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Detroit, Anyone? I did not take my knitting . . .

Yes, we chose Detroit for a little R & R.  Why, you might ask?  Here are a few reasons.

“One of the most beautiful homes on Airbnb. This is a 4 bedroom, 4 bathroom historic home in one of the most beautiful, one of a kind neighborhood of Detroit. Woodbridge is in Midtown, and a mile from most of Detroit’s finest sights, art, and stadiums. My wife and I are in Greece for at least six months helping refugees and your stay is our only revenue keeping us there. Thank you!”

Why think twice?  This is where we stayed.

The gardens out back were very representative of an English garden, overgrown vines as far as the eye could see

whether in nature, or otherwise.

The front porch was lovely for relaxation or as a backdrop for photo taking a couple on the go.

Did you know the Detroit Institute of the Arts is ranked 9th of best museums within the United States?  Very impressive by all of our (critical) standards.

The museum offers a variety of exhibits; this week satisfied the variety of our interests.  (There is some Chewbacca story, here.)

Detroit-ians seem to love their scooters.  They are for rent everywhere.

Patio restaurants dot Detroit. We learned of a few from our Airbnb host.  We chose Cornerstone Barrel House and enjoyed fine dining on a warm summer’s eve with the city looming around us.

Detroit Museums include an expansive 250 acre tribute to America’s past called The Henry Ford, celebrating America’s culture and innovative people of the times. Greenfield Village, a living museum representing America’s past 300 years and the Henry Ford Museum honoring inventions and people with a can-do spirit are on the property.  There is also a Factory Tour (we did not partake) and Must-See events throughout the year.  All of this can easily be a destination vacation in and of itself.  Here we are deciding where to turn first.

Carriages and Model-T Fords, everywhere you look, are on posters and on the roads.

My personal favorites in the village were the card shop demonstrating preparing raw wool for spinning, Lincoln’s courthouse where he practiced law before his Presidency, Henry Ford’s home, and this original Detroit Millinery, circa 1880.  Fashion always catches my fancy.

Just look at this antique thread and pin cushion.

(More than ever I want to knit this Nicky Epstein piece, found in Vogue Knitting, Spring/Summer 1993.)

We rallied our enthusiasm (and energy) to continue onto the Henry Ford Museum. Both on a personal level as well as with nationalistic pride, each of us stopped to reminisce what we saw. Highlights included the McDonald’s sign (I was always impressed as a child the ever continuing count of burgers sold). The Presidential Parade of limousines caused us to linger and recall ‘where we were’ at the moment of President Kennedy’s assassination. We sat in the very bus Rosa Parks made famous with her spirit and determination. The docent’s speech about Rosa was powerful and well delivered.  It was the stand out moment of our day.

Of course when you travel anywhere, you need to experience a bit of the culture of that place.  Here we are coming out Sweetwater Tavern where we lunched with a local who just happened to have a Buffalo connection.  OK, so he is Owen’s dear friend.  Check out the spelling of Spirits on the awning.  I had Detroit cherry salad to die for (yes, the salad was that good), others had wings which are prepared with a rub as opposed to a sauce. NOTE TO SELF:  I need to learn how to take group selfies as we are missing a key ‘member’ of this group.

Here are photos of Detroit’s city scape juxtaposed with the Detroit River, the communities’ refurbishing efforts called Detroit Riverwalk,taking a stroll, and catching a picture of the port o entry, a tunnel actually, connecting the US with Canada.

Now, the real reason WE chose to hang in Detroit may have had something to do with this.  You see, I was in the company of some real serious Cubs fans. Having never been to Detroit and knowing the Cubs were playing that week, our vacation destination was decided.  The rainbow was real and cleared the skies beautifully for the game however did not clear the diamond for a win. Tigers 2, Cubs 1.

Jazz anyone?  Detroit just may be your city.  (There was a one minute of silence as a tribute for Aretha Franklin at the game.) These last photos is of the jazz club, Cliff Bells. We attempted going each night during our stay. We finally made it in after the game.  We caught the last two pieces of the set just before the gig ended while enjoying cool drinks of the adult kind.  The theater itself is worthy of a walk-in.

