Monday, April 26, 2010

Martha Stewart show

Well, if truth be told, this was the real reason for a short visit to NYC...Yes, I had wanted to see what it was like to be a member of the audience on the Martha show, so Jim got me tickets for April 15th, and we were able to combine that with our trip to Cleveland. I will not bore you with all the details of waiting in line for an hour and a half, or the warm up with Joey (one of the best parts--that guy is funny!) unless you want to hear them in person sometime. Just ask. Or better yet, ask Jim, as he will give you all the details you may want. Yes, he was a good sport, and went with me, along with several other husbands.
It really was fun to see the set, with all the elements that you see on tv, like the craft room, the kitchen and the greenhouse. Each of these areas is a hive of activity until the very moment that Martha steps up to do each segment. We were lucky to be able to sample the cookies baked that day and any day now, we should be receiving a pair of pearl earrings in the mail...No, the gifts are not under our seats, as I had imagined.
Martha even took a few minutes at the end of the show to answer some questions from the audience (no, my question was not selected) and she was at her most natural self at that point.
I have to say that in person, she looks darn good, and has a great figure! Yes, she's getting older, but so are we all. I just thought it would be kind of fun if they had a cutout figure of her for us to take photos with, as the only people that get close to her are the guests. But I suppose she would consider that tacky. If you have the time when you are in NYC, being in the audience of a tv show is a fun, free thing to do, and now I can cross it off my life list! Oh, the show I was on is supposed to air on May 7th.

a little more of NYC

This is a place I have wanted to visit since I was a college student hitchhiking my way up the East Coast. I stopped to visit relatives in NYC and the first night I was there, one of my distant cousins, Karen, invited me to the ballet. I had a single ticket and struck up a conversation with the nice young man next to me, who invited me to meet him the next evening for dinner. He was a grad student, and this was rather flattering to me, so we met after class and proceeded to walk through Central Park. I think we walked the entire length of it, then he showed me several galleries and most of NYC, or so it seemed. He cooked a terrible dinner, but the conversation was good, and he suggested that I might like to see the Cloisters the next day. However, that involved me staying overnight, since his apartment was not far from there. For various reasons, I declined, and that was the last I ever heard from him. So it has taken me over 35 years to get there, but we finally went to the Cloisters, but it was worth the wait!
It is a long bus ride from where we started near the Metropolitan Museum, but that is a good first stop, as the Cloisters are free with a Met admission ticket, otherwise $20. The bus is interesting, though, if you have the time, as it travels up through Harlem, then Spanish Harlem, and you get a chance to observe the neighborhoods, and the people who live in them.Fort Tryon Park is the last stop on the line, which is where the Cloisters are located.
It is a beautiful location, overlooking the river and in the Spring there were lots of blooming trees.
It is also possible to drive there, or take the subway to the end of the line. The primary gems of the amazing collection of medieval art are the Unicorn Tapestries which take up an entire room. I believe that they have recently been restored, so they are in their full glory. No photos, though. You'll just have to go and see them yourself. And it is worth the effort of getting there. This was probably my favorite place we visited in NYC, and definitely the most tranquil and lovely.
Of all the art at the Cloisters, these three women were my favorite. They each have such a lovley demeanor. So I recommend that the next time you are in NYC that you put visiting The Cloisters at the top of your list!

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

More favorite things NYC

I realized that I couldn't leave out a few more favorite things in NYC, like Magnolia Bakery cupcakes. From a humble beginning, Magnolia Bakery has mushroomed into a big business, with this high rent location near Rockafeller Plaza and Radio City Music Hall. I sampled the red velvet cupcake, especially for my niece Izzy, who counts them as her favorites. It seemed that so many popular places, like Magnolia Bakery and Dean and DeLuca had grown like crazy since the last time we were here, multiplying like the mushrooms after the rain...

Surprisingly, I had never been to the wholesale flower district of NYC, but stumbled upon it on my way someplace else. It was a marvelous area to discover, especially for me, a florist! Things seemed to be displayed in a beautiful manner, and different than on the West Coast.
I will definitely be back here next time.
I couldn't leave out another favorite, Tinsel Trading, even though it has lost a bit of it's luster after their move and consolidation from two locations to one. It is still a wonderful place, filled with lots of treasures to discover. Imagine this wall of blue trims, times all the colors of the rainbow, plus gold and silver! I was a bit shy about taking too many photos, though. I wonder what they would say about photos if I told them I was a blogger...

