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Friday, December 31, 2010

A Night to Remember

December 31, 2008

A few years ago we were spending the holidays in New York City.
On New Year's Eve we fought our way through the already crowded streets in the theatre district.  The side streets were already blocked off and I had to talk my way past the NYPD to get to the theatre.
As soon as the matinee was over we toured the theatre.  Standing on a Broadway stage is always exciting no matter how many times you have done it.

Then we got to meet...

yeah, Harry Potter, or really Dan Radcliffe.
A very nice guy by the way.

We also met Kate Mulgrew.  My Kate is the biggest Black Donnelly's fan and she didn't even recognize Kate Mulgrew!  It was because she looked so pretty at the theatre and on the Black Donnellys she was... ah, kind of scary.

We headed home and had some dinner, we thought we'd meet some friends and celebrate the big night but some people were sick, we were cold and tired and decided to just hang out.
Somewhere between dinner and 11pm we revived.

We left our place in Hells Kitchen and started heading up 9th Ave.  The closest we could get to the Times Square area was at the south wall of Central Park!  There were so many people but we could see Times Square none the less.

After the countdown and the ball dropping and the kisses we turned around
and watched a beautiful fireworks display over Central Park.

Then we walked home via Times Square.  The only people there were us,
the police on horseback and the clean-up crews.  It is amazing that a
million people could disappear so quickly.  Where do they all go? 

Tonight we are spending the evening with family.  We will nosh,
 and toast and make some noise at midnight.

May you have a happy, healthy and successful 2011!
All the best,

Thursday, December 30, 2010

A Trip to Sweden in One Day?

Well, sort of, we went here...

For you city slickers, you will be saying, "So what?".
But for those of us who live out in the hinterlands, going to Ikea is fun!
If we are not traveling during the winter school holidays we always do
a road trip to Ikea.  We have been to 2 near Chicago, one in Detroit the Christmas I fell off a ladder and was in a wheelchair (this was actually quite fun) and now the nearest one in Ohio.  Yes, I know gas is over $3.00 a gallon and it is 3 hours away but we needed stuff.

We always start the visit with lunch, I love the Swedish meatballs with
 lingonberry sauce.  I do miss the new potatoes they used to serve,
now it is mashed potatoes or is that just a Midwestern thing?

Dessert of course.

There was even a nice vegetarian option.

We walk through all the rooms, trying out the sofas, opening cabinet doors,
imagining decorating a little vacation place in Europe.

We bought lingonberries,

new glasses,

and lots of candles. 
We dine by candlelight every night and go through LOTS
of candles.  Ikea is our best source for tapers.

My favorite purchase was this beautiful pillow.
Now to unpack...

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

In the Studio: European Natural Crafts

Help Wanted!

Every time I peel a clementine, I hold it up near my face so as the skin is
broken it sprinkles me with the oil in the rind,
and I always say, "hmmmm, it smells like Spain."

Before I left for Europe I bought a big box of clementines.
Unfortunately, we did not finish them.

By the time we got home they were starting to harden.
I strung them with jute twine, leaving spaces between each to aid in drying.

I cut slits in the rind all the way around and hung them to dry near the furnace.

I did this because I want to make the crafts shown above.
All through our tour of Christmas Markets in 4 countries we saw these
items made with natural materials.   Amazing things were made with dried fruits, cones, acorns, sweet gum pods and berries.
I love decorating with natural elements.  As I hike I fill my pockets with
acorns and pine cones and pretty rocks.

I don't know if I have done this correctly.
So, I'm putting a call out to anyone who may live in a country
 that makes these crafts or if this is part of your family tradition,
please send advise so I don't end up with a moldy mess. 

Thank you!

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Me Time ~ December 28, 2010

Me Time ~ December 28, 2010

If it's Tuesday, it must be Me Time.

I made this to carry my woolens and embroidery. 
Inspired by the spool backed chair in the Museum of Ethnography in Budapest.

The beginnings of a quilt.

This kit became...


I just fooled around with some wool and floss
& fooled around with my friends.

Monday, December 27, 2010

Travel Tales: Biking Through Versailles

A Beautiful Spring Day in Versailles

A visit to Versailles is de rigueur for any trip to France.

The beautiful palace of Louis XIV is filled with fabulously decorated rooms.

Admiring the painted ceilings will make your neck ache.

After touring the palace we had our picnic lunch
al fresco overlooking the fountains.

To work off the baguette & cheeses, we hopped on bikes
to tour the palace gardens.

View from the back of the palace, I love the look of early Spring
in this photo, the grass is green but the trees still look like Winter.
We rode all the way to the end of the Grand Canal.

View from the end of the Grand Canal back to the palace.

Le Hameau (hamlet), this is where Marie Antoinette would
go to act like a peasant, or at least, MA's version of peasant life.

I want this to be my studio.

Sunday, December 26, 2010

For the Birds

Party at Avalon!

The birds that live here at Avalon are very lucky, they had a great Christmas.

A new sunflower feeder.

A new thistle feeder.

A new wild birdseed feeder.

A lost feather in the snow.

The Purple Martin House that only sparrows use.

The Butterfly Garden.

We love our feathered friends and feed them to bring them into our yard.
I am often distracted from work by the beautiful birds that come to visit us.

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Christmas Market Tour 2010

Merry Christmas to All!

Budapest, Hungary




Szentendre, Hungary


Brataslava, Slovakia


Vienna, Austria

Schoenbrunn Palace
Vienna, Austria

Salzburg, Austria


Passau, Germany


Regensburg, Germany


Munich, Germany

And a Happy New Year!