Mini Break in Boston

Hello there. My friends and I took a last minute trip to Boston. That’s Catalina above driving Nigel.

We wanted a weekend away and something fun to do. I hadn’t been to Boston since my sophomore year of college and remembered liking it then. I couldn’t indulge in the lobster or clam chowder, but I ate my way through the South End.

We stayed in Back Bay and spent our time in the North End, the Fish Pier, and the South End.

Boston was hosting the tall ships this weekend too which was nice to see how differently we did our events.

We also took a bike tour of Boston on Sunday evening. I swear this is the best way to see a City. I’ve done them now in Montreal and Shanghai. Maybe I should start one for weekends in Baltimore, huh?

We’re heading to New York today. I’m going to visit with family and see off Elizabeth before she heads to the west coat. I’m also meeting with the couple I’ll be marrying in September. Oh, and pizza. I’m going to eat A LOT of pizza. Multiple times in 24 hours I’ll be eating pizza.

Miss Celie
Award Winning Blogger and Officiant (I’m testing this out)

Happy Christmas!

Yeah… a week later, LOL. 

I spent Christmas 2011 in Ohio visiting my best friend from middle school and her three daughters. You may remember when we reconnected after 20 years or when I visited them in 2010. Steph and I met in Germany when our families were stationed there. I remember bawling my eyes out on my last night in town I was so upset to be leaving her.

This year when I visited the family in Youngstown, we did the touristy thing in Cleveland.

There, I froze my pajamas off by Lake Erie.For real. FREEZING. I now know what ‘Lake Effects’ mean.

We hit the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Loved every single minute of it. I love history and music and this was a perfect meld.

After four hours at the Hall of Fame, we had lunch at the West Side Market. By far my favorite public market is Pike Place in Seattle. But, this is a close second.

I couldn’t get enough of the pasta shop. Mmmm. Pasta.

I don’t have children and I’m the youngest in my family. So, I’ve never experienced the Christmas Morning Wake Up. But, with a 6, 11 and 15 year old around, my presence was requested far earlier than I would have gotten up on my own.

Christmas is seriously magical for kids. I didn’t realize that until now. All that double talk about Santa. I didn’t want to be the one to spoil the ‘secret’.

And, now I’m back home.  I’ll be doing my 2011 recap as soon as I get a new keyboard. What’s that? New keyboard? Yeah. I spilled wine on my iMac keyboard just before leaving town. It is kaput for real. A new one is coming soon and I’ll be able to update on other projects.

Atlanta Wedding

I’m back from my 36 hour Atlanta adventure. I was there for a traditional Indian / Hindu wedding of a dear friend. I was SO EXCITED to go to this wedding because I’ve never been to an Indian wedding. And, it lived up to all my expectations!

We should probably discuss the fact that I am going to be wearing a sari whenever feasible for the forseeable future. I just wanted to grab fabric and start running! They are stunning.

The ceremony started at 7:30 on Friday morning and took place at a Hindu temple in Atlanta.

We had to take our shoes off. I planned ahead and got a pedicure :) But, I did scramble to scratch off my Payless Shoe Source price tag from the sole…

During the trip, I was able to stay with Bhoomhika of Wearable Toile, who first introduced the bride and I last fall (what was I thinking with that red hair??).

She was kind of enough to loan me a traditional garment (I know it’s not a sari, but I don’t recall the name).

Do you look Bhoomhika’s sari? It was such a pleasure watching her mom help her dress.



The ceremony was beautiful, spiritual and I was absolutely engrossed.

And the bride… the bride took my breath away


Can we talk about how cool her entrance was? She was carried in a basket by her uncles.

Later that night was the reception

Unfortunately, I don’t have a good photo of me in the yellow vintage ensemble which I wore to the reception.

But, it was a fun wear and I can’t wait to break it out again. Oh, and you can be sure I will be wearing a bindi whenever and wherever I can.

