Category Archives: Travel Journal

Basic Grey Cappella; travel notes from the Biltmore

When I first saw Basic Grey’s new Cappella series I knew I would make a wedding card from it!  It has such a pretty vintage look to it with colors of cream, chocolate, greens and a touch of light blue. 

I made this card with one sheet of the designer paper along with some chocolate and sky cardstock. 

The center sentiment was double matted by using two sizes of nestabilities ovals.  While the sentiment is computer generated, I stamped some miscellaneous leaf images in versamark over it.  Chocolate satin ribbon and pearls were added for a little flair. 

After I put this together I thought it would have been nice to punch the corners with a ticket punch and add more pearls, but it was too late!

Notes from the travel journal:  The Biltmore Estate

Towards the end of the Blue Ridge Parkway we stopped in Asheville, NC to tour the Biltmore Estate.  Let me tell you a few things about it and why it did not make my “recommend” list.

The Biltmore Estate is a 250 room French Chateau mansion on 8000 acres built by George Vanderbuilt as a county home, the largest in America.   The home as well as the surrounding gardens and landscaping are stunning.

Your ticket provides a day long pass to the house and gardens – tickets are issued by a reserve time.  We arrived at 11:40 and got a ticket for 12:00.  I imagine in the summer months and at Christmas it may be busier.    With the ticket you get a pamphlet that  helps you through the self guided tour.  The tour is easy to follow and provides access to some of the rooms on the first through 4th floors, as well as the basement area and the gardens.

The house is filled with antiques, paintings and tapestries and is breathtaking.  Equally impressive is the garden and greenhouse.  If you go, make sure you walk down through the gardens (the rose garden is incredibly lovely) and into the greenhouse.  Past the greenhouse are signs for the “Waterfall and Bass Pond”.  You can skip this.  The pond is ok (saw no bass) and the waterfall, well, it is falling water, but really just run-off from the pond and not what I expected.  Once you leave the estate, the road takes you around the pond anyway, as well as through the rest of the estate grounds.

There are shops and places to eat on the estate grounds.  The old stable area in the house has been converted to the Stable Restaraunt  – it was very interesting to see how they made it into an eatery!

Here is why I  don’t recommend it. When I travel, my time is limited and I want to get the best value for my money.  In my mind the Biltmore is just a bit too expensive.  The basic ticket cost $60, which provided the pamphlet for the self guided tour.  If you wanted the audio guide that was another $10 extra.  And if you wanted the “behind the scenes” tour, or some of the other special tours that take you into other areas in the house, you can spend another $17 on top of that.  So, for the two of us with the audio guide and extra tour it would have cost $174.  We opted for just the main entry fee of $60, which if you buy online can get for $55 – provided you know exactly what time you can be there. 

I would imagine that the estate upkeep is expensive and I don’t beleive they take any government funds, so the entry fee, shops and restaurants are the way to  finance the upkeep.  With the high entry fee, I think they could have  at least include the audio guide.

For my money and time, while I enjoyed this tour, I felt I had a better value when I visited the homes of George Washington at Mount Vernon and Thomas Jefferson at Monticello.

Thanks for stopping by today!

Letterpress – take 2; travel notes – a rainbow of greens

I first tried the L Letterpress dies and inks back in April with no success (see my brief notes on this page here  Essentially Letterpress is debossing images with ink onto a paper.  In my first try I had trouble with getting the ink on only  the small die (and nowhere else), and the die kept slipping even with their adhesive sheets.  What  ended up was a mess!

My local Hobby Lobby had a sale this past week on all L Letterpress items (30% off), so I decided to get a different die, some Letterpress paper and more ink in other colors.  

My results were much better this time around.  Here is my clean and simple card – you really can’t see the debossing in this photo, but it came out very nice.

I think my results were more successful this time around for a few  reasons.

