Friday, November 21, 2014

I Would Walk 500 Miles (Well, Maybe Not)...

Next, we arrived in Nuremberg. A city built 1,000 years B.C. and almost completely destroyed by WWII.  There are a few original buildings remaining, but most were rebuilt after the war.  We took a tour of the Imperial Palace. As with all the castles, it was erected at the highest point of the city in order to watch for any intruders/enemies that may be approaching. As such, the roads inside are very steep; almost vertical. With all the walking, hiking and dancing that I have been doing, I found this journey the most difficult.

The cobblestones and steep angles really took a toll on my knee. I was having major difficulty walking down one very steep street and before long, I realized that the tour had ventured ahead of me and I was alone. I knew that many of our fellow travelers had train reservations and the bus would have to leave in order to accommodate their schedules. Fortunately, Addie had stayed on the bus during the tour and was able to text me immediately when the group arrived sans me. I found a coffee café and stayed put until they were able to come for me approx. one hour later.  It was an adventure, but not one I would like to repeat.  Next time, I will stay on the bus!  Castles are difficult to navigate in the best of conditions, let alone with a bad knee. Obviously, I will be visiting the orthopedic surgeon when I arrive home.

I love Bavaria.  My ancestors came from Switzerland and there is just something special about the overall look and feel of the architecture here.  Tuscany still has my heart, but I love the polka and an oompa band. Oh, and the beautiful gardens... It's amazing what grows here in November!

Thanks all, for coming along on this journey with me. It was fun having your company!


Thursday, November 20, 2014

Czech, Please!

We left Austria in tour buses and drove to Cesky Krumlov, in the Czech Republic.  The scenery was spectacular and once again, we enjoyed the history of an ancient village.

They are still quite economically depressed, and prices were the most affordable of any of our stops. I had two glasses of Jameson, a plate of cheeses and a bottle of water for $14. I’d be lucky just to get the Jameson for that price at home. 

And speaking of lucky... you can't get any better than sharing this wonderful adventure with a good friend. Lucky indeed!

The cobblestones and hillside town reminded me so much of Italy. I cannot begin to imagine the difficulty in constructing these villages centuries ago. 

We left Czechoslovakia and drove to Passau, Bavaria to meet our ship.  Just as you would expect in Germany, it is a completely different style of housing and buildings. So, three countries in one day!

More soon...

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Durnstein... Along the Danube

From Vienna we cruised to Durnstein, Austria which is the starting point of the Wachau region. Glorious in scenery and history.

It was in the Kuenringer Castle, whose ruins still overlook Dürnstein, that the English King Richard Lionheart was held prisoner.

The area is surrounded with steep hills that are vineyards.  How they get the grapes picked is a mystery to me. It looks as though it could only be traversed by goats.

They are also famous for apricots—which become schnapps and liquor.  Almost every store offered a sample and by the time we reached the end of the street, we were warm and toasty.

I am always warm and rarely wear a coat, so I didn’t bring one. Big mistake as it was freezing in Vienna and I was miserable.  In Durnstein, I found a small shop where the owner made felted coats and other items. With considerable help from fellow passengers, the PERFECT coat for me was selected. It is a unique cut/pattern and will be a great souvenir from this darling town.

As much land as this quaint little town took up.... the population is only around 600 people.

From every angle Durnstein really captured my heart.

I've never seen so many beautiful doors in my life. Such detailed craftsmanship.

From the big cities to this rural countryside, the history left behind never ceases to amaze me.

So many quaint shops that just blend right into the landscape.

Saw this on the promenade in Durnstein. Hilarious... The sign directs you to the Kondeteri. Looks like some kind of sculpture we'd teach at a workshop for Art & Soul!

From Durnstein, we cruised to Melk, Austria.  Another charming medieval village…but it did not capture my heart as did Durnstein.

See you soon... on to Cesky Krumlov!

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Not Just Horsing Around... in Vienna!

I thoroughly (or should I say thoroughbred-ly!) enjoyed our visit to Vienna and the renowned Spanish Riding School and home of the Lipizzaner horses. Once again we were treated as royalty, as everything with this cruise line has been. We sat in a section of the arena that was originally the viewing area for the royal family; cordoned off from all the commoners!!  The horses were magnificent.  We were taken to the stables and had the opportunity to meet them in person.  Such marvelous, gentle giants and we could purchase one for only $4000. Getting him home would be the expensive part.  Get the stall ready, Vonnie... I fell in love with Favory.

We had lunch at the famous Demel Restaurant.  The food was amazing and the pastries are indescribable.  It was difficult not to purchase tons of candy, pastries and all types of goodies from them!

After that we went to the largest outdoor Christmas market in the country.  It opened today and the highlight is some kind of a Jaggerwine.  Basically a hot spiced wine that knocks you on your fanny.  They serve it in Christmas mugs that you get to keep.  I believe Addie now has a set of 4.  Lots of spontaneous singing as the wine warmed chilly bodies.

We were so very lucky to attend a private concert at the Palais Liechtenstein in Vienna. The castle is privately owned and contains one of the most extensive private art collections in the world. The music of Strauss and Beethoven took my breath away.

And I must admit that I have fallen in love with the art and antiques of Europe. When I go to museums in the US, I see pieces of history that can be hundreds of years old. But here on the other side of the Atlantic, the vintage objects are thousands of years old! It's pretty amazing and inspiring. Don't you think we need to bring this coach back for our shows?
Until next time!

