Cruise Scrapbook #2
Filed under: Stamping

IMG_2609 As with the first book, I used a Sn@P Simple Stories book and embellished the front. Book #2 starts with Day 11.

IMG_2610 IMG_2611 The divider page (heavy cardboard) I decorated with cruise paper and no embellishments. The journal page is DAY 11 COBH, CORK, IRELAND.

IMG_2612 (1) IMG_2613(2) IMG_2614(3)

In (1) on the left, I continued my journal page. Below the journaling is a picture of Jim wearing his new wool cap. When you flip Jim’s picture, you will see the 3 piece wool set (scarf, hat and fingerless gloves) I bought for myself (2)! I used the flip pages on (1 & 3) as well. I 12′d in front of the Blarney Castle and Jim & Tracy were freezing in the rain and wind in front of the castle. Of course I saved the tags that show we bought our wool merchandise at the Blarney Woollen Mills in Ireland (Jim complains about all the little things I save, but they all end up in the scrapbook)!

IMG_2615 I added a pocket on the left to keep a map of the Blarney Castle, a brochure on the Woollen Mills and the Titanic connection to Cobh (* 123 passengers boarded the Titanic from Cobh – then known as Queenstown, County Cork; * Queenstown was Titanic’s last port of call on April 11, 1912). In the flip page is the GRIFFIN CODE OF ARMS.

“The Griffins of today are the descendants of a number of septs (families) of O Griobhatha, who were located at Ballygriffin, in the Barony of Glanarough in County Kerry, as well as also, of Coshma. Another sept were located in the Barony of Inchiquin in County Clare, will also add to the ancestry. The name today, is the seventy fifth most numerous name in Ireland, being about 8,000 members strong. The greatest number of the name are found in the homelands of Counties Clare and Kerry, with Counties Cork and Limerick being well populated with the name. The ARMS are a sable, a griffin segreant or, langued and armed gules. The MOTTO is NE VILE VELIS (with nothing base).”

Opposite the Griffin Code of Arms is my morning view of the sea before getting closer to Ireland where it turned foggy as you can see when we’re off the point of land.

20140426_195523 (1) IMG_2618 (2) IMG_2617 (3) IMG_2619 (4) IMG_2233 (5) You can see the commemorative sign for the Titanic from the ship (1). Cobh (2) is a beautiful town (village?, city?). I love all the the architecture of the buildings. A close-up of the main castle at Blarney (3). When you walk around the corner (4) and see the Blarney Castle estate – it’s beautiful. Another close-up of part of the castle ruins (5).

IMG_2621 IMG_2620 I was the only one of our group to climb to the top of the Blarney Castle but there was no way I was going to get down on my back in the pouring rain and laying in the mud, hang backwards over the floor holding onto a metal bar, and kiss that nasty stone! Unfortunately, there was a water spot on the lens of my camera but the people were lined up waiting to get down in the mud. The story is that after everyone leaves and the place is locked up for the night, the staff come and pee on that wall and laugh every day about the idiot tourists who kiss it every day. Don’t know if it’s true or not but just disgusting enough to make me not want to kiss the stone! The grounds around the castle are just beautiful. Too bad it was raining and cold otherwise I’m sure we would have been able to walk around see so much more. Before we left Blarney, we bought our woollen products at the Blarney Woollen Mills. I could have spent a bunch of money there but had to limit myself to Jim’s cap and my 3 piece scarf/hat/mitten set.

IMG_2622 IMG_2623 After leaving Blarney, we went to the little village of Kinsale. We ate lunch at Fishy Fishy which was off the beaten path and not frequented by tourists. It was a little pricier than had we eaten on the main drag at the tourist traps but so much better! After we ate we wandered around town until it was time to get the bus back to the ship. I thought the EAT DRINK SLEEPOVER place was a pretty cool idea! No drinking and driving! And of course the TULLY sign caught my eye – except it wasn’t Seattle’s Tully’s Coffee! I’m sure the growers of GRIFFIN POTATOES are relatives of ours too! Finally, our cruise brochure on Cork-Cobh!

