Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Your Next Stamp Challenge

Hi friends,

Just a quick post with my 'Your Next Stamp' creation for the challenge they have this week.  It's a sketch challenge and I couldn't resist inking up this darling monkey for this sketch.

Now I'm off to watch the Olympics gymnastics.  I've been careful all day to NOT watch any news so I'll be surprised when I watch the NBC broadcast of the events.

Make it Monday Blues

Hi friends,

Here is my second post for Make it Monday.  This time I used blues and purples.


This card has a very different effect.  When you add bleach to Blueberry sky, the bleached area turns cream.  I stamped over that with Winter Wisteria.  Then I die cut the image area out and added it to the vellum covered Winter Wisteria Gingham paper.  Thanks for visiting today.  Have a great day.

Make it Monday Yellows

Hi friends,

I have two posts for your today, both for the papertrey ink make it monday challenge.

The challenge was to use bleach instead of ink on your stamps.  I've never done this before and it had some interesting effects.

I used my sunflower stamp on Canyon Clay.  It was nice how the bleach turned the orange card stock yellow - perfect for these sunflowers.  The technique was two-fold.  First you were to bleach, then stamp over the bleached areas with color.   I found the stamp over colors were pretty strong so I did some stamping off with the ink to get a more washed out effect.  I even went so far as to bleach part of the sentiment.

Thanks for visiting today.  Have a great day.

Saturday, July 28, 2012

Christmas in July

Hi Friends,

Did you get a chance to watch the Olympic opening ceremonies yet?  There were some great moments.  I loved Mr. Bean playing piano in the orchestra for Chariots of Fire.  Too funny.  I also loved James Bond and the Queen.   Wasn't the music fabulous?  You can't deny that the U.K. contributes a lot to the musical world.

Lisa Somerville's bloggers challenge this week was 'Christmas in July.'  I inked up this Stampin Up poinsetta image to make this classic card.


So speaking of Christmas, my friend Kimberly and I did some thing bold, surprising but necessary last week.  I really hope I have the self-discipline to go through with it.  What did we do?  We each agreed that we would buy ONLY ONE new Christmas stamp this year.  GASP.  Yes, you heard right.  O N L Y          O N E    N E W   C H R I S T M A S    S T A M P.    Why?  Well, I have been feeling that I have too many stamp supplies and I need to really scale back - sell some un-loved sets and buy fewer new sets.  And everyone is starting to show their new Christmas lines now and I'm already tempted to buy new stamps.  And I have a lot of Christmas stamps from previous years.  So this year it's time to have a little self-control.  By limiting myself to one new one I'll have to be very careful to not do any impulse buys and really consider which stamp is my favorite for the year.  And I'll have to get together with other stamping friends or classes to use other new products.  I know it can be done.  And now that I've blogged about it, I'll have to be accountable to it.  I think I'll wait to buy my one stamp till October.  Stampin Up has some really cute ones out there and Memory Box has released their holiday sets.  I want to wait and see what Papertrey Ink comes out with and Taylored Expressions.  Sigh.  I think it's going to be a tough choice, but I can do it.  I know I can.

Thanks for stopping by today.  Make it a great day.

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Clean and Simple for stampin sisters in Christ

Hi friends,

Today's post is a clean and simple card for this weeks stampin sisters in Christ challenge.

My PTI order arrived yesterday and I was excited to ink up this new rose stamp set.

Thanks for visiting today.  Stop back this weekend for my 'Christmas in July' post.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Papertrey July Blog Hop Challenge

Hi friends,

Today's post is for the Papertrey Blog Hop.

We had a wonderful inspiration photo to work with.  Aren't these colors great together?
And below is my creation using the inspiration above.
I love how the circle image with the hexagon looks like a sun.  I think I may do this card again only this time making all the hexagons yellow and the mat layer in a different limitless layer so it looks more sun-like.  So many ideas, so little time.  Oh and if you are wondering how I got the hexagons to stay put in the die cut machine, I put some scotch tape on the back of the hexagon die (with the hexagons re-inserted.)  The big kick went right through the tape no issues.

so even though I have plans for another alternate card, for now, I'll just be happy with this fun creation.  I did almost all floral designs this weekend for stamp-a-faire so I intentionally did a non-floral card for the blog hop.  Not that I don't love my florals but I thought my trendy trees set needed some loving too.