Detroit did not let us down and may this post inspire you to consider this city a worthy destination for your next vacation.

The Erie County Fair Continues to Call, 2018

The Erie County Fair is near and dear to my heart as it has a long history with me.  From being an equestrian representing Camp Sprucelands from youth (below, Sheba and me) as well as

attending through the years of marriage (late hubby modeling against a tractor),

to 2018 where I was a judge in the hand craft category of knitting and crocheting.  I write this post sharing some of the prize-winning creations that are now proudly displayed at the fair as well as to share some of the other endearing sights I saw and heard.

I know the fairgrounds well however through the years there have been changes to building names and locations of all things ‘farm’.  What used to be called the Woman’s Building located in the park-like section of the fair is now called the Creative Arts Exhibits located in the Grandstand.

The farm animals are located in different directions, smaller barn animals in one locale, horses in another.  Upon getting onto the fair grounds today, I thought, where to turn first.  This year my participation and focus was on the hand crafts, so

It was very easy to know where the knitting was going to be with this sign

along with impressively organized layouts of the displays, a venue, and further sorting.  After one notices the ribbons, the craftsmanship of these projects becomes front and center.  I will admit my camera was aimed towards my personal favorites.

sweet Mary Jane booties,

and beautiful shawls, of course, knitted with hand dyed yarns.

I was drawn to this Christmas stocking because I have knitted a set similar.

Beautiful Christening gowns,

hats, bonnets, and other such accessories.

My favorite category, sweaters.

The three on the bottom are particularly fashionable.

And, then there was this beauty, a man’s sweater, but I would wear it in a heart beat.  The blue ribbon means first place in the category in which it was placed while the gray ribbon means it was a consideration for Best-in-Show.

The Best-in-Show of Knitting 2018 is pinned below.  Knitted so beautifully inside and out.

Little vignette.  While I was admiring these fine pieces, I happened to overhear a grandmotherly-aged woman (in a wheelchair) point out in glee to her family who was with her that her piece had won a ribbon.  Just a fair to some, but to others . . .

I, then moved to the crochet.  Here goes a sampling of what I saw, and again, my favorites in the category.  Pictured first is what you might expect to see in crochet.

But, then there was appliqué on crochet (middle).

Toys.

Toys mounted on decorated thematic boards,

Barbie in sequenced crochet,

and, of course, the Best-in-Show ‘showstopper’ of Crochet 2018.

It was time to show appreciation to the animals that provide their fine fleece for us to have our fun. Here are a few of the beauties I thanked and patted.  The llamas

and their owners’ care and love.

And, of course the sheep.  Before,

during,

and after.  All these animals are in their stalls awaiting judging.

Even their fleece was judged.

I snapped some final shots that captured my fancy and of course, lends credence that The Erie County Fair is indeed an enjoyable event to attend.

One could consider.

The bleachers were PACKED!

And, of course, what would a Fair be without a midway.

Reader-Inspired

I decided to take the time this evening to see why your blogs seemed to stop. I enjoyed them so very much. I sent you a note for information on the Tom Scott piece and you kindly answered so knitting that now. I have been taking care of things here as my 30-ish son had a heart transplant and thus lives here now with me forever. I have not had time for much else. I am heart broken because I now know why you have not done your fine blog now.I am so very sorry for your loss and hope you have managed to find a life without him.

What a kind message I received and what a motivation to get back to writing!

