30 July 2018

Quick trip to Athens

Hello Everyone, Thank you for your concern regarding the fires in Athens.  A terrible tragedy, but we are very far removed from the horrible disaster. We did happen to be in Athens last week, just before the fires started, but were there for only 1 night, a quick trip to renew the kids passports.
Here are some pictures to show you what we did while there, mostly all about the food!
We immediately stopped at KFC, Arthur's favorite fast food place, Nik gives it a thumbs up as well.
Katerina was bummed she wanted McDonalds
SO 5 minutes later we walked across the street and ate at McD's!! Now everybody is happy but mama(me).  It really is fantastic that they have both KFC and McDonald's in such a local location of Syntagma Square, the main metro station stops here just across the road.  It's an easy walk to all of the ancient sites.  We are what I would call expats, so I can understand why we were eating at all of the American fast food places, but what I find disgusting is seeing all the Americans that are just off of the plane from America eating at these places.  I mean come on people, you cross half the world to eat this *&%* ????
What I have been craving is some Mexican food, so we looked on-line before leaving the house and found a Mexican restaurant just down 2 blocks and around the corner from these American fast food places, woohoo, so excited and it was so good!
Oh but wait we did take a food break first and walked around the National Gardens just across from Syntagma Square and next to the Parliament building, which is worth seeing the changing of the guard if you haven't been to Athens before.  The gardens are huge and we got a little lost, and never did find the playground, not sure if there really is one?
On our way out we saw the Temple of Olympian Zeus.
Inside the park the greenery was amazing, different plants from around the world, check out this huge cactus, I can't even imagine when it was planted, it was next to a pond filled with lots of Koi fish.

They also had a Zoo, now I will use this term loosely because well it was not very impressive, haha.  They had some goats and rabbits and several different kinds of birds.
A lot of it was abandoned and perhaps at one time it was so much grander,

but now it was more like a forgotten part of history the most populated area was a pond filled with turtles, a lot of turtles, I mean a lot, no photographs of that, because it was kind of disgusting.
I really liked these flowers, very cottage garden style and they were growing in abundance, does anyone know the name of them?

 It's back to eating time!! Let's do Mexican food, we found this place called Mamacita's, the art work on the walls was fantastic and it had the most authentic Mexican food I have had since living in Greece (I will have to tell you some of my horror stories another time).
Pina Colada anyone?  I haven't had one of these in years, decades! It was kind of a tie, this or a margarita, but the margarita glasses were super tiny, so I went with the bigger glass, wink wink.

We ordered nachos and soft tacos and I had fajitas, so so good. The guacamole dip was fresh and not brown, like other restaurants I have been to.
In typical Greek style it was a little too much food, I would have preferred a cheaper price with a little less food, I am guessing there was 2 maybe 3 chicken breast on my plate, so much food.  But really good!

Also for my fabric loving friends I finally found a fabric store that had cotton fabrics, it is right across from Starbucks, just down and a little off of Ermou street, a very popular street for shopping.
 I was really impressed with their selection and wish my husband wasn't with me, cause that meant I didn't get to buy anything, boohoo.  But a great selection of linen and cotton and in so many beautiful colors and at great prices the one piece I had my hands on was only 7.50 euro's a meter, sigh, such a beautiful blue.  I will definitely be returning here when we need to decorate our new B&B.  There are several other fabric stores, up and down in this area, but most are old style fabrics, not in my style and the husband wouldn't let me explore the interiors, but I would suggest visiting Natural Greek Fabrics if you are in Athens.  Also who could ask for a better view, just looking down the street and I could see the Parthenon!

So that was our day in Athens, we also enjoyed some Ice-Cream and the next day we went to the Embassy to renew the kids passports, we ate KFC and McDonald's one last time.  We also purchased enough to take home for the 5 hour train ride. 
We love to travel to see historical sites, but our favorite thing to do when we leave our house and explore new areas is to eat.  While normally not in Athens or Thessoloniki we enjoy great Greek food and if you are traveling here, please eat Greek food, start with Tzatiki a greek yogurt dip, then have a Greek salad, then enjoy a dish specifically Greek, Pastitsio (greek lasagna), Greek lamb, Calamari, or even if you want fast food, eat a Gyro, please don't come all the way to Greece to eat at KFC or McDonald's, please.

07 April 2018

Easy Quilter's Washi Card

This is by far the easiest card you can ever make, super simple.  If your favorite fabric designer is Alison Glass or Tula Pink, you can find their fabrics in my Etsy shop as Fabric Washi.
Supplies: Quilter's Fabric Washi, Stamp, Ink Pad, Card Stock and zigzag Scissors/Pinking shears (optional)

First Trim your Quilter's Washi Tape with the zigzag Scissors, this step is optional, but I think it adds just a bit of fun to the fabric washi.  I cut my strips to 2" and then trimmed around them.