This card will go off in the mail next week to my cousin Lin.  I think she'll appreciate the sunny and warm colors that accompany my sunny and warm birthday wishes for her.

So what are you up to today?  We are off to Cape Cod for the day.  I love living in New England and having all the joys of the coast driving distance away.  We'll pack the bikes up on the car, head off with some picnic items and hit the road in a bit.

Our intention is to park the cars at the bike trail, ride 5 miles to Skaket Beach, chill in the sunshine with our picnic and then bike some more.  On the drive home, we'll stop at Sesuit Harbor Inn for the worlds best lobster roll sandwich and maybe some icecream.


Is your mouth watering yet?  I know mine is.  I love me a good lobster roll sandwich in the summer-time.  If you've never had one - you've got to try it.

Enjoy your day and thanks for stopping by my blog.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

cards for soldiers

Hi Friends,

On Sunday July 22nd I had a few ladies over and we made some cards for soldiers.  What is cards for soldiers?  Well, it's a non-profit group run by a lady Pam in New Hampshire.  She collects hand made cards from all over the country and mails them to overseas military posts.  Why?  Well the active military overseas have loved ones here in the states and they use our cards to write home to their family and remember special occasions like birthdays, holidays, anniversaries and also no occasions, like a nice thinking of you or miss you card.  I guess the commissaries overseas have a pretty limited selection of greeting cards so they love the beautiful handmade cards that arrive in the mail.

We made 4 different card designs:

We had a lot of fun making them. I'm sure the service men and women will enjoy sending them and the loved ones will enjoy receiving them.  Sounds like a win-win to me all around.

Check out Pam's blog below if you want more information on her program:


Which one is your favorite? I can't decide.  I like them all.  Thanks for visiting my blog today.  Stop back tomorrow for my PTI Blog Hop card - it's a fun one using a great color inspiration.

Monday, July 23, 2012

Mermaid Girl

Hi friends,

Do you dread Mondays?  I don't love them, but thankfully I don't dread them either.  It's just hard getting up to that alarm at 5:50 you know? 

For today's post, I have a mermaid card to share with you using 'Your Next Stamp.'  I only have a few of these stamp sets but I love them.  

So before I go today let's talk about nails.  Do you 'have nails?'  I always had the worst nails.  I was a nail biter for most of my life.  I would get a manicure (or tips) for a special occasion, but day to day my nails were a disaster.  I've been much better about biting my nails lately so I started getting regular manicures a few years ago.  I never did master the art of 'doing my own nails.'  When I put polish on myself it was always uneven, polish on the cuticles or smudged.  So I went to the local Asian Nail Salon when I could and got a nice manicure and for 3-4 days my nails looked darn good.  I only got a manicure about once a month, so the other 27 days may nails looked 'so-so' but I would time the manicures around events so my nails looked good at just the right time.

And recently they started advertising Gel Manicures.  They were expensive (almost twice the price of a regular manicure) but they said it would last 2-3 weeks.  Last summer before I went on my 2 week Asia business trip I had one done and it was great.  Fabulous looking nails the whole time.  Then at Christmas I had another Gel manicure and again, all through Christmas and into the New Year I had beautiful nails.  I was sold.  I was going to Gel forever. Then I got a really bad Gel manicure.   It started peeling up almost right away (the girl did it in a hurry and touched the skin in several places.)  So I went to another salon and had another bad Gel manicure.  Same thing.  So I went back to the once a month 3-4 days of nice nails with a regular manicure. 

I was talking to someone and they said that the products really do vary.  With so many people getting into the gel market there are some watered down polishes and some poorly trained technicians.  They said it really is all about where you go. 

So, I discovered Ulta next to the Wegmans in Northboro.  They use only OPI products so I decided to give them a try.  I had the best gel manicure there with Heidi.   It lasted a full two weeks and was perfect.  My nails have looked fabulous and now I'm planning on going every two weeks.  It is my new guilty pleasure.   I figure I pack my own lunch every day and I'll use my monthly allowance on this splurge.  Am I crazy?  What do you think?    Thanks for visiting today and sharing your opinion.

