Fragrance-free Vacation Rentals Please!

Scented Laundry Soap

We have been sold a false image of fragrance. Manufacturers tell us it is like a spring day, fresh flowers, lemon scented, but nothing about fragrances used in most personal and household products is natural. These are synthetic fragrances, full of chemicals that produce the smell, others that make sure the smell lasts and others that do who-knows-what. Fragrance is added to the obvious – perfume, aftershave, air freshener – and the not-so-obvious – soap, … Continue reading

French Kitchen Linens

French Tea Towels

Kitchen linens – tea towels, table napkins, table cloths – are my favorite thing to buy when traveling in France! They are beautiful, useful and easy to pack. They give me delight when I use them at home and they remind me of our trips. In France you will find shops devoted to household linens in most towns. Look for the window display of towels and linens or for the rack of tea towels hanging … Continue reading

Four Years in England

Pauline and Steve

Four years ago today we flew from Denver to Heathrow with our cat and a lot of luggage, intending to spend five months in a cottage in the Cotswolds. Four years later we are still here with no plans to leave, but we have not made the decision to stay either. As each year goes by, my memory of our life in the US fades. We returned to the US each of the first two … Continue reading

Summer is Around the Corner

Walking into Stroud

This winter was cold and wet, and seemed to go on forever. The storms started in December, just before Christmas and continued until the end of February. It seemed like it would never stop raining. There was bad flooding in areas near us, but not in our area this time. The main effect of the storms for us was that it kept us off the muddy footpaths and instead we walked on the lanes through … Continue reading

Knitted Log Cabin Rug

Small Log Cabin Rug

This was a quick project to make a floor mat with THICK wool and big needles. The mat measures 20 inches square. I am using it in a small spot in front of the sink in the bathroom. Using the log cabin technique, you can make it any size you want. Yarn: Brown Sheep Burly Spun, 100% wool, 8oz (226 gm) – 1 ball oatmeal, 1 ball wild oak Needles: 9mm (US 13) Notes: All … Continue reading

My Knitted Red Log Cabin Blanket

Knitted Red Blanket

After I finished my first knitted log cabin blanket, I started another version. This time I used DK wool instead of Aran. I took my ideas from Mason-Dixon Knitting Flying Geese Blanket. This blanket was very easy to make. Because it is done in garter stitch, where you knit every row, it goes quickly. Here is the finished blanket (which needs blocking, but I didn’t bother). It looks a bit like a flag, but I … Continue reading

Slow Europe Travel Forums

Slow Europe Travel Forums

Announcing the new Slow Europe Travel Forums! Drop by, have a look and join in the conversation. Forums (message boards, bulletin boards, news groups) were one of the first things to become popular on the Internet. In the mid-90s, when we connected by dial-up, many of us were logging in and talking to people around the world about a variety of subjects. My subject was travel, mostly travel to Europe. Steve and I spent a … Continue reading

A Week in Northern Portugal

Guimaraes, northern Portugal

My trip report for a week in Portugal, July 2012. I am writing this trip report more than a year after our trip. This was a lovely trip but it was pushed to the back of my mind because we were busy with other things when we got home. As I write my notes now I remember how much we enjoyed northern Portugal and I would like to return. Neither of us had been to … Continue reading

My Knitted Log Cabin Blanket

Log Cabin Blanket

Log Cabin is a traditional quilting technique that has been adapted to create a knitted blanket. My version is made of six Log Cabin squares, joined together with a border and then with a border around the whole thing. On Thursday mornings I meet with the Chalford Stitchers for a couple of hours of knitting, stitching and chatting. These stitchers produce beautiful quilts. I hope to start on a quilt this winter, but so far … Continue reading

British Heatwave

Beach at Church Cove, Cornwall

Last year in England the weather was dismal and wet. Everyone is still talking about it. We had a very wet summer and a cold winter followed by the start of a nice spring, but then it turned very cold again. In June everything changed. The sun came out and the temperatures rose. It was a beautiful summer, with long warm days and lots of sunshine. We even had a “heatwave” (temperatures over 80 degrees … Continue reading