A travel blog and a scrapbook (or, Snap book!!!)

FYI, this is a fairly long post so I’d recommend getting a cup of coffee, a bottle of water or a pop and sit back and relax while you read and look at pictures!

Since I like to scrapbook my adventures (vacations, trips, or whatever you want to call them), I decided to start a travel blog. This new blog has two purposes: (1) for family (mom, this is for you!!!) and friends to see where Jim & I are and what we’re doing while we’re gone, and (2) so when it comes time for me to scrapbook a particular adventure, I’ll have written about each day and I’ll remember what we did and in what order we did it! As you can see from the scrapbook below, it worked perfectly! You can see my new travel blog here: http://amgjrgadventures.blogspot.com/

For this scrapbook, I used the Snap book that I won at our annual East Meets West retreat last summer. I was going to use a Smashbook I had purchased from Michael’s in Arizona for $2 but I liked the Snap book better. I think it’s because it’s a binder and you can add and remove pages, picture pocket pages, etc. Whereas with a Smashbook, you can’t. Plus, it’s a smaller size. I’ve gotten tired of huge 12 x 12 scrapbooks but the 6 x 6 scrapbooks are a little bit too small (boy, it’s really hard to please some people isn’t it?!!!)!

In 2012 on our Alaska cruise, the ship had packets of Royal Caribbean 12 x 12 scrapbook papers and embellishments for sale. Well, duh, of course I bought them! Did you think I wouldn’t? LOL  I used some of it on my Alaska scrapbook, and had plenty left over for this one (I only used a few embellishments since I used mostly Christmas paper this time). Plus there’s some left for when I scrap our trans-Atlantic cruise in April (yes, another cruise/adventure coming up so stay tuned)!

The front of this “snap” book identifies that we’re on a cruise on Royal Caribbean International (by the way, we’re loyal to Royal and will cruise no other cruise line).


Day 1: I started my book showing the name of the ship and a little calendar with the dates followed by a page showing that the cruise starts in New Orleans. I think I demagnetized my Seapass card the second day by putting it next to my cell phone!



The next page shows that it’s a Christmas cruise and as a 7 time returning Crown & Anchor member, we were welcomed back with a little gift in our cabin (snacks and Coke).


Our cabin was on Deck 9 and we had to attach these pink luggage tags to our suitcases so they would get delivered to the right cabin. Our Seapass cards got us off and on the ship, used when we purchased margaritas or bought anything in the shops (of course, we had to pay the bill the last day)!


We waited less than a half hour before we were able to board the ship. Before sail-away, of course, there is mandatory Muster Drill to attend. Do you think I could get Tracy to be serious instead of cutting up? No, is the correct answer! And look how serious Jim is! He was really paying attention and making sure he knew where our lifeboat was! hahaha

20140112_084321-1 I’ve overlapped this picture and the following picture over the main page as flip ups.


20140112_083958-1 Muster (I prefer to call it mustard)!

Happy hour started at 4:00 and we hadn’t even left the port yet! We only had until 6:00 to get 20% off our drinks and when they’re Patron margaritas, all the 20% we could get off was very helpful!!! Especially after 3 rounds of margaritas!

20140112_084027-1 The Windjammer is where we ate all our meals, except for snacks at Park Cafe in the Solarium.

Each evening we’re given the Cruise Compass for the next days activities which information about the activities on board (or if we’re at a port of call) and times, forecast, etc. Except the day you board the ship the Cruise Compass is waiting for you in your cabin!


As we’re sailing out of New Orleans down the Mississippi River to the Gulf of Mexico, we’re sitting behind the Windjammer in the back of ship enjoying our margaritas and watching the sights in New Orleans go by! My goal was to write about every day and I actually did it!

20140112_084135-2 A flip up picture to the main page below.


After our luggage was delivered, Tracy and I decorated the inside of our cabin and the outside of our cabin door. I made the Merry Christmas banner (I used my Cricut to cut the banners) to hang on the door but it was way too big so we hung it inside the cabin (Raj, our cabin steward, said we were the only cabins he took care of that had any decorations). The little wreath with the chalkboard banner on top we hung outside the door and wrote something different every day! I loved the “Think Snow” and “Go Seahawks” that Tracy wrote! The neighbor next door to us told us they loved our wreath and couldn’t wait to see what we’d be writing every day!



20140112_084151-1 My nightly “diary” of the day!

Day 2:  This was a sea day. I also decided to take a picture of the seas every morning. Sometimes it would be cloudy when I looked outside our balcony window and when I got topside to have my coffee, it would be blue sky. On this day when the clouds cleared up and it was sunny and blue sky, I saw only one cloud in the sky!


20140112_084243 This is a flip up to the main page below.

