Friday, June 23, 2017

June 23 - Neuschwanstein Castle

I threatened not too long ago to bore you all with my pics of Neuschwanstein.  Well today is the day, people!  My Ludwig obsession was rekindled last week when I was able to watch the movie (again) on the anniversary of his death, and that obsession just continues to grow.

King Ludwig II of Bavaria is known for his many castles.  The most famous one is Neuschwanstein.  Even the Disney castle is modeled after this one.  It is positioned in the mountains looking down over the village below and the smaller Hohenschwangau castle, which was one of the family homes of Ludwig's childhood.  Neuschwanstein was never fully completed, no throne was ever placed there.  Ludwig was staying there the night officials came to take him into custody, when he was deposed.

I knew almost nothing about this place when hubby, the boys, and I visited it in November of 1999.  It had been recommended to me by a German online friend.  All I knew was the tidbit about Disney and that it was a big tourist attraction.  I was actually even disappointed when I found out this castle isn't even really that old.  When I said I wanted to see castles, I'd meant the really OLD ones.  This one was built in the late 1800s!  But ohhhhhhh, how my things have changed for me now.

Let me show you the pictures before I continue nattering.
Keep in mind, this visit was in 1999, and film was still the way we took pictures.  The quality of these pics is not great to begin with, but it was also super foggy while we were there.  We were not allowed to take pics inside back then.  I wonder how it is now though, since everyone has a smartphone and can easily sneak pics and video.  Anyway, because it was foggy and because you were limited in how many pics you got with film, these pics are not going to be all that impressive.  But still . . . 

This is a snowy, foggy pic of Lake Alpsee, which is at the base of the mountain, where the little village is.
Another foggy pic of the lake.  I think I've read that Ludwig used to swim and fish here in his childhood.

Hohenschwangau castle.  At the time we were there, this was of little interest to me.  It was just this boring and small castle near the real thing.  I took pics because, well, it was a castle, but really I was like "Not wasting film on this thing when the big castle is what we're here for."
Very young Casey and Ty.  One of those 'just to show we were there' pics.
The more I tried to zoom in, the more the fog obscured things.
Funny how I was upset that Neuschwanstein wasn't actually old enough, and that I pretty much ignored this place, which turns out to be ancient.  This place is first mentioned in history in the 12 century!!!!

So anyway, moving on now.  We opted to walk up the path to Neuschwanstein castle.  They do have horse drawn carriages that take tourists up the mountain road but no, we walked.  In the fog.  Up a mountain.  Can you see that foggy dark object rising above the trees just right of center in this pic?  That's one of the towers of the castle.  I think this pic was actually taken as we came back down afterwards.  It was so foggy going up we had no idea where the castle was until we were almost walking into it.  Seriously!  There are apparently all these neat little teaser views on a clear day but we had none of that.  I happened to notice a huge spotlight along the way, aiming sort of back behind us, and was like 'What the heck is that pointing at?'  We all turned to look back and -BAM- there was a tower.  That was an exciting moment!  (And we were MUCH closer than this at that time.)

Closer now and there is that tower.  Heeeeeee!!  When I looked at these pics again after reading those Ludwig books last summer, I was morbidly excited to have this pic, thinking it was the tower he'd wanted to throw himself off of, the tower they'd apprehended him in.  But no, there is another, taller tower.

This along the side of the castle, and by the time we were close enough to get pics this clear it was impossible to get good pics of the castle in general because it's so big and we were so close.
This is currently my computer desktop background.  I just love thinking about it, did he look out any of these windows the night they came from him?  They do look down over the road the carriages would have taken.

Very young Ty and Casey again, along the side of Neuschwanstein.  Just up ahead the road curves around to the gates and the red brick gatehouse.  Again, this would be the road the officials traveled that night.

Me!  At the gates of Neuschwanstein!  Clueless!  I'd probably be in tears if I ever got to do this again.

To the left of the gates, just showing more of the front of the castle.  It was June when they came for him, not snowy November like this.

