Thursday, June 30, 2011

The end of green month

Today the kids and I went out to Toronto Islands with some friends. I didn't take many pictures, but I did get some greenery for you.

I am looking forward to July, blue month; I have a couple of dozen balls of indigo blue to knit up!

Monday, June 27, 2011

While taking pictures of knitting, I saw some other things

I started making Sunday Best! I have wanted an olde-style denim gansey thingmajig for some time, but I couldn't decide which one, and my dye lots are all mixed up and what's a girl to do? But I need a cotton project and after one false start, I am settled now. (My dye lot situation made me consider Action, but after a moment, I realised that it would be unflattering to say the least. The pictures on that pattern page don't show the horizontal band on the bottom -- great way to use up a mixed bag of yarn; great way to look like the Michelin Man.)

I have 10 balls of one dye lot and 12 of another, and I need 23 for my size. So, make the cuffs and edges in a miscellaneous dye lot (I have 4 balls in this lot, so no prob there) and alternate the other two till one runs out.

I wondered if this level of persnicketiness was called for...

Alas, yes, it was! I think the cuff is noticeably different, and I can see definite two-row stripes in the stocking stitch. The thing is, can anyone else? I don't think it'll detract from the awesomeness of the finished sweater -- after 20 cm of edge + stocking stitch, I start the diamond/ seed stitch/ cable part, and that covers the rest of the body.

We have had rather pissy weather lately. Thunderstorms, cloudy, damp, grey. But today the sun is out, and the garden has certainly benefited from all that water.

hosta flower just coming out

hosta leaf, green for Project Spectrum

open flower in all its glory
Elaine has two more days of school, then we hang around for a week, and then we are off for an Ontario lakeshore holiday. No big buildings, except perhaps sand castles. I'll just have this gigantic sweater done by the time we get back, won't I?

Friday, June 24, 2011

Not 57 pictures

I went through Stephen's New York pictures, flagging the ones I wanted to show you. When I got to the end, I had 57 flagged!

I shall try to just show the super ones. "Super" shall be defined by me in an ad hoc way, as you know.

I'll make some of them small here -- just click to see them bigger if you are interested!

People standing near things:

Kids and Balto the dog

Wait, take a picture of my sock!

George Washington downtown

Here I must insert a funny story about tourists. The kids went up there to "stand in line" to get their picture taken with the grand guy, but the other people were much pushier and didn't realise that waiting their turn was an option. Of course, Arthur and Elaine didn't really care enough to jockey for position. This was Sunday morning, we were killing time till we went to the airport, and there was no one around but busloads of Chinese tourists.

As well as George Washington, they really like the bull

We just stood beside the bull...
Arthur and a haystack in the MoMa. There is golden thread wrapped around it, and, of course, a needle.
With one of the lions at the Library
A triceratops at the Natural History museum

On the Brooklyn Bridge

Now, this requires a few words! This is the window display at Anthropologie at the Rockefeller Center. All 35 mm slides, artfully arranged! My little brain is churning about how I can do this on my windows. It'd be great if one never wanted to open the window! Stay tuned about this! (The lampshade is in time-out right now because I put most of a layer on before realising I had to put the backing paper on, so I have to take them off, do it right, and put them back on. Stay tuned again about that!)

Some of the pictures are replaced with coloured paper.
Another thing that gets the creative juices flowing is this window! It was underneath the High Line park. I would like to think the glass has aged and coloured this way, but I bet that someone actually worked pretty hard to arrange this!

with flash
without flash

Many of the 57 original pictures were of buildings, but I figured those were probably unnecessary. Yeah, lots looked this these. But I did want to include this, which we called the Tin Foil building. It shines in the sunlight, and the waves on it are just delightful.

We also had several pictures, from a great variety of vantage points, of the new building at the World Trade Center. You can imagine: a building with some cranes poking out the top. Right now, it is about as tall as the surrounding buildings, but check back next year and it will tower above them. We were unprepared for all the attention to that... For us it happened a long time ago, and far far away, but it's still on the minds of people who live there. Of course.

