Thursday, August 28, 2008

Knobbly Gnome for MIchele

I'd like to thank those of you who have continued to read my blog even though it wasn't craft related. I did lose a few subscribers, so I thank those of you who have been kind enough to stick with me. :)

This is a card that I made for my sister, Michele. She will be 60 tomorrow. My siblings and I bought her a round trip ticket from California so that we could celebrate with her. Tomorrow on her birthday we are going to the CIA (Culinary Institute of America) in Hyde Park, NY. She's never been there so it will be a real treat for her. We have a weekend packed full of things to do with her before we put her back on the plane on Sunday.
I wanted this card to be soft and used one of my favorite images from Knobbly Gnomes. It's a retired SU set. The dp is from K & Company. Copics were used to color in the image, along with some distressing and some sponging. This card measures 5 1/4 " square.
Smiles :)

card stock ...Rose red, river rock, Pink Pirouette, K & Company dp
Image...SU Knobbly Gnomes
Embellies...River rock ds ribbon, baubles, prima flowers, rhinestone brad, and scallop punch

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Cruising the Mediterranean and Naples

Our trip was coming to an end. We had one last day at sea and then a day in Naples and we would all be returning to our homes. It's really sad when you all have such a great time and then you have to return to the everyday grind.
Our day at sea was so relaxing. After dinner there was a competition being held in one of the nightclubs and all 19 of us went to cheer my daughter Chelsea on. She was competing in the Princess Idol. She was voted in on another night and this night was the big finale! Chelsea sang a Janis Joplin song. She nailed it and won the competition. The entire room was on their feet cheering her on. She really was magnificent! We were all so proud of her! She was the star of the evening.

We had all decided that we would spend our time in Naples shopping and then have a nice lunch somewhere. Well let me tell you, we were there on a Sunday, nothing was open except for Churches! WE walked around for what seemed like hours and finally found a little restaurant that would serve us. The owner spoke only Italian, but somehow we managed to order a fabulous meal.
If I am ever in Naples again, which I doubt I ever will be, I would take an excursion to Capri or Sorrento. Naples was filthy, and after seeing such beautiful cities and Islands throughout our trip, Naples was a huge disappointment, it was like being in a toilet. We couldn't wait to get back onto the ship.
All in all, this trip was one of the most amazing vacations that I have ever been on. It's one that we will never forget. We met so many wonderful people in the most fabulous places. I'm looking forward to the day when we all travel back to Greece and get to spend more time on the Islands that we fell in love with.
Smiles :)

Monday, August 25, 2008

Santorini, Greece

Santorini, our last stop in Greece was truly magical. It didn't start off that way though! In order to get to the town of Santorini you must either take a donkey or a cable car to the very top. You can also walk the many steps up but it would probably take a very long time and we had no interest in walking the steps. We didn't take the donkeys due to the size of our group. We thought we might cause them duress from the weight of carrying us. lol So we took the cable cars to the top of the city. Our plan was to head to the beach and then have lunch on the beach. Santorini is known for it's black sanded beaches. We get to the bus station and just missed the bus. We were informed that there would be another bus coming in like an hour. From experience we learned that that hour could be any hour, not necessarily the next hour so we made out way to the taxi stand. People had been waiting an hour on that line for a taxi. Apparently there were only 3 taxis working that day! So we rented 3 cars to transport all 17 of us. The scenery and landscapes were beautiful and we finally found our little slice of heaven on the other side of the Island. We settled on the beach and across the street was a restaurant that we picked out for our lunch spot. Our cocktail waitress told us to wait until the fresh fish came in for the day. We asked her how we would know when the fish came in and she told us that a truck would come by, ringing a bell with the catch of the day. As soon as we heard the bell we headed to the restaurant and had a lunch with all the specialties that Santorini is know for. Fried tomatoes, grilled octopus, Yalandzi Dolmathes, taramosalata, tzadziki, Greek Salads and many other dishes appeared on our table as well as some lovely tasting local wines. Everything was just wonderful and flavorful. After lunch my son John went into a local store and bought a CD of music from Zorba the Greek. On our way back to the ship we were blasting the music on the car stereo, dancing in our seats. We pulled over into a gas station to get some gas and we jumped out of the car, still dancing. The locals thought we were absolutely crazy and other tourists pulled over to the side of the road to watch us.
My older son, John announced that he loved Santorini, that he loved it so much that when he gets married he was going to come back for his honeymoon. We all wished that we had more time there to see more of the Island but had to get back to the ship. All of us recited that we would be back!
Smiles :)

