Monday, December 17, 2007

Kitty needs a home!

My friend Sonja needs a home for her two cats. Her apartment doesn't allow pets and her mom is unable to take care of them anymore. Here is a photo of her cat, Oscar, isn't he gorgeous!? I'd love to have such a beautiful cat, but our vet says no cats right now because of Random's health. It would put too much strain on my poor kitty. Please email me and I can have Sonja get in touch with you if you know anyone who can have another cat!

Thursday, December 06, 2007

Happy St. Nicholas Day!

Today is the official saint's day for St. Nicholas. If you're not Dutch you probably don't celebrate it, but it is such a fun holiday I decided to adopt it for my own [in case you're wondering, I'm Polish and English/Irish/Welsh]! On St. Nicholas Eve, he comes on his white horse and brings all the children candy and small gifts. Behind him is Black Peter bringing switches and coal for all the naughty children. Click on the button on the left to go to a site with more St. Nicholas fun and stories.

This year I got treats for all my friends at work. I printed a St. Nick ATC for everyone for fun (you can see it on the right). Some people got chocolate initials and Dutch sweets and mints. I also got some bakery items to share with everyone. You can see the mound of goodies I bought in the post below. Do you think I got enough?

I went to the Holland American Dutch Market in Bellflower on Saturday to get all the treats. It was super crowded because it was the last weekend before St. Nicholas Day. I felt so lucky because Sinterklass (St. Nicholas) was there in person to greet people and take photos. I've never seen him before, so I was very excited!

I got some Dubbel Zout (double salt) salty black licorice for myself, but I usually don't share because most people don't like that at all! It's an acquired taste and you must really like licorice to appreciate it.

Stroopwaffels are a little wafer sandwich with caramel in the middle and are so yummy! Speculaas are spice cookies; similar to delicate crispy ginger snaps. I got an extra pack for us and a pack for my mom.

I also got some imported Dutch Gouda cheese because, you know after all that candy I figured I needed some protein, ha ha! But then I only ate cheese and crackers for lunch the next day and it made my stomach hurt from all the junk. I have been snacking on all the rare treats for the whole week—a bit of cheese here, some salty licorice washed down there with a cookie and some mints for dessert. Luckily for my health, this holiday only comes once a year and I only make it to the Dutch Market every few years!

ATC is made using image from Vintage Workshop. Stitching and tag from Scrapgirls. Pointsettia from Susan Long. Font is FetteFraktur.

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

Feasting on Dubbel Zout!

What do you think this mess is on my kitchen table? What did I do on Saturday? Who did I get to meet in person for the very first time EVER? What the heck is Dubbel Zout!? Why did my stomach hurt so bad on Sunday? All these questions and more will be answered on Thursday! Come back soon!

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Decorative Christmas Bag

Here's something I put together this weekend to hold a little gift. I made it out of a 12x12 piece of double-sided decorative paper from Rusty Pickle. I also used a small tea doily, a snowflake charm, a stamp by Studio G (J's $1 stamp) and my Spellbinders Nestabilities Petite Scalloped Circles dies.

I made a rough template for you to use if you like. You can find it at the bottom of this post. Download and print it off to use as a pattern. Cut on the outside edges. If you want to use your circle punch, I cut the top flap it in a rough rectangle and then stuck the rectangle so only the part I wanted to cut was in the punch. The rest I wrapped to the backside where it wouldn't get cut when I ran it through the Wizard.

Crease one direction on the darker lines and the 2 lighter lines crease the other direction. This photo Shows what it looks like once you cut and fold it.

Use some glue strips to glue the bottom pieces together then glue down the side, making sure to tuck the small 1/2" end underneath the larger side so it doesn't show. The side ends will pinch closed like a lunch bag now. If you like you can glue a pretty doily onto the inside of the flap so just the edge shows when the bag is closed. Use whatever you like to seal it. I stuck the circle medallion down with some glue dots and then I can tuck the scalloped top edge underneath to close it and reopen as needed.

Saturday, November 24, 2007

Such a lovely wine!

