I was very inspired by Jen to make a tri-fold card. My photograph of the finished image isn't super great. But you get the general idea.
Patterned Paper: Melissa Frances and My Minds Eye
Bracket Stamp: Jenni Bowlin for Stamppotique (love them!!)
Circle label: Jenni Bowlin
Thanks rub-on: Melissa Frances
Brown ric-rac rub-on: American Crafts
Other: Ivory grosgrain ribbon, inks, pop dots, sewing machine/thread, Fiskars threading water punch button, embroidery floss, stamping ink.
into my studio. This is a full shot of my inspiration board. I posted a little piece of it in the fall, and now, here's the whole thing for you. Some of my favorite things on it: some original artwork from my friends Rebecca Sower, Pam Garrison, Amy Hanna, Sally Jean, Marilyn Healey and Tracy Scheurer (of Junk 2 Jewels fame), old photos and ephemera, vintage findings, my initial...there are a few empty spaces from things I recently took down to use in artwork, but you get the overall idea.
Hope you liked this little peek into my space. I'd show you more....but then I'd have to clean it (ha ha ha!). Hopefully sooner rather than later I'll get it to a stage where I'd feel comfortable sharing it with you :)
If you're like me, you visit blogs and websites looking to escape into pretty pictures and for inspiration. I was so delighted by the above 2 photos from this home on the Country Living website.
Today I'd like to invite you to visit some of my most recent online discoveries. Each of these blogs is wonderful for different reasons:
Ever since the dawn of man there has been an insatiable urge to reach for the Heavens. Whether this is through a Monk’s religious grasping for God, the Right brothers’ miracle of flight or a scientific marvel like blasting the first astronauts to the moon. Whatever it may be, man has always tried to achieve loftier and loftier goals based on his ability, his desire to outdo his opponents, and more often than not, the reward he perceives will come based on the legacy he will leave behind.
Wow, who would have guessed that such deep thoughts, such introspection could have emerged from our day today? Perhaps a less profound but equally appropriate sentiment can be found in the oft repeated line from “Field of Dreams”; “If you build it, they will come.” No words could possibly ring truer than those for such a place as Mont St. Michael. A place where some 4 million people visit each year. This is where our story takes us today, 1½ hours from our base camp.
Now I’m sure there are many of you who have heard of this place, especially if you are Catholic, as it is considered one of the 4 top pilgrimages in Christendom, right along side that of the Vatican in Rome. But for those of you that have not, let me share what I’ve learned with you. Mt. St. Michael was built over a period of 1100 years. The early Monks were the architects of this Abby, it was build by the people and it often times housed the King of France and his Knights. Before being taken over by the French government, this Abby was used as a prison for some 70 years, and as a result, all but 3 of the original stained glass windows have been destroyed. The Abby was built on a mountain Island, 2 miles off the French coast. When the tide is out, the sand is crossable, however if the quicksand doesn’t swallow you up, the racing return of water may get you. The tides here are 45 feet and the base is so flat, that when the water returns, it travels in at a speed of 1 meter per second. There are even signs up for the lower parking lot that the cars must be gone by 8 pm or be buried by sea water. Apparently 3 or 4 cars are lost every year.
Rain, cold and hurricane force winds were again the flavor of the day. We even had hail driving through one town on the way to our destination, but we made it and began our walk. There are but two ways up. The busiest is the old cobble stone road, lined today with houses which have been turned into restaurants and gift shops. The other is to take the stairs as soon as you cross through the draw bridge, walking along the ramparts and looking down on the shoppers in the streets below. 300 steps and numerous flat sections later we all made it to the Abby. (Yes, even Carolyn’s Dad with his leg injuries!)
Upon our arrival to the church, Mass was taking place in the sanctuary. It does so daily and we couldn’t help but feel that it must make the participants feel like animals in a zoo, on display for all the visitors to watch. Only 12 people still live here since the Monks were allowed to return by the French government. 7 monks and 5 women monks share this place.
