Monday, October 17, 2016

City Views, Country Dreams

Good afternoon from New York.

I have had a busy time since my previous post.  About a week ago, I bought my first smart phone.  Since then, the two of us have been getting used to each other.

Many thanks to all of you who sent me valuable recommendations, tips and advice regarding this investment.  

I have attended two introductory workshops at my neighborhood Apple shop, and have also had splendid consultations with my data supplier, both online and at a neighborhood outpost of the carrier.  Every one of these encounters has been very helpful.  It's also been fun to play around with my new phone.  The adventure has begun!

Each of the photographs I show you all here were taken this afternoon with the phone.  In the past few days I have also set up an Instagram account.  Some of you all have already kindly paid me visits over there.  I begin to see the charm of Instagram, yet think there is also just something special about blogging.

Some autumnal decorating has been going on around the neighborhood.  The scary Halloween over the top decorations will be showing up in a week or so.  

I'm trying to only spend a hour or so each day investigating the phone's possibilities, and have also been making soup, reading Ian McEwan's Nutshell, knitting and walking through the neighborhood and Central Park.

I am also paying attention to the final weeks of campaign coverage leading up to our November 8 Election Day.  I find little to inspire me, much to deplore.  

After some sunny days and crispy cool air, today seems to contain a bit of leftover humidity.  Some of the clouds I saw this afternoon (but did not photograph) indicate that rain may be arriving soon.

Your visits and comments are much appreciated.  If any of you all have more smart phone tips, please do pass them along.  It's fun learning about something new!

Tuesday, October 4, 2016

City Views, Country Dreams

Good evening from New York.

I've meant to write another post before now, but the brilliant late summer, early autumn weather has been encouraging me to spend lots of time outdoors.

When indoors, I've been reading lots of good books, starting and finishing many knitting projects, doing some sketching, and having lunch and tea with friends.  I have also spent way too many hours following news coverage of our very lengthy Presidential election campaign season.  In about an hour, I'll be switching on the television to watch the two parties' Vice Presidential candidates debate.  No doubt I will be shouting at the television within the first quarter hour of the debate.

However, there are other ways to occupy one's interest during autumn in New York.

Yesterday, I met a friend over at the Cooper Hewitt Design Museum, It is a division of the Smithsonian Institute that is devoted to design.

The Museum was renovated a year or so ago, and now has a very different interior look in its gallery spaces.  Most of the windows of this grand old mansion that face on to Central Park are kept shuttered and blinded.  There is quite an emphasis on visitors being giving the opportunity to have inter-active electronic connections to the various exhibits, and even to the minimal area now devoted to the CH's own collection of beautifully designed items.

The newly opened exhibit that drew us is called Scraps and fills a few rooms with very interesting examples of how various textiles can be creatively recycled.  

As someone who herself enjoys reusing fabrics and yarns, and playing around with patching and even darning, I found this a lovely exhibit.

We were clever to time our arrival at the museum not long after its opening hour, so we were able to examine the treasures in Scraps in a tranquil atmosphere.

One of my favorite displays, shown in the above photo, was a collection of tiny (thumb nail sized) amulets made from tiny, tiny pockets of embroidered fabrics, that had been stuffed with some sort of stiff stuffing, to which in some cases odd little bits of metal had been hung.  My photo does not do them a favor.  They were indeed gems.

The "interactive" aspect of the New CH involves each visitor being given an electronic wand, about the size of a chunky Sharpie pen.  One end allowed us to connect with the label for any display that interested us, which then allowed us to find a record of our interest in that display to be retrieved when we got home.  (If we had a computer or smart phone as Everyone Seems to Have these days.)

I was intrigued by this process, but also wish that more information about many of the items displayed throughout the Museum might have been divulged.  My appetite was not really satisfied.

The exit doorway from the Scraps show lead to a lovely space under a skylight.  Can you see the row of velvet pillows arrayed along the expanse of the window seat?  The pillows reminded me of gumdrops.

It was a pleasure to pass by a window that was not covered up, and to have a glimpse of the green grounds around the Museum, as well as a below street level storage area.  I found pleasure in realizing that even the CH seems not always to have clever places to store everything.

Here is another view of that entrance/exit from the Scraps show.  Again, the presence of the electric fan amused me.  Very elegant.

We continued upstairs to have a look at other exhibits.

This is just a detail of a beautiful cabinet that was created during the era of tulip mania.

These old candle holders have clever and functional designs that pleased my eyes.

Many of the rooms at the CH have large fire places in which fires will never again burn.

I liked the look of this fabric in a show featuring 1950's design.

Spooky, eh?  One of the interactive rooms offered the willing participants the opportunity to play around with wall paper designs on a digital sketch book, and to have the results of your doodling projected on several walls of the room.

I was hoping to show you a link to what my interactive pen created but the link does not seem to work.  I can see it, but cannot share it with you.

Here is a very cute little pedal vehicle that was part of another CH exhibit.  I could not resist taking a photo.  Photography is allowed throughout the Museum, as long as there is no flash.

