Saturday, October 31, 2009

Shopping New York

For dinner shopping, we ended up at the Fairway Market at rush hour and this is what the deli counter looks like then. The Fairway is a traditional grocery store in the Upper West Side and if you haven't been there, you will probably run across this name at some point.
The selection and shopping compe-
tition is crazy, but my favorite part is the cheese corner which is right behind the olive barrels. It has the best fromages counter I have experienced. We made cheese and bread our dinner every night - cheap and delicious. Our big meal was noon.
If you are a fan of Fashion Runway, then you under-
stand this. I went to Mood. It's at 225 W 37th Street and not obvious at all. We found it thanks to a FedEx delivery guy. It is in a commercial building and you get there by elevator, operator run, and the elevator has to call back for you.

I haven't sewed for 20 years at least so I'm not sure why I wanted to come, other than that I love Project Runway. Also, I've been saying that I want to weave to sew - so. I bought fabric. Expensive fabric. And since returning home, I've dragged down my sewing machine to the dining room. I'm practicing on "other" fabric for now.

I am very confused about sewing from my own hand-
woven fabric, and as expensive as the Mood fabrics were, I won't cringe like I will when I cut into handwoven. I am trying to sort this out in my head because come what may - I am going to sew with my own fabric in 2010.

I need to move on and promise to wrap up New York tomorrow. I could go on and on - but I won't.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

New York Chic

Little Sharon, who lives in San Francisco, wore these boots in New York (subway shot). I learned very quickly why these boots are practical. When it rains, your legs stay dry. I, on the other hand, brought Keens and my pants in the rain were wet half way to my knees.

Please note the woman in the center - those are the boots I'm talking about. We had just left the Museum of Art and Design at Columbus Circle, now my most favorite museum in the world.
It got weird in a hurry. Police were every-
where and two dump trucks were backing up together in front of the Time Warner Building. Ian wondered if there was a bomb threat.

It was pretty strange because with the blockade and police, there really was no where to go. Lights changed but no one could cross so we thronged - is that a verb? To throng or not to throng. It wasn't the quesiton. We thronged.
I asked one of the many policeman who said simply - The President is coming. Ah hah. He was coming to The Mandarin which is in the Time Warner building. That explained the blockade and resulting throng. What I want you to see is the astounding propensity for New Yorkers to wear black.

Sitting outside of 30 Rock watching the ice skaters, I had to laugh. Even the pigeons wear black. If you're going to New York, here's my advice. Pack black.

We stopped for a sit-down at Herald Square. There's only so much the feet can take. I realized when I saw the couple sitting across from us that fashion in New York has a very elastic definition.

Check out his shoes and handbag.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Architecture II

These are the buildings outside MOMA. Little Sharon said she was disap-
pointed when she got to the place we were staying, because she expected New York to have tall buildings. These are tall buildings and I probably what people think of when they think of NYC skyline.
This from MOMA. It's the only picture of the exhibits I took but I just had to - Campbell. It was our first visit to MOMA and we flew through in a mere 3 1/2 hours. We were unaware that the museum opened to the public on Friday nights and by the time we left, the building was flooded with art fans. Retrieving our coats from coat check was an experience all in itself - a good one, thanks to humorous and creative staff.

I couldn't resist the Mc-
Donald's marquee in Times Square. I think it speaks volumes.

We were staying in the Upper West Side so this was our subway stop. It's just north of where Amsterdam and Broadway cross and that is the source of a lot confusion. This is the oldest subway station and about a half mile walk for us from Rochelle's apartment.

It is also the site for the Ansonia, built at the turn of the century. It was another residential apartment building that was slated for the wrecking ball, but was converted into condos in the 1990s.
Another fascinating building at the 72nd Street subway station is the Dorilton. It was built as a masonic temple but has been since reclaimed into yet another apartment building. I can't help but be fascinated by the mansard roof and gargoyles. Who doesn't love a gargoyle.

Also near the subway station is Ian's favorite NYC fast food - apart from chocolate chip cookies and bagels - Gray's Papaya. You get two hot dogs and papaya juice for one low price. I love the lady walking her dog. Irony?
Michelle expressed surprise at the water towers. They're actually required by law for fire purposes. It's difficult to pump water to the top of buildings in the the case of fire, hence their existence. I'm not sure how effective they are but I think they're cool.
I took this picture from the kitchen window one night and I hope it emparts the energy of the city at night. We didn't partake.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009


The first museum we visited was the Frick Gallery and I didn't take a single picture. We were provided with the hand sets to listen to a guided tour but a special feature was about the architecture of the building. Frick had built his home to be an art gallery so it was a two-fer, art and architecture. It's unique in all my museum tours and I recommend it.

Our second and highly anticipated museum was the Solomon Guggenheim. They celebrated their 50th anniversary this year with a Vasily Kandinsky retrospective and no museum is better designed for a retrospective than this one. You simply start at the bottom of the spiral walkway and proceed up. I loved it. Once again I passed on the Met as too overwhelming.

This is the Central Park Reservoir, South Gate House, built in 1864, the same year that Nevada achieved statehood.

