Saturday, October 30, 2010

the great pumpkin fling

the great pumpkin fling from Miss Allaby on Vimeo.

short n sweet fingerless gloves

I never really saw the point in fingerless gloves or mitts... until last Sunday.  We're into choir rehearsals for Christmas @ the Playhouse so I am spending my Sunday afternoons in a former flooring warehouse and showroom - which is ideal for rehearsing three choirs of several dozen people but it is a touch drafty.  Since I need to keep my hands unencumbered for turning pages and writing notes ('breathe', 'don't breathe'), I relented and started searching out fingerless glove patterns on  I found these 'short n sweet fingerless gloves' by Anne Sahakian. 
They're a pretty quick knit - a couple of nights of knitting and movies will do them up.  And the easy-to-achieve chevron on the wrist and the unusual rib on the fingers and thumb give them a bit of daintiness.

I did mine in some self-patterning Regia sock yarn I had in my stash but I can't wait to do them in a soft and silky solid.  Because they use well under 100g of yarn, they'd be a perfect project to do with a single skein of of really special but kind of pricey yarn.  Wouldn't they be elegant in a cream cashmere?

Pattern Note:  Anne recommends knitting even for rows 20-24.  Because I wanted a longer glove, I knit even from 20-30.

Oh! and tickets are on sale for Christmas @ the Playhouse - if you're in or around Fredericton, you won't want to miss it!

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

the great pumpkin

Tonight Bridget and I went to a pumpkin carving evening at our local supermarket organized by Buy Local NB.  Mulled cider, conversation and carving - exactly what I needed after a somewhat nutty day!

There, there little pumpkins.  This won't hurt a bit.

Ew. Pumpkin guts.

MUCH better - seeds will get seasoned and roasted and guts will get composted.

Work in progress. 

 The Owl and the Spy.

Whooo loves owls?

good lovelies, part deux, or a very merry un-birthday, denis

If  you haven't heard the Good Lovelies yet, you obviously haven't been in my house or car much over the past year.  Since we saw them last October, my pal Denis and I have been playing their music for anyone who will listen.  (We especially recommend them for driving to the orchard for apple-picking!)

Last night we were lucky enough to see the trio again at the Fredericton Playhouse and as it was an early birthday present for Denis, I popped an email to Caroline, Kerri and Sue.  They serenaded him Good Lovelies-style  - it's a an almost-birthday present he won't soon forget.

Come for the witty stage banter, clever songs and the neo-trad girliness but it's the music that will stay with you.  They switch off instruments and lead vocals effortlessly and their three-part harmonies are flawless. Last night it was exciting to hear some of the new songs from their upcoming album.  In their words, if the first full-length album was about quitting their jobs and hitting the road, the new album is about coming home to their own bed.  The three new songs were oozing wistful, sweetness.  "Lonesome Hearts" had an especially nostalgic feel about it; Skeeter Davis with three-part harmony.

Sadly, we have to wait until February for the new album but soon it will be time to dig out Under the Mistletoe - a perfect album for holiday parties, trimming the tree or sipping eggnog. 

And, of course, we always have YouTube...

Monday, October 25, 2010

good manners are always in style

Today's coffee break find combines two of my favourite things: vintage pictures and etiquette.  LIFE magazine sat down with the folks at the Emily Post Institute to answer their most common etiquette questions, illustrated by some great old photos from the LIFE archives.

(And how much do I love that picture of Emily Post in her living room, circa 1940?)

Nothing is less important than which fork you use.
Etiquette is the science of living.
 It embraces everything.
It is ethics.
It is honor.
Emily Post

Sunday, October 24, 2010

knit one, purl one.

Properly practiced, knitting soothes the troubled spirit, and it doesn't hurt the untroubled spirit, either.
~Elizabeth Zimmerman

Since August, I've been spending my Sunday evenings at a local coffee shop with a great group of fellow knitters.  Except for a couple, I knew none of them before a few months ago.  Now it's one of my favourite parts of the week.  We come from a multitude of backgrounds but we all share a love for turning bits of string into things to wear, give or treasure.  Throw in coffee and conversation and you have the makings of a great evening.

