Wednesday, July 30, 2008

I'm running a series of pictures of patterns over at AbovetheGWB Photo I am working on incorporating a "studio journal" into my daily practice. The class I am taking online is with Sharon B and I have written about it here before.

I am doing more "thinking about it" than using it right this moment, but in part that is while I am processing how to change the focus from fabric to the sort of collage of things that I do. Besides, I was knitting a bathroom rug, and that took time.
I have been shooting a lot of photos, and I decided to get away from representation and into pattern for pattern's sake, so you'll have to bear with me a bit.

Meanwhile, I think part of the dithering is because I want to do so many things and Sharon B. is so pinpoint about what she is all about. I admire that a lot and it makes me feel unfinished or some version of that because there really is no way I would be totally happy with one thing.

The word dilettante springs quickly to mind. At least the definition they use first is lover of the arts. Followed by jack of all trades master of none or words to that effect.

I am loving shooting so many photos. There was a class at ICP that required shooting a roll of film a day doesn't that sound like a great class???? I REALLY wanted to take that class and kept ditzing about it (partly because of the cost, I can assure you) I am almost doing the equivalent now and it is amazing. Digital photography is certainly liberating in that way, and I don't have to pay for developing.

Friday, July 25, 2008

My mother would be speechless

As I walked down 181st street tonight I glanced up and a bit of color caught my eye. This window is about 4 floors up, right on 181st Street.
Closer inspection revealed this:
My old timer upbringing prevents me from doing much more than sharing it with you, as the laundress obviously chose to share it with all of Washington Heights!

Thursday, July 24, 2008

more -- even MORE -- Garter Stitch

Well, after whining and complaining about the afghan that was miles and miles of garter stitch, I upped the ante and did MORE garter stitch. Mason Dixon continue to inspire me and I am really fond of their book. The fact that they have a new one coming out in September is a HUGE delight to me and I can't wait! They make things that are different, interesting, and they never talk down to their readers. SO in that very first book they created
"Absorba" which is described as a bathmat. I needed a bathroom rug for my very small bathroom. (I will never make House and Gardens with this bathroom).
The previous owners put in some godawful tile in a color that will never look clean, even after I scrubbed it with a brush on my hands and knees, something I have never done before. (I won't make it to Martha Stewart's top 100 list with THAT admission either).

In any case, it is sort of greenish and a light colored rug made it look a whole
lot worse.
Enter Absorba, in Peaches and Cream Double Worsted Weight Cotton, 3 strands held together.. 2 black, 1 black watch. It was hard-on-the-hands knitting, my thumbs may never be the same, but it WORKS!!!
This is the best rendition of the color, it is also best for the floor tile. At least, on my monitor that is true.

and it is big enough, I added at the ends until I ran out of yarn, and did a small crochet edge to make it a little more finished, and there you have it.
Ignore the toes.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

The unknown museum

There is a branch of the National Museum of the American Indian in New York. It is downtown at Bowling Green, near the ferry dock, and has an amazing collection and some interesting shows. One of the shows that seems to be at least semi-permanent is called Beauty Surrounds Us, and Gill and Mark saw it when they last visited. It is one of those shows that keeps revealing itself and so I set up a series of shots from that show over on my other blog. So every day for the next 7 days a new picture from the show. I do like this advance scheduling feature..
Since I was down in the Wall Street area I was, on a Sunday, surrounded by tourists. There is a big metal bull sculpture that is quite popular since there is not much else down there on weekends.

A little boy was checking out the sculpture when he saw
"things" whose shapes he recognized.

He charged over and began hugging those round metal things .... I guess he thought he could take them off and play with them...

Sunday, July 20, 2008

City Island

A while ago the NY Times ran an article about the Islands right around NYC. The first one in the list was City Island, and on Friday a Photography Friend and I set out to see what there was to see. First you take the Number 6 subway all the way out to where it ends.

Then you take the bus for a while through some pretty nice parkland and you are on the Island. If you are like us you take the bus all the way to the end of the Island, intending to walk back.

Of course we chose the hottest day so far this year, not a cloud in the sky and the temp up around 100. It is a long way out there, and, when you get there, it is pretty quiet out there.

These boys weren't interested in moving. They KNEW better.

Some took flight when a man threw the end of his hot dog. (HOT DOG!!! when surrounded by the ocean and fish food joints...only in New York) They went for it. Seagulls are NOT picky.

