Saturday, August 30, 2008

Hyde Park, London

Hyde Park in London is a fascinating place to take a stroll. You can walk through the Hyde Park Arch on your way in to the Park.

You can walk along the main walkways past the Serpentine (a lake) and through grassy meadows and groves of trees.
There are gardens, too. We particularly enjoyed walking through the rose garden.

The model for the boy in the Dolphin statue was one of George MacDonald's sons.

The Serpentine is a long narrow artificial lake. There is an island where herons nest.

We made sure The Princess got to see the Peter Pan statue. Eleanor Elizabeth was enchanted with the statue and asked to have her photo taken with Peter Pan.
Silly Bunny!

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Photo Challenge: Wheels

This week's Photo Challenge: Wheels
What a set of Wheels!

For more Photo Challenge, go to spunwithtears.

Monday, August 25, 2008

She Knows What I Like

When Happy Wonderer and I met up to walk last week after our summers of travel in far away places, she presented me with a little gift. Something she found on one of her forays into Thrift Store Land.

The lady knows what I like: turquoise. And she knows I have never met a dish or vase I didn't like! This azure treasure was Made In Italy. I love it! Thanks, HW!

The embossed label in the front says Roma 1 Litro.

Could I use it as a water pitcher/decanter on the dining table?

My update on Doing Not Thinking Challenge: I finished #1, 4, and 6 on my list from last week. I repaired the bath towel hem, and it took me all of five minutes. I hung the curtains in the bedroom. I remember now why I didn't hang them in there last year. They are too short for the largest window, but The Professor said he could lower the curtain rod. I resewed the elastic in the doll clothes. #2, putting the lining in the sheer skirt, is not done, but the material is laid out, ready for the pattern to be pinned. #7: I started reading Real Food this afternoon. Iam not going to add any more items to the list until I finish these.
So this week I hope to sew the wool bag for myself, buy or sew curtains for the guest room, put the lining in the sheer blue skirt and keep reading. This week is also the start of my school year. I had a day of inservice and will have a staff meeting tomorrow. However, I found out I do not actually begin teaching until the middle of September, due to my 'job description' as Title I teacher for First Grade (yes a change from last year), which doesn't begin until after the classroom teachers assess and identify the Title I students in their classrooms. I just got two more weeks of summer vacation!

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Doing and Thinking Challenge

Kathie at Two Frog Home wrote a few weeks ago about her desire to change from her habit of 'thinking' about doing things, starting projects she has been planning and finishing projects she has already started. She wanted to start DOING things. So she issued a challenge for others to join her in 'doing' things to help each other by encouraging and being accountable.

I have been thinking (!) about this and decided to join in as time permits. My life has been rather hectic this summer and now school will be starting next week and I don't suppose my life will become less complicated.

So, anyway. Here are some projects I finished this week (no photos, because, well, I was DOING things.):

1. sewed skirt from material purchased last April. I took my favorite skirt and used it to adapt the one skirt pattern I have. The cutting and sewing took less than half a day. I had to stop by the fabric store and purchase a 7" zipper, but I did that the next day and put it in and now I have a really lovely skirt to wear. Maybe I'll get a photo of it later this week.

2. cut out and sewed up a "......" from material I bought the same time I got the skirt material. I can't tell you any more than that because "......" is a little giftie for someone and that someone reads my blog. But trust me! It's cute! Again, I had no pattern, just cut and sewed.

3. hemmed the sheers hanging in my living room. When I moved here 13 months ago, only 2 of the 6 panels were hemmed to the correct length. The others puddled on the floor. Through the months I had pinned three more panels and hemmed two of them and there it stopped. This week I finished the project, took them down, washed and dried them and now they are waiting to be rehung.

I'm pleased with my progress! I have some more sewing projects I want to do in the next few days before school starts.

1. hem/repair white bath towel.

2. cut out and sew lining for filmy blue skirt that I can't wear because it's waaay too sheer.

3. cut out and sew skirt for Kiti, using left over material from curtains I made two years ago. Kiti chose the fabric from my stash and wants a simple A line skirt like the one I made this week.

4. replace elastic in a doll dress that belongs to Kiti. Her grandma made the rag doll and dress for her and the elastic has 'died' and I promised (how long ago??) to fix it.

5. sew a wool bag for myself. I bought the grey heathery wool fabric three years ago and never made the bag.

6. put curtains on our bedroom windows. The week we moved in here, I put up sheers in the bedroom, 'just until I could get the curtains made'. I put the curtains I really wanted in my room in the guest room, so now I shall change the length of the blue striped curtains and put them in my room and find fabric I like for the guest room and sew them up.

I know these 6 Doing action items are a bit ambitious, particularly since I have two tutoring students and I start school in 5 days.. I probably won't finish all 6, but if I put them out there by writing them down, I'll have a list of what I plan to accomplish.

You may wonder why all my projects involve sewing. I have an old hand-me-down Singer sewing machine. It works well but it has to be set in to a cabinet and the cabinet doesn't actually fit the machine. My little cottage doesn't have much room and I store the cabinet and machine in a closet when I'm not using it. This past year it just seemed like too much effort to pull the machine and cabinet out and set it up in the hall by the family room where everyone bumps into it. I decided that if I prove to myself that I will actually use a sewing machine, maybe I'll convince myself (and The Professor) to buy a new portable machine. I would like to learn to quilt, but I don't want that monstrous cabinet sitting out annoying everyone who needs to walk past it.

One more thing:

7. read a book I recently won in a give away on Bethany's blog, Red Yarn. Real Food, What to Eat and Why by Nina Planck.

