Friday, April 29, 2016

The Italian cruise!

This is the "super excited we are on a plane from Houston to London, then Spain where we get on a cruise boat to Italy" picture! My face wasn't quite so happy after 21 hours of travel:) I won't do into detail...suffice it to say that my body doesn't like traveling:-} Danielle and Jonathan are the spoiled youngest children...the older siblings and spouses got to go to boring and reliable old England to meet Michael's family:) The British family came to us this time so the dad said they could pick another place....lucky kids!

Booking a foreign hotel is a bit frightening, but Michael found us a tiny apartment right in the heart of Barcelona with great reviews and an American price point...good job honey! We even had a small terrace to enjoy the city hustle and bustle at tree level:) 

As I write this first day's post I am sitting in the rapidly cooling temps, enjoying a cool breeze, the fading traffic noise...not so much enjoying the screaming toddler just up the block! I love visiting cities but this small town girl just wouldn't want to live in the frantic fray!
Jonathan studied a bit of Spanish architect Antoni Guadi in school and led the way on a trek around the city to see two of his fantastic structures. The first was Casa Batllo, with it's colorful tile, mask like terraces and rolling structure face, this was the most unique building my eyes had ever seen...until the next Gaudi building!

The building right next door was beautiful in more of a traditional Spanish style...I am in architecture heaven here! The heavy gothic trim is an amazing feat of craftsmanship.

Michael is a Nutella addict. Most mornings find him spreading a generous layer on his English muffin then topped with raspberry jam! This gigantic jar caught his attention and it was only after I was uploading the pictures that the detox week sign was ironic!

Strolling along the streets in Barcelona was pleasant in the perfect sunny afternoon. A local florist, a Kimbo sign (nick name from my boys:-\...and beautiful turquoise shutters with decorative iron terraces caught my eye.

After the promise of "one more block" several times from Jonathan, we finally arrived at our second Gaudi monstrosity. I am not usually a whiner about long walks but remember we have been traveling for 21 hours straight with no sleep! I am happy to repost that I did not strangle the son-in-law and that the walk was worth the unbelievable building before our eyes! This is the Sagrada Familia Basilica which has been and still under construction for 100 years since the first stone was laid. Michael commented that Antoni really let his imagination run wild! 
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This is the other side...looks like something out of Tolken book! Look these buildings up pictures do not do this justice. You really have to see it to believe it!

Glad we came to see the Gaudi buildings...however I do prefer a more "normal" gothic building style like this beautiful church. The intricate detail is wondrous to behold! 

Ironically we ate Italian food for dinner..we will definitely chose a Spanish culinary experience tomorrow! 

Many blocks later we ended up where we began...good night!

Monday, April 25, 2016

Vintage suitcase art

I occasionally visit an antique shop in the hope of finding a vintage suitcase and finally found this beauty in a local shop in perfect condition just begging to be embellished! Collage art and decoupage can turn even the most skittish creator into an artist! I gathered embellishments from some of my favorite crafting designers and "built" my design in layers, and layers, and layers!

Pale blue with a lovely vintage texture, this suitcase was meant to be mine:) I had a square "make up" case just this color as a girl...wish I could remember what I did with it!

I began my creation by covering the suitcase with gesso, a texture paste that creates a foundation for all other mediums. The blue leather trim was left alone in it's vintage loveliness!

While the gesso was still damp Tim Holtz printed tissue paper was torn into pieces and randomly placed on the suitcase for a great background.

A Martha Stewart butterfly punch was used on Heidi Swapp paper that had been foiled in my new minc machine. Rose gold foil is the bomb:)

Anna Griffin has beautiful collage pieces in a collection of realistic flowers. I love everything Anna Griffin! The quality is un-paralleled. Her signature is placing multiple layers of the same image on top of each other with her version of pop dots. My inspiration for this piece was a beautiful rose paining hanging in my bedroom.

When my new Heidi Swapp minc machine arrived I was foiling everything in sight! This chipboard butterfly shines in a gorgeous pink foil. The resin butterfly is from Melissa Francis and was inked a vintage pink.