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Stamp a faire farewell post

Hi friends,

For my stamp a faire farewell post I wanted to include a photo of me and my friend Karen, my co-conspirer in all stamp a faire activities.  Doesn't she have the nicest smile?  I've known Karen for probably 12 years.  We met way back then at a Bible Study Fellowship group.  I've known Karen through the adoption of her two youngest children and I was with Karen as her marriage broke up.  Karen introduced me to stamping and taught me so many things - like the importance of the little details.  She has a beautiful card making style and I'm so glad we are friends.

Thanks for doing Stamp a faire with me my friend. Have a great day.

stamp a faire ribbon challenge

Hi friends,
Yup, me again.  This post showcases the card I made using Ashley Cannon Newell's ribbon technique.

Her technique was to make a ruffle border using ribbon around a 'mat stack' type die cut.  I used Karen's Pretty Peonies stamp set for this.   The die cut (that the ribbon is on) is from the Pretty Peonies die set.   Then I layered this up on some 'Dear Jane' paper, put it on my wrought iron embossed berry sorbet paper and added a tiny tags sentiment with some twine.

The sentiment on the outside says simply 'you are.'  The inside sentiment says 'in my prayers.'

That is it for today's PTI challenge posts.  I'll post another later to show you a photo of Karen and I, but for now I have to hurry and get ready for church.  Can't be late - you know?  Have a great day.

Stamp a faire hand made embellishment challenge

Hi friends,

Me again.  This time my post is for the PTI stamp a faire hand made embellishment challenge.  I chose to try Melissa Philips technique or making a bow using felt and the banner die.

I chose blueberry sky for my bow and then colored up these tulips (from jars of friendship fillers) with my copics.  I put this on a PTI patterned paper (spring moss) layer and then added the sentiment from 'beautiful blessings.'

I added an inside sentiment to this card as well.

Thanks for stopping by today.

Stamp a faire - limited supply challenge

Hi friends,

This is the first of 3 blog posts today for the various challenges PTI had yesterday.  I was pleasantly surpised to get a phone call at 3:30pm from a stampin friend.    She decided not to go to a family party and come visit me and stamp instead.  She brought lots of her papertrey goodies so we had quite a selection between the two of us to work with.  We got busy around 4pm.  She spent most of the afternoon & evening die cutting from my die collection, while I got busy finishing up a custom order job.  You'll notice all my cards posted today are 'thinking of you' or 'sympathy cards.'  I still needed 3 more of those types for my church ladies order so used the challenges to finish those up.

First up is the card I made for the 'limited supply challenge.'  Here we were restricted to one floral stamp set, the card stock colors aqua mist, hawaiin shores, simply chartreuse and stampers select white.  We could also use a chartreuse button and if we wanted add in any stamp color, twine, dies and glitter.

I love this color combination.  Stunning.  I will totally remember this for another time.  Since Karen was here with her quatrafoil die, I decided to use that with the aqua mist to make a beautiful backdrop for my rosie posie images.  I inked the die cut flowers in harvest gold and added some light glitter to them.  Then I did the leaves in chartreuse, added the twine and button and voila.  This baby actually came together in a hurry.

I think this die is going to have to be in my cart for my next order.  It is so pretty with the florals and I've been doing a ton of floral cards lately.

Thanks for stopping by.  Have a great day.

Saturday, July 21, 2012

papertrey ink stamp a faire

Hello friends,

Happy Saturday.  It is absolutely beautiful here in New England today.  We get a handful of 'perfect' days every summer and today is one of them.  Warm, but not hot, moist but not humid, sunny but with a few clouds and a gentle breeze.  Ahhhhh.

Today is also Papertrey Ink's annual event 'Stamp-A-Faire.'

It's an on-line event with technique videos challenges and chat sessions.


I am enjoying the beautiful weather and will play along with the challenges bit by bit.  Many people are taking the whole day to craft, but not me.  I'm actually heading off in a minute to go (on my bike) to 'Look out point.'   I took a class at church where we were challenged to take half a day and get by ourselves to reflect on a bible verse (Colosisans 3:1-17) and take time to listen to God.  Today is my day to do that.  So now that I've gone for my run, been to my yoga class, had a bowl of Tom Yam Soup and made my first Stamp-A-Faire card I'm off to go have a quiet time.

So here is the first card I made for stamp-a-faire.

