Monday, February 13, 2012

City Views, Country Dreams

Good evening from New York, and a very Happy Valentine's Day to you all.

I am so enjoying my extra day off each week, and expect that eventually I will discover how to take better photos and even how to use the scanner feature of the printer I bought last week.

Meanwhile, let the spirit of this watercolor send my Valentine to you all.

Let's see, what else might I tell you, now that the numbness from this afternoon's dentist visit has worn off.  I would recommend my dentist to anyone.  She repaired two vintage fillings this afternoon, finishing the entire bit before I thought she'd finished with the first.  I must have drifted off to dreamland in that chair.

Before heading into midtown New York City for that repair work, I followed the excellent advice of Gina, and bought a beautiful mini orchid at my neighborhood Trader Joe's store.  If this graceful flower survives my apartment's challenging atmosphere, I might just add another orchid or two this window sill.  On my next day off, I will be drawing this beauty and perhaps even doing a watercolor study.  This little orchid plant also has another graceful stem full of promising buds.

As Stevie Wonder might put it, isn't she lovely?

I've also been using an easy to follow chevron knitting pattern from Jane Brocket's book, The Gentle Art of Knitting.  If any of you have not yet visited Jane's blog, I definitely recommend clicking on over there.

I am using some odds and ends of four ply yarns, the background yarn is from Malabrigo and the stripes are mostly from Koigu.

The pattern is so easy to remember that the rows just fly by.

I still feel as if I am in the very early stages of adapting myself to my new work schedule.  I hope to show you all many more photos in the weeks to come.  I have no idea what those photos might feature.

What fun it is to look forward to solving that mystery!

Lots of love to you Valentines.


  1. Frances, it sounds like you are making the best use of your extra personal time - filling it with activities that all about physical and spiritual self-care. Good for you!
    ...and that little Valentine is as sweet as the day is intended to be.

  2. I love the vibrant colour of that orchid, it will make a wonderful study and I am glad that you are getting so much out of your reduced hours.

  3. How well you use your extra time, Frances! I love nowadays orchids because they are so easy to keep. In our house, I have two places where they flower again and again: in the kitchen (West window) and in the bathroom (East). I give them just rain water from time to time. A good dentist is worth a bag of gold.

  4. Happy days, Frances, happy days! And happy knitting! Spin us some yarns - fairy yarns of New York, as you knit and watch your orchid in its challenging atmosphere (why is it challenging I would have thought an orchid would adore the hot house atmosphere of a Manhattan apartment?) Personally I detest orchids - not because they aren't beautiful - orchid flowers I am in love with, it is just the plants I find inconvenient: always putting out those grey dead man's fingers with those dark leaves that look as though they expired last season. And then whenever you water them the water runs straight through and always overflows the saucer in which they stand to leave a puddle on the window ledge. Bah. Humbug!
    But people keep given them as presents. And then I feel compelled to keep them, even long after they have stopped flowering. I resent the weekly watering occasion, usually on a Sunday evening when I am tired and want to go to bed. And the things just glower at me solemnly as if they have been sentenced to life in Fennie's penitentiary. But am I their prisoner, or are they mine?

  5. Frances, it looks like you are making the most of your new found freedom. I especially love your tea cup painting, I am sure you will soon get the hang of your new scanner and how to adjust the levels etc. It seems like a very steep learning curve at first but I am sure you will quickly master it.

    I find it hard to believe that any knitting pattern that appears to be so complex is easy to remember but I take your word for it. A case of easy when you know how!

    Have fun. x

  6. Frances, your painting is so lovely.
    How pretty your orchid is. I find that mine only need a fine spray every now and then and they do very well in a light window.
    So glad you are finding time just to do the things you enjoy...just for you!

  7. It must be lovely to have a little more time. I'm sure you'll use it well :D

    Such a pretty orchid. I always have one or two in my home, they really are jolly robust.

    Dentists ... as you know my teeth are a bit of a disaster at the moment, so pleased you could get yours sorted simply x

  8. I've now had the luxury of reading two of your posts together and it's lovely to feel the pleasure you have found in your new freedom zinging from your words.

    I have mixed feelings about orchids too - although Fennie's expressed them far better than I could. I do like seeing them when they're all fresh and new and yours is a very beautiful colour.

