Surprise! My first blog in 2014!

Yes, I’m back…..not necessarily to lots more blogging…..but rather, I’m coming back…….to Texas!    Yes, we were just in Texas for a whirlwind trip to buy a house…..

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…..and a car, for daily runs to Home Depot and Lowes for all the projects at the house!….

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……and almost a truck!

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But the truck will have to wait until we get back to Texas the first week of March!

Assuming all goes well, our new address will be 1917 Fairmount Ave, Fort Worth, Texas (near Magnolia St. and 8th Ave).  A whole new adventure is about to begin!

With love, from London

Lani

Posted in Uncategorized | 12 Comments

More Sunshine and Flowers with Dori

Thank goodness I have so many wonderful pictures, of all the colorful flowers Dori and I saw when we spent the day in London earlier this month.  They continue to brighten my days, especially on cold, rainy days like today :-(!  Maybe I should have Dori come back, and bring some sunshine ;-)!  But for now, let’s enjoy the flowers!

Spring tulips

We went to watch the changing of the guards at Buckingham Palace, and these were the flower beds along the way.  So many bright and bold colors creating a gardeners’ (or quilters’) delight!

yellow and red flowersShades of purple, with accents of white – simply glorious!

purple and white, yellow and redEven as a non-gardener I can appreciate that it must be wonderful to design and work in these gardens!

more stunning tulips

Amidst all the photos of amazing flower displays we did manage to see some of the pomp and circumstance surrounding the “changing of the guards” ;-)!  These guards were on their way to Buckingham Palace.

changing of the guards

But we just couldn’t resist taking more photos of  more flowers!

more flowersOk, just one more photo….

St James' ParkBy this time, Gregory had had enough of flowers and gardens (!!) so that afternoon Dori and I went to Chiswick House Grounds, near our house, where we enjoyed a different type of (formal) gardens.

I love this walkway into the park.

Chiswick House GroundsAnd here’s the approach to Chiswick House…..on a very sunny day :-)!

Chiswick House approach

Here’s another view across the lawns.  Just look at those trees!  And the blue sky!!

Chiswick House lawn

Looking off to the right, there’s a small river that runs through the grounds…..

Chiswick House river…..where all the ducks, geese, and swans are having their babies.

baby geese

As the day comes to a close we enjoy a stroll through the Italian gardens as we reflect on a great day of sunshine and flowers!

Italian gardens

More flowers tomorrow, from Kew Gardens.

With love, from London,

Lani

Posted in England, London, Visitors to London | 7 Comments

With Sunshine, comes Flowers

Dori’s second day wasn’t as sunny as her first day but we were still able to enjoy Camden Town Market….Camden Lock Market

and the usual tourist wanderings along Oxford Street, Regent Street, and Picadilly Circus.

While in the heart of London we kept looking for one of the 40 ‘black cabs’ painted like an AA airplane, as part of their advertising campaign, but to no avail :-(.  We did however, see this poster in the Oxford Circus tube station.

AA sign at Oxford CircusBUT, never fear, we finally saw a taxi the next day,  on our way to Hampton Court :-).

AA taxiMy foster dog, Candy, got to join us on our train and bus journey from Chiswick, to Richmond, to Kingston, and onward.  She was such a good traveller!

Candy on the busAlong the way we saw these lovely mosaics of Hampton Court and the River Boats.

Hampton Court mosaic

Of course, the quilter in me admired the color, design, and detail!

River Boat mosaic

We continued on our way and had a lovely walk along the River Thames, enjoying the sunshine all the way!  The trees were “POPPING” with their spring green leaves!  And Candy was happy chasing her ball and swimming in the river :-)!

Spring Green

At last….Hampton Court.

Hampton Court

Here’s another view, of the main entrance.

Hampton Court

The gardens there at Hampton Court are always a delight to walk through, and especially that day, as they were in full bloom with bright yellow tulips…

Tulips at Hampton Court

….lovely daffodils….

Daffodils

…and cherry trees laden with blossoms.

cherry blossoms

Spring has finally arrived!

