Saturday, April 30, 2011

Spring is my favorite season in NYC. I especially love the trees all over the city with the white blossoms. I am not sure what kind of trees they are, but they are everywhere. This is the East Side; photo taken from the Kips Bay Showhouse. My last apartment in NYC had a wonderful view of flowering trees like this.
And you cannot forget the magnificent tulips on Park Avenue every spring.

Friday, April 29, 2011

This cracked me up!
Or as the newspaper article claimed: "it will have you in stitches"
Photograph credit, KG, fellow Wilton Knitwit, part-time London resident.

My fellow knit wit friend KG, has the knack of tracking down the most interesting knitting, crafting, needlework books and events and such. Just a few weeks ago KG attended the Stitch and Craft show in London where she came across the lovely author Fiona Goble who wrote a Knit Your Own Royal Wedding. The author and her talk were both delightful with amazing knitted royals in attendance as well. The Today Show was shooting a segment with the author and asked Kris if she would be interviewed too - because they heard she was an American - I have not found the interview yet but I am on the hunt and will air right here when and if I find it.
Click on the Daily Mail to see all the pics of the Knitted Royal Wedding - a hoot -

I did not quite get what Kris was talking about until I saw the pictures.

Enjoy your day at the wedding via the tube. I did not watch Diana's but I will be up early today in Virginia, where I am working at a boutique, Daisy Days in Richmond. Thank goodness the time zones are in my favor so that I can catch a good portion of the wedding before the boutique opens.
Rococo Chocolates designed a special chocolate box in honour of
the wedding.
The painting inspired by an imagined proposal by Prince William to Miss Kate.
By the way, Rococo has the most amazing chocolates,
located on the King's Road in London.
It was a haunt of mine when I lived there;
I limited my purchase to three truffles at a time
and savored every morsel.

Pastel Royal Wedding Map via JCB

Thursday, April 28, 2011

The desktops are looking pretty good:
street plan of Paris
the naturalist's Butterflies (butterflies are so IN this season)
happy Sis Boom
to match the Sis Boom memento board I posted earlier this week
If you are near Richmond, Virginia
come on by and check out my wares in person.
Daisy Days at St. Catherine's School

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Spring 2011

Watercolor Swirl in aqua and pink

front: Sea Glass
back left: Central Park Walk
back right: Clover in aqua

Blue Daisy


Mocha Hide

Moroccan window
front - olive
back left - white with brown
back right - brown with white

butterflies and bees

What difference a ribbon makes.
I prefer the black with white topstitching - how about you?

For the cabin
the friend who owns the cabin that you are visiting

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Car is packed; ready to go; books on tape: Sarah's Key and Freedom. Trip will be 389 miles each way. I am looking forward to driving into spring. We still have lots of bare branches in the Northeast. Will post from the show, if I have the energy.

Graduation Season is upon us.
How about a custom frame to remember the big event!

Spoonflower fabric created
by a Wilton friend of mine
specifically for the Wilton high school market.
I think these frames will FLY off the shelf.

Perennial favorites:
seersucker with monograms.
If you are interested, scroll down the left side to see monogram options,
then e-mail me.
Two week turn around time.

For the LAX nut, a frame for the the action photo.

and some frames from last year.

Monday, April 25, 2011

Spring, finally some fair weather.

Custom board for Sophie
to match her
desktop memento board.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Is that not the cutest picture of a baby checking out the action?

The March 24, 2011 Boston Globe Sunday magazize featured a terrific article on the resurgence of knitting, sewing and handcrafts. The photos of the shops were bright and vibrant. I misplaced my copy of the article and had to make due with this photo, which is not nearly as bright and colorful as the original, but the sweet baby makes up for the lack of intense color. The article reported on the growing trend of do-it-yourself handicraft boutiques and interest in all things hand-made and the shift of today's generation away from the 70's anti-hand-craft woman's work to the pride of home/hand made.

People are beginning to realize the importance of creating for yourself as our world becomes increasingly high-tech, digital and faster and faster and faster. The slow movement is a terrific counterpart to the fast-paced 24-7 world we live in today. I love the slow, methodical work of knitting and stitching; it is relaxing and satisfying. Hurrah for hand work. A fitting sentiment for earth day - getting back to basics - do it yourself kind of activities - slowing down - enjoying today as it is - keeping our world alive.

If you are in the Boston area, check out the knitting shops below.

J. P. Knit & Stitch - Jamaica Plain

Gather Here - Cambridge "stitch lounge"

Stitch House - Dorchester

Hipstitch - Newtonville

Craftland School of Craft - Providence

Post Script:
Here is part of an interesting interview with Lisa Borgnes Giramonti of A Bloomsbury Life - this excerpt dovetails with my comments on the hand-craft arts or "home-arts". I did a post on Lisa last year and featured her wonderful needlepoint tapestries that are very funny and creative - click here.

