Ode to London Graffiti

A couple of years ago, during one of my trips to London, I snapped some photos of a graffiti filled haven for skateboarders…

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Here’s another shot…
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While scraping down the layers of an encaustic painting last week, I realized that my piece had suddenly morphed into a graffiti wall!

I carved letters into the layers of wax & added orange sea glass to finish.

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Hope you’re having a great weekend,

Killiney Bay, Ireland

As promised, I am posting the next installment of my trip to Europe…Killiney Bay, Ireland.

One late afternoon, I hiked several miles from Dalkey to Killiney & documented the journey with my camera. Once I reached the beach, I sat & listened to the song Almost Lover (by A Fine Frenzy) on repeat as I sat staring at the Irish sea. Words can’t describe Killiney’s beauty, and pictures don’t do it justice. I decided the best way to share my experience with you was to re-create it with a video taking you along on my hike. The background music is my interpretation of Almost Lover arranged on my Clavinova. Hope you enjoy it & get some small understanding of the beauty of the place.

All the best,

Dublin

I’ve finally begun sorting through photos from the Europe trip, and I thought I’d share a few with you. This first set of images are all from the Dublin city centre. I’ll follow up later this week with the place that is nearest & dearest to my heart, Killiney Bay (one of the reasons I get drawn to Ireland again & again).

There are a number of fabulous hotels in Dublin’s city centre (The Clarence, The Merrion, & The Shelbourne to name a few). But for this trip, I decided to venture out & stay in a boutique hotel called The Fitzwilliam. Its location is perfect…right on St. Stephen’s Green (the main park in the city centre). It is also located right at the top of the primary shopping street, Grafton.

The Fitzwilliam’s lobby has eclectic decor & I love the purple & green color combo. In fact the purple theme went through the entire hotel. Even the doormen wear purple coats with tails & there are purple umbrellas hanging in each room! *LOL*

When I arrived in my room, I was greeted with this fresh plate of fruit & a box of chocolates.

Orchids were sitting on a table near a window overlooking the Green.

I decided to head outdoors with my camera & get some shots of the area. (more…)

Roman Holiday…

The final travel card in my Hero Arts series is for Rome.

When I think of Rome, I am reminded of the incredible trip to Italy that my mom & I took together in the fall of 2004.  Not only were we able to see Rome, but we also spent time in Florence, Venice, Sorrento, Capri, & Pompeii.  It was a special adventure for us since my mom’s side of the family is Italian. 

My favorite memory from the trip, hands down, was our first gelato experience.  For those that may not know, gelato is a creamy, Italian version of ice cream that is to die for.  As we were traipsing through a side street of Florence on one of our first afternoons, we decided to pop into a gelato cafe.  When we walked in the door, the person behind the counter asked us to pick out our cones.  My mom pointed at what appeared to be a waffle cone.  Little did she know what she had just ordered.  About 30 seconds later, the man behind the counter handed her this:

 

No kidding – this gelato cone was as large as her head! *LOL*  I immediately started laughing so hard that I doubled-over to the ground & she lost it as well.  I somehow managed to grab my camera & take a few shots to capture the moment.  Here’s another pic from the side. 🙂  I mean really…this is ridiculous!!! 

Needless to say – we couldn’t finish it & our gelato cravings were seriously diminished for the rest of the trip.  

Italy was fabulous, though, and I can’t say enough good things about our tour company, Perillo Tours.  We stayed in beautiful 4 & 5-star hotels like an incredible converted monastery with ancient gothic arched windows.  We started off in Florence visiting some of the wonderful art museums there.  We took a day trip to Venice where we travelled in gondolas under the bridge of sighs, visited the famous Murano Glass Factory, and experienced the wonderful architecture of the city.  Here are a couple of my favorite shots:

   

Southern Italy is gorgeous…especially along the coast line.  We went through Naples to Sorrento & spent a day on the isle of Capri visiting the famous blue grotto, drinking or first Limoncellos, & having lunch in a small cafe overlooking the ocean.  After Capri, we went to Pompeii where we saw amazing preserved structures still standing from hundreds of years ago.

Then there was Rome.  I remember the Vatican & standing in the Sistine Chapel.  It was recently restored so the colors were all so vivid. Kind of surreal to be somewhere you’ve only seen in books!  There was a trip to the Trevi Fountain…

 

…and an amazing dinner in a privately-owned castle.  Of course, we also went to visit the Coliseum where gladiators used to battle to the death! 

