Tuesday, January 31, 2012

City Views, Country Dreams

Good afternoon from New York, on the last day of January.

That is what the calendar tells us, but today's weather seems more like what we find in late March.  This winter grows curiouser and curiouser.

On another mild day last week, I met a friend over at The Metropolitan Museum of Art to take a peek at the newly re-installed American Wing.  We concentrated on looking at the paintings, but I was rather charmed by this very large curlew, which I believe was once part of a weather vane, and now makes a dramatic addition to a open wall space.  The curlew is not yet part of the Met's collection, but is on loan.  I noticed that there were other beautiful loaned items on display.  I think that Met curators might hope to eventually win these gems for the collection.

After looking at art, and having a quick lunch and lots of talking, my friend and I took a leisurely stroll in Central Park, where I saw these beautiful little snowdrops.  I always love to see them peeking up through leaves, or sometimes even through a light coating of actual snow.

This week I began a new phase of my life, since I have now officially reduced my work week from five to four days.  The plan is to give me more time for my various art and craft interests, and more time to see friends, cook, bake, read, take long walks...all such pursuits have consistently been curtailed in recent years.

Here's one of my current projects.  I am making myself a pair of socks using yarn that is very similar to some I used for a gift for a brother of mine.  I do enjoy the self-patterning yarn.

On a recent visit to the city's large farmers market in Union Square, I treated myself to a big pot of pink hyacinths, that were just raring to burst into flower.  As you can see from this close up view, the show as begun, and the unique scent is being released.  Spring is arriving early indoors, too.

I've also begun painting some cards for the next major holiday that is just around the corner.  I will eventually post some pictures of those little paintings.

This morning I took care of something that has been on my errand list for months, and replaced my late copier/printer with a new copier/printer/scanner.  I think that I am going to enjoy learning how to use the scanner function.  Right now I am just proud of having been able to set up the machine and have it working.  Once upon a time I would have doubted my ability to do so!

Perhaps you all can tell that I am already quite enjoying my extra bit of freedom  It's my intention to post more frequently.  We shall see how that works out!


  1. I am glad that you have been able to cut down your hours - it is good to have time to do the nice things in life. I love your sock - I too love the self patterning yarn - yours is a really great one.

    It is very chilly here this week, although until now it has been unseasonably mild.

    Pomona x

  2. Really looking forward to seeing all the things you can get up to now that you have an extra day off work!


  3. Just think, you will be able to scan your paintings and make prints of your tea cups!

    I am very impressed that you set the new printer yourself. i am rubbish at anything like that.

    Hyacinths, nothing like them for filling the senses with spring. We are having an icy blast from arctic complete with easterly wind and icy winds, brrrr.

  4. How lovely that you can slow down a bit and enjoy some making time.

    Loving the curlew :D

  5. It's lovely having more time to do more of the things you love.

    I've been retired for just over a year now and, although I don't have nearly as much money, I have a wonderful time!

  6. 4 days not 5! Lucky you - and well deserved. You have, no doubt put in the hours over the years.

    That curlew is a gem - can you tell me why it is in the Met rather than in a folk art collection? Or is it because it represents part of the history of American art?

  7. I know that we're going to enjoy those extra hours of 'leisure' (ie being busy in a different way) almost as much as you! I'm looking forwards to reading more.

    I do love that curlew. We see them on the coast here and their cry still intrigues me when I hear it. My favourite coastal birds though are the oystercatchers with their pink legs and orange bills and the way they call 'kip-kip'!

    Anyway, will stop writing about the birds here and send you our best wishes for that extra day to have to yourself. Cx

  8. Good; you will find that one extra day off a week will soon not be enough to satisfy all the new cravings for activity you will develop.
    I would love to accompany you to NY museums and walks in Central Park, perhaps you could also take me shopping in one of the wonderful NY department stores?

  9. Already the end of January! I like the yarn for your sock. I have never tried making socks but I have made some baby booties. I can’t wait until May when we will be back in New York City and can visit the museum. I am pleased that you are getting some extra time for yourself – time goes so quickly that it is nice to be able to do what you love more often.

  10. Frances what a sensible decision. You will be able to do so many of the creative things that you have longed for, and perhaps take even more interesting tours to show us all.
    How lovely to see snowdrops, they are not something that we find here, and I do love them.

  11. How enjoyable to have time for one self, isn't it, Frances? I admire those who can blog often, I am just too slow and use my hours differently . We have snow now and really cold winter has suddenly arrived - for once it did not come from NY but from Russia. Looking forward to seeing your hand painted cards :-).

