Sunday, July 29, 2012

Scotland and England

Rothesay, on the Isle of Bute, Scotland.  Even the name sounds dreamy.  It was overcast with rain sprinkling from time to time, but it was a gorgeous day.

We toured the castle in town, dating back to the 1200's.  The view of Rothesay from the top wall was amazing.  Can you see the road winding down in the background?  And the palm trees?  I still can't understand how they have palm trees in Scotland!  (I couldn't resist including one of my wee little palm tree paintings!) 

The old, old castle is in ruins now, but still a sight to see.  All of that history, it was amazing.

When we entered Scotland we were greeted by a bagpiper at Gretna Green.  How awesome is that?

 The Wee Big Shop.  Love it!

When you visit Scotland, you have to include a photo of sheep.

 The beautiful, quiet hills in Scotland.  (Notice the one lane road?)

I took this photo from the car window.  Just to give an idea of the size of the hills, the little white dots are sheep.  Amazing, right?  The fences are made from stone and are so very beautiful.

You just can't visit England without stopping at a fish-n-chips restaurant! (Or two...or three...). 

It was a cool and (very) windy day in Blackpool, England.  But the sky was blue and the air was fresh so we took in all we could, knowing our time in Britain was short, but oh so sweet.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Amsterdam -- Gorgeous!

At the end of our two week trip to Britain we were so excited to spend two days in Amsterdam.  I wasn't totally sure what to expect.  I expected water canals, but I had no idea just how beautiful they would be.  I expected bikes, but I was completely shocked at HOW MANY there were.The flowers were gorgeous and they were an unexpected surprise in such a huge city.  But I just couldn't get over the leaning buildings.  It's as if they're leaning together just to keep eachother up.  Look at the windows on the red building.  How are they doing that?


A parking garage for bikes!  There were bikes everywhere.

I love how there's a kid's seat on this one.  And a place for the feet.  I wish I could've seen this one in action.

Such a busy city.  One bike lane is on the right, another over there on the left and the road is in the center.  But the road is also where the trolly drives.  The cars share the road with the trollies.  Crossing the road took bravery and precision. 

So yummy.

I could've stood here all day....

Friday, July 20, 2012

The Netherlands -- Beautiful!

AT FIRST, I somehow thought I could include our entire two week vacation to England, Scotland and Amsterdam into one post. But it's impossible to whittle down two weeks into a mere few photos.  And who would want to, right?

We spent two full days in and around Amsterdam.  And I mean FULL days.  We took a bus tour that took us to the countryside just outside of Amsterdam.  This was where we found the beautiful windmills that, in my mind, had previously only existed in photos.  And there they a dream.
To get to the windmills, we got to walk around the cozy Dutch homes that were oh so picture worthy.  We never did figure out what type of animals these were, grazing so gently in the green, green pasture. 

It's funny how you see details in a picture after you get home.  I hadn't noticed the finials on each end of this roof.  There was just so much to look at and take in.

Like the front door of the house with the finials.  I can zoom in and see there's actually a picture above the door.  I love it!

These are the backs of their houses, complete with a topiary and miniature canal!

Wooden shoes! 

More wooden shoes, still drying.  On this bus tour, we were just a few among about 50 people walking along and trying to stick together.  I managed to maneuver in and out of people, often times trailing behind, to take all of the above photos without any people in them!  Until this one, I see the tops of some heads here.

This lady demonstrated how they make the shoes.  What I like are the steps they show on the post next to her  In the beginning there's a single block of wood and in the end, an actual wearable shoe.

And voila! They made it to a gift shop in Amsterdam!  Sooo many beautiful designs to choose from...

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Hello everyone! I'm so excited about my new blog for The Painted Cottage Studio and I just couldn't wait to say welcome. For those that don't know, I love to paint...big things and small things. Mostly (lately) very, very small things. I use tiny little brushes when I create my necklace pendants. Sometimes the brushes just aren't tiny enough!

Here's one of my hummingbirds that I painted...

I gave a hummingbird feeder to my husband for his birthday and now we're envisioning busy hummingbirds flocking to our yard daily! Okay, I'm envisioning this. But it's been so unbelievably hot here in Illinois (as it is in many areas of the country). When I added water to the birdbath this morning, the birds were actually fighting with each other to decide who would get in first!

Just the other day we returned from a family trip to England, Scotland and Amsterdam. The trip to England and Scotland was to visit my husband's family (his mother is from Scotland) but we took a quick two day side trip to Amsterdam. I thought we took waaay too many pictures but now that we're back I don't think we took nearly enough! I'll share a few with you in the next post. The one above was taken near Amsterdam while walking on our way to visit the shop that makes wooden shoes. (Wooden shoes, don't you love it!?)

(I would love to figure out a way to get that photo painted onto a small little pendant!)