20140112_084229-1 I was standing on the floor of the Centrum looking up at the elevators (on the left) and the decks (on the right). Everything was lit up so pretty!


Day 3:


Our first port of call was Key West. We didn’t dock until middle of the morning and we were in no hurry to get off the ship. Jim & I had spent two weeks in Key West the winter of 2012 and Tracy had been there before so we didn’t need to do any sightseeing. It was very warm and humid and since there were two ships in port, there were LOTS of  people. Plus it was the week of Christmas so there were lots of tourists.


All aboard was 4:30 and I couldn’t believe the line of people trying to get back on the ship so close to all aboard time. We ended up waiting for a couple of stragglers who acted like it was the ships duty to wait for them – they were slowly walking down the pier toward the ship. The final couple were very old people and the wife was in a wheel chair. The ship’s staff kept trying to hurry up both sets of people but there was just no hurrying these people. The sunset we saw that night was beautiful!


20140112_084422 The flip up for the main page below. I couldn’t get far enough away from the ship to get it all in one frame so I had to split it in two!


Day 4:


Our next port of call was Nassau, Bahamas. There were five ships in port that day (3 Carnival and Majesty of the Seas, another RCI ship) and it was ridiculously crowded. Tracy and I only left the ship long enough to get into town to buy tanzanite earrings and pick up the charms for our charm bracelets (more on that later). Once all the Carnival ships left, you could really see the harbor and Atlantis on Paradise Island. Majesty looked very festive at night with all the lights!

20140112_084534-1 This is the main page for the flip up in the picture below.



Day 5:  Our port of call for Christmas Day was supposed to be RCI’s private island, CocoCay. However, the winds were so bad and the choppy seas were so high, the tenders were unable to maneuver so our day on the island was cancelled. You can see from my first picture of the day how bad the weather was. The funny thing about this day was you could see Majesty, and a Princess ship, and a Norwegian ship all day doing the same thing we were doing – apparently since nobody could tender into their private islands, we were just sailing around in circles – sometimes they’d be on the port side and sometimes they’d be on the starboard side! So we had an unscheduled day at sea!

20140112_084641-1 This is a flip up page for the main page below.


20140112_084616-1 Christmas greetings from the crew of Serenade.



Day 6:  On our scheduled day at sea, there were several activities going on. I went to the cake decorating contest. The cruise director, the head chef and the food & beverage manager competed! It was quite hilarious. The food & beverage manager won the contest while the cruise director just hammed it up the entire time making a total mess out of his cake! Their goal was to make the best cruise ship!



Day 7:  Our last full day on the ship was another day at sea. For some reason, I didn’t get a picture of the sea that morning. Tracy had taught me to play Cribbage earlier in the cruise so we played that plus read plus napped plus I crocheted some (I’ve been working on a doily forever and apparently it’s not my favorite thing since it’s taking me so long to get it done). We also watched the juggler’s act, listened to the comedian and saw the RCI singers and dancers! It was a busy day even before we had to go back to our cabin and pack our suitcases and get them outside in the hall to be picked up sometime in the night.


We loved our cabin steward, Raj. He took such good care of us and figured out our schedule very quickly! One night he skipped a towel animal and we left him a note the next morning on our write on/wipe off board saying he’d leave us two that night – and he did! There were also some lovely Christmas trees and gingerbread village around the ship. The Centrum wasn’t situated for a huge Christmas tree especially since they did aerial performances from the Centrum.


20140112_084901-1 This is the flip up page to the main page below.


Every time I climbed the stairs, I would see this sculpture. I would have liked to smuggle it in my suitcase but it was firmly attached to the wall! One of the tips I’ve picked up from the cruising forums I read, is to take a cheap plastic over-the-door shoe hanger and use it for all items you don’t have places for in the cabin. It worked great, especially with 3 of us in the cabin, and I’ll definitely be using it again!



Back in New Orleans:

20140112_084942-1 Flip up page of the main page below.


As we left the ship in New Orleans, we encountered the same organized cruise terminal as when we boarded the ship 7 days earlier. I’ve been in 8 cruise terminals and New Orleans, hands down, has it figured out the best. We had the best embarkation ever. And, this day, we had the best debarkation ever. We waited in the theater until our time to leave was called; we used our Seapass card one last time to leave the ship; our luggage was waiting for us at #19 station; there were only 2 people ahead of us in the Customs line (the Customs agent was pretty funny giving Tracy & I a bad time about our Seahawks clothes); and finally, we only had about a 10 minute wait to get a taxi! It was so smooth that all the other cruise terminals should take a lesson from New Orleans!

