Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Sunday, October 27, 2013

Putting the Garden to Bed

We have had a most spectacular fall here in CT, warm sunny days and cool crisp nights with hardly any rain. Just like Camelot!  But all good things must come to an end.  Although we have had a couple of light frosts, we haven't had a hard freeze so many things are still blooming. I wanted to take advantage of this nice day to empty some of the big containers on my deck.  I had already cut back most of the perennials last week.  There were some rewards for the job.

This was one of them.  This hydrangea bush is the best I've ever had.  It is a small shrub, not meant to get big, but it is covered with blooms all summer long. They start as a pale pink, then turn to mauve and then finally to this gorgeous russet.  I picked a bunch to put on my kitchen table and I could have picked many more.

This was another.  I planted several Knockout Roses in the ground this year and one in a big container on the deck. It had gotten quite leggy and it fell over when my Hibiscus tree fell over onto it. The Hibiscus tree was finished for the season and I got rid of it, but I pruned the rose way back and put it in a corner of the deck where I hope it will winter over. I was able to pick enough roses to make this pretty bouquet for the coffee table in the family room.

The herbs in the containers still look great, so I will leave them.  My 2 Sun Gold cherry tomato plants look terrible but are still producing enough to give me few tomatoes every day, so they will stay for now, too.  Someone forgot to tell my lavender that it is autumn, since it's blooming its fool head off. That will stay for the winter anyway since it is a perennial. 

I'm getting tired of watering, weeding, pruning, and fertilizing, but I know that next Spring I'll be ready to start all over again. One of the joys of gardening is having the next season to look forward to.  

Saturday, October 26, 2013

The Ballet

As I've said before I am so fortunate to live in such close proximity to NYC.  Last weekend a few friends and I drove in to see the San Francisco Ballet at Lincoln Center.  It was truly magical. Don't you just love the cover of the program, so appropriate for this time of year?

We have had a stretch of fabulous fall weather and this was one of those days, such a great time to be in New York.  We had a delicious lunch (I had Oysters Rockefeller and French onion soup) at PJ Clark's right across the street from Lincoln Center, then we walked up to Columbus Circle and did a little shopping at the Time Warner Building, then back to LC for the performance.  After the show we went across the street again to The Smith and had a glass of wine and appetizers.  It couldn't have been a more perfect day.

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Monday, October 21, 2013


The last leg of our trip brought us to Scotland, where I had never been. Again I'm only showing the barest minimum of my pictures,  just enough for you to get the overall impression.

A must see is Edinburgh Castle at the top of the city and can be seen from many parts of the city. It was very "castley" with the requisite  towers, turrets and stone walls.

After the tour we were on our own for lunch.  We ate at a cafe on the castle grounds and had a table by the window with this fabulous view. We opted to get back to the hotel on our own.  
We walked down the "royal mile" visiting many little shops in the way.  I did buy two scrumptious cashmere sweaters.  I was surprised at how many of them were made in China, but mine were made in Scotland. 

We also visited Stirling Castle with this lovely view from a pretty window.

This is the guy that I met.  I know he's kind of short, but still pretty cute.

We toured the Grouse distillery to learn about the making of Scotch Whiskey.  We were able to sample several varieties, but they were not to my liking.  I did like the Scotch based liqueur that we sampled and bought in town.

This monument was to Towser, a cat that had lived at the distillery for 24 years  and caught  an amazing 28, 899 mice in his lifetime.  

At one of our dinners this bagpipe player gave us an explanation of all the parts of his costume and no, he didn't answer the question that everyone asks.

The same fellow explained and read Robert Burn's poem about haggis.  We were served a sample along with the traditional neeps and tatties (turnips and mashed potatoes.) Although it sounds rather unappealing, I liked it and thought it tasted something like corned beef hash.  It is the traditional dish of Scotland and I was bound and determined to taste it and was glad to have the chance.

This was the ladies room in our hotel, the Balmoral.  I just had to take a picture.

We drove an hour or so to visit St. Andrew's, the home of golf. It was very picturesque, being right on the water.

Although I've never been to Ireland, we were told that the countryside is very similar, lush and green and rolling hills.  I took these from the bus while driving to St. Andrew's. I wanted to get a picture of the many fields dotted with sheep, but I couldn't get a good shot.

We had lunch on our own one day at this charming pub with it's dark paneled walls and stained glass windows.  We finally had traditional fish and chips and it was delicious.

So that's it.  While we had a great time, I think I'm a little "castled and cathedraled" out.  Our next big trip next Fall will be something very different.  