Luckily when we arrived we only had to wait for an hour for a free guided tour to start. Our tour guide was absolutely amazing. His name was Alain, and while French, he had lived and studied in England for 17 years. For the last 10 years he has been working as a guide at the Abby. His humor, knowledge and friendly personality made for a very educational experience. Even after the hour long tour was over, (which only seemed like about 30 mins), he sought out Carolyn and her dad in the gift shop to continue to talk religion, world view and history with them. During the tour he gave us numerous interesting facts about the Abby and history in general, but I just don’t have the time or the space to talk about them all. But here are two you may find interesting. Where did the measurement for a dozen come from? I forget how the word actually came to be, but if you look at your left hand, use your thumb for counting and touch it on each of the three bones in each finger on that hand; you will come up with 12. Another interesting one you may or may not know is about a Monk who was off to fast and pray in the wilderness. The only food he apparently ate was tree bark. In the area he was in there were lots of weeping willow trees. That tree’s bark is use in the making of aspirin today. Having listened to this, I can only imagine the inspiration this story provided to my father-in-law, because what followed later that evening made us question his sense of good taste.
To sum Mt. St. Michael up in one sentence, we would all say if you are ever in the north west of France, go see this place and take the tour (and hope you get Alain as your guide!). It is so worth the time and effort to get there.
On our drive back to our Gite, Carolyn was tasked with deciding where to eat tonight. As we had given Rick Steves a try the other night to good results, we decided to trust his recommendation again. She put the address of our chosen eatery in the GPS and we were off. We pulled up to the restaurant at 6:40 and the place was all dark inside. I got out to check the opening time on the door and Carolyn came to read the posted menu. No time to be found, and an all French menu had us turning around and walking back to our car. As we did, a gentleman who had just walked up told us the food in the restauant was amazing - a place we must eat at. He mentioned that the restaurant opened usually at 7 or 7:30 depending. He also said he was calling to cancel his clients’ reservations and he wondered if we would like him to make reservations for us. We did and so he set us up for dinner at 7.
Now when I say the food here at La Coline d’Enzo was stupendous, I am not exaggerating. Mom’s appetizer was a little odd, but the rest of the meal tasted out of this world. The presentation on the plates was beautiful and the deserts were the icing on the cake. Tonight’s meal was definitely dad’s idea of a good time. Personally I think dad may have been having too good of a time tonight and really took Alain’s story of the bark eating Monk to heart; either that or he was way hungrier than he was letting on. Garnishes: to be eaten or not to be eaten, that is the question. Now I have myself on occasion eaten that orange slice, nibbled on the parsley stem or even scrapped off the fancy syrups that decorate a plate, but what I witnessed tonight can only be described as getting back to nature or going granola to the extreme. It started with the soup. A delicious warm pumpkin soup, covered in whipped cream, and garnished with what I swore was a long, very thin wooden stick and some blades of grass (I had the same soup). Gone, both of them. Honest mistake? Maybe. After all we were experiencing fine French cuisine and it could be perceived as part of the meal. Ok we’ll let it pass. Bring on the main course. Once again the chef had seen fit to place numerous bits of leafy items on the edge of the plate. You know the kinds, the ones that are edible, but really not meant for human consumption. The kind usually given to the French bunny rabbits, out in the fields by small children. Well tasty or not, they vanished too. I can’t honestly say where they went, because I never saw them actually be eaten, but Carolyn and I were now paying close attention. Desert time. What possible worries could we have now? When they arrived on the table they looked so good, mom wanted a picture of us with them. Don’t worry it is not as weird as it sounds. They really did look like works of art. Now think back a number of years to the “Karate Kid” movie. Daniel son was coming by Mr. Miagi’s workshop to thank him for fixing his bike, when he saw Mr. Miagi trimming tiny little bonsai trees with scissors. You know the ones I mean. Now imagine one of these, only slightly smaller and without any dirt, planted in each of our sweet treats. I instinctively pulled mine out as it towered high above the Sorbet I was about to eat, interfering with the visual kaleidoscope of colour in front of me, and for fear that one of the many pigeons in town may fly in the open door to roost upon its branches. I am sure Carolyn had done the same, when I heard dad ask her if it was edible. All that talk about eating Weeping Willow bark must have really twigged something inside of him, either that or he wanted more fiber in his diet. I guess we should be happy with his sudden culinary selection of foods though, as it will make the remainder of the trip cheaper and very easy to plan for him.
