May 28, 2013

Europe 2013 - Belgium - Part One

Hi!!  I hope you all had a great weekend!  Ours was busy, but fun.  We spent about 24 hours with family in Arkansas on Friday/Saturday, I did some outlet shopping with my mom on Sunday, and then the hubs and I went for a seven mile hike on Monday morning.  It was a weekend well spent!

Anyway, I thought I'd share more about our trip to Europe today.  Last week I talked about our time spent in Holland.  From Holland, we went to Belgium, where we visited four different cities.  Today, I'll talk about two of them. 

We first arrived in Antwerp.  We only spent one night here, so we didn't get to do very much.  On top of that, there were a couple of unexpected closings that prevented us from seeing some things on our list. 

Antwerp train station

Antwerp Street

Our HUGE breakfast, minus the eggs because we already ate them.

The hubs wanted photos of all the different beers we tried---we were in Belgium, after all.

Because when you wait for a train in Belgium, you eat a waffle.

From Antwerp, we took a train to Bruges.  This town was so picturesque--I would definitely go back.  Our Bed & Breakfast here was so charming, and our host was hilarious.  I also got to start speaking a little bit of French in Bruges.  We stayed here two nights and really had a great time.  We ate our weight in chocolate, toured a brewery, visited a medical museum (because we're dorks), ran into a Picasso exhibit that we didn't expect (awesome--he's my favorite painter), rented bikes, window shopped, drank beer...

Beautiful Bruges buildings

Picasso! AND he's holding an owl! What??

The peaceful Beguinage


More beautiful Bruges buildings

Stay tuned for Belgium, Part Two next week!

May 25, 2013

52 Weeks of Felting - Week 21

Happy Weekend folks! If you've seen some of my pottery or ceramic jewelry (like this one), you've probably seen some of the feathers that I hand carve into the clay.  Well, I thought I'd try my hand at felting a feather. 

The pictures I've taken don't really do this piece justice, but I ran out of time.  The blue jay feather that I've felted is on a pretty mint background that really does look prettier in person. 

This weekend we're going back to our hometown to celebrate a family member's high school graduation, which means we'll be back at our old school.  It always feels weird visiting an old school, don't you think? 

What are your plans for the long weekend?

May 20, 2013

Europe 2013 - The Netherlands

Happy Monday! Did you all have a great weekend? Mine was busy with a mini family reunion, which meant a trip down to Arkansas and the usual cleaning, shopping, gardening, working out, etc.  I certainly did not finish any of the felting that I wanted to do.  But, I did finally finish sorting through a couple thousand pictures from our vacation. 

So, in case you didn't know, my husband and I took a trip to Europe in April.  I thought I'd chat about the places we visited and maybe write a post or two on travel tips later.  This was our fourth trip to Europe, and though it was definitely fun, it had a different feel from our other trips.

We traveled to the Netherlands, Belgium, and France and were gone for three weeks.  So today, I'd like to show you a bit of the Netherlands part of our trip.

We started in Amsterdam.  Unfortunately, it was chilly and rainy for about half the time we were there.  They had a late start to their Spring season, much like we did.  But, of course you can't let a little precipitation stop your vacation!  We bought a cheap umbrella and dealt with the dampness. 

Amsterdam is such a fun city.  We had great food, visited wonderful museums and really enjoyed the culture.  Also, it's Holland, and they grow a lot of tulips.  A lot.  They're my favorite flower. So we dedicated a major portion of one day to visit a place called Keukenhof, where they plant more than seven million bulbs of tulips, hyacinths, daffodils and crocuses.  I took way too many flower pictures.

We had to try some local foods, including fries with mayonnaise.  The fries were pretty tasty.  We also visited a couple markets, enjoying the bustling scenes and, of course, more tulips!

After Amersterdam, we hopped on a train and visited a town called Delft for one night.  Delft is known for its famous blue and white pottery (since the 15th century).  So we visited the factory from which the pottery originated.  Also in Delft, we spent the night in a gypsy caravan. We aim to find unique places to stay, and this was so quirky and fun!

Next week, we'll head to Belgium!

May 18, 2013

52 Weeks of Felting - Week 20

Oh, I'm really excited about this one! 

I can foresee a few different versions of this one in the shop, but I'm not sure if I'm letting this one go just yet...

On another note, I applied for an indie craft show in Kansas City.  It would be my first show that is a significant distance away from home.  Hopefully, I'm accepted--I'll find out at the end of the month. Fingers crossed!

Have a great weekend!!

May 17, 2013

Birthday Giveaway Winners!!

 I have some winners to announce today! Thanks to all of you who entered my Belated Birthday Giveaway! 

Our winners are Stacey (who commented "I think the snail is the cutest!") and Amy Bateman (who commented "I think the koala is calling my daughter's name. I'd have to get that, and maybe the Batman character, too.)

Congrats, ladies!!  Please email me by Sunday to get your shop credit!!! (goodnaturedbydani [at] gmail [dot] com)

See you tomorrow for  my Week 20/52 Felting Project!