First – I used the L Letterpress paper.  This is heavyweight, but soft paper that takes impressions well.  I selected a package of 40  A2 flat pieces and with the sale price it came to $4.90.  The Letterpress die made a nice impression in the paper – I tried it first without ink  and then again with ink – both results were clean and crisp.   My only disappointment was the card size.  Since my background die was about a 6″ square it would have been nice to have paper close to this size.  I believe you can get full sheets of Letterpress paper and I may just do that instead of purchasing the cards.

Second:  The background and sentiment die used in this card have a larger “footprint” than  in my first try  – which was a delicate and very narrow flourish die.  Because the dies used today were larger, I was able to apply the ink better.  I ended up with no smudges – in fact my card done on the first try!  The small smudges on the sentiment came from me handling the paper before the ink was dry.  (Letterpress ink takes a loooong time to dry).    In the future I will stick to dies with larger footprints  –  I especially like the backgrounds.  My card was made with the “Everyday – Blossoms” kit, which contains the background and sentiment shown here,  as well as 4 floral images, 3 other sentiments and one long, narrow decorative line.  I will probably never use the long decorative line because it is so narrow, but the rest of the pieces will be usable.  The price, with the 30% discount came to $17.50, but you can get it cheaper if you wait until it is not on sale and use your 40% off coupon.  So, for about the cost of a stamp set you can get a background image and 8 other images that can be used both with and without ink. 

Third –  I don’t use the adhesive sheets that come with the dies as they just don’t do the job.  I use scotch double stick tape.  And I did not use the little foam pieces that came with the Letterpress starter kit.    The pieces of foam are supposed to be used to hold your paper in place, but there is just too much “give” in them and can cause your paper to shift.  Instead, I used scotch reposition-able tape  at the top and bottom of my paper, which means I lost a little bit  of usable paper once the ink was applied (because the tape covered a small portion of the paper).  This is another reason to get larger sheets of letterpress paper!  Anyway, the reposition-able tape worked well.

So, my second time around with L Letterpress was much better and I think more dies (with a 40% coupon of course!) will be in my future!.

Notes from the Travel Journal:  a rainbow of greens

From the Outer Banks, NC, we traveled north to Virginia to drive the entire length of the Blue Ridge Parkway.   The 460 mile scenic road follows the Appalachian mountain ridgetops through much of its course and takes you through 4 states – Virginia, North and South Caroline and Tennessee. 

The drive through the mountains is serene as well as scenic.  I marveled the “rainbow of greens” here!  There was every shade of green imaginable  – from the deepest black green to a sage green that looked white in the sunlight, to pretty yellow greens, and every green in between.  Interspersed in all this greenery were pops of bright colors from the flowers and shrubs: pink and purple rhododendrons, flaming orange  and red azaleas, white hydrangeas, and small blue flowers called bluets. 

If you are going to travel the parkway, get your hands on a copy of the free Blue Ridge Parkway Directory and Travel planner.  It tells you,  by mile marker, the sites and towns along the way.  There are several visitor centers on the parkway, but no gas stations and the directory provides  information on where to stop for gas and food and lodging.

One of the most picturesque places on the parkway is at mile marker 176, the site of the old Mabry Mill.  This gristmill offers demonstrations during the summer months (a week after we were here), but were able to walk the grounds and into the mill and get a sense of what life was like 100 years ago. 

 Photos of this mill are on many of calendars and postcards – here is my scenic shot – the reflection of the mill came out great and the pink flowers on the right help to frame the shot.

Thanks for stopping by today.  In my next post I’ll talk about our last stop before heading home – Asheville, the home of the Biltmore Estate and tell you why I don’t recommend it as a place to visit.

Up, up and away; recreating a famous photograph

Today’s challenge at SCS was to create a card based on things you collect – that is other than craft supplies!  I really don’t collect anything, but Orvil is an aviation aficionado so I thought I would make a airplane themed card with more masculine colors.

I stamped the plane image (from Sunday International) in Memento ink and colored with a red marker.  I sponged blue for the sky and green for some hills.    I drew a couple of lines off of the tail of the plane and attached the sentiment (from Papertrey) to make it look like a banner.