IMG_2624 IMG_2625 IMG_2626 Journal page is DAY 12 AT SEA. My morning view of the sea showed clouds and the seas were choppy. Sometime during the night after leaving Ireland we had entered the English Channel, saw more container ship traffic and thought, “how dare those ships come close to us”! I did some hand washing and hung Jim’s Seattle Seahawk shirt out on the balcony to dry. We also got our  passports back after having Ireland’s Customs stamped them. Our towel animal that night, sporting Jim’s sunglasses, was a frog!

IMG_2628 IMG_2629 20140428_121620 The journal  page is DAY 13 AT PARIS, FRANCE. My morning view wasn’t of the sea today since we were already docked when I woke up. Me, Tracy & Jim on the 2+ hour bus ride from LeHavre into Paris. I loved the double decker bus with a picture of a girl and boy with President Obama t-shirts on! And, of course, Tracy & I were 12ing in Paris in front of the Eiffel Tower (love my Seattle Seahawks)!

20140428_130157 IMG_2631 IMG_2636 The Eiffel Tower! The Louvre. The Arc de Triomphe. The bridge of locks (this is the bridge that part of the side broke off recently it was so heavy with locks).

IMG_2633 IMG_2634 IMG_2635 We had a bite to eat at Cafe Le Corona and I ordered a Croque-Madame non fromage e chocolat (fried egg and ham sandwich with no cheese and hot chocolate)! After we got back to our meeting place to catch our bus back to the ship, we were so tired from walking everywhere. Tracy, me & Jim patiently waiting for our ride and people watching!

IMG_2632 IMG_2637 The top left picture is a tree with ball-type flowers. The tree is a mistletoe tree and that’s the mistletoe that we stand under to get kissed. We thought the field of yellow was mustard seeds but it was the seef that’s used to make canola oil. We headed into a rain storm and saw this double rainbow! The second picture is my Big Red Bus map and our cruise brochure of Paris.

IMG_2638 IMG_2639 IMG_2640 The journal pages are DAY 14 AT ZEEBRUGGE, BRUGGES, BELGIUM. We rode a taxi into Brugge (about half hour drive from the ship). Of course we had to sample the famous Belgium chocolate and it did not disappoint. The only disappointment was I didn’t buy enough! My view first thing in the morning was very foggy. I couldn’t tell if we were close to shore or not. I want to tell you, the Belgium’s certainly know a thing or two about pilot boats. It’s huge!

IMG_2642 IMG_2645 IMG_2643 On the way to the Tourist center to pick up a city map, we passed this bronze bicycle statute. I’ve been amazed at all the people who ride bikes as a way of transportation instead of driving cars. The cost of gas is out of this world in Europe so it’s not only cheaper to ride a bike, it’s much healthier! The store where I bought my Belgium chocolate! It seems that every old town in Europe has a bell tower in the center. And the architecture of the building in these old cities is beautiful. I’m not sure I could live in such an old place, but I enjoy looking at all the old buildings.

IMG_2646 IMG_2644 IMG_2647 IMG_2648 IMG_2649 20140429_144922 We walked around and around that city as well as taking a canal boat tour. The weather was perfect after it quit drizzling shortly after we got there. There is a large flock of swans that live on the canal – they sure were beautiful.

IMG_2651 20140429_153534 20140429_222210 IMG_2652 IMG_2653 We had a snack at Panos Enjoy Your Break. My favorite was the chocolate filled croissant – YUMMY! Patrick was our taxi driver. He got us to and from town very fast! He was crazy! Tracy was sitting in the front seat and she said she had to close her eyes a couple of times it was so crazy! Our towel animal that night was an elephant! And, of course, I saved the Brugge town map as well as the cruise port guide. The journal page is DAY 15 AT AMSTERDAM, THE NETHERLANDS.

IMG_2655 20140430_080905 20140430_082406 20140430_082542 My first view of the morning as we were coming into Amsterdam was dismal it was so foggy. But slowly and surely the fog burned off. This port was so modern. The use of an actual real jetway for us to get off the ship was awesome (versus the temporary one the ship keeps on board). And look at their modern terminal.

20140430_143554 Yes,  of  course, you had to expect to see Tracy & I 12ing in Amsterdam!

IMG_2660 IMG_2661 These 2 postcards are what you see everywhere in Amsterdam – bikes and canals with houseboats. There are 60 miles of waterways with 165 canals which is spanned by 1,000 bridges.