This was Sammy's. We decided that a beer and something light to eat was in order since we were all the way out at the end of the island and it was a long walk back. We were going to look for things to shoot as we went.
Before we had a chance to order, this arrived. It was complementary! It was good, but we were a little surprised. All we added was a shrimp cocktail.... also good and fresh ... and a beer. That is a whole loaf of bread, and behind it is a half a pan of cornbread!
This was mostly what we saw. It was picturesque, and now I have been there, done that, and didn't bother with the tee shirt.

On the way home, there was this sign in the subway car.

Maybe Staten Island is next?

Saturday, July 19, 2008

the sequels

to Bambi in my Hummus are Frogs in my Subway station...

Here they are

This guy is shy and hasn't come out as a frog yet, but I am giving him time.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

I can't believe it has been that long!!

Thought about posting, somehow it got lost in the shuffle off to Buffalo.. not that I WENT to Buffalo, mind you. Having grown up not that far from Buffalo I can think of no reason under the sun to go there. Oh well...

I took a long look at the list of books from the last post, and decided to add Jonathan Strange and Mr Norrell. I have had it for ages and then it got into a box when I moved and came out in a different place so I lost track of it. I have actually lost track of a lot of my books.
In the old place, the books were in the living room and I looked at them and interacted with them all the time. Here, they are in the bedroom and I am not one of those people who does things in their bedroom besides sleep. I go to bed when I just HAVE to and generally for me that is 1 AM or later, and once I am up I am UP. So the books are left unvisited and are a mess, as this gives good evidence.

SO, part of the "new, more focused me" is that I am going to clear one section of books by reading them or passing them on or doing something creative with them... not clear entirely, mind you, I have not LOST my mind, just refocused it.

I want one layer of books per section, not two. So I am starting with Jonathan Strange etc. because it was the biggest book in the section I started with. We shall see how long this takes.. I am taking bets.. perhaps by 2011?

All that studying of the bookcase did not produce a copy of "The Things They Carried" so I have to go buy that, though I would have sworn I had a copy. I didn't find "Going after Cacciatto" either, and I know I had that because I loved it and wouldn't have willingly given it up.
"We shed as we pick up, like travellers who must carry everything in their arms, and what we let fall will be picked up by those behind. The procession is very long and life is very short. We die on the march. But there is nothing outside the march so nothing can be lost to it. The missing plays of Sophocles will turn up piece by piece, or be written again in another language. Ancient cures for diseases will reveal themselves once more. Mathematical discoveries glimpsed and lost to view will have their time again. You do not suppose, my lady, that if all of Archimedes had been hiding in the great library of Alexandria, we would be at a loss for a corkscrew?"- Tom Stoppard, Arcadia

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

the Reading List Post

I was seeing what was going on around the internest and I found that Loretta is starting up List Friday again. The list for this Friday is what you are reading this summer. I am compelled to do this because I need a summer reading list like I need a hole in my head, seeing as I have 6 bazillion books sitting around all demanding to be read at the same time. But because I like order and discipline.......not...... I do have some things I want to read so here goes:

The Things They Carried - Tim O'Brien - this is our book club book for September so it is first on the list.

Travels with Herodotus - Ryszard Kapuscinski -- one of my hero writers, I think I could read the phone book if he wrote it, but I haven't read this one. If you have never read him, read The Emperor or Shah of Shahs after reading either of those you will be joining me in the phone book.

Omnivore's Dilemma -- Michael Pollan -- I've read the corn section.. the first meal... and then got distracted, but I had my mouth hanging open in awe all through that chapter so back I will go.

The Yiddish Policemen's Union -- Michael Chabon -- Because I read The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay and didn't want it to end, and I hope this has the same effect.

And, what I would like to THINK I will read:

The Matisse Biography -- Hilary Spurling -- BOTH books. I am delusional here, but I would love to read them, so there they are.

That's the list for now. It certainly can become more fluid by August.

This, by the way, is my 101st post on this blog. It is the 191st day of the year, so that is almost a post every other day. I started on January 22nd this year, so not bad!

Elijah the Elephant

I finished Elijah last night and washed and dried him just to be sure he held up well before I took the pictures to show you...

I was impressed with how quickly it knit up and is perfect for the baby present I was making him to be.

Although the pattern is called Elijah, this one is going to a little girl, so will undergo a sex change operation and become Elly before arriving at her door.... don't worry, it will be perfectly painless.