Inside the gates, in the first courtyard.  I read somewhere this was the base of another tower that was never finished.  You just *barely* see it, but if you look above and back from the top of this tower base, you can make out the hazy bulk of the main part of the castle.  It's easier to see in my actual photo but even then it took about eight thousands times looking at the pics before I noticed that.

This is just to the right of that tower base.  It's hard to see him but hubby is at the base of the stairs, by that door.  This leads up to the larger, inner courtyard.  I remember walking along the corridor, those windows along the top of this pic.

And that's it!  That's all I have of this glorious castle!
I would love to go back some day, and spend as much time as possible.  We were in a hurry that day because our hosts had to get back home for something.  We'd had no idea what to expect anyway, but looking back, even the tour of the castle seemed rushed.  I suppose they want to keep getting as many tourists shuttled through as possible.  That's so sad, and probably has Ludwig turning in his grave because he never wanted gawking eyes to gaze upon these rooms.  *sigh*

And of course I had to inadvertently insult the king even further by spending a small fortune in the gift shop at the end of the tour.  Doh!

There are plenty of things I remember about the inside of the castle, but so many things I wish I'd taken more time to appreciate.  I only remember the smallest bits of what the tour guide was saying, and am really curious now to know what they all talk about in those tours.  I wonder what they say abou this death?  Just that he left there and died soon after is what I seem to remember from the 1999 tour.  I have such mixed feeling about having been there!  So glad I was able to see it, but sad that I didn't know anything and couldn't truly appreciate it at the time.  As much as I want to go back and see it all with new eyes, I doubt it will ever happen.  I'm just too much of a home-body and a worrier to be a good traveler.  Even going to Minneapolis for a dang football game stresses me out!  Plus, I think if we ever do travel abroad again, it would only be fair to go to someplace hubby wants this time, which would no doubt be somewhere Scandinavian.

But if we ever DID go back, I'd spend as much time as I could at Neuschwanstein.  I'd take about eight billion pictures.  I'd properly appreciate Hohenschwangau.  I think that can be toured too.  I'd also work in time to visit Ludwig's other castles, Linderhof and Herrenchiemsee, as well as other Ludwig related places.  Maybe I *DO* need to make this trip.

Where is the most awe inspiring, heartfelt place you've ever been, or dream of going?

Thursday, June 22, 2017

Happy Mail From Julie

I received a fun package from longtime bloggy friend Julie the other day.  She was returning some DVDs and a book, which I was expecting, but she loaded up the box with lots of other fun goodies too.  There was a nice little note, and a yummy box of Bertie Bott's Every Flavour Beans.  Ever the Potter fan, she is.

These three items were super exciting to find in the box!  Oh how they made The Fall Slut's heart sing!  She'd recently shown me a glimpse of what Hobby Lobby already had out.  Craft stores are always a season ahead, but to see the stuff was both exciting and scary.  It's like, are we really that close to fall already?  lol  But these things, so sooo cute.  LOVE the crow!  He's sort of an inside joke to myself.

She included this fun Beauty and the Beast item.  It's an 'enchanted rose craftable paper figure' and I think I might actually put it together.  She must have gotten this when she saw the movie.  I, at 50 years old, have FINALLY learned the story of Beauty and the Beast.  I read the movie tie-in book recently and bought the DVD as soon as it came out.  I really enjoyed it!  What the heck took me so long?!

I was also really excited to find these in the box.  These are two large (5x6") background stamps that I can use in card making!  We'd talked a bit about them a while ago but then I'd forgotten all about that conversation.  The one on the right is like a screen or mesh type design.  I'm really curious to see how it will look once stamped.  My first thought was stamping it in pale gray and adding some sort of silly insect diecut to it, like a bug on a screen.  I don't know if I have any bug stamps though, or what sort of card it could be.  Anyone have any witty ideas?
 
And of course there was wax in the package, because that's what we do.
 
