Monday, July 30, 2012

Last of the Paris Pictures

It's been a while since my last post, but we spent most of last week in Germany--I know, do we *ever* sit still?  Not much.  Lee had to go for work and I tagged along with him just because I could, and we got to have dinner with some friends of ours while we were there so that was fun.  And now we're back, Lee's got another short business trip in a few days and my uncle will arrive for the Olympics on Sunday.  Yeah, we don't sit still.

So, back to Paris.  The last full day we were there, after we went to the top of Notre Dame, we went back to the Arc de Triomphe and climbed to the top of it as well.  There were lots of stairs...I counted and wrote down the number, but my notebook is in the other room and I'm too lazy to get it so just trust me when I say it was a lot of stairs.


This is a replica of part of one of the sculptures on the outside of the arch; we should have had one of us stand in front of it so you could get a scale reference because it's pretty huge.


 This is talking about the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier in the vault of the arc.


This says the monument was begun in 1806 in honor of the French army; work was interrupted, then restarted in 1826 and it was finished in 1836.  It was consecrated (I always think of churches being consecrated, maybe in this context it's more like dedicated?) by King Louis Philippe I to the glory of the French armies.


There are two levels inside the Arc, and then you can climb (yet more) stairs to go out on top and see the avenues radiating from the Place de Charles de Gaulle, which is still often called L'Etoile (the Star).  I think it says L'Etoile on the Metro stops.  But check out that traffic!  This is why I wouldn't want to drive a car in Paris, how the heck is traffic *supposed* to move in this giant roundabout?


To be honest I can't remember which street is the Champs de Eisleys (Champs-Elysees).  Maybe it took me too long to get these pictures posted...


This kind of reminds me of a scene in Moulin Rouge...something got thrown (I forget what) and tinked off the Eiffel Tower.  Aw man, now I'll have to watch that movie again to see what it was that got thrown.  I also like the shot when everyone throws their hats in the air inside the Moulin Rouge and it cuts to a cityscape and you see them all fly up into the sky.


From all the places we climbed (Eiffel Tower...Notre Dame...Arc de Triomphe) we saw several of these buildings with an open courtyard in the middle and lots of greenery.  Lee liked how it was growing all over the interior walls of this building; when we were looking at houses here, we were told that the houses covered in ivy almost certainly had trouble with mice.


Hey, the horizon is only *slightly* crooked in this one.


Remember I said we climbed a lot of stairs?  This was the way down from the top of the arch.


This kind of gives you an idea how totally *massive* this structure really is.  When we looked at it from the top of the Eiffel Tower, you can see that it pretty much dwarfs most everything around it.  Pretty impressive.


I like that squared-off whirly pattern along the top; it always makes me think of Greece.  When I was a kid, my cousins (who are half-Greek) sent me a gold ring with that pattern on it for my birthday the year they lived on Crete.


These flower panels decorate the archway.


Oh look, more naked statuary.  I know from reading Wikipedia (source of all knowledge and truth in the universe) that these are supposed to be "heroic nudes" fighting their armored enemies, but ain't no days I would go out on a battlefield in my birthday suit.  Tangent:  last week I happened to find a link on the Internet complaining about the way women's armor is depicted on comic books and video games; men get full-body armor and women get metal bikinis.  Like that's going to stop anyone trying to kill her.  And then if she *does* get armor, it's all molded around the contours of her chest (so you can still tell it's a woman under there) but all that would do in a real battle situation is guide swords and other pointy things right to the center of her chest instead of making them glance off to the side, which would render her just as dead as the metal bikini route.  Yeah, sometimes my web surfing takes unexpected turns.  I found that one after seeing an author's attempt to recreate fantasy book covers (warning:  totally hilarious photos).




Blah blah blah, that's all four sculptures.  We couldn't get around to take a straight-on photo of this one because they had part of the area roped off and were doing some kind of ceremony or something; we didn't stick around to find out what.


Our last night in Paris we decided to hit up the Hard Rock Cafe for dinner.  It was YUM.


