Tuesday, September 11, 2018

Beautiful Ireland

I had a fantastic trip to Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland. After an all night flight from LAX to LHR, it was just a short flight to Belfast. There I got a taxi to Newcastle. As the taxi rounded the corner here was my first view of the hotel: the Slieve Donard. Nigel had already been there for 4 days for a meeting.What a beautiful place it was.

Our room looked over the sea. It had this plaque:

Belfast was only 45 minutes away, so the next day we went to the Titanic museum. It was done really well. Below is the exact spot where the Titanic sailed off.

After another day, we left the UK and moved on to Dublin where we visited stone circles and castles along the way. In Dublin we went to St. Patrick's Cathedral, of course and toured the Potato famine museum. We spent the next day on the Grand canal on a canal boat.

The Cathedral was quite impressive

 The filling of the lock.

On our way again.

The Cliffs of Moher are impressive. Probably most establishment shots of Ireland are of these cliffs. It was a bit overcast and rainy - what a surprise, so the picture isn't that great.

Seeing these from a boat is a great way to see how massive these cliffs are.

We wandered around the Republic of Ireland and then headed up the other side of Northern Ireland to Londonderry, which is now mainly called Derry. It's still a very political area.
This is the Peace Bridge that opened in 2011

The Devil's Causeway is amazing. If you notice in this picture, the stones are either 5, 6 or 7 sided and all fit together.

 People were climbing everywhere

The last place in Norther Ireland was the Dark Hedges. Since I've not seen Game of Thrones, we went there because the photo we saw of them was very cool. I guess if I ever watch Game of Thrones, I'll recognize them.

Good bye Ireland

Wednesday, August 1, 2018

What Happens in Vegas. . .

Well, I went to Vegas, but I was at the American Sewing Guild's National Conference. I had a great time. The hotel didn't get any money out of me other than the price of my room. I managed to go out to dinnerone night with a friend from high school, but that was about it. There's always so much to do at the conference.

I drove to Vegas. It's usually about a 4 hour incredibly boring drive. Not this time. Between Barstow and Baker it was thunder and lightning. The rain was so hard the windshield wipers couldn't keep up. Added a little excitement to the whole trip. Coming back was dry. Yep - and boring.

I taught 3 classes at the conference. Here's a picture of my pin tuck pillow class:

This is about 2/3 of the class. The others were camera shy.

The kit contained 4 pieces of white batiste. They used a twin needle (also called a pin tuck needle) to sew any design they wanted. The only rule was each square had to be different. And different they were.  Many of the students were a little nervous about just sewing without any pattern or sample. They did it.  They all looked fantastic. That's me sitting on the floor in the front.

Tuesday, May 1, 2018

Route 66

We went on a trip from San Bernardino to Barstow on Route 66. I must say there are a lot of quirky things along the route.

One of them was Elmer's Bottle Farm. I thought we'd walk through it in about 5 minutes. Nope - it took us about 1/2 hour to see it all.

I loved the sewing machines on top of the bottle trees

We stayed in a place called Newberry Springs.

If you ever have a reason to stay in Barstow, CA, this is the most charming place to stay.  It's a caboose on a lake. Imagine, a lake in the middle of the desert. The owner has turned her land truly into an oasis. Here's a couple of photos:

This is the back of the caboose

Here's the side
Here's the best part, the view out of the front window:

Amazing lake in the middle of the desert.

 The inside has been completely modernized. We plan on returning sometime and just spending a couple of days relaxing.

Thursday, April 12, 2018

It's Been a While

I haven't written in a while because I forgot my password and in order to get it, I had to answer a bunch of questions that I had no idea what the answers were.

I did a look-up today of Sew Timeless only to see that Google has marked me as permanently closed. There was another Sew Timeless that did close, but not me. In order to report that I'm still in business, I had to have my password. I guess the shock of seeing "permanently closed" got me to remember it.

I'll be posting again now that I can.

Monday, August 3, 2015

Making Tomato Sauce

I had an over abundance of tomatoes so I decided to make tomato sauce. I put one onion, two celery stalks and 12 pounds of tomatoes into the crock pot. I cut up the large tomatoes and left the grape tomatoes whole.

