Wednesday, 28 October 2015

Postcard from San Francisco


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!

Tuesday, 30 June 2015

My New Carry-On Bag!

It's been a while, hasn't it?!  But I have finally been back at the sewing machine and this is the result. The pattern is the Avignon Traveller from Nicole Mallalieu's "The Better Bag Maker".  It is a bag of many pockets - behind the dandelion print on each side of the bag are large, zipped pockets which are good for magazines or travel documents, then inside there is another zipped pocket and a large compartment pocket (a bit hard to photograph!):

There is plenty of space for everything you need on a flight.  I've just got to Scotchguard this and then I'll be ready to try it out!

Tuesday, 19 May 2015

Another Postcard from New York!

Brooklyn Bridge

We're just back from a few days in New York - the fact is you can't really 'do' New York in just one go and, despite a short trip a few years ago and 4 days last year, there were still things we wanted to see, so we headed for lower Manhattan.  

If you discount lots of waiting airports for delayed flights we had a great time ... did everything on our list, walked our socks off, ate good food and took loads of photos of which the following is but a small sample!

9/11 museum and memorial

World Trade Centre 

Lower Manhattan skyline from a crowded boat heading out to Liberty Island

Statue of Liberty

Hudson River (looking towards New Jersey)

We had a great time, but it is good to be home again and away from the hordes of tourists and Manhattan's traffic!!

Wednesday, 22 April 2015


Here are a few snaps taken today at the butterfly house, a local attraction that I've been meaning to get to for ... how long have we lived here? ... about two years!

I'm generally not a fan of insects, but I can pretend that they're not just a prettier version of moths (which I detest).  Not a fan of them landing on me though!!

I was a bit confused to start with as there were lots of bright blue butterflies flitting around the butterfly house and they never seemed to settle on the vegetation for me to photograph them ... then I realised that only the topside of the wings was blue; the underside is brown.  It blends in particularly well against tree trunks, but that didn't make for a good photo!

Those blue blurs are the blue butterflies in flight (yes, I could have changed my camera settings, but I didn't!).

I liked this one!

Not quite as stunning but it posed for its photo, so why not!?!

The flowers were pretty too!

I'm trying to get out and about with my camera more this summer as we're planning a photo holiday in Utah this autumn and I need to get used to carrying my camera gear or I'll really suffer.  So, lots more photos coming up!!

Thursday, 16 April 2015

Photos from St. Louis' Zoo

Last weekend we took advantage of the nice weather and, along with several thousand other people, visited the zoo.  St. Louisans are very proud that there are no entrance fees to many of the city's major attractions: the zoo, the art museum, the science museum and the Missouri history museum ... the downside of this is that they are all packed, most of the time.

It's a hard life being a big cat!

Maybe they were up late partying the night before?

Who knew that digesting breakfast was such hard work?!?

That's more like it!!

Phew!  I was beginning to think they'd all been given sedatives!

Elsewhere the animals seemed a bit more awake....


And that's all of the elephant that I could get into frame with my telephoto lens!!

It was nice to get out and about with my camera for the first time in ages ... hoping to take many more photos this summer and get back to some crafts soon!