Friday, July 18, 2014

ten days later...

Last Sunday, a trip to the Lower East Side.  The subways were hot and crowded and by the time we got there it was time for lunch.  Katz's delicatessen had such a long line (and bouncers outside to make sure nobody cut the line) that we decided to skip it and go to a hipster sandwich shop.  It was fine and we didn't have to wait. Sandwiches were yum!
 Afterwards we wandered  over to Orchard St.,where the Tenement Museum is --but the tours were all full except the one where you walked up to the fifth floor.  No thanks.  
Nonetheless, the visitor center/gift shop had a fascinating film and we rested our feet while we watched it.  I had been there when it first opened, eons ago and plan to go back one day with a reservation for one of the (lower floor) tours.  It is an amazing place.

The Lower East Side morphs into what used to be Little Italy and is now mostly Chinatown. It is now so little that it takes up two blocks. But these are lively blocks, closed to traffic on Sundays.
The stores and bars were open and there was lots of noise coming from the bars where they were watching the World Cup.   This place is not your typical tourist restaurant.
And I wasn't quite sure whether the 2 referred to the price or the size.

At least I have accomplished a few things in the past ten days. which is remarkable considering that much of my time has been spent deleting 2700 emails on my iPhone and iPad, most of them promising me all kinds of wonderful things.  Here is a small sample of irresistibles.
  • You can get an online doctorate!
  • Look ten years younger: better than a facelift and better than botox. (sign me up)
  • Restore your vision to 20/20!! (not possible)
  • Get help with your ED (now that would be an accomplishment)
  • Confirm your appointment for your window installation (huh?)
  • Get a nursing degree
  • Get discount funeral insurance
  • Drop your blood sugar level (right. I already have low blood sugar)
  • Reverse diabetic decay (see above)
  • Facebook has offered you a position but we have not heard from you. (bummer)
  • Google wants to hire you (see above)
  • Refinance your mortgage (I don't have one)
  • Get your Walmart loyalty gift (snort! There is no Walmart within 50 miles of me and even if there were...)
  • Your coverage is expiring (coverage for what?)
  • Eat THIS, never diet again! (It'll probably kill me)
  • Free Burger King Promo - expires today!! (as IF)
I have also  finished the piece I was working on and actually started to stitch it today.  Hooray for me! If I do nothing else tomorrow, I might complete the job.

And finally, I spent time in the kitchen. Made the most fabulous lemon ice cream and a pot of stuffed grape leaves with rice, chickpeas, tomatoes & mint, which I had been craving. (don't ask me why).



They cook in no time in the pressure cooker and you serve them cold. Lebanese recipe. Divine!  I used to make them all the time in my first life.  Tomorrow I will bake Kate's Brownies (Katherine Hepburn's recipe) to take to a family lunch on Saturday.  Beyond that, I don't cook on weekends. I did steam a couple of dozen clams for tomorrow's dinner, but other than that - I'm done.

Monday, July 07, 2014

Monday creative blog tour

When Deborah Boschert invited me to participate in the creative process blog tour, I thought "why not??"   So, here are a few glimpses into how I work.  


What am I working on?

I have an exhibition coming up in a NJ gallery in October so I'm trying to finish a few pieces for the occasion.  On my studio wall is a work that has had many permutations over the past - what? year?  (more on that one later)



At home, in my sewing room, two pieces I am stitching. They are pieces I printed long ago and forgot about till I unearthed them while I was cleaning the studio and decided they needed to be (more or less) whole cloth pieces. Here are a couple of detail shots.
Almost done.

This one is still waiting till I have the luxury of time to sit down and stitch it.


How does my work differ from others of its genre?

Ah, this is the question we all need to answer about our own work -- and it takes some thought. I hope it is free of the influence of other artists: with one exception, in 1994 or 1995, when I took a class with David Walker, I have never taken another quilt class. This was deliberate because I really wanted to develop my own style.
Have I done so?  What, indeed, makes my work recognizable as mine and how does it differ from many others?   I think I'll ask you to answer that one.

Why do I write/create what I do?

Because I can't not.  You might as well ask me to stop breathing.

How does your writing/creative process work?

In my book, Create Your Own Free-Form Quilts, I talk a little bit about what I call
Ad Hoc Design/Slow Design.  That's a tidy way of saying "throw it at the wall and see what sticks/move it around and edit till the composition works."  Photos might give you a better idea of the piece on my studio wall that I referred to in the first part of this post.

