Sunday, December 27, 2015

A wonderful week

We have had a very busy first week of holiday wig a trip to Dover castle, several trips to Canterbury looking at shops and even braved the Boxing Day sales yesterday. Stephanie and I took the children to London, not to see the queen but to see the Tower of London. It was a fun day and think the children enjoyed it immensely.
Stephanie and I went to the choral service at the cathedral once agin which was lovely and very majestic with awe inspiring singing. Christmas Day was filled with excitement as the children recieved tablets from their parents so have been much source of amusement since. Callum assures us that we can still come to visit even though he doesn't need the iPad now to play on.
We have walked around Luke's school which is only about 15 minutes away so that is really good for him. Callum has another 18 months at chartham and then he will be going to school in town as well. 
Breakfast each day is entertaining as we have three squirrels in the garden to watch. Today it was three squirrels, two crows, two magpies and a pigeon, so almost a menagerie flying around. The squirrels are most entertaining though.
Off on another family day out today destination unknown at the moment. 

Wednesday, December 2, 2015

On the road

Well life is travelling at a fast pace and now waiting in the koru lounge for departure on our adventure. Another 24 hours and Stephanie and I will be in the wintery streets of Canterbury nearly.  I have been trying to finish various stitched christmas gifts this week and so far have completed Mum's, Marilyn's (this was its own story as it started with cutting the embroidery the wrong size), Toni's and Gemma's birthday present. This did not take too long and I managed to even get it to her before her departure. 
Every night it seems for the past three weeks have been booked with at least one event and sometimes even two!
Monday night was the last official night class and we went for a class outing to mum's to see all her Christmas trees. The house looked lovely and I was most impressed with all the decorations and the memories. This year I have up the wire tree only and will put on the couple of new ones. Not a lot of creativity has been done with new balls as only one design has been crafted and no pattern written at all.
The day started fairly well with a good wake up and got the washing on. Just as I was going to hang it out thought it looked like rain so put it in dryer. Had four hours at school and everyone took a little longer than it should but all our excess weetbix and milk has been donated. Lunch was entertaining with Layla and Quinn. Picked up at 4 ish by terry and mum and literally dropped at airport. Relaxed in lounge at New Plymouth then boarded and didn't depart. Everyone off, engines on and off, bags off, engines on, engines off, bags on and we reboarded. Finally after a long while we started to taxi and it was a nervous wait. Once off the ground my thought was that if we had to make a crash landing it would be in Auckland so I would be a step closer to international. 
Finally made it to the lounge where a welcome drink was waiting - see adventures of Diane and Stephanie's blog for photos and all updates over the next month. 

Merry Christmas  to all and have a safe, enjoyable new year.  

Sunday, November 29, 2015

A busy weekend

This weekend has been a busy time with a Christmas function last night which had me cooking a turkey. Very successful evening once again and nice to spend the time with friends from all walks of life.  Some sad moments as well as two friends lost their mother this week and MaryLee also sent her daughter away on her big OE this week as well. 
 I have started packing for our holiday and hopefully the bag will be under the 20kgs, although more things seem to be going into it. I don't want to be cold. 
Today I went to the gallery and had lunch with mum, then we stitched for an hour while i was finishing another Christmas gift. Came home and made a few more Christmas cards before getting started on another snappy bag. Tonight making snowflakes for night class so that will the end of a busy weekend. 
A selection of cards that I have made to sell and other gifts being done.

Saturday, November 14, 2015

Most amazing bag

Very amazed. Went to Taranaki Patchworkers today to have a look at the shop Cushla's Village Fabrics. It was a wonderful selection of fabrics but only bought the one piece as on this bag. Marilyn and Jill then showed me the grocery bags that were covered in fabric do after a coffee with them I came home and made mine. Lots of fun stitching and making sure the colours looked okay I have made mine. What a wonderful day. Finished two other projects today as well, hand towel for toilet and a snappy bag using a piece stitched at seminar two years ago. 

