An Amazing Trip – Part 3, Amsterdam

The final leg of this amazing vacation was two days in Amsterdam. Our first night was on the ship and then we transferred to a hotel.

I had been warned by friends to be very aware of the bicyclists and they were so right. This city has 800,000 people and 1.6 million bicycles. They are everywhere!

One of our tour guides said that a car will stop to let you by but a cicylist will run you over. I didn't find any rude cicylists however you really did need to watch out for them. What I noticed is that there were very few expensive bikes. Most were very old. That's because they often are stolen so people don't want to pay a lot for a bike. The guide said they often pay more for a bike lock than for the bike.

This photo is a little blurry but I wanted to show the bike box, used for transporting children.

We started our first morning with a canal boat ride around the city.

This is a car that is available for a very small fee to the disabled. Very small and it seemed more like a toy car than a real car.

One of our tours included a diamond house where we learned all about diamonds, how they are cut and what determines their worth. It was especially interesting because my friends father was a diamond setter in NYC.

Then they brought out trays full of diamond which were passed around for us to try on. When I travel I have some fake jewelry I wear instead of taking my good rings. So in the bottom right photo I have on my fake $30 ring along with a $3000 ring. Can you tell which is which?

We were told by friends to be sure to see the red light district so we signed up for a tour with a guide and I am so glad we had the guide. The tour was at 9 PM and the streets were very crowded. I knew ahead of time that there were prostitutes in windows but was still a bit shocked. Prostitution is legal in Amsterdam and the women have to be licensed. They rent space in this district and have a small area with a large window where they sit or stand waiting for a customer. Of course they were appropriately covered in the right places. Photos were strictly forbidden and I would have been too embarrassed to take one anyway. The other thing interesting on this tour was the strong smell of marajuana in the streets. That's because it's also legal. If you want to buy it or hash you go to a "coffee" shop. If you want a cup of coffee you go to a "cafe".

One of my favorite tours from this whole trip was the Anne Frank tour. This was a private tour and full of history. We started with seeing where she lived with her family prior to going into hiding. That's the top right photo and their apartment was the one on the third floor with the open window. The brass plates are set into the sidewalk in front of her home. These are called Stumbling Stones and mark the last known place a person from the Holocaust freely lived. They have been placed in numerous European cities. A person's name and dates of birth, deportation and death, if known, are engraved into the brass plate.

We next walked to the school where Anne Frank and her sister attended. It is still a school today. I love how they painted the side of the school with excerpts of her diary in her handwriting.

From the school we walked to the bookstore where her father bought the diary that Anne Frank used while she was in hiding. He gave it to her for her 13th birthday and the cover of it was the red plaid in the bottom photo. This was such an interesting bookstore, very old, quaint, with lots of narrow aisles and nooks. Of course we both bought a book there.

This was the end of our vacation. We flew home from Amsterdam after spending 13 wonderful days in France, Germany, and Amsterdam. I was more worried about the long flghts but they actually were not bad. The longest leg of the trip was about 8 hours with a connection in Detroit and then another few hours to get back to FL. I watched five movies! It made the time go by faster and I got to see several I had been wanting to see. I had heard that coming back was harder than going over and what I experienced was two days of doing a lot of sleeping. I just couldn't seem to stay awake. But now I am back to my normal and doing some stamping and excited that the new Holiday catalog is coming out with some really great products.




An Amazing Trip – Part 2, Germany

After our 4 days in Paris we boarded a high speed train towards Luxembourg and the beginning of the river cruise portion of of trip. 

Champaigne greeted us as we got on board.

There were only 104 passengers on this cruise so not crowded and by the end of the trip everyone knew each other well and the crew knew everyone also.

We cruised up the Mosel river which is beautifuly lined with vineyards. Some of them were planted on steep inclines and the rows were always perfectly straight. The grapes are harvested by hand. It looks like a lot of hard work.

All along the river were beautiful swans.

Berncastle, Germany – my favorite little village.

The house in the bottom left shows how so many were built with a smaller ground floor then getting bigger as they go upwards. This is because taxes use to be determined by the size of the ground floor.

Cochem, Germany – Reichsburg Castle

Once we left the Mosel River and made it onto the Rhine River the quaint villages were replaced with larger, more modern looking buildings. Expect for the many castles along the river.

Cologne, Germany

This cathedral is one of the only surviving buildings from the bombings during the war. All around it was destroyed however the cathedral remained intact.

The visit to Cologne also included a Jewish Heritage Walking tour and the Documentation Center. This building contained several very small cells where people were held prior to being sent to the deportation center and concentration camps. Many cells had messages and calendars written on the walls. The cells often held up to 30 people.

And just a few random photos ….

So many bakeries and outdoor markets. And right next to this market was a McDonalds. No contest which one I would choose.

Being a medical technologist I just had to take a picture in front of this lab.

The food was incredible onboard the ship.

Thanks for stopping by and check back later for part 3 of my amazing trip.


An Amazing Trip – Part 1, Paris

I just returned from the trip of a lifetime. I spent two weeks in Europe on an Avalon River Cruise. A year ago I started talking to my friend, Alice, about going on a river cruise and it seemed like the day would never get here and then quickly it was over. Our trip started with four days in Paris. I loved Paris. We mastered the Metro quickly and found it very easy to get around. We had tours set up in advance to see the Louvre, Eiffel Tower, Versailles, and Notre Dame.

