Wednesday, June 24, 2015

City Views, Country Dreams

Good afternoon from sunny New York.

This New York City day has been enriched by the delivery of a remarkable new book containing truly splendid views of another city by the excellent photographer Colin O'Brien.

The book's photographs depict London from the early 1950s to the current day and will tell any viewer a remarkable tale of a changing place.

I first learned of Mr. O'Brien's work via one of my favorite blogs, Spitalfields Life.  Perhaps some of you in the U.K. also know about the book.  If not, you have great opportunity within the next few weeks to use the "listen again" feature on Robert Elms' BBC London Radio program to hear Mr. Elms interview Mr. O'Brien.  You are in for a treat.

Meanwhile, back here in New York, yesterday was oppressive in its heat and humidity, and even though the predicted heavy thunderstorms passed us by, we were lucky to discover that the air had cooled somewhat today.

This was a good day for some errands requiring long walks outdoors.  I had my camera with me and thought I would retrace some of places I'd shown you during winter snow days.  This brownstone block is one of those that stage the elaborate scary Halloween displays.

Around this time in late June all is more relaxed with lots of green foliage and some bright colors.  No snow, no skeletons.

I admire the way that the folks who live along this block share their front gardens with the rest of us.  I imagine that the back gardens behind these buildings must be wonderfully tranquil havens.

It seems to be a good time for hydrangea blooms.  I have seen lots of them around town. I admit that I am not all that sure about the bright yellow and orange flowers being so close to those cooler tones in the following photograph, but it is a very jolly grouping.

Please do take my word for it that there are more hydrangeas in the window boxes pictured below.  The sunshine is glorious!

Varieties of coleus plants are also very popular, particularly for commercial businesses wishing for low maintenance gardens in front of their premises.  If you click on the next picture to enlarge it, you'll see a reflection in the dark glass window of ... me.

Sometimes when I am taking pictures I tend to use similar composition for several photographs.  In the photos above and below I am exploring horizontal stripes.

The yellow cab is whizzing down Columbus Avenue, passing by an ABC Television building featuring a zipper news announcement.  It usually seems to be reporting some disaster, but I admit that I always look at it...usually to see the current weather report.

I'm hoping that you all have enjoyed this post's views from two different cities.  Thank you for your visits and comments.  I'm hoping that the hot weather is not going to make me into a lazy blogger.  It can be so easy to succomb to the call of an afternoon nap on a hot day, but also can be lots of fun to share my city with you all.

Monday, June 8, 2015

City Views, Country Dreams

Good evening from New York on a mild evening in early June.

My recent posts have shown you all some city views from around NYC that featured warming weather as spring helped both people and plants to celebrate spring.

Meanwhile, in my little apartment, it's still cool enough to continue with some knitting projects.

This fair isle project is a jacket/cardigan that I am knitting for myself, not for my etsy shop.  As you can see the colors are blues, greens, off white and touches of pink, lavender and rose.

Since I am making this design up as I go along, I am making lots of notes, doing lots of mathematical calculations, coloring lots of grid patterned papers with my colored pencils, and even ... unravelling a few or more than a few rows every so often, to fix an error.

On three sets of needles, I am simultaneously working on the back, the fronts (with pockets,) and the sleeves.  This means that I can see how the design shapes up as I go along, and how the fair isle motifs will meet properly at the seams, making sure the motifs are centered.

Yes, it is a bit slow going, but a very interesting project.  It's my hope that when I do complete the jacket, I will have enough detailed notes and charts to actually write a pattern.  This would be a first for me.

When I am not 100% absorbed in this experiment, I've been enjoying more long walks outdoors, even when an umbrella's been required, visiting the the farmers market, seeing friends, putting in my required work days at the shop, and doing lots of reading on my subway rides.

I first encountered Kate Atkinson's writing talent when her first novel, Behind the Scenes at the Museum, was published.  I was lucky to buy a softcover version in London before it was published over here in the States.  And so, when Ms Atkinson made her first U.S. book tour and did a reading at a neighborhood Barnes & Noble shop, I was delighted to have the opportunity to meet her and let her know how much I admired that book.

Since way back then, I have enjoyed every one of her books and truly think that this new novel is a wonder.  It features many characters from the prior book, Life After Life; however, it is not necessary to have read Life After Life to appreciate the new book.  Still, I would recommend that you read them in order.

As always, I thank each of you all for your visits and for your taking the time to leave your lovely comments.