Bowl to the Chief

Hello all

Well here’s something I didn’t know until last week; the White House has its very own bowling alley. It was inaugurated on this day in 1947, and was built as a birthday present for President Truman. Bizarrely Truman himself didn’t even like bowling, so it seems a bit odd that anyone would think a bowling alley would be a good present. (Although as it turns out, the inauguration came the day after he was briefed on the Manhattan Project, so maybe it was nice to have something a little less serious and scary to focus on.) Anyway, it was moved from its original location in the West Wing over to the Old Executive Office Building, and then to the White House by the Nixons in 1969. The Nixons, it seems, actually did enjoy bowling, so it makes a lot more sense that they had a hand in moving the alley back to the White House.*

I can see no better way to commemorate this anniversary than to provide you with photographs of presidents bowling.

President Harry Truman

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Harry S. Truman. For someone who doesn’t like bowling, he sure looks like he knows what he’s doing.

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There are no photos, that I can find, of Dwight Eisenhower bowling, though this doesn’t surprise me. He was 62 when he became president, and frankly, he doesn’t seem like the sort of person who would have enjoyed bowling all that much. Instead, this is a photograph of his son David (who married Richard Nixon’s daughter Julie), bowling at Camp David.

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Photo by Stan Wayman.

Again, no photographs of Lyndon B. Johnson bowling, in the White House or elsewhere. But there is this one, of his son-in-law, Patrick Nugent, and his wife, Lady Bird Johnson, bowling at the OEOB alley.

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As I mentioned, the Nixons were the ones to move the bowling alley back into the White House, and I found two separate images of him bowling, so I figure he was a quite the fan. Bearing in mind he’s in a shirt and tie in the first picture, I would love it if it turned out that he just loved it so much that sometimes he nipped down there in the middle of the day. That’s much more fun than the obvious, which is that it was a promotional shot.

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As far as I can tell, this is a scene from a film called Brother Rat, so technically Ronald Reagan wasn’t president at the time, nor was he actually bowling. But it’s the closest I could get. This is a photograph of him with Jane Wyman, his first wife; they met whilst making this film.

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No photograph of George H.W. Bush, but there is a video! He does pretty badly, but haven’t we all done something similar? I mean, sure, I was drunk when I made a fool of myself whilst bowling, but that’s neither here nor there. Also, it seems he wasn’t given bowling shoes, which explains the falling over.

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Apparently, Bill Clinton was a keen bowler, and regularly made use of the White House lane, though I wasn’t able to find any photos of him doing so. Hillary offered to settle the Democratic nomination battle with Obama by taking to the lanes, but it was an April Fool’s joke. Based on her performance on Ellen, it wouldn’t have done her any good, because she appears to be a terrible bowler. Having said that, I think she just didn’t want to put her fingers in the ball and risk her nails, because she must know that you don’t bowl like that, surely?

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It’s not really clear how much George W. Bush enjoys his bowling, there are only a couple of photographs available, and none of them seem to be at the White House bowling alley.

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Obama decided, while trawling for votes during the Democratic nomination campaign, to take to a bowling alley for a game. Probably to prove that he is just one of the guys, in that he can partake in an ordinary game of bowling just like you and me. Except, as it turned out, he was terrible, and scored 37 points out of a possible 300. Shortly before withdrawing from the Republican nomination race recently, Rick Santorum also played a game of bowling, and, when he turned out to be quite good at it, compared himself to Obama and seemed to suggest it was indicative of why he should be president instead of Obama. Let’s all be thankful that this won’t be happening. (Not to get all political or anything.)

So that’s that. I couldn’t find any photographs of John F. Kennedy, or indeed any of his family bowling, at the White House or elsewhere. Kennedy doesn’t strike me as having been  much of a bowler any more than EIsenhower does, despite the age difference. Kennedy was more of a sailor, or a golfer. Similarly, there were no photos of either Ford or Carter bowling.

Who else wishes that all workplaces were forced by law to install a bowling alley?

