Capitol City Visit

Capitol City Visit
Madison Wisconsin

Thursday, June 30, 2011

More Sightseeing in DC....Part II

More Washington D. C. Sightseeing......Part II.

Well, to continue on with the highlights of our trip, after the Washington Monument, we walked over to the White House to gawk through the fence, like many other tourists. I think 1974 was the last time I stood outside that fence! My son had not seen the White House on his last trip to D.C. So, there we stood, snapping a few pictures in between others doing the same! We did note the kitchen garden to the left side of the lawn and what appears to be a climbing wall (!) near the fountain out front. I'll refrain from giving an opinion on that.

Now that it was mid-day, we decided to take in a museum or two. The line at the Archives was still very long, so we proceeded to go to the Smithsonian's Museum of Nature History. There was much to see, of interest, at this museum! The ground floor currently has an exhibit on the Deep Ocean. It was fascinating. There were also evolutionary exhibits of human skulls, etc. And the second floor held a gem exhibit. It was so crowded on the second floor, that we didn't stay for long. We looked at the Hope Diamond and some meteorites from space. Being a jewelry artist, I wish it had not been so crowded, so I could have taken in some of the gems! You must remember, that in DC, many of the large attractions are free and that does lend to crowds! We decided to leave, get something to drink, and head back to the scuplture garden to rest before meeting the rest of our group for dinner at the Hard Rock Cafe, just down the street from Ford's Theatre. Again, the sculpture garden had to be our favorite spot.

After a tasty, but expensive and very loud dinner at Hard Rock, our group of nine stayed together to tour the monuments. We walked to the mall and past the Washington Monument, since we had seen it and the rest of the group was going on Wednesday, we walked past the drained reflecting pool (it does look terrible) to the Lincoln Memorial. Lovely. Although, the sight back down the mall to the Washington Monument is not. From the Lincoln, we went to seen the Vietnam War Memorial. This is a very somber walk. You can look up a person's name in the provided books to see where if they are listed on the wall and then find their name in the labelled section.

From the Vietnam Memorial we looked at several smaller memorials, one for women in combat and went on to the World War II Memorial. This is a gorgeous, large memorial. Although there weren't any honor flights there at the time of day we visited, you could imagine the vets, most with their wheel chairs and walkers, gathered around the state they fought with. The fountains in the middle are lovely. The Washington Monument almost glowed in the background. Next, we went to the Korean War Memorial. This memorial was spooky to me! The men are life like and the wall behind them has wonderful pictures depicting life and roles in that war. At one end of the Korean War Memorial, the saying Freedom is not Free is carved in stone. How sad and true, as we continue to fight today for our freedoms.

If I recall, the FDR Memorial was next. Now, it was beginning to be dusk. I have to say that I thought I would like this memorial the least, and think I ended up liking it the best! It is set up in four sections, one for each of his terms of presidency. Many of his iconic sayings are carved in stone. Water, rushing or flowing over rocks, silently conveys the turbulence of the times. Most effective, was the statues of life size people, standing in line outside a door.....waiting. For food, for a job, for shelter. You use your imagination and be respectful, just don't stand in line with them, for they are in the Great Depression.

We, then, had to make a detour due to some construction fence and made our way around the accessible part of the tidal basin to the Jefferson Memorial. Great photographic opportunities await as you gaze across the tidal basin to the memorials. It was early evening, now and getting dark. Jefferson awaited us, in his domed memorial. His statue, like the man himself, is larger than life. Jefferson was a complex and I feel, somewhat paradoxical individual. I am fascinated by his life, not as a politician, but as a fellow gardener and friend of John Adams. Their life long friendship, sometimes adversarial relationship, is well documented in the letters they wrote to each other. I have two books containing these letters. It is fascinating that these two men who helped shape our country in so many ways, died within hours of each other on the same day and year. July Fourth!

Well, that completed a 14 hour day of sightseeing in our capital city. It was a long but fulfilling day. The city was very clean and friendly. Of course, since this was only day two of our trip, there is more to come. But, I will leave the post at this point today. I will try and get some more pictures up, so stop back and see those, too! I always appreciate the comments!

And if you are looking for a nice July 4th sale. I am offering 20% off everything in my etsy shop through July 5th, by entering the coupon code JULY20 at checkout. Please stop by and save;

Thanks for stopping by!

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Some DC Pictures.......Sightseeing spots in our Nation's Capital, Part I

Here are some of my photographs that go with my post from earlier today! Enjoy!

From the bottom up;
1. College Park Campus, University of Maryland
2. National Archives Building as viewed from the Navy Memorial
3. Flags at the FBI Building
4. The Old Post Office Pavilion
5. One view from the top of the Old Post Office Pavilion; Washington Monument

Sightseeing in Washington, DC

Sightseeing in Washington, D.C.

