Monday, January 26, 2015

Europe 2014 - Kusadesi - Turkey

13th October -  Kusadesi Turkey

Today we had a leisurely start …it was so nice to sleep in for a change.
It was 12.30pm before the ship was docked and cleared for us to disembark. 
We had decided early in the trip that today was going to be low key and a chance for some shopping and relaxing.
We enjoyed the shops..and even managed to haggle the prices on some shopping…. Ron is our chief haggler..and he helped me to buy the most beautiful soft leather jacket…I was chuffed. I think a couple of handbags found their way into my luggage too.

We enjoyed delicious turkish coffee and kebabs for lunch…
making the most of free wi-fi and a call home to the kids.

Ian even had a haircut..although he passed on the shave and massage.

Dreamed of buying property in Kusadesi...
285,000 TL = $152.00 Australian dollar.

Then in the evening we farewelled Turkey...
and headed on to the next port.

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Big Picture classes and Wilna - part 2

So I squeezed in another 'date' with my Wilna class at Big Picture Classes last week...
If you read my previous would know I was feeling a bit meh! and decided some inspiring.. don't have to think too hard... learn a new technique... type of scrapbooking was in order.
I made a pact to work my way through each layout one at a time... I loved week was all about grids...and I found it mostly easy...

Then....along came week two...
it was about Typography..
and I found it a challenge...I managed to complete two layouts that were ok...
the others all ended up in my scrap bin.. oops.

Friday, January 16, 2015

Europe 2014 - Istanbul - Turkey

12th October – Istanbul in Turkey 

Early start again… these are by now becoming the norm… 
its no wonder we are pooped in the evenings. 

Our first glimpses of Istanbul from the ship were so beautiful...
we could already note the difference in the architecture and counted a number of mosques with their minarets dotted around the skyline. 

Istanbul was the second port that we had booked an actual Princess shore tour. 
So it was another easy… follow the sheep sort of day. 
Our guide for the day was lovely and very informative.. I didn't envy her the job of keeping us all together and on track…it was extremely crowded and the sites we visited were noisy and packed with tourists and locals. 
So what did we visit?

Topkapi Palace – treasure filled home to the Ottoman Sultans (heart of the Ottoman Empire) for over 400 years. Built on the ruins of Constantine’s Imperial Palace it was completed in 1478.  The Palace was converted to a museum in 1924 and is home to the famous Topkapi dagger… precious jewels and world famous porcelain.

Hagia Sofia – This was a true highlight. The history seeped out of the walls…and never before had we seen the merging of two religions like at the Hagia Sofia which is now essentially a museum. Even with the huge scaffolding covering a large portion inside it was possible to be overwhelmed by its sheer size and the contrast of the Christian and Islam artwork side by side.

“The Hagia Sofia was rebuilt in her present form between 532 and 537. It is one of the greatest surviving examples of Byzantine architecture, rich with mosaics and marble pillars and coverings.
For over 900 years the Hagia Sophia was the seat of the Orthodox Patriarch of Constantinople and a principal setting for church councils and imperial ceremonies.
In 1204 the cathedral was ruthlessly attacked, desecrated and plundered by the Crusaders, who also ousted the Patriarch of Constantinople and replaced him with a Latin bishop. This event cemented the division of the Greek Orthodox and Roman Catholic churches that had begun with the Great Schism of 1054. It also means that most of Hagia Sophia's riches can be seen today not in Istanbul, but in the treasury of St. Mark's Basilica in Venice.
Despite this violent setback, Hagia Sophia remained a functioning church until May 29, 1453, when Sultan Mehmet the Conqueror entered triumphantly into the city of Constantinople. He was amazed at the beauty of the Hagia Sophia and immediately converted it into his imperial mosque.
In 1934 the, Hagia Sofia was turned into the Ayasofya Museum. The prayer rugs were removed, revealing the marble beneath, but the mosaics remained largely plastered over and the building was allowed to decay for some time. Some of the calligraphic panels were moved to other mosques, but eight roundels were left and can still be seen today.”
The Bosphorus cruise- with lunch included was a lovely respite from the crowds and persistent street sellers. We boarded for fine dining Turkish style and cruised the Bosphorus strait for about 90mminutes. The Bosphorus divides Istanbul in side Europe and the other side Asia. We could see some differences in architecture as we passed by. 