How strange that in a modern city, there stands so many ancient pieces of architecture, and yet how thrilling that it is all preserved.  I used one of my snapshots of the Coliseum in the Hero Arts card below.  All supplies are HA & the instructions can be found on their website here. Thanks for dropping by!

London

The third card in my Hero Arts travel series features London.

London has always  been one of those cities that I have traveled through to get someplace else.  I don’t think I spent any time there until the end of college when I was studying abroad.  My Danish friend Maiken & I decided to take a Spring Break holiday and we chose Dublin & London as our destinations.

Now I have to admit that at the time, I was a pretty “enthusiastic” U2 fan.  So a trip to the Emerald Isle was a sort of mecca for me.  After several fabulous days in Ireland, we ended up in London not really knowing how it would compare.  We had a great time during our short stay, though.  I remember touring Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre, seeing the Tower Bridge, London Dungeons, & Buckingham Palace.  We trolled through the shops at Camden street market (bringing a few treasures home with us) & purchased discount tickets to see a production of The Phantom of the Opera (which as I recall, we watched from behind a large pole. *LOL*)

I have returned once or twice since, and there are certain things I love about the city.  I love that it is a massive metropolis, and yet you can find small quaint neighborhoods with darling private gardens in the middle of it all.  I love the British dry sense of humor, and how can you not adore a country that can produce TV shows like The Office, Extras, & Coupling?  I love the intense national spirit of the British that emerges anytime one mentions the words “football”, “Manchester United”, or dare I say it, “David Beckham”?  *LOL*  …although maybe Becks isn’t so popular now that he’s joined us on this side of the pond. 😉

Yes – London has some fond memories & is a city with many hidden gems.  It’s latest is the addition of a dear friend that moved back to the city last month.  I miss you Minu and hope to see you soon!!!

The image used in the card below was taken during my trip with Maiken.  It was originally in color, but I converted it into B&W with photoshop before printing.  Don’t you just love how striking & regal monuments look in black & white?  All of the stamps used on this card are from Hero’s new 2008 catalog.  The full instructions & supply list can be found on Hero’s site here.  Thanks for dropping by!

 

Memories of Paris…

I recently put together a series of Hero Arts stamped travel cards featuring some black & white travel photos of mine from over the years.  As I was flipping through boxes of old pictures, it brought back a lot of great memories.  In my late teens & twenties, travel was one of my biggest passions.  I was blessed with the opportunity to study, vacation, or work in 21 different countries.    Even now, I still get that excited feeling in my stomach, and my heart starts to flutter when I step off of a plane into a completely new & different culture. 

My journey started when I was 17 years old and had the opportunity to fly to Paris & study abroad at the Sorbonne for a summer. (Thanks mom & dad!)  What an incredible city.  I had always heard stories from Americans that were treated rudely by the French, but I was so surprised at just how generous & friendly they all were during my stay.  I’m sure I completely mutiliated the language, but everyone that I met was more than willing to communicate when I at least attempted my meager French.  I lived in a converted convent in the middle of the 6th arrondissement, Odeon.  

I’m still surprised by the memories that have stuck with me over the years…like the first time I tasted a fresh Paris peach bought from a fruit stand on the way to class.  Or my first nutella & banana crepe – I still get cravings for them! (notice the food theme here? *LOL*) Then there was my first rock concert… of all things Guns n’ Roses.  A bit surreal to be in a stadium of 20,000 French people yelling “Welcome to the Jungle”.  😉 And let’s not forget the art.  I think Paris was my first real exposure to the artistic world.  I remember walking into the Rodin museum, seeing the sculpture “Le Baiser” (The Kiss – shown above) and having my jaw literally drop open.  Or stepping into a large room in the Louvre to find Paul Delaroche’s “La Jeune Martyre” staring back at me (pictured to left). The painting is actually the size of an entire wall, and it literally took my breath away. I bought a print of it years ago for my bedroom,  but was later convinced by friends that it isn’t the best feng shui to have a drowned woman hanging over your bed. Can’t really argue that one. *LOL*  

So back to the crafting…I ran across a B&W photo of the Eiffel tower and decided to use it for the first card in the series since it mimics the stamp.  You can get the full supply list & directions to the card here on the HA webpage.  Stay tuned for more travel stories/cards coming soon!