Thursday, April 23, 2015

The One with Zaanse Schans, The Netherlands

Let the recaps begin!
Before we drove to the airbnb apartment in Amsterdam we stopped at the windmills at Zaanse Schans.

Fox's homework was to take pictures of himself with "Flat Stanley".  It was a fun activity his school class did while they were on Spring Break.
A little history about this place: Zaanse Schans is one of the highlights of the Netherlands, located just outside Amsterdam. It is a vibrant living and working community that dates back to the 18th and 19th centuries packed with wooden windmills, barns, houses, and museums built in the traditional Dutch wooden architectural style. These structures were relocated here piece by piece starting in 1961. The open air cultural museum is set in a unique peat meadow landscape typical of the low countries. Visitors can watch traditional crafts such as clog- and cheese-making or visit the windmills and other historic buildings. 

Darling Jane at Zaanse Schans. 
Fox being Fox | Fox trying on some fun oversize clogs

The is no fee to enter the area so we strolled across this cool little bridge and started checking out the sights.
First stop, the clog workshop!
The workshop holds one of the largest collections of wooden shoes in the Netherlands.
It featured all kinds of this unique footwear: painted and carved clogs, ice clogs with iron trimming, horse clogs, and even clogs from countries all around the world.
My favorite.
After browsing the displays waiting for our turn we got to enter the workshop and watch a pair of clogs get made. It was fascinating and Fox was mesmerized by it.
Browsing the gift shop. Clogs errwerr.
Charming building.
The highlight of Zaanse Schans, the windmills!
Next, we checked out the cheese house. This replica of an authentic Oostzaan farm is fully equipped for cheese making. What could be more Dutch than cheese? In the farm, the staff, who wear traditional clothing, give information about the different types of cheese. These include Gouda, goat’s cheese and herb cheeses. There are also demonstrations all day long in ten different languages. You can learn all about the different stages of cheese production as well as tasting these delicious types of cheese. The farm shop has all of these delicious cheeses for sale, and much more. De Catharina Hoeve farm was relocated to Zaanse Schans in the late 1980s.
I couldn't get enough of the windmills. Fox and Jane weren't exactly cooperating for the photo, but still a stunning sight!
Horses!
We walked out along the water to the windmills.
In the Zaan region, Western Europe’s oldest industrial area, there used to be more than 600 windmills running at the same time. At Zaanse Schans ten pairs of sail continue to turn. Visiting such a great wooden machine as it slogs away is an impressive spectacle. The mills are used for sawing wood and grinding oil, flower, spices and pigments for paint. Each of the industrial windmills at Zaanse Schans features clear information about the production process. Intriguing narrow staircases sometimes lead all the way up to the windmill roof.
The view across the water was top notch.
Darling house. I want to move in!
Darling-er house! 
Some houses had been turned into little shops.
Be still my heart!
After admiring all the windmills from afar, we paid a small admission fee and toured one of the windmills. We chose De Kat which is the only remaining working windmill the world which makes paint. A windmill has been in this spot since 1646! In fact, it is the only windmill now at Zaanse Schans originally located here. The others were moved from various locations to the museum.
We got to see it in action grinding chalk to make pigment for paint. We couldn't believe how much power the mill generated. The walls, floor, ceiling... everything was shaking!
So cool! Such an intricate piece of engineering.
We climbed up a suuuuper steep ladder to the second level to check out more of the innards. Fox loved it.
At De Kat you are able to go outside and walk along the balcony near the sails.
It was a wee bit windy, to say the least. Actually, almost everyday in the Netherlands was incredibly windy. It makes sense why windmills were such an important part of the industry here.
One last look at these awesome structures.
Up next: Amsterdam!

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

The One with the MINC "Carefree" Layout

I received a Heidi Swapp MINC machine to play around with and I'm so excited to share my first project created with it! 
But first - what is a MINC machine? Essentially it's a glorified laminator - but it works so much better than a laminator for this type of foil application because it has four pressure rollers (most laminators have two) to evenly distribute pressure across a 12x12" surface. A heating element covers the entire 12” as opposed to heat focused at the outer edges. How's that for scientific :) The MINC is fairly lightweight and compact and measures about 19.5x5” so it doesn’t take up a ton of space.
There are currently 11 different colors of pretty foil that can be applied to anything printed with toner ink. 
The heat reacts with the toner and makes the foil stick, in laymen's terms :) Heidi Swapp has an entire collection of products ready and waiting to be foiled with a MINC such as patterned papers printed with toner designs, tags, envelopes, die cuts, party decorations, and so much more. On every package is a number which tells you the number to set the MINC to - no guessing involved! 5 is for really thick material like chipboard and 1 is for really thin material like copy paper. I generally have my MINC set to 3. Works like a charm. 

So here are all the toner printed patterned papers I used:
And the lovely assortment of die cuts. This is BEFORE.
And this is AFTER with the foil applied using the MINC. So fun right?! Love all the pretty, shiny, pops of color!

Then I paired the papers with the new flower metal dies by Maggie Holmes to create these layered flowers. 
Badabing, badaboom, and with the help of my sister and sister-in-law, a new layout was born!
CAREFREE by Paige Evans

Description: I picked out my favorite colors of foil and went to town covering all the patterned papers. Then I foiled all the tags!

Journaling says: In Arcos de la Frontera you ran from door to door and actually asked to get your picture!

