Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Pink Cat Studio Digi/Stamp Sneak Peek and My European Trip (Tower of London)

Happy New Year, Friends!!! Today is my official start of my New Year!! I know, I'm about 6 days late. I returned from our European trip on January 3rd but unfortunately, I caught a cold on New Year's Eve and basically, been sidelined ever since. I wanted to start my new year on the right foot; therefore, now that I feel a little better, I decided today is "my" New Year's Day!! LOL!! I know. . .silly, but hey, time is relative. . .the dates are just markers. In China, they don't start their new year until February so I decided I can start mine at any time too. Too funny!

If you like to "read" what I write on my blog. . .well, you'll have a mouthful today! I have a lot of things to talk about. If you don't like to read but just look at pictures, well. . .be sure to take the time to read my post in regards to Pink Cat Studio because there's a contest going on and it's a fun one!! You don't want to miss the details!!

Pink Cat Studio is introducing some new Pixie characters this Thursday and we are having a contest to celebrate!

The Pixies have picked out their own pixie names and you have to guess which names they picked. Visit the Pink Cat Studio blog to read the contest details and enter the contest.


The winner will receive all 5 of the new digi stamps that will be released on Thursday. Yay!!

Okay. . .Pink Cat Studio will be selling both digital images and rubber stamps for a few of the images released tomorrow so you'll have the options to purchase "the Pixies make a cupcake, Lily Valentine Ballerina, and Lily Valentine Fairy" both in digi and rubber. Stop by tomorrow and check out the images that will be released tomorrow.

The image on my card will be one of the images that will be released in both rubber and digi and her name is "Lily Valentine Fairy". Isn't she the cutest or what?? She will definitely make your Valentine smile when they receive a card or project made with this image!!!

As for my card itself. . .there's not much to talk about. It's the same stuff I've been doing for the past months! Basically coloring the image with my Copic Markers, adding a bit of Stickles and Scribbles paint for the dots, adding embellishments, and layering the card stock and designer paper. That's it. Same ole, same ole. . .:)

Stop by tomorrow to see all the new Pink Cat Studio image release . . .you're going to love them!

I have a lot of resolutions I want to accomplish this year. Many which are not craft related. There are a few things that I'll be changing about my crafting and blogging activities.

Here are a few of them:

  • Change the look of my blog
  • Phase out my design team involvement
  • Create more tutorials
  • Focus more on creating cards and projects using techniques and not just coloring images
  • Create more scrapbook projects and altered projects
I'm tired of how my blog looks. LOL! I'll probably change the banner. I've had the same banner for 2 years now. . .it's getting old.

As for design teams, if I can help myself. . .I won't apply for any new design team for at least 6 months. As much as I love being part of a design team, my blog for the past months have been "design team" focused and my other non "design team" stamps and products have basically been neglected and they are screaming to be used. They feel so neglected gathering dust in the corner and well, I feel bad for them. Whenever I make a card or project, I can hear a few of them saying "look at that, she skipped me again. . .what?, I'm not good enough?". Ugggh! Yeah, my stamps talk to me. . .don't yours?

I would like to create more tutorials and I'm thinking of doing video tutorials again. My husband bought me the Sony Vegas for Christmas and I guess I have to use it. It's an expensive video program and he was really excited to give it to me so I will have to use it for something so why not video tutorials. I will need to take speech therapy because I suck in verbal instructions but it's something I will work on. LOL!

One of the things that I've been seriously neglecting is creating cards and projects using stamping techniques. I've gotten into a hum-drum state of just coloring my images, adhering them to a card and basically, adding embellishments. It's been my routine for months. I want to do something different.

Last but not least. . .I REALLY need to work on scrapbook layouts! Every year one of my resolutions is to create more scrapbook layouts and I have never managed to accomplish it. I think I created 10 scrapbook layouts last year and I have a gazillion photos just waiting to be adhered on to a scrapbook layout. If I don't start now, well. . . my daughter will turn 40 years old before I'll be able to finish scrapbooking her childhood photos.

Anyway. .. are you tired of reading? If not, good. . .because I have more to talk about. . ..am I boring you already? Hope not. ..

European Trip - London and Tower of London







Before I begin. . .I have so many photos of our trip, it's not funny. I'll post a few of them each day for the next few weeks! LOL! Check out the slideshow above for more photos of the Tower of London. If you don't know by now, I traveled to Europe for the holidays . . .a total of 18 days and visited 8 countries: England, drove through Belgium, the Netherlands, Germany, Austria, Italy, Switzerland, and France.

I have so many things to talk about. For those who are planning or want to travel to Europe. .. there's a lot of things that you should know before you travel there. I'll point a few things out in the next few days so you can be a little more prepared when you travel there.

Well. . .I'll start by discussing England. . primarly, London . . . although we did travel to Stonehenge and the city of Bath which I will discuss in later posts. Where should I start. . .London, wow...was a lot more fun than I expected. I don't know. . .I guess I had the misconception that London was a bit "stuffy", "cold", and honestly, not so exciting. Boy, I was WRONG! London is a SERIOUSLY fun place to visit. It's a MUST place to add on your itinerary if you plan to travel to Europe. You will not be disappointed.