You create modern, witty needlepoint art (a phrase many, who haven’t seen your work, may consider an oxymoron.) What drew you to this medium? I particularly love your piece “Perky Boobies;” do you think that we are returning to an appreciation of the “home arts” like entertaining, embroidery and gardening?

Oh, Sariah, I hope so. I think this recession has forced us all to turn inward and to realize that the It bag we all had to have five years ago is a hollow substitute for the pleasures of a meaningful life. In the last year, I have been much more conscious of living large on a small scale. Friends come over, we cook, we entertain, we talk, we laugh and we have a deep appreciation for each other’s company.

In terms of my textile work, my embroideries and postmodern samplers are a compulsion; I can’t not create them. My mother and grandmother both embroidered, and I grew up watching them, but they always worked from kits and that never appealed to me. When I saw the Bayeux Tapestry, I had a sudden epiphany that I needed to embroider MY life and my words instead of someone else’s. And that’s what I’ve done.

"Purly Wurly Takes a Picture," 1998

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Redmond Aldrich

Another example of how a designer uses an inspiration board; this photo is from the website of Redmond Aldrich Design and is a shot of her "design-kit". The kit is fitted out for an individual according to their design requirements; it allows an individual to use the firm's services without having the designer present - e-mail and telephone and this packet. Voila.

Inspiration boards and their uses grow...

Friday, April 15, 2011

Working, working, working after my winter hibernation, trying to get ready for my next boutique in Richmond, Virginia. My terrific monogrammer just embroidered 40 ribbons to get me ready for the spring graduation season. More photos after I finish a weekend of work in the studio. Can't wait to show you the 2011 spring line.

I Wandered Lonely as a Cloud

by William Wordsworth

I wandered lonely as a cloud
That floats on high o'er vales and hills,
When all at once I saw a crowd,
A host, of golden daffodils;
Beside the lake, beneath the trees,
Fluttering and dancing in the breeze.

Continuous as the stars that shine
And twinkle on the milky way,
They stretched in never-ending line
Along the margin of a bay:
Ten thousand saw I at a glance,
Tossing their heads in sprightly dance.

The waves beside them danced; but they
Out-did the sparkling waves in glee:
A poet could not but be gay,
In such a jocund company:
I gazed--and gazed--but little thought
What wealth the show to me had brought:

For oft, when on my couch I lie
In vacant or in pensive mood,
They flash upon that inward eye
Which is the bliss of solitude;
And then my heart with pleasure fills,
And dances with the daffodils.

This poem was featured on the Writer's Almanac today; one of my daily reads.
The image of the daffodils "fluttering and dancing in the breeze" is perfect for today.
Years ago, my work commute was a long drive in heavy traffic;
the last leg of the journey was along a street lined with giant suburban houses,
most built a long time ago with good architectural bones;
one of the property owners on this street planted daffodils along the roadside; masses of them.
The first year that I drove down that street in April
and saw all the daffodils in bloom
I gasped aloud at the sheer volume and beauty of the sight.
I was inspired to give my own burst of happiness to travelers
each spring
so I planted clumps of daffodils down on the roadside of my property.
Today, they still look beautiful;
the sand and salt from the winters killed off many clumps,
but for the most part
it is a sunny, happy display of spring.

Happiness can be yours just by looking at nature.

I smile and have a spring in my step each year when the flowers are in full display.

People have stopped and told me how much they like the flowers too.

weekend planting...

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

"....break them out of their narrowness."

Harvard professor Laurel Thatcher Ulrich on the use of the tangible in academic study. Here is an exerpt from the Harvard Gazette on Objects of Instruction

While Hamburger and Galison focused on the rare and the remarkable in Harvard’s collections, Laurel Thatcher Ulrich, the 300th Anniversary University Professor, and Ivan Gaskell, Margaret S. Winthrop Curator in theHarvard Art Museums and senior lecturer on history, extolled the virtues of the mundane and the everyday: a toothbrush, a chair, a piece of clothing. “My adventure has been to move into the realm of material objects and use them to study ordinary people in ordinary life,” Ulrich said.

Ulrich, the developer of the popular General Education course and exhibition “Tangible Things,” stood at the front of the classroom and pulled a quilt out of an old bookcase. The quilt, which was made in Missouri during the 1920s, was designed with dark blue hexagons. She said that she had students research the source of the design, which led them back hundreds of years to a study of Islamic decorative art, its migration through Europe and then to America. An examination of the cloth and its manufacture in the American South took students through the history of slavery.

Ulrich said that she wanted her students to work with artifacts to “break them out of their narrowness” and help them make connections between unrelated things like a quilt made in Missouri and an Islamic tile.