Americana Wafers (Rosegirls) - 'Hot Apple Pie and Blueberry Cobbler chunks are over poured with Vanilla Wafers.'
Oh yesssss, come to Mama.  I always mix up RG's Americana Wafers and Americana Smoothie.  I love them both but half the time forget they are two different things.  I used up my last piece of Smoothie the other day so I can't even compare them side by side now.  That's okay, because this one is like absolute heaven to me right now.  It's warm and cozy and homey and creamy and yummy and has just enough hints of fall from the apple pie notes to make me giddy.  And it's nearly 5 oz. so I'll get tons of enjoyment out of it.  Thank you, Julie!!!!

Pink Pistachio (Glitterati) - [no scent description]
I have enjoyed Glitterati wax when I've had it but the messiness of how soft it is always makes me shove it aside.  I already hate cutting wax so having to cut these big, soft, messy chunks is not something I look forward to.  Still, I'm always happy to accept gifted wax!  This one is interesting.  Sniff it once and I get nearly full strength almond scent.  Sniff it again and the Pink Sugar is there, strong and bold.  I'm quite curious to see what happens with melted, and might have to haul out the knife sooner rather than later.

Cranberry Mandarin (Timberwick/Hanna's) - 'Red currant, juicy orange, crisp cranberry, spices, and fresh apple.'
We had each gotten to try Hanna's Candlemart products earlier this year and she chose this scent that I had decided to hold off on.  She's sharing cranberry goodness with me, determined to rouse this Fall Slut from hibernation early.  This is nice, but more bright and zesty from the orange, and not quite the deeper fall type scent I'd thought it might be.  I'll melt it with my summer scents.

Lemon Blueberry Scone (Handmade in Florida) - 'Sweet blueberries and zesty lemons, blended with warm vanilla and fresh cream.'
Love me some lemon!  I've never tried Handmade in Florida wax, so this should be fun.

Spooky Apparitions (Lasting Scents) - 'Yummy pumpkin, two sugars, sticky marshmallows.'
Mmmm, dreams of fall continue . . .   The pumpkin is wonderful but I'm a bit leery because I detect slight hints of the plastic-y type of marshmallow that I'm just not a fan of.  We'll see how it goes though, when fall rolls around.

Cranberry Citrus Balsam (Lasting Scents) - [no scent description]
This is one of those perfect Christmas scents.  It's like a hot spiced punch drink scent for fall with just enough of that balsam note to kick it over to being a Christmas scent.  And she sent me two of these!  Thank you, thank you!  Can't wait to melt these this holiday season!

Mulled Wine (CFTKR) - 'An apple cinnamon type "wine" that will make you dream about sitting in front of a fire on a cold winter's night.'
Since Julie is a pro at ordering from Candles From The Keeping Room, she got me this bag of Mulled Wine that we'd talked about.  Sadly, it's nothing like I thought it would be.  Maybe once melted it will be more full bodied?  Right now it's rather light and flat, and dry.  Bummer.

Yum Yum Buttery Rum (CFTKR) - 'Vanilla simmered in rum, topped with fresh cream and just a hint of nutmeg and cinnamon.'
I also had her grab me a bag of this scent.  This one is also light on cold sniff but I think I'll really like this one.  It does remind me of those good ol' Butter Rum Lifesavers.  I'll have to plop one of these in the warmer and see if it becomes even more yummy.

And that is my fun filled happy mail from Julie!
I'm always amazed at her generosity.

Thank you again, Julie!


Sunday, June 18, 2017

June 18 - A Few Cards

 I forgot to show this yesterday.  This was the birthday card I made for Ty.  Pretty simple, huh?  Well, hey, that's blue embossing powder at least.  LOL!  It was sort of a joke because Ty is one who just does not care about cards and admits he throws them out as soon as he looks at them.  That crushed my soul when he said it last year.  I refuse to *not* give cards though, so I went minimalist on this one.  He did laugh, and knew why it was this way.

Some other cards I've made lately . . . 