IMG_2662 IMG_2663 The line to go into the Anne Frank house was around several blocks but I was able to get a picture with her statute. We had homemade french fries from Wil Graanstra’s Frites sidewalk stand. They were so good but we didn’t eat them with mayonnaise like the locals; yep, we had catsup! We ate them out of a paper cup with little plastic forks. They sure hit the spot! More and more bicycles locked up anywhere a post could be found!

IMG_2664 20140430_101214 20140430_095102 IMG_2666 I just love the canals that run all through Amsterdam. In the first picture, we saw this monument (the steps going down to the canal from the street) that was dedicated to the people who had died of Aids. I thought it was kind of sad that the sign read: HOMO MONUMENT. We also took a canal tour from where the ship docked to in front of the Anne Frank house. It was still cold so the plastic windows were still zipped shut so it was hard to get any good pictures. If you could see clearly, the second picture shows all the way down the canal with 7 bridges/underpasses – the only place you can see that is if you’re in a boat on the canal. Gabled houses dating from the 17th and 18th centuries line the canals. It’s so hard to pick just one or two pictures to put in a scrapbook. In the last set of pictures, the top picture shows the top of our ship peeking up above the terminal. And finally, it seems every port of call we had been on this cruise there was a Noah’s Ark restaurant or office building!

IMG_2667 IMG_2534 IMG_2522 In the top photo in the first picture is the only Russian gift shop in Holland. Tracy & I went inside and looked at the nesting dolls but decided we’d wait until 2018 when we went to Russian to buy homemade Russian nesting dolls! The bottom photo of that first picture caught my eye because of the wisteria growing along the top of the awnings. The second picture is an up-close view of the wisteria. I just love that flower. And finally, the rhododendron that had been pruned to grow like a tree. It was going to have a ton of flowers and I would have loved to see it all bloomed out.

IMG_2548 IMG_2669 IMG_2670 IMG_2668 As Jim & I were wandering around the streets and canals of Amsterdam, we inadvertently walked right into the Red Light District as well as some other different areas! But the funniest thing I saw in a shop window was this little bust statute of John F. Kennedy!

IMG_2553 20140430_174903 20140430_174841 20140430_174954 20140430_175104 To get back to the ship we had to walk through the bus/train station, Amsterdam Central. It was a nice walk along the waterfront to get back to the ship. As we were sailing away from Amsterdam, we passed a bicycle only parking lot for one of the local ferries; a two store houseboat; a table and chairs that you had to use a ladder to get up to the top of the table for your picnic; and finally, this huge four sided billboard. I’m not sure if this building is strictly for advertising or if it’s an actual office building with “skins” on the sides for advertisers. I guess I’ll never know.

IMG_2675 IMG_2676 My last port brochure. Later in the evening after sailing from Amsterdam headed to Copenhagen, we passed through a little lock system. Some of our group had never been on a ship going through the locks and found it very fascinating!

IMG_2677 IMG_2678 IMG_2679 day 16 sunset The journal page is DAY 16 AT SEA. We had to put the #12 (haha, that’s funny huh … I’ve been flying my #12 Seattle Seahawks flag in every port of call and now we’re given the #12 for our luggage) tag on our luggage and have it outside in the hall before we go to bed tonight. I had one final morning view at sea and it seemed to be a pretty good morning. The seas were very calm. Of course we all had to have our picture taken with Ferdinand. He took such good care of us and we were so lucky to have gotten him as our cabin steward! Our evening Assistant Waiter in the Windjammer, Snjezana, was just as awesome. After the first couple of days, she realized there would be 7 of us at 7 every night for dinner so she’d have two tables put together with water and silverware/napkins already at the table for us. And she was cute as a button! My final evening sunset on the cruise ship. The journal page is DAY 17 ARRIVE COPENHAGEN, DENMARK (DEBARKATION DAY).

IMG_2697 20140502_054536 20140502_071210 bus and ship from Tracy The first picture shows our progress from Ft. Lauderdale to Copenhagen (thanks Tracy for the pictures). We were up early today so we could get breakfast and be ready to leave the ship to get our Copenhagen bus tour. We were still coming into the port but the water was very calm. I was quite surprised to see all these windmills in the water. These Europeans really know how to use natural resources (i.e., bicycles, windmills, solar power, etc.). And finally, sadly, leaving the ship for the last time and loading our luggage into the tour bus with the ship behind it.

