Saturday, March 31, 2007

The City

Yesterday, Lida and I went to NYC. One of the main reasons I do not believe that I could live on the West Coast (no matter how crafty Portland, OR is!) is that I wouldn't be able to skip over to New York. Just knowing that I can get to a show if I wanted is very important. If I had a billion dollars, I'd move to New York in a heartbeat but I think that I would really have to have a billion dollars (OK, or at least a couple million) to be happy there. Anyway, for under $25 bucks, I CAN take NJ transit to get to the city for a day:) We went to the fashion district and drooled over fabric and buttons, but were really in the market for beads and were not disappointed. I found a store with these great colored shell disks that made me want 200 in every shape and size. I restrained myself but some designs should be appearing in the shop soon.

Most importantly, I saw the Radical Lace and Subversive Knitting show at the Museum of Arts and Design. YUM. I lean towards the fiber arts, so I'm a bit biased, but I really think it's a show worth heading to NY for. They had a video of Dave Cole's Knitting Machine which I'd seen still photos of but enjoyed seeing in action. Also an incredible piece by Cal Lane which was the body of a dead car that was carved out with the most intricate lace pattern. I think it was called Lace Car Bombing...the car was pretty beat up and burned, but made entirely beautiful with this all-over lace carving. The dirt that the car was piled on had been laid down over a lace pattern, so the dirt was even mirroring the pattern on the car. I really love details like that. Another favorite installation (combining my love for biology and art, even!) was Ruth Marshall's snake skins. She knitted anatomically correct skins of every species in a particular genus of snake. ACK! I'm going nuts just thinking about it all.

GO SEE IT. 'Nuff said.

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Garden Cam!

Oh, the potential! The snow has melted and today was a lovely day to turn over the garden soil. I added some sphagnum moss since we have a lot of clay around here and some stinky manure just to give it that authentic smell;) I leaned some pavers up in the back because there is a slight hill and the rain tends to was the dirt into the neighbor's yard...I'll be happy when the plants are cranking so that the pavers can be hidden. Special thanks to Dad for being the foreman. Retired Dads are the BEST. So this year will (hopefully!) bring beans, cucumbers, heirloom tomatoes (if I can get the seeds I saved last year to grow), mountains of basil and I'm not sure what else. Probably a good dose of herbs and maybe another veggie.

I'm off this evening to play some music with friends of's good weather for jamming on the porch and I intend to take full advantage of that. After that, we might try our first bbq of the season. It's pretty close to a perfect day, I'd say...

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Cross Stitch Complete!

Alright, it took me a while to see this project through, but I managed to eke it out before the 6th edition of Mailorder comes around, so that's an accomplishment. The reflection from the glass is making this photo a little wonky, but I am quite pleased with the way it turned out. I'm really into robin's egg blue at the moment and come summertime, my living room walls should be this color and I think this little guy will look quite spiffy up against a blue wall.

The weather is a balmy 80 degrees here today and I've managed to catch a cold (on vacation, no less!) I'll hopefully get to putter around in the garden if I'm feeling up to it, but otherwise I'll probably spend a lot of time staring at the evil red vest that needs to be completed. Oh! And I ordered my birthday present on super sale today (a knitting machine!) and so maybe I'll lie around and think about its arrival. See, I can do that because I'm on VACATION!

Monday, March 26, 2007

Spring flowers on my mind

Spring break has been good to me so far. I've made some bright barrettes for the shop out of a moth-eaten sweater of Andrew's that I'd felted long ago. This sweater was red and green and purple (I'm not kidding), made of beautiful Italian wool and Andrew wore it with pride. You have to love a man who's not afraid of color...because when his clothes get old you can make them into other things:)

My cross-stitch is coming along beautifully and will soon be ready for framing. I've been spending a lot of time with it as I am currently annoyed at my knitting project. My wonderful red vest has taken some major energy. First, it's been eating my needles. For real. One night, I set my knitting down, safely in the tote bag I've been transporting it in. When I took it out in the morning, one of the needles was snapped entirely in half. Now, my cats are crazy...but Andrew and I both feel that they would have had to take a running start and then careened themselves into the needle in just the right way to break it. Conclusion? The vest did it. It wanted off of the needles and it decided to take action. I can't really blame the vest for the other mishaps that occurred to the needles that were knitting cats like to chew on the pointy ends of my needles, so they chewed the good needle in my broken set and then one of the needles I'd used as my replacement set. Good thing I have a stash of size 6 needles.