Observation is such an important part of learning. Connections: one era to an another. Everything repeats. We are inspired by the past. Read and See. See and Do. Listen. Start each day with the idea of learning something new. When I am in a funk and nothing seems to be working out I remember my mantra: make each day matter. What I mean by this is to use my senses to keenly observe the world around me. I am pleasantly surprised by something I discover. Small joys. All for free. Just open your eyes, your ears, your heart and you too will be amazed by a little nugget of wisdom or joy.

“You see cultural contact and exchange in ways that you cannot see in books and writing,” she said. “Students get really excited when you put them in touch with real stuff.”

Monday, April 11, 2011

A few weeks back I started to tell you about a woman who designed
perfect little houses
"in scale houses".
Her name was Barbara Garfield.
The houses are all clustered together in a seaside community in Connecticut
called Rowayton.
I was finally able to get some photos
and here is an old article about her work

Each summer we attend Shakespeare on the Sound;
the production is staged in on a grassy hill next to the Five Mile River,
across the street from Jo's Way, the cluster of houses
designed by Barbara "Jo" Garfield.
And each year I peak through the hedges to get a better view
of these tiny treasures.
I love the long windows, french doors and compact and efficient size.
Her houses were generally 1600 sq ft.

I am a small house person; my house is 1,500 sq. ft
and it is just right.
My little antique has been home for 20 years.

Finally Americans are learning that big is not always better.
The country seems to be in a downsize mode these days.
The pendulum is swinging.

Barbara was ahead of her time.
She started designing these houses in the 80's
as "a reaction to the McMansions",
soon to be the white elephants of the 21st century.

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Photo caption by Brian Rea for Modern Love column,
New York Times, April 7 , 2011

Being a mother is the best thing about my life.
This morning I read the most amazing story in the Modern Love column of the New York Times.
It is a powerful story of love and anguish.

Friday, April 8, 2011

with photographer Vicki Topaz on her new book: Silent Nests. The interview is interesting and the photographs are beautiful, however, it was the author's description of a book that she is currently working on that captivated me; the book is called Silver: A State of Mind - here is what she says about it.

Diane Dorrans Saeks: What are you working on now?
Vicky Topaz: My current work, entitled ‘Silver: A State of Mind’, is a series of portraits of women who possess one of the most distinctive outward signs of aging--silvering hair. The project deals with the transformative and challenging aspects of aging and aims to reveal the core energy, vitality and allure of these women and how they are moving through this time in their lives. I find the silvering of hair is an entry point to a diversity of thoughts and ideas on the subject. This is a different sort of "landscape"--women who are aging and the vistas they inhabit.

So today, my birthday, I am reflecting on my age. Awhile back I made the decision not to change the color of my hair - I am aging as God intended - silver sparkles in my hair now. I like it and I love the idea that "the silvering of hair is an entry point to a diversity of thoughts and ideas on the subject".

When I turned 50 my dear friend June said to me: "50 allows us to say and think whatever we want - we have earned it". So silver shots in my hair and lots of years, I have earned it. And you know what? All the hairdressers love my shimmery silver - mixed in with my light brown.

And my body thanks me for it - no chemicals. And Mother Earth thanks me too.

Read this NYT piece by Dominque Browning of Slow Love Life blog. It is about long hair on older women but also about graying hair.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

My case you are curious.

Three years since I took the leap into the blogosphere.

Wish you could join me for a cookie and a cup of tea to celebrate
my 3 year blog day.

Thanks for reading and returning.

A few weeks ago I wrote about this blog and how it has evolved (click here).

Looking up and looking out for inspiration and motivation.
Seeing, listening, feeling, doing. Passing it along to someone else.
Take what you like and leave the rest.

Here is a quote from Eleanor Roosevelt that I read yesterday. On target.
“One’s philosophy is not best expressed in words; it is expressed in the choices one makes. In the long run, we shape our lives, and we shape ourselves. The process never ends until we die. And the choices we make are ultimately our own responsibility.

Other blog day posts: April 6, 2010, April 6, 2009, April 6, 2008

PS - Paris Breakfasts sells her art here.

Monday, April 4, 2011

Cobblestones randomly placed in a grid
(do not remember where I found this image)

Central Park Cobble
one of the fabrics from the Spring 2011 line
Finally the weather is cooperating.
The chill and damp was not too bad in the studio,
aka garage.
Spent yesterday afternoon in the studio
with my mini space heater.

Friday, April 1, 2011

A little late in posting about BLOGGERS FIGHTING HUNGER
but hunger does not go away
8.8% of our population is unemployed - that is 13.5 million people
15% is the true percentage of our population that is unemployed which includes those who have given up looking, and those who are still looking for jobs.

Please do something today...or tomorrow...or the next day.