Apr2015_BlogHeader_SAIn a world that is becoming increasingly globalised – is there a city anywhere that doesn’t have a McDonald’s and a Starbucks? – Venice remains unique.  It’s a little grubby, and there is always scaffolding somewhere, but nothing can tarnish the charm of this city, with its canals and bridges, tucked away squares and hidden corners, gondolas and water-buses and the faded glamour of Venice’s golden age. I just love the window on the past that Venice provides. Take away a few modern boats and nothing much has changed in hundreds of years.

Last week I was fortunate enough to visit Venice with my husband and my son. I love that living here in Doha brings me so much closer to the rest of the world and I get to pop over to places like Venice for a few days. I have to confess to being in love with Venice. This was my third visit and it was still magical. That moment when we opened out shutters in our rented apartment to find a vegetable market in the square. Riding down the Grand Canal at the front of the vaporetto. Finding a cafe for dinner where the locals eat. Celebrating my birthday with lunch at the Caffe Florian and a Gondola ride. Magical moments!

Our favourite activity in Venice is just to stroll, with no particular destination in mind. It is a very small city, and since it is an island you can’t get too lost. With maps in hand and a vague sense of where we wanted to end up, we would head out each day and explore. At each corner we would choose that path that we hadn’t followed before, or that seemed the most scenic, or the most appealing for whatever reason – that reason usually being the best opportunity for a photo! I tried to take photos that captured the “ordinary” Venice (which in my opinion is quite extraordinary!). Bridges that went nowhere in particular, little window boxes, washing on the line, small canals, doors and those gorgeous Venetian gothic window arches.

As a dedicated digital scrapbooker, as I was taking my photos I was thinking about the layouts I would create with them, which art kits I would use, how many pages I would need in my photo book. Admit it – you do that too, don’t you? I was even composing the journaling in my head! In the end, however, I decided that these photos needed no embellishment, and very little, if any, journaling. Since they were not really photos of any particular place, it seemed to me that there was very little I could say that the photos didn’t say more eloquently themselves. I decided to do a very simple book, with full page photos, black backgrounds and perhaps a few quotes. I have attached screenshots of the first few pages to show you what I mean. Some pages have nothing but the photo. On some I have stretched the photo across two pages, and I plan to print this with the Lay Flat option, so that the large photos can be seen as a single image. I have found some great quotes about Venice online, and the only embellishments on my pages are these quotes in a variety of fonts.

Here are some of the quotes I have found. If you know any good ones, I’d love to hear them!

“Venice is like eating an entire box of chocolate liqueurs in one go.”  Truman Capote

“I stood in Venice, on the Bridge of Sighs, A palace and a prison on each hand: I saw from out the wave her structures rise As from the stroke of the enchanter’s wand: A thousand years their cloudy wings expand Around me, and a dying Glory smiles O’er the far times, when many a subject land Looked to the winged Lion’s marble piles, Where Venice sate in state, throned on her hundred isles!” Lord Byron

“It is always assumed that Venice is the ideal place for a honeymoon. This is a grave error. To live in Venice or even to visit it, means that you fall in love with the city itself. There is nothing left over in your heart for anyone else.”  Peggy Guggenheim

“A realist, in Venice, would become a romantic by mere faithfulness to what he saw before him”  Arthur Symons

“Getting lost is the only place worth going to.” Tiziano Scarpa

The best thing about this project is that I will be finished this book in a few days. I will be ordering it from the Panstoria Print Shop and I’ll have my coffee table book on my coffee table within a month of getting home from our trip. I call that a magical moment!

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41 Responses to Blog: Magical Moments

  1. Fran Arcoria says:

    Im headed to Venice on Monday…getting excited! love these everyday pics

  2. Donna says:

    stunning! I must try this Snapseed app! beautiful!

  3. Vicki says:

    Your book is absolutely stunning Shelley!

  4. Lindie says:

    What filter did you use on the photos? I am finishing my Scotland albums and may have a couple of photos that I would like to adjust. Thanks

  5. Janice says:

    So visually stunning! I love your book Shelley – hope I get to see it in person one day! Makes me want to head back to Europe on the first plane in the morning.

