Waking up in the Sahara – October 19, 2016

By | December 1, 2016

Hi Stampers

We got up early this morning to watch the sunrise over the Sahara…. I KNOW… doesn’t that sound amazing!    We could hear the ladies in the other tents slowly waking up, giggling and laughing and talking about the awesome experience that we had all shared.    But the day was just starting.   A quick shower (OK… very quick because the water was COLD!) we got dressed and headed outside to climb the dunes to see the sunrise.     We each found our little spot to sit and watch this welcoming event.   It was quiet, no one spoke as the sun came up.

Looking towards the sun it was a rockier landscape.   When you looked in the opposite direction you were faced with the dunes.    You can see the sand undisturbed, with little animal tracks, then you can see all of our tracks as we started to explore the dunes around us watching out for camel poop 🙂

 

Our camp in the morning light.     On a side note, at some point during the night one of the ladies looked outside their tent.    There was a Tuareg that stayed outside our camp the whole night… I guess to make sure there were no problems.   They really did take great care of us.

 

After a hearty breakfast we were ready to end our amazing journey into the Sahara.    We jumped into the 4×4 jeeps  and started racing each other out of the Sahara.

Before getting too far, we came across some young boys with Desert Foxes….

Morocco - Sahara

Then back into the jeeps to the Kasbah where we left all our luggage the night before.   Cathy, Lori and I shared the ride going into the desert and coming out.   This is our ride leaving the desert.    If you are curious what “waha” means (not sure on spelling) it is “may I” (so you can take a picture and Yalla, Yalla (again not sure on spelling) it is “Let’s Go!”

We had a 4 hour drive to our next stop for the night in Ouarzazate.   Along the way we made a few stops.     I can’t remember exactly what this place was, but it had something to do with ancient water wells.   But there was shopping.

 

Then we stopped at the Todgha Gorge in the High Atlas Mountains near the town of Tinerhir.

Before checking into our hotel, we went to an antique type of store.    A few of us looked around then decided to go outside for some fresh air.   It didn’t last long.   We experienced a sand storm.   The store saw it coming up and they closed the doors.   Luckily our bus / driver was across the road so we booted it to the bus and waited for the sandstorm to stop .   Luckily it didn’t last very long.

Morocco - Sahara

Accommodations tonight were at Le Berbere Palace in Ouarzazate.

 

Thanks for stopping by,
Elizabeth, Your Stampin' Up! Demonstrator
www.stampscrapandmore.com

Morocco, Let’s go to the Sahara Baby – October 18, 2016

By | November 30, 2016

Hi Stampers

When I told people that I was going to Morocco (I had booked it over a year before actually going), the one thing most people said to me was “why would you go to Morocco?”.     Well folks, it was a bucket list item for me, especially seeing and experiencing a night in the Sahara Desert….. oh… and you can’t forget the Camel Ride (ok.. I know it is technically a Dromedary but who really says dromedary ride :))

This really was an early morning start, our goal was to get to the Sahara for sunset and it was a good 8 hour drive through the mountains to our final destination.     Our first quick stop was at Irfan, also known as Little Switzerland.   There wasn’t much open when we arrived, but we were able to grab a coffee and stretch our legs.    Most of Morocco is a shade of brown.. this was a lush green.

 

One of the stops we did make on route to the Sahara was at this Berber Nomad’s home.    In the middle of nowhere.. not a tree, patch of green to be seen on this side of the road, was this tent.   Our Moroccan guide had the bus driver stop and she approached the tent to see if a group of women from Canada could come in and see how they lived.   There was some green across the road and her Husband had taken a farmer’s sheep across for grazing.     The lady was in the midst of making her daily bread and invited us in for some mint tea (a staple in Morocco) and some bread she had made the day before.

 

Check out the lamb tied up outside the tent.   It was born the day before and the umbilical cord was still attached.   There were chickens running around, they had a separate tent with a clay oven.  The side of the tent we all sat is where the slept.   She had taken out the mats to air out and when we arrived she brought them back in for us to sit on.    Our Guide translated as she made her bread and we asked questions.    She apologized for not having enough cups for all of us to have our tea at once and offered to make it in two batches.   We were OK and shared.   (Truth be known we were all concerned about tummy issues in Morocco and ended up just sharing a sip!)

