Friday, June 29, 2012

Photo-a-Day - June 2012 - Day 29: Soft

Photo-a-Day - June 2012 - Day 29: Soft
Waking up, it was obvious what the first photo for this prompt had to be as Tigger and T.S. were in their usual cuddled position at the bottom of the bed.  Then I stepped outside and realized how beautiful was the day.  There was a lovely soft, warm breeze and white fluffy clouds.  I know what I see, but what do you see in the clouds? 

As I came back in, I passed the shelf where I keep many of my crocheted scarves, brushing up against the softest of them all as it's made from baby alpaca.  In the living room, I sat in what I always think of as my dad's rocker as it was his rocker when we were growing up.  On a stool next to it is my very squishy Kennebunk Weavers throw and on the back is my snug faux fur throw. 

Yes, this is a wonderful, soft day.

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Photo-a-Day - June 2012 - Day 28: On the Shelf

Photo-a-Day - June 2012 - Day 28: On the Shelf
Many years ago, I met a wonderful Scotswoman named Edith Jones.   Edith was 72 and I was 30.  She lived with her brother and sister in a home filled with the most wonderful furniture and objects; the type of place where it was gracious and elegant, but never stuffy. 

Our relationship began as she had some items she wanted to sell; furniture and some china.  She didn't really need the money, but no longer had the need or space for them.  Edith would estimate their worth and sell them for less than half as it was more important that the buyer would love the pieces and take care of them.  It was thus I bought quite a few pieces of my furniture and a set of china.  But more, Edith created an objective in me of the type of environment, both physical and emotional, I wanted for my own place.

It wasn't purely a commercial relationship, however.  Many a wintery Sunday morning would find me with Edith in their parlor, fire crackling, and candles lit where we'd share conversation, tea, and homemade shortbread served on her set of Price Kensington cottage ware.

Edith's cottage ware stayed with her but, in time, I decided to collect several pieces for me.  I love my cottage ware; not only for their own charm, but for the memories they evoke of an interesting, gracious lady who shared some of her lovely things and wonderful Sunday conversations. 

Addendum:  Both Edith and I did needlepoint.  While looking on eBay for cottage ware for my collection, I came across this hand-stitched, well used, well loved tea cozy from Scotland.  Fanciful I may be, and am, but it seemed to be a wee gift from Edith.  Thank you, Edith.

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Photo-a-Day - June 2012 - Day 27: Bathroom

Photo-a-Day - June 2012 - Day 27: Bathroom
Not being a fan of white walls, even my bath is a room I fill with things I enjoy.  It also helps that my bath was just redone with new tile floors, cabinet with marble top, very cool nickle faucet and a pewter-toned mirror.

I love candles.  In addition to the large 3-wick vanilla pillar, is an oil lamp and the pewter wall sconces.  Above the towel rack is a print of "Air Castles" by Maxfield Parrish and, reflected in the mirror, is a numbered print of "Queen Mab in the Ruins" by James Christensen.

The shower curtain is one I found probably 20 years ago at Bath and Beyond.  It was on display as a sample and I think the clerk really wanted it for herself as, in spite of it being the last one they had, she really didn't want to sell it to me.  However, I loved it; the colors and design are so me that I wasn't about to let it go.  

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Photo-a-Day - June 2012 - Day 25: Where I Shop

Photo-a-Day - June 2012 - Day 25: Where I Shop
There is very little shopping being done by me these days other than for the necessities.  However, when you have a market where the staff is friendly and goes out of their way to help you, it makes and otherwise boring task such a pleasure.

The other day I was doing a major, re-stock the cupboards, fridge, freezer shop.  Even all my cat supplies of dry food and litter were needed.  In other words, a lot of heavy items.  I was delighted when Jamatu (on the right) appeared and started unloading my cart for me saying "Here, pretty lady, let me do that for you".  Okay, so calling me "pretty lady" was being very generous, but always appreciated.  Then Tommy (on the left) rang thing up, ensuring I received all the discounts available.  He asked whether I'd found everything and when I mentioned one item I'd been unable to locate, he said he knew right where it was, dashed off and returned with it immediately.  Jamatu bagged my groceries, took them to my car and loaded them in the back for me.