I did promise you the Statue of Liberty. We took a cruise around the bottom end of the island, and this was what we saw:

We did get to the rail eventually, and took the proper tourist shot as well:

Finally, the view from the Newark airport:

And so, we bid farewell to Manhattan and all the joys and delights to be found there.

(Sixteen pictures tell only a part of the story!)

Thursday, June 23, 2011

A mish mash of pictures

Well, phew! I was released from photo-load hell and finally allowed to get these pics up. It seems there are rather a lot!

Now, lessee... These are all mixed up. So I shall throw up my hands and just fake it here.

Green stuff:

This is just a wall with some plants, but our pictures are mostly grey and of buildings, so this stands out!

Ah, the High Line! We went there on our last day, and I had never heard of it before. Stephen had heard about it via the New York Times, I imagine. It was very cool to walk along the lovely park that had been a disused elevated railway track! Here's another article about art and grass and building and collapse. We bought a T-shirt, because one needs more shirts with enigmatic logos.

ETA: That is a sock! Must tell you the whole tale of the sock, one day.

Some green buildings. This is from the Top of the Rock, our second "high" spot, after the Empire State Building.

Mostly at these things I let Stephen take the pictures, so that they are on a different camera and there is a certain amount of fiddling necessary for me to get at the pictures. I will have to do that shortly, but that's why I don't have a lot of the classic pics today!

While we were up at the Top of the Rock, Elaine tried to push over the Empire State Building, though without success. 

Who knows exactly which gift shop this was in! We did eventually buy the crown, so look out, come Halloween!

This is some enamel from the Egyptian gallery at the Met. One day the boys went to see the Intrepid aircraft carrier/ plane museum, and Elaine and I went to the Met. I wanted to see (had, in fact, been commanded to see) the Alexander McQueen exhibit, but time was a bit tight and so we saw Elaine's favourites first: Ancient Greece and Rome, Egypt, and arms and armour! That museum is ginormous and it would take a year to see it all.

Bits from an ancient necklace! Well, a pretty fancy thing worn on the front of the body, if not exactly a necklace. They are little fruits and veg!

This! This is not Celtic or Irish or anything like that, but Byzantine. Very familiar ropey, cable-y designs. 

We also went to the Museum of Modern Art. Much of the stuff was a bit freaky for Elaine, so we searched out the absurd, rather than the cubist portraits. This chair/ breakfast combo is on the wall, for example.

One day, we actually met an actual person who lives in New York! We went via Strawberry Fields where people were carefully placing a green apple, a yellow submarine and god knows what else on the Imagine mosaic. We took pictures of the crowd and moved on.

And then we found Kay. We had a little lunch in the park and she gave us some pointers (ie, go to the Shake Shack instead of eating in the Natural History museum) and info (no, people don't really get fined for honking their horns, despite the signs). We did not knit!

To close off today, you can have the Morrises on Morris Street!

I hope to get you the Statue of Liberty and things like that shortly!

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

New York trip -- first attempt

I am not having good luck with Blogger's photo loading this morning, but I will do what I can!

We had a fine few days in New York. Air Canada's customer service people were on strike on our way out, so the plane was late, and then boarded in a very amateurish way by the managers, but we did get there. As an introduction to the big city, we had a harrowing cab ride down 7th Avenue in the dark!

We stayed in a hotel in Chinatown, which had a decent-sized room and breakfast included, so we were perfectly content with that, though I can certainly see why midtown would be preferable! We walked to the Brooklyn Bridge, and down to the financial centre, but were on the subway an awful lot.

As I said, I am having photo-loading issues, but I did get these two loaded earlier, of the Brooklyn Bridge.

A fastening, missing a nut

I'm sure this isn't meant as an anti-yarnbombing message, really

We noticed that although New Yorkers will cross the street regardless of what the traffic lights say, and will push the emergency door open to get out of a subway station, setting off alarms, just because things are too slow for them, they will not cross the line dividing cyclists from pedestrians on this bridge! The only people foolish enough to get onto the bikes' side were camera-toting tourists (not us, of course).

Well, this gives you a very imperfect idea of our trip, but is a fine representation of my problems with Blogger today.  Gajillions more pictures to follow!

