Friday, 30 November 2007

I Have a Dream

Another beautiful day in Maryland. Although its cold and crisp the sun is shinning! The weather was so nice that we decided to go down to Washington DC and do some sight seeing. We arrived at 12:00pm, we had some well deserved Starbucks to start before heading to our very long walk. Our first stop was the National Archives were you can see the original documents of the Declaration of Independence, The Bill of Rights, The Constitution, The Amendment to abolish slavery and all the letters and other info from all the other documents. All this is located at the main chamber called Rotunda -Charters of Freedom, its a big room with very little light so the old documents don't get damaged (you can take pictures but no flash). The documents are all on display in a round fashion, hence the name Rotunda. It was great to see, specially when you can see all the drafts of the Constitution before the final one was signed. I saw Benjamin's Franklin's signature he had a beautiful penmanship, it was really cool. We left after that because we still wanted to go see the Washington Monument, World War II memorial and the Lincoln Memorial.

We headed to the Washington Monument and on the way passed through a nice botanical sculpture garden and walked all the way to the monument. The thing is so big that you can see it from miles and you think," Its right there after that street..." few blocks later and you're still not there yet. We finally got there and the big spear (or big phallus) is very impressive, it is huge. You cant stop thinking if the person who thought of this had something to compensate (hahaha). After taking some more pictures we decided not to go up because we needed to get tickets half a mile away where we walked before, so we thought we just carry on to the World War II memorial. Oh by the way all the museums and monuments are all free, even going up to the Washington monument or entering the archives is free of charge, I thought this was the coolest!

The World War II memorial is relatively new it was opened in 2004. It's name says it all , it honors all the people who served and died on the war. I was really impressed by the copper sculptures of different war images (sculptor Ray Kaskey). There were several with the women who were working in the factories during the war. I thought that was great to see. Also there was a quote about women and the war, I think it's great that we are finally being recognised and printed in stone to show our contribution in history! The monument has several pillars in a oval circle which represent all the states in the US. A big fountain in the middle and two pavilions in opposites sides of each other, one saying Pacific and the other Atlantic. Its really beautifully made, and there are quotes and significant dates set in stones. But the best was yet to come and you could already see him sitting there, looking from a far; almost like he is watching your every move. Like Big Brother.

We walked through this beautiful passage way with trees set one after each other. The wild geese where having their feeding break before heading again south for the winter and they were everywhere, I think at least a hundred of them eating grass. But finally we arrived at the Lincoln Memorial. Its a big white building with pillars. Its beautiful, the marmor from the steps and pillars are stunning. When you get to the top there is a huge stone sculpture of Lincoln sitting on a chair. Just to think that at the bottom of the steps in August 28, 1963, under a nearly cloudless sky, more than 250,000 people, a fifth of them white, gathered to demonstrate for "jobs and freedom." Martin Luther King gave his famous speech "I have a dream" that day. That place truly has so much history that you can almost feel it in the air.

After all this we cached a cab to go back to the parking garage so we could park the car on the street and go for dinner. By the time we got to the car it was 17:15pm, and we were really dead from all the walking, I think we walked 3 miles in total. So we parked and went to the brewery were they had very nice food and the place had great jazzy music. We ate and had some drinks and headed back home to Fredrick. I snoozed all the way home dreaming of the 1963 and how cool it would have been if I could have been there in the crowd, listening to the words of wisdom of Mr Luther! Well hope you all enjoy the slide show, all the pics are in the order of the post. If you have any questions or just something nice to say just leave a comment. Have a good one!

Wednesday, 28 November 2007

Christmas Market & East Side

Christmas is really hear. Ferderick is full of lights and the fair grounds are now showing the Maryland Christmas Show. So Peter, Tiiu and me went to the show to check it out. It was nice collection of different crafts booths where the main focus was Christmas. I got a nice door ornament, some beautiful tea, herbs (lavender) and so much more. I will give the link of the Tea because it is truly a great tea and an African American woman(the same age as me)grows them and puts the flavours together(you can buy her teas online). I really was enjoying myself that is why I only have three pictures, sorry guys! It was a beautiful crisp sunny afternoon and on the walk back I took some pictures of Frederick but of the East side of town. Well I hope you guys enjoy.

Sunday, 25 November 2007

Butternut Pumpkin Roast

This recipe is super easy and simple and it is gorgeous for the pallet. The recipe bellow makes two serving (2 people). It also can be made on the barbecue instead of in the oven but u still will need to use aluminum foil. Prep time: 1 hour . Check it out!

Ingredients are:
1 Butter Pumpkin medium size
2 tablespoons of Castor Sugar
Butter as much as you like ( I love putting loads)

Pre-heat oven 180C

Peel the pumpkin and cut them in halves and than in big chunky cubs.

In a medium size roasting pan cover the bottom with aluminum foil that it creates a bed for the pumpkin and all its juices. Put all the chunky cubed pumpkin in the roasting pan and sprinkle sugar all over them and than add the small pieces of butter all over the pumpkins. Cover the roasting pan with another sheet (big enough to cover all the roasting pan!) of aluminum foil.