I know they were just doing their jobs, but they did it with warmth, enthusiasm and consideration.   Kudos to Safeway for their excellent staff and their excellent training.  Kudos to Tommy and Jamatu for making a job I really don't enjoy, very enjoyable.  And yes, I did go back in to compliment them to their manager. 

Monday, June 25, 2012

Photo-a-Day - June 2012 - Day 25: Something Cute

Photo-a-Day - June 2012 - Day 25: Something Cute
Meet Sarah.  Sarah is the daughter of a very good friend.  Sarah has now graduated college and is working.  However, to me this picture is cute for two reasons.

1.  Sarah, of course.  Is that not the cutest lopsided grin ever?  (She'll be so embarrassed seeing this).  When Sarah was born, I decided that I'd do something different from the usual baby sampler; something which could be passed down through the generations.  And who doesn't love Winnie the Pooh?  So I made this needlepoint height chart, which should have gone up to 7 ft. as both Sarah and her brother John are now tall children of tall parents.  But this leads us to the second "cute" of this post.

2.  Most of this chart was stitched while I was working in San Francisco.  I found that, even standing, if I could prop myself against something, I could stitch.  Each day, I'd stitch quietly away.  One day, a very nicely dressed man whom I'd seen on my car from time-to-time but not recently, came up to me.  In a rather excited voice he asked "Have you stitched the balloon yet?"  I said yes I had, and unrolled the canvas so he could see the green balloon.  He sighed and, rather wistfully said "I love the balloon." 

And there you are.  A very cute little girl and, I think, a cute story to tie it all together.

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Photo-a-Day - June 2012 - Day 24: On My Mind

Photo-a-Day - June 2012 - Day 24: On My Mind
The photos say it all--pardon the typo I can't seem to fix which should say "Finish this afghan".  I've been unemployed before, but never for this long and always knew I'd find something. Now it's been longer and much less certain.  Only those of us who are part of the long-term unemployed can really understand the anxiety and outright fear of the situation. 

However, in order to feel productive, useful and as if I'm contributing something, crocheting for charity has been a wonderful outlet.  I've had to buy very little yarn outright and most of what I have bought has been through Craigslist from other people de-stashing, but I've also had wonderfully generous people send me boxes of yarn for free.  Once learns just how kind and giving people can be.

This isn't the most stunning, interesting, or cheerful entry I've posted, but it's the most real.

Saturday, June 23, 2012

Photo-a-Day - June 2012 - Day 23: Movement

Photo-a-Day - June 2012 - Day 22: Movement
There are nine pendulum clocks in my house, eight of which are working.  However, in only two of them is the pendulum visible.  Watching the pendulum is hypnotic...."you are getting sleepy...".  I was hypnotized once as part of a group training session.  It's rather a weird feeling.  I was aware, but not completely in control.  Have you ever been hypnotized?  Care to share?

Friday, June 22, 2012

Photo-a-Day - June 2012 - Day 22: From a High Angle

Photo-a-Day - June 2012 - Day 22: From a High Angle
Camping and fishing were something my ex-husband and I loved.  One of the places to which he introduced me were the Virginia Lakes.  They are located off Highway 395 on the eastern side of the Sierra, in the Humboldt-Toiyabe National Forest. 

There are seven lakes, starting with Little Virginia Lake.  The elevation starts at 9,770 ft. and goes up from there.  Happily, elevation sickness is something which has never bothered me.  In fact, I find that cold, clean thin air to be very easy on my asthmatic lungs.  The drinking water, mountain runoff, is just as cold and clean and delicious. 

We did some good trout fishing there and I've been back a couple times over the years, now staying in cabins rather than a tent.  I've often told my friends that when I die, I want my ashes to be scattered here.  It's a magnificent place.

