Thursday, January 10, 2013

National Park Paper Beads

Every year, my sister sends Beau a calendar for Christmas.  As she knows of his love for the National Parks, they frequently follow this theme. As was the case for the 2012 Calendar. It was beautiful scenic of 13 National Parks.

As we moved into 2013, Beau emerges from his closet wanting to know if I'd like to have the old calender.     Hummm.  I certainly don't want those glorious colors going to waste.  Hummm.    I could turn it into beads.  Decision made.

Making these beads, although a bit time consuming, is very easy.  First, I recommend a heavy glossy paper.  Lighter papers will fall apart when they get damp.    Measure your paper to be a sharp rectangles.  I measured my at the inch mark on one side and the 1/2 inch mark on the opposite.  (1/2 - 1-1/2 etc).

And then, cut out our triangles. 

For these beads, I used Modge Podge for the glue.   Any white glue works just as well.  

First, roll under a tiny edge to form the bead hole, and then butter the backside of the paper.   Sometimes I'll use a small nail to form the bead around.  This gives you a little more control over how large or small your bead opening.  

 And then, just roll it up.  When I get is the end, I generally apply another coat of Modge Podge to the outside to further hold it in place and increase the shine.

As you finish, lay them out on a sheet of waxed or freezer paper to dry - it takes about an hour.  

I typically do a few each time I go out to the kitchen (way to frequently).  There is enough paper here to create several hundred beads, so it take some time to complete.   What am I going to do with them?  I don't know specifically.  These are suitable for a variety of art projects.   As long as they do not become wet, they are very durable.

I've done this before using painted canvas and heavy fabric, this is the first time I've used paper and I'm pleased with the results.

Thanks for dropping by,

Sunday, December 23, 2012

Taco de Paco, a new Tradition

I'm driving down the street between Christmas Shopping stops, when I see it in a side parking lot.  Oh Man ! -- it's the Taco de Paco truck.  I quickly scan traffic, change lanes and pull to a stop in the next side street.  I grab my smart phone (it's growing on me) and dial.    

"Beau", I say, "have you eaten lunch yet?   "No", he responds.
"Then don't; I'll be home shortly"

A quick u-turn, a left turn, a left turn and pull to another stop at Taco de Paco.

A quick scan of the menu and the order is placed - two Juan Burritos and two tacos.  With great anticipation, I await as the line grows larger.  The food delivered, I'm back in the car and again grab the phone.    Ring, ring ring,

"Beau - I'm on my way, get the cold beer and diet coke ready".

And then, finally, it's lunch - Taco de Paco style.

I heard he's at the same spot every Saturday.   Yep ... a new Saturday lunch tradition.   If you've not yet eaten their food, or any taco truck food for that matter, I highly recommend.   It is more than an experience, it's an excellent eat.   And, if you haven't figured it out .... I ate the whole thing; Beau did too. 

Thanks for dropping by, 

Monday, December 17, 2012

Burger King, Savor the Moment

There I am, sitting in a Burger King outside Mobile, AL, across from Beau, having burger and fries and contemplating why putting jalapenos on a burger makes it angry (find link). When, I looked up, and there are two large framed posters on the wall.

I would have dismissed it altogether --- I mean seriously, Savor the Moment, but the dishes caught my attention.

Those burgers are not in snug cardboard boxes, but on plates. And, look at that ketchup in the clear glass condiment bowl, instead of the real life packets that never open nicely. On another wall, over the drink dispenser is the dessert view.

How pretty is that; deserts in clear glass cups served up on a tray?   Check out the actual utensils!

Now, either they are implying that we should buy their food and take it home and merchandise it for company or, under some circumstances, we can get it served other than the usual fast food style. Yes, I know better than that, but I had to finish the thought.

We finished our burgers and while Beau was filling our now 'To Go' waxed paper drink cups, I went up the the young man behind the counter. When I finally had his attention, I asked “Am I able to get my meals served on glass plates like it shows in the posters?” as I pointed to the poster on the wall. He looked at me, looked at the posters, back at me and said “We ain't got no glass plates”.

Yes, I do Savor the moment.

Thanks for dropping by.

Saturday, December 15, 2012

Grand Turk

Vacation Day 7 (or somewhere around there) - Grand Turk is an island that is part Turks and Caicos. The typical island stuff goes on here … snorkeling, diving, sailing, sunbathing and, or course, shopping. It seems I read that there are somewhere around 3600 people that live here; it's a very quiet place, at least until the Cruise ships arrive. We came in at 1pm, right after the Carnival Valor.    

A couple years back, we made our first visit to Grand Turk and discovered a Margaritaville tucked into a back corner. Beau, being a HUGE Jimmy Buffet fan, had to go and we had a great time sitting at the bar, having a couple drinks and watching the party progress. There was no question we were doing the same this trip. There is a shopping square right off the pier. Beau purchased me a pair of silver earrings and we bought T-shirts from Pirana Joes. (A particularly fun brand that is not available in the states). 

 Our new friends Ken and Sue joined us to toil away the three remaining hours at Margaritaville. Although they are incredibly overpriced - $7.50 for a beer, $10 for a drink, it is a place of great atmosphere and fun.

