Saturday, June 29, 2013

Card # 24– Australia Part 2

Does anyone else LOVE researching vacation destinations? Whee- it’s half the fun to anticipate the trip and check out options. I’m so glad we stayed on Bruny Island, south of Tasmania. It was a treat to stay at Inala and take guided tours during the daytime and evening hours. We took a couple of photos of penguins ascending the sand dunes at night, but didn’t want to blind them with flash photography…thus, no penguin pictures to share here. We used red filters over the flashlights so the focusing was difficult, plus they were in motion, so a blurry red blob wouldn’t mean much to you- but it was so cool to see them heading home from the water.
We learned so much more about the animals and everything else about that corner of the world than if we had tried to figure things out on our own. These three photos were taken on Bruny Island, and we would very much like to return. It was our first (accidental) birding experience, and we’d highly recommend it.
The material behind this picture/card and two from the previous post was not purchased in Australia. It was a souvenir from my husband's deployment, which is when we met in Australia. 
Check out these nifty mushrooms, REALLY! We also discovered boronia flowers, and had a wonderful evening of start gazing with a telescope.
P.S. We only visited a few locations on this amazing continent, due to our limited vacation time. We very much hope to see more regions on future visits!

Saturday, June 22, 2013

Cards # 22 and 23– Australia Part 1

I had planned on creating some non travel cards, but my craft table is temporarily out of commission due to a flood in the basement. I'll go ahead with this Australia post and hope that our new floor gets put in soon so I can get to all of my supplies. Thankfully, nothing valuable was destroyed, in terms of crafting items! 
Our vacation began and ended in Sidney, with our first stay in the Cooggee Beach area to relax during the jet lag adjustment period. At the conclusion of our adventures, we stayed in the Potts Point neighborhood. We strolled around the city, and took a tour of the Opera House. This vacation took place before I started feeling comfortable photographing my plated food in restaurants, so I don’t have any shots of the fabulous meals we stuffed ourselves with in all three locations of the trip.
I’d recommend the hop-on-hop-off tours, including out to the beaches outside of Sydney. Another fun experience was the ferry over to the zoo, where I petted giraffes! You'd think this large bird would be confined to the zoo, but that was not the case- there were plenty of them in the botanic gardens, along with basketball-sized flying fox bats (NOT pictured here). I’ll never forget seeing the bats fly out over the harbor at sunset. 
We spent a couple of nights in Melbourne, where we went to a spa, the amazing aquarium (jellyfish), and the Queen Victoria Market – don’t miss out on the pet name tags custom engraved for pets as a souvenir. I didn’t know that the fruit we bought at the market would have to be surrendered when we arrived in Tasmania the next day, to prevent any pests or other contaminants from reaching the island. Stay tuned...

Saturday, June 15, 2013

Cards # 15, 16 and 17 – orange and pink

In order to send a bunch of thank-you notes, I finally organized all the photos that I had sorted a few years ago, but now with an eye towards making cards. I have a neat stack of photos ready to go, and was able to locate several sets for upcoming combination travel and photo card posts!
It’s not tomato season yet - these beauties are from last year. The sunshine dappling the picture of the card reminds me of what they tasted like. I'm still so pleased with the vellum envelopes and bracketed cards. The small cards (below) are really not an ideal size for doing interesting things with mixed media items.
I have many amaryllis photos, but didn’t want to create a bunch of nearly identical cards for a post, so here’s one from our first apartment together 15 years ago. This boxwood plant is especially healthy, and seemed to be a nice contrasting frame around the paler photo!
While in Florida a couple of years ago, we took lots of photos of interesting wildlife, and this one didn’t make it into the scrapbook for some reason. I’m glad I kept it, as the ripples in the water and the cheerful feather colors are interesting. More animals to come in future travel posts.

Saturday, June 8, 2013

Pottery Painting for fun!

Once again, I registered for a fundraiser with a take-home product, and am pleased to report on the process and the results. 
Many shelves of unglazed pottery faced us as we each selected an item to decorate. I grabbed a vase with a wider base that my four-footed friends couldn’t tip over as easily.
Choosing the colors was challenging but fun, and due to my lack or creativity or free-hand drawing skills, I selected some stencils.
Despite the sample glazed tiles allowing participants to know the final shade, my lavender turned out paler than I hoped. The orange-yellow was neat, and the pencil lines disappeared during the glazing process, as predicted.
Neighbors at the event made plates, pet food dishes, serving containers and decorative items in an array of colors and designs, using these fine-pointed paint dispensers as well as brushes.
Here is the "final" unglazed version of my work, at which point it was left with the studio staff for a few days...
And this is the result at the end of the process! I don't know much at all about the glazing process, but what a nifty outcome. I'd recommend this type of event for anyone, even if you think you're not creative.

Saturday, June 1, 2013

Cards # 12, 13 and 14 – junior year abroad

In deciding to use photos I have on hand already (instead of reprinting some from many years ago), this post includes three different countries. I couldn’t find three pictures of any one country in the "extras" photo box, so the college year in Europe seemed like a good theme. During spring break, we all got Eurail passes and took trains all over, and on long weekends we took closer excursions by train. I would highly recommend all of these as travel destinations. 
We started in the Austrian Alps, and amassed quite a collection of stamps over the year. This was in the very early days of e-mail and most people didn’t use it on a daily basis. One of the orientation activities was a blank map of Europe, and students were asked to fill in the names of countries they knew. Thankfully, the same quiz was administered at the end of the year, and we zipped through it much faster and with more accuracy the second time! My favorite part of Austria was Vienna, though skiing in the Alps comes a close second.
I remember during 5th grade geography learning about the country of Czechoslovakia (at that time), and determining that I was going to go there some day. It sounded pretty exotic! I couldn’t figure out a way to include the stamps without taking away from the serenity of the photo, so I pasted them inside the card. Someone will appreciate them. Prague was marvelous; the people were so kind to us, the architecture and history just amazing. I got some crystal glasses there that are still in my china cabinet. The countryside was peaceful and lovely. 
Portugal was a nice experience, with delicious food and beautiful beaches. I like the “real” quality of this photo, showing industry and ordinary neighborhoods that might not be on a tourist brochure, but are part of every day life. I still have the sweater I got at the market in Lisbon. We weren’t there long enough to have a thorough visit- we had 2 weeks and chose to visit Paris, Zurich, Barcelona, Madrid, Niece, Venice, and Vienna. I would be glad to return to Portugal!
I wanted to show a variety of city and country photos, and my next project is to really sort the photos I’ve amassed (remember the days of getting “doubles” from film? No? Oh, yes, some of you- whew!). To be continued...