Monday, 27 August 2012

How beautifully leaves grow old. How full of light and color are their last days.

I'm really sick today, but saw these out the window and it cheered me a bit.

It seems to be confusing Fall warbler time. The title quote is from John Burroughs.

Saturday, 25 August 2012

Miscellaneous Activities

Today I don't feel so well. We've had three solid days of meetings and I was really looking forward to having some fun today, but it just wasn't meant to be. Basically I sat and watched tv and tried to keep my stomach calm. This blog is comprised of a variety of small activities that I have done intermittently over the last week or so.

I'm thinking a lot about my Renaissance festival costume. I have the base, but still need a wide assortment of pieces to complete the look. I've been doing some reading and had no idea there were so many decisions to make about sleeves, undersleeves, shifts, petticoats, farthingales, etc.  I have made a decision about my frontpiece and sleeves. Here is the fabric I have bought.

Now I need to decide how many underskirts. I am seriously considering putting my farthingale hoops directly into my chemise because who needs to be wearing four skirts in mid August!? In fact I'm thinking of just using a so-called bum roll for now and doing away with the hoops altogether. Somehow I just don't see how you can maneuver the farthingale in a porto-potty!

So, while I'm trying to commit to a decision, I started lace for my sleeves (which I can't make my mind up about either!! -Slashed? Cuttes? turned up? etc.)

I realize lace at the time was not knitted, but this is something I can do in my spare time, so I decided to go for it. (The picture should be just about accurate size-wise).

Then there's the carrot. I had to make chicken soup because my tummy has been acting up. I was fascinated by our carrots (which had evidently been in the fridge longer than I thought.)

It's beautiful in an odd and pathetic sort of way!

My mindless knitting has been a knit one below afghan using the techniques I learned from Elise Duvekot. I goofed and had to do a square between two other squares and decided the seam looked really bad. Of course I decided to rip it out and do it over. Can you tell which is which?

Here's a detail so you can see it better. I just didn't join the left squares to each other very well.


So after watching most of a season of In Treatment and knitting, here is what i have (each square is roughly 4 inches square). Of course this attempt to use up yarn has lead me to order more on-line so that I can actually do something useful with this.

This attempt to use up my stash just never seems to work!

Tuesday, 21 August 2012

Visitors From Japan

Some 20 years ago we had a home stay visit by 2 young college students from Japan. When I was in Tokyo a few years ago my spouse and I were able to meet up with one of those young women. She had blossomed, married and had two delightful children and some of our happiest moments in Japan were spent in their company. We've tried to stay in touch over the years. We've sent a few packages back and forth and so we were thrilled to hear that Hajime, Naomi and their mom (our former homestay "victim") were going to come to Minnesota for a visit.  The timing wasn't great for us - things are going fast and furious this month and the next, but we were able to work out a meeting time of a brief 3 hours and we had a wonderful visit! Hajime and Naomi wanted to meet our family. I guess it is a pretty sad form of entertainment when the most exciting thing we can offer is watching the cat, Arbogast, drink water.

Naomi is a big fan of cats and so it was all downhill for her from this, but we did our best to try and find other stuff to do. Of course we made them walk around the garden and another exciting Minnesota activity was looking at the drain field and checking out the products of a hay baler. (We didn't have time for a tractor pull or corn shucking contest! (wink!))

Since Miki had taken intensive English at Saint John's University, we opted to show the children where their Mom had attended school. We dined at the recently renovated cafeteria.

The fresh fruit was a big hit with Hajime and he ate more pineapple than I have ever seen anyone eat in one sitting!

 After lunch we had a little time to walk around the campus and reminisce.

Look at Naomi's beautiful smile!

Hajime's hunting and fishing instincts came out when he spotted the fountain in front of the student center.

 Evidently there were fish in there somewhere.


Miki wanted a picture in front of the church, but the size of the edifice dwarfed them, so I took two pictures - one with the full "steeple" and one of the family.

As the time drew to a close we took a quick look at the beach. You could almost see the Stella Maris chapel across the lake.

 Miki took lots of pictures.

It was their last day before flying out and they needed to get to the airport, so after a very brief glimpse of the beach we headed for the car.

... and then it was time to say "Goodbye".

It was a great visit and far too short!

