Friday, 6 December 2013

I'm Back!

We moved in about 3 weeks ago and slowly our apartment is getting sorted out.  The realities of moving to a small apartment mean that my sewing table is now in the guest bedroom, but at least I still have a dedicated table.  

The sewing machine is already in use - I made a blanket for my mate, Mack, who comes to visit and isn't allowed to sit on my leather sofa.  He doesn't quite understand that yet, but I'll forgive him as he's a real cutie and I think he'll know the blanket is for him, don't you?!

Mack - adorable, isn't he?! (And yes, he knows it!)

The next project will be for me and I bought some lovely cheerful fabric to take my mind off winter (it's snowing outside right now - not my favourite weather):

The one on the left is an Alexander Henry design (Oska) and the one on the right is Michael Miller's Stitch Circles.  They are destined to be a simple lap blanket for me.

We get some great sunsets here - this is a photo from the old apartment just before I moved - it's also the best I've seen Andy's office building looking!!

Sunday, 3 November 2013

Just Stopping By to Say Hello!

It's been a bit quiet on this blog for a while, but I am still here!  Our container of furniture has just made it to St. Louis from Germany and so we'll be moving again shortly - can't wait to have a bit more space and to be reunited with our own things.  I've been thinking about all the things I can make once I have my sewing machine set up, but I guess I've got to get the apartment straight first as we have visitors coming for Christmas!

In the meantime I've been making the most of some glorious autumn days. Yesterday I went and climbed the bluff above the Meramec river (above).  Beautiful views!  I've been enjoying living in the city for the last few months, but it is nice once in a while to get out into the countryside!

And there is no shortage of autumnal tones in the city - the Gateway Arch park is turning a lovely shade of russet (above: from the top balcony of our building). 

Now I really should think about packing up some of the stuff that we've accumulated in the last 6 months ....  I'll be back after the move!

Tuesday, 24 September 2013

Catching Up!

I'm back from Europe, still slightly jet-lagged, but there is a little bit of crafty activity going on as I get my head round being back in the US after a month away.  Last night I picked up my tunisian hook that I had meant to take with me to Germany and started re-learning tunisian crochet stitches.  I signed up for a class on Craftsy before I left, thinking that I could do the course in the evenings after sorting out cupboards and generally doing moving type activity.  Of course, forgetting to take the hook put paid to that!

So the last month has been a bit hectic and slightly stressful.  I had a short time to decide what furniture and belongings to ship to our US apartment and what to leave in storage in Europe.  I have occasional nightmares that the stuff I labelled for storage will turn up at the end of October in the US and we won't have any of the things we need (like my sewing machine!), but in general I think packing went relatively smoothly.  

We'll gloss over the incident of the steel bar and the two gashes on my head that required super-gluing together, OK?  That lost me 4-5 days of prep time and hurt quite a bit, but I did eventually get everything done before the packers arrived including blocking the lace shawl that I crocheted earlier this summer but couldn't block here due to lack of space in our tiny apartment!

It's hard to photograph but you get the idea!  Blocking really does make such a difference - see how it looked before by clicking here.

The pattern is Summer Breeze by Eclat du Soleil (Ravelry link) and the yarn was The Natural Dye Studio's Precious Lace which is 100% silk and a dream to work with.

So, now I'm just waiting for my sewing machine and my yarn and fabric stashes to arrive.  We get to do moving all over again at the end of October when we move into a larger apartment, but in the meantime I've some crochet to keep me occupied!

Wednesday, 7 August 2013

Countdown to Moving

There really hasn't been much productive going on here lately ... and there won't be for the foreseeable future as I'm disappearing back to Germany soon to arrange our 'more permanent' move over here.  More permanent because we'll be here in sunny St. Louis for longer than the original 6 months ... but our moves are never anywhere near permanent.  I think we managed 3 years in one place once!  We have a dream of staying somewhere for a really long time (you know, five years or so!), but Andy's work never allows it and you've got to go where the work is!

I did get round to some crochet last week in front of the TV. This little bag is a pattern called The Crocodile Stitch Bag by Zoom Yummy   I used up some spare yarn I happened to have with me.  The pattern gives very detailed instructions and was very easy to make.  Next time I'm around a sewing machine I'll add a lining with the odd pocket and maybe a magnetic snap closure... I'm not a fan of knitted / crochet bags without linings as I think they tend to sag out of shape very quickly.