Monday, November 17, 2014

A European Excursion!

I am so excited and thrilled to have this fabulous opportunity to experience the most amazing vacation with a very good friend of mine. It starts in Budapest and cruises up the river to Nuremberg going thru 5 nations!! I'm going to take you with me...

We spent our first day in Budapest and learned that the medieval city is actually two cities.  Buda is on one side of the Danube and Pest (pronounced pescht) is on the other.  The ancient stone city walls have bullet holes from WWll and there also remains a Nazi lookout tower. But regardless of what we were looking at — from the Parliament Building to the local stone churches and monuments, the architecture was simply stunning.

Hungarians as not as fluent English as other European cities, and we found communication a bit of a challenge when we attempted to call for a taxi.  Missing our ship would not have been a good thing.

As much as I loved viewing the old buildings and architecture, the highlight of the day for me was spending time with an Eurasian sparrowhawk, Aniko. Looking forward to seeing more on this magnificent journey!

Monday, November 10, 2014

Virginia Registration is Now Open!!

Doris Arndt - Beaded & Bound Booklace

Well, we have another wonderful line-up classes that will thrill you for Art & Soul Virginia 2015... and registration is now open! 

Helen Shafer Garcia - Color Pencil Journaling

So you know what that means... Grab a glass of your favorite beverage... get yourself a little something to nosh on... grab those reading glasses if you need them... and start perusing our spectacular workshops we have for you at this beachside retreat!

Doreen Kassel - Jiggly Jointed Dolls

There's a little bit of something for everyone... collage, assemblage, sculpture, dolls, painting, journaling and bookmaking, jewelry, sewing, and so much more!

Leslie Brier - Time Traveler's Kaleidoscope

Like to work with paper... cloth... fabric... fiber... metal... glass... clay... resin... watercolors... pastels... acrylics... pencils... vintage items? Well... we've got something for you! And then some.

Cindy Lohbeck - Snow & Ice Dyes

There are lots of new and interesting classes to check out at this retreat... new instructors.... and very exciting projects. So come and take a look!

Nancy Prichard - Temples, Tea Pots & Toys

You can search our Art & Soul Virgina 2015 event by instructors, or by project photos, or by days of the week. Sign up for as many classes as you like, we've got days and evenings chock full of creative mixed media fun for you!

September 28 - October 3, 2015
Virginia Beach Resort Hotel

SPECIAL LIMITED TIME OFFER! As an incentive, if you register for $250 in classes before Dec 31, 2015, you will receive a $20 Gift Certificate to Artistic Artifacts, our official on-site mixed media store.

We're all looking forward to seeing you!

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

We Felt It! Chad Alice Hagen is Coming to Portland!

The amazingly vibrant, vivacious and colorful felting aficionado Chad Alice Hagen — who has instructed workshops at our Virginia Beach retreat — is coming to teach at Portland Art & Soul in March of 2015! And we are tickled pink, and blue... and orange... and yellow.... and green, and purple, and.... wow!

Chad Alice Hagen has been happily and intensively exploring resist dyeing and surface design of hand felted wool since 1979.  Textiles, fiber, fabric, material, felt, cloth – these words are more exciting to her than “You have won the lottery!”  Starting from a textile history background, she has supported herself through her BA and MS from University of Wisconsin and MFA from Cranbrook by weaving rag rugs from thousands of pairs of corduroy pants.  Why?  Because of the color!!  When she discovered feltmaking and the way the wool felt absorbed color through dyeing in the late 1970’s, there was no turning back.

Chad Alice has written extensively on art and feltmaking and her artwork has appeared in and on the covers of Surface Design Journal, Fiberarts and Shuttle, Spindle & Dyepot Magazine. She also is the author of three books: The Fabulous Felt Scarf (2007), Fabulous Felt Hats (2005), and The Weekend Crafter: Feltmaking (2002) all published by Lark Books. She has taught hundreds of classes and workshops since 1979 throughout the United States and Canada, England, Ireland, Holland and Germany - from the early felted boots through hats and scarves and artworks.  Her large scale felt work can be found in major collections including the Mint Museum of Craft and Design in Charlotte, NC, The Knoxville Convention Center, TN, and the Minneapolis Institute of Art. B.F. Goodrich Corporation Collection. Chad Alice maintains a full-time felt and book studio in Asheville, North Carolina. Take a look at what she's teaching at Portland Art & Soul in 2015...

Mokume Pin Shaped Resist Felted Scarf 
Join Chad Alice for a fabulous workshop where you will make a full size fine merino scarf using needle-punch batts and learn an ancient Japanese resist stitching method called Mokume to create a bark-like design and texture.

Wrapped Resist Dyed Felted Journal
Create a perfect sized (4.5" W x 3.5"H x 1") marvelous hand bound Journal from your very own hand felted and resist dyed felt.

Resist Dyeing on Hand-Felted Wool
In this class you will first learn how to felt and full fine Australian Merino needle punch batts, and Dye Master Chad will show how to set up a safe and workable dye kitchen. Then, using hundreds of weird and fascinating resist tools, you will be guided into the world of resist dyeing on felt – very different from anything else!

Pretty amazing stuff! So check out what Chad Alice has to offer at our Portland Art & Soul event. Whether you love the process or are swooning over the textures you'll create... we know you felt something that will make you want to sign up! So happy for her to join our creative family!

For more information and to register for Portland Art & Soul, visit our website at today!