I arrived home about a week ago from a trip to our Nation's Capital. It was a wonderful trip with a small group of nine from our school district here in the midwest. Our group consisted of 2 middle schoolers and 2 high schoolers (one of which was mine), 2 teachers, and 3 parents.

I guess the first thing I should tell you is that we drove about 1100 miles to get to the College Park, University of Maryland Campus; where we were staying! After arriving, we relied totally on public transportation for the entire week!

One of the first things we did was grab the college shuttle bus to go to the metro station to buy a pass that would allow us to ride all week, anywhere and anytime. This was probably one of the most important things we did to make our sightseeing enjoyable! The pass was $47.00 for each person. Well, worth it! The metro system took us where we wanted or needed to go and is a whole separate post, in itself! We loved it!

Well, I'm supposed to be writing about sightseeing, right?! Our first stop was Ford's Theatre, where President Lincoln was shot to death! We had purchased advanced tickets beforehand (by just googling the theater) for $9.50 each ($2.00 service charge). But, you can get in line to purchase tickets early in the morning and get in the same day, according to your time on the ticket. The theatre is beautiful and an actor tells the story of that fateful night in an entertaining way. Well, worth a visit!

Next, we visited the Old Postal Pavilion, just a few blocks from the Ford's Theatre. We hadn't planned on going there, but another tourist gave us a tip that it had a great view from the top and they were right! The building is old and beautiful. An elevator or stairs takes you to the top of a clock tower to get a panoramic view of the city and some other famous landmarks. We took some really cool pictures from the clock tower of the Capital and Washington monument. The Bells of Congress are also housed at the old Postal Pavilion and well worth seeing this gift from Britain. The bells do ring, on special days.

At this point, I should digress and tell you that, of course in this day and age, you do have to pass through security in the public buildings. Our first experience with this was the Post Office Pavilion but the guards are pleasant and quick. Just be prepared to have your bag x-rayed and pass through a metal detector, very much like at the airports. This never bothered us, as we were thankful that the check points are to make sure everyone is safe.

Our next stop, was to be the National Archives.........well, we had to pass that by due to a line being wrapped around 2 sides of the building. It was probably about 11:30am now. Unfortunately, we never did get into the archives. Part of our group did go first thing in the morning, when we were at Ford's Theatre. Apparently, that is one of the most important tips for sightseeing DC is that you get in line early in the day......Yes, even before things open.

We had a bag lunch from College Park, so we stopped by the Sculpture Garden, right downtown. It is a lovely spot with a beautiful round fountain in the middle. You can take a much needed, relaxing break here and even soak your feet in the fountain if need be. Be be forewarned, DO NOT go there thinking you'll let your children frolic in the water. We saw park workers yell at fountain sitters who were just standing up at the fountain edge, to sit down! It is a very relaxing space and we loved it. You just need to practice some common sense and have good control of your children. If you don't; I'd skip this spot. We ended up returning to the Sculpture Garden at the end of the day for a rest. It was probably our favorite spot.

A nice surprise on this trip was that while in line at the Ford's Theatre, a lady gave us tickets to go up in the Washington Monument at 1pm. Now, I had tried to get tickets online before our trip but those were gone. The tickets are free but timed, so you need to have one to go up into the monument. The day we went, we heard they were gone by 9:30am. So, act quickly, again....first thing in the morning!

The Washington Monument is beautiful! An iconic landmark for our first president and nation. The elevator ride is quick and the views are great from the top. It is worth getting the tickets to do this, just to get a view of the other landmarks and layout of the city. The park rangers are helpful and pleasant. They also do a great job of lining people up to go to the elevator (8 at a time). You'll not be able to "budge" (as the children say) in line here. A few people tried it and it did not work. The lines are timed and move along, so just be patient and enjoy your visit!

Unfortunately, we did note some unsightly things by this point in our day. One, the mall, usually pictured a verdant green in ones' mind, was brown and dry. The grass was crispy, in fact! And the famous reflecting pool; it's drained right now! So, there is just a mud pit with a lot of construction equipment around the whole area.
Not as picturesque as we remembered. It was disappointing. We read after we got home, that they are renovating the reflecting pool so that it will actually have a water exchange with the Tidal Basin and be easier to care for. It's just not what you expect to see, right now!

Well, we did go into the museums and see the monuments but that will have to wait for the next post! Thanks for stopping by! Have a great Saturday!


Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Summer Solstice...2011

Hello! Happy Summer Solstice!

Today is the longest day of the year! Enjoy the daylight into the evening!

Please view my previous post; I am still waiting for more readers to vote on what I should write about next on my blog! Right now, it looks like I'll be writing about sight seeing in Washington, D.C. (while there last week).