The last pages of my scrapbook are simply pictures that I wanted in my book but didn’t want to scrapbook: my bed the night before the cruise trying to get both Jim & I packed (how much to take, how much to leave at home); Raj with more towels to make towel animals;  and 5 towel animals. As we were docked in Nassau next to the Carnival ships, Jim pointed out their solution to their engine problems – just strap a generator onto the top deck of all their ships. All three ships had these generators! Really Carnival? During our Alaska cruise in 2012, Jim & I reached “Emerald” status and received our “Emerald” status pins during this cruise (on our trans-Atlantic cruise in April we’ll reach Diamond status but won’t receive our pins until we cruise again). And, finally, my charm bracelet! The cruise lines work with Diamond International and if you go to all the DI shops at the ports of call you get free charms! Silly, I know, but it was to run around and get all the charms!

20140112_084955-1 I made a pouch for all my receipts.

20140112_085052-1 My bed was a mess trying to pack for the cruise. Raj had lots of towels for towel animals.



20140112_085216-1 The generator strapped down on the top deck of a Carnival ship.

I’m getting better and better about getting these scrapbooks started and finished closer to end of our vacations instead of waiting months (or years if you consider I never did finish the scrapbook for our Mediterranean cruise in 2001 — YIKES — maybe one year I’ll finish it)!

Anita @ 9:12 pm
Completed “secret” craft projects!
Filed under: Blogging andCrochet andKnit andQuilting

I finished making my Christmas gifts in August this year. I hope everyone who receives my gifts are appreciative of the time and love I put into everything I made!

Mia's hat I made this very cute little hat for my cousin’s baby granddaughter. It wasn’t a Christmas present, just a “because” present! I was pleased with how it turned out, but it wasn’t a fun hat to make because I used the baby fuzzy yarn. It all had to be done by feel since you couldn’t see the stitches. Needless to say I’m not too interested in using that yarn again!

20130910_185953  20130910_190009  A couple of Christmas’s ago I made my daughter-in-law an afghan from the stash of yarn I’d been “saving” since my mother-in-law had died (you can see it here: http://stampinwithanita.com/?p=1622) with some of the yarn. This year I made my son an afghan with more of the yarn as well as some of my own yarn I’d been “hoarding” in a tote in the garage attic!!! (I knew it would come in handy one day so you really can’t call it hoarding if you use it, right?!!!) I’d seen the pattern on Pinterest and figured it would be a good afghan for a man! I love how it turned out! It’s pictured here on my king size bed.

Laura lunchbag.1  Laura lunchbag.2  I made my daughter-in-law a little bag to be used for her lunch or anything she would need to carry to work. It’s lined and completely washable! And, of course, it’s in her favorite colors!

Laura cat towels  I also knitted her some refrigerator towels (okay, actually I only knitted the top of the towel). The way I see it, you can never have enough of these! And cats are her favorite so they were perfect for her  (and these cats kinda look like Smokey and Lea)!

Mom's shrug  Now that my mom is getting older, and she lives in an area that gets really cold in the winter, I made her another shrug this year (here’s the post showing the one I made her last year: http://stampinwithanita.com/?p=1750). This year’s shrug is more of a structured jacket with defined sleeves, unlike last year’s which just had slits for her to put her arms through.  She can change them up depending on what color she wants to wear that day!

740  I made this quilted Christmas table runner for my daughter. Of course, I did it all by hand – no sewing machine used (my mother-in-law always told me that quilts should never be done using a sewing machine and I’m honoring her by making all my quilts by hand – yes, it takes much longer but that’s okay! She made almost 50 before she died and they were all done by hand). The Christmas scenes were in my mother-in-laws fabric stash which my father-in-law gave me after she died.

742  743  I crocheted this bag for my daughter. After making one for myself, I decided they needed to be lined so I found this pretty floral fat quarter which matched the yarn perfectly!

20140101_103614_3  604  Finally, I crocheted this scarf for Tracy. I’d love to tell you what the name of the pattern is but I can’t find it anywhere – not on my computer or in the stack of printed patterns I have. One day I’ll find it {fingers crossed}!

Now that it’s 2014, I’ve already started my list of homemade Christmas gifts! I don’t know how I’ll top 2013′s gifts, but I’ll give it my best short!

Happy New Year!

Anita @ 12:27 pm
Seattle Seahawks, family, & friends! And other stuff, too!
Filed under: Blogging

Recently, the Seattle Seahawks  played the New Orleans Saints, in Seattle, on Monday Night Football and beat them handily 34-7. I proudly wore my Seahawks jersey and Converse hand-painted tennis shoes that day not only to the gym where I go for aqua aerobics, but also to Costco! After leaving Costco, I decided to be really brave and stop off at the New Orleans Saints’ practice field and headquarters (which is not too far from where we’re staying down here in Louisiana) and take a “selfie” in front of their big sign! The gardener was out tending the plantings around the sign but refused to take my picture (apparently an Atlanta Falcon fan did the same thing last year and a Saints employee took their picture for them and promptly got fired – REALLY, that seems like a pretty pathetic reason to fire someone in my opinion. Anyway, he said I could take my own picture but wouldn’t let me stand far enough away from the sign to get a shot of me and the sign. This is the best I could do!

