Monday, November 30, 2015

November's Scavenger Hunt

Hello dear friends.  It's been awhile since I took part in Greenthumb's Scavenger Hunt.  I hope you like this month's selection.  It has a "Turkish" theme since I just returned from Turkey. 

 A stranger we met along the roadway on our drive up the mountain.  Goats are very popular in Turkey and they have some of the most wonderful goat cheeses I have ever tasted.

Looking down onto Alanya harbour from the castle hill.

Pop Culture is worldwide.  This is the best I could come up with.

The weather was amazing and the best part was enjoying the sunsets each night.

Big bags of tea were spied at the grocery store.  They were marked 5,000 grams - over 11 pounds of tea in each bag!

Sign down the road from our home which actually an outdoor restaurant. It's a great place to experience homemade, authentic, Turkish cuisine.

Bottle(s) of water are popular since many people don't like the taste of the tap water.  It tasted fine for me but I obliged and bought bottled water.

Out and about each day was fun discovering different places.  This is the courtyard of a restaurant downtown Alanya.

My husband wearing his favorite hat and enjoying the view.

This may look like a hole in the wall but it's actually a built in bar-b-que on a balcony.

One more beautiful sunset that I just had to share with you.

Whatever you want....maybe to live in this lovely Turkish villa!

I hope you enjoyed these photos.  I'd love to hear from you when you have a chance.  Have a wonderful week!

take care,


Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Happy Thanksgiving

I hope that those traveling to friends and family to celebrate Thanksgiving, have a safe and enjoyable trip.  And, for those staying close to home,  I wish everyone a blessed Thanksgiving holiday.

 Thanksgiving wishes from Lilly my Cat!


Photo courtesy of my daughter Heidi.  It's her tablescape from last year's Thanksgiving celebration at her home. 

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Setting Up a Home in Turkey

It's been awhile since I last wrote so I thought I'd let you see what I accomplished on my vacation.  You may recall that my husband and I purchased a home in a city on the southern coast of Turkey.   We visited this last month to set everything up and have the home ready for our family next time we visit.  I'm also linking up today with Amy for her fabulous Five on Friday.  Please check out this link to some great blogs if you have the time.

Grab a cup of coffee, tea or your favorite beverage and come inside for the home tour if you wish.  Everyone is welcome.

I'd have to say the kitchen is probably one of my favorite areas as I love to cook and bake.  It's really set up quite efficient.  Although one night I went to use the oven (which was brand new and still had the packing in it) and as soon as it started to heat, the breaker would trip and all electricity in the home would go off.  The Siemens repairman came the next day and he replaced both oven elements.  Luckily, it works great but it cost 325 TL (approx. $115.00).

The dining room adjoins the kitchen.  I love the table we chose as it reminds of a French country farmhouse table.   I'm still missing one dining room chair.

The kitchen and dining room are one large room.  You can see the living room area.

Here's a photo of the main floor guest room.  I brought the comforter from home. I folded it and put it in one of those space bags that takes out the air and put it in my suitcase.  Although there are some beautiful bed coverings I am finding in the Turkish shops here.

This is my favorite view outside the living room window.  It looks onto the mountains and you can see the clouds roll over the top of the mountain along with the delicious smell of wood smoke from the area.

This is my husband's favorite view looking out of the sliding doors.  The hill to the left of the pictures is where the ruins of the castle are located.

The home is two stories.  You enter on the main floor which has the kitchen, dining, living room, bathroom and guest room.  These are the stairs leading to the second floor.

On the second floor is located the master bedroom.  As you can see, it's a work in progress.  To the right are sliding doors to a rooftop terrace.

This is the opposite side of the master bedroom. This little triangular window looks out onto the mountain view.

This is my little grandson' s room...

And here's his little bed with his "Istanbul" carpet.

It's been fun putting the home together.  My son ordered all the furniture for us from Ikea in Turkey.  I have been to Ikea many times but never have I purchased furniture from them (oops, except a couch for my family room).  It really turned out quite well since the furniture in the local stores can be quite modern for my taste.

If I had my choice I would have ordered this style of Turkish furniture....

Or, this couch which I saw in a furniture store where we purchased a washing machine.

