Monday, June 28, 2010

Bella Italia

What a fabulous time we had in lovely Italy.  We started out quite early - 3:30 a.m. so not to get caught in any crazy backups that happen here frequently.  It took us about 12 hours to get to Andora - the weather was gloomy & rainy all the way.  It also rained Sunday morning, then the sun came out and the weather was perfect for the rest of our stay.

We went down to the beach and tested the waters - it was COLD, as you can see by Alex's quick escape from the water and Adam's shocked expression in the picture after that.  Only Olivia ( now castless - yay) marched right into the water - nothing was going to spoil her fun!

I did manage to get in as well a couple of times but mostly I was doing this :

What I discovered in Italy ( probably holds true for much of Europe) is that you are never too old or too fat to wear a bikini - a tiny bikini.  That the fat is just all over the place makes no difference.  I felt like an absolute prude in a tankini...but as God is my witness, you won't find me in a bikini unless I have lost a good bit of weight - even then it might be an iffy proposition.  

We also got a kick out of the men wearing capris.... the boys affectionately call them Shpants ( shorts/pants).  And only the Europeans can wear them with such flair.

I had to take this pic through our car window - did not want the fashionable man to notice.  Take note of the black socks and the brown shoes....

We feasted on a variety of things.  We had gelato everyday ( one time twice, because the gelato was subpar to the place we usually got it, so it did not count and we had to go back to original place).

Lots of pizza, hot and crispy out of the oven.

I made dinner once - here is the appetizer:  mozarella, tomatoes, basil, olive oil & balsamic vinegar.

We did not do much sightseeing - this was a relax and enjoy kinda vacation.  We staid in a lovely home with fantastic patios and garden - I will just post the pictures - they speak for themselves.  

As you can see, the cottage was on the top of a hill - here is a portion of the drive up - it was always a bit nerve wracking driving up since the road was very narrow - room for one car only.

The garden was delightful and I found a lemon tree and a grape vine growing there.

That one was too high for me to get - here is Erika trying though.

Here is Rob grilling some chicken and sausage and the grapevine is right above him.  It was loaded with grapes - alas they were not ripe.  I did not come away empty handed though:

The lavender was growing in the garden in abundance, so I brought home a little bit - it is currently hanging up drying on my porch and I will stuff the last Shepherd's Bush Heart that I stitched with it.  

Speaking of which, I worked on the outside of the American Roll ALOT - this is how far I got - this thing is going to take forever!!

The drive home was beautiful - since it was not raining we actually go to see the Alps.

But mostly the kids & dogs did this on the way home.

We will definitely return to Italy, it was wonderful, the people friendly, and the food cannot be beat.  

Friday, June 18, 2010


We leave tonight for Italy, but I wanted to wrap up my trip to the US, after watching a disappointing soccer match between Serbia and Germany... ok, we left off with the My Peaceable Kingdom Sampler.  That was a two-day class.  Our third day was spent working on the Americana Sewing Roll.  Again, here are some close-ups.

This is the main pocket,

And the pocket above.

I really like the colors in this .  Unfortunately I did not take a pic of the outside, which is all done in flame stitches.

Here is the needle book

It has a little pocket behind the needle pages to house the scrimshaw ( which is on order)

We had a very nice banquet - as you can see, Marie Z. and I are suitably serious for the occasion, Ava & Michelle however....

Our entertainment was a man from Antigua who taught us a bit about music and rhythm... along with none other than Michelle, who demonstrated rhythm very well.

Ava had a birthday while I was there and this is what I stitched her since she celebrated her birthday atop  the Eiffel Tower last year.  It is unstuffed in that picture, I had to wait to get to the States to get ground walnuts for the stuffing.  

We also celebrated another friends birthday and I stitched her a scissor fob - you can see the scissors I put the fob on in the background.

Wishing you happy stitching.  Ciao, until I get back from Italy.

Back...For A Minute

I got back this morning after a pleasant flight.  What a lovely time I had in the States.  As I careened around getting all the little things done that were on my list between seeing friends, it dawned on me how incredibly blessed I am.  My life is overflowingly full.  I have wonderful friends that I got to spend time with, who took the time to get me at the airport, arranged to meet other friends that I might not have time to see, who ran errands with me, lent me a car, gave me a bed to lay my weary head, fed and watered me.... the list goes on.  Thank you to all of you who made this trip a wonderful memory.

The EGA seminar exceeded my expectation - we had a blast.  Catherine Theron is an exceptional teacher who has such wonderful designs.  The pictures I posted earlier really do the projects a disservice.  Here are a few that are much better.