May 14, 2013

DNA Test Results

Back in February, I talked about having my DNA tested by this company.  I was excited to learn a bit more about my ancestry and anxious to learn more about my health. 

The technology involved is amazing, and I've always been really intrigued by genetics.  Here are some things that I learned about my DNA:

I am of 99.7% European ancestry, 0.1% Sub-Saharan African, and 0.2% unassigned. I also learned that 2.9% of my DNA is from Neanderthals.  Awesome, right!? Of course, they offer way more information than this--I haven't even combed through all of it yet.

They also offer a bit of insight into your health.  They tell you what conditions or diseases you might be at risk for developing due to your genetic composition.  One thing I learned is that I am at a higher risk for developing celiac disease. 

They also let you know some conditions or diseases that you might have a lower risk for developing.  I learned that I have a lower risk for developing breast cancer, rheumatoid arthritis, and Alzheimer's disease. 

Another section included in the report is about your genetic traits.  There are things like your probable eye color (as if you didn't already know) and hair texture and earwax type (!) and tolerance to lactose.  I learned that I am likely resistant to the most common strain of the norovirus, which is news that made me do a happy dance!

If you are at all interested in your genetic history, or maybe you want to learn more about your health, check out these kits.  Of course, there is no turning back once you read your reports. Learning whether or not you have the genetic markers for diseases like Alzheimer's and Parkinson's can be scary and is not for everyone. But I believe that knowing what may be in your future is empowering.

What do you think? Would you do it? What would you be most anxious to find out?   

May 13, 2013

Fur, Feathers & Scales - Guinea Pig

Meet Neville! This little cutie is a guinea pig. Guinea pigs come from South America, where they are raised for food. (Shhhh! Don't tell Neville!)

They are strictly herbivores, eating grasses, fruits and vegetables.  They are also rodents, so they have big front incisors that are always growing longer.

Guinea pigs are popular pets.  They are easy to care for and don't really require any much more than basic care. They are pretty messy though, so daily clean up is usually necessary. 

They have no tails and make the cutest little noises.  They squeal when they're excited and even purr when they're happy.  So cute!

May 12, 2013

52 Weeks of Felting - Week 19

Well, I knew it would happen eventually.  I knew I'd be late posting a 52 Weeks of Felting post.  Regardless, I really love this week's painting...

My husband rides A LOT, and though I don't bike nearly as much as he does, I really enjoy it too.  I bike to work when the weather and my schedule allows, and when I do, I feel so accomplished.  I'm hoping to ride much more this Spring and Summer.

I've been wanting to try an ombre effect with wool--it was challenging but fun.  I think it turned out okay.  I'd love to do a small series of these with different colors--what color combinations would you like to see?

P.S.  This painting is here in my shop.
P.P.S.  Don't forget about my Birthday Giveaway!!

May 7, 2013

(Belated) Birthday Giveaway!

So my birthday was April 27, and I turned 29 years old.  Since I was overseas during my birthday, I didn't have a chance (read foresight) to set something up on the blog to celebrate.  But that's okay.  Better late than never!

You guys have been really supportive, so I wanted to celebrate in a big way.  So....I'm giving away a TWO $50 shop credits.

And here's a bonus.  I'm really not *that* far away from reaching 1000 fans on facebook.  If we make it to 1000 by the time the giveaway ends (May 15 at midnight CST), I will giveaway THREE $50 shop credits.  Spread the word!!

Winners will be announced Friday May 17 and will have 48 hours to contact me to claim your prize! (I will be verifying the entries--no cheating!) :) Good Luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

May 4, 2013

52 Weeks of Felting - Week 18

Happy weekend, folks!

Since we just got back from Europe, I thought an old-school suitcase would be a cute addition to my shop!

You might already know this, but I love traveling.  I get butterflies just thinking about new places to go.  Over the next few weeks, I'll be sharing some travel stories and tips.  But for now, here's some more views of this felt suitcase:

When I add this to the shop (which will be open next week!), I'm thinking it could be customizable.  I can change the color of the suitcase, and I can also customize the little travel stickers. I think this would be a fun gift for a traveler!

May 3, 2013

The List - May

So...April was fun...

I spent three weeks in Europe, and plan on sharing more on that later.
Amsterdam, Mont St. Michel, Bruges
My husband and I celebrated our fifth wedding anniversary!
Anniversary in Brussels
I celebrated my 29th birthday!  (I'll also be having a *belated* birthday giveaway, so stay tuned next week!)
Birthday in Paris!
In May, I'll be focusing a lot on my craft and shop:

The felt paintings I've been doing will be for sale. (1, 2, 3, 4)
I hope to try some new techniques.
I plan on starting two new collections (think owls and big cats...).
This month, I'll also start training for a 15k, which means I have to go on the hunt for some new shoes (suggestions are welcomed!).
Oh, and I got my DNA testing results.  More on that later this month too!
Happy May!