November 03, 2010

i love ballet ...

A few weeks ago I got to ink up these new ballet beauties in between Halloween classes out in New Jersey.  They were screaming for pink and glittery and that's what they got!

They're so dainty and delicate, I love their lines! 

A line of dancers en pointe in shimmery pink costumes!

A closer look at their glittering dresses: prisma glitter, added with a glue pen in the shape of a dress to each dancer.  I love the effect!  And lining them up straight is easy peasy with a Stamp-A-Ma-Jig (and I used the same to repeat "ballet" in a straight line underneath)! 

More ideas for these pretties are rattling around my brain now that I'm home - just gotta' squeeze in some crafty time to put ink to paper!


stamps: en pointe, sous-sus, i love ballet, big block bl (a muse)
paper: pink chiffon notecard, classic white cardstock, blush cardstock (a muse), kraft cardstock
ink: versamagic pink petunia (tsukineko), archival jet black (ranger)
embellishments: pink chiffon grosgrain stitched ribbon, white sheer ribbon, prisma glitter

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November 02, 2010

october always goes by so fast ...

October is my favorite month.  No question.  I just can't fathom a better time of year.  Seriously.  So the other night when D tells me he doesn't have a favorite month because "they're all pretty good." I'm gobsmacked.  But wait, it gets "better."  I ask what his favorite holiday is, thinking it must be Halloween by now.  I mean, let's face it, he married a Halloween freak, it's bound to begin rubbing off at some point, yeah?  No.  He claims Easter.  Easter?!  I can't even talk about it anymore.  *wink*

But before Peter Cottontail professed his love for pastel eggs, he helped me make tombstones! A giant sheet of polystyrene, some paint, and we've 7, modeled after tombstone photos I'd taken in cemeteries in Salem and Sleepy Hollow.

This is the first year we've done anything more than have lots of pumpkins, some orange lights, and bats around the porch.  (And I'm already thinking about a few more touches to add next year.  *plotting*)

And when I wasn't home painting tombstones, I was back East visiting some of our favorite spots for October goodness. 

And taking a few more photos of tombstones in the Sleepy Hollow Cemetery.  

And while I was sad we couldn't make it to Keene this year for PumpkinFest, I did make it back to The Blaze!  Always a good Halloweenie time (and yummy hot cocoa)!

There are, literally, thousands of jack-o-lanterns ...

... in all shapes and sizes!

I love The Blaze! 

And there was Halloween crafty goodness too.  Mom's shop had it's 2nd birthday in October and, like last year, she celebrated with a weekend full of classes with a Halloween theme: Howl at the Moon 2010.  Lots of crafty ladies making spooky things, lots of laughs, and a few cupcakes too.  *wink* 

Halloween crafty is my favorite kind of crafty ...

EeeeekHope you guys had an awesome October and a spooky Halloween night!  Only 363 days to go ...

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October 06, 2010

howl at the moon ...

2010-logo You may have noticed this fun little
badge over on my sidebar for Howl
at the Moon.  Last year was such a
great time and I'm excited to be
heading back that way soon for this
year's event!  (You can get all the
details on my classes this year by
clicking here or following the link to
the "classes" page above!)

And I thought it would be fun to take a
peek back at some of the good times
we had last year ...




So many creative ladies, lots of laughter, tasty treats, and ... a lot of orange and black!  It doesn't get much better than that in my book! 

You can get more details about the whole weekend of events on the shop's blog!  I hope to see you there again this year!


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October 05, 2010

fall ...

Sing it with me now ... "it's the MOST wonderful time ... of the yeeaaar!"   


I'm excited about fall.  About October.  About pumpkins and changing leaves (and visiting Mom and teaching on the east coast so I can see oranges and reds and not just yellow Aspens). 

The house is nearly all decorated for Halloween.  And we're contemplating more.  Maybe we go all out this year and decorate the outside with more than pumpkins.  We'll see.

Baking things with apples and making Nutella cookies.  Orange hot chocolate.  Halloween spatulas and dishtowels are out (if I'm honest these have been out since Labor day).  *grin*

Halloween crafty goodness.

Ahhh ... I love fall.

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October 04, 2010

all good things ...

Our last few days in Paris were borderline relaxing.  We walked.  Slowly.  Far.  And back again.  (And I didn't take very many photos.  Shocking, I know.)

We cooked more.  And simply enjoyed being in the apartment.

And on the very last day we finally got into the "Grand Monet Exhibition" at the Grand Palais.  No photos inside, but trust me, it was an amazing look at one artist's body of work.  Literally gathered from around the globe.  It wasn't planned, but ended up being a Monet-heavy trip.

