10 snowmen from around the world

Here’s a bit of winter fun you can do wherever there’s enough snow to make a go of it. Build a snowman. Even if you only have enough snow for a small snowman, go for it. One group of guys advocates building the biggest snowman you can make in a friend’s yard in the middle of the night. Your creation will be a big surprise in the morning. (Click here for picture.)

One of my favorite memories is going to the Great Wall in China right after it had snowed. There was a whimsical snowman greeting people at the top of one of the sets of stairs.

Here are some snowmaking tips. The one I thought was a great idea was to use three different size buckets as molds for the body. You add snow to the bucket shape to create the roundness. For snowman inspiration, here’s a sampling of snowmen from around the world.

MGShelton, who took this picture, said this fella was in her neighbor’s backyard in Birrmingam, Alabama.

This snowmen crowd was shot by showbizsuperstar in Japan at the Sapporo Snow and Ice Festival.

Last January, NINJ4 and a friend built this snowman on the lawn of Andersen Hall at Kansas State University. It looks like this one is hanging in as the snow is melting.

This snowman in Glascow, Scotland looks like a character in a children’s book or something. I think it’s the hat and scarf combo. Hodgers took this picture in his front garden.

According to thisisbossi who took this picture in Altoona, Pennsylvania, his aunt’s snowman frightened the cat. I think it’s sweet.

This leaning guy was at Dupont Circle in Washington, D.C. before the snow melted. I’m impressed by the jaunty hat and smile. Joe in D.C. took this picture.

Although this snowman probably saw better days, it’s background is truly international. ericaflynn, who took this picture in China, said that it was made by two Scandivanvian children.

This snowman in Tokyo, Japan should win the darling prize if there was such a thing. I love the expression that OiMax captured with just the right angle.

This snowman overlooking his kingdom in Denmark was made to sit in a flower box on metal-dog’s balcony.

If you have more time on your hands build a snowman grouping like bgilliard did in Ontario, Canada. He titles this David’s and Goliath. One commenter noted that Goliath looks like a penguin.

If you build a snowman, take a picture of it, post it on Gadling’s Flicker photo pool, and tell me where it was taken in the comment section of this post, I’ll create a Gadling reader’s snowman post where you can share your handy work.

Leonardo da Vinci’s drawings make a U.S. stop for the first time ever

There’s an art exhibit opening at the Birmingham Museum of Art in Alabama on September 28th that is a reminder that art museums other than the big name ones in the big name cities like the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City, the Louvre in Paris or The Uffizi in Florence, Italy have wonderful exhibits that are trip worthy.

The Birmingham Museum of Art, a museum that was founded in 1951 and has enough of an endowment that admission is free, has snagged the first showing of Leonardo da Vinci’s drawings from his notebook “Codex on the Flight of Birds.” These drawings have never been shown together outside of Italy. The drawings created between 1480 to 1510 offer a look into the workings of da Vinci’s thought process.

Through an agreement between Biblioteca Reale and the Foundation for Italian Art & Culture and the Birmingham Museum of Art, the exhibit ” Leonardo da Vinci: Drawings from the Biblioteca Reale in Turin” is possible. You can see it through November 9.

I’ve always associated Birmingham with the Civil Rights Movement. When I was there a couple years ago, I went to the Civil Rights District, something I recommend. The Birmingham Museum of Art is another draw I know about. Spend a weekend in Birmingham, and I’d say you won’t be disappointed.

Travel or home improvement? How about travel to a home and garden show?

When I lived overseas some friends of mine, who also lived overseas, complained that when they were in the U.S. on vacation, they couldn’t relate to what excited people.

For example, one friend said that a friend of hers in the U.S. was excited about getting a new deck. My friend didn’t think that getting a new deck was exciting news. Planning an adventure vacation was exciting, however–unless you are a person who enjoys staying home enjoying a party on your new deck.

I did point out that for people who live overseas, buying items like carpets and unusual furniture can also give one that new things rush and that people like to show off at their parties. She agreed.

