To make it easier to read about our trip to Ireland, I have made a page that is just for that. There is a tab above for Ireland Trip 2014 or click on the Home tab to read my other posts.

Friday, September 4, 2015

Charlotte/Charleston Trip #1

Yes!  It's another travel series.
This one however will only be a few posts long.
I have a lovely "aunt" in Charlotte, NC
Aunt Marilyn is my Mom's BFF, they have been friends
for over 80 yrs.
Mom is going to be 91 in November and
Aunt Marilyn will be 92 at the end of September.
A year ago this past June, Aunt Marilyn, at the age of 90
had a total hip replacement.
She has done amazing!  She still lives in her own apartment
and does amazingly well.  She has a lovely friend, Monica, who 
drives her around when needed and helps in many ways.
But essentially, she is living on her own and caring for herself.
Anyway, we wanted to visit Aunt Marilyn, and Monica too.
So off we went for a few days travel.
We started off on Tuesday morning, pulling out of our driveway
at 7:15 a.m. for a day of driving.
Most of the drive looks a lot like this.  
Mountains, trees, fields and sky.
When we started out we had rain for about an hour,
then it cleared and we had beautiful weather the rest of the way.

One of my favorite areas on the drive are the 2 tunnels that
we pass through.
Before these tunnels were built, it was quite a drive to get over 
the mountains.  It could be treacherous driving the mountain roads
that took travelers over the mountains that are over 3000 feet high.
Both were traveled on narrow mountain roads that were often closed due to
fog or snow.
The most logical solution to the problem of going north and south
over these mountains was to instead go through them.
In the Bluefield, West Virginia area is the 
East River Mountain Tunnel
This tunnel is 5400 feet long. It was opened in 1974 and 
cost a whopping $40,000,000 to build.
Since the tunnel connects the states of West Virginia to Virginia
the 2 states shared the cost.
Coming out the other side of the tunnel you see more 
beautiful scenery.
A ways down the road you find the next tunnel.
The Big Walker Mountain Tunnel
in Wytheville, Virginia.
This tunnel is 4200 feet long and opened in 1972
and cost the state of Virginia $50,000,000 to complete.
We have driven this route many, many times and the one time
I was driving and my hubby, Dave, was snoozing in the passenger
seat.  He woke up just as we were going into one of these tunnels.
Poor Dave thought we were driving right into a wall or something.
He opened his eyes and all he saw was the "building" looming in front 
of us.  Boy did he let out a scream!
We tease him about it every time we drive south and have 
a little chuckle at his expense.
As you can see, we entered North Carolina!
One of the things that I love in North Carolina is that many of the 
medians in the roadways bloom with flowers.
(If you click on the pictures they will enlarge and you can see them a bit better.)
I had to take these through the windshield while driving at about 70 MPH.
NO!  I wasn't driving, Dave was!
These flowers are just beautiful.
There are even some places where they were planted
so when they bloom they are in wide stripes.
Just beautiful!
Around Charlotte, there are many embankments near overpasses
and exits from highways that have flowering bushes, lilies or other
flowers covering the grounds.
They do a wonderful job bringing beauty to the roadways.
I wish I could have gotten some better pictures, sorry!
I know this is a horrible picture, but it's here for a reason.
Trying to take a picture out the window while traveling at 
70 MPH and get a clear picture is near impossible.
If you look closely you can see that the trees are covered with vines.
Especially to the far left of the picture.
These are Kudzu vines and they are said to be the scourge of the south.
These vines are very invasive and grow rapidly, taking over thousands
of acres of land yearly.
They can cover entire buildings, cars and trees.  
They choke out the natural vegetation, killing 
many trees and other natural flora.
There is some interesting information if you Google
Kudzu.  I have found differing opinions about the Kudzu,
but most of what I have read is that this vine is very destructive
and unwanted.
As you drive along the highways you can see areas of 
trees and other plants that are totally covered in the vines.
Interesting and in an odd way fascinating, but sad all the same.
We arrived in Charlotte at about 6:15 p.m.
We made pretty good time, about 11 hrs with a couple 
bathroom breaks and a stop to fill up the tank.
I wish I could have gotten some better pictures,
but again, I had to take the pictures will flying along the
Charlotte is really a very pretty city, but getting a picture 
is not so simple.
Here is a link to some much nicer pictures of the city.
We have a little "tradition" with Aunt Marilyn,
when we get close to Charlotte, we call her and let her know
when we'll be arriving.
Once we get to her apartment, we pick her up to go
to The Landmark Restaurant 
for dinner.
We let Monica know when we were arriving and she met 
us for dinner too.
Here is a not so clear picture of 
Aunt Marilyn and Monica at dinner.

