Saturday, May 31, 2014

Dancing Rivolis

I love reading reviews -- of books, make-up, iPad apps, recipes, and anything in between.  (I even have the kiddo reading app reviews before asking if she can download an app.  "Please, Mommy, all these people said it was good.")

I really love the reviews, though, in which the reviewer "missed something."  I'm sure you've all read the shrimp scampi review from the person who used chicken instead of shrimp, used butter spray instead of butter, didn't have scallions, so used dried something or other, and decided to bake the dish instead of sautee.

That said, I'm not above "tweaking" a recipe from time to time, or even a design, though I try to remember that any difficulties result from user error.

Case in point:

When I saw Laura Luepke's "Dancing Cabs Necklace" in the June issue of Beadwork magazine, I immediately wanted to try it -- like that minute.

Of course, I didn't have cabs ... or brick beads, but I didn't let that stop me.  I dug out some rivolis (not in the right sizes) and went to work.

The centerpiece of Laura's necklace is embroidered.  When I grabbed my bead backing, I realized that my rivolis wouldn't lie flat like a cab.  Instead, I bezeled them.  I ended up with a bit of funky stitching to attach the superduo beads (in place of the brick beads) to the bezel, but the result was worth it.

I hope that I captured the essence of Laura's beautiful design, even if I went about it in a different way.

I really like the strap.  It's a lovely variation on the daisy chain.

If you want to make a necklace of your own, but don't want to end up off the path like I did, Laura offers several kits in her etsy shop.

I had the good fortune to meet Laura at Bead and Button last year, and see a bit of her work in person.  She is sweet and super talented.

If you would like to see more of her work, check out her website and blog.  You can also follow her on facebook.

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

World Traveler

Wow!  It's been over two weeks since my last blog post.

Where have I been?

Well, I'll give you a hint:

Last year, my husband came home with news:  he had to travel to Europe on business AND he would be there on our anniversary -- our 10th anniversary.

Before I could open my mouth to say anything, he added that since his trip and hotel was totally paid for, I should go as well.  Happy anniversary to me!

Our trip started in London.  After a 9 hour flight, we walked almost 3 miles from our hotel to see Buckingham Palace and Big Ben.

We also strolled around the outside of St. James Park, which is just gorgeous.  I couldn't resist a few macro shots.

The view from the park was amazing as well.

We only had a few days, but managed to make it to the British Museum and the Natural History Museum.

Of course, I couldn't resist visiting a few other museums:  the Sherlock Holmes Museum

and the museum in the Dr. Who shop.  The entrance to the museum was an actual TARDIS.

The owner of the shop was really sweet and made sure to take a picture for me.

We took the Eurostar train from London to Paris.  The train ride was one of the best parts of the trip.  The meal was amazing -- seriously amazing and the view of the French countryside was gorgeous.

My meal was gone in seconds, but my husband was snapped a photo of his meal before finishing it: salmon, potatoes, wine, and a delicious dessert.  (See that, Delta?  This is how you should feed your passengers.)

Our first day in Paris was May 1, or May Day (Labor Day in France) and almost everything was closed.

It was also rainy and cold, so not the best day.  Still, we managed to wander around, see a bit of the city and snap a few pictures of the Eiffel Tower and the Arc de Triomphe -- scratch those off of my bucket list.

Maybe because Thursday was a holiday, on Friday, we found that Paris was not just the city of lights, it was the city of lines.  Everything was crowded and the wait times were several hours.

We opted to take a train to Versailles and visit the palace and the gardens.

The Gardens of Versailles are gorgeous -- and huge.  We didn't see a third of them before it started to rain.  We were both cold and wet and ended up cutting our visit shorter than we would have liked.

As we strolled along, we saw a bicycle rental station.  Had the weather been better, we would have biked around every inch of those gardens.  At least now we have a reason to return -- add one to the bucket list.  :)

The lines were shorter on Saturday and we were able to visit the Louvre and the Musée de l'Orangerie.

Interestingly enough, while we liked the Louvre and were happy to have visited, my husband and I both preferred the impressionist art at the Musée de l'Orangerie.

We also were able to walk around Notre Dame, which was beautiful inside.

I wanted to tour the towers of Notre Dame and was even willing to brave the almost 400 steps to do it, but again, the lines were longer than I wanted to wait.

Instead my husband was kind enough to walk around with me as I looked for bead stores (didn't find any) and walked in and out of various shops.

He was also a trooper in the evening and braved chilly winds with me so I could see the Eiffel Tower light up at night.

It was so pretty.

Then, the light show began.

I must have taken 100 photos of the light show, just hoping to get one good one.

Seeing the show was a fabulous way to end the trip, even if it was quite cold.

All in all, it was a wonderful trip.  We missed the kiddo terribly, but we knew she was having fun with my in-laws.

She was a bit mad at us, though.  She didn't mind us being gone, I don't think.  She was made that she didn't get to go.  I  think her first words to us were:  "I missed you!  What did you bring me?  When do I get to go to Europe?"

At least "I missed you" was first, right?