I have been struggling getting thought into words.  This is the longest I have gone without a blog post since beginning my website some 5 – 6 years, ago.  I don’t think it is necessarily that I am busier than I have ever been as I’m a girl who has always had a full plate.  I don’t think it is all the extra tasks I’ve had to take on running a household as one.  And, I have had knitting in my hands which typically inspires my writing.  I think it is just that thing they call writer’s block.  I’ll attempt getting back into blogosphere by sharing some recent goings-on.  In no particular order:

An impromptu presentation at the Buffalo Knitting Guild with my projects made from remnant stash

Habitat for Humanity activities and purchase (to support the cause)

Habitat for Humanity celebrates its 300 house at in the city of Buffalo at 42 Wende St., as well as welcome the Hissu family to their brand new, four-bedroom home, Saturday, Jan. 20, 2018. New owner, Awal Hissu is on the front steps of his home. He’ll be moving in with his five-year-old daughter Sumyen Ominew, videotapes all those at the ceremony. He put in 450 hours of labor on other habitat houses and then 50 hours on his own. This is part of the agreement for habitat home owners. (Sharon Cantillon/Buffalo News)

I joined a running club

participated in activities with family

was shown fishing from boat side

took a trip or two to NYC for training with the Rochester cohort (6 week employment gig)

went to see Ellsworth Kelly’s Austin at the Blanton Museum with family

hung out with some pretty terrific neighbors

and got a hair cut.

Then there was this little house project.

Knitting, you might be wondering?  This Missoni, I call it Me-ssoni is beginning to take shape!

Kick in the butt

This post nor this project is either big, nor fancy, but writing it is meant as a personal kick in the butt or more politely said, motivation to get MOVING with this adorable project. The always alluring patterns from Tiny Owl Knits are just that, alluring, worked up or just admired on the printed page, the forest themed animals always call to me. This is my very first shawl (and likely last) but that owl . . . could not resist her and will be a lovely addition to the set of forest creatures growing in my hand knits . . . bear (yes, I made two), fawn, and snake (look for cabling around the hem).

Now, to get GOING!!!  Look at how adorable!

Gift yarn to boot!

21 feathers, I need 44.

and, body is coming along. . .

Let’s see if writing about this project is the kick I need to finish it!

A Valentine for Late Hubby

Roses are red
Violets blue
Your loved ones
Are remembering
The day I married you!

Roses are Red
Violets blue
now collected in my heart
are memories of you

Roses are red
Violets indeed are blue
I will stop by
and blow a kiss to you

Life does go on
whether we like it or not, tis true
I can no longer say
Happy Anniversary to you

It is a constant that roses are red
and violets blue
As with things tangible
we can count on remain true

Roses are red
Violets are blue
Life is now offering
A new point of view.

 

Full-on Indulgence including Runway Revisit, 2018

If you are a follower of VKL (Vogue Knitting Live), you may be aware that this event in NYC is historically held in January.  After travel debacle of December, I was fully aware January could prove the same.  JetBlue, however served its travelers well, weather cooperated, and I found myself at VKL NYC 2018 in good form.

Having attended the event before, I knew what to expect but wanting to make something new of the occasion, I chose to volunteer at the event.  That immediately changed the dates of travel due to a volunteer meeting held on the Wednesday evening before.  It also meant two glorious extra days in the city and lots of decision-making on how to spend that time. When the weekend was all said and done, as in all travel, there were certain moments, expected and otherwise, that stand out, so with this post, those are the moments I will highlight.

Wednesday ~ easy travel.  With room readily available and map in hand, I settled in for my stay and planned where I was going to ‘tour’.  It was a simple choice.  Mood, of course followed by Bryant Park.  Why?  I am a huge fan of Project Runway and wanted to see (and possibly shop) the fabric store where PR contestants make their purchases in the competition and Bryant Park hosts the final fashion show.  So, off I went with my poor sense of direction but great determination.

I found this (admittedly after 2 mile jaunt in the wrong direction) :

So excited, I walked in.  As a tourist does, I snapped these.

Bolts and bolts of fabric miles long and miles high.  A few floors just like this.  Then, I asked where Swatch was.  (Swatch, to you unknowns of the reality show is the visiting pooch of Mood.)  And, I was told I was in the upholstery section of Mood NOT the fashion section where Swatch typically hangs out!  WHAT??  Never suspecting and already in heaven she pointed to the door.  I was to take the Olmstead (a familiar name) elevator to the third floor.

WOW.  I immediately recognized THIS as what I was seeking . . .

Black in EVERY fiber!

And . . . where fabric gets bolted, cutting boards, patterns, and classrooms!

