Archive for the ‘Be Happy!’ Category

England 2014, Here we come!

Thursday, September 11th, 2014

Some of you may have already seen some of these photos on Facebook, but many of you haven’t.  So in the interest of re-living a trip of a lifetime, here’s the first of many posts with our trip, inspiration, visual feasting and whatnot!  We left the house about noonish on Sunday, arrived at London Heathrow at 6:30 am (3:30 body clock) and kept going until just past supper time in London.  Going on adrenaline!

Some years ago I wrote a blogpost titled "This is not a minivan."  It is still not a minivan:  this is the view from the inside of the 9 passenger prop plane we take (Cape Air, love them!) to Boston, from which point we can get anywhere in the world.

Some years ago I wrote a blogpost titled “This is not a minivan.” It is still not a minivan: this is the view from the inside of the 9 passenger prop plane we take from Owl’s Head–about a half hour’s drive from home– (Cape Air, love them!) to Boston, from which point we can get anywhere in the world. That’s Eli up in the co-pilot seat.  One does not put feet on footpedals!  Seat assignments are by weight so that the plane is balanced.

Here’s an aerial view of Maine as we left midday:

The Maine coast just south of Owl's Head/Rockland as we headed East "across the pond."

The Maine coast just south of Owl’s Head/Rockland as we headed East “across the pond.”

Methinks Paul was a tad nervous watching us head off on our great adventure.  He didn't want to go to England, so he stayed home and minded the house and critters so that Eli and I could have fun.

Methinks Paul was a tad nervous watching us head off on our great adventure. He didn’t want to go to England, so he stayed home and minded the house and critters so that Eli and I could have fun.

First and foremost:  thank you to Paul and Eli.  Paul for minding the home front, Eli for actually WANTING to go on a trip with his old mom!  Joshua and Ashley, you’re next.  Edinburgh and points beyond, the Smiths are returning to the UK–probably not for a few years (gotta teach and earn enough money to save up and pay for another trip like this!), but we are coming back!

Compare the cabin and view above and below:

Very clearly, this is NOT Cape Air, but in fact the British Airways flight nonstop to London.  The cabin was warm, and tho I dozed an hour or two, Eli didn't on this overnight flight.

Very clearly, this is NOT Cape Air, but in fact the British Airways flight nonstop to London. The cabin was warm, and tho I dozed an hour or two, Eli didn’t on this overnight flight.

I LOVE the in-flight maps.  Here you can see the big picture, from Boston to London.  I was tickled to see Vigo, Spain.  I'd not heard of it before recently, but a classmate in the Sketchbook Skool has shared some of his drawings of Vigo.  Fun to see it on the map!

I LOVE the in-flight maps. Here you can see the big picture, from Boston to London. I was tickled to see Vigo, Spain. I’d not heard of it before recently, but a classmate in the Sketchbook Skool has shared some of his drawings of Vigo. Fun to see it on the map! Can I say again how much I love the internet?  How I have met people and learned so much?

As the plane ducked under the cloud cover we got a spectacular aerial view of London, with the Thames, South Bank on the Left, more of the mass of London on the right, The London Eye (the big ferris wheel), Parliament, Big Ben, the Tower, and so much more in clear view

As the plane ducked under the cloud cover at just past 6 am local time, we got a spectacular aerial view of London, with the Thames, South Bank on the Left, more of the mass of London on the right, The London Eye (the big ferris wheel), Parliament, Big Ben, the Tower, and so much more in clear view.

The fields and hedgerows of England on the approach to London.  A bit more countryside!

The fields and hedgerows of England on the approach to London. A bit more countryside! Let there be quilting!

Rather a difference, eh?  One of the things Eli most wanted to do was run at Olympic Park, in the stadium if possible.  Alas, it was under major re-construction, but he got to take a refreshing trot.  That’s him coming around the corner next to the pink sign post. The velodrome is in the background.  The skies would look like this pretty much every day:  blue with clouds, some of which would sprinkle on us momentarily but–with the exception of one day–no real soaking rains.

We got exceptionally lucky and were able to check in early.  So we ditched our bags and set out to see the sights.

We got exceptionally lucky and were able to check in early. So we ditched our bags and set out to see the sights, starting with Olympic Park.

This ended up being the only real running Eli got to do.  I don’t think he counted on Mom’s ability to go-go-go when on the road with things to do, people to meet and sights to see!

Eli under the Olympic rings after his run.

Eli under the Olympic rings after his run.

Then we took our Oyster cards, re-loadable fare cards for the London Underground (Tube / subway) and light rail system.  WAY easier than the old day of buying paper tickets!  After a bit of lunch, we headed off to King’s Cross.