The green paper is swiss dot textured paper from Bazzill.    This is a quick and easy card that can be converted to a father’s day card by changing out the sentiment.

Notes from the travel journal – recreating a famous photograph

While in the Outer Banks we visited the Wright Brothers Memorial and Museum.  This is the place where the brothers spent years testing their aircraft.  Most people associate Kitty Hawk with the first airplane flight, but is was actually a few miles south on a field in Kill Devil Hills where the historic flight took place. 

How often are you able to get an action photograph on the first try?  How about one to record a historic moment?  Take a look at this photo – it records the first time an airplane took flight over one hundred years ago.  Orville Wright is flying and Wilbur is running along side the plane.  The brothers were the only ones who had ever used a camera on the field that day, so who took the photo?  

The brothers set the camera up and positioned it where they thought the airplane would leave the ground.   They enlisted the help of a bystander, John Daniels, to push the shutter.  With a little ingenuity and alot of luck he snapped this photo.  It was the first and only picture he would ever take!   It really makes you think just how incredible this photo is.

The museum has a set of bronze sculptures set up on the field showing this moment and they invite you to stand where John Daniels stood and try to recreate the photo.  Here is my photo – made black and white for effect.  The grounds were different 100 years ago (sand instead of a grassy field) but I think it turned out ok!

The brothers learned alot that day, including the first rule of aviation – tie the plane down when you are done.  After the 4th flight that day a large gust of wind picked up the plane, flipped it over a few times and it crashed – leaving it damaged beyond repair.

As we were leaving we turned on the radio and the shuttle Atlantis was just lifting off.  We both marveled about how fast aviation progressed since the Wright  Brothers flight that day.  It only took 66 years to go from that day to the moon walk.   I wondered if the brothers ever envisioned space flight during those early years?  Orville lived until 1948 so he saw aviation through WWII – did he realize flying into space was going to be a reality?

Thanks so much for stopping by today – from the Outer Banks we traveled north into Virginia to travel the entire length of the Blue Ridge Parkway, stopping in Asheville to visit the Biltmore Estate.  I’ll share more of our travels in my next post.

A summertime card, more travel notes

Here is a quick and easy card for two SCS challenges this week.

The dandelion image is from  Hero Arts and only a portion of it is shown here, the sentiment is from Flourishes.  You can’t tell from the photo but the lower portion of the blue card was stamped using PTI’s background text stamp.  I’m just a little disappointed in this set because I thought the text would be larger.  I stamped all images in Pacific Point ink.  The card stock is from SU, the ribbon from Michaels.

More notes from the travel Journal – how do you miss a big lighthouse?

We left Savannah and drove up to the Outer Banks of North Carolina, a series of barrier islands.  The area is beautiful and had a rugged quality to it.   There are tons of beach houses in this area and I imagine it is very busy in the summer.  We were here just before the high season and really enjoyed it.

How do you miss a 200 ft tall, black and white striped lighthouse?  As we crested the bridge to bring us to the island where the Cape Hatteras lighthouse is, we saw the lighthouse off to the side and figured it was just a short drive.  Once we came down the bridge the lighthouse went out of site.

We drove and drove and realized we must have missed it because we ended up at the end of the island!  So, we stopped at a store and was told to  turn around and go past the elementary school.

We did, drove some more and were very close back to the other end of the island – still no lighthouse!  We stopped once again at a gas station and were told that it was about 200 yards more on the right.

Again we drove some more and saw the sign we missed on the way in and turned into the park – lo and behold there it is!  You can’t see the lighthouse from the street, but the sign is big enough that we should not have missed it! It’s a beautiful lighthouse – you can climb up inside, but it is the equivalent of going up a 12 story building so we passed!

We stayed at the Best Western in Kill Devil Hills – right on water with a great ocean view.  Here’s my beef with hotels..we ask for a non smoking room.  Upon check in we have to sign our life away saying we won’t smoke in the room or we’ll be fined $200.   We walk into the room and smelled the terrible aroma of stale smoke. 

