Sunday, October 31, 2010

Happy Halloween!!!

Happy Halloween, everyone. I decided NOT to decorate for Halloween this year. The cats thought this was a crying shame, so, while I was out of town last night, they did some decorating for me. What do you think of the job they did?

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Finally scrapped! and a progress photo

Well, so much for lots of travel posts! I scrapbooked for the first time in a couple of months. Yippee! It's nice to have the scrap mojo flowing again. I've started work on my vacation photos. I'm going to make two albums: one for the two days in Italy, and another for the Egypt trip. Here's a layout about the lovely view we had from our hotel room in Rome:

This next layout is half of what will eventually be a two page layout for my pictures at the Colosseum. I have a sneaking suspicion that I'm going to like this half of the layout more than the way the other side is shaping up, so I'm showing it solo here.

I've also been working on my Richmond Sampler. I got this piece as a class at Jeanine's Sampler Gathering in Williamsburg this past February. I haven't touched it since, but I picked it back again over the weekend at the Fall Fling. I've worked on it a little more since I came home. I'm actually pretty pleased with the progress, even if it doesn't look like much:

That border is positively infested with Queen's Stitches. They're pretty, but a total PITA to stitch. Before too long, I'll probably be making Queen's Stitches in my dreams! That's all for today. I tried to check some of my friends' blogs, but blogger isn't letting me look at anyone else's blogs, for some reason. Hope that doesn't last for too long.

Monday, October 25, 2010

We interrupt this vacation...

Okay, okay, so I've only had time to post about the first day of my fantabulous vacation. But that's because I have been frantically trying to finish some pieces for an exchange/mini holiday this past weekend!

From Thursday through Saturday, I have travelled back forth to Myrtle Beach to particpate in Cross Stitch Pals' Fall Fling event. These ladies have been getting together at the beach to stitch, swap finished goodies, and just plain have fun. Mom found them and we both decided to go check things out this year.

There were three different exchanges of stitched goods during the course of the weekend. I participated in every one, but I didn't finish a single one of my projects until the very last minute! I had promised myself that I would take a photo of each of the pieces I gave away. Ha ha. I finally got around to dragging the camera out just before the final exchange. So here's a pin pillow that I gave away:

It's a freebie design from Blackbird Designs. I stitched it over one with a hand-dyed cotton fiber. I plan on redoing this one for myself at some point in the near future. I got the cutest little Christmas 'box' in this same exchange:

The box was stitched by MyraG. She replaced the red fibers in the snow globe with red beads. Isn't it just the cutest thing! Now I'm in a hurry for Thanksgiving to come and go so that I can put this sweetie on display!
There was also a Halloween exchange. I stitched a Homespun Elegance design that was in JCS back in '08. There is another, mostly finished version of this same ornament that I plan on finishing for myself as soon as I get hold of some more stuffing. Here's the adorable little pillow that I got in this exchange. It was made by Karen D. I'm a sucker for all things overdyed, and I've develped a recent love for primitive needlework, so this was right up my alley!

And notice the shaker basket in the background? That was one of my purchases from the mini-store at the retreat. I'm going to add a couple of other Halloween themed smalls (when I stitch them, that is) to the basket and use it for a holiday display.
Finally, there was a Christmas ornament exchange. No photo of my ornie, but here's what I got from Karen SC:

It's such a gorgeous motif, and I just love the beaded finishing that Karen used!
And just in case all the stitchy yumminess isn't enough to make you jealous, check out the view I had every time I looked up from my needlework:

Mom taught a few classes:

And for her "Witch is in" class, she dressed for the occasion:

The last night of the retreat, I walked out to the beach around sunset to spy on the comic convention folks who were meeting below our room. I got a fabulous photo of the pier at sunset:

That photo had to make up for the crappy quality of the photos I took of the zombie walk. The invasion headed down the beach, and I stalked them for a ways:

Until finally, one of the zombies came after me:

Happily, I escaped the zoms, and had a wonderful time all around hanging out with some new friends. I took no pictures of the people I was with, continuing a long tradition of going places and rarely capturing my companions on 'film.' I keep saying I should do something about that. Hey, at least I managed to take a couple of photos of Mom!

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Travel blogging

In honor of my recent, most awesome vacation to Italy and Egypt, I have decided to devote several blog posts to my adventures. And of course, once I get my photos back and start scrapbooking, I'll be posting about the trip all over again! ; )
We took the redeye to Rome and arrived in country around 7:30 in the morning, local time. Border control was probably the most chaotic entry into a foreign country I've ever experienced. And I felt like I'd truly arrived in Italy when the guy who checked our passports took mine and gave me a wink. Welcome to Italy! We took a quick train ride into the city and found our hotel with relatively little trouble. Check out the view from our hotel room:

It was still pretty early in the day when we headed back out to explore ancient Rome. We walked about 50 down the street from our hotel and out onto the piazza where the Spanish Steps are located. Here's what we saw:

We wandered around the Colosseum and the ancient forum for several hours. It rained for a little while, but we were able to shelter under an overhang inside the Colosseum. The whole area is truly amazing to see, but I think we both wished that we'd hired a guide or bought an audioguide, becuase we really didn't have a clue what we were looking at most of the time!
the Roman forum from Palatine Hill

temple of the vestals:

arch of constantine:

the colosseum:

We had lunch at an outdoor restaurant near the colosseum. I had marghareta pizza, and Alton had another kind (I forget what). I was quite thrilled my pizza, but Alton did not think the pizza was quite up to snuff.

After lunch, we visited the Pantheon. Here's an image of the occulus inside the dome:

Afterwards, we wandered a bit around the city, admiring all the wonderful buildings. I particularly loved the way the yellow buildings weathered, the texture on them is so delicious!

We headed back to the hotel for a rest, and becuase we wanted to at least try to have dinner at a more 'Roman' time of day, meaning 8pm or later. As the sun was setting, we headed back out and down the Spanish Steps. The sky was gorgeous at that time of day:

We picked a random place to eat dinner, and it turned out to be pretty decent. We had bruschetta for an appetizer, and then I had ravioli pomodoro, yum, yum. Dessert was gelato at San Crispin's. I had cinnamon ginger and Alton had concord grape.
Almost twenty years ago, I had visited Rome with a friend and her family. We visited the Trevi Fountain and each of us threw a coin into the fountain. Supposedly, if you do that, then you will someday return to Rome. I don't know how it turned out for my friend, but twenty years later, the guarantee was proven true for me! Of course, Alton and I are now testing that promise ourselves.