Saturday, February 25, 2012

Oh, Baby

Nope, I'm not pregnant (thank goodness) (sorry, Mom), but I spent yesterday making several baby shower invitations.  Mostly it seems like people do Evite invitations instead of the hard copy get-it-in-the-mail type, but occasionally I get asked to make baby shower invitations for the mommy-to-be and her mother as a keepsake item.  There's a triple baby shower tomorrow (I don't drink the water here) so I did two each of three different invitations.  Each of the mamas is having her second baby.

I don't really know two of the moms other than being able to identify them in a lineup (not that I'd expect either of them to be in a lineup, should I be talking about police lineups here?  Probably not), but I found out from the shower organizer that one of the moms is doing her daughter's nursery in a wildlife theme, so of course Fox & Friends was the first stamp set that came to mind.   When I finished I was a little disappointed that the pink bunnies were pretty much covered up, so I stamped another one on the inside.  And the monkey, just 'cause.  I was originally going to make this card vertical but changed my mind so that I could just do one horizontal template for the insides of all the cards.

Mommy #2 is playing it close to the vest with what she's going to name the baby and any kind of colors or themes for the nursery, so I just picked out the pram (I'm in Britain, I have to say pram) from Baby Bundle and a basic little girl color combo (coincidentally, the same one as above.  What?  I'm lazy sometimes).  The background is stamped tone-on-tone with a bunch of the little stamps from that same set, like a teddy bear, baby bib, booties, a bottle, and a heart, several of which I also stamped inside.

Mommy #3 I do know a little better, and I know she wants to do planes for her son's nursery but I don't have any airplane stamps that I thought would work at all for a baby shower invitation.  I do know that she also loves dogs so I figured the "snips & snails" stamp from And Everything Nice would be fun (plus I'd never used it before) and I love the dog from Ruff Day.  I've used him on a baby card before but it was a long time ago; he's stamped again on the inside.  The laziness continues; I just switched out the pink for blue but the other two colors are the same.  I'm loving Wild Wasaaaaaaaabi lately.  True, I haven't been stamping too much of late (I'm kind of obsessed with cross stitching), but when I do I keep picking up Wild Wasabi stuff.

Last month I made thank you cards after my birthday and I think I didn't post them here yet so here ya go:

I'm a sucker for butterfly sets; this one is from Kindness Matters and the sentiment is from my all-time favorite thank you set, Thank You Kindly.  I have to say that the 3/8" taffeta ribbon is my absolute favorite of all the ribbon Stampin' Up sells and I think I need to stock up on a few more colors next time I order.  Lee, you didn't see that.

I was inspired to make this one when I saw a super-cute card by Jen at ICreate.  I can't remember how I happened on her blog, but it's a recent discovery and I really like her style.  So thank you, Jen.

Lee and I were talking the other day and I said I didn't know why people visit my blog.  I mean, my mom visits because she's my mom (and maybe to laugh at me when I misidentify photos), but what are you other three people here for?  Is it the stamping and scrapping stuff, like today's post?  Is it the occasional recipe I throw out here?  Or the pictures from when we go places (or my village gets totally snowed on)?  No matter what Sadie thinks, I doubt you're here for the Sadie and Vader stories (sorry, Sadie, you're cute, but I doubt you have an international following.  I have an international following because I live in a different country than my mom).  So why do you take time out of your presumably busy day to visit my little corner of the Interwebs?  Inquiring minds want to know.  And also, thanks for visiting me here and throwing me a bone in the comments.  I think I might turn off that prove-you're-not-a-robot thing though; I like robots.  Especially if they're like Johnny Five in Short Circuit.  Or Artoo Detoo.  Heck, even Threepio:  I could have him teach me useful words and phrases in Italian.  Ooh, tangent.

Have a pleasant planetary rotation, y'all.  Ciao.


Thursday, February 23, 2012

More Snow Pics

Today was the first day that it actually felt like spring here, temps in the 60s and blue skies.  It was lovely.  So of course I'm now posting more snow pictures from a couple weeks ago.

This is pretty much what my front yard looked like first thing the next morning after we got the first snowfall (it actually snowed twice, once on a Saturday night and then almost as much again the next Thursday night).

I never bothered to shovel snow out of my driveway because a.) I didn't need to go anywhere when there was a ton of snow and b.) I don't have a snow shovel.  When I did leave the house several days later, I got out of the driveway just fine although I slid a little bit on the down slope, but then when I came back to the house I couldn't get the car UP the driveway.  I just parked in front of my driveway and then my very kind neighbor moved it for me later that afternoon.

