Monday, August 12, 2019

A full day in Amsterdam Itinerary | Van Gogh Museum | Heineken Experience | Canal Tour

First Stop: Van Gogh Museum 
Tour: 10 am
Our first stop of the day was the Van Gogh Museum. Van Gogh has always been one of my most favorite artists, so I was very excited to be able to fit this into our itinerary. Go early! Our tour started at 10, and it was quite crowded, especially around the more popular pieces. The line was very long as we were leaving, so I definitely recommend getting there early. 

You cannot take photos of the art, and they even have 'bouncers' near the more famous pieces who were yelling at anyone making the move to take a picture. 

During our visit there was a special exhibit for Sunflowers, and it was very interesting! The piece itself is beautiful. Van Gogh painted 5 of these Sunflower paintings, so they have a large wall dedicated to comparing them. I also enjoyed seeing the X-Ray of the painting, as well as color studies that show what the painting would have looked like when he finished it. The colors were much more vibrant! 

My new favorite Van Gogh painting is called Thunderclouds over Wheatfield! It's so beautiful in person, and I picked up a print to take home. His self portrait was also stellar in person! 

Lunch Spot: The Seafood Bar
12 pm
We spent a week in the Netherlands, and this was hands down our favorite meal! The restaurant itself was very cool, but the food was off the charts.

Most of our table got the Fish and Chips, but my dad got a giant sampler-which he devoured! He is a avid seafood connoisseur, and he said it was by far the best oysters he had ever had. (Which is saying a lot! Our family buys bushels of oysters every summer!)

Next Up: The Heineken Experience, the VIP Tour
2 pm
Heineken has never been on my radar here in the States. We had a 'when in Rome' mentality on our trip and we decided to tour the old Heineken brewery. The VIP tour is pricier than the regular tour but we 10/10 recommend it. The lines were quite long (and this was a Monday) and crowded. Our tour guide Tom swept us aside and we got to bypass the crowds completely. 

He gave us a quick history of the brand, and explain their brewing process as we toured the old brewery. (All of this is on the regular tour) Afterward he brought us upstairs into the offices and private museum where we heard a lot about their advertising strategies and we got to see quite a bit of memorabilia. Next, he escorted us up onto the roof! This was an amazing way to see Amsterdam! 

We were brought to a private bar (really cool!) and we were able to sample about 5 beers. Heineken, obviously, and then a few others that are also owned by the brand. We were huge fans of the Affligem beer and we are on a mission to find it here in the States! 

Tom showed us how to properly pour and drink a Heineken. It tasted quite different than here at home. He suggested if we want the same taste we need to get it from a can and pour it into a glass. We will give it a try now that we are home!

The website said that this tour was 2.5 hours, but ours lasted well over 3.

Gorgeous views on our walk over:

Next: Canal Boat Tour
6 pm
This has got to be one of the best ways to see the most in Amsterdam! We loved looking at all of the different kinds of architecture and homes. Lots of very old buildings, but also a lot of modern ones too! Our tour guide had a lot of interesting facts about the city. 

We took an open boat, which made for beautiful pictures. However, I recommend the bigger, traditional boats because they have a bathroom on board. Being stuck on a boat after all that beer was a challenge!

Finally: Dinner at The Burger Room
7:45 pm 
Our taxi was scheduled to meet us at 8:30 back at the Van Gogh museum so we wandered back over there for some dinner. The Burger Room was right across the street from the museum and they got our food out to us very fast! It was delicious as well. I'm sorry I didn't snap a photo of the restaurant, but you can check it out on their website

That's a wrap! This was a very full day of activities, but we all felt it was spaced out enough that we did not feel rushed. (Although our canal tour was scheduled a little earlier, but since the Heineken tour took longer than expected we were able to move it back an hour.)  There is SO much to do in Amsterdam, but I'm happy we were able to do this much in one day! 

Let's Chat! Leave a comment below if you have or will be visiting Amsterdam! Do you like to have a day planned from start to finish, or do you like to be more spontaneous? 

Monday, August 5, 2019

Cricut Tutorial | How To Make A Reverse Canvas

Reverse canvases are by far my favorite Cricut project to do! They are fairly simple, quick, and inexpensive. All while being highly customizable and looking far more complex than they actually are. 
Cricut Tutorial | How To Make A Reverse Canvas

I thought I'd share the simple steps to take if you want to make some of your own! 
You will need:
A die cutting machine
Heat transfer vinyl
Measuring tape
Staple remover or flat head screwdriver
A Canvas
Paint or stain
Paint brush
Iron or heat press
Staple gun
Optional:   Saw tooth hanger
Hot glue gun

Before you can start, you need a design! I am sharing a project I made as a gift for my friend. I saw she had pinned a quote on Pinterest, and I used that as my springboard. 

The size of the canvas you purchase will help you determine how wide your design should be. Cut your design on HTV (heat transfer vinyl). Remember to check your settings and cut shiny side down. 

Step One
Carefully remove the canvas material from the wooden frame. We usually use a flat head screwdriver, but you can also use a heavy duty staple remover. I usually buy a two pack of canvases from Walmart for about $8. The larger canvases will most likely have a center support piece of wood that you can remove with a little pulling. 

Step Two
Paint or stain your wooden frame. I've done both! Chalk paint works like a charm, but staining gives such a beautiful look. Allow to dry, and apply a second coat. Let dry completely!

Step Three
While your paint dries is the perfect time to iron on your design. Center as best as possible, but you do have a little wiggle room. Press your design according to HTV instructions. I always place a thin cloth between my iron and my design while pressing. Generally, when the texture of the canvas is visible through your HTV, you have pressed well enough. 

Step Four
Reattach the canas to the back of the painted or stained frame with a staple gun. Trim the edges of the stapled canvas, so you can't see it from the front. For a more finished look, you can hot glue a ribbon over the staples. I also like to attach a sawtooth picture hanger for ease of display.

Here are two other reverse canvases I've done recently. The welcome sign is an example of a stained frame (my favorite look so far!) and the second sign is a similar color scheme to the one above. 

I noticed that the canvases I get from Walmart are white on one side, and more natural on the back. You can use either side and it will change the look of your sign! One the welcome sign I used the white side, and on the black frames I used the natural side. 

Talk to me! Tell me what you think in the comments below!