 

Here we are sitting in the area they sleep in.      When we were leaving we gave her some money and granola bars and treats we had on the bus.   One of the ladies had an old makeup mirror and gave it to her.   She looked at herself in the mirror and smiled.      They were only going to be in the area for a few weeks more as it was starting to get cool for them.   They would be packing up and making their way about 90 miles south.    This whole experience was VERY humbling and emotional.    I hugged our Guide and thanked her for the stop.   Who knew that a little stop could be such and inspiration.

Personal - Travel

 

We continued through the Middle Atlas Mountains, the High Atlas Mountains and on to Erfoud.    Security in this area is obvious as the Algerian border is not too far away.   There was nothing to be alarmed about, but we did have a couple of Military road stops.     At one stop our Guide was giving the patrol guys a hard time as it was getting late…. she was telling him (in Arabic) that if the 16 Canadian women miss the sunset in the desert, it was all his fault. While we couldn’t understand what she was saying, you could tell she was giving them heck:)      When we arrived in Erfoud everything was a W-H-I-R-L as it was getting close to sunset.      We arrived at a Kasbah and left all our belongings but one bag each.        Waiting for us to take us on the next part of the journey  were  5 Tuareg’s  with 4 x 4’s .      It was about a 1/2 hour ride, some on road but most on the rocky plateau before you get to the edge of the desert.      We all split into the 5 4 x 4’s and the Tuareg’s RACED each other to Merzouga and then through the rocky plateau to the edge of the desert.     It was hilarious.    They couldn’t speak English but we communicated with laughter at every bump and pit they found to drive over.    Then we come to the edge of the desert and round a corner to find our final ride…… THE CAMELS!

This picture was taken by Colleen and I absolutely love it and wanted to capture it in my journal.      She was on the lead camel.

Fes to the Sahara

 

We made it…. but it was cloudy so there was no spectacular sunset, but you know what… it didn’t matter.    We all came for this amazing experience and it was just beginning.

After our ride up and down the dunes we arrived to what has to be THE MOST welcoming, emotional, brilliant scene we could have imagined (actually I don’t think any of us could have imagined this).

 

 

I still can’t believe that I have “been there, done that”.    It was an amazing surreal experience and I am grateful that I had the opportunity to do it!      Our accommodations for the evening were courtesy of Gold Sand Desert Camp and it was awesome.      We were two to a tent, and  there was no roughing it here, beds, with heavy blankets, toilet, shower and running water and the sand floors were covered in Moroccan rugs.   The funny thing about the water in the sink, when I was washing my face at the end of the night and drained the sink, all that was left was sand.

For days before arriving at the camp we kept asking “will there be wine… if not we want to stop and get some”.    A special phone call was made and we were assured there was wine.   Except there was a miscommunication and it was thought that we “didn’t want wine” (I KNOW!)    When we arrived at the camp and our Moroccan Guide realized there was no wine, she sent one of the Turaeg’s out into town to get the wine.   Whew.. the night was saved.

Being the Space Geek (not really but it is a work thing), the International Space Station flew over and we were all able to see it quite clearly – one of the guys at the camp actually pointed it out as it arched over us.    Then the stars came out, the milky way, the moon… it was a feast for the eyes watching the sky.

 

We sat down to a delicious dinner under the moonlight and stars while the candles outside the tents sparkled in the night.    And modern technology is never too far away.   Yes there was a generator at the camp.    There was a charging station for all of our electronic devices.     This is the ultimate in luxury camping in the Sahara Desert.

Some late night chanting by the fire pit, more wine then an amazing nights sleep.   What can I say, this was a day that will be filed away in my memory bank for years (and decades) to come.


Thanks for stopping by,
Elizabeth, Your Stampin' Up! Demonstrator
www.stampscrapandmore.com

Morocco Fes, October 17, 2016

By | November 29, 2016

Hi Stampers

Today is our last day in Fes.    We are up early this morning and are heading to the market to purchase everything we need for our cooking class today.     When I say everything… we even picked out 5 fresh chickens.    It was an early start and a lot of the stalls hadn’t opened yet.    I am not sure what we were all expecting but the first stall we got to was for the chickens… and we all quickly recoiled when we realized that the chickens were being prepared “fresh” while we waited.     There were animals roaming, donkeys bringing in goods, cats everywhere… it was an experience.

 

The Riad we were staying at is also where the Cooking School was located.

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Everyone chipping in.

 

We were suppose to finish cooking in time for lunch but things went longer then expected.     We had a Hamman booked for the afternoon and had to leave before everything was ready.    But the good news is after the Hamman we came back to the Riad, and they had held the meal for us and we ended up having it for dinner.      It ended up working out well, as it was a long day and we were to be up very early the next morning for a long drive to the Sahara.