Here are some of the photos taken over the past year while I put pieces up/took them down/put them up again/rearranged them/and edited like crazy.







There you have it.  This is on my wall at the moment and I can't predict the final result.  It's always a surprise and for me, that is the best part.  The joy is in the process.

Questions about my creative process?
Comments?  Let me hear from you -- or do I have to have another giveaway? LOL

P.S. I've tagged  Gerrie Congdon for next Monday's post so keep this link to see her post
on creative process. gericondesigns.com/weblog.





Friday, July 04, 2014

weekend in Boston

We're here for the long weekend, spending most of the time at a conference full of interesting (and not-so interesting) lectures.  But there is also plenty of time for walking and dining.  The first night in Boston, how could we not have seafood?  Something I rarely have that are widely available in New England: fried oysters!!  I had some in Maine but they were disappointing.  These, however, were ambrosia.

Last night we dined on Newbury Street, Boston's equivalent of Manhattan's SoHo -- every upscale boutique you can name and then some, plus dozens of restaurants.  A fun place to walk.
All very pretty, but I preferred these as we got to the end of our exploratory walk.
Happy Fourth of July, everybody.  Here it is starting to rain, so the fireworks were last night instead of tonight.  Hope you are having sunny weather whehever you are.






Monday, June 30, 2014

I think it's Monday

When I got home on Saturday I was delighted to see that the deer had stayed away and it had rained enough to keep my garden blooming. Not as wonderful as all those Maine wildflowers, but good enough for me.

Saturday night, out to dinner, since my refrigerator was empty.  The pièce de résistance was the appetizer of fried green tomatoes and mozzarella.  Tasted gorgeous! When I bemoaned the fact that I could never find green tomatoes, the chef's wife told me that he had had a hard time finding them, too. Worth the hunt.
I haven't picked up my knitting since I got home over the weekend, but here I am (barefoot, as usual) with my friend Janet, as we laughed at something somebody said.  Much hilarity -- always good, no matter where you are.

My grandkids weren't available on Sunday: Ben is at camp, Josh was no doubt busy, and David & Jake were in Hershey. Miss Emma and her parents are in Wisconsin, visiting Tommy's family and having a great time. Here's Jessica's fresh-picked strawberry bounty!
 Emma's Aunt Sandy is a hairdresser - a wonder she got Emma to sit still long enough for this hairdo.  

Although the kids were not around, I had a visit from my handsome nephew Oliver Halsman Rosenberg who is between trips and heading off to the south of France in a few days.  I'm jealous - just got back from Berkeley CA, where he did a residency at the art museum. Now he is going to St. Paul de Vence -- one of my favorite places on the planet.  Oliver is a very talented artist and it was a pleasure to spend some time with him this morning.

The rest of the week is spoken for, through Sunday -- but next week I hope to get to the studio.  Hope springs eternal:-).

Saturday, June 28, 2014

A real holiday


I cannot remember when I have felt so relaxed, laughed so much,or happily frittered away so much time.

With the exception  of Wednesday, when it rained most of the day,the weather was gorgeous and the landscape was new to me. A few pix from our walks... 

Lupine grows wild all over. I need to get some for my garden. 
      Would that I had ferns like these!
I don't know what these are. Buttercups?
We sat on the porch and watched the lobster boats pull up the traps 

and on our last night there, watched this sunset. 

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Lobster country

There are ten of us here  in Hancock, Maine, having a reunion We were all in the same dorm sophomore year and most of us were together again senior year.  But it was sophomore year that was most memorable and full of hilarity and that was the year we all bonded.

We have not all stayed in touch over the last five decades, but it is as though there were no years intervening.  We have talked and gossiped and giggled and discussed social and political issues; shared book recommendations, shared family stories, and of course, have eaten wonderful meals and consumed libations.

Today, three of us, not having eaten enough lobster, went out to lunch to have more. lOL.  Here I am with Penny, my college roommate for all four years, in front of the local lobster place,Ruth & Wimpy's.  We ordered in from there last night and expect to have lunch there again tomorrow.

It was a long trip to get here -- from Seattle, the Virgin Islands, Virginia, NJ, and all over New England.
Worth every mile.  And yes, I am knitting.  Rain predicted for tomorrow but we don't care.