The Museum has a tiny cafe, that has good food, but clearly is not large enough to handle the demand of midday museum guests looking for lunch.  However, we persevered and enjoyed being able to have our lunch at one of the tables set up in garden. 

Afterwards, we walked over to Central Park, entering at the edge of the Jackie Onassis Reservoir, with its surrounding jogging path.

At some hours of the day, the jogging path is quite busy, filled with one-way traffic made of of dedicated joggers.  Around 2 p.m. in the afternoon, it is more tranquil, and looking across the reservoir provides a pretty view.

Even tiptoeing to have a look over the surrounded iron fencing provides some lovely views of natural plantings, created by talented Central Park gardeners.

Since the day's earlier clouds and fog had cleared, and the weather was mild, I decided to walk home across the Park, rather than taking the crosstown bus.

A few pretty autumn natural souvenirs caught my eye, and I stooped to pick them up and brought them home.  My plan was to draw them today.

Alas, later last evening I began to feel a sporadic, sharp pain in my lower back, that actually played havoc with my getting a good night's rest.  Ouch!

I think that I might have strained some sort of muscle during yesterday's long walk, and hope these pains soon goes away.  This morning I found some vintage Advil in my medicine cabinet and have taken a few of these pills during the day.  Perhaps it is only a placebo effect, but the pain has somewhat lessened.

I wish that each of you who are interested in textiles would be able to see the Scraps show before it closes mid-April.  It's a small show, but quite beautiful and thought provoking.

Thank you for all your visits and comments here.  I am getting closer to making my smart phone purchase, but definitely would still welcome any advice  Best wishes to you all.

Thursday, September 15, 2016

City Views, Country Dreams

Good afternoon from New York.

It's been a while since I have given you all a true idea of how bountiful the stands are at the Union Square farmers market in late summer.

The time has now arrived for a pretty long show and tell.  Let's start off calmly, with these pastel hydrangeas.

We can increase the tempo just a bit with some dahlias.

Now it's time to start collecting some freshly picked veg, like these splendid okra samples.  They make a great addition to curries.

This same stand is one of my favorites.  They are at Union Square on Wednesdays, and have a slightly smaller set up on Sundays on the sidewalk behind the Museum of Natural History.

When I make my purchases, I will say "See you Sunday" or "See you Wednesday."

This vast array of radishes and carrots of many colors is at another farmers stand.

I particularly like the wide variety of lettuces that they sell,at reasonable prices.

Another nearby stand has brilliant arrays of spicy peppers.  These are all too hot for me, but I admire their visual beauty.

Oh look at the colors of these zinnias!

Some of the stands feature both produce and flowers.  I am leaving some of the surrounding area in these pictures so that you all might have a better idea of the scale and set up of the market.

There are quite a few bakery stands, under sheltering umbrellas.  I think this picture is too shady to show the deep teal blue green of this shopper's hair.

Let's see some more dahlias.  If you squint your eyes and look at this photo, the flowers almost look like daffodil blooms, with white edges and pink or coral trumpets.

Aren't these colors beautiful?

These flowers have a bit sharper spice to their colors.

Here's another vista view showing you more of how the market is arranged along the western and northern edges of Union Square, and how tall buildings are just across the surrounding streets.

Here is another sweet pastel display amid all the shining bright produce.

Sunflowers get their own aisle under this large umbrella.

Bright sunny and cooler shadowy areas make for pleasant browsing.

The success of Union Square's market lead to many restaurants opening nearby.  You will often see chefs shopping for very large quantities of fruit and veg for their kitchens.  However, now many area landlords are demanding very high rents for the restaurant spaces, so some of the original restaurants are having to relocate, trying not to move too far away.

It's definitely corn season, and this fellow was restocking his stand from huge baskets he'd carried over from where his truck was parked nearby.

New varieties of potted plants also begin to appear as September begins.

Chrysanthemums were all over the place!

Here's a real parade of plants.

I thought this purple kale was beautiful.  I didn't buy any, but definitely wanted to take a photograph.

Leaving the northern end of the Square, I saw another city view that I thought might give an idea of the area.  You can see some of the large trucks the farmers drive in from their farms, mostly in New Jersey or in "upstate" New York.

On that particular market day, I took a Madison Avenue bus uptown to take care of a few errands.  When I got off the bus, I enjoyed a bit of window shopping.  We've been having one of the weeks when the fashion designers show their designs to store buyers and wealthy patrons and celebrities.

This also means that windows of designer shops like that of Missoni, that I show here, want to put on a good show.

I thought that Missoni's chosen fall palette was interesting.  I've always liked all the zigs and zags and stripes of the company's designs.  The reflections in the window's glass add something to the collage of color and shapes.

I'm hoping that you all have enjoyed a farmers market visit and a taste of Madison Avenue fashion.  

Thanks so much for your comments on my prior post.  I particularly appreciated the smart phone information.  I am still weighing my options and learning more every day about factors that will help me with my decision.