An elegant sufficiency

Monday, April 30, 2007

Today I went to Wales

We spent this morning at the National Botanic Garden, where I had to take my favourite photograph (again). Once more, we wondered where everyone was, for it was mostly deserted in spite of the glorious weather. This afternoon, I had work to do - the fun kind, thank goodness.
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Sunday, April 22, 2007

...and when I got home,

look what I found!

Someone has been busy building furniture and "my" wall is almost done. I am delighted!

Thank you, sweetie xx


Hotel Art 12 - Yorkshire

We have been staying at the Devonshire Fell Hotel, in Burnsall in Wharfedale and seldom have I had so much hotel art to record.

In my room, I enjoyed the company of someone's parents, a most interesting pair to peer at from time to time.

This chair was a little less to my taste, though I found the composition very satisfying and calming.I very much enjoyed looking around the gallery of portrait photography on each floor, too. Such wonderful contrasts in these timeless images.

The dining room was a work of art in itself, never mind the glorious paintings to enjoy at mealtimes! Who would have thought that such an unassuming country house hotel would have such an exuberant decor?

I loved it so much, I forgave them for neglecting to tweak the hanging from time to time!


I have been on an adventure!

Travelling with a group of seven amazing women during the last week has been such an enriching experience.

The sun has shone every day and the English countryside could have not looked better.
Gloucestershire was green and gorgeous as ever.

Yorkshire was full of lambs enjoying the lush green pastures.

We visited the most fascinating of places and delighted in so many shared interests.

As for what else we got up to....well, perhaps you'll have to use your imagination!

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Monday, April 16, 2007

Speaking of new bookshelves...

A progress report.
The pile of cardboard for recycling is almost as big as the pile of boxes still to be opened.
We can now assemble a Billy bookcase in less than twenty minutes.
We have no more Billy bookcases to assemble.
We are becoming more effective at assembling Effectiv.
We think we have made a couple of minor ordering errors and will have to return to IKEA Bristol to make an exchange soon.
So far, every package has been complete to the last small screw.


The Loot

One of the delights of travelling to the other side of the Atlantic Ocean is going shopping. It's not always that I need to buy stuff...but it's such fun looking! Thing is, with such a good exchange rate right now, some things are very tempting. As usual I had a list, built up over several months with things seen in magazines, favourite products simply not available here (why can't we buy Ziplock bags? Different flavoured toothpaste? Altoids?) and there's always a few other bits and pieces which are more easily obtained in a city than a small Cotswold village!

I began with white Sharpies - which seem to be the only reliable pens to work on every dark surface. I thought I'd get an assortment whilst I could.

Visiting Jordi is fraught with danger, however, because en route to her apartment there is an enormous Barnes and Noble we simply have to visit. I am envious of having such a great resource on her doorstep and yet....our new bookshelves are not never-ending!
I haven't really had chance to look closely at either of these yet - the Bracketologist book was one I thought Edward might find amusing (he did) and Kaleidoscope was one of those titles I stumbled upon and which looked interesting at the time. I left others on the shelf, having noted their titles for my next Amazon order. Whilst there, I also came across a copy of Eat, Pray, Love and commented that I fancied reading it - generous soul that she is, Jordi passed her copy to me immediately. I'm looking forward to starting it soon.

Next was to Purl. I've already revealed the yarn haul, so there's only one small thing remaining - the Weavette book. I bought the looms last year and am looking forward to playing around with them a little more, now I have some patterns.

Staying where we do has the added advantage of being close to all manner of bead and button stores, and amongst them is one particular store selling amazingly cheap tat - sorry, costume jewellery! I quite liked these shell bracelets and thought they were made to an interesting design. They're elasticated, so easy to wear.

Also nearby is Tinsel Trading which is where I found some unusual sequins to share with a good friend who will no doubt do something very creative with them. Either that, or like me, she'll tuck them away somewhere and enjoy looking at them from time to time! I have tried very hard to photograph them more closely but sadly, my skills just don't stretch that far. I will have to ask my photographer buddy Helen for advice! Here they are with a copy of Vogue Knitting magazine and they are on Tinsel Trading's website here too.

Finally, whilst in The Ink Pad (in search of Sharpies) I spotted this rubber stamp. How could I not bring it home with me?

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Sunday, April 15, 2007

Japanese Craft Books

I promised I'd share pictures of the New York loot sometime soon, and so I shall - but it's likely to come out in dribs and drabs, what with assembling furniture, preparing for guests and generally getting back into "life" again. Anyway, I thought I'd show two Japanese craft books Jordi and I found in Kinokuniya with you to start the ball rolling.

First is a button book, full of ideas for stringing buttons into different arrangements and surely a book I'm going to find useful. Google ISBN 4-579-11063-3 for more details.

Second is a ribbon flower book , the Amazon Japan page describes it beautifully! Google ISBN 4-579-11125-7 for more information.

I'm really pleased to have both of these on my shelf. Even though I can't read Japanese, I can follow the really clear diagrams and be inspired by so many of the designs inside.

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Friday, April 13, 2007

Some assembly required

The pile of boxes means that we will be occupied for quite some time, getting our new studio up together. Somewhere in that corner is a wall of shelving, a few cupboards, filing cabinets and my two large worktables.

We made a start by assembling our desks, which were surprisingly straightforward. Phew.