Sunday, 19 August 2012

Renaissance Festival Opening Day August 18, 2012

What a glorious day at the MInnesota Renaissance Festival! Thanks to a gift from my sister  of a season pass (for two) we spent a lovely day strolling around in the 1500s. The weather was relatively cool and clear without a single touch of rain. Even though I have my precious new Felix Needleworthy brocade dress, I want to wear it under proper circumstances and I did not have the accoutrements for a proper debut, so I decided to dress in middle/working class style and wear my bodice with a long skirt. Due to my sister's generosity I will have multiple occasions to dress for the festival, so I will try to find some sewing time to make a kittle, some sleeves and a head dress for my beautiful costume.

After all my earlier traveling I was a bit tired, so it seemed like a good idea to start off with a seat at a show. We ambled over to the big Schooner and got a chance to catch Puke and Snot's first performance. They did a version of their Magaga routine about Spanish doormats and bull-fighting.

The new Snot 's not the old Snot, but he has settled into his role as an older less naive buffoon and I think the routines work very well. The chemistry is still there. We had our mandatory turkey leg and made reservations for the Feast of Fantasy for when my Mom and Sister come to visit and then decided to go off and spend decadently at the Puzzle Ring shop. (I must remember to get a photo next time as the people are quite humorous and nice and we have visited them regularly for several years. I still wear the rings that I bought from them in prior years, the puzzle ring I don't dare to take off my finger lest I have to spend an hour on the website trying to laboriously reconstruct it and then a Celtic style garnet ring and this year I could not resist adding to the collection.

(Gosh, middle-aged hands look awful in close-up!)

The booth owner Sean is an excellent salesman and has rapier sharp wit both in terms of humor and technologically it turns out. He is a crafter of Astrolabes as well as a metal smith. We learned some fascinating things about the properties of rare metals and got to feel the difference in density between platinum, white gold and palladium.

After food and iced tea we decided to  visit our friend Marla at Lost Art Leather. I've blogged about her before. She does beautiful one of a kind leather and cloth creations, including those famous patchwork Renaissance tights.


She s so much fun as you can tell by this animated conversation. It turns out that she's originally from Lufkin, so there's a Texas emigré connection.

You can see some of Marla's designs in the background there. I highly recommend you check out her booth when you go to the Fair. She's across from the jousting (on the entrance (pavillion) side). There's a bunch of food there and the best place to get coffee or tea is just past her shop.)

Then we went to watch one of our favorite jugglers, Tuey Wilson. We've been watching Tuey for some 20 years now. (He's been juggling for more than 30 years and is now 50 years old and still does tightrope walking and acrobatic juggling.) I love that he answers questions about his act and craft before the performance and that he has such a great sense of humor.  His 12 year old daughter was helping him this year, but as teenagers are wont to be, she did not look too happy about being associated with him.


I absolutely love the picture of her above. She is a stunningly pretty girl and her discontent speaks volumes. I think maybe it's that, I don't want people to think I'm connected to such a geeky parent syndrome. If she only knew how many kids would love to be associated with a parent that does such cool things!

Here are some of the cool things that her dad does!

And how about this!

And how about this?

Geeky? Well maybe, but still totally cool!

And yes, Marla made those tights!!

We also went to see the Danger Committee - a knife throwing, juggling, yo-yoing act that has really funny schtick. The show we saw this time around was the Ninja show. Since there was a pet theme this weekend Reynaldo (the ax throwing part of the team) brought his pet Ninja.

This ax throwing routine was pretty impressive.

Reynaldo pinned the balloon without bursting it.

 Pet weekend was fun. There was a whole wing dedicated to rescue groups and pet supplies. Do you think this was a part of pet weekend?

There was a basset hound rescue group and it seemed like half the dogs at the festival were bassets. Some came in costumes.

 This isn't exactly period authentic, but it is cute.

We also saw this at the pet part of the fair. I bet they are expensive to feed.

Then there are things that I saw and photographed along the way. I always enjoy the dancers although we rarely sit down and actually watch them do an entire dance.

Some of the Terpsichore costumes are absolutely fabulous.

And of course there is always free live music accompanying them. I wish I had gotten a better shot of this creature blowing bubbles. Seeing her was a cheap thrill.

I feel like I wander around the fair with my mouth open in awe - just drinking in the sights.  This little lady was watching one of the shows with us.

The gentleman in green we see every year - he asks and answers riddles.

And I just liked the colors of this image.

Before we knew it, it was time to pack up and leave. We had had a great time at the Fair, and were happily exhausted and ready to head for home. (And we get to go back as much as we want! Huzzah!)