Tonight was cowl exchange night and the girls got to swap some handmade love.

Julie models her new cowl - in purple, of course!

Jilanna couldn't be with us tonight so I got to play cowl fairy and bring Lesley the beautiful cowl Jilanna knit.

Julie tries to get a sneak peek of the cowl knit for Jilanna.

We love knitting right down to the tips of our toes.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

get cosy with posie

Photo: Posie Gets Cozy

I am so excited to have put my order in for this Christmas ornament kit from Alicia Paulson over at Posie Gets Cozy. I especially love the red coat but also am quite smitten with the idea of knitting a tiny polar bear neck warmer or cross-stitching that mitten. 

Alicia and her ridiculously adorable husband Andy put the kits together piece by piece in their sweet little Oregon home. I insist you read Andy's hilarious account of assembling the 2009 kits.

If you like beautiful, inviting blogs, bookmark  Posie Gets Cozy immediately.  It will make you happy.)

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

wish list

If you're looking for Christmas gift ideas for me...  (And I know you are!) 
And if you're sitting on a spare 30,000 British pounds...   (And I know you are!)
...this first edition of Emma going up for auction at Sotheby's would be divine.

(Actually the entire catalogue for the Library of an English Bibliophile auction is just a dream.  The foreword from the collector is a little work of art in and of itself...)

piccolo chopin

Eight and a half minutes.  As a music-lover, there are the moments you live for. For me tonight it was eight and a half minutes into the second movement of Chopin's Concerto No. 1 in E Minor.

When it comes to playing Chopin what sets apart the proverbial men from the boys is not the ability to play lots and lots of notes - although heaven knows that is impressive.  It's what happens when seemingly nothing is happening.  In those barely audible moments of simplicity,  immaturity as an artist has nowhere to hide.  
Tonight at Symphony New Brunswick's performance of Chopin Piano Concerto No. 1, Jan Lisiecki proved he knows not just how to hit the notes but to live inside them.

Don't get me wrong.  The Concerto up to that point had been nothing short of breath-taking. The opening movement allowed Lisiecki to show off his considerable technical prowess and the second  movement, the Romance - Larghetto, is aching, haunting Chopin at his most beautiful. But at eight and a half minutes in, the orchestra is silent and Lisiecki played a few measures of barely audible notes.  Except his playing seemed to come less from his fingers hitting the keys and more from him breathing out the notes and willing them into being. 

He was sublime.
And he is only 15.

When the Concerto had ended, after a few moments of serene stillness, he rose to thunderous applause and a standing ovation (hard-earned in this town). Suddenly he looked every lanky inch of a the bashful teenager, brushing his blonde hair off his forehead and smiling and waving sheepishly as he walked off stage.  He returned, cracked a small joke and a smile and announced, "for an encore I thought I'd play Nocturne in C Minor."

And there it was again: the stillness.  the simplicity.  the crowning reward of art.

If you are in Saint John, you can see Jan and Symphony NB on Oct 20 at the Imperial TheatreHere he is two years ago with  Chopin's Andante Spianato.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

short story

Photo: Kate Spade

Today's coffee-break find? This super-cute short story collection from Kate Spade. Fans of Kate Spade will know that books, book covers, text and literary references are huge inspirations in their design sensibility.  So it makes sense that they've partnered with NYC's legendary Strand bookstore to commission seven original short stories.    Each authour was asked to incorporate this phrase: "she is quick and curious and playful and strong."

Wouldn't this make a great gift for a girlfriend, sister or daughter?
Photo: Kate Spade

Sunday, October 17, 2010

some picture!

On Friday Garth Williams' original cover art for Charlotte's Web sold at auction in New York city for $155,000 USD.  This was more than five times the estimated price.   It got me thinking about the often unsung role of children's book illustrators.  How different would my memories of certain children's books be had the illustrations been different?