Next stamp your image on the fabric, you may want to test your ink first to make sure it shows up on the fabric, I used some Craft and Every Surface ink that I happened to already have on hand.
Then just peel the tape backing off and place it on your card, see easy peasy!
I also used the Quilter's Washi Tape in Alison Glass's 2018 SunPrints
To make this Pennant card, using the Diatom print.
You can pick up your favorite Fabric washi in my shop MaraCreates!

17 March 2018

Mind Blowing

Hello, hello, I am about ready to share what has blown my mind this last week!
A new to me way to get the photographs I have always wanted!
When I see someone making great photos, I ask them, how do you make such great photos, and they are always so nice to share their secrets.  The top two seem to be...
1. Photograph next to a sunny window
2. Use a photo enhancing program, like photoshop
Well I try to photograph by a sunny window, I only have one room with a window, but I do try to make it there when the sun is shining.  The photoshop thing though was way out of my pay league at this moment, so that was a big fat no, on using that tip.

I have also taken Photography classes with Craftsy, I found these 2 really helpful, Product Photography At Home using the tip about the paper backing was helpful and I found something similar at my local paper shop.  Look at this before and after photo, just from changing my "background"
Not a huge difference, but noticeable, just by changing the background to a flat white roll of paper

The next class was Basics of digital photography I really likes his class, because I was actually able to remember all the information about Aperture and etc.  I have taken many photography classes, but most of the info just goes in one ear and out the other, but for some reason when he talked about it, I was finally able to understand.  Of course it might of helped that he did his photography in New Mexico and it made me slightly homesick so I watched the videos with an eagle eye.

How were you able to watch all of these classes you ask?  Did you come into some money?  No I didn't come into money but Craftsy now has a program called Craftsy Unlimited and it is awesome, I only signed up for a month, but I would love to sign up full time, it was wonderful being able to watch whatever class I wanted without feeling the pressure of what if I don't like the class.  When in College I always signed up for 18 or 21 credits, just in case there was a class I didn't like, I could easily drop it and not worry about going below my 15 credits a semester rule.  This is how I felt about the Craftsy Unlimited, I could start to watch a class, but if I didn't click with the teacher or found the subject wasn't what I wasn't looking for, no problem I would stop watching and look for a different class.
On the left is the flat white background, and on the right is after I have used FotoFuze

Now to tell you about the FREE computer site that will take your photos from looking drab to fab..
This takes your I tried to make this a white background and makes them truly white.  I think it adds a professional look to my pictures, like they are out of a magazine.
This one here is more noticeable in the difference, using the FotoFuze photography editing software.

Where did I hear about this site?  Well this is another thing you will need to do if you are a Etsy seller or a Small Business owner, go sign up for Renae Christine FREE webinar titled,"Your First 100 Etsy Sales", you can find her HERE.

So what do you think?  I'm excited to do more of the things that Renae mentions in her webinar, exciting things to come.
  #washisnackpacks filled with fabric washi and 2.5" charm pack.

24 December 2017

Winner's and the sicky ickies!

I have my 3 winner's! 
The first winner is from the blog Barbara, she is the sweetest and I am so happy to send her a thread of Aurifil to try.  Congratulations Barbara!

The second winner to try out a spool of Aurifil is Kari_627swaps from Instagram
Congratulations Kari, so excited for you :) 

And the "Grand Prize Winner" of 3 Large spools of Aurifil and 6 FQ's of Art Gallery Fabrics goes to Quilts in Texas on Instagram
Congratulation Hilda! 

Now for an explanation of the delay in getting the winner's out, if you want to read about the sicky ickies you can continue reading :)

It's been a rough 4 weeks, Katerina was sick with a virus of vomiting and diarrhea, but then she also got a cold with a fever and a cough and that is why we ended up in the hospital we couldn't control the fever and in the end she wasn't eating anything.  So we checked into the hospital for 4 days to get her fever under control and to get some fluids in her.  Her cough continued but everything else was cleared up, if you know what I mean ;)

Cute picture of Kat from when she had the sickie ickies, she actually let me take a pic of her :)
Next Nik was home a week with the vomiting and diarrhea :( finally he got over that and then Arthur (my husband) was taken out with the cold of a fever and cough.  And then I got the fever and cough and just was able to drag myself out of bed yesterday after spending the last 4 days tucked up and it's not done yet, Nik now has the fever and cough.  So we are all coughing up a storm here, it has been a true icky month and I hope we will all be healed by the end of December so we can start enjoying ourselves again!

05 December 2017

Mister Domestic's Tool Box and Aurifil Giveaway!

I was so excited to have won Mister Domestic's Aurifil Tool Box, if you don't know who Mathew is, I would suggest you go and check him out.  He is super amazing and always creating something that makes me say ooohhhhh...... you can find his blog here or on Facebook and Instagram as well.

