Jun 30, 2013

52 Weeks of Felting - Week 26

I canNOT believe that this year is halfway over! I also can't believe that I've stuck with this 52 weeks project for this long. It's pretty much a miracle. ;) 

I'm a bit late posting this, but that's because this weekend has been beautiful!  Yesterday, I did my run first thing, then picked blueberries at a local berry farm, then hit the batting cages, then walked to a flea market, and that was all before noon! Today, we went to a state park for some hilly hiking and jogging and completed about four miles. Then, on the way home, we decided we weren't ready to go home just yet, so we stopped at another trail and hiked just over three miles.  So, I'm beat. Which means now is a good time to sit down at the computer and finish this post. :)

So without further ado....

Meet my tiny mouse friend!

I couldn't make just one. They're cuter in packs. Actually, a group of mice is called a mischief.  Oh, and the cheese was the husband's idea.

This cutie will be available in the shop a little later today.

Later this week I'll be back with another rodent. :)

Jun 28, 2013

Shop Update (SALE!!)

Hello!  I have a shop update to share with you. I need to clear some shelves in my studio, so all ceramic necklaces are now HALF OFF! And, if you have any previous coupon code from me, those can be applied as well!

Happy shopping!!

Jun 22, 2013

52 Weeks of Felting - Week 25

Hello friends!  Here's my new felted creation for the week:

Mr. Gnome is available here. :)

I'm enjoying this brooch kick, but I think I'm done for now.  Maybe.  I just had another idea....

Well anyway, enjoy your weekend!

Jun 21, 2013

Europe 2013 - France Part 2

Happy Friday! Let's start the weekend early with one last mini-vacation.  Today I'm concluding my Europe 2013 series (1, 2, 34) with France Part 2. 

We left Mont St. Michel still with our rental car and drove around the Loire Valley touring French chateaux. We had a wonderful time.  We visited five different castles in two days and a few other sites as well, including Leonardo Da Vinci's last home in Amboise.  Our favorite chateau was Azay-le-Rideau, but they were each unique and deserved our time for one reason or another.

Interior details


Villandry's gardens were impeccable.

We returned our car during our last night in Amboise and then hopped on a train headed for Paris.  We spent five days and nights in Paris, including my birthday!  (This was no accident!)  We have been to Paris before, but only for a short thirty-six hours.  We visited some of the same sites, and they were just as amazing as before.

Notre Dame Cathedral and the gargoyle's-eye view from the cathedral's towers.

The view from Sacré Cœur's dome and Moulin Rouge.

Cat on the wall of Père Lachaise Cemetery

Is there such thing as too many Eiffel Tower pictures? 

We also took a day trip to the castle of Versailles.  It was crazy busy.  So much so that it was not really an enjoyable visit.  Regardless, we still got some good photos and can now cross it off our to-do list. :)

The famous golden gate and the front of the castle.

Our reflection in Versaille's Hall of Mirrors.  It might be time to dust those mirrors. ;)

Thanks for following along! I hope you have enjoyed these Europe posts.  It's definitely been fun for me to share my love of travelling with you. In a few weeks, I'll share some various travel tips and tricks that I have picked up over the years.

Jun 19, 2013

Ten Things You May Not Know About Me

Want to get to know me a little better?  Read on and enjoy!

**(Warning...there is a slightly disturbing picture of a bruise coming up.)**

1)  I had open heart surgery when I was six.  I have an 8 inch scar that goes down my chest that used to make me very self-conscious.  I barely even notice it now.

2) Chocolate makes me sneeze.

3) I get VERY nervous about speaking to a group of adults.  But speaking to a room (or an auditorium) full of kids is a piece of cake.

4) I have a Bachelor's degree in biology, and I minored in chemistry and French.  I also have a Master's degree in Zoo & Aquarium Leadership.

5)  Mosquitoes love me, and I hate them. Seriously. What good are they?  I wish I could rid the world of mosquitoes.

6)  If I were to choose another career path, I would be a microbiologist.

7)  I don't want kids.

8)  I played pitcher for our coed zoo softball team until I stopped a line drive with my leg. I don't pitch anymore. (This picture was taken a few days later.) I still have a slight indentation in my thigh.

9)  One of my favorite experiences at a zoo was being spit on by a walrus. (It whistled at me too!)

10)  In high school, I was interrogated by a police officer for lawn gnomes that had gone missing around town. (I may or may not have been involved.)

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Jun 18, 2013

Europe 2013 - France Part 1

This is going to be a long one folks.  I just couldn't narrow down my pictures.  If you've been following along, we're off to France this week. (If you need to catch up, read here and here and here.) We decided to explore France's Normandy region.  We stayed in a small town called Bayeux, which is a really good base if you're interested in visiting some World War 2 sites. Bayeux, amazingly was untouched by the bombs of WWII and is beautiful.  I was smitten by the cathedral.  I could not stop taking pictures.

Bayeux Cathedral

Bayeux Cathedral interior and exterior

At night!

We took a half-day tour of various WWII D-day sites.  I learned so much.  It was fascinating.  Sites we visited included Pointe du Hoc, Omaha Beach (think Saving Private Ryan), and the American Cemetery.  It was a humbling day.

Pointe du Hoc

Omaha Beach Memorials

American Cemetery

On our last morning in Bayeux, we rented a car and headed toward Mont St. Michel.  Mont St. Michel is a tiny island that houses a monastery and only has about 30 full time residents.  The island is packed during the day, but at night, it felt like it was just the two of us (and the cats...).

