Friday, July 30, 2010

Art Every Day, Part Two: Knitting!

This post should be considered a work in progress, like its subject -- socks!

So many of my friends knit socks and swear it's the most addicting thing in the world, more fun than any other project. "You must try it," they say. "You'll love it."

Never mind that I'm used to working on VERY large needles with wool to felt things and the thought of working on needles smaller than a rat-tail comb curdles my blood.

But when my friend Nancy made me socks for Christmas, I discovered -- there is no sock better or more comfy than a hand knit one.

So, it was off to Imagiknit for a sock class!

My teacher was Deby Lake, who designs patterns for -- I think -- Universal knits. She was a talented woman (who was working on these dolls, which cracked me up!)

She calls the boy Pierre, the girl Tina.

Very jaunty!

Well, after a couple hours of knitting, I had about three inches of sock. Now I have about 8 inches, and it's time to turn the heel. A tad terrifying -- we'll see!

For a little extra inspiration, I trotted down the street to an exhibit at the Gaylord Arts Center of fiber works.

Lots of sock inspiration.

This wedding dress was gorgeous, but over the top (and a little heavy). The knitter was selling it used for $2,000. I don't think I could have parted with it after all that.

There were some other fun fiber bits.

I've also been plugging away on a scarf with some gorgeous yarn I bought last month in Cleveland and bought enough wool for two new purses -- on BIG needles! And yes, I did knit every day after that -- and I still am!

(Now on Chopsticks and String: "BackStage with Julia" -- I absolutely loved this book -- but it's about Julia Child so what's not to love?!)

Thursday, July 29, 2010

The Best Sunset

I'm going to miss the next couple of weeks at the lake. But I'll be having fun, as we head to Myrtle Beach for Rick's annual trade show, and then stop at his dad's for a few days in the mountains of North Carolina.

So, before I head off, I wanted to leave your with some nature porn -- Wonder how that'll search and the spam I'll get. May have to come in and edit that after this goes up!

This was our most glorious sunset of the summer so far.

I know -- the photos look pretty much the same.

But I can tell the difference.

I'm so glad our neighbor has a boat so I can shoot something other than the rowboat or the dock!

And here's his shed. I love his shed.

There is much to be said for a western exposure! I fear if we faced east, I'd never awake in time to take full advantage of this glorious color!

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Of Food and Farm Markets

I spent a lot of time cooking over vacation -- my choice. I love cooking from the land, and while yes, there were trips to the grocery store, I loved the time at the farm markets.

Really, I thought I'd turn into a berry or cherry, given all in which I indulged. Most were fresh on cereal or in the palm of my hand.

Others made it into a marvelous cherry-berry crisp. Blueberries and tart cherries. Yum!

I had great fun with salads, too. Panzanella with home-prepped croutons, mozzarella, fresh farm market tomatoes and basil, cukes, and herbs. Oh, yes!

And then there was the potato salad -- fresh potatoes, more herbs than I can count, brought from home (everything is better with a cup of chopped fresh herbs in it!), and good, fresh veggies.

We did our share of cooking out, too. Pork tenderloin, burgers when Kevin and Molly came by.

Eggs with herbs were a good breakfast for our friend Richard.

And Rick made his awesome carmelized onion pasta with wine. It's truly the best -- he could open a restaurant with it. We added some other things this time and it was even better and now truly his own.

Couldn't pass up the lovely flowers at the farm market.

I bought these -- they looked great in a blue glass bottle.

And I loved this woman's arrangements. Maybe someday.

I simply can't get enough of this wonderful summer bounty. The fruit is sweet, the veggies crisp, the tomatoes coming into their own and the herbs to die for. Everything tastes better on a grill!

And I think, I'm so lucky. So lucky I get to play and cook about, succeed royally and fail without fear. And then sit down and enjoy it with a good glass of wine or a cold beer!

Yes, I'm definitely cooking with all six senses these days!

(Still on Chopsticks and String: "The Beekeeper's Apprentice" -- with Sherlock Holmes as a main character, who could go wrong?)

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Boys Fish. Girls Shoot. Cats Sleep.

So what else do we do for fun at the lake?

Well, boys fish. First David...

Then Rick. Let's just say that the Otsego Lake fish population had little to fear. But then, my dad hasn't been around for a long while.

Girls shoot. (Thanks to some of you who reminded me I should consider photography of part of my "art everyday."

This is a terrible pic of my duck family, fuzzy to say the least. But I love the position!