He also does a lot of YouTube videos and even did one about the reason's he picked these 12 colors for his Aurifil Tool Box, go check it out here.
I was going to go into details about the threads, but you can really get all the info you need from his YouTube video, but I do want to share some of this thread.
So first I will be sending 2 threads to 2 different people who have never tried Aurifil before, gasp, what are you waiting for, just kidding.
  Both 50wt and very nice basics, the white white is Aurifil #2024 and what I like to call linen color is Aurifil #2312  Tell me in the comments if you have never tried Aurifil before and if you are a white white kind of sewer or more of a linen girl/guy.
Also I want to give away these 3 colors and 6 FQ's of Art Gallery Fabrics.
A mixture of weights, 50 wt. #2410 my favorite pink, 40wt. #2810 a gorgeous blue and the 28wt #2140 a stunning gold perfect for top stitching.
If you have sewn with Aurifil tell me what is your favorite color?  I use 2021 as my white (more like snow if you use those colors of fabric) and 4241 as my black (it's a blue black matches a lot of lovely fabrics out there) but my favorite blender is the #2600 Dove a nice grey.
Giveaway ends December 15th a Friday.

27 November 2017

What's a Name Day

I have always wanted to explain what a Name Day meant to non-Greeks.  It is really brilliant on the Greeks part, instead of celebrating Birth-days, the day you are born, they celebrate your name day.  Pretty much every Calendar year is the same, for example Nikolaos name day is December 6th every year, Katerina is celebrated on November 25th.  So every Katerina that you know you call her or visit her on her name day and wish her a Χρονια Πολλα (meaning Many Years).  So simple, you don't need to remember individual birthdays, just call all your friends that are named Katerina on the same day and your done, lol.
So since Katerina's name day fell on a Saturday this year we took the kids up to Thessaloniki for a day of fun.  Thessaloniki is a 3 hour trip and we paid over 20euros in tolls, the new government used to fight and block tolls because of the "expense" and yet now that they are in power our trip cost have gone up 30% and that's just the tolls, gas price is also up!   Right now at market a barrel of gas is at 59, and we pay 1.58euro a liter at the station or $7 a gallon for my American friends.  At the time of the old government a barrel was going for around 120 and we were only paying 1.35/1.40 euro a liter!  A good price considering the cost, what in the world is the new government doing with the money, a little rant, they got into power saying how they were going to cut taxes and etc. but OMG!  they are just gauging us with new taxes every day!  Our phone bill went up 30euros last month, not because I was calling my American family or anything just in taxes, extra taxes!!!
Okay back to our fun trip, that cost 120euros just for gas :)
We got even more food after this order!

We stopped at McDonald's first, no I never ate it while living in the States, but we love eating it here!  The Greek equivalent is Goody's and the burgers taste like cardboard, yuk.

I found the new McDonald's decorations disturbing, life size pixelated pictures of people doing things, a Grandfather and Grandmother reading on a couch, a couple walking their dogs, etc.

But they did have these cool magic tables that the kids played on, pretty sweet, and you could also order inside from a computer screen and with a credit card, kinda weird.
After McD's we went to the mall to watch a movie and walk off our overeating post belly's, we saw Despicable Me 3, it was fun, and then we ate at KFC, yes we ate again, haha.
Katerina also got a toy her first LOL doll and she hit the jackpot by getting the Ultra Rare glitterati Splash Queen I think is her name.
Anyways, to sum it up a name day is kind of like the birth day but everyone with the same name celebrates the same day, Nik's will be next!

25 May 2017

Riding An Ambulance

I took a little detour in my future business plans to go on my first Ambulance ride.  Let's back up a little, Nik got the stomach bug at the beginning of last week, Tuesday morning he woke up with stuff coming out the front and back, if you know what I mean.  The throwing up only lasted the one day and he did it only 4 times, but the back door was left open and there was a lot of that stuff going on.  Katerina also got sick with the same thing at school on Thursday so we brought her home, but she was feeling better by Saturday night, but Nik he was not doing good.  On Saturday and Sunday the diarrhea had started to look white and it still sounded like he was turning on a faucet when he went in the bathroom, it was just pouring out.  Monday morning he had another bathroom visit and we decided it was time to go to the Hospital.
The closest hospital for us to go to is in Trikala a 20 minute drive.  We arrived after dropping Katerina off at school and waited.  Greek hospitals are an interesting thing, you get your paper from the front (showing them you have insurance) then you go wait in your area for the doctor, the doctor's generally arrive between 9-10 and for the most part it is a first come first serve situation.  But some people can be a bit pushy, we had one on this visit, she didn't even have  a child with her, looked like a drug addict and was asking for drugs for her "sick child", the nurse and doctor just ignored her.
Our Pediatric doctor was young, she only ran a blood test on Nik and asked us to come back later when we had the results.
Waiting for the blood test results, Nik was born here just a little over 9 years ago.