Right - back to my spreadsheet (yawn!).  Have you ever tried to list everything you own when you're not at home to see what you've missed?

Tuesday, 16 July 2013

My Summer Breeze

Finished, but not yet blocked!

I have finished crocheting my shawl, but it won't be blocked till I have more space; either when I go back to Germany to pack up my house there or when we move to a larger apartment here this autumn.    It needs to be blocked to open it up and reveal the pattern more clearly - the border is spectacular when blocked.  

So this won't be worn for a while ... mind you, in this heat who needs a shawl?  

The pattern is Summer Breeze by Eclat du Soleil and is available from Annette Petavy and I've made it once before in the larger size as a present.  But this one is mine!!  I used a 100% mulberry silk yarn called Precious from The Natural Dye Studio in Devon and it was lovely to work with.

So, I've actually managed to finish a crochet project this year ... at last!  Time to find a yarn store and plan the next project!

Monday, 8 July 2013

Postcard from Washington D.C.

Early on a Sunday and there actually wasn't a crowd outside the White House - the day before it was hard to move out here!

A few weekends ago we went to Washington D.C. for 3 nights.  We realise now that we should have planned a whole week there, but we'll just have to go back sometime!!  There really is that much to see and do.

Great scaffolding on the Washington Monument!

The weather didn't really play ball for our trip - we either got soaked (probably the wettest I've ever been fully clothed!) or got sunburn.  The humidity was tiring and the crowds were horrendous.  But we'll happily go back!

WWII Memorial

Part of the Korean War Memorial

We did a lot of walking.  On the day we did the National Mall and Arlington my Fitbit (similar to a pedometer) recorded almost 25,000 steps ... that's a lot of steps!  

Lincoln Memorial


Arlington National Cemetery

Arlington Cemetery is huge.  We only managed to see a small part of it before the rain hit which is why I don't have a photo of the tomb of the unknown soldier (we saw the tomb but the rain was bouncing so hard I didn't want to get my camera out - it's hard with an umbrella in one hand!!).

Columbia Memorial

We seemed to be in museums when the weather was nice and outside when it wasn't - completely the wrong way round!  I didn't take my camera with me when we were visiting museums as it's far too heavy to carry around all day since I had that problem with my neck / arm last year - so I have fewer photos than normal.

In terms of museums we visited the American History Museum, the Air and Space Museum and we had a quick look at some of the side exhibitions in the Holocaust Museum.  The Air and Space Museum took up almost one whole day and was excellent - we have to go back to D.C. just to see the other part of the museum out near Dulles!!  The Smithsonian is fabulous - I'm sure it would take a long time to visit each of their museums and galleries!

No sooner were we back than it was the long Independence Day weekend.  In St. Louis that meant three days of air shows, firework displays and live entertainment.  

The sun was out and everyone had a good time.  Now it's back to normality - this is going to seem like a very long week!!!

Tuesday, 25 June 2013


It's coming along slowly - so far just lots of double crochet (US terminology)!  It'll be much more interesting when I get to the border details!

Tuesday, 18 June 2013

It's Not A Travel Post!!

Are you sitting down?  

I have actually done a little bit of crafting!!  When I was in Germany the other week I cut out a couple of projects and I even got round to sewing one of them.

OK - so I can sew these quite quickly without needing to follow any instructions.  They're incredibly easy to make and very handy as gifts!!

I rationalised not getting round to the blue fabric in a number of ways (I was very busy for the whole two weeks I was in Germany!)... but at least I have a project cut out and ready to go next time I'm there!  After all, deciding what to make and getting all the pieces cut out and interfaced is half the battle, isn't it?!

I got back to St. Louis last week after an eventful trip (I got stranded in Chicago for the night).  Now  I'm just about over the jet-lag and yesterday I decided it was time to start some crochet.

I've had this 100% silk yarn in my stash for about 18 months - it was always intended for a scarf / stole / shawl for me, but I was being indecisive about the pattern.  I've opted for one I've made before as a present for someone else rather than tackling a new pattern.  I'm looking forward to working on this - it's my first major crochet project since the osteopath fixed my neck / arm, so I'm going to try to take it easy!

Thursday, 6 June 2013

Postcard from Tierpark Hellabrunn

Afternoon nap!

I'm just back from a quick trip to Munich to visit friends.  I've been down there several times before and it always seems to rain - this time was no exception!  There was one dry afternoon though and we grabbed the chance to wander round the zoo.  It really is a very good zoo with animals grouped together as they would live in the wild.

