Monday, 25 September 2017

Tea and Chocolate

Hello friends

I've been AWOL for a couple of days!
I have a good excuse, celebrating a friend's 50th birthday in London town.
A truly great weekend with a special themed afternoon tea
and a chocolate tour.

Sharing some photos with you.
This might be a clue as to the tea theme...
Yes Beauty and the Beast.

Special biscuits.

Here we all are.

Some of the lovely tea items, inside 'Chip' cup is a white chocolate mousse,
Cogsworth is an almond cake/biscuit, there's a special fruit jelly and macaroon.

The birthday girl - she loves all things flamingo hence the headwear!

Cream inside Mrs Potts and table ornaments.

Five of us stayed up in London and continued the celebrations with a chocolate
tour the following morning.
The exceptional nice Rococo in Chelsea was our starting point.

I'd like to say the amount of walking burns of the amount of chocolate
you eat but that sadly that is not true!
Across the road is this amazing bakery.

Some Kensington and Chelsea sights.
It is full of very pretty people with lots and lots of money!

Door knocker extradornaire!

After a 3+ hour tour we finished in a wonderful cafe,
we couldn't manage these pastries.

The birthday girl was presented with an almond tart at this last stop,
at this point we were all in a sugar coma!

A very special memorable weekend.
Back to crafting today and my holiday blog posts will also resume tomorrow.

Take care friends.

Saturday, 23 September 2017

Lavender Trike, Tallulah and Day 10

Hello friends

Featuring Lavender Trike today and that beautiful frame die
behind is Tallulah Frill.
I chose black card for the trike and lilac card for the lavender just tipped
with some distress ink.
Ivory for the frame die and a die cut sentiment.

Very simple to make and a little more 'fussy' than my normal style
but good to step out of my box occasionally!

Lavender Trike is available to pre-order here.
Tallulah Frill is available to pre-order here.

Today I'm heading up to London to celebrate a friend's birthday,
we have a themed afternoon tea and a chocolate tour tomorrow.
I really think it is diet starting on Monday!

Up to Day 10!

Kim had organised another busy and fun day,
first stop a Prairie Conservation Centre.
Again, I learned so much here, how the prairie was once just for wildlife
and then man did a good job of changing that.
Thankfully this conservation centre is reintroducing all the wildlife back.

This one will not be going far!
It was fascinating to see the size of these animals. 

This plant was everywhere on the prairie and adored by butterflies.
Being a conservation centre you could drive around but warned to keep your 
car windows closed just in case of buffalo!

Next stop another beautiful town called Pella - America's Dutch treasure.
Difficult not to spot the Dutch influence with this enormous windmill.

Along with packed quilting shops - 
(oh I really want to learn how to quilt in my spare time!)
they have a tulip festival, I feel I may like to return for that.

Pella is famous for a pastry called Dutch Letters.
These are puff pastry filled with a cinnamon paste - very very nice!

We could not go by a pet shop without taking a peek.

And was delighted to discover they make Dutch Letters as dog treats.
I went to buy one and got chatting to the shop assistant who remarked upon my accent -
(that happened a lot!)
Turns out a friend of hers who worked in the coffee shop up the road was heading
to London on a student exchange programme, would I mind going along
and say hello to him.  Would I mind? Of course I did and what a 
nice young man.  Also Bella got a free dog treat!

They built a canal in Pella to add more 'Dutch-ness!'

And fun shot - clogs that are way too big for me.

We set off to drive home, quick stop to see Brian's sister who has
the most adorable Standard Poodle (I can't believe I didn't get a photo!)
And for dinner - T Bone steaks on the grill - wow I felt truly spoiled!

 Take care friends, I do hope you are having a lovely weekend.

Friday, 22 September 2017

Friday Die Day and Day 9

Hello friends
This week's Friday Die Day features a new Christmas die -
A 5 piece sentiment die set and this is how they look cut from red cardstock.
I particularly like 'Be Merry' !

I delved down my box for some other die cuts and discovered
Fretwork Accents, Classic Oval, a snowflake from Create A Flake Six
and a mini poinsettia.

I placed a white mat onto a card front.  Added Fretwork Accents,
layered the oval and the sentiment to middle.

The finishing touch was the snowflake and mini poinsettia - easy!


Naughty or Nice is available on the website here.
Fretwork Accents is available here.
Create A Flake Six is available here.
There is a Christmas section on the website here,
more items will be added very soon - also did I mention it is FREE postage and packing!
Day 9
I should have mentioned that on one of my shopping trips I took a look
down the pet aisle and could not resist picking up these dog food trays.
The flavours - Porterhouse Steak and Filet Mignon!
My Bella has eaten them but insisted on a topping of ham!