I really enjoyed the meal...

 which was finished off with Turkish Delight..omgosh it was divine…nothing like any Ive tried before.

The Blue Mosque  (Sultan Ahmet Mosque) visit was a total experience… right from the beginning of the long queue we were excited.

 Donna was prepared and had brought head scarves for us to wear so we could enter. 

With shoes removed we stepped inside…and WOW!

The Blue Mosque was built in the 17th century and the interior is covered in tiny blue tiles (hence the name) it was exquisite. The Mosque is still used for prayer so we respectfully and quietly took in the beauty of the architecture and tiling as much as you could in the crushing crowd.

The last portion of our day was a trip to a carpet weaver / retail store…we were ushered into the rear of the store and given Turkish tea to sip while we were entertained by the history of carpet making and a demonstration by a woman making a silk carpet. 

It was crazy …she was SO fast and the threads were so incredibly fine ..I swear if I were making the carpet it would take me more than three lifetimes and then it would be barely a bath mat.
Of course as we left...the street sellers were in over-drive...trying to tempt us into buying an 'authentic' woven carpet at a fraction of the price. Ron is always keen to play the haggle game.. but no carpets came home...authentic or otherwise.
Pomegranate juice anyone?

Pigeons anyone??

Our beautiful Regal Princess..

Gorgeous shopping...loved the plates and bowls so much...

Such a wonderful day in Istanbul Turkey.

Saturday, January 10, 2015

Scrapbooking with Big Picture Classes... and a little story

I've been so unsettled and out of routine since arriving home from holidays...
my dreams of just slotting back into routine was harder than I thought..
I couldn't find my groove...I was discontent.. I felt unmotivated...  and unhappy.

Everywhere I looked (I felt) I was reminded of all my failings..
it would be so much easier to pack my suitcase and head on a jet plane somewhere else... where everyday was exciting...routines were out the window... and I could be content with very little and somehow that would make me even happier. first step on my pursuit of happiness was to declutter and minimalise my home and belongings... I was on a mission!!
I sorted and disposed of things like a crazy woman...the kids stopped visiting...they were tired of me packing their cars to the roof with things to take away...haha 
(maybe a little exaggeration...but you get the idea)
Then the overwhelm set in...  I wished I didn't have so much left to do...argh...

So with the house sorting now taunting me....I looked for a new way to boost my morale... oh yes..Id get my exercise sorted and back on track..once and for I threw myself into ridiculously unrealistic program and within two weeks I was unwell...  great! Unwell...and with a house I wanted to sort...and a non-existent exercise routine.

So.... maybe something creative would shift my mind-set...
but I couldn't get started....
I was blocked...and browsing online for inspiration just downright scared me...
I felt as though I had lost my 'style' that easy knack of throwing a layout together was hard work..
I had gorgeous new product... an almost brand new Silhouette I barely knew how to drive....not to mention mists...stencils...masks..pastes... paints... dies..embossers... and various other supplies I never bothered to use. not only was I unwell... unmotivated with my home...but I was also creatively barren!

Call it fate....or maybe a prod from above... 
but one morning as I opened my emails I noticed some "Big Picture Classes" being offered at a reduced price...
Art and Design by Wilna Furstenberg - grabbed my attention..
I had not long bought Wilnas "A heartfelt Christmas Workshop" and even though I  hadn't  actually participated in that class as I planned...I knew I loved Wilnas style and her wonderfully soothing voice..
AND....added bonus.... this class would teach me how to USE my Silhouette.

I bought the class on the spot.
I decided to work my way through every layout...
learning every technique ...or at least brushing up on those I already had sorted...
I cant thank Wilna enough for her step by step Silhouette tutorials as well as Photoshop tips.

I decided to share my layouts from my class even though they very closely resemble Wilnas.
For me.... I have used this class as a focus on the techniques...and different styles..
and not so much about personalising them to my style.