My card (above) is a little busy. I like Nichole's version (below) better, but I don't have the stamp set 'Natural Beauties' yet.  I ordered today and will get this set free with my order, but I didn't have it for the challenge and used my Botanical Gardens set to make this floral background.  The colors are fabulous though and I love the concept/sketch.

Beautiful eh?

So before I go, are you curious to know which scripture verse I will be meditating on today?  I have listed it below:

'Since, then, you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things above, where Chris is seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things.  For you died, and your life is now hidden with Christ in God.  When Christ, who is your life, appears, then you also will appear with him in glory.

Put to death, therefore, whatever belongs to your earthly nature: sexual immorality, impurity, lust, evil desires and greed, which is idolatry.  Because of these, the wrath of God is coming.  You used to walk in these ways, in the life you once lived.  But now you must rid yourselves of all such things as these: anger, rage, malice, slander, and filthy language from your lips.  Do not lie to each other, since you have taken off your old self with its practices.  You have put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge in the image of its Creator.  Here there is no Greek or Jew, circumcised or uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave or free, but Christ is all, and is in all.

Therefore, as God's chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience.  Bear with each other and forgive whatever grievances you may have against one another.  Forgive as the Lord forgave you.  And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity.

Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace.  And be thankful.  Let the word of Christ dwell in your richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom, and as you sing psalms, hymns and spiritual songs with gratitude in your hearts to God.  And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him. '

Colossians 3:1-17

Have a great day.  Stop by again.  I'm sure I'll have lots more posts this evening when I start playing with the PTI challenges.

Friday, July 20, 2012

Papertrey Ink Make It Monday

Hello friends and happy Friday,

This is my second post today.  For this post I played along with a fun challenge PTI gave on the make it monday video.  The challenge was to 'roll the die' and decide what layout to use, what stamps to use, what colors to use etc.

I got a very random combination of items and was quite challenged to design a decent card with it, but I pulled it off and my creation is below:

So what was challenging about this?  Well, the hardest thing was figuring out how to use my melon stamp set with my brown, aqua and cream color scheme.  No matter how you slice it, no melon is aqua colored.  See my pun, no matter how you 'slice' it.  Anyway, since I didn't want to make a blue and brown melon, I used my melon stamp to make a patterned paper.  I never would have done this if I didn't roll the die this way you know, but surprisingly both the tiny tags stamp set and the melon stamp set work just fine in creating a patterned paper.  Who knew.

So below is my 'game board' that shows my options and what I ended up.

Oh and before I go, let me tell you about a fun give away.  I follow the blog 'fuzzy slippers' published by Moriah.  Moriah has a darling little dog named cad who was injured last summer and has spent the past 12 months getting stronger.  So Cad has a give away.  click the link below to see the give away and play along yourself.


Thanks for stopping by today.  Have a great day.

Bloggers Challenge Die Cuts

Hello friends,

Are you glad it's Friday?  The heat and humidity have finally left us - Good riddance.  We should have a beautiful weekend in New England and I'm hoping my DH and I can get outside for a bit and enjoy it.
The bloggers challenge this week was to use die-cuts.  The challenge is hosted by Lisa Somerville:


I love me a good die-cut you know?  This card above uses several.  The tree is from papertrey ink.  Here, I did not even have to stamp anything.  The tree cut is crisp and clean on it's own.  I also die cut the circle and scallop that house the sentiment.

This card came together in a jiffy.  First, I borrowed the sketch from one of the PTI design team members and then with the two patterned papers found the card was a snap to make

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Fly Away

Today's post is for Impression Obsessions Challenge 'Fly Away.'   You can see all the details of this challenge and the other entries by clicking the link below to the I/O blog.


I know it's a little bit of a stretch, but this adorable lighthouse stamp (H1292 Northern Lighthouse) from I/O has some beautiful seagulls flying in the background.  That's enough flying for me to say these cards count!

A woman at my church asked me to make a bunch of cards for her to use to encourage people and some sympathy cards.  Both are challenging.  Since I know she needs cards for men and women, I struggled to come up with some designs that will work for both sexes.  I grabbed this fun Impression Obsession lighthouse stamp and inked it up in pastel copics and then put it on some masculine/neutral cardstock.  This doesn't come out as especially male, but it's not at all feminine so it will do the job.

Then I used the same image for a sympathy card.  This classic scene is very serene so I thought it would be nice with a sympathy sentiment.