King's Cross Station, site of the somewhat-imaginary Platform 9 3/4 of Harry Potter/Hogwarts fame.

King’s Cross Station, site of the somewhat-imaginary Platform 9 3/4 of Harry Potter/Hogwarts fame.

The above is the old part of the station, but with the old funky platform signs swapped out for the modern ones that report what train is coming in at which platform and when.  Easier for travel, but not as much character.  The photo below is the VERY new part of the station.  Beautiful, but…sigh…. I miss some of the old stuff.

The new part of King's Cross station.  Both the Tube and rail lines come in here.  King's Cross is the departure points for points north, like York, Leeds, Edinburgh and the fictional Hogwarts.  Thank you to J.K. Rowling for giving such a wonderful world to all of us!

The new part of King’s Cross station. Both the Tube and rail lines come in here. King’s Cross is the departure points for points north, like York, Leeds, Edinburgh and the fictional Hogwarts. Thank you to J.K. Rowling for giving such a wonderful world to all of us!

I had read in my guide book that you could visit Platform 9 3/4 at the station, which is why we went.  WHAT a disappointment!  It was on a wall between two shops, not the actual platform.  Of course, given the queue, I can see why they couldn’t put it between platforms 9 and 10, but…. it was the back half of a luggage cart with old suitcase.

Platform 9 3/4 is under that white tube thingy, on the other side the crowd waiting to take pics.

Platform 9 3/4 is under that white tube thingy, on the other side the crowd waiting to take pics.

If you wanted to stand in line–on this day about an hour–you could wear a Gryffindor scarf and take your picture there.  Since Eli and I had been going for about 36 hours, that was SO not going to happen, but we snagged this photo instead.

Me, with some of the crowd behind me and the Platform sign barely visible.  Happy to be there anyway!

Me, with some of the crowd behind me and the Platform sign barely visible. Happy to be there anyway!

Our next stop that day, just about as we hit the wall from tiredness and collapsed, was the British Museum.   As we would discover about all of London in August, it was PACKED with tourists.  But I’ll save that for the next post because the reason was one of my major reasons for taking this trip.  And yes, it involves art and quilts!

 

 

Dog Walkies beauty

Sunday, July 6th, 2014
Dog walkies

Dog walkies–sweet doggie is usually patient as I stop–almost as often as he does–to snap a pic on my phone

A number of you are my FaceBook friends (and if you’re not already a FB friend and are on FB, for heavens sake find me and send a friend request!), so you may have seen some of my dog walkies photos.  I decided that not everyone is on FaceBook, and everyone can use more beauty, so I’m sharing some of my favorite late spring and early summer photos from my daily walks with our pug-love!

Blackberry blossoms and bee

Blackberry blossoms and bee

And this one is for Gloria Hansen, who loves butterflies and takes far more accomplished shots than I do!

Butterfly and clover.  This one was taken with a zoom camera, not my phone!  I couldn't get that close without scaring the critter off

Butterfly and clover. This one was taken with a zoom camera, not my phone! I couldn’t get that close without scaring the critter off

Crouched down at the edge of the driveway, looking north

Crouched down at the edge of the driveway, looking north

And even the weeds/wildflowers are pretty:

Love the way the blossoms branch on this small flower

Love the way the blossoms branch on this small flower

And who can resist the sunsets:

June sunset

June sunset.  Makes me want to dig out the dyes and cloth!

Mother’s Day 2014–name that gnome (and flamingo)

Monday, May 12th, 2014
Happy Mother's Day 2014!

Happy Mother’s Day 2014!

What a WONDERFUL day!  Hubby surprised me with a lovely card signed by all the kids and a hand-screened kitchen towel of lupine on snowy white cotton.   He said it wasn’t for the kitchen because getting something for the kitchen for mother’s day wasn’t cool, that we could use it maybe in our bathroom.  But I decided kitchen is GOOD and hung it from an old hay fork pully, (how does one spell that?) and it is cheering up the kitchen.  And on Saturday I dropped in to Megunticook Market to get something, say hi to Joshua, and he offered to cook dinner!  WOOT!

Here's our very own sous-chef plating up our chicken and cashew lo mein.  SLURP!  It's always a challenge to cook in a different environment with different layout and pans, but he did great.  Except for our two-watt stove.  We really need a range that can heat a pan hot enough to sear!  It's on the growing "to do" list!