A very rushed birthday card for a young girl.  I think it turned out okay, but I need to get over this putting it off till the last moment thing.  I need to just keep making cards so I have a stash to choose from when I need one for something.

Looks similar to two anniversary cards I've made and shown, but this one is for a former coworker's wedding.  They have a princess and hero theme to their invitations, and I worked their wedding colors (purple and teal) into the design too.  I discovered I don't have any wedding sentiments though!  I have 'congrats' and 'best wishes.'

I absolutely love how this one turned out!  I used colored pencils and although I was very frustrated with how long it took to color that day, I really was impressed with how the card as a whole came out looking.  This was my mom's birthday card.  I even used my new little gift card slot dies on the inside to hold her gift.  She loves cardinals so I made the bird red, and she gets a kick out of Minion so I had the kitty resemble him.

I was trying to come up with a Father's Day card for hubby's dad but we both agreed this just isn't his style.  (We ended up buying him one of those sassy humor cards.)  I do like this card though, and will just set it aside in my tiny stash for now.

Hubby and I played around with watercolor techniques today.  I've always hated watercolor painting, have never been good at it, and haven't even done it since I was in elementary school or so.  Hubby said he's never really been good at it or fond of it either.  One of the card makers I follow does a lot of watercolor painting in her videos and, of course, makes it look so easy.  I also discovered that if you heat emboss the image you want to paint, the embossed lines sort of make little fences, making it easier to keep the colors where they need to be.  I've been itching to try it and since we had nothing else going on today, hubby agreed to experiment with me.

I discovered some things.  Several of the card makers I follow have said they don't like working with black embossing powder because it gets everywhere and shows up much more obviously if you have stray specks.  Yep, I certainly found that out.  I also found out that the black doesn't give as much of a raised, shiny effect.  At least not with this powder I used.  There is a bit of shine but it sort of just made the lines thicker, more bold.  It also seems to want to reactivate and blur a bit when the wet paint was near it.

The white worked fine, although I do need to practice heat embossing more in general.

I did use watercolor paper but it was just cheapie stuff from Walmart.  And the paints themselves were just cheapie Crayola watercolors, again from Walmart.  The brushes were just small, old, generic things we'd already had on hand.

I had a lot of fun doing this!  I really like the look I got from it, and I wasn't even trying all that hard.  This was totally just a 'Let's see what happens!' experiment.  Hubby was a little frustrated, but he has not watched the videos like I have.  He was using less water and trying for more specific shadowing and blending.  They all look pretty good for noobie beginners though!

Other than that, we didn't do much today.  Hubby got some Father's Day gifts from the boys and me, and went to see his own dad for a bit.  (My own father died way back in 1987.)  I did laundry and played a decent amount of Wizard101.
And we just had a very nice, relaxing day.

Did you celebrate the fathers in your life today?
Do you enjoy watercolor painting?

Saturday, June 17, 2017

June 17 - Birthdays & Crafty Stuff

We had two birthdays in the family today.  My mom turned 81, and Ty turned 26.  I remember when my mom visited in the hospital the morning after Ty was born, she said, "Well that was the nicest birthday present anyone could have given me."  It took me a moment to realize what she was talking about!  The day he was born was kinda crazy and believe me, I wasn't even remembering at that time that it was my mom's birthday.  But yeah, their shared birthday today.  We didn't do much.  I'd given Mom a card and gift the last time I was over there because I wasn't sure if I'd get back today.  Ty worked today but stopped over for a bit afterwards.

Hubby and I did some running around today.  We ended up getting a water dispenser.  You know, one of those with the big five gallon jugs of water on top?  This one dispenses cold AND hot water.  That will be awesome for hot chocolate in the colder months.  We're trying to give up soda, which we drink way too much of around here.  Hubby's been doing alright on this but I haven't been able to stick with it . . . yet.  Now is not the time to quit for me, not with all the chaos at work.  It's like I get so worked up that I just need by comfort.  I've cut back though!  Baby steps, baby steps.