Obviously the room at one time had been a smoking room, but when the hotel changed it to non smoking they failed to replace the carpet and drapes and did not repaint.  We went down to the front desk and got another room which was a true non smoking room.   Other than this little issue we enjoyed our stay.  All the rooms are suites and the ocean view was incredible.   Included in the cost of the room was a full hot breakfast.

If you are visiting the area, have a meal at the Outer Banks Brewing Station – a restaurant and micro brewery on the main street in Kill Devil Hills.  I had one of the most tenderest steaks there and Orvil had a shrimp platter with enough food to feed two.  It’s America’s first wind powered pub and restaurant!

If you are a scrapbooker visit Beach Memories –  the Scrapbookers Paradise, also in Kill Devil Hills.  They have a nice selection of Outer Banks related paper and embellishments.   I picked up a nice lighthouse stamp there and hope to use it soon.

I’ll share more notes about the Outer Banks and our visit to the Wright Brothers memorial and museum in my next post.

Thanks for stopping by today!

tim holtz, travel notes

We’re back from our road trip !  Had a great time and I’ll share some notes from the travel journal later on in this post.

While I love traveling it was great to get back home and  to my craft room.  This card was based on todays SCS inspiration challenge.  The challenge was to create something inspired by the eye candy at the Amy Atlas Events.  There was so much to look at and her creations look luscious!  My inspiration piece was the pink and brown wedding desert table shown on page 16 of the “eye candy” link.

I started with a chocolate card base and added designer paper from the Basic Grey Sultry series.  The front panel was cut with my new Tim Holz edge dies – this one is called Brackets and it has two different edge cuts on one die.  The dies are unique in that they cut on the edge of a piece of paper, hence the name, and can cut through heavier chipboard.

I cut this using my Cuttlebug – since the dies are thick I only needed to use the two B plates – easy peasy!  The sentiment is from Fiskars and with weddings and graduations coming up this summer its one I will use often!

Other embellishments used were chocolate velvet ribbon, a prima flower, a copper brad that was colored with a copic marker to make it more brown and some chocolate pearls.  I sponged the cut edges with Memento ink, which was also used for the sentiment.

The card is about 5.5″ square and is big enough to be made into a mini album.

Notes from the Travel Journal…

I thought I would share some experiences from our recent road trip.  Orvil and I have traveled much of the USA, primarily via car or motorcycle.  We usually have a general route in mind with a few specific places to stop along the way.  We like to take  the back road and scenic highways. 

Our first stop was in Savannah, Georgia – what a charming southern city!  This historic area is striking with all the old homes, parks and trees.  We took the “Historic Savannah” trolley tour – a 90 minute guided tour which stopped at many of the hot spots in the historic area.  Our ticket provided for “on/off” privileges so if we wanted to stop and look at an area we could then catch the next trolley.  There is also a free shuttle that will take you to many, but not all, of the same areas.  By the way, the Paula Deen food tour, which included lunch at her restaurant, also looked good!

Savannah has some stunning examples of wrought iron, beautiful trees and many “squares” (parks), the most famous being the one in Forrest Gump where he is sitting on the bench eating the box of chocolates.  We were told that bench was purchased at the local Home Depot and is available!

We stayed at the Marriott Residence Inn – which was just a block away from the visitor center where all the tours start, and our hotel was one of the stops on the free shuttle as well.    We didn’t plan it that way it just worked out! 

The Visitor Center is the old railroad station and is beautiful.   The large windows were designed in the shape of the Liberty Bell.  The downtown waterfront has been developed by keeping the old Cotton Exchange buildings intact and creating a nice waterfront full of shops and restaurants.  The charming gas lanterns still work in this area!  During our walk here we purchased some pralines and candied pecans – a must!!

We continued our travels to the Outer Banks of NC to the Blue Ridge Parkway and on to Asheville, SC.  I’ll share more of our  trip in the next few posts.

Thanks for stopping by today!