Thursday, October 29, 2015

Stash deprevation: after a month

It has been a while since I have written and things seem to have been a bit crazy. The holiday break is over with a few activities to keep me entertained. Mum and I went on a coach trip to Pirongia Art and Craft Market which was fun. Would go again but possibly take the car so a later start could be made. While we were there we caught up with my cousin and her husband so that was nice. Our next outing was to take institute ladies for a day to teach them how to macrame. It was amazing how easy it was and the little group made it worthwhile. I think all the ladies enjoyed themselves and hopefully we get a few entries into the competition next year.

At the start of October mum and I went to Wellington to catch up with an old friend, Jennifer who has moved into a rest home in Johnsonville. While there Jenny gave me a number of her books, threads and other bits she is downsizing. I also was the recipient of the chair that she needlepointed a number of years ago and this is now in my sewing room as my sewing chair. She says it’s uncomfortable but it will make me stitch faster. While in Wellington we took David out for dinner on two nights at great restaurants, shopped at Nespresso, Pandora and Swarovski with a quick stop at the Christmas shop in Kirkcaldies. Lunch was had at Charley Noble’s which was lovely. Very nice, relaxed place to while away a couple of hours and drink champagne. Mum and I then walked along the waterfront to have a look at the "Scale of Our War" exhibition in Te Papa, an ice cream and the lonely purchase of a postcard at the gift shop. On our way home the following day we stopped to visit with Alice and took her to lunch in Palmerston North at the Joseph Street Kitchen. This was a wonderful place and a real find.

On the stitching front I have been busy with my stash wreath and although I did not get as much completed as I wanted I did get a few other things done or started. I have nearly completed another parcel and trying to stitch some of the surrounds so I don't leave the basketweave to the finish.

Projects I have started are my doll knitting (pink) so I will be able to return the pattern to its owner at some stage. I made these little brooches and also am making a few small gifts for my night class ladies if they all get completed. I also managed to knit another two coat hanger covers and make one up with two still to be made. This is a great project for institute nights as I can knit during the meetings. I have finished the bag insert stitching only in blue which I am hoping to give away as a gift (so now to make up the bag this weekend).

Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Stash deprivation continuing

Progress to date on the stash deprivation project. I have been trying to get one parcel a week done and so far seem to be keeping to this. using all sorts of threads for this has meant a bit of unstitching as some choices were unsuitable. I also have managed to stitch one parcel completely the wrong way but you will only notice when it is placed next door to another completed one.
As well as this project I have done a little on my Thracian embroidery, started a piece for a present for christmas and done several ATC and prayer flags for swap-bot. I had also nearly finished the rug I was knitting but discovered about six dropped stitches so had to undo a lot and have not really picked it up again. It will come back into the handwork rotation soon I am sure.
Along with stitching over the past month I have read two new authors, JR Ward (Maree says it will rot my brain) and Darynda Jones - funniest books for a while. This past weekend I was able to read the latest Jack Reacher novel "Make Me" which I thought was quite a bit mellower than some of the novels but a good ending. At the beginning of August we had a chocoholic night at book club which was great fun and I came home with a bottle of wine so that was nice. Thanks marilyn for the chocolate fountain.
Only four more weeks and it is holiday time so getting prepared to take macrame lessons with the ladies from institute.

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Stash deprivation starts

Our night class group are starting on a group project and I am using the stash deprivation method to use up some of the fancy threads that I have. It is Laura Perin's Christmas wreath and I will be using some different ribbon and perks threads as I have these in my stash. First step was to grid the cavvas and last night the first stitches were put in. I am using a pebble perks, close colour match instead of the perle5. Going okay so far. 

Saturday, July 25, 2015

Another busy week

It's been a busy first week of the holidays with a friends father in laws funeral and a 50th birthday party on the same day. Since then I have been at work, the dentist, visited with my brother who is out from California for a week and had a couple of card making, sewing sessions. Today I have nearly finished the third in the banner series (actually banner #10), made hoummas and small sausage pizza bites inspired by a TV programme.
Banner series from Grandmothers Garden

Cards that Sonia and I made using the one sheet wonder template a. We a now working out how to do it as a Sunday class for my ladies. 