Thanks for visiting my blog today.  Make it a great day.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Sweet Sunday Sketch Challenge

Hello friends,

Happy Tuesday.  It's going to be a hot one here today; 96 and humid.  Yuck.  I hope you find a way to stay cool today.

My post today is for Karen Giron's Sweet Sunday Sketch Challenge.  She always has some really nice sketches and I inked up a stamp set from papertrey that I haven't yet created a card with.

This set is called Tweet Talk and I love the fun birds.

Have a great day.  Thanks for stopping by.

Monday, July 16, 2012

Stampin Sisters in Christ Entry

Hello friends,

How are you on this fine Monday?  Is it hot where you are today?  It is unbearably hot in New England.  We don’t have central A/C in our house, but thankfully we have an A/C unit in our bedroom, so when it gets too unbearable I go hide in the bedroom with my ipad and cool off.  So how is your summer going?  Going is the key word for my summer.  I can’t believe how fast it is going by.  We will have an empty nest in just about a month.  It is starting to sink in for all of us.  Eric got his roommate assignment on Friday.  His roommate seems perfect for him.  Nice, normal guy from Atlanta.  He too is an engineering major with a girlfriend.  I hope they are compatible: seems like they should be.  
I had to laugh about how times have changed though.  When I got my roommate assignment I got a phone # and an address.  I called my roommate and we exchanged pictures through the mail.  This was 1981.  For Eric, the first thing he did was facebook stalk the kid, friend requested him and sent him a text.  They have had numerous conversations but not one of them was on the phone.  Everything is text.  He only knows what this kids voice sounds like because he watched a video the kid has posted on facebook.  It is times like this that I’m glad Eric doesn’t post a lot of nonsense on facebook page.  His facebook profile was this kid’s first impression of him so it was good that most of his stuff was pretty true to who he is.

Well, let me tell you about my crafty creation today.  The challenge for Stampin Sisters for Christ was based on the scripture passage about salt and light.  The challenge was to sprinkle some bling on your creation.
While reading about Papertrey ink’s new release projects, I happened upon a beautiful card creation by Melissa Philips.  I love the romantic feel of the flowers and patterned papers.  I loved the layout so I made my own card based on her layout.  I love the old fashioned, elegant look of yellow roses so I made my roses yellow and added glitter and bling to them.

So first is my creation.

And below is the inspiration card from Melissa. 

You can check out her post about her card below:

Thanks for visiting today.  Have a great one.

Saturday, July 14, 2012

Bloggers Challenge and Papertrey Ink MIM

Hi friends,

I'm back today with some crafty goodness.  Thanks for visiting my blog this past week and letting me share about our trip to Hungary and Ukraine.

Today's post is for two challenges.  Lisa Somerville's weekly blogger's challenge was 'black and white and a splash of color.'  These are always fun.

You can click the link below for details on her challenge.


To make this card I used the Papertrey Ink's Make It Monday challenge to stamp on textured paper.
You can watch the video and see the sample cards by clicking the link below:


I ran my white cardstock through the cuttlebug with a stampin up embossing folder. Then I inked up my PTI stamp Crackle and inked it with black.  I then stamped the top of the embossed cardstock and I got this really neat black and white lacy effect.  Then I added the rosie posie floral element for my 'splash of color' and voila - a quick and elegant card.

Thanks for visiting my blog today.  Make it a great day.

Friday, July 13, 2012

Sarah in Ukraine

Hi Friends,

Today will be my final post on our trip to visit my daughter Sarah.  For today I will focus all on Sarah and my impression of her life over there.
So do you know one of the first songs in the movie Beauty and the Beast?  It shows Belle dancing around a rural french village with a book in her hand.  That is Sarah's life.  The book reading, beautiful girl in a small European Village!  Both Bob and I found ourselves with that song stuck in our head as we wandered around Vishkovo.
I was overwhelmed with how well she has learned the language.  Ukraine looks like a very hard language to learn - the characters in the alphabet are not familiar and the grammar seems quite different from English.  Sarah is still quite uncertain when engaging in Ukrainian conversations, but she managed very well.  Everyone we met understood her (at least to some degree) and she understood them back.  I think having to do all our talking for us improved her confidence.  Normally I don't think she does nearly so much talking as she did with us and she was quite proud of how well she did by herself in some atypical situations.  We were VERY impressed.  Go Sarah!  Too bad the language Ukraine may become obsolete over time as the Ukraine government has recently allowed Russia as another official language (but that is for another blog post!)