The photos today are primarily of the Tower of London but I'll discuss other things. We did a "hop on, hop off" tour of London which you can basically purchase tickets from various tour companies. The have kiosks in various areas in the city that you can purchase the tickets. They are a fabulous way to visit the different attractions in London on your own. You can hop on and hop off when ever you want and the buses basically run through the city from morning to about 7:30 in the evening. The buses in London are almost all Double Decker buses and there's a tour guide that discusses the cities attractions as you drive through the city.

London has a fantastic public transportation system. The public buses run every 15 minutes to various different parts of the cities and it's really easy to get around just riding the public buses. The all day pass is 8 pounds or single rides for 2 pounds. England uses the "pound", the other EU (European Union) countries use Euros. Switzerland is not part of the EU and they use the franc rather than the euro. Confused already? The values of the different currencies are not the same so it's important to distinguish which currency you are using.

Okay. the American dollar is weaker than the pound, euro, and francs. Unfortunately, for us Americans, our money DO NOT go a long way. Right now the exchange rate is about 1.4 to 1.6 % meaning for every euro, the dollar is worth about 75 cents or so. Now, that sucked! Forget about shopping sprees that's for sure! You either bring a lot of money or you'll be doing a lot of "window shopping" as opposed to actual shopping.

What I found interesting was how amazingly easy it is to travel from one country to another. Other than producing a passport, you basically can hop to different EU countries without all the bureaucracy. It's fantastic. It's almost comparable to traveling from state to state in the US.

This photo shows the building where the "Crown Jewels" are displayed. Unfortunately, I could not take a photo of them. .. :). I can't believe how big the diamonds and gems were. They were so many of them and so huge that I almost can't believe they were real. LOL!

The Tower of London's primary function was a fortress, a royal palace, and a prison (particularly for high status and royal prisoners, such as the Princes in the Tower and the future Queen Elizabeth I). It has also served as a place of execution and torture, an armoury, a treasury, a zoo, the Royal Mint, a public records office, an observatory, and since 1303, the home of the Crown Jewels of the United Kingdom.



This photo was taken outside and in front of the Tower of London before we entered the fortress. It was seriously cold in London when we were there. We were told that this year has been the coldest winter they've had in 10 years. Whoohoo, lucky us!!! It actually snowed when we were there. The people there were caught by surprise by the snow and cold weather as much as we were. We weren't prepared for snow. . .luckily, we brought scarves, snow caps and thick jackets because we were traveling to Switzerland . .. which by the way ended up to be one of the warmest countries that we visited. How ironic.

Basically, because of the transportation problems for the first week we were there, it was chaos. The Eurostar which is the main transportation that connects London, Paris, and Brussels collapsed because of the snow and travelers were stranded for a few days while they figured out how to get the Eurostar running again. Can you imagine? I'll discuss what happened to us in later posts about the collapse of the Eurostar because we were severely impacted by it.

This photo is of the ravens that reside at the Tower of London. There's a total of 7 ravens that currently reside there and they are kept there at all times. Ravens have always inhabited the Tower of London, and a centuries old legend says that if the ravens leave, the Tower and kingdom will fall. Here is a link to more information on the ravens: Click Here

In person. . .these birds are huge and sort of menacing looking. They looked like they could do me harm but they were well behaved. Honestly, they were big enough to be able to probably bite off a chunck of my head. LOL! I've never seen a raven in real life so I found them quite interesting. I didn't realize how big ravens were. They're accustomed to people so they were kind enough to pose for photos.

What's this? Well, it's where Anne Boleyn and Catherine Howard were beheaded. How fun! LOL! Some of the most famous executions in the history of England took place at the private scaffold site on Tower Green. Ten people were beheaded at this spot, which is marked by a simple but elegant memorial. Included in this group are Anne Boleyn, the second wife of Henry Vlll, who was in her 30’s; Catherine Howard, Henry’s fifth wife, barely in her 20’s; and Lady Jane Grey, queen for nine days only 16.

Sorry but I just had to post this photo! My daughter will kill me but I thought this photo is so typical of my daughter. She is a finicky eater so while we were at the Tower London, she was thrilled that they served hot dogs and had to get one. Food in Europe. . .hmmm, it's an interesting subject . . .especially food in Switzerland. I'll discuss it in later posts. . .I think you'll find it interesting too.

I hope you don't mind that I discuss my trip. I had so much fun and I really want to share my experience with you. I couldn't post the photos on my blog during my trip because honestly, I had no time. I was lucky to be able to even take a shower and wash my underwear each day. ..I'm not kidding. We were part of a tour group so we were on a strict schedule. . .there's the good and bad of it. I'll discuss the tour on a later post. I hope you enjoyed today's post and I didn't bore you with my rambling. If you liked it, that's great because I have a lot more to share so be prepared. . .LMAO!!