Our last evening found us here.  On a blanket.  With snacks. 

And books. 
We read until it got dark, we chatted, and stared at the tower. 

And sat until we saw it sparkle "one more time."  Until our butts were sore from sitting for hours on a blanket on top of slightly damp, cold, hard ground. 

And the last thing we did was share a cassis & violet cupcake back at the apartment.  (Yeah, sounds weird, but was crazy good.)

It was a great couple of weeks.  All travel comes with ups and downs, but they're generally eclipsed by all the good stuff.  And there was lots of good stuff. 


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a parisian remedy for stress ...

By Saturday night, a week and a half on-the-go caught up to us and Sunday we bummed around the apartment all day.  D watched footie, I edited photos and jotted down things I didn't want to forget, we made beouf bourguignon, and pretty much hung out in our pjs all day.  A pretty normal Sunday for us when I think about it.  And adding to the relaxing mood - it rained.  Beautiful grey skies and sloshy sounds when cars drove by.  

Monday came and the grey skies and rain continued.  Actually, it rained off and on for the rest of our visit.  I didn't mind one bit.  Or maybe it was because we stopped at Ladurée for breakfast (and got macarons for later).  For me there is no better macaron than a Ladurée macaron.  Chocolate please. 

Pretty pastel green Ladurée bag in hand, we walk down the Champs Elysees, passed the spot where thousands were beheaded by the guillotine during the revolution in the Place de la Concorde, and into the gardens on the other side that connect it to the Louvre.  Destination Musée de l'Orangerie.

The l'Orangerie contains Monet's gift to France - the Nymphéas.  More than simply containing them, it was chosen BY Monet to house them.

The paintings are large and displayed in two oval rooms under naturally diffused light - just as Monet intended them to be seen.

 Monet painted a lot of waterlilies at Giverny - around 250 in all. 

Paris195The two rooms housing them are meant as a "haven of peaceful meditation" according to Monet.  He thought the French were overworked and stressed and wanted the display in the l'Orangerie to be a quiet place they could escape to.  (It's been called the "Sistine Chapel of Monet" and after the first time a docent "shushed" someone, I understood the comparison.  *wink*)

Paul Guillaume was an influential art dealer in Paris in the early 1900's and the bottom floor houses his private collection.  He'd hoped to turn this collection into a museum of modern art one day, but died before he could.  France acquired his collection of Cézannes (above), Renoirs, Monets, Modiglianis, Picassos, Utrillos (below), and Soutines (to name just a few) from his widow in the late 50's and they're now on display in the l'Orangerie.  (There were also photos of their home, the paintings hanging with barely a space in between, in his office and other rooms.  My brain was spinning seeing a collection of such scale and depth on the walls of someone's home.)

Going to Paris, there was the list I mentioned in the last post - what to do or see.  And then there's the list of things to bring home.  It's not a large list, mind you, but there are a couple of essentials.  At the top of it is white wine mustard from Maille.  So spicy it can bring tears to your eyes.  But oh, so good!  They don't bottle the stuff - you can only get it, on tap, at a shop. 

And near to Maille are other food, chocolate, tasty goodness shops: Hediard, Fauchon, and the grocery store at Galleries Lafayette where we restocked the pantry with more yummy cheese (and other things to cook).  We did, sadly, eat more than just cheese. *wink* 


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braving the modern world ...

We got home on Friday, but I still have a couple of entries from Paris here in the hopper to share ...

After we walked so much at Versailles we, literally, waddled from the living room to bed later that night.  So I'm as surprised as you that we got up the next day and walked some more.  *laugh*

We hit up a flea market in Les Halles, bought wooden spoons at one of my favorite restaurant supply stores, had lunch in a cafe and watched kids with ski masks, toy guns, and birthday party hats playing kill the infidel.  At least that's what we imagined they were playing, in all our snarktastic glory.  (It also led to a discussion about how we had cap guns and cowboy hats 35 years ago and how the world is different, not the kids.)

When D and I were talking about what we'd like to make a point to see while we were here, the Centre Pompidou was at the top of his list.  Our previous visits had been rushed; always seeming to come at the end of a long day with company we'd gone to Paris with. 

So this time we'd pay it proper due.  And I made an internal promise to keep my big, overly-opinionated mouth shut for the sake his enjoyment.  Oh wait, did I not mention that contemporary art is not my favorite thing?  Like ... REALLY not my favorite thing.  And a visit here (or any other modern institution) generally leads to a lively debate, punctuated by a lot of "Seriously?" from me.  *chuckle* 

There were some interesting bits of furniture.  And I did really well through most of the special collections.  A video of a woman with red paint on her hand dragging it down a wall.  A board leaning against a wall.  A piece of white cloth suspended from the ceiling in a room all it's own.  And ... I kept my mouth shut.  Go me. *chuckle*

By the end of the special collections D is good and done with it and I'm finally able to get a good "Seriously?!" out.  Ahhh.  He's there for the Picasso and the Matisse in the permanent collection, afterall.  Not the angry "why art is misogynist" exhibit, featuring said white cloth hanging from ceiling in the center of a room.  