Garth Williams first entered my childhood not through Charlotte's Web but through the Little House books where his pen and ink sketches perfectly captured the hardships and homeyness of life on the frontier.

Hilary Knight also worked in pen and ink but he demonstrated how one simple colour could take you to another universe entirely - the world of Eloise, a city child who lives at the Plaza. 
Shot through with pink, his illustrations, like Eloise, are frequently chaotic, often glamourous and never boring.

My absolute favourite children's illustrator is E. H. Shepard who created the original illustrations for A.A. Milne's Winnie-the-Pooh books.

Disney can keep its colour-drenched manufactured cuteness. For me there is only one Pooh or Piglet or Christopher Robin and they live in the sketches and soft water colours of Ernest Shepard.  It's interesting that A.A. Milne originally thought Shepard would be the wrong pick to illustrate his books.  But after their first collaboration, it was clear the partnership was a success and Milne arranged for Shepard to receive a share of the books royalties.  And he inscribed a copy of Winnie the Pooh to Shepard with the following poem:

When I am gone,
Let Shepard decorate my tomb,
And put (if there is room)
Two pictures on the stone:
Piglet from page a hundred and eleven,
And Pooh and Piglet walking (157)…
And Peter, thinking that they are my own,
Will welcome me to Heaven.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

your daily fibre

What is it about the week after a holiday Monday?  It seems to go on forever.  I really needed some fibre therapy tonight.  Thank goodness for Thursday night knitting at Yarns on York.  I knit. Henry charms the girls. Everybody's happy!

Henry cozies up on the sofa.

 Admiring Julie's gorgeous new sock yarn.

 This yarn literally has my name all over it.  *Love*
Henry gets playful with Julie. 
And, yes, she knit that little shawlette - cute, right?

Sunday, October 10, 2010

warm hands

I've been knitting like mad lately but since most of the items are for Christmas gifts and since most of the recipients read this blog (I hope!), I haven't been able to share any pics.   But yesterday I dropped off and early birthday present to my friend Joan.  This mug cozy is so cute.  Very easy to knit up for a quick little gift for a coffee or tea lover. And it's a great use of your stash yarns.  I like the way the rough grey worsted in this one mixes with the shimmery ladder yarn.   Looking at it I just want to curl up with a mug and have a long chat.   Which is what Joan and I did yesterday. You can find the pattern at Homespun Living.

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Happy 39th Anniversary to my Mom & Dad!

What greater thing is there for two human souls than to feel that they are joined for life - to strengthen each other in all labor, to rest on each other in all sorrow, to minister to each other in all pain, to be one with each other in silent, unspeakable memories.
George Eliot

Friday, October 8, 2010

dear diaries

I love, love, love when someone shares a pretty new find they know I'll love too.  My friend Jillanna tipped me off about these sweet mini-diaries over at the mini mart .  As much as I aspire to do better, I'm terrible at keeping detailed journals but the prompts in these diaries help you capture the little sensory details I like to remember about a day.  Plus they're really, really cute!

There are also cozy postcard sets.  Let's see... mason jar, apple and apron?  These are a few of my favourite things!  (bonus points for including the pencil! )

 Photo: the mini mart

Not only are they pretty, they're part of a really cool project. According to the write-up: "The Penpal Project is a new creative collaboration featuring photos from two friends living 1000 miles apart, who share an interest in baking, simple living & photography."


Monday, October 4, 2010

delicious autumn

Delicious autumn!
My very soul is wedded to it, and if I were a bird I would fly about the earth seeking the successive autumns.

--George Eliot

Sunday, October 3, 2010

a is for apple

My long two-pointed ladder's sticking through a tree
Toward heaven still,
And there's a barrel that I didn't fill
Beside it, and there may be two or three
Apples I didn't pick upon some bough.
But I am done with apple-picking now.

After Apple-Picking
Robert Frost