Sunday, February 4, 2018

City Views, Country Dreams

Good morning from New York.

Yes, it has been a while since I last posted.  There have been several reasons for that long pause.

With no further ado, I would like to wish everyone a belated Happy New Year.

I will now backtrack a bit to let you all know that I had a lovely trip to London back in late November and early December, and was also fortunate to fit in a Cambridge visit.

I was mostly fortunate with the weather, experiencing only one day during which my umbrella was required.  My hotel was near the glorious Victoria and Albert Museum, and it was grand being able to visit its marvelous exhibits often during my holiday.

When I returned home to New York, I jumped right back into intense Santa's workshop mode, with days filled with baking, knitting gifts and even painting Christmas tea cup cards.

The 2017 cards featured a green cup against a red background.  The leaves on the cup were based upon an interesting plant called ivy leafed toad flax.

Midway through January, my laptop encountered difficulties, which have taken a while to be sorted.  During the interim, I have once again concentrated on my Instagram posts.  You could click here and see more of my photographs from November, December and January.

However, mid-January, I regret that my own life changed when I learned that my 99-year-old Mom had passed away.  It's been difficult to think of blogging, and even what to blog about.

Instead of my usual colorful fair isle knitting, I have turned to the serene comfort of this simple, soft alpaca scarf.  This sort of knitting allows my mind to remember the most important person in my life in a very quiet, calming way.

It may be a while before I will be posting again, but as always, thank you all for your visits and kind comments.

Friday, October 27, 2017

City Views, Country Dreams

Good afternoon from New York on a lovely late October day.

It's been quite a while since my last post, and I am delighted to report that the street repairs on my block were finally completed.  It's been a relief to have normal peace and quiet restored.

The relative quiet has made it easier for me to concentrate on some fair isle knitting.  Some of you all may have noticed that I have added some tubular cowls and fingerless mitts to my Foakley Arts shop.

Chillier weather is gradually settling in, and it's been interesting to see changes occurring over in Central Park every time I take a walk there.

The Park's lawns are still beautifully green, and at last some of the tree leaves are beginning to change their colors.

Sitting on a bench with an ice cream cone no longer seems as appealing as popping into a cafe for a coffee or hot chocolate.

I am still quite devoted to weekly trips to the farmers market, and recently based a little watercolor card, painted for a friend, on a string of hearts plant purchased at the Union Square Farmers Market.

Here is photo of some of the mitts I recently completed.

Pumpkins of all shapes, sizes and colors are appearing around town. Lots of orange on display.

The above photo was taken at the Union Square Farmers Market.  The following photo was taken at a much smaller Farmers Market held in on a triangular park just diagonally across from Lincoln Center's theaters and plaza.

Here is yet another sample of my recent knitting.  Knitting has proved a good method for staying calm while still staying up to date with increasingly worrying current events.

Some houses in my neighborhood have begun decorating for Halloween.

Yesterday was a very overcast day, which seemed to cause certain colors to became accented.  I decided to take a walk over to the Park to check on how the changing leaf colors were coming along.

At several intersections I was puzzled to see these large, heavy barricades on the sidewalk corners.

They did not seem to be arranged in the same way on each of the corners, and I wondered why they had been placed there.  Typically, around New York, similar barricades that might be deployed as a way to impede motor vehicles heading on to sidewalks (either accidentally or intentionally in our new normal) are somehow decorated to be a bit easier on the eyes.  That usual barricade placement is also different from what I saw yesterday.

As I continued my walk, I began to notice a series of colored signs posted at intervals along the sidewalk.  Aha!  That told me that some film crews were at work somewhere nearby.  I thought that part of their schedule might involve temporarily stopping regular traffic on some streets, so that the film crews could put down tracks for the cameras to roll on.  Those barricades might be put to work.

I continued to walk, and entered the Park, discovering that additional film crews seemed to be using several Park locations.

Perhaps because of the dark sky, and chilly, damp air, the Strawberry Fields mosaic had not drawn its usual crowds, so I stopped to take a photo.  I don't remember ever before taking a photo in this area.

My curiosity lead me over to the old Band Shell area, where the trees were glowing, and lots of equipment was in use, and also standing by for future use. 

One of my friends has been involved in filming a major movie recently, making use of some locations near where I live.  I am always hoping to come upon one of these shoots.