There's our street sign, a little bit up the street towards St. Nicholas.

No one had been up in the churchyard yet when I walked up there, the snow was pristine.

You can just sorta see where the stairs are under the snow to go up into the graveyard.  I didn't walk around the graveyard though; I didn't want to accidentally tread on someone that I couldn't see with the snow everywhere.

This  is me trying to be artsy.  Is it working?

This is a sign on a little thatched-roof cottage around the corner from my house (yes, a real live thatched-roof cottage).  The cottage is available for rent now but I don't think I'd want to live there--it's cute but there's so MUCH going on in their garden and I am not the gardening type.  But I like to walk by there.

I don't know why I didn't think to take pictures of the field on the other side of the fence (you can see just a bit in the gap between the trees).  There are two ponies in that field right now, would have been a good excuse to go take their pictures.  Whenever we walk by there, Sadie always goes up to the fence to say hi, but there are two fences so we can't actually get anywhere close to the ponies.  The ponies do walk up towards us though so they're probably hoping for food and we can't even get close to them.  Sadie is always disappointed; she seems fascinated by other animals.  She was that way when there were sheep in the field too.

This house is across the street from where the pony field is.  I took pictures of several houses around the village, everything looked pretty with the snow on it.

Our neighbor owns a garage a couple blocks away from where we live, and all the cars out front of the garage got a healthy coating of snow.  Seriously, other than Sapporo, this is the most snow I've ever seen.  This is the only time I've ever had a lot of snow at a house I was living in.  Where I grew up in Texas usually you just get a light dusting if you get anything at all.

I thought this was funny, can you see how the snow is curling around on the edges?  I'm not sure if it was melting or what, but it curled away from the fence at the edge of the opening.

Maybe you can see it better in this pic.

Just 'cause I seem to like pictures taken with this perspective.

And there's St. Mary's, the other church in the village.  Next door to it...

...was a family of giant snowmen.  I saw quite a few very tall snowmen all around the village for a day or two, and then naughty snowmen vandals came and knocked them down.  Frosty the Snowman is gonna kick their butts one day.  There was one house though that had three or four mini snowmen out in front, and as the snow began to melt they just progressively got shorter and a little more amorphous, and now all that's left is a few twigs and some carrots that are way past their prime.

This hole in the wall is in front of Liz's friend Dana's house; since I took this picture and the snow melted, the hole actually got patched back up.

So I tried to take a pretty artsy picture and of course it's crooked.  Fail!

I tried to take pictures of the dogs when it snowed a second time but it's really tough to get clear pictures when they're always in motion and it was dark out, and our camera doesn't like low light.  Actually I hadn't intended to put this picture on here, I just forgot it was still in the folder when I uploaded pics today.

That's it for me today.  I'm off to take some more Tylenol (been feeling kind of icky today) and maybe figure out something for dinner.  And I need to pick tonight's movie feature...

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Pucker Up!

Today seems  like an appropriate time to post pictures from Blarney Castle, so here we go.

The current structure dates from the 1400s, so positively ancient by American standards--practically prehistoric--but by European standards it's merely middle-aged.

And there I am with Lee.  I'm sure it's Lee this time.  In case you missed it, I mislabeled a picture in my last post, saying it was my sweetie pie when it was, in fact, Bennet.  Not that I don't like him and all, but he's not MY sweetie pie.

Just having some fun with photo angles since Lee always picks on me for crooked pictures.

The castle is partially ruined, but that just makes it fun to photograph.

It rained off and on the day we were there, but we lucked out that we had some pretty blue skies during our time at Blarney Castle.  We were on an all-day tour that took us to a couple of other places as well; our one regret is that we didn't have a little more time at Blarney Castle.  Our tour guide was excellent; if you ever want to go to Ireland and want a recommendation for a tour let me know.

Classic Bennet.  And I posted this just 'cause I know from the last post that he reads this sometimes.

So anyway, we decided to waste no time in climbing to the top of the castle to kiss the Blarney Stone.  It's up at the top of the castle, so you're about 60 feet above ground level, and there's a big hole right under it so there's NO WAY my mom could have done this.

You lay on your back on a mat, then scooch backwards, grab the two metal poles, and basically do a backbend over a big hole and then pucker up to the stone.  Mad props to Missy for going first despite her discomfort with heights.