I was so pleased to see how well she has integrated into the local community.  She brought us around town and introduced us to everyone.  We met the ladies in the post office, the ladies at the stall of the market where she buys her fruit, the woman who runs the liquor/convenience store, the coffee shop lady, the principal (director) of her school, her teacher counter-part, some of her students, her boyfriend and some of his friends and her host mother and sister.  They all smiled warmly and seemed to genuinely like and care about her.  It warmed my heart to know they considered her a friend and I feel confident that they'll look out for her best interests to the best of their ability.  The peace corp spent a lot of time in training helping the volunteers understand how to do this because this is an important way volunteers stay safe.  If the community considers them a part of the community - they often significant protection.  Kind of Godfather like....but all the more reason it was re-assuring to see her well acclimated in.
Sarah has grown up so much since she left home last September.  She is still a sweet, young lady with an optimistic and artistic view of the world, but she is wiser and more seasoned.  She is also more fashionable and if it is possible - she got prettier while she's been gone.
Well, as you can see, she is a knock-out and we were not all at all surprised to see heads turn when we walked  with her.  She is beautiful and different from the local girls so there were many men looking our way.
This actually worked to our advantage on a number of occasions. If the waiter or hotel desk clerk was male, pretty much anything we wanted we would get.  The hotel clerk in the old Continental hotel in Uzhorod was almost comical about his 'above and beyond service' for the American family with the beautiful daughter.  We asked Eugene what time we had to check out and he was funny, he said 'Sarah can stay till - 3 in the afternoon if she wants.'   He was cute.  When he heard she lived in Vishkovo he almost starting drooling as he explained he had friends in Vishkovo and was there 'all the time.'  Sarah quickly pointed out something about her 'boyfriend' but Eugene was still bending over backwards to give us excellent service.
I took Sarah shopping in Uzhorod and bought her the dress above and the cute top to match her new shorts below.  Adorable - aren't they? And yes, Sarah hasn't changed a bit.  We spent about 1 1/2 hours in a small store and I think she tried on everything the woman had in her size before finally choosing her items.  I didn't mind a bit though. I was enjoying my time with her.
Well, a post about Sarah wouldn't be complete without some information about her Ukranian boyfriend Ivan.  It's spelled Ivan, but you pronounce it Yvonne.  He was handsome and nice and I am very glad that they are together.  He is very sweet to her and helps her out tremendously.  She is sweet and kind to him also and cooks for him.   They are very compatible.  Life in a small village, without family, can get quite lonely and I'm glad she has someone she cares about to spend her free time with.  Ivans family is in a city 5 hours away so they are alike in not having family in the village.  If you read my earlier posts you'd know that most everyone else has family very nearby so without that it makes you quite different.

I actually got him to smile for the camera  - which is no easy feat.  The normal Ukrainian 'photo face' is no smile with a stern look in the eyes and eyebrows furrowed.  See Sarah making a traditional Ukraine photo face below.
I had to try to say something funny to get Ivan to give a nice, natural smile for our photo.  Here is a photo of him in his border patrol uniform.  We were in the village and he had just finished his service and was heading home.  He stopped by to greet us on the street.

Below is a photo of the two of them frolicking in the river.  Poor Ivan.  He was too shy to swim in his normal European swim suit so chose to swim that day in his shorts to be more modest.  I told him he looked positively American out there.  I'm not sure if he thought that was a compliment.
He is very considerate like that.  He seems to take time to consider what would make someone comfortable and he adjusts his behavior to reflect the situation.  Very nice.  I liked Ivan a lot and I'm very glad they are together.  They seem well suited for each other.

So let's talk about Sarah's home.  She lives in a host family with a widow and her daughter.  Natalie and Olea are very sweet.  Their home is comfortable and big.  Natalia (the mom) is nice, but rather reserved and cautious.  She seemed almost fearful, especially about safety things and the like, but that is probably from experience and I'll never fault someone, especially someone who is hosting my daughter in her home, for being cautious.  She has one of the nicer homes in the village. She has a nice living area and a cool feature - an outdoor kitchen.  This includes a kitchen table set up, a sink and a firepit like thing that is used like we use a grill.  How nice would it be in the hot summer to not have the heat from the kitchen all through the house?