Wordless Wednesday in Hancock Point, Maine


Monday, June 23, 2014

on the road again

Soon. Taking my knitting.  Really!  A sweater I started probably a decade ago (I have several of these) and put down because I got bursitis from knitting nonstop.  I'll be relaxing for a few days in Maine with college friends and college always brings to mind two things: knitting and bridge.  

Forget the bridge - the game has changed too much since I last played.  But I knitted my way through classes (didn't we all??) and the professors didn't care, as long as we didn't drop a needle.  Fine with me, I always knitted on round needles, anyway.

For the past week I have been taking a walk every day around my complex in this perfect (San Diego-like) weather.  Here are a few pictures I took on one of those walks. 

This is the clubhouse, where I rarely go.  There is a small gym and some other rooms for meetings and get-togethers.  Adjacent to it are tennis courts (where I never use) 
and a lovely pool, where I used to go when I first moved here 18 years ago, just to meet people.  I only go now when Emma is here with her parents.  
I prefer to sit on my deck, where it is cooler and I can look at the woods.  I have put all my potted plants out there for while I am away so they get enough shade not to dry out.
I saw two things that tickled me on my walk the other day. Can someone please explain this weirdness to me?  Around the corner, this vision.
Now I can understand why someone would cover a car in the hot climate when they don't have a garage. You see this in Florida all the time.  But a garage within a garage??

You might remember that I showed you the picture of the pool, which opens at 10:am and is around the corner from his abode.  I was wondering, then, why this young man preferred to sunbathe in his driveway.  He was plugged into his iPod or some such device and probably wouldn't have noticed if I had snapped a photo from the other side, but I politely waited till I had passed him.  Wonders never cease.
Nothing amusing about the rest of the walk.  There are manicured plantings all around, on every corner.
And all the gardens people have in front are very neat and lovely.  Then there is mine: semi-wild, unmanicured, and a source of complaint from last year's chair of the landscape committee: too sloppy. LOL.  
My orange day lilies are out this morning.  
The weather is beautiful, the doors are open to let the breeze in, and you can see right through to my fireplace wall, which is painted a shade of paprika. The front room on the left is that messy sewing room you see so much of on my blog, from the inside. The yellow thing on the right in the front is an antique cooler that says Royal Crown Cola.  Years ago I dragged it home when I was on one of my walks and somebody was throwing it out.  Couldn't let that happen, could I??
This is where my walk begins and ends and I think I should get going this morning, while I still have time.

Friday, June 20, 2014

we have a winner!


The random number generator picked 188 - Lori Morton is the winner of a bundle of eight fat quarters of AMB solids.  Congratulations - and thanks to all of you who commented! I wish all of you could have won. I loved your views of New Jersey -- the good, the bad, and the ugly. I left out a lot, but didn't want to bore you. I'm second generation NJ and  despite having the highest real estate taxes in the nation, I wouldn't wan to live anywhere else full time.  

In the meantime, I see that the only way to get so many comments on my blog is to have a giveaway! Sort of depressing, actually.  But oh, well -- back to real life.

Earlier this week I went shopping for a lightweight purse to get me through the summer.  Found exactly what I was looking for on sale at Macy's and then bought a larger version as a travel bag (also on sale). Jackpot! Even better, the sales person at the Cole Haan store pointed ou that the best thing about the bag was a place to hang your cell phone.  "Great!", I thought. If you've ever called me, you know that my message says "I probably can't find my phone because it's at the bottom of my purse" -- so that appealed to me.  Of course, then I realized that my cell phone didn't have a hook, so how could I hang it on the clip in the bag?  Then it dawned on me that I might have to buy one of those little cell phone thingie cases with a loop on it.  BUT...

a) I hated every one of them that I saw, and
b) I needed one right then and there.  So, I decided that it couldn't be too difficult to make something that could surve the purpose. LOL.  I downloaded a pattern from favecrafts.com/quilting  -- a C&T pattern. a PATTERN?? ME? (remember that I flunked sewing in 7th grade) and got to work.

It took me about four hours and it didn't look anything like these, but it works:-).
So that was my week.  Weekend - errands on Saturday and my grandson Ben sleeps over.
Sunday, take Ben out to breakfast and then home so we can go watch Josh play baseball. Who says I lead a glamorous life???

Monday, off to Maine for a reunion with college friends. I haven't been to Maine since 1978, but that is a story best left untold.