So, I’m back home and it’s C-O-L-D. Brrrrrr. I’m starting to think my red trench is not as bad as I thought. And, I may sew up the already cut warmer to get a bit more wear out of it. Thanks for all the feedback :) It’s definitely growing on me.

Bicycles in the Netherlands

To answer a few questions about the actual cycling

Melissa asked about our boat, the Liza Marlen. Melissa, I have failed you. I didn’t take many photos of the actual boat. But, there were several bike and barge tours during the same time as ours.

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I should have taken a photo of my bedroom. It was so *teeny* that I walked in and was puzzled trying to figure out where the rest of the room was. Luckily Trena and I didn’t have to share as originally planned because the room could not have held both of our suitcases. But, you were hardly in the room so it barely mattered.

Thanks to Darci and Marie-Christine, I rewashed my clothes a few times with vinegar and borax and am odor free! I’m also tracking down Biz on another commenter’s suggestion.

Toby asked how windy was it. Well, it’s windy! It’s true Holland is relatively flat. But, the wind can make cycling hard.

I managed not to ride on the super windy day (I rode the boat into Amsterdam so I would have time to go to the Dutch Resistance Museum and the Rijksmuseum). But, I got a feel for it biking and I was glad I didn’t have my cape. I could just see myself blowing across the road in to a canal like a sailboat!

Weather: I was cold at night and by the end of the trip wished I had brought an actual coat with a scarf. Brrrr.

Riding: Well, I rode five out of the seven days and did fine. I was only sore on one day. I was in the middle of the pack of riders. And, oddly enough was more comfortable the times I had to ride in the street with cars than I was on the bike path. I guess that’s what I’m used to! I did ride to and from work on Friday and it was the first time I wasn’t wiped out and breathless on my all uphill ride home. So, I guess I did actually get some conditioning in while I was gone.

Now, on to the meat of this post!

I cannot express to you how many bicycles there are in Holland. And, how everyone, and I mean everyone rides one. In fact, there are 16 million bikes in the Netherlands and 16.5 million people. So seriously, everyone has a bike. I asked Sigrid when do children start learning to ride and she said, ‘As soon as they can walk!”

There are barges to carry bicycles and cars across the canals

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Here is the bicycle parking lot

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What makes the Netherlands an ideal biking country is the intricate bicycle network and infrastructure. Here’s an example

Above, you can see seperate signage pointing bicycles in the right direction and telling you how far something is

There are certain elements to Dutch (Oma) bike that I wanted in my new bike (the Trek Allant). These included fenders, stepthrough frame and an upright position. My actual Gazelle bike in the Netherlands was so heavy I actually could not lift it. But, because of the non hilly terrain you wouldn’t event know.

Prior to my trip I ordered several panniers (one set not pictured) that Sigrid kindly agreed to accept delivery of for me. They were on sale there and with the free shipping ended up being almost half the price as they are here in the US.

These has enclosed clips that allow me to easily attach them to my back rack.

This summer I’ll make some skirt gaurds too.

These prevent your skirt or coat from getting caught in the back wheel

And now, I have got to start working on a dress for the Seersucker Social in DC. Just two weeks away!

Please, treat the artwork with respect

Because of usually high temps (which were a boon for us) the field of tulips I remembered never materialized. Because of the warmth, the tulips bloomed early. But, happily there were still some in the fields.

This also made me realize it was 23 years to the same Mother’s Day weekend I had been in the Netherlands the first time! I remember because I bought my mom roses and a black corduroy  skirt from a flea market. I think she still has the skirt actually.

I think the memory of the tulips all those years ago cemented them as my favorite flowers.

Luckily we stopped at Keukenhof where the curators were keeping the flowers alive out of doors and inside a massive greenhouse / display.

They had displays up in a pagent manner for different dresses.


*cough*  I may have stood in line to pose with  in the wedding dress.

There were many tulips to see at the gardens which were beautifully curated



My favorite memory of the garden though is this sculpture and sign.

Click to enlarge

“Please. Treat the artwork with respect.”