The process of buying and setting up this home has been pretty stress free:
1.  We purchased the unit directly from the developer.
2.  There's a management company that takes care of the running of the complex; the majority of the owners are foreigners like us.
3.  Turkey has some wonderful big box type stores which has made is very easy to buy miscellaneous accessories for our home.  Think of a smaller Home Depot  or Costco or Ace Hardware. It's fun to go to these stores and see them filed with Scandinavians and Germans looking for items for their homes.
4.  Turkey manufactures a lot of the goods they sell.  We bought a vacuum, end tables, small kitchen appliances and beautiful Turkish porcelain dishes all made in Turkey.  And, it's very nice quality, too.
5.  The Turkish people are so kind to us. And, they are always willing to communicate with us in English since our language skills are limited. We really need to learn Turkish!

I hope you have enjoyed this little glimpse into our new adventure.  We're hoping to make lots of memories in our Turkish home.  Thanks for stopping by today. It's always a pleasure to hear from you.

My best to you,


Thursday, October 22, 2015

Treasures in Istanbul's Hagia Sophia

Greetings my friends.  If you recall, back in June I visited Istanbul, Turkey.  I shared with you some photos from that trip.  At that time, I mentioned that I would share more photos at a later time.  I'm a little bit late in posting this but I hope it may be something you will enjoy seeing.

Hagia Sophia was constructed as an Byzantine orthodox church beginning in 537 and until 1453 served as the seat of the Patriarch of Constantinople.  From 1453 until 1931 it served as a mosque.  In 1935 it was opened up as a museum.  It is quite fascinating to see this magnificent building that holds treasures from both religions.

This is a mosaic that is located on the second floor of the museum.  On the left is the Virgin Mary with Christ in the center and St. John the Baptist (forerunner) on the right. To this day, you will find this same icon in present day orthodox iconostasis.

Here is a placard describing the mosaic pictured above ...

And here is a picture showing how the mosaic would have looked like in it's original state ...

Another mosaic in the museum showing Christ and I believe the other two are Ss. Constantine and Helen ...

Again, on the second floor of the Hagia Sophia there is a marble divider/door.  In this picture you can see the cross design in the marble* ...

I thought I had a better picture than this but this is one of the doors of this magnificent building.  There is a raised horizontal bar on the door.  If you look closely, you can see there there would have been a vertical bar too at one time forming a cross.  Sorry for the poor picture.

Here is a picture of the interior of the Hagia Sophia.  The scaffolding is still in place due to the ongoing restorations.  Can you see the magnificent calligraphy from the time it served as a mosque?

Here's another view without the scaffolding...

The area around the Hagia Sophia is so beautiful with fountains and a beautiful park area which leads to the Sultan Ahmed Mosque aka Blue Mosque ...

On this trip I did have the opportunity to go inside the Blue Mosque.  The admission is free, however you are asked to wear a long robe/head covering before entering (that's me with the sunglasses) ...

The architecture inside the mosque is quite amazing ...

This is a photo of the artistic tiles in the ceiling ...

This was my second visit to this area and if I return to Istanbul one day, I will visit again.  The area is very well maintained and very tourist friendly.  There is a clean, well maintained, small bazaar area next to the Blue Mosque.  And, there are some great restaurants too in the area.

1.  Hagia Sophia means "Holy Wisdom in Greek"
2.  Byzantine "of or relating to Byzantine Empire" i.e., Eastern Roman Empire
3.  Iconostasis is "a screen of written icons separating the nave from the sanctuary in an orthodox church".
4.   Patriarchate of Constantinople is in modern day Istanbul and the current Patriarch is  Bartholomew I.
5.   The Blue Mosque was built between 1609 and 1617 and has six marinets.  

Speaking of Turkey, I will be returning again.  This time to a town in the south of Turkey on the mediterranean.  We are now officially Turkish homeowners after purchasing a home there this past summer.  It will be a fun time (I hope) putting the house together and enjoying the beautiful scenery of the Antalya province.  I will keep you posted.

Until next time, my best wishes to you,


Linking up with:
Five Star Frou-Frou ...
Amy at Five on Friday ...

Thursday, October 15, 2015

A Trip Along California's Central Coast

I had another post written and ready to share with you this week but instead I thought you might enjoy seeing these pictures.  It's Friday so I'm linking up with Amy over at Five on Friday.   And, I'm joining in at Willy Nilly Friday.   My husband and I drove up to Santa Barbara this week.  It's only about 150 miles one way but you have to "drive through" Los Angeles and that is what takes the time due to the horrendous traffic.

