Saturday, January 26, 2008

Where in the World....?

Immediately after our last vacation (almost 3 years ago) we started dreaming of our next vacation. First we read up on the Carribean and looked at each beautiful island! What a paradise they look like! We both love snorkling and swimming in warm, beautiful water so that looked like a perfect destination.

But then Matt wanted to go somewhere with his dad and Polly and that's not their type of vacation. South America looked like just the place to go! We got the book for that and looked at each country. Polly really wants to see Argentina and wow does that look so neat to visit! I've always wanted to see Rio and Sugarloaf Mountain and their huge statue there. And one of my lifelong dreams is to see Machu Pichu someday! Well, it turns out that Diego knows someone who is an anthropologist in Peru and knows all about Machu Pichu. Can you imagine how excited I was to think of going there with an expert? Even if it required some camping (which I detest, LOL!) I started dreaming of ancient civilizations and mysteries.

Right after that, though Polly decided that where she really wanted to go was England. They travel a lot and she is usually not a huge fan of going places, so it was fun to know she would love the trip we planned. I've only been to two foreign places so I'm thrilled where ever we go. We went home with England travel books and spent hours pouring through lists and websites and trying to decide the best places to go. I really want to see The White Cliffs of Dover (I'll explain more someday when I have time!) and of course Stonehenge (more of my mysterious ancient civilization obsession!) We must see London. Would we have time for Wales?

I have a friend in Scotland and I was dearly hoping to get there to meet her too! Really, I'd love to see Scotland more—how much time could we spend there? Edinburgh and Glasgow and oh there's so many places to see! England and Scotland are where we need to go.

Right after this a bomb fell on our plans. Literally—a bomb went off in the London subway and there was no way in this world that Polly was going to England. Oh, curse those terrorists! But there's always Ireland. That looks like one of the most beautiful countries of all. Every photo shows rolling green hills and I am in love. We went to the store to pick up Ireland books. Which cities are the best? Of course we have to see the book of Kells at Trinity College. Some small towns, some pubs, some ancient ruins. Rolling hills and ocean views. And sheep. Don't forget the lovely sheep. And Guiness, of course and an Irish Whisky factory. Ah yes, Ireland is superb for a vacation destination.

Very shortly after we bought the books we found out about Random. I refused to travel when he was sick and the vet told us he had less than 2 years. I was convinced it would be much sooner and was scared to leave him. Matt was sweet and patient and we kept planning for when our vacation would eventually come. Every day he would find a new destination. Hong Kong, Bangkok, Shanghai. Those earned a call to a travel agent and brochures. Vietnam. (Vietnam? Well, maybe not!) Budapest, Sweden, Canada. Prague, Paris, Italy. Greece. Chiappas, Mexico. Carribean cruise. Alaska cruise. Mexico cruise. Hawaii. Denver, DC, New York, Savanna, New Orleans. Barcelona and beautiful Spain—we even got the books for that!

Some of the places were picked out of thin air or something we saw on the travel channel and wanted to explore. Some are places that Diego was going for work. We discussed places where Matt's nephew was playing in hockey tournaments. We looked at so many places and researched planes, hotels and attractions.
Every day before work Matt would show me wonderful places on the internet. We looked forward to the Sunday Travel section of the Times to show us a new wonderful place. We armchair travelled everywhere for the last 3 years; I almost feel like I've already been to some of those beautiful spots.

I hope you enjoyed travelling with me today. Next time I may reveal the trip we are currently planning. I won't know if we will be able to go until February. Thanks to the wonderful travellers who took these stunning and inspiring photos.

Monday, January 21, 2008

A Very Sad Post

Well, this is a hard post to write. Most of you already know this but in case you don't I will put it here. Random, my sweet kitty and best friend of 17+ years is gone. It is so quiet and lonely in the house without him. I keep talking to every shadow because I forget he's gone and I think he's snuck up behind me. I miss him. I'm holding up ok, but it's sad. My friends and everyone have been so sweet because they knew how much he meant to me. Thank you everyone! I'll stop now--sigh!

Thursday, January 03, 2008

Crafty Hoarding: Fabulous Fabrics—Using Fabric with Stamping.

Here's an article I wrote a few years ago. The projects may be old, but there are still some great tips I wanted to share.

Using fabric on your cards is a fun way to add color and texture to your stamping. You may have bits of fabric in your studio already, but even if you don’t fabric is an inexpensive purchase. A fabric store will probably sell small lengths that are just right for you. An eighth of a yard will measure four and a half inches by the width of the fabric. This should be sufficient for almost any card-making project you imagine and it won’t set your stamping budget into a spin, either.
100% Silk Peau de Soie is stamped using dye ink. Nylon tulle is added underneath the fabric flower for extra depth and interest.

Buy several different types of fabric and experiment to see what effects you can get at home. You can stamp on silk or cotton, organza or linen and you will get wonderful results!
Purchased Linen Tag is stamped using pigment ink.

You local store will have just what you want, or you may find ready-made fabric items elsewhere that are just begging to be stamped!
Pre-made Organza Pouch is stamped with pigment inks.

Tips on working with fabric:
1. If you fabric tends to ravel, you can bond it on the back with fusible interfacing, stitch it with a zigzag stitch on your machine, or use a product such as June Tailor’s Fray Block.

2. Try letting your fabric fray on purpose and make a fringed/frayed edge.

3. Fabric that is cut on the bias (45 degree angle cut diagonally from the edge) is less likely to fray.

4. When stamping on a sheer fabric, be sure to place a piece of cardstock underneath the fabric to soak up the extra ink. Let the fabric dry completely before moving it.

5. Experiment with stamping a solid image onto a textured fabric like linen or burlap to make in image and remove some ink from the stamp. Do a second stamp onto cardstock to get an interesting pattern from the weave of the fabric!

6. Striped or patterned fabric cut or torn into strips makes a great ribbon accent on a card.

1. Floral & Paisley stamps from Stampin Up. Sentiment stamps from Purple Onion Designs. Paper from Bazzil, Club Stamp, and unknown. Organza drawstring pouch unknown. Brilliance metallic inks used on cardstock, Colorbox pigment inks used for stamping on organza. Vellum pieces inside pouch are stamped with Stampin Up dye inks.

2. Stamps from Home Impressions, Hero Arts, & Stampin Up. Linen tag, patterened paper & chipboard alphabet tiles from Lil’ Davis. Bread twist ties and acrylic purse tile from Club Stamp. Brilliance pigment inks used on linen, and Ranger Distress Inks used on cardstock.

3. Stamps from Club Stamp. Cardstock from Bazzil; patterened paper from Close to my Heart and Creative Imaginations, stitched with Coats & Clarks rayon embroidery thread. Hand-dyed pearl cotton is from Minnamurra. Button, flower & hatpin unknown. Stampin Up dye inks used for all stamping.