Friday, June 24, 2016

Behold the Moon

Yesterday a small group from Woman's Club went to the Hammond Museum and Japanese Stroll Garden in North Salem, NY. Our purpose, as part of the Environmental group of the club, was to see the gardens with a docent. It was beautiful day, even though heavy rain was predicted. The gardens are lovely, but the highlight of my day was the art exhibit in the gallery, Behold the Moon.

This year is the 50th anniversary of Moon Viewing in the garden, an ancient tradition in which people eat, drink, listen to music and write poetry, while viewing the moon, thus the theme of the show. I will show you just a few of the art pieces. It was a fabulous exhibit and I would recommend going to see it if you live anywhere nearby.

This handsome moon face hanging from a tori gate was out in the fields.

There were several large round moons, like the one on the sign, hanging around the top of the room. They looked to be made of ceramic or metal and they were quite beautiful. You can see one up on the wall on the right side of the sign.

There were two similar pieces by this artist, Isle Schreiber-Noll. This is My Moon I. It is mixed media on a linen drop cloth. It was fiber art to me and you can see what looks like stitching on the next detail, but it is paint.

There were several pieces on this wall by Harry White. He uses collage of plant parts and found paper. I liked the way they were matted.

This very large stunning piece that wrapped around the wall was by Carla Goldberg.  Her lengthy title is: I Dreamed I Was a Fish Swimming Among the Reeds Looking Up at the Winter Moon.
She uses resin, ink, and enamel paint on acrylic panels.

Detail of the piece above. It was quite amazing in person. It seemed to glow from within.

All of our trips seem to end in with lunch. This time we ate at Luc's, a charming French restaurant in Ridgefield, CT. We sat outside on their small patio, surrounded by planters of bright red geraniums. The food and wine were delicious and as usual I ate too much, but it was worth the calories.

A pretty garden, a fabulous art exhibit, a scrumptious lunch with friends.....a perfect summer day!

Sunday, June 19, 2016

New Thimble

I have a large thimble collection. My late husband and I would seek out antique shops when on a road trip and I was very involved for several years. I have many books and even belonged to the Thimble Society. Yes, there is a club for everything. I would always buy them on my foreign trips after my husband died, but they were mostly inexpensive souvenirs. I haven't bought one in quite awhile, but when I saw this one in a little village in Spain, I knew it had to come home wth me.

I was intrigued by the many stork nests that we saw on the pinnacles of buildings. The nests weighed up to 100 pounds and they were very impressive and now I have a stork thimble.



 My major garden chores are finally finished, but if you are a gardener they are never truly done.
There's always upkeep and something new to add, but at least it's not eating up so much time.
I have finally gotten back to my studio and I am sewing. Nothing to show yet, but when I do I'll come back and show you.

Wednesday, June 15, 2016

Sunday, June 12, 2016

Spain, part 3

I promised to tell you a funny story about my trip, so here it is. The day that we were in Portugal after visiting those two charming hilltop villages our tour leader, Barbara, told us that we would go a little out of our way to see a famous menhir, a large standing upright stone. She said that it was a phallic symbol placed there in ancient days to help in the fertility of the land and well worth seeing because of its antiquity and impressive size.
SO we got on the bus and proceeded to try to find it. After a couple of wrong turns we had to go through a small village, not on a hill top, but with very narrow streets. We came to a corner that we had to turn and that's where the problem began. These tiny streets were not made for big buses and it took us over half an hour with the bus driver jockeying back and forth, at times a mere inch from the buildings. People came out of their houses and stood in the doorways, probably praying that the crazy American tourists would not knock down their homes. Everyone on the bus was holding their breath.
We finally made the turn and traveled a bit further to a small parking lot with the menhir in the near distance. Barbara announced over the loud speaker trying not to laugh, "And there is the largest phallic symbol on the Iberian Peninsula!" The whole bus burst into laughter and I must say there were a lot of ribald comments.
Of course we had to get out of the bus and walk over to get pictures taken. It is 26 feet high and very worn down. You could not read the inscriptions around the base.

