Thursday, August 30, 2012

Weekly Roundup

I'm busy, but don't have much to show. I've been getting things organized and framed (a rare event). Homewood Embroiderer's Guild will be joining Pieces 'n Patches Quilt Guild for a show on October 6 and 7. Website here. I've got a big backlog of unframed pieces. I did a few myself and have some frames on order to do more. I'm having my Japanese Embroidery professionally framed.

If you want to see my stuff, you'll have to come to the show. 

 In the meantime, I've crocheted more Dalek egg cosies. Here they are, milling about my kitchen. Scary.
 My venture into double knitting hit a big snag.  I'm knitting in the round on circular needles and at some point on my first attempt, just as I was getting cocky and thinking I had it down, I realized my knitting had gotten twisted (probably after I finished row 1 and began row 2). I had a Mobius strip going. Nice for some cowls, but not for a tea cozy. So I ripped it all out and started over. 
I must say I'm happier now. First, it looked huge but when I took it off the needles and measured, it was the right size. Phew!  My cast on is much neater (I did a two color cast on!) and I do have the rhythm so it's going pretty quickly now. K2P2 ribbing in double knit!  I'm just about back to where I had the alarming discovery.
I've also managed some needlepoint in the evenings and my sunflower is taking shape.

Friday, August 24, 2012

Forest Home Cemetery

After lunch in the garden we drove over to Forest Home Cemetery, where my parents are buried. We brought the weed whacker, but the cemetery is very well cared for and we didn't need to do much to neaten the headstones.

 I love this old cemetery, it has some lovely stones, concrete faux bois headstones and benches, and small mausoleums with stained glass windows. It used to be quite busy on weekends, with families visiting and picnicking, but Sunday was pretty quiet. Lots of geese, few people.
We've always just driven past this Celtic cross. The cemetery is strongly German, so it was a bit of a surprise to me the first time I realized what it was.  As a child my family visited every year (my grandparents and great-grand parents are here, too). I remember always liking it, but didn't pay much attention to the stones. There were big angels, a cool cannon, and benches here and there. but mostly it was a grown-up thing and I didn't become interested in it-and really see what all was there-until I was an adult.
I think this cross and the stones are Art Nouveau, probably Celtic revival, from the turn of the previous century. There were two flat stones with it (and a lovely bench with Celtic knotwork on the legs).The family name is Richardson. The other stone has a companion verse and is from five years earlier.  This would make a great rubbing and a lovely embroidery.

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Color at the Conservatory

One thing I noticed on Sunday was the amazing colors. I've noticed it before, of course, but I found myself looking at it more carefully this time.
More shades of green than I could quantify. I love this pastel edged in white.
Pink and green were everywhere, in every shade combination possible. A little girl at Camp Quality last week was noticeably drawn to pink and green. It's a natural.
Red and orange, not so much. But isn't it great here?
Here, too. It's balanced perhaps by the green leaves and gray stone.
And sage and black--how elegant. A sage dress with black trim? Perfect!
If you told me wine and lime, I'd cringe. But I love it here. Why? Is it the shades? proportions?
After sating our eyes, we headed out to the new outside garden/patio and had our picnic lunch--big green salads with leftover salmon on top, dressed with lemon. Yum! It was a perfect summer day.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Oak Park Conservatory

Oak Park Conservatory.
Mostly pictures today.
I photographed these leaves, too.
The place is just chock full of things to inspire. Plumeria.
Above are buds for unusual five-petaled cactus flowers. The only flower that was open was unfortunately stuck under a twig and behind a sign. Below is a more common cactus flower.
Amazing primitive ferns!(huge! it was some sort of tree fern. I was standing there eye level with that huge curl above.)
Little plantlets are growing along the edges of this succulent.
A pomegranate.

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Beautiful summer weekend fun

This weekend was lovely. Saturday I woke up early to have some quiet time to learn something new. Double knitting.
side one-black.
I have a project that I want to make and I want to at least start off with double knitting. It's going to be reversible.
side two-blue.
Here's my first sample. I cast on with one color, added the second color and then began knitting the two sides. Once I did a few rows and got the idea, I tried K1P1 ribbing and then K2P2 ribbing. Before I bound off, it was like a little pocket. I cast on for my project. I did it with some very good tutorials from WIP Insanity. Keep your fingers crossed that this works. As I was starting, I realized I'd made a huge mistake with my math. 
At least I caught it in time!
On Sunday we went up to the Oak Park Conservatory. We hadn't been there for over a year. Both of us had our cameras out right away, inspired by the foliage.
these are just a few of my pix; I'll post more tomorrow. We had such fun!