The Peaceable Kingdom Sampler is chock full of specialty stitches, not necessarily hard but it makes the sampler a really fun stitch.  I cannot wait to stitch on it further.  Here are a few of my favorite parts.

This is what I think I should look in my Garden.... tending my lilacs.

This is the fabulous petit point section of the sampler.  

Here is the whole thing with some very thrilled people...

Left to right - Ava, Catherine Theron, me & Michelle.  Ava, Michelle & I have been friends for a couple of years.  The love of stitching brought us together, and it has been a wonderful thing.  We had so much laughter together at seminar - it was so much fun.... 

The Needlework Boutique  provided us with great shopping opportunities - yes, we were in there a multiple of times.  Ava sat up in bed after the first day, gave a sigh and was heard saying:"  Hmmm, I wonder what I can buy today...?"  Here she is posing with all her matching accessories she received at seminar.  Note the beautiful, stitched necklace she has on - a gift from Michelle.

Alright, I am going to wrap it up for today - its after midnight, and I should at least attempt to sleep.  I hope to have a bit of time tomorrow to finish up, and then its off to Italy for one week for sun, fun, beach, pizza, gelatto, and some sight seeing... yes, tough, I know ,but someone's gotta do it.  

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Happy Birthday Olivia

Today is my youngest daughter's birthday.  She is 12 today.  I  "cooked" her a special breakfast.  Actually, this and other fantastic creations can be found at Zuckerladen (Sugar Shop).  The site is a bit eccentric like the owner, but there is a slide show available for you to get a "taste" of the place.

Olivia was thrilled!

We also gave her an I-pod touch for her birthday. 

 Usually we are not that extravagant with our children, but since she has worked hard in school, and has been a trooper about the broken wrists, we decided to spoil her a bit.   When my son Adam heard this, he immediately tried to break his own wrists by throwing himself on the floor - what a goof ball.

Well, I am flying back to the States tomorrow for a Regional EGA seminar.  I am taking two Catherine Theron classes with two of my dear friends.  These are the two projects:

My Peaceable Kingdom and

American Sewing Roll. 

 I had signed up for these before we found out we were moving to Germany, and since it was a ton of money I did not want to just pass on these.  I am looking forward to spending time with my friends and doing what I love the most - stitching.  

I am only staying one week, so it will be a quick trip, and after I get back, we are turing right around and leaving for Italy.  We rented a cottage on the Italian Riviera with fabulous views of the ocean.  I can't wait.  I hope to squeeze a post in between my travels, but I am not promising anything.  

I am wishing everyone lots of stitching time and plenty of sunshine.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Day Trip

We decided to take a short day trip to the Alsace yesterday.  It was lovely, even if we did not get to do all that was planned.

We managed to stop off at a artisan's shop that is the last of its kind produce the area's traditional linen called Kelsch.  It is a lovely shop with lots of tempting linen.  They also produce linen for stitching, and it is wonderful!

On the top is their traditional linen line, on the bottom its ALL linen for cross stitch.  If you interested in exploring their site it can be found here :  Tissage Gander

They have some very nice colors and their linen count is approximately as follows :  25, ~27, 30, 35, 37.5, 47.5 and 55 count.   At the current Euro price their linen is very reasonably priced - about $43.00 for a piece measuring a little over 1 x 2 yards.  

Here is what I managed to escape with :

The top two will me made into table runners.  The rest... well, big plans people, big plans....

Our next stop was a bust, unfortunately.  We wanted to see the massive underground WWI fort but we missed the tour, and that is the only way you can view the fort.  It is situated high up on a hill and is so large that with the 2.5 hour tour you only get to see about 1/20th of the entire thing.  Pretty impressive. 

Well, since that was a no go, we headed for Strassbourg for some dinner.  Here we are at the restaurant:

You can see that my friend Margit came along - which was quite nice.  

Strassbourg has a wonderful cathedral which I tried to photograph, but the church is so large the and surrounding square was not large enough for me to get the building into one photo so here are some just so you can get an idea of its beauty.

In this square was a house that really captured my fancy.

Here is a close-up.

It is difficult to see, but every panel has some sort of pattern on it.  It was a stunning house.

After dinner we found a cheese shop - you can't go to France and not buy cheese.

All the goat cheese you could want.

This was the cow milk section - lots of it made with raw milk.  This is what I bought:

A lovely local raw milk camenbert which won a gold medal at some cheese show in Paris ( so the lady in the shop told me - and boy, was she proud)  some really fantastic fresh goat cheese  and some older goat cheese with a lavender blossom accent.  Qn the edge you can see my crusty french bread that I ate these cheeses on today for lunch.  It was quite delicious!

I leave you with some pics of our wonderdog Mia who soon will be auditioning for the circus if Olivia has her way...