Tonight is the last evening here at our gite in Rubercy. We burned up the remaining logs on the fire and everyone has gone to bed before me again. Tomorrow we leave this place for a B&B in the castle country. I am told we will have access to the internet there, so hopefully I can get these missing blog pages posted and be back on track for daily or semi-daily ramblings. Goodnight.
(sorry for the delay in posting these, we'll get one or two more posted tonight)
Today’s message is sponsored by the Centre E. LeClerc; the store for all your shopping needs. Whether you are in need of a new washing machine, gasoline, TV, a book, some groceries or maybe just some pesticide to get rid of those nasty ants, you’ll find what you are looking for at LeClerc; service with a smile, shopping by the mile and a theft deterrent system at every cashier. Come again soon.
First off I would like to say that there will be no funny stuff today. Boooo! Hissss! Yes, yes I know, you have all come to love my writing and my spinning of tales, but alas there comes a time when as much as you try, there are no amusing incidents from the day to share. I do find it odd that I have been the one putting pen to paper on my wife’s blog. I have no real vested interest in what goes on here. For the most part it is dedicated to the life and times of a Crafty Girl. Women from all over the world gather to read and view the latest and greatest paper craft projects or products that Carolyn helps develop. So why is it that this year it’s my turn to write our vacation journal? Because I want the real story to be told, not one of those washed out, prettied up kind of stories that you’d expect from a Crafty Girl, the kind with a flower and stamp on every page. But rather the kind of story that every guy would rather read about, the real meat and potatoes of what goes on during a vacation with one’s In-laws.
But that being said, sometimes it is the simplest days that bring you the greatest pleasure. Was this one of them? Read on to find out…
For some, illness and sickness came on stronger today. Dad had already decided last night that he was not going to be out and about today. He was prepared to stay at the Gite while the rest of us partied it up in France. Well when 7 am rolled around and Carolyn and I heard mom get up, I suggested to Carolyn that maybe we should just stay in bed longer. Her cold was still acting up, and as she would be still staying in Europe after we all returned to Canada, I wanted to make sure she would be fit to teach and travel. Back to bed it was and except for the howling of the wind, the pelting of rain on the roof, we never woke up again until 11:30 today.
Breakfast was a treat as mom made the ham and cheese omelet I spoke about in the last post; very tasty. Carolyn of course didn’t want any. She already had this preconceived idea that because once long ago she had eaten an omelet that obviously had to have been poisoned and must have disagreed with her terribly, that all omelets were bad. Now for everything I love about my wife, she does have this tendency to be fearful of new types of food, or food that she might even think may be new or bad. The fact that she has never tried it doesn’t seem to matter. And Heaven help us all if she sees even a speck of black pepper on said food. That’s enough to ruin even the best of meals. Well amazing as it may seem, I cut off a piece of mine, placed it on her plate and told her to try it. Hey Mikey, she likes it, she really likes it. (Now as she is reading this post herself for the first time, it is now that she will find out that in fact that piece of omelet that she ate, the one that she liked and agreed she would have again, did indeed have pepper on it.)
Finally, after lunch we saw sunshine at last! The wind had blown the clouds mostly away and blue sky was starting to show through. We, that is Carolyn and I, decided that it would be in the best interest of mom and dad to take them out to the American Cemetery today. When Carolyn and I were there last year on a tour it was raining hard and we only had a short time to stay, so for us this was also a welcome excursion. We loaded the family up in that car and Alice told us it would only be 8.4 km to our destination. (If for some strange reason you are new to this blog and did not read yesterday’s post, shame on you, Alice is the name Carolyn’s mom gave to our GPS.)
It seems that every time we go for a drive, Alice knows where we have gone previously and takes us on new and exciting roads. Today’s roads were no exception. Every turn showed us new sights. It is interesting to note however that about 90% of all the roads we travelled on today were only one lane wide. All were paved, but so many of them had blind corners, that you never knew who or what you might meet on the other side. The other strange thing was the speed limit of 70 km/h. Did you just understand what I said? 70 km/h on roads that are one lane wide, no shoulders, blind corners, hills, trees, brick walls and even one fox that dove for cover as we breezed by. Well let’s just say, I never drove 70 km/h through these towns, I just couldn’t. Maybe it was the love I have for my family, or maybe it was just the fact that I wanted to live to 90 years of age, but whatever the reason, it came home fast when some guy driving a little bit of a car blasted around a corner straight at us. He was moving and not slowing down for the world. I pulled over as far as I could, hoping and praying my side mirror would still be on, and as fast as he appeared, he was gone. Next time I am here I want to equip my car with Alice’s older sister, Bertha, the one who gives you built in radar and sonar so you can see around corners.