They also have a camera set up that takes your picture while you kiss the stone; we all looked at our photos but didn't buy any of them (expensive and really, not a flattering picture...)

Cracked us up after the fact; Lee had been so insistent that he kiss the stone before Bennet to avoid any kind of contamination (remember, Lee caught Bennet's cold in China after accidentally sharing a Coke at a McDonald's) and then what happened?  Lee went last.

He loudly proclaims that he kissed a different part of the stone than Bennet.  And I know what you're thinking, and yes they do disinfect the stone (which makes me wonder what effect that has on the stone itself) but they don't do it between every person.  So they disinfected it before Missy, but not again until after Lee when the next big group came up.

And then we all did kissy face for the camera : )

I had the little camera and took this picture of Missy and Bennet; just thought it was a fun angle from the other one.

Kissy kissy kissy!  And now you see why I post this on Valentine's Day.

So the castle isn't extraordinarily tall, but it does afford some lovely views of the surrounding countryside.

I like this picture of the castle grounds.  Very proud that I took it : )

This is the middle of the castle (duh); you walk around the outside part of it to get to the Blarney Stone and the middle part used to be a Great Hall but it caved in.  I forget if the roof fell or the floor fell first, but that seems to be a common theme with old castles like this...Castle Rising was the same way.

View across the courtyard; the group is clustered around where the Blarney Stone is located.

Just 'cause I thought this was a really good picture of Lee and Bennet.  And I know for a fact that Lee's the one on the left.

I somehow missed seeing this fun bench on the way into the castle but I snapped this on the way out.

So what do you think, do you think I've got the gift of gab now that I've kissed the Blarney Stone?

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Holyrood Palace & Abbey

I started this blog post two days ago and maybe today I'll actually get it posted, although I kinda hate to post anything else as I'm still slightly obsessed with Stardust and it makes me smile to see that picture up on top of my blog every day.  I won't tell you how many days in a row I watched that movie...although I've also watched Clueless twice in the past couple days.  Maybe I'll blog about movies and/or music again in the next couple days even though Amber is the only one interested in what movies I keep on repeat : )

Sooooooooooo let's keep chipping away at the Scotland pictures.  This might actually be the LAST batch of those (hurrah!) at least until I check out the pictures that Missy sent me.  I'm kind of scared to do that; it's taking me far too long just to get through the ones I have from us and my parents.  But anyway, on our last day in Edinburgh, after we took the cab to Calton Hill and then got a little bit lost and walked through the cemetery, we visited Holyrood Palace.  I'm not sure if that was the plan all along or if we jut happened upon it and said, "Ok, let's do that!"

This is after the "hey let's do this" powwow and potty break.  I actually don't know why I felt compelled to post this picture but let's just go with it.

Hey look, there's my sweetie pie in the courtyard of the palace.  Kind of gives you an idea of the size of the place.

ETA:  So that's not Lee, it's Bennet...guess I didn't look closely enough at the picture 'cause I thought it was Lee!  Ok, next time you guys have to wear different color coats...and I'm gonna go get my eyes checked.  I feel like a "should have gone to SpecSavers" commercial...

Gigundor fountain...thank you to Mom for taking this picture, because all of mine were detail shots.  Sometimes I forget to take the big picture because I like the little details.

There's the top of the fountain; looks to me like all the knights are wearing bloomers under their armor.

Lee's hassled me so much about taking pictures crooked that I decided to do crooked ON PURPOSE and make it artsy.  What do you think, does it work?

Then I took a non-crooked picture just to prove I could do it.  I think I like the crooked one better.

Can't have a picture of a unicorn without one of a lion, so here you go.

This was right above the door we went through, and this is when we discovered that not all of us had the same audio tour.  Missy had a dude who talked about the unicorns, and I had a chick who didn't.

Here's the inner courtyard and Lee's going to laugh at me 'cause this picture is crooked.  But I think MOM took it not me!  So the palace was pretty cool; you can't take pictures in there though so you'll have to take my word for it.  Lots of old furniture and paintings and historical type stuff.  And then when you finish the tour, you get to go through the ruins of the abbey, which you can photograph.  So I did.  Crookedly.

For once, Henry VIII is not to blame for the ruination of the abbey; the roof caved in during the 18th century, long after Henry's time.  Plus Henry wasn't king of Scotland, though he fought a war with Scotland and during that time English troops did damage the abbey.  So maybe it's Henry's fault after all.