Here are a few of us in the Hot Tub waiting for our turn in the Hamman.    It was a Western Style Hamman and therefore 3 of us that went in at a time to be scrubbed and buffed 🙂

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Before leaving the Riad Maison Bleue, Lori and I made a video of the route from our room to the main lobby.    Our room was at the top of the Riad and we got lost more than once trying to get to the lobby.   The second night we were heading out to dinner, we took a wrong turn for the second time and ended up in an alley.   Obviously we were getting lost and figured that we should go through a different door.    Unfortunately the door we decided to open up, led us into a man’s room, who had his back to us and he was NAKED!     Lori and I closed the door and ran like 12 year olds out of the hotel and into the alley.     We finally figured out what the wrong turn was but I will admit that every morning at breakfast we looked at all the guys differently.    Here are the videos from our room to the lobby.

Thanks for stopping by,
Elizabeth, Your Stampin' Up! Demonstrator
www.stampscrapandmore.com

Morocco Fes – October 16, 2016

By | November 28, 2016

Hi Stampers

Today was another early start.     We are heading to Meknes, one of Morocco’s four imperial cities, lunch at Palais Didi, visiting Volubilis, a Roman settlement dating from the 3rd Century BC then dinner at Maison Bleue and being entertained by a Malhoune singer (he was amazing!)

We started off at Volubilis, a Roman settlement from the 3rd Century BC.   I am in awe of the history and ruins that are out in the open, exposed to the elements, visitors, etc. and all that still remains to be discovered  in the area.    I often think that if I were to do things again, I would love to do something with archeology, discovering ancient ruins, history… it fascinates me.

This is Cathy… or as I liked to call her “Debbie Reynolds” and me ( picture proof I was at Volubilis 🙂

Another stop was at the Le Greniers de Moulay Ismail.    Moulay Ismail was a Moroccan leader who had his slaves create the Royal Stables that would eventually house 12,000 royal horses.     Most of the stables are in ruin now due an earthquake in the 18th century.  It is still an impressive site to visit.     This has also been the site of many movies including Ishtar and The Jewel of the Nile.

 

We stopped at a store in Meknes and while I was sitting outside soaking up the city, a procession went into a restaurant.      It is a shakey video taken with my cell, but the sounds are totally Moroccan.

Dinner this evening was in Fes at La Maison Bleue (owned by the same family as the Riad we were staying at).    What a great group of women.

And for Entertainment Malhoune performers.

Thanks for stopping by,
Elizabeth, Your Stampin' Up! Demonstrator
www.stampscrapandmore.com

Morocco Fes – October 15, 2016

By | November 27, 2016

Hi Stampers

It is amazing how quickly your mind forgets details when you travel.   It seems like one day melds into the next.   The longer I put off capturing this marvellous journey to Morocco, the harder it is to journal.     I am thankful for the date / place stamp on pictures to jog my memory, along with some of my travel partners posts.

October 15th we started off with a tour of Fes.      From the old city, the souks, learning all about carpets, mint tea, the tanneries, artisans and my constant confusion over the currency (which I never did get right… but you know me and math!)

View from the terrace of our Riad Maison Bleue (absolutely gorgeous) and the grounds of the Riad Maison Bleue.   It was a stunning hotel.

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Looking over to the old Medina in Fes.

Making our way to the Souks of the Old Medina.     The camel head outside a shop means they are authorized to sell camel meat.    We were wondering where we were heading, going down narrow alleys …. the noises, smells, mix of animals, carts.    There were a few words that we learned very quickly…. Ballack was one of them.    The markets are very narrow and the mode of transport is donkey and cart.   If you hear people yelling “Ballack”…. move out of the way.

We also found one or two carpet stores.   A few of the ladies made purchases, with a few of them going home with more than one carpet :).   This is Sue with her new purchase.   It is amazing how quickly they fold the carpets and wrap them for shipment.    One of the young men at this carpet shop had just moved back to Morocco.. he had been living in Canada.   Without knowing where I was from, he said he use to live in Brampton.   I am on the other side of the world and run in to a Bramptonian.   Small world.

We headed for lunch and enjoyed the “Mint Tea” service.    It really was delicious!

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A typical store front showing a Moroccan rug and pottery.