IMG_2684 IMG_2690 20140502_110528 As we were touring around the city, we passed several coffee shops. The first one (top photo in the first picture) was selling Seattle’s Best Coffee! Of course, anywhere you go in the world there is always a McDonald’s (bottom photo in first picture)! The unique building in the second picture used to be a telephone booth but is now a coffee shop. The third picture is actually a train stop and the only parking is for bicycles.

IMG_2687 IMG_2686 We stopped at the Queen’s Palace (our tour guide called it her summer house) and while we were there her motorcade came in from her winter house (I’m sure it’s a palace as well) to meet with the Japanese Ambassador, whose motorcade also came through while we were there. Her son/daughter-in-law also live in this group of palaces. Her son the Prince is married to a gal from Australia. The tour guide was hoping we’d see them come out riding their bikes while we were there since apparently the Princess and the kids ride their bikes every day to/from school. There was one guard in front of the son’s palace. He was pretty funny to watch – he would walk back and forth and not move his head to watch us but his eyes were following our every move!

20140502_100918 20140502_103552 20140502_103437Another Noah’s Ark restaurant. I tried to buy these two shirts for Jim but he said no. Yesterday when he saw the picture he asked why I hadn’t bought him those shirts. I had to remind him that he said no when I wanted to buy them for him, especially the bike shirt! Maybe one day we’ll get back to Copenhagen and I can buy him that shirt!

20140502_094216 IMG_2685 We stopped at The Little Mermaid statute which is made of bronze and granite and is 101 years old and inspired by Hans Christian Anderson’s fairy tale. Our tour guide got so mad at the tourists who kept climbing up on her when the sign clearly says to stay off the statue. We were standing there trying to get a picture without any tourists and she started hollering at the people can’t they read the sign that says no climbing. Then she started shooing them away! She was awesome! Across from the statue was a huge lilac bush. I’d never seen anything like it! We could also see our ship docked across the waterway. The top right photo in the second picture was taken after we took a walk by our hotel. It was an exit off the highway and it was obvious what two of the three signs depicted. However, the 3rd sign was a bit confusing. It’s a dog with a wire basket in its mouth. I would have never guessed that this was a sign for a grocery store!

IMG_2688 IMG_2689 20140502_172826 Believe it or not but we ate lunch in the airport at the 7-11 (we didn’t find out there was a McDonald’s within walking distance until after we had eaten)! The food at the 7-11 was actually pretty good, too. Then we went to Starbucks for coffee after! About 5:00 while I was looking out the window of our hotel, I saw our ship leaving Copenhagen. I can’t believe she left without us!

IMG_2694 I had to get in one last photo op for my Seattle Seahawks #12 flag! We were staying at the Copenhagen’s Airport Hilton. And my final view of the day was a beautiful sunset over the city of Copenhagen. The journal page is DAY 18 TRAVEL DAY.

IMG_2695 IMG_2696 20140503_203647 We had such a busy day in Copenhagen it took both the front and back of the journal page to get it all down! My first view of the morning was sure different than the last 17 days when we were either at sea or docked in the next port of call. This was our travel day back home and I was not looking forward to it at all. Neither Jim nor I can sleep on airplanes and it was a 10 hour flight to Washington, D.C. Once you get past security at the Copenhagen airport, it’s like a HUGE mall inside. I lost track of how many high-end stores there were and it seems everyone was shopping. The Starbucks was packed. I was able to snag one of these little carts so I wouldn’t have to carry my purse and overnight bag! And finally, my last picture of our vacation was taken out the window of our third, and final, flight of the day. It was a beautiful sunset on our way from Charlotte, NC to New Orleans, LA.

We had a wonderful vacation with good friends and looking to the next one … September, 2015!

Anita @ 11:48 am
Cruise Scrapbook #1
Filed under: Stamping

It’s hard to scrapbook an 18 day vacation in just one book especially when you’re on a cruise across the Atlantic Ocean with multiple ports of call in Europe! I took almost 1000 pictures and it was very hard to pare it down to a manageable size for a scrapbook. Here’s book #1. You might want to get a drink since I think this will be a pretty long post with lots of pictures! (Edit: I’ve noticed that my last few “scrapbooks” haven’t really been too scrappy. For me, I think it’s now all about capturing the pictures, the journaling, and adding a few embellishments. It works for me and I’ll probably continue along this path for awhile!)