Twin fancy finished

Finally a beaded design finished this year. I saw a picture of this on pinterest and was not able to follow the links to find the pattern so decided to attempt it myself. It has taken a while and I think I would like to have a bigger difference in the ball sizes so am going to start another one which will a class for next year I hope. 

Next challenge is to learn macrame to take a class for institute for bracelet making. Mum and I will be taking it so I am going to make simple kits that people can then take home to make there own. I have decided that these will only be to make a sample not a whole bracelet as the number of people that do not finish is astounding. I will supply a could of patterns found for free on the internet as well.

Next up is the continuing of shady colours two. I have most of the centre done which is nice but we are starting a new project with night class this week, Laura Perin's Christmas Wreath. Three ladies will be stitching it so it will be great to see it come along. I have to get mum's and my canvas onto some bars so we can start.

An excitiment for today - I'm off to the Circus with Sonia. I know its not the russian or las vegas style but I am excited.

Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Weekend cooking

This weekend was a wonderful time spent with one of my best friends, Sonia. Saturday was a quick shopping and visiting trip to New Plymouth. Then home for a lunch and time to get Sonia's project life organised. Saturday night was roast dinner at Marilyn's celebrating mums birthday and David being home from university. I then went home to change into my beach dress for the school ball "the Beach Ball". It was loads of fun and the students were the best at dancing and having a good time. Lots of great dancers and the boys were certainly more into dancing than the girls. I was home in time to turn into Cinderella so that was good.

Sunday I was up early to back and cook lunch for Sonia who was coming to make cards. I made individual fudge cakes for supper on Thursday at institute, and more of them for school on Thursday for Fiona. The items in the square baking tins are potato puffs. These are my favourite lunch dish but does require cooking the potatoes the day before. Sonia really enjoyed lunch as I made quinoa salad as well so that was good.
Below are the cards that we made. It was just from a card idea on Jessica Taylor's blog so we worked well and it was a fun afternoon. The cards were all just general ones and I am thinking about taking some to friends to sell. 

Sunday, June 7, 2015

Nearly finished

Shady colours number 1 is finished. The last back stitching has been done and now it can be laced and off to get framed. I have started number two and am trying to stitch along with mum on the Monday nights. This piece is in green and purple so a bit different to go on the wall.
Also to be framed is walk on the wild side so I have read the finishing instructions and laced the back canvas onto the board. Woo hoo that is for this piece as they were started in Columbus seminar in 2010.
I will try and put the pictures from the ipad onto this blog.

Also since last posting I was given an opportunity to taste test a recipe and made a pad thai, using a packet. It was nice and easy to do. Only change I did was i put some slivered almonds as I don't have peanuts in my house. Just something I don't eat very much of.

Next event is the Woman's Institute Conference. Seven days to go and it will be all on. today I have made rhubarb and ginger jam but not happy with the second batch. I will see if it is set tomorrow and if not I will boil it again on Tuesday.

Stamping up have a new catalogue and there are a number of new items that I would like but will wait until later in the month to see what if tick twice. Going to also try and downsize some of my sets but it is hard as I love them all.

Wednesday, May 6, 2015

Blog award and latest needlepoint piece.

It has been a long while since I have written but recently I was nominated on Lee’s blog for the award below. I would like to thank her and hope that you have time to visit her blog Notes from under the mountain.
I understand the rules of this award is as follows-
The purpose of this award is for bloggers to nominate fellow, mostly newer, bloggers that they wish to recognise. The goal is to bring attention to blogs that we think are "lovely" and enjoy reading. We hope others will enjoy reading these blogs also.

In order to accept the award, the nominated blogger must follow these rules::
Thank the person who nominated you & link back to them in your post.
Share seven facts about yourself
Nominate 10 other bloggers for the award

Seven Facts about myself.

