Sunday, April 13, 2014

City Views, Country Dreams

Good evening from New York on Palm Sunday.

I am delighted to report that Central Park is now in bloom.  Just before midday, I applied sunscreen, some make up, tee shirt, jeans, Toms slip on shoes, and my favorite vintage hand knit pullover and took a walk across the Park to return Stella Gibbons excellent Cold Comfort Farm to the excellent New York Society Library.

A great change had occurred since my last Park stroll.  Many of you all may already know that Central Park has a man made rolling terrain, and so you will see evidence of upstairs/downstairs levels in many of today's photographs.

Lots of yellow, white and blue flowers surrounded by a variety of green tones graced slopes near Central Park West and 72nd Street.

Lots and lots of other folks were also walking around admiring the flowers, or skating, or bike riding, or lying on the lawns, or perhaps being carried along in strollers or horse drawn carriages.  A half-marathon race was also underway.

The sunlight was brilliant and the daffodils glowed.

Some delicately hued hellebore flowers joined in the fun.

Maybe you all will be able to solve the scale of the different planes in the following photo.  Hint...the flowers in the foreground are at least 20 feet above the pathway in front of the large rocky ledge.

Here is another mix of pretty blue and white flowers.  I know that you will know their names.

Many photographs were being taken all over the Park.  A violinist played a sweet tune.

I took the next two photographs of charming Martenitzas in a large tulip magnolia tree in the Strawberry Fields area just for marvelous Rossichka.

I encourage any of you who have not had the treat of visiting Rossichka's blog to give yourselves a spring time treat and follow the link I've given you.

I saw many horse drawn carriages, and wondered if we will see them again next April.  There is currently a debate underway about whether these horses are being ill treated, and whether the carriages should be allowed.  The Mayor thinks nay; Liam Neeson and other supporters think yay.

The next picture looks down on to the western edge of the Bethesda Fountain plaza, with the Lake in the background and some lovely pink flowery trees on the left.  And, lots of people enjoying the scene.

I don't think I have ever before shown you all any views of the impressive Minton tiled passageway under the stairs that lead from the level where I took the above photo down to the plaza.

I decided to walk across the plaza, continuing towards my Library destination on East 79th Street.  Break dancers were performing on part of the plaza, but these acoustic performers in traditional attire were giving a very different performance.

The soft green of the new tree leaves around the Lake gave a very romantic setting for couples in the rowboats.

Brilliant swaths of forsythia decorated many of the arched passageways.  I thought these accommodating tree trunks gave an additional frame to the scene.

Ahh!  This tree has been basking in full sunlight for a few days and just had to burst into flower.

At this point I was getting closer to my intended exit onto Fifth Avenue.  It was almost one o'clock and the sun felt very warm.

In the following photo, you'll be able to glimpse the glamorous, luxurious Fifth Avenue apartment buildings that face Central Park.  If you look carefully in the center of the photograph, you'll also be seeing the model boat pond well known to all fans of the Stuart Little children's book.

Another archway, with a roadway overhead.  And yet more daffodils are planted on each side of the archway.  Can you see both patches?

What a lush green lawn!

More daffodils!

And here is the pathway that leads to Fifth Avenue and East 79th Street.

I completely enjoyed this walk in the Park, and am so glad to have had this glorious day off.  Next week will be Easter Sunday, and I do hope to be visiting the annual Easter Parade, taking my camera along to see what hats might be on display.

Back home today, I have been knitting a few more rows on my current fair isle scarf project.  Its color scheme is not very springlike, but more like an antique persian carpet.

I will also share with you all another symbol of the end of chilly winter weather.  I have switched my breakfast menu away from oatmeal and put away my beautiful little Riess porridge pan until next autumn.  For the next six months or so, I will be treating myself to these cheery little O's.  Pretty soon, I should be finding fresh berries in the markets to dress up my early morning meals.

Another dietary change will soon be possible for me.  Chocolate returns to my world next Sunday.  I've begun checking out various milk and dark chocolate bunnies around town, and also am aware of the availability of those irresistible Cadbury Creme Eggs.  

Thank you all for your visits and comments.  I am delighted to have a new follower, too.  See you all soon.

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

City Views, Country Dreams

Good afternoon from New York and a very Happy April Fool's Day to you.  I am so pleased to tell you that Spring is at last showing us a bit of what we have been longing for.  No fooling!

The weekend's heavy rain finally gave way to a bright blue sky and warming sunshine.  Of course, I set out for a long walk around Central Park to see what had changed since my last visit.

Green shoots were emerging from the mulch.

The ice that had covered the Lake had melted.

Parks workers were out and about trimming and raking and even watering.  The watering didn't seem necessary after the weekend's heavy rains.

Tiny buds were appearing on branches.  Very few of these buds had yet been courageous enough to open into flowers.  I imagine that when I return to the Park in a few days, I will be seeing lots of flowers.

Perhaps some of you will recall the picture I took of the all ducks sheltering on the edge of the frozen Lake?  Yesterday these ducks were having a fine swim all over the Lake, and doing lots of diving below the surface to find a late lunch.  I noticed that quite a few daffodil plants seemed to have been munched by said ducks or other feathered friends during the past months.  There will be no flowers on those daffs, but I think that within a week I will be able to see quite a few golden trumpets in other parts of the Park.