We booked a cottage near the ocean through Airbnb.  I love Airbnb but this time I wasn't dealing with an owner directly, I was dealing with a third party management company who had put their listing on Airbnb.  And, the experience was not fun.  

Here's a photo of the living room which has a lovely view of the ocean off the outside deck.  We arrived early afternoon and were so looking forwarding to spending four nights in this place.

But after the first night it was so unbearably warm in the unit we struggled. We woke up after the second night and asked for our money to be refunded.  There's more to the story but basically it was not safe and secure.  Although, we enjoyed the lovely sunset from the deck on our last night there.

We did have the opportunity to visit  the Danish town of Solvang, CA on Tuesday. Being Danish, I grew up in a Danish farming community in Ellensburg, WA. As a child I used to hear about Solvang and my first visit to this lovely little place was back in 2009.  The closest thing we have to Solvang in my home state is Leavenworth, a Bavarian themed town in central Washington.

On our last visit, we ate Danish food and this time I wanted to do the same.  We found a charming little cafe and we both ordered Danish meatball opened faced sandwiches with red cabbage and fresh cucumber pickle garnish.  We also drank a glass of cold Danish beer :)

One of my favorite places there is Jule Haus, a year round Christmas store.  I bought an advent calendar from Germany and some Danish themed napkins from Sweden.

Below is the Dannebrog (Flag of Denmark) napkins along with the seagull napkins I bought.  The seagull napkins match my Danish Bing and Grondahl china that I inherited from my Grandma.

I was so pleased to buy these seagull napkins only to find when I returned home that I had a new set in the china cabinet!  Now, I have two sets which I'm sure will last me for years.

Does your town have a windmill in the center of town?

Last time we were in Solvang we were on Highway 101 (it goes north and south along the coast of California). This visit, since were were in Santa Barbara, we went over the San Marcos pass.  It was a beautiful drive.  It reminded me so much of my home state of Washington.  Down here in southern California I never get to see nature in it's natural setting.  All power poles are underground, all areas are landscaped, all developments are planned.  I drank in all the beautiful natural sites that I haven't seen in a long long time.

As you may know, California is in the midst of a terrible drought.  It has really shown its ugly face this year especially.  We stopped at a vista point along the road and we discovered this reservoir.

Below is a photo of the dam.  I have never seen a dam without any water.  It's such a shame.  You can make out a black line to the right of the's a large hose that is connected to the reservoir which is located to the right.  They are having to pump the water through the hose.

Here is the reservoir.  If you look at the light coloring near the water, this is where the normal waterline should be.  It is so very, very low.

Here again you can see the light colored area near the dam.  It's as though this reservoir is almost empty.  And there are many more like this in the state.  It's really heart breaking.

I wanted to share with you some information about the indigenous people of this area:
1.  The Chumash are a Native American tribe that has lived in the central coast area for thousands of years. (The word "Cachuma" mentioned above has Chumash roots)
2.  The name Chumash means "bread maker" or "sea shell" people.
3.  The only Chumash Band reservation is the Santa Ynez Reservation located in Santa Barbara County.
4. Before the expansion of the Spanish missions in the 1800's, the Chumash numbered into the tens of thousands with their territory encompassing 7,000 squares miles along the central coast of California.
5. Today the Chumash are a thriving community with economic self-sufficiency.  They earn their revenue from the Chumash Casino Resort which is a popular entertainment destination.  (I know because I stopped there for an hour...)
I really enjoyed discovering this beautiful part of the central coast of California.  Although we cut our trip short and came back home, we did tour the lovely city of Santa Barbara and ate lunch at the Fish House.  We hope to return again in the near future.

It's always a pleasure to hear from my readers.  If you wish to give me some feedback in regard to my posts that would be most appreciated.  Do you like reading about travel, needle arts or recipes? I was looking at my statistics lately and the needlepoint post had a lot of views.  But, I don't think it appeals to everyone.  It like me looking at a quilting blog.  I love seeing the quilts and their designs but never in a thousand years will I quilt. But, I can admire the handiwork of others.

I'll sign off today by sharing my favorite photo of the day.  Gray skies and clouds have appeared for today and I am keeping my fingers crossed for rain!

Wishing you the best,