Dead needles aside, I am frustrated with the vest for another reason. I've been happily knitting the edges and I tried it on and realized it's really, really short. I knew that it was knitting up shorter than the pattern, so I actually knit it longer than I was instructed too. I also took care to focus on length while blocking. It's a highly cabled vest, though, and I thing they just acted like springs or something...this is one crop-top of a vest. Ick. So now I need to undo the bottom and knit down. This has me angry, and therefore I'm cross stitching. Grumpity grump grump.

Thursday, March 22, 2007

Spring Break, Spring Thaw

OK, that crazy ice storm last week...what the heck was that about? I had a bunch of photos taken of all the little snowdrops and other flowers coming up and then suddenly they were all buried. These little guys stuck it out and seem to be winning the battle agains the snow. Go wee flowers, go!

I am currently on my glorious spring break. I had intended to get a lot of gardening done, but the ice fell in weird drifts and so the only part of my house that is still really buried under a foot of snow is, as luck would have it, my garden. Hopefully it can thaw in a week. No matter, though, I have fifty thousand other things that I want to get done during my week and a half off. I've made some great headway on my Mailorder cross stitch and I think my recent knitting project (a vest in a jaunty red hue) is almost dry from blocking so I'll be able to knit the edging soon. I shall keep other projects a secret and unveil them as they get completed...the last thing I need is to feel like I wasn't productive enough over break.

Rehearsals are revving up for the show I'm in which opens on April 13th. My character is really lovely and the show takes place in the 50s so I've been getting to try on some great vintage clothing. I wish wish wish that fashion time could have stopped in the 50s...hello?! Big, full skirts! They hide a multitude of, I mean sins. Also, they get all twirly when you spin. You've gotta love kinetic clothing. As for this resurgence of the 80s and all of the leggings and tight tunics I see walking around the school hallway: let's give it up folks. It wasn't a good look then, and it isn't now. And so help me, if shoulder pads even DARE to come back...

Sunday, March 11, 2007

Carmina Burana

For my birthday last week, Andrew got tickets to see the PA Ballet dancing Carmina Burana. I love going to the ballet. I started taking ballet lessons on my 3rd or 4th birthday and continued dancing through college and a bit beyond. When I was a kid, my parents would take me to the ballet and I would make sure that I had my leotards and tights on under my dress and my mom would put my hair in a bun. I can vividly recall my excitement when walking up the garishly carpeted stairs at the Academy of Music, and my focus during the production. We went to see the Nutcracker a few times, and although I know it's an annoying bread and butter production for any corps de ballet, it is a magical experience for a kid. My good friend worked for a number of years backstage at the NYC ballet and a few years ago I went to the city to see them do the Nutcracker. She was apologetic that she couldn't get me seats in the section reserved for friends of ballet employees, and so she'd have to ask me to stand backstage with her during the production. Um, backstage??!?!?! I was suddenly seven years old again. At one point, my friend pointed out that I wasn't looking at the performance on stage; didn't I want to see it? Please, I have the nutcracker freaking memorized, what was interesting was the warming up, the costume adjustments, the costumes up close.

My mother always told me that from when I was little, I liked to sit to the extreme right or left of the house, so that I could see what was happening in the wings. Andrew got tickets that were almost as house right as you can get and we had a beautiful, clear shot into the wings. I saw a soloist cross herself and look to the heavens before going on, I saw a dancer in the costume pictured above unceremoniously yank her strapless bodice up, I saw dancers leaning on the bar in front of the fly rigging. I also enjoy positioning myself during runs of the shows that I'm in so that I can see what's happening both on stage and off at the same time (a la Noises Off). The group I'm rehearsing with now has a great space for that. I can sit in the hallway and look into the side door of the theatre and see people coming out of the wings which empty right into the hallway. I like the cleanliness of what's happening on stage and the messiness and rush of what's happening offstage. I like to know that there was a stubborn piece of hair that wouldn't stay back offstage that managed to get fixed just as the actor walked on stage and that there is someone about to enter because they are standing in the wings.

Oh, and the ballet was beautiful. The costumes were INCREDIBLE and used all kinds of fabrics that did amazing things for the dancers. It was sexy and intelligent and worth dropping some cash on. In the area? Check it out!

made. by k.d.