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* Information taken from Whitehousemuseum.org (I tried to work out how to add footnotes but could make no sense of the instructions).

Best in Show ~ DIY Projects

Hello all

I know I’m not alone in loving a good DIY project. The truth of the matter is that I hardly ever get around to actually achieving them, but I love finding them and planning to do them! Actually, my friend Anna and I did talk about doing regular craft weekends, and we have actually done a couple! I made a knitting needle case a few weeks ago, as Anna has just bought a new sewing machine, and last weekend she made herself a pin cushion to attach to the aforementioned sewing machine.

Anyway, DIY is big across the blogosphere, and I’ve been collecting up links for things I want to do.

1. Bleach Painting on Textiles

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This is my favourite DIY that I have found recently. I just love it! I have often wondered the best way to write a slogan or a quote on a top without it looking rubbish, and this is it! And it’s so simple! It was featured on A Beautiful Mess (one of my favourite blogs of all time – I’ve featured it before and I will be again, within this blog post no less), and it was guest written by Jill from Lune.

2. Ombre Dip Dye Jumper

Terri-Jane over at twoninethree puts me to shame when it comes to DIYing – she posted about a jumper that she liked last week, and then posted the DIY tutorial for a homemade version this week! I wish I could be so organised as to actually get DIY projects done! Anyway, this was a Topshop jumper that she found for £45, and then created her own version for less than a tenner! Wowsers! So it’s something that I would like to try myself, if I can get a jumper for cheap enough.

3. Mini Magazine Notebook

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I’m not sure if I’ve mentioned this before, but I love notebooks. I love all stationary, but notebooks hold a special place in my heart. So when I saw this tutorial to make my own, I was, of course, completely on board. Also, I think that they would make nice gifts, because they are easily personalised. I also have an excessive number of magazines hanging around the house, so I figure I should probably make good use of them.

4. Kanye Ombre Denim Shirt

Another ombre project! I’m not in love with the idea that this emulates a Kanye West look, because I’m not a fan, but I do like the finished result! I desperately want a nice denim shirt, because I like wearing them them over dresses in place of cardigans in the summer. I need to invest in one this summer! Actually, maybe two, so that I can have one normal, and one ombred version (or one normal and one ruined version when it inevitably goes wrong).

5. Plush Fox Doll

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Another A Beautiful Mess tutorial (seriously, if you are a DIYer and you haven’t checked it out, you should), this one is a cute cushion! I love it, and it doesn’t look too hard either. I like the idea of a set of them in different colours!

Have you seen any fun tutorials lately? I think I will try to make this a regular feature, because I do love finding tutorials! If I ever get around to actually making any of them, I’ll let you all know how they turn out.

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I have only used photographs where it was made clear that it would be OK to do so by the blog owners.

Best in Show ~ Black Dresses

Hello all

It’s been a while since I did a Best in Show, and I have done dresses before, but this one is more specifically about black dresses. I know that with spring (slowly) approaching, it’s probably not the time to be looking at black dresses, but I’ve decided that it’s something I need in my wardrobe. I like wearing splashes of colour, whether it be tights, scarves or shoes, and I want a dress that I can wear and put any other colour with. So I have been on the lookout for a simple black dress, and I’ve found a few.

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Black Fit and Flare Dress ~ Dorothy Perkins ~ £16

I like the simplicity of this one, and the price! I’m not entirely sure how well it would suit me, because it might make me look quite hip-py, but I may go in and try it on if they still have it when I have some money.

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Simrik Black Cat Print Dress ~ New Look ~ £25

You can’t really see it in this picture, but this one has a cat print on it! I am not a huge fan of cats, but I’m happy to wear them printed on my clothes! I am not keen on the neckline of this, I think it’s a bit fussy for my tastes, and again, the style might not suit me particularly well. But it has cats on it!

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ASOS Summer Dress With Sweetheart Neck ~ ASOS ~ £22

I really like this dress; I like the neckline, the straps and the way it flares out slightly at the waist. Definitely a contender once I have some money to spend.