  12. I'm looking forward to reading more about the projects with which you'll fill your extra day.

    It's lovely to drop in and see a glimpse of NY, the Met is an amazing treasure house to explore and Central Park a beautiful oasis of nature in the metropolis.

    And, what a joy self-patterning sock wool can be!


  13. How wonderful to have that extra day available - I look forward to seeing what you'll be up to! Love that curlew too.
    Karen x

  14. Wonderful curlew and how good to hear you enjoying your extra 'me- time'. We are just having a Siberian freeze, well, it's coming over from Scandinavia, after a mild winter.

  15. Hello Frances,
    I am enjoying the snowdrops too in my garden. Before Christmas I planted three hyacinths bulbs, they are just flowering and smelling wonderful, especially lovely when I open the door in the morning and the room is filled with their scent.
    Glad to see you are enjoying your freedom. I felt the excitement of all your plans for this free time. The knitting looks lovely. It is very cold here today and I am wrapped in knitted scarf and fingerless.
    Have fun with your new machine.

  16. Glad you are having March weather, Frances, for that means we shall have it in our turn before the week is out. At the moment - as Bayou suggests - it is icy in Europe. Like Chris, I love that curlew - such a satisfying shape. Now if you could only make curlews in that wonderful blue self-patterning yarn you might be on to something. So much more fun than socks. Enjoy your extra time and I look forward to those extra posts. I watched a film the other day about David Bailey and Jean Shrimpton in 1962 on their first photoshoot in New York. Something that set the tone for the sixties. Now it is you who are taking the photos. Can you shoot someone behind a chain link fence in front of the UN building?

  17. Hi Frances,

    I can imagine your happiness! I work four days a week too and I really enjoy the extra time. Looking forward to see what you will be making. The socks look beautiful!

    Happy day,

    Madelief x

  18. You are obviously enjoying having some extra time on your hands - I'm so pleased for you.

  19. Dear Frances,

    I am overjoyed to read you will have more time to dream, create and just be. It will be wonderful to see what you get up to here.


  20. I'm so glad to hear that you will have more time for the creative things you enjoy, Frances. That is such good news, and I know how much you will appreciate that extra time.
    I loved seeing the curlew...what a wonderful shape that bird is.
    And your sock knitting is looking lovely.
    Have a wonderful weekend.
    Helen x

  21. Good morning, Frances.
    I can hear it in your writing voice - the lightness, the bubbling up of something that hasn't been there in the 5 years that I've 'known' you. It is really time for you to take this step - you've earned it!

  22. Hi, Frances, what a lovely post.

    I used to work 4 days a week too, and I loved it. I always felt that M-Th belonged to my job, St-Sn belonged to the family -- but Friday belonged to me! I even found a Snoopy plaque that said, "Every dog has his day. Mine is Friday!" which I used to have hanging over my desk.

    I hope you will enjoy your new schedule and that everything works out well for you.

    The sox look beautiful, by the way. Hugs, Carol

  23. how wonderful you are taking time for you. a day makes such a difference.
    i have recently done the same thing, working 3 days a week now, and i love it so much. i feel greedy because i would love to stay home everyday!
    your sock looks lovely, have fun knitting it and enjoying your beautiful flowers!

  24. Hi Frances, thank you for your nice comments!Isn't it great to meet people from all over the world by blogging?
    I see you knit a lot of things- so it's cold in NEWYORK too?
    My daughter will visit NY some days in May and celebrate her 21 birthday there with her friend.
    We've never been there; so she is looking forward to it.
    It makes me a bit nervouse to know my girl in that big city far away....
    She sure will visit central parc and other highlights!
    greetings from Fleur in de polder

  25. Isn't that Curlew wonderful! I think that in America there is a special place for folk art, you seem to really connect and understand it, there's no snobbery towards it that our art world has here. I love folk art, or naive art, as it's sometimes called, there's something very pure about it, and there's often tremendous passion behind it too. Congratulations on reducing your work days, how wonderful Frances, all that extra time just for yourself, wonderful! Vanessa xxx

  26. It was minus 11 here earlier and snowdrops have been out for a few weeks, they are so cheering in January.

    I am so pleased you are only working four days now Frances and will have more time for your many interests, and hopefully more blog posts for us to enjoy.

  27. Ah, yes; the curlew is fascinating, indeed. Would love to see a real one, on the wing.

    From 5 days to 4. Sounds delightful. More time, but less income. I hope the plan works wonderfully.