Friday, 25 August 2006


ah, summer in england, and it's raining. imagine!

determined not to be deterred by the weather, s and i donned our waterproofs and braved the great outdoors for an afternoon excursion to the royal borough of kingston yesterday.

swan procession toward kingston bridge, accompanied by geese

whoa! dizzy camera angle... hold on!

parading for the human onlookers

is it just me, or are the swans in charge?

"bow before the royal swan procession. no, no, lower!"

after a pleasant lunch at the bishop out of residence pub (yes, that really is its name), we wandered through the town, following signs for the guildhall and the "coronation stone."

the coronation stone commemorates seven anglo-saxon kings who were said to be crowned in kingston between 900 and 979 AD.




we found it amusing that there would be an exact date for the coronation of ethelred ii the unready. but it appears that there is more to his name than meets the modern eye:

"The name 'Unready' or unraed means poorly advised, but the name Ethelred meant good counsel."
click here for more info

all in all, a nice afternoon, but next time we're headed along the thames to hampton court palace. just as soon as the sun comes back...

Wednesday, 23 August 2006

home improvement

hey acechick, does this post look familiar?

i have a problem and i am (wo)man enough to own up to it. i am a neatnik. i like things to be neat and tidy. i like it when everything has a home. i like putting things inside of other things. i can relate to monica geller on friends and bree van de kamp on desperate housewives in their unending battles against magazines that are placed two inches toward the wrong side of the coffee table, and dirty dishes left in the sink.

i have a problem and i know it. i try not to let it affect those around me too much - i can handle other people's messes; i just prefer to keep my things neat.

so it was only inevitable that i wouldn't last long in a bedroom where the floor doubled as a closet.



credit to my fabulously understanding husband... he endured two trips to IKEA. helped build the furniture. helped fold the clothes and put them away.



and we now have the most wonderful wardrobe, complete with sliding doors.


but it gets even better! the magnificent s also cleared some space for me on the bookshelves! i have a craft basket!


but wait... there's more. he surprised me most of all when he came home from a routine trip to wimbledon with these:



we have goldfish! the fantail is named cornelius maximus wilmington the 4th (...naturally...) and the gold one is bob.

two days later and they're still happily swimming around their fish bowl, no doubt admiring their pleasant home. i know i am!

Monday, 14 August 2006

zed ex eighty-one

unapologetic shameless advertising alert:

check out s's updated website and subscribe to the RSS feed.

go on... click on the link!

Thursday, 10 August 2006

she's crafty

remember a few weeks ago when i decided to teach myself how to knit on double-pointed needles and knit cables?

well, i have been more or less successful.


the pattern, called fetching, is a fingerless mitten designed for those cold days when you need access to your fingers, but want to keep your hands from freezing off.

a few lessons learned:

a) yes, yes, i know... tension swatches are always a good idea, but i didn't make one. i could give you all kinds of excuses:
what's the point when i'm knitting a tube instead of a four-inch square?...
mittens don't really have to fit *that* well...
it's hard to knit a tension swatch on DPNs and i didn't have the same size straight needles...

but the long and short of it is, i simply didn't bother with a tension swatch.

b) tension swatches are particularly important when substituting a different weight yarn. i can't say i didn't know ahead of time.

c) cables are not that hard, but it is harder to make them on DPNs.

d) DPNs are every bit as slippery and unwieldy as people say they are. especially metal ones!

e) i need to add more rows to compensate for the fact that i'm using lighter weight yarn. you can't see it in the pictures, but the mitten only barely fits.


so for now, this is my training mitten. i will make the real pair next. but i am thinking of using two circular needles instead. circ's aren't my favorites for straightforward knitting, but i can definitely see their value for projects like this.

in other crafty news, i was inspired by whipup to make some button jewelry for m's birthday. i used ideas from here and here to make two rings, a bracelet, a necklace and some earrings.


the purple looks more blue in this picture, but the colors actually match m's purple and green glasses pretty well.

i am pleased to report that m likes them very much, and has posted some pictures on her blog. check them out!

Wednesday, 9 August 2006

say "i love you" with cheesecake

s left his company yesterday after five years of working there. since he made me tiramisu for graduation a few weeks ago, i made him a cheesecake to reciprocate.


the adorable le creuset heart-shaped ramekins were a wedding gift from j, which happened to match the larger baking dish from c.

pictured with the crust - crushed ginger snaps and digestive biscuits

s and i struggled with the wedding registry dilemma, much like other couples these days. as we noted when people asked, we are setting up a house together for the first time, but neither of us is setting up a house for the first time. we have a well-stocked kitchen; an enviable amount of apple products; and perfectly fine sheets and towels. seeing the towers of crate & barrel boxes that both my sister and my best friend received for their weddings, i was glad we had asked for donations to amnesty international, cancer research uk, and (somewhat tongue-in-cheek) our honeymoon, student loan repayment and macbook pro funds instead. however, i must admit that i quite like the le creuset!

s now has almost three weeks before starting his new job. hopefully, i will also have a new job in the not-so-distant future and we can use the ramekins to celebrate...again!

Thursday, 3 August 2006

girlie getaway in italia

e and i went to visit our friend, a, in milan for the weekend. era meravigliosa!

our collective goal was to spend as much time as possible in or near the water. my personal goal was not to get sunburned. i am pleased to report that we accomplished all this...and more.

on saturday morning, we decided to brave the traffic. we left a's flat in rho and drove south toward rapallo, santa margherita ligure and portofino.



on the beach at santa margherita ligure


(i don't usually allow people to take pictures of me in my swimsuit, but i have little reason to feel self-conscious next to the woman in the bikini behind me. ahem.)


after a refreshing swim in the ligurian sea, and a late afternoon rain shower, we had dinner in portofino. and what a fine port it was!





sunday morning we decided to head north this time to lago maggiore. a's aunt and uncle have a summer home in the countryside on the way to the lake, so we stopped to say hello.


her aunt showed us a neighboring garden and pointed out some plants we had never seen before, including rhubarb and a walnut tree.



after getting directions and promising to return for dinner at their city home in busto arsizio, we drove to stresa on the shore of lago maggiore and caught a boat for the borromean islands.


isola bella

isola pescatori




on the way back, we found a lovely old church...


...and discovered that among her many talents, a is also trained in classical piano.




monday morning came far too early, and we were amused to see that some of the statues in milan felt the way we did.


we headed to the duomo first.


typically, it was undergoing restoration.



i loved this noble lion, holding his head up high despite the incessant pigeons.


castello sforesco

deprived of our daily swim, we settled for dangling our feet in a fountain instead.

and we still made time to eat pizza in como!



grazie mille to a, our hostess, chauffeur, and interpreter!