Thursday, April 28, 2011

Caribbean Cruise Wrap-up

Well, best laid plans of mice and men and all that. We purchased internet while we were on our Caribbean cruise but it was just too slow to upload a whole ton of photos. I'm wrapping up our cruise info now and sharing the rest of our pictures. Well, not the rest. Between the 3 of us that went we netted over 1000 pictures. You don't really want to scroll through all of those. Except my sister in law Kelly of course. She's crazy. lol

So, in honor of my sister in law (and others) who need a bit of summer weather and want to live vicariously through our pictures, without further ado...

A Day in Haiti
What a stunning beach and all the help was so helpful. The boat brought all the food to the island for our lunch. The only disappointing part was we were really only on Royal Caribbean owned land. We didn't visit the 'real' Haiti and this was a disappointment. I'm so glad our trip did not end with this location. Dinner wasn't until 830 pm so when we got back on the boat around 4, we cleaned up and headed to the cafeteria area for Sushi! The sunset was gorgeous!

A Day in Jamaica
Every night we eat in fine dining on the cruise ship. Our assistant waiter was Jamaican and he said we couldn't go to Jamaica and not see the Dunns River Falls. So this is what we did. We hopped in a taxi and she drove us out 45 minutes to see this stunning waterfall down the whole side of the mountain, ending at the beach. I walked all the way down to the beach to stick in my toes and then about died walking back up, (hello, asthma.) There were groups of people walking up the actual falls, with water shoes. Apparently its the 'thing to do'. We just watched. Then we went back to Falmouth Jamaica where the boat was docked and did a trolley tour of the town. Beautiful. Did you know Elizabeth Barrett Browning's great grandfather lived in Jamaica? I didn't know either!

A Day in the Grand Caymans
What can be said about the Caymans? Unbelievably clear waters. I'm not a fan of ocean water and usually only sit shallowly or stand up to my knees in it. I know, for a person who loves the ocean, this is contradictory. But in the Caymans, its clear. Like standing in a pool. So I went all the way in up to my neck. My only complaint was its an island full of touristy people.

A Day in Cozumel Mexico
This was probably my favorite day. I remember sitting in the cafeteria staring down at the Cozumel harbor thinking, 'I don't want to go.' It wasn't very attractive, I'd been sick with a cold and asthma all the trip and was just tired tired. But I couldn't miss it. Once we were out there we made a decision to rent a car. Best decision we made all trip! We drove out of the congested city and around the island on the outer road. We saw calm beaches, Mayan ruins, rocky sands and superb waves on the ocean side of the island. We stopped in a little mexican cantina on the beach (called 'Naked Beach' but I didn't see any birthday-suiters) and had authentic chips and guacamole and fish tacos. I'd go back in a heartbeat. In fact, where is my passport? I'm ready to leave right now!

Some Cruise Ship pictures
Granted, I've never been on a cruise ship before but I can't imagine other ships being any better than this one. We had the best waiters, and they were our waiters every night. Our room steward made sure our rooms always looked new twice a day. There was free and constant food all over the boat at almost all times. Even on the Royal Promenade where you can shop, there was a pizza restaurant which was free! Dessert with every meal, an ice skating rink, miniature golf course, running track, basketball court, broadway plays highlights show, 3 pools, movies on the huge outdoor screen. We had a wonderful couple as our dinner table mates. It was a vacation of all vacations, my first trip out of the country.

That about wraps it all up. We had a most wonderful time. Now back to real life. *sigh*

Thursday, April 21, 2011

My Cruising Journal, Part 2

(Didn't get this posted yesterday so I'm behind. Pictures are not posting like I want them to, I'll update later with some pictures.)

I'm back. We're having a wonderful time on the ship. On our first night at sea (Sunday) the waters were smooth. What a wonderful introduction to cruising. I think if it had been tossy turny, I would never want to come on a cruise again. Our room is originally for handicapped persons. What this means for us is, wider area, much bigger bathroom. It's one of the last rooms they had. Mom was moved to another room overlooking the Promenade because this room is only supposed to sleep 2.