We didn't go see a show at the Moulin Rouge, but we did have to take the Metro over there and take pictures with the famous windmill (Moulin Rouge literally translates to Red Windmill).


And there's my honey pie.  Hope you enjoyed the Paris pics...now, at some undesignated point in the near future, we'll start with Italy pics!

Friday, July 20, 2012

Friday Flashback: Bloomin' Beautiful

I think it's time for a Friday Flashback, y'all.  Woowoo!  This time the stamp set chosen was Bloomin' Beautiful, which has two pretty flower images including a hydrangea bouquet, and you know how I love hydrangeas.  We even have two little hydrangeas growing in our backyard right now and luckily for them they don't seem to require any care on my part or they'd be dead by now : D  But the wonderful thing about stampy hydrangeas is I can't kill those, so check out my card for this week's Splitcoast sketch challenge:


So I totally did NOT like the sketch when I first saw it but I figured I'd give it a shot anyway, and I ended up really liking this card.  Usually if I dislike the sketch I end up not liking my card either so that was a nice surprise.  After I made that, I looked back in my archives (I'm lol-ing at the part where I have archives) and discovered I'd only made two previous cards with this stamp set.  What, TWO?  I coulda sworn I'd done more than that, but apparently either a.) I'm crazy or b.) I was mixing this stamp set up with something else or c.) I did make more cards but the computer ate my archives.  Well, I've got more than two now.


It's interesting for me to go back and look at my older creations because sometimes I just really don't like 'em much after some time has passed, and other times I'm like oh hey I made that, it's cute.  And I really like this one.  I can't think of anything I'd change on this which is kind of rare.


Now this card, if I could tweak one little detail, I'd like it SO much better.  It drives me bonkers looking at this picture because the flower strip doesn't have a gray mat on the top and bottom.  Bonkers, I tell you!  Other than that, I like this one, so I had to fix it:


SO. MUCH. BETTER with the border going all the way around.  So this isn't an exact replica; I found that patterned paper in my stash and thought it would be fun to use so I went with it.  And then I didn't want to cover up the swirls with a separate sentiment panel so I just stamped happy birthday right on it, though it's a little hard to see.  Ehh.


And here's one I made the other evening and it just ain't doin' a single thing for me.  I've mentioned before, I'm kind of trying to catch up on all the SCS sketch and color challenges, and I think sometimes focusing on that messes up my mojo or something.  And I think I was just trying to bust this one out too fast.  Maybe I should give the color combo another try with different stamps...they seem a little beachy to me.  Hmm.


Here's a sketch/color combo that actually works for me.  It's hard to tell, but the Crumb Cake panel is dry embossed with stripes.  And I'm digging those hydrangeas in Pacific Point.


This one didn't work quite so well for me but it's not terrible I guess.


I really like these colors together, and I like the sketch, but I wish I'd done something a little different on the apricot bee panel.  I totally miss Bermuda Bay (that awesome deep teal color) and want them to bring it back, like, NOW.  And all my purple colors too.  This one is nice and flat for mailing and I think I've got a recipient in mind already.


And here's my last card, and I'm just not 100% feeling it either (tell me I'm my own harshest critic or something).  I kinda wish I'd done the card base in Baja Breeze instead of Wild Wasabi, and maybe Early Espresso ribbon.  I'd already cut the patterned pieces and just randomly decided to use both sides of the pattern, I like how that looks at least.  I wanted to do one more, I had an idea for something that was a little different look than these but I think I'm mojo'd out for the day and silly me I have to post these things on Fridays.  Maybe I'll sneak in that last card later.

We're having baked potatoes for dinner here in a few minutes...now just to figure out what movie(s) to watch tonight!  Ta-ta for now, peeps!

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Happy Birthday, Dad!

So it seems like most of the birthdays in our family cluster in one of three months:  February, July, or November.  And today it's my dad's birthday!  (And also his twin brother's.  Duh.)  So happy birthday, Dad!  And Uncle Russ, who I'm pretty sure doesn't read this blog : D


I don't know why but this is one of my favorite pictures of my dad, maybe just because he was laughing so hard with the butterflies tickling his ears.  This was taken in 2008 when my parents came to visit us in Okinawa, at the butterfly garden where they have a whole bunch of butterflies but they're all one kind.  So anyway Dad, I hope your birthday tickles you just as much as the butterflies.