I attempted all the layouts in week 1 (which was all about grids).... but there were two that I just couldn't make work...they just didn't convert well to 8.5 x 11 ....but that's OK.
The others...I adored.

For this first one I modified it and used the gorgeous printables that came as a download with the Christmas Workshop.

I loved that there was so much Silhouette cutting...
although getting it off the mat still makes me irritable :(

So at the end of week one...
I feel as though my groove is coming back..
 my "disgruntled with Mardi' mood has lifted a little.
I've noticed my brain has kicked into its usual overdrive... I have ideas springing in...
both creatively... and with life in general.
Just by taking away the pressure...
and giving myself permission to go with the process rather than creating from scratch has made all the difference.

Its a miracle what an affect some creative relaxation can have on the soul.

Friday, January 09, 2015

.Stuck on You....The Loser gene..

I had to chuckle when I saw this...
Just maybe there is a reason for my absent-mindedness...
...perhaps I have been infected by the "Loser Gene"

I constantly lose my phone... my i-pad... my glasses (don't mention losing glasses!! I've lost them at the MCG... in Adelaide just the other day...argh) ..I've also lost my credit card... a wallet... jumpers...drink bottles... my favourite work lunchbox...and the list goes on.

So this advertising campaign by "Stuck on You" is pretty cool...
and I was relieved to know there was a cure...haha
You can take the "Loser Gene quiz" or see the treatment plan by clicking the image below.

Lucky for me ...I have some labels on the way..
some for me...and a giveaway for some of my 'widdle group of readers'... 
so if you would love to try the labels..
make sure to leave me a comment about your "loser" moments.

check out  "Stuck on You" for all their range of products..

Tuesday, January 06, 2015

Snow Globes...

Christmas came and went in a big fat blur ..
I didn't seem to muster the energy for any of my usual 'Christmas activities'
and probably for the very first time I actually listened to my hubby and let all the non-important things slide.
By taking some of the pressure off I was able to enjoy other things more.

One of the activities I did make time for was making these Snow Globes with the girls...
I had often seen them and thought they looked really cute and 'do-able'
and then I stumbled across this wonderful Workshop..

A heartfelt Christmas Workshop by one of my favourite inspirations..Wilna.
One of the projects was 'Snow Globes'
that was it...
I was in.

I never did manage to create one single other project from the workshop
but we made some pretty awesome 'Snow Globes'

The moment they proudly took them home to Mummy...
and found the perfect spot to display them was the sweetest moment of all.

Monday, January 05, 2015

Europe 2014 - Gallipoli

10th and 11th October

These days were both spent at sea…. Our Port call into Mykonos was cancelled due to the rough weather…which was disappointing… but there was an upside. 

On the way to Istanbul we passed through the Gallipoli straight… 
(if we had called at Mykonos this would have been during the night… but because we weren't able to stop it meant we passed through during the afternoon.)

It was such a moving experience… the ship slowed as we passed…and they held a service onboard for the 400 Aussie and New Zealand passengers on the top deck. The last post was played and we all took some time to pay our respects and mark this moment with silence.

The Gallipoli Campaign, also known as the Battle of Gallipoli , was a campaign of World War I that took place on the Gallipoli peninsula in the Ottoman Empire between 25 April 1915 and 9 January 1916. The peninsula forms the northern bank of the Dardanelles, a strait that provides a sea route to what was then the Russian Empire, one of the Allied powers during the war. Intending to secure it, Russia's allies Britain and France launched a naval attack followed by an amphibious landing on the peninsula with the eventual aim of capturing the Ottoman capital of Constantinople (modern-day Istanbul).  The naval attack was repelled and, after eight months' fighting, with many casualties on both sides, the land campaign also failed and the invasion force was withdrawn to Egypt.

The total number of Australians killed has been revised to 8,709. 
In all 61,522 Australians lost their lives in the First World War.
As well, an estimated total of 664 Australian officers and 17,260 men were wounded. 
According to the Official history, 70 Australians were captured on Gallipoli.
(Donna....I stole your photos....hope thats ok....
I cant find the ones I took...maybe I did an oopsy and deleted them)