The reservoir itself has been renamed. If you read Caleb Carr's book, The Alienist, you will remember the reservoir as a part of the historical story. Times have changed. There's also a Dianna Ross Playground.

Looking past the gate house and across the reservoir, you can see the twin towers of the San Remo in the distance. Joggers like to run the perimeter of the reservoir which is almost a 10k, and we saw plenty of runners. We also saw a lot of pedicabs with Turk and Armenian drivers, asking if we'd like a guided tour around the park. It's truly a cosmopolitan city.

This is the old Police Head-
quarters in SoHo, built in 1910. It was sold in 1983 to a real estate developer who turned it into a 55-condo unit. It's locked away from the public but I'm okay with that since they're using it and keeping it up.
This is the Jefferson Market
Courthouse "Old Jeff," at one time voted one of the five most beautiful buildings in America. It became infamous as the setting for the murder trial of Stanford White in 1906, but was slated for the wrecking ball in 1972. Greenwich Village was able to raise enough for its stay of execution, and today it is a branch of the public library system.
And the water towers. They are such a ubiquitous part of the Manhattan landscape. I have looked for a piece of artwork featuring them on every trip we've made and to no avail, so I tried to take as many pictures as I could with my little point-and-shoot. I have more architecture pictures so if that's not your thing, you might want to skip my next post~

Monday, October 26, 2009


One of my destin-
ations was Macy's at Herald Square. This the main aisle of the main floor. Just inside the front door an employee at an information booth gave us with a map for all ten floors - you need it. He also supplied us with some interesting tidbits like the store occupies an entire city block and there are 6.2 million square feet on those ten floors with over 6,000 employees.

He also told us that the star logo dates from the 1850s when Rowland Macy founded the original store. He had been a sea captain and once when completely lost at sea, a star appeared to him and using it, he was able to navigate back to shore. He had the star tattooed on his arm and adopted the star as the store logo. Now you know.

I love the architecture of New York's buildings. The exterior of the original Macy's is in the Palladian style but the expansion is Art Deco. It still has the original escalators, which we took all the way up to the 9th floor and all the way back down. The basement, called The Cellar, has a bar and grill. Amy asked what I bought at Macy's. A beer.
We were arrested on our trip back down the escalators by loud Chinese-sounding music. An upcoming show was putting on a performance in the Childrens department in advertisement. The dragon leaped around and shook with furry as the delighted children squealed and applauded.
The musicians and dancers concluded the program and the shoppers and store returned to normal. Well, not quite right away. It was quite unexpected and we were surrounded by animated conversation, to which we contributed.
We resumed our descent through the bewildering maze of merchandise. The yellow strip at the bottom is the teeth which are about 8" long and intimidating. Now I remember why I used to be afraid of escalators when I was a little girl. Click for big.

We didn't have access to the Internet all the while we were in New York. We got home Thursday afternoon so after I finished all the laundry on Friday, I finally logged in and posted my first blog. Immediately our DSL went down - we just got it back this morning. I've never stopped to think about what the Internet means to me, but after nearly two weeks without it, I couldn't stop thinking about it. Last night when I wanted to look up Mariano Rivera to see where he was born, how old he is and his baseball history - well, tough luck. It's good to have my old friend back.

Friday, October 23, 2009

The Big Apple

We got back from Manhattan yesterday afternoon after an all-day flight that took us through four airports. I don't know where to start so thought I'd start with the first photo I took, from the dining room window looking over the Hudson River to New Jersey and a tiny bit of Washington Bridge on the upper right.

Ian's brother and sister-in-law bought this apartment years ago when Neil was back in New York a lot. We are fortunate that they have been so generous with us. It was rather bittersweet that we observed the 5th anniversiary of Neil's death date while we were there. He absolutely loved New York.
I was fascinated by all the shipping activity on the Hudson and took a lot of photos that I won't attempt to blog, but I will bore you with NYC for another week or until I get the laundry done and my house clean. On this particular day, the forecast for rain was 100%. I have never experienced that forecast before. It rained all day and we took our umbrellas out into that forecast. I also have never poured water from a folded umbrella before.
Though he couldn't swipe a subway pass on the first time to save his life, Ian fell in love with the subway system.

A whole culture exists below ground in this maze called the subway - shops, clothing stores, and the odd ball street entertainer. With so many art institutes nearby, many are genuine artists. We heard a baritone singing "Ave Maria" and I thoroughly expected to see a large black man (think "Old Man River") and so I was surprised to finally come upon a small Korean man with this huge voice. Little Sharon was with us and teased me about being a racist.
There's a reason why it's called Rush Hour. There's room on the subway cars for everyone waiting for that train, every last one.

In her book, The Girls Guide to Hunting and Fishing, Melissa Banks records the Burma Shavesque poem on the overhead beams at the Time Square transfer point: "Overslept. So Tired. If late, Get fired. Why bother: Why the pain? Just go home. Do it again." I had seen it a few years ago and now it's there but now in a permanent form and I was thrilled to see it.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Fixin' to Get Ready

I took Becky's advice and Navajo plied the silk and am pleased to see the colors are preserved. I'm spinning the teal blue a little thicker as a two-ply. I think this is a much better solution than plying the two together.
After all the hats I've made, I've never kept one for myself and only have the very first one I made many years ago. I've gotten better since then. I finally made one for me and I think I'm probably going to need it in New York.