IMG_2555 I used the Sn@p Simple Stories scrapbook. I’m at a certain level now with Royal Caribbean Crown & Anchor (reached Diamond status halfway through this cruise) so we get a little welcome back snack gift in our cabin in a little box with Royal Caribbean ribbon. I used the ribbon and the lid of the box to decorate the front of my book. The Royal Caribbean embellishments I have used are from a scrapbook packet on our Alaska cruise in 2012.

IMG_2556  IMG_2557   The opening two pages are pretty self-explanatory. I used several different travel papers and made a collage of sorts and added different embellishments.  The heavy weight card stock journal pages are from Sn@p and are perfect for one day of journaling. Our TRAVEL DAY started at 2:30 a.m. when the alarm went off. Our flight out of New Orleans was at 5:00 a.m. I knew it was going to be a long day! We had less than an hour between flights in Houston so weren’t able to get a real meal – just a snack that wasn’t very good. The only other “hickup” that day was landing in Ft. Lauderdale. The wheels were down, the plane was nose up (meaning we were feet from the concrete) when all of a sudden the engines started roaring and we were headed up and up and up and over the Atlantic Ocean. There was not a peep in the cabin but I imagine everyone was wondering the same thing I was – what the heck happened and where were we going? The pilot finally came on the P.A. system to let us know that a plane had not cleared the runway and we had to abort landing but would be circling around to try again. Our daughter, Tracy, and her friend, Melissa, were in the cell phone lot waiting to pick us up and were tracking the flight with their cell phones. Imagine their surprise when the plane showed 8 miles out, 6 miles out, 4 miles out, 2 miles out, 0 miles out, 2 miles out, 4 miles out, 6 miles out, etc. They had no idea what was going on but were still able to track the flight. What an adventure to the start of an awesome adventure (crossing the Atlantic Ocean in a cruise ship)!

IMG_2558  I try to get as many pictures in my albums as I can and I end up layering them. The picture on the left is the view from the hotel room where we stayed the night before boarding the cruise. You will see the 2 pictures underneath in the photo below. When we cruise, we usually board the ship as soon as we can (before lunch). We find our spot on the pool deck and take up residence waiting to get into the Windjammer for lunch and waiting for the cabins to open up so we can drop off our carry-on items. Our group for this cruise consisted of 7 people – the picture on the right only shows 5 of us: Melissa, Jim, Brenda, Tracy and me! We were waiting for Valerie and Ian!

IMG_2559 IMG_2560 These 2 pictures were taken after we had dropped our luggage off at the hotel (after our unusual descent into Ft. Lauderdale). We went to IHOP for lunch (Tracy, Melissa, me & Jim). Our bed was ready for us early that evening – before 9:00 p.m. Much thanks to Melissa for using her timeshare for the accommodations!

IMG_2562 IMG_2563 Before checking out of the hotel and heading to the ship, we went to Cracker Barrel for breakfast. I just love all the rocking chairs lined up in front of the building. Underneath the chair picture is a picture of the grits that Jim tried for the first time. I’m definitely not a fan of grits. The picture on the right of my book is the deck plan of Deck 8 where our cabins were located. We had 3 junior suites in a row (me and Jim, Tracy and Melissa, Valerie and Ian – yes, we had planned it so we could all be together and it worked out beautifully)!

IMG_2561 Every day we get the Cruise Compass which lists all the activities. I always save them and bring them home (and usually just throw them away) and for this scrapbook decided to use it as my background paper instead of just cutting the top of the page off and throwing the rest away! The page on the left has our Welcome Back note we received on EMBARKATION along with our SeaPass cards. Jim was the only one of us who didn’t demagnetize his card this cruise! And on the right is my daily journal page.

IMG_2564 IMG_2565  IMG_2566 DAY 1 starts the day you board the ship! About an hour or so before we leave port, we have to go to our Muster Stations for Muster (in a selfie that Melissa took is Melissa, Tracy, me and Jim – yes, Jim’s giving me rabbit ears). We have to wait until everyone in our station has checked in before we listen to the announcements on what to do if we need to board the lifeboats. Underneath the muster picture (I use the plastic Close To My Heart flip flap memory protectors to stack my pictures on each page) is our Cruise Compass and the luggage tags we had to put on our luggage to make sure the luggage got to the correct rooms. Once we Muster was concluded, we headed back upstairs to the pool deck to prepare for sail away and sail away drinks! The pictures above show Jim signing for the first round (7 drinks – some margaritas and some strawberry coladas). Under that picture is the second round of drinks along with all 7 of us: Jim, Tracy, Melissa, Brenda, Ian, Valerie and me!