  6. Terry Vachowski says:

    What a beautiful book, Shelley, and what a wonderful idea! Thanks so much!

  7. shirley shingara says:

    Amazing photos and lovely book. Yes, sometimes our art can compete with our photos and journaling is required to tell the story, but in this example the beauty captured in the photos tells the whole story. Bravo!

  8. Lindie says:

    I have to agree with Linda. The photos are so painting like. They are gorgeous. One day I also hope to get to Italy. What a lovely book. Congratulations.

  9. What an amazing book! Your photos are truly beautiful and magical! Someday I would love to travel there!

  10. sistersunshine says:

    Oh Shelley, Peace & joy. I so enjoyed your trip to Venice… back in my college days, I studied for a summer overseas… half in England & half in Italy… except the second half didn’t happen. (I got word my father was dying… so I returned home). Your photos bring back all the expectations I had for that last half of summer ’79… who knows… I may have to finish my ‘class’ one day. *U* Kathleen

  11. Sandy says:

    This looks like a beautiful book! I loved following along with you on your trip. FYI….. you could probably sell these and fund a return trip to Venice. 😉

  12. Karen Jones says:

    What a beautiful book. You were so right, the pictures spoke for themselves, and any embellishments would have distracted from their beauty

  13. Rashel says:

    Simply beautiful photos!! What a wonderful coffee table album you will have. I recently visited for the first time and it is like no other place. I hope to visit again and have more time to explore as you have done.

  14. Kay says:

    Awesome! I love it!

  15. mandypena says:

    That is very impressive. The pictures are breath taking. Are you going to do this in a 12×12 or smaller size?

    • Shelley says:

      Thanks Mandy! I decided to go for an 11×8.5 this time, so my landscape photos could stretch across two pages. Just for a change, I usually do 12×12.

  16. Cindy Rold says:


  17. Wendy Bainbridge says:

    Good Morning, Shelley
    The first email I open each day is from Pixels2Pages! And today you excite me with your “scribbles” and photos of Venice. Yesterday, I spent an hour online attempting to find reasonably priced accommodation in Venice for the beginning of July after the completion of a cycling trip from Mantua to Venice with a barge as our home along the way. Could you send me the name of your apartment, please? What a great idea to use quotes! The simplicity of the black backgrounds enhances your photos! Thanks for your inspiring blog, as always Wendy

    • Shelley says:

      Wow! Your trip sounds amazing!! I’m not sure there is such a thing a reasonably priced accomodation in Venice, but we were happy with our apartment which was much cheaper than a hotel. I will email you the details. And thanks for the lovely comments!!

  18. adakallen says:

    Shelley, I enjoy all your photos so much and all of your scrapbook pages. Venice MIGHT be my favorite. I have been to Italy and I have been to Venice, on tour with a group of teachers (one week in Italy so probably a day in Venice). I have seen some of the things that you have highlighted so I can really appreciate them. You do some of the things that tour groups don’t get to do…the out of the way things, the hidden treasures. However, We did get to go to watch a glass blower an I came back with a piece of Venetian glass. Also, we visited a lace shop where they had a person making lace and I came back with a small piece of lace to set my vase on. I also came back with a glass necklace that was made there. I am not sure how to explain the necklace. One of these days I will feature these pieces. In the meantime I just enjoy your pictures/pages so much!

    • Shelley says:

      Thanks so much Ada – you are too kind! Sounds like you did a trip out to the islands in the lagoon. Such a fun thing to do, and the glass and lace are so lovely!!

  19. Christine Smith says:

    Shelley , Your book is truly a work of art. What a great concept with the quotes as the only embellishments.
    I enjoyed reading your post it brought back happy memories of my trip to Venice. Maybe I will get back there one day too.

  20. Linda DeLaughter says:

    Shelley, this book is a masterpiece! You have captured the haunting beauty of this city in even the smallest amount of photos! I love the fractal setting that you used to make these photos look like paintings (unless my eyesight is just getting worse)! This is a book that I would love to purchase a copy. Hope you had a fun birthday!

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