The details .. Elly is right at 10 inches tall and 8 inches across with her arms spread out. She is a little bit greener than she appears in all the pictures, but I did make her eyes with bright blue cotton ribbon yarn.

She took about 3 ounces of heavyweight sock yarn. It was in my stash and had no label. I decided it was sock yarn of some sort, then had a nervous breakdown about halfway through that she wouldn't wash, but she did just fine. I think I overstuffed the head, but the body and the rest are a little squishy, so it is ok. There is no sewing with this pattern. Ysolda did a wonderful job with it. You knit and stuff the head, pick up stitches for the body, stuff that, add each appendage by picking up stitches and finally do the same for the ears. If you have a good crochet hook this is all do-able and though the first row of knitting after you pick up the stitches is tight, the rest just moves right along.

Now all this baby has to to is arrive!

Need a picture of her not seated...

Saturday, July 5, 2008

If this is July 4th, then we have a boat trip

A new Ikea store opened in Brooklyn, in Red Hook. It used to be a gritty, artisty, tough area. Now it is still a gritty, artisty, tough area but it is in transition and it has a big blue and yellow box on the waterfront and it has a ferry as one of the ways to get there. Trust me, there was NEVER enough traffic to support a ferry before, and this ferry is FREE. You will see some of the views from the ferry over on the photo blog in the course of the next couple of days, but at the end of the ferry from Pier 11 you see this.

You can go straight to the cafeteria if you get there around mealtime and you are starving..
You may also forget to take a picture of the famous Swedish Meatballs til they are nearly gone if you are REALLY hungry.
By the time for dessert, however, your composure may have returned adequately to let you shoot a photo before you eat the tasty little morsels.

There is a wonderful view out the window of the Red Hook that was and the Red Hook that might be.
Some minor shopping was done, but this was more of a reconnaissance mission and a general food checkout. There was a lovely looking shrimp salad that might be worth a return visit and the fabric and little bits of this and that will call me back I am sure. I did get a big blue bag... 59 cents and worth every penny, a glass sugar shaker and a sheet. If the sheet still looks and feels good after washing there may be some company for it.
I did NOT bring home the frozen Swedish Meatballs, for those of you who were predicting that. Restraint was necessary.

Thursday, July 3, 2008

Yesterday, I had one of those "only in New York days" and loved every minute of it. The dog walker was hired to walk Sienna, so I was free for the better part of the day.
I haven't been drawing, though it is one of my big loves, I just sort of slid out of the habit and haven't done it. I am most decidedly NOT a landscape kind of person. For me the challenge is figures and on Wednesday afternoon at Spring Studio in Soho, they have a model in costume. This is one of those amazing places in New York. Minerva Durham has been on Spring Street forever and EVERY morning, EVERY afternoon and EVERY evening except Sunday evening, there is a model on a model stand and you can draw for 3 or 4 hours. That means 20 models a week and 20 different opportunities to draw them. And just for good measure, on the first and third Saturday afternoon there are 2 models.

My prepaid card was prepaid back in 2002 but Minerva said it was still good. Even without the prepaid card, the sessions only cost $14 a session. The final icing on the cake is the quality of models is generally excellent. Why it took me so long to get back I don't know, but Nicki gave me a kick in the seat and there I was again.

my long layoff shows.
Just LOOK at that wizard was blue and gold if you want to really imagine the full impact and had a standup gold collar.

Then, since we were in Soho we went wandering a bit and dropped into the MOMA store, Kate's Paperie and the Housing Works bookstore. The only treasure that followed me home was this book of Bruce Chatwin's photos and journals. He is one of those writers whose prose I envy and whose mind I would have loved to pick, so this was great.

Then, since we were in the neighborhood and it was just 6 pm, we found ourselves out front of .............
How could we not go in? We were so hungry that I forgot to take a picture of the goat cheese and onion tart appetizer, but the lamb stew with spring vegetables and gnocci

was not lost in the shuffle. It was delicious. and the dessert... the picture is shaky, sorry but Strawberry Rhubarb TART!! I thought I had died and gone to heaven.
When we left we both thought we were going to die from good food. Fortunately there was a short walk to the subway uptown and on the way, in addition to the dalmation at the firehouse I saw these little guys.
And, as the real topper on the day, by the time I got home, Sienna was so glad to see me that she had arranged a little early Fourth of July celebration for my entertainment.

I am not sure WHY there were fireworks from New Jersey.... maybe they celebrate early across the river? But it was a fitting top to the day......