I hope to shed more light on the National Park in D.C. than an article I just read this morning in the recent issue of National Geographic Traveler. The author wrote about walking around the park and briefly, touched on what he saw; claiming the park needed our help. I might be inclined to agree but he didn't give the reader any more to go on than one example of buses emptying out school children at the Washington Monument and not having enough bathrooms. I can think of so much more to say!

Our trip to DC was wonderful. Suffice it to say, that there is a lot to take in during a visit there and we found the city friendly and very clean! The Metro rail (which we relied on all week) was actually fun, if not a little crowded at times!

I hope you tune in to read what probably will be a series of posts on our Nation's Capital!

In the meantime, please visit my etsy shop, as I am posting more new pieces, daily!

~ Carol~

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Washington D.C..................Very Inspiring!

Stay tuned this week for a series of posts on our Nation's Capital!

Just returned from Washington, D.C. with a headful

of inspiration!

I'll be posting on museum visits, the city itself, visiting the halls of Congress, taking the metro,
and the reason for our visit;

The National Level Competition for National History Day at the University of Maryland's College Park Campus!

It was an awesome week of sightseeing and promoting an activity that

instills academic achievement and pride in our country!

My shop is now open, again. Please stop by and visit! My photographs and bookmarks are excellent ideas for teacher gifts or father's day presents!

Thanks for stopping by,

Please take my poll (above) on which you would like me to write about first.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

This and that.........Changing my tactics.

Good Morning and thanks for stopping by! Today, I am still blogging as I have over the last few months on Wednesday. However, I am not doing it as part of the Etsy Promotional Frenzy Team. Due to believing I was spending too much time at the computer and promoting the work of others when I really needed to promote my own work and website were the reasons I decided to leave the team. Don't get me wrong, the Promotional Frenzy Team on Etsy has a great group of people involved, all working to promote each other's shops. Everyone is super nice and it is a great group. It's just not something I really have time for right now.

School is out. Summer has started. I have three school aged boys. We are busy. We have two trips planned this summer; one in June, one in July, and family visiting in August. We are remodeling our kitchen. I love to garden and have numerous beds; flower beds and vegetable beds, as well as taking care of a garden at one of our schools. Among other things, I am a Master Gardener Volunteer.

I have also been in the midst of deciding what direction to take my jewelry in. I need to find a niche. I've noted that many of the shops that are highly successfuly have a niche. I make a variety of pieces. While I like that variety, it makes it somewhat difficult to market my pieces of jewelry.

I also need time to create. With all the computer promoting on all the different social sites, it is hard to still have time to create. I have been missing that. I have to admit here, too, that I really don't care for all the social networking. And I do believe that is what Etsy is becoming with their recent changes. It was the requirement of having to be on all these different social networking sites of the promotional frenzy team that turned me off. I have only been on facebook for 6 months. I can't say that I like it. I know I haven't gotten one sale from it! I've tried stumbleupon and I end up having to review every piece the team posts in order to just give it a thumbs up. That is time consuming. I don't really want to twitter......who really cares what I'm doing from minute to minute, anyway! I think people have become too self important. The social networking is contributing to that feeling. Thus, I don't want to join more social networking sites.

So, I applied for a fall craft show here locally that sees 4000-6000 people per day over a three day weekend. I hope I get into that. It'll give me something to focus on. I have decided to continue several lines of my jewelry and discontinue others. After I return back from our June vacation, I will contact a computer specialist that will help me with my own website. So, I'm finding that today, while I am missing the promotional frenzy blog day; I also am appreciating the extra time to garden, be with my boys, and create!

Please visit my shop at;
FREE shipping through 6/10/11 when using coupon code SHIPFREE at checkout.
At you can view a slideshow of my recently sold pieces.
Visit today and thanks for stopping by!

Monday, June 6, 2011

New for Today

Where inspiration comes from.......for my newest piece of jewelry!

My inspiration came from the lava rock beach you see above it! This beach is on the island of Maui and is part of the Keane Peninsula that you can view from the famous Hana Highway or Highway to Heaven, as it is called! The lava rock is fasinating, black as coal and striking against the crashing white waves.

So, in this piece I used white shell beads, black lava beads, and black ceramic coin shaped beads to frame a pendant of a resin encased shell. All of this comes together with a bamboo shaped toggle clasp of pewter. Bamboo grows naturally in the rainforest on Maui and can also be viewed on the Hana Highway.

Enjoy my new Hawaiian Inspired Jewelry Creation! It will soon be listed for sale in my etsy shop at:

Get FREE shipping from6/6-6/10/11 in my Etsy shop by entering SHIPFREE in the coupon code area at check out!

Thanks for stopping by!

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Wisconsin June in Bloom

Sunday Special: Enter Blog30 to save 30% on any purchase from my shop today! Use Blog30 in the coupon code at check out! Thanks for stopping by! Enjoy the photos.