Of course, I asked about Swatch again.  He was not there that day, but I did spot this which filled my heart.

On leaving Mood, I was quite satisfied having found it that I wasn’t too disappointed having not purchased anything.

My next desire was to find Bryant Park.  Back to scouting my map and asking an occasional passer-by, it was in no time I was there.  On this weekend, it was set up as a lovely winter wonderland.

The volunteer meeting was Wednesday night, a welcome time to sit at the end of a tourist’s day.

Here are some jobs you can sign up for in volunteering.

Thursday ~ Knowing I was to be in NYC, I signed up for the MoMA tour as offered by VKL.  Scouting out the location of the Museum of Modern Art, which was basically in the opposite direction of the day’s before outing, provided all kinds of new stimulation, it was easy to find.  The tour called, “Is Fashion Modern?”  had an excellent docent who took us to task with asking ourselves that very question.  I thought it pretty cool that Lululemon’s original pant made it into the display.  The little black dress and orange piece are pieces I loved.  So, if these were examples of what was in the exhibit, you could ask yourself, Is fashion modern?

I visited the gift shop and found this great cross-over bag.  A picture of my MoMA keepsakes . . .

One must visit Central Park when in the city.

And, of course one must take in a show on Broadway.  A chance friend and I chose Amy Schumer in Meteor Shower as our pick.  The ticket taker, Georgie, was especially personable and left this sweet note for us when we went back to pick up our tickets.

Friday – Sunday ~ Days to volunteer, window shop, and take in classes/lectures.  I built my class schedule for all three days around the theme of designing.  Each teacher had her own take on the topic and it was interesting to hear of the process from different points of view.  The lectures I sighed up for were inspiration filled.  My favorite class was on sketching.  Deborah Newton could not be more enthusiastic about her designing and that enthusiasm was not only palpable but contagious.  Here, we are studying sketches.

Her tip is seen on the right, my practice, on the left.

I did indeed make one purchase during my stay.  Could this book be any more beautiful and so aptly named.  Glamourie, indeed!  Now, THAT is knitting!

I thought the main highlight would be the Readers’ Runway Fashion Show.  As delightful as it was, it was the second time I’ve entered and somehow, the second time is never as exciting as the first.  My favorite part was meeting someone AND her husband who I have talked to on Ravelry and BOTH walked the runway, as well.  Also, the young girl captured my attention who was with her Mother.  How special for these pair to do this fun thing together.

The fair isle coat earned this award.

Here is a candid pic of the group who walked the runway this year.

The most meaningful highlight was however my daughter and her friend meeting up with me in the evenings.  Whether ordering room service or having a delicious meal at a lovely Irish eatery, talking about nothing of consequence and laughing really put the weekend into perspective of what matters most and certainly added to what truly was a full-on indulgence weekend for me.  A goofy selfie ~

We said good-bye Sunday night to each other and to this great city.  Until next time . . .

Highlights, Yes, there were some

The ending to this year was no different than the personal devastation I endured throughout this horrific year of 2017.  Bitter cold temperatures and wind prohibited the otherwise planned trip to be with family this holiday season.

aborted plane after waiting 2 days due to cancellation of original flight

It was to be that I was to spend this holiday alone.  As we all know, holidays are designed for family.  Period.  When you find yourself alone, you realize that more than ever (and a lesson to keep in your heart to help others who you realize are alone during a holiday season).  However, with a bit of perseverance (because I’m that way), do-over planning, and creative thinking, I have come to realize there were actually some highlights to this holiday season of which I am most appreciative.  Here are a few and may help you if ever . . .

Childhood ornaments ~ I did put up a Christmas tree.  Full size from floor to ceiling.  Preferring a real tree but knowing the handling aspects, the artificial had to suffice.  Having long passed along our family’s handmade ornaments, in conversation with my Mother, she offered the myriad of boxes of ornaments she had stashed in her attic, literally a plethora of vintage glass adornments from my childhood.  Boxes and boxes found themselves in my hand and eventually on my tree. This season, when I looked at the beautiful lit tree, Christmas memories of my childhood surfaced rather than the loneliness I was feeling.