Then the bus driver announced that the only way back to the main road was through that same tiny village. The villagers must have thought we were mad to do this all over again. But curiously the driver had no trouble taking that same turn from the opposite direction.

We visited another village one day that was famous for its hand embroidery. Unfortunately it was siesta time and all the shops were closed except one. This beautiful tile picture was on the outside of one of the buildings and it so reminded me of the art work I bought recently, Common Threads.
I sent a picture to the artist, Peggy Dembicer, and she agreed with me. Look at the art piece and you'll see what I mean.

Recently on Quiltart, an online group to which I belong, there was a lengthy discussion about copying and what is truly original. I thought about that when viewing these ancient mosaics at a museum. Don't they all look like present day traditional pieced quilts? So there really is nothing new under the sun!

And with that I will say adios to Spain. I don't have much else to show you since I have been doing next to nothing in my studio and a lot in my garden. Hopefully I'll get back to sewing soon.

Friday, June 10, 2016

Spain, part 2

Here are some more of my pictures from my trip. I really winnowed them down so as not to bore you.

Claire on one of those challenging streets that I told you about. Others were equally as steep, if not more so, but this was the only one with a railing.What you can't tell from the picture is how rough the cobble stones were.

People did live here and decorated their homes with flowers. I can't imagine getting groceries up and down those streets, but it sure was picturesque.

About half way up this same village was a plateau with this incredibly manicured maze garden. We saw women working on them trimming them by hand with clippers and shears.

These next few pictures are from the city of Merida, which was once the capital of the province of Lusitania founded in 25 BC. It is home to an impressive collections of Roman ruins, including an amphitheater and theater. It was as good as anything I had seen in Italy.

This statue of Diana was a reproduction, as were all the other statues in the theater and there were many. All the real states that were unearthed in the excavation are housed in the incredible museum in the city.

A small section of the museum. You went down two flights of stairs from the entrance to get to this, so that the ceilings were three stories high. There were many, many statues, mosaics and artifacts.....all the real thing found in the excavations which are still ongoing. One very interesting fact and new to me......there were many statues without heads or arms and I thought that they had been broken off. After all they were more than 2,000 years old. But, no, they were made that way as generic statues and then if someone commissioned a statue, the head and arms would be made to the specifics of the patron. How cool is that, all those years ago? Those Romans were pretty smart!

We also saw aqueducts that are still being used as bridges for pedestrians. Amazing!

I can't seem to get out of the caption section of the pictures, so I will stop here and come back again in a couple of days with more pictures and a funny story.

Thursday, June 9, 2016


 I know that I have been delinquent in attending to my blog, but I have been away. I took a ten day trip with a group of Woman's Club members to the lesser known and visited cites and towns in Spain and Portugal. It was called "The Spain that Nobody Knows". We few into Madrid and then traveled west from there to visit Salamanca, a lovely University city, Alba de Tomes, Miranda del Castanar, Trujillo, Caceres, Marveo and Castelo de Vide in Portugal, Merida, Guadalupe, Puente del Arzobispo, Largartera, and back to Madrid. My son spent 3 months traipsing around Spain on his own after Law School and he had only been to one of these cities, other than Madrid.

There were just 17 of us on the tour and we had a wonderful time being together. Our trip was led by one of our members, Barbara, who has been a Spanish teacher for over 35 years and of course spoke fluent Spanish. It was great having her with us. We did have local guides for some of the towns and cities.

The weather was surprisingly cool and rainy for the first few days and we were all wearing sweaters, jackets, and raincoats, not the summer clothes that we had brought the most of. The last two days it did finally warm up and was the Spainish weather that we had expected.

We did a LOT of walking and a LOT of it was up and down treacherous cobblestone streets in hilltop villages. I don't mind walking uphill, but I have a mental thing about going down. I'm always thinking I am going to lose my balance and go tumbling down like Jack and Jill. So that part was not good for me.