IMG_2567 IMG_2568 The top picture on the left is Tracy and Melissa – both on their cell phones, as we’re heading out to sea, hurrying to get last minute posts on Facebook before we lose service for 7 days! Underneath their picture are 3 more pictures: Valerie and me (Valerie and Ian are from Sydney, Australia); our 3rd round of drinks; and Jim looking out the windows as we’re leaving the dock. The journal page is DAY 2 AT SEA.

IMG_2569 IMG_2570 One of the things I noticed right away in our cabin’s bathroom was Kirkland toilet paper from Costco! The story goes that when the ship docked in San Diego before heading through the Panama Canal en route to Ft. Lauderdale to pick us up, a container of supplies didn’t make it to the dock. That container had the toilet paper in it. Several people from the ship went to every store they could find in San Diego and bought up all the toilet paper! We also got our first towel animal of the cruise that night wearing Jim’s sunglasses! I always take a picture off our balcony every morning when I get up. It helps me remember what the weather was like. We had our Cruise Critic Meet & Mingle party. We each brought a gift for the gift exchange. Valerie’s number was called before mine so she got me this Superbowl bag (it had a replica of the Staten Island Ferry inside) since the Seattle Seahawks won the Superbowl. The evening production was Gary Lovini, violinist. He was so good and put on such a great show I bought 2 of his CD’s. After we left the theater on our way to bed, the seas got a little choppy and I had to laugh when I saw the barf bags attached to all the railings on the stairs! The journal page is DAY 3 AT SEA.

IMG_2571 IMG_2572 Another beautiful morning on the high seas! During breakfast we had a big dip up and down and an entire stack of plates flew off the plate station in the Windjammer. During his Noon update, the Captain told us we were traveling more north in order to miss the really big rollers and save fuel.  I ended up napping the afternoon away and we weren’t interested in the evening productions so went to bed early. During the day when I was walking around the ship I took a couple of pictures of the ship. The journal page is DAY 4 AT SEA.

IMG_2573 IMG_2574 Not only did I take my usual morning sea picture, I took an afternoon one as well. I’ve always heard that an Atlantic Ocean crossing was not good because of the rocking and rolling seas – these two pictures prove that theory wrong. We did absolutely nothing in the morning. I had every intention of quilting but ended up people watching instead. The matinee was Gary Lovini and since we enjoyed him so much a few evenings earlier, we decided to go see him again. I surprised everyone at dinner with Easter bags of goodies for Easter the next day. That load of candy really weighted down my luggage! The evening show was Peter Matthews, a juggler/comedian. He was hilarious; I can’t remember when I laughed so much! Ferdinand, our cabin steward, left us another towel animal! The journal page is DAY 5 AT SEA.

IMG_2575 IMG_2576 More morning and afternoon sea views. The afternoon sea was choppy but we had “following seas” (meaning we were going in the same direction as the waves so we didn’t feel the movement). Since the ship had been on a 2 week cruise before picking us up in Ft. Lauderdale, the staff did a deep cleaning before we could get into our cabins on Embarkation Day. Today, the cabins were fumigated. I was glad to see that the cruise line was taking sanitary conditions very seriously to make sure we didn’t get noro virus. I finished my first Seattle Seahawks quilt block today. After my afternoon nap, I taught Valerie how to make refrigerator towels. Before dinner I went to the spa and had my hair cut off – it felt so good! The top outside deck was closed in the evening due to the high winds but again with the following seas we didn’t feel much movement at all. Wasn’t impressed with the evening performance of the hypnotist.

IMG_2577 IMG_2578 IMG_2579DAY 6 AT SEA. My first view of the morning sea was not good – it was blustery, cold and windy. The afternoon sea was much better! I quilted most of the morning and afternoon finishing up a 2nd quilt block and starting a 3rd. Valerie is a Seahawks fan even though she lives halfway around the world in Australia (one of guys on the Seahawks team is from Australia, Jesse Williams). I brought her a Superbowl Champion sweatshirt and she was happy to model it! Our towel animal that night was a mystery! We ended up asking Ferdinand what it was! The journal page (with the aqua @ sign) is DAY 7 AT SEA.