By now my dad is probably thinking that I like my mom better than him.  Despite the nasty stomach bug I had in May, I managed to get Mother's Day gifts out the door on time, and I even got her birthday present sent out in time too.  Dad, on the other hand...well, somehow Father's Day totally slipped past us.  We did order some things for Father's Day but they *still* haven't gotten here, much less been sent on to the dads.  And THEN when we were in Scotland a while back with Lee's family, I was all excited because I found something for Dad's birthday and I figured if I mailed it off as soon as we got home, I'd get it there only slightly late for his birthday.

And then I left the present on the train when we left Glasgow.  Yeah, I LEFT IT ON THE TRAIN.  If I could beat myself up literally as well as mentally I woulda been doing it when I figured out what I'd done.  We called the rail company but no one turned it in, so we're hosed.  And now I'm drawing a total blank on what to get him.  You know, now that his birthday is actually here.  Because I was so excited over what we'd picked up for him and now I got nothin' else for ideas to replace it.  Arrrgh.

Dad says he'd better get a really, really fantastic Christmas present to make up for all this.  I have to say I agree...

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

The Quarry, Part 4

I'm trying to figure out where I left off on here.  Lee's family left on Friday, we took two days to just chillax and recuperate, and then Lee went back to work yesterday (I really missed him after spending almost every day for two weeks with him) and I cleaned the house.  When Lee got home he asked me why I hadn't updated the blog, because (as he says) how else is he supposed to know what he's been doing.  Heh.  Well, I still haven't finished going through the Paris pictures, I haven't even started on the Italy pictures, and now we've got a new batch of photos too so I won't be short of things to post for a long time.  But for today I'm going to catch up on June's Scarlet Quince project, The Quarry:


And here's what I've got done so far:


I don't think the lighting is very good in the photo but you get the gist.  Here's a closeup of what I was working on last month:


So upon closer inspection, I've decided that pretty much this ENTIRE PATTERN is confetti stitching, other than the sky bit that I started with, so this is going to be one tough cookie to finish.  I couldn't get the entire page done in one month but I gave it a good effort; I did 5,769 stitches so the new total is 25,890 stitches done (almost 20%).  Just 105,078 left to go!  Haha.  But if I do around 5,000 stitches next time then I'll break the 100,000 mark (although it will be much more fun when I've got 100,000 DONE rather than left to do).  I figure if it takes me about 2 months to finish each page and I work on it 3 months of the year, then it will take me about 7 years to finish this one.  Maybe I shouldn't have done that math.  Anyway, I'm currently working on Eilonwy so there will be another update post at the end of the month.

Sadie update:  She's doing well.  While we were out of town she had to spend 10 days in the kennel wearing the Cone of Shame 24/7 (poor little Say!) but when we took her for a checkup last time, the vet said the incision had healed enough that we could leave off the CoS unless she just really starts messing with it.  She's now allowed to get up and move around for five minutes a day, although I think we've been letting her do more than that...over the weekend, Lee carried her upstairs and put her in my craft room while I was in there working on swaps, and she would get up every time I did even though I kept trying to tell her to stay where she was.  She puts a little weight on the leg though and that's good, don't want it to totally atrophy.  Sadie will be back for another checkup around the end of the month so we'll see how she's doing then.  She's healing, and she's been a pretty good sport about this whole thing.

Monday, July 2, 2012

Happy Birthday, Mom!

Yep, today is my mom's birthday, so happy birthday to herrrrrrr!  I was looking for a picture to put on here today and couldn't find the one I was looking for (I'm in a hotel and all I've got is the laptop; our photos are stored on the Mac at home) but I did find this one from when my parents were out here last year so it'll do:


We all went in together and got Mom a new camera for her birthday.  She already knows that so I can write that here : )  Mom, I hope you have a fantastic birthday, and I wish I was there to help you celebrate!