Saturday, July 27, 2013

Cards # 25 and 26 – Ecuador Part 1

I’ve missed creating new cards while the basement floor has been ripped up, dehumidified, and replaced. I had intended to take a break from travel cards and make more creative mixed media ones, but that’s on hold for now. I had made these in anticipation of being out of town a few times over the summer, so I “saved them up” for use later on but will share them now. Maybe I should start cooking again!
Ecuador is amazing, and we’d highly recommend it. The Galapagos Islands are a wonder unto themselves, and well worth the extra flight and fees. I initially thought that the $100 park fee was a tourist “rip-off”, but after seeing these guys wandering freely- NOT in a zoo, I didn’t mind the expense. The giant tortoises were like creatures from a movie, but they were beautiful in their own right- and seemed just as curious about us as we were about them!
Many people take cruises around the Galapagos Islands, but due to our somewhat limited time and budget, we stayed on land and took day tours of nearby islands. We did not use special zoom lenses to take these photos- they were that close. The animals were not afraid of people, though we were instructed to not touch them or feed them “people food”. We saw an iguana wandering down the street in Puerto Ayora, but we were on a restaurant balcony so couldn’t get a good photo. It was hilarious watching him/her saunter down the sidewalk.
There are a number of hotels and B&B’s on Santa Cruz, one of the larger inhabited islands. The food was great, and we met interesting fellow tourists from around the world, including a couple from our state! Knowing some Spanish helped in the Quito area, but English sufficed for most of the Galapagos experiences. I haven’t thought of a reason to send a card with a large, albeit colorful crab on it, so no card for this critter yet. Maybe someday, a “sorry I was a crab” card, or “hope you’re feeling less crabby soon” to a good friend? 

Saturday, July 20, 2013

Garden flowers and farm share

I’m running out of cards made before the basement flood, and haven’t been able to make more since then. I’ll share some photos that are slated to be made into cards, and will do the same with some travel blogs that don’t have cards yet, either.
Can you see the moisture inside these flowers? They grew mightily this spring, putting a big smile on my face every time I saw them. The white ones on the other side of the yard were also gorgeous, but didn’t have sunlight filtering through them like in this photo. After I’ve added another peony to the side of the house, maybe it will be time for another bleeding heart. I wonder how many colors they come in? Do you have a favorite color?
I’m so happy with the two hydrangeas that we added in the past two years. They are stunning, especially this unusually flowering one. The other is more traditional, but I’m amazed by the odd blossom pattern here. I’ve seen some pink ones, too, but don’t know if they are recently planted ones that haven’t changed color due to the soil composition. I’ll keep grinning every time I see these, too! Good riddance, hostas, and thanks to my friends for taking them off my hands/property.
Our garden experiment last year was a good learning experience, lots of work, and little but cute yield. We decided to try a farm share this year, and have also planted a few items that I’ll post as they grow (bell peppers, sugar snap peas, watermelon, herbs). These strawberries came in a huge flat of … pick-your-own! Now I respect why they cost so much in the store. We had strawberry shortcake, strawberry milkshakes, strawberries and yogurt, and still needed to freeze several bags for later use. Yum!

Saturday, July 13, 2013

Cards # 20 and 21 - African Safari Part 2

We were on a low-budget tour, sleeping in 2 person tents on the ground, with campground bathing facilities. I tried a new (to me) technique to mat this ostrich photo: I searched for a green paper to use as a mat, but didn’t like the shades I had on hand. I used an ink pad to color over a paler green paper to create a more vibrant frame. Too much ink came onto the paper at first, so I blotted some off with a paper napkin that was nearby.
I don't know the names of these cuties, but here are some iridescent birds. I slipped the card into a frame I got in Nairobi. 
Your future safari experience may be very different from mine. An acquaintance took one out of South Africa a few years ago, and  stayed in gorgeous hotels with private plunge pools and "regular" restaurants. We sat on tiny stools near the camp fire and ate with one plate and one fork whatever the cook had prepared for us (usually good, but not gourmet- who cares, we’re on a safari!). 
Our teeth rattled in our heads as we jounced for miles over rutted roads in an older vehicle whose shock absorbers were surely out-shocked, but it was still great! As a result, our price was do-able for a small group of 20-something women without corporate jobs to foot the bill for a luxury tour. I can’t recommend any particular company, so have fun researching the details.  

Sunday, July 7, 2013

Cards # 18 and 19 – African Safari Part 1

Yes, that is a pile of lions snoozing on a hill of rocks! Clever how they blend in nicely, eh? I visited a friend serving in the Peace Corps in East Africa over a decade ago, before I had a digital camera. I did get a snazzy zoom lens, though! This once in a lifetime experience was amazing, and I’ll never forget it. I’m fortunate to have travelled with a savvy group of women who had gathered advice from other PCV’s and knew which safari tour guide to negotiate a good price with in Tanzania.
I received two types of cloth that I placed under the cards. One was from a friend who grew up in Zimbabwe, another was sold in Uganda and has a proverb in Swahili on it (next post). A group of gazelles munched contentedly as we passed by in the vehicle, which paused regularly to let us “ooh” and “aah”.
I flew into Kenya, took a bus to the safari out of Arusha, then took another bus to Uganda after the safari. The only good thing to come of our basement flood last month was that I found a few extra safari photos that had been tucked somewhere away from the regular box of extra prints, so I had enough for two posts from this trip without having to rip anything out of the scrapbook. My favorite non-wildlife photo is this sunset: