Monday, November 30, 2015

*Independent People* - (book)

I'm always interested in reading books by foreign authors, books about places I've never been and books set in history.  This one falls into that category. The novel really spoke about the people of Iceland during the 20th century and provided some history of the country.

Here is what Goodreads has to say about it:

This magnificent novel—which secured for its author the 1955 Nobel Prize in Literature—is at last available to contemporary American readers. Although it is set in the early twentieth century, it recalls both Iceland's medieval epics and such classics as Sigrid Undset's Kristin Lavransdatter. And if Bjartur of Summerhouses, the book's protagonist, is an ordinary sheep farmer, his flinty determination to achieve independence is genuinely heroic and, at the same time, terrifying and bleakly comic.

Having spent eighteen years in humiliating servitude, Bjartur wants nothing more than to raise his flocks unbeholden to any man. But Bjartur's spirited daughter wants to live unbeholden to him. What ensues is a battle of wills that is by turns harsh and touching, elemental in its emotional intensity and intimate in its homely detail. Vast in scope and deeply rewarding, Independent People is a masterpiece.

It you are looking to escape to a different time and place this is a great book to do it with.

Thursday, November 26, 2015

Happy Thanksgiving!

You may have seen this little fellow before.  I made him years ago and once a year he gets to enjoy the spotlight.

Happy Thanksgiving to my friends here in the U.S., and a wonderful day to the rest of the world.

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Tea Stands for Tuesday - 11/24/25

Regular readers know that when I take my morning walk I occasionally pick up a pound or two of coffee beans at PEETS.

When you buy a pound of beans you are offered a free cup of coffee or tea. This time I chose the tea and walked to a nearby bench to sit down and enjoy it.  

I had not tried this particular tea before.  They did tell me what the ingredients were but the only part I remember is Roobioos.  I liked this tea so much I will buy some for home the next time I'm out walking in that area.

As I was sitting watching people walk by and watching the fall leaves tumble down I was reminded of some sketches I did some time ago.  Here is one that seemed particularly appropriate for today.  A re-visit so to speak.  I filled that small sketchbook.  I really like the size and must remember to get another one.

Be sure to visit  Elizabeth's blog and say hello to the other Tea Tuesday posters.  It is a great group.

Monday, November 23, 2015

One more hat

Another hat finished and added to the holiday gift pile.  

I used the same pattern I used last time.  You can see the earlier hat I made with a different yarn here.  I added an extra set of rows on this one to make the hat longer to be sure it could be worn to cover the ears.

When I choose a project I like it to have some feature I haven't done before so even though this was a pattern I had used, this time was my first time using two strands of yarn at the same time.  I used a dark gray strand of sock yarn and some multicolored sock yarn.  Both yarns were leftovers from socks I knitted earlier.  A win, win.  Learned something new and used up left over yarn.

I'm running out of knitting time before the holidays but there is one more project on the needles.

Thursday, November 19, 2015

*The Swans of Fifth Avenue - (book)

My friend Laurie recently sent me this book.  You can find Laurie's book reviews at Bookworm is My Totem.  I always enjoy Laurie's reviews.

*The Swans of Fifth Avenue*
Melanie Benjamin 

This was just the kind of distracting reading I was in need of when it arrived.

The book is based on the unlikely relationships Capote had with Babe Paley and her 1950's clique of contemporaries.  The "swans" as Capote called them reflected his ideal woman and most likely contributed to his fiction.  He was sort of their mascot or pet.  A safe male companion their husbands couldn't object to.  They shared their secrets with him.

Then in 1975 Capote revealed their dirtiest secrets to the world in a story published in Esquire magazine.  Of course there was a great scandal.  Capote claimed that they should have known and said "I'm a journalist after all".  He seemed to be going downhill personally at the time.  Maybe searching for something that would put him back in the literary spotlight.

I found some of the women amusing and Capote not likable at all.  However the book was an easy read.  Someone said "it is a perfect book for fans of Truman Capote, film-buffs and fashionistas".  I agree and would just add that I enjoyed reading about New York in the 50's through the 70's.  A period of change in society.

Any Capote fans out there?

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Tea Stands for Tuesday - 11/17/15

There is a large complex of Asian markets near us.  A whole variety of shops and restaurants and a good sized grocery market.  We go shopping there every once in awhile.  It is a delight to wander through the market.

I like the graphics even if I can't always figure out what is in the package.

One section is devoted to a fish market.  Can you make out the live fish in the tanks in this picture?

The deli section has all sorts of interesting things.  

DH likes the roasted duck.  He bought half a duck to take home for dinner.

I like the pork buns so that was my choice for dinner.

The market is the only place I can find our favorite jasmine green tea.
The tea is my drink for today.

If you want to decorate the dinner table you could take home a plant.  How about a Lucky Bamboo from the bottom shelf?

Be sure to stop by the Altered Book Lover blog and see what the other tea party folks have been doing this week.

The horrendous bombings in Paris have disturbed the world, my heart goes out to the people involved and my concern for the future is great.

Monday, November 16, 2015

Thoughts on Monday

While listening the news about the terrible Paris bombings this poem came to mind.  While a little out of date I think it is still well worth remembering.

free clip art


If I were doing my Laundry I'd wash my dirty Iran
I'd throw in my United States, and pour on the Ivory Soap, scrub up Africa, put all the birds and elephants back in the jungle,
I'd wash the Amazon river and clean the oily Carib and Gulf of Mexico,   
Rub that smog off the North Pole, wipe up all the pipelines in Alaska,   
Rub a dub dub for Rocky Flats and Los Alamos, Flush that sparkly Cesium out of Love Canal
Rinse down the Acid Rain over the Parthenon and Sphinx,
Drain Sludge out of the Mediterranean basin and make it azure again,
Put some blueing back into the sky over the Rhine, bleach the little Clouds so snow return white as snow,
Cleanse the Hudson Thames and Neckar,
Drain the Suds out of Lake Erie   
Then I'd throw big Asia in one giant
Load and wash out the blood and Agent Orange,
Dump the whole mess of Russia and China in the wringer, squeeze out the tattletail
Gray of U.S. Central American police state, and put the planet in the drier and let it sit 20 minutes or an Aeon till it came out clean.

Boulder, April 26, 1980

Such a sad world right now and unfortunately I don't see change coming soon.  I wish I could feel more positive about it.

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Veterans Day - 11/11/15

Freedom Isn't Free

Happy Veteran's Day to those who have served, those who are serving and all their families.

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Tea Stands for Tuesday - 11/10/15

Good morning friends.  The big news here is we had rain.  Yes, California got some rain.  Probably not such a big deal where many of you are but we were pretty happy about it.

DH baked a loaf of bread in the bread machine this morning.  Machine made bread is admittedly not my favorite but, hey, he was willing to bake.

I'm getting ready to put the kettle on and make a pot of tea.  By then the bread should be cool enough to cut.  A cup of tea and a warm slice of bread sounds about right this morning.

Other members of the tea party gang may be up to more exciting things this morning.  Why don't you join us over at Elizabeth's and find out what is going on?

Monday, November 9, 2015

Neighborhood Walk - 11/9/15

While on my usual morning walk through the 4th St. area I spotted signs of Christmas/Holiday decorating.

Not many of the stores had their windows done in the theme yet.  The staff at Anthropologie was busy with their front window.  It is always fun to see what they do.  Meanwhile here's a bit of their interior that was finished.


Across the street there was a crane being used to hoist people up in to the tree branches.  They hang fairly large lighted globes in the trees.  They have used the same theme/decorations for several years.  

Street lamps are wound with small lights.  The holiday decorations are enough to be festive but not over the top.

Have holiday decorations appeared where you live?

Thursday, November 5, 2015

November Knitting 11/5/15

I actually started this hat awhile ago but since I finished it in November I'm calling it my November project.  Another one for the stack of holiday presents. Brown is not a color I'm normally drawn to but when I was choosing yarn I decided to break the blue/grey/purple rut I was in.

Here is the hat sitting on a bowl to show the shape.  It hasn't been blocked yet and the stitches will even out a bit when I do that.

Here is the hat laying flat  I don't know it you can notice but the way it is made the edge of the brim rolls up a bit.  I like that because it is different that the knitted band on a lot of hats.

The pattern is from the book *Sock yarn.  One skein wonders*.  Knitters will notice I didn't use sock yarn but with the help of my yarn shop friends was able to make changes to accommodate the yarn I choose.

What next?  I'm not sure. 

Tuesday, November 3, 2015

Tea Stands for Tuesday - 11/3/15

Time once again to join the Tuesday Tea group over at Elizabeth's blog

Recently I was sorting through my pile of old postcards.  Not exactly a collection, more an accumulation of post cards.  I know that some of the regulars at our Tuesday Tea are postcard makers and collectors.  I thought I"d share one of mine

Satisfied?  Why shouldn't I be
The whole darned thing suits me to a T.

Dear Paul,

Hope you are having lots of fun for I am enjoying myself.  I get three meals a day and don't have to cook them.

Love from your tormentor.

The post card was mailed from Leaburg Oregon sometime in 1940.  

The card always makes me smile when I read it, hope it made you smile too.

Monday, November 2, 2015

Second on the Second - 11/2/15

On the second day of every month Elizabeth at Altered Book Lover hosts a party where we bring back an old post for a second look.  It is fun to go through some of my old posts.  Why don't you join us?

Here's something posted 4 years ago and fun to bring back for a second look today since it is the second day of Dia de los Muertos.


Día de los Muertos

Dia de los Muertos is widely celebrated in the Latin community here.  I decided to make a talisman to recognize the day in my own way.

I think if you click on the picture you can enlarge it.

I really enjoy making what I call Rubble Art. Just the usual tin can lid, pull tabs, scrap paper and some beads. I actually found this string of beads in the gutter - maybe it was originally a bracelet. Anyhow, I knew I wanted to use them in some way.

Have you found anything interesting laying in the street lately?