Once we moved back to the U.S., I discovered that we were fresh meat when it came to people trying to sell us stuff for home improvement. Let’s just say we have a whole house water improvement system that we have to feed salt, because we lived in two countries where we couldn’t drink the water. I have become more savvy since that purchase. Still, there are always home improvements that loom while we are off traveling.

This is the time of year when, now that vacation fun is fading into the past, the need to nest before winter kicks in begins to build. Somehow, each fall, I’m hooked into some “Let’s spruce up the place” endeavor. A friend who is a handy fellow is doing some plaster repair work today.

Because my friend who was less than impressed with decks has not moved back to the U.S., she is unaware that there are places to go dedicated to decks and other wonders of home improvement. Home and garden shows are a nesting bonanza. This month kicks off a flurry of fall activities geared towards getting people to focus on the place where they live.

At such shows, I’m one of those people who picks up brochures just so I can imagine what a sunroom might look like in the backyard. I won’t actually put a sunroom in the backyard, but the brochures are enticing. I also like to tour model homes and trailers. It’s not like I’d actually like to live in one, but it’s like visiting a movie set where you can imagine another kind of life.

A home and garden show, to a traveler, is a place to fantasize what your house might look like if you were ever home enough to fix it up–or what life would be like if you lived in one place.

Of course, a travel show opens up the possibilities of where you might go if you didn’t need to fix the leaky roof, or felt the draw of energy efficient windows. With some financial juggling, it is possible to take the trips and do home improvements.

The Home and Garden shows listed here are some of the ones I found for September and October.

Although there is an admission price, check local grocery stores or other venues for discount tickets. For example, the Best of Fall Show in Columbus, September 12-14 has free tickets at Krogers.

One thing I noticed about the Columbus show is that there are exhibitors specific to Ohio such as Longaberger baskets, as well as local celebrities. Chances are, if you go to a home and garden show, it’s a way to learn a bit about the state where the show is located. The one in Columbus also has travel related exhibitors which illustrates the fix up the house AND travel lifestyle.

Home and Garden Show in Canada

Toronto Home Show: September 18-21

Here’s a link to a site that lists several others. If you miss the ones this fall, there is always the spring.

World Heritage Site new “Tentative List”: Places to Love: Civil Rights Movement Sites

For the Gadling series “World Heritage Site new “Tentative List”: Places to Love” we are covering the 14 sites that have been submitted for possible inclusion as an official World Heritage Site in the United States. The sites will not be posted in order of importance or in the order they appear on the list.

Number 1

Name of site: Civil Rights Movement Sites

Location: Birmingham and Montgomery, Alabama.

Reason for importance (in a nutshell): Three churches, Dexter Avenue King Memorial Baptist Church in Montgomery and the Bethel Baptist and 16th Street Baptist Churches in Birmingham, all historically African-American, played significant roles during the Civil Rights Movement.

Jamie’s Take: Of all the places on the new Tentative Sites list, these are perhaps the most humble and each hold enormous significance to American history. During Black History month, this is a fitting time to pay tribute. Here’s why:

Picture Martin Luther King Jr. standing at the simple pulpit of what was then called Dexter Avenue Baptist Church. From 1954 to1960, he was the pastor of this church, preaching his message that pulled people into a movement that changed history. The Montgomery Bus Boycott was organized from here. The church today looks similar to what it did back then–even the pulpit is still there.

In Birmingham on September 15, 1963, a bomb exploded at the 16th Street Baptist Church. Hatred killed four girls while they were putting on their choir robes. Members of the Klu Klux Klan were responsible. The bombing played a large role in the passage of the Civil Rights Act. The church, in the heart of the Civil Rights District of Birmingham, still operates as a church today. In 1873, when it was founded, it was the first African American church to in Birmingham.

From 1956-1961, the Alabama Christian Movement for Human Rights (ACMHR) was headquartered at the Bethel Baptist Church. The early Civil Rights movement efforts were organized here, including the Freedom Ride bus trip that helped lead to the desegregation of bus transportation. This church was bombed several times and is now a National Historic Landmark.