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Ginza Festival

On Saturday we continued our festivities at the annual Ginza Festival at the Midwest Buddhist Temple in Chicago. If you're around the first week in August, it's always a fun day. 
We got there in time for the first of several Taiko performances. I love this Japanese drumming. The stage also features demonstrations from local martial arts classes--we saw Kendo and Aikido Saturday and a second Taiko performance. Below is the Temple's youth group.
Hubby bought me a lovely birthday present.
A celadon-glazed rice bowl.

 I stuffed myself with sushi and udon, while enjoying the delicious smell of the chicken teriyaki they are famous for.

The Ginza in Tokyo is a shopping area. Each year the temple brings traditional artisans from Japan to sell their very special wares. In addition there are a number of local vendors selling interesting things. Inside there are displays of bonsai, origami, ikebana and swords.
I purchased this traditional tenugui from one of the craftsmen from Japan. Above is the wrapping and an article about the man's grandfather who started the business; below is the towel.
We spent a lot time just enjoying the gorgeous, perfect weather and people watching. We headed home replete and happy.

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

More birthday

Before the light was gone on Friday, I hurried up and opened a big box that had arrived from a friend about a week before. I was surprised I managed to save it for the day!
It was full of lovely goodies, including these socks and the British fabric, setting the British theme for the gift.  There was some candy (with a view familiar to me on the box which made me smile) and other treats. But the big surprise was this.
I'd been drooling over this Benton & Johnson goldwork kit, one a a series for the Queen's Jubilee, for a while. B&J's is a wonderful place and well worth a visit if you're in London, but it's a bit out of the way and not easy to get to.
The kit has everything from the backing fabric through all of the gold and silver threads. The instructions look really clear and precise. I've been reading about goldwork lately, on The Unbroken Thread blog.  I plan to finish up a few things and then start this project.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Birthday fun

My birthday this year fell on Camp Quality day, which was a fun way to celebrate.  (Actually we celebrated all weekend!)
This year our project was designed and organized by Renee and Pam--it was amazing. The children decorated felt covered "wizard's" hats (party hats). It was popular and fun. The children's creativity once again amazed me.
We all had fun. I was honored when a camper persuaded the Tooth Fairy to sing "Happy Birthday" to me--the entire room joined in.
Afterward a good friend and I went for a lovely lunch at Pickwick Society Tearoom in Frankfort, IL.
Frankfort was full of flowers!
After lunch I ran errands and got home to find the power was out. Since there was no storm and ComEd denied that it was actually out (later on they admitted it), I rushed about to get things done while the light lasted. More revelries to come...

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Viewing Art

I'm still doing more viewing than doing. Most evenings I'm glued the the Olympics on TV. And last weekend we drove out to Michigan City to view the new shows at Lubeznik Gallery.  They have to shows going on now. Beaten and Bound is book and paper arts and mixed media.  It made me think, which I like. Several of the pieces featured transparency and layers and created great shadows.  Others repurposed old books--I like them, some were brilliant, but I always have that librarian's inner cringe at seeing books cut up.
These paper cuts were full of intriguing detail. Each was about four feet square.
The second exhibit is Light and Flow and is art glass. Not millifiori paperweights but glass as the media for expressing ideas. I liked this exhibit a lot, too.
These photos don't quite capture the pieces--I've found that true when I try to photograph most art. The nuances are lost. So go see the shows while they're still there (they close August 26). Both are well worth seeing.

On our way home, out near the Dunes, we got caught up in a bad storm. Very high winds, a microburst, torrential rains, and hail. We made it home okay, quite thankful to have done so. Our power was out about four or five hours--much less that some others in the area. It was a fast storm, but powerful. Experiencing it helped me get my priorities back on track.

The past few months have been all about work. The last two weeks have been more about nurturing myself and my spirit. The process included some overdue doctor visits, a massage, necessary errands, a haircut, new glasses, viewing art, window shopping, time with hubby, and a hot fudge sundae. I feel like I'm getting my mojo back.