Me in front of Saints sign Since we’re down here in New Orleans while Jim is working, I want it known that I in NO WAY support the Saints. I have my collection of Seahawks stuff down here to show my support of the team!

Seahawks converse shoes My hand-painted Seattle Seahawks converse tennis shoes!

Seahawks bags I have plenty of these grocery bags and use them every time I go shopping! I usually get a smirk from the checkers when they open the bags and see the logo!

Seahawks blanket The last time I was in Washington state I tried to find some fleece to make a Seahawks blanket but couldn’t find it anywhere. I just ordered this blanket from the Seattle Seahawks Pro Shop!

Seahawks beads I also found these Seahawks beads on Bourbon Street! I went into several stores until I found the only store that had them!

Wilson t shirt at store My friend and I (she is also from Seattle and a Seahawks fan) were shopping at a local mall here in New Orleans and stopped into a sports store just to see if they had any Seahawks stuff. They had THREE #3 Wilson t-shirts and that’s all. I found them UNDERNEATH all the Saints t-shirts. By the time we left the store (after buying nothing), the Seahawks t-shirts were on top of the Saints t-shirt and I left this t-shirt laying on top of the pile right underneath the Saints sign! I’m sure the guy immediately folded it up and put it back underneath the Saints clothes. :(

Cindy and Jim Jim’s cousin, Cindy Berg, was in town recently for a conference. We met up with her for dinner then walked up and down Bourbon Street listening to some jazz and watching all the craziness!

Bill and kids In November we had dinner with Jim’s family in the Seattle area before flying back to New Orleans. It was a fun evening and very thankful to Dot and Betty for organizing it. From left: Dot, Linda, Betty, Bill (86 year old dad), Jim & Bob.

Anita and Maren I met up recently with a fellow Richland Bomber graduate and editor of our Alumni Sandstorm, Maren Smythe, for lunch. We had a great time getting to know each other! She’s a ’63/’64 graduate.

R 73 I graduated in 1973. My 40 year high school reunion was held in September but unfortunately I was unable to attend. Fingers crossed I’m able to attend the next reunion (I’m hoping in 5 years).

Miss Peepers  One day I saw a cute little cross stitch pattern (I think it was on Pinterest) and mentioned to my daughter that I really liked it. She found the pattern and made it for me for my birthday. It is adorable!

Earing pic frame I also saw this trick on Pinterest! For many years I quit wearing dangling earrings so had no need to have a place for them. However, now that I’ve accumulated several pairs, this fit the bill perfectly! Plus it looks cute hanging on the wall in my bedroom!

Finally, I decided to start a travel blog. It’s a great way to remember what happened each day plus a way to share our adventures. If you’re interested, you can find it here: http://amgjrgadventures.blogspot.com/.


Anita @ 9:27 pm
My Summer Vacation Craft Activities, Part 3
Filed under: Stamping

I was able to fit another “trip” into my very first Smashbook (first, Key West; second, New York City). We spent January – March, 2013 in Peoria, Arizona at Pleasant Harbor RV Park on Lake Pleasant. We have definitely figured out that cold weather just isn’t for us anymore so we headed south!

We left early Christmas morning. It was cold and clear when we left, but by the time we got to Satus Pass it was snowing hard and the “chains required” sign was up. However, we were the only people on the road so Jim didn’t bother stopping to chain up (we did have chains for both the truck and the trailer, just in case). He figured since we were in 4 wheel drive, and there was nobody around, why bother to stop when we were doing so good. And the worst part of that day was after we’d crossed the Columbia River into Oregon. The road to Portland was so rutted up that one car spun out in front of us when they tried to change lanes through these huge ruts of wet snow. It was way more treacherous than Satus Pass.


We stopped the first night before heading over the Sisqiyous. It was cold and pouring rain. But when we left the next morning, the mountain passes were bare with red sand. Our truck & trailer were a mess! We stopped in San Juan Bautista for a few days to visit with Kevin & Laura before continuing on to Arizona on New Year’s Eve. It was so nice to have warmer weather than what we’d been experiencing at home. We did a bit of sightseeing while we were there: Cannery Row (Jim’s favorite movie of all time), pizza in San Jose (according to Laura the U.S.’s best version of Italian pizza), and the tattoo shop where Kevin works.