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Verity Puffball Sleeve Belted Dress ~ Boohoo ~ £25

I included this one for a bit of variety, and I do really like it, but the more I look at it the more I realise that it just wouldn’t look good on me! I’d look like a sausage in a dress!

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Blanche Tailored Pleat Dress ~ Missguided ~ £24.99

Another simple dress, and I like the fact that it is belted.

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ASOS Sundress With Sweetheart Neck ~ ASOS ~ £18

Another favourite, though I am not sure about the cut out on the front. Just not sure that it’s me. But again, I like the neckline (obviously a fan of the sweetheart neck), and I like the price, and I like its simplicity.

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ASOS Mini Dress with Button Front ~ ASOS ~ £22

This one is another contender; I like the buttons and the shape of it, and it’s a reasonable price.

Which one is your favourite?

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30 Before 30 – Cakes

Hello all

Remember last week when I mentioned that I was in the process of making Herman the German Friendship cake? Well I made it (him) yesterday, and I’m here to tell you he is delicious!

For those who didn’t see my blog post last time, Herman the German is a cake that apparently originates with the Amish people. They would share this cake amongst themselves to help the sick and poor. I received it from my sister-in-law, Kelly, and while I was a little cynical at first, when I actually got to taste her finished cake, I was convinced!

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~ Instructions ~

I received these instructions, along with the little bowl of mixture at the start of last week. As you can see, the instructions tell you that you can’t put the mixture in the fridge, or seal it, because otherwise it will die. As far as I can tell, the bowl of ‘stuff’ that you receive is a yeast mixture; it is therefore ‘alive’, and you keep it that way by feeding it flour, sugar and milk. You have to keep stirring the mixture throughout the ten days; it builds up bubbles on the top which is how you know it is still alive. It smells quite awful, like a brewery, which is almost enough to put you off, but luckily I knew how good the final product tasted!

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~ Day 4 ~

This is how the mixture looked on the fourth day, when I had added the first lot of flour, sugar and milk to it. It seems a bit strange to add milk to a mixture and then keep it out in room temperature, but it is called a sourdough mix!

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~ Day 9 ~

The ninth day is when you divide the mixture into four, keeping one batch for yourself, and giving three away. I gave one lot to my sister, one to my dad’s friends, and the other is still on my worktop! I am giving it away to my friend Anna, so I have to do the first few days for her, because otherwise Herman will die!

On day ten, you finally get to bake Herman. I didn’t actually do it on the tenth day, because I didn’t have the ingredients that I needed, so I left it until the eleventh day. I knew that it wouldn’t turn out to be a problem, and it wasn’t.

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~ Cooking apples, cut into chunks ~

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~ A cup of sultanas (the recipe calls for raisins, but sultanas are cheaper!) ~

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~ The final mixture ~

To the mixture that has been developing for ten days, you add cooking apples, raisins, salt, flour, eggs, baking powder, vanilla essence, oil and cinnamon. You can also add nuts, but I’m not a huge fan of nuts in cakes, so I left them out. I suppose you could probably add whatever fruit you liked to it, really, but I decided to stick with the recipe!

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~ Almost ready to bake… ~

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~ … Just as soon as you add some butter and sugar on the top! ~

The mixture goes into a roasting tin and then you sprinkle melted butter and brown sugar onto the top. This gives it a lovely crispy top, so while it’s not the healthiest addition, it’s definitely tasty!

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~ The finished product! ~

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~ Perfect with a cup of tea ~

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~Yum! ~

Ta da! There you have Herman the German friendship cake! it really is a delicious cake, and, as the name suggests, it is something you can share with your friends. It makes a lot of cake, so I am going to give some of mine away, otherwise it will just go to waste! If you do find yourself as part of a chain, you may find that you are making Hermans from now until eternity; I got mine from my sister-in-law in Bedford, and was offered one by my brother’s girlfriend in Essex the other day!

So that is three cakes down, and my aim is ten. I’m quite pleased with that – seven months (minus one day) until my birthday to make seven cakes. Easy! My next aim is this one, or a variation on it; I don’t like marzipan!

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