I mentioned last night (?) that I've accumulated a few more crafty items, so I'll do a quick little haul here for those who are interested.

Decided to try this glue that all the cool kids are suddenly raving about.  It's cheaper than the popular Tombow Mono that I use, but I like that I can just pick some more Tombow up at Walmart when I need some and not have to place an order.  Still, it'll be fun to try this and see what all the fuss is about.

Got a jar of black embossing powder.  All the cool kids seem to hate working with black powder, they say it gets everywhere, but I still want to try it.  I've played around a little bit more with embossing and really do like the look of it.  Haven't actually used *this* yet though.

How stinkin' cute are these leopards?!  I saw them in someone's haul video and immediately ordered a set of my own.

One of the crafters I follow was doing a destash and had some retired Lawn Fawn items, so I scooped up two.  This one is some cute background stamps.  If you can't tell, one set is hearts, one is music notes, and one is stars.

This is the other I got from the destash.  This is a Christmas set but doesn't it look like Jack Skellington's face (Nightmare Before Christmas) up there in the upper right???  I crack up every time I see this online, and now I have it for myself.

I'd been looking for something else in Walmart's craft section when I came across their stencils.  I've been looking at stencils on the main craft site I order from, so when I saw these I was all "Hmmm."  There are three pages with four sections on each, four different designs.  You can see the designs there on the packaging.  Each section/design area is a nice size for card backgrounds.  I'm really excited to try this idea out.  I need to get some little sponge thingies first though.

And finally, I bought my very first Copic markers.  These are like the holy grail of markers in the crafting world.  They're very expensive.  They must be super fantabulous if EVERYONE uses them, right?  Quite frankly, they intimidate me.  But still, all the cool kids make it look so easy and achieve such wonderful looks.  Plus, there is a 25% off sale going on right now so I decided to try with this one little tiny pack.  It has three blendable colors from the same color family.  Good way to practice without investing tons of money, I guess.  I know there are certain papers that are preferred for Copic coloring and I *think* I have a small pack of some, but when I tried them out just on regular white cardstock I wasn't wowed.  I was more like "Really?  What's all the fuss about?"  I guess I'll try them on the 'correct' paper though and see if the magic happens there.  I even thought about maybe taking a Copic class.  Yes, they have classes for using these markers.  That's how intimidating they are.

That's about it for today.  I'm going to log onto Wizard101 for a while before bed, and then go read more about Mark, who was making out with his rescued beloved when I left off last night.  Hehe!

Anything exciting happen with you on this Saturday?

Friday, June 16, 2017

June 16 - Fatty Fairies

Another crazy day at work.  Well, the first several hours were pretty mellow for me because I was a machine operator today instead of my usual job.  It's quite a nice change of pace to just worry about one machine, one job, sit down for a while in between tasks.  Normally it's go go go, be ten places at once and do twenty things because you're everybody's bitch.  Ugh.  So yeah, it was nice at first, then it just all went to crap and I ended the day just as crabby as any other day.  At least it's Friday and I have three days off now.

Lynx (aka Fattycat) has been off the potassium supplement for two days now and it seems like there is an improvement in him already.  I thought maybe I was crazy.  I mean, geez, we thought stopping the powder would just make it easier for him to eat his food.  We didn't think there would be some obvious difference in health and behavior.  So I looked it up, just to see what side effects might be associated with potassium supplements and was floored by what I saw.  Muscle weakness, upset stomach, vomiting, diarrhea, loss of appetite.  Well, he'd lost weight and was looking rather skin and bones-ish again, he wasn't eating as much, he was sleeping all the time and very blah when he was awake, and he was wobbly.  So yeah, pretty much all could be side effects from the potassium powder.  So yeah, it could be safe to see there actually is a noticeable difference in him now without it.  He already looks a little more hydrated, he's awake more and alert during those times.  He's social.  Yes, I think stopping this powder was a good choice.

Got a couple small packages in the mail, so hopefully I'll get a little crafty haul posted tomorrow.

