Sunday, July 22, 2012

City Views, Country Dreams

Good afternoon from New York on a truly glorious summer Sunday.

Our heatwave has been broken by some heavy thunderstorms.  Although the subway train platforms are still holding on to their summertime warmth, most other parts of the city are now much more pleasant than they were a week ago.

I have now passed through my tenth anniversary with my current employer, and am about to embark on a slight change in that employment.  It is delightful to report that I have given up my managerial duties, gaining much more of a work/life balance.

I've been celebrating this change with a variety of my creative interests and visits with friends.  I got out my watercolor paints, brushes and the obligatory jam jars for water and did a little painting.

It always amuses me that a picture can be created from a very messy arrangement of paint on a little plastic plate.  The cup and saucer painting was done very quickly and will become a thank you card.

The messy plastic plate will continue to supply colors for many more painting exercises.  

I've also been playing with colorful yarns.  The crocheting you see below has been done with various mercerized cotton yarns from the Cascade and Tahki brands.  I suspect that you can guess that these are pot holders, although the same circular motif could develop into hats.

The knitting in the following photo is an experiment with a lace stitch I found in a very old Mon Tricot Knitting Dictionary.  The price of this gem of a Dictionary was $1.98.  For a long time I thought that I had lost the book, but was so happy to discover it on a bookshelf after all.  The stitch is called a Fishtail Stitch.  The yarn is a very soft Madelinetosh hand dyed merino yarn.  If we were still in the grip of last week's heat wave, it would be intolerable to be working on this scarf! 

I have tried over the years to only mention my workplace in a very general way.  I will say that as this new week begins, I am feeling very happy with my recent decision to relax a bit and to allow myself much more time for more personal pursuits.  It is rather wonderful to now yield many former responsibilities to other very capable hands.  I suspect that it will take me a bit of time to fully enter into this transition, but can definitely say that my spirit is willing! 

This site has served me as a sort of diary and it will continue to do so.  It seems likely that my posting frequency may increase and new topics may be included.

I would be interested to hear from readers who may also have been making changes in their lifestyles.  Many thanks to you all for your visits and comments.

Let's hope the mild weather lasts for a few more weeks!


  1. Frances, this post is full of good news! You've painted, you've crocheted, you've knit - all activities you love and which have been relegated to the margins of you life for the past 10 years. Do you realise that we have been corresponding for half that time?
    I look forward to more notes from your city home - to more images of projects in hand - to more posts that celebrate this little bit more freedom!

  2. Dear Frances, I am most happy to read your joyful news! You must be feeling lighter and with the reduced responsibilities comes a surge in creativity. I find your cup painting to be delightful. I am also wondering if the Cascade cotton you have used is Ultra Pima as I have quite a few skeins of it at home and had imagined it would be perfect for crochet; if only I knew how!

    I am most happy to know that you will have the time to post more often.

    Hip, hip hurrah!


  3. What a happy sounding post Frances - it seems as though you have made a good decision. I love your painting and knitting.

  4. Thank you all for these comments! I truly am looking forward to this next stage in my life. are correct. The yarn is Cascade Ultrapima, and the Tahki yarn is Cotton Classic Lite. They work very well together.


  5. That is a gem of a watercolor.
    And your scarf is very lovely as well, how accomplished you are!
    I have been making a very uplifting transition myself, allowing more time for canvas work, and a bit less in the pottery department which is something I've wanted to do for so long. I feel lighthearted as well.
    May many happy pursuits await you~

  6. You sound very happy and optimistic - it shines through your watercolour (always best done quickly).

    We've had a little adjustment here... my husband has 20% retired (he has stopped working on Fridays) so from now on every weekend is 3 days instead of 2. i'm trying to keep my working week in my studio and out and about doing various errands and visits. Sometimes we can use Fridays for a trip out together, but this week it was just nice having him around doing things in other parts of the house and garden.

    It's nice to plan a gradual transition, because all to often life jolts us into a different pathway.

    I'm looking forward to hearing about different aspects of your life in the big city.

    Today is gloriously sunny and will be hot... our first real taste of summer after a year's worth of rain in the past 4 months!


  7. Frances, how lovely to think that you will have more time for creativity, and just for doing what you want when you want. I guess it may take you a while to relax into the position, and you will probably be tempted to 'manage'!
    Your scarf stitch looks complicated to me, but then I am not an experienced knitter. Pretty colour.

  8. How lovely to celebrate your new found freedom with such creative endeavours. Your very decorative tea cup is brim full of joy!

    I have found that life changes whatever, planned or not. Redundancy, ill health, children leaving home, taking on the role of carer, all force changes on our lifestyles and freedoms. Change can sometimes bring new opportunities and relationships into our lives. It is good to know that you are embracing the changes in your life in such a happy and creative way.