We had a great spot at the RV park. We were on the first row on the right after driving past the office, and the 2nd spot. It was a perfect spot for people watching! We also had a nice shade tree that really helped shade the trailer later in February/March when it really started to warm up. Not too long after we arrived, Jim decided he needed a new beach cruiser so off we went to Phoenix to find his new bike! I had brought my 25 year old bike and after riding his bike, decided mine needed some updating: new handle bars, new seat and a bell! We did some fun stuff while we were down there – went to a Mariner’s Spring Training game (they won), went to a place out in the desert with a bunch of astronomers and looked at constellations and got some great pics of the moon (the astronomer put my camera phone up to his HUGE telescope and snapped the pictures), saw a HUGE houseboat (actually it was more of a party boat than a houseboat) pulled out of the lake by a semi truck which was dwarfed by the boat, Jim saw a wild donkey on the highway when he was out bike riding – he stopped and the donkey came right up to him, and finally I always take my Seattle Seahawks mascot with me for good luck!


Our neighbors at the park were Bill and Becky! We had some good laughs with them! Jim’s brother/sister-in-law (Bob & Sharon) also came down a couple of times in their motorhome. We drove out to the lake several times to watch the Comet PANSTARR and were lucky enough to see it without any special equipment. It was pretty cool!

I love the cactus in Arizona and could take pictures of them all day long. There were never any two alike!




I was told we were several weeks late for the blooming desert flowers, however, I thought there were still some pretty ones out there and on the trees in the park (yellows, purples, pinks and oranges)!


It was a sad day when we left to head back to Washington. The park was already about half empty. Both on our way from California to Arizona and Arizona to California, we stopped in Indio, California for the night. The RV park had nice concrete, pull through spots – we didn’t even have to unhook the truck and trailer since it was so nice and level.


After three trips, my Smashbook was full. It was a fun way to make a scrapbook!

Anita @ 9:46 pm
What I did during my summer vacation, part 2!
Filed under: Blogging andScrapbooking

In July, I attended our annual summer East Meets West scrapbook retreat in Monroe, WA! I look forward to this retreat every year and this year’s retreat was wonderful. I got a lot done and had lots of fun visiting with all the girls! There were a few that couldn’t make it this year and we missed them a lot (Jane, Cali & Ande). But Darla was able to make it this year and we so enjoyed getting to see her after missing her the last several years!

I started and finished my first Smashbook. I decided I was going to try using something other than a 12″x 12″ scrapbook. I have so many and they’re just so big. I’ll definitely make more Smashbooks! I love the size and last winter Michael’s had them on sale for $2.00 so I picked up a couple for future use!


The first trip in my Smashbook was Key West. Jim & I were able to spend 2 weeks there last November. It was so relaxing. We didn’t even rent a car – just beach cruiser bikes. We stayed at the Hyatt Windward Pointe. We rode our bikes to the next island to Hogfish Bar & Grill for Thanksgiving. We ate Cuban food at El Siboney Cuban Restaurant. We ate at Five Guys Burgers and Fries (HOLY COW, neither one of us could finish our hamburger they were so big, and one order of fries would have fed at least four people). And finally, we rode our bikes to and from Mallory Square every day which was at least 12 miles.



The resort was beautiful (we’ve actually stayed there before so felt right at home). All the condos look out onto the ocean. The next trip in my Smashbook was New York City!


My daughter, Tracy, was in upstate New York last September on business and invited me to meet her in NYC for a long weekend (6 days). She had meticulously planned out every day and we bought all our tickets ahead of time which meant we didn’t have to stand in line anywhere!

We went up in the Empire State Building! It’s a long way up there but what an awesome view!



We took several tours on the Hop On Hop Off bus, one being a night tour to Brooklyn. It was a fun way of seeing all the sights. Times Square at night is crazy – bright, colorful billboards and people everywhere. NYC is definitely a city that doesn’t sleep!


My flight into Newark didn’t arrived until after 11:00 p.m. By the time we got across the river to the hotel (Hilton Garden Inn), we were starved. The concierge told us about a pizza place that delivered until 2:00 a.m. and they were only two blocks away. Boy, was that pepperoni pizza good!

From our window, we could see the M&M store sign. YIKES, nothing but walls of M&M in tubes. You just put your plastic bag under the tube, pulled the handle, and got all the candy you wanted – peanut or plain! We went back twice! Then we found a shop that made little bitty cupcakes – all kinds of different flavors. Of course, we had to buy a dozen of those, too!

One of my favorite reality shows on TV is Project Runway. Since I was in NYC, I had to go to Mood Fabrics. It was awesome. Floor to ceiling, row upon row upon row of bolts of fabric, and two floors of it. Had we not had the address and gotten the directions from Google, we would never have found the place. It’s just in a regular office-type building on the second floor. I even bought some fabric!