On this day Kim and Brian had something very special planned -
a trip to Kalona - Amish land.
I knew very little about the Amish, I looked up some details before I went
but nothing could prepare me for the real experience.
Kalona is a beautiful little town, also known for its wonderful quilts.
First we visited a church where the traditions of the Amish and Mennonites was explained.
In basic terms - the Amish are known for simple living, plain dress and reluctance
to adopt modern conveniences and technology.  The Mennonites came about from
reform movements among North American Amish - some live as simply as
Amish others embrace more of the modern world, it's a varying scale.
We then travelled to an Amish community where we visited a Buggy Shop,
these carriages are handmade with metal wheels, the time and expertise is
astounding.  Everything is handwritten and accounted for, hours worked in a tally format -
no computers here!

A finished closed buggy and note the corn stored behind the wood panels.

Following the buggy shop we visited a dairy and store but the highlight
was dinner at a Mennonite home.  The hostess was an elderly lady who has
been cooking for visitors for many years, she has embraced some of the modern
world and catering for this amount of people I truly do not blame her!

We are eating dessert here - delicious apple pie.
In all honesty I do not know how I made room for it because there
were many previous courses. 
To start it was bread with peanut butter and/or apple butter.
Then salad served with fruit flavoured tapioca, yes cold tapioca flavoured with fruit!
I actually found something I did not like.
Main course - beef, chicken, potato and green beans.
Then the courses came around again!
Except apple pie - that was just the one course :)
It was another amazing day in Iowa where I learned so much.
And here I documented my trip in keepsake book.

Thank you for following my holiday journey.
I'm back tomorrow with more.
Take care friends - have a lovely weekend.

Thursday, 21 September 2017

Annabelle's Trousseau and Day 8

Hello friends

Lovely to see all the comments yesterday,
I'm delighted you are enjoying my many holiday pics!

Also it's not too late to leave a comment on Hump Day Giveaway,
a winner is picked next Tuesday evening to be announced on the Wednesday.

Something new...
Over on the website is a whole new collection available to pre-order.

The detail is gorgeous in this collection with different layering frames.
Beautifully designed by Becca Feeken for Spellbinders.

The die set I'm featuring today is Annabelle's Trousseau.

I've allowed the die to do the work, cut in ivory and layered onto some
pretty flowered paper.  The embellishments are silk flowers that I purchased in
the States and a typed and die cut and sentiment.

Annabelle's Trousseau is available to pre-order on the website here.
The entire Chantilly Lace collection can be viewed here.

Worth mentioning: with pre-orders we are guided by the distributor when it 
comes to dates, sometimes they are prompt, sometimes they are not!
Elliott is always on the case chasing them up so please be rest assured 
if you place a pre-order we will get them to you as speedily as we can.
Thank you.

This was my one and only day of overcast cloudy weather in Iowa,
it turned out it was actually due to wildfire smoke from Canada and Montana! 

The weather did not stop us from shopping.
Two days before I flew out to the States I was asked to prepare design boards
and samples for Create and Craft, I had very little time!
Kim to the rescue - we went shopping for crafty items and I 
got ahead with projects - (I actually crafted in their car but more about that later).
We visited Scrapmania, a gem of a store, a real Aladdin's Cave.

They also stock Scrapbook Adhesives by 3L.
I'm modelling Keepsake Envelopes here because I espied that's my project on the front!

After a very productive shopping trip, (I really NEEDED those craft items)
we returned home.
Kim checking the mailbox - how American is that!

I should mention Kim's husband Brian at this point - I have a real soft spot for this lovely gent.
He also cooked these amazing smoked pork chops for dinner that evening.
Brian is indeed a lovely gent and he will appreciate me using the word 'lovely' because
I use it a lot!  We shared many moments of laughter with our accents and 

That evening Brian built a fire in the garden's firepit for us to have 'Smores'.
Something new for me but it involved food so I was game!

Kim and I - it only took about 4 attempts to get us and the fire in this selfie!

A perfect fire.

So 'Smores' - you melt marshmallows on the fire, place between Graham Crackers, 
and a chunk of chocolate.  It's MESSY!
I did not let go of my wine though...!

Another unforgettable experience from my wonderful trip.
Thank you again for sticking with me while I document my days away.

Take care friends - Friday Die Day tomorrow.