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Next we made our way to the Tanneries.     This is where they clean and die the leather skins by hand.    When you make your way up the stairs to the top where you can overlook the tanneries you are given a sprig of fresh mint to put under your nose.   AND YOU NEED IT!    The leather skins are cleaned with pigeon poop and it STINKS!   I can’t image the men that are working in the vats and smelling that all day.    Everything is done by hand.     It was great to see this century old tradition going on, but will admit that to get up to the top to see the Tanneries, you are taken through one of the MANY leather stores.    And you have to exit the same way.    Then there is the sales pitch.

We then visited a Moroccan Co-Operative Poterie de Fes where Moroccan men made intricate pottery and tile work.

It was a full day and we finished with a delicious dinner and were entertained by our guide Kalidia Hajja Hilm

 

Here is a quick video of our guide singing.

 

If you are curious as to what I have been working on “on the Stampin’ Up!’ front”… I have been super busy getting ready for my first ever Vendor and Craft event that will be happening on December 10th at the Brampton Fall Fair, Christmas Vendor and Craft Event.   (wow.. that is a mouthful).    I will be sharing projects with you over the next while and if you are local, I would love for you to stop by and say Hi.

That is it for me this evening.   I hope you enjoy seeing pictures from my gravels.

Thanks for stopping by,
Elizabeth, Your Stampin' Up! Demonstrator
www.stampscrapandmore.com

Morocco – Fes October 14, 2016

By | October 26, 2016

Hi Stampers

I have finally started to go through my pictures from Morocco.    Now I know I am a paper crafter / scrapbooker but will admit that journalling is not my favourite thing to do.    Before I forget details I really need to document the trip.

Luckily a lot of my fellow travellers have also captured this journey and the details so it shouldn’t be too hard.    I travel with a group called “The Women’s Travel Network”.   They specialize in small group trips for women.   The groups usually max at 16 people and are women that are single, divorced, widowed, hubbies don’t want to travel, etc.     This will be my 4th adventure with the group.   One of the great things about this group is that most of the ladies are repeat travellers so you end up travelling with people you have met before, or know through other travellers.    This was a great group of ladies and I am thankful to have met new friends and reacquainted with others.

We flew from Toronto to Paris, then from Paris to Casablanca.   We were met at the airport by two travellers that arrived a day earlier as well as our Moroccan Guide and Driver.    We then had a 4 hour ride from Casablanca to Fez.    It was a very long travel day.

Accommodations in Fez were the Riad Maison Bleue and were exquisite.

Arriving at the Riad we had a very late dinner and headed to bed for a full day on October 15th.

 

 

Thanks for stopping by,
Elizabeth, Your Stampin' Up! Demonstrator
www.stampscrapandmore.com

Where, Oh Where have I been?

By | October 24, 2016

Hi Stampers

I have been AWOL the last few weeks – but for a very good reason…… Vacation Time.     No matter how much planning I did, when it came down to the last few days before leaving there was a  flurry of things that needed to be done.   Unfortunately the timed blog posts weren’t one of them.

There were three Stampin’ Up! related  items that I did do just before leaving though.

The first was the Coffee and a Card for October.  It was held on October 12th and it was a great event.   Everyone thought I was crazy for scheduling the event for the day before going on vacation but the timing was perfect.     There were 7 ladies that attended and they made a gorgeous (I think), Christmas card.

Coffee and a Card

Coffee and a Card

And check out this card.    I love it!

Card - Christmas

 

The second thing that I did before leaving was signing up for the Brampton Fair Grounds Winter Craft & Vendor Sale on December 10th.    I sent all the paperwork in before leaving for vacation…. just waiting for confirmation on being accepted….. I think I am.. but always need that written Okey Dokey.    Hopefully today or tomorrow I will know for sure.

And the third thing that I did before leaving was to start my Holiday Helper – 12 Days of Crafting Tutorials.     Are you loving the ideas?    Two tutorials have gone out so far… so there is still lots of creativity to come.     Holiday Helper

So now I have to get my act in gear and get back to all things Stampin’ Up! (and my real job – of course).       I will be posting some favourite pictures and highlights from my travels over the next while.    More of a journal for myself so I don’t forget anything.    There were 16 of us that traveled to Morocco, had an amazing guide and driver.    In all of the uncertainty in the world, it was a definite eye opener to travel through a Muslim country and learning first hand the culture, thoughts and ideas.   Bottom line, we are all alike.    In any culture, society – there are NUTS!