This rhino for example is off to sort out those two peacocks ... they had been fighting, but the sight of a huge rhino soon put paid to that!

This little cutie is Naledi.  He is was born in March and is enjoying life in the stunning new giraffe house.    

But the absolute stars of the show for me were Yogi (behind) and Giovanna in the new polar bear enclosure.  These creatures are normally loners but on Tuesday they were being quite sociable.  There are hopes of a polar bear cub at some point in the future!  I was just amazed at being so close to these powerful and dangerous beasts and hoping that the glass panel between us and them was very, very strong!

They don't look like they are all that aggressive, do they?

Anyway, if you are ever in Munich I can heartily recommend a trip to Hellabrunn Zoo.  I'm not being paid for that bit of advertising, but I. The interests of full disclosure, my friend does work there!

All these photos were snapped on my phone as I didn't bring my camera over to Germany with me (I need suitcase space for craft projects!!).  Back to the US next week!

Saturday, 25 May 2013

Postcard from St. Louis 4

A friend was over from the UK this week and she wanted to go on the river.  The boats leave from a dock not far from the arch ...

We were on the Tom Sawyer (the one on the right).  

I hadn't really realised how high the river is.  It's now dropped below road level which seemed quite normal - that is, until we spotted this statue!  It's called the 'Captain's Return' and it commemorates the return of the Lewis and Clark expedition in 1806.  A few weeks ago this would definitely have been completely submerged!

There are some huge barges on this river!!

Looking north towards the new motorway bridge - Interstate 70 will cross the Mississippi here from sometime late next year and will reduce traffic coming across the bridge near our building.  Not that we'll still be here by then!

Not quite ready for traffic yet - the last piece will be craned in sometime next week!

There's a lot of industry on the Missouri side of the river.  This is looking south west towards the Anheuser-Busch brewery in the distance.  They do brewery tours, but I'm not sure that Andy categorises Budweiser as beer, so we almost definitely won't be doing that tour!  Luckily there are some excellent craft breweries in town!!

The river is a good vantage point to see the arch if you don't have a wide-angle lens!

Here is the downtown skyline from the boat.  I took a lot more photos, but I think I've probably shown you enough!!

Next week I'm heading back to Germany for a few weeks to check on our house and to collect a few things that we want over here.  I've got a quick trip to Munich planned to see friends and I may just be able to do a bit of sewing too!  

I'll be back mid-June.  Bye!

Friday, 17 May 2013

Postcard from Memphis

Sunset over the mighty Mississippi

Last weekend we took some time out and drove south to Memphis.  There's a whole lot of not very much between St. Louis and Memphis - makes for a very easy 4-hour drive (especially if you're not the one driving!!).  As we drove across the bridge towards the city I wondered when the river was going to stop - it's far wider than in St. Louis and was very obviously higher than normal.  The trees in the photo above are not the opposite bank, they're just on an islet mid-river.

Beale Street

After getting drenched in a sudden downpour we explored Beale Street, home of the blues.  

Unsurprisingly it's full of blues clubs, bars and restaurants.  We had our first taste of Memphis-style BBQ on Beale Street ....yum!!!

Graceland Mansion 

You can't visit Memphis without a trip to Graceland (well, technically it probably is possible but we weren't going to miss out on the experience).  Mansion is a little bit grand name for it - it's really just a large house.

This is the first room you see and it was my favourite - those peacocks are just lovely!  The rest of the house was just as you'd expect - a little bit over the top and not in very good taste, but considering Elvis died in the '70's it was probably all the latest fashion back then! 

Above the pool table in the basement

A lot of the rooms were very dark and hard to photograph.  I did snap this fabric covered ceiling though - an amazing amount of fabric was pleated for this.  I really don't envy whoever had to install it all!  

Lots of gold records.

And more!

Elvis' Grave

The mansion was interesting to visit.  Then there were the airplanes, the car museum, various other exhibits covering his childhood in Tupelo and his time in Hawaii .... and the largest number of gift shops I have ever, ever seen squashed into quite a small area!  

We also visited Sun Studio and the Rock 'n' Soul museum.

And we had a really interesting tour round the Gibson guitar factory.

So, that was our weekend in Memphis!  Did I mention we liked the BBQ?  We might have to go back sometime for the food!!