I also love to knit and crochet. Since Lion brand yarn’s flagship store is in NYC, it was another must go to store for me! Again, floor to ceiling yarn – anything you could ever need or want! And yes, I bought a bunch of yarn!

We went to an off-Broadway show – Mama Mia! It was sooooooooooooooo much fun and we had such a good time!



You can’t go to NYC without going to Central Park. Some of it was closed off due to the filming of a movie. Another part was closed off for a concert.



Our hotel was a  block away from Engine 54, Ladder 4, Battalion 9 fire station. They had a memorial honoring their fallen firemen heroes.

We rode the subway to Grand Central Station. It’s as big as I imagined it to be! We also stopped by Rockefeller Center. It’s much smaller than I imagined it to be. Since it wasn’t winter and the ice skating rink wasn’t set up yet, it was full of tables for eating BUT I always thought it was so much bigger than it really was.  We saw the Flat Iron building, the Wave building, the Guggenheim Museum, and the Apollo Theater along with lots of other old buildings; we rode through the Garment District and Wall Street.




We also walked ACROSS the Brooklyn Bridge. We rode the Subway under the river to Brooklyn then walked back across to Manhattan. It was a long walk – a little over 1.1 mile – on a walkway above the traffic. Little did we know that there was a Walk for the Cure (diabetes, I think) walk scheduled that way from Manhattan to Brooklyn. Needless to say, about halfway across here come THOUSANDS of people. We really had to squeeze through these people at certain points on the bridge. It was crazy!



The 9-1-1 Memorial was very humbling. The new trade centers being built were  pretty awesome. I particularly enjoyed the line of ironworkers sitting eating their lunch on their break (yes, I’m a little partial to ironworkers)!



And finally, the Statute of Liberty and Ellis Island.





If you’ve never been to New York City, you definitely need to go at least once!

… to be continued!

Anita @ 9:40 pm
What did I do during my summer vacation, part 1?
Filed under: Blogging

Since I’m retired, I guess I don’t really get a summer vacation do I? I didn’t think I’d done much this summer but after looking at all the pictures on my cell phone, I realized I did a lot!

My daughter had a two week business trip in August and I volunteered to watch her two poodles so they wouldn’t have to be at the kennel that long. I don’t think they really knew what to do with themselves either. They’re used to a small apartment and now were in this huge house. Plus, neither one of them like walking on the tile since they’re used to carpet (you’ll notice that Jack’s laying on the area rug) cuz their feet slip out from under them!



I figured since they didn’t get to be outside that much when they’re home, except on a leash, since I had this big, fenced yard they could be outside and run around and play. Nope – Jack would hardly venture out into the grass – just lay around on the hot concrete. Silly dog.



Benny, on the other hand, would just stand on his hind legs at the door waiting to be let back in. Really silly dog!



Then, a boy came to the house and they were so excited. Even Benny, who doesn’t really like boys, wanted up in his lap! I figured he thought it was my husband even though it was my son, Kevin! So just this once, I let them on the couch even though they really weren’t technically on the couch – just on Kevin’s lap. Then they had to get right down after the picture was taken (we had to have picture proof that Kevin actually picked the dogs up and put them on his lap cuz he’s a cat person)!



And speaking of Kevin, he drove up from California to pick up our ski boat. We bought it new in 1991 and had lots of fun with it when the kids lived at home. Now it’s gone to a new home with Kevin & Laura and they get to enjoy it! I didn’t even shed a tear when he pulled out of the driveway with it!



To be continued!

Anita @ 12:10 pm
Fun Stuff
Filed under: Stamping

Along with all the crafting I’ve been doing, I’ve also done other things as well! One day, I decided to check out a new mall I’d seen.  It was a pretty swanky mall and the only place I stopped (well, except for the Costco booth – more on that later) was here:


I had to try the beignets and boy were they good. Even though there were three of them and they are huge with about a pound of powdered sugar on them, I still ate all three!

As I was walking around the mall checking out all the stores, I came across the Costco booth. Needless to say, I was so excited to see it (we found where the Costco is being built and it’s not too far from the apartment). I have been having major Costco withdrawals – there has never been a Costco in New Orleans, much less all of Louisiana. The closest is in Houston. Anyway, the guy wanted to know if I wanted to join (there was a long line of people signing up). I told him I was a LONG time member from Washington State and I was so anxious for it to open down here since there are just some things I don’t buy in the grocery store. As a matter of fact, the last time I went home I shipped a box of Costco stuff back down here. Well, it opens in less than a month! WOOHOO!!!

We also decided that we needed to rent a garage while we’re down here in New Orleans. There’s ample parking but we could only get a one bedroom apartment and we needed the extra storage space! They only have one car garages but we made it work!