Sunday afternoon was spent hanging around the deck, exploring the floors. We found they have a library and I've already checked out a book of course. Before dinner we attended part of a show. There is an announcer that is so funny. The comedian that came on after him wasn't clean enough for my taste so we left and headed to dinner early. Before dinner began, mom and I took a walk around the very back of the boat and saw the remnants of the sun setting. So beautiful. Once again I'm reminded how small we are and how very BIG God is. Dinner was an amazing experience. We were waited on, hand and food. We share our dinner table with a sweet young couple. It's nice to meet new people.

Monday morning mom was out the door at o'dark thirty to explore. Beth and I wisely stayed in our beds. Mom saw the sun rise, did stretching class and other various things. I blissfully slept in til 9 am. Monday was spent lazing around as usual. I baked in the sun for exactly 15 minutes on each side so I wouldn't look like a lobster. Mom and I ended up going back to her room and taking naps. What a hard hard life we lead! Lol We all met back up in the evening and went to an ice show. Yes, you heard right. The ship boasts its very own ice rink. What a wonderful show! So colorful and enjoyable.

After that we went to dinner in formal attire. Dinner was scrumptious as usual and our normal waiter spoiled us. When I asked about the beef vs. the sirloin he recommended the beef but then brought me BOTH! I had to share with everyone. He did the same with mom's two choices of fish. For dessert we ordered 1 or 2 of everything, put them all in the middle of the table and dug in and shared. In the end we all decided it was the best meal we'd ever had. The best news at our table was that the couple had gotten engaged today. How sweet! They made just about everyone cry.

We wrapped up the evening with a Broadway medley. Lots of singing from various Broadway shows. I'd like to see several of them someday. What beautiful costumes the singers/dancers had!

Tuesday morning we were very excited to visit Haiti. We spent the day exploring, visiting the artisan market and basking in the sun. Beth and I borrowed some rafts and floated around in the deep blue. It was heaven. I wish we could have seen the real Haiti but Royal Caribbean has its own private beaches on the island. That was a little let down, we were hoping to go in town, maybe visit a church. But today we head into Jamaica and can travel wherever we care to. Our assistant waiter is Jamaican and he instructed us on how to get a cab, where to shop and a waterfall we must see. We're looking forward to today's excursion.

As I sit here typing in the early morning, I can feel the boat moving more than usual. We're almost ready to dock in Jamaica so I think I'll head up to the deck to experience our arrival. More, another day!

Monday, April 18, 2011

My Cruising Journal

(For the next couple of days I'll be posting about the trip we're on, so family at home can see what we're up to. You're welcome to share in the experience too!!)

Well, I did it. I got on a scary plane, flew almost 3 hours to Florida. It was a wonderful experience. I know this is contradictory to everything I've ever said about flying. Trust me. I know. I always joke that I can't hold my breath that long so its very hard for me to fly. This time, I prayed. And prayed hard. I reasoned with God. 'God, I need you help. Not the normal ''wrap your arms around me, keep me safe” type help. But the big help, the “not being scared at all” type help. Seriously, please help.' This was my prayer on the plane, while waiting to taxi (yes, I actually said 'seriously' to God.) Well, wouldn't you know, he came through for me? When we had air pockets, and boy we had some doozies, an image of me being on a roller coaster and all the air pockets just being bumps and jumps were me sitting in a roller coaster car, came to mind. Can you believe I smiled every time there was an air pocket?! Lol I told my seatmates I felt like throwing up my arms and yelling WEEEEE! Every time there we bumped around. What a blessing this was. Now I keep thinking of all the places I could go now, that I wouldn't before because of this fear. Amazing. We'll see how the flight back is. I'm optimistic.

