosque & I found it beautiful and very different from the Catholic Church that I attend. There are no icons or statues, although the walls & ceilings are beautifully tiled. An interesting experience.

Our next visit was to Haggia Sophia. Once a Greek Orthodox Church, later a Mosque & now a museum, it is a beautiful example of Byzantine architecture.

Next was lunch and a visit to Topkapi Palace which was the home of the Sultans during the Ottoman Empire. We enjoyed visiting all the treasures which were housed in 5 or 6 separate rooms. They included items like thrones, jewelry, jeweled jugs, and armor. Lots of emeralds & rubies! Sorry, no photos allowed.

No visit to Turkey would be complete without a visit to the Grand Bazaar which is the oldest & probably the largest covered market in the world. It was hectic & exciting, sort of like a long road with side roads every 300 feet or so. We wisely stayed on the main aisle as many vendors had the same or similar merchandise & one could easily get lost!

Last, but not least was a visit to the famous Spice Market. A real feast for the senses as there are rows and rows of beautiful, colorful spices for sale as well as dried fruits, teas, nuts and seeds. Also a covered market in a similar style to the Grand Bazaar.
Thanks for coming along on my journey. I'll be back next week with our next port of call!
Have a great weekend friends!

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Nice giveaway...

Just a quick post to let you know of a nice giveaway going on over at She Dreams Big!
Connie is giving away in a very fun manner two beautiful items. First this stunning bag she made:

Second, this unique vase:

There is also a little "side" giveaway for those who post on their blogs about her giveaway. Hurry over and enter while there is still time!

Monday, August 2, 2010

Vacation Dreams-Athens, Greece

As you may have guessed, I was recently on vacation. Every time we go away, I feel like it is the vacation of my dreams--the vacation of a lifetime. I have been blessed with a husband who loves to travel also. If you are a longtime follower of my blog, you may have seen my posts about Southern Europe in 2007 and Northern Europe in 2008. This year the three of us went to Greece, Turkey, Israel & Egypt. I hope you will come along as I relive this vacation of dreams!

We started our 12 day trip in Athens, Greece, arriving after a 9 hour flight. We got over the jet lag much quicker than we did on past trips. Greece, of course, is a very ancient city filled with temples that were monuments to the ancient mythological gods. Perhaps the best known is the Parthenon which was the temple dedicated to the godess Athena. It sits high atop the Acropolis and is visible from almost anywhere in the city!. We visited the Temple of Zeus, Hadrian's Arch, the Theater of Dionysus, the Odeon of Herodes Atticus, and the Temple of Poseidon. It was interesting & fun to hear the myths/legends associated with these places.
I hope you enjoy this montage that I created of the places we visit in Athens.
Stop by again to hear about our next stop in Istanbul, Turkey.