Saturday, February 25, 2012

Magical Mystery Mittens

I attended the Soundview Knitting Guild Holiday party last December. During the party there are several gift tables and peoples names are drawn and as you are selected you go up and pick an item. The best item was hands down (no pun intended) the first item picked,  A beautiful pair of handknit mittens. I was so intrigued with them that I took a picture. I then obsessed and tracked down the master knitter who had created them - this itself took many phone calls and emails. She was lovely but explained she had no pattern ( I am an ok knitter but no pattern? not going to happen.

I asked everyone I knew if they could create a pattern from the picture. As you can see it was a detailed pattern, so no easy feat. Finally after subtly begging the most talented knitwear designer I know, Jane Elliot
if she would try,,,, days later she shows me her test mittens, she sends me the pattern that she wrote, we pick out the colors that almost match the originals and the following week POOF here are my mittens

For those of you that are non knitters it is very hard to appreciate the amazing amount of work that went into making the pattern and knitting both the test mittens and my mittens and I am forever indebted to Jane for doing this and doing SUCH an amazing job.

Monday, January 9, 2012

Listening to music- Then and Now

Remember when you got your allowance (mine was $5 a week) and you ran down to the record store (you have heard of records haven't you) and bought your favorite new album and ran home and listened to it- played it over and over again and learned all the songs and all the words to the songs? That is not how it happens now with shuffle....
First of all we now can buy just a song (kind of like the 45's of days of yore). More importantly once you download or upload a cd and it goes into your music file- how often do you listen to the cd in its entirety?
you may choose (as my kids do) to listen to  A SONG over and over again. I know that I almost always either have my music on shuffle - where i frequently find myself saying- "wow what a great song- what is it? I have so much music on my I things (pad, pod, phone) that I would need to be stranded on a desert Island for more than a week to hear all my music consecutively.
I do make playlists and listen to those occasionally but I wonder if artists don't get a really fair shake because I do not get "intimate" enough with the to really "know" their music.
The instant gratification of ITunes or Amazon is very different from the days of old when you sat by your radio (if you could not afford the album) with your tape recorder ready to capture that song when the dJay played it.  (I have since learned that this may have been illegal). The best day to do this was Christmas day because WABC (the pop radio station) played the top 100 countdown- the problem was we were never home on Christmas Day.

Most people know that I am a huge Steve Jobs fan and that I also love instant gratification. The I (pod,pad,phone) has changed my life and how I appreciate music and teach some of that to my kids. For all the good this has caused I can't imagine how many great songs I may never hear.

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Black Friday- respect the turkey

What is Thanksgiving anyway? A holiday to give thanks for what we have? celebrate our family and friends? or to go shopping?
This Thanksgiving the answer would have to be GO SHOPPING. With the economy so bad stores decided to not wait until 4 am (which is ridiculous enough) to open but decided to wait until black friday actually began - at Midnight.
We always are in Virginia with cousins for the Thanksgiving holiday - so we drop by Tysons Corner Macys to help out, check their stock and drop off few holiday goodies. Knowing that we are always trying to fit in some sightseeing on Friday, I thought stopping by at Midnight would be much easier, less crowded and would save us time in the am. BOY WAS I WRONG. Driving to the mall at about 12:10 am I passed the wildly long line at Best Buy (which had been there when we went to our cousins 12 hours earlier-

 a little shorter then).
Although Best Buy had opened at midnight the line was still wrapped around the door.

 I proceeded to Tysons Corner and spent 35 minutes trying to find a space. People were already dropping off boxes in their cars and going back for more.

Upon entering it was a party atmosphere. Large groups of people shopping together, LONG lines at all the registers, people with strollers and babies (remember it was now 1 A.M.). It could have been a sale day at noon the crowds were so crazy. I left by about 2 but understand that it was extremely busy until between 3am and 4 am. Personally if I was a Black Friday shopper I  would prefer the Midnight  to the 4 or 5 am shopping time. In actuality I am so thankful to spend time with the various parts of our family that  we get to see on Thanksgiving that I will forego shopping at all (on Black Friday). It did seem to bolster sales and help make this a better retail season than in previous years.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Winter Storm Warning- In October????>

This has been a really funky weather year. It seems like our seasons get all squished together and we do not get the full enjoyment of the 4 seasons. (One of the key reasons to live in the Northeast). My favorite season is Spring when we are coming out of the harsh winter and the beautiful buds begin to bloom. I always know it will be good when my 2 daffodil plants in the front of my house sprout. Fal improbably my second favorite season when the trees change from crisp greens to beautiful golds, reds and even deep purples.

This year however we have had an earthquake, a hurricane and then a truly freak snowstorm just before I halloween. It was well forecast and we knew it would be bad. Wet snow does not usually fall on trees with leaves but this time it did causing branches, limbs and trees to Fall everywhere, many times taking power lines down with them. We lucked out and did not lose electricity but so many of our friends and neighbors did- many for an entire week or more. (We suffered that 8 weeks before during Hurricane Irene).  Amazingly our schools were open but the town felt the need to cancel halloween (ok- they postponed it- but it was very mixed as to who knew- so it was kind of cancelled).