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Photo-a-Day - June 2012 - Day 21: Where I Slept

Photo-a-Day - June 2012 - Day 21: Where I Slept
If I'm really tired, I fall asleep wherever I am.  When I decide on an intentional nap, here's where you'll find me.  The chair is a wall-hugger recliner, whereupon my cat T.S. has decided the one corner is a scratching post.  The multi-toned blue needlepoint pillow is one of a set of four I made based on Amish quilt-square patterns.  I use it for the small of my back, and the roll pillow for my neck. 

I'm one of those people who has to have a cover when I sleep.  If it's very chilly, I use the striped afghan Gram Nissen made me.  If it warm, I use the magical quillow, with foot pocket, made by the lovely Sandi Tipple.  The matching pillow I use under my knees.

The footstool I originally made for my parents.  They bought their first house in Sun City West, AZ -- their ninth to that point out of 14 overall.  So I had an idea of the house, mom sent me paint chips, carpet samples and tile samples.  My parents have always loved birds and remarked on the number of quail they had in their yard so when I saw this canvas, I knew it would be perfect.  I went through at least 3 set of colors for the leaves before I was satisfied.  In order to match the carpet on which it would sit, I blended two shades of beige wool.  A few years ago, when then downsized, mom sent the footstool back to me.

A special note:  Sandi Tipple is the wife of author and reviewer Kevin Tipple.  The family is going through extremely hard times.  Their grown son is disabled and lost his job; Kevin has severe health issues and cannot work, and Sandi undergoing cancer treatments.  Even so, Sandi makes and donates chemo caps to her fellow patients.  They could use any help one can give.  You may either donate directly through Kevin's blogsite, or help by buying items handmade by Sandi through her store on iOffer.  I see she does have a Christmas quillow for sale on the 2nd page of her site.  Please do help them, if you can. (The Tipple's don't know I've posted this, but they're wonderful people.)

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Photo-a-Day - June 2012 - Day 20: Favorite Photo I've Ever Taken

Photo-a-Day - June 2012 - Day 20: Favorite Photo I've Ever Taken
Paris, Place de la Concorde.  I only had one week's notice I was going to Paris and had just bought my new Canon FTb SLR camera.  I barely knew how it worked but I figured I'd just try anything and everything as who knew when, if ever, I'd visit Paris again.  Happily, I have a lot of wonderful photographs from that trip, but this has always been my favorite for the way it captured the individual drops of water. 

Unfortunately, all my photographs were shot with slide film.  This was one of a few of which I had enlarged prints made.  The actual print is larger than my scanner will accommodate, so a bit of the actual photograph is lost from what it shown here, but not that much.

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Photo-a-Day - June: Day 19: Imperfect

Photo-a-Day - June: Day 19: Imperfect
Crocheting for charity is important to me.  For Stitches from the Heart, now in its 15th year, we make baby items--hats, blankets, booties, etc.--in sizes from tiny, for bereavement, to full-term babies.  The items are then donated to over 1,400 hospitals and NICU centers across the country.

This blanket was supposed to be done completely in the variegated yarn.  After two skeins, it was clear I didn't have enough to finish it.  So, thought I, I'll do a center section in solid white.  Do you know how many shades of white there are?  In spite of having a 37 gallon bin full of white yarn, nothing matched.  Off to the yarn shops went I.  Nothing!

Next up to try was the pink or the lavender.  Again, nothing really matched.  Sadly, this "Pale Plum" was a close as I could find.  So, relying on the attitude of "I meant to do that", I am not only working the center in a solid color,but I changed the stitch pattern for this center section and will do the other end of this  approximately 40" x 40" blanket in the variegated to match the beginning.

Somehow, when it's done, it will find a baby for whom it will be perfect. 

Monday, June 18, 2012

Photo-a-Day - June: Day 18: Something You Don't Know Abourt Me

Photo-a-Day - June: Day 18: Something You Don't Know About Me
I have always loved music and loved to sing.  In grade school, not only was I in choir, but had an a cappella quartet for which I arranged a medley of songs that won the school talent show.  By the senior year of high school, I had managed my schedule so I had 2.5 periods of choir a day; 1 period of Girls' Glee Club which was all a cappella, and 1.5 hours of 8-part chorus. When I lived in Boston, I was accepted into the Handle-Hayden chorus.