When you sail, most everyone turns off their cell phones and computers. You can get internet access out here but it is a bit expensive – the smallest package being $59 for 150 minutes. As a result, one of the big offerings to get folks into your business is free wi-fi. You can always spot the places. There is a large gathering pressed in elbow to elbow. It's those couple minutes you text, tweet, check e-mail and blog.

And then, the return to ship for a 6:30 sailing. Our last port of call. One more day at sea and this cruise will be over.    Big Sigh ......

Thanks for dropping by,

St Thomas – Vacation Day 7

The usual morning in ship board paradise – except earlier than typical. We purchased a snorkeling trip with our new friends, Ken and Sue. We met on the pier for 8am and took at 40 minute ride across rather choppy water, sprinkled showers, to a cove in the Castaway Girls catamaran. 

 Here we donned our fins and snorkel gear and spent around an hour and a half in the water. The water is warm, mostly clear and the fish were both colorful and in abundance. Definitely beat the snorkeling at Princess Cay.

Many tourists shop at St. Thomas, they have blocks and blocks lined with shops – a whole lot of jewelry and then the typical T-shirts and curios. We shopped only the dock shops and got away with just a couple bottles of Crown Royale (about ½ the price as the states).

A nice dinner with our table mates, Karaoke and a Marriage Game in one of the lounges and off to bed … before 11pm, of course.

Thanks for dropping by, 

St Maarten, Vacation Day 6

The weather turned windy and we chugged along at a good pace all through the night with a fair amount of sway and a whole lot of creaks and groans from the ship herself. We arrived here at St. Maarten around 10:00 am, and they had at least 60% of us off the ship (those who wanted) before 10:40 – great turn around time. Our initial plans was an excursion to Orient Beach, complete with lunch and rum punch. The excursion leader, however, explained the wind on that beach was 20-30 MPH and it would not be safe to get in the water; sand would be blowing in our faces. We, of course, changed our mind, got a refund and headed off to shop

The island here is governed half by the French and half by the Dutch. The French call it Sint Maarten and the Dutch, Saint Martin. There's a lovely coast line, nested at the base of tree filled hills, the people are very friendly (which is not necessarily customary among the islands ), English is the language, and as with any tourist area, the liquor flows. The major difference here is the shopping experience. Whereas most US tourist areas are filled with T-Shirt and Curio shops, here you have upscale jewelry and linens.

We took a water taxi into town and spent a good 5 hours browsing the shops, eating some lunch and several stops for drinks and rest. The doctor changed my drug mixture two weeks ago and although I'm getting around much better, I have to take things in 30 minute stints.

Every year, I purchase a pair of Swavorski Crystal earrings; this year it is hoops, along with linens. Beau found his favorite cologne, Joop, which is no longer available in the states.

As I go along through the day, I took a variety of pictures to share moments of interest (mine), but, I've not yet the camera under control and I took videos instead. When we get back home, I'll have to learn how to pull individual shots out of a video and update this post. Until then …..

thanks for dropping by,

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Princess Cay Bahamas – Day 4

Sleep at sea is quite restful. I must be something about the 'mostly' gentle rocking of the ship and the near silent hum of the engines. Or, perhaps it is the alcohol. Either way. This is our tenth cruise and we have our routines. Beau wakes and goes out to bring back coffee. (He could get it delivered but can never be sure what time he'll wake). Then he reads on the deck until I get up. Breakfast has to be in first order; after all, it's not been almost 12 hours since we've eaten – almost unheard of in cruising life.

Sidebar : Check out the size of these plates. Truly sinful, this plate is 14” x 10” - large enough that it could literally feed 2 – 3 people. I suppose the point is keeping us out of the buffet line, or making sure we have at least one thing we can't complain about (ya right). Beau was saying (I should have photo'd his plate), that we didn't plan on eating potatoes, but each time he got near them, they just jumped on his plate while he wasn't looking. I'm staying away from them just in case!

Today we are at Princess Cays, Bahamas. There are reefs here, so we have to dock about 1 mile off the coast and go in on ship tender boats. This is one of the Bahama Islands where Princess bought and end portion. They built little facilities and it is an area for the exclusive use of their ships. Mostly meaning, we are a contained audience and they don't have to share any of the profits with outside vendors. Upon arrival, princess haul all the necessary (which is a lot) of food and drink to the shore and get it set up. It's a pretty place, and they offer a variety of water activities, from sunbathing to jet skis'.

We opted to snorkle, which was a semi-mistake on our part. Beau appeared over his cold from earlier in the week, but wasn't able to breathe in the snorkle and just sat in the surf filling his trunks with rocky sand. I went in hunt of the fish. Apparently there were nice coral reefs here, you can see some signs, but they are mostly dead now. Under the murky water, and a good hours swim, I counted only 12 fish. Now, it was pointed out to me later at dinner that I didn't have my glasses on and I may have been surrounded by fish, but I counted just 12 and I'm standing by that.   (That's the Ruby Princess in the background)

After sunbathing, we tendered back to the ship for a shower, dinner, a comedy show in the theater, a talented young singer in the lounge and bed.

Not a bad day at all.