·         I grew up in the Stratford, have lived overseas for 12 years and came back to Stratford. When I moved home from Melbourne I went the long way around which took nearly six months.
·         I work in the place that I attended secondary school – Stratford High School.
·         I started embroidery as a child but knitted and crocheted mostly. I have the first piece of embroidery I made – a linen tea towel with a chef on it. Still used in my kitchen.
·         My favourite type of embroidery is canvas work or needlepoint and I would live to be able to design pieces.
·         I started beading in 1991 while in Melbourne and since about 2007 I have designed a beaded Christmas decoration for my night class ladies. My aim is to one day write down and graph out the patterns. Perhaps I will have to give up work to have enough time.
·         I have decided that none of my work needs to be kept. My three nieces will have far too much stuff to keep all the pieces so in future years I am going to look at selling them.
·         My stash is never organised but often in a state of organisation. I can usually find what I am looking for but occasionally a surprise comes out and I think I must finish this.

The 10 Blogs that I nominate in no special order are-

I am not certain if any of these people will carry this forward but I hope that they might. These are the blogs that I read for inspiration and encouragement.

Sharon B – Pintangle blog; an excellent Australian blogger who took a stitch sampler to new heights.
Robin Atkins – Beadlust a wonderful beader who does the most amazing work.
Ruth Schmuff – Not your grandmothers needlepoint. My favourite site for exploring needlepoint ideas
LizArt -   fabulous work on bargello pieces.
GayAnn Rogers:
Orna Willis – ADORN
Jo Dixey –
Tricia Wilson Nguyen – Thistle threads blog

Latest update on shady colours.
This has been a pleasure to stitch and I am looking forward to stitching the next one (green and purple). In the first picture I have nearly completed the Amadeus stitches on the big triangle and in the next picture I have started on the last pair of triangles. 

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Holiday week.

Wednesday on holiday with mum and dad in Tauranga. It has been wonderful weather so that has been a bonus for us. Yesterday we visited the kiwi fruit farm that we used to stay at. A bag of kiwi fruit, avocados and passion fruit later we had looked at all the vines. Not in such great repair and dad thinks that they should have sold for the offer. House was looking okay but needs repairs. 
Back into town with a stop at the wine shop and lunch at palmers. Dad had the wrong time for his appointment so we decided to catch up with friends who own a cafe. Found the cafe, they weren't there but Kenneth who I went to school with was. Got to lawyers and left dad while mum and I went for a walk around the town. After meeting back up we went to the bernina shop and got an invite to the club class being held in the morning. Back to hotel for a rest. Decided to go to fish and chip place for tea which was lovely. A night at hotel reading, watching TV and embroidery followed. 

Thursday mum and I were up and off to the bernina class. Really interesting and lots of people. Learnt about different buttonholes and there uses: also great for appliqué. Next session was about making a woollen wrap. Was a great idea and might try from some fabric I have at home. Other product demonstrated was shrink fabric. I bought some to try when I get home. Back to the hotel to pick up dad and over to mount maunganui for lunch. Found a nice garden cafe for lunch. Had a great Kumera soup. Next stop was the packing business to meet with Helen who deals with the sale of the kiwifruit. We had a great tour of the packing plant and watched them pack the gold kiwifruit. For tea mum and I found a chinese takeaway which was called Rok the Wok. It was very nice.
Friday we travelled to Taupo so I could do the 100Km flyer with karen and phil on the Saturday. I was the support car driver. It was a horrible day as shown by the photo of the intrepid bikers at the start of the race. The race went along some interesting roads and both Karen and Phil felt the cold. Phil finished in a time of about 4 1/2 hours while Karen completed 75km and had a police ride to the end. A bit of a worry as she never went past me, while I was waiting in the car.
Karen and Phil off to the start of the 100km race.

Sunday monring - all recovered and getting ready to drive home.
Sunday we drove home in wonderful weather and that was the end of the holiday.