As we waited Nik got sick again, luckily I had wipes on me, because the hospitals do no have toilet paper or paper towels in the bathrooms and first I had to find a bathroom that was not dirty, yuk...
We came back with the blood test results, and they had us do a ultra-sound and x-ray, then they admitted us upstairs to start some fluids for Nikolaos.
Arthur had gone to pick up Kat, we are waiting to do the X-ray in this picture.
When we got upstairs we had a different doctor and she felt it would be better if Nik went to Larissa, a bigger town with Pediatric surgeons, they didn't have any pediatric surgeons in Trikala.  Both Arthur and I were a little resistant to this since it felt unnecessary but she was adamant that with Nik's pre-existing condition, he was born with Hirschsprung's and half of his colon was removed.  That if there was any need for surgery he would need to be close to doctor's who could perform them.  So I waved good-bye to Katerina and Arthur and Nik and I went on an Ambulance ride.
Nik did this same exact trip when he was just a few hours old, so he was old hat to it and fell asleep on the journey.  I on the other hand had my fist clinched as we shuttled at jet speed down the free-way in the clanking metal death contraption, the 1 hour trip took only about 30 minutes.  We slowed down as we entered the city only because of the traffic and then we screeched into the ambulance entrance with the roof scraping the top of ambulance bay.  A doctor had sat in the back with me the whole way and when we arrived we waited for another doctor to come down to accept Nik into the hospital, by then it was 5 pm. and the place was dead, like scary dead, the nurse looked bored as she played on her phone.
waiting room with one of those cool air tube delivery system things in the corner

The hospital doctor arrived after 20 minutes, listened to what the other doctor had to say, looked at the X-ray and then admitted Nik.  The first doctor along with the ambulance crew, who had stayed took off back to Trikala.  This new doctor requested we do another X-ray, jeez, so an orderly came with a wheelchair to take Nik there.
This hospital was scary, no one around except us, loads of pallets all over.  The hospital staff were not friendly at all, poor Nik was just pushed around by the X-ray technician, no explanation at all, "hey we are going to lift your shirt off, move a little to the right" nothing, she just pushed him and undressed him like he was a Ken doll.  Then the orderly wheeled us up to our hole in the wall room, ugh.
4 beds, 4 closets, no bathroom, Thank goodness we were the only ones in the room.
The bathroom was in another room that had one child in it, otherwise it was just the 2 kids and their moms on this floor.
Thank goodness for Greek hospital verandah's I'm pretty sure American hospitals do not have these, but I would recommend them to any Hospital Architect to have these built, they are pretty sweet.
early morning silence.
I took this picture in the early morning and shortly after a nurse came in to put some medicine directly into the drip system, she must have pushed it in to fast because it ended up making Nik's arm balloon up like Popeye.  So out came the drip system.
 The Pediatric surgeon arrived, poked around Nik's abdomen declared nothing was wrong and sent us to the pediatric ward.  They wanted to put the drip system back in but even the head pediatric doctor had trouble finding a viable vein, even after assuring me that he knew what to do, versus people in other places, lol.
So we spent a second night in this hospital, at least here, they kept asking for pee and stool samples, which I couldn't understand why they didn't ask for those at the first hospital, but after the one night on a drip system, Nik was as good as new, and we were discharged after many hours of waiting on Wednesday, we didn't leave the hospital till 4, Nik fell asleep in the car and when we got home he went straight to bed and slept till 5 this morning a good 12 hour sleep, perfect for healing the body.
Funny story:
One time when I was walking to the room an elderly women approached me to ask if I could travel with her on the elevator, she was scared to ride alone.  I said sure no problem, poor little thing here all alone, but she had reason to be scared because look what was going on when we were exciting the hospital.
That's right, they were working on the elevator, I'm not sure if anyone got stuck on it or not, but it was the same one I had taken with the elderly woman the day before, lol.

01 May 2017

The Business Plan

I'm excited about my new business venture.
I will soon be selling Cottage Garden Threads here in Europe!  Don't know what they are, please go visit this page to see a small video and learn more, here.
I used some of the colors in this embroidery hoop, it was easy to make with the variegated thread.
I love these threads, they are already cut in easy to use lengths, the colors are gorgeous and unlike most variegated they change colors in short amounts and are easy on the eye as they change.
Detached Chain Stitch
 I have been following Nicole over at Follow the White Bunny on learning some new embroidery stitches,
Feather Stitch
It's a nice slow sew along.
Wheat Ear Stitch

My plan is to start with the threads and I am working with a local business in using a Laser Cutting machine to make "Embroidery Accessories" and also EPP papers, check my new Pinterest Page to get an idea of what I am talking about.
Very excited, let me know if you have any questions.