Monday, 11 April 2016

Busch Stadium Opening Day 2016



It's the opening day of baseball season here in St. Louis and, as we live right opposite the stadium, you can't but help get caught up in the atmosphere.  


After a wet start it has dried up and looks like being nice weather for the game (a bit chilly, but that's April!).


It's traditional for the Budweiser Clydesdales to put in an appearance on opening day and this year I joined the scrum to watch them being hitched up before they did a lap of the stadium.


Love the roses in their manes!



I'm not going to the game today.  I'm now back home in front of the telly with a cup of tea watching the festivities in comfort!!

Thursday, 10 March 2016

Postcard from Montreal

Place Jacques-Cartier

We've just come back from a chilly week in Montreal where temperatures dipped to -20C (-28C in the wind).  It's a place I've long wanted to visit, preferably at a warmer time of year!  However, we weren't there for pleasure but to get our visas renewed at the US consulate and, sadly, the visa expiry date determined when we had to be there, so we did Montreal in the snow (and thermals, down jackets etc...!).

Near the Basilica

I didn't take many photos because taking my gloves off to snap pictures seemed like a recipe for frostbite and on the coldest days I only walked in La Ville Souterraine; a network of underground tunnels connecting major buildings and metro stations - not very picturesque.

Hotel de Ville

We have to go back to Montreal at some point in the near future to conclude the visa saga (don't ask!), so I'm hoping for better temperatures and the opportunity to see and photograph a little more of the city.


This sculpture made me smile.  It is one of a pair that stand either side of a bank building in the old town.  This is 'the French poodle' and the other was 'the English pug' - I didn't manage to get a good photo of the Englishman holding the pug sadly.

Inside the Basilica

The trip was a good opportunity to play around with my new point-and-shoot camera.  It's my photography solution for when I physically can't carry my heavy SLR and all the lenses.  It seems to perform quite well and it has some cool effects like the fisheye effect on the photo above which I preferred to the normal view of the same scene!


I've seen a lot of French churches and cathedrals and none of them were the riot of colour that was the interior of Montreal's basilica.  It had what I imagine is more of a Russian feel (but never having been to Russia, I'm just guessing!!!).

I've got some sewing updates ready to go but I'm waiting for the postal system to deliver a parcel to Australia before I blog ... the parcel is already a month late, so it's not looking good!

Wednesday, 28 October 2015

Postcard from San Francisco

Alcatraz

I recently returned from a quick trip to San Francisco.  Andy had to work there for a few days and we stayed on for the weekend.  I've been to San Francisco before but not for many years, so this was a chance to see some of the sights we missed on previous visits including the famous island prison of Alcatraz.  It was a fascinating place to go to and one of the best tours we've done in the US - well worth every penny of the entrance fee.  We did a guided walk up the hill with one of the park rangers who gave us the history of the many escape attempts and then an audio tour of the prison building before wandering around the island and catching the boat back.  Loved it!


Then there was the obligatory cable car ride.  This is the end of the line at Hyde Street where the cable cars are turned around on a turntable.  It's really hard these days to take photos while you're on the cable car as they are just too crowded.  From memory though, photos of those steep hills never quite look as impressive as the real thing ... believe me though, those hills are incredibly steep!!

Japanese Tea Garden 

I loved the Japanese Tea Garden in Golden Gate Park.  It was very peaceful but maybe that was just because I got there at opening time!

Sculpture by Keith Haring

I also visited the de Young Museum in Golden Gate Park.  The drab exterior of the building was much improved by this Keith Haring sculpture.

Bay Bridge panorama at sunrise

One morning we got up early to see sunrise over Bay Bridge.... a beautiful sight.  I probably have 50 more photos almost identical to this one.

I only took photos of the scenic side of San Francisco.  It is a lovely city to visit, but there is also an ugly side.  The homeless situation, which appalled me back in 2006, is much worse.  In particular I was struck by the proportion of homeless people with quite obvious mental health issues.  It really was quite distressing.  The US is a great place to live if you have money, but if you don't .....

Thursday, 15 October 2015

Seoul Bag a.k.a. My New Summer Handbag!


My timing with this bag is lousy ... my new summer handbag is ready just as autumn starts!  Yet worse, it was supposed to have been my summer handbag for 2014.  The pieces were cut out in June last year and have been languishing on my craft table ever since!!  No real reason except that there was one part of the pattern that I thought might be really hard to do (it wasn't) and so I put the project aside.

The pattern is from The Better Bag Maker by Nicole Mallalieu and it's the third pattern I've made from this book (see here and here for the other two).  There's one more project I might make from this book if I can find the right feature fabric ... it's quite hard finding good fabric round these parts!  The rose fabric for this project is a Japanese cotton that I bought online last year.  I love it and wish I'd bought more than one yard as it's now unavailable.

I think this bag is going to be really practical - I can fit an iPad, glasses case and all the other stuff I cart around with me in there no problem. In addition to those two pockets on the front (not sure I'll be putting much in those), there a zip pocket on the back of the bag and zipped pockets inside.  

Now, I just need summer to roll round again!!

Thursday, 1 October 2015

Postcard from Utah (Part III: Monument Valley)

The Mittens and Merrick Butte at sunset

Sadly I don't have many photos from Monument Valley as my neck / back didn't want to play at off-roading.  Well, I do have a lot of photos because, once you've got the camera and tripod set up, you might as well keep clicking... but not from different locations.  As a result I have many photos of the buttes visible from the visitor centre such as the one above: East Mitten Butte, West Mitten Butte and Merrick Butte.   The photo above is currently the desktop photo on my laptop!

East Mitten Butte at sunset

Apparently I need to go back in 18 months when the visitor road around the valley has been paved! Andy tells me that I made the right decision not to join him as he was shaken around quite a lot and, even though there were loads of signs saying it was the law to buckle up in Navajo Nation this didn't seem to apply to our Navajo guide's 4x4 which didn't have one working seat belt.  Self-preservation won out over getting the shot!

And the Mittens and Merrick Butte again just after a very cloudy sunrise

So, that's it for my photos from this trip.  If you're still awake, well done ... you made it to the end!!  

The next post will be all about some sewing, I promise.

Wednesday, 30 September 2015

Postcard from Utah (Part II: Arches)


Garden of Eden, Arches National Park


More photos from our trip!  We spent the most time in the Arches National Park, so it follows that we have many more photos from here than from Canyonlands or Monument Valley (next post!)



Park Avenue, Arches National Park



Turret Arch just before sunrise, Arches National Park



Delicate Arch, Arches National Park



Double Arch, Arches National Park



And then we did some astrophotography:

Star trails at Balanced Rock, Arches National Park


Milky Way over Balanced Rock, Arches National Park

Tuesday, 29 September 2015

Postcard from Utah (Part 1: Canyonlands)



If Utah isn't on your list of future travel destinations, you might want to reconsider!


Dead Horse Point State Park

It's stunningly beautiful.


Mesa Arch, Canyonlands National Park

Awesome, in fact.
In the true sense of the word.


Schafer Canyon Overlook, Canyonlands National Park

I may possibly have taken too many photos (over 1,000 in a week!) but we were on a photo workshop.  


Grand Point Overlook at sunset, Canyonlands National Park


That means there will have to be more than one post!  Apologies in advance!