And saw Matisse we did.  And Picasso and the other stuff D was REALLY there to see. 

Some of it I liked.  Some I didn't.  But the art-historian in me can appreciate it, understand it's place.  (Something you may have noticed I struggle with in more modern interpretations.)  *grin* 

And, if nothing else, the building is really cool.  Can you see the top of Notre Dame just out the window?

You may have noticed the tubes on the outside of the building.  Inside those are escalators to go between floors.  And the higher you go, the better the view.  

There's a restaurant on the top floor too.  Empty outside because it was cold.  But still a rose on every table just in case.

And finally, the view ...

... not a bat spot to watch the sun set over Paris.


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September 28, 2010

versailles ...

The Palace of Versailles.  Last Friday.

This was one of the best days so far - one of my favorite bits of the trip happened here: sitting under cover in the garden, drinking hot cocoa while it rained.   And one of the worst - because large tourist attractions have a way of bringing out the worst in people (not to mention the fact that lots of folks lose what tenuous grip on common sense they have when they're on holiday).

Paris196Versailles is a massive place.  Gardens, mulitiple palaces, canals ... not to mention the hamlet and farm created for Marie Antoinette to play peasant in.  Huge.  And we walked about 85% of it.

The gardens, which are many and maze-like, are gorgeous in the fall - so much color.  I'd been to the gardens once before, in summer, but they didn't seem as vivid then.  (Of course, to be fair, the summer visit had been at night for a special event and it was, as night is, dark.)

Having the place to ourselves for a few morning hours certainly didn't hurt the ambience. 



It had rained overnight which made for gorgeous light and colors that seemed deeper, richer.  It rained off and on the rest of the day too.  And people screamed.  I kid you not.  They screamed and ran like they were being chased by an ax-wielding psychopath.  Because of rain.  And since mob mentaility seemed to reign, lots of people were screaming and running.  It was surreal.  I closed my eyes and pretended they were royalty running from revolutionaries.

The inside of the palace is lovely too.  

Unfortunately, going from being nearly alone to wave after wave of tour group was jarring.  You would have thought they were on a race to go through the place as fast as they possible could.  It would go something like this: race into room, jostle, knock into, and push people, take photo and do it as fast as possible.  Even if you don't actually LOOK at anything.  Common courtesy be damned, at least you have a photo to prove you were there.  I know you think this is likely laced with some amount of exaggeration, but really, it isn't.  It was mind-boggling.
As a result of tour-group-mayhem, I took a lot of deep breaths while we were inside.  Reminding myself where I was and to soak it all in and appreciate what I was getting to see (maybe even more so given the hectic pace almost everyone else was going at).

And while overly ornate furniture and gilding isn't really my thing, I did enjoy putting a 3 dimensional "face" to history, and ... I liked the chandeliers.  And if the number of photos I ended up taking of them are any indiction - I liked them a lot.  *chuckle* 

There are smaller palaces on the grounds too (in comparison to the main palace, but still fairly large): the Grand and Petit Trianons.  Louis XIV used the Grand Trianon as his retreat from the main palace and to house some family members.  While Louis XV had the Petit Trianon built for his mistress (who actually died before it was finished, so he simply moved the next one in).  Louis XVI eventually took the throne and gave the Petit Trianon and it's surrounding parks to Marie-Antoinette.

There's are lots of bright colors in these "retreats."  Bright yellows, blues, oranges ...



And lots and lots of pink. 


Alternating between rain and sun, it was all blue skies when we made it into the "domain of Marie Anotoinette" around the Petit Trianon: her park, hamlet, and farm. 


More pretty green stuff, wet and sparkly. 

We'd done a lot of walking by this point and D began to question the sanity of trekking out to the farm.  My feet were protesting too (though more the miles we'd have to walk back, uphill, to the palace and not the walk out to the farm).  But the draw of places previously off-limits was too great - I really wanted to see Marie's village and the farm. 




Paris176The village was idyllic.  I'd probably call it fairytale-like if I hadn't seen villages just as unreal-ly pretty in the Alsatian countryside.  Unfortunately for Marie, it didn't help the perception of excess when the revolution came to town.




