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Scotland Part 2

Well we’re back home, everything is unpacked, and will be back to work / a regular schedule starting tomorrow.

Overall, our trip was great other than for some conflicts that are prone to happen when you have 15 people staying in the same location for a week.  I’m pretty sure though that everyone was able to do their top to-do item while we were there though.   We needed at last one more week there though to see all of the other things everyone wanted to do.

Of note, several of the castles / locations that we wanted to go to were actually closed due to us being in Scotland during their off-season.   At least where we where, many of the touristy locations are only open from April 1st through fall.

Castle Lachlan via Google Maps

The castle is located about 1.5 hours west from Glasgow.

We arrived on Thursday, but most of our activities actually started on Friday.  Friday was a fairly casual day though and we spent the majority of the time exploring the local area around Castle Lachlan.

We also visited the original Castle Lachlan and family graveyard.  The oldest date we saw in the graveyard was sometime in the 1700s.

On Saturday, we spent the majority of the day at the castle getting ready for Dan and Bridget’s wedding.   We then went out to eat in the evening.

Dan & Bridget with Parents

Dan & Bridget with parents.  Since McNitts are a branch of the MacNaughton family line, Jim is wearing the MacNaugthon family tartan.

On Sunday, we toured Argyll visiting the original MacNaughton family lands, where the old MacNaughton castle used to be and took a look at the existing MacNaughton castle from afar since it is no longer owned by the family and it is not open to visitors anymore.

We also visited Inveraray Castle (closed), Inveraray Jail (did the tour), Dunstaffnage Castle (closed by the time we got there), and Kilchurn Castle (closed also).

Inveraray Castle

Inveraray Castle

Dunstaffnage Castle

Kilchurn Castle

On Monday, we toured Dumbarton Castle which really was more of a fort than a castle.  Below is a picture of a photograph and the majority of us walked the hundreds of stairs to get to the top.  Its a scary adventure for someone who doesn’t like heights like me, but the pictures from the top of the hill are impressive.

Afterwards, we toured a local scotch whiskey distillery called Auchentoshan.

In the evening, I hosted the mystery dinner party (Maggie and Mark made the meal while I organized the mystery event).

Tuesday was finally my day to go visit the Burrell Collection in Glasgow.  We also spent some time at the Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum.  A few of us visited these two museums while others went shopping in Glasgow.

I took over 350 pictures just in the museums, but below are a few of my favorite shots.

To view more photos, feel free to visit my Flickr archive at:

Hopefully someday we’ll be able to go back to see many of the locations that were either closed or too far to go to for how long we were there.


Scotland Part 1

After 2 connections in Chicago and London, we made it safely to Glasgow Scotland. Fifteen are staying in Castle Lachlan and 4 others are staying at a nearby bed and breakfast. After a bit of confusion trying to get rental cars (we needed 3), we finally were able to get on the road to the castle.

Driving was a adventure in itself with having to drive on the left side of the road on roads that seem super tiny vs our roads. Plus we all got separated once and had to figure out how to regroup.

Once we got to the castle half of the group went out to eat and my group went for groceries. Most of the brands we're used to in the US where no where to be found. For example we could not find pancake mix or syrup though they did have crepe mix. They also had no clue what powdered drink mix was (like Crystal Light).

That was it though for day one in Scotland.

Today we toured the local lands on foot which included visiting the old castle ruins and graveyard.

Tomorrow is Dan and Bridget's wedding and we'll also go out to eat.

The majority of our sightseeing will be done Sun to
Tues where we will visit the area castles and museums. We're mainly here for the wedding so everything else that we get to do is bonus.


Nov. 25th, 2009

What Black Friday sales are you going to hit this year? I'm not going to get up early, but I plan to hit some of the sales for items on my shopping list.

e-Gift Cards

For Father's Day, I ordered an e-Gift Card from Target for my Dad (since he wanted a Target gift certificate). Bad idea.

First, he was able to find what he wanted to purchase online but the total came out to be $49.98. Target.com only had free shipping if you spend more then $50. They wanted to charge an extra 9.99 for shipping plus tax. Argh. After looking around a bit more to see if there was anything else we would want to get, we decided that I would just use the e-GiftCert to purchase a Gift Card that he could use in the store instead. No-can-do unfortunately.

Now I'm trying to work with Target Customer Support to see if they can work some type of magic for me to refund the e-GiftCert even though it is applied to my account. Ah Well. If anything, I'll have $40 to spend on Target.com.

Endless To Do List

Dang, I've been working on my to do list of all of the things I would like to get done this summer and it just keeps on growing!

Time to prioritize I guess.

I *really* need to start getting in the garden again and clean up the new weeds that have come up over the last few weeks.   I've been focusing so much on craft related projects I have been letting this go a bit.   Once we're back from Fargo this upcoming weekend, this is the first thing that I'm going to do.    

I also want to finish my Spanish outfit and it is reallly getting close.  Instead of trying to rush through it I've been taking a bit more time.   I'm doing a lot more hand sewing than I originally planned, but the finished product will be much nicer I think.   Unfortunately, I'm a bit short on some of the trim I wanted to use, but I've been able to find good substitutes that I actually like a bit more than what I was originally going to use.    Most likely I'll be entering this into some A&S faire in the future due to the amount of research, time and effort put into it.    I was thinking of entering it in the Baronial A&S competition this week, but I just didn't want to rush through the rest of the work to get it done in time (plus find time to finish the documentation needed).   I also didn't want to just enter in a part of the outfit such as the 'sleeves' or just my hat.  :)   I'm curious to see what everyone else will be entering though. 