Thanks for coming along on our trip south.
Next time I'll tell you a little bit about 
Charleston, South Carolina.

Visit Kristie Kreates again soon,
you never know what I'll be posting about.

Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Dragon Egg Technique Fix #4

Hi friends!
Here is #4 in my altered frames series.
Today I'm showing you 3 different frames.
All these frames are done using what my son's girlfriend,
Sara, has named the Dragon Egg Technique.
She says this effect looks like a dragon's egg.
I forgot to take a picture of this one before I did the 
altering, so I took a picture from the back to show 
basically what it looked like.
Got this one at Savers.
Here's a metal frame I picked up at 
Salvation Army.
I actually liked the look of this one, if only that 
trim hadn't seen better days.
And this little frame was a steal at only $.29 
at Salvation Army.

For all these frames I used alcohol inks from Ranger
along with their Blending Solution.
I used an Alcohol Ink Applicator and dropped the alcohol inks
onto the felt pad. 
While the ink is fresh and still wet, I pounced the 
applicator onto the metal.
I continued to pounce, twisting and turning the 
applicator, until the entire frame was covered.
When I saw that I wasn't adding color any longer,
I added more ink.
The Blending Solution can also revitalize the ink
if it becomes dry.
One of the things I love about using alcohol inks on metal
is that if I don't like how it turns out, or I change my mind 
about the color, all I need to do is squirt on some of
the Blending Solution and it cleans the ink right off and
I can start again.
I did love how this turned out.
I put a picture of my brother and sister in law in this
one for Jaryd.
Notice that originally the frame was vertical,
once I took that trim off, it worked perfectly for
a horizontal picture.
This frame used the same technique with reds and gold
alcohol inks.
In this frame I put pictures of 
(from upper left going clockwise)
Jaryd with his best friend Brian, My Mom,
Me with my Aunt Marilyn and 
finally Jaryd with our daughter Kelsie 
And last, but not least, I put a picture of our dog
Molly in my little $.29 frame.
I used the reds on this one also.

When Jaryd saw these frames he said
"Oh I see you used alcohol inks on these frames."
What 23 yr old guy knows that?
My son, of course!
He remembers everything.
I don't even remember telling him or
showing him alcohol inks.
I think these did turn our pretty cool.
What do you think?
Leave me a comment and let me know
how you like them and if you've ever worked with 
alcohol inks.

Thanks for stopping by today.
Come again soon.
Until next time, Happy Crafting!

Saturday, August 29, 2015

Argyle frame Fix #3

Hello everyone!
Here is another in my series of 
"fixed frames"
This frame is one I picked up at one of the thrift shops
in my area.  Haven't a clue which one, but I know it was 
cheap.  It originally had a mirror in it, which, of course,
I just popped out.
Since I'm a scrapbooker and like most of us, I have quite
a stash of paper, finding something to cover it with
was no problem.  Because of course this plain black
just wasn't going to work.
I started by laying the frame onto the back of the paper.
I drew lines from corner to corner in the opening, 
so I would know where to cut.
I also marked the corners with cut lines.
Then the fun began.
I brushed on the Mod Podge, covering the entire
front of the frame.
Then I flipped over the frame onto the paper and 
stuck that baby down.
I turned the frame over and made sure the paper 
was smooth over the entire front of the frame.
I then cut on the cut lines that I had drawn.
When I folded the paper over, the corners weren't totally covered,
to remedy that I simply took small pieces of paper and covered the
corners before Mod Podging it.
Here is what the back ended up looking like once 
I got that paper all glued down.
On the corners, I cut those cut lines and neatly folded 
over the edges and glued them down.
I then covered the front, sides and back with a few coats of 
Mod Podge and the frame was finished.
Well except for putting the saw tooth hanger
on the back and cutting the glass.
Luckily, my hubby is a photographer and custom framer
and we have lots of hangers and scrap pieces of glass.
Here it is finished with a picture of Jaryd and Sara with 
my Mom. 
I think it turned out great.
What do you think?