Well, I better end it here. I think this is the longest post I've done so far. Hope you all have a wonderful Wednesday!!


25 comments:

Emily Leiphart said...

Your card is beautiful, Maria! I enjoyed reading about your time in London, too. I love London and could totally live there!! I can't wait to hear more about your trip. ;)

Judy Applegarth said...

Beautiful work! Love it - Judy

Kerry D-C said...

Maria, this card is so adorable!!! Love all the pretty layers and bows!

Anonymous said...

Thank you so much for sharing your trip photos! I'm planning a trip for the fam in the next year or two so this is all very timely. Please share info on the tour company you chose - likes, dislikes.

Thanks again! Lovely photos!

Sandy

Tracy.H said...

Great photos, Maria!!

Not sure if you got my email...but thanks again for the Christmas RAK! I hope to play with my new stamp this weekend! :0)

PaperCrafty said...

Darling card Maria!! Looks like I will be doing some shopping tomorrow!! Wonderful pics...glad to know that DS wouldn't starve if we ever get to go!! lol

Danni said...

Wonderful card!! So pretty!
Love all your vacation photos too!

MacKenzie said...

Welcome home! So nice to have you back. I made the same resolution about my scrapbooking as well!

*Michaela* said...

Maria, what a lovely card! The coloring is immaculate and the image is super cute! I lived in London for over a year and just looooved it. Wish I could go back :) Oh, good old times :D

Scrappinangler said...

Super Ka-ute card! I don't konw how you get into the swing of things so quick after being gone so long! Looks like you had an amazing trip! I think picking your New Years day is perfect. I have been sick too for a week and a half, so maybe I will start mine in a few more day when I feel better! I still need to get my resolutions in order! LOL! Not a good way to start the year, but my whole family is sick, so I am copping out! :) ~Tori

Terry Oulboub said...

Glad to have you back Maria! The photos of your trip are excellent! You look like you had so much fun! The card is ultra cool - love it! ;D

BaNessa said...

Thank you for sharing your trip. I haven't yet had the privledge to visit but I feel as though I'm actually there (minus the cold). Your posts actually helped me to learn a little history. I didn't know who Anne Boyelyn or Catherine Howard were so I looked them up. Can't wait to learn some more, V

doris said...

Wonderful card... So pretty!!
I love all your vacation photos too!

xox doris

Mel M. M. McCarthy said...

Ahhhh! Maria. This is SO gorgeous. You say "same ole same ole" and though I know exactly how you feel (I've been feeling exactly like that!) I must tell you that your work always looks fresh, inspiring, & stunning! I wouldn't say no to a video tutorial though. I love your videos. It's crazy how similar our resolutions & goals are this year. I hope they all come true for you. You deserve it! Hugs & hope you get a bit of down time after your gorgeous holiday. LOVED the pics & reading your awesome writing. It's like chatting in person! oxo mel

Kristen said...

GORGEOUS card maria. I love all your elements, and your coloring is wonderful. Thanks for sharing some of your vacation photos. It looks lovely.

Summerthyme Studio said...

Maria, your creations are as gorgeous as ever! I can't wait to see more of your european tour pics!!!! Love the pic of your daughter with the "DOG" Very Candid and Cute!!!! Happy New Year Luv!

Vicki

Mariska said...

What a gorgeous card Maria! Love the papers you've used. I hope you had a wonderful time here in Europe but it looks as if you have :).

xxx
Mariska

Becky said...

What an adorable card.. Love hearing of your trip abroad, those ravens do look like they could do some damage, and I did not know they had the site where Anne Boleyn was beheaded. That is an interesting story of the the Boleyn sisters. Ann produced Queen Elizabeth and she reigned for around 52 years

Diane said...

Your card is totally cute!
Sounds like your trip was awesome!
Too bad you couldn't photograph the jewels,must of been something to see!!! It was a long post but I enjoyed reading every part of it. My DH's dream is to visit Europe one day,so if we can't go at least I will have seen and learned about it on your blog. TFS Maria!!
Happy New Year!!!

Diane said...

Btw,I hope you got my Thank You email!!!!! Thank You,Thank You,Thank You!!!

Tina said...

wow - super cute card and wonderful pictures of your trip - TFS

tina

Ila said...

Your card is Gorgeous Maria!!..I totally love these posts about your trip...the photos..your descriptions..all Wonderful!!..Thank You so much for sharing...I'm looking forward to more!!!...Hugs, Ila

Jodi said...

These are awesome pics, looks like it was freezing cold there!! Very cute card, I love the coloring you did on her too!
Hugs
Jodi =)

Monika/Buzsy said...

Welcome back Maria! Great pictures of London... I was thinking of you when I heard about the really bad weather... looks like you still had fun. :o)

Rita said...

Awesome card Maria...so darn cute!

Yes I want to see & hear much, much more about your trip to Europe, its so interesting & I can't wait to hear more about what you thought of the food there.

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