And this is my neighbor's barn. When I was a kid (and my mom, too, for that matter), this was a stable with horses. Jim keeps "stuff" in there. He has so much stuff, he rents half my garage, too!

I can't resist wonderful beach wash-up. No, I don't take pix of the washed up fireworks!

Rick's feet. Just because.

And Mr. Gyps?

Apart from killing off two mice (good cat!), a nap is well deserved!

(New on Chopsticks and String: "The Beekeeper's Apprentice" -- Sherlock Holmes meets his match -- and she's wonderful!)

Sunday, July 25, 2010

My Paris Picks!

Karen and Tamara are hosting "Paris In July" this month -- and I'm playing along, along with a lot of other wonderful bloggers sharing their passion for all things Parisian. Books, movies, memories, places -- check it out from the list on either of their blogs!

As I've been thinking of my friends' upcoming trip, I couldn't help but think, what are the top ten things I'd tell anyone to try to do (if, of course, it is their "thing.")

1) Catch a concert at Sainte-Chapelle.

This astounding church on Ile de la Cite has the most glorious stained glass windows ever -- so you want to see it during the day. But check posts and the sides of buildings for flyers about concerts there (or other venues).

We saw Paul Rougers with a septet doing Vivaldi. I will never forget it.

2) Picnic anywhere and everywhere. We had picnics on the plaza outside Notre Dame in the evening, in the courtyard of the Louvre, on the steps of Sacre Coeur at dusk. All you need is a bottle of wine, a couple of glasses, some cheese, a baguette, some almonds or dried apricots are nice, maybe a bit of chocolate. Watch the people and enjoy. Day or evening. It's delightful!

3) Cluny -- Le Musee du Moyen Age is set on Roman ruins in the Latin Quarter. I love this period of medival history (not to mention finally seeing the Lady and Unicorn tapestries). If you love this period, too, this is a splendid museum.

4) Musee Carnavalet -- The lovely museum in a hotel particular in the Marais covers the history of France. I loved its selection of art work, recreations of rooms, and artifacts. It gives a tremendous sense of the city over time. Very nicely done.

5) Walk the Seine. Lots of places you can do this. Since I was near Notre Dame, I tended to do so in this area, and the later, walking back from Eiffel Tower. The area near Ile de la Cite is quite populated and you'll see the bouquinistes (book stalls) -- not the best place for a bargain, but fun to look. Stop on the bridges and look both ways. So much to see.

6) Buy bread! It's better than anywhere! Or pastries, or sandwiches. Don't be a stranger at boulangeries.

7) Don't do everything. You'll want to. But you'll also want to go out the next day and do more. Play favorites -- if you like art, try the Louvre (I didn't) or Musee d'Orsay (Impressionism, I did) or the Dali or Picasso or... you get the idea. And maybe, if that's really your passion, you'll be up for more than one. And if you're not, don't beat yourself up over it. I decided the Mona Lisa will still be there next time I go to Paris!

8) Pick a park... and enjoy! Stop for awhile. The parks in Paris are wonderful. Some are grand, like Jardin du Luxembourg, with its Medici Fountain (below). Others are smaller; some have rigid and precise plans, others are more casual. Some have water. All have spots to sit. So, "set a spell" and watch the people. It's lovely.

9) The Paris Opera Garnier -- If you're a Phantom fan, this is the setting. And really, the self-guided tour is great. A guided tour would be wonderful, too, but the day I went the theatre (for which I'd most want a guide) was closed for rehearsal, so I did the self-guided and while I may have missed out on some historical bits, was perfectly satisfied. I hadn't planned to come here. I'm glad I did.

10) Visit a brocante. The wonderful Tara of Paris Parfait took me to Vanves, and the treasures I found there, along with the experience topped almost any souvenir I bought in a department store or gift shop. Vanves and Clingacourt are two of the better known. The book "Markets of Paris" offers others. Even if you don't buy a thing, it's great fun!

If you love Paris (or would like to know more) visit lots of other wonderful blogs during this month's Paris In July event!

And yes, an unlimited budget is always good! But there are wonderful opportunities to do things that cost little, if anything. There's enough eye candy to keep anyone thrilled. We loved feeding birds in the plaza in front of Notre Dame, the picnics I mentioned, and just walking about. Museum passes can give you great admission discounts. A less expensive department store, like the wonderful BHV is a far better bet for buying take-home items than some of the pricier boutiques. Churches (for the most part, unless you are doing tours) are free or not too pricey, and sometimes you'll find free concerts, too.

Now, I'm off to check out some others!

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