The blinking lights of the Eiffel Tower didn't occur until 10:00 PM because it doesn't get dark until about then and they blink for about 5 minutes and then quit. It was worth the extra metro ride to get there to see it.

My favorite tour was the Palace of Versailles. This is the Hall of Mirrors.

The King's chambers. His bed was quite short and he slept sitting up.

The Louvre, my least favorite tour of the trip. It was so crowded, hot and overwhelming. But I was determined to see the Mona Lisa.

And there she is in the background. It was almost impossible to get this photo and I was in the middle of a huge crowd of people.

Winged Victory

I survived the Louvre!

Oh la la! These sunglasses were a mere $550. No, I didn't get them!

Arch de Triumphe

Notre Dame Cathedral

Paris was very crowded even though it was the time of year locals were away on holiday. I was surprised at how many people there smoked especially seeing that they tend to eat healthier than we do in the US. And because of that we finally gave up on eating in the quaint outdoor cafes because you were surrounded by smoke.

Check back later for the next leg of our trip,

Hello August

This is from the CD calendar which is an annual class I do each year. The stamp  set is Seaside Shore and the coral was made using the tree die from Thoughtful Branches framelits.

I can hardly believe it is August already. This year is just whizzing by and schools will begin again shortly.



Shadowbox Card

Another card I found when sorting through old stuff in my stamp room was a shadowbox card made a very long time ago. It inspired me to make this card using the Colorful Seasons stamp set and thinlits.

There are two pieces of card stock, each 5-1/2" x 4-1/4", and they both are scored on each end at 1/2" and 1". My back panel is Sweet Sugarplum card stock and the front panel is obviously white. The white insert is 3-1/4" x 4". The two pieces are folded and the 1/2" ends glued together. When the card is pulled from both ends it "flattens" out and will fit into an envelope. When the ends are pushed inwards it creates a shadowbox and stands up.

Something Funny in the Dressing Room

Something funny happened today when a friend and I went shopping. We each had several things to try on and had dressing rooms right next to each other. As we often do, we would come out of the dressing room to have the other one see what was being tried on and to see if they liked it. So this happened when we each opened our dressing room doors and came out. We laughed so hard.

We've been friends for a very long time and have shopped together many, many times. This is not the first time this has happened. Years ago the same thing happened. We have often bought the same thing and one time we met to go someplace and we had the same top on. I came home and changed! By way, we both bought the dress.

Pop-UP Birthday Card for a Friend

I have been working on reorganizing my stamp room (which seems like a never ending task) and I found a very old card that has a surprise pop-up. It was the inspiration and template I used to make this birthday card for a friend. There is very little stamping. Most of the card is done from the Birthday Memories Designer Series Paper. There are framelits that will cut out the fox and banner, present, hat and balloons. The rest I fussy cut.

When you pull on both ends of the card the fox pops up. It was so  much fun to make.

And because it is such a big card I needed to make a special envelope with the Envelope Punch Board.

I cut out and popped up some of the balloons, presents, and the racoon with dimensionals.


A Few of My Favorite Things

Every new catalog I like to share what are my favorites. I was going to list my top 10 but couldn't leave any of these out so here are my top 11 products. If a stamp set and framelit or punch came in a bundle that is what I have listed however those items are also available separately.

Colorful Seasons Photopolymer Bundle    #145348
Price: $54.00

This is one of my all-time favorite sets because it includes stamps and framelits for every season.        It's a perfect set for the new stamper.


Daisy Delight Photopolymer Stamp Set    143669
Price: $17.00

Daisy Punch*    #143713
Price: $18.00

There is a bundle for the Daisy Punch and stamp set but it and the punch are backorderd until August.                         

Birthday Delivery Photopolymer Bundle    145294
Price: $62.00

When I first saw this set I thought it was cute but did not plan on buying it. After seeing the wonderful things made with it I was sold. I especially love how the framelits will cut out images from the coordinating Designer Series Paper.


At Home With You Photopolymer Bundle    #145351
Price: $50.25

What's special about this set is the fact that the framelits will create a door that opens.


This Little Piggy

Clear Mount     #143922    Price: $20.00         Wood Mount     #143919   Price: $28.00


Fabulous Flamingo Photopolymer Stamp Set    #143758
Price: $21.00

Create a beautiful flamingo by layering all three stamps.


Tranquil Tulips Photopolymer Stamp Set    #143767
Price: $10.00

*This host stamp set is only available with Stampin’ Rewards.


Wood Words Clear-Mount Bundle    #145316
Price: $46.75

The stamps and dies in this bundle combine to create darling mini crates that can be used to hold 3" x 3" cards or a host of little goodies. Stamps are designed to stamp over crate slats like an old time wood crate. This brings me to my next favorite …

Wood Textures Designer Series Paper Stack    #144177
Price: $10.00

These 6" x 6" papers are perfect for creating the crates using the wood crate framelits and for cutting out the Adirondack chair using the Seasonal Layers Thinlits.


Ruffled Dynamic Textured Impressions Embossing Folder    #143699
Price: $10.00


Layered Leaves Dynamic Textured Impressions Embossing Folder    #143704
Price: $9.00

Thanks for stoppin by and have a great week.