I also didn’t realize how different the various of regions of Morocco are…. everything from Casablanca – with a New York City Vibe to tropical beaches, moutain ranges (that can be snow capped), rocky terrain that looks like the lunar surface, to lush palm trees and the red sands of the Sahara.    We covered it all.  The mornings were early, the days were long and I am exhausted.    But what are holidays for?

 

 

Thanks for stopping by,
Elizabeth, Your Stampin' Up! Demonstrator
www.stampscrapandmore.com

World Card Making Day

By | October 4, 2016

Hi Stampers

Last Saturday was the first Club Day in October.    It was also World Card Making Day.     Unfortunately 3 of the Club Members had other commitments, but the rest of us enjoyed spending the time together and celebrating World Card Making Day.

The 3 cards for October are all Christmas themed and I LOVE them!      I will show the rest of the cards at the end of the month, but want to share one of them with you.      This uses the Candy Cane Lane Designer Series paper…. and right now (until October 5th), if you purchase 3 packages of Designer Series Paper (from the list below), you can get a 4th package FREE…. and the Candy Cane Lane Designer Series Paper is on the list.

Card - Christmas

The Designer Series Paper that is part of the promotion are as follows:

 

Sales

Thanks for stopping by,
Elizabeth, Your Stampin' Up! Demonstrator
www.stampscrapandmore.com

Coffee and a Card – Stampin’ Up!

By | October 3, 2016

Hi Stampers

Last Wednesday I held another Coffee and a Card get together at a local Coffee Shop.   I must say that I am truly enjoying hosting these outings.    The coffee shop loves it when we come in and the Stampers are enjoying the excuse to get out of the house and stamp.    There is something very civilized about the get togethers… yep… I am loving them!   In the new year I am going to try and host a class at the shop and will let you know when I have worked things worked out.

This month I saw a card from a fellow Demonstrator from Germany, Carmen Morris… and it was stunning.    Her card was larger and I wanted to adjust it to an A2 size.   So this is the card that the group made.

Card - Christmas, Star of Light

Thank you Carmen for the inspiration.     My customers know that I love what the European and South Pacific Demonstrators are doing.    This is a perfect example.    And well, you know me… any excuse to put a staple on a card makes me happy. 🙂

Here are some pictures of the group hard at work, enjoying the final result and a little bit of advertising at the shop.

The next Coffee and a Card has been scheduled for Wednesday October 12th at 9:00.   If you are local, come and join the fun.   The more the merrier.     I have also scheduled November’s event for Friday November 11th at 2:00 pm.   I am testing out different dates / times to see what works (and fits best with my work schedule).

The Scoop

  • Star of Light stamp set
  • Starlight Thinlits Die
  • Confetti Stars Border Punch
  • Early Espresso card stock
  • Sahara Sand card stock
  • Tip Top Taupe card stock
  • Very Vanilla card stock
  • Copper Foil paper
  • Early Espresso ink
  • Linen Thread
  • Hand Held Stapler
  • Multi Purpose Liquid Glue
  • Snail Adhesive
Thanks for stopping by,
Elizabeth, Your Stampin' Up! Demonstrator
www.stampscrapandmore.com

Moroccan Themed Gift Bags

By | September 24, 2016

Hi Stampers

Saturday was the “Shimmy & Shake Class”.    Everyone went home with 4 beautiful shaker cards and product to make more at home.    Everyone’s cards were gorgeous and the stampers were happy.    I will share the cards over the next few days, but first…….

I am meeting some ladies Sunday morning.   This is the group I am going away with this Fall.   I wanted to make Moroccan Themed Gift Bags for each of them.   For me it all about the packaging, but inside there is a small bottle of hand sanitizer, a package of kleenex and a package of gum.

When the Stampin’ Up! Annual Catalogue came out in June and I saw the Moroccan Suite, I knew exactly what I was going to do.

3-D

 

The Scoop

  • Moroccan Designer Series Paper
  • Moroccan Nights stamp set
  • Cajun Craze card stock
  • Very Vanilla card stock
  • Dapper Denim card stock
  • Crushed Curry card stock
  • Cajun Craze ink
  • Early Espresso ink
  • Crushed Curry ink
  • Layering Circles Framelits
  • Dapper Denim Ribbon
  • Gold Sequin Trim
  • Burlap Ribbon
  • Bow Paper Clips
  • Gift Bag Punch Board
  • Tear & Tape
  • Snail Adhesive

 

Thanks for stopping by,
Elizabeth, Your Stampin' Up! Demonstrator
www.stampscrapandmore.com