When I moved to California, I had my connections for choral groups until, while getting my hair cut one day, I learned of The Distaff Singers.  I was a member for three years, two of which I was vice president of the board, and had a thoroughly good time.  After the third year, my need for a chorus was satisfied. 

However, what very few people know is that I was also part of the synchronized swim team. I am probably the least competitive person one could ever meet,  Competitive swimming appealed to me not at all, but synchronized swimming is water dancing and I loved it.  Unfortunately, the third major ear infection put an end to my synchronized swimming career; thus, no photo of me with the team so this is my graduation picture instead.

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Photo-a-Day - June: Day 17: In My Bag

Photo-a-Day - June: Day 17: In My Bag
As I'd already shown what inside my small bag/wallet, this is the bag into which it, and everything else--except the needlepoint-in-progress, goes when I'm going away for the day.

I love this red bag.  It was sold as a diaper bag but it was perfect for me as it has three large pockets, plus two bottle pockets, on the outside, and eight pockets on the inside plus a HUGE open storage area.  All this makes it very easy to carry:

- my small bag
- current book
- Voyageur, who must come everywhere
- an umbrella for those three/four months when we do get rain
- current Stitches from the Heart project (baby blanket)
- square and addition yarn for Knit-a-Square plus my 8" template
- water bottle
- support glove for crochet
- crochet case with everything (hooks, markers, scissors, needles, pen, tape measure, threader)

It's the best bag ever!

Saturday, June 16, 2012

Photo-a-Day - June: Day 16: Out and About

Photo-a-Day - June: Day 16: Out and About
 Out and about for a short walk down my street this morning.  It's only one block long yet it's a wonderful combination of small apartment buildings, large homes converted to apartments and single-family homes; a couple with very over-grown yards.  Each house is as different as the ethnic and age diversity of the neighbors.  Alice is in her 90s and has lived in her house all her life.  The Chen's have been here since being released from the segregation camps after WWII.  We also have a lot of young couples moving into their first homes and starting families.  It's a friendly neighborhood with a very active Neighborhood Watch group.  Once a year we hold a neighborhood party and an average of 75 people attend.  I do love Oakland.

Friday, June 15, 2012

Photo-a-Day - June: Day 15: Yellow

Photo-a-Day - June: Day 15: Yellow
Of all my grandmother quilts, and I am blessed to have several, this is my most precious.  Gram Roberts, my paternal grandmother, started making it in the later years of her life.  Her eyesight was fading, her hands were unsteady and she realized she was making a lot of mistakes.  The wonderful thing was that she and my Gram Nissen, aside from both being quilters, had also always been friends. 

Gram Roberts sent the unfinished quilt, still at the stage of individual blocks, to Gram Nissen.  A fair bit of the stitching needed to be undone, repaired and restitched but Gram Nissen lovingly completed the squares finished the top, and quilted it to the backing, all by hand. 

The finished quilt and two pillows were then sent to my mom.  A few years ago, knowing how much I love them and they mean to me, she gave all her quilts to me.  Each is special, but this one holds the love of both grandmothers.


Thursday, June 14, 2012

Photo-a-Day - June: Day 14: Time. Once Upon A

Photo-a-Day - June: Day 14: Time - Once Upon A...
Or, in French, the language of the original story, Il était une fois...  I found this canvas in a needlepoint shop, now gone, in the town of Napa.  As well as being an anglophile, I'm a bit of a francophile, having so loved my time in Paris.  I knew immediately I had to stitch this stocking, but it wasn't as easy as it seemed.

The bedpost, base, windows. stairs and horses trappings were all poorly painted, out of proportion and symmetry so much time was spent correcting them.  I wanted the bed curtains and bedding to appear as if they were old velvet.  I don't know how many combinations of reds I tried before I found the seven (7) shades that worked.  The window and spiders web are done in metallic threads, as are the embellishments on the trappings.