Mont St. Michel

After the crowds, it was just us and the cats. :)

Huge windows inside the monastery overlooking the beach

Inside the monastery

As you can imagine, space on the island is limited and so are hotel rooms.  We wanted to spend one night on the island, so we booked a room well in advance.  I got an email from the hotel about a week prior to when we were suppose to arrive stating that they accidently overbooked the hotel and were moving us to a different one.  This wouldn't have been a big deal, but the hotel they put us in was a couple miles away from the island because, apparently, all the rooms on the island were booked.  I was pretty upset and disappointed and returned the email practically begging them to keep looking for another room on the island and to keep us updated if one was available.  A couple days went by and I checked again.  I got an interesting email in return.  This is what it said:
Dear Madam,
I’m afraid but at the moment I have no cancellation. But I was thinking of a different option if you wish :
We take care of a few rooms for the monks and the nones in a separate building.
This place has no star and is very simple and there are 2 single rooms available as they don’t need it.
I know it is not the best solution but it is inside Mont Saint Michel. The rooms are charged 50 € each.
If this option suits you, let us know.
Sincerely, Christine / reception
Really?!  Our option was to stay in a room normally reserved for monks and nuns?! Fantastic!
Obviously, monks and nuns have no need for beds bigger than twin size, and we could have rented two rooms if we wanted, but what's the fun in that?  We just squeezed onto a twin bed--it was only one night.  We did have a sink in the room, but the toilet and shower were in the hallway.  This isn't a big deal for us though, because we often stay in places where this is the case. 
Top: Our room is THIS big! Bottom right: hallway  Bottom left: tiny bed
This was actually our favorite place where we stayed during our whole trip.  I mean, how many people can say that they've stayed in a monk's room? The coolest part, though, was where the room was.  We had to go down an alley no bigger than the width of my shoulders, around a corner, up some stairs, and then we reached our building.  We felt secluded--like we had our own private piece of the island.  It was amazing!
Tiny alleys and stairs leading to the monk's room

View from the door to our room. We felt magically secluded.

View from our window!
Is there a lesson here?  Of course!  When travelling, things may not go as you have planned. But stay open minded, because you never know what opportunities you may get!
Stay tuned for the Europe 2013 conclusion!  We're almost to Paris!!

Jun 15, 2013

52 Weeks of Felting - Week 24

So today I'm having a garage sale. Mostly, we are getting rid of clutter.  Whatever we don't sell by the end of the day will be donated.  But, hopefully we can make a little bit of extra cash.  We have a new project to fund, remember?

I've finished another brooch for week 24/52!  What do you think?

I like him. A lot. I'm probably going to keep this one.  But you can have one too, I suppose. ;) 

Jun 11, 2013

New project!

Ohmygosh you guys!  My husband and I just bought this 1974 Volkswagen Riviera.  Technically, it's his 30th birthday gift, only it's about four months early.  But you have to jump on good deals, right?! We are crazy excited about this.  It's in great shape, but of course needs to be prettied up a bit.  The body is only primed, so we get to decide what color to paint it. Oh, the possibilities!

 I can't wait to start working on the interior.  I foresee granny square blankets and cute curtains with a vintage touch and a retro picnic basket on the little table.  The top pops up into a bunk bed, and the backseat folds down into one as well.  The side panels on the inside have some maps glued to them, and one has a route traced onto it as if this little van once traveled across the states.  I sure hope so.  I also hope to create some new routes and adventures soon!

Jun 9, 2013

52 Weeks of Felting - Week 23

Happy Sunday, folks!

Just popping in to share week 23/52...

Aren't they cute!  These little brooches are available in the shop and are 25% off until next Saturday.  Grab one while they're on sale!

Have a great weekend (what's left of it, anyway).

Jun 7, 2013

The List - June

Last month felt like it was all about strawberries...

---We gathered (and still are gathering) strawberries from our garden.
---I was accepted into the Strawberry Swing Indie Market.
---I made a strawberry brooch for week 22 of 52 Weeks of Felting.
---Aaand, Tudor the box turtle was caught munching on a strawberry.

I've also been talking about our trip to Europe. (here, here, and here)

In June, I'll be prepping for the Swing and, believe it or not, prepping for the holiday season. 

I'm still working toward that 15k and adding money to my tattoo jar.

At my zoo job, summer camp classes just started.  I teach 2nd to 6th graders, and this summer our topics include pet care, exhibit design, zoo careers, conservation, animal locomotion, and animal languages.  This week was the first week, and I had a blast--though I did lose my voice. Not really ideal for a teacher. We made habitat dioramas and catnip lion toys.

He liked the catnip. :)

Jun 6, 2013

Europe 2013 - Belgium - Part 2

So far, we've been to The Netherlands, and we visited two stops in Belgium last week.   This week we're still in Belgium, and we have two more stops: Ghent and Brussels. 

Ghent felt like a small town.  We only spent one night here (in an amazing B&B), but we filled our day with a variety of sights and activities including a design museum, a castle, a wonderful vegetarian lunch, dinner in a refurbished factory, and strolling the town at night. 

Ghent Castle and the view of the city from inside the castle walls.

From Ghent, we arrived by train in Brussels, which felt like the big, capitol city it is. Here, we stayed two nights and celebrated our fifth wedding anniversary.  In Brussels, we had a true hodge podge of experiences. We visited a comic museum (Because in Belgium, comics are serious business--and it's the birthplace of The Smurfs and TinTin.), a musical instrument museum (which sounds boring, but it was wonderful), had a stroll around the European Union headquarters (where we saw a piece of the Berlin Wall, bottom right picture below), saw dinosaurs (and lots of other things, too) at a Natural History museum, tasted more beer, and of course, ate a ton more chocolate.

We read about the "best, free view in Brussels" before we got there.  It's on the top story of a car park.  You just walk right in to the elevator and head upwards.  It was definitely a good view!

Tenth floor car park view

We really enjoyed Belgium. The people were very friendly, especially our gracious hosts. Next week, we're off to France!