I'm off to bed now to read about my new fairy boyfriend, Mark.

Who is your current dreamy fantasy fling?

Thursday, June 15, 2017

June 15 - Quickie


Work is such a mess these days.  A second supervisor gave notice today.  What does that say, when our supervisors are abandoning ship??  They're giving $100 bonuses for the weekends just to try and get people to volunteer to work.  That place is a hot mess and it's to the point that it's almost amusing because we keep wondering how much worse it can possibly get, and because we're watching things crumble farther up the ladder now.  All we can do is shake our heads.

I did manage to do some reading on my breaks at work today.  Yay!  I really do like Mark in this series.  He's half fairy, half Shadowhunter.  I kinda wish there would be a companion book or series about just his story.

Not much else to write about this evening.  A quickie post is better than nothing though when I'm trying to get back into the habit of daily natters.

How was your Thursday?

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

June 14 - Flowers, Cats, and Kings

We have a ton of lilies blooming along the south side of our house.  It looks to cool having so many, so bright along the house.  We suck as weeding and all that gardening stuff so the flowerbed in general doesn't look all that great.  This pic, from this angle, doesn't show the real mess.  LOL  But another cool thing is that all of these came from just one or two bulbs.  (Are lilies bulbs?)  Hubby had originally planted them in another bed but moved them over to this one after a couple years.  They've been in this bed for a couple years now, and multiplying like crazy!  There are a bunch of smaller, pink-white ones down at the other end of the bed.  Wish we could get the tulips to do better in this bed.  We planted some, but I think we need to plant a whole bunch more.

 This fuzzy Mr. Fattycat has been causing some drama here lately.  He's been getting *really* picky about his food that we mix his medicine in, and sometimes refuses to eat it.  He's not been getting full doses of his medicine because of it and he's been losing weight and sleeping a lot more again.  He's on a thyroid pill and a powdered potassium supplement for his kidneys.  The powder has a really strong scent to it and we're sure that's what turning him off.  The vet said today that we can stop giving the powder if we want, because his "levels" at his bloodwork check in December were not at a point where we needed to do anything yet but because there had been a slight change he though starting the supplement might help.  He said if Fatty's not eating though, it's a problem.  So we decided to stop the powder supplement this evening, and we'll see how he does.  Hopefully he'll start eating better, and it should help make sure he's at least getting the full dose of his other medicine because he won't be turning up his nose at that food.

Ty was here today, stopped in after working till noon at his second job.  He just wanted to hang out for a bit, catch up on news and stuff.  He ended up staying for supper.  We were talking about Casey's last drama.  *sigh*  Yes, it never ends with that boy.  So the crazy roommate finally left and everyone rejoiced at the thought of peace returning to our lives.  Nope, Casey immediately invited his other friend to move in and that friend immediately started having his new girlfriend stay over.  Not just staying over for the night but staying for days on end, and being there when no one else is.  THAT part needs to stop, and we've all told Casey to put his foot down immediately.  Ugh.

I managed to watch two hours of my beloved Ludwig movie yesterday, on the anniversary of his death.  Hubby came home then and doesn't care for this film so I didn't bore him with the other two hours.  I was glad to find I still love this movie.  I'd thought maybe after my break from watching it obsessively that I'd find it horrible when I eventually saw it again.  Nope!  Still love it!  There *are* some cringe-worthy things about the movie but, I don't know, I just love it to pieces.
Thank you again, Kevin.  This has turned out to be one of the best gifts I've ever received.

I'm off to read now before bed.  I'm slowly plugging away at that beast of a Shadowhunters book.  I'm frustrated that I'm only reading in small little chunks but things have been just hectic enough that I don't get much read on my breaks at work, and by the time I get to bed I'm too tired to read.  Hopefully this snails pace doesn't kill how I feel about the story.  So!  Let me get this posted and go try to read!

Do you have favorite flowers blooming around you?
Have you had a special needs pet?
Do you want to watch Ludwig with me??