Friday, July 24, 2009

mosquitoes, family & lots of pie

I started my American sabbatical with a trip to Michigan for a family reunion. My great grandma was one of seven children and the families of those seven have been getting together every summer since 1923. This year my branch of the family (the Esta and Jake Smith clan) hosted the reunion at my cousin Cindy's house in Adrian. It's farm country and the green and skies were beautiful...

my cousin's back yard...

the fairground food wagon and our reunion tent...
Dad and my sister launching balloon lanterns at night...
my soon to be brother-in-law and I in the bouncy castle...
the food trailer by night...
toasting marshmallows for s'mores in the fire pit...
early morning...
crossroads near my cousin's house...
We had a very fine reunion... and running around in the fresh air is a great jet lag cure. I've also discovered my superpower: resistance to mosquitoes. It's not as useful as flight or invisibility, but on summer evenings in Michigan it makes you a superhero!

Thursday, July 23, 2009

The Steam Powered Man

One of my best friends and a proper gentleman, Max Humphries, was on the fourth plinth in Trafalgar Square on Tuesday as part of Antony Gormley's One & Other project. A different person will stand on the plinth every hour, 24 hours a day for 100 days to make a "living portrait" of the UK.

In case you might have missed it (as I did because I was traveling) you can watch Max's full hour on the plinth dressed as a steam powered robot on the One & Other site.

See more pictures and find out about the design and construction process over on the Brass Goggles Steampunk Forum.

...and there are more pictures over on Ms. Steele's Flickr account.

I'm so proud!

Saturday, July 11, 2009

traveling gifts

My wonderful friend Kieron made this cushion for me as a traveling gift. Isn't it lovely? It's a little bit of England to take with me on my travels, and was sewn with a very hot needle as my mother would say. Some of the fabric is from costumes at Les Mis, but shhh, don't tell anyone. It's just the right squishiness and the perfect size for airplanes and sleeping in strange places, like a pop-up caravan, which is where I'll be next week. Thank you Kieron!!

Thursday, July 9, 2009

a hot time in the old town

Hello... I'm still here!

I've been quietly making big decisions and sorting lots of things... and boy, has it been hot! We've had several strawberries from our balcony garden and a few things have gone to seed... it's a bit like a miniature meadow. We're attracting ladybirds and butterflies.

Here's Joel breaking in his new ukulele in the sunshine.

and this is my new god-niece, Margot. Isn't she lovely?
she's the hairy one at the front, not the hairy one at the back.

...and here's a bon voyage pie with a pastry Statue of Liberty and the Titanic (this one didn't sink, Max says). Yummy!

More news soon!

July Juleps

This is a non-alcoholic take on the classic Mint Julep, usually made with bourbon.

Boil 3/4 cup of sugar and one cup of water for ten minutes or until sugar is dissolved to make a sugar syrup. Allow the syrup to cool.

To the syrup, add the juice of three lemons or four limes (strained), four bruised sprigs of mint and one pint of ginger beer or ale. Mix together.

Fill glasses half full with crushed ice and pour in the julep mixture. Garnish the drinks with sprigs of mint.