IMG_2580 (1)  IMG_2581 (2)IMG_2582 (3) IMG_2583 (4)IMG_2584 (5) IMG_2585 (6)                                                              I think because I had been getting so much sleep since we left Ft. Lauderdale, I didn’t sleep very good night 6. When I finally got up, it was still dark outside. Jim & I walked some laps, had coffee, walked some more laps and played a round of mini golf. The morning sea view wasn’t that nice – mostly cloudy. Tracy and Jim had their picture taken (1) when they were playing in a mini golf tournament. Under their picture is a photo of my magnetic wall (2). Instead of paperwork laying all over the place, I brought magnetic clips for the wall so I could hang everything up. It worked great! Tracy bought this beautiful globe for Jim for Father’s Day (3). And we got the answer from Ferdinand about the tower animal from the night before. After he put the sunglasses on it, we saw immediately that it was a pig!

Today was the “Mid Atlantic Crossing Ceremony”. Crossing the Atlantic Ocean is a big deal in the nautical world, especially for first-timers. Historically, the ceremony represented a rite of passage for sailors new to the whole experience. After completing a series of rituals, only then would the Pollywogs (first time crossers) be considered tough enough for the high seas and become Shellbacks. On our ship, the crossing ceremony was taken very seriously by King Neptune with hilarious rituals for the staff (some of which were in fact Pollywogs) and commemorative certificates. After performing the rite of passage for several staff, King Neptune (3 & 4) brought out 2 top managers as well as the Captain (he’s the man on the far right). They really got it: ice water down their backs, eggs smashed on their heads by the children, spaghetti poured over their heads, slime poured over the spaghetti and finally flour dumped on top of the spaghetti. They were a MESS but very good sports. When Topi, the Cruise Director, asked King Neptune if he was satisfied, he was told that he (4) too had to have the rite of passage performed. Topi was wearing all white clothing and they made him get on the floor and roll around in all the mess! It was quite hilarious! And finally, every passenger received a Transatlantic Crossing Certificate from Captain Arild Hansen, Master, Legend of the Seas (5 & 6)!

IMG_2586 (1) IMG_2587 (2) IMG_2588 (3)IMG_2589 (4)IMG_2590(5) IMG_2591 (6)IMG_2592 (7)IMG_2593 (8)IMG_2594 (9)IMG_2595 (10)IMG_2596 (11)IMG_2597 (12)IMG_2598 (13)IMG_2599 (14)IMG_2600 (15)                                                           Journal Pages (1 & 2) are DAY 8 at PONTA DELGADO, THE AZORES, PORTUGAL. We finally made it to land! We were up early for breakfast before waiting to be cleared thru Customs. The morning sea was a little choppy and the rainbow as we were coming into dock was lovely (3). We had to wait a bit while we we docked (Jim’s ready to go – 4)! We had an 8 passenger van for the day (Jim & I, Valerie & Ian, Tracy, Melissa, Sam & Audri and our driver was Antonio). We made our way to the oldest crater (5 & 6). It was beautiful, but windy. (4) is Jim & I as well as Tracy & I proudly displaying our 12 flag (Seattle Seahawks’ fans are referred to as the 12th man)! Before we could get back into our van cattle were driven right down the road in front of us (7) and for some reason one cow got to ride in the trailer (8)! Also (8) are pictures of Jim, Tracy & I as well as me with Antonio! He was so friendly and informative! After we left the crater and had many different photo op stops, we stopped at a point that was 900m above sea level (7). Tracy & I were both wearing our Superbowl Champion Seahawks sweatshirts. From this point you could also see both sides of the island – it was only 6 miles from shore to shore. We also went to the youngest crater at 5,000 years old (9 & 10). One of our stops – for coffee and restrooms – was a little village with the Igreja De S. Nicolau Parish Church (9 & 11). We stopped at the Caldeira Velha (12 & 13), which is a hot springs. The foliage was just beautiful and lush. The pictures just don’t do it justice. Our final stop before heading back to the ship was at the North Shore (12 & 14). The ship gives us a brochure on every port of call (14).