Thursday, March 12, 2015

Walk is finished

Project of the last four years is finished.  Walk on the wild side by Linda Reinmiller is finished. The last bead tassels were done this week and now onto the framing. 
This project has been lots of fun and a big challenge at times, especially when I had to do the weaving bands three times.

New project is the Shady Colours cyber class by Carole Lake and Michael Boren. Mine is a pewter palate of colours so looking forward to the stitching and not having to worry too much about colours. Mum has the same class set and is doing it in the blue with orange accents. I also have periwinkle and green colour way to stitch later on the year. 
Start with a Jean Hilton stitch double fan doubled. This was easy as the instructions were detailed and the thread smooth to use. Another new thread to my collection.

Sunday, March 8, 2015

WOW What a weekend

Been a great weekend and visited the Auckland Museum today to see the WOW exhibition. Got in for free as Stephanie is auckland resident, Lovely to see some of the pieces up close and personal and almost so you can touch them. Amazing how some can take an ordinary fabric and turn it into something stunning.
  This construction is done using felt and wood. Most amazing detail in it. 

 This costume was done using EVA fabric with paint and layering. A stunning result.
Watching the Sol3 Mio concert at the moment, while having a nice cuppa and ginger gems.

Saturday, March 7, 2015

Weekend adventures

It's the long weekend and a chance to escape the Naki. After a week of fine sunny weather woke on Friday morning to rain which got heavier during the morning. School was a busy day with the mentor programme interviews and I was fortunate to have mine over with by lunchtime.  A wet drive to Auckland arriving at Stephanie's in time for tea. Fish and chips on the foreshore brought back our childhood memories of this treat.

Saturday after attending Aqua Zumba at Cameron Pool, we went to St Luke's for one thing and ended up with several others as only we can do. After a muffin and coffee we drove to Hamilton for our tour and high tea at Zealong.
Tea ceremony.
Arrived at Zealong about 2pm and waited for our tour to start. Very nice sitting in car, as sun is shining. Tour started and it was just us two. Sophie our guide was very informative and keen about the tea estate. Interesting how the tea is growing in the Waikato region and the actual Zealong estate has only been in operation for six years now, they produce 20 tonnes of tea per year with 60% going overseas. Our tea ceremony was fun but the first tea tasted like grass the young man who joined us commented but it did get better on the second infusion. High tea was fabulous with a wonderful array of savoury and sweet dishes with the venison meatball, chicken wrap and white chocolate with tea infusion my favourites. A walk back down to the car, phone call to Stephanie's brother and we were on our way into Hamilton when the heavens opened and the wipers were going full steam ahead.

Calling into Neville and Barbara-Lee's we ended up staying for a bbq tea. Very nice and tried to sort out the commission for the tattoo referrals for Thomas. 
A drive home with some rain once we got into auckland. A very successful day with shopping, exercise, socialising and being tourists all covered. 

Sunday, March 1, 2015

Card swap

Made six cards for birthday swap for stamping up team. Thought would do all six the same but as you can see each one is a variation on the theme. Used blackberry bliss and hello honey card stock with mossy meadow, lost lagoon stamp pads and stamps from big day and one tag fits all stamp sets, with  a few embellishments. Lots of fun and might do a card afternoon with Sonia and Fiona to make some for them.

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Weekend creativity

 Sunday my three ladies from hawera visited to make the snappy bag using a piece of embroidery we had done last year at night class. The piece was papillon by. ------------  
This week we have had the first card making night at my place. Made three great cards using embossing, glue guns and other techniques as well as thid intricate folded card. As you can see there is a definite butterfly theme to the night. 

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Finished items for February

This month has been good as I have finished two projects for embroidery and completed two swaps again. This time I have taken photos of them so I hope that they reach their recipients in the northern hemisphere.
Latvian Mat, Finally finished (in the Buddhist style) but not yet dated.
This was a class that our guild ran with Anne Brocas. The colours were a random selection that Maree had on her table and I quite liked. This mat has been around the world once and to California once also. Nearly did not get finished as I lost the threads when I came home in January.
Add caption
My blue christmas decoration for swap-bot. I loved my first one which was a star but this one was fun to stitch also.