  9. Frances, yes, a total lifestyle change for this One Woman who relocated back to her country property almost 3 years ago. Much planting and enjoying nature but after reading your post I had memories. Memories of times that I would sit and do simple handwork that was nothing like the beautiful things you create.
    Your post reminded me that I need to be still more and once again do some of things that I did in the past. Just difficult when the bird feeders are empty, weeds are growing and my little rescue dog Callie needs to go for a walk.
    I am so pleased I found you in the big city of N.Y. with country dreams. Maybe we could swap locations for a week sometime :)

  10. Change is sometimes gradual, sometimes it comes in jumps, as it were, like a child running along a path through a meadow who is held up and distracted by a butterfly here, or a rabbit there. Then he must run ever so fast to catch up, let's say with his sisters, or parents, who can put such wonders to one side in favour of a more approved objective. Though sometimes, I suppose, we just sit and regard the butterflies, so beautiful do we find them, for such a long time and don't move on till the family and our original path have long disappeared over the hill. We take off our back packs, roll up our sleeves and stay, shelling beans or whatever it was at the end of the Magnificent Seven. But mostly we run on, trying to catch up, always trying to catch up. So it's good you are moving on. What was the cry that always began (and ended) Rawhide? I never did fathom it out. But I have often thought I should learn it. The perfect cry from the soul that realises it has spent too long in one place. Make the ground thunder again under the hooves of a million cattle! Rolling!

  11. Those bright potholders are wonderful! I am transitioning and with mixed emotions, my oldest daughter is going off to college in 2 weeks! At the same time time "life" has allowed more time to focus in my art and writing- so while i reluctantly send her off on a new adventure- I'm feeling like I am off on one as well!!

  12. Dear Frances - so pleased to hear that you are getting your life back, and able to paint more. Your crochet lavender bags moved to Shropshire with us, I wish they were not packed, as life is so stressful at the moment I could do with them. (I love the crochet colours!)

  13. Congratulations, Frances, on achieving a new work-life balance and best wishes for all your plans and dreams!

  14. How wonderful, Frances. I can feel that happy relief in all your creative things you have done. So well deserved to have more chance of living your life and doing more of what pleases you. Are you planning a hop across now?

  15. Congratulations on your work changes for the better! I am sure a creative person like you will welcome having a bit more time to spend on your other "job" -- the painting and knitting. Your things are lovely, Frances, and we look forward to seeing and hearing more about your projects. Enjoy the rest of the summer, xoxox

  16. So good to hear of these positive changes in your life, Frances! I look forward to hearing about your creative pursuits as much as your usual wonderful reports on life in New York. Sounds like a good move all round, and of course I'm hoping it includes more opportunities for travel for you, so that we can meet up somewhere again!
    Glad to hear the heat has eased off. As one of your other commenters has mentioned, we are finally being rewarded with some summer days here in London - may it last!
    (I really love the subtle colouring of that scarf, by the way - gorgeous).
    All best wishes xx

  17. You are obviously making very good use of your newly acquired leisure. I look forward to seeing more -- I especially love the watercolor.

  18. i am making the same changes frances, and so similar to yours. i've been at my managerial job for 10 years and have cut back to 2-3 days per week, and have stepped back also former duties. really, i love it, but i also want to pursue so many other interests!
    love your watercolor, potholders and that lace stitch. ironically i picked up a new favorite knit stitch book in nyc last year, i think it has the fish tale in it, i'll have to look. i'd love to knit that pattern. which yarn did you use?

  19. oops! m.t. i see, i meant to say which colorway. (LOVE m.t. wool)

  20. How lovely to think we will hear more from you now that you have been able to take a little more time for yourself. And thank you for sending us some of your summer heat!

  21. The teacup picture is a delight!
    Yes, yes, to posting more often.
    We are back in the city but are planning on a day at the beach tomorrow.
    Hope to see you very soon.

  22. How lovely to see your wonderful creative juices back in full flow! Isn't it interesting to read through other folk's comments and see how many of us have loved getting a slower pace of life back? As you know I spent so many years in retail working when others were enjoying family time - when I was forced to leave it was scary (money - how would we cope???) but the change brought about other change (better job almost immediately with double the salary for Richard) and it meant I spent with him in the two years before he died that I wouldn't have otherwise. I know you will thrive in this new and healthier environment and it couldn't make me happier. Love the painting especially!! xx

  23. Congratulations Frances, I am really very pleased for you and I do look forward to more blog posts from you and reading of your many creative pursuits and great artwork. I am in the same boat as you probably know and so far I am loving every minute.

  24. hello Frances - I'm so pleased to hear that you are easing back on the work front a little. I too have just reduced my working hours to 3 days a week and I couldn't be happier! It means that I'm still in contact with 'the working world' and keeping my brain going - but also have time to follow my own interests. Good luck to you.

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