For Thanksgiving dinner we brought along some lovely wine from Giessinger Winery. We got it when we were in Santa Barbara a few weeks ago. The wine comes in a cobalt blue bottle with a graceful long neck. I wish I had taken a photo because the wine looks as nice as it tastes. It was a light desert wine called Forgiveness. It is a pale red color and has the most beautiful aroma. It smells like roses and raspberry. It has a light peach flavor and was delicious after our meal.

Here's what the winery has to say about it: "Forgiveness Reserve, South Coast (CA) (Organically Grown) $34.95

This wine is dedicated to my creator, my mother. She will always be remembered and present. Forgiveness heals the soul. It is its renewal and a fresh start for the tempted. There is beauty, peace, and ease in forgiveness. Offer this wine with roses to your parents, lover or friend and ask for forgiveness. Medium body fruity red wine that is delicious as it is delicate. Peach aromas and flavors greet the nose and the palate. Soft and silky tannins add structure, depth and intensity. The wine is supple, the fruit lingering. A VOTRE SANTE!!"

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Japan Day 3 - Tokyo and Yuzawaya Crafts Store

I checked back in my archives and can you believe it's been since May when I last wrote about Japan! If you need to catch up, you can click on the Japan label at the bottom and read all the posts. So here we are again; now we are in Tokyo.

One of the things I was dying to do is see the eight-story crafts store I had heard about from my online friends. I grew up crafting and have tried so many different things. My favorite now is papercrafting, but I also love sewing, embroidery, beads, crochet and many more things. Can you tell how exciting this store would be for me? I was so excited to find out that Japanese people love stamping and paper too!

Johnny and Matt were such good sports. After we checked into the hotel (we got a good deal on a Japanese business hotel instead of a pricey tourist hotel) Johnny looked up the store and got directions. We didn't get there until late, so we didn't have tons of time to shop. The store was pretty small and it only had four floors, so I was pretty disappointed. I looked around at the stamps and fabric and got a couple of things. Then we left, feeling a little let down.

Or at least we tried to leave, because when we did we realized that it was an eight BUILDING complex and each store and floor had its own specialty. There was a floor with beads, one with dolls, one with bears and I can't even remember what else! There was canvas and pencils and art supplies and calligraphy and oh so many other things! I felt like a child at Christmas. We were exhausted and hungry and it was time for the stores to close so we finally left.

We never got a chance to go back there, but we went to a smaller one-store version in Kobe where I got some beautiful modern kimono fabric for my mom.

All digital layout items from Ashalee Wall at Fonts are Ireland and Industrial 736BT. Text reads: "Imagine my excitement about the eight-story crafts store I heard about in Tokyo. I thought about it for weeks before our trip. Imagine my disappointment when we got there and found only four small floors. I enjoyed shopping and looking at the stamps and fabric, but on the way out we saw the sign. Imagine my delight when I found out that it was not eight stories, but eight whole buildings! I could have stayed there all night, but the store was closing. I hope I can make it back there someday for a real shopping spree! "

Monday, November 19, 2007

Wizard CT Entry

Of I all teams in the world I would love to be on the Wizard team the most. Even though I've only had my die cutter since August, I absolutely love it! I had to try out for the team, no matter what I thought my chances would be like. I didn't make it, but here's my entries. Each one uses multiple spellbinder dies.

Scrapbook page:

Tiki Card (Stamps from Sunday Int):

Dragonfly Altered Box (bird stamp from A Stamp in the Hand, haiku by Gabi Greve)

Stamped Gothic Arch (stamps from Inkadinkadoo and Aud Designs)

Digital LO (all items from Ashalee Wall)

So I am really second-guessing myself on this entry. I know my old-school scrapbook page probably didn't help--I should have tried for more of a CK look, maybe. Maybe my essay was off (I hate writiting about myself) I'm sure the other entries were outstanding and they are trying to step things up this year for their big breakthrough. They probably wanted someone who would do fantastic standard projects and not someone with a quirky artsy style. Well, whatever reason, at least I had enough guts to try out and post my stuff, ha ha! Maybe I will get better for next year's entry and they will be willing to take a chance on a stamper like me!