Monday, June 13, 2011

See you in a week or so

We are off to the Big Apple Tuesday for some fun and frivolity. I don't think anyone else wants to see this (especially since seeing it involves either spending hundreds of dollars or lucking into some rush tickets and still spending quite a bit of money)  but I wonder if I can convince them.

If not, I'm sure we'll find something else to do!

And now a sad story: I can't find my sock-in-progress! I recall sitting in a coffee shop near Arthur's school on a hot day, knitting my sock. Did I leave it there? Did I go from the coffee shop to the school, and leave it there? Did I bring it home, either leaving it on the subway or ... losing it in my house??

Most worrisome is the loss of the pattern! My wonderful Paton's sock book (on Ravelry)!

Luckily I have other sock patterns, and have started a travelling sock to take with me.

Sunday, June 12, 2011

June square

This is the square for June. Simple and open and nice.

not a great photo. Just look at the left side.
The monthly picture of the lot:

That orange square does get more and more lonely looking. I now have, I think, enough yarn left for one plain pale green square and one two-coloured square, so I am definitely buying more yarn. Orange? Golden? Brown? Something else??

Tuesday, June 07, 2011

The onion flower

My ornamental onion flower is just about finished. And I learned how to use that mosaic maker thingy. The last two pictures were taken this morning, and the blooming one was taken on the 4th, just a few days ago. The bud was taken May 25.

Monday, June 06, 2011

Sticks of fruit and fire

Oh, my goodness. Yesterday was our annual street party. I am worn out and it's a wonder the kids got up to go to school.

We do lots of stuff at this party -- there are races and face painting and a rummage sale -- but the big fun and excitement for me comes in the evening, when we have a potluck supper and live music. I was making lists for a week, looking at recipes, counting my guests... The one super thing I did this year was make rainbow fruit skewers!

Raspberry, orange, pineapple, green grape, blueberry, purple grape. We could have done kiwi, but Arthur was with me when I was shopping and he doesn't like kiwi. We got some peaches for orange, but the flesh was not very orange after all. Next time I might use strawberries instead of raspberries because I think they would be better anchors on the ends -- the raspberries were a bit delicate for the job. But all in all, a success.

No food pictures were taken in between assembling the skewers inside and finding them almost gone on the table! (I also made corn on the cob and was kind of peeved when the person in front of me in line got the last piece! Luckily that person was Elaine and she gave me the last bit of hers!)

This is my front hall table this morning. Plastic wine glasses, discarded sunhats, candles and sparkler packages. I am the Sparkler Lady, you know. My neighbour gets a ton of sparklers from his pyrotechnic pal, and we keep the kids amused with them at the end of the evening when the music is over and the adults are taking down tables and gathering up their chairs and dirty dishes and empty wine bottles. I don't know what happened this year, but I think we had both more sparklers than usual, and fewer kids than usual! We had 580 sparklers, and maybe only 20 or 30 kids, so we have sparklers for Canada Day, and probably sparklers for next year's party as well! Arthur made a movie of his friend with sparklers blazing on the back of a skateboard, so I'll see if I can show you that another time.

Now, it is back to washing the dishes and sweeping out all the maple keys that blew in the door that stood open all day. Oh, and the last task of Sparkler Lady is to fit all those spent metal sticks into a garbage bag without injuring herself!

Saturday, June 04, 2011

If I were the betting type...

It's Britain's Got Talent time again. This year's contest has been spiced up recently with reports that {gasp} the show is rigged! Before that, I'm telling you, this season was pretty dull. I'd guess that the show is firstly, a way for Simon Cowell to make more money; secondly, a more or less amusing TV show; and thirdly, maybe a way for the little guy to make it big. It's clearly fixed in that it is directed in a way that the Powers That Be think will be entertaining, but I find it hard to believe that Simon Cowell is stupid enough to do all he is accused of doing.

The talent picked to appear in the semi-finals should all be good, and it never is, but this year, there were not only mediocre acts but also purely terrible ones. So, we pass over the semis and go straight to the finals, tonight.