You know, don’t tease the artwork because it’s not Michaelangelo’s David! It’s not the scultpure’s fault he wasn’t made into the Thinker. Not everyone can be Lady Justice! Show some respect! Heh. I know. I’m juvenile.

In Which I Eat My Way Through Holland

How can you travel without eating any and everything? Plus, I convinced myself that biking each day would cancel out all the foods I planned to inhale.

My first foray into Dutch food was a big fat serving of  frites with mayonaise. Possibly this was something I ate almost daily. I’m not sold on the mayo, but ketchup wasn’t hard to come by.

On board the boat, we were also treated to amazing Indonesian food and a special breakfast of crepes and poffertjes. The poffertjes were so good that when I got together with sewing friends on Saturday, we sought them out at the open air market.

Poffertjes, little puffy pancakes served with powder sugar or syrup.

Trena and I both caved for stroopwafels. Now,  I’ve had them pre-packed from Trader Joe’s so I had a sense of what they would be like.

But, let me tell you that popping hot fresh ones made to order are the things dreams are made from.

Our last night’s dinner was at Bolhoed (the Dutch word for a bowler hat) in Amsterdam.

I had the Bolhead special with fresh white Dutch asparagus. Can I just tell you I bought strawberries at the market that actually tasted sweet and like strawberries?!?

A dining companion went with the quiche.

Trena, had chocolate.

I’m also happy to report that beer costs as much as bottled water in the restaurants. I don’t actually like beer so I thought I’d try a lambic. Trena thinks it tasted like cough syrup.

How Do We Know Each Other? Oh, You Know. The Internet.

Our fellow travelers asked Lynn, Trena and I how we knew each other. It was great fun explaining PatternReview.com and how we had friends in the Netherlands. We gathered together in a little town called Nieuwport. How cute is this City Hall? The canal flows right underneath.

It really warms your heart to know how generous our community is. Really. These days, isn’t the most precious gift time?  I was looking forward to this ALL week. And not in that, ‘What will we talk about? What will we do? I hope they like me!” kind of looking forward. But, the ‘Woot! Woot! I’m going to see long lost friends!!” looking forward.

I was rather sad about missing PR Weekend in Chicago last weekend. It looks like it was the biggest turnout ever. But, honestly? This was just as good!
I had the pleasure of first meeting up with Sigrid, JoanaMarta, Hilde in a little town called Nieuwport. And truly, when you start talking, you feel like you’ve known them forever. I also learned that in the Netherlands, you greet with three kisses on the cheek. You can believe I’m going to be whipping that one out  at my next greeting.

Lynn, Trena and I joined them for some espressos, tea and wine.

Joana wanted our opinion on some handbags she crafted. I tried to buy the velvet bag Sigrid is holding below but Joana wasn’t selling them yet.

The time flew! The next thing I knew it was minutes to 10:00 p.m.! We’d kept them out all night.

I have to go on the record here to say that there is nothing better than traveling overseas and meeting people you ‘know’ that you never thought you would actually meet. It shows you how small the world is and how far reaching the internet has become. This is officially my thing. Wither I goest, you will be called / e-mailed / stalked until you agree to meet with me. I really cannot express how much I enjoyed my evening.

Plus, we left with magazines!

I’ll post about our second rendezvous seperately which was a visit to Kantje Boord. Be still my heart.

Wash. Rinse. Repeat.

I’m back from a week in Holland! The weather cooperated and it was gorgeous just about every single day. The one day it rained in the morning, I decided to stay on the boat while others cycled. It was perfect, I took pictures along the canals and caught up on some reading.

I have to say after seven days on a boat I swore the ground was moving underneath me at Amsterdam Airport!

Here’s a quick rundown of what I wore during the week. While there for seven days, I just have a few photos because I was washing every night in my sink.

RTW top purchased in Panama. Patrones skirt from issue #252.