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Rhodes and the big boot

Rhodes was beautiful. It was one of our favorites that we visited this trip. The walled city reminded us all of the smaller walled cities of the Tuscany region in Italy. As you walked through the gated city there were several areas that reminded us of the piazzas in Italy. What caught my boys attention were the large boots full of beer. They couldn't wait for us to get off the beach so that we could go to lunch and they could get their hands on Das Boot!
The beach was so much fun. They had a platform in the water that had many levels that you could climb and jump off. Needless to say, my four jumped from the highest level.
The beaches are free of charge, but they charge you for the chairs that you use. This old woman who only spoke Greek comes up to me and holds up her fingers in the air. I'm like what? She sticks her fingers up at me and points to the chairs. She wants 5 Euro each (which was something like $55 for 6 lounge chairs) and won't go away until I pay her. We were only going to stay for maybe an hour, so when the kids came out of the water they found out that they had to share a lounge chair! LOL!
We found this great little restaurant tucked in an alley on our way back to the ship and had a fantastic meal. I have to say that we did not have one bad meal anywhere in Greece or in Italy and that includes the airport food!
After a leasurely 2 hour lunch we found our way back to the ship and sailed off into a beautiful sunset.
Smiles :)

Kusadasi, Turkey

Anthony and Cleopatra walked this!

At first I had no real interest in going to visit Turkey at all. The things that I had heard about it were unflattering to say the least. However, while looking up information and things to do while we were there I had read about Mary's House. I knew that I wanted to see this. The Vatican has declared it to be the house that the Virgin Mary lived in after Jesus was crucified. I booked a tour and my two sister in laws joined me. It was such a beautiful moment to visit her home. Just to see a structure that was built around 2AD was magnificent. I was so emotionally and spiritually touched that I was crying. There was a prayer wall outside of her house that you could write a prayer to the Virgin Mary, tie it up in a tissue and hang on the wall. We all did this, then lite a candle and drank from the ancient wells of water that signified family, success and health.

After visiting Mary's house we then went to the ruin of Ephesus. Awesome! The ruins were larger than Pompei and were amazing to look at. Just imagining life back then, and the vast buildings has us staring with our mouths open in wonder. I would have to say that this was one of my favorite spots. We actually walked down steps where Anthony and Cleopatra walked.
I couldn't take enough pictures!
Our tour guide was such a sweetheart. She spoke beautiful English, but every now and then she would falter on a word or two. While sitting in the bus she was speaking about St. Paul, and referred to him as an opossum rather than an apostle! I just lost it. I stated cracking up and couldn't stop laughing. It was a very silly moment!
After our tour we got suckered into going into a rug demonstration. Sasoon, our tour guide told us we were about to see something very Turkish, and we would be served some Turkish wine. Did she say wine? We didn't want to hurt her feelings and we really wanted some wine so we just followed the group. We thought that we were going to see how they made carpets, instead we were brought into a show room where they just kept throwing carpets on the floor for us to look at for purchase. They didn't serve us any wine, they gave us some apple tea (it was very delicious, but it wasn't wine!)
Our husbands kept beeping us on the walkie talkies. My one sister in law flew out of the room, while Kelli and I were still stuck. I looked at her and said, we just have to get up and walk out. So I stand up and said, I'm sorry we have to leave. Our husbands are watching our children and we must go. The salesman, looks at us and just replys "very interesting".
We later found out that Turkish men do not help out with the children at all! Thank heaven we are all married to nonTurks! LOL!
Smiles :)

Friday, August 22, 2008


Ohhhh, Mykonos! So pretty, so blue, so beautiful, and the night life!!! Just ask my kids! LOL! The ship docked at 1 am and my 3 older ones couldn't get off the ship fast enough. They hit all the night clubs and came back to the ship in the early hours of the morning...penniless! Unfortunately for them we made them get off the ship an hour after they returned so that we could spend the day at Paradise Beach. It was beautiful. we really had a magnificent day!
Here are a few shots of Magnificent Mykonos!
Smiles :)