At this point, I need to finish hand sewing the trim on one of the oversleeves, attach the ties, then attach the oversleeves to the bodice.  The bodice is done other than for attaching the sleeves, skirt (which is already put together), and adding the hook/eyes and lacings.

Once the dress is done, I'm going to be moving onto a 'Cosplay' type costume that is inspired by one of the characters I play in Warhammer Online (Goggle for White Lion).   It is going to be the most challenging non-SCA costume that I've done to date since it will include making armor (breastplate, helm, bracers, scalemail, etc.), a stuffed lion for my shoulders, and a large prop weapon.    I will be using the lightweight materials to make 'fake' armor and weapons that are often used by other cosplay designers.   I've used Wonderflex in the past and am planning on making my breastplate and helm out of this material.   I'll have to cover it then with an epoxy resin and paint it so that then has the correct 'look' once done.    Thank you Hancock Fabrics, JoAnn Fabrics, and Michaels for your 40-50% coupons.   I've been using them for this   :)   Now if only Home Depot had the items I needed on sale.

Other than the projects mentioned above, we really need to re-stain our deck this year.   I'm assuming that will be about a one weekend project.     Also throughout the summer, I want to start to go room by room and get rid of the 'junk' that we no longer need.     We still have boxes out in the garage from when we moved ~ 4 years ago that need to get looked through too.   I have a feeling that a lot of it can be donated, thrown away, or sold off at this point.  

I've already gone through our master bedroom closet and found a bunch of clothes that we no longer wear that should be sent off to Goodwill or another organization.     I'll be taking on the master bathroom next.     Over all, I just want to get the house a bit more organized.  :)

May. 29th, 2009

Saw the movie, UP tonight. It actually was very good. I was not expecting much from what I had seen of the preview.


Well is is that time of the year for me to start the sprinkler system back up.  It was not been very cooportive though.   First I had to remember how to open the values correctly again.  Then some of the heads were not coming up right or pointed in the right directions.  Also for some reason one of the zones has less water pressure then the others. 

Anyway, I ended up with wet jeans from my knees downward after I decided I was done dealing with it.   Joy.


Yay, some progress today. We're going out to a movie with my parents tonight, but I was able to pin the trim onto my doublet bodice this afternoon. I will hand sew the trim on this weekend.

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Parent's Computer

Spent one more night on my parent's PC. It is finally running again but the only new piece in use so far is the new case. We spent a lot of time trying to figure out why the board would not turn on. I finally questioned if the outlet was the issue even though it was fine earlier. It was...sometime during the day the outlet breaker triggered.

It seem like whenever I do one of these PC rebuilds, if something can cause me grief, it will.

Tomorrow we'll finally put in the better CPU, video card and more memory.

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Wow, it has been a busy weekend.  The time went by way too fast and I definately didn't get done as much as I wanted to.

My parents are visiting this week so Jer and I picked them up in Hinckley yesterday.   They will staying at our place until Saturday. 

I asked them to bring down their PC though so that I could upgrade it with some of the spare parts that I have laying around here.   Doing this has always been an interesting challenge though. 

Using spare parts though has both pros and cons.  Pros = the upgrade costs a lot less for an upgrade from what they have (1.1ghz to about 1.8 ghz).   Cons = The system does not want to work now after I put in the 'new' parts.  

We're now in debug mode to find out what parts are not working correctly.  First, we found out that the power switch on their old case is now shot (more than it was).  Basically once we put in the new parts, the PC would not turn on.   We put in the old motherboard just to see if it was an issue with the new motherboard, and the old motherboard would not turn on either.   I decided to pick up a new $20 PC case to eliminate that issue.    Now that we have the new case, it seems like the motherboard that I'm attempting to use is not working correctly either.  The system will still not power up even though the motherboard light is on.   Our next step will be to put in the old motherboard again, and get the system to power up with that.   I can then put in the better CPU in the old motherboard since the CPU is luckly compatible for that board too. 

I also picked up a new AGP video card since the one they had was very old.  Since my mom would also like to play a few PC games she has, a new video card was definately needed so that some of the games they have will work.

Other then struggling with the PC, today (Sunday) my Mom and I spent the majority of the day running errands.   We went to Target, Micro Center (for the new PC parts), JoAnn Fabrics, and eventually made it to Cub (about 6 hours later).   My feet hurt!  :)

Yesterday, we also worked a bit on my new garb.  To help with my progress, I asked my Mom to help with some of the embelishment work on my hat, necklace and belt (since she will have some free time this week).   I definately am not where I would like to be with my progress though.  Unfortunately, last week I was not able to get in as many hours as I wanted to on the project due to other priorities that came up.

Right now it is questionable if I'll have it done for Crown, but I'm going to keep plugging away on it over the next two weeks to see how far I get.   If it is not done for Crown though, I'll have it done when I go to Fargo in June for the Silks, Needles & More event.   I'll be teaching an Introduction to Bobbin Lace class at the event and once my dress is done, my next project will be to put together the class kits that will be used in the class.