    The Valentine is exquisite - a lovely gift to all your readers, thank you!

  9. I can see you are making very good use of your new free time.
    Yes, Trader Joe's orchids are a wonderful value.
    Buster sends Valentine's greetings!

  10. Happy Valentine's Day to you too!

    Your knitting looks lovely. You always seem to find the loveliest yarns to work with.

    I too bought myself a mini-orchid this week. They always seem to last so well. I'm no gardener though, so I've never managed to get a second bloom, even though a friend assures me it's possible.

    And I love your new cup and saucer watercolor.

    Have a nice week. Looking forward to your next post!

  11. You are on the right track. I love your descriptions of your life. I think I have an exact picture of who your are and what you do and how you live your life. I love my image of you.

    Buying an orchid is a wonderful idea. Sometimes my local (well, local-ish, there's an hour's drive involved) supermarket sells orchids at reduced prices; the next time I see a stall I will pay myself one. I'm not sure how they need to be treated but I can learn.

    I would so love to come and visit NY, maybe one day I will. And you shall have to be my guide.

  12. Happy Valentine's Day, Frances. Seems like you survived an "interesting" day, and also had some fun. Great!

  13. I'm so pleased you have more time for your many gifts Frances. The orchid is beautiful. makes me want to own one, I never have.
    The teacup painting is clever and lovely, thank you.

  14. Somehow your blog got out of the loop of my blog reading, but I have the link better placed so I shall not miss any of your more frequent posts. So glad to read that you have lessened your work week and have more time for your own creative endeavors. You are such a talented lady.

  15. i have recently cut back my hours and know just how you feel. i have been hoping to do this for a long time, so i'm really enjoying every moment.

    it sounds as though you are making the most of your new found time too, love the watercolor painting and your knitting. the chevron is pretty, the colors compliment it so well!
    i hope you have a lovely weekend doing your favorite things :)
    xo lori

  16. How clever to make your cup design also a Valentine, looks lovely.
    The knitting is very attractive. This is one of the Jane Brocket books that I have not browsed through, yet I see many bloggers using it. Looks very nice.
    Glad to hear your making those plans and as always using your time creatively.
    Cold day here and hail showers, hope you are keeping warm. Enjoy your weekend. Millyx

  17. A charming valentine. You do lovely watercolors. Orchids are sturdier that one might think -- I put mine in a chilly east-facing window and they sometimes hold their blooms for four or five months.

  18. What a lovely seasonal watercolour Frances. Your new knitting projects are wonderful, although the thought of chevrons fill me with awe and seem so complicated! I have never heard of mini orchids. I shall have to look out for them.

  19. Lovely to catch up with you Frances, and your knitting looks pretty professional!! You always inspire me with your endless creativity. Best wishes x

  20. I like your watercolor of the cup. It is good that you take that extra day off – time goes by so quickly then you get, let’s say “older” and your knee starts to act up again, like mine, then you cannot walk easily and have to stay in bed – so take advantage of your time. I will look at the link you gave for the knitting which looks complicated to me. I just finished another baby blanket. Now I am going to try to crochet some tops to kitchen towels like my French bloggy friend makes them. Spring is coming – today will be 75 here, but then tomorrow we are back in the high 50s…but many buds are coming up.

  21. I just clicked on the link you gave for Jane’s Blog – Blogger said that this blog does not exist.

  22. Thank you all for your comments. I wish I could say that my extra weekly day off has already given me lots more creative time, but must confess that this concept is still having some growing pains.

    I know that as the year lengthens, so will my possibilities of more free time.

    That little orchid is not doing too well surviving this apartment's environment. I still hope it will last out the month!

    Vagabonde, sorry that the knitting link did not work. Please do just google Jane Brocket or perhaps try
    If you've not before visited Jane's site you are in for a treat.


  23. Oh Frances your new routine sounds perfect, and your knitting looks lovely, I always fill inspired by your posts to take more notice of our little town and enjoy every thing however little!

    I used to have a dentist like that, she was so good quite a few people followed her to the little village she moved too, if I didn't have the boys I would hve too!

    Hope you have a lovely weekend, fliss xxxx