New black Burda bubble skirt from August 2007 mag. Top so old I don’t remember making it. I think it’s a Vogue. And it’s clearly before I knew how to do an FBA. Or that I needed one. Dude.

Blue version of Burda bubble skirt and anonymous Vogue top. This top is at least seven years old. Even in my sports bra this top screams FBA ME!!

Burda tunic from August 2008 magazine. I wore this a bit more than planned. It was great on the cooler days and it was the only top I brought with sleeves.

I also worked in about three RTW Under Armour sleeveless tops with two different zip up hoodies for layering.

Now, truth be told. I put the knits in the washer last night with Tide Sport and a healthy dose of ammonia. I don’t know that these tops (and dress) are going to make it. They smelled a little funky after a serious washing. That being said, two of the tops are so old I can’t remember making them and the new top and dress won’t kill me to remake my dress.

Per my routine, I have half a dozen travel posts mentally planned and will just throw them up as I complete them. I can’t wait to tell you about the sewing friends meet up(s)!

Final photo: I try and get pictures of mail boxes in different countries. There were two styles in the Netherlands and I seem to have just captured one. Pooh.

I take mailbox photos because they are something that exist everywhere, but each country has their own spin. I am sad to report that due to my clumsiness, my backup hard drive that stored my mailbox photos died :( So, I’m starting my collage / collection all over again.

Peace Out

After blathering about it incessantly, Trena and I are finally leaving today for our bicycle trip to the Netherlands.  There isn’t internet on board the barge so I’m not bringing my netbook. So, no blogging while I’m gone. You’ll just have to suffer a barage of posts  of my nattering on about the daily minutiae of biking through the Netherlands when I get back.

I sold my pink and black Trek and bought this one last month

I’m packing two skirts, four tops and traveling in jeans. Between that, my rain gear, my beauty products and other technology — I’ve got a packed suitcase. In addition, there are some things I’ve ordered online that I’m picking up in the Netherlands. This does not compare favorably with my disciplined bestie. LOL. I’m hearing reports of beautiful weather and just three days of scattered showers.

I do plan to meet up with some Euroean bloggers and am plotting to clean out Kantje Boord while in Amsterdam. Oh, and track down some new-to-me notions recommended by Els.

Hopefully, my consumption of cheese and Belgian frites will be balanced by pedaling 30 miles a day.

See you when I get back!

Of *course* there’s room for one more

I say you can never have too many sewing machines.

*cough*

Meet my new Singer 301, the mocha colored big sister to my  black Featherweight.  I had already spied this 301 on Craigslist before getting down here. I emailed her before leaving and she still had it available. We picked it up on Wednesday morning. I’m in love. Hopefully I can show what I’ve been working on before leaving Florida on Sunday. For now I’m going to keep it at my parent’s place.

The case smelled like the Playboy club in the mid 60s. REEKED of smoke. It was so bad we drove it home with the windows open. It’s currently full of kitty litter and sitting outside full time.  After two days it smells much better! We’re now working on the mildew smell.

I bought this one while visiting my parents in Florida. The woman I purchased it from has well over a dozen machines of her own, mostly treadles. She tried to leave the case outside to air out and it didn’t help. Here she is at the County Fair giving a demonstration on one of her treadles.

This  Minnesota machine was made for the Sears Roebuck company. You can see the company’s name on the base. Beautiful.


I also got my first chance to try a hand crank machine. This is one I would definitely buy if I had the chance.

I’d like to tell you I’m all done buying sewing machines. But, I’m not. LOL. That, a grasshopper by Elna, a white Featherweight, Singer Genie and  a pink Necchi are all on my list to accquire some day.

Click to enlarge some photos of her other machines from the Fair:

So far, Florida has been great. My dad and I hit the County Fair and Youth Livestock Show.

I may have also sucked down a big plate of fried green tomatoes. I’ve tried to make them at home once. But, these were fantastic.

I’d go back to the fair for more if I didn’t have to pay parking and the admission fee. Oh, who am I kidding. I still may go back for more.