Archive for the 'holidays' Category

Art Advent Calendar – 2

Modern Stained Glass Window, Kölner Dom

Modern stained glass, Koln DomPhoto of Southern Transept window in Kölner Dom (Cologne Cathedral). The Cathdral also has an Advent Calendar. You can access it here. The original window that was in the South Transept was destroyed during WWII. The modern window (reglazed in 2007) was based on a design by Gerhard Richter. If you want to learn more about it and see better photos of other windows from the cathedral, visit the Kölner Dom website.


Art Advent Calendar – 1

December 1

On the first day of Christmas my true love gave to me,
One lady reading…

Oil painting of woman reading by lamplight. Woman bends over book in front of her with shoulder turned to viewer. Lamp illuminates her outline.
Lady Reading by Lamplight, 1895, by Minerva J. Chapman.
National Museum of Women in the Arts, Washington, DC

If you’d like more information about Minerva J. Chapman, check out this brief bio from Smithsonian Institute. Her work is still available, if you have cash on hand. Dreamy work: Pence Gallery.

Holidays where the air is clear

Kites at Harkness Memorial State ParkA while ago, I visited New England, staying with friends where the air is clear. It was hot and a bit humid during the day, but it would settle into cool temperatures by 1 AM, which is clearly a huge benefit of living up north, in the hills. It was one of those long weekend holidays, with somwhat stressy driving on either side of solid days of beautiful weather and really good seafood.

There was time for sketching, late night reading (my friends have an enviable library of mysteries of the “cosy” sort), and drowsy attempts to identify which frogs I heard through the open windows. There were trips to parks, where I sketched in the shade.

I goggled at the giant frogs of Willimantic (on the bridge… very large, with shiny gold eyes). Go to this article to read more about it: Bridge Ornaments. A friend and I visited a museum up there, that was housed in a section of the old American Thread Company (ATCO). I’ll possibly post pictures from that part of the trip in my Flickr (in the sidebar).

I regret nothing… not even coasting home at 2 AM to cats who had lost all hope that even the house sitter would return. [They were thrilled by their people arriving at a weird hour, and then they gave me the stink eye for the next 2 days.] I do regret leaving the cool weather and coming back, but I did have work to do and cats to feed.


Enjoying summer while we may

IMG_4538 beachThe weather has been oddly monsoon-like. Someone told me there’s a layer of wet air (like a river) being pulled up the coast. So, while the UK discovers forgotten landmarks due to the heat crisping all the verdant green, we have rain everywhere, as well as mosquitoes and air too humid for jam to set. If we have your weather, Columbia, we’re sorry, and we’d send it back to you if we knew how.

Before this week+ of wet weather, there was a brief jaunt out to the shore, and a bit of sitting on the beach. We saw a Fowler’s Toad (I think) unbury itself from the sand near the dunes, and then bury himself again. Guess he didn’t want to sit near us.

Celebrations a Bit Muted this Year

IMG_4471Yes, there were fireworks on the 4th of July. But the local town’s fireworks were canceled. So, people made do, up and down an undisclosed tributary of the Patapsco River.

I think I mentioned once before, either here or in person, that the citizens of Maryland almost reenact the War of 1812 (rockets red glare, etc.) on the 4th. And while it was loud, and there was lazy boating up and down the creek… no one drowned, no boats got hit by the people who couldn’t get their rockets to fire in the correct direction, and we mercifully could walk back to our picnic.

BTW: here’s a fabulous website that lets you enjoy the Patapsco River on a beautiful day (from the convenience of your own office chair). You can find it at the Chesapeake Conservancy:

The holiday was a lovely diversion from current events, upheaval, etc. I also took the long weekend as an opportunity to sketch, and practice with some new art tools. So, what are you up to now that Summer has the northern hemisphere in its humid grasp?

One Midwinters day

The Gardener and I got married. It was a small service, with a small group of people, but it was perfect.

I had the cold of doom. A friend loaned me her wedding shawl (because all the dress options were sleeveless and lace). And even though the audience was small, and I regret not having more of an event, I wouldn’t change a thing.

Afterwards, we marveled at bees in the garden at the art museum. Truly magical.

This year we went to Solstice services at the church where we got married. Again, truly magical. And then we got sucked into the vortex of Christmas celebrations and travel and seeing people. So we’ll be on radio silence for a while. Wishing you and yours a merry New Year’s Eve and a happy and safe/sane/prosperous 2018 in case I can’t post before then.


Holiday Knitting

ornamentandcardObviously I can’t show pics of finished items, although I might put some pics up on Ravelry before too long. I’ve been knitting a cotton and linen sampler neck wrap for a family member who gets cold under air conditioning. Lovely linen tape from a shop in Philadelphia called Hidden River Yarns, btw. I will try to get photos up soon, even if it’s just a closeup so you can see the stitch definition. I’ve been using stitches from the 365 Knitting Stitches a Year perpetual calendar, and it’s a fun project to test drive stitches for larger things. (Bramble stitch is great.)

In October, I knit a hat out of doubled laceweight yarn…. And I think it will fit a cousin. And then for the rest, it’s books or entertainment (for the kids), baked treats, or gift cards.

I found a kit I bought last summer for quilted Christmas stockings, and I think I need to put it away and just do the plain sewing projects I planned for November (the month is almost gone) in December.

So… how about you? Are you crafting this Christmas to avoid the lines and the mall and feeling like things are too commercial? Are you crafting to relieve stress after doing shopping and holiday prep? Or have you Cyber Mondayed everything (or decided not to do Christmas/Hannukah etc. or exchange presents)? It’s all legit.

Relax into a poem by Elan Mudrow

I sit with her Placing her in memory Giving thoughts strength, yet In her silence, she frightens me. I rely on others Camping upon her shore To soothe my worry. And although I haven’t Seen her rimmed with snow Echoing the clearest of nights, Pitted with raindrops Upon her clear face, Witnessed her held tight […]

via Mountain Lake — Elan Mudrow

Christmas was red hot

Well, other than colors of the season, it didn’t seem at all like Christmas. We hung around outdoors in shirtsleeves or light sweaters, gossiping with friends. We took lovely walks, and felt very overheated.

But, if you look at my Flickr feed on the side, it should look a bit like I was in Oz (lots of green on buildings) or Christmas-land: lots of red accents and gold. I visited friends over the Christmas holidays. Visited more friends over the New Year’s holiday, and manged to squeeze in a bit of quilting.

It has felt, oddly, like home has been a way station inbetween all of our travels. And, due to a work-related travel snafu, this has been sitting in my outbox, without publishing. Oops.


Caroling, caroling

‘Tis the season, even if the weather argues that it’s almost time for Spring Break.

We’re having a heatwave (it’s likely to hit 70 degrees F [24 degrees C] on Christmas Day, so it’s time to find clothing that suits the weather while also suiting the season.  At least I like the color red, so I have a festive light blouse to wear caroling, as well as a cotton Christmas sweater. Not sure if people outside the States have these (sort of legendary these days, with whole sites dedicated to showing the worst examples). I kind of like mine, and I’m pleased that it is warm enough for me to wear it.

To get in the spirit, I’ve been listening to music from Natalie Cole’s Holly and Ivy album. Here’s one that relates to the title of this post (link here). And I’ve also decided to stop baking cookies — it’s too hot in the kitchen. One set of cookies and fruitcake is enough…

So, are you looking forward to a brown, rainy Christmas like those of us on the east coast? Or are you already buried in snow? Or planning a sunny beachside celebration while roasting things on the barbeque?

And, Happy Holidays and a Happy New Year!


Flickr Photos