Thursday, November 15, 2007

California Vacation Day 14 - Monday Part IV - Getty Villa (more!)

For the final episode of the Getty Villa, here's some fun pics from our day that make me smile!
Here we are at the entrance ampitheatre

This is a special room just for kids (and us!) They let us write on the pottery!
"Liannallama was here!"

Matthew peeks through a life-sized play vase.

The boys love posing for silly shots and posing like the statues.

Matt and Manami wave "Hello!"

Matt and Manami pose like gargoyles.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

California Vacation Day 14 - Monday Part III - Getty Villa Interior, Malibu

The Getty has one of the best collections of ancient Minoan and Cycladean art and I could spend hours looking at these pieces. Most of them were in an area that was too dark to take photos and they had a beautiful Goddess display that was in an area you were not allowed to photograph.

This Cycladean face is my favorite piece in the whole collection. I love the beauty and simplicity of it and the serene feeling it has. I love its modern lines and the fact that it's so very old (about 2,300 BC). We know next to nothing about these ancient cultures and I love the mystery behind it.

Isn't this Roman lion beautiful? It is one of four feet for an intricately carved sarcophagus.

This frieze makes me smile. I'm not sure if it's Roman or from another culture; I can't remember which part of the museum it was in. Did you know that an elephant with his trunk up is good luck? When I was little I used to collect tiny elephant carvings.

I don't know which is prettier; the maiden or the marble behind her. I had to do some Photoshop magic to show them both off. I had trouble exposing this so you could see both parts well.

This statue tells the story of Leda and the Swan. Zeus thought she was so lovely that he changed into a swan to be with her. From that union, she gave birth to the beautiful Helen of Troy.

I believe this statue on the right is of Tyche, the Roman goddess of chance.

Here is the infamous Greek Kouros of the museum. There was controversy over whether this sculpture is real or a perfect fake. He is beautiful in any case. See this article to read more about it.

This is the ceiling above an alcove where a sculpture rests. I love the elegant white on white of this. It reminds me of a beautiful fondant wedding cake!

Do you like Greek pottery? I love the variations and of course I like the simplicity of the earliest, black versions the best!

Isn't this a lovely fresco? I love the ladies and the colors here.

I'm not sure of the history of these last pieces, but they are so whimsical they just make me smile!

Saturday, November 10, 2007

California Vacation Day 14 - Monday Part II - Getty Villa Grounds, Malibu

I have to apologize; I just couldn't do the whole museum in one post! I decided to separate it and today I will show you the beautiful grounds. I hope you don't think I am posting too many photos but it's so hard to choose. I told you yesterday that we took 500 photos, but I was wrong. It was really only 411, ha ha! I love living in this digital age and you can guess how much I love my digital camera.

When they renovated the Villa, they also added some buildings. They did not try to blend them into the Roman architecture; instead they did an ingenius juxtaposition of ancient and modern. I'm not positive, but I believe they used the same architect as the Getty Complex. He certainly has my undying gratitude for creating such beauty. The new entryway, ampitheatre, gift shop and restaurant are magnificent in my eyes. We ate at the cafe and the food was delicious. I had pasta and wine and we shared a fabulous desert.

Here are some photos of the side gardens. They contain herbs, grapes, and some lovely fountains.

Here is the main garden, from the front and also from the second floor looking the other direction at the ocean. It's hard to see the ocean because it blends into the beautiful blue sky.

Here's a close-up of the cutest statue. I love this little guy as he peeks through the flowers, enjoying their fragrance!

You can enjoy this garden from the shade of one of the beautiful covered halls.

The next two show the interior garden. I'm sorry, but I can't remember if they call it an atrium or a peristyle. (So much for the Ancient Humanities course I took in college!) Each lovely lady beside the fountain is different from her sister.

This small side garden has such pretty fountains! You may know of know my fascination for gargoyles and I also love the mosaic tiles. We would have stayed out here longer, but it was very hot by the time we got out to this side.

I hope you enjoyed the Villa Gardens! Next we will see some of the beautiful treasures inside!