I'm on vacation with my mom and a fellow homeschool mom. After we flew in on Friday, we spent 2 days living it up (aka: lounging around in some sun and shade, reading) on Cocoa Beach, Fl. The wind really made the visit to the beach so enjoyable. No horrible hot burning sun feeling. We saw several cruise ships leave from where we were sitting, dive bombing pelicans, surfers and children; oh wait, that was mom, building a sandcastle! We ate the first night on a dock, watching the sun streak orange and pink across the sky as it set. Stunningly beautiful. These tall stately palm trees guarded our special little dock and reminded us we weren't in Kansas anymore (or Missouri.)

The second night we ate on Cocoa Beach pier with full window seats to watch the waves march across the sands. The fish were jumping out of the water, I imagine it was their dinner time too and were looking for nice tasty bugs but wishing for worms.

Sunday morning dawned bright and although the cruise ship we were taking did not sail until 430 pm, we were eager to jump on board and get settled. Our driver to the ship was funny, the people who took our tips so they would take our luggage made us feel like we were already on vacation. The ship is so amazing!

I'll keep this post short and I'll be back later with an update.

Thursday, April 07, 2011

Channel Your Inner QUEEN!

Yes it's time for the winners of the House-A-Fire Creations giveaway! Did you channel your inner QUEEN like my title says? Are you singing with me? I asked my children for a different title than 'Winner Winner Chicken Dinner.' Within seconds they broke out into QUEEN. lol

Thanks so much to everyone who took the time to come comment on my blog and artwork. I had such fun making the houses, I'm thinking I want to make more soon!  When I asked my teen for a number between 1 and 17, both the teen and the little one blurted out numbers. Being the obsessively fair person I am, I can't NOT take one of the numbers. I think subconsciously someone would KNOW their number was blurted out and that I picked one over the other! Yes, I know, weird. 

SO... I'm giving away two! 

The 'Champions' are:

Let's cheer for the winners and go visit their blogs to say hi.  Okay, now everyone go sing a bit of QUEEN!

Have a wonderful art-filled weekend. (Winners, look for your houses next weekend sometime. I'm sending on Monday.) I'm off to this year's homeschool conference to learn something.

Tuesday, April 05, 2011

Raven & Midnight Dreary

I was looking through old photos and found a few pictures of projects I never posted. If you'll remember, I've posted before about being part of an Altered Raven Journal swap. So far I've created pages in 6 books and have 2 more to go.  

Here's the first book I worked on (I was just getting my Raven legs under me... )The top pic was made with stencils and spray paint at a time when I was making the teen's graduation cards. It was the folded flap on the front of the 2 page spread below. The 2 page spread below was stamping, Altered Pages images and a bit of moon drawing.


This one was messy painting, overstamping, multi-stamping and an image.

This was the sign in tag. I folded it, stamped, added a raven and my 'Kris was here' note.

I don't really like looking back on older works. I always look at it for flaws. I'd rather make it, and move on. I'm always in love with my very last piece/creations the best. Does anyone else feel that way?

What are you working on this week?

Monday, April 04, 2011

Gaudy Spring Chic!

Remember my art tease post from Wednesday? Here are the completed items. It felt so good last week to work on something again! I can't wait until I have time again for art. On the horizon I have two more Altered Raven Journals to work on.

Don't forget about my giveaway posted Thursday!

I finished up the Bunting swap pieces. The premise is, we send in separate triangle bunting pieces of art and the hostess will randomly pick 5 pieces to put together as a garland. So 5 wonderful people will be getting pieces of my art. All the flower images are from a collage sheet I had when I used to design  art for Art By Moonlight, now sold through Stamp Franscisco. The flower collage sheet is here.

Not sure which is my fav (Do you think they need anything else? The edges have tiny vintage lace attached.) Of course I could not wait to take pics until the glitter glue was dry. So that is why its all shiny. Hence, the Gaudy Chic feel to them. 


What are you making for spring?