The words are from the Heidi Swapp embellishment collection meant for the mind machine. A good portion of those embellishments ended up rose new favorite metallic:)

I have been dying to try my metal embellishment stencil by Melissa Francis. Modeling paste is the perfect medium to create dimensional detail. I used metallic gold and pink modeling paste from Heidi Swapp. You simply lay a stencil where you want it, add a layer of modeling paste over the stencil,scrap off the excess and then carefully lift the stencil straight up. Voila!

I confess to being a crafting hoarder:) This pink jeweled embellishment was once a bracelet belonging to one of my little daughters "back in the day". It is a thrill when I finally find the perfect place for such a piece!

Tim Holtz grunge board (embossed flexible chipboard) is the perfect base for his distress glitter which looks like velvet and is at the top of my favorite "to create with" list! I tend to create embellishments in bulk. For instance I glittered a whole set of grunge board flourishes in this pink knowing that someday I would find the perfect application!

My mom is responsible for my collage and Mod Podge obsession! She was THE crafty mom among my friends so we always had creative projects at my slumber parties. I remember "Mod-Podging" pictures from cards or magazines on homemade ceramic oval shapes ...quite the craft in the 1970's!

More resin butterflies and a pink modeling paste embellishment. Me thinks I have a thing for butterflies:)

The Heidi Swapp pink modeling paste was a perfect match to the Anna Griffin they coordinate this stuff?

Yes, I even decorated the ends of the suitcase!

This is the back side, slightly more simple..well sort of:) I just couldn't stop with one side, every surface is covered! 

I took the extra modeling paste left on the knife and smudged it in random spots on the can have too much distress!

My plans for this? Well it's great storage for something:)...maybe card kits. It will have a prominent place in my scrap-space, somewhere I can see it everyday and smile! 
I am a Mod Podge collage artist!   

Sunday, April 10, 2016

Camping with Thor the dog

Camping is a family favorite and because our spring will rapidly turn into a sweltering summer we took advantage of a beautiful weekend and went camping in Cold Spring, Texas. Recent torrential rain in east Texas left most of our campgrounds partially flooded so we literally booked the very last tent spot in southeast Texas! Let the fun begin...

Setting up tents is quite the project with little ones and pets on site! A family nap was in order after such exertion:)

Family nap time was reward for putting up our tents. I looked up and felt such gratitude for the majestic trees watching over our little family!

The hubby is writing a book...guess he felt inspired by the peaceful quiet of nap time on the campground!

Thor the Great Dane puppy and Scarlett have a love/you bug me to death relationship:) He will be bigger than her in not so many months so learning to place nice is paramount.

I love camping for the sitting around with family, no list, no agenda, no schedule...just complete relaxed enjoyment of the moments. Brittany is sharing such a moment with her girls.

I usually travel with something creative to do. Stamped images and markers are my "go to" carry on craft. Annabelle and Scarlett felt quite grown up with stamped flowers and"real" markers from Grammie's stash:)

Brittany and Travis are creating an outdoor adventure family. They are never daunted by taking babies almost anywhere...and the babies love it!

We love family bike rides. When the kids were young we would often take a Sunday afternoon bike ride since it was the only day Michael took off from med school studying. Camping bike rides are always on the activity list!

Thor or rather "Sor de dog" as Scarlett calls him is already spoiled and seems to think he is a child!

No camping experience would be complete without smores! We like to add a bit of twist with reeses cup smokes...try it!

Another camping must is pancakes.Our family icon Uncle Joe would hold "Pancake flipping 101" tutorials when I was a kid....I am continuing the tradition with my grandchildren. Why is it that pancakes taste amazing outdoors?

More sitting around sipping hot chocolate without a care in the world....totally love camping!

Riding to the bathroom can be quite the adventure when it is on the back of the car or on the trailer. I remember the thrill of riding in the back of my dad's work truck "back in the day" the 70's before seat belts, bike helmets, when we lived with less fear:)

Riding to the front of the campground was the finally adventure. So long camping till we meet again:)