ATC Swap #6. This was stitched and beaded. lots of fun. my next one also has christmas words as these are the selvedges that I have at the moment.

Saturday, February 7, 2015

Today's excitement

Catching up with the posting so here is January 9th
A busy day with a trip to Alcatraz planned. The day started with a visit to the redwoods in Armstrong national park and then bags in the car and off we went. Sorry about the sideways photos.
 Just has to be sideways until I get home.

Quick stops at Kowalski's Farm shop to buy sauces and stuff then Kintatude for wool and Sausalito was our lunch stop. A look at some house boats first then Soxalito for sox and lunch by the bay.

Meeting up with Jojo and DeeDee at the car park was fun then onto pier 33 to meet Jo for our trip. Tickets presented, photo taken and onto the boat. Nice trip over, meet our guide for the walk up the hill and onto the audio tour. "All press play" which we tried to do but it was most fun when the audio had phones ringing and Mj tried to answer hers. 
A look through the hospital wing which is not usually open, the a wander down the hill, we watched some of the documentary and back on board for the trip back. It was fully dark by now and really spooky. 
Drive along the Embarcadero to Momos where we met up with MP, Laurie and Elizabeth. So much fun and an entertaining night with good company. Thanks for dinner and a fun day.

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Round the mountain we go - Jan 24th

Another bike race and strictly on the support crew. Ten days ago I fell of the bike during a short training ride and have nine stitches in my knee. The day started early once again with us being at the racecourse by 7.15 am to get Phil off for the first leg.
Karen and I met Marilyn at Oakura for a coffee and to watch Phil go by. We missed him but nice coffee.  Next stop was at Okato and we were very efficient with changeover with Karen taking off as soon as Phil arrived. We drove along the coast road and stopped a number of times to encourage her. Great riding with not too much head wind. Saw lots of bike tyres being changed this time and the emergency vehicles were going up and down constantly.
Opunake was a busy stop with Phil taking off well. By this time we were a good two hours into the morning. Karen and I frog-hopped along the road trying to get photos but Phil was going faster than our gap. We did manage to get a few though the road was taken a couple of times on phil's phone.
We met up with mum at Pembroke school and karen had found the uphill leg not too bad. Just after Phil left us the ambulance went screaming down the hill and we were off in case it was him. We passed him safely at Midhirst. Last change was Inglewood and Karen was concerned that the Burgess Hill might get her but when we saw her she said she was fine. Phil biked with her from the racecourse while I parked the car and tried to get to meet up with them but a bit slow on the walking.

Here is Karen biking along the surf highway between Okato and opunake. A beautiful day

Relaxing at the beach with Marilyn after the race. we went back in for the Prizegiving (no winners here) and then back for dinner with her. A nice ending to the day. Our time (6 hours and 8 minutes) was comparable to last year and we were higher up in the placings. 

Friday, January 9, 2015

The wine road

First stop Gary Farrell which is a boutique winery using grapes from other vineyards. Nice Pinot noir but only purchased a cheese board made of marble.
Second stop was Moshin's which mum and Mj had tried a bottle of before while dining at a restaurant in guernville. This had really nice vin Gris and Pinot noir which we bought a bottle for Ewan. Julia our host at this winery was most informative and the best thing they had a quilt display. It was fabulous fabric art.
Third stop was porter creek and greeted by Doug ? Who was putting up the winter lights. Joe our inside host was chatty and informative about the vineyards that some of their grapes came from and also about grapes and the history in general. This was our biggest purchase with bottles to take home to NZ as well as a couple for the cellar in the house.
Driving along MJ told us that she had been this way with Marilyn and they had stopped at Matrix. When they were here in September the gardens were under renovation, but things had progressed albeit not far we thought. They had a great fountain and bones for excellent garden beds. The lady here was uninspiring and we only bought two bottles, one for me and one for Ewan to have. By this time we decided that four wineries was enough and .lunch was the next order of business.