The farm and village were ransacked during the revolution, but after it was over and after Napoleon, Louis Phillipe came along and his wife refurbished the village and farm to some extent.  It had been closed to the public, but after year's of work (a pet project of Chirac, I believe), the area's open now and restored to how it was when Marie Antoinette left it.  

At this point we were the furthest from the palace we could possibly be.  We made it from the farm, through the village, and back to the Petit Trianon and there we spotted it ... a tiny train.  A tiny train of happiness, ready to shuttle us back up the hill to the palace.  Angels sang.  Bright lights shone around it.  We were happy campers.  And looking back, I may still have been at Versailles, curled up into a ball refusing to walk, if not for that tiny train. 


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September 27, 2010

let the photos of chandeliers begin ...

It's Sunday night as I'm writing.  It's been cold and rainy all day.  So cold I borrowed socks from Dave and we turned the heat on.  But I don't mind.  I like it this way. 

The past few days have passed in a blur.  Time always seem to whiz by too fast these days, but the last few even more so than usual.  Going back to last Thursday most of the day was spent in and arond the Latin Quarter.  There were more Gothic churches: St. Severin in the morning and Notre Dame later that evening.  (St. Severin here.)  There was also the Sorbonne, hundreds of thousands of people protesting the French President's proposed changes their retirement benefits, Notre Dame, an aborted attempt to revisit Saint Chapelle, and ice cream from Berthillion.

The Latin Quarter is decidedly lacking in Latin these days, as far as I can tell.  But the University is still there and there are lots of bookstores.  (There are also a lot of Greek Restaurants/Discos.  Yeah, I don't get that one either.)    

The Latin Quarter was known for being progressive.  For protests.  For "liberal" ideas and dissention, the reason there's more meaning to "Rive Gauche" than simply the "left bank."  And we had the full Rive Gauche experience - nearly one million people beginning a 24 hour strike.  People unhappy with the French President.  And pop music.  Lots of pop music blaring over their chants.


Looking for a good scholarly tome on French history, in English, we hit up Shakespeare and Company since we were in the area.


I struck out on the history book, but did enjoy a nice sit in the upstairs reading room.

Lovely buildings on the edge of the Seine.


Notre Dame from the front and the back for Mom since it's her favorite.  

The leaves have already started to turn and fall.  At least from the chestnut trees.  They're so pretty - a really lovely orange.

Notre Dame is just gorgeous in the evening.  While it's dark inside even at mid-day, it's understandably darker in the evening and the windows and lights really glow. 




And by the end of the day we were zombies.  We dragged ourselves back to the apartment, moaning at every staircase in the Metro and loving that the building we're in has a lift.  

Next up in photos ... a very cool day in Versailles.


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September 25, 2010

joyeux anniversaire, deb ...

Today I'm happy to have been asked to be part of a blog hop with the sole purpose of sending out happy birthday wishes to my good friend, Deb, on the occasion of her 50th birthday!

Happy Birthday, Deb!

Making a card with Deb in mind really works my brain.  She loves grunge and layers and techniques that get your hands messy - you know, the kinda' stuff  that blows the mind of a stamper with a "clean and simple" style like me.  So what's a gal to do?  I try to fake it.  *grin*

This year Deb's birthday card is inspired by one my buddy, Julie, shared on her blog a few weeks ago.  She talked about making a shabby card easy with patterned paper and I smacked my head and yelled "brilliant!"  So instead of building layers, I used a detailed piece of patterned paper!  The paper already has some grungey features built-in - a distressed look, some modeling - so I didn't need to add any more!  'Cause, let's face it, Deb's better at it than I am, so it's best to leave it to the pros!  *wink*

The butterfly is felt I cut with a die and my trusty, much-loved Big Shot.

Sadly, the bit that really sets the card off doesn't show up in the photo - glitter!  (You knew that was coming, didn't you?)  There's lovely, prisma-type glitter added subtly throughout the design. 

To check out Deb's other birthday cards, follow me over to Jessica's blog!

Once again - Happy 50th, Deb!  I hope you're having a fabulous day!


PS - Just in case you run across a bump along the way, direct links here: Joanna, Jessica, ImkeAngela, Kelly, Donelda, Janet, and Kathleen.

stamps: sentiment from "c'est chouette" set (hero arts)
paper: bark notecard (a muse), 6x6 lullaby lane paper pack (webster's pages)
ink: versafine onyx black (tsukineko)
embellishment: white scrapper's floss (karen foster design), button, prima glitter, felt
other: butterfly die (sissix)

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Hi! I'm Heather, and welcome to my blog! I stamp, I travel, I make stuff, I cook, I take tons of photos - and you'll find a little of all of that here!

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