We arrived at the American cemetery and it was a treat. The wind was blowing, but the sun was out. When the wind actually stopped at times it was warm and wonderful. You could almost hear the bids singing (another Craft Girl moment for those of you who came here looking for sunshine and happiness). For those of you who read last year’s posts, you will remember us telling you how immense and impressive this site was. It truly is a wonderful place to remember those that gave there lives for freedom. There are over 9000 crosses here and over another 1000 names for the Missing in Action. After a stop to show my In-laws the gave site of Theodore Roosevelt Jr’s (one of only 3 Medal of Honor winners buried in this place), we started to head back towards the car. The view overlooking the ocean and the beaches here is incredible and this time I noticed off in the distance some bunkers built into the hillside. I remembered that when we were here last, there was a paved walkway heading down to the beach, but that there was not enough time to explore said trail. I gave the car keys to dad, and Carolyn and I headed down the hillside. We got about half way down when the trail split. Taking the trail to the right turned out to be the right choice, however, it ran out of pavement within 30 feet, meandered its way up and down the side of the cliff face, and was slippery and anything but level. I warned Carolyn that with the green jacket she had on, if she fell off the trail and into the bushes below, she was a gonner and would be lost forever as she blended into the foliage. We eventually made it to where we wanted to go. It really wasn’t as hard as it seemed, but it was a fair distance to travel and the thought of heading back really wasn’t that appealing. There were two very large cement bunkers built into the hillside. Inside could still be seen the tracks where the giant guns would have sat and fired upon the ships entering the beach head. Interestingly enough, there was a bronze plaque on the wall in honor of the 31st Canadian Minesweeping Flotilla along with the British, who just after midnight on June 6, 1944 under full moonlight cleared the remainder of ocean way of mines, allowing for the assault ships to make their way in.
Coming out of the bunkers I noticed another tall monument up on top of the hill. Up we walked the easy incline to see a dedication to the company known as the Big Red 1. I mentioned to Carolyn that I hoped we could actually make it back to our car from where we were, because the walk back down and up again was not going to be fun. To our surprise, where we emerged was only a few hundred meters from our car. A much easier and faster walk would have been made from this direction in the first place, but then again, what fun would that have been to tell you about? The big surprise was when we walked back into the parking lot. We were met by a security guard who told us the park was closing in 5 minutes. Who knew? Had we spent anymore time below, our car would have been locked behind heavy metal gates, search and rescue may have been called out, and if nothing else, 4 of us sleeping in a car over night, with nothing to eat but caramels and Blue Smurf gummies would not have been so great. At least we could have plugged obscure locations into Alice to see how far and long it would have taken us to drive there.
Back at the Gite we had dinner, dad and I started a fire in the big stone fireplace and waited as mom made hot coco with warm milk. Things couldn’t be better until Carolyn wandered in to the kitchen and yelled for me to come quick. Mom in all her goodness had decided to do laundry at the same time as make the hot cocoa. I think she was upstairs, but I’m not sure, but the milk that was in the pot on the stove began to boil over making a mess on top of the stove. Now if you ever want to produce smoke faster than a back drafting fireplace, with a smell that will burn your nasal hairs and attract every cat within 10 kms, try milk on a heated element. It is sure to do the job every time.
So as I sit here watching the fire slowly fade away, I would like to apologize again to all the “Adventures of a Crafty Girl” readers out there, for not making these vacation recaps as flowery as could be, but you must admit, they are somewhat embellished!
Love the combination of the touch of vintage with the bright green!
Chipboard flower, Reproduction Post Card, thank you rub-on: Melissa Frances
Patterned Paper: K&Co (background), Anna Griffin (flower petal)
Brown ric-rac and Pink loop-d-loop rub-on: American Crafts
Velvet scalloped ribbon: May Arts
Other: White paint, Stickles glitter glue, brown ink for distressing, lace, sewing machine and thread.