20130609_162042 We hang our bikes up on the wall! There’s a shelf on the back wall for all our totes and broken down moving boxes.

1002814_3239092472293_890041454_n And then there’s just enough room for the truck! I have devised a way to make sure I don’t scrape either side getting into and out of this tiny little garage – before I start backing out, I have to make sure the side mirrors are out (not folded in) so I can see the one yellow parking strip behind me. I line up on that and then make sure the mirrors are folded back in so I don’t break them off getting out the door! YIKES, that’d really be a bummer! Then when I pull in, Jim hung an old pill bottle from the ceiling and that needs to be right in front of my face; he also bought a red laser light that hangs off the ceiling and is motion activated and it has to line up on a certain point on the dash – but before I pull in I have to make sure the mirrors are folded in! Thankfully, all I have to do is push a button for that! Phew!

Jim brought his road bike and his beach cruiser when we came down. We knew there was a levee along the Mississippi River with a bike trail and since he bought his new cruiser in Arizona, I decided I wanted a cruiser too! Yep, you guessed it – pink! It is the most comfortable bike I’ve ever ridden! Of course since I have the basket I have to carry the water bottles, but that’s okay! Jim’s cruiser is just a single speed, but I wanted something a little easier to pedal so my cruiser has 7 speeds (my last bike, which was 25+ years old, had 21 speeds)! When we spent two weeks last November in Key West, we didn’t even rent a car – we just rented cruisers!!

Beach cruiser

969460_3226745963638_1708906609_n And here’s the levee trail along the Mississippi River. The funny thing about that is you can never see the river for all the vegetation and buildings!

My favorite footwear these days are thongs. A couple of years ago when we were in Maui, we happened to come across the CROC store in Whaler’s Village in Kaánapali. I bought my first pair of CROC thongs and haven’t strayed from them since. In fact, I now have a “few” pairs!

149920_2882318193159_677006340_n This is my very first pair of thongs that I bought in Maui. After I got home I ordered a navy blue pair (no picture).

563659_2879290797476_580634084_n Last winter while we were in Arizona, I ordered these three pairs.

971321_3285011780247_1025753032_n About a month ago I decided to order these two pairs. Except for lime green, I think I have every color CROC makes in this particular model. Hm, I might have to order the lime green now!

Every morning when I’m drinking my mocha and playing on the computer, I watch the squirrels running up and down the trees in front of the window and jumping from one tree to another. They are so fun to watch.

999399_3236719892980_1352330446_n This little guy stopped in mid run to check out where his buddies were.

1010424_3236690972257_112746720_n This little guy was so tired of running up and down the tree and jumping from one tree to another and back again, he decided to just rest. He’s laying on the branch on his stomach with his feet hanging down on both sides of the branch. Eventually, all the squirrels would rest like that!


Anita @ 12:02 pm
Filed under: Blogging andClose to My Heart andSewing

Sometimes I think I accomplish nothing but after I make a list of everything I realize all that I have done! For instance,  when Tracy was visiting me in July, she was busy making cards. She had some left over paper/accessories, so I was able to make a couple cards too. Of course, all the supplies were CTMH. Here they are:


After I retired, I was looking for ways to save money (i.e., when you’re on a pension and no longer working, all of a sudden “living on a fixed income” starts to take on a whole new meaning!). I have been saving (no, not hoarding) material from years ago (okay, some of it was when Tracy was a baby 38 years ago) and decided I would  never use it to make anything so why not make napkins!  We prefer cloth napkins over paper napkins. So when Jim was transferred to New Orleans I bought some fabric and made napkins for his apartment. I ended up making 39 napkins – at least we (he) won’t run out between washings!


So one of my favorite websites right now is Pinterest! I thought my next project was so cute I just had to make it — even though I have nothing to display on it! I tried getting the dishes at Dollar Store but all they had were breakable dishes. I found these at Safeway!


I totally stole my next project from a friend of a friend at a Saturday scrap/project day in Moses Lake. She was making these mesh-type bags – all sizes and shapes. I decided I had to make some. These four I made for Tracy for her birthday. I have the material and zippers all ready to make some more next week! The mesh-type fabric is called “Pet D Fense” and you get it at Lowe’s in a roll. It’s not hard to sew on at all and you don’t need a special needle or anything. They would be great for traveling if you want to take your stitching, card making supplies, scrapbooking supplies, make-up, toiletries, etc.


That’s it for now!

Anita @ 10:00 am
I keep meaning to update my blog, but …

… it seems like I always run out of time. If you ask my daughter what I do during the day, she’d say I do nothing. However, the days seem to fly by and before you know it, hubby is home from work and it’s time to start dinner and hang out with him for the evening.

