Wednesday, December 14, 2011


Hi everybody! I would like to apologize for not having a How Tuesday this week. Quite possibly I will make it up with a How Thursday. I was abroad this weekend, and am just starting to recover my brain from the jet lag--yesterday I nearly left the grocery store without my bags of food.

My lovely weekend was due to the generosity of my mother (Thanks, Ma!).

I left Chicago on Thursday, mid-day--flew out over Lake Michigan and got some great photos of the city. When I flew home Monday night, she was all lit up and sparkling like the world's tackiest Christmas tree--and I loved it.

I flew from Chicago to Washington, DC where I met with my mother and we flew to London together. We arrived in London around 9AM, as the sun was just starting to bathe everything in this gorgeous golden light and casting long shadows. It was beautiful--and I have no idea how best to capture that through an air plane window, but I tried.

I was shocked to see that the grass is still green. And when we walked through the city, there were a great number of trees who still had leaves. As we approached London, we had to circle before we could land--which gave me another GREAT opportunity to photograph.
The River Thames, as it serpentines through London.
We flew over so many familiar landmarks, it was amazing to be able to see them spread out before me like little game pieces.
We went through border control, where the agent asked us how long we were staying and why we were there, and thank goodness my Mom answered because I wanted to shout "WE ARE HERE BECAUSE IT IS LONDON! LONDON!"

We dropped our bags at the hotel and made our way to the British Museum, where we toured the Egyptian Hall & saw the great Assyrian artifacts, and THE ROSETTA STONE. I did not take pictures because it was a field trip day and I was up to my elbows in British school children. Once we made it into a quieter area, I whipped the camera out and took photos of artifacts from the Roman occupation of Britain.
Look at the little bronze animals! And the various and sundry deities. And look at the mosaics! I do love me some patterning.
Hi random security guy!
The view from the 12th floor of our hotel! The castle looking building is the Renaissance Hotel at St Pancras, and on the other side of that is King's Cross underground and railway station (where Harry Potter left for Hogwarts). Below is King's Cross Railway Station. And allow me to comment: Holy orbs, Batman! I counted 11. How many do you count?

This little building is the British Library. We went to the Illuminated Manuscripts exhibit and saw all kinds of beautiful examples of medieval painting--it was interesting to see the different styles of the continental painters versus the English painters. We also saw the MAGNA CARTA and the FIRST FOLIO of SHAKESPEARE'S PLAYS. Awesome.

We saw the Victoria and Albert Museum. I snapped this picture of perfume and pomander containers before the nice man told me there were no photos then I spent the next hour drawing things from the jewelry collection. (Something I wouldn't have been able to do with 2 children at my side). Then we meandered through prints and drawings, stained glass and ate lunch. At the tea counter they had GIANT meringues that are sliced open and you fill them with clotted cream and jam. I wasn't brave enough to try them--the idea made my teeth hurt.  After that we saw the Power of Making exhibit--oh so very very good.

And since the day was still young, we popped on over to Harrods to ogle the Christmas decorations and ride the Egyptian escalator...

And visit the Harry Potter shop. Where you can purchase actual movie props.

Like the trolleys used in the King's Cross Railway scenes.

And if you love Harry Potter AND Legos, you can visit Lego Harry Potter and purchase the Lego Harry Potter swag.

The next day we got off at the London Bridge Underground Station, strolled along the Thames--past Sir Frances Drake's The Golden Hind fore...

and aft....

Past the ruins of the Winchester Palace--previous home of the medieval Bishops of Winchester.

Until we came to Shakespeare's Globe! As an admitted Shakespeare dork, it was AWESOME and AMAZING and AWESOMELY AMAZING.
A timeline...
Me and my man, Will. (Don't we look cute together?!)
An example of embroidery--I thought the frame was interesting, considering that today we use two round hoops.
And the interior of the Globe! Once again, it's looking a little orb-y. (But once the tour guide mentioned that the lead architect and the man who's idea it was to rebuild the Globe passed away before it's completion, the orbs made a little more sense)

And lastly, we swung by 221B--the home of the fictional character Sherlock Holmes. It was a collection of lovely buildings and touristy tourist shops.

My goal was to come away with inspiration, and I have to say that I have it in spades.
London is awesome. Do not hesitate to visit--there is something for everyone and the weather there is FAR SUPERIOR to Chicago's wintry bluster.

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