With love, from London,

Lani

Posted in Day Trips, England, River Thames, Uncategorized, Visitors to London | 4 Comments

Dori’s Very Sunny Visit to London

Our friend Dori just spent the past week with us in London.  As you will see, she was SO lucky with all the beautiful sunny days!!  The first day started with a ride on Otto’s motorcycle to the AA offices.

Dori and Otto

That afternoon we went into London to see Big Ben, Westminster Abbey, Trafalgar Square, and Covent Garden with her son, Greg.

Big Ben

Just look at that blue sky!! It was SUCH a beautiful day!  Here’s another view.

Big Ben 2

Of course we had to take a classic photo of Greg in a traditional red telephone box :-)!

Greg in telephone box

As we walked onward, to Trafalgar Square, we just so happened upon this changing of the guards which Dori really enjoyed.  Aren’t these horses beautiful?!

Changing of Guards

And just look at all the people enjoying Trafalgar Square, on this lovely, sunny afternoon!

Trafalgar Square

Moving onward…we enjoyed several street artists in Covent Garden, as well as the reaction of other tourists – like these women.

Covent Garden Street Artist

They were so curious, and really enjoying themselves!

My New York City friends will appreciate this sign, about the Shake Shack that’s about to open in Covent Garden.  I thought it was very clever.  Look carefully at each row.

Shake Shack sign

That night we had dinner at our favorite pub, The Dove, on the River Thames.

The Dove

Here’s to good friends!

Dori & Otto at the DoveWith love, from London,

Lani

Posted in England, London, Visitors to London | 5 Comments

Aunt Louise’s 98th birthday!

Today I’m sharing a very deserving blog in honor of my Aunt Louise.  She celebrated her 98th birthday last December and I just love the fact that what she wanted most of all, for her birthday dinner, was PIZZA!

Louise's 96thPizza’s something she doesn’t get very often, so fortunately my mom and dad, and Uncle Stuart, were able to oblige :-).

Here’s another great picture of my Aunt Louise, with my mom, taken in January when I got to enjoy a belated birthday celebration with her when I was in Arizona.

Aunt Louise and mom

Doesn’t she look fantastic! Any the yellow in her shirt, matches her sunny outlook on life!

Aunt Louise is one of those people who is truly to be admired.  When people ask, “who’s someone you look up to, and would like to be more like them”…. Aunt Louise immediately comes to mind.  She always has a smile and a positive comment for EVERYONE she meets ;-), EVERY day!

And her years of volunteer work at a local Children’s Home, called ‘Sunshine Acres’, says it ALL!   I’m sure her sunny, positive attitude about EVERYTHING in life is why she’s still smiling, and enjoying pizza today!

Love you Aunt Louise!

Big hug, from London,

Lani

Posted in Family | 3 Comments

Mt. Calm – A JSS Tradition (Take 3)

Let me start by saying, I’m sorry if you’re reading this as a multiple post, I’m struggling with my wordpress account today, and I apparently need to BE at Mt. Calm, to regain my “calm” ;-)!  Let’s try again…….

As I sit at my desk in London today, and reflect back to October 2012, I am quietly amused at the synchronicity of this blog.  Why?  Because today my Texas quilting friends are back at the Compass Centre, in Mt. Calm, Texas enjoying their first full day of stitching, chatting, reminiscing, and laughing!  What better time to write today’s “catch-up” blog!

My friend, Dorothy, from NYC, came along, to experience Texas, and the quilt retreat for the first time.  My parents and I picked her up at the DFW airport in their motorhome…..

Dorothy at DFW

…and we went directly to the Fort Worth Stockyards to give her an authentic introduction to Texas ;-)!!

FW Cattle DriveDorothy played along with the whole adventure.

Dorothy and cowboy

And my Texas friends will appreciate the fact that we stopped at Ginger Browns for breakfast, and their famous cinnamon buns(!) before heading to Waco, and finally The Compass Centre, in Mt. Calm.

Ginger Brown's

Interestingly, for us quilters, (especially when we’re heading to a quilt retreat)…..the changing table in the bathroom had an old ‘S’inger sewing machine base, with a ‘twist’.

'S'inger

Another tradition of mine, when I go to a quilt retreat, has been to meet my son(s) from Austin, in Waco, for a family meal.  This time we met Justin, and his friend’s puppy, Winnie.