Thanks for stopping by today.
Come again soon and see what else I've been up to.
I'll be posting more in my
"fixed frames" series
as well as some other projects .
You never know what I'll be posting about,
so pop in now and then.
Who knows what you'll find.

Have a better than average day! 

Thursday, August 27, 2015

Zucchini my new favorite way

Hello blog friends!
Today, I'm getting away from crafting a bit.
I'm going to tell you about one of my favorite vegetables.
When I was a kid, my Dad used to plant some every year
and it was kind of a contest with himself to see how big 
he could grow it.
When it was nice a big, and I do mean big, a foot long at least,
he'd pick it and we'd have fried zucchini for dinner.
Dredge it in egg and flour and fry it up in a pan. 
That was the whole meal and I loved it.
Haven't had it that way for years, but it is one of my favorites.
This year while watching 
"The Next Food Network Star"
I saw one of the contestants (Eddie) make 
"zucchini spaghetti"
I tried it and it is now my favorite way to
prepare this wonderful squash.
Here's what I started with.
Now just ignore the sorry state of my pan!
I use just a small amount of butter, about a tablespoon.
Tonight I cut up some onion, nice and thin.
I started them cooking, while I went to the squash.
With a peeler, I started to peel.
And I just kept peeling until ti couldn't peel anymore.
This is what I ended up with. 
A huge pile of shredded zucchini.
I added it to the pan with the partially cooked onion.
Sometimes, I used yellow squash with it, or mushrooms,
whatever you like would work.
I added some salt, pepper and garlic powder.
Sometimes I use real garlic, but tonight I added powder.
While that was cooking up, I got out my trusty old 
cheese grater and grated a bit of Parmesan.
I love it and there was a LOT of squash, 
so I was sure to grate enough.
And yes, that is a slice to munch on at the side there.
Told you I love Parmesan.
Not sure if you can see the difference, but that 
squash does cook down a bit and it doesn't take very long.
5-10 minutes at the most and like I said, this was a lot of
When the squash is finished cooking I sprinkle on the cheese.
It doesn't take long to melt, I just toss it into the 
zucchini mixture before I serve it.
And tonight, I had it with a nice steak and baked potato.
It was excellent.
There were 3 of us tonight and yes, we did eat it all.
It was so darn tasty!
I hope you'll try making some zucchini this way,
it's really easy and a little different than the usual,
at least it is for me.

Thanks for stopping by today,
come again soon.  
You never know what you might see
here on 
Kristie Kreates!

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Altering with tissue paper. Fix #2

Hello.  Hope you're having a great day!
If you're following my blog you have seen that I 
altered some frames for my son.
Here is the next frame in my "altered frames" series.
As you can see, I got this frame cheap.
I picked this one up at one of my favorite thrift shops
Check their site to see if there is a Savers near you.
Ours benefits the Epilepsy Foundation.
I believe the different Savers stores support different
charitable foundations.
Now I'm ready to work on the frame.
Notice I took that "insert" out of the frame.
It's made of metal, keep your eyes open for a future post 
concerning that mat.
I started by brushing on a coat of  Gel Medium 
(Mod Podge can also be used, but I happened to have this
handy.  Mod Podge is much cheaper.)
After I got some Gel Medium on the frame, I started
ripping pieces of tissue paper and laying them on the frame
I covered the tissue paper with more Gel Medium, 
being sure to stick it down.  
The Gel Medium acts as a glue, be sure it is both under
and over each piece of paper.
I continued this process of adding "glue"
and pieces of tissue until the entire frame was covered.
It isn't necessary, but my perfectionist side came out
and I covered the back and that inside of the window area.
I put a picture of Jaryd's best buddy and his girlfriend 
in this frame.  Had to have some pictures of him for the wall,
he's my "number 2" son.
The funny thing about this one is that after I got the 
picture in the frame, I realized that Brian's shirt matches the frame.
Same colors and same plaid.
Click on the picture and it will enlarge, 
this is true for all the pictures on my blog.

Jaryd's girlfriend, Sara, loved this so much that she made 
a frame using the technique.
Here are some pictures of her frame.
She used the same technique with 2 colors of blue
tissue and one with flowers.
Some white string was stapled to the inside of the frame
for pictures to hang on.
Here is a close up of the frame.  It's so pretty!
Here is Sara with her beautiful frame.

Thanks for stopping by again today.
Keep coming back if you want to see more.
Hope to 'see' you again soon!