Sunday, August 31, 2008

A Charming Post

I have really enjoyed writing about and sharing the adventures of my recent trip to Greece with all of you. It has been nice to hear from so many of you though blog comments or via e-mail that you have found them enjoyable to read as well. Believe me there is so much more to share but I thought I would take a little break this evening and share some recent projects that I have been working on.
As many of you know I love to work with paper---scrapbooking, card making, altered art projects--- as long as it involves paper. But from time to time I feel adventurous and like to try something new. I have always admired those sweet soldered charms and several months ago I thought I would try my hand at it. I wasn't sure that I could actually use a solder iron. The only experience that I had with soldering was in high school in my Technical Education class. Let's just say those poor little electrical circuits that I had to solder needed some work. But this time would be different---I actually wanted to do a soldered project. I set to work doing some research and with the help of a wonderful lady named Robin and her etsy shop Glass Supplies I soldered my first charm. I was hooked. It took some practice but I was so inspired by these tiny pieces of art behind glass I made charms for everyone.

These little charms were made from vintage handkerchiefs.

When I found this piece of vintage lace at an estate sale, I knew it would make a beautiful charm. I completed this cheery little charm for a weekly challenge with my friends at Etsy Cottage Style.
This next group of charms were inspired by my son. Alex is a junior at North Allegheny High School where the tiger is the mascot. He also plays on the football team. Being the proud mom that I am, I wanted something to were to his games to let the world know that he was my son. I created a charm with the tiger paw on the front and his name and number on the back. After wearing it to his first scrimmage, I have been happily soldering many more for all of the other proud moms.

Just so you don't think I have abandoned my paper projects, I will share some photos of a sweet little nursery banner I created for a local craft fair that I will be participating in.

I hope you have enjoyed this little break from my Greek travels. Stayed turned for further adventures...............

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Horefto--The sequal to Platania

I thought my next post should be about my trip over the mountain to the beautiful beach, Horefto. In keeping with the theme of our trip--all places worth seeing were above sea level, we headed back up the mountain. This was the trip I had heard so much about and truthfully was not looking forward to. I did not ask the elevation of the mountain but when we traveled half way up the mountain to visit the little village of Makrinitsa, the elevation was 2400 feet above sea level. Knowing that we were going to have lunch at the top of the mountain in the village of Hania, it was not hard to figure out that I would be about 5000 feet above sea level. Going on my past experience with this mountain travel, I knew the final destination would be well worth the trip. So I once again got into the van, closed my eyes, and held on to the headrest in front of me and tried to focus on the amazing beach I would soon be relaxing on. I could feel the warmth of the sun on my arm shining through the window as we drove. As we traveled higher and higher I noticed the change in the temperature. The air was becoming much cooler almost cold on my skin. When I could no longer feel the sun, I opened my eyes to see where it had gone. It was then that I realized that we were actually driving right through the clouds. I don't think there are words to describe my feelings at that moment. I could hear the whispers of my husband and son as they were in awe of the view. "Shhhh, don't tell mom" I believe was the reaction of my son. I became much braver as we began our decent and was able to open my eyes. WOW the Aegean sea, with it's many shades of blue was breathtaking. As the waves reached the shore line, they crashed into rows of pure white. I don't know if it was the relief of finally reaching sea level or the amazing beauty right in front of me that actually brought a tear to my eye.
We had such a lovely time at this beach. The waves were much too strong for me to attempt swimming but I enjoyed watching Alex and his cousin, Dimitri braving these giant beauties.
We walked the beach, soaked up the sun and had a yummy snack of grilled pork, fresh tomatoes, olives, cheese and bread to hold our growling tummies until we reached the restaurant at Hania. As the time to leave neared, I tried to take in as much of the view as I could. I really could have stayed there forever. But with the sun so very intense and with my skin starting to sting, I finally realized it was time to leave. Back up the mountain we headed. As we traveled on our way to Hania, we came upon a roadside restaurant filled with the happy sounds of a baptism celebration. Greek music played loudly as guests laughed, talked and of course danced. We stopped for a few minutes to watch and enjoy the music. Because everyone is like family here in Greece, no one minded that we took pictures.

When Uncle Nestor took my hand, I almost couldn't help myself not to join in the dance. The restaurant at Hania was just as I expected--wonderful. I selected a sausage and pepper dish and was not disappointed. It is amazing that no matter how nervous and stressed I get being at such high elevations, it never seems to effect my appetite.

Another wonderful adventure in Greece.