Ian stopped by the house yesterday to give Lexie her hat, which she is modeling for him with the sweater. We decided that we like the sweater so much that I can do it again, but this time in purple or lilac. The pattern was for worsted and I improvised for sport weight so I'll just use worsted next time.

When Ian came home he had presents for me from Alexia and Kiernan. They made birthday cards for me, and they are my most favorite of all. Kiernan included his football card which he is very proud of.

We leave for NYC in the morning and I'm thinking red, as in Big Apple. Ketchup with you later, he he.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Honest Scrap

Some time ago Bonita at Basically Bonita gave me that above award. I was completely unaware of Bonita's blog until I received this from her. The moment I started reading her blog, I fell in love with it. I think that's the point of the awards - to help us discover other bloggers who share our passions. Please wander over and see what she's up to. Lots!!

Awards take some time so I've put it off, but now I'm doing laundry and packing for New York, so this seems to perfect sit-down activity.

The rules of accepting this are as follows:

1. Choose a minimum of 7 blogs to give this award to that you feel to be brilliant in content and design.

2. Show the 7 winner’s links on your blog and leave them a comment informing them that they have been given the “Honest Scrap.”

3. List 10 honest things about yourself that people may not know.

So, seven blogs that I feel to be brilliant in content and design? Well, I can’t tag Leigh because Bonita already did. I think all the blogs I read are brilliant - that's why I read them, so I've chosen some of those who have helped me develop as a fiberist.

1. Becky, my fellow Nevadan and friend, is a shepherd in the middle of the state, an Etsy store shopkeeper and the best spinner I know. Because of her isolation, she taught herself to spin on a drop spindle!

2. Boulderneigh - Michelle raises Shetland sheep, the most perfect of all breeds, and has promised me a black fleece for next year. We finally actually met last month and she had to turn her life on its ear to do so. She writes of sheep, horses and the Pacific Northwest.

3. Fun with Fiber - Barb retired and opened a weaving studio immediately thereafter. Because of physical limitations, she's unable to weave as much as she would like, but did that stop her? Nope. She volunteered to help Syne Mitchell edit audio interviews for the Weave-Cast podcast, even though she'd never done it before in her life. I heard her work and she did great!

4. Fibertopia - Valerie's is one of the blogs I've read the longest and has helped me in a crunch many a time. She is a wonderful weaver and also reads great books. I look at her Library Thing link for book suggestions.

5. Life Looms Large - Sue and the following blogs are new to me this year. Sue lives completely across the continent, and she weaves and weaves and weaves. She also shares what she weaves and I learn from what she shares.

6. Crazy as a Loom - Hilary also lives two time zones from me. She retired from nursing to run a weaving studio and also weaves on commission. She makes beautiful things, and she loves cats - what is it about us and cats?!!

7. Camp Runamuck - Theresa is an accomplished weaver and has also helped me figure out things when I get stuck, even loaning me an instructional DVD. She and her firefighter husband have a small menagerie and she lives in my time zone!

Let’s see -10 honest things that people may not know about me, and let me say that this part is a piece of cake, compared to picking seven blogs:

1. My parents were so old when I was born, that my father was born in the 19th century.

2. My parents lived in Fairbanks but I was born in Seattle, because at the time Fairbanks hadn't any hospitals. Too bad, because I would love to say that I wasn't made in the USA - Alaska didn't become a state until later.

3. I grew up on a small organic farm in East San Diego County.

4. I didn't walk uphill both ways in my bare feet to go to school, but I did walk a mile to catch the school bus.

5. The place where I bought my first soap-making supplies, Summers Past Farms, was my high school bus stop. It was ratty back then, but it's still owned by the same family who made a purse out of a sow's ear.

6. My mother taught me to knit when I was nine, and she was taught by the Red Cross as part of the WWI war effort - knitting socks for the boys overseas.

7. I ran a 10-K fun run in costume and got my picture in the newspaper. I was a bride. For those of you runners, think about running fast down a steep hill in a full-length dress. I was terrified.

8. I don't like chocolate.

9. I started drinking coffee with my father after he got home work while I was still in high school and only like it dark, black and strong.

10. At 61 years of age, I'm still a tent camper.

How honest is that?! I even leaked my age :)

Friday, October 09, 2009

Soap Bars

The soap block has been cut into bars and they're ready to go upstairs to make my studio smell good. I tried letting it cure in the garage, but the mice nibbled on them. Disgusting.

Some of your commented on lye so I wanted to explain that lye is what makes fat become hard soap. It's a reaction that occurs between sodium hydroxide and fats called saponification and far too complex for me to understand other than it makes soap and that's good enough for me.

I thought you might like to see what October looks like in the high desert.

We live on Fetlock Drive, and the irony of a dirt road with a sign calling it a drive is not lost on me.

I had to live here for a long time, then move and way and move back, before I learned to appreciate and love this strange beauty.

The last blooming rabbit brush in our yard. I'm off to make one last batch of soap.