Completed in 2000, the stocking took me over a year to stitch, but I loved it.  Then the question of where to hang it.  It's not really a Christmas stocking.  Instead, the stocking lives year round on the door to my bedroom in hopes (not really) that someday my prince will come.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Photo-a-Day - June: Day 13: Art

Photo-a-Day - June: Day 13: Art
I've always held a very broad definition of art.  To me, it is anything which is made by hand; paintings, drawings, furniture, jewelry, fiber work, anything including, in this case, hand-made dolls.

Dolls have never been something to which I've been particularly drawn, even as a child.  However, upon walking into the shop of the delightful Rose, since passed, I saw this pair of jester dolls and knew they had to be mine.  I am an admitted Anglophile, love period items and the handwork on this pair was wonderful.  What truly sold me is their faces.  I smile back whenever I look at them.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Photo-a-Day - June: Day 12: From a Low Angle

Photo-a-Day - June: Day 12: From a Low Angle
 Architectural detail is something I find fascinating.  This is the outdoor stair going from the driveway level up to the second floor.  The photo was taken from patio level; lower from the driveway, under the stairs.  It includes one of my three windchimes suspended from under the second-floor stair landing.

Monday, June 11, 2012

Photo-a-Day - June: Day 11: Door

Photo-a-Day - June: Day 11: Door
No one would ever mention my name and "minimalist" in the same breath.  If there is empty wall space, I'll hang something on it.  In this case, I couldn't find the right place for this small collection of Christmas-themed items so they are handing on the door to my den.

Top left is "A Visit from St. Nicholas" clipped from the Long Island Daily Press of Saturday, December 23, 1944. 

Bottom left is the copy a newspaper advertisement from the Carroll, Iowa Daily Times Harold of December 9, 1941 extolling the virtues of pasteurized milk.  Up to this point, people didn't trust pasteurization.  In the ad, it talks about Santa visiting the Carroll Creamery, co-owned by my Grampa Roberts and his brother, tasting the milk and liking it so well he took samples back to the North Pole.  Once his helpers tasted it, the threatened to strike until the milk was part of the "daily ration in their closed shop".  So, the ad offers, the Carroll Creamery can deliver milk to your home just as it does to the North Pole.

On the right, is the cross stitched, embellished and backstitched needlework piece citing the beginning of "A Visit from St. Nicholas".  On the back is an inscription of "For Brian with all my love.  Mom."  I found it in an antique store and just couldn't leave it there, so I brought it home, had it archivally framed and made it part of my collection.

In case you're curious; no, this is not the only door I'm using as a picture wall.

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Photo-a-Day - June: Day 10: Best Bit(s) of the Weekend

Photo-a-Day - June: Day 10: Best Bit(s) of the Weekend
It's been a tranquil weekend in the Roberts' house.  Yesterday, I received an invitation to the surprise 70th birthday party for a friend and finally gave in to my craving for mac & cheese.  No, I didn't want a fancy four-cheese recipe.  I wanted the childhood comfort of Kraft blue-box mac and cheese, although I did add peas for nutrition.  

Even though I'm not working, I still am up early every morning--except Sunday.  Sunday is my laze-in-bed-and-read day until hunger, or the cats, finally gets me up. 

All through the weekend, I've been working on a large crochet project.  To avoid eyestrain, I always watch television.  However, this weekend, I've been enjoying Netflix 30-day free trial and watching "A Touch of Frost" from the beginning, straight through.  I'm about to start Season 7 of 15. 

Saturday, June 9, 2012

Photo-a-Day - June: Day 9: My View Today

Photo-a-Day - June: Day 9: My View Today
As I come down Lincoln Avenue, either from visiting my friends up in the Oakland Hills or off Hwy 13, this wonderful panoramic view of Oakland, the Bay, and San Francisco comes into sight.  No matter how  many times I see it, it gives my heart a little lift every single time and makes me smile.  Not even the phone lines can spoil it.