How to: Foil patterned papers, a tag, and "carefree" die cut using your favorite colors of foil and a MINC machine. Die cut layered flowers from the papers then assemble the flowers. Drop white paint over a patterned paper layout base. Glue the flowers across the layout then add a photo and foiled tag below. Journal with a gray pen above the flowers and add a foiled word tag for a title and a heart sticker to finish.

Supplies: Patterned paper, heart sticker, tag, die cut: Heidi Swapp; Flower metal dies: Crate Paper; Pen, adhesive: American Crafts; Foil applicator: MINC by Heidi Swapp
 
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A few more important details about the MINC:
MINC Foil Applicator and Starter Kit MSRP - $149.00 
MINC Foil MSRP - $9.99 (foil is 12”x10’) 
MINC accessories MSRP from $2.99 to $12.99
MINC Foil Applicator and accessories are available at Hobby Lobby, Jo-Ann, Studio Calico, as well as locally owned craft stores and online shops.

Sowhatdoyathink? What would you like to see me do with this machine? :)

Sunday, April 19, 2015

The One with the Past 8 Days

I just returned home after a whirlwind 8 days: teaching in Prague, driving to Amsterdam, windmills, clogs, canals, bikes e'rywur, Van Gogh, Vermeer, tulips, Brussels, Bruges, Ghent, french fries, the most delicious chocolate I've ever tasted and am already scheming ways to get more, Belgian waffles, Manneken Pis, neon graffiti, the cutest and quaintest town centers, amazing views, followed by a weekend of teaching in Frankfurt for Heidi Swapp and riding the Deutsche Bahn ICE train for the first time! You can see why I've been MIA for the past few days. And the fun doesn't stop! In just a couple days my mom, sister, sister-in-law, and brother are coming for two weeks!!! Life is so crazy busy, so crazy good. It's going to take me a heckuva long time to hash out these latest adventures (blogging definitely gets put on the backburner!) but I can't resit sharing my most favorite photos from the past 8 days. Yes, I've shared a few already, and I'm probably going to post them again :)

Saturday April 11th - drove to Prague early in the morning and taught a workshop!
Every nook and cranny of Prague is picture perfect.
On the 2.5 hour drive home I came upon the most amazing sunset which reminded me of the quote, "Whenever an artist dies, God lets them paint the sky."
Sunday April 12th - we left home around 8am and drove 6 hours to Amsterdam. And yes, I rented this airbnb apartment SOLELY for the pink couch. And whatdoyouknow I totally spaced getting a picture of me on it! But I did snap cute Jane so it's all good, nay, even better - I like scrapping pictures of her more than ones of myself :)
We drove straight to the windmills at Zaanse Schans.
Picturesque much?!
We got to go into that center windmill and actually see it cranking huge and intimidating wheels crushing powder used for making paint. So fascinating!
So Dutch.
Loving on these aqua buildings.
On Monday April 13th we drove into Amsterdam - it was my #1 goal to find the buildings that are on this patterned paper by Maggie Holmes in the Open Book collection. 
We didn't have to look long or hard at all! They're right outside the main train station woot woot!
h.o.l.y. b.i.k.e.s.
I was all about the architecture.
Exactly what I pictured in my mind's eye whenever I thought "Amsterdam."
The cutest courtyard in all of Amsterdam where single ladies live.
We went to the Van Gogh museum and in this display they had an actual palate and paint tubes used by this amazing artist.
Everyone and their dog surrounding the Vermeer paintings in the Rijksmuseum.
Stripes.
Those buildings once again. And yes they really are that crooked!
Bikes as far as the eye can see.
A fancy organ inside the St. Nicholas church.
Beautiful stained glass also inside the St. Nicholas church.
Us in front of the Rijksmuseum. The "I AMsterdam" sign is almost visible.
Tuesday April 14th we drove out to the famous Keukenhof tulip festival. Sadly, the huge fields of tulips weren't in bloom yet, but we did get to see a few patches of lovely color.
We did see tons of tulips and flowers though, just not in the fields.
Wednesday April 15th we drove down to Belgium and explored Brussels.
Her shirt says it all. This was while waiting for the tram to take us into the city center.
The world's first mall.
More chocolate shops than I can even count!
Delicious french fries on every corner. The curry ketchup sauce is divine.
Don't forget the Belgium waffles! I love this picture because all four Evans family members are trying to partake.
Classy :)
Thursday April 16th we drove to Bruges. I ran to the top of the Bell Tower to get this view of the town square. I used the "tilt shift" feature on instagram to blur out everything else, hence it looks like a miniature village.
From our walk around town.
Like Holland, Belgium is very flat with rivers that are almost the same level as the ground.
Then we drove to the beautiful city of Ghent.
What the?
Fox - our happy camper (most of the time :)
Enjoying the details.
Neon graffiti wall.
Can't get enough of these old-time buildings. They just don't make 'em like they used to!
My favorite view in Ghent.
On Friday April 17th Chris and the kids dropped me off in Frankfurt so I could teach 6 workshops for Heidi Swapp. THE Heidi Swapp! 
I taught Friday night, all day Saturday, and Sunday morning. It was a whirlwind and a blast and I'll share a recap as soon as I can. 

Then I did something I've never done before - I traveled home solo using the efficient German trains! If they say the train is leaving at 12:26, they mean it's leaving at 12:26, to the second. Love it.
Lots of blog posts and recaps to share hopefully soon!