It's difficult to take photographs of the varieties of hellebores, particularly since they are planted in areas that are fenced off from pedestrian pathways.

Still, I thought I would take just a couple of photographs to show you all that the hellebores were putting on their show.

Over in the Shakespeare Garden I also saw some evidence of early bloomers.

In the shadier spots, those little snowdrops that had actually braved the snow were still in flower.

Crocus flowers in many varieties and colors were all over the sunny spots of the Shakespeare Garden.

It's still early days, but I found all that I saw to be very encouraging.

More crocus.

The warmth of the afternoon encouraged some folks to rest a while on one of the rustic benches, while others got down on their knees to get close up views of the dainty flowers.

I encountered a bunch of preteen boys in red track suits who were being encouraged by their coaches to run up and down and all around the sloping pathway around the Shakespeare Garden.  Some of these lads ran much faster than others.  I could not have run as fast as any of them.  I think all the young fellows were glad to finally be given the signal that it was time to stop the running and to begin the walk back to their school.

The next photograph shows part of the magnificent Great Lawn.  This area was one of many that is currently closed "for the season" while the grass is nourished and some pesticides are distributed.  There were lots of green and white signs around the edges of these grassy areas politely telling us to stay off.

I cannot remember if I've ever before shown a photograph of this charming over/underpass.  It's always fun, for children of all ages,  to walk through it and sing out to hear the excellent echo.

If you look very, very carefully you all might just manage to see a few daffodils in bloom in the green area below the tree.  With some more sun and warmth, the little incline will be a yellow blaze.

As I was walking westward on my way home, I took this last photograph of some pretty curvy shadows and pretty curvy elm branches.  This picture looks tranquil, but in reality just a few yards to the left of my photo's border a very raucous break dancing performer was delighting an assembled group of applauding onlookers.  I think they were tourists, but maybe they were locals.

Back home I decided to make a pot of tea, and needed to decide between cup or mug.  My Spode cup and saucer have been chipped and mended a few times, but I love using them.  I believe that Spode not longer produces china in the U.K.  The mug is another sample of my little Emma Bridgewater admiration.  I truly do hope that here potteries will stay in business for a long, long time.

I will close this post with a report that today's visit to my capable dentist resulted in the formal installation of my new molar crown.  What a relief to be able to return to chewing in a less tentative way!

I so appreciate your visits and comments.  Hoping that you all are also enjoying the change in season and that no one surprised any of you with any pesky unwanted April Fool's jokes.  

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

City Views, Country Dreams

Good evening from New York.

It is still cold here.  Snow may or may not fall again before sunrise tomorrow.  Strangely, that weather report seems to be all too familiar to me, and perhaps to those of you who've been reading my recent posts.

It was too cold to go to the St. Patrick's Day parade, even though I had made myself a cozy green-hued hat for that occasion.

I've photographed that hat against some Liberty flowered cotton with the notion that I might encourage spring warmth to arrive.

While waiting for that warm weather bus that just does not seem to arrive here, I have been doing more wooly knitting.  I am adding the fair isle cowl to my Foakley Arts etsy shop.  It's knit as a tube and hand stitched together.

In the following photograph you can see the inside and the outside.

Long after Ysolda Teague's Follow Your Arrow mystery knitting project officially concluded, I actually finished my version of the wrap.  It was so much fun to work my way through the clue options and to learn how to read the stitch charts.

The above photograph shows one of the angles of the wrap's wingspan, and the following photograph gives you all an idea of the intricacy of the various stitches.  Can you see those many arrow shapes?

Well, here's another opportunity to follow those arrows!

I wish that all of you could visit The Museum of Modern Art to see the two splendid exhibits that I saw yesterday.  The Gauguin: Metamorphoses show focuses on Gauguin as a printmaker, with lots of his woodblock prints and watercolor transfer monoprints on display.  

There are also quite a few oil paintings and wooden sculptures.'s a real treat to also see lots of the actual wood blocks carved to made the prints.  Quite a few of the prints were printed by Gauguin himself in Tahiti.  I know that I will be visiting this exhibit more than once.

The other exhibit that my friend and I saw was also interesting in that it revealed some insight into the artist's process.  Jasper Johns recently produced these drawings, prints and paintings after being inspired by a rather crumpled up photograph of the late artist Lucian Freud.  I would also highly recommend this show.

Back to knitting.  A recent post by Kristen over at Cozy Things showed what fun she had making some crocheted buttons to accent one of her beautifully knitted sweaters.  She reminded me of some similar buttons I made long, long ago in the early 1960s, when I was about 15 or 16, to accent cabled cardigans I'd learned how to make.

I thought that you all might be interested to see one of these now very vintage examples of my early knitting days.  The sweater still fits!

Here's a close up view of those crocheted buttons.

I've got a little more knitting to work on this evening, and may just be watching some television on the side.

Back to work for me tomorrow.  I hope that there will not be any snow to shovel.  

Thank you all for your visits and comments.  I do promise to take you all for a good spring walk around town very soon.  It will be so good to be able to leave my down-filled coat in the closet!