Driving into Healdsburg we found the Town Square quite easily and three hour free parking. We tried the Healdsburg Bar and Grill for lunch. Nice menu and I chose the falafel which was delicious served with lots of lettuce and great sauce. For starters we had deep fried bacon which was interesting. 
More to come as bed time now and have packed ready for trip back to sf.

Monday, January 5, 2015

Unto Utah we went and conquered the Bryce

Another early start for this supposedly relaxing holiday. We were all ready and at the door when Jim our guide for the day, drove up. A great start as it meant we were on our way. Heading north on the interstate we traversed the corner of the state into Arizona and then into Utah. Jim asked if we wanted to stop and as we said no he suggested a side trip into the Kolob Canyon, which is an adjunct to the Zion national park. This was awe inspiring and a great start to the day, as this is a taste of what we would see in the Bryce and Zion parks.

Jim was incredibly knowledgable about the construction of the various plateaus and layers that make up this area of the states. Numerous photos later we were nearing the Bryan canyon lodge, which Jim had promised us was the best pie for lunch. Oh no, our groans resounded. They are closed. Onto the Bryce Canyon and first stop was sunset point, where Stephanie and I went down a couple of bends to experience the hoodoos first hand. Very slippery so Stephanie stayed while I walked along to a small arch in the hoodoo. Amazing view through the hole into Wall Street formations. Was great to see people down the bottom but not us today.

Next stop was Ruby's for lunch. This was nice and I had a bacon cheeseburger which was good. The fries were excellent, best I have ever had for a while. Managed to get a souvenir, fastest shop in the west.
Back in the van for a little bit of backtracking then onto the Zion national route and through the tunnels dug by depression workers in the 1930's. Really amazing. The chequerboard was easily identifiable due to the snow, great pictures I hope. Up the scenic way and the temperature was mild so we all hoped out for a walk to the river to see the icicles. None dropped while I was there but they did while I as in the toilet, c'est la vie! The noise was astounding according to the others. Saw some great stone art at the river side.
Next stop was Las Vegas so a good two hours saw us back at the hotel by 8.30pm which was excellent. The sunset was great and hopefully have some good photos - auntie steffies or facebook for pictures. 
Once back we decided to try out the dessert menu at America restaurant. Very nice, took pics. Once it was over took mum and dad upstairs while Stephanie and I went for a last look down the strip. Went into the coca cola store but could not think of anyone to buy a present for. Almost got another lot of m&ms but decided had enough luggage.

Day 2 Vegas tour

The day started with a sleep n and all you can eat breakfast, then a slow meander over the road to book tickets for a show tonight. a long trip through the MGM Grand casino found us in a taxi to the Venetian casino. We walked with mum and dad past the canals of Venice, had a hot chocolate and they decided to return to the hotel.
Stephanie and I then wandered through the Forun shops, all the name brands you can imagine at Caesars Palace, no wonder the rich and famous stay there they don't need to go anywhere for shops. Was amazing interior decoration, set up like a Roman street with suitably dim lighting. After managing to find our way into the Bellagio we walked all over and retraced our steps to find the fountains just finishing the sequence. By the time we walked to the front of the building it was time for us to pretend to be part of Ocean's 11 and watch the fountains play. I recorded it but no sound cMe through. Oh well you can see it and pretend.
A bit further on we looked the bus stop and got tickets which took us to the Mandalay bay casino so we could walk back to NYNY from ther passing through Luxor and Excalibur on our way. The Luxor was amazing and I would love to have been able to see a room - do they have sloping outside walls.
It is so amazing all the details that go into to creative g the theme for the hotel and then we found while at the Bellagio they were removing the polystyrene igloo from the display in the conservatory. Who knows what the photos will be like?