And here's where you can see how I love the detail shots.

Some of the stonework is weathered and getting hard to discern, but a lot of it is still in fairly good condition.

The capitals of the columns (that's the top part that's often decorated, oooh I know something!) were all different and I took pictures of probably a half a dozen, which you will see if you keep scrolling.

I think maybe I should have lightened this picture up a bit, I think it's too dark to see details clearly.

But this dude is clearly creep-tastic.  And happy about it.

I don't know what family crest this is, but having taken French for like seven years, I can tell you the motto means "Without fear I think", which to my mind could take on totally different meanings depending upon the tone you read it in.  Go ahead, say it out loud to yourself a dozen times or so and see if it makes you laugh.  No?  Just me?  Ok then.

More carvings, just for fun.

And another column...maybe I should have waited longer to do this blog post, I don't feel like I'm doing the pictures justice since I'm not imparting historical tidbits and stuff.  But I would like to get around to the Ireland pictures before next summer.

Mom told me to get a picture of the ceiling, which I did, though it was difficult due to the lighting and this picture is kind of washed out.  But I tried.

Ok, that's the last of the columns.  And to wrap up the Scotland posts, I have several completely random pictures taken at different points during the weekend which somehow hadn't made it to the blog before now.

This is what all the classy Scottish people are wearing this winter.  No matter how many times I see The King's Speech, I still think a tuxedo jacket and bow tie look kind of strange with a kilt.  Dad would say I am a disgrace to my supposedly Scottish ancestors, to which I say neener neener, it's my blog.

Me in my goofy hat, which I wore again this morning when I took the dogs out for a walk.  We STILL have snow, and lots of it.  It even snowed again on Thursday night.  Sure, the snow was fun for a few days, but now I'm kind of missing Hawaii.  I've also become addicted to tea; I probably drink at least three cups a day and so when Liz and I went out to the UK grocery store on Tuesday, I bought enough tea to last through the zombie apocalypse.  But I digress, I was talking about Scotland.

One really cool thing we did that we have no pictures of is a tour of the underground.  We went into Mary King's Close, which is one of many long streets that are now underneath the city.  It dates back to the 1700s I think, and the buildings on either side of the narrow street were so very tall that it was permanently twilight at ground level; eventually the whole area was built over.  In the picture above you can see our tour guide, who was really entertaining *and* informative.  She told us how people who lived in the closes would take a bucket of the stuff you'd find in a toilet out to the front door, yell "Gardy-loo!" and toss it down the street where it would eventually run into the river, and with such a contaminated water supply is it any wonder that people drank alcohol instead of water?  The gardy-loo thing just tickled me and then I couldn't stop saying it for a week.  GARDY-LOOOOOO!  Oh, I feel so much better now.

We saw a room that was used as a kitchen and it had a hole in the floor, so as the tour group was filing into the room, the guide shined her flashlight (or should I call it a torch since I'm in the UK?) at the hole and said "Hole!" every time someone walked past her.  So of course we were all saying "Hole!" at random intervals for a week, too.  Gee, this was funnier in person than it sounds like it was when I type it out.  Just trust me, it was hilarious if you were there.  And if you weren't there, well, you missed out on a smashing good time.

I look at this picture and I just have no words.  We saw this in front of one of the many shops on the Royal Mile.  Where else would you see a lion in a tartan?

Lee, Missy, and Dad examining the map of Edinburgh that Missy scrounged up from somewhere.  This might have been the powwow that led to our tour of Holyrood.

We stopped for a snack and to warm up at the cafe at Holyrood, and each table had a thistle on it, so now you know what a thistle looks like.  I even bought myself a little silver thistle charm to go on my charm bracelet; I think I've got a dozen charms I need to have soldered on to the bracelet.  At this rate I may just need another bracelet.

With all the thistle stuff everywhere, I thought the name of this shop was totally punny.

And now I'm done with the Scotland pictures!  For now, at least.  Next up, I know Mom really wants to see Ireland pictures (and I think Liz does too) so maybe I'll just say to heck with chronology and post those and then come back to the other stuff.  Or maybe I'll take a look at the snowy village pictures I have still on the camera; after I wrote this post I walked around the village with my camera and I haven't even checked out the pictures yet.  Or maybe I'll do something completely different.  Ta-ta for now, peeps!