Friday, February 26, 2010

City Views, Country Dreams

Good afternoon from New York.

Our most recent snow fall began about thirty hours ago, and is finally beginning to wind down. The television news reports that over twenty inches has accumulated in Central Park. I have not yet been over there to check.

It has been quite cold and windy, and so it has been much more pleasant to remain indoors on this day off and click a few photos from my front window.

I worked all day yesterday, and found lots of slippery slushy icy sidewalks along my path to and from the subway ride home. What a relief not to have taken a tumble. Overnight the slush froze as the temperature fell along with the continuing snow.
That concludes my brief weather report.
My primary reason for this post is to answer a tag by exmorejane. Jane is one of the folks who first encouraged me to write a blog, and so, I cannot deny her request that I write a bit about ... my handbag.
Now you have seen this disreputable, aging, slouchy leather bag that I carry over my shoulder every day. It is roomy, lightweight and strong. This is fortunate. This bag carries many items besides the magazine that just peeking out.
Let's see what else is in there. I spy a wallet, a card case, some cough drops, a checkbook, a pen, some mints, a brush (I bought that Mason Pearson brush eons ago at a January Harrods sale.)
I have a small supply of make up (lipsticks, powder, concealer, tiny cologne spray) in a plastic zipper bag that was a make up counter's giveaway years ago. Oh, I also see my pocket diary, full of deadline reminders, and phone numbers and addresses of friends. I have a wonderful little pen that advertizes JVC equipment, and was given me by someone who used to sell such equipment.
The pen reminds me that I've got an orange covered pad of grid paper, for quick notes. Not many sheets left in that tablet, so it's about time for a replacement. I have got a Irish linen hankie and one of my pairs of non-prescription reading glasses in this bag ... probably near the bottom.
If I were on my way to work right now, I would also have a sandwich packed for my lunch.
There are lots of keys in the bag. Some are for home and some are for work.
Sometimes, instead of carrying along a magazine, I will tote along a book for reading while waiting for, or riding on a bus or subway train.
I think that I have now revealed all the contents of that wonderful bag of mine. All the contents are there for a reason. I found no surprises. It might surprise some of you that this bag that goes out daily into New York City does not have a zippered closure. I would find that too much bother, and have been fortunate never to have lost anything.
Hoping that luck holds, I am going to tag the following folks, who might also choose to write a bit about their own bags:
I also invite anyone reading this post to visit the above folks' blogs. You will find great variety and will no doubt want to visit them again.
Oh my, while I was investigating that handbag and trying to type the link info correctly, time has rushed past. The sun has set. The continuing light snowfall glitters in the glow of the street lamps. It's time to begin preparing some supper.
Best wishes to all.

Monday, February 15, 2010

City Views, Country Dreams

Good afternoon from New York.

I'd like to thank everyone who left such kind comments on my Valentine's Day post. It's fun to visit back and forth and find out how many things we have in common.

Since last fall's Christmas gift-making activities, I have continued to pursue various craft projects as a way to relax after my long days at the shop. Somehow, crocheting or knitting seems to be more playful that painting or drawing. I may soon have to do some extensive doodling just to begin to get the feeling for holding a pen or pencil in a playful way. Somehow I treat making pictures a a much more serious pursuit than I do fiddling around with yarn.
Let me return to the theme of generosity amongst bloggers. There are so many sites on the web that offer craft inspiration and some also actually offer instructions. A favorite of mine is Vanessa's blog do you mind if I knit. If you have never visited this creative artist's place, please give yourself a treat.
The following picture shows a pair of house slippers I have finally finished ... adding the pom poms this afternoon. I followed Vanessa's expert instructions, and found the slippers really easy to make. I think that I will be making more of the slippers for gifts.

Another interesting site is Kristin's getting stitched on the farm. Kristin is firm advocate of vivid colors, and I have made use of one of her patterns to make the colorful slippers in the next picture. They were also very simple to make, and I look forward to trying lots more colorways.

What is great about each of these two patterns is that a knitter can vary them, change the sizes, experiment with various weights of yarn, and combine colors at will. All this provides a relaxing way to spend an hour or two.
I am still working on some socks and some fingerless mitts. Each of those projects demands much more attention than the either slipper design.
Perhaps this posting will encourage more of you all to visit some new sites, and try some new projects. The days are getting longer, as we stretch towards springtime, but this is still very much a time for indoor projects.
Why is it that another classic indoor project, housecleaning, never interests me as much as knitting?
Best wishes to you all.

Saturday, February 13, 2010

City Views, Country Dreams

Hello from New York.

I send this rather clumsy, gaudy, and very sincere Happy Valentine's Day card out to you all with wishes that you may all know love, or have known love, or will know love.

Let's just celebrate the wonder of love, what wonder it is to give and to receive.

xxx ooo

Thursday, February 4, 2010

City Views, Country Dreams

Good evening from New York.

Many of these posts offer a bit of a guide to the city where I live. I have lived here many years, yet still remember a younger version of myself who had only read about New York. My teen aged appetite was fed by novels and also by the weekly delivery of The New Yorker magazine. My appetite for London was simultaneously being fed by novels from many eras and the weekly delivery of Punch magazine.

Only one of these magazine is still flourishing. My reading Punch as a child and teenager was due the gifts from the same great auntie who taught me to knit. She was a major influence on my big city aspirations. It was my grandmother whose generosity gave me the necessary $100 for my very first trip to New York. Decades later, I funded my own first trip to London.

So, the lure and experience of these global urban giants are held closely in my mind and heart. I so enjoy the opportunity to pass this enthusiasm on to others. (At the same time, my decades of living in New York has also increased my interest in the wide open air and landscape of the country. It's the land in between that does not hold my interest.)

With this backdrop, how grand it was to meet a delightful couple who live in Wales, and were making their first trip to New York. These are very sophisticated folks, and so my tour guide duties were not required to explain what it uptown, what is downtown.

Instead, we shared the treat of visiting my once-upon-a-time workplace, The Metropolitan Museum of Art. It's a big building that sprawls its rectangle into Central Park, while clinging to its Fifth Avenue address.

Those of you who have visited this place know that it is a treasure chest, full of representations of wonderful creativity from many eras and countries. In warmer weather, the Museum can be crowded, maybe a bit too crowded. In the chilly winter months, visitors can have a much more relaxed and welcoming experience.

And so, my friends Chris and Tom from across the Atlantic and I had a grand time in this elegant time machine of cultural excellence.

Tom was kind enough to take this photo, and being a very fine artist, got a great view. Chris and I were in good hands. We three had such a good time getting better acquainted, trading anecdotes, trading opinions on art, trading laughter.

I wish that we could soon again have the opportunity to continue our conversations. Tonight they are home, and today, I have had another day off, a day during which I was "on call" awaiting a call from other friends, who might have needed my help in getting one of these dear friends home from a hospital stay. As I turned out, this friend did get home, and is now resting, without my assistance. My assistance will no doubt be helpful in the weeks to come.

As I waited today for a call or e-mail, I busied myself with completing those Crofters wood socks that you might remember from an earlier post.

This is my second pair of hand knit socks, and I do think I have got the hang of it. Not at all the complicated process I used to imagine. Later this evening, I might just start another pair of socks, just to be sure the turning of the heel is securely within my repertoire.

Tomorrow, after this day's relaxation, I will be back to the shop, for a day that will demand energy, poise, discretion, strategy, humor ... oh, lots of qualities that have nothing to do with knitting socks.

Best wishes to you all.