When the oven is heated put the roasting pan in and leave it for about 20 minutes. Be careful not to over cook it or you'll have pumpkin puree instead of pumpkin roast. So after 15 minutes check if the chunks are tender with a fork. Take the top foil and than grill it for another 5 to 10 minutes just to make it a little crisp (keep an eye on the roast at this point so it doesn't burn). Take out of the oven and vuala! You have a delicious chunky sweet goodness to make your meal perfect. Enjoy everyone.

Thanksgiving Dinner

After so much preparation finally the day arrived. Although I didn't cook the turkey, I still needed to prepare my butternut pumpkin roast and my apple pie for the big day. Rob, his mother, father and I went to Uta and Lance's for Thanksgiving. I prepared my roast pumpkin the day before so Tiu and I could share the kitchen for the apple pie and sauerkraut. The house had all these different food smells in one day, it was lovely. We arrived at Uta's at 4:30 pm and the weather was typical for the season; lots of wind but clear and crisp. The leaves seemed to be running along the car to follow us to join us on Thanksgiving dinner. A beautiful orange pinky sun set made the setting just perfect. We arrived and greeted everyone including Lucas and Leo. Everyone was very cheery seeing its our first Thanksgiving in America. We opened a couple of beers and wine. Tiu gave the boys the top toys and they were thrilled. I also played a little with the boys and join the adults later for more drinks. The turkey was ready so we put all the food on the table and it was crowded. The smells of all the different dishes really made your mouth water. We gave a quick thanks and digged in. Silence fell upon the table expect for Luca's and Leo's chatter hahaha but after a couple of minutes everyone was talking and paying praise for Lance's culinary skills. After we were done we needed a couple of hours so we could fit the apple pie in our enlarged stomachs. We drank some shnapps to speed the digestion and later had some Kahlua cocktails with the apple pie. Leo rushed to me later that night and wanted to show me how grown up he is by using the was the sweetest thing I ever saw. The boys went to bed and we had a couple of more drinks and we had to leave because Rob had to work morning shift the next day. It was truly a wonderful evening. Frederick is already all decorated for Christmas and the day after Thanksgiving the Christmas sales start, so down town was all festive. Free hot coco, Santa arriving in his carriage, Christmas carols and all. It was really pretty but I didn't take any pics, forgot my camera =0(

Well everyone enjoy the slide show and check my post for the pumpkin recipe ok. Holiday greeting for all!

Thursday, 22 November 2007

Meeting with Claire in Washington DC

It was just great when Claire called last week and told me she was scheduled to fly to Washington DC (its about 40 min from Frederick). I was very happy because I haven't seen her since our graduation in 2004. All of us from Uni still keep in touch but everyone just seems to be caring on with their lives and most of us moved to other countries. Claire was one, she went back home (Ireland). I haven't had a chance to go visit her yet so you can imagine how thrilled I was she was coming to the USA! So we planned that we would meet up in Washington, down town. Her Hotel was on the same street as the Brazilian Grill House. We needed to head off to Washington any way because Rob's Dad was arriving from Australia that night at 12:00 am. It was almost like everything was arranged for us to meet! So we met at the Brazilian restaurant at 19:30 pm. I was very happy in seeing her and she hasn't changed a bit, she is more fit than when we were at Uni. We had a lovely dinner with all the Brazilian goodness to make any gathering a special one. We had also some great wine and wonderful deserts. By the end of the meal I was in pain because, I of course, over did it! We went down to her hotel and had some more drinks. We talked about how is everything in Dublin and I updated her on how everyone else was doing. She talked about her wedding arrangments (for those who don't know , Claire is engaged too). We laughed about Uni times in Walsall and before we knew it I had to go because we still had to pick up Rob's dad. It was a sad goodbye but we promised to do this again and I told her I would go to Dublin for her wedding! Ohh I really missed her and I miss the crazy days at Walsall campus. Well enjoy the slide show!

