Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Time marches on

Thinking of how quickly time is going as I had another birthday in January I created this journal page. The quote is from "The Virgins, to Make Much of Time by Robert Herrick. You can find the complete poem here.

Work in progress

A 2004 we were given tickets to tour a garden in Quebec called
 Les Quatre Vents or The Four Winds. The garden is owned by the New England Cabot family and is only open to the public twice a year for a few days.
I took hundreds of photo's as we followed the tour over 15 hectares and several hours of walking. Les Quatre Vents is a  truly spectacular garden that is divided into more than 20 areas from formal gardens, to woodlands, including an extensive Japanese garden and a field of the most incredible blue poppies I have ever seen.  If you are interest in learning more about the garden the present owner Francis H. Cabot wrote a book describing his family ties to the area since 1902 the development of the garden called "The Greater Perfection".

I had always intended to use the photo's I took to create an  embroidery.

Yesterday after so many years I finally started . I laid a foundation using a Embellisher. If you don't know what an Embellisher is check out this link.
To form the  bricks and plants I used mohair and soy silk fibers. Next step is to create dimension by hand embroidery. I plan on using several different weights of floss and a variety of stitches. Truth be known this is my favorite part, I love to embroider and find it very soothing.

More photos to come as the piece develops.

Friday, March 9, 2012

Looking for True Love

My take on a challenge from the Art Journal Caravan - Castle


These little ballerinas turned 5 today! I am blessed to live nearby and be a part of their lives.


I am back from our cruise and starting to feel as if I have finally caught up with "normal" life. I thought this post should be a little travelogue of my trip.

We boarded our ship the Ryndam on Sunday afternoon. It amazes me how very efficient the staff can process over a thousand people. Before we left port we had a emergency drill exercise. After all the terrible press of the sinking of a cruise ship off the coast of Italy we were quite happy to see that the Ryndam took emergency preparation seriously.
The ship had 12 levels and our stateroom was on #8 in the center of the ship. That was a great help when we hit rough seas, which we did several times during the cruise
                                       The Ryndam in port at Costa Maya
Our stateroom was a good size with a sitting room. The best part of having a stateroom is the balcony.
It was lovely sitting on it having breakfast in the morning or watching the sunset in the evenings.
Our first stop should have been Key West, Fla. Unfortunately one of the engines broke down and we were not able to dock. The Capitan was very apologetic and we were given glasses of Champaign in at dinner that night.

The next port was Belize City and our tour of Altun Ha & Belize City. The tour around the city was short and there was not much to see. The city was rundown and in disrepair. Altun Ha the Mayan site was about a 35 minute bus ride from Belize City. Our guides were very pleasant and knowledgeable. There was not much to see on the drive there, this part of Belize is very much a 3 world country. What surprised me was the amount of trash on the side of the roads. Altun Ha was well kept and we were happy to have had the opportunity to see it. At this site we were allowed to climb to the top of the pyramids. The steps are very steep and far apart. It was not for the faint of heart to make this climb.

I will admit my legs felt the result of the climb for a few days afterward.

Tuesday evening was one of the two "dress up" nights on board. It was nice to see so many of the men in tuxedo's and women in pretty evening dresses. We dressed up as well but did not go as far as true formal wear.
When we woke up Wednesday morning we had already docked in Mahogany Bay, Honduras. It was a clear and sunny day and it was so beautiful to look at the sparkling water and the white catamarans bobbing in the water as we ate breakfast on our balcony. Mahogany Bay is on the island of Roatan, which I had never heard of until we booked for this cruise. What a pleasant surprise it was especially after Belize. From the moment we got off the ship and walked to the port where we were picking up our excursion we could see the difference. There were beautiful lush gardens and urns filled with flowers. The tour of Carambola Botanical Gardens and the Roatan Butterfly & Bird Gardens were great. I especially liked seeing the exotic birds.
Our guild told us funny and personal stories about the birds that he takes care of.

We also made a stop at West End village beach which was super beautiful. I'm sorry I did not get a better photo of it. There we watched Garifuna dancers put on a short performance for us. The Garifuna culture dates back to the 1600 when a British ship sunk off of the coast of Roatan. The ship was carrying African  slaves who swam ashore and established themselves on the island.

Friday morning we docked in Costa Maya, Mexico. We boarded a bus to Chacchoben a Mayan ruin about an hour away. The countryside that we saw going to the site was very desolate but surprisingly the roads were in fantastic condition.

Chacchoben covers several acres of land and dates back to about 1000 BC. It was very hot at the site with almost no tree cover.
We were not allowed  to climb  any of the structures at this site which was just fine with me as I was feeling the heat and lack of water.

Each night our cabin steward turned down  our bed left chocolates and a towel sculpture. This was the fellow left for us on Friday night.

Our last day Saturday was spent at sea heading back to Tampa.

I hope you enjoy traveling along with me. Your comments are always appreciated.