Sunday, August 17, 2008

A Day At Platania

One of the things that I was most excited to see during our visit to Greece was the amazing beaches that I had heard so much about. Family members who had visited them before would tell me how breathtaking the water--so blue and clear. I also learned from them that we would have to travel up and over the mountain to see one of the most beautiful beaches. As I shared before I have a terrible fear of heights so the thoughts of actually traveling over the mountain down to the other side gave me the shivers. Imagine my relief when I learned that before we would visit that beach, we would first visit a beach called Platanidia. Platanidia was about a 1 1/2 hour drive along the coast. "Oh good" I remember thinking to myself. "I'll have one more day to prepare for the drive over the mountain". There is something to be said for the statement --Lost in translation---. Oh the drive started along the coast but before long I began to realize that we were headed up a huge mountain. All at once those darn butterflies of panic returned to my stomach. As we traveled, I had to close my eyes on several occasions. When I did take a peek the scenery was beautiful. Mountains lined with olive trees and here and there little houses tucked in. The prettiest little houses ever. Some with window boxes filled with red geraniums and others with pretty gardens. As we continued to travel higher and higher we came to a heard of mountain goats being shepherded by a herd dog. I could hardly believe my eyes.I just started to relax a bit when I heard Uncle Nestor, who was driving, say something about a short cut. We turned off of the main road and began to travel on this dirt/sand "road" with no guard rails. This was it. I was living my greatest fear. This was exactly what I had pictured the mountain trip to be. As we traveled now downhill, around curves, the edge of the road so close I could only do one thing--close my eyes tight hold on to the headrest in front of me and PRAY.

These pictures are complements of my sister-in-law, Stephanie. She was not afraid to look and got these wonderful shots.
When we finally reached the bottom it was truly amazing. The Aegean Sea was right there before my eyes at the foot of the mountain. The water was just as I had imagined--crystal clear and so calm.

We enjoyed the beach all morning. Floating in the water, laying in the sun, walking and collecting the prettiest little white almond shaped stones---it was like a dream. Once again beauty surrounded me. The open sea in front of me and the majestic mountains behind. Also located right on the beach was the quaintest little restaurant-- walls of stone with a clay roof. A patio lined with tables and cheery red and blue chairs inviting hungry swimmers to sit a while and enjoy a bite to eat.
We enjoyed the most delicious lunch. I selected pork with lemon sauce, Stephanie chose a pasta dish with meat sauce and the rest of the family had grilled fish (with the heads still attached). My son surprised me with his adventurous meal selection. I was having such a lovely day that I almost forgot about the trip home back up that mountain road. But there was still much of the afternoon left to enjoy so I put the thought out of my mind.
The time soon arrived to leave this beautiful site. We packed our things and with one last look I got into the van and prepared for the trip home. The van started up the mountain and with each shift of the gears the tires spun just a little on the sand beneath them. My mind began to swirl with nervous thoughts. As Greek songs played on the radio and everyone else seemed to be relaxed, I quietly prayed that we would make it safely to the top. As you may have already guessed, we did.
What an incredibly amazing day. I am so glad that I did not allow my fears to keep me from enjoying all that this day had for me.

Friday, August 1, 2008


Have you ever visited someplace that you instantly fell in love with? Someplace so charming and enchanting that it just captures your heart. From the moment I stepped onto the cobblestone streets of Makrinitsa it was true love. Makrinitsa is a little village located about 2400 feet above sea level on the mountain that is the backdrop for the city of Volos. Imagine me, a girl afraid of heights, loving such a place. So much so, that I requested to return after my first visit. Ok I must admit I was just a little nervous as we traveled up the winding roads to just about the middle of the mountain. There were a few spots that I had to squeeze my eyes shut as the butterflies danced in my stomach. But once we reached our destination, those cobblestone streets greeted me and invited me to explore the village. As I strolled along, I came upon quaint little homes that seemed to be just randomly placed right at the mountains edge. Some with little stone paths or stairs leading you to their front doors.
As I continued to explore, I came upon the sweetest gift shops all with store fronts so captivating they just beckoned me inside.

Once I reached the edge of the village, I came upon one of the most beautiful sites that I have ever seen. A little church , so very old yet standing so strong with it's walls of white stone. As I peeked through it's arched door, I was amazed at the beauty within. The glowing candles, sparkling chandelier, and the wonderful paintings upon it's walls. I couldn't help to think-- no matter what religion you happen to be this is a wonderful place to praise and worship God.

Right across from the little church was an outdoor cafe. Little tables surrounded by slatted chairs. Once again an invitation to stop, sit a while, and just enjoy all the beauty that surrounded me. I enjoyed an iced coffee drink with my family and then it was time to slowly walk back down the cobblestone street to our awaiting van.
Before I close this post for tonight I would like to share with you the amazing view of Volos from the edge of Makrinitsa.
(My Father-in-law and Mother-in-law, John and Edith)
Makrinitsa, the little village that stole my heart. I am so grateful for the opportunity to have visited it's streets and for the memories I will forever have.

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