Project from Hell: Bitch Bag

My GOD when I subscribed for the class to make this bag in my local quilt shop I had no idea what hell I was getting myself into. Everything went wrong! First the pattern was not available, it only became available two days before the class. So Tiu and I had one night to cut all the fabric and the iron on interface. We stayed till 2:00 am cutting everything and than we found out we needed to iron all the interfacing too for the class puffffff!!!!! So we went to bed and decided to do the ironing in the morning before our 10:00 am class. We woke up at 7:00 am to start ironing all the fabric parts with the interfacing. We managed to do it all in the nick of time and hopped in a cab to the quilt shop. After an hour of waiting in the class we were told that the tutor was ill and had cancelled. So one of the shop assistants was going to give the class she had made this bag before but some time ago. You can imagine what a mess. She forgot some parts, so my front pocket is missing a lining. Than we went home with loads of homework because, of course its a hard bag to put together and the assistant could not really give a lesson from someone else. So off we went and not looking forward to all the work we had awaiting us. The next lesson I had two doctors appointments and was only in class for an hour. When I got there everyone seemed in a gloom and I could see we would have much work again to do at home. Tiu invited Linda to meet us at home and work on the bag before our next class. So we met at my house and worked like labour workers in a Chinese sweatshop. Lisa was very upset because her Singer machine was giving her problems through out the whole project (I was secretly thinking to myself "thanks god I have my bernina!" I felt very sorry for her.) and she thought the tutor didn't like her very much. So on the third lesson we worked very hard but the tutor had to go see the doctor and left 2 hours early. So finally I manged to finish the damn bag. It looks ok but there is some mistakes but for someone who just started sewing 5 months ago I think I did well. I did have help; if it wasn't for Tiu I think I would never have finished it. After so much grief and bitching I don't think I am trying to make this bitch oppps I mean bag again! But please feel free to leave me any comments and have a look at the end result. Well hope you all enjoy the slide show. Take care.

Saturday, 10 November 2007

Quilt Show Houston 2007 was truly a humbling experience. All those great quilts made me see how much I still need to learn. I got to Houston Texas on Friday with a terrible cold. My ears popped when the plane was descending. It was really painful I felt like my eyes were going to pop out of their sockets and that my brain was turning to puree hahaha. I got to the Hilton to meet up with Tiiu (Robs mom)and than go and see some of the quilt show before they closed at 19:00. These quilts are truly works of art. There was some amazing stuff that you would think it needed a special place in a museum. The convention center was huge, really, we needed to high light which sections we already walked to be sure we didn't do the same section twice. It was good that the quilt show was for three days but even so Tiiu and I did not see all the quilts and only managed to go through half of the vendors. They had more than 1000 vendor stands at the convention, seriously! The fun of it all was how many people came from all over the world for this event, I didn't know that there are so many quilters. You could see Japanese, Brazilian, Dutch, Australians, Italians...well you get the picture. Of course most of them are older but you could still spot some blue or green haired youngsters (hahaha). But even though the crowed was a little older it was so fun because quilters can be really funny when your not taking the fat quarter that they want. But you could get some cat fights in there too. This woman who was with one of these motorised wheel chairs was shoving it on peoples' feet, till one woman turned around and told her to stop being such a bitch....well the two women were really bitching at each other and than I passed by them and made like cat fight sounds...all the women around us were laughing like crazy. The woman on the wheel chair left really fast gruffing hahahaha. But the best one was when I was buying some fabric (fat quarters) in one of the stands and I commented that I had lost my mother in law yet again, this woman past behind me and said, " Gezzz, I wish I would lose my mother in law!".I was amazed by the mood in there, if you were eating something or just getting some coffee you always stopped and talked for hours with complete strangers. But its like this sisterhood that you never thought existed anymore, like a secret society. I am not kidding it really felt great to be connected with so many women from different countries and ages. The three days really flied by and before we knew it Tiiu and I were running through the quilts to try to see everything before they closed the show on Sunday. I learned loads, got great tips and bought great notions, my wallet was much lighter by the end of it. But as always good things must end and that was good too cause I dont think my wallet would manage another day! The next day we spent the day going on a tour through the underground connection between all the big building in town. My feet were killing me after so much walking all those days. But the tour was great, the guide was a retired man who new so much history of Houston and the architecture of all the buildings, it really was impressive. Than on the end of the day we went to the butterfly center in the Natural Science Museum. It was beautiful to see them all flying around you. On Tuesday we left to come back to Frederick. It was really warm in Texas so we had a shock by the cold over here in Maryland. Well that was my trip to Houston. Hope you guys like the pictures. I added also the link to the butterfly museum. Enjoy!

Thursday, 1 November 2007

Happy Halloween!!!!

Wow how I had fun, its great to be here for the Halloween season! I went to Erica to trick or treat with the kids. I dressed up and all the kids of course were dressed too... I am with the cold at the moment but that did not stop me hahahah. I arrived and brought a pumpkin to carve. Emilia helped me carve it (its the first picture on the slide). It was not that hard as I imagined. With the tools that you can get at any shop it sure made it easy. It was great fun too. We went trick or treating at 6:30 pm with Luca, Leo, Emilia and Jessica. Adults: ME, Uta and Erica. Some of the houses were so elaborately decorated...the Americana's take this holiday very seriously. Jessica and Emilia were scared off there witts with some houses...refusing to go ring the door for some candy was great! With all the gools and goblins walking around it really was surreal. All kids had great costumes and most adults walking the kids also were dressed up. Really fun and really sweet...check out the pictures to have a look how much candy the kids managed to collect. I got some candy too of course, the kids had to pay me for the protection that I provided while they were too scared to get candy...hahah I wish life worked like that! Well I leave all of you with happy wishes for the Halloween. I am off to Houston Texas tomorrow afternoon for 6 days. I will update blog with pictures of the International quilt show, so you all can see what I have been up too in Texas. Have a good one!

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