Monday, August 18, 2008

Finchingfield, Essex

This morning I went to one of the local libraries to tutor a student I've been working with for a few months. For a reason that will become obvious later in this post, I began musing about our trip to Finchingfield in Essex with Barbara and her husband.

Barbara had told us that Finchingfield was a picturesque town (no, it's a village, Barbara says! I have edited town to village. I can't believe how many times I wrote the word town!) and different from the usual country villages in the area. She was right, of course. We were delighted with Finchingfield and came away from our visit with an appreciation for the small English village at its best.

This sign stands in the middle of the village reflecting in metal and paint the scene in which it is standing as you can see from the photo below. If you look closely you can even see the sign in the green grass triangle in the middle of the photo.

As we strolled through the village, I took numerous photos of the cottages. I love domestic architecture and am particularly fond of English cottages.

Some of the houses share common walls.

Many of the cottages in Finchingfield have thatched roofs. Each thatcher/artisan has a signature method of decorating part of the roof and if you know the thatchers, you can recognize each one's work by the design.

Cottages often have names. I enjoyed reading the names and wondering about the origin of names, who chose them, how long they had been known locally by that particular name. Often the cottages were named after locations or flowers or occupations.

As I walked along the main road in Finchingfield I noticed a sweet little cottage.

The name plate by the door read Rosemary Cottage. This is the reason I was thinking of Finchingfield this morning. My student's sister's name is Rosemary and I took this photo just for her.
After I had the photo of Rosemary's namesake cottage, I looked for a cottage that would appeal to her brother. He raises chickens but I never found a cottage named after any kind of chicken. But I did find this cottage name: Green End Cottage~Duck End.

And I took a photo of the ducks on the green for him.

We ate a wonderful lunch at the Fox Inn Pub.

As we walked back to the car at the end of our visit to Finchingfield, I saw this little silver beauty. I snapped a picture of it for my brother.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Life's Simple Pleasures

Flower asked on her blog this morning that we tell others what is giving us pleasure today. Here are just a few of my simple pleasures today.

Lavender is one of my favorite flowers. I love it fresh or dried. While I was in London I even had lavender scones. I like to walk over to the lavender in my garden and brush my hand over the purple flowers and then breathe deeply.

Today I bought gas that cost less than $4.00 a gallon.

Today is Kiti's birthday! Tutoring jobs for both of us. Daphne's for lunch, a stop at a fabric store, then a frappacino! Happy Birthday, Kiti!

The New Boy's smiles make me joyful!

Knitting! Please do not tell me I'm obsessed with knitting bunnies. I won't listen to you. Here are Rupert, Anna, and William with Eleanor Elizabeth.

Other pleasures of this day? Driving along the freeway close enough to the Pacific Ocean to see the breakers. Cell phones that make communication with loved ones so simple. A husband who does the dishes while I am at a tutoring appointment. Good books to read. A snazzy laptop computer and a fast dsl connection. My blogging buddies.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

What To Do After A Busy Day

What do you do to relax after a busy day? Read a novel? Take a stroll? Surf the internet? This evening, after my busy day, I pulled out a little bit of knitting and opened my photo files from England and let my mind wander over the wonderful memories.
Water lily at Chelsea Physic Garden

Bright golden rose in the Hampton Court Palace Rose Garden.

Lavender in Kelsey Park

How do you relax in the evening?

Sunday, August 10, 2008

County Fair

Meet Me At the Ventura County Fair!

I love county fairs. I used to work in a booth at the Washington County and Clackamas County Fairs in Oregon and later branched out to work at a county fair in Washington and I even worked at the Oregon State Fair for a couple of years. I guess you could say that carnie blood pulses through my veins. Whenever I see a fair sign I feel like I just have to go!

I love most everything about the fairs. I love the horrible, greasy food. I'll eat it at the fair once a year. Don't tell my doctor. And really, I don't think it's great in a local organic food sort of way. But once a year? Yeah, I gotta eat it.

I enjoy watching people ride on the merry go round and the ferris wheel. I don't go on the rides myself, but maybe in a year or two I'll take the New Boy on the merry go round.

Bungie jumping? Uhhh, no.

I love the exhibit halls. I was really pleased to see that our local farmers market had a booth.

The Professor likes to walk through the commercial halls and watch the booth vendors do their magic talk-without-breathing tricks, convincing people to part with their money for the short lived thrill of owning those things they never knew they wanted or needed until those glib salesmen tell them they do.
I always head straight for the home arts building. This year I entered three of my knitted items in the competition.
The aran sweater I designed and knitted for the knitting guild master hand knitting certification won a blue ribbon! And it also got a judge's choice award!

We looked and looked for Bunny and finally found her, our sweet little Eleanor Elizabeth, in among the baby things-caps, booties and layettes-in a glass case. There she was, proudly displaying her blue ribbon!

The beaches blanket earned a red (2nd place) ribbon. I didn't get a photo of it as it was tucked away in the back of a case filled with folded afghans and blankets.
What fascinated the New Boy?

His grandpa showed him the model trains!

Every fair I've ever visited on the West Coast of America has a carving of Smokey the Bear. He was there in the state parks display reminding everyone as he has for as long as I can remember that 'Only YOU can prevent forest fires.'

We had a great time at the fair! There was so much to see--the gardens, the flower exhibits, 4H and FFA barns. The photography building! Oh yes! I spent an hour in the photography building. We stayed until the New Boy was tired and then we took the shuttle back to Ventura Harbor where we'd parked our car. I can't wait until next year!