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Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Winding yarn

You may remember that my very generous brother-in-law has made me a yarn swift to make winding skeins of yarn into balls so much easier. Prior to having this, I had to drape the skein around the end of my ironing board and manually unwind it — very slowly and carefully! — a little at a time as I cranked my ball winder. It was a long process, and I was very lucky if I didn't get a knot at some point. Now, however, I can easily wind a ball in no time flat! When I'm finished, the swift folds up into a compact package for easy storage. I'm so lucky! Here are some photos of the first time winding a ball on this swift.

Just beginning …

A little more ...

Almost finished!
This whole process took less five minutes. Yay! :D

Monday, August 26, 2013

Stavanger, Norway

Our final stop in Norway was in Stavanger. We visited a museum detailing how the oil industry works, another museum that showed the sardine canning process, and the old part of town with its wooden houses. This was part of the shopping area — really pretty!

The following day was our final at-sea day, with our arrival back in Amsterdam early the next morning. We flew home that day, which amounted to our having a 29-hour day! LOL! We had gotten up at around 4:00 AM (European time) to get breakfast and be ready for disembarking on time (and because we couldn't sleep ), and we didn't get to bed at home until after midnight that night — which was actually 9:00AM of the following day in Europe. 

One last tidbit about our trip is that I quite accidentally came across two Bernina shops in Norway! Since I'm a Bernina user, this was really a coincidence. This first one was in Haugesund, and I did go inside for a quick look.

The second one was in Stavanger, but this time I didn't go inside, as we were pretty tired by then.

Now it's back to normal! :)

Sunday, August 25, 2013

Haugesund, Norway

We spent most of one morning cruising the scenic fjords — and I can't begin to express how beautiful they are! Here is a shot of one of the magnificent waterfalls we saw.

That afternoon, we visited Haugesund, which hadn't been on our original itinerary but was added when a different town had to be eliminated for technical reasons. We visited the Lutheran church there, which had just finished its renovations shortly before. This church was very light and airy inside, and we were lucky enough to find ourselves there during an organ rehearsal. :)

Walking along the quai, we saw many small houseboats boats, whose inhabitants were taking advantage of the summer weather for picnicking. Of course, their summer weather feels a bit chilly for people like me who live in the southwest desert! LOL! This particular boat was popular with the swans, as a man and a small child were feeding them. 

Stay tuned for a few more photos!

Saturday, August 24, 2013

Flåm, Norway

Following our day in Bergen, our next stop was in Flåm. This was a smaller town, but it had a very informative museum showing how the railroad had tunneled through the mountains.

There wasn't a lot to see in town, but there was a lovely harbor, where people were booking tours of the fjord. We'd hoped to take a train trip through the mountains, but it was sold out, so we took a boat trip instead and enjoyed it very much.

This is another view of the harbor area.

And this is one of the views we had from the boat. The clouds sitting on the mountains were breathtaking!

More to come!

Friday, August 23, 2013

Swift (but not fast) bag

I'm taking a short break from travel photos today, but I'll get back to them next time. :)

A few days ago, I posted about the swift my brother-in-law made for me. I'm so happy to have it, but I was worried about it possibly being damaged if I didn't do something to protect it when not in use. I didn't have a pattern and was a bit nervous about drafting something that would fit, but I've made a few of Annie Unrein's bags, so I gulped and started figuring out the size I'd need and how best to put it together. Okay, Annie's bags are better drafted and finished than this one, but I'm pretty happy with what I finished today, especially considering that it's a first effort. :)
Swift Bag

The "main" bag has a full-length zipper to make access easy, as well as a layer of Soft and Stable for padding between the outer bag and the lining. I made a second, smaller bag for the adjustable dowels, giving each a separate compartment so they wouldn't rattle and adding a velcro closure; this bag was fine with batting instead of the Soft and Stable. Here's the bag, slightly open, with the smaller bag next to it.

Best of all, everything necessary for this project was already in my stash! :)

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Bergen, Norway

Our first actual stop on the cruise to the Norwegian fjords, after a full day at sea, was in Bergen. What a beautiful city it is! When we arrived, we took a tour of part of the city; our "ride" was really cute. :)

Once we'd finished this overview of the town's sights, we walked around quite a bit and then took a ride in the funicular to enjoy the scenic view from atop the mountain. This is the funicular route; it is a very efficient way for residents of the city to get from bottom to top or vice versa.

The view was well worth the ride! This is just a portion of what we were able to see.

When we arrived back at the ship later that day, we were greeted by one of the towel "animals" that the cabin steward prepared for us each evening.

To be continued! :)

Wednesday, August 21, 2013


DH and I recently flew to Amsterdam for a couple of days, met up with my twin and her DH, and then took a cruise through some of the Norwegian fjords. What a beautiful trip it was! Our first stop in Amsterdam was an enormous wholesale flower dealership, where they auction flowers from all over the world and then send them out to shops — also all over the world. This photo shows only a very small portion of the warehouse; we walked literally over half a mile to see much of it, watching as the carts of flowers were zipped from one location to another as they were sold.

Of course, we also saw some of the more traditional sights in Amsterdam, including taking a canal cruise in a boat much like this one. Bicycles are a major means of transportation in Amsterdam, and those bikes have the right of way, even over pedestrians — which takes a bit of getting used to. ;)

We were so lucky that the Rijks Museum had recently re-opened after having been closed for renovations for several years. The tours there are done by means of iPods, and they are absolutely excellent!

Naturally, we walked until our feet were tired, but there is also a very good tram system that makes getting around quite simple, and we made good use of that, too.

More photos to come! :)

Tuesday, August 20, 2013


Before I get around to showing some of our travel photos, I thought I'd show you what we came home to. Not too long ago DH redid our outdoor fountain area, planting three hibiscus bushes in the process. We have a red, an orange, and a yellow hibiscus, and the yellow one was doing its best to welcome us home.

Beautiful, isn't it? :)

Monday, August 19, 2013


Open swift
Yarn swift, that is! My very thoughtful brother-in-law made this for me! He's quite talented at building things, and my twin needed a yarn swift — an item not so easily obtained reasonably in France, where they live. While he was making one for her, he very kindly made one for me, too! With my ball winder, this will make transforming skeins of yarn into balls so easy, and I'm absolutely delighted with it. Sadly, I don't have any skeins sitting around right at the moment, but I should have some soon.

Closed swift

What's especially nice about this swift is that, by means of a couple of wing nuts, the whole thing collapses for storage. I'm going to need to make a bag to keep it tidy and safe, but I'll do so very soon. At the right, you can see what it looks like when it's ready to put away. Pretty cool, isn't it? :)

Sunday, August 18, 2013

More Ditty Bags

I actually made these two Ditty Bags some time ago, but I couldn't post a photo until I'd given them to my twin sister and my brother-in-law. That happened almost two weeks ago, while we were all on vacation together in Amsterdam and, a few days later, on a cruise through the Norwegian fjords. This time the bags are lined with vinyl to make them more or less spill-proof, and I decided to embroider the recipients' initials on the front. These bags are generally easy to make, but lining them with vinyl does make the process quite fiddly!

Want to hear something about our trip? Maybe see a few photos? Stay tuned! :) Right now I'm still catching up on sleep (it's a nine hour time change from where I live to Europe!) and laundry, among other assorted household tasks. In fact, my Bernina is still at my dealer's shop and needs to come home from its servicing, where it's been since just before we left home. Suffice it to say that the trip was wonderful!