Tuesday, July 17, 2012

It’s Fun Vegetable Season

We are getting our weekly vegetable boxes again and are having such fun trying out different things. 

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This meal featured left over sausages, stir fried beans and carrots and “potato packets” (foil wrapped potato slices, onion slices, salt, pepper, red pepper and olive oil)

YUMMMMMMMMYYYYYYY!!!!!!

Sunday, July 15, 2012

I’m So Excited!!!!!

 

I have just signed up to attend a lecture and take a workshop from the famous Hollis Chatelain!!!!

If you have never seen her work, check it out   HERE……

I have seen her work several times while attending the International Quilt Festival in Houston and have always been enamored with her work.  When I heard that she was speaking and teaching in nearby Atlanta, I just couldn’t resist.

SO, now I am excitedly patiently waiting for July 20th!!!!

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Back to the Flower Pots

I had a bit of  Studio time this past week and decided to pull out the Flower Pot blocks that my Mom had appliqued……

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I had worked on them some before we left for our Turkey trip but just couldn’t figure out what to do next.  I guess that I just needed some time away from it, because as soon as I looked at it this past week I KNEW what I was going to do…..at least the first step.

I first needed to cut the blocks down to 15-1/2 inches so pulled out my large square ruler (16-1/2 inches) and started making the cuts.  After the first block I decided that I needed some guidelines so used masking tape to mark the center of the block and also just outside of the 15-1/2 inch cutting line…..

DSC04965Now here is my masking  tape trick…..you know how it will often stick to the surface and leave icky goo when you pull it of?  Well, if you will first stick the tape to fabric, it will lose enough of the stickiness that there will not be any problem with removing it.   I normally just stick it to my skirt or pants and then peel it off and stick it onto the ruler.

I decided to put a small (1/2 inch) border around each of the blocks and immediately sought out the fabric that the pots were made from……

DSC04971 I was very pleased with this move because it helps to unify all of the blocks!!

Next, I selected an arrangement for the blocks and hung them up on the design wall…..DSC04973 But where do I go now!!!!

DSC04980 After trying out tons of pieces of fabric, I was ready to pull out my hair.  Then I noticed that I really liked the dark fabrics surrounding the blocks and also that the orange piece on the right seemed to work well with the other fabrics.

Then I got the idea to use a small strip of the orange as another break between the sashes…..

DSC04981 So I started adding borders and sashes and before long the center looked like this…..

DSC04985 But what now????

I tried adding white borders but they looked TOO white so I purchased two fabrics that were similar in colors to the pot fabric.  I cut out wide borders and added them to two of the sides, planning to then add more flower appliques on top…..

DSC04992 IT WAS GHASTLY!!!!!

So, I went back to the white borders but started thinking about making them narrower and also thinking about how to make them fit with the rest of the quilt.

THEN IT HIT ME……

….add border pieces onto the edges of the applique border so that it matches the rest of the quilt.

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Fortunately, I have plenty of orange but not nearly enough of the “pot fabric” so have used one of the original border fabrics instead.  DSC04994

Mom only wants the borders for the applique and does not really want to have to wrestle with the entire quilt top so I have basted the white border on and will now lay out my new appliques.   Then I will take the border off and send it to her for the hand work to be done.

It is such fun when the quilt “tells” you what needs to happen next!!!

Monday, July 9, 2012

Backyard visitors

We found this pretty girl wandering around in our back yard the other day……DSC04941

I don’t think that Paws (the cat) is all that excited about the newest pet!!!

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Homeward Bound

I woke up this morning humming “Leaving on a Jet Plane” and  “Homeward Bound”, so I guess you can tell what this post is about!!!

As we waited for the breakfast buffet to open, we had to take  a few photos of the lobby DSC04928

and this wonderful Sultan’s chair…..

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We said Good-bye to our favorite waiter who grew to know exactly how we liked our tea and coffee and exactly how many we would drink of each.  He would also run to get bottles of water anytime he saw us leaving to go out walking!!!!DSC04929

With Turkish coffee, there is always a bit of sludge in the bottom of the cup and the trick is to learn to stop ONE sip before you hit bottom…….DSC04931

Alternately, you have a glass of water at the ready for clearing the sludge taste from your mouth!!!!!DSC04930 

Before we leave Istanbul, let me mention a couple of other observations that haven’t made it into previous posts…..

When the Imam’s are doing the call to prayer there are normally no pauses between the lines, but at the Blue Mosque, they pause after each line to allow the other nearby Mosques to “answer”.   We likened this to the “GEORGIA”… …  “BULLDOG” chant that is heard on football Saturdays in Athens!!!!

Also, I mentioned earlier that we had been enjoying watching several baby seagulls.  The older “child” was located on a roof across from our room and we loved watching the movements of “Samantha” (we decided that she was a girl) and her “Parentals”.   On one of our Terrace Times, we were watching as she started flapping her wings and leaping higher and higher into the air.  Then, as we watched, she took off and flew to a neighboring roof.  Immediately she was followed by both of her parents and they kept watch and protected her as she rested and prepared for the next flight.

We wondered the next morning if we would see her again, but sure enough, she arrived on the roof, demanding food and attention (typical teen-age girl)!!!!  We enjoyed watching as she continued to grow and find her wings and especially enjoyed seeing how the Mom and Dad Seagulls responded!!

We  took a taxi to the Airport, checked in with our THREE bags (two at 50 pounds and one at 52 pounds), and boarded our plane. 

We had a comfortable flight into JFK, enjoying the extra legroom with the Emergency Exit seats, and arrived almost an hour early.  We were concerned that we would have to sit on the plane while waiting for a gate to open up, but instead they brought busses out and took us straight to the Passport control area.