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Athens, Greece

Our next two stops were in Katakolon (Olympia...where the olympics started) and Athens.
In Katakolon, we ventured off the ship to do a little sight seeing and some shopping. My husband hates to shop. He thinks it's like getting teeth pulled! We found a restaurant on the water and sat down to eat an amazing lunch of octopus, squid and fresh caught fish. Everything was yummy. The owner of the restaurant was the captain of the pilot boat that leads the ship into port. And sitting next to us was the captain of our ship! He was enjoying his time off the ship with his wife and two sons. The owner of the restaurants name was Stephanos so my husband tells him in Greek that he is also called Stephanos. Well, you would have thought that we were all best friends and long lost relatives! Before we left he gives us a beautiful bottle of wine from his family's vineyard. They only make 200 bottles a year and we are the proud owners of one!
Athens was amazing. Seeing the ruins of the Acropolis and the Parthenon were incredible. I did convince my husband to do a little shopping at the Plaka. I didn't find a LCS but we did find a jewelry store. (I had gotten the address from my father before I left and tucked it into my wallet!) I bought my husband a new wedding band for our anniversary (which is tomorrow the 22nd...21 years) and ended up with a beautiful hand made gold bracelet for myself!
Here's a few photos for you to enjoy!
I will be getting back to crafting and card making really soon.
While we were away I had my bedroom redone so I have been busy putting it all back together. I am in the process of making new window treatments and a bedspread...I'm actually staring at the fabric trying to figure out what to do with it! LOL! I have a huge box that was delivered from SU and can't wait to go through it and start using my new supplies!
Smiles :)

Monday, August 18, 2008

Corfu, Greece

17 of us got off the ship at the same time. It's not so easy to coordinate a group of this size when everyone has different interests. My husband had a brilliant idea to rent Vespars and Scooters for our immediate famiy. My older nieces and nephew decided to tag along with us. Steve had been to Corfu 30 years earlier and had said that the city itself was not that pretty and we needed to get out of the port city. We spent an hour searching for scooters to rent and we were finally told that we needed international scooter licenses to rent them. There went that idea out the window. We ended up renting a car that accomodated six people and crammed 9 of us into it. It was like being in the clown car at the circus. We had alot of laughs and finally made it to the beach in Paleokastritsa and enjoyed a wonderful authentic greek lunch overlooking the beach. The hassle of getting there was worth it. The scenery was lovely and we had a great day!
Smiles :)

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Dubrovnik, Croatia

Day 2 of our cruise was spent at sea. We had a nice relaxing day in the sun sailing the Adriatic Sea discovering the ship. This ship was huge! Over 3000 passengers and 1500 crew members. I can usually find my way around a ship and on this one I kept getting lost. While the ship was moving I could figure out where the front of the ship was and where the back of the ship was. But if we were docked, forget about it. I got all turned around!
On our 3rd day we arrived in Dubrovnik, Croatia. From the ship it looked beautiful and the water was so blue. Friends of ours back home had told us about a little spot in Dubrovnik that we just had to visit. So after we walked through the fantastic walled city of Dubrovnik it was time to find our little spot called Busha. Walking through the streets through residential areas we finally fond our little oasis. The only indication that this little tavern existed was a sign hanging on the wall that said cold drinks with an arrow. The appeal of this tavern was that it was situated on a cliff over looking the Adriatic Sea. and the bonus was that you could jump off the cliff into the water. Well, when we told the kids about the cliff jumping they were all over that. I did not jump. It was a 50 foot drop into the sea. No way was I doing that! It was fun to watch the kids jumping off...nerve racking, but I was a proud momma! the sea was so salty that when they hit the water they bounced right up!
Have a great day!
Smiles :)

Friday, August 15, 2008

We're back

We are all back. OMG! It was a trip of a lifetime. The weather was absolutely amazing. We lucked out. It could have been terribly hot and the hottest it got was in the low 90's. We were preparing ourselves for 100 plus in Athens and Turkey.
Our trip started in Venice. I love Venice. I was on a mission to buy another mask. I found the shop that I purchased my other mask when we were there 3 years ago. I wanted a certain designer. When I found the shop I was so excited! Walking around in Venice can be like walking around in a maze, and I get lost even with the navigator in the car so I was thrilled when I arrived at my destination without getting lost! LOL! The shop owner remembered me! Elisabetha and I were hugging, and then she pulls out a matching mask that perfectly coordinated with the one that I already own. Many dollars later I was the proud owner of a beautiful Venetian mask, signed by the artist.
Here are some pictures of our fabulous day in Venice!
Ciao! I'll be back tomorrow with some more details and more photos! Next stop, Debruvnick, Croatia!
:) Lorraine

May Arts Ribbon

May Arts Ribbon
A few of my favorite things