Your contestants are:
  1. Paul Gbegbaje, pianist. Cute, pleasant, fine.
  2. Ronan Parke, the boy singer that the stories of "fixing" centre on
  3. Jean Martyn, the boogie-woogie piano queen and sole woman contestant at this point
  4. New Bounce, boy singers (with a terrible name! Isn't it already used for a laundry product?)
  5. James Hobley, boy dancer
  6. Les Gibson, impressionist
  7. Steven Hall, comedy dancer who beat out my favourite, Edward Reid
  8. Jai McDowall, singer
  9. Razy Gogonea, dancer -- there's a whole story about him and a similar dancer, but this guy's the one to watch now
  10. Michael Collings, singer/guitarist. I think his voice has something of a Rod Stewart sound, though his presentation is completely different.
Huh, one woman in the whole show. One! That's shameful.

So, we pass over that little inconvenient fact and try to pick winners!

I would love to see Michael Collings win, or Razy, or Jai, or James, or Paul. Or, indeed, Jean.

Ronan is good, but too cutesy-slick for me; New Bounce are not as good as the Osmond Brothers of my youth; I don't get Les Gibson's jokes; Steven Hall is indeed a one-trick pony in my books.

So... I .... think it will be... I think that the winner will be.... I actually think Ronan will win, but I would love love love for Michael to win.

Now, I need a picture!

My talent is letting hostas grow in my garden!

Just a wee footnote here! I found my list of BGT contestants that I made before the semi-finals started, and I am not very proud to say that my of 10 picks for the finalists, five got through! I picked:

Razy Gogonea
Jean Martyn
James Hobley
Out of the Blue - they were robbed, I tell you!
Michael Collings
Donelda Guy - dog act, what was I thinking?
Ronan Parke
David and Karen - magician team, fantastic
Two and a Half Men - dancers, also fantastic
Edward Reid - in truth, his audition seemed to me better than his semi-final performance, but I suspect that is just because I'm more familiar with nursery rhymes than with Postman Pat and the Teletubbies. But I still love him....

Added in the evening: Jai McDowall takes it! 

Friday, June 03, 2011

Basil seedlings

We'll check in again at the end of the month!

Thursday, June 02, 2011

I had such plans

The other day I came across this lovely plate at the side of the road! Just my colour and kind of funky.

It was not quite so lovely when I picked it up, but was covered with that dust/grease combo the tops of your cupboards might have! I scrubbed and cleaned and had a nice green butterfly-shaped plate for dips or olives or little bits of nibbles. I was thinking of putting my rainbow fruit skewers on it this weekend!

I was also thinking of assembling a little show-and-tell of other green crockery I have.

Then, this afternoon, I was making dressing for Caesar salad with my hand blender (kind of like this) and I wanted to grind some pepper in, but without going to the trouble of removing the blender from the jar.

One really needs three hands and a much wider jar to do this without catastrophe. The blender tipped over and landed with a crack, right on the middle of my lovely dish.

I am pleased to say that no salad dressing was lost, though.

Boo hoo.

Wednesday, June 01, 2011

It's June

A new month. I first thought that whatever I had said I would do in May, I probably didn't do it! But I went to check, and it's not that bad.

Goals were:

  1. Felted Tweed Botticelli
  2. May square
  3. grey socks -- or perhaps start another plain pair of socks??
  4. sew together that dang blanket.
I did a lot on the Botticelli, but then dropped it to do the baby blanket. So that's 2 things I worked on. I also did the square, and even knit a bit on the socks! Not bad.

June is green month in Project Spectrum, and I shall knit a green square, of course. Also more green bits in the Botticelli. And, ahem, I will knit on those blasted socks, though I doubt I will get through my six baggies of sock yarn this year.

We have a trip coming up, which will require careful thought, as always. Perhaps I'll even work on the nice lace scarf, with yarn from Yarnscape, a pattern from Mary Lou and needles borrowed from my loyal blogless reader, Madeleine!

There will be lots of green. I took this a week or so ago, with the newish grass and the bright bits fallen off the trees. I like the stripes! (It's more impressive if you click to embiggen.)