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Saturday, June 30, 2012

Red and White Canada Day Theme

Canada Day sparks getting together with friends, cooking up some great food and having a barbeque even if the weather doesn’t totally cooperate. Hopefully the sun will shine at least for a good portion of the day we will celebrate regardless. I picked up some big citronella candles in red and white tins with the Canadian flag on them, a big tall candlestick in the same theme to put in a planter and a pretty pot of white and red petunias. Along with a few other goodies like cups, candles, napkins, etc. in red and white.  For dessert I made a large strawberry trifle to go with the red and white theme of course. Looks delicious, just got to keep my boys away from it  now, until tomorrow!   Just a few more preparations and we’ll be set.  It’s kind of fun to do a theme party or barbeque. With summer nights approaching it’s a great time to invite friends and family over. Why not make a theme of it… a few ideas could be a pool party theme, watermelon theme, flip flops or beach theme, maybe a Hawaiian theme… such fun!  I have lots of cute theme party invitations in my store, maybe one will catch your interest. Stop by for a visit to see what’s new, I am adding new items and designs daily. 

Happy Canada Day to my Canadian readers and Happy Fourth of July to my American followers, you’ll be celebrating soon too!


Sunday, June 24, 2012

The Love of Flowers

Summer is officially here! It seems like we’ve had a rather long bout of rainy weather and I am so looking forward to some sunny days! Along with the sunshine comes gardening, fresh local fruit and vegetables and beautiful flowers. I’ve already been to the local market this morning to get fruit and veggies. Only a 5 minute trip away, we are so blessed. Summer time makes me think of bright and vibrant colors blooming in the gardens. As a nature and flower lover summer is one of my favourite times to get out and capture pictures of flowers in different stages of bloom. I love the flowers covered in dew first thing in the morning and then when the afternoon sun is shining down on them as well as the play of the evening shadows. I recently visited two botanical gardens, in Rome, Italy. There were many different plants and flowers that I had not seen or heard of before. I was able to get some great pictures which I’m using on several products in my store. Roses seemed to be everywhere in Italy, in different varieties and colors.

Here is a sampling, if you’d like to view more of my floral photography stop my store Designs by Shell for a look around!


Saturday, June 16, 2012

Foreign Food

As I was enjoying some homemade french toast and coffee this morning I got to thinking about the way different countries eat different types of food. For instance as I was recently in Italy, the cuisine they have there is a little different from what I eat at home here in Canada. Breads, buns, warm croissants, wafers and yoghurt make up a common breakfast in Italy, not toasted bread like we have just plain bread.  Lunches and dinners almost always contain pasta or pizza. I know, common for Italy but sometimes I just wanted some rice, vegetables or potatoes. 

As we travelled further to German countries the cuisine changed. Breakfasts in Germany always offered a variety of cheeses, meats and bread and buns. This was a little strange to us as we are not accustomed to eating cheese and meat in the morning. They also had dried cereals, yoghurt and lots of fruit too! Lunches and dinners in Germany consisted of bratwurst, schnitzel, sauerkraut, pork, dumplings and potato dishes. (My husband was in food heaven)They did have salads and a few vegetarian options.  However, it was nice to get back home to eating the type of food I am used too! Something about your own comfort food I guess!

One thing that did grow on me was the cappuccino’s. Until Italy I had only tried a cappuccino once and didn’t like it, but ‘when in Rome’… I tried them again and got totally hooked on them, so good! Some days I think I had up to three cappuccino’s in one day. I have cut back since being home but I do order cappuccino or coffee latte’s at Starbucks now.

Well still getting back into the groove of designing products, right now I’m mainly using my photography that I took while away. Creating some fabulous products with these. Here’s a sample below. Drop by my store to see more … I just finished some calendars of sites in Italy and castles in Germany.


Saturday, June 9, 2012

Europe and Back

I can hardly believe that a few days ago I was walking the streets of Berlin, Germany. Time sure has a way of disappearing. My husband Brian and I had an amazing 3 and 1/2 weeks travelling in Italy and Germany. In Rome, Italy we arrived in the evening and after checking in to our B & B which was right in the center of the downtown of Rome, a close walk to most everything we had our first meal at a Piazza. We then walked around to familiarize ourselves with our surroundings, it didn’t take long and we were lost. It took us about two hours of back tracking and getting ourselves all turned around to finally get back to our B & B. An adventure in itself… The cobblestone streets and the buildings being so close together really mess you up in terms of direction.

Highlights in Rome, were definitely the tours that we did. Our first tour was of ‘The Coliseum’, amazing architectural structure built in 1334, used for gladiator and beastly fights. Also known as one of the great wonders of the world. Our tour guide ‘Laura’ was fabulous, very well educated about the ‘Coliseum’. The guides on all the tours that we did really made the sites exciting with their stories and history of each place. I definitely recommend tours for the main attractions in Italy. We toured the Vatican, St. Peters Basilica, The Roman Forum, Crypts and Catacombs. Visited many unique little shops, (my husband got dragged into a lot of purse & shoe shops) ate great food, visited many churches and museums and of course got our fill of gelato. Fabulous city, so many pictures and memories.

Germany was a beautiful country to spend time in, driving wandering country roads with the most amazing rolling green hills, lush trees, and scenery was a treat too. We visited a number of small German towns. a high light for me was our visit to Hohenschwangau to see the Schloss Hohenschwangau Castle and the Schloss Neuschwanstein Castle. We stayed here and had a romantic room with a view of the Neuschwanstein Castle.  Another highlight for me was visiting the town of Sababurg, Germany, where the Grimm Brother’s Sleeping Beauty Castle was. Very interesting, I created a page on this already, you’ll want to definitely read about it here. We ended our journey in Berlin, Germany and got to see what still stands of the ‘Berlin Wall’ and check point Charlie as well as many other great sites on the 5 hour bike tour that we did. So much fun…

I could go on for awhile about all the wonderful places, towns, and sites we saw but I’ll stop for now. Below is a sampling of just a few pictures I’ve used on designs, there’ll be lots more to come!

Sleeping Beauty's Castle Posters