After we got back to the ship, and had eaten we took a nap! The Azores was beautiful but wore us out! Tracy convinced us girls to go to Quest (adult scavenger hunt) late that evening. We were only supposed to watch but we were talked into playing. And guess what, we came in 3rd and won the Bronze Medal (3). And finally, we had another towel animal. Of course we knew it was an elephant right away (2). The journal page (15) is DAY 9 AT SEA.

IMG_2601 IMG_2602 It was pretty choppy during the night but we woke up to blue sky and sun with a few clouds. We had a very quiet day (I hand washed some underclothes and socks) and we all met before and after dinner for Round 4 of drinks. The journal page is DAY 10 AT SEA.

IMG_2603 (1) IMG_2604 (2)IMG_2605 (3) IMG_2606 (4)IMG_2607 (5) IMG_2608 (6) My morning sea view was FOG. I spent my morning quilting and during the day Jim & I got in a mile on the walking track. I took pictures looking out the front of the ship (1), the back of the ship and the swimming pool from deck 10 (3), the climbing wall (4) and the mini golf course (3 & 4). Along with Tracy we played 18 holes of mini golf  even though it was cold and windy up top. I also booked 2 future cruises. Our towel animal (1) was a sting ray. As it turns out I got back to our cabin before Ferdinand made the towel animal and I taped him making it! Jim & I peeking over the divider into Tracy and Melissa’s balcony (5). I was peeking around the divider into Tracy and Melissa’s balcony (6). And a picture of Tracy on their balcony (6).

That’s all for Book #1. It’s packed and I had a lot of fun making it and remembering all the fun we had!

Anita @ 11:47 am
Quilt Blocks
Filed under: Stamping

After the Seattle Seahawks won the Superbowl this year, I decided I wanted to make a Seahawks quilt. I had read several blog articles about quilting-as-you-go and since I hand sew the quilts I make, I thought this would be the perfect solution for my upcoming 17 day trans-Atlantic cruise. I couldn’t find Seahawk fabric anywhere and ended up ordering it from the NFL. To start, I cut enough fabric for 12 blocks not knowing how many I would get done while on vacation. After I finished sewing my first block together, I realized I had forgotten to cut the fabric for the strips that go around all the blocks and the back. After thinking about it, I decided to go ahead and make the quilt blocks and quilt it to the bunting. Once I finished all the blocks and sewed on the strips I would quilt the strips to the back fabric so the front of the quilt would have quilting in the actual Seahawk block and the strips and back would be quilted in a different design (meaning the back of the quilt would only be quilted in the strip area). It makes sense to me anyway! Here’s a block just quilted to the bunting.

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After repeatedly sewing the same block over and over and over again, I start to get bored (yes, I know, you’re asking how I could ever get bored working on a Seahawk quilt). In 2006 when we were in Italy for Kevin’s marriage to Laura, I bought several pieces of fabric. Once I got the fabric home, I would look for fabrics that would look good with them. This patchworky type fabric is one of the fabrics I got in Italy. I added the green and red/maroon fabrics but still needed one last piece. I found this last piece recently – the writing is in French (I think) and I loved it. Every day in my email Inbox I get a quilt pattern from Quilt Pro Block of the Day. If I really like the pattern I will save it. I had saved this pattern called Prism Windmill and decided it was the best pattern for my fabrics. I made the prototype to decide if I really liked it with the fabrics. I do! I will also be making this quilt as a Quilt-As-You-Go quilt (I think this will be my preferred way to make quilts from now on). My strips and back fabric will be muslin and I will either use the red/maroon or green as the binding fabric.

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Our annual retreat is coming up in less than 2 weeks and I need to get back to cutting fabric now so I can spend my time sewing! Until next time!

 

Anita @ 10:23 am
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).

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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!

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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).

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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)!

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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.

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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!

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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.

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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!

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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!

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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!

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Day 3:

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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.

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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!

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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!

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Day 4:

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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.

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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.

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

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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!

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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.

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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.

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

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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!

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Back in New Orleans:

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

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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!

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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!

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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)!

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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.

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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!

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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.

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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!

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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!

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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!

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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!

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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.

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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.

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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!

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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)!

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And finally, the Statute of Liberty and Ellis Island.

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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!

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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.

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

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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)!

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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!

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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:

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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