Justin and Winnie

As to be expected on a Texas road trip, we listened to Willie Nelson, (for Dorothy’s entertainment and pleasure ;-)) and sang along to…. “On the Road again….”  until we FINALLY arrived at the Compass Centre :-).

(Since I don’t have a picture of the outside, the picture below is from the website, in winter)

Compass Centre

Once inside, the stories began with friends we hadn’t seen in awhile.

Oh, Sue, you make story telling so special :-).

Compass Centre main room

As I implied in my previous blog, Dorothy went straight to work on her quilt from the NY Bee block exchange the week before.  Her sewing machine just didn’t stop purring along!

Dorothy's quilt

Voila….here’s the finished quilt top!!

Dorothy's quilt top

My parents toured Texas for a few days and came back to the retreat center on the last night (and stayed in their motorhome, rather than with 20-odd quilters!).  As you can see, my dad was in awe of ALL the projects going on…EVERYWHERE!

Dad in retreat center

And on the last day, my dad became the JSS personal photographer!

Dad the photographer

It was really hard to get a good picture of this group with all the laughing going on….but if you ask me, that’s sure-tell-sign of what a great time was had by all!

JSS group

I bet these ladies are going to miss their own personal photographer this time ;-).

Have a great retreat everyone! I’ll see y’all in October!

With love, from London,

Lani

Posted in Quilting, Travel, Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Mt. Calm, Texas – A JSS tradition

As I sit at my desk in London today, and reflect back to October 2012, I am quietly amused at the synchronicity of this blog.  Why?  Because today my Texas quilting friends are back at the Compass Centre, in Mt. Calm, Texas enjoying their first full day of stitching, chatting, reminiscing, and laughing!  What better time to write today’s “catch-up” blog!

My friend, Dorothy, from NYC, came along, to experience Texas, and the quilt retreat for the first time.  My parents and I picked her up at the DFW airport in their motorhome…..

Dorothy at DFW

…and we went directly to the Fort Worth Stockyards to give her an authentic introduction to Texas ;-)!!

FW Cattle DriveDorothy played along with the whole adventure.

Dorothy and cowboy

And my Texas friends will appreciate the fact that we stopped at Ginger Browns for breakfast, and their famous cinnamon buns(!) before heading to Waco, and finally The Compass Centre, in Mt. Calm.

Ginger Brown's

Interestingly, for us quilters, (especially when we’re heading to a quilt retreat)…..the changing table in the bathroom had an old ‘S’inger sewing machine base, with a ‘twist’.

'S'inger

Another tradition of mine, when I go to a quilt retreat, has been to meet my son(s) from Austin, in Waco, for a family meal.  This time we met Justin, and his friend’s puppy, Winnie.

Justin and Winnie

As to be expected on a Texas road trip, we listened to Willie Nelson, (for Dorothy’s entertainment and pleasure ;-)) and sang along to…. “On the Road again….”  until we FINALLY arrived at the Compass Centre :-).

(Since I don’t have a picture of the outside, the picture below is from the website, in winter)

Compass Centre

Once inside, the stories began with friends we hadn’t seen in awhile.

Oh, Sue, you make story telling so special :-).

Compass Centre main room

As I implied in my previous blog, Dorothy went straight to work on her quilt from the NY Bee block exchange the week before.  Her sewing machine just didn’t stop purring along!

Dorothy's quilt

Voila….here’s the finished quilt top!!

Dorothy's quilt top

My parents toured Texas for a few days and came back to the retreat center on the last night (and stayed in their motorhome, rather than with 20-odd quilters!).  As you can see, my dad was in awe of ALL the projects going on…EVERYWHERE!

Dad in retreat center

And on the last day, my dad became the JSS personal photographer!

Dad the photographer

It was really hard to get a good picture of this group with all the laughing going on….but if you ask me, that’s sure-tell-sign of what a great time was had by all!

JSS group

I bet these ladies are going to miss their own personal photographer this time ;-).

Have a great retreat everyone! I’ll see y’all in October!

With love, from London,

Lani

Posted in Quilting, Travel | 1 Comment