Some of my favorite NYC things

NYC is the antidote to Cleveland. It is everything that Cleveland is not--vibrant, slightly
wacky, thriving and filled with wonderful things to see and do. Apologies to Cleveland, where there are many good things. Maybe you just have to search a little harder for them.
I followed this couple for a little way, intent on getting their photo. Such a great pair! So let's follow them to some of my favorite NYC spots.
ABC Carpet and Home is probably my all time favorite store in NYC. I could spend hours there.
browsing through all the charming little vignettes like this one. Each area is beautiful and invited shopping, or at least photos and people watching. Jim observed one young French girl (maybe 5 or 6yrs) nix a scarf that her father held up for her approval with a simple "Non". I have never actually bought anything there, as things are expensive by my standards, but it is a great "artist's date".
Another must see is M&J Trims, a huge store chock full of every kind of trim imaginable! I always wish that I had some project in mind where I needed just the perfect trim, as I know I would find it here.

This is not a favorite store, but I couldn't resist this photo of a sleeping cat in the window of Scott's flowers. Wouldn't that make for an interesting table decor for your wedding or special event. Wonder if they rent him out?

Monday, April 12, 2010

a short tour of Cleveland

We are visiting my mother in law in Cleveland and have the distinct pleasure of staying in her lovely 13th floor condo overlooking Lake Erie. She has a gorgeous view of sunrise from her bedroom and in the other direction you see this view of downtown Cleveland. In the short time we have been here we have seen spring come to full bloom, and more trees are leafing out each day. It is hard to imagine that just a few weeks ago the lake still had a skim of ice.
One day we took a scenic drive to Rocky River, a suburb of Cleveland and found a historic enclave of charming stores and galleries. My favorite of all was Devout Home, which was just my kind of store, full of devotional art from Latin America. I had a fun time chatting with the owner about a recent santos making class and she was very enthusiastic and interested.
From there we drove on the Valley Parkway, a lovely greenbelt that goes halfway around Cleveland along the river. It was a beautiful, sunny day and people we out fly fishing, jogging and walking their dogs. It felt very springlike.
Yesterday my sister-in-law took me on a drive through Lakeview Cemetery to see the drifts of daffodils and redbud trees. There is also a beautiful small chapel built in 1902 with Tiffany windows and detailed tile murals. A true hidden gem in Cleveland. Thanks, Karen! I would have never found this on my own.
Another happy find during our drives was Rosati's Frozen Custard. This may not be featured in the guide books of Cleveland (are there any?) but we had the most delicious frozen custard at this classic stand. You just don't find these places so often in Oregon.
I ended the day yesterday at Museum Circle where there is a collection of fine museums, the gem of them all in the free Cleveland Art Museum which was featuring a great collection of Native American Art, and of course many many masters. How is it that I have never been here before? From there I walked across to the Botanical Garden, housing a large glass house and a magnificent collection of live butterflies that swooped and dove around me. I manged to capture a few in photos. The birds were happy, too and the whole experience brought me right back to the tropics.

So there you have my quick guide to some of Cleveland's Best! There are now lots of good restaurants, too, but that is another story.

Friday, April 9, 2010

journaling for life

I have decided to show some recent journal pages since I am planning to teach another session
of journal keeping and journal making classes on Sunday, April 25th at Tabor Space at 6oth and Belmont. There are still some spaces remaining in the class if you are interested in joining us!

I saw a headline about "Days of Small Blessings" and it made me want to do a journal page about that. Really, aren't small blessings all we need to be happy? The big blessings are nice, of course, but it is the small blessings, in the midst of a gray day that really sustain us. Look for small blessings in your life, and you might be surprised how many you notice. Perhaps it is the budding of the dogwood tree after the rain, or a new shoot appearing in your garden. Go outside. Look around.
I can always tell that Spring is in the air because my journal starts to fill up with lots more watercolors of flowers. I am happier in Spring and my journal reflects that change.
This is a handmade journal that I made from a single piece of watercolor paper in an accordian style. I will show some of the pages in a future post soon.
This is the first page of my journal that I started after we
returned from SE Asia. It is always hard for me to get back to my daily journals after I have been away for an extended time, just as it is hard to get back to daily life. So much of my life is reflected in my journals, and that is why they are so valuable to me.
Jim gave me a gift of a small box of scrolls titled "Change your life in 50 days". Each day you are supposed to punch out a tiny scroll and do the thing it mentions, like this one, which says.
"try to figure out what you'll do if everything goes really well". So, what will YOU do