I had no such luck yesterday, and actually was not able to discover just what was being filmed.  I think it was for a television program.

The above scene seemed to involve some sort of mugging encounter.  I witnessed several "takes," and got the impression that more would be required.

Should I eventually discover what was being filmed, I will update this post.  Until then, this increasingly lazy blogger thanks you all for your visits and comments.  I will endeavor to be better at visiting your posts.  Wishing you all a very Happy Halloween!

Update...what was being filmed in the above photo was a scene from Instinct, a new tv show starring and produced by Alan Cumming.

I am horrified to update this post after this afternoon's downtown terrorist attack.  It now seems as if those NYPD sidewalk barriers might well have been a proactive attempt to prevent a similar attack.  What a world.

Monday, August 21, 2017

City Views, Country Dreams

Good morning from New York.

Later today we will be able to witness some of the effects of the solar eclipse.  Before that happens, I will keep my promise to myself and catch up on blogging.

Since I last posted, many terrible things have happened around the world.  There is much to concern us, to anger us and perhaps, to encourage us to involve ourselves positively in our shared world.

It has also been a time traditionally devoted to holidays, a time when school children are not required to spend days in classrooms.  
A time to visit beaches.  The following beach scene is a tableau set up in a neighborhood dry cleaning establishment.  It makes me smile.

In an attempt to not be consumed by bad news, I continue to encourage smiles.  This is what I am currently knitting...a tubular cowl that will eventually be added to my shop Foakley Arts.

I've been reading all sorts of books, from detective stories to serious literature, borrowed from The New York Society Library.  The following photo shows a book I treated myself to purchasing.  It was published to accompany a Winifred Nicholson exhibit that has been touring the UK.  Since I was not able to see the exhibit, I am thoroughly enjoying this marvelous book and recommend it highly.

There are so many wonderful places to visit and things to do in NYC during the summer.  The outdoor places are more pleasant to visit when the weather is not too, too hot and humid.  As many of you all know, Central Park's Shakespeare Garden is a favorite place of mine.

The Garden is currently in its full blown late summer look, quite overgrown and just a bit wild.  I took lots of photos yesterday and will share many of them with you all.

As one wanders along the sloping pathways of the Garden, it's possible to find all sorts of plants.  The Park's gardeners are very talented in their selections.

One of my goals on yesterday's stroll was to keep a lookout for unusual butterflies.  Alas, I saw only a few of very "usual" plain white butterflies.  The good news is that I saw and heard many bees buzzing around the flowers.

I like the rustic look of this Garden, and at this time of the year there are all sorts of interesting seed pods.  It's quite a feast.

Lots of plants had grown very leggy.

A great variety of greens were on display.

In more shadowed areas, I found quieter plantings.

I am hoping to be able to make use of some of these photos as reference for drawings and paintings.

My visit was just about midday, so there was the potential for lots of back lighting from certain angles.

In this shady area, the leaves had a blue tinge.

At the top boundary of the Garden, there was evidence that some garden fauna had been nibbling on the flora.

I liked this back lighting very much.

Here is my final farewell photo as I wandered away from the lovely Shakespeare Garden.  During my visit I encountered only about 30 other folks also enjoying the sights.

On my way home, I stopped by the farmers market, to purchase some wonderful tomatoes and green veg.

Somehow, I resisted purchasing any of the incredible flowers on display at this stand.

The red dahlia in the following photo was the size of a dinner plate.  It was absolutely dazzling!

In the next photo is my homemade contraption that I will be using in a few hours to safely observe the solar eclipse.  I learned how to "construct" it from the website of the Washington Post newspaper.

I am also going to show you all this painting which is my current "rescue" project.  The canvas was abandoned about 17 years ago when it was a rather dark moody abstract.  I've now decided to treat that moody bit as a view from a window.  Work on this painting has been interrupted by continuing very loud street noise from my own open window.

Electrical repairs seem to have been completed.  Now the below ground gas pipes are being replaced.  If you look very carefully at the Completion Date on the sign, you will see the letters ASAP.

I took that photo several weeks ago.  Work continues.

As always, thank you all for your visits and comments.  I am going to try to do better at keeping up with your posts.  Promise.  Admittedly, my Instagram page is competing for my time.

Enjoy the eclipse!