October- Really?

one of the many branches down in our yard

I am not sure of what the winter holds for us- I hope it is calmer than last winter and we have less damage than this Fall. I thought we were going through global WARMING?

Saturday, October 29, 2011

I have actually become one of "THEM"

I have been enjoying attending the New York Pops for over 20 years. When I started attending I was in my late 20's and Skitch Henderson was the amazing music director and conductor.  I loved Skitch

and the amazing history that he had lived and always shared with the audience. My favorite part was after the show started and latecomers would enter he would always speak to them "come on, come on we will wait for you".  One time when I had the opportunity to meet  Skitch- I  told him that we loved when he did that and he  replied that he was still nervous before each show and this helped to calm him before a show.  (He was probably already 80+ at that time). My friend "t" and I attended for many years when we were both living in the city. We slowly worked our way down from rear balcony, to front balcony eventually landing in a box on the side of the second tier. We were there for many years before we finally moved to box 30 seats 1&2 front row seats in the box dead center of the 2nd tier. While in our first box we met a lovely couple from CT.  We sat in the box next to a guy, his mom and his wife (known to us as "flippy hair"  - she always seemed disinterested and constantly "flipped" her hair back by flipping her head. After all these years I finally spoke to him and i am certain that he remembered when we sat in the box next door. "t" now lives and works in CT and has no interest in trucking into the city for a late friday night. For about the last 10 years my daughter mostly comes with me. It is our night out, sometimes a little shopping, a nice dinner and then the show.

This month's show had a guest conductorJack Everly who did a show of Irving Berlin. While I am very familiar with Irving Berlin, I had no idea how prolific a songwriter he actually was. He wrote over 800 songs including many that everyone knows including "God Bless America". I however was shocked  that I knew all but one of the songs- it made me think that I have really become "one of them" those older people that always knew every song that was played at every show. (it was a FABULOUS show - however). 

so sad....

 Curves- the gym, social community, spiritual healing center and so much more that I have been a member of for over 5 years  is closing its doors on Saturday October 29 in Westport. Sherry it's owner has tried every possible way she could to stay open but the landlord continued to raise rents -she struggled and did not want to raise membership fees too high to avoid losing members.
Over the years Sherry made Curves was so much more than a place to exercise. She had a meditation room, she incorporated Zumba into the workouts, had a book club, a refelxologist come weekly, a lending library, had many health related guest speakers including a yogi. She had a bra fitting clinic (because as many of us know- most women do not wear correctly fitted bras).
She has held group tag sales, and trunk shows for my merchandise, and my friends goodies
The purple interior was warm and welcoming and the amazing group of women with whom I worked out was fabulous. They helped with Bat Mitzvah planning, disciplining and supporting my children, where to shop for things, where to get assistance with things and overall support of health both physical and mental. It is sad  that this amazing group must be disbanded. We will all say that we will "get together" but everyone's life gets in the way and that will probably never happen.
A wonderful thank you to Sherry for her endless work in helping and supporting everyone. I wish you well and hope you resurface so we can all group together again.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Great Design

I do not typically watch much TV. I tend to watch late at night when I am working (and everyone else is asleep). I DVR a handful of shows- some might be expected- Grey's Anatomy, Private Practice, Desperate Housewives... But one of my true favorites is the follow up show to 9 By Design- Home by Novogratz. I love the amazing transformations that they do - always fun and funky. If I had the money I would hire them in a heartbeat. Since I can't, I love watching and seeing the fabulous artists and stores. Some of my favorites in recent weeks (although some may not have been from the show) are making wall paper from your favorite photographs - this can be really cool when you have a big space. Another thing they did that was something I have struggled with since I had kids is find a great way to display and preserve kids art work. They worked with Jane Leni and the results were phenomenal. She made them into framed collages of the kids' artwork miniaturized.

On another show they went shopping at what looks like an awesome store Mongo. I think the website doesn't convey the coolness of the store but I can't wait to go in real life.
One of the apartments the did they used the most awesome cluster of Shiny Silver orbs which I could not imagine looking good but they made a sensational focal point in the room.

Something that was not from the Novogratz's but was from (my favorite website) were from Faktura designs tables with NY or LA as the legs. Beautiful Mad3of beautiful metal snd glass (inseert picture)

Watching the Novogratz show has taught me -the person who admires creativity because I am unable to be creative- to see things differently. This morning I was in the city and walking on columbus ave and wandwered into a store that I previously would have walked past called "Olde Good Things"-a really funky antique store. They had these great light fixtures

  some awesome old ceiing tiles in interesting colors but my favorite thing was a pair of xylophones that they had standing upright which could have made an amazing entrance way. What an interesting use for a musical instrument.

Flavor paper (I am not sure if I saw this company on the show or not)is a great wallpaper supplier. I have lesarned from the show (and my friend "A" ) how impactful even one focal wall that either has wallpaper or is painted in a way that makes a bold statement. Flavor Paper has a wide assortment of papers that are handscreened or digitally printed. Great way to make a bold statement.

There is so much great design out there and I really enjoy seeing it.