There is going to be some recycling to be done, I think - those desks alone produced this.

But it's looking good, and will all come together in the next week or two, which will be a relief.

And help is at hand. Edward is home!


Thursday, April 12, 2007

Homeward bound

It was a beautiful morning as we waited for our flight home. The sun rose as we left, and set as we arrived. What a way to spend a day.

The view wasn't too bad...first Dreamgirls, then For Your Consideration and finally, Happy Feet, all seen whilst snuggled up under my very own duvet, for yes, we were upgraded!!


Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Hotel Art 11 - New York

Well, one might expect something lively in this, one of the liveliest of cities. The painting above the bedhead did not disappoint, and retained its striking effect even when reflected in the dressing table mirror, opposite.

But these four little black and white images really did nothing for this dark corner, even if they did serve to offer a sense of place. Perhaps the spacing could have been better?

Strangely, I walked past this one several times before even noticing it was there. It was hanging on the wall outside the bathroom door, opposite the wardrobe. Maybe I simply had other things on my mind as I passed it by...

(Apologies for the poor picture quality...usual reflection problems with a glazed frame)


Getting it all done

Today was all about checking off the last things on the list, revisiting favourite places and generally tieing up loose ends. Chicos and Eileen Fisher had featured on my list from the beginning, but due to their location were amongst the last calls - no less successful for that. It gave us an opportunity to go via Grand Central Station, one of the truly magnificent buildings in the city and one which always bears a repeat visit.
Eileen Fisher had quite a few things to tempt us. As always it's the luscious fabrics and clear, clean colours which make all the difference.

Finally, we simply had to have the last supper of our trip at our favourite Bright Foods - having begun our gastronomic tour of New York there on Friday night, it seemed appropriate to end our journey there too.
It was completely empty when we arrived - we have a very early start in the morning (4am call) so we felt we should begin to get our bodies back on track by eating early. No matter that we were the only ones in the place, for the welcome was as warm as ever and the menu had plenty to tempt. Mark and Jordi went for burgers, but in this bread-free place, they came wrapped in tortillas. Bettine chose trout, served with a tortilla crumb and sweet Thai basil and I had the quesadillas...yummy!!
Having oooohed and aaaaahed our way through a few margaritas as well, we struggled to manage dessert...but manage, we did and the clean plates were testimony to a terrific meal.

All the better, then, to have the opportunity to tell the owners of Bright Foods how very much we love their restaurant! Yes please, open a branch of this best of all NYC restaurants in England - preferably somewhere accessible to us - and we'll be there!!

Oh, and having revealed the contents of my friend's shopping bag, I felt I should reveal my own stash. Some Nashua Yarns Ecologie cotton, the Habu paper yarn, some Koigu (because I can never resist it when I see it up close) and some Blue Sky Alpaca. Yes, you can see an Addi Lace circular needle and a FiberTrends felted clog pattern. Finally, there's a little bundle of neat braids, bought at one of the 6th Avenue stores. That's not really the complete bag, but it'll do for now. Will reveal all when we're home, I promise.

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Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Buy yarn! Buy Fabric!

Those little voices just had to be obeyed...

We were drawn into fabric shops and succumbed to the bargains which were waiting. From such humble beginnings are masterpieces created... (not by me...)

Habu was a little disorganised today but the yarn for the paper bag on was in stock and is now in my stash. Not only that, but it's wound and ready to go because the offer of Jordi's swift was too good to turn's a rather wild yarn! Got handles too, so no excuses.

Purl Patchwork window always looks so attractive, especially today in the spring sunshine.

And of course, we had someone else's money to spend...hope she approves of the choices we made for her!

Terracotta: O-wool (50% organic cotton, 50% organic wool blend), Purple: Blue Sky Alpaca Melange, Stripy: Cascade Fixation elastic sock yarn, Pale Grey: Natural Focus cotton (Ecologie cotton)

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Monday, April 09, 2007

Easter in New York

We are having fun in New York even though it's freezing cold!

Yesterday, we saw the Judy Chicago Dinner Party exhibition in Brooklyn Museum. Amazing.

Whilst there, we also paid a visit to see the Last Supper made from more than 20000 reels of cotton. Hmmm.

The Brooklyn General Store was great. A lovely old shop with original fittings, full of yummy yarns and other interesting things.

Waiting for the bus to take us to the next yarn store, Jordi spotted some street art across the road in Red Hook.

These little chaps appear to be working on a subway pillar at the 14th St/8th Ave station - the work of artist Tom Otterness , there are many little gangs here and there in a series called "Life Underground". Each is about 10" tall and I think they are great!

Today, Easter Sunday, we strolled along Fifth Avenue feeling rather under dressed for the occasion. Yes, there is someone wearing that hat and astroturf coat!

There were some pretty hats (the one above had a music box underneath the flowers!) and some silly ones, too...

After warming ourselves up with coffee and panini, we walked back, past the ice skaters in the Rockefeller Center, stepping inside a shop or two from time to time.

We decided that we don't get "the apron thing". This rack of assorted colours and frilled fancies were on sale in Antropologie, one of the trendiest of trendy stores.

Finally, we spent a happy hour in Barnes and Noble bookstore, where Sienna, Jordi's famously friendly four legged friend held court on the floor of the craft book department.

As evidenced in the photograph, she attracted the attention of the busiest of people on this Easter Day!

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