We did see some beautiful scenery and I will show some here, but will not try to identify all of it. I didn't take notes and, let's face it, a lot of these towns start to look alike after awhile.

It was Springtime in Spain, too, and the wildflowers were abundant, especially the  poppies, which were everywhere.

We saw many churches and cathedrals. This wooden carved alter was magnificent.

Any of the spectacular views from on top were taken after walking up and up and up.

We saw countless stork nests perched on the tippy top of buildings. The nest can weigh over 100 pounds. Look carefully at this picture and the next picture which has two nests. Some had multiple nests. Apparently they don't mind being near each other.

My friend, Claire, in this charming little restaurant that four of us stumbled upon when on our own for lunch. The food was gourmet and the service impeccable, but we only had a short time before meeting up with our group again. It was the kind of place where you really wanted to linger. Alas, no time.

Typical of some of the streets we walked. This ancient village was mostly uninhabited. We toured others that did have people and I'll show pictures of those later.

This was one of the drizzly, cool days. Notice our attire! Not sure what we were looking at.

We were fortunate to be in one small town on the feast of Christ the King and there was a wonderful procession through the town going from one church to the town plaza where there was choir singing. Spain is a very Catholic country.

All the children who had made their first Communion that year walked in the procession. They were so cute, with the girls mostly in long dresses and the boys in suits and sailor suits and even one dressed as a general, complete with fringed epaulets. I did get some good videos of them facing me.

The streets were strewn with fresh Rosemary apparently to enhance the experience. Here they are afterward sweeping up. I wonder what they did with that much rosemary. Did they feed it to the pigs?
We did eat a lot of pork, including the famous Imberico Jamon, very expensive in this country but plentiful over there.

I usually plant my gardens in mid-May, but did not this year because of the trip, so now I am heavily involved with planting. Another excuse for my blog absence. I promise to come back in the next couple of days with more pictures of my trip.

Thursday, June 2, 2016

Manus x Machina

That's the name of the exhibit that I was privileged to see a couple of weeks ago at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in NYC.  The full title of the show is Manus x Machina--Fashion in the Age of Technology. Its premise was showing how machine work has affected the world of haute couture. It was a very interesting show, although not nearly as fabulous as last year's "China Through the Looking Glass". That was hard to top or even come close to.

You can read all about the show here and see some more pictures. I'll just show you a few, from the sublime to the ridiculous. The show displayed many different facets of fashion. The clothing was organized by categories such as sequins, feathers, artificial flowers, pleating, embroidery, beading and even 3-D printing. There were over 170 garments shown from the early 20th century to the present.

This and the next three used 3-D printing.

This magnificent train of a wedding gown has a gazillion sparkly beads attached, but not sewn by hand.

One of the uses of artificial flowers, a wedding ensemble, if you can imagine.

Sequins, of course! You sure would have to have a perfect figure to wear this one. There were several shimmery gowns and dresses.

Embroidery and lace.

Black drinking straws!

The show is on until August 14, so if you are in NYC, stop by and see it. After having a terrific lunch in the museum cafeteria, we joined a free docent tour called Fashion in the Arts. The docent was fabulous and altho she only showed us 6 pieces of art, they were so much in depth. We thoroughly enjoyed it.

I'm backing up a bit here. We went into New York with the Woman's Club on a bus and our first stop of the day was a so-called Backstage tour of Radio City Music Hall. I was especially interested since my great niece is a Rockette and I really thought we would go backstage and see the dressing rooms and other things. But what we got was a tour of the theater, a history of the building, a short video and a visit with a Rockette. We got a peek at one room that held some retired costumes. I was a little disappointed.

After the tour we were on our own to do as we pleased with the rest of the day. Some went to see a Broadway show, some went for an elaborate lunch, but my friend Mary and I opted to walk the 20 some blocks to the Met. It was a beautiful day, a 10 for sure. We walked up 5th Avenue alongside Central Park, slipping in and out of the park a few times. So many people were out enjoying the weather. Spring flowers were in bloom, which just added to the day.