Friday, December 28, 2012

Crafty projects

Having eleven days off for the holidays, Anuenue has been hard at work on lots of different projects.

Making a batch of limoncello for gifts....

Learning how to hem a coat...

Mastering pressing techniques with a clapper....

Sewing gift bags...

Hand quilting...

Taking a break on the sofa with the cats...

Making a felted bag...

Learning how to make sculptural felt...

then riding around on the finished sculpture (a spanish shawl sea slug)

And dyeing wool fibers like a casserole in the oven!

Holidays in DC

Anuenue spent the holiday week in DC, taking a break from travels.

First, she helped pick out a Christmas tree at the fire-station tree sale. It just barely fit in the car!

Mmmm, the tree is a fraser fir and smells great! Anuenue was smaller than most of the ornaments.

She was very helpful with wrapping presents, especially with tape application and tying on ribbons and string.

She learned how to make real egg nog with raw eggs and cognac!

On Christmas Eve, she helped make the traditional rum cake.

First she made a big pound cake from scratch.

Then she made the rum sauce - just rum, butter, and sugar!

Yum, the cake is drenched in tasty rum sauce and ready for breakfast on Christmas!

Just in time, some light snow starts up, although it didn't really stick to the ground.

Monday, December 17, 2012

Old Greenbelt

Anuenue went on a walk around the 'historic' area of Old Greenbelt. This year is Greenbelt's 75th anniversary.

Greenbelt was a planned city, built by the government during the New Deal. The original area of the city consists of two ring roads of residential homes around a central business/civic area. The central area is called the Roosevelt Center. One of the main attractions of the Roosevelt Center is the Greenbelt Arts center:

There are also a handful of small stores and restaurants.

Municipal buildings include the library - not open on Sunday though!

Anuenue has been to the community center before, on voting day.

The front of the community center includes cement sculptures showing civic virtues.

There are some other large sculptures scattered about the Roosevelt Center.

Near the Roosevelt Center is one of the original homes, restored with period furnishings, that acts as a museum. Many of the buildings were constructed in Art Deco style.

After the government decided to sell the homes, the residents purchased them and formed a large cooperative.

The city plan was based on walkability. The original homes have the back of the houses toward the street, with the front facing interior walking paths that run between rows of homes.

There are extensive pedestrian pathways and underpasses throughout the city.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Holidays in DC

On Sunday, Anuenue went downtown to check out the holiday decorations in DC. There was track work on Metro, so we took the "scenic detour" aka 1.5 mile walk from Archives to Eastern Market, cutting through part of the National Mall.

Anuenue checks out the statue of Ulysses S. Grant at the base of the Capitol building.

There is a view of the other end of the Mall, with the Washington Monument. Contrary to many tourists expectations, the Mall is merely an open grassy (or more usually muddy) area ringed round with museums and federal buildings.

There is a Christmas tree on the lawn of the Capitol building, decorated with large ornaments made by children.

Anuenue continues on around the side of the Capitol building and up a small hill towards...

....the Library of Congress. The only decorations in evidence here are a pair of wreaths.

Next we head through the neighborhood of Capitol Hill to Eastern Market, the first destination.

Eastern Market has an indoor building with grocer stands, and an outdoor area with merchants selling crafts and Christmas trees.

Next we walk back towards Union Station, passing by this statue. There are statues in just about every park, circle, and intersection in the District.

Only a small fraction of the city is taken up by federal buildings and museums, most of the city is residential. These pretty rowhouses are a small sample of the architecture found around the city. 

We reach Union Station, which is really just a big train depot for Amtrak, metro, and some commuter rail lines. It does have some fancy architecture though!

Inside Union Station are shops, restaurants, and the huge arched ceiling.

There is a seasonal display of model trains at Union Station. The Norwegian embassy used to set up a nice train, but this year there was just a rather pathetic version sponsored by Amtrak.

We head back across the Capitol grounds to check out a much better display at the US. Botanic Gardens.

In one room, there are models of landmark DC buildings made out of leaves and branches, like this version of the Capitol.

There are also lots of topiaries, including this large bear.

The next room has the model train display, much fancier than at Union Station. Multiple trains zip around the room through strange scenes and dioramas made out of plants.

There are lots of fantastical scenes from fairy tales, just about the right scale for Anuenue!

There are also some more creepy displays....

The rest of the Botanical Gardens are the usual displays. Anuenue enjoys the room of primeval plants, with large ferns.

There is even a room just for plants from Hawaii!

The Hawaii room has a small waterfall and native Hawaiian plants.

Next to the Hawaii room is the desert room, with lots of cacti.

Anuenue's favorite room is the Palm House, full of palm trees and tropical plants.

 In front of the gardens are carnivorous plants that are native to the midAtlantic, like these pitcher plants.

After leaving the Botanic Gardens, Anuenue heads over to the sculpture garden next to the National Gallery of Art. This Roy Lichtenstein House looks boring when you stand still, but is actually an optical illusion that changes when you walk past.

This large metal tree sculpture is fitting for the winter season as the sun sets.

After a long day, Anuenue heads home on the metro.