Thursday, June 30, 2005

Just Peachy

It's harvest time for peaches! Our peach tree kindly waited until we came home from our trip but then...wham...a lot of ripe peaches.

They are sooooo lovely and smell sooooo good.

But they were also very ripe. So I slaved over the stove...

to make preserves (this is one of two batches)

But there were still many many peaches so we made this

and these more abstract creations

And now I'm getting just a little bit tired of peaches. But there are still more on the tree! Peaches anyone?

Friday, June 24, 2005

Back in body but not in spirit

I'm back but my head is not. It's Friday already but what happened to the week? Traveling is like many things in which you must take the bad with the good. The looooooooong flights and annoyances of standing in lines, lugging bags around, not eating right, not's all worth it for the enjoyment of the destination. Unfortunately there is no such excitement at the end of the trip home. Sure, the kitties were glad to see us and we them, but the vacation is over. There's no milk in the fridge and no bread either. We unpack the bags and pile up the laundry to do later. It's back to work the next day and I'm expected to jump back in as if I hadn't left. Grumble.

I have loads and loads of pictures and really want to organize them into a travel log. I got as far as downloading them from the compact card into the computer. It's a start. But uploading them onto the internet will take much longer. There are many pictures. Did you know that a 1 gig card in a Nikon Coolpix 5700 will give you over 999 pictures on fine resolution? The counter read that for quite a while too. Sad thing is, I wish I took more pictures.

I really want to talk about the trip and other stuff I'm doing but it'd be more interesting with a few pictures. But getting the pictures inserted into this blog will take time. And our DVR is nearly full so guess where my priorities are.

So I'll just give an ultra quick synopsis until I can give it justice:

Groovy people
Fries with mayo
Nuit toegang (Het Nederlands is een grappige taal)
Light until ten
Van Gogh (pronounced by the Dutch as Van Gaaaach - with something stuck in your throat. There is no English word for comparison)
Anne Frank
Tiny hotel room doubles as sauna
Grand Place
Tourists flock to see statue of peeing boy
La bande dessinée treasure hunt
Art Nouveau
Galeries Saint-Hubert
Dinner with friends
Glimpse of Eiffel Tower
Le Mans
Cars, old and new
24 Hours
Wonderful hospitality
Long drive
Little sleep

Tuesday, June 14, 2005

Greetings from Brussels!

I am here in Brussels and the weather is gorgeous - much better than in Amsterdam. It rained there but the city was lovely. I visited the fabric vendors in the street market but unbelievably did not buy ANYTHING! Perhaps I will buy some lace in Belgium.

If you ever get a chance to go to Amsterdam, do! The people are quite stylish and ride bikes everywhere.

I'll post pictures later.

Au revoir!

Wednesday, June 08, 2005

What's in my suitcase?

What's in my suitcase? A lot of clothes that I made. I was a bit surprised myself when I started pulling clothes together for the trip and discovered many of the items I wanted to bring are things that I've made. What a cool feeling!

Burda WOF white jacket
Burda WOF twist top II
Burda WOF twist top
Burda WOF sweatshirt
Textile Studio Manhattan skirt - black and white floral
Burda WOF hoodie

And do I detect a theme? I like Burda "World of Fashion" magazine.

Tuesday, June 07, 2005

Gotta pack!

I've been on many business trips (I once racked up 90,000 frequent flier miles in 6 months) so you'd think I'd be an expert at packing for a trip. I am good at the spatial aspects of packing but the whole thing stresses me out! My husband can attest to what a basket case I am before a trip. I really don't know why this is. I can't recall any problems I've had with what I've packed - except the time my cat used my suitcase as a litter box the night before my trip and I didn't realize it until I pulled out a yellow shirt out of the suitcase in the hotel room. Thank goodness the hotel had a washing machine. It wasn't the cat's fault - the lid on her litter box got turned around and she couldn't get in it. The suitcase, which was about the same size and was filled with soft material, seemed like a good substitute to her I guess. However I now make sure the suitcase lid is closed before I go to bed. Just in case. Anyway, back to the subject of packing.

I see the problems as basically two things:

1. What to take
2. Packing it

My biggest problem is deciding what clothing to take. Despite a closet full of clothes I have difficulty every day deciding what to wear. I recently did go through my closet and I removed things that were outdated or that I haven't worn in a long time and probably won't. I donated the items that are in good condition and recycled the ones that weren't. Having only wearable clothes in my closet does help in the morning. Hopefully it will help me decide what to take this time. I think this time I may use a checklist to help guide me. Couldn't hurt.

Packing the clothes is not too big of a problem. I use a hanging toiletry bag for my toiletries. This helps to keep everything in one place. I leave (non-perishable) travel-sized items in the bag in between trips so most of the time I only need to add my makeup and a few other items. For my clothes I found that packing items into stuff sacks works really well. Socks in one, underwear in another, and the rest of the clothes in various other sized sacks or travel packs designed for this purpose. The stuff sacks make it really easy to pack and I don't have to dig through the suitcase for a pair of socks. I also bring a sack for dirty clothes.

I've also learned that one thing that stresses me when I'm packing is that I'll think about something else I need to do or pack and I'll stop what I'm doing, go off and do that and end up scattered...and stressed. I've learned now to divide my packing into zones and stick to them. I don't move on until I've finished that task. In no particular order, I do the following:

* gather and pack main suitcase
- toiletries
- underwear
- main clothes
- accessories and jewelry
- shoes

* clean out handbag and wallet of excess junk

* gather and pack stuff for in-flight entertainment
- book
- knitting
- iPod
- snacks/water

* gather and pack business-related stuff (if business trip)

* gather and pack gifts for relatives and friends (if pleasure trip)

* gather and pack essential travel stuff
- passport
- tickets
- itinerary
- phone numbers

* gather and pack extra travel stuff
- guide books
- camera
- hat/gloves/umbrella/raincoat as needed

* address anything that needs to be done in the house
- adjust shades
- check/set light timers
- lock windows and doors
- water plants
- empty trash

I'm getting a tiny bit stressed just thinking about it. But I have found that sticking to my zone-packing helps.

Saturday, June 04, 2005

Catch up

I've been busy...sewing! No time to blog while I was sewing so now I'll try to catch up on what I've done.

I had the crazy idea to make a jacket for our upcoming trip. Good news: stash fabric. Bad news: white fabric for a trip to Europe with airplanes, trains....but I like the results.


It's a pattern from the September 2003 issue of Burda magazine. Here is my review on patternreview. It was supposed to be out of wool, but I chose a quilted cotton sweatshirt knit. It was supposed to have vents on the sleeves but I thought zippers would much cooler.


And while I'm posting pictures, here's one of Twisty Top II:


I'm very pleased with the Burda magazine patterns. I've been getting them for about 5 years now. The tops seem to fit me pretty well, but I haven't had the same good fortune with the pants. I've only made one pair so far but I had to take the side seams in a lot despite using the size for my measurements. I will try pants again because I really like the clothing in Burda - very stylish and often on the cutting edge of fashion. Although it's a German publication, you can get subscriptions to an English version at glpnews or amazon.