Here’s our very own sous-chef plating up our chicken and cashew lo mein. SLURP! It’s always a challenge to cook in a different environment with different layout and pans, but he did great. Except for our two-watt stove. We really need a range that can heat a pan hot enough to sear! It’s on the growing “to do” list!

Then, to my astonishment, in ADDITION, he said he and Ashley had a gift.  A gift besides the meal?   So I was told to come outside and close my eyes.   DELIGHT!  Hilarity!   A promise I’d made to myself fulfilled by my oldest son!   I’ve sworn for years I wanted a Travelocity roaming Gnome and a tacky pink flamingo.  Sometimes the gnome would lead the flamingo, sometimes vice versa.

The gnome and Flamingo in their first perch

The gnome and Flamingo in their first perch

But we need to NAME THEM!  I think the gnome may be Sven the Svelte (since he so obviously is not), but the flamingo?  Someone suggested Nathan Lane’s character in Bird Cage / La Cage aux Folles, but Albert is sort of ehn.  Hank Azaria’s charater’s name, Agador is a possibility.   So what do all of you think?   We totally need FUN names.  A bit of swish might be good.

And the family portrait with Mom.  We did this photo two years ago, but this year the black flies were more annoying!   Gosh how they have changed!

Mother's Day 2014

Mother’s Day 2014

Mother's Day 2012--two years ago

Mother’s Day 2012–two years ago

LIFE IS GOOD!   And do suggest names for the gnome and flamingo!

Living Under the Rainbow

Monday, May 5th, 2014

What a glorious sight!  Hubby said look at the sunset, so I dashed for the camera, went out on to our COLD and breezy porch (current air temp is 50 but feels about 42!)to take pics, then turned around and saw this

Sunset to the west, rainbow from end to end over Hope and the midcoast to the East

Sunset to the west, rainbow from end to end over Hope and the midcoast to the East.  The rainbow was so large I couldn’t fit it all in one photo!

So here are left and right:

Rainbow...left side (northeast)

Rainbow…left side (northeast)

Rainbow, right, southeast

Rainbow, right, southeast

 

 

 

 

 

 

Makes me want to pull out the paints!

Sunset, west (duh!)

Sunset, west (duh!)

I’ve been busy (what else is new), this time writing an article on  the bane of my quilty existence, for Machine Quilting Unlimited, but don’t know if it’s OK to tell you the subject, so I will refrain for the moment!

Eli’s track season is in full swing–here is the last meet.  At least we went prepared this time:  long sleeved shirt, fleece lines vest, winter down jacket, gloves, hat with earflaps and stadium blanket.  And needed it.  By the time we left the field it was 39, with wind chill about freezing or below!  How the kids could function in tanks and shorts is beyond me!

Eli at the end of the 400 metre, ran it in about 57 seconds which, given the cold, was pretty good!

Eli at the end of the 400 metre, ran it in about 58 seconds which, given the cold, was pretty good!

Javelins in the ground

Javelins in the ground

A mistake of a photo, but I kinda like it....

A mistake of a photo, but I kinda like it….would abstract well into a quilt….

Not the best photo, but it is rare that I actually get Eli and the javelin in the same photo!

Not the best photo, but it is rare that I actually get Eli and the javelin in the same photo! Though it looks light, it was pretty late in the afternoon and using the Sport setting doesn’t always work well that late in the day, but I need to remember to re-set the camera to sport and TRY! 

And Eli was the first leg on the 4×400, which of course is the last event of every meet which means we stand around for hours in the cold!

Getting ready for the 4x400

Getting ready for the 4×400

And more of the sunset, because who can resist those colors?   I’ll share more about my Amaryllis before too long!

The view from the end of the front porch, looking west

The view from the end of the front porch, looking west

What a SKY!

What a SKY!

 

On the Glorious Color Blog

Tuesday, April 15th, 2014

WOOT!   My quilt for Joshua caught the eye of the Glorious Color Blogger, so of COURSE I said yes they could include it in a blogpost!  Glorious Color is the source of all things related to the Kaffe Fassett collective, so you can buy fabric (and more fabric), books, and all sorts of goodies.   Anyway, they’ve done an entire POST on diamonds, starting with Marilyn Monroe–check it out here (PS…you have to scroll down a LONG way to see the quilt!).  Here’s a photo I took and shared not long ago:

It's a miracle...it's not even a full year after Joshua graduated and got his GED and his quilt is DONE!

It’s a miracle…it’s not even a full year after Joshua graduated and got his GED and his quilt is DONE!

As you might guess by my silence, I’m madly working away on a quilt for a deadline.  As soon as I surface I’ll be back.

Thanks Glorious Color for liking my quilt enough to feature it on the blog!