Friday, October 18, 2013


My pictures from the trip seems to have gotten all jumbled up on the computer, leaving me saying,"Is that the Tower of London or Oxford or St. Paul's Cathedral or Windsor Castle?"  After awhile all of the castles and churches start to look alike. So I am only going to show you a few that I am sure of and some things that just struck my fancy.

We stayed at the Langham Hotel in London and we loved it.  It was 5 star and quite luxurious and right in the center of town so that we could walk to a lot of things, including the Mac store on Regent Street when my iPhone acted up.  The lobby wasn't huge but the aroma of roses greeted you as you walked in the door.  There were flowers everywhere.
This was one of two enormous arrangements at either side of the entry.  The pink  hydrangeas were as big as your head and they were filled in with pink roses.

Two days later they replaced the pink hydrangea with dark russet (which to me got kind of lost) and a different color rose,

There were arrangements of roses everywhere.  That's me in the mirror trying to get a shot as we got off the elevator.

I always love the flower boxes in Europe and this was so typical.  I think this was at Oxford, thus the bicycles.

This art installation was at the Tower of London, or was it Winsdor Castle?  I'm not sure, but I thought they were fantastic.  They were lifesize, made of metal with some sort of wire mesh for the fur and there were several of them scattered throughout the grounds.  I was enchanted and took a lot of pictures of them.

Here's my sister.  Hmmmm, why does she get the cute tall guy?  Maybe because she's so pretty.

This was a dining hall at Oxford set up for a meal.  Doesn't it look like something right out of Harry Potter?

We had an incredible banquet at the Hall of Justice, where they still hold court.  We ate in an enormous room with vaulted stone ceilings that must have been 40 feet high.  We were treated to a gourmet meal, a live band, entertainment, and dancing, but this is what I took pictures of.
We couldn't read the plaque so we didn't know its significance or why it was there, but it was made entirely out of wire coat hangers.  It was in one of the many halls in the building.

We took a lovely lunch cruise on the Thames River and got to see a lot of the city highlights.

Not sure who this guy was, but I thought he was worth a picture.

All pictures are clickable for a bigger view.  I'll try to get to Edinburgh in the next couple of days.

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Totally Texture

I know that I said that I would post about London, and I will, but first I wanted to show you the pictures of my FiberWorks group current exhibit at the Newtown, CT library.  I was away when they hung the show and I wasn't able to get over to see it until yesterday.

All of the quilts are 30" square and they are all perfectly square. If they don't look that way it is my photography.  I didn't use a tripod and for a couple of them I couldn't get far enough away to get a full shot.  Excuses, excuses, but trust me that they are all gorgeous and all full of texture.

Here they are in no particular order.

The poster greeting you at the front of the exhibit.

Andrea Shedletsky--Heart in Hand

Beth Johnson--Heat Wave

Carolyn Cooney--Forest Floor

Christine Wilkinson--Skyscape

Gwen Hendrix--Luminarye

Jamie Lynch--From Beginning to End

Nike Cutsumpas--Readying for Rebirth

Nike Cutsumpas--Counterpoint

Norma Schlager --Radically Red

Paula West--Wooly Wonky

Norma Schlager--Transformation

Paula West--Orion Nebula

Suzanne Lehman--Nazca Lines

The show will be up until November 7, so if you are in the area, please stop by.  Click on any picture for a bigger view of all.

Monday, October 14, 2013


I had been to Paris twice before, each time for a brief three days, but I loved it so I was anxious to go back.  This was also a brief three day visit, so I saw most of the same things again, but it was still a treat.  Paris is a beautiful city.We were very fortunate with the weather.  It was quite warm, just a lightweight jacket was needed and though we did carry our umbrellas with us, we only needed them briefly for a few sprinkles.

If you have been to Paris, you may recognize this gorgeous stained glass ceiling, but if not you may think it's a cathedral.

But it's not.  It's the stunning Galeries LaFayette, an upscale department store.  You can see the beautiful ceiling from most of the store.

This was one of the window displays all made from lipsticks. That's the only thing I bought at the store, since they carry a brand that's hard to find at home.

We saw all of the required tourist attractions, including Notre Dame and the fabulous rose windows.

I took so many pictures of the Eiffel Tower, but this one proves that I was really there.

We popped into this tiny charming flower shop while waiting for our bus one day. They only sold roses and the fragrance was heavenly.

We visited the Musee d'Orsay, a repeat visit for me, but I loved it. Unlike the last time I was there, no pictures were allowed, but I sneaked this one of one of their famous clocks.  The building was a train station in a former life and the architecture was fabulous. If you saw the movie Hugo, this was very reminiscent.
We had a docent tour and I always find that enjoyable.

On this trip I didn't take nearly as many pictures as I usually do.  Not sure why, perhaps because I have soooooo many in my computer.

Come back tomorrow for some pictures of London.