A typical week-day morning for me starts out when I make myself a 16 ounce Tully’s non-fat, no-whip mocha (the stores in New Orleans don’t carry Tully’s so when I go back to Washington I  buy lots of it!

Tully's coffee

While I’m enjoying my jolt of caffeine, I’m on the computer reading my emails, Facebook, blogs I follow, Pinterest, CruiseCritic.com’s Legend of the Seas message board forum (for our April 16, 2014 Trans-Atlantic cruise from Florida to Copenhagen, Denmark), CNN, Seattle P-I and KOMO.

TA itinerary (our Trans-Atlantic itinerary)

Also every morning when the pool opens at 10:00 a.m., I run down for 40 minutes of water aerobics. By the time I’m done with that and showered, it’s lunch time. If I don’t have errands to run in the afternoon, I work on Christmas presents. And as of this writing, I’m completely finished with my Christmas presents! My Christmas list is small –  just four people (hubby and I don’t buy for each other). I’d love to post pics but then the secrets would be out and nobody would be surprised at Christmas! Oh well, that’ll be a post for after Christmas!

This past winter when we were in Arizona for 3 months, I crocheted a bag to hold my current crocheting/knitting projects. It turned out really cute but what I didn’t realize was that my crochet hooks/knitting needles would just fall out of the holes. Now that I have time to work on my own projects, I was able to line it. But, halfway through, my sewing machine decided it was done sewing. I figured it needed to be cleaned and oiled but I didn’t have any oil. Jim asked why I just didn’t use his bicycle oil (read: EXPENSIVE and you only need a drop or two) … so I did (being very careful to not spill it and only use a drop or two because it’s for his bicycle you know) and it worked! I was able to finish the lining and now can’t wait to travel with my next project (haven’t started one yet since I was so busy working on presents)! Since I used a variegated yarn I wanted the lining to be a fairly “quiet” piece of fabric.


20130806_205139 (you’ll have to excuse the colors in the picture, it was dark when I took it)

My daughter has a bag that she carries when she travels and I really like it and decided I could copy it and make one for myself. It was a quilted bag and try as I might, I could not find any pre-quilted fabric. I found this adorable fabric and lined it with lime green gingham fabric (suffice it to say I did use a batting and quilted it but HATED every minute of it – I do not like machine quilting and will probably NEVER do it again – quilting by hand is the only way for me!). Inside are three deep pockets on each side to hold all my electrical cords. I’ve already used it and it’s a great carry-on!


That’s all for now. I hope to be back soon with more updates and pictures of finished projects!

Anita @ 8:04 pm
Australia treasures
Filed under: Blogging

After having finished my scrapbook(s) of Australia and the South Pacific cruise from Australia to Hawaii, I ended up with some “treasures” that I wanted to keep but not put away in a box never to look at again. I chose a shadow box to showcase it all.


The back “wall” of my shadow box is the front page of our cruise packet with our names, the name of the cruise (16 Night South Pacific Cruise), the date (April 13, 2009), the name of the ship (Rhapsody of the Seas) and the name of the cruise line (Royal Caribbean). I also added a picture of the Australian flag. I included a little jar with the red Outback sand. That sand was so red and wouldn’t wash out of my socks or my tennis shoes. I have several coins/paper money from Australia as well as some of the Polynesian islands that were our ports-of-call. I also ended up with several little rocks from the Outback. At all of our South Pacific ports-of-call, we were able to enjoy the beaches. I picked up shells at all of the beaches. Needless to say I’m a sucker for shot glasses (I only bought 4 the entire trip) which I’ve placed on top of the shadow box.

You will notice a yellow tube of Vegemite to the left of the shadow box. There’s a story behind that! Obviously, most of the people on the cruise ship were Australians. We had made friends with quite a few of them on-line through CruiseCritic.com before actually boarding the ship. We decided to have breakfast together one morning as a group. All of them were eating this gross spread on their toast called Vegemite. They all said it was delicious and I really needed to try it. Okay, so I did and it was the grossest thing I’ve ever put in my mouth. Not only did it taste bad, it smelled bad.

Last summer, Valerie & Ian Coupland, who are now lifelong friends from Australia we met on the cruise, came up to take an Alaska cruise with us. They spent some time driving around Canada before spending a few days with us before we boarded the ship. When we got home from the cruise, what did we find in the spare bedroom – a tube of Vegemite that Ian had graciously left for us. Needless to say, it will not be eaten so I put it in a place of honor right next to my shadow box!

Vegemite is made from brewers’ yeast extract, a by-product of beer manufacturing, various vegetables, wheat and spice additives. It is salty, slightly bitter and malty, and rich in umami. Umami can be described as a pleasant brothy or meaty taste with a long lasting, mouthwatering and coating sensation over the tongue.

Anita @ 8:35 pm