Christmas cookie baking ~ Simply said, I made sure to participate in the annual Christmas cookie baking I had set up years, ago with family.  Even though I didn’t feel the spirit, something about the act of kneading dough is quite therapeutic.  The cookies turned out great and it was satisfying seeing the very happy faces of the others.

Volunteer Appreciation Dinner ~ Traveling with the crew of ladies I work with at Habitat for Humanity, dressing up so the men could see we do indeed clean up nicely, it was a lovely evening getting to know more personally those who are teaching me ‘construction’.

Birthday Dinner ~ Temperatures frigid, a beautiful winter scene, I was treated to a birthday dinner from Mom.  With lovely seating and a beautiful view, it was nice to return to a restaurant of ‘yesteryear’ (neither one of us had been there in years) and to a dinner that was warm to the heart and tasty to the tummy.

Dog Walking/Activities with Neighbor(s) ~ Every day walking the dog, taking in the fresh air is a pick me up no med could provide.  And, to be escorted by the neighbor who is just that kind of nice person is a special treat of comfort, kindness, and companionship.

shoveling snow into the air. Why? ’cause the dogs loved it.

Back on Treadmill/Orangetheory ~ Back on the treadmill, again of course, I will need time to rebuild the endurance and training I have lost, but how happy it feels to also be back in class at the local fitness studio (and please, no one look at my data).  I felt bonds of friendship I did not even realize were there until the warm welcome I received upon my return.

Race ~ Well, let’s just say, it was on my radar that day.  Wind chill in the negatives did indeed scare me away.

A Few Finished Garments ~ Believe it or not, even knitting requires endurance. I have turned (temporarily) to smaller projects, pictured here, again hoping to build my endurance of concentration and focus to the longer, more tedious projects I am used to.   I don’t have photos yet of the easy, fashion garments recently finished, but they are beautiful and ready for the wear whenever I am ready to wear them.

for charity

crocheted basket for projects

New Furniture ~ Yep, a fresh start needs a pick-me-up in the furniture department.  Mostly, the living room and bedrooms received the new pieces (area rug not in, yet).  Modern looks, clean lines, and neutral colors fill spaces otherwise filled with memories of recent loss of life.

Fix-its ~ Mostly, learning how.  Keeping water level where it needs to be for proper steam to warm the house, sump pump adjustments, endless plumbing understandings, door(s) removal, paint and staining here and there, becoming familiar with garage and its advantages, ~ all in a home owner’s day in a life.  But, it is feeling very different with the responsibility falling solely on me.

Making New Friends ~ Here is my new mantra.  It’s ok to make new friends.  Female and male.  Purposely going out even when it is dark and cold, signing up for activities never done before, getting together with friends of the past  and friends just met, finding and going to new places to dine trying out new foods (Octopus salad for me the other night), allowing myself to feel the companionship, warmth, and life of another is ok.

Was it a great holiday season?  No, not by a long shot.  Do I have living alone all figured out?  Hardly.  Do I feel guilty about simple pleasures, smiling, and enjoying life, again?  You betcha.  In reflection, these activities and purposeful moves helped me to cope with this holiday season.  I know I have a long road of recovery ahead of me.  I figure with healthy, intentional steps with awareness of the positives, this is an avenue that can lead me back into the game of life.

 

 

The Cardinal

Fly, fly said the mother
listing, fluttering
giving everything she had
One day, the wind at her back
off she flew.

Soaring slowly
at first
finding her way
nature as her compass
happily living her life.

Sensed danger
things not right
fearful,
fragile and unknowing
the worst was yet to come.

It happened.
off guard
unguarded
guardedly
not knowing where to turn.

Oh, a gathering
of love.
Unable to receive,
hawk talons mighty
like prison bars.

The sky turned
ever so slowly
the mist overhead
the cardinal was able
to catch a breath.

Fly, fly said the mother
listing, fluttering
giving everything she had
she is flying again
taking on new terrain.

A bit tentative
a bit wiser,
wanting to return
however realizing
it is to a new world.