We cleared customs, found our gate and grabbed a bite to eat before the next, very short, flight into Atlanta.  That flight also landed very early!!!  We were met, in our car, by Brian and Amber, dropped them off at their apartment and then made the one hour trip home.

We both slept well.  However we both woke up in the middle of the night and, after much thinking, were happy to realize that we were in our own bed, in our own house!!!

This trip has been a wonderful mix of rural and urban, work and play,  spicy and sweet (food that is), and  friends, both real and Facebook!!!

We hope to return!!!!!

Monday, July 2, 2012

Look what we did!!!!

 

We had two goals for the day.  The first was to get our suitcases packed for our return journey and the second was to find a Lahmacun restaurant.

OK…..first task… PACK.    Let me say that as we shopped in the past 9 days, we would put the bags under the bench in our closet.  There was a large paper bag sitting in the front and the other bags were hidden behind it.  You know….out of sight, out of mind!!!!

This was my first hint that we might be in trouble…DSC04812

After we laid it out, we KNEW that we were in trouble!!!….. DSC04814

I had brought an extra duffle bag that could be used as a carry-on but we were worried that: 1)it wouldn’t hold everything, 2) it wouldn’t be easy to carry, and 3) it would be considered too big for carry-on baggage.

So, Michael got onto the Delta Frequent Flyers site and found, much to our glee, that as a Silver Medallion member, he could check two bags for free.

This called for a quick tram ride to the Bazaar area and the purchase of…..DSC04817 ….a suitcase even bigger than our first two!!!

So, after two hours of careful packing, we ended up with three suitcases and everything packed.   We even found a little bit of spare room….more about that later!!

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Now that the packing task was finished, we figured that we could spend the rest of the day wandering around Istanbul some more.  We had loved our time at the Spice Bazaar, so headed that way again.DSC04819 

After looking for a while, we decided that it was time for tea and coffee so we stopped at the shop we had visited yesterday and asked the proprietor for a good place to go.  He directed us to a small “walk-up” cafe on one of the side “streets” of the Bazaar.   We chose to sit outside and enjoy the drinks……DSC04824

....and this view of the backside of the New Mosque……DSC04822 

We started walking down one street and came across this wonderful statue…..

DSC04825 which indicated that we had entered the fabric and garment district.  I spent a few minutes looking around but didn’t find much to buy.

We were ostensibly trying to get to a small Mosque that was listed in Ricky Boy’s (our name for Rick Steves) book.  We didn’t have a map but were sure that this was the right place…..  DSC04829 

But alas, when we finally wound around and found it, we were disappointed to find that it was a warehouse/shopping area.  DSC04832

The next decision was whether to continue to look for the suggested Mosque, but tiredness won out and we simply wandered back toward the tram line.

We walked down one corridor that I named “Party Central” because every shop sold decorations and items needed to throw a great party.     I even found out that these red “baskets” that have fueled my imagination are actually used when women have Henna Parties (where the tattoos are applied).DSC04833

I had wanted to eat Lahmacun one last time before we left Turkey, but had found that it was hard to find a shop that served it.  Apparently this is because Lahmacun is considered to be a fairly low-brow food that “good people” wouldn’t eat!!  We had seen a couple of shops in one area as the tram passed, so we walked back there and found such a shop.  As we looked at the menu, we were surprised to see the cost was 2.5 Lira ($US1.30)!  So, for 11 Lira ($US5.50) we had two Lahmacun, Shepherd’s salad (tomatoes, cucumbers and basil), wonderful bread and drinks…..Low Brow indeed!!!!

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Since we were back on the tram, we decided to travel past our hotel and visit the Grand  Bazaar one last time

Besides the wealth of goods to purchase, I am totally amazed at the architecture of the building…..DSC04840 DSC04842

While walking along, we found the PERFECT item to fill that little bit of spare space in the suitcase……a Nargile of Michael’s very own!!!! 

We got ourselves COMPLETELY lost in the Bazaar but finally emerged to walk back to the hotel, and buy a dress for me.  After all, we needed something soft to wrap around the water pipe!!!

We returned to relax at the hotel, but there was still one thing that I wanted to do and that was to spend some time in the  Blue Mosque.  Since it was about an hour before the afternoon prayer, I was hoping that the tour groups would already be gone.  Fortunately I was right and there was no line at all to enter the Mosque!!!

I spent about 20 minutes just standing at the back of the building and observing.  As always, I noticed the arches, domes and light……DSC04844

…..SO many cool shapes and colors…..DSC04845DSC04854 I also watched as one man went thru his prayers, moving thru these positions…..

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There were several Fathers and Grandfathers teaching their children or grandchildren how to pray.  This young man was dressed for the occasion… DSC04864

I loved the design of the chandelier……DSC04868

Almost every inch of the Blue Mosque is covered with tiles or windows…..DSC04874 DSC04877

I reluctantly pulled myself away from this peaceful place and decided to hit one last souvenir shop.  I was glad that I did because they had little spoons to go with the tea cups that I bought and heaven knows that you can’t drink Turkish Tea without the little spoons to stir the sugar cubes!!!!

 
For our final meal in Istanbul, we decided to return to  Buhara 93 and enjoy the wonderful bread and food one last time…..

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Michael enjoyed another Pide……DSC04894

…..while I had the Beef Shish (K-Babs)…..DSC04895

Yes Ricky Boy, we recommend it too, but maybe with a corrected spelling!!….DSC04897

We relaxed on the hotel terrace one last time and enjoyed watching as the sun slowly sankDSC04899 

I love how the last rays of sun light up certain areas of the scenes…..DSC04911   DSC04917 DSC04919

And then, at last, the sun was gone and it was time for our journey to end……DSC04924

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