Friday, June 8, 2012

Photo-a-Day - June: Day 8: Six O'Clock

Photo-a-Day - June: Day 8: Six O'Clock
A bit before 6 a.m., I opened the front door to see the day.  The sun had just crested the hills.  When I turned to close the front door, I saw the beautiful pattern of shadow the sun had created coming through the outside stairs and railings, and my screen door.  Welcome to the day.

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Photo-a-Day - June: Day 7: Drink

Photo-a-Day - June: Day 7: Drink
There's nothing more peaceful or comforting than starting the day with a mug of hot chocolate.  When it's mint hot chocolate in my DorothyL 20th Anniversary mug, it's even better.

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Photo-a-Day - June: Day 6: Hat

Photo-a-Day - June: Day 6:  Hat
There's something very elegant about wearing a hat and I've always loved them.  This was in 1999, going to high tea with friends.

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Photo-a-Day - June: Day 5: Sign

Photo-a-Day - June: Day 5: Sign
One of the most important phrases in any language, whether written or spoken, either aloud or using American Sign Language, is "I love you".

Monday, June 4, 2012

Photo-a-Day - June: Day 4: Close-Up

Photo-a-Day - June:  Day 4: Close-Up
From the top of her hair to the base of her neck, this beautiful woman's head is only a 1" x 3/4" part of a 16" x 20" needlepoint piece I bought in an antique store about 20 years ago.  There is no date, but it is in the original frame and is judged to be from the late 1800s.
 For those who do needlepoint, it will make sense when I say the piece was done on 10/20 penelope canvas.  However, the stitch artist, for indeed that's what person was, overlayed the hands, faces, legs of the gentleman, and feet in possibly a 24 canvas.  That canvas when then cut out for the eyes we are stitched behind the face in a very fine silk gauze, to give them dimension, and include a single stitch of white to bring them to life.  Her lips are 8 stitches, but 3 colors; her eyebrows and lashes are backstitched. 

Although I do needlepoint myself, when I saw this piece, along with another I have from 1884, I knew this was not something I would ever do myself.  However, I also felt both pieces belonged in the home of a stitcher as someone who would appreciate the level of work and remarkable artistry involved.

Sunday, June 3, 2012

Photo-a-Day - June: Day 3: On My Plate

Photo-a-Day - June:  Day 3: On My Plate
For a friend's birthday lunch yesterday we had pasta shells stuffed with crab and shrimp, stir-fry sesame asparagus, garden-fresh greens mixed salad.  What you don't see is a mascarpone tart with fresh strawberries and a port reduction sauce.  It was an excellent meal with wonderful friends.

Saturday, June 2, 2012

Photo-a-Day - June: Day 2: Empty

Photo-a-Day - June:  Day 2: Empty

A few years ago, I had the opportunity to drive from Las Vegas, Nevada to Flagstaff, Arizona.  In planning my route and having the time, I found I could do quite a bit of the drive on Historic Route 66.  I wasn't about to pass that up.  It was a Friday and once I was on 66, I only saw one other car the whole time. 

It was hot, incredibly dry and there was a strong, relentless wind the waitress in the cafe said blows almost all the time.  As I drove, all I could think, other than "don't let the car break down", was how incredible for the early settlers to come across this country with no roads, no maps and no idea what they would find.  It was an incredible drive and am so glad I took the road less traveled. 

I was also amazed the photo came out somewhat level as, yes, I was driving with one hand and shooting the photo with the other.

Friday, June 1, 2012

Photo-a-Day - June: Day 1: Morning

Photo-a-Day - June:  Day 1: Morning
I had several different option of photos to post this morning; an early bird in a tree, the sun cresting the hills, or sunrise shadows on the side of my building.  Then I walking into my living room and saw the prism rainbows on my wall.   I immediately smiled as the colors danced and played from the breeze coming through the window.  My choice was made:  Rainbows on the wall.