I put the pot on high for about an hour and then turned it to low. After about 5 hours, I put it through a food mill to get rid of the peels. No one wants to have to hand peel 12 pounds of tomatoes!

I left it on for another 5 hours, until it got as thick as the caned stuff. Here's how far it cooked down.

It was one small jar full that I made a pasta sauce out of. It served two. It was yummy, but I expected more.

I'm not sure it something worth doing all the time, but it was a great way to use up so many tomatoes.

Tuesday, July 7, 2015

The Joy of making Baguettes

I love making bread. I've been making it since I was very young. It's taken me a long time to make really good baguettes. I always had trouble getting the crusts really, really crunchy and the center soft.

Here's how I finally got it to work. I started with two packages of yeast. I put them in a bowl and added 1/4 cup of very warm (90-100 degrees) water and let it proof. After about 3 minutes, I added a teaspoon of sugar to help the yeast grow. I added 3/4 cup more of the warm water and started adding flour. After about 2 cups of flour, I added 1 teaspoon of salt. I guess you could add more, but I don't like things too salty. Anyway,add another cup of flour and turn the dough onto a board and start kneading. I kneaded the dough for about 20 minutes. Now this may seem like a long time of doing nothing, but I find it peaceful to just be working on the dough. (It could be mixed in a mixer instead.) As you're kneading, only add enough flour to keep the dough from sticking to the board and to your hands. By the way, if the board starts slipping on the counter, put a damp towel under it. Clean the bowl you mixed in and add a little oil to the bowl. Place the dough into the bowl and then turn it over so it has oil on top. Let it rise for an hour or until it's double in size.

Punch the dough down and knead it a couple of time.

Divided the dough into three equal pieces. I rolled each one into a flat kinda rectangle. Then I rolled the rectangles up cigar-like and placed it into this really neat baguette pan I have. They don't have to bee too neat as they straighten out as they rise. Let them rise for 30-45 minutes until they double in size. If you like the bread to have slits in it, cut it at a diagonal now - I generally don't.

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Once the baguettes are in the oven, use a clean spray bottle that is only used for food, and spray the dough and the inside of the oven. Don't soak it, just lightly spray it. Set a timer for 5 minutes and spray again. I sprayed like this every 5 minutes until the bread was golden brown and done (about 25 minutes). It will sound hollow when you tap on the crust when it's done.

Here's the best reason to make bread - it tastes awesome. The two in the back weren't cut, but you can see the slits in the one of the bread board.

Saturday, June 6, 2015

My Visit to Flanders

The Flanders area of Belgium, more specifically Bruge (also spelled Brugge and Burges) is where lace making originally started. I was very fortunate to be able to visit Bruge. It's a wonderful city. They have a lace museum. In one room, for several hours on Saturday, women from the city gather in a room to make lace. The older women have been making lace for years. It was nice to see some younger women there learning the craft.

Here's tow of the women creating bobbin lace. The one of the left is over 90 years old and started making lace when she was a little girl. She was super fast. Both these women were working on very complicated lace.

The museum had all these supplies for sale - I could have spent a fortune and I don't even make lace. I bought the bobbins once, but never quite got the hang of it. Also, it takes about an afternoon to make about an inch or so of lace, depending on the width.

All the shop windows were full of either items made with lace or (of course) chocolate. I concentrated on the lace.

The old buildings were amazing.

We took a boat on the canal and it was beautiful. 

The entire city was clean and charming.

Here I am climbing up the latter to the top of a windmill. As you can see it was a long way up and a little scarey

After Burge, was Brussels. This was an amazing site. It's called the Atomarium. It was built for the 1958 worlds fair. It was supposed to be torn down the next year. It's been restored you can walk through the entire structure. There are escalators or stairs in the "arms." There's a restaurant at the top. We were lucky enough be be able to have lunch up there.

This is a view from the top. You can see how high up it is. It's massive.

A trip overseas always include a stop in the UK to visit family. This is one of the colleges in Cambridge. Looks a little like the buildings in Belgium don't you think?

It was the perfect time of year to visit Abbotsbury in southern England because the eggs were hatching and these cute little balls of fluff were just learning to swim.

There are thousands of swans here.

It was also the perfect time of year to visit Exbury Gardens. The rhododendrons were in full bloom. They were amazing - and very large.