Sarah has a comfortable space and in typical Sarah form, had taken over the bedroom with 'her stuff.'  In the photo above I'm sitting on the sofa in Sarah's room.  She had a bed, desk, couch and table plus closet space and a shared bathroom.  Natalia had a big living room also downstairs that Sarah is welcome to relax in as well, but I think she hangs out in her big, comfy room most evenings reading or on the internet.

While we were there we got to see her school, meet her counterpart (the lead English teacher) and meet the school principal (director.)

Here is Sarah at the main entrance to the school building.
 This is in the main hallway.  Aren't the plants and lace curtains a pretty touch?
This is a bulletin board of students who represented the school at a scholar competition of some type. Sarah knew most of the students.
This is one of the classrooms that Sarah teaches in.  In Ukraine the students stay in one class-room all day and the teachers rotate into the different classes.
 They were busy cleaning and doing maintenance on the rooms while school was not in session.

 This is Sarah in front of the blackboard.
 For the students workbooks and materials.
 Art projects by the students.

And outside the school building was this random fenced in area with chickens.  Yup, it's pretty rural in Vishkovo.  Many homes had small farm animals on the premise - goats, chickens, sheep...
Oh and before I go, let me show you a view into Ivan's apartment.  This is quite typical of the average person's apartment.  He has no running water or indoor bathroom.  Below is his water supply - a well right outside his door.
He referred to this as his 'soviet fridge.'  It works, but barely.
This is his kitchen.  He has a two burner hot plate and a wood stove that serves as an oven.  In the summer he does all his cooking outside on an outdoor firepit.
He didn't seem to mind it at all.  It seemed quite functional and simple.  I guess Sarah cooks here often.  Some of the food goodies we brought (peanut butter, macaroni and cheese, coffee) came right over here to Ivan's kitchen.

So what else can I tell you about Sarah and our adventure visiting her before we end this blog series?  Well, Sarah has become a beer drinker.  She never liked it nor drank it in the US but now that she is over in Ukraine she's grown to enjoy it.

We had such a laugh over the mini-bar in our hotel fridge.  The beer was cheaper than the water and everything was dirt cheap.  The 16 oz bottle of beer in the fridge was less than $1.00.  We felt like kings and queens drinking the beer from the mini-bar.
Oh and despite all her complaining about missing the food in America, she seems to be doing pretty well over there.  She certainly looked healthy and well fed.  Of course there is pizza there, and soft ice cream.  There is also fresh fruit (the local cherries and peaches were fabulous) and vegetables - corn, tomatoes, cucumbers.  They don't really do green lettuce so she doesn't get to make a traditional green salad, but there is plenty of fresh vegetables and pickled everything. They even make a soup out of pickles.  It was advertised as 'cucumber' soup so we were surprised to see pickles in there.  It wasn't bad, just different - and salty.
We both enjoyed the local cherry juice and Coca-Cola is everywhere, albeit in much smaller portions than typically served in America.  No super sizes here.  Just 4, 6 or 12 oz portions.  Sarah likes an apple - grape juice they make.
One local dish we enjoyed was called Shaslik.  It is marinated pork cooked over an open flame.  I guess Ivan makes this often and it's a favorite summer dish.  We had it at a restaurant and enjoyed it.  Often it is made as kabobs but we also had it as a standard roast.

The locally made desserts are also good.  We enjoyed apple strudel on multiple occasions, so while Sarah is missing her American favorites, don't feel too bad, she's doing okay.  We also found this chocolate store that sells local Ukraine made chocolates.  Yum.

And even though she misses her Starbucks, the espresso and cappuccino were quite good.
So, she is doing marvelously.  I am so happy and proud of her.  I also miss her already, even though it's only been a few days.  I'm glad that we are planning on having her home for Christmas.  That doesn't seem too far away and it will be fun to have her home.  I just hope she isn't overwhelmed by America during her visit home.
Thanks for following my blog as I chronicled our adventure in Eastern Europe and my random thoughts and opinions about it.  Next week I hope to have my craft room back in business.  I have a huge backlog of projects to work on so I intend to start crafting and blogging about my crafty creations again next week.  Please leave me a comment to let me know your thoughts about my blog comments this week.