I will report on grand canyon later  refer to auntie steffies for photos and updates.
Ciao off for dinner and show

Saturday, January 3, 2015

Las Vegas day one

an adventure from start to finish today as Alex drove us past san Bruno on the way to the airport, we arrived and checked in then found out our plane delayed due to mechanical faults. Better to check. To read more of these adventures go to auntie steffies blog 
After dinner Stephanie and I did a walk around to find out where we need to be in the morning at 6.30 am. Sure is a busy town and so much different from 1988 when the casinos were cheek by jowl and you walked under the store fronts down the street. Lots more lights, characters in the street and people around now. Amazing sights seen everywhere.

Guess where we went?

Friday, January 2, 2015

Day 2 Sightseeing

After a very late to bed time we woke at 8 and were down at breakfast at 9. Ewan arrived to drive us home to get ready for the day. He requested a paper which I had dutifully got for him. Back at the house, party girl Erin, was up so time for coffee, print ticket to Vegas and depart for day two of sightseeing. First destination was the real crookedest street which is not Lombard. Vermont street in protrero hill is really windy. Next along to look around the mission district, going past Fitzgerald's and then down to AT&T park. We stopped and took pictures of the park and the views of the bay then onto the embarcadero and down to Coit tower. Coit Tower was closed for New Years but we had time to walk around and photograph Erin. Back down the hill and through Chinatown, plus some of town. 
Mj suggested that we try the Rotunda restaurant in Newman Marcus for lunch but after four escalators we discovered that were only taking bookings. Still had a nice look at the designer clothes. Next stop was to try Roy's but they were closed. Another drive through Chinatown and we found a place called little szcheuen for lunch. Great choice with pot stickers and five spice beef roll for starters and then mu-shu pork, honey walnut chicken and prawn and pumpkin with chowmein and fried rice for mains. A lovely lunch.
Next stop was Lombard street but queues were so long Mj dropped us off and we walked up the hill and down the street. The traffic was constant. I know it is a holiday but this would be the worst place to live.
Down to fishermans wharf but parking was atrocious so our courteous driver dropped us off and we wandered from the square along to pier 39. Went into the mechanical arcade and some photo booth photos later we left. The crowds were amazing and lots of families obviously out for the day. We got to pier 39 and decided to start shopping so I got some Swarovski and chocolate, then Erin shouted Stephanie and I an ice cream from Dreyers. Was yummy with a chocolate dipped cone and birthday cake ice cream. Picked up by MJ we the. Drove up to union street to have aloof at the shops and onto the haight ashbury area. By this time it was dark and we came home. An early night beckons as we are off to Las Vegas in the morning.

First day of sightseeing

A leisurely start to the day saw us sleeping in until 8.30am so a bit of a rush to get to breakfast. We were then sorted and I drove us to Ewan's. Discussions on the day followed and saw Stephanie, Mj and I depart for the sightseeing tour. We started by driving up the coast to Sutro baths, past Cliff House and Louie's diner, where we stopped for a photo look and a coffee at the national parks shop. Back in the car and driving around the suburbs, Sea Cliff, Pacific heights, marina district and others. We ended up going by the kids school and stopped at St Mary's Cathedral but could not see in.
Next stop was lunch at the grove, which is an Erin hangout. Nice quick food, I had a chilli cheese dog which was not too spicy and lavender lemonade. More travelling and Stephanie were dropped off at Union square to catch the tram to ghiarerdelli square. A mistake and we were on the wrong tram when we got to fishermans wharf but we walked along and met MJ at Buena Vista for an Irish coffee. A nice drink out of the wind and fun watching the gentleman make about 12 in one go. Next a drive around the marina and park at the Golden Gate Bridge for our walk over. It was really pleasant walking and not too windy. Took some stunning sunset pictures so that will be good to see them when we get home. The bridge I have discovered is longer than I thought so it took us a good time to walk across and MJ  was worried we were lost. A drive home for dinner and steaks cooked on the bbq for tea. Watching TV passed the evening until 11.30 when Stephanie, MJ and I headed into town to see the fireworks. The roads were really empty and as we drove along the embarcadero they started. We just crushed along watching out the car windows, taking photos. A good display and home again, back to the hotel by 1 pm. A call to Marilyn and Virginia finished our New Year's Eve.